Posts in the category Cyclocross

Warm, Bright, Reflective, the Pactimo Fall Collection Has it All

RFLX_NightShoot_3

As both the season and day light wind down, there is a lot of talk about lights. Indeed, lights are very important both to allow you to see and get you noticed by drivers, but clothing can also play an important role in visibility. Brightly colored threads help you stand out in the day while reflective panels make you pop against a car’s headlights.

Even though many riders acknowledge the need for visible clothing, for many cyclists style comes first for better or for worse. When Pactimo set out to create their Fall line for 2014 their goal was simple -  create a collection of clothes with attention grabbing colors and smart reflective panels that don’t look like you’re wearing a safety jacket.

Combined with Pactimo’s value for the money and fit that we love, and you have some very interesting, very attention grabbing Fall cycling gear. See what makes the new gear shine next…

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Review: Absolute Black XX1-Style Cyclocross Single Narrow-Wide Chainring

absolute black xx1 style cyclocross single narrow wide chainring review and actual weights

Absolute Black’s XX1-style narrow/wide chainring for cyclocross is an appealing option. It’s light, it’s pretty and it uses a common 110BCD mounting pattern. It also has their excellent tooth profiles, which we’ve been pretty happy with across several different bikes and chainrings.

My CX chainring came in at the tail end of last ‘cross season, so it spent beginning of the year getting abused at the last of our local NCCX races. After that, it spent the spring and summer bring ridden around town, through gravel paths and along for some random ‘cross training rides. All the while keeping the chain perfectly intact and rolling smooth.

I installed it on my Moots with an otherwise Ultegra Di2 6770 group, swapping out the double crankset for a standard 110BCD FSA SL-K carbon crankset. This was done mainly for aesthetics, matching the black chainring to a black crankset with more traditionally shaped bolt arms. But also to test the Chris King PFBB with a true BB30 crankset, more on that separately.

The system kept the original Shimano DynaSys 10-speed chain, which has held up admirably well to several years of use on my ‘cross bike. It also kept the rear derailleur set up in it’s stock configuration. Marcin, AB’s founder, strongly recommended that I increase the return spring’s tension, but I wanted to test it as-is first. Here’s how it all went…

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Closeup: New FSA ITC Seatposts Offer Flip Flop, Independent Angle and Offset Adjustment

2015 FSA ITC seatpost design weights and specs

Introduced at Eurobike, FSA’s new ITC (Independent Top Clamp) seatposts are wrapping up production and first batches should be hitting FSA’s warehouses soon.

The design uses a rounded base for the top clamp section to adhere to, allowing it to rotate through a wide range of angles completely independent of your saddle rail position. Even better, the top clamps are available in two versions, giving you a total of four offsets: 0, 10, 15 and 20mm, and in any direction you want. If your seat angle’s not too steep, that’s effectively seven different positions from a single post!

They’ll be available in alloy and carbon versions with 27.2 and 31.6 diameters. Click through for full specs and weights…

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EB14: TRP Updates HYRD Brake Calipers, Adds Camo Spykes & More

trp-hyrd-caliper-pro-shotTRP’s HYRD calipers, which are their mechanical-to-hydraulic brakes that work with any standard drop bar lever, received a rather quiet update at the beginning of the year.

All of the changes were aimed at improving long term performance and keep users from fiddling with the parts that could cause failure. Inside, they swapped the gasket’s material the reservoir so it is more pliable. This reduces the likelihood of the system creating a vacuum since it won’t pull as hard against the fluid when levels decline slightly as pads wear. In other words, it lets the system more easily compensate for pad wear.

They increased reservoir volume to hold more oil, which should help with heat buildup. A steel ring was added around the pistons to help them slide in and out easier. Before, it was solid Bakelite, which does a great job of insulating against heat, but wasn’t as smooth, so now it’s just used in the center of the piston.

When we reviewed the original HYRD brakes, one of the tweaks we made to improve pad contact speed and power was to dial in the piston rod. Unfortunately, TRP frowns upon this and for good reason: It can cause the system to remain closed or open depending on which way you turn the bolt. Either way, it could mean brakes that don’t work. READ MORE ->

Long Term Review: 3T Luteus Disc Brake Cyclocross Fork

3T Luteus carbon fiber disc brake cyclocross fork long term review

It’s been quite some time since we’ve posted anything about the 3T Luteus carbon disc brake cyclocross fork. About three years, to be exact, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been seeing use. As one of the very first carbon disc brake forks made specifically for cyclocross, the Luteus divided opinions on its cable routing, but it was hard to deny the appeal of dropping weight and adding rigidity. Here’s how she’s performed for the past few ‘cross seasons…

With it’s gloss black finish and red pinstripes, the 3T Luteus disc brake carbon ‘cross is certainly dressed to impress. That said, these original graphics didn’t blend in with any frame, so 3T has (wisely, in our opinion) added a matte black stealth option.

During the past two seasons of testing, it’s been raced plenty, ridden a ton and managed hit the deck a few times. Check our original Unboxed & Weighed post for photos and weights, then hop the barriers for the long term review…

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EB14: Saris Powertap Adds Disc Hub, Plus New Complete Alloy Wheels and a Look at Past Prototypes (Updated)

Saris Powertap Disc brake power meter hubs

Last year, Wheelbuilder.com introduced a titanium XD Driver Body for the Powertap Mountain Bike hub, which was something they helped develop. The issue was decoupling the braking forces from the drive forces to get an accurate power reading and not mess up the strain gauges.

What’s new is that the G3-based disc brake Powertap hubs are now available in either 24 or 28 spoke drillings, down from the original 32-hole MTB versions. They recommend 24 count for road and cross, and 28 count for mountain bike builds.

UPDATED: More tech and weight info added for new disc brake hub below, plus specs for DT Swiss rim wheels.

The disc brake rotor is proprietary, necessary to mount a disc where their electronics typically sit. They say heat from the rotor won’t affect the power reading since the strain gauges are totally isolated from the outside hub shell. READ MORE ->

EB14: 2015 Focus Mares CX 1.0 Disc Cyclocross Race Machine One Ride Review, Plus New Factory Builds

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Cross racing is in full swing here in Europe with us in the middle of the second race weekend of our season long cyclocross test. Spending ever more time off road on skinny tired bikes, I wanted to catch up on one of our Eurobike one-ride-reviews. We had a chance to take out the German-engineered Focus Mares CX on the tacky dirt and gravel trails behind the fairgrounds and through the purpose built mountain bike test track. The terrain was certainly too calm to get a great sense for the enduro bikes we rode, but let us see the snappy acceleration and stable handling of the newest iteration of this disc-brake race bike currently being ridden to podium after podium by American champ Jeremy Powers.

Read on for more of our first impressions, plus a bit more on the bike’s setup..

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IB14: Jamis Renegade Adventure Road Bike Breaks Outta Production, Plus New Women’s 650B Mountain Bikes!

2015 Jamis Renegade adventsure gravel road bike

Jamis’ Renegade adventure road bike goes beyond a single classification. It’s a fondo bike, endurance bike, gravel bike and commuter road bike all at once. It’s also looking like quite a high performance bike when called upon to hustle, too. Like when Tyler Wren took 3rd place in this year’s Crusher in the Tushars.

They introduced it this summer just before that event along with a healthy dose of info, but at Interbike we put it on the scale and got a few more details about production spec and builds. We’ve got plenty of pics and notes to share, and their new product video really puts it all into motion…

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Alchemy Introduces Ride DNA Semi-Custom “Stock” Frames, Updates Helios Disc Road Bike

Alchemy introduces Ride DNA semi-custom handmade carbon bicycle frames

The Alchemy Helios is just one of many models available as semi-custom.

High above the maelstrom of Interbike’s tradeshow floor, Alchemy Bicycles invited us to their suite to announce their new Ride DNA semi-custom frame program.

The program is one of the fruits of their growth efforts, which includes streamlined processes and expanded production capacity. It will include their Eros and Ben Serrotta inspired Aiolos titanium road bikes, and the carbon fiber Aithon, Balius, Helios and Xanthus. Geometry will be fixed, with frames offered in 52/54/56/58 for now, probably adding a 60 in the future.

The semi-custom aspect comes in the layup and options. Drop down menus on the Ride DNA shopping pages let you choose your desired drivetrain stiffness, steering precision and ride comfort on a scale from 1 to 5, with higher numbers being stiffer or sharper. The steering feel is accommodated through layup at the headtube junctions, not with changes to head angle. It sounds odd, but from our own experience we’ll confirm headtube area stiffness has a dramatic effect on steering speed and accuracy. The tradeoff is overall comfort and a twitchier ride for those not used to ultrastiff crit bikes.

You’ll also get to pick colors…

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