Posts in the category Feature

Project Disc Cross: SRAM Red Hydro R WiFLi groupset – Long-term test


Midway through cyclocross season last year we undertook a project to rebuild a lugged steel cyclocross bike, with the idea of upgrading it to disc brakes. Our rationale was both to see how feasible the process would be and to compare the ride of a modernized traditional steel bike with some of the high-end disc brake cyclocross bikes that come through our office. The impetus of the project was probably the availability of the new Ritchey WCS Disc Cross fork with its all-carbon construction and straight 1 1/8″ steerer. Without that fork the bike would probably have not seen this new life (and we will review it in full, next week), but the other big push was to put in a solid amount of time on the updated SRAM Red HydroR groupset after it was overhauled following its rocky start. For a bike that was going to see a lot of types of riding in a mix of conditions the WiFLi configuration of Red22 promised to get us over hill and dale.

Come with us across the break for a full breakdown of the group and our thoughts on how the project bike and SRAM group have fared from last autumn until cross season begins again…


IB15: Moots Shows off New YBB+ Mountaineer Bike Packing Machine, New Carbon Fork and… New OWNER!

Moots YBB n stuff-6

Photos c. Moots

Moots surprised us with a couple of new items, but nothing grabbed our attention more than the YBB+ Mountaineer bike packing rig… well, the change in ownership is a pretty big deal too, but it sounds like a solid move for a steadily growing company.

Blaze a path past the break to see what Moots has packed away and see what Moots has to say about the changeover…


IB15: Talking Enduro Shoes with Cédric Gracia, Plus Michelin Treads and Reflective Shoes from Northwave

northwave cedric gracia enduro shoe michelin rubber sole

As one of the most recognizable figures in mountain biking, Cédric Gracia knows his way around a bike. The downhill, 4x, Rampage, and all around mountain bike rider and racer has now turned his attention to the world of Enduro. Given his years of experience, Cédric can be pretty demanding when it comes to his equipment, so changing his footwear sponsor to him was a pretty big deal. Cédric mention that at first, he was a little unsure of what to expect, but after the first meeting with everyone involved, he knew it was going to be exactly what he wanted in a shoe…


Niner RKT9 full suspension race 29er is a real boost-er rocket to their future

2016 Niner RKT 9 rocket 29er race full suspension mountain bike

This isn’t just a new bike. The Niner RKT9 is the culmination of the past five years of component, tech and rider changes. Bear with me – the development story for it does more than just explain why the RKT9 came to be.

Spec options and standards have changed rapidly over the past couple years, making it both exciting and vexing for anyone looking to upgrade their bike or major components like suspension forks or wheels.

Take suspension forks, which have trickled big fork stiffness to weights of traditionally less stiff XC forks. Think RS-1, or using a Fox 34 and Rockshox Pike with just 120mm travel. Out back, the new Fox DPS shocks have added actual, discernible change to its compression damping.

And 1x drivetrains have simply taken over thanks to wide range cassettes, clutch rear derailleurs and narrow/wide chainrings making them work exceptionally well for a wide range of conditions and riders. It’s also let frame builders to do things they simply couldn’t do with double or triple chainrings.

Even more than 1x drivetrains, Boost 148 opens up a lot of options on the frame, letting designers use shorter chainstays and bigger tire clearance. It also means drastically stiffer wheels, making 29er wheel deflection equal to a 26” wheel.

Put it all together and you get something that represents the future of Niner’s mountain bikes…


IB15: Edco goes full carbon in more ways than one, drops prices for one-piece cassettes

2016 Edco Supersport Julier full carbon spoke bicycle wheel

Amidst the new monoblock cassette options for juniors and mountain bikes launched at the Taipei show earlier this year, Edco hinted (with prototype in hand) that they’d soon switch from using Reynold’s carbon rims to their own design. Now, that’s come to fruition and they’ve switched all of their carbon rims to full carbon – no more alloy brake tracks.

They say the new carbon brake track stops just as well as alloy in wet and dry with their own brake pads, which ship with the wheels. How? There are no special materials in the brake track, it’s all in the way it’s constructed and a combination of their ITL (Integrated Low Temp) braking surface with high Tg resin and the pad material.

Alongside those changes are new disc brake options for many of the wheels and their really-and-truly full carbon new wheels that were developed specifically for the new Sapim CX-Carbon spokes…


Prototype Ohlins fork cartridges & universal coil-over shock spotted, complete forks coming

prototype Ohlins damper cartridge for Rockshox Pike and Boxxer forks

There’ve been a lot of rumors around Ohlins’ mountain bike products, stirred up largely by social media posts from European distributors. The latest teaser comes from a bike placed in Hope Tech’s Eurobike booth adorned with an as yet unseen coil rear shock and fork damping cartridge slid into a Rockshox Pike.

We reached out to Ohlins USA’s marketing and MTB manager, Jeff Baucom, for details. But first, a little primer on Ohlins’ damping technologies and how they’ve been applied to mountain bikes:

Their damping systems come in two flavors. The TTX is a twin tube system with an inner and out tube and oil flows between the two and is regulated by a check valve. It’s found on their coil-over rear shocks only for mountain bikes (moto and auto is another story). The STX, which is what’s found in their TTR air shock, is a single tube system and works by pushing oil through a more traditional damping circuit.


IB15: Wolf Tooth Components X Lindarets Goat Link 11, Plus New WTC Softgoods, SS DM Chainrings, Guides, Tools, and More!

wolf tooth components bags pogies chain guides goat link 11 (20)

There were a lot of surprises this year at the Wolf Tooth Components booth, one of which was a variation on a continuing theme. WTC first teamed up with Lindarets for the original Goatlink. The replacement link for the derailleur offered better shifting performance when used with a cassette adapter. The Roadlink then took the technology to the road offering an easy conversion for a 1x wide range drivetrain with a Shimano rear derailleur.

Now the duo has put forth their Goatlink 11 which is meant for 11 speed drivetrains. Now you are probably thinking, why would you need a Goatlink for an 11 speed drivetrain when wide range derailleurs already exist? The answer comes when you want to mix and match…


IB15: Ellsworth unveils all-new ICT suspension design & carbon Buddha fat bike

2016 Ellsworth Epiphany xc trail mountain bike with all-new ICT suspension linkage design

In the year sincebeing acquired by BST Nano, Tony Ellsworth has been able to hang up a few hats (sales, management, etc.) and all but sew on his engineering cap and move forward with design ideas and projects that had constantly been back burnered in the day to day of running a company.

Now, those designs have moved into production across their entire line of 2016 full suspension bikes with a redesigned ICT suspension that, combined with the switch to a Boost 148 rear end, is 200% to 300% stiffer than the original that’s carried them along for so many years.

“The bikes already pedaled really well and were active and efficient,” Tony Ellsworth told us. “For 2016, we wanted to make it stiffer so it would track better and handle more predictably.”

To do that, the changed virtually everything about the rear end, coming up with some clever small parts designs to boost stiffness. And, it’s hard to ignore how much better the bikes look now…


IB15: Alchemy Arktos waves hello to all-new suspension mountain bike design

2016 Alchemy Arktos full suspension mountain bike with Sine suspension design

Earlier this year when we saw Alchemy’s new hardtail Oros mountain bike, the company hinted at full suspension things to come. A few months later, here it is. After bringing on David Earle, an engineer with the Sotto Group, Alchemy has created a legitimate all mountain contender that’s built in the U.S.A.

Designed around a unique suspension system, and built with Alchemy’s own mandrel and mold system, the Arktos is almost ready to do battle…