Posts in the category Feature

Interview: Michael Kelley Advocates for E-Bikes On The Trails

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As a co-founder of IMBA and as Vice President of that organization until 1999, Michael played the strong diplomat in establishing use rights for mountain bikes first in California, then abroad. He helped to establish the argument for bicycles by working hand-in-hand with hiking and equestrian groups as well as state and federal spaces that strongly felt that mechanical advantage had no place on trails. Simultaneously, he helped to develop educational programs for trail users, personally posting “Rules of the Trail” at trailheads, so this new mountain biker trail user would have a code of conduct. He has spent countless hours since the early 80’s personally building and maintaining trails across the west. His life’s work advocating for mountain bikes won him induction into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2002.

Now 72, Michael has taken on a new role in advocating for bicycles – electric bicycles, which he views as the newest technology that can bring new people to the trail to enjoy the outdoors and to enjoy the ride as he has. And, as someone who initially argued for mechanical advantage use on trails for mountain bikes, he believes there is a case to be made for these motor assisted vehicles… READ MORE ->

Long Term Review: Zipp SL Sprint & SL Aero handlebar, stem and seatpost

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

Over the past couple of years, Zipp has reworked their handlebar shapes to accommodate just about any preference you may have, and their stem and seatpost line runs the gamut from oversized carbon to minimalist alloy. If you’re the type that likes to match their wheels to the rest of the bits on their bike, there are few other brands that offer the complete assortment as Zipp. While I don’t have their wheels yet, I do like having a matched cockpit. I’ve also become a fan of aero parts, so I pieced together the Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar with their carbon SL Sprint stem and SL Speed seatpost.

Sure, the shape of a handlebar is a highly personal choice. But design quality, performance and easy of use are traits we can all appreciate. And once a properly stiff stem is in place, the weak spots in others becomes much more apparent. As for the seatpost, well, there were some limitations as to what I could feel with that one, but the technical pros and cons were readily apparent…

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Trailcraft kids mountain bike – unboxed, weighed & first impressions

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After experimenting with kids bikes from Specialized (20″) and Raleigh (24″) for my son, I wanted to get my daughter on something better and lighter. It’s not that those other bikes were bad, they certainly got him out on the trail and are worlds better than what’s sold at big box stores, but they’re heavy. And with retail pricing around $200 to $500, the component spec included a lot of imprecise stamped steel parts.

Then Trailcraft came on the scene and saved Cameron from another hand me down.

Built around a premium 7005-series alloy frame and custom 24″ Stan’s NoTubes Crest wheels and Schwalbe tires, Trailcraft’s Pineridge 24 starts off with a killer foundation for a legitimate mountain bike to get your kiddies off to a rippin’ good start…

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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

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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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