Posts in the category Reviews

Review: New Vee Rubber XCV and Speedster Dirt Jump Tires

Vee Tires XCV Tires (3)While the bleeding edge of innovation in the trail/enduro/and all mountain segment of the markets have been steadily pushing for the complete eradication of the 26″ wheel, there’s one realm in which the wheel size will always be appreciated.

For dirt jumping, pump tracking, street sessions, and casually cruising, there’s nothing better than a hardtail. So we were pumped to hear that Vee Rubber is still releasing new tires for our favorite red headed step child. READ MORE ->

First Impressions: The Flexible Mixed Surface FABike


After having met up with the head of FABike at the Dresden bike show a few months back, we arranged to give their bike an extended test to see how the crowdsourced project worked out. Designed in Italy, built in Taiwan, and assembled and distributed out of the Czech Republic, the FABike intended to be a multi-purpose road bike.  The bike achieves its primary goal of flexibility through the use of an adjustable and interchangeable sliding dropout design that can be quickly and easily converted from a geared bike to singlespeed and from 130 to 120mm rear spacing and by accommodating up to 35mm tires (and thus gives the bike its name F+A+Bike.)

Find out more details, our initial setup, and some brief first impressions after the jump..


Review: Magura TS8 eLECT Suspension Fork – Electronic, Brains Free Lockout For the Win!


Last summer, Magura introduced their eLECT suspension fork with built in sensors to automatically stiffen the fork up for climbing. It also gave the rider manual control over lock out by way of a Bluetooth remote button.

Where the Rockshox/Lapierre collabo utilizes outboard sensors and the Fox iCD is simply a manually controlled electronic lockout lever, Magura’s system is both simpler and smarter. It’s simpler in that it only has a lockout mode, not a multi-mode like the Rockshox system with variable levels. It’s smarter in that it does the lockout on its own, not requiring the flick of a switch. As such, it makes for a very efficient, lightweight system that (in it’s best configuration) requires absolutely no thought from the rider, leaving you to focus on racing. That’s good, because this fork and the eLECT system is itself entirely focused on racing as far as I’m concerned. For now anyway – there are a few changes and some interesting product testing going on at Magura, which I’ll recap at the end.

Check out the tech, weights and ride review to see how it all works…


One Ride Review: Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt Short Travel XC/Trail Mountain Bike


Over the last couple years the 27.5 shorter-travel (115-130mm) platform has been blurring the lines between XC and Trail categories.  Rocky Mountain’s Thurnderbolt is designed to handle the rowdy side of XC riding, and is a capable setup for almost everything shy of Enduro racing.

The aluminum frame has four available build specs, and I took the 2nd tier 750 ($3,300) on extended rides at NEMBAfest.  Vermont’s flowy Kingdom Trails and the efficient Thunderbolt were a perfect match, allowing me to ride all day in comfort, climb without pedal-bob, and hit downhills knowing I’d brought a gun to the gunfight.  OK, the well-manicured Kingdom Trails are more of a BB-gun gunfight, but trails like Troll Stroll and Sidewinder thoroughly used all 5” of travel and could have shot my eye out.


Review: Bontrager Velocis Road Bike Helmet – Sleek, Light & Comfy w/ Built-in Visor

Bontrager Velocis lightweight bicycle helmet

With all the hullabaloo about helmet aerodynamics these days, you’d think no one was making regular lids these days. Fortunately, they are, and the Bontrager Velocis is a fantastic example of a “normal” helmet.

Prior to the Velocis, Bontrager’s top of the line helmet was the Oracle, which is also very comfortable and very good looking if a little on the heavy side. The Velocis manages to drop about 80g while keeping a ton of safety features and adding in a nifty integrated (and removable) roadie-style visor that provides sun protection without trapping heat.

The Velocis’ claim to fame is it’s oversized vents and heavily designed air channeling, which headlines the dual-material interior cage for protection and various fit features for comfort. So, did it breeze through our tests in the hot, humid southeast?


Sunglass Roundup: Shades from Smith, Uvex, and Jet Black

Sunglass round up Jet Black Smith Uvex (3)

Whether you’re looking for style or protection, there are a ton of choices these days when it comes to cycling glasses. Ideally the perfect cycling glasses should be comfortable on long rides, resist fogging and sweat, protect against various objects thrown towards your eyes, and of course shelter your eyes from the sun’s rays. At this point, protection from UV rays is pretty much a given so the question becomes how well does each pair react to the changing conditions found in cycling.

Our latest roundup focuses on two brands you’ve probably heard of, and one you probably haven’t. Read on to see the latest from Smith, Uvex, and Jet Black….


Long Term Review: Gamut Trail SXC Guide Provides Extra Security for 1x Drivetrains

Gamut Trail SXC Guide (2)

Like bad Enduro Jokes, and 650B envy, 1x drivetrains are suddenly cool. Recent advancements such as narrow wide chain rings, cassette adapters, and silly expensive drivetrains, have allowed the masses to ditch the front derailleur, without sacrificing gearing.

An unexpected outcome of this new technology is the gradual extinction of the full chainguide, because the new stuff works so well, it’s rare to drop a chain when using a narrow wide chainring and clutch equipped derailleur. Of course, when racing or simply out there pushing the limits, it pays to be prepared. For those who desire a little extra security, the Gamut Trail SXC guide is a inexpensive solution, that comes with a minimal weight penalty.


Hands On – Trek’s New Emonda SLR 8 Plus Actual Weights!

Hands On - Trek's New Emonda SLR 8 Plus Actual Weights!

It may be a while until we see the insanely light Émonda SLR 10 in the flesh carbon, but head to your local Trek dealer and there are probably a number of more affordable models already on the floor. Joining in with a few other brands, Trek is continuing to wait until the new bikes are actually available before unveiling them to the public. In our case it also means that an Émonda SLR 8 just showed up for review. Other than the Carbon Vapor Coat paint job and SLR Ride Tuned Seat Mast Cap, the SLR 8 boasts the same frame as the bike at the top. It’s also less than half the price – which is crazy to say about a $7,500 bike.

Trim away the details after the break, including actual weight for the SLR 8 plus a few other models…


Review: Origin8 Captiv8er UL Fat Bike Tire for Hard Pack, the Beach, and Roads in Between

Origin 8 Vee Tire Co Speedster fat bike cruiser tires (6)

If there’s one thing holding fat bikes back, it’s probably the price of the tires. So much of the ride quality is directly proportionate to the tires, and the better they are, the more expensive. Like really expensive. Depending on your quiver of bikes and how you’re using your fat bike for the Summer months, a spare set of tires can be an excellent idea. After all, snow doesn’t wear out tread nearly as fast as dirt and rocks. Not only that, but if your Summer fat biking consists of cruising the boardwalk and the beach a different tread pattern might be beneficial.

That’s exactly why we were excited to try out the Origin8 Captiv8er UL. Inexpensive fat bike tires usually mean heavy, cheap, poor performing rubber – but at first glance the Captiv8ers look to change that…