Specialized’s women’s-specific Mimic technology caused a stir when it was launched in 2018, not only due to the popularity of the Power saddle it was incorporated into, but for the company’s open and taboo-crushing approach to women’s comfort. Now the range has been expanded to include the Romin Evo and Phenom Evo saddles. Building on the popularity of the women’s Power saddle with Mimic, the expanded range includes a broader range of saddle shapes with Mimic technology, which is designed to eliminate hotspots and reduce swelling in sensitive areas. The range has also been simplified to make it easier to choose the ideal saddle, according to Specialized. As any cyclist will know, finding the right saddle is a completely personal choice, where the results can be unnoticeable at best, and the cause of much angst at worst. Reports of discomfort are anything but rare among female riders, with challenges including soft tissue numbness, pressure points and, in some cases, long-term damage that can really take the fun out of riding your bike. Best women’s road bike saddles Specialized’s Mimic technology uses multi-density foam in combination with memory foam to attempt to eliminate saddle discomfort. Specialized What is Mimic technology? Mimic technology was developed alongside bike fit expert Dr Andy Pruitt from the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Pruitt, who is also known for his work with Specialized on the Body Geometry fit system, studied changes in female physiology over time on the bike. The results included swelling of the frontal labia when using saddles with cutouts and, in many cases, a pressure point on the nose of the saddle. Specialized claims Mimic technology replicates the soft tissue that the saddle comes into contact with by using multiple layers of specific foam densities. There is no cutout feature, but instead a concave groove to relieve pressure on the labia without causing swelling and the associated discomfort. A thin layer of memory foam is used on the nose to alleviate any hotspots here. More Mimic for 2020 Although the Power saddle shape is the most popular in the range (with both men and women), Specialized recognises it’s not the best option for all riders, and is rolling out Mimic technology into more models for women. At the same time, Specialized says the line-up has been simplified, with saddle ranges renamed in line with existing models. The Romin Evo with Mimic replaces the Oura, the long-nosed model with a curved profile, while the Phenom Evo with Mimic replaces the Myth model, again long-nosed but with a flat profile. Specialized saddles are priced at four different levels, just like the company’s bikes, from the top-of-the-range S-Works option, through Pro and Expert, to the more value-orientated Comp. The Romin Evo saddle has a long nose and curved profile. Specialized The Phenom saddle also has a long nose, but with a flat profile. Specialized The Romin Evo with Mimic comes in Pro, Expert and Comp levels, while the Phenom with Mimic is available in Expert and Comp. Both are available in 143, 155 and 168mm widths. The short-nosed Power saddle is also now available at Expert level in a 130mm width, replacing the Toupe 130. This expands on the existing Power with Mimic range that already includes 143 and 155mm widths at S-Works and Pro level, and 143, 155 and 168mm widths at Expert and Comp level. All saddles are compatible with SWAT, Specialized’s discreet under-saddle mounting system for storage. Specialized Mimic 2020 saddle range Specialized Women’s Phenom Evo with Mimic CompWidths: 143, 155, 168mmPrice: £84 Specialized Women’s Phenom Evo with Mimic ExpertWidths: 143, 155, 168mm Price: £105 Specialized Women’s Romin Evo with Mimic ProWidths: 143, 155, 168mmPrice: £158 Specialized Women’s Romin Evo with Mimic ExpertWidths: 143, 155, 168mmPrice: TBC Specialized Women’s Romin Evo with Mimic CompWidths: 143, 155, 168mmPrice: TBC Specialized Women’s Power with Mimic S-WorksWidths: 143, 155mm Price: £230 Specialized Women’s Power with Mimic ProWidths: 143, 155mmPrice: £184 Specialized Women’s Power with Mimic ExpertWidths: 130, 143, 155, 168mmPrice: £105 Specialized Women’s Power with Mimic CompWidths: 143, 155, 168mmPrice: £84 Specialized stores offer a saddle fit service, measuring your sit bones with a non-intrusive test to determine the recommended saddle width.
That’s right folks, we’ve got big news out of Canada today with the arrival of a brand new electric mountain bike; the 2020 Norco Sight VLT 29. The good news? There are four models available, and not one of them costs over $10K. In fact, two of them are actually priced under $7K, which is pretty incredible given the specifications. The even better news? We’ve got the C1 model in for testing right now, and holy cow is this one beast of a bike! Here we’ll be taking a closer look at what’s new, how the Sight VLT 29er compares to its smaller-wheeled sibling, and what our first impressions are of riding this chunky-looking e-MTB. Norco has a brand new Sight VLT 29er joining its e-MTB range for 2020. Wait A Minny Mate – Doesn’t The Sight VLT Already Exist? Yes, yes it does! The current Norco Sight VLT (now known as the Sight VLT 27.5) has barely been on the market for a year, having arrived in late 2018. As you’ll read in our long term review it’s a bike that we didn’t take long to fall in love with thanks to its superb handling, lively suspension and generous battery range. Thankfully the Sight VLT 27.5 isn’t going anywhere – it’s just being joined by a beefcake brother. Surely Norco Has Just Thrown 29in Wheels Onto The Same Bike? Nope. The Sight VLT 29 doesn’t just have bigger wheels, it features an entirely new chassis. As we’ll get onto shortly, the geometry is quite different between the two. The Sight VLT 29 takes a lot of inspiration from the naturally-aspirated Sight, building on Norco’s ‘Ride Aligned’ ethos. Like the 27.5in version, the Sight VLT 29 uses a 630Wh In-Tube battery. Why Another Sight VLT Then? There are a couple of reasons. For a start, riders are simply asking for 29er e-MTBs. While we have thoroughly enjoyed the easier handling of the 27.5in wheels on the Sight VLT (and more recently the 27.5in Santa Cruz Heckler), there’s no denying the climbing and rollover benefits of a bigger 29in wheel – something that becomes more obvious the more technical the terrain is. Also, and in case you hadn’t noticed, Norco’s been on a bit of a blinder over the past 12 months. The Canucks have rolled out an all-new Optic, and they’ve also brought back the Torrent enduro hardtail in all its steel-framed glory. Then there was the release of the totally revamped Sight, as well as the arrival of Norco’s biggest and baddest e-MTB yet; the Range VLT. With that last bike (an absolute monster of an e-MTB with 180/170mm of travel, coil suspension and DH-worthy geo), Norco created a pretty significant gap in its full suspension e-MTB lineup. And so to fill that gap between the Sight VLT 27.5 and the Range VLT, we now have this brand spanking new Sight VLT 29er. As you’ll see, it does share a few things in common with the 27.5in version, though there are some significant differences too. The Norco Sight VLT 29er – Give Us The Lowdown First, let’s start by covering off what carries over from the 27.5in version. In terms of suspension travel, it’s exactly the same as the Sight VLT 27.5. So we’ve got a 160mm travel fork on the front, and 150mm of rear wheel travel courtesy of a four-bar suspension platform. The motor and battery system are also the same. There’s a Shimano STEPS mid-drive motor integrated into the frame, and a non-Shimano battery that is stowed inside that huge downtube. As with the Sight VLT 27.5, Norco has gone for a big 630Wh rechargeable battery, though unlike a lot of other e-MTBs on the market, it isn’t designed to be easily removable. This does mean the frame can be built lighter and sleeker. There’s 150mm of rear wheel travel via a 4-bar suspension design. Because of the motor, the chainstay length is over 20mm longer than the regular Sight. Up front is a 160mm travel reduced-offset fork and a beefy 2.5WT Maxxis Minion DHF. So What’s Different Then? Aside from the obvious wheelsize difference, the biggest change with the Sight VLT 29er is the geometry. Much like the new Optic, Sight and Range VLT models, the new Sight VLT 29 shares Norco’s new-school geometry concept with a significantly slacker head tube angle, a longer top tube, a steeper seat tube angle and a lower BB. Consequently, the wheelbase has expanded. Big time. For those wondering, here are some of the headline geometry figures of the Sight VLT 29 and how they compare to the Sight VLT 27.5; Head Angle: 64° (vs 66°) Seat Angle: 78.3° (vs 75°) Chainstays: 458mm (vs 440mm) Reach: 455mm (vs 440mm, Medium) BB drop: 25mm (vs 15mm) Wheelbase: 1246mm (vs 1184mm) We love the current Sight VLT 27.5, and thankfully it isn’t going away – the two Sight VLTs will coexist. For now at least. Given those differences, we can see why the Sight VLT 29 and Sight VLT 27.5 will coexist. For riders who want a more playful and easy-handling bike, the 27.5in version is likely going to remain the more logical option. For those who are chasing all-out speed and stability, the 29er appears to be the sled you’re looking for. One other thing to note on the geometry is that while it is very similar to the naturally-aspirated Sight (a bike that we just finished reviewing), the rear centre length is the same between all four frame sizes (the regular Sight has a different RC length for each size). This is purely down to the mid-drive motor, which unfortunately makes it impossible to change the BB location to extend or shorten the RC length. 2020 Norco Sight VLT 29 Geometry Moar Battery! Moar Water! Moar Alloy! Geometry aside, there are some other functional differences to be found on the Sight VLT 29. Whereas the current Sight VLT 27.5 is only available in carbon fibre, the Sight VLT 29 comes in both alloy and carbon variants. The addition of two alloy models helps to bring the cost of entry down significantly, with the cheapest A2 model coming in at $6,199. We’ve got specs and pricing on all four models below. One update that is likely to make many riders happy is the provision of a water bottle cage inside the mainframe – something that the current Sight VLT 27.5 misses out on. This has been achieved by twisting the rear shock by 90°, which helps to increase clearance for a bottle while still accommodating the shock’s piggyback reservoir. Also good news is the option of running a range extender battery pack. Just like the Range VLT, this additional 360Wh battery is designed to sit on top of the downtube and plugs into the frame just above the Shimano motor. The battery sells separately for $699 and increases total capacity to 990Wh, which is an extraordinary amount of juice. If you do choose to run a range extender battery, you will have to forgo the water bottle though. Unlike the 27.5in version, the Sight VLT 29 comes with water bottle mounts, and it’s also compatible with Norco’s aftermarket range extender battery pack. Which 2020 Norco Sight VLT 29 Models Are Coming To Oz? There are four different Sight VLT 29 models available in Australia – two carbon (the C1 & C2) and two alloy (the A1 & A2). Norco also makes a cheaper C3 carbon bike, but we won’t be seeing that one locally. Oh, and unlike all the other new bike releases we’ve covered for the start of 2020, not one of Norco’s Sight VLT models will sell for over $10K. Phew! We suspect there’ll be a lot of demand for the A1 model in particular, given its super competitive $6,999 list price. For your monies, you’ll get the same Shimano E8000 motor as the carbon models, a proper RockShox Yari fork, a piggyback rear shock, 1×12 drivetrain, 4-piston Shimano brakes and high-end Maxxis tyres, complete with the heavy duty DoubleDown casing and sticky 3C MaxxGrip rubber compound. Ticks a lot of boxes hey? Read on for a closer look at all four models that are hitting our shores over the coming months; The top-end Norco Sight VLT C1 29er is decked out with a Lyrik Ultimate RC2 fork, DT Swiss wheels and a Reverb Stealth dropper post. 2020 Norco Sight VLT C1 29 Frame | Carbon Fibre Mainframe & Seatstays, Alloy Chainstays, Four-Bar Suspension Design, 150mm Travel Fork | RockShox Lyrik Ultimate, Charger 2 RC2 Damper, 42mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Select+, DebonAir, 185×55mm Drive Unit | Shimano STEPS E8000, 70Nm Battery | In-Tube 630Wh Wheels | DT Swiss E 1700 Hybrid, 30mm Inner Rim Width Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF DoubleDown 3C MaxxGrip 2.5WT Front & DHR II DoubleDown 3C MaxxGrip 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/Shimano XT 34T Crankset & NX Eagle 11-50T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Code R 4-Piston w/200mm Rotors Bar | Deity Ridgeline 35, 25mm Rise, 800mm Wide Seatpost | RockShox Reverb, 34.9mm Diameter, Travel: 150mm (S), 175mm (M), 200mm (L/XL) RRP | $9,799 The C2 utilises the same carbon chassis as the top-end C1, but specs a Shimano XT 1×12 drivetrain, a cheaper fork damper and a TranzX dropper post to lob a grand off the price. 2020 Norco Sight VLT C2 29 Frame | Carbon Fibre Mainframe & Seatstays, Alloy Chainstays, Four-Bar Suspension Design, 150mm Travel Fork | RockShox Lyrik Select, Charger RC Damper, 42mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Select+, DebonAir, 185×55mm Drive Unit | Shimano STEPS E8000, 70Nm Battery | In-Tube 630Wh Wheels | Shimano XT Hubs & e*thirteen LG1 DH Alloy Rims, 30mm Inner Width Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF DoubleDown 3C MaxxGrip 2.5WT Front & DHR II DoubleDown 3C MaxxGrip 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | Shimano XT 1×12 w/XT 34T Crankset & 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano XT 4-Piston w/203mm Rotors Bar | Norco 6061 Alloy, 20mm Rise, 800mm Wide Seatpost | TranzX YSP-39JL, 34.9mm Diameter, Travel: 150mm (S), 170mm (M), 200mm (L/XL) RRP | $8,799 Prefer metal? The Sight VLT A1 is sure to become a best-seller given its $6,999 price tag and the fact that it comes with proper suspension, proper tyres and proper brakes. Plus it has the same motor and battery as the carbon models. 2020 Norco Sight VLT A1 29 Frame | Hydroformed Alloy, Four-Bar Suspension Design, 150mm Travel Fork | RockShox Yari RC, Motion Control Damper, 42mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Select+, DebonAir, 185×55mm Drive Unit | Shimano STEPS E8000, 70Nm Battery | In-Tube 630Wh Wheels | Shimano Deore Hubs & e*thirteen LG1 DH Alloy Rims, 30mm Inner Width Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF DoubleDown 3C MaxxGrip 2.5WT Front & DHR II DoubleDown 3C MaxxGrip 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 w/Shimano FC-E8000 34T Crankset & NX Eagle 11-50T Cassette Brakes | Shimano MT520 4-Piston w/203mm Rotors Bar | Norco 6061 Alloy, 20mm Rise, 800mm Wide Seatpost | TranzX YSP-39JL, 34.9mm Diameter, Travel: 150mm (S), 170mm (M), 200mm (L/XL) RRP | $6,999 As the entry-point into the Sight VLT lineup, the A2 may well be one of the most capable e-MTBs going at this price point. 2020 Norco Sight VLT A2 29 Frame | Hydroformed Alloy, Four-Bar Suspension Design, 150mm Travel Fork | RockShox 35 Gold, Motion Control Damper, 42mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Select+, DebonAir, 185×55mm Drive Unit | Shimano STEPS E7000, 60Nm Battery | In-Tube 500Wh Wheels | Shimano Deore Hubs & WTB ST i29 Alloy Rims, 29mm Inner Width Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF DoubleDown 3C MaxxGrip 2.5WT Front & DHR II DoubleDown 3C MaxxGrip 2.4WT Rear Drivetrain | Shimano Deore 1×10 w/Alloy 32T Crankset & Deore 11-42T Cassette Brakes | Shimano MT420 4-Piston w/203mm Rotors Bar | Norco 6061 Alloy, 20mm Rise, 800mm Wide Seatpost | TranzX YSP-39JL, 34.9mm Diameter, Travel: 150mm (S), 170mm (M), 200mm (L/XL) RRP | $6,199 The Sight VLT C1 comes with a SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, though a cheaper (and heavier) NX Eagle cassette. Compared to the 27.5in version, the Sight VLT 29 is considerably longer and slacker. It’s also lower in the BB too. First Impressions The model we’ve got our hot little hands on is the top-end C1. In terms of its overall shape and geometry, it shares a lot in common with the naturally aspirated Sight – a bike that I only just finished testing. The reach and head angle are identical between the two, but because the Sight VLT 29 has a slightly steeper seat angle, the cockpit does feel shorter and more upright in direct comparison. With the same bars, grips and 160mm Lyrik fork, the front-end feels reassuringly familiar. The saddle is an e-MTB specific number from Ergon though, with a pronounced scoop at the tail that’s designed to provide a stronger platform for your sit-bones while seated on steep, technical climbs. It’s comfortable, though I’ll be playing around with saddle tilt and fore/aft positioning to get it dialled in properly, as right now it feels like I have too much weight on the grips. One other key geometry difference is the rear centre length, which is over 20mm longer on the Sight VLT 29 (458mm vs 435mm). On the climbs, this helps to keep the front end from pitching, and it all feels very steady and calm. On the descents, the longer back end does give the electric version a bigger footprint on the trail, and it also helps to shift a little more weight distribution onto the front tyre. This is complemented by the extra weight of the battery and motor, giving the Sight VLT 29 an enormously planted feel at speed. Despite only having one solid ride on it so far, I’m already feeling very comfortable – something that took me a few rides on the regular Sight to achieve. 800mm wide riser bars from Deity, along with Ergon GE1 grips and SRAM Code R brakes. It’s a tough-looking cockpit, if quite messy with all those Shimano Di2 wires. For those wondering, our medium sized Sight VLT 29 weighs in at a not-feathery 23.43kg. Part of the weight comes down to the Maxxis Minion DoubleDown tyres, which tip the scales at 1.23kg for the DHF and 1.17kg for the DHR II. They also feature the mega-sticky 3C MaxxGrip rubber compound, which offers an insane amount of grip, albeit with a noticeably slower rolling speed. Not as big of a deal when you’ve got a 70Nm motor between the crank arms though. We’ll be testing the Sight VLT 29 over the coming weeks, and I’ve got a few big rides planned to see how it’ll handle a variety of trail types and conditions. Norco also supplied us with a range extender battery pack. According to the workshop scales, this weighs in at 2.3kg, which brings the total bike weight close to 26kg. Yeesh! However, it does give you nearly 1000Wh of battery to indulge in, which opens up some pretty cool riding adventure opportunities. Your suggestions are welcome! Stay tuned to the Flow website for the full review, though in the meantime, by all means shoot us through any questions you’ve got, and be sure to tell us your thoughts on the new 2020 Norco Sight VLT 29. The range extender battery pack sells separately for $699 and adds 2.3kg of mass to the bike. It does jack up capacity to 990Wh, which opens up some the possibility of bigger adventures. Mo’ Flow Please! Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow! The post First Ride | Norco Releases All-New Sight VLT 29er appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
The current chassis for the RockShox Pike was first announced around Sea Otter (read: Spring) 2017. With that it saw roughly a 160 gram weight loss due to its new bones. The next year the fork’s main update was the Charger 2 damper as well as some SKF seals. Most recently, following the company’s “incremental enhancements…” motto, the Charger 2.1 was released as RockShox rolled out the Signature series suspension lineup. The main shortcoming of Charger 2 was that it suffered from a bit of spikiness and somewhat limited range in usable high speed compression damping. Charger 2.1 remedied that issue mainly by way of an updated shim stack, but the damper was also upgraded with an improved piston wearband and an SKF rod seal – both of which help reduce stiction and while making for better small bump sensitivity. The low speed compression also sees additional support via a new needle profile. Anyhow, now that we’ve had a good amount of trail time aboard the staple fork from this past Summer through our current Winter, here’s the report on long term findings. Details 27.5″ & 29″ 120mm – 160mm travel available Offsets: 37mm (27.5″), 42mm (29″), 46mm (27.5″), 51mm (29″) Boost hub spacing with “Torque Cap” fitment Charger 2.1 damper SKF seals Maxima fluid 1832 grams (120mm / 27.5″) $929 USD For the most part, the view from above looks the same, with the high and low speed compression adjusters remaining unchanged and the same arch as the last version. The Signature series forks feature gloss finish, with Pike being available in Silver as well as Black. Lyrik is offered in Red and Black. Above are some of the areas that this iteration of the fork found its ~160 gram weight loss a couple years back. Lots of relief in the arch, plus a shorter overall damping/air spring assembly which allowed for some less excess material at the bottom of the lowers as well. The updated seal head in Charger 2.1 features is now made by SKF, who as a brand, is about as good as it gets, and more of their seals are found throughout the current RockShox forks than ever before. Above left, the new fork comes with a RockShox branded fender, which is a really nice little perk. In fact all of the new Signature series forks come with them. On the right, if you’ve been paying attention for the last few years, you’re likely familiar with RockShox’ patented “Sag Gradients” which are laser etched indicators that make it a breeze to achieve your preferred sag. Lastly, the new forks ship with bolt on axles, which save weight…These days if you’re not carrying a tool, you’re a fool. On the trail This was my first fork with the Charger 2.1 damper and the difference was pretty easy to detect early on. Compared to the last Pike, it started out as just feeling a bit easier on my hands, then more improvements became increasingly obvious as I spent more time on it. When things got hectic, the fork felt a bit less nervous – its calmer demeanor likely attributed to the improved high speed compression, which in my view is the crowning achievement of the Charger 2.1 damper. On Charger 2, if I added much more than 1 click from full open on HSC, the fork got pretty rough. While at 180 pounds, I didn’t really need to add much more than 2 clicks from full open, I dabbled with going to 4 from open and was surprised at how manageable it stayed – that indicates that its range of adjustment likely far better for a broader range of rider weights and abilities. I’d be lying if I claimed to feel a discernible difference in performance from a single upgraded seal in the damper’s seal head, but the fork’s action was noticeably smoother overall, and every bit does count. Switching gears, we can talk about Pike Ultimate’s overall performance in the broader context, with less focus on comparisons to its predecessor. While the chassis is lighter duty than the Lyrik that it replaced, I thought it was very much up for the job on my Evil Offering, a 140mm travel 29″ bike whose disposition leans toward the aggressive end of the spectrum. Having ridden a standard Fox 34, as well as the lighter duty “step cast” model, I do feel that the Pike’s chassis offered improved rigidity and thus better handling, especially compared to the lighter duty “step cast” model. That’s not to say that it blows the 34 out of the water, but I do think it’s the better handler of the two. As far as action goes, in short I’d describe the Pike as a feeling a little more plush and the 34 as feeling a little firmer and racier. There is also the fundamental difference between the two dampers with Fox featuring a lockout and RockShox featuring more tunability in its high speed compression. As far as durability is concerned, all I’ve needed to do so far is your pretty standard “drop the legs, clean and lube the seals then put some fresh oil in the lowers service”. This can be done with a couple of allen keys and a soft mallet. A fresh overhaul of the damper is more in depth, but can be with relative ease by a solid mechanic with the right tools. Generally speaking though, there’s been no indication of premature bushing or seal wear and everything has continued to work admirably from Summer dust to Winter mud. Overall At the end of the day, this is a fairly standard RockShox/SRAM story that I often find myself telling about second and third year products…The last version of this fork was pretty darn good, but SRAM found room for improvement without drastic changes involved. For those who have a 2018/2019 RockShox fork, you’re not going to be left high and dry. Should you choose, you can upgrade to a Charger 2.1 damper. They’re a little pricey, but would be money well spent if you nailed it right around when your service interval called for a full damper bleed anyway. All in all with continuous fine tuning the Pike simply remains a damn good all around mid-duty trail fork. www.rockshox.com
While they may seem simple, there’s a huge number of things to consider when buying a road bike and this guide will help you select the best road bike for you. Related reading Best bike: our buyer’s guide to which bicycle type you should buy The best road bike for £500 Best gravel and adventure bikes Endurance (sportive) vs. race bike geometry Road bikes fall into two general categories; race and endurance. Race bikes put the rider’s torso in a lower, more aerodynamic position and typically have more aggressive geometry for quick handling. Endurance bikes put the rider in a more upright position and the frame angles are a little more relaxed for confidence-inducing stability and long-distance comfort. These are almost, sometimes, known as sportive bikes. In either category, you should expect to pay between £500 and £700 for a high-quality, entry-level machine. The best way to learn the difference between the two is to ride both, either through test rides at an event or a shop, or by borrowing a bike from a friend. As with any product, bikes come in good/better/best levels. The main points of difference are the frame materials (aluminium bikes tend to be cheaper, while carbon fibre frames are lighter but more expensive. Steel and titanium frames tend to be more niche), the parts (strong, light, cheap — pick two) and the wheels (see previous parenthetical). Quick guide to frame materials Road bike groupsets explained Check out our road bike groupset buyer’s guide to learn more about what makes your bike stop and go BikeRadar Road bike groupsets: everything you need to know Road bikes used to be called 10-speeds, referring to the two chainrings up front multiplied by the five cogs in the rear. These days, most road bikes have two chain rings and 9, 10, 11, or now, even 13 cogs in the rear. Shimano and SRAM are, by far, the most common drivetrain brands, although you will also find Campagnolo, Microshift and FSA components out there too. In general, endurance bikes have smaller gears, meaning it’s easier to get up hills, while race bikes have larger gears for higher top-end speed. Bigger chainrings mean more outright speed (and effort), and smaller chainrings — dubbed compact — mean less effort. What is a compact crank? How to get the correct road bike size A bike fit from a good shop is an invaluable investment BikeRadar Bike fit is critical. A budget machine that fits you like a glove will feel and handle much better than an ill-fitting superbike. How much difference does a bike fit make? While most brands have bike fit charts on their websites, it’s vital to just go and sit on the thing if you are new to cycling. Once you learn what fit works for you, you can shop off of charts; in the meantime, try bikes like you would shoes. Once you have selected the right size frame — which any good bike shop can help you with — you then need to get your saddle and handlebar height correct. Again, a professional fit at a good shop is invaluable here. How to adjust your handlebar height Your top tube length is irrelevant Most good shops will work with you to fine-tune other elements of your fit too, such as the distance to the handlebars, the angle of the handlebars and even the feel of the saddle. Note that saddle preference is highly personal, there is no universal best answer here. Just try a few until you find something comfortable. Many saddle manufacturers will also offer demo services. The best road bike saddles Best women’s bike saddle: a buyer’s guide What tyres will my road bike come with? The numbers on the sidewall of the tyre refer to the size of the tyre on the wheel and width of the tyre when inflated. Minimum and maximum air pressure figures are usually printed too James Huang / Immediate Media Most road bikes come with slick or very lightly treaded tyres. In recent years, it’s become more common to spec wider tyres on road bikes, with race bikes often coming fitted with 23 or 25mm-wide tyres, and endurance bikes coming with 25 or even 28mm tyres. Regardless of the width, all of these tyres will roll fast and the wider tyres give you a little more cushioning (and speed over rougher road surfaces) in exchange for a little more weight. Best road bike tyres: what you should look for Tyres are one of the easiest things to change, so you don’t need to worry much about what the bike comes with. That said, if you are keen on maximising the comfort of your bike, make sure the frame has clearance for wider tyres. Again, race bikes that favour aerodynamics will typically skew towards skinny tyres, while the endurance bikes that deliver comfort will generally have plump rubber. If you’re unsure how to pump up your tyres, check out our comprehensive article below. How to inflate a bicycle tyre — everything you need to know about pumps, valves, pressure and more Should I buy a road bike with rim or disc brakes? For decades road bikes have used caliper brakes, where blocks of rubber squeeze against the rim. Road disc brakes: everything you need to know Now, however, many road bikes come equipped with disc brakes, which have been used on mountain bikes for many years. Discs offer superior braking in wet weather, but are heavier. In general, you will find disc brakes on many new endurance bikes and caliper (rim) brakes on a majority of race bikes — though this is changing quite rapidly. Disc brakes are increasingly found on endurance bikes Courtesy Zipp Note that the majority of rim brake bikes cannot be converted to discs and vice versa, so once you’ve made your choice you’re committed to it. Necessary supplies Your road bike will come nearly complete. You will still need to purchase a few things to hit the road, including water bottle cages, water bottles and supplies to fix a flat (inner tube, tyre levers and either CO2 cartridges and/or a pump). If you buy at a shop they will be glad to set you up with these things. How to repair a puncture — a walkthrough guide How to choose a bicycle pump 6 of the best: tyre levers 6 of the best: saddle bags 6 of the best: CO2 inflators Most bikes will come with a set of cheap plastic pedals and these won’t stop you enjoying your road bike, but investing in a set of clip-in (confusingly known as clipless) pedals will massively improve performance and control. Best road bike pedals Best cheap road bikes — best road bikes under £600 A decent road bike doesn’t need to cost you the world Russel Burton / Immediate Media Getting into road riding needn’t cost you the world — even just £600 will get you a bike that would blow the socks off of an equivalent model that would have cost double that only a few years back. The best cheap road bikes: 8 great choices for under £600 Best road bikes under £1,000 £1,000 gets you access to some very tasty machinery in 2020 Robert Smith The best road bikes under £1,000 are a great place to start if you’re new to cycling or if you’re unsure how much riding you’re actually going to be doing. Best road bikes under £1,000 That magic £1,000 mark is also within the Cycle to Work scheme limit, which can be a great way to save money on a new bike. Cycle to Work scheme: everything you need to know Best road bikes under £2,000 £2,000 gets you a whole lot of bike nowadays Russel Burton / Immediate Media The pro-level superbikes that fall into the price range beyond this bracket are truly amazing and it’s easy to be tempted by them. But don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on one without remortgaging your house, because the best road bikes under £2,000 still bring you into serious — and seriously good — bike territory. Best road bikes under £2,000 Best road bikes under £3,000 Bikes for under £3,000 are now incredibly good Russell Burton / Immediate Media This sort of price range used to be the sole preserve of the dedicated race bike. But the profile of this section of the market has now changed and the best road bike under £3,000 is now just as likely to be a sportive model. The best road bikes under £3,000 Best alloy, steel or titanium road bikes Some buyers are keen on their bike frame being made of a particular material. We’ve already shortlisted our top performing aluminium, steel and titanium frames for your perusal: The best aluminium road bikes The best steel road bikes The best titanium road bikes BikeRadar’s Road Bike of the Year A special place must be reserved for the overall winner of our Bike of the Year award, for 2019 that title was crowned to Rondo’s HVRT CF0. Watch the video below or read the full review to find out exactly how the Rondo beat every other bike to take away our most coveted award. Testing is now underway for Bike of the Year 2020, so stay tuned for a new winner. BikeRadar’s 2019 Bike of the Year: all the winners in one place BikeRadar’s 2019 Road Bike of the Year This article was last updated in February 2020.
First off, happy Valentine’s Day from everyone at BikeRadar. The team sends digital love and kisses your way on this most romantic day, and we hope you spend the weekend ahead with your one true love (your bicycle). If you’re lucky enough to have a sentient non-bicycle lover, be sure to remind them of the results of this steamy survey at every opportunity this weekend. Lastly, if you happen to be looking for a last-minute gift for the cyclist in your life, be sure to check out our guide to the best Valentine’s Day gifts for cyclists. From our perspective, think of this edition of First Look Friday – our weekly roundup of the hottest cycling swag to land at BikeRadar HQ – as a gift to you from us (a gift that you only get to enjoy with your eyes and don’t actually get to keep). Velo Orange Neutrino mini-velo We’ve already fallen for the Neutrino. Simon Bromley We first reported on Velo Orange’s Neutrino mini-velo back in October 2018 when it was an unnamed prototype and, even at that stage, it won the hearts of BikeRadar. Inspired by a 1960’s Jack Taylor Small Wheeler, this 20in do-it-all frameset is, in Velo Orange’s words, perfect for the “frequent traveller, apartment dweller, multi-modal commuter or just someone that enjoys a fun N+1 bike”. While it’s never going to be quite as compact as a folding bike, in the oh-so-hard life of a bike tester, space is always at a premium at home, and the Neutrino could fill a space that probably doesn’t need to be filled. Best bike storage ideas: a buyer’s guide to storing your bike indoors The concept of a mini-velo is nothing new but this particular take on the concept has already gained something of a cult following, with every batch of the bike selling out in record time, according to Velo Orange. Features such as these sliding dropouts add versatility to this cute little bike. With the exception of a disc 20in wheelset (how many of us have one of those kicking around?), the bike lends itself well to a parts bin build, with a standard threaded bottom bracket shell, sliding 135mm rear dropouts and an easily-sourced 31.6mm seatpost. It even has a brazed-on kickstand plate for goodness sake. View this post on Instagram Another RAD @Velo_Orange #Neutrino in #Bikecamping Style with Custom Roll-Up Full Frame Bag from @conquer_bikepacking and #Ostrich Canvas Panniers Photo courtesy of @uncle_noo #Conquer #VeloORANGE ???????? #VeloORANGEThailand ???????? #Bikepacking #BikepackingLife #จักรยานทัวร์ริ่ง #Touringbike #CycleTouring #Steelisreal #ชุมทางโครโมลี #BokBokBike ???????? A post shared by BokBokBikeThailand (@bokbokbike.thailand) on Jan 7, 2020 at 10:58pm PST This versatility and the absolute novelty of owning such a quirky and fun little bike is an undeniable draw. The bike may look like it’s finished in a drab shade of ‘cream of mushroom’ from afar, but up close it actually reveals a handsome, sparkly glitter finish beneath the clear coat. The majority of the build comes from Velo Orange itself. Simon Bromley The Neutrino is available as a complete build or frameset, priced at $2,500 and $750 respectively. Velo Orange is a fairly small brand so it’s unlikely to ever be able to be competitive on complete build prices, so we imagine the majority of would-be buyers will opt for the frameset. We’ve only had a chance to ride the bike on a handful of occasions but are already in love with the concept. It’s an absolute hoot to ride and appreciably smaller than a regular bike when tucked away in a nook at home. Expect a full review and video to follow further down the line. Frameset: $750 / £700 Buy the Neutrino frameset direct from Velo Orange Complete build: $2,500, international shipping available Buy a complete Neutrino build direct from Verlo Orange As an aside, Velo Orange also threw in one of its cute Day Tripper saddle bags with the bike. These bags are produced in collaboration with Road Runner bags. The saddle bag may not have the Instagram-friendly points of a trendy handlebar bag but there’s no denying its exceptionally practical and, dare we say it, quite handsome in a shade of rust. $95 / £89.99 Buy the Day Tripper saddle bag direct from Velo Orange WTB Raddler 40c gravel tyre The Raddler is a more aggressive version of WTB’s popular Riddler. Simon Bromley WTB’s all-new Raddler is a more aggressive version of its Riddler gravel tyre. Best gravel bike tyres in 2020 The DNA of the two tyres is very similar but the Raddler gets more pronounced centre and side knobs. This results in a more squared-off overall profile that should still roll relatively well on paved surfaces and offer some additional bite off-road. The 700c-only tyre is available in 40 and 44mm widths, and our 40mm sample weighs 494g. We’re suckers for a handsome tan wall tyre. Simon Bromley The tyre is available in both a black and tan-wall finish and, as with all of WTB’s gravel tyres, the Raddler will set you back £45 / €53 / $60. The tyre sits at the upper end of the ‘radness’ spectrum in WTB’s gravel tyre range. For those looking for a less aggressively treaded tyre, Venture, Byway, Exposure or Horizon would be your best bet. Stock is expected in shops in the next two to three weeks. £45 / €53 / $60 DMT KR1 Crystal special-edition Swarovski-encrusted shoes These might just be the jazziest cycling shoes we’ve ever seen. Simon Bromley Yes, you are looking at a pair of £420 Swarovski-encrusted DMT cycling shoes. Best cycling shoes 2020: 17 top-rated road cycling shoes DMT KR1 Italian Champ edition ???????? @dmtcycling pic.twitter.com/aGLX4cMVDN — Elia Viviani (@eliaviviani) September 8, 2018 The limited-edition shoe is based on the KR1, the brand’s top-end road race shoe that was developed and worn by Elia Viviani. The KR1 features a fully knitted upper that extends quite high up the ankle. The super-elastic upper is totally malleable and feels incredibly comfortable when worn. However, you’ll have to be on the right side of confident to feel comfortable actually wearing these jazzy numbers in public. It’s a shame the Boa dials are not also encrusted in crystals. Simon Bromley For the right person, DMT claims that the shoe will be perfect to “make a fashion statement on the next group ride” or, if you’re the racing type, you will “impress your breakaway partners with your sophisticated style”. The shoe is secured with a single Boa IP1 dial (we’re terribly disappointed this isn’t also encrusted with diamantes). Every single cycling shoe should have replaceable lugs. Simon Bromley The full carbon outsole of the shoe passes the cursory bend-it-over-your-knee test with flying covers. The outsole also features, much to our delight, a replaceable heel lug. Every single cycling shoe should have replaceable lugs, no exceptions. It’s not clear how many of these shoes have been produced but stock is low at most online retailers, so act quickly if you want to bag a pair of these dazzling disco slippers. £420 / €385, international pricing TBC Latest deals Robert Axle Project turbo trainer thru-axle Who knew a thru-axle could be so lovely? Simon Bromley The majority of wheel-on turbo trainers are designed to be used in conjunction with quick-release skewers with conical end caps that a cammed lever clamps onto. This means that the majority of bikes with thru-axles are not compatible with a wheel-on turbo trainer. Best smart trainer 2020: top-rated turbo trainers However, fret not, because The Robert Axle Project – a brand that is dedicated to solely making high-end aftermarket thru-axles – has the answer. This thru-axle is so well made. Simon Bromley The brand’s imaginatively named ‘thru-axle for bike trainers’ imitates the function of a turbo trainer quick release with two nicely machined conical end caps sitting at each end of the axle. One of these end caps is removable for fitting. Helpful functionality aside, it might sound daft but the thru-axle is actually a delightfully well-made object. It feels high-quality in the hand and neat touches, such as the machined internal lip that holds an o-ring in place to keep the M5-threaded bolt captive, elevate it to a level of luxury that we thought unthinkable for a humble thru-axle. This particular product is available to fit on no fewer than 15 different thru-axle standards. $54, international pricing TBC Buy direct from The Robert Axle Project
Transition Bikes has updated the Scout for 2020. They’re calling it their modern day take on the Bottlerocket and you can read all about the new bike from Transition inside. Photos: Transition Bikes Hop on the Scout and you’re immediately transformed into a projectile. Our modern day take on the Bottlerocket, the Scout will awaken your inner child. Manual here, scrub that, skid there, pedal up this. Freedom to boost everything in sight, overshoot every landing without a care, mixed with nose bonking, corner slapping and hooting your way down the trail. Sporty, but just as eager to tackle bigger terrain. The Scout’s trail charisma is infectious and will cause you to look at your regular trails through a new perspective. Pedal up and repeat. X01 Scout Carbon Complete in Midnight Blue ($6,599) GX Scout Carbon Complete ($5,499) NX Scout Carbon Complete in Olive Green ($4,499) Available NOW at your local Transition dealer and our webstore! TECHNICAL UPDATES AND STUFF The Scout features a full carbon frame made from premium Japanese Toray fiber with a tailored blend of 24T and 30T materials to create the right balance of frame stiffness, strength, and impact toughness. Our unique latex coated EPS molding process allows for sharper frame lines and tighter edge radius control with maximum strength to weight ratio and less wasted material. The 25% overall progression with a linear rate of change works well with air or coil shocks. The stock 57.5mm shock stroke provides 140mm of rear wheel travel, with the ability to use a 62.5mm stroke shock to get 150mm travel and large usable sag range let you custom tailor your ride. GiddyUpStokeOptions Scout Dropper posts keep getting longer so we combine short seat tube lengths with mega seatpost insertion to help get your saddle completely out of the way. All complete bikes come with longer travel dropper posts; XS 120mm, SM 150mm, MD 180mm, LG/XL 210mm. Olive Green and Midnight Blue Carbon Scout Frameset (MSRP $3,199) Full Carbon Frame (Front Triangle, Rear Triangle And Rocker) 44mm/56mm Press In Headset 12x148mm Boost Dropout Spacing Stock Rear Travel 140mm With 57.5mm Stroke Shock Up To 150mm Rear Travel With 62.5mm Stroke Shock Enduro Max Sealed Bearings With Bearing Shields On Main Pivot Threaded Bottom Bracket Molded Rubber Chainstay, Seatstay & Downtube Protection External Rear Brake Cable Routing Fully Guided Rear Derailleur Cable Routing In DT And CS Water Bottle Storage Inside Front Triangle Accessory Mount On Underside Of Top Tube 27.5″ Tire Clearance Up To 2.6″ 3.20 kg / 7.05 lbs Frame w / Shock, Complete X01 13.79 kg / 30.4 lbs TRANSITION LIFETIME & STANDARD WARRANTY COVERAGE At Transition Bikes we take pride in the quality of our products. Our frames are manufactured for specific uses to withstand the rigors and abuse modern mountain bike trails can dish out. That being said, all frames can break given just the right amount of time, wear, neglect, or misfortune. Transition Bikes is fully committed to keeping you riding and we will do anything we can to keep a Transition Bike underneath you. All Transition Bike models released 2020 and on are covered for the lifetime of the frame against material defect and manufacturing quality for the original owner. Models released before 2020 fall under the previous warranty. Model year 2018-2019 for 3 years from purchase date. Model year 2017 and older for 2 years from purchased date. Transition Bikes will repair or replace any original purchasers individual frame parts or complete frame at our discretion. You must register your frame on our site with your serial number and provide proof of purchase to qualify for a warranty. In the event of an issue with your frame Transition Bikes will determine whether it qualifies a ‘Warranty Issue’ or is covered under our ‘Crash Replacement Policy’ (see below for details). In the event that you have to send back all or part of your frame under warranty, you are responsible for the shipping costs to get it to us and we will pay the return shipping. Our warranty policy does not cover any labor costs, modifications from stock or normal wear-and- tear damage. CRASH REPLACEMENT In addition to our warranty, all Transition Bikes frames are covered for life under our “Crash Replacement Policy” to the original or second hand owner. If for any reason (and we do mean “any” reason) you should find yourself with a broken or damaged frame, you may send us the broken frame section and we will replace it at a cost well below retail, assuming we have the replacement part available. If we do not have the piece available we will attempt to work out a crash replacement price on a replacement frame set. You are responsible for all shipping costs to get the frame to and from Transition Bikes. REMEMBER, WE’RE PULLING FOR YOU – WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER Above is our official stance, since to some degree these things need to be spelled out. But our entire philosophy is based around being a rider-owned company, and we take that seriously. We’re well aware that not every circumstance can be accounted for and not every case falls neatly into one of the above categories. Our goal is to leave no rider who supports us without some form of support in return. Please contact us with any questions if you need help to keep your wheels rolling. https://transitionbikes.com/Bikes_ScoutCarbon.cfm
Let’s face it, Crankbrothers hasn’t historically had the best luck with its wheels. That all changed, however, with the release of its Synthesis series in late 2018. Now, the company is introducing a line of high-end aluminum wheels for a fraction of the cost of the original carbon versions. The post First Impressions: Crankbrothers Synthesis E Alloy | $800 appeared first on BIKE Magazine.
Crankbrothers has just launched a range of alloy-rimmed mountain bike wheels that have been designed to offer some of the compliance of its Synthesis carbon hoops but at a cheaper price point. Wheels are available for enduro, XC/trail and e-bike applications, and they start from £500 a pair. Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you Best mountain bike suspension forks The Synthesis alloy wheelset claims front- and rear-specific compliance from £500. They look pretty smart too. Immediate Media What is Synthesis? The carbon-rimmed Synthesis wheelset was launched back in 2018 and the idea behind the project was to combine the expertise and ideas of Jason Schiers, founder of ENVE composites, and Mello Bouwmeester, who pioneered supple single-wall carbon rims long before SRAM got in on the act. Between them, they came up with the Synthesis concept, which blends together ideas from the two engineers’ backgrounds. Their creation combines a stiff rear wheel, for snappy cornering, with a flexier front wheel to reduce harshness transmitted to the hands. They achieved this contrasting feel partly with a higher spoke count on the rear wheel than the front (32 spokes and 28 respectively), and the use of different rims with distinct carbon-layups. The front rim is not only less stiff, it’s also lighter, shallower in profile and slightly wider. Crankbrothers Synthesis alloy wheelset pricing The carbon versions don’t come cheap; a top-line E11 wheelset with Industry-9 hubs and bladed spokes costs £2,150, while a Synthesis E wheelset with Crankbrothers’ own hubs and heavier spokes costs £1,500. That’s where these latest alloy wheels come in. The new wheels are available in three versions, designed for enduro, XC/Trail (XCT) and e-bike use. The enduro and XCT wheels both cost £500 with Crankbrothers’ standard hub, or £700 a pair with the I9 hubs. That’s £1,000 and £1,450 less than the carbon equivalent, respectively. The e- bike wheelset is only available with the Crankbrothers hub and costs a little more at £540 a pair. Enduro Wheelsize options: 27.5 Boost / 29 Boost Hub options: Crankbrothers Synthesis (17-degree engagement) or I9 101 hub (4-degree engagement) Price with Crankbrothers Synthesis hub: £199.99 / $239 / €239 front and £299.99 / $359 / €359 rear (wheels sold separately) Price with I9 101 hub: £264.99 / $299 / €299 front and £434.99 / $499 / €499 rear (wheels sold separately) e-bike Wheelsize options: 27.5+ Boost / 29 Boost Hub options: Crankbrothers Synthesis only Price: £214.99 / $259 / €259 front and £324.99 / $389 / €389 rear (wheels sold separately) XCT Wheelsize options: 29 Boost only Hub options: Crankbrothers synthesis (17-degree engagement) / I9 101 hub (4-degree engagement) Price with Crankbrothers Synthesis hub: £199.99 / $239 / €239 front and £299.99 / $359 / €359 rear (wheels sold separately) Price with I9 101 hub: £264.99 / $299 / €299 front and £434.99 / $499 / €499 rear (wheels sold separately) Enduro and XCT rims are available separately at £99.99 each. Crankbrothers Synthesis alloy wheelset details You’d be hard pressed to spot the difference between the alloy and carbon rims on the trail. Crankbrothers The alloy Synthesis rim looks strikingly similar to the carbon version, except that it has a hooked rim bead instead of the hookless carbon rim. The carbon rim also has a much wider rim sidewall than the alloy wheels; wider sidewalls can, at least in theory, reduce the risk of punctures by spreading the load over a wider area. The inner rim width is the same as the carbon version though. Look closely and you can see the front rim (right) is slightly wider than the rear. Crankbrothers The Synthesis alloy, like the carbon version, uses different rims front and rear. The rear is designed to be stronger to resist impact damage, and the front rim is wider to provide a little more cornering bite by squaring up the tyre, while keeping the rear tyre rounder for better rolling speed. The enduro version of the alloy wheels have an inner width of 31.5mm front and 29.5mm rear. They use 28 Sapim D-Light spokes in the front and 32 Sapim Race spokes in the rear. They’re available in 27.5in or 29in wheel sizes. The XCT wheels have 26.5mm front and 24.5mm rear inner rim widths. They too use a 32 front/28 rear spoke count, but have Sapim D-Light spokes at both ends. They’re available in 29in only. The e-bike wheelset has 31.5mm inner rim width front and rear. Spoke count is again 28/32, but with beefier Sapim E-light spokes up front and Sapim strong spokes in the rear. They’re available in 27.5in or 29in wheel sizes. There is a 27.5+ option for the e-bike wheels, with 35.5mm-wide rims front and rear. These are available in 27.5in only. All Synthesis alloy wheels are sold individually, so it’s possible to mix and match between wheel sizes. All the above options are available in Boost only and can be supplied with HG, SRAM XD and Shimano Microspline freehubs. The main difference between the Crankbrothers and Industry-9 hubs (other than price) is the engagement angle. I9 offers a fast 4-degree engagement angle (with 90 points of engagement in the freehub) and the Crankbrothers a fairly slow 17-degree angle (21 points of engagement). So, when you start pedalling, there will be considerably less dead stroke in the crank with the I9 hubs before the freehub engages the wheel. There is a small difference in weight too. Crankbrothers Synthesis alloy wheelset weight We’ve been sent two sets of the enduro wheels: one with the Crankbrothers hubs and one with the I9 hubs, both 29in and with SRAM XD drivers. On the BikeRadar scales of truth, they weigh 2,116g and 2,027g respectively. Not exactly light, but not heavy either. By comparison, the carbon Synthesis Enduro wheelset with I9 hubs (also in 29in and with XD driver) weighs 1,889g on our scales. So the alloy wheels weigh 138g more than the equivalent carbon set. Considering they cost £1,450 less, that’s probably a weight penalty worth swallowing for most. What’s the bottom line? Of course, the proof is in the riding. Will the alloy rim sacrifice the supposed compliance benefits of the original Synthesis wheelset? In our experience, alloy wheels generally offer superior ride quality and vibration damping in rough terrain. The reasonable price, particularly with the Crankbrothers hubs, could make them a compelling option for those who want a smart-looking enduro wheelset but don’t want to break the bank. We’ll report back with a review in due course.
We’ve got big news for all you e-Frothers, because today Santa Cruz is unveiling its first ever e-MTB. Answering years of anticipation and rumours from both Santa Cruz fans and e-MTB enthusiasts from all around the globe, the Heckler CC represents Santa Cruz Bicycles’ first jump into the world of electric mountain bikes, and we expect this one is going to make some serious waves. As fans of the retro era, we are stoked to see the Heckler name revived for this new bike. Mick’s been razzing the pants off the Heckler. It’s lively and agile machine. A Santa Cruz e-MTB; Why Now? Never say never, because sometimes you just ‘never’ know! In recent years, Santa Cruz has been blatantly clear about its decisiveness in not providing the booming segment of e-Bikes with one of its own. Alongside other core brands like Yeti Cycles, Transition Bikes and Evil Bicycles, Santa Cruz is well known for holding out on the e-MTB revolution. As the pressure has built up though, so too has the inevitability that the Californian brand would eventually produce one. We reckon there are a few factors at play here. For a start, Santa Cruz’ biggest market outside of the US is Germany. And if there’s one thing that Germans love more than bratwurst and hefeweizen, it’s e-MTBs. One of the sleekest e-MTB’s we’ve seen. You may also recall that back in 2015, Santa Cruz was acquired by Pon Holdings – the Dutch super group that also owns Focus Bikes. Focus is a brand that is pushing hard with e-MTB models, which have been outselling its regular MTBs for a few years now. With a backstage pass to the inner workings of its German sister brand, and with the e-MTB market growing at a rapid rate of knots, the question for Santa Cruz internally has at some point shifted from ‘if‘ to a matter of ‘when‘. Of course from a commercial perspective, Santa Cruz will also be more than aware of the huge demand awaiting its first e-MTB. The likes of Rocky Mountain, Pivot and Intense have done much of the hard work to break the ice already, proving that boutique manufacturers can also have a place amongst the e-MTB market. Meanwhile, Specialized has also been doing its bit to normalise near $20,000 price points, further paving the way for a high performance and premium-priced e-MTB from Santa Cruz. And that brings us to the new Heckler. The Heckler is loosely based on the Bronson, with 27.5in wheels, the lower link VPP platform, and 160/150mm of suspension travel. Introducing The Heckler CC The last time we saw a Santa Cruz Heckler it was made from alloy, it had a single pivot suspension design, and there was most definitely no electrics to be found anywhere. To say the new Heckler CC is a little different would be the understatement of the year. The result of three years of development, the Heckler CC is an all-new, carbon fibre full suspension e-MTB. Here are the basics; CC Carbon Fibre Frame 27.5in Wheels w/2.8in Max Tyre Clearance Shimano STEPS E8000 Motor Shimano E8035 Internal Battery Pack Lower Link VPP Suspension Design 150mm Rear Travel 160mm Travel Fork 65.5° Head Angle 75.4-76.2° Seat Angle 445mm Chainstay Length Sizes: SM, MD, LG, XL, XXL Three Years In The Making The original plan for the Heckler was hatched back in 2017. While three years may sound like a generous timeframe to cook up something juicy, in terms of e-Bikes Santa Cruz certainly put the wheels into motion late in the game compared to brands that are now onto their third or fourth iteration of e-MTB. We don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing, as you can bet they were watching not only how other brands handled things, but also what the market wanted once the dust settled on the teething period. Once the parameters for travel and geometry were established, the first prototype, a fairly unattractive alloy ‘e-Bronson’ mule, emerged in February of 2018. Various prototypes were designed and tested in-house, though the general consensus was a preference for the lower-link VPP suspension design, along with the more playful attitude of smaller 27.5in wheels. The end product is a 160/150mm travel e-MTB that is subtle on gimmicks, with a strong emphasis on clean and functional design. Aesthetically and functionally speaking, the Heckler is loosely based on a Bronson, albeit with a 250W motor between the crank arms. It draws a pretty mean silhouette, which we reckon does well to hide the e-bits in the shape and paint – the holy grail of e-MTB design. This bike, size large, set up tubeless, without pedals weighs 21.54kg. Now that is a tight fit. The way that Santa Cruz managed to get all of suspension linkage parts, PLUS the motor in that area is remarkable. Carbon Only, Shimano Powered The Heckler is engineered from Santa Cruz’ premium CC carbon fibre, with the rigid mainframe and swingarm connected by forged and machined alloy VPP linkages. Santa Cruz hasn’t indicated that it will be offering a cheaper C carbon option, or an alloy frame either. The whole shebang is driven by a Shimano STEPS E8000 motor and an E8035 battery pack, the latter of which clips into the underside of the downtube – not unlike the Merida eOne-Sixty we’ve been testing lately. A 4mm hex key is all you need to unlock the battery from the downtube, which means you can charge the battery separate to the rest of the bike. Otherwise there’s a port on the frame for charging the battery while it’s in the bike. To protect the lithium-ion cells, the battery is shielded by a thick armour plate that is actually made of the same structural carbon fibre as the rest of the CC frame. Santa Cruz states that it chose the Shimano motor based on worldwide distribution, serviceability and availability of spare parts. The E8000 motor offers 250W average power output with 70Nm of torque, and it also features the same Q-factor as a regular XT crankset. The swingarm is a one-piece carbon structure that connects to the mainframe via two alloy linkages, with large cartridge bearings and field-proven pivot hardware. Space is tight for the piggyback Super Deluxe rear shock. The engineering complexity around this part of the frame and BB-mounted motor is extraordinary. Clean Lines & Nice Bits In true Santa Cruz fashion, the fine details are particularly fine. We’re very impressed with the frame shape around the rear shock, given there’s A LOT going on in a relatively small space. Santa Cruz has managed to keep the chainstays pretty short at 445mm, while still allowing room for the lower VPP link suspension design – something we assumed would be next to impossible, or just really, really difficult to achieve. Santa Cruz has done it though, and there’s even space for a water bottle inside the mainframe too. Despite there being room for the piggyback Super Deluxe shock, there isn’t clearance to run a coil shock though. And unlike other Santa Cruz models, you won’t find any geometry adjustment built into the Heckler’s chassis. Instead, Santa Cruz wanted to keep things simple, without introducing packaging constraints of building in flip-chips. Speaking of simple, there are no new frame standards to be found anywhere on the Heckler CC. There’s an old fashioned threaded bottom bracket shell, a 31.6mm diameter seatpost, and standard Boost hub spacing front and rear. The suspension pivots use familiar locking collet hardware, along with grease ports on the lower link that allow you to replenish the grease in the angular contact bearings without having to disassemble anything. And there’s a generously thick, textured chainstay guard to silence chain slap. First seen on the Megatower last year, their lumpy chainstay guard does a stellar job of silencing chain slap noise. On the down low. The on-button is tucked out of view. Now that is a tight fit. The way that Santa Cruz managed to get all of suspension linkage parts, PLUS the motor in that area is remarkable. A miniature guard protects the sensitive parts of the rear suspension from harm. The 2020 Heckler Lineup We’ll see all four models of the Heckler CC coming Down Under, which share the same frame, Shimano STEPS E8000 drive unit and integrated 504Wh battery pack. All models get a burly 160mm travel fork, 2.6in wide Maxxis Minion DHR II tyres with thicker EXO+ casings, and chunky 4-pot brake callipers with big rotors front and rear. You’ll be able to get the Heckler in two colour options: Gloss Black w/Matte Copper decals, or Gloss Yellow w/Matte Black decals. There are five sizes to choose from, starting from Small and going up to a big XX-Large. As you’ve probably gathered, the Heckler doesn’t avoid the Santa Cruz price tag. In fact, it’s worse… The base model sells for a throat-tightening $12,999, and the others trickle-up dangerously close to the $20,000 mark for premium spec. The prices of the Heckler models are fierce, like all Santa Cruz’s, to be fair. The top-banana Heckler, the XX1 AXS RSV, is all about minimising vowels while maximising the bling factor with a rainbow-coloured drivetrain and Kashima gold forks. 2020 Santa Cruz Heckler CC – XX1 AXS RSV Frame | CC Carbon Fibre, VPP Suspension Design, 150mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Factory Series, e-MTB Chassis, 160mm Travel Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Drive Unit | Shimano DU E-8000, 70Nm (250W) Battery | Shimano 504Wh Integrated Wheels | Santa Cruz Reserve 30 V2 27.5in Carbon Rims w/i9 Hydra hubs Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO+ 3C Maxx Terra 27.5×2.6in Drivetrain | SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 1×12 w/Single-Click Shifter, Shimano XT 165mm Crank Arms & 10-50T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Code RSC w/200mm Rotors Bar | Santa Cruz Di2 Carbon, 25mm rise, 800mm Wide Seatpost | RockShox Reverb Stealth, 1X Lever, 125-200mm Travel (Size Dependent) Claimed Weight | 21.04kg RRP | $19,999 The Heckler CC X01 comes with carbon Reserve rims, a Fox 36 fork with the burlier e-MTB chassis, and carbon Santa Cruz Di2 handlebars. 2020 Santa Cruz Heckler CC – X01 RSV 27.5 Frame | CC Carbon, VPP Suspension Design, 150mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Performance Elite, e-MTB Chassis, 160mm Travel Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Drive Unit | Shimano DU E-8000, 70Nm (250W) Battery | Shimano 504Wh Integrated Wheels | Santa Cruz Reserve 30 V2 27.5in Carbon Rims w/DT Swiss 350 Hubs Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO+ 3C Maxx Terra, 27.5×2.6in Drivetrain | SRAM X01 Eagle 1×12 w/Single-Click Shifter, Shimano XT 165mm Crank Arms & 10-50T cassette Brakes | SRAM Code RSC w/200mm Rotors Bar | Santa Cruz Di2 Carbon, 25mm Rise, 800mm Wide Seatpost | RockShox Reverb Stealth, 1X Lever, 125-200mm Travel (Size Dependent) Claimed Weight | 21.13kg RRP | $18,449 Electing for a workhorse SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and Performance-level Fox suspension, the Heckler CC S build brings the price right down compared to the X01/XX1 models. 2020 Santa Cruz Heckler CC – S 27.5 Frame | CC Carbon, VPP Suspension Design, 150mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Performance Elite, e-MTB Chassis, 160mm Travel Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ Drive Unit | Shimano DU E-8000, 70Nm (250W) Battery | Shimano 504Wh Integrated Wheels | Race Face ARC HD 30 Rims w/DT Swiss 370 Hubs Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO+ 3C Maxx Terra, 27.5×2.6in Drivetrain | SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/Single-Click Shifter, Shimano M8050 165mm Crank Arms & 10-50T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Code R w/200mm Rotors Bar | Santa Cruz Di2 Carbon, 25mm Rise, 800mm Wide Seatpost | RockShox Reverb Stealth, 1X Lever, 125-200mm Travel (Size Dependent) Claimed Weight | 21.71kg RRP | $14,999 The ‘R’ build offers the starting point in the Heckler range, using the same CC Carbon frame as the top-end models, along with the Shimano power plant and integrated battery pack. 2020 Santa Cruz Heckler CC – R 27.5 Frame | CC Carbon, VPP Suspension Design, 150mm Travel Fork | RockShox Yari RC, 160mm Travel Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Select Drive Unit | Shimano DU E-8000, 70Nm (250W) Battery | Shimano 504Wh Integrated Wheels | WTB ST i29 TCS 2.0 Rims w/SRAM MTH 746 Hubs Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO+ 3C Maxx Terra, 27.5×2.6in Drivetrain | SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 w/Single-Click Shifter, Shimano M8050 165mm Crank Arms & 10-50T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Guide RE w/200mm Rotors Bar | Race Face Aeffect R, 25mm Rise,800mm Wide Seatpost | Race Face Aeffect Dropper, Travel: 125-175mm (Size Dependent) Claimed Weight | 21.66kg RRP | $12,999 We’ve been testing the ‘cheapest’ Heckler model for the past couple of days. We’d love to hear what you folks think of the new Heckler. Is Santa Cruz fashionably late to the party? And is this an e-MTB you’ve been waiting for? Or are there other e-MTBs you’re more interested in? Be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments below! Mo’ Flow Please! Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow! The post First Look | Santa Cruz Finally Announces First e-MTB, The Heckler appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
For 2020 The Commencal Riding Addition team gets a new Muc-Off co-title partner for 2020. The 2020 roster consists of Amaury Pierron, Myriam Nicole, Remi Thirion, Thibaut Daprela, Thibaut Ruffin, Gaetan Ruffin and Tristan Lemire. Photos:©Ross Bell & COMMENCAL/MUC-OFF by Riding Addiction The Ruffin Brothers’ Riding Addiction is delighted to welcome MUC-OFF alongside COMMENCAL as a co-title partner for the coming seasons. Known for its obsession with making the most innovative care products, the UK brand now joins forces in the team’s obsession with chasing wins! Opening this new chapter as COMMENCAL/MUC-OFF by Riding Addiction is another step in the team history and a clean start for everyone. As good news comes in threes, Riding Addiction as extended contracts with COMMENCAL for 3 more years as well as with team riders, 2019 World Champion Myriam Nicole and 2018 World Cup Winner and phenom Amaury Pierron! The relationship with the Andorran brand never stops growing, they have come a long way over the past 10 years and more than ever we are both going in the same direction for the future. Also, the team faces a new kind of challenge…15-year-old French Canadian Tristan Lemire joins COMMENCAL/MUC-OFF. His potential, his style, and his spontaneity convinced us, so he will make his World Cup debuts in 2021 with 2020 as a training year, where he will and has already started to, learn the magic from his teammates. “Everyone in the team has already won a World Cup and I think I have a lot to learn from them, it’s an awesome opportunity for me! I have to wait another year before being with them at the World Cups, but I’ll race a few good races this year like Crankworx Whistler as well as selected North American and European races. I don’t have any pressure; I’ll go with the flow!” Tristan Lemire. Sponsors-wise, we’re proud and thankful to keep benefiting from the unconditional support of these amazing brands: SRAM and RockShox (drivetrain, brakes, and suspension) ENVE (wheels and cockpits) Schwalbe (tyres) IXS (race gear and pads) Bell (helmets) Lizard Skins (grips) Chris King (hubs and headsets) Oakley (goggles and sunglasses) Five Ten (shoes) HT (pedals) e*thirteen (chain guides) MarshGuard (mudguards) A new addition to our technical partners, fi’zi:k is the new saddle official partner. The team will use the new Alpaca saddle. Riders and staff will also have the privilege of being dressed to impress off the bike too, thanks and welcome to Lululemon. As well as Unior Tools – GoPro – Ryno Power – Feedback Sports – Tubolight – Super Alloy Racing – Stendec – Ride Alpha – Forbike – Axxios – Pro-Bolt. “This is some amazing news for the team, the past years have exceeded our expectations, and not just by a little! This team is more than a race team, it’s a bunch of amazing people who are having an amazing time racing bikes and do their best at it. We want to work with people who share our vision of racing, this is why there’s no question in working with COMMENCAL for so long. We already got to hang with the MUC-OFF crew, and those guys are just the same as us and we are stoked to have them on board. To finish, having Myriam, Amaury, Rémi, Thibaut, Gaët and now, Tristan, along with our amazing staff is key to having that atmosphere on and off the bike. It’s just like grandma’s recipe of the best chocolate mousse in the world, you know…” Thibaut Ruffin, Team Owner. The World Cup opening in Lousã (Portugal) is just around the corner, 6 weeks from now we’ll be at it again and we can’t wait! See you all there!