Posts in the category Feature

Suspension Setup Series #3: Set Compression & Rebound to Maximize Traction

Bikerumor how to set up your mountain bike suspension guide for maximum performance - rebound and compression damping tips

In Part One, we discussed sag, which puts your suspension in the right position, setting the stage for good performance. In Part Two, we talked about low speed compression and the various “platform” settings available on modern forks and shocks, recommending you try them wide open to fully utilize all that R&D that went into them in the first place.

For Part Three, we’ve once again turned to Duncan Riffle (Rockshox PR manager & 2x U.S. DH Champ), Mark Fitzsimmons (Fox’s pro athlete suspension tuner), Eric Porter (veteran pro mountain biker, Manitou test athlete) and Josh Coaplen (Cane Creek’s VP of engineering).

As a quick primer, your compression and rebound circuits control the motion of the suspension by controlling the rate of movement. Without it, you’d basically be riding a pogo stick. They do this by forcing oil through an orifice, and the size of that hole controls the speed at which the oil flows through it. Smaller holes mean slower oil flow, which means more damping. Bigger holes mean less damping, which equals faster movement. There are two types of control over hole size. Usually for low speed, you have a fixed port size with a needle or some other barrel that opens or closes access to that port in steps. High speed compression is typically handled with a spring or shim stack holding a seal over larger ports. With enough force, the shims flex or the spring is compressed and the ports are opened, letting more oil flow through to handle big hits. The strength of the shims/spring dictates the amount of force required to flex them. Your particular fork or shock may operate differently, but the principle is the same: Control oil flow and you control the rate of compression or rebound.

Here’s how to use that to your advantage and help keep the rubber on the trail…

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Bike Check: Greg LeMond’s Mavic Equipped 1989 TVT Carbon

Greg Lemond 1989 tour TVT carbon mavic bike (2)

It seems fitting that right after getting to see Greg LeMond’s TVT Carbon race bike at the Mavic 125th Anniversary presentation, that ESPN would air their 30 for 30 program titled Slaying the Badger. Now, as the only clean Tour de France winner from the United States, LeMond holds an even greater place in American cycling history, though there are many who knew that all a long. In addition to being the first American to win the Tour, Greg was also one of the first to use carbon fiber with his 1986 win against Bernard “the Badger” Hinault being carbon’s first.

On special loan to the Mavic Yellow house for the event, Greg’s 1989 winning TVT carbon bike was his return to the peloton after nearly being killed in a hunting accident. In addition to the revolutionary carbon fiber tubes bonded to aluminum lugs, Greg’s bike was also outfitted with Mavic wheels and a Mavic drivetrain which was a major departure from the overwhelming use of Campagnolo at the time. As the story goes, LeMond went on to beat Laurent Fignon by just 8 seconds after an amazing time trial where Greg finished 58 seconds ahead on the final stage.

The rest as they say, is history. But you can check out Greg’s bike after the break…

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Review: Lapierre Zesty 327, The Budget 650B Ripper

Lapierre Zesty 327 (11)In San Francisco, $2,900 is one months rent in a small studio apartment in a semi-gentrified portion of downtown. Elsewhere, that small fortune could net you a reliable economy car with sufficient miles on the odometer to have circumnavigated the world a half dozen times.

Yet in the strange world of cycling, that tidy figure seems paltry compared to the cost of this years latest crop of enduro wonder bikes. Since those bikes are often only within the reach of dentists, lawyers, and trust fund babies, today we’ve turned our focus to something a little more attainable.

The Lapierre Zesty 327 is a 150mm travel bike that retails for “only” $2,900, but shares an Enduro World Series proven pedigree.

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2015 Trek Bikes Sneak Peek – New Road, Adventure & Mountain Bikes Coming!

2015-Trek-Emonda-lightest-road-bike

As this post goes live, the North American iteration of TrekWorld 2014 is kicking off, showing all 2015 bikes to dealers. Official info and images will be coming soon, but we couldn’t wait to give you a quick look at some of the highlights for their ’15 range.

Starting with their biggest road news of the year, the ultralight Emonda greeted everyone with a hanging sculpture of prototype and test frames dangling above the flagship SLR 10. If you recall, that bike has a 10.25lb claimed weight, which comes with the title of World’s Lightest Production Road Bike.”

UPDATE: Part Two posted here.

Roll on for pics and words…

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Just In: NOX Composites AM-275 Carbon Wheels

Nox Composites AM 275 650b carbon wheel  (8)

By this point, there is a good chance you’ve heard of NOX composites. Founded in 2012 by two engineers and based in Tennessee, NOX wanted to offer the benefits of carbon wheels but at prices more riders could afford. Unlike some of the cheaper carbon options, NOX rims are their own design which allows them not only to create what they feel is the best performing rim, but oversee quality control as well.

As their first 27.5” rim, the AM-275 jumps right in with a full Enduro build that’s in line with current rim trends. The tubeless compatible carbon rims feature a hookless bead design and an asymmetric offset for better spoke tension. At roughly half the price of the Enve gold (carbon?) standard, how will the NOX AM-275s compare?

Initial weigh in and details, next…

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Rockshox RS-1 Inverted XC Suspension Fork – First Impressions & Actual Weights

Rockshox RS-1 inverted suspension fork review and actual weights

If you want to turn the mountain bike suspension world upside down, just create a fork that flips convention on its head, uses proprietary parts and price it into the unobtanium range.

That’s exactly what Rockshox has done with the RS-1. Introduced in April, they just finally became available about a month ago and I’ve been hammering it nonstop ever since. It combines Rockshox’s well regarded current damper technology with a massively stiff design and reasonably light weight, and, fortunately, it’s performance seems justify its rocking of the boat.

To put these first impressions into perspective, it’s important to clarify the brand’s goals for the RS-1. Being a cross country race item, weight was among them to be sure, but it wasn’t the biggest target. That would be performance, and it was tackled in two ways: Suspension tune and handling. The latter is the most noticeable difference by far. Not only does it set the bar for XC forks to come, it sets it really, really high. It’s easy to make a fork massively stiff by increasing stanchion diameter and beefing it up. To do it in a lightweight, XC race ready frame that feels like something much bigger is incredibly impressive. They also wanted to give it an race specific tune. Cross country competitors are notorious for damping the life out of their suspension in a misguided effort to make it more efficient, so Rockshox used this opportunity to tune the compression damping in a way that didn’t flop about under sprints but could still soak up trail chatter to maintain traction. When the fork can stay in contact with the ground without robbing the rider’s energy, that’s the real definition of efficiency, and their new Accelerator Damper seems to do just that.

Ready to race?

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Suspension Setup Series #2 – Run It Wide Open…Mostly.

Bikerumor Suspension Setup Series shows how to properly tune your mountain bike fork and shock

For as long as there’ve been multi-mode rear shocks with some manner of pedal platform, I’ve been trying to set up my shock for optimum performance in “Pedal” mode. My thinking was, by running it in the middle setting, I could keep the shock ready for anything. Switch it one way to climb and the other to descend. In reality, that might just have been limiting the performance of the shock, not letting me get the most out of it.

Since all manufacturers suggest setting sag with the shock and fork in full open (or Descend, etc.) mode, it stands to reason you’re setting it up to perform best in that position, right? We asked Duncan Riffle (SRAM MTB marketing manager and former 2x Nat’l DH Champ), Eric Porter (veteran pro MTB’r, now riding for Manitou), Mark Fitzsimmons (Fox Racing Shox’s pro athlete suspension tuner) and Josh Coaplen (Cane Creek’s VP of engineering).

First up, a little clarification of what exactly we’re talking about: When you’re setting your fork or shock to a particular mode (open, descend, trail, pedal, climb, whatever), you’re changing the low speed compression. For Fox forks, that means anything in the zero to five inches per second compression speed. Other brands are likely similar. This affects the suspension’s performance when you’re braking (at the fork), pedaling hard or while standing, railing corners and rollers and anything else that’s not a quick hit or hard landing. Those quicker, bigger hits are controlled by your high speed compression, and most products out there have fixed high speed circuits that are not easily user tunable. Cane Creek’s Double Barrel is the obvious exception.

We started this series with a look at setting your sag properly in Part One, now it’s time to tune those compression settings…

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2015 Sneak Peek: Raleigh Brings Back Steel, New Willard Gravel Bike, New Women’s MTB, and More!

©Earl Harper

It’s been great to see Raleigh reborn over the past few years, and our little glance into the future indicates they have no plans of slowing down any time soon. In 2014, the brand took a break from their steel classics series, but for 2015 they’re back. Not only is the company bringing Chromoly back, but the new bikes include bigger tires, more tire clearance, new geometry, and even a Ritchey Break-Away model at $2100 (above). In addition to a number of new options in steel, Raleigh is expanding their “gravel” line with the all new Willard – an aluminum version of the Tamland that’s both lighter and more affordable.

On the mountain bike side the Skarn full suspension bikes are in production now and will range from $2,500 to $4,000. Raleigh is also introducing a new price point, single pivot 27.5″ full suspension bike which starts at just $1,000. There’s even new women’s specific mountain bikes designed with input from Caroline Mani and Courtney McFadden. Raleigh has definitely been busy lately and the new product looks to be ideal for many – quality bikes with great design, that won’t break the bank.

Details on a few of the highlights, next…

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Graffiti Meets Aluminum and Carbon — The Artistic Collaboration Of Kinesis, Morvélo, & Aroe

Kinesis Aithein, Morvélo, & Aroe - Graffiti Art - Non Drive Side

Cycling is an art form and at times this is the literal truth. In this case the art is a collaboration between UK bike manufacturer Kinesis, clothing company Morvélo Bicycle Apparel, and renown graffiti artist Aroe. Kinesis’ Aithein frame and fork, plus a set of Reynolds Attack rims, were all handed over to the street-artist as a blank canvas. See more of the stunning results, next…

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