Posts in the category Reviews

Just In: Custom WTB Scraper 27.5+ Wheelset with Industry Nine Torch Fat Bike Hubs

WTB scraper 27.5 + mid fat wheels i9 industry nine torch hubs (16)

Depending on your point of view, 27.5+ is either an intriguing new size, or a terrible half measure that doesn’t provide any real advantages. The latter is a little hard to back up given that most of us haven’t actually ridden any of the 27.5+ products yet. We would be lying if we said we weren’t at least a little interested in trying out the new size, especially as it pertains to fat bikes. While many riders have already been building up 29+ wheelsets to convert their fat bikes for summer duty, the added girth usually results in a higher bottom bracket and noticeable changes in handling.

Will a 27.5+ set up be the perfect wheel swap for fat bikes? Will all Enduro wheels and tires eventually fatten up so that 27.5+ will become the new middle ground? We’re not sure, but we are excited to do some experimenting starting with the WTB Scraper rims…

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SRAM XX1 Direct Mount X-Sync chainrings – Actual weights & first rides

SRAM XX1 X-sync direct mount chainrings actual weights and first ride review

Just about two months ago, SRAM unveiled their own single-piece chainrings for 1x drivetrains. The new direct mount X-Sync chainrings drop weight from the originals and, contrary to what we thought might happen, don’t really add any more effort to swapping between chainring sizes.

Compared to offerings from Absolute Black, Wolf Tooth Components… heck, even Race Face… SRAM’s have much burlier arms. It’s not surprising. By keeping the “spider” thicker and shaped to prevent any flex, the chainrings should perform better under intense efforts that may otherwise deform a lesser chainring. Not that we’ve had any issues with any of the other brands’ offerings, but larger, OEM brands like SRAM tend to overbuild things a bit to maximize pro race level performance.

But, that doesn’t mean they’re any heavier…

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Review: Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is a solid, quiet, premium fluid trainer

Kurt Kinetic road machine premium fluid cycling indoor trainer review

In the age of connected “smart” trainers that relay your data directly to a computer (and soon directly into the cloud), a standard fluid trainer doesn’t seem nearly as exciting. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be darn good, and there are ways of making it talk to your devices, after all.

The Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is their top level static trainer. The Rock and Roll, which sways with your movement, is still their top model, but it’s $200 more and it doesn’t pack down easily for travel. Their line was overhauled in 2013 to improve compatibility with larger (mountain bike) tires, improve fit and finish of the knobs, and pack them completely assembled so you can jump right on as soon as you open the box. The resistance unit was unchanged, though, which is fine because it’s stellar.

Looking for a high end fluid trainer that keeps it simple? Spin on in and check out the details…

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All-New Ritte Ace road bike shows its hand – Fast, fun first rides & weigh in

Ritte Ace carbon fiber race road bike review and actual weights

Ritte teased their new Ace road bike last fall, saying it would knock the Vlaanderen down a notch to take a seat at the top of their lineup. It shares its geometry with the Vlaanderen, along with a few fitment specs like internally routed mechanical or electronic ports, 700×25+ tire clearance and a generally stiff, race-oriented feel.

But, it switches in a few user friendlier specs like Pressfit BB30 and standard seatpost rather than the Vlaanderen’s BB30 and integrated seatmast. The frame uses an updated, nearly full monocoque frame construction with T700/T1000 high modulus carbon fiber. It’s made using a hard inner mold and bladder system that creates everything but the seatstays as a single piece.

The result is a bike that’s reasonably light and has dangerously good looking lines, but whose real purpose is to enable you to ride hard and fast. Fortunately, it does so without beating the rider up or sacrificing stability at any speed, making it honest-to-goodness one of the best road bikes I’ve ridden…

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Long Term Review: Volagi Viaje Ti Disc Adventure Road Bike

Volagi Viaje Ti Road Bike

Even without the disc brakes, Volagi bicycles stand out against the crowd. After starting with just a single model, the company now produces three distinctive endurance road bikes, all using their swooping Longbow FlexStays.  If you’re new to the Volagi story, the arching seatstays are about more than just looks. Bypassing the seat tube completely, the stays allow the seat cluster to flex under harsh impacts providing a more forgiving ride than your typical racing-inspired road bike.

Volagi first made the transition in to metal with their category defying Viaje XL. Built to accept a wide range of tires and ride over any surface you can find, the Viaje sits somewhere between a cross, gravel, and road bike. Now, Volagi has updated the Viaje, instead crafting it from titanium. The details are the same – disc brakes, Long Bow Flexstays, generous tire clearance, and a carbon fork. But the ride? It’s safe to say the Viaje Ti is a new beast…
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Hands On: iOmounts Nomad Attracts your Phone to the Bars with Magnets

Nomad iomounts magnetic bike mount handlebar (2)

There are a number of products out there to mount your phone to your handlebars, but most of them have the same problem. Either you’re left with a massive case on your phone that is difficult to slip into your pocket, or you have to go through the hassle of installing the phone in the protective mount on the bars, or worse – you risk your phone jettisoning from the mount mid ride. iOmounts is approaching phone management from a different angle entirely. Instead of a twist lock, clamp, or bungee mount, the iOmounts Nomad relies on magnets.

Yep, the same thing you use to hang pictures on your fridge is supposed to be trusted with your pricey smart phone. While it may seem far fetched, when it comes to the nomad we’re actually pretty impressed…

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Review: TrainerRoad online subscription training boosts fitness with tech!

TrainerRoad online cycling training software with real time sensor integration

In a nutshell, TrainerRoad is an online cycling training software that works by pulling all of the data from the peripherals on your bike and body to adjust the workout to improve results. It also has the magical ability of making indoor trainer sessions less miserable thanks to the real-time feedback displayed on screen, helping you stay on target and actually get the desired work from your workout.

What sets TrainerRoad apart is that it syncs with your Bluetooth and ANT+ speed, cadence, power and heart rate sensors and uses their data to graph your effort overtop the prescribed training plan. And there are a ton of plans and individual workouts available, with more being added quite frequently…or you can create your own. Even more impressive is that if you have a “smart” trainer like the Wahoo KICKR, it’ll adjust the resistance automatically to keep your output synced with the workout.

But, the whole thing works just fine with a basic trainer, too. Looking for a new training partner this winter? TrainerRoad could be it…

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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…

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Long-term EU CX Test: Stevens cyclocross Super Prestige Disc – weighed, ridden & raced

Stevens_Super_Prestige_Disc_carbon_cyclocross_race_bike_Louny_race_climb

As we lead into the upcoming UCI Cyclocross World Championships this coming weekend here in the Czech Republic we want to give a complete rundown on one of the bikes we’ve been race testing all season as a part of our EU CX test series, that will see some elite-level international racing under some of the world’s best athletes.  The updated 2015 Stevens Super Prestige Disc, which we introduced back at Eurobike, is billed as an all-out race bike so we’ve been doing our best to shake it out in our national series of Masters cross races, coincidentally co-sponsored by Stevens Bikes along with Czech clothing producer Lawi.  Besides our amateur level racing and their support of grassroots racing programs throughout Europe, the Super Prestige has recently been ridden to a lot of great results under professional racers.

At the start of 2015 Stevens expanded their pro team sponsorships to include the Stevens Racing Team, Corendon-KwadrO, and now cyclocross powerhouse BKCP-Powerplus. With the new team sponsorships in place for all of the 2015 national championship races a couple of weeks back, riders on the Super Prestige and Super Prestige Disc took home 7 national titles including: German women’s elite,  German men’s junior, German men’s elite, Belgian men’s U23, Swiss men’s elite, Czech men’s elite, and Dutch men’s elite. Clearly the bike can handle the top level of racing, and we look forward to seeing if one of these Stevens-sponsored riders will stand on the top step of the podiums at Worlds in Tábor. Until then, join us after the jump for our full breakdown on how the bike performed under us, both on and off the cross course.

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