Posts in the category Feature

Review: Litespeed Li2 Green Machine

Litespeed Li2 review

It’s been nearly 12 years since Litespeed started working with carbon fiber, and even though the brand is currently selling more carbon frames than titanium domestically, they still seem to be known as the Ti company. Since the beginning, Litespeed has always set out to make the best bike possible no matter the material. With titanium, the challenge was to take aerospace grade ti tubing and to turn it into bike specific tubesets to create high end bikes. Eventually, the cold worked shaped tubes became Litespeed’s calling card and the company still sells more titanium bikes than carbon internationally.

Looking for the next evolution in design, in 2002 Litespeed started experimenting with carbon fiber seatstays for the Sienna and the Ultimate. This would eventually lead to their first full carbon model, the C-Series aero road bike. Successful tweaking over the years led to a highly manipulated aero road bike, so the next logical step was what Litespeed refers to as a good “all-rounder.”

Right around that point Litespeed’s current CEO Peter Hurley stepped into the leadership role, and helped to improve the development process in a way that allowed product designer Brad DeVaney to create the bike he envisioned – the L Series.

We’ve been on the Litespeed Li2 for quite a few miles now, get our take on the bike after the break…


SpyShots! – New SRAM Red Wireless @ Pro Challenge


Barely being disguised by thin tape and subtle graphics, the new SRAM Red wireless electronic group is in full view at this year’s USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. We knew this was coming months ago when we discovered SRAM’s filed patents for wireless technology. As the first-ever wireless group moves its way through pre-production it has been test ridden by the Bissell Pro Cycling team since the beginning of this season. With the team relying solely on this new technology, and with no mechanical Red being used even as backup, the feedback from the riders is said to be all positive.

More news, insight from a Team Bissell rider, and way more pics after the break…And yes, now we know how the shifting works…


Jens Voigt’s Custom Trek – Up Close And Personal

Jens Voigt Custom Trek At Pro Challenge

We recently showed you the press release on Trek’s chromed out beauty that honors Jens and his final professional race on US soil. Now check out the real pics from Stage 4 of the USA Pro Challenge, next…


First Look! 2015 Orbea Oiz Mountain Bike – Full Suspension World Cup XC Race Rocket

2015 Orbea Oiz full suspension XC race mountain bike

The Orbea Oiz first appeared under the Luna Chix pros as a 26” full suspension race rocket in 2012. From the beginning, it was made to be as efficient as possible, very light weight and just plain fast. In other words, to win races. World Cup races, to be exact. And it did, taking the podium top at Mont Saint Anne under Catherine Pendrel. And then she repeated a week later at Wyndham.

Even then, though, the cross country market was leaning heavily toward 29ers. Now it’s all but swung that way entirely, save for a slight intrusion of today’s hot wheel size, 27.5”, relegating 26” bikes to the entry level market, not the World Cup race level. So, the Oiz has been updated, taking advantage of Orbea’s BWC (Big Wheels Concept) to offer both wheel sizes. The 27.5” (650B) wheels will come on S/M/L size frames, and 29er will be on M/L/XL.

Beyond the wheels, the spirit of the bike has remained the same, but it does get retuned and tweaked to make the most of the new wheel sizes. That means it keeps the 95mm rear wheel travel, a number that was intentionally kept under 100mm so there was no confusion as to this bike’s purpose. You won’t be tempted to put anything more than a 100mm fork on it…


Bike Check: Aaron Gwin, Troy Brosnan, & the Specialized Downhill Factory Team – Plus Actual Weights!


Last week during the grand unveiling of the new Specialized Demo, we had the opportunity to discuss the development of the bike with the engineers, product managers, and industrial designers who designed it.

Also on hand where several of the professional athletes who helped dictate the new geometry, tested the suspension kinematics, and who will ultimately prove just how fast & hard these rigs are capable of being pushed.

Drop past the break to see how their race bikes are kitted out, and how much they weigh!


Suspension Setup Series #5: Is Your Suspension Humming the Right Tune?


Many shocks have tune markers on the outside to show how the frame manufacturer spec’d them. It’s Greek to most of us, but suspension tuners will use that info as a starting point.

Like a song stuck in your head, the internal damping tune of your suspension is what makes it sing. So far, we’ve covered everything you can do yourself: Setting Sag (Part 1), dialing your compression (Part 2) and rebound (Part 3) damping, and adjusting air volume (Part 4). For the vast majority of riders, these user-friendly adjustments are going to get your mountain bike tackling the terrain like a champ.

But, as with anything made to work as well as possible across as broad a spectrum as possible, there’s always a chance it’s not going to work right for you. And if none of the other tricks worked, you could look at a new suspension fork or shock that has more adjustability built in. Or you could just order a new shock with a softer or firmer tune directly from Fox, Rockshox, Manitou, DT Swiss, Magura or whomever. That might be an easier solution then sending it off for custom tuning, but it would be missing the point.

“For a custom tune, we consider rider weight, riding style and, for rear shocks, the leverage ratio curve,” says Kevin Booth, founder of Suspension Experts. “The manufacturers don’t always have all of this information available to them, so it’s not possible to offer the perfect fork or shock out of the box. So while stock suspension comes out of a factory designed around an “average” sized rider, it has to be able to function for a rider that is anywhere from 100 lbs. to 300 lbs. It’s easy to see the opportunity to make it work better. To accommodate this broad range of potential riders, the external knobs tend to offer very coarse adjustments …swinging wildly from one extreme end of the adjustment range to the other. A suspension tuner’s job is to narrow that range of adjustment to work well for a particular bike (leverage ratio curve) and rider (weight).”

That means even a different stock tune is still going to be made to fit a very wide range of riders rather than you, specifically. So, how do you know when it’s time to look at a custom tune?


Bike Check: Cedric Gracia’s Crankworx Enduro Santa Cruz Nomad Race Bike

Cedric Gracia Santa Cruz Nomad Bike Check_007

The Enduro World Series race held in Whistler last last weekend was considered by many to be one of the most rugged races of the entire season. Consisting of 8,000 feet of climbing, over some forty odd miles (of mostly single track), many riders chose to ride their biggest, baddest, burliest, set up.

For Cedric Gracia, this meant turning to the recently released Santa Cruz Nomad.  READ MORE ->

Wolf Tooth Components Introduces New Asymmetric Tooth Design, Plus New Line of High End Tools!


If you’re planning on ditching the front derailleur soon, you are not alone. Seemingly overnight, the concept of a 1x drivetrain exploded in popularity after SRAM introduced XX1. While XX1 proved 1x drivetrains were viable options, it was other chainring manufacturers making 11 and 10 speed compatible chainrings that didn’t require a complete new drivetrain that really helped the trend along.

No one knows that better than Wolf Tooth Components whose entire business started off with 1x chainrings and has quickly expanded to other components, accessories, and now – tools. Wolf Tooth is also introducing a new patent pending asymmetric tooth design, details next…


First Look: The Trek Slash Goes Carbon for 2015, Plus Actual Weights

2015 Trek Slash Carbon_0

The Slash has been in the Trek lineup for many years and throughout that period the platform has seen significant changes in order to keep current with trends. At times its tilted towards the trail spectrum, or been a mini-DH bruiser, but last year it was redesigned for the Enduro race circuit.

Originally only available as an aluminum model, after a year of EWS podiums, Trek has finally launched a carbon version. Head past the break for glamour shots and actual weights. READ MORE ->