Posts in the category Mountain Bike

Project XC Race Rocket: Cockpit by Loaded Precision, Lizard Skins, Token & PRO

Project XC Race Rocket cockpit parts by Loaded Precision Lizard Skins Shimano PRO Token and Trid Designs

After frame and fork, the cockpit and wheels are the next biggest contributors to overall ride quality. For the XC Race Rocket project bike, we chose parts from Loaded Precision, Lizard Skins, Shimano PRO, Token and Trid Designs to complete the command center.

Loaded Precision had been offering components for review for a while, but I wanted the right project that took advantage of their typically lighter-than-the-competition parts. And the X-Lite UD Carbon handlebar, X-Lite Ti stem and X-Lite Ultra Carbon seatpost are among the lightest parts they make.

They also make more aggressive, wider and enduro/gravity oriented products, too, but the weights on the XC parts jumped out as some of the best in class. That’s nothing if they don’t hold up, though, so I figured my 190 pounds could put them to a proper test.

Completing the cockpit were my trusty Shimano PRO Turnix carbon railed saddle, a Token expansion plug and top cap combo and the adjustable headset spacer from the company formerly known as Trid Designs. All of it would make contact through Lizard Skin’s cushy DSP foam grips. Get a handle on their performance below…


Advocate Cycles Aims to Give Back with New Watchman Fat Bike, Titanium Frames Available First on Indiegogo


There’s not much better than the feeling of a new bike, other than getting that new bike out on trails for the first time. In the case of Advocate Cycles though, that feeling should be accompanied by the additional satisfaction knowing you not only got a sweet ride, but that 100% of the profits are being funneled right back into cycling advocacy. Set up as a Specific Benefit Corporation (SBC), the special corporate arrangement in Minnesota means Advocate gets to make fun products, you get a rad bike, and the profits all go to cycling related non-profits of Advocate’s choosing.

To help Advocate Cycles get off the ground without need for investors since that would conflict with the business model, the upstart has turned to crowdsourcing for the first run. To keep things interesting, the announcement of their Indiegogo campaign just happens to coincide with the launch of their second model – the Watchman fat bike. If that wasn’t enough, Advocate Cycles is also rolling out new seamless, 3/2.5, double butted titanium versions of both the Hayduke 27.5+ and the Watchman fat bike…


New Orbea Digit manual dropper seatpost is a game changer

Orbea Digit Dropper Seatpost offers manual height reduction with fixed upper and lower positions for perfect fit every time

Every once in a while a product comes along that makes so much sense you wonder how it hadn’t ever been done before. The new Orbea Digit Dropper Post is just such a product, making it quick and easy to lower your seatpost to a preset position at the top of the hill. Then, even more importantly, it lets you bring it right back up to your preferred climbing position just as quickly, hitting the perfect spot each and every time.

It works via a slotted channel on the back of the post with upper and lower limit set screws. You simply open the quick release collar and slam it up or down. The slotted channel keeps the saddle pointing straight forward, and the set screws ensure it goes only as low as you want and returns to the correct height. Officially, it offers up to 250mm of drop in 50mm increments. Technically, you could probably get almost 300mm if you don’t use the top set screw, with total amount of height reduction limited only by frame design.

Action video showing how it works below, drop on in…


Orange Updates The New 324RS DH Rig and Alpine 160 All-Mountain Bike with 27.5” wheels

Orange Bikes 324 Downhill bike, angle

As faithful supporters of single-pivot suspension we don’t see a wide variation of designs from Orange, and their entire line of full-suspension bikes from DH to XC bear a similar utilitarian appearance. And they aren’t going back to the drawing board in the name of aesthetics to update their DH and AM bikes, preferring instead to fine-tune their intentionally simple suspension design for bigger wheels.

For 2015 they’ve jumped on the 27.5” bandwagon and refitted the new 324RS DH bike and Alpine 160 all-mountain model with 650B’s. Click below the break to find out what other revisions they’ve adopted into these redesigned models…

OneUp Components gears up with slotted 94 / 96 BCD narrow-wide chainring

OneUp Components 94-96 BCD narrow-wide single-chainring

Got an crankset laying around just begging to be converted to a modern 1x setup? OneUp’s got just the solution with their new narrow/wide chainring that uses a unique slotted bolt hole, allowing it to fit both 94BCD (SRAM XO1/X1/GX) and 96 BCD (Shimano compact triple M782/M672/M622/M612) outer bolt patterns.

While it’s a straight replacement for SRAM’s cranksets (in which case you may want to consider their SRAM Direct Mount chainrings), it’s the 96 BCD option for Shimano’s multi-ring spiders that is the shining light. Typically, when converting an older crankset to a 1x system, the chainline can be thrown off. So, OneUp includes a set of shims to help get it back to 49mm, which biases the chain closer to the largest cog to reduce noise and wear. That helps your drivetrain last just a bit longer while also running more quietly.


PC15: Pivot Unveils All New Mach 429 Trail, Updates Vault Gravel/Cross Machine

Piovt Mach 439 trail carbon vault gravel cx bike 2015 2016 actual weightsIMG_7812

Even though we just visited with Pivot at their headquarters in Tempe, AZ, we knew something big was on the horizon, but we didn’t know what. Characteristically tight lipped about future bikes in development, Chris Cocalis only promised that we would get a chance to see everything they were working on once we got to Press Camp in Deer Valley, UT.

True to his word, we arrived to find a bike that many Pivot fans have been asking for – a slacker, short travel trail bike, only with 29″ wheels. That of course would be the new Pivot Mach 429 Trail. Described to us as sort of a mash up of the Mach 429 SL and the Mach 6, the 429 Trail checks off a lot of boxes. Not only that, but at the same time Pivot was unveiling the Mach 429 Trail, they also showed off the revised Vault carbon cross/gravel bike. Now disc only and full thru axle, the Vault could unlock the ability to have just a single 700c bike in your garage…


All-New Orbea Occam mountain bikes mix wheel sizes to conquer the trail

2016 Orbea Occam AM 275 all mountain bike first ride review

The Orbea Occam was introduced in 2008, then updated in 2011 with their Advanced Dynamic suspension design. Then, a 29er Occam joined the mix in 2012. Now it’s getting its third edition, and it’s a massive step up in every regard, immensely capable and packed with user friendly features not found on any other mainstream bike.

Riders had told them they wanted something simple, and with clean lines. They wanted something that fit into the broadly interpreted Trail category, capable of riding most any terrain. So, Orbea traveled down the two-different-wheel-sizes road that’s become familiar for the brand. The prior Occam had 26″ and 29er, and the new Oiz introduced last year has 27.5″ and 29er. So, the Occam will also be available in 27.5” and 29er, but this time the bikes are differentiated by more than just wheel diameter – suspension travel and geometry are tweaked, too.

The Occam AM gets the smaller 27.5 wheels and 140mm travel front and rear with a slacker head angle. The Occam TR 29er gets 120mm travel and a half degree slacker seat tube. That’s up from the 120mm (26″) and 105mm (29er) rear wheel travel of the prior generation. The result is a modern family of bikes that can handle virtually any type of riding most of us do, and lets us choose the version that best suits our own needs…


Long Term Review: Specialized 2FO Gripstastic Flat Pedal Footwear

Specialized 2FO Flat Pedal Shoe (1)

Last year at Crankworx, Specialized released new footwear  purpose built for guys and girls who like to go “braaaap.” In development for over four years, their name is an acronym for my favorite typo of riding style; foot out, flat out. After almost a year of ripping around on the shoes both on and off the bike, the verdict is in… READ MORE ->

Interview: Jeremy SyCip, SyCip Designs


Having apprenticed under Paul Sadoff for years at Rock Lobster and gotten his formal building education at UBI with Albert Eisentraut as his instructor, Jeremy SyCip got his start with a heck of a frame building pedigree. In recently downsizing his operation from a massive space in bustling downtown Santa Rosa to his home garage, Jeremy SyCip has embraced efficiency with fewer machines, less time in commute, and less time walking across the factory floor between building operations. I spoke with him about getting his start and some of his more recent projects in this shop at the SyCip Family Compound near Annandale State Park… READ MORE ->