Don’t forget to ride as close to the edge as possible. #followcamfriday wouldn’t have it any other way. Tito certainly doesn’t have any issues with exposure. Same Team. This was our first time riding the infamous Gooseberry Mesa in Hurricane, Ut. The views of Zion National Park as sunset basically melted our minds. Throw in some proper slickrock bowl carving and we have the perfect storm. Enjoy the blue light show.
To mark Zdenek Stybar’s return to CX racing, Specialized has created a custom version of its Crux CX bike for him. Specialized The S-Works frameset is made from Specialized’s top of the range Fact 11R carbon fibre. Specialized Stybar is a 3x CX World Champion. Specialized The S-Works Crux is Specialized’s top-end CX race bike. Specialized A chrome Specialized logo adorns the underside of the top tube, which is shaped for easy shouldering. Specialized The paint job is inspired by “frozen pine needles on the ground” of Stybar’s home training grounds in the Czech Republic. Specialized Even the prettiest CX bikes sadly don’t stay clean for very long. Specialized Stybar testing out his custom S-Works Crux bike. Specialized As a 3x CX world champion, Stybar’s skills on the mud are impeccable. Speaking about the new bike, Stybar said “I think it’s the nicest bike I ever had”. Specialized Gravel bikes might be all the rage right now, but Specialized would like to remind us that CX bikes are still relevant. Specialized Gravel racing might be all the rage right now, but three time world cyclocross (CX) champion Zdenek Stybar, has just announced he will once again use a winter of CX racing to prepare himself for the 2020 road season. And to remind us all that CX bikes are still relevant, Specialized has created a unique, custom version of its Crux CX bike for the Czech rider to race on. Based on the ‘frozen ground’ of Stybar’s training grounds in the Czech Republic, the custom paint job was designed by Tom Briggs, a senior graphic designer at Specialized. The paint job is inspired by “frozen pine needles on the ground” of Stybar’s home training grounds in the Czech Republic. Specialized The blue and black colours tie in with the colours of his Deceuninck–Quick-Step team, but also evoke the feeling of the cold, winter climate in Stybar’s home country. Speaking about the details of the paint job, Briggs said: “The area of the Czech Republic where Stybar is from is forested by mountain pine trees called Borovice Blatka in Czech. I looked at what happens to the ground as the ice, snow and pine needles all interact… We used a crackle effect in the paint that I thought was an accurate representation of the frozen pine needles on the ground.” I think it’s the nicest bike I ever had Zdenek Stybar The bike is built up with a Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 groupset, in a double chainring set-up – either because Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 doesn’t officially support single ring setups (unlike Shimano’s new GRX groupsets) or Stybar just prefers it that way. The wheels are from Roval, Specialized’s in-house wheel brand, and are wrapped with 33mm Dugast tubulars stamped with Stybar’s name; likely indicating they’ve been made especially for him. PRO provides the finishing kit. Speaking about the new bike, Stybar said: “I think it’s the nicest bike I ever had”. Specialized Stybar is due to race the new bike at the IKO cyclocross in Essen, Belgium on 7 December, before racing at Zondhoven, Sint-Niklaas, Zolder, Bredene, Loenhout, Diegem and Baal. Saying that “it will be difficult to move to the front after starting from the last row,” Stybar nevertheless has “the same goals as last year: ride my Specialized bike and have fun out there, chat with the fans and train for next season, because cyclocross is a really great way of building up for what I hope it will be another nice year with the Wolfpack.”
Shimano has filed a patent that strongly suggests that it is finally developing a gearbox for both road and mountain bikes. Within the patent are details of exactly how the gearbox could work alongside details of a low-friction coating for chainrings and chains that has the potential to enormously reduce the drag of a gearbox – one of the key downsides of gearboxes we’ve ridden so far. If this patent becomes reality and is adopted by mainstream brands — which isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, given Shimano’s influence in the OEM market — it could represent a potentially huge change to bicycle design. It would also make a small but vocal group of diehard gearbox fans very, very happy indeed. The complete guide to bicycle gears — bicycle transmissions explained Gearbox mountain bikes: mad science or the way forward? Podcast: why do derailleurs still exist? A brief history of bicycle gearboxes Pinion is the leader in the gearbox market. Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media Before we take a deep dive into this patent it’s worth covering what a bicycle gearbox is, what their claimed benefits are and what might be their drawbacks. In its most simple arrangement, a gearbox for a bicycle houses all shifting components within a fully-sealed box that is mounted to the frame. Exactly how this works varies from manufacturer-to-manufacturer, but Pinion — the undoubted leader in the bicycle gearbox market — uses a system of movable, interlocking spur gears to provide six, nine, 12 or 18 gears in a wider range than a typical derailleur drivetrain. Effigear produces a similar system with a few subtle differences. We’ve actually already covered why you may (or may not) want to invest in a gearbox in a previous article but, as a quick refresher, the key advantage of a gearbox is improved reliability and reduced wear. As a typical gearbox is fully sealed, it is impervious to the elements, hugely extending the time between services. As there are no delicate components dangling from a bike frame, they are also potentially less damage-prone than a typical derailleur drivetrain. Most gearboxes also allow you to shift without pedalling, which can be useful in certain circumstances. On mountain bikes, moving unsprung weight onto the frame can also significantly improve suspension performance. The big drawback of a gearbox is increased drag and weight. Drag is the main drawback of a gearbox. Pinion A system of meshing gears typically carries the penalty of increased drag compared to a chain and derailleur drivetrain. Most systems also come with a considerable weight penalty (usually in the range of 100 to 700g compared to a comparable derailleur drivetrain). Why is it significant that Shimano is getting involved with gearbox technology ? Shimano has developed its derailleur drivetrains to the point of near-perfection, so why would it bother with a gearbox? Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Regardless of gearboxes’ potential disadvantages, there is a small but incredibly vocal minority of riders calling out for more investment in the technology. Pinion and others have worked hard to meet that demand but, as a relatively small brand, it will never have the R&D budget or OEM clout of larger manufacturers. This is why the potential of Shimano developing a gearbox could be such enormous news. Shimano is by far the biggest bicycle drivetrain manufacturer out there and it has huge development resources at its disposal. Shimano would also never bother investing in developing such a system if it didn’t believe it could have significant advantages over a derailleur drivetrain. Shimano has definitely developed some weird stuff, seemingly just because it could in the past (see Airlines), but I also doubt it would bother developing a gearbox if brands weren’t calling for one. With this in mind, as you will soon see, I think it’s safe to assume Shimano is pretty far down the line with developing its gearbox concept, which, as far as I am aware, is the first of its kind from the brand. (Before anyone bothers commenting, the pseudo-gearbox based on an Alfine hub that was used on the Zerode G1 doesn’t count). A foreword Before we dig our way through this typically opaque patent, I should point out that a huge portion of it is dedicated to describing the lubricant and coating used on the moving components of the proposed gearbox. While definitely interesting – and I think, reading between the lines, this funky coating and lubricant would be critical to the potential success of this system – I won’t pretend for a moment that I’m an expert on such matters. The physical makeup of the proposed gearbox is far more interesting to the less chemical-engineering-minded among us and presents a far more compelling concept than a potentially slippery – though no doubt impressive – lubricant and coating. As such, I will spend more time describing the gearbox here. If you want to read about lubes, fill your boots (with slippery lubricant) and get patent US 2019/0011037 A1 downloaded! Patents are written in a purposefully vague manner and unpicking them is a nightmare. Shimano On a similar note, as with all patents, the language used to describe the gearbox is purposefully vague to the point of being obfuscatory. Patents aim to cover all potential physical outcomes of a design. This is done to ensure another manufacturer can’t copy a concept with a slight variation on a proposed design. On the other hand, some designers flood patent offices with vague concepts in a practice known as ‘patent trolling’, but that seems unlikely to be happening here and is a topic for another time. Keeping the language used in mind, working out how a system could work is the real challenge with a patent. A little bit of imagination, and heavy use of a highlighter, goes a long way when unpicking a patent and this is my interpretation of how this gearbox could work and look. I am happy to be corrected in the comments on any area I may have got things wrong. How could Shimano’s gearbox work? The proposed gearbox would mount around the bottom bracket area, following a similar form factor as a Steps motor. Shimano The gearbox is designed to be a removable component. Shimano The overall shape of the gearbox is made clear in figure 6. Shimano The key portion of the patent describes a gearbox that would mount to the bike around the bottom bracket area. We are, obviously, just looking at patent drawings here, but the proposed design is similar in form factor to a Shimano Steps e-bike motor. Indeed, looking closely, it seems possible that the lower half of the gearbox could fit into the same mounting pattern as a Steps motor. The patent also suggests that the gearbox would be a “separate member”, or, in other words, a component that could be removed for servicing or replacement. A crankset would drive an internal chainring that would, in turn, drive the first of two internal ‘cassettes’. Shimano The gearbox is driven by a typical crankset that initially moves a chainring located within the gearbox. This, in turn, drives the first “transmission member” – a vague term used throughout the patent to describe a cassette of sorts – via a chain. The cassettes illustrated are very typical looking 7-speed ones, with Hyperglide-like ramps and shaping. A secondary chain then connects to the second “transmission member” located towards the top of the gearbox. It is proposed that the first of the two cassettes could move horizontally to maintain a straight chainline, reducing drag. Shimano The proposed method for shifting across these two cassettes is very interesting. The patent suggests that the first cassette would be configured to be moved by “a positioning mechanism such as a ball screw”. In other words, the cassette would have the ability to move horizontally along the spindle it is mounted to. The second cassette would remain stationary. A chain guide that “could take a form similar to a bicycle rear derailleur” would guide the chain between these two cassettes, while also allowing for any change in chain length when shifting between gear combinations. The ability to move the first cassette along this horizontal axis means that the drivetrain could maintain a perfectly straight chainline at all times. Compared to a typical derailleur drivetrain, which in most circumstances will have an imperfect chainline, this arrangement has the potential to reduce drag and wear, which would in turn increase efficiency. SRAM’s pivoting chainring could provide its future 1x drivetrains with the perfect chainline For context, any fixed-gear rider will (all too gladly/smugly) delight in extolling the virtues of a perfectly straight chainline — the feeling of efficiency on such a bike is remarkable, and getting back onto a typically geared bike after riding fixed can feel like pedalling through treacle. The legendary Honda gearbox seen on its RN01 downhill bike took a similar, though simpler, approach by essentially replicating a typical 1× drivetrain inside the gearbox. Honda used a conventional derailleur to shift between gears on the cassette, while the single chainring was able to slide along its drive shaft to maintain a straight chainline. In Shimano’s patent, the first cassette also moves laterally to maintain the chainline, but the size of the sprocket on both the first and second cassettes changes between gears. Presumably, this allows for a broader gearing range while keeping the system compact, as well as allowing for a smaller chain-tensioner as the combined size of the two sprockets used is similar across the gearing range. (For those that are interested, legend has it that these bikes were all melted down when the team disbanded in 2004, but the full details of the once-mysterious gearbox that defined this bike are now available via this patent.) The use of a chain and ability of the first cassette to move along that horizontal axis is one of the key differentiators between the proposed gearbox and competitors on the market. As mentioned, gearboxes typically rely on interlocking spur gears that, while reliable, can be both very draggy and heavy. This proposed system has the potential to be very efficient — perhaps even more efficient than a derailleur drivetrain — and, compared to the competition, relatively light. The patent is curiously specific in its suggestion that the gearbox would be 13-speed. Shimano The patent goes on to suggest the gearbox would have “thirteen gear ratios”. The above table suggests that six of the seven sprockets on the first cassette could each be used with two different sprockets on the second cassette, creating a total of 13 distinct gear ratios. The available ratios go from 0.46 to 2.16, creating a gearing range of 470 per cent. That’s slightly less than the maximum range offered by Shimano’s (510 per cent) and SRAM’s (500 per cent) 12-speed mountain bike drivetrains. The “transmission route” (i.e. the pattern in which the gears would shift) would be “stored in memory”. The movement of the cassette positioning system and the “guiding mechanism” would be controlled by a transmission controller. As an aside, I think the fact that the patent explicitly states the gearbox would be 13-speed is a hint as to how seriously Shimano is taking this patent. If they’ve gone as far as working out the limits/optimum gearing of the gearbox, it could well be a near-finished design. Though, I may be completely wrong. Why they wouldn’t go the whole hog and jump to 14-speed is a another question. Shimano 14-speed has been hiding in plain sight since ’99 The patent suggests that the shifting mechanism itself — which, as a reminder, would involve moving that cassette across the spindle on a ball screw — would be “electrically actuated”. A similar form of technology may already exist in Shimano’s Alfine Di2 hubs. Shimano In other words, a small motor would push or pull the cassette along this axis. A similar form of technology already exists in Shimano’s Alfine Di2 hubs. Weirdly, the patent suggests that this mechanism could be actuated by a mechanical gear cable, but also opens up the possibility of it being electronically or wirelessly controlled. I think either of the latter two is far more likely. Shifting the gearbox would be done, as with a typical drivetrain, at the handlebars. This could take the form of a typical flat bar shifter or could be “integrated into the front brake operating device”, suggesting that a road-style shifter could also be developed. It could also suggest a return of Shimano’s infamously terrible DualControl mountain bike levers, but I’m doubtful anyone would want to revive that idea. Hidden away in a tiny little sentence is a fairly revolutionary suggestion, with Shimano hinting that as well as indexed gears it would be possible to design the gearbox to have a “continuously variable speed stage if needed/desired”. Otherwise known as a continuously variable transmission, or CVT, this provides stepless gears that can be infinitely adjusted to suit the terrain and speed. Nuvinci already produces a CVT hub based on a similar concept. Exactly how this kind of technology could be ported into a gearbox isn’t described in the patent. Will this gearbox be just for mountain bikes? Figure one illustrates a mountain bike fitted with the groupset, but the patent explicitly states that it could work with any type of bicycle. Shimano No. The patent explicitly states that “while the bicycle illustrated is a mountain bike, the bicycle internal transmission device [gearbox] can be applied to road bikes or any type of bicycle”. A full-suspension bike would presumably require a chain/belt tensioner to allow for the increase in chain length when the suspension compresses. This isn’t necessary for hardtail applications. What about weight? As well as drag, weight is where a typical gearbox falls down for the weenies among us, and you can expect to add something in the range of 200 to 700g with a gearbox compared to an equivalent derailleur drivetrain. Unfortunately, this patent makes no reference to the weight of this system. It also doesn’t make any reference to any potential weight savings the system could present compared to a typical gearbox. However, making my own assumptions, as the gearbox is more like an enclosed derailleur drivetrain than a system based on interlocking spur gears, I can imagine that weight could possibly be significantly reduced — a cassette will likely be lighter than a chunky spur gear but, again, that is pure speculation. What about the chain and this coating? Central to the success of this concept is a special-sauce lubricant, a new-fangled coating for the moving components and a special way of making the most of that lubricant. I wish that I knew what all this means. Shimano As I mentioned, passing judgement on what is proposed with this lubricant and, more importantly, how it compares to existing options, is beyond the scope of this article and my knowledge. If someone would like to explain how a lubricant containing a “fatty acid containing a carboxyl group” and “further preferably” a form of “linoleic acid” compares to your typical lube, be my guest. The last point on how the chain could be designed is worth dissecting though. The patent suggests the chain could feature holes and textured surfaces that would hold lubricant through surface tension. Shimano Sections 0100 through 0103 of the patent essentially describe a conventional bicycle chain. However, section 0104 through 0106 describes how small holes or textured surfaces formed into the pins and plates of the chain could be used to hold a small amount of lubricant. In a typical derailleur drivetrain, where the chain would be exposed, these textured surfaces and holes would accomplish nothing but accumulating dirt. However, in a fully-enclosed gearbox, it would mean the chain could remain constantly lubed with fresh lubricant, reducing drag. On that note, the patent suggests that the gearbox would be “configured to store lubricant in [an] internal space” that would constantly lubricate both of the chains, the first chainring and both cassettes. The ability to keep everything lubed with this special sauce, alongside the ability to run a perfect chainline, could be key to reducing drag, which, as mentioned, is the major drawback of extant gearboxes. The patent goes on to suggest that the lubricant and coatings could also be used in gear and brake cables. Shimano The patent goes on to describe in section 0110 through 0120 how the same lubricant could also be used on a “bowden cable” (i.e. a brake or gear cable) to reduce drag, provided the cables could be sealed. The rest of the patent goes on to describe how the same technology could be used to reduce drag in a conventional internal gear hub. It is outside the scope of this article to go into depth here but, if such things interest you, I recommend you read through the patent for all of the juicy details. To me, the concept of a frame-mounted gearbox developed by Shimano is also a far more compelling idea than a marginally more efficient hub gear. What does Shimano say? We have contacted Shimano for a comment about the patent and are waiting on a response. However, if our previous experience is anything to go by, we expect to hear ‘no comment’. Will Shimano actually ever make a gearbox? The concept of a gearbox has captured the attention of cyclists the world over for years now. An artist’s impression of a small but vocal crowd that want a gearbox solution for bikes. Getty / Shimano Nearly every time we post a story about a new drivetrain there’s a small but significant number of voices calling out for a lightweight, low drag and reliable internal gearbox. As mentioned, the potential benefits of such a gearbox are clear: reducing unsprung mass, keeping delicate components out of harm’s way and sealing moving parts from the elements are all deeply appealing propositions. Derailleur drivetrains are the de-facto standard in cycling. It’s hard to imagine there ever being a huge shift away from them, but it’s not impossible. David Rome / Immediate Media However, what is necessarily good for (some) cyclists is, to a point, almost irrelevant in this case because derailleur drivetrains have been developed to the point of near-perfection for the past zillion years. For the largest drivetrain components manufacturer in the world to make a U-turn on that would be incredibly significant. Likewise, nearly every bike out there is designed and built with a derailleur drivetrain in mind. While Shimano obviously has enormous power to sway bicycle design, it’s hard to imagine that such a significant shift would happen, at least not quickly. On the other hand, there’s every chance that there are heated meetings happening in the hallowed halls of The Big Bike Industry that could signal a sea change in bicycle design. What would drive this change is worth considering. The cynics among you could very well point to my analogy about derailleur drivetrains being near-perfect and point to gearboxes as ‘another excuse just to sell us something new’. On the other hand, if you’re feeling generous, consider the development of a super-efficient and lightweight gearbox from a road performance point of view. If this gearbox could be shown to be more efficient than a derailleur drivetrain, the go-fast road weenies will go wild for the idea. Brands such as CeramicSpeed, with its Driven concept drivetrain, are beginning to take the aerodynamic impact of a drivetrain much more seriously. CeramicSpeed Let’s also not forget that with a large chainring, front and rear shifters, and a cassette out of the way, this setup also has the potential to be more aero than a derailleur drivetrain. Scoff all you want, but this stuff matters to some people! To conclude, daft as it may sound, I also think that how I found this patent suggests Shimano is seriously considering taking this idea further. An artist’s impression of me handling the deluge of patents I stumble on every month. Jack Luke / Immediate Media I make a habit of periodically checking on the patents filed by a number of big brands (watch out, The Big Bike Industry, I’m your worst nightmare) and I stumbled on this one almost by accident. The title of the patent hardly suggested something thrilling and a gearbox from Shimano for goodness sakes was the last thing I expect to uncover. If I were to put my sleuthing hat on, one could assume Shimano is being coy in not using the word gearbox anywhere (not once!) in the patent. Is this an attempt to stop news getting out about an upcoming enormous announcement or something much more innocent? I like to pretend that I’m a real patent sleuthster and that it’s the former. With all of that said, one assistant editor’s enthusiasm for a concept isn’t going to change the course of bicycle design — it’s you, the people, who will decide. What do you think? Are we going to see a truly mammoth change to how bikes are built in the future? — and, to be clear, I think Shimano producing such a component would be incredibly significant. Are you crying out for gearbox development? Or are you quite happy with your derailleur drivetrain, thank you very much? As always, let us know in the comments.
Welcome to the latest edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce! Not visited before? If this is your first time joining us, all you need to do is sit back and relax, because we’re here as your personal one-stop-wrap-up-shop of all things new and exciting in the wonderful world of mountain bikes! As we power on through the Australian spring, things are continuing to heat up with a load of new bike releases, and some cracking events and riding trips that we’ve been documenting here at Flow. Mick has safely returned from West Coast, having shot a belter of a gallery of what he’s calling the ‘event of the year’ – the Cape to Cape. Oh and for those who love the tech stuff, make sure you check out the cool bikes and tech from the 2019 Cape to Cape. Mick’s been on another riding adventure closer to home on the hallowed ground around Mt Sugarloaf in NSW. With the aim of rediscovering the old downhill tracks he used to race back in the 90s, Mick set off with three other lunatics for an epic adventure on a gaggle of Specialized Levos. Check out the (very entertaining!) video below, and make sure you have a read of the full feature here. We’ve also been busy launching some mahoosif competitions over the past few weeks too, including this one where you could win a brand new 2020 Giant Reign 29er! And then there’s the Ultimate Victorian Ride High Country Adventure competition – you choose a mate, the destination, your riding style, and a bike, and the World Of Flow travel agents will take care of the rest. It’s a killer prize pack, so if you haven’t entered that one yet, make sure you do it right now to be in with a chance! Speaking of the High Country, Wil took a trip over to Beechworth in north east Victoria to visit Shane Flint of Tor Bikes. Shane is a custom frame builder who specialises in hardcore hardtails made from slender Colombus steel tubing that’s masterfully fillet brazed together. If you fancy a closer look at Shane’s work and his workshop, check out the feature here. Alrighty. With y’all up to speed on what’s been happening in Flowlandia, it’s time to get stuck into all the fresh kit that’s arrived in time for this edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce! 2020 Norco Sight A1 29 Norco hasn’t held back on the Sight’s geometry, with the new bike taking a huge leap forward. Canadian brand Norco continues the aggressive upheaval of its mountain bike lineup, this time with the arrival of the all-new Sight. Pepped up with a bit more suspension travel and some seriously progressive geometry numbers, this All Mountain ripper basically takes off where the previous Range checked out. Available in both 27.5in and 29in platforms, and with a carbon or alloy frameset, there are exactly 10 different Sight models for 2020. We’ve got the top-end alloy model, called the A1, so stay tuned for a full review on Big Blue coming soon. Oh and for those with offspring, you may also be interested in the Sight Youth – a pint-sized version of the adult version that features a 150mm travel RockShox Pike and a 63.5° head angle – wowsers! From: Norco Bicycles Price: $5,799 Ride Concepts Powerline Flat Pedal Shoes Look out Five Ten – Ride Concepts has some good-looking flat pedal shoes on offer! Looking to take on the likes of Five Ten, Ride Concepts is a young Lake Tahoe-based company that’s specialising in footwear for gravity-based mountain biking. The brand offers both clip-in and flat pedal solutions, and we’ve got a pair of each on test to see just how they stack up against the big players. Slotting into Ride Concept’s “Flow” range, the Powerline shown here is described as a high performance All Mountain flat pedal shoe. It features a full rubber outsole made by Rubber Kinetics, which hexagonal tread blocks and compound labelled as ‘DST 4.0 MAX GRIP’. Think they’re trying to tell us something there… With an eye on protecting your footsies, the Powerline features custom-molded rubber toe cap and heel protection, as well as an asymmetric collar with D3O padding integrated into the inside panel around the ankle bone. More D3O padding can be found inside the forefoot and heel area of the footbeds, and that’s there to help absorb impact shocks from hard landings. The upper itself is distinctly lacking stitch lines, with a fully-welded construction that keeps it all very neat and streamlined. From: Lusty Industries Price: $249.95 Fox Defend LS Jersey Ooph, it ain’t summer just yet We’ve got some fresh threads courtesy of Fox Head, including this new Defend long sleeve jersey. Utilising a series of mesh panels and TruDri fabrics, the Defend jersey is meant to be easy-breezy for hot summertime shredding, while giving you more abrasion resistance and sun protection than a short sleeve. Also available in Black, from Small to XL sizes. From: PSI Cycling Price: $89.99 Maxima Cleaners, Degreasers & Lubricants No excuses for a dirty bike now! Looking to cover the full gamut of mountain bike maintenance, Maxima has a broad range of cleaners, degreasers and lubricants to keep your pride and joy in tip-top condition. Going form left-to-right, there’s a bottle of Assembly Lube ($18.95), which is designed for metal-on-metal components when grease is a little too heavy. We’ve also got a bottle of Chain Wax ($16.95), the classic SC1 Bike Polish ($21.95), and a big blue bottle of Bio Wash ($16.95). For post-wash treatment there’s the Suspension Spray ($22.95), and for cleaning disc rotors and pads, a 518ml can of Contact Cleaner ($18.95). Lastly, we’ve got a yellow bottle filled with 100% biodegradable Degreaser ($24.95), and a tub of lithium-based Waterproof Grease ($24.95). From: Lusty Industries Price: $16.95 – $24.95 Bluegrass Eagle Legit Carbon Full Face Helmet The Legit Carbon is a premium full-face lid that puts a focus on low weight, ventilation, and high-tech protection thanks to its MIPS-E2 technology. Bluegrass Eagle, the more muscly arm of MET, recently launched a new full face helmet called the Legit. Available in a standard version for $300, and the carbon model that we have here, the Legit has been spotted atop of noggins belonging to Dean Lucas, Tracey Hannah, and Sam Blenkinsop. There’s a tonne of neat features inside that stealthy carbon shell, so get a look at the full story on the Bluegrass Legit Carbon here. From: Advance Traders Price: $600 DT Swiss EXC 1200 Spline 30 Wheelset Rounding out its three-tier carbon mountain bike range, DT Swiss has recently launched its burliest and most enduro-worthy wheelset yet; the EXC 1200. Joining the XMC 1200 (AM) and XRC 1200 (XC) wheels, the EXC 1200 uses a heavier duty carbon rim that’s said to offer greater strength and durability than its lighter weight brethren. Like those other two wheelsets, the EXC 1200 is rolling on ultra-premium 180 hubs that feature SINC ceramic cartridge bearings and the new Ratchet EXP freehub mechanism that we recently took a detailed look at. We’ll be thrashing the new EXC 1200 Spline 30 wheelset over the coming months to see just how well it holds up to our haggard riding style. In the meantime, you can check out all the details and confirmed weights for this luxurious Swiss wheelset right here. From: Apollo Bicycles Price: $2,999 Timber! Mountain Bike Bell Last, but certainly not least, we have this little device. Err, it’s a bell. Not particularly exciting right? WRONG! This is the Timber! MTB Bell, and it’s basically a mini-cowbell for your handlebars. It produces a lovely ring-a-ding sound, like a wind-up telephone from the 70s, and it’ll daintily brrrring away while you bounce and hop along the trail, helping to alert inattentive hikers, dog-walkers, horse-riders and youths of your impending arrival. But what if you don’t need your sweet singletrack symphony, and it’s annoying the heck out of you? There’s a little switch that allows you to instantly silence the bell, so you can savour the sound of your tyres on fresh dirt. We should point out that this wasn’t sent in for to test – Wil actually bought this with his own cold-hard internet money. Having frequently encountered walkers and off-leash doggos on one of my local hotly-contested Strava segments, he decided this would be a suitable option rather than a manual bell, as they’ll hear you before either of you see each other. And we figured some of you folks might be interested in such a solution, so here you go! From: Timber MTB Price: $24.95 USD (plus shipping) 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 Flow’s Fresh Produce | New flat pedal shoes, carbon wheels, and one very nifty little accessory appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
How to Double Your Available Riding Hours Long exposure photo captures path of night rider and the motion of his eBike’s 2 headlights. YOU ARE NOT A COMMUTER Lights fall into two categories: lights designed to help you see and lights designed to help you be seen. A to-be-seen light is what you use for commuting on lighted bike paths or roads. The only goal of these lights is making you visible to other riders and motorists. They are not bright enough or rugged enough for off-road nighttime trail riding. The to-see lights are more expensive and blast a beam that would blind motorists if you used them on the street. They are designed to be tough, and they are not cheap. A good to-see system will run in the $350 neighborhood and may cost $500 or more if you plan to match your daytime speed. LED VS. HALOGEN Entry-level lighting packages are split between halogen incandescent lamps and multiple-LED (Light Emitting Diode) systems. The bottom line is that, given the same battery, halogen lamps put out much more usable light than LED clusters, but halogen lamps drain batteries much faster. Burn times for halogen systems are around two hours, while LED systems can burn most of the evening on the same juice. MISLEADING LUMENS Sorry, but a light’s claimed lumens, a measure of the total “amount” of visible light emitted by a source, is about as good a reason for buying lights as claimed gas mileage is for buying a car or claimed megapixels are for buying a camera. We won’t say that light companies lie about their lumens, but they sure get creative about the way they measure them. Don’t buy a light based solely on its claimed lumens. TWO HEADLIGHTS ARE BETTER THAN ONE It used to be that you had to have two lights (one on the handlebar and one on your helmet), but the new lights illuminate so well and are sometimes so easy to detach from the handlebar that the two-light setup is now optional, not mandatory. Still, a helmet spotlight and handlebar floodlight give you the best of both worlds. ONE IF BY LAND If you have one light, mount it to your handlebar rather than to your helmet. Using a helmet-only light creates weird shadows that make the trail surface hard to read. If your handlebar light mount is not an easy-on/easy-off design, carry another light in your hydration pack in case you have a mechanical failure and need to see the problem. ALL-IN-ONE DESIGN Many powerful lights now house their batteries in one unit. The cons are that they are more expensive and their weight is positioned higher. The pro is that you don’t have to mount a separate battery and run wires to the light. If you can afford it and the brightness is what you want, go for an all-in-one. Trail riders at night with bike and helmet mounted lights. HIGH SECURITY If your lighting system uses a remote battery, you need to take every precaution to make sure it never comes loose. We always use a few toe straps in addition to the mounting system that came with the light. If the fit between the battery and the frame isn’t solid, fold an old inner tube and position it between the battery and frame. Then, cinch it down tightly. If the battery slips into the water-bottle cage, make sure the cage hardware is tight and the cage is strong enough to hold a battery (about twice the weight of a water bottle). Toe straps secure the lighting system’s remote battery. HIGH SECURITY II You never want your light to come loose. Losing a light while riding is…you don’t even want to know. If using a new light, mount it and go for a daylight ride. Check its position afterwards. If it has moved, do not ride at night until you remedy the situation. Keep light wires out of the way by wrapping them around bike components. CLEAR THE CLUTTER Your handlebar is already cluttered with shifters, brake levers, dropper seatpost remotes and even remote suspension controls. In front of all that mess is a freeway interchange of hoses, cables and wires. Side view of handlebar. Clamping your light in the middle of all that can be tough. That’s why Paul Component Engineering offers the $36 stem-cap light mount. Pull off your stem cap, replace it with the PCE aluminum light mount, and your headlight beam gets to shine unobstructed. Neat. Paul Component Engineering stem-cap light mount stays off the cluttered handle. BRIGHT IDEA When you get hooked on night riding and want to expand to a helmet-mounted light, choose a spotlight rather than a defused beam. The bar-mounted light will illuminate the trail close to you while you see up the trail with the helmet light. REFRESH YOUR HELMET PADS If you are using a helmet-mounted light, slap in a set of fresh sizing pads. The added weight of the light will cause the helmet to shift if the sizing pads don’t fit snugly. Better yet, wear a helmet that has some type of fitting band around the back of your head, like Kali’s Dual Closure system, Bell Helmet’s Twin Axis gear, Giro’s Acu Dial 2, Lazer’s Rollsys or Specialized’s Headset. EYE PROTECTION REQUIRED Please, don’t be tempted to ride at night without glasses just because sunlight is not an issue. Branches, bats and gnats come out of nowhere during night rides. Wear glasses with clear, scratch-free lenses. The scratches you hardly notice in daylight will cause the light to play tricks on your eyes and cloud your vision at night. Really, don’t ride at night without eye protection. BUDDY UP Always ride in pairs for safety and because two or more riders traveling together can triple the burn time of their lights by alternating. When the trail is mellow or while climbing, the back rider’s light will provide enough illumination for one or two riders ahead. Light “drafting” can lengthen a ride or get a buddy back home who has suffered a failure. Lots of bike shops have group night rides. Company is helpful should you have a mechanical and need another hand to direct light in the right spot. Should you suffer a lighting failure (or crash), walking out alone is going to be tough. Also, if you get hurt, unlike in the daytime when someone is likely to come along, it would be a miracle to be found by another trail user at night. BE AWARE OF THE SUN Wear sunglasses and a hat with a big visor during the day. Exposure to sunlight is like bleaching the photoreceptors in your eyes, which will increase the time it takes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Avert your eyes from the computer screen or bright lights for a few hours before your ride. ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR If another rider approaches you (from the front, not behind), look away from the rider. If you catch a glimpse of the other rider’s helmet light or headlight, you may suffer night blindness. High-powered LED lights blind riders, so turn them off when stopped and look away from approaching riders. SHOE-GAZERS When your buddies regroup during the ride, keep your eyes on your shoes. Nothing is worse for destroying night vision than a buddy looking into your eyes with his helmet light blasting away. Better yet, turn off the lights when hanging out. YOU WILL BE LESS AWARE Vision is severely altered at night. Depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision, all necessary for competent riding, are compromised after sundown. Older riders have even greater difficulties seeing at night. A 50-year-old rider may need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old. That means slowing down the pace considerably will still feel fast under the stars. BATTERY LIFE Your battery will never be as powerful as the first time you charged it. It loses power every time you charge it after that. Sorry. INCREASE THAT BATTERY LIFE You spent the bucks for a good light; now, invest the time to read the system’s charging and battery-storage instructions. The lamp gets the glory, but it’s the battery pack that does the hard work. Store it near the charger in a place where you will look at it regularly. This will remind you to service the battery when needed during the off-season. STRETCH YOUR BATTERY’S BURN TIME Most lights offer beam options. Unless you are descending or riding technical terrain, you don’t need full power, so turn it down. We sometimes turn our lights off on climbs if there is enough moonlight. BLUE MOON While we can get away with using moonlight on our desert trails that have an unobstructed view of the sky, if your trails go in and out of tree cover, leave your lights on. The blackest black you’ll ever see is under tree cover at night. Goodbye, handlebars. LATE MORNING A night ride is going to get your adrenaline pumping and your pulse racing. Don’t expect to fall asleep easily after a night ride. Plan your night rides for when you don’t have early obligations the next morning. 3 riders stop for a photo op during their ride-riding in groups is more fun and safe than riding alone. LIKE YOU NEED AN EXCUSE It is a little surprising how many riders have never tried a night ride. Here are 10 great reasons to try a night ride, as if you need an excuse: Doubles the available hours you have to ride It is the best way to beat the summer heat The trails are less busy than usual and often deserted Makes the most familiar trail feel new You will see a lot more animals than on your typical day rides It forces you to look ahead and focus more than during day rides Makes climbs feel less steep and shorter than what they are Makes you feel faster than normal It is more intense than daytime riding It is a little scary 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 How to Double Your Available Riding Hours appeared first on Electric Bike Action.
Trailcracft cycles was born from a kickstarter campaign promising no compromise kids mountain bikes to accelerate young riders' skills and love for the sport. The husband and wife team of Brett and Ginger delivered on their goal and continue to make some of the most progressive kids bikes available. Initially focusing on 24 and 26 inch platforms, Trailcraft released a 20 inch hardtail this year that is going to make a lot of 5-8 year olds catch the mtb itch. Thanks to Trailcraft for providing a bike to facilitate this review. Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 Pro Deore Build Details: Intended Age- 5 to 8 (Minimum inseam 21 inches, Recommended Min/Max height 3'9 to 4'2) Weight- 19.0 lbs Features- TC30 cabon lower rebound adjustable 80 mm travel air fork, Stans Crest MK3 tubeless wheelset, 127 mm cranks, Shimano Deore 6000 brakes, Vee tire Crown Gem 2.25, 68.5 degree HA, 340 mm Chainstay length MSRP- $1699 USD Pro Deore Build, $1449 TCZ Build Available- Trailcraft Cycles The Bike Dads' Take: "Once in a while a bike comes along and blows your mind, this is one of them. Getting this bike to 19 lbs puts it lightest in class for 20 inch hardtails. Adding amazing geometry, phenomenal fork and a top quality build makes this bike worth every penny if you are a family that lives and breathes mtb." -Colin Recent Blog Posts Propain Frechdax 20 inch Review Norco announces new 20 and 24 inch Bikes Trailcraft Maxwell 24 Review Kids Ride Shotgun Offroad Child Seat Review Prevelo Zulu 4 Heir Review woom OFF Mountain Bikes Propain Kids Range 2020 Updates Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 Review Shotgun Kids MTB Seat ToutTerrain Singletrailer Bike Trailer The post Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 Review appeared first on The Bike Dads.
Prevelo Bikes re-designed their kids MTB line this after only one year in operation...amazing. A successful first season, they managed to improve on an already great frame a part spec. In the case of the new 24 inch hardtail, the Zulu 4 Heir, Prevelo has created a descending oriented hardtail MTB that is versatile in its ability hit the trails and the neighborhood. We often state its tough to beat the suitability of a well designed Hardatil for most kids in this age range, case in point...The Prevelo Zulu 4 Heir. Prevelo Zulu 2 Heir Details: Intended Age- 8 to 11 years Weight- 24 lbs Features- Custom carbon lower air fork with 80 mm travel, hydraulic disc brakes (rear calipers tucked away), Alex rims, 140mm cranks, 67 HA, 11-46 T rear cassette MSRP- $1299 USD for Heir build, $899 regular build Available- Prevelo Bikes The Bike Dads' Take: "This bike is a descending machine on the singletrack. The efficiency of a hardtail and geo of an all mountain bike, this is a great option for the thrill seeking 8-11 year old who also like to ride to school and around the neighborhood. A class leading fork and great build bring the bike into the very respectable 24 lb mark." -Colin Recent Blog Posts Propain Frechdax 20 inch Review Norco announces new 20 and 24 inch Bikes Trailcraft Maxwell 24 Review Kids Ride Shotgun Offroad Child Seat Review Prevelo Zulu 4 Heir Review woom OFF Mountain Bikes Propain Kids Range 2020 Updates Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 Review Shotgun Kids MTB Seat ToutTerrain Singletrailer Bike Trailer The post Prevelo Zulu 4 Heir Review appeared first on The Bike Dads.
The Shotgun seat positions your child safe between your arms and the conversations and teaching moments you will experience with your child are priceless. We loved the weight distribution of the Shotgun seat on the bike and really allowed for uninhibited steering while on the trails. The foot straps and foot pegs held my kids feet in well. The Kids Ride Shotgun offroad seat mounts to your top and downtube of your mountain bike frame and fits almost all mountain bikes on the market today. You do not need a specific amount of clearance under your stem or above your seat collar on your dropper post like some other offroad seats on the market. The seat provides some great cushioning for your kids rear end as well and we really like how you can adjust the nose of the seat down. Fitting the seat does take some time, so install while your kid is napping or in bed as a whining toddler is never good to ensure the seat is mounted properly, but they included all the necessary tools to install so you don’t need to dig around to make sure you have all the tools needed to install. We really enjoyed our time on the Shotgun seat and it has allowed us to spend quality time as a family, allowing us to have quality time together outside while having on on one conversations with each of my kids. The offroad seat market is excellent and the Shotgun seat is another option out there to help Bikedads and Bikemoms head out to trails to create some lasting memories.The Shotgun seat is more economically process than a few other offroad seats on the market at $150 USD. The customer service and support Kids Ride Shotgun is second to none. Kids Ride Shotgun Offroad Seat Details: Intended Age- 2 - 5 years old Weight- Max child weight 48 lbs Features- Adjustable saddle, secure foot straps, durable rubber cover to protect your frame MSRP- $150USD Available- KidsRide Shotgun | Amazon | Jenson USA | Amazon Canada The Bike Dads' Take: "We loved the weight distribution of the Shotgun seat on the bike and really allowed for uninhibited steering while on the trails. The seat provides some great cushioning for your kids rear end as well and we really like how you can adjust the nose of the seat down." -Jack Recent Blog Posts Propain Frechdax 20 inch Review Norco announces new 20 and 24 inch Bikes Trailcraft Maxwell 24 Review Kids Ride Shotgun Offroad Child Seat Review Prevelo Zulu 4 Heir Review woom OFF Mountain Bikes Propain Kids Range 2020 Updates Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 Review Shotgun Kids MTB Seat ToutTerrain Singletrailer Bike Trailer The post Kids Ride Shotgun Offroad Child Seat Review appeared first on The Bike Dads.
Trailcracft cycles was born from a kickstarter campaign promising no compromise kids mountain bikes to accelerate young riders' skills and love for the sport. The husband and wife team of Brett and Ginger delivered on their goal and continue to make some of the most progressive kids bikes available. If you are looking for one of the lightest and best spec'd 24 inch full suspension trail bike for an 8-11 year old, read on. Thanks to Trailcraft for providing a bike to facilitate this review. Trailcraft Maxwell Details: Intended Age- 8 to 11 years Weight- 24 lbs (give or take depending on build) Features- 140mm Trailcraft cranks and choice of front chainring, 100mm Horst link rear suspension, Shimano Deore Brakes, Stans crest wheelset, carbon handlebar, lightweight stem, 100mm travel fork light weight rider tuned fork MSRP- $1350-$2999 USD Available- Trailcraft The Bike Dads' Take: "Where this Maxwell 24 really differentiates itself is it’s not a lift access bike park specific bike. Its shorter travel, 100mm front/rear is not the norm in this category of bikes, but I love it and so does my 8 year old son. Climbing is truly amazing and descending is quick and nimble. Sure you could better served in the likes of Whistler Bike park with more travel but for the kid who climbs to earn his descents, this is the bike!" -Colin Recent Blog Posts Propain Frechdax 20 inch Review Norco announces new 20 and 24 inch Bikes Trailcraft Maxwell 24 Review Kids Ride Shotgun Offroad Child Seat Review Prevelo Zulu 4 Heir Review woom OFF Mountain Bikes Propain Kids Range 2020 Updates Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 Review Shotgun Kids MTB Seat ToutTerrain Singletrailer Bike Trailer The post Trailcraft Maxwell 24 Review appeared first on The Bike Dads.
Coming to North America in 2020, Propain is offering the full kids line which is amazing. These guys and gals from Germany build race worthy bikes that are top shelf. Throw a few Dads and Moms in the mix, and you get the recipe for amazing designed and engineered little bikes...enter the Propain Frechdax full suspension 20 inch mountain bike! Propain Frechax Details: Intended Age- 5 to 8 years Weight- 21.8 lbs (give or take depending on build) Features- 115 mm cranks and 28T front chain-ring, Sram Level T Brakes, 90 mm rear suspension, RockShox Monarch rear shock, 80 mm travel fork light weight rider tuned fork, 68. 5 HA, 360 mm chainstays MSRP- $1820 USD Available- Propain Bicycles The Bike Dads' Take: "One of the smallest fitting and lightest 20 inch full suspension bike on the market, I was drawn to the Frechdax for my year old. Fitting a range between 3’3 and 4’6, with 115 mm cranks, sub 22 lbs, with 80 mm front and 90 mm rear suspension on a 20 inch platform, The Dads behind this bike at Propain have created an amazing little machine." -Colin Recent Blog Posts Propain Frechdax 20 inch Review Norco announces new 20 and 24 inch Bikes Trailcraft Maxwell 24 Review Kids Ride Shotgun Offroad Child Seat Review Prevelo Zulu 4 Heir Review woom OFF Mountain Bikes Propain Kids Range 2020 Updates Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 Review Shotgun Kids MTB Seat ToutTerrain Singletrailer Bike Trailer The post Propain Frechdax 20 inch Review appeared first on The Bike Dads.