Pivot unveils Switchblade long travel 29/27+ MTB, introduces Super Boost + hub spacing

Pivot switchblade long travel 29 27 plus full suspension mountain bike-8
Pivot switchblade long travel 29 27 plus full suspension mountain bike-4
Photo c. Pivot Cycles/Lear Miller

Since launching the brand in 2007, Pivot has added a lot of different models to the line up. Ranging from 26 to 29, even to fat bikes, Pivot has had a bike for just about anything – with one exception. While Pivot has offered a number of bikes with 29″ wheels, a “long travel” 29er has remained absent from the collection, though not because they haven’t been working on it. For the past 5 years Pivot has been quietly working on developing the perfect platform to match the big wheels with bigger travel. With each step the bike has gotten closer to perfection, but to make that last leap Pivot needed something new. Something that would provide the stiffness and the clearance for both 29 and 27+ tires. Something… like a wider rear hub.

“Don’t call it a ‘new standard.'” That was one of the points that Chris Cocalis tried to drive home as he introduced Pivot’s latest bike, the Switchblade. As you can imagine, the use of a different (yet currently existing) hub spacing will most likely draw ire from those already wary of Boost 148, but before heading to the comment section, you have to hear them out.

To Pivot’s credit, before they had even introduced the Mach 429 Trail with Boost 148 spacing, we had already had conversations with Cocalis about the limitations of Boost. As Pivot’s engineer Kevin Tisue put it, “WTF? Only another 3mm of chainline clearance?” Pivot was quick to point out that the 3mm did help to make the Mach 6 and 429 Trail a better bike, but they almost instantly used up all 3mm of additional clearance. In order to make a better long travel 29er and make it compatible with 27+, they were going to need more.

That’s where the cheekily named Super Boost + comes in. The name may sound like yet another standard, but in reality it is a combination of existing standards which have been optimized for maximum tire clearance, drivetrain compatibility, and frame stiffness. All of which make the new Switchblade an incredible machine…

Continue reading “Pivot unveils Switchblade long travel 29/27+ MTB, introduces Super Boost + hub spacing”



Since launching the brand in 2007, Pivot has added a lot of different models to the line up. Ranging from 26 to 29, even to fat bikes, Pivot has had a bike for just about anything – with one exception. While Pivot has offered a number of bikes with 29″ wheels, a “long travel” 29er […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Feature, Mountain Bike15 Comments

Review: 2016 Kona Hei Hei DL Trail 29er mountain bike

Kona Hei Hei DL Trail bike review (10)

Kona Hei Hei DL Trail bike review (6)
Categories. It used to be a mountain bike was a mountain bike. You’d use the same bike for trials, DH, and XC, and all in the same weekend.  Now it seems like there is a category for everything – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Given the varying speeds, terrain, and riding styles across the full spectrum of mountain biking, having something a little more purpose built will usually improve the experience, as long as you pick the right tool for the job.

But at the same time we’re also starting to see more bikes that blur the lines between established categories. The Kona Hei Hei DL Trail is definitely one of those bikes. Possessing only 100mm of travel in the rear, the combination of 120mm up front and slightly more playful angles will leave you asking if this thing is an XC bike on steroids, or a leaned out trail bike? Yes…

Continue reading “Review: 2016 Kona Hei Hei DL Trail 29er mountain bike”



Categories. It used to be a mountain bike was a mountain bike. You’d use the same bike for trials, DH, and XC, and all in the same weekend.  Now it seems like there is a category for everything – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Given the varying speeds, terrain, and riding styles across the […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Bicycles, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews6 Comments

Rockshox SID goes back to XC roots with lighter, stiffer race-ready design

2017 Rockshox SID lightweight suspension fork specs details and actual weights

2017 Rockshox SID lightweight suspension fork specs details and actual weights

While their Indy SL from about 1997 was their lightest fork ever, SID was their first fully modern, lightweight air sprung fork. It’s seen several revisions over the years, going from a minimal 30mm stanchion to the current 32mm, and travel jumping from a minimum of 68mm at launch up to a max of 120 trail-worthy millimeters.
As the winningest XC fork out there and now in it’s 19th year, the new 2017 Rockshox SID gets every part of it updated.

It also goes back to it roots. When 120mm travel became popular for XC about five years ago, they had to bring the SID up to that level. Since then, though, that 120mm mark has skewed closer to trail and even light enduro, so for 2017, SID goes back to a 100mm max and is aimed at the race market. That doesn’t mean it’s delicate. Courses are getting gnarlier, and all of us continue to push our gear past its well intentioned designs. Thanks to new lowers, new damping, and so much more, the SID is up to the task…

Continue reading “Rockshox SID goes back to XC roots with lighter, stiffer race-ready design”



While their Indy SL from about 1997 was their lightest fork ever, SID was their first fully modern, lightweight air sprung fork. It’s seen several revisions over the years, going from a minimal 30mm stanchion to the current 32mm, and travel jumping from a minimum of 68mm at launch up to a max of 120 […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Feature, Mountain Bike22 Comments

Review: Fatback Skookum will have you thinking fat bikes year ’round

Fatback Skookum fat bike review trail fatbike bluto 120mm suspension-17

Fatback Skookum fat bike review trail fatbike bluto 120mm suspension-31

To most people, the mention of a fat bike instantly brings to mind pictures of snow and ice. To others, fat bikes are used regardless of the conditions or season. That second group is exactly who the Fatback Skookum was designed for.

When it came time to design their all terrain/trail fat bike, Fatback was looking for something that would complement their stable of race winning adventure fat bikes. Something with shorter chainstays, slacker angles, and even room for more travel. Something exactly like the new Skookum…

Continue reading “Review: Fatback Skookum will have you thinking fat bikes year ’round”



To most people, the mention of a fat bike instantly brings to mind pictures of snow and ice. To others, fat bikes are used regardless of the conditions or season. That second group is exactly who the Fatback Skookum was designed for. When it came time to design their all terrain/trail fat bike, Fatback was looking […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Bicycles, Fatbike, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews8 Comments

First Rides & Actual Weights – Lauf Grit leaf spring gravel road bike suspension fork

lauf grit gravel road bike leaf spring suspension fork

lauf grit gravel road bike leaf spring suspension fork

The all-new Lauf Grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes could end up being their best product so far…and I really do like their Trail Racer XC fork. I’ve even ridden their Carbonara fat bike fork and see the merit there, too. But after just one rider on the Grit, I’m having more fun than ever on our local cyclocross and gravel trails.

Using half the travel of their XC fork, the Grit’s 30mm of suspension is tuned to sag about 6mm once you’re on the bike, which sets the axle-to-crown only slightly higher than a stock fork on most gravel and cyclocross bikes. The result is just enough movement to soak up the small roots, rocks, washboards and imperfect pavement sections that otherwise jar and vibrate your hands and arms into fatigue. Or just cause the wheel to skip around when traction is key, like in fast, sweeping turns down a mountainside service road.

Did it change the bike’s handling? Yes, slightly, but not in the way I expected…

Continue reading “First Rides & Actual Weights – Lauf Grit leaf spring gravel road bike suspension fork”



The all-new Lauf Grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes could end up being their best product so far!

Posted in Actual Weights, Components, Cyclocross, Gravel Bikes, Reviews18 Comments

Rotor UNO hydraulic shifting – Development story, hands on tech overview & actual weights

rotor uno hydraulic shifting group rear derailleur

rotor uno hydraulic shifting group technical details overview

Last fall, Rotor UNO was unveiled as the first complete hydraulic drivetrain group, offering everything from shifters to derailleurs, cranks to cassette, and even brakes. And it offered a unique, single line system that was able to handle up and down shifts by moving fluid in a single direction.

The differences go beyond liquid connections between components – all of the moving mechanical shift parts are at the derailleurs, not the shifters. That, coupled with lossless hydraulic lines, means crisp, instantaneous action with a familiar mechanical feel.

Now, finally, the group is near production and we have all the tech details, weights and first rides. We also learned how the group came to be, what’s changed, and why Rotor thinks you’ll like it…

Continue reading “Rotor UNO hydraulic shifting – Development story, hands on tech overview & actual weights”



Last fall, Rotor UNO was unveiled as the first complete hydraulic drivetrain group, offering everything from shifters to derailleurs, cranks to cassette, and even brakes. And it offered a unique, single line system that was able to handle up and down shifts by moving fluid in a single direction. The differences go beyond liquid connections between […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Cyclocross, Feature, Road Bike35 Comments

Review: Carbon-Ti X-Lock lightweight alloy thru axles lighten the unsprung load

Carbon-Ti X-Lock lightweight alloy thru axle review and actual weights

My impetus for testing the Carbon-Ti X-Lock thru axles was two-fold. First, I destroyed the Maxle on my Niner, so I needed a replacement. Second, if I can shed grams with no (or negligible) loss of performance, then I’m game. After consulting with the folks at Fair Wheel Bikes, who sell several brands of lightweight tooled thru axle and skewers, Carbon-Ti was the choice. They sent the rear 142x12mm X-Lock, and Carbon-Ti provided the RS 110x15mm thru axle to fit the Rockshox RS-1 suspension fork up front.

Gram for gram, after rotating mass, reducing unsprung weight can make the most noticeable difference in a bike’s performance. As Galileo and Newton observed, an object at rest wants to stay that way, and the heavier the object, the higher the force required to move it. So, reducing the weight of anything on the lower side of your suspension will speed up its reaction time and let the springs better do their job.

So, if you’re gonna replace a thru axle, might as well use that opportunity to cut the parts’ weight almost in half…

Continue reading “Review: Carbon-Ti X-Lock lightweight alloy thru axles lighten the unsprung load”



My impetus for testing the Carbon-Ti X-Lock thru axles was two-fold. First, I destroyed the Maxle on my Niner, so I needed a replacement. Second, if I can shed grams with no (or negligible) loss of performance, then I’m game. After consulting with the folks at Fair Wheel Bikes, who sell several brands of lightweight […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Mountain Bike, Reviews17 Comments

Review: Intense Spider 275 Carbon is the definition of modern trail

Intense Spider 275 carbon trail bike JS tune review actual weight (9)

Intense Spider 275 carbon trail bike JS tune review actual weight (76)

It’s time to let you in on a little secret. A lot of riders out there (myself included) are pedaling around too much suspension travel for their local trails. But who can blame them? For years, if you wanted low, slack, and long geometry, you’ve been forced into bigger bikes than you would typically choose. Following the progression from trail, to all mountain, to enduro, and now back to trail bikes, we’re seeing a major shift in mountain bike design. No longer confined to travel lengths suitable for enduro racing, fun and playful frame geometry is edging its way into the realm of the XC/Trail bike.

The result is a new class of trail bike. One that truly offers the majority of riders the best of both worlds. One that includes the new Intense Spider 275 Carbon…

Continue reading “Review: Intense Spider 275 Carbon is the definition of modern trail”



It’s time to let you in on a little secret. A lot of riders out there (myself included) are pedaling around too much suspension travel for their local trails. But who can blame them? For years, if you wanted low, slack, and long geometry, you’ve been forced into bigger bikes than you would typically choose. […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Bicycles, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews8 Comments

Winter Wrap Up: Favorite gear that helped conquer the cold from 45NRTH, Lazer, Pactimo, & More

Winter Wrap up review lazer helmet 45NRTH flowbeist dunderbeist pactimo clothing (18)

Specialized 686 winter fat bike clothing review (1)

What a strange winter it has been. Much of the country is readily prepping for spring-like weather, while other parts are getting a late hammering of snow. For me, the weather has turned decidedly spring-like with mild temps and plenty of rain, but it still seems like a good time to look back on some of my favorite products that helped get me here. Our readers in the Southern Hemisphere are just transitioning to their coldest months of the year, but more importantly – this is a great time of year to pick up deals on closeout winter gear to use for next season. I can’t guarantee you’ll find any of the following items on clearance on account of their popularity, but it’s certainly worth a look…

Continue reading “Winter Wrap Up: Favorite gear that helped conquer the cold from 45NRTH, Lazer, Pactimo, & More”



What a strange winter it has been. Much of the country is readily prepping for spring-like weather, while other parts are getting a late hammering of snow. For me, the weather has turned decidedly spring-like with mild temps and plenty of rain, but it still seems like a good time to look back on some of […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Clothes-Gear, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Components, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews, Road Bike, Training1 Comment