XC Pro Bike Check: new men’s U23 World Champion Sam Gaze’s Specialized S-Works Epic – Updated with real Race Weight

XCO_Mountain-Bike_World-Championship_Nove-Mesto_Mens-U23-winner_Sam-Gaze_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_racing

XCO_Mountain-Bike_World-Championship_Nove-Mesto_Mens-U23-winner_Sam-Gaze_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_racing

For the first of the big four weekend Olympic-length cross-country World Championships, New Zealander Samuel Gaze lined up on the Nové Město na Moravě start with the other U23 men. With a third place rank in UCI XC for the season, Gaze got a good front row starting place and rode near the front of the race from the start aboard a fairly standard Specialized S-Works Epic World Cup 29er. That’s not to say that the bike isn’t pretty tricked out, it’s more that Specialized actually sells some pretty race worthy cross-country bikes. Gaze’s bike build isn’t exactly stock though, and he does get a unique paint job. Take a closer look below the fold, plus an update with actual race weight

Continue reading “XC Pro Bike Check: new men’s U23 World Champion Sam Gaze’s Specialized S-Works Epic – Updated with real Race Weight”



For the first of the big four weekend Olympic-length cross-country World Championships, New Zealander Samuel Gaze lined up on the Nové Město na Moravě start with the other U23 men. With a third place rank in UCI XC for the season, Gaze got a good front row starting place and rode near the front of […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reader's Rides25 Comments

Stages measures out dual sided power meter for USA Cycling Project ’16, Partners with Today’s Plan

Stages GXP carbon BB30 project 2016 track dual sided power meter-2

Stages project 2016 track crank dual sided power meter

Currently, Stages Cycling has 28 different power meter options with 160 individual SKUs to match every crank size of every model they carry. Yet, none of those are a dual sided power meter. And while Stages is still investigating the benefits of a dual sided power meter for consumer use (there are no plans for one at the moment), they did just partner with USA Cycling to create exactly that – a dual sided power meter for a left hand drive carbon track crank for their Project 2016.

This isn’t your ordinary power meter though. Due to the Vision Metron’s design, a spider based power meter isn’t possible, and the team didn’t want to use pedal or hub based meters. And even though most consumer head units are only capable of sampling data at 1x per second, Team USA has an ace up their sleeve. Thanks to a partnership with IBM, they are able to use data at a much higher rate which is important since they need higher resolution for the 4.5 minute event.

That’s where the prototype Stages dual power meter comes in. Capable of transmitting data at 64hz, the system provides the data they need – only they need a super computer to process it…

Continue reading “Stages measures out dual sided power meter for USA Cycling Project ’16, Partners with Today’s Plan”



Currently, Stages Cycling has 28 different power meter options with 160 individual SKUs to match every crank size of every model they carry. Yet, none of those are a dual sided power meter. And while Stages is still investigating the benefits of a dual sided power meter for consumer use (there are no plans for […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Feature, Gadgets & Hacks, Road Bike, Training9 Comments

KTM lays up race ready XC full suspension Scarp & hardtail Myroon in new light Sonic editions

KTM_Myroon-Sonic_lightweight-29er-hardtail-cross-country-XC-mountain-bike_toptube

KTM_Scarp-Sonic_lightweight-29er-full-suspension-cross-country-XC-mountain-bike_front

With a year of Olympic hopes and having XCO Worlds nearby to their Austrian HQ in neighboring Czech Republic this coming weekend, KTM bikes decided to take their cross country racing capabilities up a notch for 2017. So they have reworked both their XC carbon hardtail and carbon full suspension bikes, both introduced just last year, with new trimmed down and optimized layup schedules, and a premium build kit that goes for higher performance than anything they’ve done before. The new Sonic-level complete bikes take over from the current top Prestige, and aren’t afraid to mix up some spec to get the best balance of performance and light weight. Check out the details and actual weights after the break…

Continue reading “KTM lays up race ready XC full suspension Scarp & hardtail Myroon in new light Sonic editions”



With a year of Olympic hopes and having XCO Worlds nearby to their Austrian HQ in neighboring Czech Republic this coming weekend, KTM bikes decided to take their cross country racing capabilities up a notch for 2017. So they have reworked both their XC carbon hardtail and carbon full suspension bikes, both introduced just last […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Mountain Bike10 Comments

2017 Giant Anthem gains travel, shrinks wheels; Updated Trance, XtC+ and Fathom mountain bikes

2017 Giant Anthem full suspension XC mountain bike

For an “XC” bike, the 2017 Giant Anthem seems to split from the herd by putting only 27.5″ wheels on their traditionally race-ready full suspension bike. And by bumping travel to 110mm in the rear, 120mm up front. Compare that with bikes like the Niner RKT9, which uses just 90mm rear travel, or the new Cannondale Scalpel that kept travel at 100mm but used revised geometry to make it more aggressive. Giant, however, is putting a bit more travel in play (up from 100mm on the 2016 Anthem) and the nimbler 27.5″ wheels.

Where they stay the course with with the increasingly popular longer, lower geometry to get you in that racy position. And both the Anthem and Trance switch to Boost axle spacing and new Metric shock sizing, plus their new 3D forged carbon rocker arm on the Advanced models…

Continue reading “2017 Giant Anthem gains travel, shrinks wheels; Updated Trance, XtC+ and Fathom mountain bikes”



For an “XC” bike, the 2017 Giant Anthem seems to split from the herd by putting only 27.5″ wheels on their traditionally race-ready full suspension bike. And by bumping travel to 110mm in the rear, 120mm up front. Compare that with bikes like the Niner RKT9, which uses just 90mm rear travel, or the new Cannondale […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Mountain Bike29 Comments

Review: Mashing absoluteBLACK’s oval narrow-wide ring & chainguide – should you switch to oval?

Absolute Black-6

Absolute Black-6

AbsoluteBLACK sent me their 32t oval narrow-wide chainring & chainguide system to try so I could see what all of the fuss is about. Sporting no logos, their robust, yet subtle jewel-like design is their trademark and going on appearance alone, this ring is at the top of my list in the looks department. Regardless, my job here is to see how it performs, so I wiped the drool off my face and hit the trails. Now, for those of you that have (still) been under a rock, this IS NOT like BioPace. It’s almost backwards from that oval design.

I’ve ridden a couple of ovals for a short bit, but the true test was to get them on my familiar home trails to gain an accurate perspective as to how they perform. Check out my thoughts on how absoluteBLACK’s MTB oval works in the real world vs. on paper and whether or not their guide can keep everything on track during all of the “ups & downs”…

Continue reading “Review: Mashing absoluteBLACK’s oval narrow-wide ring & chainguide – should you switch to oval?”



AbsoluteBLACK sent me their 32t oval narrow-wide chainring & chainguide system to try so I could see what all of the fuss is about. Sporting no logos, their robust, yet subtle jewel-like design is their trademark and going on appearance alone, this ring is at the top of my list in the looks department. Regardless, my job here is […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Components, Mountain Bike, Reviews23 Comments

Smith Route & Rover helmets make Koroyd protection more affordable for road and mountain

Smith Rover Route Koroyd MIPS helmet mountain bike road_-5

Smith Rover Route Koroyd MIPS helmet mountain bike road_-5

Smith helmets have a lot of things going for them, but they’re probably best known at this point for their use Aerocore. That’s the green material above from Koroyd that sort of looks like a bunch of drinking straws glued together. Made from thousands of extruded co-polymer tubes that are thermally welded together, the Koroyd material crushes upon impact and is said to absorb the energy in a better and more controlled manner.

The only issue? The Koroyd material itself is pretty expensive. That’s a large part of why the Forefront and Overtake helmets are so expensive. In order to offer similar levels of protection to more riders, Smith set out to create a new helmet platform that still offered excellent protection – just at a more attainable price…

Continue reading “Smith Route & Rover helmets make Koroyd protection more affordable for road and mountain”



Smith helmets have a lot of things going for them, but they’re probably best known at this point for their use Aerocore. That’s the green material above from Koroyd that sort of looks like a bunch of drinking straws glued together. Made from thousands of extruded co-polymer tubes that are thermally welded together, the Koroyd […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Feature, Mountain Bike, Road Bike13 Comments

Unboxed & Weighed: BBinfinite’s smooth rolling ceramic derailleur pulley wheels

BBinfinite Delrin Ceramitech ceramic bearing rear derailleur pulley wheels actual weights and review

BBinfinite Delrin Ceramitech ceramic bearing rear derailleur pulley wheels actual weights and review

BBinfinite’s second product, the Delrin derailleur pulley wheels with Ceramitech ceramic bearings, came out at the beginning of the month to complement their perfectly aligned bottom brackets and reduce friction at the rear of the bike. We just got our hands on a set for Shimano rear mechs to see if they spin as freely as advertised (hint: they do) and add anything to the ride…

Continue reading “Unboxed & Weighed: BBinfinite’s smooth rolling ceramic derailleur pulley wheels”



BBinfinite’s second product, the Delrin derailleur pulley wheels with Ceramitech ceramic bearings, came out at the beginning of the month to complement their perfectly aligned bottom brackets and reduce friction at the rear of the bike. We just got our hands on a set for Shimano rear mechs to see if they spin as freely […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Cyclocross, Road Bike, Triathlon27 Comments

Readers’ Rides: Seb K’s heavily modified 11.1 lb / 5.08 kg mountain bike!

Seb K 11 pound mountain bike 5 kg modification readers rides (4)

There are weight weenies, and then there are weight weenies. The emphasis added is what sets apart those that simply buy light weight parts to add to their ride, and those that are willing to potentially destroy high dollar parts just to try and remove a few extra grams. These tinkerers find great challenge and reward in the process of dropping every bit of weight possible, and it’s safe to say that Sebastian K. falls into that category.

These days, you can buy a production road bike that is sub 11 lbs (with enough $$$), but a mountain bike? That’s a bit more extreme. Obviously Sebastian’s mountain bike is fully rigid and single speed, but he still had to go to great lengths to modify it down to a hair more than 11 lbs. Just how do you get a mountain bike that light? Read on for more…

Continue reading “Readers’ Rides: Seb K’s heavily modified 11.1 lb / 5.08 kg mountain bike!”



There are weight weenies, and then there are weight weenies. The emphasis added is what sets apart those that simply buy light weight parts to add to their ride, and those that are willing to potentially destroy high dollar parts just to try and remove a few extra grams. These tinkerers find great challenge and reward in […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Reader's Rides72 Comments

Review: Niner RKT9 cross country race rocket

niner rkt9 xc mountain bike ride review

niner rkt9 xc mountain bike ride review

After attending the informal launch party for the Niner RKT9 last summer, we got our own size Large in for testing on my home trails of Greensboro, NC. If ever there were a perfect full suspension bike for our very XC urban singletrack, the RKT9 should be it. On paper, the 90mm rear travel optimized around a 100mm fork should be all that’s needed without losing anything to the suspension. Admittedly, I’m a Niner fan and use the JET9 and RIP9 as test platforms for most every mountain bike component I test, but still, even I’ve been playing with running longer forks on both of those bikes their their original geo charts called for.

So, as luck would have it, the feathery Fox 32 SC fork arrived just about the same time as the bike, so I turned this into a very light full suspension race bike to see how fast I could rip through the trails…

Continue reading “Review: Niner RKT9 cross country race rocket”



After attending the informal launch party for the Niner RKT9 last summer, we got our own size Large in for testing on my home trails of Greensboro, NC. If ever there were a perfect full suspension bike for our very XC urban singletrack, the RKT9 should be it. On paper, the 90mm rear travel optimized […]

Posted in Actual Weights, Bicycles, Mountain Bike, Reviews13 Comments