ARC8 uses the direct-mount standard for its rim brakes The hidden seat-clamp is well executed The fork was designed to get the maximum allowable tyre clearance There’s plenty of space in there even with a 28c tyre The ARC8 ICS stem is a neat alternative to a complex one-piece bar and full-cable integration The underside of the ICS stem is designed to take cables centrally, or if you use a bar with a rear centre exit, keep the cable fully internal through the headset The wheels on the test bike are prototypes of something else that ARC8’s Jonas is working on DT Swiss’s dependable 340 hubs are at the centre of these prototype wheels The rims brake track almost looks like a camo pattern The ‘top cone’ on the Escapee is available in three heights The finish on the Escapee is impressive Neat cable exit port on the Escapee’s minimal rear dropout The seat tube is D-shaped and cut out to keep the back-end very tight with 402mm chainstays ARC8 worked extensively on the carbon lay-up to provide stiffness or compliance where needed The stem eschews a traditional clamp for this ovalised double-clamp system, though it works with standard round 31.8mm bars This is ARC8’s take on a 160mm enduro chassis, we think it’s got potential! This prototype carbon stem looks the business ARC8 tells us the stem uses a carbon process rarely used in bike manufacturing ARC8 designed the new enduro and hardtail to have minimal head-tube heights The hardtail uses the same stem design as the road bikes ARC8 won’t use anything but BSA bottom brackets on its chassis This carbon enduro chassis looks nicely put together The ARC8 hardtail looks like a minimal lightweight rig Like the rest of the range, it’s a good old BSA bottom bracket This mock-up shows how the ICS routing works in conjunction with the head-set splitting the cables either side of the bearings New brand ARC8 is the brainchild of mechanical engineer Jonas Mueller, who has teamed up with long-time friend Serafin Pazdera. So far, so good. But the way Mueller arrived at his two-model starting line-up is a little different from the norm. SRAM announces new Level Ultimate and TLM stoppers Zwift’s Watopia goes west with Fuego Flats update Mueller’s CV is strong, being part of fellow Swiss brand BMC for six and a half years and the man behind the Alpen Challenge, Trail Fox, Speed Fox, 4 Stroke, BMC GF01 and part of the team behind the TM01. After that he worked at Santa Cruz on the long-travel 29er Hightower. So, when he got in touch about the new ARC8 venture we wanted to find out more. Finding the resources Initially, Jonas and Serafin didn’t have the resources to start a new brand, or the resources required to enable the three-plus years of development behind the new Escapee road bike, not forgetting the 120–140mm travel Essential they are launching with. In order to proceed, Jonas consulted with some key manufacturers in Taiwan (where he’s lived for the past four years) to create mountain and road frames using his expertise and engineering knowledge. Jonas tells us: “I designed frames in conjunction with a particular carbon factory, we wanted to take the idea of an ‘open’ frame [a frame design any company can buy and brand, often seen on direct-to-market, or shop-branded machines] and elevate it to a higher level than the average.” Jonas also developed a new stem design and collaborated on a headset that gives the advantages of one-piece aero integration and full internal routing, but without the complexity seen on some proprietary systems. FSA also introduced a similar, but more complex, off-the-peg solution. The design routes the cables under and through the stem and into channels running either side of the headset. Jonas says his solution allows for more freedom in cable lengths, no binding and less aggressive cable angles that can affect shift performance. Surprisingly, his integrated design also features on ARC8’s upcoming hard-tail mountain bike. On the 120/140mm bike, it’s a variation on this design (the short stem doesn’t work so well with this sort of routing) and combines a special headset with a new sharp-looking carbon stem that’s both stronger and lighter than anything previously seen. Integration and standards When it comes to integration and standards Jonas says he’d prefer his solutions on things like integration to make compatibility better across the bike world. It’s apparent Jonas is often frustrated by standards changing all the time: “If it’s accepted that a frame’s production life is three or four years, I don’t think it’s right it can become obsolete just through changing standards for no real benefit.” Across the board on ARC8’s bikes Jonas has stuck to the dependable BSA standard (something his ex-paymasters at Santa Cruz have also stuck to). Alongside the two launch bikes Jonas showed us his prototype carbon hardtail, a true monocoque frame (it is moulded completely in one-piece, a rare thing indeed) and a new 160mm-travel enduro 29er chassis. ARC8 Escapee first impressions With production frames finalised Jonas was able to get a 60cm Escapee frameset built in time for my arrival in Taiwan, so I’ve been able to get a few miles in on the bike. At first glance the Escapee looks quite traditional — there are no dropped stays, the triangles are fairly conventional (it’s not a super compact design), but it’s only when you look at the tube shapes and the junctions between them that you see a lot of complexity in the design. Jonas explains, “I wanted to ‘tune’ the bike aerodynamically using truncated air foil shapes and shaping the junctions and profiles, but I didn’t want to compromise mechanical performance such as weight or stiffness at the expense of aero. “We’ve hit a mark where the aero advantages haven’t compromised the mechanical potential by more than 5% overall.” In non-engineering speak that means the frameset is smooth and slippery but still tips the scales at 780g for the frame and 350g for the fork. When Jonas joins me on a ride, you can see our bikes look similar, but his is less evolved, with some repairs and modifications to carbon sections where he’s been on the development path, even things like a cracked headset top cone — it’s not a final product just a 3D-printed mock-up. A versatile bike Jonas was looking to make a versatile road bike, with geometry somewhere between a full-on race bike and an endurance bike. The geometry on the 60cm I’m riding (which is closer to the traditional 58cm I usually ride) has a pretty aggressive 580mm stack and a reasonable reach of 405mm. The low stack is due to the integration of the headset into the frame, and the frame is designed to work in conjunction with the top cone of the headset, which is available in three different heights — the lowest adds 8mm, the tallest 47mm, which along with aero-shaped spacers means masses of front-end adjustment. My rim-braked model uses the direct-mount standard. Jonas says he’s been pretty flexible with the positioning to max out the tyre clearances. He thinks it’s important that a modern road bike has clearance for more comfortable bigger volume tyres, so the Escapee will accept all 30c tyres and many 32s. On the road the Escapee is a well-judged design, smooth yet stiff and with nimble handling too. My test bike weighs 6.7kg, which is impressive seeing as the build is a slight mish-mash (it’s a production chassis, but not a production bike). The build features Jonas’ stem design with an alloy bar up front, a 185g ARC8 carbon seatpost (in a standard round 27.2) topped with a mid-range cro-mo railed San Marco Mode saddle. Onza’s 28c Lavin tyres wrap around a development set of carbon wheels, which Jonas is also involved with. Jonas says the rims are around 400g in this 40+mm deep guise and are built onto DT Swiss 350 hubs with J-bend spokes, and he puts the all-up weight around 1,550g a pair. The groupset is a last-generation Campagnolo Super-Record set-up with a 50/34 chainset and an 11-28 cassette. So, you could certainly build a lighter machine fairly easily. The Escapee has a great pick up, flows in the corners with a smooth stable feel, yet feels nimble thanks to the super-short 402mm chainstays and that ‘tucked in’ rear-wheel design. This chassis offers a smart piece of design, which combines road smoothing compliance with rock-solid stiffness when sprinting. Before deciding on an overall score I want to get my hands on a full production bike, on home soil and thankfully one should be shipping our way by the time you read this. The frameset kit is priced at 1,820CHF, but early birds get a 300CHF discount, and you can find more info’ on the Escapee and Essential at ARC8 ARC8 Escapee specifications Weight: 6.7kg (60cm) Frame: ARC8 carbon Fork: ARC8 carbon Wheels: ARC8 prototype Tyres: Onza Lavin 28c Stem: ARC8 ICH Bar: Alloy Seatpost: ARC8 SP carbon 15mm setback Saddle: Selle San Marco Mode cromo Gears: Campagnolo Super Record 11spd Brakes: Campagnolo Super Record direct mount rim brake
Here’s our roundup of the best bike boxes The Evoc Bike Travel Bag Pro packs small, is light, and is easy rolling There’s a plastic block with Velcro to attach the frame to the moulded base The GPRS Race from BikeBoxAlan is a benchmark in the world of hard cases It contains a GPRS tracking device so you can monitor its location The Buxum Tourmalet is certainly a looker It’s constructed from 6061 aluminium panelling There’s a ton of space, and a crush pole for added protection The Pro Bike Bag from Chain Reaction Cycles is great value It’s a padded soft bag that isn’t the easiest to drag, but master it and you’ve got a bargain The Polaris Bike Pod Pro is supremely rigid and crack resistant The frame sits between the wheels, with plenty of padding to keep it from getting scuffed The Pro Travel Case Mega hits the sweet spot between low weight and protection It has an inner foam lining and foam blocks to keep your bike safe The Scicon Aerocomfort TSA 3.0 is pricey, but it packs down and rolls wel It comes up pretty heavy though, so keep an eye on airline weight limits If you take your bike on holiday with you, the right bag or box can make the difference between it arriving safely or in several pieces. Here’s our pick of the best travel cases we’ve tested so far this year. How to fly with your bike Tips for planning the best bike holiday ever Choosing the right bike box or bag Choosing the right case for bike travel is important if you want it to arrive in one piece. There’s always some anguish when you hand over your pride and joy at the airport and see it disappear into the unknown, so having faith in your choice of box or bag can make a difference. More of us than ever are travelling with bikes, whether it’s for a holiday, training camp or a race, and it shouldn’t be difficult as long as you do your research when choosing which airline to travel with and how to transport your bike. Just because an airline charges to take a bike, it’s no guarantee your ride will be cared for as you might hope. Some don’t have a separate bike allowance, but will let you take it as part of your luggage allowance, and some charge by the kilo. A bike box is an invaluable piece of equipment for any travelling cyclist. There’s no perfect answer as to which is the best, because they all have their trade-offs, so it’s important to weigh up your needs before you buy. 8 reasons why your next riding holiday should be a package trip Things to consider when choosing a bike box 1. Handles Handles can make a huge difference to transporting your bike. One handle might work well for pulling it along, while others make lifting easier. It’s a small addition that can make a big difference. 2. Hard cases These are made from tough plastic or aluminium. They’re the most robust, offering good protection. The trade-off is that they’re usually heavier and more cumbersome than soft cases. 3. Soft bags These are made from soft hard-wearing fabric and usually feature added padding and hard bases for extra protection. They’re lighter, which makes it easier to hit airline weight limits. 4. Portability When you have a week’s worth of luggage, your bike bag/box needs to be as portable as possible. Wheels are a must, and having at least two that steer is helpful. Drag handles make life easier too. 5. Size Make sure the box will fit in your car/hire car and check airline size restrictions. Not all bike boxes are easy to carry, but if yours is, it might mean it’s less likely to be dropped by airport staff. 6. Supports and crush poles Crush poles, made from aluminium or carbon, are used in the centre of a hard case to avoid crushing your frame and components. Supports in soft bags help them keep their shape. How to plan a cycling holiday on a budget 6 tips and tricks for boxing a bike 1. Deflate your tyres Most airlines require you to deflate your tyres because of potential changes in pressure that could cause them to go bang. They don’t need to be pancake flat, but it’s worth reducing air just in case. Some airlines check, some don’t. If you carry CO2 inflator cartridges, check your airline’s policy — some allow them in limited quantities while other won’t take them at all. 2. Know your setup The last thing you want to be worrying about is whether your bike is set up the same as before you left. A piece of electrical tape around the seatpost before you remove it will mean you get the same saddle height. Use a marker pen or take a photo before removing the bars so you know how many spacers you need above and below the stem. 3. Make the most of your box Whatever your choice of bike box it’s worth making the most of the space and weight available. Your bike box is the perfect place for packing tools, a track pump, shoes and nutrition products. Remember these can get thrown around during transport, so pack smartly for damage limitation, especially if you have a carbon bike. Clothes can also be packed for added protection in soft bags. 4. Protect it Foam lagging (used by plumbers to insulate pipes) is cheap and ideal for wrapping around your bike’s tubes for added protection during transportation. Alternatively, some quality bubble wrap or similar will help keep your bike safe and shiny. Also, both will avoid scuff marks from securing straps or other things floating around in your box. If you’re in a rush and don’t have either, an old t-shirt should do. 5. What to remove All the bike boxes here require the removal of wheels, which is easy. Some also require removing pedals, bar and stem, saddle and seatpost, and derailleur. When packing, it’s important to make sure the items you’ve removed are protected and secure, so as not to do damage to them or other parts. Be considerate when it comes to any cables, (electronic or not), making sure to avoid any kinks or stretching. 6. Use baby wipes A pack of baby wipes is a useful item to have in your bike box. They’re brilliant at removing any dirt and grease from your hands after working on your bike, and equally good for cleaning your bike if the need arises. How to pack your road bike for a trip abroad Best bike boxes and bags Evoc Bike Travel Bag Pro 4.5 out of 5 star rating The Evoc Bike Travel Bag Pro packs small, is light, and is easy rolling Tredz £469 / $TBC Buy the Evoc Bike Travel Bag Pro from Tredz Size: 147 x 85 x 36cm Weight: 8kg Highs: Packs small, light, easy rolling Lows: You pay a premium price Evoc’s Pro offers a good balance of protection, low weight and portability. This robust bag is given extra in-use support with removable composite canes and PVC tubes. The frame sits on a plastic block that uses Velcro to attach it to the moulded base, while the fork is housed in a padded sheath. Everything is held securely with Velcro straps. It’s easy to pack once you’ve done it a couple of times. Read our Evoc Bike Travel Bag review BikeBoxAlan GPRS Race 4.5 out of 5 star rating The GPRS Race from BikeBoxAlan is a benchmark in the world of hard cases BikeBoxAlan £570 / $TBC Buy the BikeBoxAlan GPRS Race direct Size: 105 x 90 x 30cm Weight: 11.74kg Highs: Solid, neat packing, easy rolling Lows: Fewer grab handles than some BikeBoxAlan has become the hard case benchmark, offering excellent protection without excess weight or costing a fortune. But the USP of Alan’s top-end GPRS is its tracking device that can be monitored by SMS or smartphone app. The wheels use a skewer to attach to one side, with Velcro securing the frame and components to the other. The fixing clamps work well and have provision for a padlock or zip ties. Buxum Tourmalet 4.0 out of 5 star rating The Buxum Tourmalet is certainly a looker Buxum £744 / $TBC Buy the Buxum Tourmalet direct Size: 113 x 78 x 30cm Weight: 12.6kg Highs: Beautifully finished, easy to pack Lows: High price loses it a mark The Tourmalet is a work of art with its cool-looking 0.5mm-thick 6061 aluminium panels, which are riveted to supporting skeletons. Wheels fit around the frame in the bags supplied and QR and thru-axle adaptors are available. There’s lots of space and a crush pole to keep everything solid. The top is held secure with quality latches while sealed bearing wheels and sprung handles make it easy to manoeuvre. Read our Buxum Tourmalet bike box review Chain Reaction Pro Bike Bag 4.0 out of 5 star rating The Pro Bike Bag from Chain Reaction Cycles is great value Chain Reaction Cycles £249.99 / $TBC Buy the Chain Reaction Pro Bike Bag from Chain Reaction Cycles Size: 140 x 79 x 28cm Weight: 8.7kg Highs: If you can handle it it’s good value Lows: A little unstable, fixings are crude This padded soft bag fits a range of bikes and does a good job for the money. Attaching the bike to the base is crude with lots of Velcro, blocks and ties but it works well. It’s quick release and thru-axle compatible. Zipped wheel compartments keep your hoops safe, plus there’s hard plastic hub protection. Dragging the Pro isn’t easy because the low handle lifts the bag high, making it a little unstable. Polaris Bike Pod Pro 4.0 out of 5 star rating The Polaris Bike Pod Pro is supremely rigid and crack resistant Chain Reaction Cycles £524.99 / $TBC Buy the Polaris Bike Pod Pro from Chain Reaction Cycles Size: 116 x 86 x 30cm Weight: 11.4kg Highs: Superior build quality, very secure, compact size Lows: Requires significant dismantling of the bike The Polaris Pod Pro is constructed from polypropylene and it’s not only supremely rigid but also very crack resistant. All the hardware, handles, wheels and clasps are bolted into place and fully replaceable. Of the four clasps, two are lockable for added security. Inside, on each side of the box, are fitments for the wheels that allow the hubs to centre. These are locked into place with integrated position guides and reusable zip-ties. The frame is then sandwiched between the included foam and plenty of straps are included to lock it down. Pro Travel Case Mega 4.0 out of 5 star rating The Pro Travel Case Mega hits the sweet spot between low weight and protection Cycle Store £379.99 / $TBC Buy the Pro Travel case Mega from Cycle Store Size: 94–134 x 80 x 30cm Weight: 8.5kg Highs: Spacious, easy to tow and lift Lows: Lacks the protection of a hard case The Pro Mega is a good performer both in terms of its low weight and — for a soft bag — the protection it offers. Inside, an alloy base frame with sliding adjustable clamp brackets copes with a wide range of wheelbase lengths. The wheels slip into side pockets with hub protectors and there’s plenty of room for shoes, tools and a pump. This bag features a protective inner foam lining and foam blocks to keep things safe, while four removable rigid rods help keep its shape. Below, four independently steering wheels and plenty of grab handles make it easy to tow and lift when necessary. Scicon Aerocomfort TSA 3.0 4.0 out of 5 star rating The Scicon Aerocomfort TSA 3.0 is pricey, but it packs down and rolls well Wiggle £569 / $TBC Buy the Scicon Aerocomfort TSA 3.0 from Wiggle Size: 109 x 103 x 50cm (top) / 103 x 93 x 25cm (bottom) Weight: 8kg Highs: Packs down small, light, smooth-rolling Lows: Price is the biggest one The Aerocomfort 3.0 uses an integrated stand with adjustable wheelbase that’s compatible with quick-release and 12-mm thru-axle systems. The bike’s held securely using straps across the saddle and bar, wheels slot into side pockets and there’s a stash pocket for skewers. The bag is secured using straps across the top tube. Balanced packing stops it tipping and its 8kg weight allows you to pack additional kit.
Since Interbike was cancelled late last year, Sea Otter has now become the biggest bike show in North America. And as it turns out, this means it’s bigger, better and has more products on show than ever. We scoured the countless stands and have selected some of the most interesting bits of kit to feast your eyes on. The Yakima HangOver rack can take up to six bikes and will cost $799. It’s not been released yet but you can be assured it’ll be coming to a shuttle location near you soon. The ratchet system helps to secure the bikes and the rack can be tilted to help you access the truck’s bed or your car’s boot. Trek’s Checkpoint mixes SRAM Force and the MTB X01 groupset. Road and MTB meet on the Checkpoint’s drivetrain, a very gravel-ready bike. This particular model was just a bike to show what’s possible with mixing road and MTB parts. The bike is certainly a looker and we love the tan wall tyres. Stages is now offering factory-installed power meters on a selection of mountain bike cranks, including XTR. The XTR crankset and power meter will retail for $399.99. Stages has launched a range of new Dash GPS computers, this one is the L50 which retails for $349 and has a claimed 15-hour battery life. This is a cheaper Dash M50 GPS that’ll cost $249, but both this and L50 share deeply-customisable menus so you get the information you want to see easily. The Road Toad uses bits and bobs from a selection of Specialized’s bikes including the Turbo Levo. Unfortunately, the bike isn’t going into production. The Protaper kid-specific bars and grips are narrower than traditional ones — at 15.6mm — but rated to the same safety standards. Peaty’s now has a tubeless conversion kit that’s beautifully packaged. Peaty’s has also launched some new valve stems. The tubeless conversion kit includes valves, sealant and tape. Ortlieb had a selection of new bikepacking bags designed to help you enjoy the wilderness more. The Atrack BP is a bikepacking-specific bag that’s a re-modelled version of the Atrack bag. It’s compatible with a 2-litre bladder that lets the bag retain it’s waterproofness and it’ll retail for $265. Wow. The Mavic SL wheels are claimed to blend the smoothness of its MTB wheels with the accuracy of its road rims for rugged rough road, pavé and gravel performance. These 700c wheels are 23mm wide internally and weigh a claimed 1,445g and cost $2,100. The Mavic SL+ wheels are 650b but share the same characteristics as their SL rims. They cost $2,100 and weigh a claimed 1,550g. The JUNIT fork uses a standard Boost axle and is based on the Machete platform. The JUNIT fork has an exceptionally short axle to crown length for the smaller riders. Manitou has tuned its rear shock for kids who are lighter and less aggressive than adults. The JUNIT looks like all the other Manitou forks with the fork’s arch located on the back. All of the JUNIT kit (forks, wheels, bar, grips and re-tuned rear shock) bolted to a Commencal Clash bike. Knog’s PWR lights are modular and this one offers a claimed 450- to 200-lumen output depending on model. There’s a two-way USB connection so you can charge devices or charge the light. Loadsa’ LEDs. They’ll cost between $74.95 and $269.95. The Dominion brake has been a redesigned lever blade for smaller hands. Evoc’s Race Belt is a slimmed-down bumbag for enduro racers. It’s going to cost $45 and will be available later this summer. The bike bags are designed to fit on most frames. The larger one is going to cost $50, the smaller $40. The top tube bag is designed to be mounted to the top of your top tube near your stem. It retails for $40. Endura MT500 Lite kneepads have D3O protection behind a soft outer pad and cost £69.99. The hard shell MT500 pads have the same D3O protection as the Lite ones, but use a hard outer casing. They cost £79.99. The MT500 Protector Undershorts II also have D3O protection and retail for £69.99. The Crankbrothers F15 LE now comes in new colours. The Stamp 1 pedals also come in new colourways. The Ronin’s carbon construction is gravel-specific. The frameset retails for $3,999. The Ronin has a smart finish and subtle graphics. The full bike is gravel ready and looks awesome, and this Shimano Ultegra Di2 version retails for $9,499. This Arktos was built for Cody Kelley especially for Sea Otter. The bike had a snazzy paint job. Cody looking cool with his bike. The Arktos 29 ST is a more playful version of the Arktos. The bike features 120mm of rear wheel travel. It sure looks like a little pocket rocket that comes with a hefty price tag. The Shimano XTR version retails for $10,499. A cheaper SRAM GX Eagle version is available for $5,299.
Canyon had their new Strive featuring on the fly travel adjustment from 135 to 150 mm. Keep an out for our full review of the Strive in the next few months. I don’t know about the rest of you but when I was a kid, I never had a bike half as cool as anything Commencal had on display at Sea Otter. Short stems, wide bars, and fat 12″ tires, the Ramones series striders have to be some of the raddest bikes without pedals out there. Viathon bikes were also on hand showing off their new consumer direct models. Viathon is actually a Walmart brand selling consumer direct at viathonbicycles.com. So while Walmart is behind the brand, bicycle industry veterans are behind the designs and you won’t see one of these in your local Wallyworld. At $6000, the top spec M1 carbon hardtail ticks all the boxes for a high-end carbon XC hardtail. Highlights include full XX1 Eagle, RockShox SID, and Stans carbon wheels. If a $6000 hardtail sounds a little over the top for the new brand, GX models will sell for a modest $2400. In addition to a mountain hardtail, Viathon launched a gravel bike and a road bike. The G.1 gravel grinder is available as a frame only for $2000 or in complete builds ranging from $2,300 to $3,550. The R.1 road bike is also available at a range or price points, from a budget conscious $2,300 105 build up through a $5,850 Dura Ace build. Consumer direct brands like YT and Canyon have really shook up the industry lately, will Viathon be able to join the party?
Canadian outfit OneUP Components has always been known for its ‘think outside the square’ parts and accessories, as well as well designed and reliable components. OneUP was built on the principle of building gear that its staffers wanted on their own bikes, and the latest releases from the former RaceFace engineers exemplifies this ethos. Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you OneUp EDC puts tools in your steerer tube Droppers, droppers and more droppers OneUP claims its post offers the lowest stack on the market We were surprised when we first read that OneUp was releasing its first dropper post, but it was a surprise to nobody that it was pretty good. Now on the second iteration, the brand says its dropper offers the shortest stack height and the shortest total length of any dropper post with the same travel. Introducing the Dropper Post by OneUp Components For example, in a 150mm post, the total length with the actuator is 420mm, and the stack height is 183mm. For reference, a RockShox Reverb in the same travel is 440mm total length with a stack of 200mm Available in 120mm, 150mm, 180mm and 210mm lengths, the cable actuated post can be shimmed down in travel by up to 20mm. For 2019 the post also sees a new upper DU Bushing in the collar for increased durability, and 20g has been shaved off on the scales. There are lengths to suit riders of all sizes OneUp has also given its front shift-style lever an update too with a claimed-to-be more durable aluminum body, which is available in 22.2, I-Spec EV, I-Spec II and MMX clamp options. Prices start a $199 in the 120mm and 150mm lengths and jump up 10-bucks for the 180mm and 210mm lengths. OneUp EDC Stem When OneUp launched the steerer EDC tool, basically every mountain biker I know was ready to put in an order until they read about the installation. Because it’s stored inside the steerer tube, it required the use of a special top cap, so you had to cut a thread into the steerer itself to allow for headset adjustment. The OneUp Stem eliminates the need for a star nut and simplifies the install of its EDC steerer tool So, to solve the problem, OneUp made a stem with an integrated preload system, so you no longer need a star nut, and it’s compatible with carbon, alloy and steel steerers. Inside the bottom edge of the stem there is an adjustable compression ring, which interfaces with a tapered collar that sits on top of your spacers or headset cap. The set up seems pretty straightforward; whack the stem on your steerer, make sure it’s straight, tighten the pinch bolts and then adjust the bearing preload by tightening the compression collar using a third bold on the stem to remove any play — just like you would with a star nut and top cap. OneUp bars and grips To complete its 2019 launch, OneUp has also launched a new carbon handlebar and lock-on grips. The bars measure 800mm wide with a 35mm clamp diameter and are available in 20mm rise, 35mm rise and six colours What’s clever about these bars is the oval profile, which OneUp claims gives you the comfort of a 21.8mm bar but also the stiffness you get in a 35mm. OneUp’s bar options OneUp points out that most bars on the market follow the simple tapered profile that you seen in aluminum bars, but with carbon you can create more complex shapes to allow for flex in one plane but not another. The OneUp bar profile has a small 35mm clamping area in the middle, which quickly changes to a flattened, oval shape and then to a standard 22.2mm clamp diameter for grips. The brand claims it’s benchmarked its bar against popular carbon bars on the market and foam-filled aluminum bars, and found on average, a 21 percent increase in vertical compliance coupled with a 28 percent increase in steering stiffness. Grips are extremely personal, but OneUp thinks you’ll like these At the end of the bars, grips are something that can make or break your ride experience, with everyone swearing by something different. Available in six colours, OneUp says it designed its grips to reduce arm pump and hand numbness. The outer sleeve is made using a diamond knurled texture, with sawtooth finger ramps and a super tacky 20A compound to provide more purchase. In theory, more traction means less death-grip and therefore less arm pump, though this will vary from rider to rider. The grips also feature a single lock profile, which is claimed to reduce hand numbness because there is soft, tacky rubber to cushion the heel of your hand where the outside hardware would be on a double lock-on. Set to retail for $25, the OneUp Grips come in six colors.
Consumer direct brands are becoming increasingly, eliminating the middleman to offer high-quality gear at a price the big brands just cant match, and a new player out of Chattanooga, Tennessee has caught our eye, Remot Cycles. Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you Best mountain bike wheels With some of the same names at the helm who helped to make titanium brand Litespeed what it is today, it’s a safe bet that these frames will be anything but ordinary. Coming to the market with three carbon fiber offerings — the Cinder Trail Bike, Baseline All Road Bike and Boundary Gravel grinder — the brand is currently taking pre-orders, with bikes shipping at the beginning of June. Even better, Remot offers a 30-day return policy and will ship internationally too. Baseline All Road Remot’s Baseline All Road bike Remot says the Baseline All Road bike is for a rider who prefers a post ride IPA beer to a protein shake. While this description seems pretty apt, the relaxed 71.5-degree head angle, 435mm chainstays, 150mm head tube, 568mm stack and 376mm reach in a size medium, further cement the Baseline as a bike that’s meant for an all-day, multi-surface epic, rather than an office park crit. As you’d expect, the bike comes with flat-mount disc brakes, thru-axles at both ends and the bikes ship with 32c Panaracer GravelKing rubber, though the 105 spec misses out on tubeless rims. Despite the sharp prices, Remot doesn’t cut costs by swapping in cranksets or brakes from brands such as TRP or Praxis. Instead, you get full Shimano drivetrain and brake components. A bit of coin is saved though by opting for own-branded finishing kit, except for the WTB saddle. Remot is offering the Baseline in three builds: a 105 which costs $2,300, Ultegra mechanical for $2,900 and Ultegra Di2 for $3,600. International pricing is to be announced. Boundary Gravel Remot’s Boundary Gravel bike With rack and fender mounts and space for three water bottles, as with many gravel bikes, the Boundary can accept both 700c or 650b wheels and tires, though the bike ships with 700c hoops. The geometry of the Boundary mirrors the Baseline, with the only difference we can see between the frames being room for wider tires (including a dropped chainstay) and the mount for an extra bottle. The Boundary also ships with 43c Panaracer GravelKing rubber and is built around a BB85 bottom bracket. However, for the gravel bike Remot has opted to spec Praxis 2x cranksets with 48/32 chainrings — an interesting choice given the popularity of 1x in this space. Both the Ultegra spec bikes also get the clutched RX version of the rear mech, and the 105 misses out because Shimano doesn’t make one yet. Like the Baseline, the finishing kit is mostly Remot branded gear bar the WTB Volt saddle, although this bike does get flared drop bars. Also available in three specs, the 105 will set you back $2,400 the Ultegra costs $3,000 and the Ultegra Di2 $3,700. Cinder MTB Remot’s Cinder MTB With 130mm of squish at the front and 129mm out back, Remot breaks away from its three levels of spec, instead offering the Cinder in a SRAM GX build with either 27.5+ or 29er wheels and tires. These come in the form of Flow MK3 hoops and Maxxis Rekon 29×2.8in and Stan’s Baron’s wrapped in Maxis Rekon 27.5×2.8in shoes. In fact, the only difference between the models is the wheels and tires. Both are priced at $3,700 and come with a RockShox Pike at the front and Monarch RT3 DebonAir rear shock mated with a Horst link suspension setup at the rear. SRAM Guide RE brakes paired with 180mm Centerline Rotors keep your speed in check, and a 125mm Race Face dropper gets that pesky saddle out of the way on the descents. There’s even room for a bottle inside the frame. The Cinder isn’t pushing the boundaries of long and low with a 67-degree head angle, 75-degree seat angle, 455mm chainstays and a stack and reach of 429 and 603 in a size medium, but it’s well within the confines of what we’d consider a modern trail bike. Models Baseline Ultegra Di2 Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series Stem: Remot Alloy Road Handlebar: Remot Alloy Road Seatpost: Remot Carbon Saddle: WTB SL8 Race CroMoly Rail Shifters: Ultegra Di2 R8070 Rotors: Ultegra RT800 Front: Derailleur Ultegra Di2 R8050 Rear; Derailleur Ultegra RD-RX805 Crankset: Ultegra R8000 50/34 Cassette: Ultegra HG800 11-34 Chain: Shimano HG701 Bottom bracket: Pressfit BB86 Tires: Panaracer GravelKing 700x32c Tubeless Wheelset: Stan’s Grail MK3 700c Brakeset: Ultegra Di2 Fork: Remot Carbon Baseline Ultegra Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series Stem: Remot Alloy Road Handlebar: Remot Alloy Road Seatpost: Remot Carbon Saddle: WTB SL8 Race CroMoly Rail Shifters: Ultegra R8020 Rotors: Ultegra RT800 Front derailleur: Ultegra R8000 Rear derailleur: Ultegra RD-RX800 Crankset: Ultegra R8000 50/34 Cassette: Ultegra HG800 11-34 Chain: Shimano HG701 Bottom bracket: Pressfit BB86 Tires: Panaracer GravelKing 700x32c Tubeless Wheelset: Stan’s Grail MK3 700c Brakeset: Ultegra Fork: Remot Carbon Baseline 105 Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series Stem: Remot Alloy Road Handlebar: Remot Alloy Road Seatpost: Remot Alloy Saddle: WTB SL8 Comp Steel Rail Shifters: Shimano R7020 Rotors: Shimano RT64 160mm Front derailleur: Shimano 105 R7000 Rear derailleur: Shimano 105 R7000 Crankset: Shimano 105 R7000 50/34 Cassette: Shimano HG700 11-34 Chain: Shimano HG601 Bottom bracket: Pressfit BB86 Tires: Panaracer GravelKing 700x32c Wheelset: Mavic Aksium Disc Brakeset: Shimano 105 Fork: Remot carbon Boundary Ultegra Di2 Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series Stem: Remot Alloy Gravel Handlebar: Remot Alloy Gravel Flare Seatpost: Remot Carbon Saddle: WTB Volt Pro Shifters: Ultegra Di2 R8070 Rotors: Ultegra RT81 160mm Front derailleur: Ultegra Di2 R8050 Rear derailleur: Ultegra RD-RX805 Crankset: Praxis Zayante Alloy 48/32 Cassette: Shimano HG800 11-34 Chain: Shimano HG701 Bottom bracket: Praxis BB86 Tires: Panaracer GravelKing SK 700x43c Tubeless Wheelset: Stan’s Grail MK3 700c Brakeset: Ultegra Di2 Fork: Remot Carbon Boundary Ultegra Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series Stem: Remot Alloy Gravel Handlebar: Remot Alloy Gravel Flare Seatpost: Remot Carbon Saddle: WTB Volt Comp Shifters: Ultegra R8020 Rotors: Ultegra RT81 160mm Front derailleur: Ultegra R8000 Rear derailleur: Ultegra RD-RX800 Crankset: Praxis Zayante Alloy 48/32 Cassette: Shimano HG800 11-34 Chain: Shimano HG701 Bottom bracket: Praxis BB86 Tires: Panaracer GravelKing SK 700x43c Tubeless Wheelset: Stan’s Grail MK3 700c Brakeset: Ultegra Fork: Remot Carbon Boundary 105 Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series Stem: Remot Alloy Gravel Handlebar: Remot Alloy Gravel Flare Seatpost: Remot Alloy Saddle: WTB Volt Sport Shifters: Shimano R7020 Rotors: Shimano RT66 160mm Front derailleur: Shimano 105 R7000 Rear derailleur: Shimano 105 R7000 Crankset: Praxis Alba Alloy 48/32 Cassette: Shimano HG700 11-34 Chain: Shimano HG601 Bottom bracket: Praxis BB86 Tires: Panaracer Gravel King SK 700x43c Tubeless Wheelset: Sun Charger Comp Tubeless Brakeset: Shimano 105 Fork: Remot Carbon Cinder 29 Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series Stem: Remot Alloy Mountain Handlebar: Remot Alloy Rise Bar Seatpost: Raceface Aeffect Dropper 125mm Saddle: WTB Volt Comp Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle Rotors: Centerline 180mm Rear derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle Crankset: SRAM GX Eagle DUB Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle Chain: SRAM GX Eagle Bottom bracket: SRAM Dub 30mm Rear shock: RockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir Tires: Maxxis Rekon 29×2.6 Wheelset: Flow MK3 29in Neo Front brake: Guide RE 950mm Rear brake: Guide RE 2000mm Fork: Pike Select 130mm Cinder 27.5+ Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series Stem: Remot Alloy Mountain Handlebar: Remot Alloy Rise Bar Seatpost: Raceface Aeffect Dropper 125mm Saddle: WTB Volt Comp Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle Rotors: Centerline 180mm Rear derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle Crankset: SRAM GX Eagle DUB Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle Chain: SRAM GX Eagle Bottom bracket: SRAM Dub 30mm Rear shock: RockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAir Tires: Maxxis Rekon 27.5×2.8 Wheelset: Stan’s Baron 27.5” Front brake: Guide RE 950mm Rear brake: Guide RE 2000mm Fork: Pike: Select 130mm
It’s a well-known fact in the bike industry that if you call Yeti HQ around lunchtime you can expect to get voicemail. The Golden, Colorado-based company’s lunch rides have been running since 1999, and with Apex Park, Green Mountain and Matthew / Winters Park less than a three-mile pedal from its head office, how can you blame them. Yeti SB130 review Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you And with the employees having access to basically any component their hearts’ may desire, it’s no surprise their personal bikes are tailored to the terrain just outside their backdoor. If you’ve never ridden around Golden, it’s pretty techy, so to better suit the trails in the area quite a few of the Yeti staffers add a bit more travel and beefier brakes. And now the brand has decided to make the Lunch Ride spec available to the public. Yeti isn’t the first brand to offer a ‘staff spec’. Rocky Mountain has offered a similar ‘BC edition’ on many of its bikes for some time. The SB 130 LR comes with a 160mm Fox 36, complete with the Grip 2 damper instead of the stock 150mm, and an over-stroked 136mm Fox Factory DPX2 shock. Of course, a longer fork slackens the head angle, and the longer rear shock brings the bottom bracket up a touch to help with pedal strikes. The SB130 LR is built the way the Yeti staff customize their bikes The stoppers also get an upgrade, with the SB130 fitted with SRAM Code RSC brakes instead of the stock Shimano XT 2 Piston brakes, and the front rotor is upsized to 200mm for a bit of extra oomph. At the front, the bars are 20mm wider, measuring 800mm and are paired with a stumpy 40mm stem. Moving back, the small and medium size frames get an extra 25mm of Fox Transfer dropper, while the LR version comes with a 150mm post, and the large and XL frames go longer still spec’d with a 175mm version. Available now through the Yeti cycles website, the SB130 LR build is claimed to weigh 29.3lbs / 13.29kg in a size medium and will set you back $7,599 — $400 more than the X01 spec it’s based upon. For an extra $1,300, you can also upgrade the wheels from the stock DT Swiss M1700 to the carbon DT Swiss XMC 1200. International pricing and availability are to be announced.
This week’s best new bike gear Restrap offers practical luggage in a variety of sizes and configurations This dinky frame bag is perfect for portage This £30 inner tube makes a surprisingly compelling case for itself The Corky is one tidy little mirror Snapped shut, the Corky is quite unobtrusive Burgtec is offering a more affordable version of its Penthouse Mk4 pedal Pursu’s bars tick a lot of eco-friendly and health boxes The eeWings cranks are astonishingly lovely The Hirth joint is precisely machined The Ninja Pouch+ Road holds a single road inner tube Yep, that’s a tyre lever The Ninja Cage Z can be combined with a tidy multi-tool in a case The QuickClick mount accepts various accessories The Sonder Santiago is a rather handsome do-it-all machine Reynolds 631 is an evolution of the iconic 531, a durable steel that’s ideal for touring bikes Avid BB5s are a bit primitive by today’s standards, but they’ll still stop you Are you edgy enough for the Smith Trackstands? The Maya 2.0 includes Kali’s LDL impact absorption tech We hope this upsetting and unsettling image doesn’t sully a completely lovely seatpost It’s been a bouncy week at BikeRadar: we’ve got all hot and bothered about a brand new Specialized Roubaix with an adjustable Future Shock, we’ve discussed just how much suspension you need on your MTB, and Pinarello has brought out a full-suspension Dogma just in time for Paris-Roubaix. We’ve mused on the quiet delights of bikefishing, which is like bikepacking but with fish, while the UCI has started a turf war with the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme over electric mountain bike racing. Read on for the latest bikes and gear to land at BR HQ. Sonder Santiago Rival 1 Mechanical The Sonder Santiago is a rather handsome do-it-all machine Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Practical is beautiful at BikeRadar, and this is certainly a handsome machine with the potential to be very versatile. The Santiago’s frame is Reynolds 631 steel and it’s bristling with bosses to bolt things to. Cable routing is fully external, the bottom bracket is threaded, and there’s room for 650bx47mm or 700cx37mm tyres. Reynolds 631 is an evolution of the iconic 531, a durable steel that’s ideal for touring bikes Matthew Allen / Immediate Media This build is no featherweight at a chunky 12kg (size medium) with SRAM Rival 1x shifting and Avid BB5 cable disc brakes, which aren’t exactly generous for the money. Avid BB5s are a bit primitive by today’s standards, but they’ll still stop you Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Nevertheless, it’s an appealing thing that looks perfect for touring, gravel or heavy-duty commuting. £1,299 Buy now from Alpkit Restrap bags Restrap offers practical luggage in a variety of sizes and configurations Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Leeds-based Restrap makes all sorts of ultra-practical bike luggage and this week the brand has sent us its small Rando Bag, small Frame Bag, and 8-litre Saddle Bag. This dinky frame bag is perfect for portage Matthew Allen / Immediate Media All are constructed from tough cordura fabrics and are handmade in the UK. Restrap offers all of its luggage in multiple size options, so if you’re on the hunt for bikepacking or commuting luggage then the chances are it’ll have something for your bike. Expect to see these particular bags gracing our Mildred’s Surly Bridge Club. Rando Bag (small): £130 Frame Bag (small): £40 Saddle Bag (8l): £95 Buy now from Restrap Holdsworth Gran Sport seatpost We hope this upsetting and unsettling image doesn’t sully a completely lovely seatpost Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Modern components can look very out of place on retro-styled builds, but this Holdsworth seatpost from Planet X looks the part completely. Available in 27.2mm only, it’s not light at 301g on our scales, but the finish is absolutely lovely and it’s particularly impressive given how cheap the post is. The head has a straightforward two-bolt clamp and there’s a polished black option that’s even cheaper. What’s not to like? £24.99 Buy now from Planet X Tubolito inner tubes This £30 inner tube makes a surprisingly compelling case for itself Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Premium inner tubes are a bit of a hard sell in the age of tubeless, but Tubolito’s curious looking tubes are interesting. We’ve actually covered them before, but they’re available in the UK now and we’ve got our hands on a few. It’s likely that most riders aren’t going to want to spend £30 per wheel to shave a few grams off their inner tubes, but these make a compelling case for themselves as emergency spares. This 29er tube, for instance, weighs just 80g, a good 140g or so less than a standard butyl tube. That’s a significant saving if you’re a weight-conscious XCer who needs a spare. Perhaps more importantly, the tubes are also tiny. This rolled 29×1.8–2.4in tube measures about 45mm in diameter, small enough that you could quite easily slip it in a pocket or hide it under your saddle. Despite the plasticky feel, Tubolito claims rolling resistance figures similar to those of latex tubes. The brand offers tubes in all the major sizes and even offers an extra-light spare-only version for some of its tubes called S-Tubo. The lightest S-Tubo road tube weighs a claimed 23g — madness! £29.99 / $35 Buy now from Tredz Topeak Ninja cages The Ninja Pouch+ Road holds a single road inner tube Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Topeak’s Ninja range includes all sorts of handy accessories that integrate with your bike in a variety of clever ways. The Ninja Pouch+ Road has a bag permanently attached to its base that’s big enough to take a standard road inner tube. Stealthy tyre levers clip to the sides of the cage and the whole assembly weighs 104g. Yep, that’s a tyre lever Matthew Allen / Immediate Media The Ninja Cage Z has a ‘QuickClick’ mount on its base which accepts various Topeak accessories including a tidy little multi-tool that sits snugly in a case. This particular combo weighs in at 175g. The Ninja Cage Z can be combined with a tidy multi-tool in a case Matthew Allen / Immediate Media The QuickClick mount accepts various accessories Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Ninja Pouch + Road: £19.99, Buy now from Wiggle Ninja Cage Z: £TBC Find out more at Topeak.com The Beam Corky drop bar mirror The Corky is one tidy little mirror Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Rear-view mirrors aren’t the sexiest of bike components, but some riders find them invaluable. There aren’t many options that integrate cleanly with drop bars, but the Corky is better than most. Snapped shut, the Corky is quite unobtrusive Matthew Allen / Immediate Media This little mirror replaces your bar-end plug and flips open to reveal a slightly convex mirror that’s about 30mm in diameter. It weighs 20g on our scales and a ball-joint lets you set its position precisely. It can be clipped shut when not in use. £21.99 / €24.99 Buy now from The Beam or Condor Cycles Kali Maya 2.0 MTB helmet The Maya 2.0 includes Kali’s LDL impact absorption tech Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Aimed at trail and enduro riders, the Kali Maya 2.0 bundles the features with a view to providing a safe, comfortable cover for your noggin. First up, protection. Helmet companies are keen to address the effects of low-G and rotational impacts using clever tech. MIPS is probably the most well-known system and Kali has its own called LDL — Low Density Layer. It’s a system of gel pads within the more usual in-moulded shell and EPS foam liner that can compress and deform in all directions, which in turn — Kali says — reduces forces by a significant amount. On the comfort front, there are all the features you’d expect including antimicrobial pads, 12 vents, a sliding buckle fit-adjust system and a visor. There’s also a bug liner because no-one wants to be riding down a mountain wondering if that bee that bounced into your helmet is actually about to start stinging your head. The Maya comes in three sizes, XS/S, S/M and L/XL, and of course a range of colours, including black, white, blue and an incredibly loud yellow. This S/M weighs 392g on our scales. £87.99 / $129.99 / AU$TBC Buy now from Amazon Cane Creek eeWings cranks The eeWings cranks are astonishingly lovely Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Prolonged exposure to bicycle bling means it’s hard to raise eyebrows with new components in the BR office, but these cranks from Cane Creek are pretty extraordinary. The eeWings are made almost entirely from titanium and are breathtakingly light — 403g including bolts but no chainring, to be precise, for the All-Road version shown here. (There’s also a slightly wider mountain bike version.) The Hirth joint is precisely machined Matthew Allen / Immediate Media They are exquisitely made, with gorgeous welds, lovely machined details and laser-etched graphics. The right-hand arm accepts three-bolt direct mount chainrings and joins to the spindle and left arm with an almost sensually satisfying Hirth joint, much like the one used on Campagnolo Ultra-Torque cranks. The spindle is 30mm in diameter and is BB386EVO standard (BB392EVO for mountain bikes), meaning it can be adapted to most bottom bracket shells. £999 / $999 Buy now from Tredz (UK) / Buy now from Jenson (USA) Burgtec Penthouse MK4 Composite pedals Burgtec is offering a more affordable version of its Penthouse Mk4 pedal Matthew Allen / Immediate Media The Penthouse MK4 pedals have been a staple of the Burgtec pedal offering for years now, but the brand wanted to develop a more affordable option. Enter the Penthouse MK4 Composite pedals. They look, well, pretty much exactly the same as the originals but are about half the price. Composed of a nylon and fibreglass body and a cromo axle, they have 16 replaceable pins each and weigh in at a very reasonable 375g a pair. To be fair, there are a few little differences: the composite pedals are slightly more concave and thicker, so they’re more likely to stand up to the tough treatment they’re designed for. They’re also serviceable, and for those environmentally minded riders out there (which should be all of us) the platform is also recyclable. They come in a range of colours from the beautiful Purple Rain pictured above to Race Red, Deep Blue, Iron Bro Orange, Kash Bronze, White and Electric Yellow £39.99 / $TBC / AU$TBC Buy now from Stif Cycles Pursu natural sports nutrition bars Pursu’s bars tick a lot of eco-friendly and health boxes Matthew Allen / Immediate Media There are a number of reasons you might choose these bars from Pursu: you prefer your sports nutrition to be made from recognisable ingredients, you’re vegan, you’re trying to avoid added sugar, or you’re fed up of sports nutrition product wrappers littering the ground. On that last point, if this bothers you, you aren’t likely to be the person leaving such things about but you’ll likely still be concerned about the plastic waste these things create. So the fact that Pursu bars have wrappers that are plastic-free and compostable is an extra win. The brand also donates 16p per box to Re-Cycle, a bike recycling charity that ships donated bikes from the UK to Africa. The bars themselves come in three flavours: sun-dried banana and cacao, sour cherry and almond and the more unusual beetroot and date with seeds and nuts (ideal for when you want something a bit earthier and less sweet). £28.50 per box of 16 Buy now from Pursu Smith Trackstand glasses Are you edgy enough for the Smith Trackstands? Matthew Allen / Immediate Media The nineties throwback trend for sunglasses continues with this vibrant pair of performance specs from Smith, though thankfully a little less in-your-face than others we’ve seen (Oakley, we’re looking at you). A neat and lightweight frame and lens combo, it comes packaged up in a nice protective storage box with a spare lens. In the case of this model, the ‘matte citron’ frame with Chromapop Contrast Rose lens, the spare set is the Chromapop Black, which is suited to bright light conditions. By the way, Chromapop is Smith’s name for its lens system, which is designed to increase definition and clarity. If you don’t want your glasses this loud (or want them even louder) then there are a range of different frame colours from a subdued matt black to a bright matt jade, which looks particularly and wonderfully lairy with the Chromapop Green Mirror lenses. £139 / €169 / $169 / AU$TBC Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles
The 765 RS Gravel is Look‘s first dedicated gravel bike SRAM’s 1×11 Force groupset is used, but it’s a relatively tight cassette at the back Curvy, asymmetric chainstays offer tyre and chainring clearance Betting on the future — UCI approval for the gravel frame Look designs the entire front of its bike as a single system to ensure the feeling through the bars is what it desires Neat, rattle-free cable routing Decent clearance for the low-profile 37mm WTB riddler tyres Thin bar tape adds to the racy feel SRAM provides the braking via a Force caliper The e-765 RS Gravel takes inspiration from the 765 RS Gravel and the e-765 Optimum The narrow range 11-speed cassette There’s definitely clearance, just! Fazua’s bar controller is simple, if not svelte Look is speccing WTB tyres across the gravel range The 3D Wave chainstays are there to improve compliance and grip Look leaves the base of the Fazua motor naked to reduce the chance of water pooling and to keep the motor cool One side is enclosed, the other open for swift wheel changes The Fazua’s motor and bottom bracket key together with a simple mechanism This version of the 765 RS Gravel comes with a 2×11 Shimano 105 group The SRAM Force version of the 765 RS Gravel comes with a matt green paintjob Shimano Ultegra adorns this 765 RS Gravel The Drivepack contains both motor and battery SRAM Force appears on this top-level e-765 Gravel SRAM Rival provides the stop and go here Look has hit the dirt road running with a brace of gravel bikes: one man-powered, the other motor assisted. The two bikes share their DNA, with the 765 Gravel RS being a very race-focussed gravel bike, while the e-765 Gravel is a touch more relaxed but should still be quick up the hills thanks to its electric assistance. This gravel bike has a dropper and suspension Good news, now even bar tape is gravel specific Look 765 Gravel RS Neat, rattle-free cable routing Tom Marvin / Immediate Media The 765 Gravel RS plays on what Look refers to as ‘the new playground’ — gravel roads that are becoming increasingly popular to ride, especially in the US. The RS in the name stands for Racing Sport, hinting at the general demeanour of the bike. This means that there’s an increased proportion of high modulus carbon fibres in the frame’s layup, for a lighter, snappier ride. Betting on the future — UCI approval for the gravel frame Tom Marvin / Immediate Media There’s also a UCI Legal sticker just ahead of the seatpost, which could hint to the bike’s intentions. While there are no UCI sanctioned gravel races, Look believes that there could be soon in the future and therefore want a bike ready to go. Look also says the 765 Gravel RS is suitable for cyclocross. The frames weigh a reported 1.2kg with a 350g fork. Look 765 Gravel RS frame design Look has gone where a number of other gravel frames have gone before, with a dropped chainstay design. This gives Look the ability to put wider tyres in its frame and maintain the use of road cranks (and their narrower Q-factor) and up to a 50t chainring. SRAM’s 1×11 Force groupset is used, but it’s a relatively tight cassette at the back Tom Marvin / Immediate Media Tyre size is a hot topic in gravel, and Look says that the bike can run regular road-sized wheels and tyres for more road-orientated riders and easily up to 40c tyres on slightly wider 700c rims for those who want a fair mix of road and dirt. For those who want to purely hit the dirt, 650×2.1in tyres and wheels can also be fitted. These have a far larger volume for better traction and comfort but maintain a very similar outer diameter. The chainstays get the 3D Wave treatment, which we saw recently on the E765 Optimum E-Road bike that Look launched. This profile, which has two distinct curves in the tube profile, is said to offer 15 percent more compliance than a straight tube. This is handy on a gravel bike, not just for comfort over rougher terrain, but also to improve the tyre’s ability to track undulations in the road surface, thus improving traction. The 3D Wave chainstays are there to improve compliance and grip Tom Marvin / Immediate Media To make sure that the bikes are ready to get out into the wilderness there are four bottle cage mounts on the bike: three inside the main triangle and one below it. One of them is super low in the frame to improve weight distribution, which I suspect will be limited to 500ml bidons if you wish to use all four. There’s also a pair of bolts on top of the top tube for a bento box, ready for long stints in the saddle, and there are fender mounts to keep you dry too. The Look 765 RS Gravel range Three models make up the 765 RS Gravel range: The SRAM Force version of the 765 RS Gravel comes with a matt green paintjob Look Up top is the SRAM Force 1×11 bike, featuring a Force carbon crank with 42t ring and an 11-36t cassette. It comes with Force brakes, Mavic All Road Disc CL tubeless wheels with WTB Riddler 37mm tyres, Look’s finishing kit (including a 12-degree flare gravel specific bar) and Fizik Antares R7 saddle. Look will be selling this bike for €4,299. Shimano Ultegra adorns this 765 RS Gravel Look Next is a Shimano Ultegra build. This comes with a 50-34 double chainset and 11-34t cassette, and Shimano’s Ultegra hydraulic brakes. The bike rolls on Shimano RS 370 wheels and the same WTB Riddler tyres. Finishing kit is again Look and Fizik. This model comes in at €3,999. This version of the 765 RS Gravel comes with a 2×11 Shimano 105 group Look Finally, there’s a Shimano 105 group bike in very much the same format, though it’s Shimano RS 170 wheels this time, and has a price of €3,599. For our initial ride impressions of the Force level bike, scroll down! The Look e-765 Gravel The e-765 RS Gravel takes inspiration from the 765 RS Gravel and the e-765 Optimum Tom Marvin / Immediate Media Look has taken the 765 RS Gravel and the e-765 Optimum (check out the details of that here) and merged them together to create the e-765 Gravel — an electrically assisted gravel bike. Many of the features from the 765 RS Gravel can be found on the electric bike version: the 3D Wave seatstays, dropped chainstays and colour too. However, these are joined by the Fauza motor, which has impressed in the past. As with the e-765 Optimum, Look chose this motor because of its low weight and unobtrusive feel through the cranks. Look leaves the base of the Fazua motor naked to reduce the chance of water pooling and to keep the motor cool Tom Marvin / Immediate Media The motor, battery and bottom bracket system weigh around 4kg, so there’s not a massive weight penalty, and if the feeling on the bike is similar to its tarmac sibling, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference to how the bike rides. The motor has 250 watts continuous power, peaking at 400 watts, while there’s 60Nm of torque and a 250Wh battery. Four power modes are offered, though one of those is a non-assist mode. Look has had a play with the software to give a power profile that’s better suited to gravel riding, it says. There’s an associated app with the bike too. This gives you all the data you need on the battery and motor, including temperature, battery level and range. It also has mapping capabilities, including a rather smart map that will show you the range at which you’ll be able to get to and back from on one battery charge. How accurate that is in reality obviously depends on a number of factors, though. The battery and motor ‘Drivepack’ can be dropped easily out of the bike, leaving just the 1kg bottom bracket assembly behind, should you really want to go ‘au natural’! The Drivepack contains both motor and battery Tom Marvin / Immediate Media Look e-765 Gravel range There are two e-765 Gravel bikes on offer from Look. SRAM Force appears on this top-level e-765 Gravel Look There’s a SRAM Force 1×11 build, with a FSA crank featuring a 42t ring and SRAM 11-36t cassette. This bike comes with Force CX1 brakes and Mavic All Road Disc wheels with WTB Riddler 37mm tyres. Look provides the finishing kit and Fizik the Antares R7 saddle. This version costs €6,499. SRAM Rival provides the stop and go here Look There’s also a SRAM Rival 1×11 bike, following much the same pattern, though it comes with a Shimano RS 170 wheelset and a San Marco Monza saddle. This bike is priced at €5,799. Look 765 RS Gravel first ride impressions I took a quick 10km ride on the 765 RS Gravel through the vineyards of the Loire Valley to get a flavour of the bike. The first thing I noticed is that this is clearly a race-inspired design. The position on the bike feels fairly low and aggressive, and this is compounded as soon as you hit the dirt. The front of the bike — fork, head tube, stem and bars — are fairly stiff and uncompromising, which is further accentuated by the thin bar tape I had on my test bike. Thin bar tape adds to the racy feel Tom Marvin / Immediate Media This combined to give a fairly harsh initial ride. However, if I had further time to play around I’d ensure I ran the tyres tubeless, to drop pressure, and would investigate running slightly wider tyres than the 700x37c WTB Riddlers on there as stock. The tyres themselves are the Fast Rolling, Light version. Despite a relatively skinny profile and low-stack tread, I didn’t have any traction issues up loose climbs — perhaps those 3D Wave seatstays really are contributing. Decent clearance for the low-profile 37mm WTB Riddler tyres Tom Marvin / Immediate Media The drivetrain, yet again, clearly shows road inspiration, with a tight 11-36 range. With no ‘easy’ gear on there, it encourages you to attack climbs because it’s rather tricky to sit and spin. Dropping a 10-42 cassette on there shouldn’t be an issue if your chain is long enough. As I’ve often found, the faster you go over gravel the comfier it gets, and this was no different on the Look machine. It’s not the most sofa-like ride, and certainly has that aggressive edge, but it’s perfectly able to cross choppier ground and dodge potholes with its snappy, engaging handling.
Enve M7 35mm Stem and Bar Founded with a passion for all things cycling-related, Enve Composites has been focused on producing high-end carbon fiber components for road and mountain bikers alike. With most of their components being manufactured out of their Utah facility, Enve is one of a few companies still making products here in the United States. This last year Enve was busy releasing new wheelsets, and now they’ve released a 35mm handlebar and stem to keep up with the ever-shifting standards. We got a first glimpse of the new bar/stem combo at the 2018 Sea Otter and put plenty of miles on them through the summer and fall seasons. Tech info: The M7 is the first 35mm-compatible bar and stem that Enve has produced. With the introduction of the M7 line, Enve set their M6 lineup to be more purpose-built around cross-country riding and racing. Starting with the handlebars, Enve simplified the lineup of options, making it easier for riders to choose the right bar. All of the M7 handlebars come in a 35mm diameter with a standard 800mm width. The bars can be trimmed down to 780mm to suit riders’ varying width preferences. Enve didn’t design the M7 bar to be run any narrower, as they claim this would affect the ride quality of the bar. The M7 bar is available in 10-, 25- and 40mm rises, with an 8-degree sweep that is similar to other bars made for all-around trail riding. Each pair of handlebars comes with a sticker pack with various colors to match Enve’s wheel decals. The retail price on our 10mm-rise handlebars is $170. Finishing up the M7 line is Enve’s new 35mm stem that was designed to be paired with the handlebar. The M7 stem is available in three lengths—35- 50- and 65mm—with all having a zero-degree rise/drop. The stem has a complete carbon fiber design with an aluminum faceplate and titanium hardware to keep the overall weight down. Retail price on our 50mm stem is $280. On the trail: There is no denying just how good the quality and design of Enve products are, and when pulling the M7 bar and stem out of the box, we were once again reminded of this. The handlebars have a unique shape that slims down drastically from the center, more so than other 35mm bars we have ridden from other brands. Some riders may not be interested in color-matching their handlebars, but we thought the included sticker pack was a nice touch. With our bars trimmed down to 780mm, the weight came in at 242 grams with the 50mm stem at 92 grams. We used some carbon paste when installing the bars to the stem and torqued the faceplate down to the recommended 5.5 N/m. Once on our bike, the 8-degree sweep felt comfortable and gave the bars a worthy trail feel. Hitting the trail, the M7 bars were quite comfortable and didn’t feel harsh once we hit rough chatter and imperfections in the trail. After long rides our test riders didn’t feel any extra fatigue in their hands or forearms that other overly stiff bars can produce. Out of the saddle when climbing or pedaling hard, the bars offered a little bit of flex but didn’t feel like a half-cooked noodle. Compared to other bars and stems that we have ridden, the ride quality and stiffness of the M7 are quite a bit better, but there is also the price. This bar/stem combo will cost more than other options, but the quality and durability are noticeably better. Star Rating-★★★★☆ Hits High quality Color-matching decals are sweet Compliant feel over trail chatter Misses It’s expensive Limited stem lengths compared to other brands www.enve.com THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET ELECTRIC BIKE ACTION In print, from the Apple newsstand, or on your Android device, from Google. Available from the Apple Newsstand for reading on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Subscribe Here For more subscription information contact (800) 767-0345 Got something on your mind? Let us know at hi-torque.com The post Product Test: Enve M7 35mm Stem and Bar appeared first on Electric Bike Action.