Last week’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge may be over, but the product news continues. SRM chose the Colorado stage race as the venue for their public release of the all new PowerControl PC8. After years of listening to the pros and weekend-warriors alike, after nearly two years of development and research, the production model is finally being released. Power past the break for details, pics, and some rumors on future SRM developments…
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The new XTR Di2 M9050 has ushered in the era of official electronic shifting for mountain bikes, and we have a feeling it’s going to shake things up quite a bit. Announced all the way back in May, it’s still not really available as of this post – only a handful of pros are racing on it. Fortunately, four of the new Orbea Oiz test bikes we just rode had it installed, giving us a chance to run it through the gears.
Over two days of riding XC and enduro-ish segments, the XTR Di2 showed why it’s going to be popular. Instantaneous shifts, effortless transitions under power and the ability to choose just the right gear combo for you. Heck, you can even customize it to work just the way you want, from which buttons do what to how and when it shifts between chainrings in Synchronized Shifting modes. That’s right, plural – modes. You can set two shift maps and swap between them on the fly while riding.
Add in the legendary stiffness and precision for which Shimano’s top level groups are known and, well, I just rode the future…
Today’s level of competition at the Enduro World Series is so high, that it takes nothing short of perfection to even crack the top ten. So after a season filled with bad luck, it was great to see Curtis Keene put everything together for a career best 3rd place performance at the most difficult race of this series.
Head past the break to learn more bout the the setup that help him get there. READ MORE ->
It’s been nearly 12 years since Litespeed started working with carbon fiber, and even though the brand is currently selling more carbon frames than titanium domestically, they still seem to be known as the Ti company. Since the beginning, Litespeed has always set out to make the best bike possible no matter the material. With titanium, the challenge was to take aerospace grade ti tubing and to turn it into bike specific tubesets to create high end bikes. Eventually, the cold worked shaped tubes became Litespeed’s calling card and the company still sells more titanium bikes than carbon internationally.
Looking for the next evolution in design, in 2002 Litespeed started experimenting with carbon fiber seatstays for the Sienna and the Ultimate. This would eventually lead to their first full carbon model, the C-Series aero road bike. Successful tweaking over the years led to a highly manipulated aero road bike, so the next logical step was what Litespeed refers to as a good “all-rounder.”
Right around that point Litespeed’s current CEO Peter Hurley stepped into the leadership role, and helped to improve the development process in a way that allowed product designer Brad DeVaney to create the bike he envisioned – the L Series.
We’ve been on the Litespeed Li2 for quite a few miles now, get our take on the bike after the break…
Barely being disguised by thin tape and subtle graphics, the new SRAM Red wireless electronic group is in full view at this year’s USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. We knew this was coming months ago when we discovered SRAM’s filed patents for wireless technology. As the first-ever wireless group moves its way through pre-production it has been test ridden by the Bissell Pro Cycling team since the beginning of this season. With the team relying solely on this new technology, and with no mechanical Red being used even as backup, the feedback from the riders is said to be all positive.
More news, insight from a Team Bissell rider, and way more pics after the break…And yes, now we know how the shifting works…
The Orbea Oiz first appeared under the Luna Chix pros as a 26” full suspension race rocket in 2012. From the beginning, it was made to be as efficient as possible, very light weight and just plain fast. In other words, to win races. World Cup races, to be exact. And it did, taking the podium top at Mont Saint Anne under Catherine Pendrel. And then she repeated a week later at Wyndham.
Even then, though, the cross country market was leaning heavily toward 29ers. Now it’s all but swung that way entirely, save for a slight intrusion of today’s hot wheel size, 27.5”, relegating 26” bikes to the entry level market, not the World Cup race level. So, the Oiz has been updated, taking advantage of Orbea’s BWC (Big Wheels Concept) to offer both wheel sizes. The 27.5” (650B) wheels will come on S/M/L size frames, and 29er will be on M/L/XL.
Beyond the wheels, the spirit of the bike has remained the same, but it does get retuned and tweaked to make the most of the new wheel sizes. That means it keeps the 95mm rear wheel travel, a number that was intentionally kept under 100mm so there was no confusion as to this bike’s purpose. You won’t be tempted to put anything more than a 100mm fork on it…
Bike Check: Aaron Gwin, Troy Brosnan, & the Specialized Downhill Factory Team – Plus Actual Weights!
Last week during the grand unveiling of the new Specialized Demo, we had the opportunity to discuss the development of the bike with the engineers, product managers, and industrial designers who designed it.
Also on hand where several of the professional athletes who helped dictate the new geometry, tested the suspension kinematics, and who will ultimately prove just how fast & hard these rigs are capable of being pushed.
Drop past the break to see how their race bikes are kitted out, and how much they weigh!
Like a song stuck in your head, the internal damping tune of your suspension is what makes it sing. So far, we’ve covered everything you can do yourself: Setting Sag (Part 1), dialing your compression (Part 2) and rebound (Part 3) damping, and adjusting air volume (Part 4). For the vast majority of riders, these user-friendly adjustments are going to get your mountain bike tackling the terrain like a champ.
But, as with anything made to work as well as possible across as broad a spectrum as possible, there’s always a chance it’s not going to work right for you. And if none of the other tricks worked, you could look at a new suspension fork or shock that has more adjustability built in. Or you could just order a new shock with a softer or firmer tune directly from Fox, Rockshox, Manitou, DT Swiss, Magura or whomever. That might be an easier solution then sending it off for custom tuning, but it would be missing the point.
“For a custom tune, we consider rider weight, riding style and, for rear shocks, the leverage ratio curve,” says Kevin Booth, founder of Suspension Experts. “The manufacturers don’t always have all of this information available to them, so it’s not possible to offer the perfect fork or shock out of the box. So while stock suspension comes out of a factory designed around an “average” sized rider, it has to be able to function for a rider that is anywhere from 100 lbs. to 300 lbs. It’s easy to see the opportunity to make it work better. To accommodate this broad range of potential riders, the external knobs tend to offer very coarse adjustments …swinging wildly from one extreme end of the adjustment range to the other. A suspension tuner’s job is to narrow that range of adjustment to work well for a particular bike (leverage ratio curve) and rider (weight).”
That means even a different stock tune is still going to be made to fit a very wide range of riders rather than you, specifically. So, how do you know when it’s time to look at a custom tune?