Posts in the category Cyclocross

EB15: Parlee gets dirty with new Chebacco adventure road bike

Parlee Chebacco gravel adventure road bike

Parlee’s Z Zero XD was introduced at Sea Otter this past spring as their go anywhere, do anything all road bike. But that one’s a very expensive, full-custom-only tube-to-tube bike that’s not within most people’s budget.

Fortunately, this new bike is the production version of the Z Zero XD. Named Chebacco after the original name for Parlee’s home area of Essex, way before Massachusetts was a state. There’s a rough gravel and dirt road there that they use to test their bikes, and they joked that they should make a bike just for it. Now that bigger tires are en vogue, the time was right, and the Chebacco was moved into production.

Complete bikes will start at $4,500 with 105, Ultegra at $5,000 and Ultegra Di2 at $6,000. Frameset price is $4,000, so yeah, just get the 105 complete bike. If that seems odd, consider it an indication that they’re looking to be more of a bike brand than a frame brand…


EB15: Rotor Uno hydraulic road group – first look & tech details!

Rotor Uno hydraulic shifting road bike group tech details and photos

Our discovery of Rotor’s hydraulic shifting patents turned out to be well timed, teeing up the group’s public debut nicely. Turns out, our technical breakdown of the groups functioning was nearly spot on, so we’ll recap:

By using a completely hydraulic system from the shift lever all the way to the derailleurs and putting the ratcheting mechanism on the derailleurs, Rotor was able to eliminate any slack from the line that could lead to loose shifting. The side benefits of such a system included lighter weight and plenty of functional improvements that simply can’t happen on a cable-driven or mechanical system.

The key to the system is precision and reliability. Hydraulics have been proven in everything from bicycles to airplanes to heavy industry, just not for bicycle shifting until now. Their motivation was to let customers looking at Rotor’s oval rings and lightweight alloy cranksets find an entire group with the same brand. Undoubtedly, it will also give them more opportunities to put the group on pro teams that may otherwise have to opt for SRAM, Shimano or Campagnolo groups simply because of sponsorship programs dictating complete group use. And they hinted we might see some major teams on the group very soon. But that can’t be enough to justify the heavy time, energy and financial commitment the development of such a product can draw from a company. So, it needs create demand based on its merits. Of which, there are quite a few.

Check out the cutaway photos and tech details below, along with new carbon chainrings, and new 1x rings for road and mountain…


EB14: Stages adds power meters to carbon cranks – Campy, FSA & proprietary SRAM solutions


Stages Power has finally unlocked a way to bring their single sided power meter to left crank arms everywhere. Or, at least, to modern Campy, FSA and most SRAM cranksets.

To make it work with carbon,they had to develop a new strain gauge and assembly method – it takes about 30% longer to install them on carbon then on the alloy arms. They have to polish off the top clear coat layers, but don’t worry, Stages assumes the warranty from the original manufacturer should anything happen. The actual physical changes to the strain gauge and other internals are not something they would divulge. But they did say that one of the biggest challenges was keeping it accurate in fluctuating temperatures. Once they solved that, they were able to offer a product that doesn’t need to be zero calibrated when the temps change, maintaining its accuracy from ride to ride.


EB14: Crank Brothers is movin’ on up w/ Highrise dropper seatpost & all-new pedals

Crank Brothers Highrise dropper seatpost

Crank Brothers’ new Highline dropper post replaces the Kronolog, which was discontinued a little more than a year ago. The Highline has been in development and testing for two years, the goal being to have the most reliable dropper post on the market.

Internally, it’s using a swappable hydraulic cartridge that has been tested to 40,000 cycles, which they hinted is more than 3x that of a popular competitor. It’s cable actuated, with 125mm of infinite travel. Once dropped, it locks into place, so you can lift the bike by the saddle without the post rising first. They’re offering it only with internal cable routing, and the connection point is remarkable for it’s simplicity.

Check it out along with their completely redesigned pedals (and several all-new models) and more below…


Will Putting Larger Diameter Wheels on your Road Bike make you FASTER? CeramicSpeed thinks so

Rider Cropped
Two days into the whirlwind that is Eurobike, new products are already piling up. So far, we have not been disappointed, and CeramicSpeed is one of those reasons. Reminiscent of some of the blinded out wheels you were supposed to put on your ride half a decade or so ago, these wheels are HUGE, and from amount of material they used…. or lack thereof, these look as light as they do fast.

Check out why CeramicSpeed says these are the FASTEST pulley wheels on the market and see the data that backs it up…


SRAM RED eTAP Wireless – First Rides, testing protocols & predictions for the future

SRAM RED eTAP wireless shifting group first ride review

To celebrate the SRAM RED eTAP wireless shifting launch, they brought us to their drivetrain development office in Schweinfurt, Germany, for technical presentations and the very first public test rides anywhere.

We’ve covered the product tech, weights & setup here, now we’ll cover the lengthy testing procedure they underwent to ensure that the most anticipated launch in the company’s history is bombproof. And we’ll share thoughts after riding 145 miles (233km) over three days through the rolling hills surrounding their office.

The testing process started in the lab, progressed to employee and “super testers”, then smaller and regional teams, then finally to AG2R in the Tour Down Under and Tour de France. Here’s how it went…


SRAM RED eTAP unveiled – F1 inspired wireless paddle shifting is here!

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group

What if you could throw everything out and build the perfect drivetrain from scratch? What would you change? What would you be forced to change to get around other’s patents? And did it have to follow convention, or could they do away with things that simply weren’t needed…like wires and cables?

That was both the challenge and the opportunity SRAM had when it began developing an electronic shifting system. The starting point was asking “what else shifts?” Their answer, at the most impressive level, was Formula One race cars, the fastest shifting machines in the world.

Now, after five long years of development, we know their answers: The SRAM Red eTAP electronic groupset is here…


EB15: Hey, Hey Hey! Schwalbe shuffles in new front & rear specific Fat Albert MTB tires with all-new tread philosophy

2016 Schwalbe Fat Albert enduro mountain bike tires in front and rear specific treat patterns

For enduro riders, things continue to provide new opportunities to rip down the mountain faster and harder than ever. For Schwalbe’s part, the all-new Fat Albert front and rear tire combo ushers in a new tread block design philosophy for the company in wide 29er and 27.5 options.

The tires’ tread blocks are rounded at the corners with a softer overall look, unlike anything they’ve done before on the mountain bike side. The underlying structure is a bit different, too, creating a tire they say is more flexible and maintains a better contact patch on the ground. They also hinted this could be a growing theme on future tire designs.

More Fat Albert and a close up look at the expanded tubeless-ready road/cyclocross/gravel tire line below…


Review: Paul Component Engineering SRAM Shifter Adapter

Soma Wolverine with Paul Component SRAM Shifter Adapter

Every now and then, a relatively simple product comes along and solves a massive headache. In my case, being able to fit gears onto my singlespeed Soma Wolverine was providing harder than first anticipated. That was, until I came across a neat little item from Californian-based manufacturer Paul Component Engineering.

Late last year, we reported on the new trigger shifter adapter which would allow one to fit a SRAM trigger shifter to their drop bars. After receiving and installing Paul’s SRAM shifter adapter earlier this year, I’ve found it to be the perfect solution for my woes. Head on through for the full scoop!