Posts in the category Mountain Bike

Found: SRAM Electronic Grip Shift mountain bike shifter designs

sram electronic grip shift mountain bike shifter patent drawings

Sure, SRAM’s road-going wireless group might be polishing itself up for primetime, but there’s a pretty decent chance they’re secretly working on a mountain bike equivalent, too. What’s particularly interesting is just how long they’ve been thinking of it.

Almost 30 years ago, SRAM started with Grip Shift as an alternative to the trigger and index shifters available at the time. Then they rebooted the design in 2012 with modern 10- and 11-speed options. Surprisingly, they had considered an electronic version of it more than five years prior!

These patent drawings show two variants of a patent awarded to SRAM in 2007, one with a rotating “switch” set perpendicular to and offset below the bar (Fig. 5), and a version that puts the rotating switch around the bar (Fig. 6, handlebar marked as “12″). It’s a pretty forward thinking concept considering Shimano’s Di2 didn’t hit the market until 2009…except that it actually cites a 1997 patent application for electronic mountain bike shifters from Campagnolo!


Race Face teases new crankset for 2015


Race Face just teased this new crankset via Instagram, saying it’s coming this year as “another exciting and industry leading RF product!”

Based on the profile, we’re pretty sure they’re based on the fantastic Cinch system that allows swapping between crank arms, chainrings and spindles to create any size and fit you need. The blurb says samples just arrived for testing, which suggests they’re likely metal of some sort since they make their carbon crank arms in house (check our Factory Tour for pics!). That, and the silhouette’s curved transition from spindle to mid-arm looks very much like the Turbine Cinch shape.

We’ve reached out, and all they’d tell us for now is that it’ll launch at Sea Otter in April. More as we get it…

Reader’s Rides: The XTR Di2 Hacks Have Begun With Julian Da Silva’s Jamis


XTR Di2 is just starting to hit shops, and with it, we have the beginning of riders modifying their rides for internal electronic capability. Julian Da Silva from Alex Bicycles in Coral Springs, FL took to putting a few holes in his Jamis Dakota D29 Team.

Julian told us “I wanted to show you guys one of my recent builds since you guys like to see them. This is a 2015 Jamis Dakota D29 Team but modified the frame for internal routing of the Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 system. As usual I try to keep everything clean and hidden, it was challenge with the rear chain stay routing the cable thru it, but managed to succeed. Possibly one of my favorite bikes I’ve built, fast, fun and quite comfortable.”

Check out the before and after pics after the jump…


First Impressions: Absolute Black 28-to-40 tooth cassette cluster adapter

AbsoluteBlack 28-40 tooth cassette adapter cluster first impressions and actual weights

If you’re looking to put together an expanded range 1×10 system from your current setup, this provides a good alternative to single cog adapters that make a big jump at the top of the cassette. This one provides a smoother transition onto the larger cogs and a more subtle change between the top four cogs, too.

And, it’s a fairly reasonably priced way to do it. The SRAM 1050 cassette retails for $85 and the AbsoluteBlack adapter for $122, putting you all in at $207. Your alternatives for bumping up to a 40T or 42T cassette are either Shimano XTR or SRAM XX1/X01/X1. With Shimano, the cassette is about $300, and it’s 11-speed only, which requires new chain and chainrings, too. SRAM’s is also 11-speed only and requires a new freehub body, chain and chainrings. Either way, it’s going to cost you a lot more.

As for the range only being 40T and not 42T, you could just opt for a slightly smaller single chainring to compensate, which makes even more sense if you’re dropping the 11T cog off the bottom of the cassette as I did. I found the new range to be very good for our local trails, keeping me mostly in the middle of the cassette.

Another benefit? It can add up to a lighter system than the stock cassette…


Review: Continental Mountain King Protection MTB Tires & Revo Tubeless Sealant

Continental Mountain King 2 tubeless ready protection mountain bike tires review and actual weights

After a bit of a confusing kick off to their tubeless ready offerings in 2012, Continental’s been steadily expanding the options across their entire range. That’s not to say the naming scheme is any better, unfortunately. Tires are offered in a variety of casing options, including a proper UST, the tubeless ready “Protection” versions, and everything else that’s not officially tubeless. That includes their “Protection Apex” models, which will see more options later in 2015. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

Considering the performance of the Mountain King, though, those naming issues can be forgiven. When the leaves became too much for the lower profile X-King or Race King tires (or similarly hardpacked summery tires from other brands), I mounted the Mountain King Revolution tires last fall. Yes, that’s fall of 2013. They immediately provided the grip needed on our autumn leaf covered trails and carried themselves well all through the winter, too. They were so good, I kept them on all summer and have been spending more time on them again now that we’re in the midst of another winter.

But grip is only part of the story. There’s some interesting character traits worth considering…

UPDATED: Widths measurements added.


Just In: Rocky Mountain’s Blizzard Busting Fat Bike

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (3)

To get an idea of how quickly the RockShox Bluto has been adopted by the fat bike scene, the launch of the Rocky Mountain Blizzard was a pretty good indication. At the time, it was one of just two bikes announced that would use the fork which were launched the very same day. Introduced right before the Sea Otter Classic, it was like Rocky Mountain was waiting for the perfect bike to give new life to the Blizzard name – and what better bike than a fat bike?

For their very first attempt at a fat bike, Rocky took the approach of many larger companies with cautious optimism. Instead of going all out with high end carbon rigs, the Blizzard would be a simple yet well thought out aluminum bike with a solid spec and an affordable price. Because of that, the Blizzard is extremely intriguing. On paper, the Blizzard seems to have just about everything you would want in a trail oriented fat bike with enough money left over to buy some Winter riding gear.

Even though we aren’t dealing with the same blizzard on the East coast, our own Blizzard just blew in for a first look…


Orange’s Long-Running Five Is New Again, Longer, Slacker & Stiffer


The Orange Five has been around for over 10 years, and continues to run in all of its simplistic, single pivot glory. Updated in 2013 for 27.5 wheels, it also received a through-axle update at that time. Now, the front end gets an update, moving from a bent top tube, to a straight one with a jump brace that will increase front end stiffness by 15%.

Available mid-February, they are just showing it off now at Silverstone. The British brand’s best selling model keeps going strong since the mud-prone country loves to keep their bikes simple and easy to repair.

It will be available in three colors and builds, check out the pictures and geometry of the new model after the jump


Shaun Palmer signs new team, puts them on e*thirteen & Magura


I remember as a teenager reading Mountain Bike Action, and seeing Shaun Palmer’s Troy Lee painted Intense, and thinking that it had to be the coolest bike in the world. It may still be.

Now, more than 18 years later, Shaun is getting the band back together. Last fall Palmer announced his return to Intense, and today he is back on Magura. Also adding in newcomer e*thirteen (who didn’t even exist on the first round of Palmer greatness), the sponsor list for the team headed by the legend is rounding out well.


“As a member of Intense Cycles, Palmer will be riding Magura’s pro team issue yellow MT7 NEXT four piston brakes that have been highly praised by the media since their introduction last year. One of Palmers responsibilities with Intense is to scout, form and train an elite team of JRs, who will also be on Magura mounted Intense rigs. “We are so happy to have Shaun back on Magura’s and helping him with his JR team’s efforts,” said Magura USA’s President, Jeff Enlow. Palmer says, “Magura was one of my first sponsors when I broke onto the MTB race scene. The brakes then were the best anywhere, so I’m really stoked to be back with them now and on their new generation brakes.”


“E*thirteen would like to introduce the newest addition to our 2015 roster. Shaun Palmer and Intense will be joining our team of racers and bringing some of the best junior racers in the world with them on e*thirteen cranksets, guiderings, and brand new chainguides.”

Keep an eye on this team. With a solid backing of manufacturers, a legend at the helm, and the promise of new young talent joining on, they could be a force in the 2015 race season.

Friday RoundUp – Bicycle Bits & Pieces


  • Purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to win a set of Industry Nine wheels and the proceeds go to a great cause. Visit the Trips for Kids of Western North Carolina site for more information but do it quickly as there are only 100 tickets available!
  • The 2nd Annual Richmond Endurance Athlete Symposium is this Saturday January 24th at the Westin Richmond. Presenters will give 30-60 minute talks to inspire and educate athletes, coaches and healthcare professionals who are passionate about endurance sports.
  • Bicycle Technologies International (BTI) is now distributing hand crafted leather saddles from Rivet Cycle Works. Ask your local bike shop to carry these beautiful saddles.
  • Were you already planning to go to Louisville in March for NAHBS? Consider volunteering and snag a one-day pass to the show plus a souvenir limited-edition NAHBS Volunteer T-shirt when you sign up as a volunteer. More importantly, you’ll have the chance to meet other great volunteers, form new friendships, and have the satisfaction of knowing that thanks to you, this amazing show can keep happening each and every year!
  • Registration is now open for the 3rd Annual Tour de Pier. On Sunday, May 17, the award-winning stationary cycling event pedals its way back to the South Bay shores benefiting three cancer charities: the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research; the Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach and the Uncle Kory Foundation.
  • Sleet and snow is currently falling in the Smokey Mountains but thankfully, Spring will be here in less than two months. Welcome Spring by riding in the Tour De Smokies March 22nd – 25th in Eastern Tennessee.This year, you’ll share the journey with legendary TV personality and former Professional Cyclist Bob Roll, retired Pro Cyclist George Hincapie and Chef and Vintner Michael Chiarello, ending each day’s ride with extraordinary food, wine and company.
  • Do you live in Indiana? There are 3 bills in the Indiana Legislature that would require motorists to leave 3 feet when passing bicyclists. Let’s hope that this passes.
  • Meanwhile in neighboring Kentucky, a new bill introduced in the Kentucky General Assembly would require kids under the age of 16 to wear a helmet.
  • Fortified Bicycle, Inc. has won $150K from Chase Bank’s Mission Main Streets program. Plus, in the typically slow month of December they hit 179% of their projections. Great news for the manufacturers of high quality bike lights that you can leave on your bike without the fear of having them stolen.
  • Portland, Oregon, is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country, where you can also find great folks there like Rhona Mahl who is the director of Braking Cycles. Rhona directs an outreach to homeless youth in Portland and they’re opening a bike and coffee shop that will not only bring benefit to the community by providing great coffee and bike tuneups but also provide apprenticeships for Portland youth as well. Check them out.
  • Polar Bottle wants to hear from you. Over the years, they have had various customers inquire about whether or not we are ever going to release a Polar Bottle water bottle with a larger fluid capacity. They now need your help to decide whether they should move forward on designing one. Give them your feedback in this survey.
  • Diamondback will be offering participants of the Wildflower Triathlon pro-deal pricing on its new Tri/TT bike the Serios. Diamondback Bicycles entered the triathlon market at this past Kona Ironman with the introduction of the Serios. Photo below…