Posts in the category Feature

Specialized Clips Into new Era of Trail Mountain Bike Shoes with 2FO Cliplite


Photo c. Carson Blume/Specialized

In the grand scheme of mountain biking equipment, if there’s one area that has lagged behind in terms of options, in my opinion it would have to be shoes. Like a large portion of my riding buddies and the riding population, most of my riding fits in somewhere between XC and what we would now refer to as Enduro. According to industry lingo that would more or less fall under the “Trail” umbrella. Ever since I started mountain biking in the mid-90s, most riding shoes have typically been either too race-y for my liking or at the other end of the spectrum with a bulky shape and more protection than I really need.

Fortunately, along with the stratification of mountain biking has come an increased focus on what different types of riders expect from their equipment. The same thing that works for an XC racer is going to be very different than the needs of a recreational trail rider, and so on, and so on… Specialized certainly is not the first company to capitalize on this trend towards diversification, but they too wanted a shoe that was better suited to fast trail riding. Not quite Enduro/DH, not quite XC, with their latest footwear offering, Specialized is honing in on the perfect mix of Trail pedaling performance, walkability, and protection.

A natural extension to the 2FO footwear line, the 2FO Clip Lite could be considered the mutant offspring of the 2FO Clip and the S-Works XC shoes  – a shoe that is light and comfortable enough for all day epics, but still burly enough for when the trail gets rowdy…


Destination Trail: Specialized Introduces All New Camber with a Brain


Photo c. Carson Blume/Specialized

One of the raddest things about mountain biking is how the sport can be so many things to just as many different people. However, even with all of the different styles of riding most of us have the same end goal – to get out on the trail. Usually it doesn’t matter what or where that trail is, just that we get out there with enough free time to relax and take it all in.

That spirit is exactly what Specialized is hoping to capture with their new mountain bike launches. Tagging them as #destinationtrail, to Specialized this is why mountain bikes exist. Graeagle, CA was chosen to not only highlight their newest model, but also tell the story of the sport. Basically, if you think of mountain biking in an idyllic setting – this would be it.

After pedaling straight from the Gray Eagle lodge onto the trails (if you need a bike you can rent a Specialized from Howling Dogs Bike and Ski), the reasoning behind the choice of venue was instantly apparent. Just a short drive from the world famous Downieville downhill, Graeagle and the Lakes Basin area is home to a rapidly growing trail network that was a perfect backdrop to introduce the new Specialized Camber…


New Eddy Merckx Strasbourg 71 Gravel Bike celebrates stage win in style


For 2016, Eddy Merckx bicycles continues its homage to Eddy’s plethora of victories. Their latest is a rather fine looking  gravel bike named Strasbourg 71 after the location of Eddy’s stage victory in the 1971 Tour de France over Roger de Vlaeminck, a great champion and cyclocross specialist, on a gravel road surface with a well-timed bike throw. It was the second stage of what’s considered by some to be the most exciting Tour de France in history. After joining an early breakaway that held their place in front of the peloton for more than 100km, Merckx and Vlaeminck were in position. They sprinted, and Merckx came around him at the end to take the stage and maintain his yellow jersey. While he would lose it throughout that year’s Tour for a bit, ultimately it added another notch to his belt.

Now, about that bike…


TDF2015 Tech: Look Cycles puts Bretagne Seche team on all-new time trial bike

2016 Look Cycles TT aero road bike at tour de france 2015 for Bretagne-Seche pro team

Look Cycles had an all-new TT bike ready for Team Bretagne-Seche for the Grand Depart individual time trial of the 2016 Tour de France here in Utrecht, Netherlands. It’s so new, that according to one of their distributors, it doesn’t even have a name yet, but word is it’s replacing the 596 as the brand’s TT/Triathlon bike.

The graphics were done to match team cars (though we didn’t see any quite this audacious), which did a fantastic job of calling attention to it. As with other Look frames, there’s a lot of integration on board with some clever touches to minimize drag. The official debut is likely at Eurobike in August, but we’ve got quite a few details here…


Interview: Don’t Call Them A Sellout, Santa Cruz Bikes Joins Pon Holding Group

Santa Cruz Factory Tour (22)
Santa Cruz Bicycles sold yesterday. They sold to a a Dutch company called Pon Holdings, which also owns Cervelo, Focus, and several other lesser known cycling brands.

As many media outlets have alluded, co-founders Rob Roskopp and Rich Novak probably made out like bandits, but there’s more to the story then just that.

So why sell? Why now? Why to these people? To learn a little bit more about the how and why, I reached out to Joe Graney, the Chief Operating Officer of Santa Cruz Bikes. READ MORE ->

PC15: GT Grade Gets Cross and Flat Bar Builds, New Women’s Grade and Mountain Line, More

GT road gravel path womensIMG_7957

While the mountain side of GT was keeping busy with the 25th anniversary of the Zaskar, the pavement/gravel/dirt side of the brand is carrying on where the Grade left off. Building on the success of the Triple Triangle all-road machine, GT is launching a few new build options that will make the bike even more versatile.

Even though the Grade technicaly wasn’t built for cross, the bike is still plenty capable of making its way around a CX course and now there will be a build ideally suited for just that. Called the Grade X, the SRAM Rival X 1x bike is meant to fit in somewhere between a dedicated cross racer and a fast gravel/dirt road bike. Joining it is a women’s Grade as well as new women’s mountain bike line with another version of the Zaskar Comp…


PC15: GT Celebrates 25 Years of the Zaskar with Carbon 27.5 Hardtail, Updates Full Suspension bikes

GT Mountian bikes 2016 GT mountain bikesIMG_7886

If you remember the launch of the original GT Zaskar, prepare to start wondering where all that time went – with the 2016 model the famous GT Triple Triangle hard tail will be 25 years old. GT even brought in the legend Hans ‘No Way’ Rey (who is about to celebrate 30 years with GT) to talk about the early days and development of the bike. As Hans puts it, he remembers the first experiments with aluminum which was quite a learning curve for the bike’s designers. After nearly two years of development, the first Zaskar was launched in 1991.

Called one of the first true do-it-all mountain bikes, the Zaskar achieved cult status as a bullet proof frame that became the only bike to ever win a World Cup in downhill, XC, slalom, and trials, all on the same production bike. We’re guessing the days of that being a possibility are long gone. While the times may have changed, the heart of the Zaskar is still intact. With the 25th anniversary build, GT wanted to capture the spirit of a bike that can do just about everything from aggressive trail to XC racing…


PC15: MIPS Equipped Smith Overtake and Forefront Helmets Now Available, Company Headed to Portland

Smith Forefront MIPS mtb helmetSmithIMG_8082

Unless you’re completely new to bicycle helmet technology, by now you’re probably familiar with MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) and other methods of rotational impact mitigation. The thought is that while bicycle helmets have protected against straight impacts, they haven’t done much in the way of protecting the brain from rotational forces which are pretty common in most crashes.

One of the biggest players in the new protection game, MIPS is becoming easier and easier to find on helmets from most of your favorite brands. While Smith announced their MIPS equipped line a bit ago, they are just now becoming available – mostly due to the amount of customization they wanted for their low friction layer. As it turns out, not all MIPS helmets are created equal…


Cannondale Slate gravel road bike ready to hit the dirt – details & actual weights!

2016 Cannondale Slate gravel adventure road bike with new Lefty Oliver fork

It’s been teased with two different videos (here and here), which gave up plenty of details, but now we’ve got hands on the new Cannondale Slate gravel/adventure road bike bike with the new Lefty Oliver suspension fork.

The alloy frame is basically what we’ve expected from video, but there are a few surprises. First, the basics: It uses 650B wheels, which gives them plenty of hubs and wheels to choose from. It borrows plenty from the new SuperSix EVO and CAAD12 alloy road bikes, getting the asymmetric stays and wider BB, plus a worked over set of seat and chainstays to give it plenty of cush in the back to match the 30mm of Lefty suspension up front…