KÜAT NV 2.0 RAMP You can see how long the NV 2.0 ramp is, and that gradual incline makes getting a 50-pound e-bike up onto the rack all but effortless. For many of us, when it comes to transporting our e-bikes, finding a good two-bike rack that can handle the weight of an e-bike is problematic enough. Next comes the task of hefting a 50-plus-pound bike onto a rack. Not easy. For some, it’s impossible. Thankfully, the folks over at Küat have recognized the problem and have come up with a very simple solution. Their NV 2.0 steel ramp expands to nearly 6 feet and attaches via some additional hardware to their NV 2.0 ramp. THE RACK The Kuat ramp won’t do you any good if you don’t have the Küat rack it’s designed for. They sent us their NV 2.0 folding rack. It comes in a small box, very well-packed, with Ikea-like instructions. We tried to build it using only one person, but it ended up requiring two. Easy mounting in a 2-inch hitch receiver, with great controls for tightening it in so it doesn’t move around when bikes are mounted, with a locking pin that’s keyed the same as the two cable locks that mount under either bike runner. Those locks are magnetically held in, and they do tend to pop out over bumps, leaving the locks to drag on the ground. The shepherd’s hook that holds the front wheel into a very attractive tray setup (with plenty of room for drainage if you got muddy) can easily handle up to 29er wheels, and the strap on the back moves along the channel to hold the back wheel, regardless of wheelbase. The rack itself is metallic grey with orange-anodized accents. It comes with an accessory bike stand so you can work on your bike without needing to load it onto the rack. The fully expanded ramp. You can see the channels and thumbscrews that allow the pamp to expand and contract for easy storage. It ain’t rocket surgery! This very simple design keeps the ramp sturdy, easy to use and relatively inexpensive. THE RAMP Installing the ramp leaves you taking the end caps off the channels where the locks are and completely removing the locks and two Torx bolts (wrench included) to install a metal receiver that the ramp will hook into. This takes a few minutes each, but it’s pretty straightforward. Make sure you align that piece correctly, as there is some play to it. We found this out the hard way the first time we tried to mount the ramp; it wouldn’t fit. Loosening the bolts slightly allowed us to align it properly, and off we went. The ramp has a pair of thumbscrews that tighten into long channels, effectively letting you expand it from 32 inches to 54 inches. This makes it incredibly easy to move the weight up the inclined plane (remember this from your physics class umpteen years ago?). You might even be able to engage Walk mode if your bike has it to make it even easier. Price: $90 www.kuatonline.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 Review: KÜAT NV 2.0 RAMP appeared first on Electric Bike Action.
How are you supposed to find a new bike trail? What about planning a ride somewhere new? Or finding the best way to navigate on your bike? There’s one incredibly simple answer to all of these questions: komoot. It’s a navigation app that goes above and beyond simply showing you the way. Here’s our guide. Starting to get bored of your local trails? You’ve got two options: build new ones, or see what’s cooking on komoot. No matter how great your own trails are, they are bound to get boring at some point in time. So instead of the same weekly loop, you’ve got two options: build something brand new, or have a scope around to see what’s in your area. When editor Christoph registered for komoot, he certainly wasn’t expecting what he found. Komoot isn’t just there to create routes; it inspires and creates a community too. Find inspiration or just DIY it At its core, komoot suggests great cycling and hiking routes (to name just two disciplines of the many on the app) using optimized OpenStreetMap technology and user-generated routes from its more than 8 million members. The suggested routes are determined by where the community rides and a number of clever algorithms that pinpoint which routes are actually worth riding. On the desktop version of komoot, you can scroll through the site’s Collections, which are essentially a curated selection of routes based on region or topic. If they pique your interest, you can easily alter the start and finish points to render them more suited to your specific ride. All it takes is a simple push of a button on the map to set a new starting position, or include a specific trail in the route. If you’re hankering for a more complicated route, you can create it on a turn-by-turn basis, just by clicking points on the map and letting komoot pick the way between them. It’s best to zoom in on the map and select precisely where you want to go, or use search bar to find a specific trail or mountain hut. Any mid-ride stops can be inserted onto the route and komoot can link them up. You can do the exact same route planning on your smartphone too, using the komoot app. Plan a route on the big screen … Or use the app on your smartphone. Great for spontaneous planning and mid-ride alterations. Komoot’s mapping technology relies on OpenStreetMap as a foundation, which means that you’re exposed to routes that are actually used or ones that tourist regions have uploaded to it. Don’t expect to find any of the most locally made trails– the truly tucked-away one that you know are probably illegal. When you’re planning a tour, you’ll also come across user-submitted highlights and tips – these can be anything from the best view point, to where to eat up on a mountain, or the history behind a certain pile of ruins. More and more tourist destinations are actively highlighting their trails on komoot to entice prospective riders to their area. Looking for inspiration for your next holiday, or just a quick fix for an immediate ride? Look no further than the Collections or komoot’s own highlights. While route planning you can pick between a host of disciplines – hiking, running, gravel riding or mountain biking. komoot tailors the route to your preferred mode. Over the hedge – komoot knows the way! Each ride we rode using komoot threw up surprises, including a mass of genuine trail highlights that we’d never come across before, as well as indicated turnings that, after the initial bout of disbelief, then won us over. Trail-blocking bracken and fern and river crossings over bridges that had long since ceased to exist. But once the obstacle was behind us, the route came good, spurting us out onto unspoiled trails. In a built-up country like Germany, this lends itself to a sense of intrepid adventure, albeit swathed in a calming security blanket that komoot knows where it’s taking you and how to return to your home or your car. Since komoot first launched it has become more and more reliable, especially because users can go directly to OpenStreetMap and signify usable or, in some cases, unusable trails. Once a tour is created you’ll see exactly what lies ahead of you – the climbing, the terrain, the gradients, and the descents. Leave your smartphone and map in your bag Is there anything more frustrating that having to stop to check your phone or, much worse, the giant foldable map at every junction? Fortunate then that komoot has options to counter this – either with its in-app audio navigation or by transferring the route to your bike computer. Navigation isn’t limited to Garmin or Wahoo either, you can also get it on your Apple watch and more and more eMTB computers are coming with a komoot platform too. Hands belong on the bars! Forget having to dig out your phone or map at every junction. Navigate with ease – be guided by the komoot navigation audio or transfer the route directly to your bike computer. Take your friends along for the adventure The Community side of komoot is a way to discover other people’s adventures as well as sharing your own. Save the most appealing Collections for a later day, peruse the recommended Highlights and see what other users think of the tours you’ve ridden. It also collates your stats relating to how much you’ve been out riding. Plus, for those non-komoot-using friends, you can still share a GPS route that you’ve made on komoot simply by emailing, whatsapping or facebooking it to them. Simple and intuitive route creation on the phone or your computer So, what’s the cost and is there any sort of package deal? It doesn’t cost anything to get komoot and have a look around, use the route planner, scroll through Collections, or browse the map. However, as soon as you want to save a Tour – a route that you’ve made or one you’ve found in a Collection – you’ll have to sign up. To save a route for offline usage, you have to have downloaded the map for the relevant, broader region – region maps start at €3.99. For €8.99, you can pick a bundle of regions or go for the whole world at €29.99 – a very fair price if you ask us! Our thoughts on using komoot Let’s cut to the chase: komoot totally won us over. It isn’t just blissfully stress-free to plan a route; we’ve also gathered a ton of inspiration for upcoming bike trips. Thanks to komoot we’ve re-fallen in love with our home spots, and uncovered some real gems and sick trails that we hadn’t known about. What we’d love to see next would be the option to insert new trails onto the map directly through the app – right now, the hidden ones can’t appear on a route if they don’t appear on the map. Keen to try komoot? Visit the komoot website and use the following gift code to get your hands on a free regional package of maps worth € 8.99: ENDUROMAGXKOMOOT Article supported by komoot
It’s Friday, and at BikeRadar that means fresh product for your work-weary eyes. This week we’ve got DT Swiss’s newest premium 180 hubs, the what’s-old-is-new Bivi Bunker mountain-gravel thing, Unior’s delightful new hanger tool, and Pulseroll’s big red vibrating roller. If talk of big red vibrating things isn’t enough to tickle your pickle, this week we also got the lowdown on Giant’s newest, beefiest e-MTB, we’ve scintillated directly into your ears in the latest BikeRadar podcast, and we’ve marvelled at Altor’s comically steroidal bike lock. Focus showed off its 2020 bike highlights, we updated our advice on the best GPS bike computers, and our Seb gave us his first ride impressions of Canyon’s bargainous Spectral Al 5.0 trail bike. Onto this week’s swag… DT Swiss 180 Straightpull hubs DT’s new flagship hubs are stealthy, light and beautifully engineered. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media DT Swiss is a benchmark for quality when it comes to wheel components, and its hubs, in particular, have long been a go-to for wheelbuilders. The 180 Straightpull is DT’s new flagship hub and it’s available in mountain bike, road rim brake and road disc brake configurations. All major axle types and freehubs (including Shimano Micro Spline) are supported and the hubs are available in hole counts from 20 to 28 depending on version. As the name suggests, they’re straight-pull only, an interesting move from a brand that has hitherto always offered J-bend versions of its hubs. According to DT’s UK rep, there are no plans for a classic flange version at the moment because straight-pull is inherently better from a strength-to-weight perspective. Basic maintenance on the 180s is tool-free, they simply pull apart. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media This is hard to argue with, although it’s worth noting that aero-section spokes will be all but mandatory with these as a result, because round spokes plus straight-pull is a recipe for headaches down the line if nipples start to seize. The new 180s feature DT’s latest Ratchet EXP freehub design (we first saw it on the very fancy clinchers that nine-grand Canyon was wearing), the newest iteration of the highly dependable ‘star ratchet’, wherein two ratchet rings are pushed against one another by a spring. Ratchet EXP claims to increase hub stiffness by 15 percent by pushing the driveside axle bearing further to the right so that it sits inside the inner ratchet ring, rather than next to it. The total parts count is lower, and just one spring is used rather than two as in the old design. The Ratchet EXP system is beguilingly simple, with fewer moving parts than previous designs. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media The 180s’ bearings are ceramic for low rolling resistance, and this pair of 24-hole road disc hubs (with an XDR driver) weighs in at 92g for the front and 178g for the rear on our scales. Front hub: from £229.99 / $379.80 / €261.90 Rear hub: from £419.99 / $706 / €486.90 Find out more at DTSwiss.com BiVi Bunker Malvern bike The BiVi Bunker is an appealingly simple bike. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media At BikeRadar we never seem to tire of debating what actually defines different categories of bikes. Are gravel bikes just gussied up ‘crossers? Or mediocre mountain bikes? Does it matter? The steel BiVi Bunker only throws further confusion into the mix. With flat bars and decidedly old-school geometry, it’s either an achingly trendy gravel bike or a rigid MTB throwback. Or both. The raw finish is delightful. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media The Bunker frame is a striking thing in this raw finish with delightfully blued welds. Slender tubes, external cables and a threaded bottom bracket make for an appealingly simple package. Currently available in just one medium-ish size, the BiVi’s reach would be on the long side for a bike with drop bars at 395mm, but it’s properly short compared to current trail bikes, necessitating a stem length that’s more road than mountain bike these days. Clearance on the BiVi isn’t exactly generous even with a 2.1in rear tyre. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Retro is kind of the point here though — this build is called the Malvern and it’s BiVi founder Fraser Barsby’s way of revisiting the bikes of his youth. The Bunker weighs 11.8kg with SRAM GX 1×11, Mavic Crossmax wheels and Clarke brakes. £399 frame £139 fork £1,399 complete bike Buy now at BiViBikes Unior Hanger Genie alignment tool The Unior Hanger Genie is a delightful device for the workshop. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Good tools make working on your bike a pleasure rather than a chore, and as a result, we think they’re never a bad investment. The Hanger Genie from Unior is a premium derailleur hanger alignment tool that appears to be delightfully well made. Compatible with wheels sized from 20in to 29in+, the Hanger Genie is a reassuringly hefty object without the slightest bit of slop or play in any of its moving parts. The hardened steel section that threads into the hanger has a good-sized handle with a rubbery covering for grip, and it sits in what appears to be a chunky brass bushing. Everything about this tool feels robust and accurate. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media At the other end, the indicator shaft is prevented from sliding too freely by a sprung ball-bearing, while a beefy knurled knob secures it fully when taking a ‘reading’. The inner shaft extends outwards to suit different rim diameters and the really useful part is how the whole thing rotates, meaning that you can move it to clear the frame as you check alignment at different angles, without losing your measurement. The rotating action is heavy and smooth, exactly what you want to ensure consistent results. Oh, and there’s an additional offset indicator shaft for the smallest rims. $129.99 / €119.99 / AU$199.99 Find out more at uniortools.com Pulseroll Vibrating Foam Roller Pro The Pulseroll Pro is a foam roller with a saucy USP. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media A foam roller is an invaluable tool for beating the living daylights out of tense muscles post-ride. If you suffer from assorted muscular aches and pains, it’s the next best thing to having your own soigneur on call with a bucket of sensual massage oil. Imagine though, if you can, that a regular old cylinder of foam just isn’t… exciting enough. Enter the Pulseroll, a foam roller that vibrates with such intensity that it will, given the chance, skitter across the floor and startle passing BikeRadar staff. View this post on Instagram What do we think has @jacquelucque so shook? Coming soon to BikeRadar.com. A post shared by BikeRadar (@bikeradar) on Aug 12, 2019 at 6:22am PDT Comedy value aside, the Pulseroll claims to work better than traditional foam rollers, offering “high penetration muscle relief” thanks to its adjustable vibrating action. The roller is heavily textured for maximum effect. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media The roller houses a vibrating unit and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and is controlled by a small remote. Once switched on, clicking the remote cycles between three vibration levels (2,000rpm, 2,700rpm, and 4,000rpm) and a fourth mode which switches continuously between the three speeds. The Pulseroll is controlled by this dinky little remote. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media Claimed battery life is up to four hours, which you’d hope would be enough to satisfy even the most tantric of self-massagers. £119.99 Buy now at Pulseroll.com (Get 10 percent off with code PULSE10)
3T has launched the most affordable version of the Exploro gravel bike yet, with the Exploro Pro Rival coming in a shade under £3,600 in an all-road build with SRAM Rival components. The Exploro was first launched in 2016 and back then it was something of a Frankenstein machine, with a drop-handlebar and aero-inspired tube profiles combined with 650b wheels and chunky tyres at a time when gravel bikes were still only emerging. The gravel movement has, well, moved on since then but the third-generation Exploro is still one of the most forward-thinking adventure bikes out there. It’s suitable, 3T says, ‘for anything from fast tarmac group rides to the toughest gravel roads, singletrack and multi-day bikepacking tours.’ 3T’s most affordable Exploro to date comes with a SRAM Rival groupset. 3T The Exploro Pro Rival’s £3,599 / €3,599 / $3,599 price tag makes it the cheapest Exploro that 3T has ever produced, although it’s undoubtedly still a significant chunk of change. According to 3T’s spec sheet, the bike uses an Exploro Pro frame, as opposed to the Exploro Team and Exploro Ltd frames found further up the frame. We’re waiting to hear from 3T as to whether that’s resulted in a weight increase (for reference, the Exploro Team is a claimed 1,090g for a medium frame, and the flagship Exploro Ltd weighs a claimed 990g). 3T says the Exploro Pro is ready ‘for anything from fast tarmac group rides to the toughest gravel roads, singletrack and multi-day bikepacking tours.’ 3T The Exploro Pro Rival gets, as the name suggests, a SRAM Rival 1×11 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes and 160mm rotors. The rest of the build is comprised of Fulcrum Racing 7 DB wheels, Schwalbe G-One All Round tyres (700x38c), a WTB Volt saddle and 3T finishing kit. The Exploro Pro Rival can still accommodate 650b wheels and tyres for more adventurous riding. The launch of the Exploro Pro Rival follows the release of the premium Exploro Team Force Eagle eTap Torno (that’s a mouthful…) last month. That bike comes with a mix of wireless road and mountain bike components from SRAM. The 3T Exploro Team Force Eagle eTap Torno is a new special edition bike with both road and mountain bike components from SRAM. 3T The shifters and brakes come from the Force road gruppo, while the rear derailleur is taken from the Eagle XX1 AXS mountain bike setup and is paired with a super-wide 11-50t Eagle cassette. A carbon fibre 3T Torno single-ring chainset keeps things decidedly premium and a ‘caribbean blue / burnt orange’ paint job finishes off this special edition build. The price? £6,499 / €6,499 / $6,499. That makes it the most expensive bike featuring the Exploro Team frame, before you move onto the top-end Exploro Ltd builds.
CUBE is a less well-known brand in the UK compared to some of its main competitors, but it is a huge German company with a fleet of bikes covering over 360+ models across nearly every bike market. It has a comprehensive range of full-suspension bikes, ranging from its AMS 100 cross-country speed machines to the Stereo 120, Stereo 140, Stereo 150 and Two15 downhill bikes. What was missing, perhaps, from a complete line up, was a super enduro/bike park/call-it-what-you-will bike to match the likes of the YT Capra, Radon Swoop 170, Propain Spindrift and Canyon Torque. So, for 2020, along with a refresh of all its current models, CUBE launched the Stereo 170 29, a big-wheeled, big-hitting bike to tame the downs and winch you back to the top. In fact, the CUBE Action Team, its enduro race team, used these new bikes at the latest round of the Enduro World Series in Whistler, Canada. The CUBE Stereo 170 TM 29 is built to tackle the roughest descents and to get you back to the top of the hill again. The Stereo 170 29 is available in three models: the Race, TM and SL. The Race and SL models run an air shock, while the TM (shown here) comes with a coil shock. One neat feature of the CUBE is that it has two mounting points: one for a coil shock and one for an air shock. So it hasn’t had to compromise the suspension kinematics to make the frame compatible with both types of shock. Another smart feature is the changeable headset cups, which let you run a steeper or slacker head angle without having to fiddle about pressing in angle sets or using eccentric bearings. CUBE Stereo 170 29 frame Internal cable routing keeps the Stereo 170 TM 29 looking neat and tidy, so do the hydroformed aluminium tubes. This new Stereo 170 rolls on 29in wheels. CUBE committed to this wheel size after seeing its racers, both on the enduro team and downhill team, choosing the bigger wheels, even with the option of running 27.5in. This convinced CUBE that 29-inch was the best wheel size choice. The three models are constructed from a full aluminium frame using hydroformed tubes to get the best balance of weight, strength and stiffness. CUBE says it might produce a carbon frame if the team ask for one, but right now it’s happy to stick with a metal foundation. The bikes feature internal cable routing to keep them looking clean, and a chunky chainstay protector and down tube cover to help keep the bike quiet. The bearings are covered for extra protection from mud and water, and the pivots are hidden for a clean look. CUBE Stereo 170 29 suspension The Stereo 170 uses a four-bar linkage, which is used across all of CUBE’s full-suspension platforms, which, as you’ve guessed it, provides 170mm of travel. As mentioned before, the new Stereo 170 is compatible with both an air or coil shock. A flip-chip on the rocker link and two different bottom mounting points create different frame progressions suited to each shock type, rather than trying to sacrifice optimal frame kinematics by using the same mounts for each shock. The flip chip allows you to run either a coil shock or air shock without comprised progressivity. Sebastian Förth, CUBE product manager for full suspension bikes told us: “A lot of racers were testing with coil shocks in bikes that were designed around air shocks, but it just did not work properly. They were running crazy shim stacks to get the progressivity, but the sensitivity was lost”. So CUBE decided to produce a frame that gave the riders a choice of what they felt was best, depending on what style of riding or feeling they were after. CUBE doesn’t recommend running a coil shock in the air mounting position and vice versa, and as such, has used two different stroke shocks to stop customers doing this. The air shock is 230 x 62.5mm, and the coil is 230 x 65mm, both giving the full 170mm. Altering the shock position slightly changes the frame progression to optimise it for either a coil or air shock. CUBE Stereo 170 29 geometry CUBE may have been somewhat conservative in the past with it geometries, and while it has certainly updated its range to modern standards, its sizes may still limit tall and short riders. Due to the 29in wheels, there is no XS size. Reach figures jump up in 20mm increments from 444mm in size small up to 484mm in the large size. These are contemporary figures, but people wanting an extra-large bike will be disappointed too because this size is also missing . The three sizes come with 18in / 420mm, 20in / 470mm and 22in / 520mm seat tubes, which are sensible, but perhaps a little tall for people wanting to run extreme seatpost drops, but that’s not always necessary. The chainstays are a compact 434.5mm across all sizes, which helps keep the bike nimble, and there is a 25mm bottom bracket drop, which isn’t the lowest out there but should provide a sure-footed ride. The effective seat tube angle is 76.5 degrees, which is relatively steep and will help make climbing more comfortable. Another main feature with this bike is the adjustable headset cups developed by ACROS. By changing the directions of the cups you can slacken the head angle from the factory 65 degrees to 64.4 degrees for a slightly more aggressive front end. It also drops the bottom bracket by 1.6mm and changes the seat tube angle by 0.2 degrees. It also shortens the reach by 2mm. These are all very subtle changes but should help to give the bike extra stability for those riders wanting the most gravity focused ride. CUBE Stereo 170 29 specifications RockShox Lyrik Ultimate forks are a great addition to a well-specced bike. These are hard to beat in performance terms. The Stereo 170 TM comes with a spec list that should remain upgrade free for a while. It has 180mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2 forks matched with a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate Remote shock and a TwistLoc Remote Lever. That allows you to firm up the suspension from the bars to provide a better pedalling platform. Shimano’s new 12spd drivetrain takes care of the gears, with an XT crankset and a mix of an XT mech and STX shifter. It uses e.thirteen’s TRS+ 9-50=tooth cassette, which offers a 556 percent gear range. Shimano also takes care of the brakes with its new four-pot XT brakes, which slow down ethirteen’s LG1 EN Plus wheels. Keeping you in control are ethirteen’s LG1 EN tyres in 2.35in width. Also from ethirteen are the Plus 35 bars and stem. ethirteen provides plenty of components for the Stereo 170 TM 29. Its bar and stem combo have a good shape and comfortable ride. A CUBE branded 150mm dropper post and SDG Radar saddle finish off an impressive build. CUBE Stereo 170 TM 29 initial ride impressions The CUBE Stereo 170 TM 29 is perfectly happy when the trail gets rough and rocky. While I only had a very limited time on the Stereo 170 TM out at CUBE headquarters in Germany, it was clear this bike can handle its fair share of abuse. The capabilities of the RockShox suspension meant this bike could tackle rough rocky terrain with ease, and it was easy to become confident on. While the trails I rode had limited steep terrain and twisting turns, this bike was great a keeping its composure on repeated hits. It climbed surprising well for a bike with this much travel and a coil shock too — and I can admit I was very impressed with RockShox’s TwistLoc remote, which was very intuitive to use and kept the bike from sagging into its travel too far. The Stereo 170 is definitely a bike I would like to spend more time on in more familiar terrain to see how it can corner and handle a mix of trail features, not just how well it deals with the bumps. CUBE Stereo 170 TM 29 early verdict It’s too early to tell after only one ride, but it sure can keep its composure over rocky ground at speed. CUBE Stereo 170 range and pricing Stereo 170 SL: £4,099 Stereo 170 TM: ££3,699 Stereo 170 Race: £2,999
For quite some time with the Enduro model, Specialized stuck with a rather consistent frame layout. It had a Horst link rear end driving a linkage that wrapped around the seat tube and compressed the rear shock where it butted up against their “X-wing” front end. Those days are over! In putting that design to rest, the new Enduro adopts the same layout as the new Demo, which Loic Bruni has been piloting to great success this year on the World Cup DH circuit. In addition to the suspension revamp, the bike also received a complete and total facelift on many other fronts as well. It sees updated geometry, says farewell to 27.5″ wheels, and in addition to increased travel it also sees more progressive kinematics – something I’ve been asking for on the bike for years now. Hallelujah! I got a chance to ride the flagship S-Works version of the new bike in the “S4” sizing, which is roughly equivalent to a Large. It’s a hell of a lot of bike, but it managed the climbs surprisingly well over quite a few big days during the last few weeks. Note: typically if we only get few rides on a bike we label an article “First Look”, but if we’ve quite a bit of time we’ll label it a “Test”. This review was done on the shorter end of what we’d consider a test, but the bike saw a great deal of ride time in a short timeframe. Anyhow – here’s the low down on the completely revamped smasher bike… Details 29″ Wheels only Carbon fiber only 170mm front and rear travel Four sizes: S2, S3, S4(tested), S5 40% increase in anti-squat 12% increase in frame stiffness Progressive kinematics & a more rearward axle path Metric, trunnion shock spacing (205mm X 60mm) Boost front and rear hub spacing SWAT downtube storage Sleeved, internal cable/hose routing Short offset fork Flip chip in lower shock eyelet No custom shock hardware 30lbs 15oz no pedals, tubeless, with full chainguide The industrial design of the new bike is all about clean lines as you can see from the cable/hose’s transition from front to rear end, which is sleeved by the way. The trunnion mount shock rides on cartridge bearings housed in the frame at the upper mount. Specialized opted for the FOX Float X2 with 4-way adjustability and a lockout lever. The new linkage is fully carbon on the S-Works model and features a plastic guard to protect the shock from debris flinging off the rear wheel. Some details on the frame, clockwise from left: The downtube guard is quite massive, and removable. The upper portion of the linkage pulls on the lower portion, which drives the shock. This single upper part wraps around the seat mass with a bridge for the sake of rigidity. Lastly, even with a 2.6″ tire, the clearance was quite good. Clockwise from left: the SWAT CC is one of our all time favorite accessories. It neatly stashes a multi-tool in your headtube while doubling as a headlock and a chain tool, as well as storing a spare chain link. The SWAT downtube is one of the best inventions mountain bikes have ever seen. You can store a great deal of things in the downtube, accessible via a door under the bottle cage. Lastly, a closeup of the lower shock eyelet which has “flip chip” style between high/low adjustability without the use of any proprietary shock hardware. The S-Works which we tested sees the new Shimano XTR 12-speed drivetrain. It has a 10-51 tooth rear cassette for a massive range. This is paired with Race Face’s super light but strong Next-R carbon crankset and an MRP chainguide. Also visible is the rubber chainstay protection with 4 raised nubs which help silence things – an idea Specialized pioneered. Unsurprisingly, the bike comes fitted with Roval Traverse SL wheels. Being under the Specialized umbrella, Roval takes advantage of their expertise on carbon fiber with tough, dependable rims that boast a very nice ride quality. They lean on DT-Swiss for the hub parts and engagement mechanism, which have also proven their mettle. Up front is a massive 170mm travel Fox 36 Factory with the truly excellent Grip-2 damper. Like the rear shock, it features 4-way adjustability: high/low speed compression and rebound. The Enduro features in house “Butcher” tires in a 2.6″ width with the “Grid Trail” casings – which are likely a bit on the light duty side of things given the bike’s penchant for disregard on trail. The Enduro S-Works comes with 4-piston Shimano XTR brakes with a 200mm front / 180mm rear rotor combo, which is quite fitting given the bike’s purported intentions. Deity’s Knuckleduster grips are a nice addition and an excellent replacement for the less than stellar in-house grips from Specialized. With a 170mm travel RockShox Reverb AXS seatpost spec’d, that leaves one sad, lonely cable port at the head tube and a tidier looking front end. A very worthy choice for the saddle, the Specialized Henge features a nice contour, just the right amount of padding and a slightly wide rear combined with a fairly short length. Perfect for a gravity bike that has to climb. Two things here: Specialized does away with the “S-Works” labelled handlebar, and moves that detail over to Roval world. We’ve enjoyed their in house bars in past tests with comfortable angles and nice carbon layups. The new offering is a full 800mm wide, but now sees a 35mm bulge mated with a Deity Copperhead stem. Geometry This update brings a complete transformation to the Enduro. Specialized jumps on board the “Speed Balanced Geometry” trend that was originally fashioned by Transition a couple of years ago. This boils down to: Longer top tubes and a slacker head angles paired with short offset forks to improve the confidence and handling on the descents, while steep seat angles help improve body positioning for the climbs. On the Trail Most good rides start with climbing, right? I said good, not epic…We all know epic rides start with heli drops. Anyhow, from a body positioning standpoint, with the seat extended the Enduro puts you in an upright position that’s easy to weight the front end, ready for all day affairs. The ultra slack 64.3º head angle, and that’s in the high/”steep” position, had a slight knack for wandering at low speeds, but to a certain degree that’s to be expected for a bike of this stature. From a pedaling efficiency standpoint, this bike is freakishly good – I can’t overstate it enough. I never once touched the lockout lever – the rear end is simply unfazed by pedal input. This of course is extremely impressive when you consider that it boasts 170mm travel. Once you point the bike in the other direction things begin to get exciting. To start, this is a completely different animal than the last Enduro – there is no longer anything familial between the old and new versions. Starting with geometry, the bike is finally, truly on trend and fits properly while putting you in the right place. The long reach allows you to hover front to back as the trail requires without any fear of bungled up too far over the front or off the back. Stretched reach, an ultra slack head angle and longer 442mm chainstays make the bike more of an EWS inspired race machine, boasting confidence and stability on all terrain, whether it’s blind, steep, fast, haggard or all of the above. This does come somewhat at the expense of the fun, slappy, easy-to-manual nature that the last Enduro enjoyed, although under the right pilot loads of fun will still be had – it will just require more input, skill and energy. Despite only having just a few millimeters more travel, this is a LOT more bike. Make no bones about it, this Enduro borders on a downhill bike levels of capability. Regarding suspension, Specialized has made serious improvements all around – in my opinion anyway. In the past, I’ve criticized them for the linearity of their rear suspension designs and the high leverage ratio, which are less than ideal, especially when combined The former has been improved massively – the progression sits at a high figure of 38.6%. The latter improved nominally from a 2.97:1 ratio down to 2.83:1, which is still relatively high, but the added progression takes the load off the shock by making the linkage responsible for increasing ramp. There was enough progression that I actually ended up running the Float X2 with zero volume reducers. The bike ships with one reducer, and after feeling it rode a touch on the rough side, I pulled that spacer out, hunting for and finding a touch more traction. This is good because it provides riders with usable range in tuning how linear or progressive the bike is, depending on personal preference. It also indicates the bike would likely work very well with a coil sprung rear shock. My final settings strayed a bit from the base recommended tune. At 185 lbs I arrived at 222PSI for 18mm (30%) sag, 12 clicks from closed on low speed compression and rebound, and 11 and 15 from closed on high speed compression and rebound respectively. The other key chapter in the suspension story is the Enduro’s improved axle path, due to its completely updated pivot layout. Specialized moved the main pivot further forward to attain a more rearward axle path. This helps the bike carry speed over rough sections, since the rear wheel moves back and away from impacts as it goes up through its travel. In addition to more momentum, it sees improved stability when it needs it most. On trail, this was very apparent right away – compared to Enduros past, this new machine manages the roughest of sections with much improved prowess. This meant better behavior on things like successive mid-sized chunder and braking bumps, while the progressive nature of the suspension helped with small bump sensitivity and big hit bottoming resistance. As far as the spec goes – I found most everything to be excellent, as it should be on a flagship bike at this price point. And thus, that is largely why I’ve dedicated the majority of the dialogue on the new frame’s behavior. After all, that is where the real interesting story lies. Touching briefly on some observations on the components, I think the product managers have done an excellent job curating a good build, even down to the grips. Starting with the fork, the most recent Fox 36 and its Grip-2 cartridge needs no introduction. It has 4-way damping adjustability, and its air spring curve felt just right out of the box, so I didn’t need to mess with tuning via volume reducers. An ultra stiff chassis paves the way with precise steering no no unwanted deflection, while buttery smooth action eats everything up. The Shimano XTR brakes were freakishly strong – so much so that for the first time, I was almost wishing for a bit more modulation on some of the steeper bits. No complaints though as the bike is designed for the rowdiest of riding and that power came in handy elsewhere. As for the new XTR drivetrain, it provides good shifting albeit less crisp than Eagle, but with slightly better performance when mashing/shifting under load. The range on both groups is all you’ll ever need. It’s a Mac or PC argument best left to personal preference, but I nod toward SRAM. The Race Face cranks that the drivetrain is paired to are quite stiff – time will tell on strength, but in the short run, they tick the boxes. I’m a big fan of Roval wheels for their excellent on trail feel and ideal strength to weight ratio. The flagship SL version of the carbon fiber hoops spec’d here are no exception, offering fast hub engagement, great acceleration, chatter damping properties and a very lively nature. If I had to pick one thing that I’d swap out, it’d be the tires. I think the Butcher’s tread pattern itself is great, but I’m less fond of the rather thin casing. I’m even less enthused by the compound, which has a fairly fast rebound characteristic, making it a bit nervous on hardpack. I liked having the increased volume of the 2.6″ up front, but would opt for a 2.3 or 2.4″ tire out back, personally. The cockpit is a place that many brands miss the mark, but in the case of this bike, it’s absolutely phenomenal. I loved the rise, width and sweep combo of the new 35mm Roval handlebar, and the Deity stem’s low stack height provided lots of room for adjusting bar height – their grips were also quite comfortable and grabby. I personally mesh well with the Specialized saddles and the Henge was no exception. Last and certainly not least, the wireless, electronic RockShox Reverb AXS is an incredible piece of kit. It cleans up your cockpit, makes maintenance easier and its 170mm of travel matches the front and rear suspension, offering plenty of drop for long legged riders. The SWAT downtube is a standout frame feature that you’re likely well familiar with by now – it makes life way easier, just like the sneaky multi tool in the head tube. Overall After a few years of making small improvements and refining an increasingly tired layout, I’m happy to see Specialized start from scratch with the new Enduro. The geometry is on the bleeding edge, but manages to be extremely well balanced. The suspension is a massive improvement over past models, boasting just the right progression and knack for carrying speed. If you’re looking for a sprightly little play toy, this isn’t the bike…If your trails are tame, you may as well look elsewhere. This is a bike meant for pushing the limits of what you can do with a single crown bike. Also, something that shouldn’t be overlooked is what an incredible job it does at getting you back up the hill, particularly given its stature. Aside from the fact that I’d likely opt for different tires, there is one other downside which is unfortunately immutable – it has a fairly high standover. It’s the kind of thing that you usually don’t notice, but can be a peeve for some people and therefore is worthy of mention. Aside from those minor quips, I think this bike will treat most people very, very well. For those looking to get the absolute most out of a bike that will get you back up the hill without a chairlift or a shuttle, it would be foolish not to consider the new Enduro. Pricing Enduro Comp 29: $4,510 Enduro Elite 29: $5,310 Enduro Expert 29: $6,550 S-Works Enduro 29: $9,750 S-Works Enduro 29 frame-only: $3,310 www.specialized.com
Motocross and Downhill Champions Reveal Some of Their E-bikes Training Secrets Ryan Dungey: 4x Supercross and 3x Motorcross Champion and Aaron Gwin: 5x World Cup Overall Champion discuss working together with Intense, Having fun on the Tazer, and how they use E-bikes for training. intensecycles.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 Video: Motocross and Downhill Champions Reveal E-bike Training Secrets appeared first on Electric Bike Action.