Full Speed Ahead for 2013:
FSA was not standing still at Sea Otter 2013 and showed their hydraulic brake set that is currently under development. In two different categories, K Force and Afterburner (XC and Trail), the new brake uses mineral oil to carry the braking force to the caliper. Expect reach and stroke adjustments and carbon lever blades on the K Force at least. They also showed the Gravity Gradient Carbon crankset for Enduro racing/Trail use. Full carbon arms, D10 chainrings for Shimano/SRAM compatibility, EVO spindle for BB30, PF30, Threaded and BB92 use. Rubber end guards keep the carbon crank from rock strike damage when your timing is not all it should be or you are just going too fast to mind little details like rocks in the trail.
The EVO tech is pretty cool. We also looked at the 386 EVO crank. This concept uses a 30mm crank spindle and spacers and a special bearing cup-set to allow one crank to work across 90% of the BB shell types out there. That adds a lot of value to a buyer that wants to be able to move a nice crank from bike to bike as time goes by. There are K Force and SLK versions plus the Gravity and CX side (and some other more road oriented stuff). Good thinking FSA.
More new rubber:
There were some new tires besides the Geax Goma. The WTB Vigilante for instance (pic on the left). A 2.35 (57/57) 29er version in TCS with an estimated weight of 850g, this is another entry into beefier rubber for rough trails. Kenda had the Turnbull Canyon Pro (pic on the right) there in a 27.5 X 2.0 with a 29er to come. No weights as the tire is still being tweaked for production, but if you use this tire you will be as fast as Tinker Juarez on any endurance race. Pretty sure, anyway. Ok, maybe not.
A gentlemen’s agreement to shred?
Answer Products had some very cool graphics on their bars. The Gentlemen’s Collection is all about style of the most refined kind. Ride with your pinky finger sticking out, perhaps? The Paisley is made of little chain wheels. Stems too, but they were less ‘gentlemenly’ in white and black.
Commute By Bike with Osprey:
Osprey is working on some pretty nice commuter packs this year and the Pixel and Pixel Port models are tablet ready. Add in the messenger bag looking Beta and the more backpack like Radial (not shown) and you have some good choices if you want to take your computing on the road with you. They took the tool roll feature and adapted it to carry your power cords, etc. These are still getting tweaked for production, but look for them soon.
Budget Lumens for sale:
Magicshine, the bringer of budget bicycle lighting to the masses, is pretty serious about making a light that everyone wants and can afford. This new light, the MJ-880, is rated at 2000L on high. Magicshine typically over states the lumen ratings of their lights, but even if they are close, it still should be a bright little torch. 5 level dimming, small size, 6.6AH Li-ion pack with charger, and optional mounts a helmet. Priced right at $200.00 retail.
As well there was the new commuter type, all in one, 160L MJ-890 USB. With 3 hours runtime on high and no batt packs or cords to contend with while mounted on the bike. We have one of each of these to review, so look for that soon.
Niner sinks to new lows:
The new h-bar from Niner continues to show they have a flair for and an expertise in carbon. The Low Top bar has a 25mm drop (or rise) as it is designed to allow a rider a lower h-bar position. The combo of 29ers and a smaller rider can relate to this dilemma, that of getting the cockpit in a proper arrangement, especially as 29ers get taller and taller suspension forks and h-bars get higher and higher. A one inch drop is a good amount and the 17* sweep is unique as well. 720mms wide in this RDO level bar. As well, there is a new 780mm wide Flat Top RDO bar for the short stem/wide bar crowd. We have a couple of those 780 bars to test so we will report back soon. $199.00 for the 780 bar and there is an alloy version as well. Speaking of short stems, Niner also has new forged stems. The Trail Stem weighs 180g in the 50mm version and comes in Niner approved colors. Would this new combo of forged stem and 780 bar look good on your new RIP 9 Airformed or WFO bike? Yes, yes it would.
Fox Racing Shocks refines:
It seemed like refinement was the order of the day for Fox and besides the Float X CTD rear shock shown here, the Talas fork has had its travel adjustment system improved for smoother travel changes and improved overall ride. I did not get as much info as I would have liked on all this, so perhaps we can dig a bit further and report back.
OK, look for more articles on SRAM/Rockshox for 2104 and a new line of wheels from DT Swiss and then we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming.