Posts in the category Feature

Suspension Setup Series #2 – Run It Wide Open…Mostly.

Bikerumor Suspension Setup Series shows how to properly tune your mountain bike fork and shock

For as long as there’ve been multi-mode rear shocks with some manner of pedal platform, I’ve been trying to set up my shock for optimum performance in “Pedal” mode. My thinking was, by running it in the middle setting, I could keep the shock ready for anything. Switch it one way to climb and the other to descend. In reality, that might just have been limiting the performance of the shock, not letting me get the most out of it.

Since all manufacturers suggest setting sag with the shock and fork in full open (or Descend, etc.) mode, it stands to reason you’re setting it up to perform best in that position, right? We asked Duncan Riffle (SRAM MTB marketing manager and former 2x Nat’l DH Champ), Eric Porter (veteran pro MTB’r, now riding for Manitou), Mark Fitzsimmons (Fox Racing Shox’s pro athlete suspension tuner) and Josh Coaplen (Cane Creek’s VP of engineering).

First up, a little clarification of what exactly we’re talking about: When you’re setting your fork or shock to a particular mode (open, descend, trail, pedal, climb, whatever), you’re changing the low speed compression. For Fox forks, that means anything in the zero to five inches per second compression speed. Other brands are likely similar. This affects the suspension’s performance when you’re braking (at the fork), pedaling hard or while standing, railing corners and rollers and anything else that’s not a quick hit or hard landing. Those quicker, bigger hits are controlled by your high speed compression, and most products out there have fixed high speed circuits that are not easily user tunable. Cane Creek’s Double Barrel is the obvious exception.

We started this series with a look at setting your sag properly in Part One, now it’s time to tune those compression settings…

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2015 Sneak Peek: Raleigh Brings Back Steel, New Willard Gravel Bike, New Women’s MTB, and More!

©Earl Harper

It’s been great to see Raleigh reborn over the past few years, and our little glance into the future indicates they have no plans of slowing down any time soon. In 2014, the brand took a break from their steel classics series, but for 2015 they’re back. Not only is the company bringing Chromoly back, but the new bikes include bigger tires, more tire clearance, new geometry, and even a Ritchey Break-Away model at $2100 (above). In addition to a number of new options in steel, Raleigh is expanding their “gravel” line with the all new Willard – an aluminum version of the Tamland that’s both lighter and more affordable.

On the mountain bike side the Skarn full suspension bikes are in production now and will range from $2,500 to $4,000. Raleigh is also introducing a new price point, single pivot 27.5″ full suspension bike which starts at just $1,000. There’s even new women’s specific mountain bikes designed with input from Caroline Mani and Courtney McFadden. Raleigh has definitely been busy lately and the new product looks to be ideal for many – quality bikes with great design, that won’t break the bank.

Details on a few of the highlights, next…

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Graffiti Meets Aluminum and Carbon — The Artistic Collaboration Of Kinesis, Morvélo, & Aroe

Kinesis Aithein, Morvélo, & Aroe - Graffiti Art - Non Drive Side

Cycling is an art form and at times this is the literal truth. In this case the art is a collaboration between UK bike manufacturer Kinesis, clothing company Morvélo Bicycle Apparel, and renown graffiti artist Aroe. Kinesis’ Aithein frame and fork, plus a set of Reynolds Attack rims, were all handed over to the street-artist as a blank canvas. See more of the stunning results, next…

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2015 Felt Cyclocross Bikes – All New Disc Alloy Bikes, New Carbon Frame/Forks & Kid’s Sizes!

2015-Felt-F85X-alloy-cyclocross-bikes

Felt’s 2015 media day was a whirlwind of bikes and info, with new and updated models rolling past almost faster than we could type. Rather than blow them past you at the same frenzied rate, we’re breaking it up a bit. Mountain bikes are posted here, e-bikes are here and road/triathlon is coming up. Here, we’ve got the bikes meant to blur the lines between the two – cyclocross!

For 2015, Felt has updated the carbon FX frames with a Di2/EPS compatible frame that doubles as an internal routing option for 1x drivetrains. At the top level, they’ve also added TeXtreme woven carbon to their frames to make them both stronger and lighter. Felt’s got the exclusive on the material for bicycles, and it allows them to use half the material without losing any stiffness or strength.

They’ve also completely redesigned the alloy FX series bikes with an all-new frame and no more cantilever brake options despite dropping the base model down a price notch. The frame geometry has been revamped to make it racier, and they switch to a pressfit BB386 bottom bracket shell to run larger, wider spindled cranksets – anything except BB30 will fit. All cable routing moves internal, too. Beyond the performance upgrades, the new colors and graphics are tight. That purple shown here? It’s called Snozberry, and it’s on the F85X model equipped with Shimano Tiagra 10sp and Tektro Mira mechanical disc brakes.

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Suspension Setup Series #1 – Set Your Sag Properly

bikerumor guide how to set up mountain bike suspension sag

At virtually every mountain bike and suspension launch we attend, we’re told to simply sit on the bike while someone slides the “fun-o-meter” ring to the base of the fork or shock, then we hop off and see where it lies. If it’s in the ballpark, we gear up and head out, fiddling with the settings as we ride.

Recently, I had some time with Rockshox brand ambassador and SRAM MTB marketing manager Duncan Riffle, who also happens to be a 2x U.S. National Downhill Champ and former World Cup DH competitor, so we discussed the finer points of suspension set up. The result is this 6-part series, with additional input from Manitou’s Eric Porter, who’s raced professionally in XC/DH/DS/DJ over the past 11 years, and Mark Fitzsimmons, Fox Racing Shox’s race program manager and pro athlete suspension tuner. As you’ll see throughout the multi-part story, there’s quite an art to getting it all dialed, but when you do, it’s pure magic on the trail.

So, ready to rethink everything about how your suspension is set up? Good. We’ll start with sag, which is the amount of travel your suspension moves through just by adding your own weight (body, clothes, pack, etc.) to the bike. This puts the suspension into an active state, letting it react in both directions, keeping your tire glued to the dirt. To get it right, there are two things to consider: Rider position and amount of sag. We’ll start with properly positioning yourself on the bike so that sag is set based on your actual riding.

But first, make sure your fork and shock both have their compression damping set to their fully Open/Descend positions, then hop on the bike…

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Salsa Creates new Fat Bike Categories w/ New Bucksaw, Blackborow & More

Salsa fat bike 2015 bucksaw blackborow mukluk ti beargrease alloy full suspension front (3)

You can always tell the hot bike at a demo by how hard it is to get one to try. Whether due to excitement, skepticism, curiosity, or disbelief, usually one bike stands above the rest. In the case of QBP’s Saddle Drive event this year in Ogden UT, that bike had to be the new Salsa Bucksaw full suspension fat bike. It seemed that even those with no interest in fat bikes wanted a ride just to see what it was like.

As the first mass produced full suspension fat bike, the Bucksaw joins other new additions for 2015 to create the most diverse fat bike line up anywhere. While some of the companies are just releasing their first bike with the giant tires, Salsa now offers five different categories of fat bikes from rigid to full sus.

Curious why there needs to be such a variety of fat bikes? Find out next, plus details and actual weights for the Bucksaw, Blackborow, Beargrease, and Mukluk…

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2015 Felt Mountain Bikes – Lighter High End, Cheaper Low End & Plenty in Between

2015-Felt-Edict-FRD-XC-race-full-suspension-mountain-bike

For 2015, Felt’s mountain bikes don’t introduce any brand new models, but like the road side they bring their top level tech down to more affordable level while also spreading their TeXtreme carbon to more bikes. They’ve also added a few women’s specific hardtails, from a carbon 29er racer to alloy 27.5 entry level builds. At the very top end, there’s a new FRD Edict that’s built with top shelf components to be a lightweight, World Cup level full suspension XC race rocket. We’ll start with that.

The new Edict FRD takes advantage of their top level UHC carbon and adds TeXtreme with a build that’s an XC racer’s dream with an XX1 Grip Shift group turned by a Race Face NEXT SL crankset, RS-1 fork with Monarch XX using their X-Loc Full Spring dual-push lockout to control both. An Easton carbon fiber cockpit, including the EC90 stem, and Avid XX World Cup brakes with 180/160 rotors. The Edict is a 100mm travel bike, but for this model they set the RS-1 at 120mm travel to make the bike a bit more aggressive. It’s rolling on the Rise 60 carbon wheels with Schwalbe Nobby Nics tires.

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First Look: Salsa Suspension gets Lighter, Stiffer with New Carbon Spearfish and Horsethief

Salsa Spearfish carbon RS-1

Just over a year ago, Salsa Cycles took the wraps off their all new full suspension bikes with the Spearfish and Horsethief. While the Spearfish had been around for some time, both of the bikes took advantage of Dave Weagle’s Split Pivot concentric dropout design to allow efficient pedaling suspension that was still active under braking. Built with 80 and 120mm of travel, the Spearfish and the Horsethief have been in high demand since their introduction.

In 2015 both bikes receive a major update in the form of material. Stepping into the realm of carbon fiber, both bikes now feature a high modulus carbon front triangle and seat stays while sticking with 6066-T6 aluminum chainstays. Even though the Spearfish was already a highly optimized, weight conscious bike the move to carbon fiber nets a 220g loss in frame weight while the burlier Horsethief sees around a 340g weight loss. Other than a larger seat post clamp to constrict the carbon tube, the main standards on each frame remain unchanged from their aluminum siblings.

With decreased weight, improved spec, and the same Salsa feel, the new Spearfish and Horsethief are ready for your next adventure. Details and actual weights after the jump…

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Factory Tour: Hunter Cycles’ Santa Cruz Mountain Workshop

Hunter Cycles Factory Tour (17)Nestled deep in the coastal redwood forests of Northern California, acclaimed custom builder Rick Hunter quietly builds hand made bicycles for clients from around the world.

Starting with steel tubing, and dabbling in carbon, over the past twenty years he has created a reputation for clean lines and a unique aesthetic.

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