Posts in the category Feature

Interview: Alex Webster of Hermes Wheels


After years building custom wheels for one-off customers and small batch production partners, Alex Webster, founder of Hermes Sports, found himself limited by what he perceived to be a performance ceiling in the product he could make using existing hardware. From his years of industry exposure and experience in wheel-building, and with the help of an engineer friend, Alex has spent the last three years developing and testing the VK wheel system from the ground-up, and it’s finally on shelves and ready for consumers. And, according to Alex, the wheelset delivers on the road.

But an innovative new product isn’t the whole story. In parallel with the development and testing process for these wheels, Alex has worked to establish a domestic manufacturing network for his proprietary parts, as well as setting up assembly facility in downtown San Diego. For Alex, Hermes is not just an opportunity to produce the wheels he wants to ride and to see in the world, but it’s an opportunity to stimulate and support the local and domestic manufacturing infrastructure… READ MORE ->

EB15: 2016 Cannondale mountain bikes get bigger with FatCAAD fat bike, Bad Habit 27.5+ and Beast of the East

2016 Cannondale Bad Habit 275plus full suspension trail bike

The 120mm Habit was introduced just before Eurobike as a trail bike to fill in between their Trigger and Scalpel.

The new Bad Habit bumps things even bigger with plus sized tires and Boost rear spacing. The geometry and suspension kinematics stay the same as the regular Habit, they just made room for bigger rubber in the rear triangle. The crank spindle length and BB shell stays the same, too, but the chainring is offset to maintain proper chain line. It’ll fit up to 27.5 x 3.0 tires.

The Lefty 2.0 is standard, it accommodates the fatter tires just fine. It’s the monstrous new Lefty Olaf you wanna watch out for…


EB15: Rotor Uno hydraulic road group – first look & tech details!

Rotor Uno hydraulic shifting road bike group tech details and photos

Our discovery of Rotor’s hydraulic shifting patents turned out to be well timed, teeing up the group’s public debut nicely. Turns out, our technical breakdown of the groups functioning was nearly spot on, so we’ll recap:

By using a completely hydraulic system from the shift lever all the way to the derailleurs and putting the ratcheting mechanism on the derailleurs, Rotor was able to eliminate any slack from the line that could lead to loose shifting. The side benefits of such a system included lighter weight and plenty of functional improvements that simply can’t happen on a cable-driven or mechanical system.

The key to the system is precision and reliability. Hydraulics have been proven in everything from bicycles to airplanes to heavy industry, just not for bicycle shifting until now. Their motivation was to let customers looking at Rotor’s oval rings and lightweight alloy cranksets find an entire group with the same brand. Undoubtedly, it will also give them more opportunities to put the group on pro teams that may otherwise have to opt for SRAM, Shimano or Campagnolo groups simply because of sponsorship programs dictating complete group use. And they hinted we might see some major teams on the group very soon. But that can’t be enough to justify the heavy time, energy and financial commitment the development of such a product can draw from a company. So, it needs create demand based on its merits. Of which, there are quite a few.

Check out the cutaway photos and tech details below, along with new carbon chainrings, and new 1x rings for road and mountain…


SRAM RED eTAP Wireless – First Rides, testing protocols & predictions for the future

SRAM RED eTAP wireless shifting group first ride review

To celebrate the SRAM RED eTAP wireless shifting launch, they brought us to their drivetrain development office in Schweinfurt, Germany, for technical presentations and the very first public test rides anywhere.

We’ve covered the product tech, weights & setup here, now we’ll cover the lengthy testing procedure they underwent to ensure that the most anticipated launch in the company’s history is bombproof. And we’ll share thoughts after riding 145 miles (233km) over three days through the rolling hills surrounding their office.

The testing process started in the lab, progressed to employee and “super testers”, then smaller and regional teams, then finally to AG2R in the Tour Down Under and Tour de France. Here’s how it went…


SRAM RED eTAP unveiled – F1 inspired wireless paddle shifting is here!

SRAM Red eTAP wireless electronic shifting road bike group

What if you could throw everything out and build the perfect drivetrain from scratch? What would you change? What would you be forced to change to get around other’s patents? And did it have to follow convention, or could they do away with things that simply weren’t needed…like wires and cables?

That was both the challenge and the opportunity SRAM had when it began developing an electronic shifting system. The starting point was asking “what else shifts?” Their answer, at the most impressive level, was Formula One race cars, the fastest shifting machines in the world.

Now, after five long years of development, we know their answers: The SRAM Red eTAP electronic groupset is here…


EB15: Up Close with the Prototype Electronic Drivetrain from Metron or FSA

FSA metron electronic drivetrain prototype-10

The future is electric. After months of speculating over spy shots this summer of a certain prototype drivetrain, we were finally able to personally check out the new prototype electric group from FSA after it was first unveiled at the Tour. Well, technically it was shown at an FSA press conference, but we won’t be surprised if and when the group is unveiled that it falls under the Metron umbrella.

Even though we were able to photograph the group, FSA/Metron remained extremely tight lipped on the subject. Until we get more details, push the button to speculate away…


EB15: Magura Syncs Up New Wireless Electronic Vyron Dropper Post

Magura electronic wireless dropper post vyronDSC05001

We’ve been expecting a wireless dropper post for a while, but honestly we didn’t expect it to come from Magura. More than just vaporware, Magura is ramping up production of the new post and expects it to deliver by this fall. Even though it is the company’s first dropper post, Magura is swinging for the fences with the fully wireless, electronic controlled Vyron.

Because Magura had already done most of the legwork for the wireless transmission with their eLect lock out system for their forks and rear shocks, creating a wireless dropper post was a natural extension of the technology. In fact, the Vyron uses the same wireless remote as the eLect suspension allowing you to use one or the other – or both.

Checking in with a competitive weight and price, the Magura Vyron just may provide some serious competition to the other droppers out there…


Lauf’s Icelandic Headquarters – prototypes, testing, scenery & origin story


As the story goes, two good friends Benedikt Skulason and Gudberg Bjornsson were chatting over beers about how to use the pair’s industrial design and composites experience to do something more fun. The result was a complete rethink of the modern suspension fork, splitting the difference between lightweight rigid ones and short travel XC forks. In the two short years since the Lauf leaf spring fork debuted, they’ve been shipping every one they can make and growing distribution throughout the world. We’ve tested one and loved it, too.

To introduce the Boost 110mm version of the Trail Racer 29er fork, which saw slight design updates alongside the wider axle accommodation, Lauf brought us to their Reykjavik, Iceland, headquarters for a tour followed by some amazing riding throughout the country.

Two of the most striking ornaments in their office were these first generation test mules, designed to prove the concept before making the jump to composites…


EB15: Pivot Speeds Up Mach 6 with New Aluminum and Carbon Models


Team rider Aaron Chase spotted out on his new aluminum Mach 6 scouting for new trails.

Aluminum. Typically the word is associated with affordability more than high-performance, but for Pivot’s newest mountain – bike being more affordable is only part of the story. Earlier this year, while taking a tour of Pivot’s headquarters in Tempe, Arizona we were shown a few sections of aluminum tubing. These pieces of metal stood out for their impressive use of hydroforming and while we weren’t told what they would be for, we were told we could expect something new around Eurobike.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, check out the all new Pivot Mach 6 Aluminum. There is also a new Pivot Mach 6 Carbon which is worthy of excitement in its own right, but we have a feeling that the aluminum model might be more exciting for many readers since the use of metal for the frame will save you $1000 on the frameset and $1200 on the least expensive complete bike. Stuffed with many of the features you will find on the carbon Mach 6, the aluminum bike may have you reconsidering alloy frames…