Posts in the category Feature

Project Disc Cross: Ritchey WCS Cross Disc fork and aluminum WCS cockpit – Long-term test


Last week we took a look at a project bike which had been upgraded to disc brakes last winter for cyclocross season, before it got to spend the warmer weather all-around gravel and trail exploring. The bike served to give us the chance to torture test the SRAM Red Hydro R group that we reviewed last week. It’s also become a test mule for things like chainrings, tires, and different wheelsets, with more tests with it on the way. This time though, we focus on the one component that started the disc-brake conversion in the first place, the full carbon Ritchey WCS Disc Cross fork that we first spotted in Taipei. Then, since we’ve been happy with Ritchey Logic components on other personal bikes, we were happy to add a WCS cockpit to the bike by way of a Vector saddle and WCS aluminum seatpost, stem, and handlebars. Join us after the break for a walk-through of the disc brake conversion and our detailed piece-by-piece thoughts on the individual components…


IB15: Kopin Solos looks forward with miniature heads up display for cycling sunglasses

Kopin Solos heads up display cycling sunglasses

Kopin, a brand calling themselves the world’s leading supplier of wearables and micro displays, has primarily focused on high end and military applications for many years.

More recently, as the cost of those displays has come down, they’ve found ways to commercialize those displays with some of the 3D virtual reality headsets making their way to market. For athletes, that also includes products like the Recon Jet, for which which they made the screen.

As these consumer products started taking off, they asked themselves “What are the changes in user behavior around devices?”

The answer would help them adapt the devices to modern users. That meant smaller sizes and better battery life. And for most folks, it meant their smartphone was tagging along for the ride. So, they could focus not on recreating a miniature computer, but on their their specialty: Micro displays.

The result is Vista, which is about one quarter the size of anything else out there. And they’re putting it on their new Solos sunglasses…


IB15: Coast Cycles Goes Fat for the Streets, Starts Wave of 26+?

coast bikes ruckus fat bike plus fun bikes (2)

Every year at the show, there is one brand that we haven’t heard of, or heard little of, that really catches our eye. This year, for me that brand was Coast Cycles from Singapore. Not because any their bikes were necessarily groundbreaking in technology, but because every bike they brought had great design and looked like it would be a ton of fun to ride.

Some bikes, like the Ruckus above are really meant for nothing but fun. However, other bikes like their award-winning Quinn cargo bike manage to blend fun and utility in a package that has to be seen or ridden to believe…


Project Disc Cross: SRAM Red Hydro R WiFLi groupset – Long-term test


Midway through cyclocross season last year we undertook a project to rebuild a lugged steel cyclocross bike, with the idea of upgrading it to disc brakes. Our rationale was both to see how feasible the process would be and to compare the ride of a modernized traditional steel bike with some of the high-end disc brake cyclocross bikes that come through our office. The impetus of the project was probably the availability of the new Ritchey WCS Disc Cross fork with its all-carbon construction and straight 1 1/8″ steerer. Without that fork the bike would probably have not seen this new life (and we will review it in full, next week), but the other big push was to put in a solid amount of time on the updated SRAM Red HydroR groupset after it was overhauled following its rocky start. For a bike that was going to see a lot of types of riding in a mix of conditions the WiFLi configuration of Red22 promised to get us over hill and dale.

Come with us across the break for a full breakdown of the group and our thoughts on how the project bike and SRAM group have fared from last autumn until cross season begins again…


IB15: Moots Shows off New YBB+ Mountaineer Bike Packing Machine, New Carbon Fork and… New OWNER!

Moots YBB n stuff-6

Photos c. Moots

Moots surprised us with a couple of new items, but nothing grabbed our attention more than the YBB+ Mountaineer bike packing rig… well, the change in ownership is a pretty big deal too, but it sounds like a solid move for a steadily growing company.

Blaze a path past the break to see what Moots has packed away and see what Moots has to say about the changeover…


IB15: Talking Enduro Shoes with Cédric Gracia, Plus Michelin Treads and Reflective Shoes from Northwave

northwave cedric gracia enduro shoe michelin rubber sole

As one of the most recognizable figures in mountain biking, Cédric Gracia knows his way around a bike. The downhill, 4x, Rampage, and all around mountain bike rider and racer has now turned his attention to the world of Enduro. Given his years of experience, Cédric can be pretty demanding when it comes to his equipment, so changing his footwear sponsor to him was a pretty big deal. Cédric mention that at first, he was a little unsure of what to expect, but after the first meeting with everyone involved, he knew it was going to be exactly what he wanted in a shoe…


Niner RKT9 full suspension race 29er is a real boost-er rocket to their future

2016 Niner RKT 9 rocket 29er race full suspension mountain bike

This isn’t just a new bike. The Niner RKT9 is the culmination of the past five years of component, tech and rider changes. Bear with me – the development story for it does more than just explain why the RKT9 came to be.

Spec options and standards have changed rapidly over the past couple years, making it both exciting and vexing for anyone looking to upgrade their bike or major components like suspension forks or wheels.

Take suspension forks, which have trickled big fork stiffness to weights of traditionally less stiff XC forks. Think RS-1, or using a Fox 34 and Rockshox Pike with just 120mm travel. Out back, the new Fox DPS shocks have added actual, discernible change to its compression damping.

And 1x drivetrains have simply taken over thanks to wide range cassettes, clutch rear derailleurs and narrow/wide chainrings making them work exceptionally well for a wide range of conditions and riders. It’s also let frame builders to do things they simply couldn’t do with double or triple chainrings.

Even more than 1x drivetrains, Boost 148 opens up a lot of options on the frame, letting designers use shorter chainstays and bigger tire clearance. It also means drastically stiffer wheels, making 29er wheel deflection equal to a 26” wheel.

Put it all together and you get something that represents the future of Niner’s mountain bikes…


IB15: Edco goes full carbon in more ways than one, drops prices for one-piece cassettes

2016 Edco Supersport Julier full carbon spoke bicycle wheel

Amidst the new monoblock cassette options for juniors and mountain bikes launched at the Taipei show earlier this year, Edco hinted (with prototype in hand) that they’d soon switch from using Reynold’s carbon rims to their own design. Now, that’s come to fruition and they’ve switched all of their carbon rims to full carbon – no more alloy brake tracks.

They say the new carbon brake track stops just as well as alloy in wet and dry with their own brake pads, which ship with the wheels. How? There are no special materials in the brake track, it’s all in the way it’s constructed and a combination of their ITL (Integrated Low Temp) braking surface with high Tg resin and the pad material.

Alongside those changes are new disc brake options for many of the wheels and their really-and-truly full carbon new wheels that were developed specifically for the new Sapim CX-Carbon spokes…


Prototype Ohlins fork cartridges & universal coil-over shock spotted, complete forks coming

prototype Ohlins damper cartridge for Rockshox Pike and Boxxer forks

There’ve been a lot of rumors around Ohlins’ mountain bike products, stirred up largely by social media posts from European distributors. The latest teaser comes from a bike placed in Hope Tech’s Eurobike booth adorned with an as yet unseen coil rear shock and fork damping cartridge slid into a Rockshox Pike.

We reached out to Ohlins USA’s marketing and MTB manager, Jeff Baucom, for details. But first, a little primer on Ohlins’ damping technologies and how they’ve been applied to mountain bikes:

Their damping systems come in two flavors. The TTX is a twin tube system with an inner and out tube and oil flows between the two and is regulated by a check valve. It’s found on their coil-over rear shocks only for mountain bikes (moto and auto is another story). The STX, which is what’s found in their TTR air shock, is a single tube system and works by pushing oil through a more traditional damping circuit.