Posts in the category Reviews

Project XC Race Rocket: Wheels, Tires by Nox Composites, Project 321 & Schwalbe

XC race rocket project bike with Nox Composites Skyline XC hookless carbon rim wheels and Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires

The Project XC Race Rocket bike would be nothing without some lightweight wheels to complement the frame, fork and cockpit. So, for the rolling stock, we pulled in parts from Nox Composites (with Project321) and Schwalbe.

That combo yielded a sub 1,500g wheelset with all the accoutrements necessary to mount the tires, and if you know Schwalbe, you know they make some of the lightest full featured tires on the trail…

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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…

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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 ->

Review: Foundry Overland Titanium Gravel and Cyclocross Bike

FoundryOverlandReview2015-1

With the ever expanding presence of cyclists taking to gravel roads, an equally expanding range of bicycles is complimenting this rapidly growing segment of the market. Manufacturers of all sizes are producing a gravel bike, with design features and sometimes frame materials, differing greatly.

Foundry Cycles of Bloomington, Minnesota, is a subsidiary of Quality Bicycle Products, the largest distributor of bicycle products in the United States. At Foundry, the mantra “Racing Matters”, means something real. Racing, coupled with research, testing and good design, boded well in our first impressions of the Foundry Overland. Since that time, we’ve put the Overland through the wringer. READ MORE ->

Long Term Review: Slicing the wind on Fuji’s Transonic 2.1 Aero Road bike

Transonic 2.1-27

Fuji has a long and well established history, having been around since 1899, and is now run from their U.S. offices in Philadelphia.  Fuji had huge success in the 1970’s competing with the costly European brands by offering a better value for a comparable bike.  They exploded back on the scene in the last decade or so with some impressive appearances in the pro tours and continue to grow their presence and innovation here in the U.S.

Fuji sent us their newly designed Transonic 2.1 aero road bike to beat on and while some of the unsuspecting hidden gems of the Transonic were well thought out, it might be the price that’s most attractive…

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Project XC Race Rocket: Frame & Fork intro – Niner AIR9 RDO x Lauf Trail Racer

Niner AIR9 RDO and Lauf Trail Racer suspension fork project bike overview and review

At the beginning of the year, I started strategizing for the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, one of the southeast’s preeminent endurance mountain bike races that sells out in minutes every year. In years past, I’ve raced my full suspension JET9 or some other bike that was on review. This year, I wanted something fast that afforded the opportunity to test all manner of lightweight, race worthy components. As it turns, out, it also let me place a couple older items in a modern setting, which could be of great interest for anyone looking to convert to a 1×10 drivetrain without breaking the bank.

Starting with the backbone of the project, Niner provided the latest AIR9 RDO frame, and Lauf offered a color-matched Trail Racer 29″ suspension fork. Both are stiff, efficient and light weight, getting things off to a great start…

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First Ride / First Look: Specialized Stumpjumper S-Works FSR 6Fattie

20150609_sTrail-0793_HDR

Photo c. Carson Blume/Specialized

Last year at this time, the concept of a 27.5+ wheel size was littler more than a rumor – another feather in an already very full cap. In a very short period of time middle fat sizes have gone from ideas to full blown bikes. While the bigger companies have typically been more reserved when it comes to new sizes and genres, with 650b+, or 6Fattie as they call it, Specialized is jumping straight in.

After launching their 6Fattie dedicated hardtails known as the Fuse and the Ruze at Sea Otter, Specialized was quietly waiting to launch one of the first 27.5+ full suspension bikes as well. Given the fact that the 6Fattie uses the same Trail Chassis front triangle as the new Stumpjumper FSR which was just released, the fatter FSR had to wait for its debut. Now that the curtain has been pulled back, we got a chance to check out the Stumpjumper S-Works 6Fattie FSR in person and even get in an awesome ride in Graeagle, CA…

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Long Term Review: Stages Cycling crank arm power meter

Stages Power long term power meter review with actual weights

For the past two-and-a-half years, I’ve been testing the Stages power meter on and off, letting a few friends try it out between my own testing.

It’s a seemingly simple device, just stuck on the inside of your non-drive crank arm to measure left leg power by way of the crank’s deformation. Each model is calibrated to the specific crank arm it’s being attached to, and it’s all done in their own Colorado facility. While several lower priced options have been announced that allow for user installation, Stages’ says they’re not terribly concerned about things that aren’t even shipping yet. And they say they’re now among the largest cycling power meter brands by unit volume, especially when you include their indoor stationary cycles. That, along with pro team endorsements and usage, should say something about their quality.

My own experiences have spanned a couple years worth of firmware development that’s seen some marked upgrades and improvements, all with very few issues. For any piece of electronics on a bike to last that long without failure or problem is very good, and I’d recommend it highly with just a couple caveats…

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Factory Tour: Pivot Turns out Prototypes and Assembled Bikes in Tempe, AZ

Pivot factory tour bikerumor (24)

Looking back, it’s almost hard to believe that Pivot has been around for less than 10 years. After a surprise launch at Interbike in 2007, in the words of founder Chris Cocalis, the brand has seen hugely exponential growth in a very short period of time. Compared to two other brands launched that very same year (Tomac and Corsair Bikes), Pivot has manufactured their own success through extremely tight tolerances.

Of course, that’s no accident. Pivot is far from Chris’ first venture into the bike business. While many may know Cocalis from Titus, his roots go even deeper back to the days of the Sun Eagle Bicycle Works Talon. Cofounded with Allen Vaughn in 1988, Sun Eagle was the result of Chris’s BMX background and desire to build bikes at the end of his freshman year of college. After Vaugn taught Cocalis to braze, the first Sun Eagle Talon was born. The company would only make around 20 of the frames, but it was enough to be named one of the “Bikes of the future” in 1988 by Mountain Bike Action.

Little did everyone know that Cocalis really would go on to create the bikes of the future…

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