Posts in the category Feature

The Bike that Got Away with Sky Boyer of Velo Cult: Part 1

Velo Cult Sky Boyer Slingshot

“The Bike That Got Away” is a series of interviews intended to showcase the best bikes of all time from the perspective of the diverse characters that make up the cycling industry. It’s an opportunity to look back fondly (or not at all) on vintage technology, paint jobs – whatever made or continues to make bikes compelling and awesome. These are the bikes that have shaped us as industry members, dealers, cyclists, and super fans.

Within hours of rolling into Portland a few weeks ago I found myself at Velo Cult, part bike shop, part tavern, part freaking unbelievable mountain bike museum owned by Sky Boyer – ex-racer, hot pink bike aficionado (at one point, he had eight because “no one bags on your pink bike when you beat them”), and bike collector (part of his collection was on display with Subaru at Sea Otter). Still recovering from a concussion the week before, I found myself having to repeatedly sit down and take breaks from being so overwhelmed by the extremely technologically and historically significant bikes on the ceiling of the shop…

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All-new Easton Heist mountain bike wheels – choose width & size for one low price

Easton Heist wide mountain bike wheels first impressions ride review

It started with the Arc rims, offering three widths to suit everything from cross country to all mountain riding. Now, they’ve taken those rims and built them into very affordable wheels that are built to take full advantage of bigger, meatier tires and the more aggressive riding those tires allow.

The new Easton Heist wheels come in 29er and 27.5″ sizes, with internal rim widths of 24, 27 and 30 millimeters. They’re laced 3-cross to new X5 hubs, with 28 double butted spokes per wheel and silver brass nipples holding them in place. All of the spokes -front and rear, drive and non-drive side- are the same length, too, and the wheels come with five spares to make repairs quick and easy.

But you’ll have to earn those repairs with some hard ridin’…

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OneUp Components adds 45-tooth XTR 9000 cog, patents cassette adapters

OneUp components 45-tooth cassette cog for XTR 9000

If you thought their 44T cog for SRAM’s cassettes was big, OneUp Components has pushed oversized cassette cog adapters to the next level with a 45-tooth cog for the new Shimano XTR M9000 and XT M8000 groups.

Designed specifically for extending the range of their 11-40 cassettes on a 1×11 system, the cog slides in behind the standard cassette, keeping the stock 40-tooth alloy cog to smooth the transition. Room is made by pulling the 17 and 19 tooth sprockets and using OneUp’s 18-tooth cog in their place. The result is a claimed 12.5% increase in total range while only adding 65g over a stock XTR cassette.

They say this lets you bump the front chainring from 30T all the way up to 34T without losing any low end range for climbing…or keep the smaller ring up front and make it easier to get up the hills…

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SOC15: Advocate Cycles Builds New Plus Size Bikes and Advocacy Based Business Model

Advocate cycles hayduke 27 plus (9)

The bicycle industry is getting to be a pretty crowded place. As more and more brands seem to emerge from the primordial ooze that is the intersection of passion and ideas, it’s getting harder to stand out.

A long time industry veteran, Tim Kreuger knows his way around a bike. After working for years as the project manager for Salsa Cycles, when it was time for a new adventure Tim was looking for not only a way to pursue his passion for bicycles but also for bicycle advocacy. Hoping to continue giving back to the community with events like the Chequameggon 100 that he has run for years (with all of the profits going back into the trails), Tim learned of a new type of business arrangement that is recognized by the state of Minnesota where he calls home.

Instead of operating as a 501c3 non-profit, Advocate Cycles will run as a Special Benefit Corporation (SBC) which falls into one of three categories – sharing, giving, or helping. While designed to give all of the profits back to cycling advocacy, the SBC is not tax exempt which and is really only recognized by the state of Minnesota. The Advocate Cycles site has a break down on how all of the tax structure will work out, but the main story is that the company is organized to give back.

And make cool products – starting with the new Hayduke mountain bike. It’s 27+. It’s 29″. It’s Boost or standard 142. It’s all of the above…

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SOC15: Fox upgrades 32, 34 and 36 forks with FIT4 damper; RC2 shock damper cutaway & more 2016 suspension!

2016 Fox 32 FLOAT FIT4 suspension fork

The transition to the 2016 Fox Racing Shox mountain bike suspension fork lineup all started with the 2015 36’s switch to a new air spring. It introduced a full air system with check valves to equalize air pressure between the positive and negative chambers, dropped weight and improved performance. Now, that same air system can be found across the entire line, from the XC-oriented 32 to the trail/enduro-ready 34 and 36 to the downhill destroying dual crown 40. Likely, the same 100-130g weight savings can be expected across the line, too!

The progression continued with the announcement of the all new, fourth generation FIT4 damper on the 34 a few weeks ago. The new system moves away from the CTD (Climb/Trail/Descend) modes to Open/Medium/Firm. Similar in theory, except that they added much better support in the open mode compared to the all-but-unusable Descend mode that would simply blow through the travel way too quickly and easily. Plus, the in-setting micro adjustments have moved from the middle setting to the Open setting, giving you even more control over how the fork acts when wide open. The FIT4 damper can now be found in the 32, 34 and 36 forks as an option, and there are no more open bath cartridges on any forks.

Out back, the expanded air volume cans and upgraded damping can now be found on the Float and Float X, and we’ve got a cutaway look at the new dual high/low speed compression and rebound circuits of the DHX2 and Float X2…

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SOC15: Specialized launches Fuse, Ruze 27.5+, new Rumor 650 trail bike, Command Post & more!

2016 Specialized Fuse 275+ 6fatty hardtail mountain bike

The new Specialized Fuse (men’s) and Ruze (women’s) trail hardtails are built from ground up for their 27.5+ (6fatty) wheels and tires, tailoring the geometry to the new tire size and introducing new parts and frame designs to go along with it.

Both bikes will come with new Ground Control 27.5 x 3.0 tires that tip the scales around 900g, and they’ll have Purgatory 27.5 x 3.0 (around 1000g) available separately if you need something more aggressive. Both have a 60tpi folding bead tubeless ready carcass, and the Pro model will have them wrapped around new 38mm wide (inside) welded alloy Roval Fatty rims laced to Boost 148 and 110 hubs.

The tires may have inspired the new bike, but it’s the unique design that makes them fit…

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Plus Sized Gets Squishy with New Manitou Magnum Pro, Sun Ringle Plus Rims and Hubs

IMG_6344

It may seem like plus size bikes are just now springing up overnight, but for the new Manitou Magnum the project has been in the works for the past 18 months. Billed as the first purpose built suspension fork for plus size tires, Manitou wanted to be sure that the end product performed just as well if not better than any of their other options. In order to prove that bigger is indeed better, Manitou designed the fork from the ground up, rather than just stretching a 29er fork to fit.

At this point the inclusion of Boost sizing for the axle spacing should come as no surprise and as expected the Magnum touts all of the benefits we’ve heard to this point. Wider spacing results in wider hub flanges and improved spoke bracing angles for a stronger and stiffer front wheel. The added room also boosts tire clearance allowing for a 3.4″ tire in both a dedicated 27.5 and 29″ chassis. Unlike the Rockshox Bluto which started with 32mm stanchions, the Magnum goes with 34mm tubes hinting towards the aggressive nature of the fork.

Plus sized wheels and tires have been gaining momentum, but now with a proper suspension fork we expect them to really gain some traction…
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Trek Gorges on Fatter Tires with All New Mid Fat Stache and New 26×5″ and 27.5×4″ Wheeled Farley Fat Bikes

Trek stache mid fatIMG_6324

After all the buzz around wider boost hubs leading up to Sea Otter, we weren’t surprised to see a new bike from Trek to take advantage of the added tire clearance. What we weren’t expecting from Wisconsin was an entirely new range of plus/mid-fat/and fat bikes with (even) more new tire sizes.

It’s getting to the point that just calling a bike “fat” doesn’t really mean that much. What started as basically just a 3.7″ tire has morphed into an increasing number of sizes that now will include even a 27.5″ fat. The way trek sees it, tire sizes from 2.8-3.25″ fall into the plus/mid-fat category while 3.25-5″ tires qualify as fat. Then there is the wheel size itself. Originally limited to 26″ hoops, now riders have the choice between 26, 27.5, and 29″ wheels with varying rim widths.

Why so many? Well, as the fat bike continues to evolve, so does the manner in which they are ridden. While the Stache is what Trek thinks of as the “trail hardtail perfected,” the Farley gets broken down into different groups depending on the intended terrain. The stratification of the fat tires is intend to ultimately provide the most fun bike possible…

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Mavic Honors 20 years of Crossmax with Pro LTD WTS, Clothes, and Gear

Mavic Crossmax LTD pro mountain bike enduro wheels _5894_1

Don’t compromise, ride Crossmax. That’s the slogan Mavic has been using for nearly 20 years since the very first Crossmax wheels were introduced in 1996. Originally introduced to offer what Mavic considered the best blend of performance and reliability, mountain biking has changed drastically since they came on the scene. Initially available in just one model, Crossmax wheels have evolved in step with riding to include 4 different models with over 100 pro level race wins in everything from XC to enduro, 4x, even slopestyle.

The latest addition to the Crossmax lineage blends much of what we’ve seen recently from Mavic with a few new touches that offer continuous improvement. Given the Crossmax Pro LTD moniker, some of the new product will be available in limited numbers and only in certain markets…

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