EURO NEWS – by “c_g”

And here come the next piece on 29er news from Europe – this time without doing much intro and getting right into it ? – some news with emphasis on Italy.

• FRM /BOR –lightweight innovation from Italy and Germany:

The last time we have heard from FRM/BOR concerning 29er was when they were doing the small production run of tubular 29er rims based on their XMD308 tub 26” rims. Now we hear about several new 29er specific products to come from this little high end manufacturer. Probably the most exciting news for many weight conscious 29er riders will be the announcement to revive the XMD 333 rim in its 29er version – two years ago this rim had been discontinued and replaced later by the slightly heavier and more simply constructed XMD 388 29er rim (see my reviews on it here). Now it has its returned for competition oriented light weight racers and front wheel applications. No word on weight limits or further details, but it is said to weigh near 355 to 360g per eyeleted and joint-welded high end alloy rim.

FRM_double cranks

One other product would be FRMs double chainring set with 29er adapted sizes to retrofit most 4-arm triple cranks. Many riders are switching from triple to a customized double set up, mixing and matching to their desire. FRM is now offering it all in one package (including some spacers to compensate for the missing outer ring). The rings tooth count is taking the bigger wheel diameter of 29ers into account – thus it comes in 25 and 36 teeth.

Then there is their first offering of complete wheels with FRMs new URANO disk hubs and the XMD388 29er rims at a respectable claimed weight of 1580 g, which are also available for Lefty front forks.

To me the most interesting news is this one: The FRM single 36-tooth alloy cog:


While others have been discussing the dilemma of being forced to go 10-speed if you wanted to enjoy the benefits of a 36 toothed cog (or go heavy duty), there have been little options for 36 teeth on 9-speed cassettes. Entering the stage now is FRM with their single additional 36 tooth cog to slide behind the cassette, doing away with the small 11-tooth cog.
For optimal performance use it is to only be used with 11-32 cassettes, not the 11-34 ones. Available in anodized gold and red, the cog has a claimed weight of 57gm. The cog is said to be XTR- and XX- specific but being a individual unit with its own engagement to the hub body, I see no reason why it shouldn’t work with other cassette designs also. I am hoping to get a set of them as soon as possible and let you know if and how they work with other cassettes.

• GAS Ventinove – the all 29er bike company from Italy:

Finally Gas29s new website is online – check out the all new design, and image & info filled site at Requested by some, here we have the update on Gas29s new bike the TITANICA 2. Here are the specs given to us by Gas29:

• Geometry as Stambek race and Steelcarbon, designed to fit rigid, 80 mm and 100 mm suspension forks.
• Frame ís all European designed and built.
• Tubing is all 3Al-2.5V alloy, single butted.
• Weight is approximately 1700 grams in size Medium!
(“We have chosen to make a muscular and stiff frame – which still rides very comfortably – to avoid torsion problem of other titanium frames!”)

Here come the images to back up their claims: Traditional and somewhat conservative at first glance you can see a lot of tube manipulation going on to create the geometry, fit and ride characteristics that Gas29 wants the TITANICA 2 to have.


CIMG1583CIMG1585These detail shots show the “muscular design” of the frame for maximum torsional stiffness. Tire clearance shouldn’t be a problem with the Titanica 2 – 2.4 tires are said to fit with ease.


One fast build of GAS29s TITANICA.

Four sizes S, M, L and XL will be available at a. The frame alone is priced at € 1400.- with two
frame/fork/wheel kits available between € 2099.- and 2299.- (for US pricing, which due to different
taxation is usually very interesting, write GAS29 for a quote).

GEAX – the Italian based tire company with a love for 29er

Last but not least GEAX has announced the introduction of yet another 29er tread, the AKA. After having been hugely successful in its 26 inch version in XC and dirt applications it has been tested successfully this year as a prototype by endurance/marathon rider Lorenza Menapace (sponsored by
GEAX, NINER and others, and is collecting title after title on them) and now we see the newest tread pattern the AKA making its debut as a 29er tire.

Aka_newsHere is GEAXs description of the AKA tread pattern:
“Give it a try on rocks, gravel, sand and even grass and you won’t find out another one competing on the same level of grip and low rolling resistance. The Aka has born to cover those situations where the knobs have to penetrate the ground without digging it, offering an amazing grip without slowing the wheel down even on the toughest terrains as gravel or grass. The side knobs design is taken directly from the proven Gato ones, to provide the same reliable and perfoming side grip
that’s already famous and well known in to the market despite its young age.”

Expect the tire to be available in 29 x 2.2 hopefully in tubeless ready (Geax calls them “TNT”) and folding and carry a similar weight as their Saguaro 29 x 2.2. (Editors Note: I have had some time on the 26-inch AKAs and they really are a grippy and fast beast – looking forward to their 29er version ?)