Posts in the category Feature

Review: Absolute Black XX1-Style Cyclocross Single Narrow-Wide Chainring

absolute black xx1 style cyclocross single narrow wide chainring review and actual weights

Absolute Black’s XX1-style narrow/wide chainring for cyclocross is an appealing option. It’s light, it’s pretty and it uses a common 110BCD mounting pattern. It also has their excellent tooth profiles, which we’ve been pretty happy with across several different bikes and chainrings.

My CX chainring came in at the tail end of last ‘cross season, so it spent beginning of the year getting abused at the last of our local NCCX races. After that, it spent the spring and summer bring ridden around town, through gravel paths and along for some random ‘cross training rides. All the while keeping the chain perfectly intact and rolling smooth.

I installed it on my Moots with an otherwise Ultegra Di2 6770 group, swapping out the double crankset for a standard 110BCD FSA SL-K carbon crankset. This was done mainly for aesthetics, matching the black chainring to a black crankset with more traditionally shaped bolt arms. But also to test the Chris King PFBB with a true BB30 crankset, more on that separately.

The system kept the original Shimano DynaSys 10-speed chain, which has held up admirably well to several years of use on my ‘cross bike. It also kept the rear derailleur set up in it’s stock configuration. Marcin, AB’s founder, strongly recommended that I increase the return spring’s tension, but I wanted to test it as-is first. Here’s how it all went…

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Hands On with the New Sony Action Cam Mini – It’s all in the Wrist

Sony Action Cam Mini camera  (12)

Let’s be real for a moment. You can have the most feature packed action camera around, but if it isn’t easy to use you’ll end up with a bunch of boring footage that’s probably either of the ground or the sky. The introduction of the smart phone app and wireless capabilities was a huge step forward in terms of being able to properly capture the actual action, but they still leave things to be desired – connecting can be troublesome, and you still have to do something with your smartphone once you start riding. To keep you from having to constantly dig into your bag to fish out your phone, many cameras are paired with wrist or handlebar mounted remotes that allows you to control the recording.

Even so, wouldn’t it be more convenient if the same functions were available in a single wrist mounted remote?

That seems to be what Sony is thinking and is exactly what they offer with the new Action Cam Mini AZ1. In addition to the live view remote, the camera is 30% smaller than the original AS20 and the replacement AS100V. The smaller size means you can stick it just about anywhere to create some creative videos while simultaneously controlling it from your wrist. Sony brought us out to Northern New Jersey for a crash course in the new camera which included mountain bikes, mountain coasters, and even archery.

After just a day playing with the Action Cam Mini, we can’t help but think GoPro has some serious competition…

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Found: Brilliant Two-Chamber Pad Contact Adjust Concept for Hydraulic MTB Brake Levers

tien hsin industries hydraulic disc brake free stroke adjustment design patent for mountain bike brake levers

Free stroke is the term used to describe how much lever pull you have on a hydraulic braking system before the pads actually start moving toward the rotor. Higher end brakes from most brands have a pad contact adjustment to let you dial in the free stroke, and the good ones actually provide a discernible effect. Avid has it, as do Shimano, Magura, Hayes, FSA, Formula, etc.

And all of them use a design that places the adjustment components inline with the fluid’s flow from the master cylinder into the hose. It’s worked so far, so what could possibly be wrong with that design?

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EB14: Koga Unveils Road Disc & 40th Anniversary Kimera Road Pro – Plus Amazing Original Shimano Dura-Ace Retro Builds!

2015 Koga Solacio Disc Brake Road Bike

For 2015, the Koga Solacio road bike will get a hydraulic disc brake model. It’s the one they’ve used to tease their new flat mounts with, and it’s finished off with the new Mavic Aksium disc brake wheels, an Ultegra compact group and Vredestein Fortrezza Duo Comp 25mm tires.

The bike is laid out for endurance racing, combining a lightweight frame with slightly relaxed geometry. All the usual modern standards are here: PFBB30 and tapered headtube, plus a chainsuck preventer behind the cranks.

Even more impressive was the collection of anniversary road bikes leading up to the all-new 40th anniversary Kimera Road Pro. The oldest, a Miyata Road Pro raced in 1981, was decked out with original first generation Dura-Ace, a group that had far more parts to it then than the modern iteration does. In between was a 25th anniversary build, all fitting neatly together since Koga (’74) and Shimano Dura-Ace (’73) almost share a birth year…

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Factory Tour: Seattle Based Hampsten Cycles Builds Steel, Ti, And Now Carbon

hampsten cycles fabrication shop

While Oregon seems to be mecca for custom frame building, there is no shortage of exemplary builders located throughout out the North West. For those in Seattle, one of the best options is Hampsten Cycles. Over the fifteen years they’ve been in business, their frame construction has been subcontracted out to various industry luminaries including Kent Eriksen, Parlee, and Moots, but they’ve recently brought everything under one roof.

Today, all Hampsten Cycle frames are built in house by Max Kullaway, who has welded thousands of frames for high profile builders including Merlin and Seven Cycles, and fabricates his own bikes under the name 333Fab

During a recent trip through the PNW, I stopped by their small workshop to get a closer look at some of the beautiful bikes Hamspten cycles produces from a two car garage in a quiet residential neighborhood in Northern Seattle.

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First Ride: LifeBEAM’s Helmet Mounted Optical Heart Rate Monitor – Weights, Tech Updates & More!

LifeBEAM Smart Bicycle Helmet with integrated optical heart rate monitor and ant+ bluetooth 4 wireless data transmission

Introduced last year as an IndieGoGo project, LifeBEAM’s helmet-integrated heart rate monitor has not only made it into production, it’s been improved to include dual transmission to work with more devices.

Built around an optical sensor also used in military, hospital and sports watch applications, heart rate is measured by bouncing light off the skin and measuring the reflectivity to determine raw heart rate. The built in processor at the back of the helmet converts that data into a cleaner HR signal, accounting for movement and other “noise”, then broadcasts it over both Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ simultaneously.

Compared to a chest strap, LifeBEAM’s optical solution works instantly and flawlessly…no need to keep a moist layer between a physical contact point and your skin like with traditional heart rate straps. It’s also far more convenient, particularly if you’re like me and only remember said strap once fully dressed and ready to roll.

Click through to see how it works, tech details and why it’s only getting better…

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New Multiplayer Online Cycling Game Zwift Revolutionizes Indoor Training

Zwift-Indoor-Online-Cycling-Game-1

Riding indoors sucks, but a new startup called Zwift is looking to change all that. The company has created a massive multiplayer online game which allows riders from around the world to meet and ride together in an immersive 3D world.

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Bike Check: Hector Picard of Don’t Stop Living

Hector-Picard-Bike-Check-1
Hector Picard is an athlete. He has participated in 4 Ironmans and is a competitive triathlete. He’s also a double amputee. Yet those physical limitations have never kept him from kicking ass and taking names.

A few months ago Hector came onto my radar when he filmed a YouTube video demonstrating how he changes tires with only his feet. He had to learn the technique so he could race, but was using it in this case so that he could pedal unsupported cross country to raise funds for a child whose parents couldn’t afford prosthetics.

I spotted him outside of the Mandalay Convention Hall as the Interbike tradeshow was closing for the evening and asked if I could snap a few pictures of his bike. Take a closer look at his custom setup after the break.

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Battle of the Enduro Bro Kit – Fanny Pack Shootout!

BikeRumor Enduro Fanny Pack Comparison

Fanny packs. If enduro wasn’t already the lamest marketing trend since 27.5″ wheels, the ass backwards 80′s fanny pack has suddenly reared its ugly head in some misguided sort of pseudo euro fashion statement. Damn it.

I absolutely adore my hydration pack in the way that one can only love an inanimate object they’ve carried for innumerable hours. That trusty bag has served as a makeshift pillow, hangover companion, beer tote, and trail buddy for years, yet now some reformed downhillers with moto envy have decided they’re uncool, so it’s suddenly time to trade that relationship in for a water bottle, some electrical tape, and a nylon murse.

Yet it’s our duty to report on the latest and greatest coming and goings of the industry, so since Tyler is a roadie, and Zach only rides fat bikes, I was somehow conned (I suspect alcohol may have been involved) into running an enduro bro fanny pack battle off. Yay me.

So, do you even enduro, bro?

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