Posts in the category Feature

2016 Orbea Loki trail hardtail lets you get mischievous with 29er or 27.5+ wheels

2016 Orbea Loki trail hardtail mountain bike for 275+ or 29er wheels

Named after the Norse god known as a tricky shapeshifter, the new Orbea Loki makes the bold claim of being “perfect for everyone.” It’s a capable 29er hardtail. It’s also fun, slack 27.5+ trail bike. Either way, you’re getting 120mm of travel up front and a high end alloy frame that’s ready to rumble.

The design is called Double Duty, referring to the ability to switch between the two wheel sizes. The rear end uses Boost 148 spacing, and regardless of wheel size, they’re using the same Boost hubs and mostly 110mm spaced Boost forks. It’s not the first bike to offer the swappable wheel sizes, but it’s among the first to make it very affordable while still offering good spec and top notch features. That makes it a perfect do-it-all second (or fifth) bike or a great first mountain bike for those just getting into it…

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Interview: Garrett Kautz of Strawfoot Handmade Musettes and Accessories

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Garrett Kautz started Strawfoot Handmade out of a desire to make clever bags and accessories for his friends. Five years on, Strawfoot produces a collection of bags out of natural or repurposed materials. Strawfoot also makes the occasional limited availability product such as gear bags for Niner and leather BB gun straps for Blackburn Designs (for cyclocross biathlon relay race for the Rangers camp). The designs within his collection are simple but surprisingly functional. Materials are natural or domestically made whenever possible and fasteners are steel or brass as opposed to plastic. Every piece in the collection is designed for durability and to gain character with age and use. I spoke with Garrett in his backyard several weeks ago (as he juggled his toddler on his lap) to get a feel for the operation… READ MORE ->

TDF2015 Tech: MTN-Qhubeka’s beautiful silver Cervelo road bikes & social mission

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As if the first African team to compete in the Tour de France needed any more reason for eyeballs to point in their direction, the riders were all sitting on custom painted Cervelo bikes in a bold silver and yellow paint scheme.

The colors were replicated across the S5, R5 and P5 bikes for the team, and as part of the celebration, 200 replicas of the S5 will be sold through Cervelo dealers. For each one sold, Cervelo will donate a Buffalo Bike to the Qhubeka Foundation’s #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.

Of all the team pits we walked through, none had quite the electricity of these guys. The bikes had their own spark, too, with some clever hacks and prototype products…

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Shimano files patent for shiftable narrow-wide chainrings

patent application drawings for Shimano shiftable narrow-wide double chainrings

With the advent of narrow wide chainring designs, we’ve gone from worrying about dropped chains to full on all mountain riding with nothing more than a bare single chainring up front keeping our chain in place. Sure, clutch-equipped rear derailleurs help, and more aggressive riders still use a chain guide on occasion. But for most of us, the alternating tooth profiles are all we need to keep things running silent and smooth.

The tradeoff, of course, is that these chainrings couldn’t be used in a double crankset since there are no provisions for moving the chain from one ring to another. Whether it was simply an assumption that it couldn’t be done or a lack of interest in better chain retention on a double (or triple, for that matter), it simple fact is it wasn’t on the radar. Now, thanks to Shimano, it is, and we’ve got some good ideas on where it could be heading…

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FSA unveils Prototype Electronic Drivetrain on Tour de France Rest Day

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Full Speed Ahead (FSA) joins the big three in cycling -Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo- in developing an electronic derailleur and shifter group. The much rumored prototype electronic groupset is yet-to-be-named, but its finally made its first big public appearance. And what better occasion than a rest day of the 2015 Tour de France? Sharing prototype status with SRAM’s wireless electronic groupset, FSA’s potential entry into the electronic shifting market is currently gracing a few team bikes from Etixx-QuickStep, Tinkoff-Saxo, Bora-Argon 18 and Cofidis. More pics and video from GCN below… READ MORE ->

Fox Factory Tour Part 2: The Assembly Line

Fox US Factory Production (9)

After components are produced at Fox’s California based machine shop, the parts are sent out for anodization (either locally or to Japan), then shipped to the Fox assembly facility in a small town just South of Santa Cruz, CA. 

As these components arrive from all corners of the world, random samples are pulled for inspection and walked directly from the receiving area and into the Quality Lab.

In addition to testing individual components, they also pull sub-assemblies to ensure parts are fitting together properly and double check for wear on tooling.

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All-new 2016 Orbea Rallon refined into high speed enduro racing machine

2016 Orbea Rallon enduro mountain bike first ride impressions

The Orbea Rallon was reworked in 2014 and intentionally made only in alloy so they could more easily make tweaks. Overall, they were very happy with it, but it does get a few but important updates for 2016. Why? Because enduro.

The 2014 Rallon was originally built for their enduro team, designed as a racing bike from the outset just as the whole enduro scene was blowing up. And it’s been well reviewed since then, so there was no need to reinvent it, just refine it. The frame is still 7000-series, triple butted and hydroformed alloy, and it keeps their Advanced Dynamics linkage driven single pivot suspension design. Advanced Dynamics is their method for designing suspension around more than just the shock tune and leverage ratio by considering rider generated forces on the pedals, handlebar and frame. There’s a port for stealth dropper posts and all cable and brake housing now runs externally for easier setup and maintenance.

The biggest news is a switch to the Boost 148 rear end…

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Niner BSB 9 RDO cyclocross bike gains thru-axle rear, plus new colors & build options

2016 Niner BSB 9 RDO carbon cyclocross race bike upgrades with 12x142 rear thru axle and better build options

Niner’s drop bar bikes fall into two categories: Not Road and Cyclocross.

For Not Road, it’s about the “not road” experience, making bikes that cater to riders that just want to get out and ride. Maybe it’s a mountain biker whose trails are too wet to ride but they still wanna get out there. Or it’s the road rider that’s not looking to race, preferring to just ride. Maybe it’s not even off the pavement, but they want something that’s a little more comfortable and stable than a twitchy crit bike. These types of riders are what’s growing the category as a whole, and Niner now has two versions of the RLT 9 for that – the original alloy frame and the recently introduced steel RLT.

For CX, there’s just one, the BSB 9, and it gets a single but important update: Rear thru axles. Well, that and new colors and more complete bike options…

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Kona Launches New Road Models, Redesigns Cross Country Range

Konda Roadhouse 2016

If the heat wasn’t a solid indicator that summer was here, the wave of new model year 2016 product launches should be. While many brands are content to merely introduce new color ways, Kona is “going deeper.”

With that theme in mind, the traditionally mountain oriented brand has expanded its line of road bikes, redesigned its cross country models, and updated several other MTB models to better meet new and growing riding segments.

Up first is the new Roadhouse, which is a classic steel road frame built with Reynolds 853 tubing, modern touches like disc brakes, a tapered headset, and 12×142 thru axle dropouts…

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