Posts in the category Enduro

Review: Continental Mountain King Protection MTB Tires & Revo Tubeless Sealant

Continental Mountain King 2 tubeless ready protection mountain bike tires review and actual weights

After a bit of a confusing kick off to their tubeless ready offerings in 2012, Continental’s been steadily expanding the options across their entire range. That’s not to say the naming scheme is any better, unfortunately. Tires are offered in a variety of casing options, including a proper UST, the tubeless ready “Protection” versions, and everything else that’s not officially tubeless. That includes their “Protection Apex” models, which will see more options later in 2015. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

Considering the performance of the Mountain King, though, those naming issues can be forgiven. When the leaves became too much for the lower profile X-King or Race King tires (or similarly hardpacked summery tires from other brands), I mounted the Mountain King Revolution tires last fall. Yes, that’s fall of 2013. They immediately provided the grip needed on our autumn leaf covered trails and carried themselves well all through the winter, too. They were so good, I kept them on all summer and have been spending more time on them again now that we’re in the midst of another winter.

But grip is only part of the story. There’s some interesting character traits worth considering…


Factory Tour: SRAM’s Taiwanese Manufacturing Part 1 – RockShox Suspension, SRAM Drive Train, More

SRAM Taiwan Factory Tours Suspension Shifters Derialleurs Carbon production043

It may be hard to believe, but SRAM hasn’t always been the industry juggernaut they are today. Like many bicycle companies before them, SRAM started with an idea. It was an idea for a product that at the time seemed so crazy that it took an outsider to the industry to think it up. After working his way up through the fledgling personal computer industry, the gears had started turning for Stan Day Jr.

In 1986 Stan had an idea for a new type of shifter after being frustrated by the need to reach to the downtube on his bike while training for a triathlon. After leaving his job to work with his father for another job that didn’t end up panning out, Stan met engineer and designer Sam Harwell Patterson on a ski trip in 1987. The two discussed his idea for a shifter, and Sam thought he could make it work. Just a few months later Sam had developed a functional prototype that was a rotating barrel that mounted to a special handlebar – the first GripShift.

Near the end of 1987 the “original six” decided to launch their new shifter at the next big trade show in 1988. Sam would be the head of engineering, Scott King the director of finance and administration, Jeff Shupe would be the head of manufacturing, Michael D. Mercuri the head of OE sales, Stan’s brother Frederick King Day or F.K. joined Stan in managing operations. The team headed to the trade show with a product, but without a company name. After a number of rejected possibilities, SRAM was chosen based on the S from Scott King, R from Stan’s middle name Ray, and AM from Sam Patterson.

While the original GripShift opened the door for the company to try and take even a little market share from the gigantic Shimano, the original design left customers wanting more. So Sam went back to work which led to the adoption of a shovel cam instead of the original helical cam. The design allowed for a much smaller shifter that functioned better and was able to be dialed in for shifting index feel. Called the SRT-100, the shifter would lead to their big break as it was finally picked up as original equipment.

Originally planning to manufacture the shifters in Chicago, a visit to Taiwan where the bikes were to be produced resulted in a change of plans. As we experienced for ourselves, Taiwan is very close knit in their manufacturing and it results in very short lead times. So, on the very same trip Stan set off on establishing a factory in Taiwan. Eventually, they were able to lease a tiny building for SRAM to build their shifters. Little more than a guard hut, the space served its purpose as SRAM was simultaneously building shifters back in Chicago for bikes that were made in the U.S. and the aftermarket.

Having established themselves in Taiwan, the rest of the story is probably more widely known. In 1994, SRAM took a stab at their first product other than a shifter, the ESP 900 plastic derailleur. After a rocky start, SRAM went on to find derailleur success with their X0 product line after acquiring Sachs’ bicycle division in 1997. The first of many acquisitions, SRAM continued with the purchase of Rockshox in 2002, Avid and then Truvativ in 2004, Zipp in 2007, and finally Quarq in 2011.

That may be a long back story, but it’s important to paint a picture of SRAM’s manufacturing today. Truly a global company, SRAM currently has around 3,000 employees in 18-20 locations around the world with the Headquarters still in Chicago and most of the manufacturing (except chains which are made in Portugal) carried out in Taiwan and China. Focusing mostly on SRAM and RockShox’ high end product, their largest Taiwanese facility is the 42,000 m² factory in the Shen Kang district, just outside Taichung. As the first full sized SRAM factory, the facility was built in 1989 and began life as a giant warehouse. Now a sprawling development of different buildings, the Shen Kang factory even has a new clean room for assembling high precision parts like the RockShox Reverb seat post.

As birthplace to many of our favorite SRAM and RockShox products like XX1 and the Pike, there is a lot to see after the break…


Limited Edition: 25 years of Shimano SPDs and Shoes


It has been 25 years since Shimano first introduced their M737 mountain bike clipless pedal, and together with their M100 shoe, SPDs set the benchmark that all modern mountain bike pedals have been measured against. With Shimano Pedaling Dynamics, Shimano has since developed pedals that are lighter, better in the mud, and now adapted to everything from commuters and spinning classes to World Cup cross country and downhill racing. At the same time the cleat interface became the standard that the mountain bike cycling shoe industry has built itself on, as legions of other pedal makers have brought out alternatives.

To celebrate the SPD, Shimano is now releasing a 25th anniversary limited edition 5-series pedal and trail shoe combo, highlighting how the technology has evolved and both pedals and shoes have become specialized over the years. Join us after the break for a look at the shoes and pedals and to see how far they’ve come.


First Look: New Gamut Podium Pedals, Plus Cillos Bars and Direct Mount stem

gamut podium pedal

Sometimes company mergers result in some really cool products. In the case of Gamut acquiring Point One Racing, Gamut planned on redesigning a few of their key parts with the help of Jimmy Amaral from Point One. As one of the first true collaborations between the two groups, Gamut’s new Podium pedal is the evolution of what would have been the Point One Podium 2. It might get a bit confusing since Point One’s first pedal was called the Podium, but from here on out it will just be referred to as the Podium pedal from Gamut.

Differing slightly from the Point One Podium 2, the photos sent to us by Gamut represent the new Gamut Podium – a wide, flat pedal that should be popular for those who would rather not clip in…


Crankworx Set To Run Enduro Through The Koru, Registration Opens for Rotorua


Registration is opening on Thursday for Crankworx Rotorua, and the Giant Toa Enduro, opener of the Enduro World Series in New Zealand. Starting at 9am NZDT Thursday, the event opens for registration of the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua, and is expected to sell out almost instantly.

Sponsored by Giant Bicycles, the event will take place March 25th and 26th, and is expected to be attended by all the factory teams in this 3rd season of the Enduro World Series. Last year’s opener in Chile sold out in three minutes, and race officials expect Rotorua to move equally fast.

“This is going to be an epic event, so we want to make sure all athletes competing for an open entry spot are ready when registration opens,” says Crankworx Rotorua Director Takurua Mutu

All of the elite EWS racers from 2014 have registered, including World Champions Jared Graves and Tracy Moseley.  Jerome Clementz and Fabien Barel are also signed up, hoping both of them can return from injuries before the event.

Enduro is starting to become a real big deal, and  Sam Hill, Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar, Troy Brosnan, Brook MacDonald, and Sam Blenkinsop have all registered for this first EWS race of 2015.


Commencal Meta SX Rolls Into the USA with Limited Edition 650b Wheels

Commencal meta sx 650b 27.5 26 pink mountain bike enduro (1)

Judging by Ergon’s choice to offer Bikini Pink as their limited edition color, we’d say they know something about the colors for Enduro in the coming season. By the looks of things, EndurBro blue will soon be replaced by Enduro Pink (Endurink?) and seems to be the color of choice for the new range of Commencal’s Meta SX.

Up until now, the Meta SX remained a 26″ hold out which it still is – mostly. Along with a full offering of 26″ models, the smaller wheels will be joined by a limited edition Essential version that rolls on 27.5″ wheels. Limited to just one model for us here in the U.S., Euroupe will have a second color option which is more black than pink as well as frameset options for each.

Designed specifically with Enduro in mind, the Meta SX will have you gunning for that stage win assuming you like pink…


Limited Edition Bikini Pink GE1 and GE1 Slim Grips Now Available from Ergon USA

slimSummer is right around the corner. That means it will be time for mountain biking and bikini season – only this time we’re talking about Bikini Pink. That’s the name of the color Ergon has chosen for their limited edition products. Available in both their GE1, the new GE1 Slim, and SME3 Pro and Pro Carbon saddles, the color will certainly get you noticed. As with all limited editions, it won’t last long….


First Look: Kali Maya Enduro Helmet Expands into Production

Kali Maya Outdoor-2

If you follow Ibis rider Jeff Kendall-Weed on social media, you might have spotted the ripper riding with a shiny new helmet. Almost perfectly matched to his wheels, that EndurBro blue lid just happens to be the new Kali Maya deep coverage helmet. After first leaking the new design out to the press in Utah, Kali’s new Enduro helmet is ready for action.

All Enduro jokes aside, when it comes to that style of riding there actually is a need for a different level of protection than standard mountain biking. Speeds can be higher, jumps bigger, and as Jeff helps to illustrate to the extremes – bigger risks. For Kali, that has always meant that what goes inside the helmet is just as important as the outer shell. In this case you’ll find Kali’s Composite Fusion Plus under the surfaces with cone shaped multi-density EPS foam in key points and a softer, lower density foam throughout.

While the Maya is very close to the prototypes we were shown, a few things have changed. Details next…


Loaded Precision Rolls Wide w/ New X40 Hookless Carbon Mountain Bike Wheels

2015 Loaded Precision X40 wide hookless carbon fiber mountain bike wheels

Loaded Precision likes to put out lighter weight parts for any category it’s in, and the new X40 wheels for enduro/trail/gravity do the same.

The 27.5″ carbon rims are all new and come in at just 430g each, which is impressive considering they’re a whopping 40mm wide. The complete wheelset weight is a claimed 1,650g. That’s with X-lite V.3 hubs, laced with 32 spokes and thru axles.

Why so wide? And why hookless?