Posts in the category Feature

Review: Birzman Maha Apogee MTB High Volume Floor Pump

Birzman maha apogee MTB pump review fat bike high volume (2)

Earlier this year we started hearing about fat bike specific pumps. On the surface that sounds ridiculous, until you consider the mechanics. Bicycle tires offer a crazy range of volumes and pressures from 200 psi track tires to 5 psi fat bike tires. Yes, there are pumps that will do both, but if you’re the kind of person who wants the right tool for the job there are better options.

The Birzman Maha Apogee MTB is a mountain bike specific pump. What does that mean? It means the pump is purposely designed to push a lot of air as quickly as possible. Placing the focus on high volume instead of high pressure, the Maha Apogee MTB and pumps like it becoming more and more useful as tires continue to trend larger.

After getting our hands on the Maha at Eurobike and proceeding to inflate fat bike tires on the show floor, and even a flat tire on Cory’s car, we’ve had the pump long enough to give it a thorough review….

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Hands On: SRAM Rival 22 Hydraulic Disc Brake Groupset

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (4) copy

This group was a long time coming. After having the wind swiftly removed from their sails after a complete and total recall of their previous road hydraulic rim and disc brake options, SRAM has come out on the other side and is ready to prove their worth. Nearly everyone involved should have their replacement parts by now, and SRAM is shipping new product to dealers.

With the rough patch behind them, SRAM has put forth an impressive looking group in both price and performance. Whether you’re looking for a group for your road, cyclocross, or gravel bike, the new Rival 22 group has you covered. Find actual weights, install notes, and initial impressions next….

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Review: Abbey Bike Tools’ Nearly Perfect Hanger Alignment Gauge

Abbey Bike Tools HAG hanger alignment gauge derailleur  (11)

The derailleur hanger is an interesting part of your bicycle that probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Originally one with the frame (still is on many bikes), the replaceable model was introduced so that if your derailleur was ripped off in a crash you could replace the hanger and save the bike. Many were made out of softer metal so that the hanger would break before the derailleur, which was fine until the number of gears in a cassette started creeping up, requiring more precision and a stiffer hanger.

No matter what the frame though, one thing is universal – for the best shifting, the hanger has to be precisely aligned. That presents its own set of challenges as well as a number of tools to go along with it. Actually, just a handful of tools as the relatively simple hanger alignment gauge hasn’t seen much improvement over the years. In typical Abbey Bike Tools fashion, Jason Quade thought it could be done better. When he was done the Abbey HAG or Hanger Alignment Gauge was born.

Part Pry Bar and part Precision Measuring Instrument in Jason’s own words, using the HAG will make you want to check your hanger alignment a lot more often…

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Ibis Mojo HD Completely Revamped – Longer, Lower, Slacker and So Much More Enduro!

2015 Ibis HD enduro mountain bike

The all-new, third generation Ibis Mojo HD3 takes the enduro scene to heart with a totally new frame designed from the ground up to climb quickly and descend quicker.

It’s built around the DW-Link suspension platform, but uses a new iteration of it to achieve 6″ of rear wheel travel with the peddling efficiency of their XC-oriented Ripley and the downhilling ferocity you’d expect from an aggressive six inch bike.

The basics are what you’d expect these days and include a tapered headtube, 142×12 rear thru axle, internal cable routing, removable front derailleur mount and, of course, 650B wheels. What makes it special is now you can have both the HDR’s longer travel and the HDR 650B’s bigger wheels. See how it all comes together with the new suspension, frame and geometry…

UPDATED: Additional comments from Ibis’ co-founder & owner, Scot Nicol, throughout the post.

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Factory Tour: Inside the SR Suntour Headquarters in Taiwan

SR Suntour Factory Tour Taiwan Fork and Ebike Procution Facility Chang Hua583

Admittedly, most cyclists’ thoughts probably turn to inexpensive forks when you mention SR Suntour, and that’s a shame. It’s not that SR Suntour doesn’t produce these forks. They do. And in large quantities. The truth of the matter lies in the fact that the company has a long history of technical innovations in the bike industry that just happen to allow them to produce that suspension fork you’ll find on a bike under $500 and make it affordable while still working exceptionally well for the price. That, and a vertically integrated company that allows them an economy of scale. As the continuation of SunTour which started as Maeda Iron Works in 1912, SunTour is responsible for bringing us technologies we still use today, like the slant parallelogram rear derailleur.

In 1988 when the Japanese founded company moved to Chang Hua City in Taiwan, Suntour brought with them a new casting technology based on the melt-forging process. They called it Accurad forging (AC4C) and it involved injecting molten metal at high pressures into molds. Sharing a lot of similarities with casting, Accurad forging meant that the finished product was free of air bubbles or inclusions which can plague standard gravity casting. Combining the benefits of forging and casting, the process allowed for complex parts to be produced much more cheaply, giving rise to affordable components. Low end components aren’t as sexy as many of the forks you see splashed across our pages, but when you’re talking about producing something in the millions of units rather than the thousands, it takes some serious manufacturing skills to ensure repeatability at that scale.

However, SR Suntour isn’t about inexpensive parts, rather value and performance at any point in their line. The company’s Taiwan headquarters and factory is actually geared towards production of their higher end products – basically Taiwan produces forks with magnesium lowers and China makes forks with aluminum lowers. While the Chang Hua factory is capable of producing up to 5,000 complete suspension forks in a single day, their factory in Shenzen, China handles their higher quantity goods and is capable of making up to a whopping 20,000 forks in a single day. As you can imagine it takes a lot of people to keep a facility that size moving so you’ll find around 500 employees in Taiwan and around 900 at Shenzen. On top of that SR Suntour has a third facility in Kunshan, China that employs another 400-500 people. All together SR Suntour produces around 10,000,000 suspension forks per year with their Taiwanese facility running 8 hours a day, and usually two shifts in China. Together that makes them the biggest fork producer in the IBD market.

Earlier this year we found ourselves in the Fu Hsing Industrial Zone where SR Suntour Taiwan calls home. Take a look around the factory next…

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Just In: Zipp 202 Firecrest Clincher Disc Brake Wheelset

Zipp 202 Clincher firecrest carbon wheels (6)

According to Zipp, it was the need for better braking in cyclocross that inspired the creation of their first disc brake wheel. After introducing the disc brake 303 to the world in 2013, Zipp started working on a new creation that would appeal to the growing road disc segment. Slotting in underneath the 45mm 303 Firecrest rim, Zipp’s 32mm 202 Firecrest wheelset adds the ability to run disc brakes while keeping things as light as possible.

Just as you would expect from any carbon wheelset coming out of Indianapolis, the 202 Firecrest Disc Brake wheels offer an extremely high end level of fit and finish as well as an impressive weight – for a price.

Details plus actual weights next…

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Peacock Groove’s Erik Noren is The Cycling Industry’s Misunderstood Artist

Peacock-Groove-HeadtubeErik Noren is a creative genius.  Spend 15 minutes with him, and you will see and hear the ideas of what bicycle artistry can be. Making just 30 bicycles per year, he pours his heart and soul into each one, toiling away in his shop, metal as his canvas, investing so much time and care into each one that he rarely makes a profit.

True to his craft, Erik doesn’t concern much for money with his bikes, as long as he is allowed to express his vision in the end. Stories from almost 20 years as a framebuilder, he talks about the only people who have really recognized him directly for what he was trying to say with each frame are other framebuilders.  An artist who can only be understood by another artist, he then goes into his ideas for this year’s NAHBS show…

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Hands On: American Classic Argent Tubeless Road/CX Disc Brake Wheels

American Classic Argent Disc Tubeless wheels (6)

Ask most serious cross racers what equipment they’re running and disc brakes are becoming much more prevalent. But tubeless? It seems that many still cast a dubious eye towards the tires that stay on the rim without any glue.

Like anything though, with time products continue to improve. Thanks to the introduction of improved tubeless cyclocross tires, the feasibility of racing tubeless seems better than ever.

This is where products like the American Classic Argent Tubeless Disc wheels come into play. One of the biggest advantages of tubeless over tubulars is the ability to quickly change out tires based on conditions without having to have multiple wheelsets glued up. For the average privateer that means the ability to run race worthy wheels and tires without a huge investment.

Details, actual weights, tubeless set up, and more next…

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Spotted! Prototype TRP Hylex 11 Speed Di2 Compatible Shifters and Hydraulic Brakes

TRP Hylex Di2 11 speed drivetrain shimano electric hydraulic ben Berden (2)

In early 2012 when disc brakes were really coming on strong for road and cross, TRP was working on a project called HyWire. Combining the braking power of a full hydraulic system with built in Shimano Di2 shifting compatibility, HyWire was looking like a very attractive option. That was until Shimano went 11 speed and left companies like TRP in the dark. Without support for the new shifting standard the trail for HyWire went cold.

In the mean time TRP has been working on awesome road and cross disc brakes like the Spyre and HyRd, leaving us to think the Di2 project was dead in the water. That is, until we spotted this latest prototype on one of Ben Berden’s Raleigh RXC Pro Discs. Appearing to be a modified version of their HyLex single speed hydraulic levers, it looks like TRP might be closer to an 11 speed Di2/hydraulic lever set than we thought…

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