When Tyler and I were presented with the opportunity to travel to and compete in Pennsylvania’s 7-day Trans-Sylvania Epic, BMC’s FourStroke FS01 29er was an obvious race bike choice. Not because BMC is an event sponsor, but because the FourStroke that I rode at the model’s launch struck me as one of the more capable big day 29ers on the market: efficient enough for the race’s many climbs but supple and composed on the race’s often rough technical sections and Enduro segments. How did the Swiss racer handle 7 straight days of racing? Hit the jump to find out!
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In addition to the Rolf Prima wheels and Schwalbe tires, another group of parts that went on bike and ridden for the first time in Stage One of the 2013 TranSylvania Epic mountain bike race is Ritchey’s WCS Trail cockpit group.
Consisting of handlebars, stems and seatposts, the lineup was introduced last summer with alloy and carbon options, and word is they’ve got Trail wheels and saddles queued up for this summer. I’m testing the flattish WCS Carbon 2X Trail Bar, WCS Trail stem and WCS Carbon Trail seatpost. Between them and my hands are SQlabs’ ergonomic grips, courtesy of Kenny at Radsport USA.
Click through for actual weights on multiple sizes of the parts and tech details…
Though some may question the logic of using carbon fiber for mountain bike wheels, the latest generation of plastic wheels combine light weight, stiffness, and durability in a way that aluminum wheels simply can’t. The but, however, comes at the cash register: carbon fiber wheels are pricey. Easily twice the price of their alloy-rim’d stablemates, the cost has been awfully hard for most riders to justify.
In order to bring the experience gained from building the all-mountain Haven Carbon wheelset to a wider audience, for 2013 Easton have released the EC70 Trail model. Forgoing the UST compatibility provided by the Haven’s solid inner wall and turnbuckle nipples has reduced the EC70s’ cost, while the updated M1 hubs promise to have left earlier versions’ bearing and freehub durability issues behind. Armored Ballistic Composite has been replaced with EC70-level carbon fiber, reducing impact resistance somewhat, and the rims have narrowed somewhat.
What’s left is a 1,355g wheelset (1,420g once taped) designed for both race and trail use. The price? A still-dear $1,800- about 30% less than the Havens. But are they any better than a 1,400g alloy wheelset? Hit the jump to find out!
Catch up on all of our Project 1.2 posts here!
Stems aren’t the most glamorous of components. For the most part, they all work- and those that don’t don’t tend to survive on the market long. While the Reasonably Priced in our Reasonably Priced Carbon Project 1.2 singlespeed build theme ruled out every full-carbon stem on the market, FSA’s SL-K stem does have a carbon fiber face plate and happens to match not only our build’s white fork but also its unidirectional carbon SL-K seatpost and Gravity Light handlebar. Is its dash of carbon just for show, or is it a key piece of the puzzle? Hit the jump to find out…
Entering the bike industry to make millions would probably be… misguided. But starting or joining a bike or gear company because you’ve got some cool ideas and want to have a bit of fun bringing them to life? That’s a bit more like it.
Building saddles since the early-90s, Speed Defies Gravity–now SDG Components–has built a solid following for their comfortable saddles, innovative I-Beam mounting system, and sense of fun. From the legendary Bel Air to bombproof Kevlar-covered saddles to today’s surprisingly broad range, SDG are all about the bicycle contact points. Now owned by a former intern (kids, take note!), SDG have just sent out a number of products that don’t just seem well thought out- they make us smile too. Party after the jump!
Catch up on all of our Project 1.2 posts here!
While it’s been in the works for some time (and we leaked early photos on our Facebook page), our Project 1.2 single speed is now complete. Hardly a plastic wallflower, the Lurcher has been getting lots of dirty time. But before diving into the reviews, an introduction.
When the opportunity to pick up one of On-One’s Lurcher 29er frames presented itself, we jumped. Earlier On-One Inbred and Scandal frames handled brilliantly- and the Lurcher looked set to bring the brand’s high performance, high value ethos to life in carbon fiber. In fact, it’s the democratization of the magic plastic that’s become the theme of this year’s build. Bike shop and online brands are bringing carbon fiber to ever-lower price points as production capacity has grown and the ins and outs of working with the material are sussed. Light weight, stiffness and vibration damping for all? Or at some point does it just become carbon fiber for carbon fiber’s sake?
September 24 update: Transition time and AFC details added below.
Given the success of their Pivlock V2 and V2 Max models (reviewed here), Smith have gone with a number of tweaks and new colors for 2013. The biggest and most exciting are the photochromic clear-gray and Ignitor (red) lenses shown here. Seeing as few people actually swap lenses mid-ride, the variable transmission lenses should make the Pivlocks that much nicer for late afternoon/early evening rides and commutes that start or finish in the dark. The $80 lenses include Smith’s AFC anti-fog coating on the inside and are available separately or bundled with frames. Transition times run ~20 seconds from clearest to darkest, ~60 seconds in the other direction.
More color options and some prescription inserts after the break…
Pearl Izumi‘s been a sending us some sweet gear for a while, like the Pro Leader Kit and Softshell 180 jacket. So, it was a pleasant surprise when we found out they were set to unveil the X Project 1.0 shoe at Interbike. It’s a high end XC mountain/ ‘cross shoe with a translucent green sole. With this design, they were shooting for a lightweight shoe comfy both on and off the bike. To accomplish this, significant flex was added throughout while keeping it as stiff as possible at the pedal. For off-the-bike appeal, there’s rubber bonded to the sole for grip, a feature that makes this shoe grippy and viable for travel in many terrains. During my time testing, I walked, biked, and sprinted around in the outskirts of Vegas, on a surface made up of dirt, dust, and a hefty portion of jagged rocks, both small and large and had to walk more often than I’d like.
As for weights, a size 44 weight is claimed just short of 300g per shoe. They sized me in a 46, which hit the scales at about 320g. That makes the X Project 1.0 even lighter than my LG Carbon Pro Team road shoes. Pretty impressive for a mountain shoe.
Click ‘more’ for the review, and some other translucent-soled shoes from Pearl Izumi…
It’s no secret that great parts are hard to review- and Shimano’s XTs have long been among the best day in, day out cranks on the market. For the past several generations, the arms, rings, and bearings at the center of Shimano’s do-it-all group have drawn on the company’s greatest strengths- while the latest generation’s 10 speed compatibility and double- or triple-ring options bring them bang up to date. The crank arms are hollow forged from aluminum: a stiff, light (just under 860g including BSA BB), and durable construction method. The 24-32-42 chainrings are built of steel, aluminum, and composite in order to balance weight with durability. Finally, Shimano’s tortured-looking chainring teeth, ramps, and pins are designed to provide shifting performance that approaches XTR- for a fraction of the cost. That’s the sales floor pitch: how have the latest XTs performed on the trail and race course? Hit the jump to find out!