Posts in the category Feature

Project: World’s Funnest Bike – It begins with the Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot frameset

Project Worlds Funnest Bike - Van Dessel WTF steel cyclocross adventure frame custom build

This bike, which I’ve affectionately dubbed “Project: World’s Funnest Bike” has been a long, long time in the making. Last summer, Van Dessel revised the finish on the WTF (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot), their double butted steel do-it-all bike frameset that can be built into anything from a flat bar commuter to a cyclocross racer to an adventure/gravel/ultra-cross cruiser with 29er tires.

Shortly after posting about the latest version and just before Interbike, Van Dessel sent us the $699 frameset (frame, fork, headset and seat collar) to review. I had some loose plans for it, but one thing led to another, some parts didn’t work out as planned and, well, tradeshow and other travel conspired to keep the frame hanging on the workstand for far, far too long.

The upside? When things finally did come together, it was glorious. Some parts were things that had been lightly used on other bikes and fit the bill. Others were new and sent in specifically to make this project even better. Others were actually earmarked for a different project road bike but ended up being so perfectly matched to this frame that I just couldn’t resist.

The result is nothing short of a phenomenal bike, but it all starts with the frame…

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Interview: Santa Cruz Stigmata Product Manager Geoff Casey answers the tough questions

Santa Cruz Stigmata

Last week, Santa Cruz officially launched the worst best kept secret in the industry – the all new carbon Stigmata cyclocross bike. Featuring a press fit bottom bracket, internal routing, and no suspension, the only thing recognizable about it as a Santa Cruz is the loud color scheme.

To learn a little bit more about the development of the frame, I walked the two blocks from my house to the factory showroom to chat with Geoff Casey. Known as the Design Manager around these parts, his responsibilities include distilling the fruity flavors of a tropical inspired mixed drink into new frame colorways, and an assortment of other graphical and design duties. He’s also an avid road and cyclocross racer, and was the co-product manager of the Stigmata project.

Head past the break for an in depth interview on the new bike…

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Whisky Shows off New No.9 Carbon Thru Axle CX forks with Incredible Retrotec Build

Whisky no 9 carbon fork thru axle retrotec matt larson (7)

Sometimes things don’t work out quite the way you hoped. That seems to be the case with the original Whisky No.9 disc fork which was pulled after their supply chain couldn’t keep up with the demand. Going back to the drawing board along with a completely new vendor, Whisky took the chance to rework the No.9, building on the success of the original. Now with an increased front to rear compliance of 15% while increasing torsional stiffness by 17%, the fork is better than ever and ready for a full relaunch.

Following up the incredible Inglis fat bike build we saw out at Saddle Drive, Whisky Brand Manager Matt Larson had this absolutely gorgeous Retrotec on hand to show off the No.9 fork. More than just a beautiful bike though, Matt incorporated some touching tributes to his and his wife’s late grandfathers which take the build to the next level….

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Lindarets X Wolf Tooth Components GoatLink Improves Wide Range 1x Shifting for Shimano Derailleurs

SONY DSC

The simplest solution is always the best, right? Well, as it applies to modifying 10 speed derailleurs to work with wide range 10 speed cassettes that might just be the case. Just before Frostbike we caught wind of a new product from Lindarets that had nothing to do with high performance socks or apparel. Listed only as a collaboration with Wolf Tooth Components thus sticking to the Lindarets ethos of American made, American sourced products, the teaser was a good one. We had no idea what to expect.

Cassette adapters like Wolf Tooth Component’s GC are great since they greatly expand the range of the drivetrain without having to invest in all new parts. However, the added B-tension needed for Shimano derailleurs needed to clear the large cogs results in reduced chain wrap which leads to poor shifting. Focusing on the chain wrap issue, Lindarets paired up with Wolf Tooth Components to produce the new GoatLink – a replacement intermediate link for Shimano derailleurs. Claimed to greatly improve the chain wrap on modified drivetrains, the GoatLink is a simple, affordable solution to the wide range question…

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Hands on new Sony 4K & AS200V Action Cams – Video, Stills & Tech Details

Sony 4K FDR-X1000V Action Cam tech details and AS200V comparison

After launching their new 4K Action Cam at CES earlier this year, Sony invited us out for a quick trip to get acquainted with it and the new second-in-command AS200V. The full tech specs and features of each are outlined in our launch coverage, this story focuses more on the user experience and includes video and photo examples from the cameras.

While 4K is just starting to make inroads, there’s little doubt it’ll dominate flat screen television sales by the time Friday’s turn black this November. But even if you have no plans on upgrading, there are some compelling reasons to consider the bigger 4K model over the quite capable 200 or even the super impressive Mini AZ1 Action Cam. Here’s what you need to know…

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All New Salsa Warbird Gravel Racers Take Flight, Plus Powderkeg Mountain Tandem is Ready to Roll

Salsa warbird gravel bike carbon aluminum  powderkeg tandem mountain bike  (24)

As long as there have been road bikes, there have been riders pedaling over gravel roads. While the surface is nothing new to cycling, the way riders experience probably has. Now home to grueling races covering huge distances through varied conditions, gravel races present a unique set of challenges for bicycle designers.

For Salsa Cycles, the company has no problem stating that they own gravel. Many bikes have been created that function on multiple surfaces, but when it comes to gravel race bikes specifically, there aren’t many that can rival the Warbird for their racing pedigree. That bit of bragging that goes against the company’s self proclaimed “Minnesota Nice” demeanor comes at the unveiling of the all new Warbid gravel bike – a lighter, more compliant race bike available in both carbon and aluminum….

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Exclusive First Look: Fully modular Ciamillo Gravitas 3.1 crankset unveiled!

Ciamillo Gravitas 3-1 crankset prototype design for 2015

Over the past few years, we’ve published plenty of words on Ciamillo’s Gravitas crankset, watching it go from concept to prototype, test model to near production. But the project was plagued with minor issues and eventually became too much of a financial burden on Ted Ciamillo’s small operation that he had to pull the plug on it in order to save the brake business.

Or so we thought.

Turns out he’s been working on it all along in stealth mode, secretly machining away at the cost, complexity, debugging, warranty, creaking and torsional flex issues that arose over the project’s long development cycle. Now, according to Ted, this latest version 3.1 addresses all of those issues and is once again putting the project back on the road to production.

Earlier versions were seeded among loyal customers, who agreed to provide feedback in exchange for some of the earliest samples. Those riders apparently found some common concerns – mainly creaking and gradual loosening of the parts, which created warranty nightmares since the entire crankset had to be replaced to remedy any issue.

Ted told us he believes the creaking from original units was coming from the interface between the two spindle halves. The load from pedaling would eventually stress the alloy sleeve’s bonding epoxy and bolt system inside the spindle, which would eventually allow some movement and uneven orientation between sides. So, now it’s a full length, one-piece spindle.

On the original, the carbon tubes were more exposed, which didn’t put as much material overlap between the alloy base and the carbon tubes. That lack of overlap would allow for a bit of torsional flex, and eventually that flex could wallow out the socket a bit, which also led to creaking. The new one’s base is twice as long, allowing it to better handle the torsional load, and the sockets’ wall thickness is also greater, making them more robust, too.

Keep in mind, all of the original design considerations were made in an effort to make the lightest possible crank. Now, durability and manufacturing ease took more precedence, but it’s still wicked light…

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Exclusive Sneak Peek: New 747 Carbon 27.5 + Rim About to Land from Kuroshiro

Kuroshiro 747 275 plus 650b rim carbon wide (2)

It was this time last year when we were hearing about Kuroshiro for the first time. After meeting the man behind the brand, Mauro Bertolotto proceeded to show us their impressive new Enso 685. A carbon fat bike rim that took advantage of Alchemist’s skills with carbon fiber, the single wall rim combined light weight with a tubeless design that didn’t require tape to seal.

Since then, the company followed the 685 with their 29+ Enso 950 rim at Eurobike and Interbike. Along with the new 950, Mauro promised us another product in the near future. Judging by the amount of 27.5+ products we’re starting to see, it should come as no surprise that Kuroshiro’s newest rim would qualify. Called the 747, the current naming structure would indicate a 27.5″ rim that is 47mm wide. Details are still pretty scarce, but we’re told weight should be under 400g per rim, and there will be a wheelset available that is Boost 148 compatible.

We will have the full report from Mauro at Frostbike later this week!

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VP bites into platform market with new lightweight, thin & affordable pedals

Aim B HR1

When it comes to platform pedals, lately there seems to be more options than you can count. Everyone seems to have their own idea of what makes the best pedal so how is a company supposed to make some noise in a crowded market? Fortunately for VP, as we saw on our factory tour in Taiwan, they already manufacture a number of pedals for other companies which puts them in a unique place for new product development. Already covering the high end of the spectrum with their impressive Harrier pedal, now VP has their sights set on more affordable options.

The key to new pedals like the VP Aim is that they don’t have to sacrifice performance to get the price well under $100…

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