Posts in the category Reviews

Initial Review: Deflexion Racing DH 2.0 Carbon Wheelset

Deflexion Racing Carbon DH Rim (4)The best products are inspired and developed by individuals trying to solve a problem. For Antonio Jimenez III and Deflexion Racing, that “aha moment” came at Mammoth Bike Park.

The shuttle assist lift riding found just South of Yosemite is notorious for moon dust, and requires running lower PSI for traction, which can often result in severely dented or even cracked rims. Fed up with the constant cycle of replacing outers, Antonio reached out his future father-in-law, who was & is a Boeing Composite Engineer, to help him design and manufacture a set of rims he could rely on.

After experimenting with a variety of rim profiles, the pair selected two they thought were optimal, and had  friend in Taiwan with a carbon facility create a pair of molds. A few months later, the two prototypes labeled the DH 1.0 and DH 2.0 hit American shores, and were immediately put to the test under an assortment of riders.

After over a year abuse, they settled on the DH 2.0 rim, which is what we’ve been taxed with abusing…..

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Exclusive: Ciamillo Restructures Everything – Plus Micro GSL Road Calipers First Impressions!

ciamillo-restructures-road-bike-brake-business

In economics, there are two theories that define the tradeoffs made in any business decision – Opportunity Cost and Sunk Cost. No one knows this better than Ted Ciamillo.

Over the past couple years since we visited him for a factory tour, Ciamillo has poured countless hours and dollars into his Gravitas crank project. With that project now on hold, those irreclaimable resources would be a sunk cost – they’re gone.

With so much focus on it, his bread and butter brake caliper business suffered. Delays. Rejected parts. Too long delays in responding to customers. You name it, and there’ve been online comments to support it. That was the opportunity cost – the business and good will he’s lost while chasing the dream of building the lightest, stiffest crankset known to man.

Since our visit, I’ve spoken with Ted many times and at length about his business. See, I’ve had several businesses before starting Bikerumor and been through my own share of lost opportunities and hard lessons. I can sympathize. I’ve been there. It’s not fun. And in many of our conversations, the stress came through in Ted’s voice. There are few things more painful than watching something you built from the ground up stumble and fall, yet we entrepreneurs are a tough bunch. Sometimes we don’t know when to quit. And sometimes, that perseverance can pay off…

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Review: Intense Spider 29 Comp – A Bomber Mid-Travel Carbon Mountain Bike

intense spider 29 comp full suspension carbon fiber mountain bike review

Photo: Derek Diluzio

This past spring, Micah and Tyler had the opportunity to ride the Intense Spider 29 Comp, a mid-travel full suspension 29er with a SEED-designed carbon fiber frame.

The Spider 29 Comp was introduced in summer 2012, bringing with it a quarter inch bump in travel over it’s aluminum counterpart. As if to put Intense’s style in perspective, this up-to-5″ travel bike is part of their XC collection. Remember when 80mm travel was considered XC? And when five inches of travel was bordering on freeride? Well, the Spider Comp’s performance puts a big, hard nail in the coffin of those notions by serving up plenty of travel with a quick, snappy ride.

Our review bikes were built up with the Pro build option with X1/X01, but with a few non-stock tweaks. Tyler’s was ridden primarily at the Cane Creek DB Inline launch, so it was spec’d with their new rear shock and some meaty Onza tires. Micah’s came with a Rockshox Revelation rather than the standard Fox FLOAT 32. Here’s how they did…

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Exclusive First Ride – The Amazing Alchemy Aithon Gravel Bike

Alchemy Aithon gravel road bike exclusive first ride review and actual weights

After seeing the work of art that is the new Alchemy Aithon at NAHBS 2014, I asked co-founder Matt Maczuzak if I could borrow it for the Baller’s Ride. After all, you can’t just show up to a ride with top custom bike builders aboard anything stock, right?

After a quick yes from Matt and a couple of repeated assurances (at my behest) that the prototype everything was indeed safely rideable, it was shipped out and assembled for the big weekend. Turns out, the bike at the show was technically a non-rideable build meant only as a showpiece. The bike Matt shipped, which you see here, is the first rideable Aithon frame, which he says he was pretty happy that they seemed to nail it on the first build. The fork, which is their own design and the first they’ve ever made in house, is number prototype #004. Matt said the first one was mainly to get the shapes right, and #002 and #003 were too stiff. This one had the right blend of stiffness and forgiveness they wanted. To put my mind at ease, Matt (who’s taller and heavier than me..and I’m 6’2 / 190lb) said he’d been riding it for a while.

After a 20-ish mile test ride around town, I loaded it on the Inno Rack and headed north to Baller Camp…

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Second Impressions: Shimano’s R785 Hydraulic Road Disc Brakes Totally Redeem Themselves

shimano r785 hydraulic road disc brakes ride review

After riding SRAM’s Hydro-R disc brakes at their launch and being very impressed (long before the recall), it was with quite a bit of anticipation that I hopped aboard a preproduction set of Shimano’s R785 hydraulic disc brakes at Interbike’s outdoor demo last year.

Unfortunately, that ride didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Probably as well as Shimano had hoped. The set I rode had the dark cloud of “preproduction” and a bit of a rushed set up hanging over it. The power felt lacking, and left me with the impression that someone of my size (6’2″, 185lbs at the time) might be better served by 160mm rotors rather than the quaint 140′s they recommend for all users. Something seemed off, but given my overwhelmingly positive experience with their mountain bike brakes, I chalked it up to the set needing to be rebled, something to which the attending tech rep concurred. Thus, I left optimistic, looking forward to a second run.

That time came just a few weeks ago, and it proved to be a much better testing ground than the aqueducts of Nevada’s deserts…

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Trailside Review – Bearded Brothers Raw, Natural Real Food Energy Bars

Bearded Brothers raw vegan real food nutritional energy bars review

While the brand name may not conjure up images of delicious food, Bearded Brothers’ raw, 100% natural and vegan friendly bars are, in fact, quite delicious.

They’re made from real, whole foods like dates, almonds and other nuts, dried peaches, coconut, cocoa, chia seeds, cinnamon and more, most being organic. The texture’s lightly moist, and satisfyingly hefty such that you need to give it a few noshes before swallowing, but not so thick or dry it needs immediate chasing with water. You can let the flavor linger a bit and enjoy.

Four flavors -Blueberry Vanilla, Ginger Peach, Maca Chocolate and Coconut Mango- are made in small batches in Austin, TX, using raw, vegan, 100% natural ingredients that are free of gluten and soy. Each 20z bar packs roughly 240 calories. Check below for ingredients lists and mini review…

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Just In: SRAM’s Most Affordable 1X Group, the New X1 with Actual Weights

SRAM X1 1x11 drivetrain weights actual  (2)

It seems like forever ago, but it was just over 2 years ago that SRAM introduced their revolutionary XX1 drivetrain which promised to rid the world of front derailleurs for good. It was awesome, but it was prohibitively expensive for the majority of consumers. Many waited patiently for the release of X01, hoping it would be cheaper. It was, but was still fairly expensive. Now, with the introduction of X1, SRAM finally has a 1x group that retails below the $1,000 mark – potentially as low as $861. That’s still a good chunk of change, but it will bring wide range, single ring drivetrains within reach of many more riders, especially with OEM sales.

While the group isn’t offered at a huge discount over X01, it’s also not that far off technology wise, meaning this should be an extremely competitive drivetrain. Curious as to what’s changed? Read on for tech, actual weights, and more….

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Review: Niner RLT 9 Gravel Road Bike

Niner RLT 9 gravel grinder road bike review and actual weights

Introduced last September, the Niner RLT 9 is the first non mountain bike from the heretofore 29er specific brand. Technically, they call it an “all-road mountain bike”, which, after riding it, isn’t far from the truth.

Built on a hydroformed alloy frame, the bike gets gravel road geometry with a slackish head angle and slightly longer chainstays. Think Salsa Warbird, not Ridley X-Bow, and you get the idea. While they’ve introduced a few new build kits and paint schemes, we tested the original model built with SRAM Force 22, a full Niner cockpit and Stan’s Iron Cross wheels.

Despite their mountain bike heritage, Niner managed to get a road going version very right on their first try. That doesn’t mean it can’t rip the singletrack, too…

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Ride Report – Rapha Gentlemen’s Race Bavaria with Festka

Rapha_Gentlemens_Race_rgr_Festka_team_time_trial_07

In May, the first Rapha Gentlemen’s Race in Continental Europe was staged from their new base in Munich, exploring the rolling Bavarian foothills and less-beaten tracks extending south into the Alps. After the positive feedback from the first few of these private, unsanctioned events worldwide, Rapha seems to be trying to host more of this popular style race wherever they have a presence.

As I’ve been testing Festka’s carbon Zero road bike, they asked me along to join their crew on the adventure in Munich. We drove down from Prague the day before the race and picked up a camper trailer on the way that would become our service course for the next 48 hours.

Read on past the break to see more pics of the ride and to hear more how the bike and others fared…

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