First launched nearly 15 years ago, Trek’s Fuel EX has somehow managed to span the range of being an entry-level mountain bike while at the same time appealing to hardcore all-day epic trail riders. Trek Domane SLR 9.9 Project One first ride review Marin Rift Zone 1 review Since the bike first launched we’ve seen plenty of changes in the range including suspension technology and travel — initially the bike was offered with just 100mm of travel, growing over its lifespan and the bike’s seen the addition of Trek’s different suspension technologies such as the Full Floater, RE:aktiv, Mino Link and Thru Shaft. Geometry trends have changed, too, and the Fuel range has reflected this. Starting out as an XC-orientated bike, the Fuel EX has morphed into something that’s likely to be more at home on a wider variety of trails. Trek even mention the ‘e’ word in its marketing spiel — yes, the Fuel EX even has enduro riders in its sights. 2020 Trek Fuel EX updates and changes What has Trek changed on the new model, then? 2020 Trek Fuel EX geometry The newer, better Fuel EX. Trek In the same way riders chase the proverbial perfect trail, most bike companies are chasing the longer, lower and slacker mantra with their bikes. Trek’s new Fuel EX is no exception to that rule. Aiming to appeal to more riders, and quite possibly more extreme riders, from the outgoing model the bike’s gained a 10 to 20mm reach increase (depending on size), a 1-degree slacker head angle taking the figure down to a respectable 66 degrees and, most impressively yet, a steeper seat tube angle that’s climbed to 75 degrees. These figures should mean the bike’s more at home when you’re riding harder and faster — offering a more stable chassis. There’s no detrimental effect for beginners, either, who’ll reap the benefits of a bike that doesn’t feel like it’s jumping around like a cat on a hot tin roof. The carbon-made bikes feature a down tube protector. Trek There’s also a broad range of sizes that start at extra small, running through to extra-extra-large. In the range, there are two small sizes: one for 27.5-inch wheels and one for 29-inch wheels. In a welcome move, a medium and a medium-large size also rear their head. This bridges the gap between the medium and large bikes for people who’d normally sit between the sizes. Top work, Trek! The Mino Link lets you adjust the bike’s geometry. Trek You also get a high and low setting thanks to Trek’s Mino Link flip-chip that’s located on the seatstay to rocker link. Changing from low to high adjusts the head angle from 66 to 66.5 degrees, the seat tube angle from 75 to 75.5 degrees and reduces the bottom bracket drop, shortens the chainstay and the wheelbase among other numbers. Seat tube length: 450mm Seat tube angle: 75/75.5 degrees (low/high) Head tube length: 105mm Head tube angle: 66/66.5 degrees (low/high) Effective top tube: 634/633 mm (low/high) Bottom bracket height: 346mm Wheelbase: 1,211/1,210mm (low/high) Standover: 748/754mm (low/high) Reach: 470/754mm (low/high) Stack: 613/609mm (low/high) Notes: Measurements for size large bike, full measurements available on Trek’s website. 2020 Trek Fuel EX frame details Not only has the bike’s geometry been modernised, Trek has worked hard to accommodate the modern, discerning mountain biker. You can now fit a 29 x 2.6-inch tyre on the back of the bike and Bontrager XR4 2.6-inch wide rubber is standard on all models of the Fuel EX. The Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tyres look plenty beefy enough for a trail bike. Trek Trek has also managed to increase the range of dropper travel possibilities on its bikes. The extra-small and small bikes get 100mm travel posts, while the medium and medium-large bikes have a 150mm travel post. The large, extra-large and extra-extra-large sizes are treated to a 170mm post. The internal frame storage solution is very tidy indeed. Trek In another welcome move, the Fuel EX gets on-board storage in the bike’s down tube. The storage’s hatch doubles up as a bottle cage and every Fuel EX is supplied with a Bontrager tool roll that’s got handy compartments to store your bits and bobs. The Fuel EX comes in two materials: a cheaper alloy version and a full carbon affair that has a carbon mainframe, seat and chainstays. The carbon model gets a dedicated down tube protector, too. The Knock Block system stops you ruining your bike, levers and shifter in a crash. Trek You’re also treated to Trek’s Knock Block system, which physically stops the bars turning beyond a certain angle to stop the bars, shifters or brake levers and fork crowns damaging both the top or down tubes. There’s Trek’s Control Freak internal cable routing throughout that’s also Di2 compatible, so if you’re looking to upgrade in the future you’ve got the option of doing away with antiquated analogue gear shifting. The internal cable routing is slick and Di2 compatible. Trek Trek also states that all of its Fuel EX bikes have a lifetime warranty. 2020 Trek Fuel EX suspension details In a rather bold move Trek has done away with its Full Floater suspension system, where the shock was mounted to the linkage and the chainstay in front of the main pivot, which meant that the shock didn’t have a fixed mounting point — as the suspension compresses, so does the shock’s relative position. Now, though, the rear shock mounts to a fixed point on the down tube at the junction of the seat tube, like traditional suspension designs. Trek claims the RE:aktiv Thru Shaft shock has unparalleled performance benefits. Trek Trek claims that doing away with its Full Floater technology means that the frame can be stiffer, tyre clearance can be increased and there’s no loss in suspension performance. Trek is also adamant that its Full Floater system means that it can tune the shock’s leverage ratios to be soft off the top, give plenty of mid-stroke support and help increase bottom-out resistance. It also claims that a Full Floater bike feels like it has more travel than it actually does. To then go on and claim that there’s no loss in suspension performance after doing away with the Floater begs the question of why it was implemented in the first place. Trek’s Active Braking Pivot (or ABP for short), unlike the Full Floater, avoids the chop on the latest Fuel EX. And like previous iterations of Trek models with the system, it claims it helps to increase suspension performance under braking. The Active Braking Pivot claims to improve suspension efficiency under braking. Trek The Fuel EX 9.8 and 9.9 models are adorned with the stiffer, burlier Fox 36 fork that hints at the bike’s capabilities and intended use. The rest of the range gets a mix of Fox 34, RockShox 35 Gold and Recon forks so there’s a good balance of intended use in the range. Except for the Fuel EX 5 and 7, you get Trek’s RE:aktiv suspension technology on the whole range. This, Trek claims, helps to be supple on small bumps and push deeper into the travel, but is firm while you’re pedalling without having to flick levers. The rear end of the bike is made from carbon — there are no alloy chain or seatstays here. Trek From the 9.8 model upwards, you also get Thru Shaft technology. This is where Trek has got rid of the internal floating piston in the rear shock, creating a system where there’s no oil volume displacement as the suspension compresses and extends. 2020 Trek Fuel EX women’s specific models Trek’s also launching a full range of women’s specific models that will feature two colourways on all models, a wide range of sizing options, including two small sizes with the choice of 27.5- and 29-inch wheels, and plenty of standover height. 2020 Trek Fuel EX pricing and availability The Trek Fuel EX is gunning for the trail, all-mountain and enduro markets. Trek The Fuel EX ranges from £1,850 / $2,099.99 / AU$3,000 / €2,099 for the bottom spec EX 5 up to £8,000 / €9,099 for the top of the range EX 9.9 X01 AXS model. The bikes are available from October on Trek’s website and your local Trek retailer. 2020 Trek Fuel EX specifications Trek Fuel EX 5 Trek Fuel EX 5. Trek Frame: Aluminium, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select Plus Fork: RockShox Recon RL, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager alloy, sealed bearing, alloy axle, Shimano freehub, 148 x 12 rear, 110 x 15 front, Alex MD35 rims Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI, 29 x 2.60in Shifter: Shimano Deore M6000, 10-speed Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore M6000 Cassette: SunRace, 11-42, 10-speed Cranks: Race Face Ride, 30-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: TranzX JD-YSP18, 130mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager alloy, Bontrager Rhythm Comp, Bontrager XR Trail Comp Brakes: Shimano hydraulic disc, MT201 lever, MT200 caliper Price: £1,850 / $2,099.99 / AU$3,000 / from €2,099 Trek Fuel EX 7 Trek Fuel EX 7. Trek Frame: Aluminium, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: Fox Performance Float EVOL, 3-position DPS damper Fork: RockShox 35 Gold, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager Line Comp 30, tubeless ready, Boost 110 front, Boost 148 rear Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI, 29 x 2.60in Shifter: SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed Rear derailleur: SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed Cassette: SRAM PG-1230 Eagle, 11-50, 12-speed Cranks: SRAM NX Eagle, DUB, 30-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: TranzX JD-YSP18, 130mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager alloy, Bontrager Rhythm Comp, Bontrager XR Trail Comp Brakes: Shimano hydraulic disc, MT401 lever, MT400 caliper Price: £2,350 / $2,899.99 / AU$3,700 / from €2,699 Trek Fuel EX 8 Trek Fuel EX 8. Trek Frame: Aluminium, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: Fox Performance Float EVOL, RE:aktiv 3-position damper Fork: Fox Rhythm 34, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP damper, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager Line Comp 30, tubeless ready, Boost 110 front, Boost 148 rear Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI, 29 x 2.60in Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed Rear derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed Cassette: SRAM XG-1275 Eagle, 10-50, 12-speed Cranks: Truvativ Descendant 6k Eagle, DUB, 30-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: Bontrager Line Dropper, 150mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager Line alloy, Bontrager Line, Bontrager XR Trail Elite Brakes: Shimano Deore M6000 hydraulic disc Price: £2,800 / $3,499.99 / AU$5,400 / from €3,199 Trek Fuel EX 8 XT Trek Fuel EX 8 XT. Trek Frame: Aluminium, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: Fox Performance Float EVOL, RE:aktiv 3-position damper Fork: Fox Rhythm 34, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP damper, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager Line Comp 30, tubeless ready, Boost 110 front, Boost 148 rear Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI, 29 x 2.60in Shifter: Shimano XT M8100, 12-speed Rear derailleur: Shimano XT M8100, 12-speed Cassette: Shimano XT M8100, 10-51, 12-speed Cranks: Shimano XT M8100, 32-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: Bontrager Line Dropper, 150mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager Line alloy, Bontrager Line, Bontrager XR Trail Elite Brakes: Shimano Deore M6000 hydraulic disc Price: £2,800 / $3,499.99 / AU$5,400 / from €3,199 Trek Fuel EX 9.7 Trek Fuel EX 9.7. Trek Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays, internal storage, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: Fox Performance Float EVOL, RE:aktiv 3-position damper Fork: Fox Rhythm 34, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP damper, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager Line Comp 30, tubeless ready, Boost 110 front, Boost 148 rear Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI, 29 x 2.60in Shifter: SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed Rear derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed Cassette: SRAM PG-1230 Eagle, 11-50, 12-speed Cranks: Truvativ Descendant 6k Eagle, DUB, 32-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: Bontrager Line Dropper, 150mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager Line alloy, Bontrager Line, Bontrager XR Trail Elite Brakes: Shimano MT420 4-piston hydraulic disc Price: £3,400 / $4,099.99 / AU$5,000 / from €3,899 Trek Fuel EX 9.8 Trek Fuel EX 9.8. Trek Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays, internal storage, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: Fox Performance Float EVOL, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft 3-position damper Fork: Fox Performance 36, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP damper, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager Line Carbon 30, tubeless ready, Boost 110 front, Boost 148 rear Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI, 29 x 2.60in Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed Rear derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed Cassette: SRAM XG-1275 Eagle, 11-50, 12-speed Cranks: Truvativ Descendant 7k Eagle, DUB, 32-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: Bontrager Line Elite Dropper, 170mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, Bontrager Line Pro, Bontrager XR Trail Elite Brakes: Shimano SLX M7120 4-piston hydraulic disc Price: £4,750 / $6,999.99 / AU$7,000 / €5,499 Trek Fuel EX 9.8 XT Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays, internal storage, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: Fox Performance Float EVOL, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft 3-position damper Fork: Fox Performance 36, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP damper, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager Line Carbon 30, tubeless ready, Boost 110 front, Boost 148 rear Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI 29 x 2.60in Shifter: Shimano XT M8100, 12-speed Rear derailleur: Shimano XT M8100, 12-speed Cassette: Shimano XT M8100, 10-51, 12-speed Cranks: Shimano XT M8100, 32-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: Bontrager Line Elite Dropper, 170mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, Bontrager Line Pro, Bontrager XR Trail Elite Brakes: Shimano SLX M7120 4-piston hydraulic disc Price: £5,300 / $N/A / AU$N/A / €N/A Trek Fuel EX 9.9 Trek Fuel EX 9.9. Trek Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays, internal storage, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: Fox Factory Float EVOL, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft 3-position damper, Kashima coating Fork: Fox Performance 36, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP2 damper, Kashima coating, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager Line Carbon 30, tubeless ready, Boost 110 front, Boost 148 rear Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI, 29 x 2.60in Shifter: SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed Rear derailleur: SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed Cassette: SRAM XG-1275 Eagle, 11-50, 12-speed Cranks: SRAM X01 Eagle Carbon, DUB, 32-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: Bontrager Line Elite Dropper, 170mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, Bontrager Line Pro, Bontrager XR Trail Elite Brakes: Shimano XT M8120 4-piston hydraulic disc Price: £6,500 / $7,499.99 / AU$9,500 / €7,499 Trek Fuel EX 9.9 X01 AXS Trek Fuel EX 9.9 X01 AXS. Trek Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays, internal storage, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: Fox Factory Float EVOL, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft 3-position damper, Kashima coating Fork: Fox Performance 36, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP2 damper, Kashima coating, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager Line Carbon 30, tubeless ready, Boost 110 front, Boost 148 rear Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI, 29 x 2.60in Shifter: SRAM Eagle AXS, 12-speed Rear derailleur: SRAM X01 Eagle AXS, 12-speed Cassette: SRAM XG-1295 Eagle, 11-50, 12-speed Cranks: SRAM X01 Eagle AXS Carbon, DUB, 32-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: RockShox Reverb AXS, 170mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, Bontrager Line Pro, Bontrager XR Trail Elite Brakes: Shimano XT M8120 4-piston hydraulic disc Price: £8,000 / $N/A / AU$N/A / €9,099 Trek Fuel EX 9.9 XTR Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays, internal storage, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal cable routing, ISCG05, Mino Link, ABP, Boost 148, 130mm travel Shock: Fox Factory Float EVOL, RE:aktiv with Thru Shaft 3-position damper, Kashima coating Fork: Fox Performance 36, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP2 damper, Kashima coating, Boost 110, 140mm travel Wheels: Bontrager Line Carbon 30, tubeless ready, Boost 110 front, Boost 148 rear Tyres: Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, tubeless ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120TPI, 29 x 2.60in Shifter: Shimano XTR M9100, 12-speed Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR M9100, 12-speed Cassette: Shimano XTR M9100, 10-51, 12-speed Cranks: e*thirteen TRS Race, carbon, 32-tooth chainring Saddle: Bontrager Arvada Seatpost: Bontrager Line Elite Dropper, 170mm travel Bar, stem and grips: Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, Bontrager Line Pro, Bontrager XR Trail Elite Brakes: Shimano XTR M9120 4-piston hydraulic disc Price: £7,050 / $N/A / AU$N/A / €N/A
The Aventura2 looks like a well equipped trekking machine that’d make a great option for commuters. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Bosch’s new smartphone dock means you can use your phone as a controller for the e-assist via Bosch’s app. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Focus now has an add-on kit so you can fit a second Bosch battery onto its e-bikes for a huge increase in potential range. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The new Focus Max Disc 9.7 with SRAM Force AXS is a slick looking machine. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Its always good to see skinwall tyres, especially when they’re quality like Vittoria’s Corsa. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media At two grand the Jam 6.7 Seven looks like a lot of bike. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media At the back it’s a RockShox companion Deluxe Select unit. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The 150mm travel Jam2 comes with Fox suspension. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media With the new full-colour Bosch Kiox head unit. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The Jam2 6.9 Drifter mixes a 29er front with a 27.5 rear. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Shimano’s head unit is one of the most minimal and unobtrusive around and the integrated power switch is a neat detail. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The Jafira2 6.8 is Focus’s mid-range e-hardtail. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Bosch’s Performance CX power unit on the Jafira2 6.8. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Focus’s road e-machine the Paralane2 has now got this flat-barred commuter version in its line-up. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The Fazua controller looks better sitting next to a flat bar grip than it does centred on a drop bar bike. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The Paralane2 6.8 GC is a Paralane2 more focused on gravel riding. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The 6.8GC gets Shimano’s new gravel-specific GRX drivetrain. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The Raven 8.8 uses a 885g carbon hardtail frame. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The super light Raven chassis has plenty of chain protection bonded to the BB shell. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The Focus Thron2 6.8EQP combines full-suspension and 130mm of travel with all the equipment you’d need for any commute — quite the odd combination. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The 6.8 EQP even comes with integrated lighting from Supernova up front. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Focus Thron2 6.9 shares the same aluminium 130mm travel chassis as the 6.8 EQP but is stripped down for full off-road duties. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media The Thron2 neatly mounts its charge point for the Bosch battery on the top tube. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media We headed out to Germany recently to get the low down on Focus Bike’s 2020 roster, and there was plenty to choose from. So, here’s our pick of the bunch from a range that included town bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes and a wide range of electric bicycles. These are the best electric bikes of 2019 Here’s why the Focus Paralane 8.9 GC is one of our favourite road bikes 2020 Focus Raven 8.8 The Raven 8.8 uses a 885g carbon hardtail frame. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media £2,799 / €2,999 (Dm) / €3,099 (F, ES, BLX) The Raven hardtail frameset remains one of the most advanced carbon chassis around, with a flyweight claimed weight of 885g in an unspecified size. The most interesting bike in this range is this bold red Raven 8.8, which comes equipped with a RockShox SID Select 100mm travel fork up front and Shimano XT M8100 1×12 gearing with matching brakes. Wheels come courtesy of Mavic’s Crossmax with BBB providing a smattering of lightweight finishing kit. Focus claims a complete bike weight of 10.75kg. Focus Jam 6.7 Seven At two grand the Jam 6.7 Seven looks like a lot of bike. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £1,999 / €2,199 (DM) / €2,299 (F, ES, BLX) Focus describes the Jam as its bike for those who like to earn their downhills and aren’t afraid of a meaty climb. The aluminium frame uses Focus’s F.O.L.D. Suspension design, which is claimed to balance sensitivity while being progressive enough to not bottom out when being put through the wringer. We like the look of the 6.7, and especially the price — it looks to be a very well-equipped sub-£2k machine. The frame has 150mm of travel at the rear controlled by a RockShox Monarch RT that’s matched up front with a RockShox Revelation RC fork. The drivetrain is SRAM’s 12-speed NX Eagle, and braking comes courtesy of Magura’s MT5s. It runs on a combination of 27.5 Maxxis High Roller II and Minion DHR II tyres wrapped over Race Face rims on Novatec hubs. The 6.7 is also available as a 29er (the 6.7 Nine). Focus claims 15kg for a complete bike. Focus Izalco Max Disc 9.7 AXS The new Focus Max Disc 9.7 with SRAM Force AXS is a slick looking machine. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £5,699 / €6,199 (DM) / €6,199 (F, ES, BLX) The Izalco Max launched over a year ago now, and with similar bikes from bigger manufacturers being launched this year, it seems the Max has had an influence. Any bike with as much integration as the Max is always going to look good with one of SRAM’s wireless groupsets, and the £5,699 Max with Force eTap AXS is a great looking machine. With its understated palette and graphics and, of course, tan wall tyres, we reckon it’s one of the best looking of the new breed of lightweight race bikes. The sub-kilo frame is matched with DT Swiss ARC 1450 Dicut carbon wheels running Vittoria Corsa G+ tyres, a SRAM Force AXS group and a dedicated stem that internally routes the disc brake hoses and holds a carbon Easton EC90 aero bar. At the back, a dedicated D-shaped carbon post is topped with ProLogo’s short Dimension saddle. Focus claims 7.85kg for the 9.7 AXS. Focus Paralane² 6.8 GC The Paralane2 6.8 GC is a Paralane2 more focused on gravel riding. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £3,899 / €4199 (DM) / €4,299 (F, ES, BLX) The Paralane² was the first e-road bike that proved that e-assistance needn’t be heavy, bulky or ugly. The Fazua system is both light (a little over 3kg) and comes in a small package, so the Paralane doesn’t look too dissimilar from a standard bike. Focus has also introduced road-Boost to the rear to ensure ideal chain line with the wider (motorised) bottom bracket shell. Since we first tried out the Paralane², we always thought it had the ability to go beyond the road, with generous tyre clearances giving it gravel potential. Well, it seems Focus has been thinking the same and, this year, there are now a smattering of GC models in both carbon and alloy (the 6.8 is the alloy version), which come equipped with grip-laden gravel tyres and a more off-road outlook. The bike runs Fazua’s Evation 60Nm/250w motor system with a 250w/h battery, and gearing from Shimano’s new GRX 400 group with 46/34, 11-34 gearing. The Alex Boondocks wheels are shod with Vittoria’s gravel-specific Terrero Zero TLR 33c tyres. Focus claims 15.65kg for the alloy 6.8 GC. The more expensive carbon 9.6 GC has a claimed weight of 14.15kg. Focus Paralane² 6.6 Commute Focus’s road e-machine the Paralane2 has now got this flat-barred commuter version in its line-up. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £3,399 / €3,599 (DM) / €3,799 (F, ES, BLX) The Paralane² range has also expanded to include this new commuter special. It uses the same alloy frame as the 6.8 but adds in full mudguards and a flat bar cockpit, a Shimano 105 drivetrain (46/34, 11-34) with Shimano RS700 flat bar shifters and RS405 brakes. The Alex Boondock wheels are shod with fat commuter-friendly Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 32c tyres and Focus claims an all-up weight of 15.95kg. Focus Thron² 6.9 The Focus Thron2 6.9 shares the same aluminium 130mm travel chassis as the 6.8 EQP but is stripped down for full off-road duties. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £4,499 / €4699 (D) / €4,899 (F, ES, BLX) The Thron² is Focus’s e-assisted trail machine and uses its aluminium F.O.L.D. suspension frame, with 130mm of travel controlled by a Fox Float DPS damper that’s paired with a Fox Float 34 Rhythm fork. Power assist is delivered by Bosch’s new Performance CX Gen 4 motor, which claims figures of 75Nm/250w and with a Bosch Powertube battery a 625wh capacity. The system is controlled by Bosch’s smart Kiox head unit, with the remote control located next to the grip. The bike is smartly equipped with Shimano XT M8100 12-speed, a KS E30i dropper post and DT Swiss H1900 wheels shod with 2.6-inch Maxxis Rekon 3C Exo TR tyres. Focus claims an all-up weight of 23.3kg for the 6.9. Focus Thron² 6.8 EQP The Focus Thron2 6.8EQP combines full-suspension and 130mm of travel with all the equipment you’d need for any commute — quite the odd combination. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £4,099 / €4,299 (D) / €4,499 (F, ES, BLX) It’s quite a strange thing to see a full-on full-suss trail bike like the Thron² available in what can only be called ‘commute’ spec. But after talking with the team at Focus it seems that this is a big area of growth for the brand in mainland Europe. We’re not convinced it’ll catch on in the UK, but if you ever feel the need for 130mm of travel when you’re riding to work then Focus has the solution. The 6.8 EQP shares the same chassis and powertrain as the trail-ready machines — so you still get the big 625wh powerpack and Bosch’s Gen 4 CX motor with its 75Nm/250w of power that’s controlled by the Purion head unit mounted at the grip. Here, though, it’s complemented by full mudguards from Tubus and a tubular alloy rear rack (with a 16kg max load). It also gets integrated lights with a Supernova E3 Mini 2 up front and a Hermans H-Trace micro at the rear. The rear suspension is controlled by Suntour’s EDGE LOR unit and up front, Suntour’s XCR 34 LOR fork, which all adds up to a claimed weight of 25.8kg Focus Jam² 6.9 Drifter The Jam2 6.9 Drifter mixes a 29er front with a 27.5 rear Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £4,749 / €5,199 (D) / €5,299 (F, ES, BLX) The Jam² all-mountain machine combines a 29-inch front wheel with a 27.5 rear, has 150mm travel and is available in Bosch and Shimano versions. We like the look of the 6.9 Drifter with its Shimano Steps E8000 70Nm/250w motor and 765wh of battery. This impressive battery life is accomplished by combining the 378wh internal battery with Focus’s T.E.C. pack, which fits onto the down tube to provide an extra 378wh of power in reserve. The 6.9 comes with Shimano XT 12-speed (34, 10-51), a custom-tuned Fox Float DPS rear shock and Marzocchi Bomber Z1 forks. The E30i dropper post comes from KS and Mavic supplies its E-XA drifter wheels, which are shod with Maxxis Minions: a 2.8 DHF tyre and a 2.6 DHR. Focus claims 21.7kg for the complete bike. Focus Jam² 6.8 Nine The 150mm travel Jam2 comes with Fox suspension. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £4,599 / €4,799 (D) / €4,999 (F, ES, BLX) Prefer your assistance with a German flavour? Then Focus also has the Jam² available with a Bosch motor. The 6.8 comes with Bosch’s Performance CX Gen 4 motor (75Nm/250w) and a 625w/h internal PowerTube battery, which is all controlled by the Bosch Kiox head unit. Suspension duties come courtesy of Fox’s Float DPS rear shock and 34 Rhythm sweep adjust fork. The gearing combines SLX (shifters and cassette) and XT (rear mech) and Shimano MT520 brakes. Race Face provides the 29er wheels and Maxxis the 2.6-inch Rekon Dual Exo TR treads. Focus claims 23.5kg for the complete bike. Focus Jarifa² 6.8 Nine The Jafira2 6.8 is Focus’s mid-range e-hardtail. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £3,299 / €3499 (D) / €3,699 (F, ES, BLX) It’s not just full-suspension e-bikes from Focus, it also has three hardtail models. From the superlight Raven² to the budget-focused Whistler², the Jafira² sits squarely between the two as a more touring-orientated e-mountain machine. The 6.8 Nine uses Bosch’s Performance CX Gen 4 (75Nm/250w) with a PowerTube 625w/h internal battery controlled by a Purion head unit. You can expand the battery capacity by up to 1125w/h using an additional battery, which mounts on the down tube — it’s a similar system to Focus’s Shimano-based TEC pack system. Focus claims 22.3kg for the complete 6.8 Nine. Focus Aventura² 6.9 The Aventura2 looks like a well equipped trekking machine that’d make a great option for commuters. Warren Rossiter/Immediate media Price: £3,799 / €3999 (D) / €4,199 (F, ES, BLX) The Aventura² is the brand’s take on a go-anywhere trekking machine. It uses Bosch’s new Performance CX motor system with a 625wh battery (you can, like the Jafira, piggyback a second Bosch battery for a max of 1,125wh) and the bike comes fully loaded with full metal mudguards, a rear rack, Busch & Muller lighting, and Bosch’s new Smartphone hub to take care of motor control. The hub also lets you use the GPS functionality on your phone in combination with the bike’s motor system. The claimed 23kg bike comes with an SLX/Deore mix and a 100mm travel Suntour Raidon LOR fork.
Propain is updating its kids bikes line. The Frechdax was first presented at Eurobike 2013. What was initially intended as a bike for the kids of the three founders of Propain quickly turned into a popular and unique kids full suspension concept which conquered the hearts of small shredders. Since then, three high-end children and youth bikes have been created, which use the technology of regular sized mountain bikes and meet the requirements of rookies without compromise. For 2020, Propain has revised the Yuma, Frechdax and Dreckspatz. Propain Yuma - Gravity Beginner Bike in 24"- 26" As frequently requested, the colours of the decal kit are now customizable. There are four colors to choose from. "Vee Tire Co", the tire partner of our Worldcup-Team, developed a special MTB tire for kids bikes. Needless to say that we put these brand new tires on the bike. Furthermore, the Yuma is now equipped with the new "Guide T" brake from SRAM. As already known from the previous models the Yuma bike allows the usage of 24” and 26” wheels. After a few years the Yuma can be converted from 24" to 26" wheels with our unique "grown-up"-kit. The Yuma is tailored to the needs of riders from a height of 1.35m and the associated low body weight. RRP: 1799,00 € Propain Frechdax - Kidsfully for Mini-Shredders in 20" The new Frechdax is equipped with the unique kids specific fork from "1st Ride" with a carbon-reinforced casting, an adapted air-chamber and a negative spring. The fork is extra light and ideally tuned for the rider weights of 6-9 year olds. The rear shock from RockShox is delivered with the right tuning for low rider weight ex works. As all Kids and Youth bikes the Frechdax is also offered with the newly developed tires from "Vee Tire Co". With 20" wheels, 90mm of suspension travel and a shift- and brake system from SRAM, the Frechdax offers maximum riding fun for all kids between 1,10m and 1,40m height and up to 40kg weight. RRP: 1.399,00 € Propain Dreckspatz - Light Hardtail in 20" In 2017, in addition to the full suspension Frechdax, the "Dreckspatz" hardtail was added to the range of high-end children's mountainbikes as a cheaper and lighter alternative. The Dreckspatz is now available with an optional rigid fork or with the proven "1st Ride" carbon children suspension fork. Traction is provided by the new tires from "Vee Tire Co" and SRAM delivers the shift- and brake system. What else is new for 2020? The Frechdax and the Dreckspatz come in the team-color of our Worldcup-Team, "badmint"! The frame can further be customized with several decal options. Dreckspatz with 1st Ride carbon-suspension: RRP 999,00 € Dreckspatz with rigid fork: RRP: 749,00 € More information on Propain's website: www.propain-bikes.com. North American Distribution scheduled starting Q1 2020!!!!!!!!! The post Propain Kids Range 2020 Updates appeared first on The Bike Dads.
Hands up, who loves looking at new bike kit? We’re guessing the answer is most of you! And it’s certainly all of us. So allow us to bring you another helping of shiny new kit, including kids’ cycling clothing from Alé, Endura’s Durapak packable jacket for those summer showers, Smith’s Reverb sunglasses, new mountain bike shoes from Ride Concepts and a Van Rysel bike that looks astonishingly well-specced for the money. Garmin Edge 530 GPS computer review Cheap cycling shorts for road cycling, mountain biking and commuting So what else has been happening in the world of cycling lately? Well, the amazing Fiona Kolbinger put in a sensational ride to become the first outright female winner of the Transcontinental, a 4,000km ultra-endurance race across Europe. Downhill fans will pleased to hear that there’s now a slightly cheaper aluminium version of the Scott Gambler, while Specialized has introduced the new S-Works Epic hardtail with a crazy-light 790g frame. We’ve also been to see the latest 2020 bikes from Genesis and Saracen, while, in the racing world, we’re gearing up to watch the Vuelta a España. Van Rysel RR920 CF Ultegra The Van Rysel RR920 CF Ultegra Is available from Decathlon. Earlier this year, the French cycling superstore Decathlon rebranded its higher-end Triban road bikes as Van Rysel, in order to gain ground at the performance end of the market. And while there may be an element of marketing spiel about the Dutch- or Belgian-sounding name, if our first glance at Van Rysel’s RR920 CF is anything to go by, it’s backed up by some substance and an impressively light 7.61kg weight (on our scales). The RR920 even comes with genuine race pedigree, being the weapon of choice for the AG2R La Mondiale U19 team. For £1,999.99/€2,500, you’d expect lightweight carbon and this Van Rysel frame comes in at a claimed 850g with a 320g Evo Dynamic fork that’s equally feathery on the scales. This model is kitted out with an Ultegra groupset. You might also expect a full raft of Shimano Ultegra R8000 for that price, and this bike includes the pro-compact 52/36 chainset. What you’re less likely to find is a pair of £989 Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon wheels with 45mm NACA aero-profile carbon rims, even if they do have an aluminium braking track. These help make the Van Rysel one of the best equipped bikes at this price, with Fizik’s Antares saddle also headlining. The frame has a PressFit 86 bottom bracket shell and is Di2 compatible, with the £3,499.99/€3,600 Van Rysel RR940 having the same frame and wheels but with electronic Ultegra. We’ll be putting our Van Rysel RR920 CF Ultegra to the test in the near future. Van Rysel RR920 CF Ultegra specs: Weight: 7.61kg (medium) — measured weight Frame: Full carbon, PressFit 86 bottom bracket, 850g claimed weight Fork: Full carbon, 320g claimed weight Gears: Shimano Ultegra 52/36, 11-28 Wheels: Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon Brakes: Shimano Ultegra, direct-mount front Finishing kit: Deda Zero stem and bar, Fizik Antares saddle, 25mm Mavic Yksion Pro tyres Price: £1,999.99/€2,500 Alé Sartana women’s and kids’ cycling kit If you fancy dressing the whole family the same, the Sartana kit comes in men’s, women’s and kids’ versions. Aoife Glass / Immediate Media Co If you like your kit bright and colourful then Alé has just the outfit for you, or for your mini cyclist, for that matter, because this kit also comes in kids’ sizes. The Sartana kit has a multi-coloured floral jungle print that will certainly stand out on the club ride, but the features aren’t restricted to looks. Designed for warm weather riding, the jersey’s fabric has been chosen for its breathability, with a lighter mesh on the sides and arms to help keep you cool in hot weather. The wide arm bands should mean that they sit in place without squishing or squeezing, and there are three deep pockets at the rear. The floral pattern will certainly get you noticed. Aoife Glass / Immediate Media Co There’s a silicone band around the hem to help keep the jersey in place, and there are subtle reflective highlights too. The adult bib shorts feature a sex-specific chamois pad and a panelled construction for figure-hugging support. The kids’ kit comes with waist shorts instead of bibs. The men’s version of this kit comes in a more subdued monochrome colourway, which is a bit of a shame. That said, there’s also a more low-key version of the women’s print too, so if you like the flowers but don’t want to go completely rainbow, Alé has you covered. Price: £185 / €177 / $TBC Ride Concepts Skyline Shoes Flat pedal fans will be pleased to see another addition to the rather sparse market. Aoife Glass A fresh arrival in the world of flat pedal shoes, Ride Concepts has just hit the UK from the US and already has a raft of high profile riders on its roster, including downhill World Cup racers Gee and Rachel Atherton. The brand hails from Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains, an area known for its great mountain biking, and the extensive range includes several flat pedal and clipless shoes that cover everything from trail riding to downhill racing. The Skyline shoe here though is a rugged, protective shoe that looks well suited to aggressive or technical riding. It features a rubber outsole with a custom-moulded toe and heel cup for added protection from hits. The inner ankle cuff is cut higher to provide a bit more protection for the ankle bones from the bike. There are two colour options: a blue outer with a grey sole or black with dark purple highlights. Ride Concepts offers a good range of sizes, from US5 to US10. In the UK, they’re available from UK4 to UK8. However, British riders take note; the sizing is a bit off, with the UK7 that we have in fitting more like a UK6. Price: £134.95 / $150 View this post on Instagram Who can guess which bike @jacquelucque is talking about in this video? Or, You can find out the answer by heading to our YouTube channel and watching the latest episode of BikeRadar Diaries. #terrifyingtt #retrovsmodern #jackvsjoe #hotboizofbikeradar #bikeradardiaries A post shared by BikeRadar (@bikeradar) on Aug 2, 2019 at 6:08am PDT Smith Reverb glasses The Reverb glasses come with a spare lens in a complementary tint plus a storage case. A good set of performance specs should be on every rider’s kit list. Smith’s Reverb sunglasses have a minimalist design consisting of a central one-piece lens, with detachable arms which click into place. This makes swapping the lens over to suit different light conditions very easy — good news if you live somewhere with changeable weather. Each set of glasses comes with two lenses, typically one lightly tinted to suit most riding conditions and a more heavily tinted lens for brighter conditions. The Reverb glasses are crammed with neat details. There’s also a range of arm colours, so you’ll be able to find a set that suits your kit. You can also buy spare lenses if you want a different tint or have an accident with the set you have. The Matte Moss set pictured comes with the Chromapop Red Mirror lens for bright conditions and contrast-enhancing Chromapop Contrast Rose lenses for dull weather. You also get a storage case and bag to keep everything together. Price: £189 / $189 View this post on Instagram How's this for a seat cluster? Coming soon to BikeRadar.com. ???????????????? #raw #gravel #mtb A post shared by BikeRadar (@bikeradar) on Jul 30, 2019 at 7:31am PDT Endura Durajak packable windproof jacket The Durajak from Endura is a packable, lightweight windproof with DWR coating. Aoife Glass Summer riding in some parts of the world can be an… interesting experience. Your ride might start off cool and crisp in the morning, then warm up rapidly. Endura’s very packable Durajak is designed for exactly this scenario; when you need something light and windproof to keep the chill off in the morning, on long descents or when stopping for lunch. The lightweight jacket squishes down to a size that’s small enough to stow in a pocket or waist bag. It features a full-length zip, hood and is constructed from a windproof Cordura fabric with a DWR coating, which should help keep light rain showers at bay. The fit is relaxed and it comes in sizes S to XXL. Price: £79.99 / €89.99 / $119.99
Calibre has just sent us details of its new Bossnut — one of the most impressive budget mountain bikes available. The new version of the bike gets up to date geometry and an impressive spec list, and it’s still a good price too at £1,100 with the Go Outdoors Discount Card (which costs a fiver). Best mountain bike 2019, how to choose the right one for you Specialized release sub-8KG Epic hardtail XC bike The Bossnut is, without doubt, one of the most impressive bikes you can buy for around £1,000, and joins the £2,000 Sentry enduro bike which was released earlier this year. Ever since its introduction, the bike has been the one to beat when it comes to pocket-friendly trail-orientated, 130mm travel, full-suspension mountain bikes. Not only was the parts package a lesson in picking decent kit for not much money, but the Bossnut was also a genuinely great bike to ride. There’s an alternative Women’s colour too, which we think looks rather good! Calibre Calibre’s designer, Mike Sanderson, always felt that cheaper bikes shouldn’t be compromised by their geometry or suspension, and so the frame itself was excellent, especially for the money. Calibre has built on this with the new Bossnut, and the bike’s geometry is now longer, lower and slacker — something we talk about all the time. Plus, the introduction of SRAM’s SX Eagle drivetrain makes a ‘proper’ 12-speed, 1x specific drivetrain possible at this price point. The hydroformed aluminium frame gets internal cable routing for a stealth dropper post too. SRAM’s SX Eagle drivetrain provides an 11-50t range. Calibre Almost more impressive is the addition of a bolt-thru rear end. There are distinct performance benefits to having a bolt thru-axle on a full-suspension bike, such as improving stiffness at both ends, and it also makes it a much more attractive prospect to upgrade later when budgets allow, because higher performance wheelsets rarely have a QR option these days. RockShox’s Monarch shock sits inside the frame. Calibre Calibre Bossnut 2020 geometry Calibre branded finishing kit is used, including a 780mm bar. Calibre While far from radical, the Bossnut has a shape that sits right up there with the big players. Reach figures have grown, head angles have slackened and seat tubes are steeper. Here are the key figures for a large Bossnut; Reach: 460mm Seat tube: 480mm Head angle: 66 degrees Seat tube angle: 74.5 degrees Chainstays: 436mm Bottom bracket drop: 24mm Calibre Bossnut spec A RockShox Recon RL fork controls the front of the bike. Calibre The spec is impressive for a £1,100 bike: a 130mm air-spring fork from RockShox is paired with a RockShox shock, while there’s SRAM brakes and a 12-speed drivetrain. Fork: RockShox Recon RL 130mm (non-Boost) Shock: RockShox Monarch R Drivetrain: SRAM SX Eagle, 11-50 12-speed cassette Brakes: SRAM Level T 180mm/160mm rotors Wheelset: Formula hubs, WTB ST i29 rims Tyres: WTB Vigilante High Grip Comp 27.5 x 2.3in front, WTB Trail Boss Comp 27.5 x 2.25in rear Finishing kit: Calibre branded, including 45mm stem and 780mm bars SRAM Level T brakes bring the bike to a halt. Calibre Calibre Bossnut pricing and availability The Go Outdoors Discount Card is a £5 membership card that gets you a range of discounts across the store. With the card, the Bossnut costs £1,100. The previous Bossnut was available for £1,000 with the card and £1,300 without it, so we imagine the vast majority of potential customers will see the value in purchasing the card! WTB Vigilante tyres have a chunky tread for front-end grip. Calibre The Bossnut is available now from your local Go Outdoors and online.
Brand spanking new for 2020, the Specialized Epic HT (that’s the ‘Hardtail’ one) has been fully redesigned from the rubber-up. The 2020 Specialized Epic HT receives a new carbon fibre frame, modernised geometry, and a series of refinements that aim to make this not only the lightest XC mountain bike that the Californian brand has ever made, but also one of the most comfortable and capable too. Err, How Light?! We mean light. As in, super, ultra, mega, stupendously light. Specialized claims the new S-Works Epic HT weighs just 775 grams, give or take half a Mars bar. That is ridonculously light, and over 10% more feathery than the already-svelte 2019 Specialized S-Works Epic HT frame (which wasn’t exactly porky itself at 845g). Now if we’re being pedantic, it isn’t strictly the lightest frame on the market. That’s because while Specialized does include the derailleur hanger, it doesn’t include the axle (32g) or the seat collar (13g) in the claimed frame weight. Those bring it up to 820g for a Medium frame that’s ready to ride. Specialized says this is the lightest production mountain bike frame on the market. All 775g of it. Yikes! For reference, UNNO’s Spanish-made Aora frame is claimed to weigh 790g including hardware. However, it’s important to note that UNNO only makes the Aora in the one frame size. And it only makes 50 of them a year. Oh, and they cost over $6,500 AUD per frame… That isn’t far off double the price of the S-Works Epic HT frame, which is made in vastly greater quantities over four frame sizes, so we’re ok with Specialized claiming this is the lightest production frame in the world. It certainly is when you compare it to the Scott Scale RC (879g), the Canyon Exceed CF SLX (870g), Focus Raven (889g), and the Cannondale F-Si (900g). Speaking of frame weight, it’s worth noting that there will actually be two Epic HT frames for 2020. There’s the aforementioned S-Works frame (made from FACT 12m carbon fibre), and then a standard carbon frame (made with FACT 11m carbon fibre). Both frames share exactly the same shape and geometry, but the FACT 11m version comes in 140g heavier at 915g, which is still bloody light for a mountain bike frame. This cheaper frame is used on all the other models without the S-Works label. The weight is impressive, but the Epic has some much bigger changes elsewhere to make it more comfortable and capable too. Not Just A Welterweight Although the sub-800g frame weight is the headline-grabber, there’s actually a lot of interesting stuff going on elsewhere with the new frame to make it a faster bike down the mountain too. Most noteworthy is the improved geometry, which sees the head angle slackening out to 68.5° and the reach increasing around 12-14mm per size. Specialized has matched the longer top tube lengths by fitting shorter 60-75mm stems across the size range. 2020 Specialized Epic HT Geometry. Additionally, the Specialized Epic HT follows in the footsteps of the current Epic FSR by moving to a reduced-offset fork. For models with RockShox forks, that’s a 42mm offset, while Fox models get a 44mm offset. Along with the slacker head angle, the new Epic gets a much greater amount of trail, which should make the steering a lot more stable on the descents. Those are some pretty progressive geometry numbers for an XC hardtail, which shows that Specialized is keeping a close eye on modern World Cup XCO racing, where the highly technical tracks are putting greater demands on the riders and their equipment. A slacker head angle and reduced-offset fork should deliver more confidence when bombing the descents. Bigger Is Better Specialized has also increased the seat tube diameter from 27.2mm to 30.9mm, which gives you a tonne more options for fitting a dropper post. According to Spesh, the new frame is just as compliant as the old one though. The engineers say this has been achieved by utilising a curved seat tube, which flexes back and fourth like a leaf spring. The seat stays are also significantly slimmer too, and that’s to help filter out trail buzz more effectively. Helping further again is the increased tyre clearance. Despite the back end staying short at 430mm long, Specialized has worked in enough clearance to fit up to a 2.4in rear tyre. The stock bikes will come with 2.3in Specialized Fast Trak tyres, but there’s more room if you wanted to go a little burlier on the build kit. See the curve in the seat tube? That acts like a leaf spring to increase compliance at the saddle – even when running a dropper post. See Ya Later Press-Fit BB! Oh, did we mention the Epic HT now has a threaded bottom bracket? That’s right folks, Specialized has ditched the press-fit BB! In a trend we’ve seen from the Californian brand over the past couple of years, the Epic joins the Stumpjumper, Enduro, Epic FSR and Fuse in moving to a good ol’ fashioned threaded BB. According to Specialized’s engineers, they were actually able to make the bottom bracket junction lighter than the previous PF30 system used on the old frame. During the layup process, two alloy rings are moulded into the frame’s carbon BB shell. Once the frame has been cured, the alloy rings are tapped to ensure proper alignment for the threaded BB cups. The rest of the BB shell is hollow with no need for moulded-in tube, so there’s plenty of clearance for the internal derailleur, brake and dropper lines to route past the crank axle. The smooth tapered head tube uses drop-in bearings to cut down on weight. What Models Will We See In Australia? Globally, Specialized will be offering several different complete Epics, but only one of those will be coming to Oz. That model is the 2020 Specialized Epic HT Comp, which is available to buy as of right now. For $3,900, you’ll get the 915g FACT 11m carbon fibre frameset, a RockShox Reba fork, tubeless ready Roval Control wheelset, and SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 shifting. For those who want to build up their own bonafide superbike, Specialized will be bringing the S-Works Epic HT frame into Australia. And how much for the lightest production MTB frame on the market? A cool $3,700 will get you those bragging rights. Still, we reckon that’ll have a lot of potential customers thinking long and hard about how much 140 grams are really worth to them… Sadly we won’t be seeing the full-noise complete S-Works bike in Australia. It’ll be a frame-only for those who want the S-Works label. For more information on the new 2020 Specialized Epic HT, head over to the Specialized website. In the meantime, we’d love to hear what you think of this uber-light race hardtail. Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below! 2020 Specialized S-Works Epic HT Features 775g claimed frame weight (+/- 15g) FACT 12m carbon fibre Designed around a short (42-44mm) fork offset 68.5° head angle 74° seat tube angle Reach: 405mm (S), 430mm (M), 455mm (L) and 480mm (XL) 430mm chainstay length 63mm BB drop 30.9mm diameter seat tube 73mm English threaded bottom bracket shell 2.4in max rear tyre clearance Internal cable routing Boost 148x12mm rear hub spacing Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large Frame RRP: $3,700 Complete bike RRP: $3,900 (2020 Specialized Epic HT Comp) The post The 2020 Specialized S-Works Epic HT Goes Ultra-Lightweight appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
The Specialized Epic has to be one of the classic cross-country race bikes, and for 2020 Specialized has given it a complete overhaul to drop the claimed frame weight to less than 800g. Weight is still a massive consideration when it comes to cross-country racing, which is why Specialized says it’s spent a lot of time and engineering resource shaving weight wherever possible from the Epic HT. The result, based on my brief time on the Epic at its launch, is a bike that certainly won’t hold you back on the climbs – read on for my initial first ride impressions. Best mountain bikes – how to choose the best one for you How XC bikes got their cool back The top-end S-Works frame boasts a 790g frame weight (manufacturing variances actually give weights between 760–790g), resulting in a claimed 7.8kg build weight (£8,000 / £9,150), while the base level bikes, which start at £2,250 / $2,110, still benefit from a sub-kilo frame, with their FACT 11 frames weighing in at a claimed 930g. However, that’s not the only area that sees updates. Virtually market-wide, we’re seeing a move towards more ‘aggressive’ race tracks, which has meant that even cross-country racers aren’t immune from the long, low and slack treatment — as well as giving more thought to how stiff a bike’s chassis needs to be. With a longer geometry and shorter offset fork, I found the Epic perfectly comfortable railing turns. Harookz As a result of gnarlier tracks, bikes need to have ‘better’ handling so that racers are able to push on the descents. A nervous, super-stiff, upright twitchy bike is never going to hold its ground when competing down rough, rocky and rooty tracks, such as at Nove Mesto. Another reason for this change in geometry and design, according to Specialized, is that an ‘easier’ bike to handle lets its riders rest more on descents, leaving them in better shape to attack the climbs. This has all led Specialized to design what it claims is the lightest, most capable XC bike on the market. It’s still race-focussed, but Specialized reckons marathon racers will appreciate the added comfort, and the changes to geometry should make it even more useable as a day-to-day bike for regular riders, too. Epic weight shaving Getting a frame down to this weight takes a fair bit of engineering. Specialized employed 3D modelling technology (as most brands probably do to some extent) to cut down on material usage in the frame: less material equals less weight. One area that Specialized worked on was the overlap of different sheets of prepreg carbon fibre. With computer modelling, it was able to work out the minimum overlap required to maintain the strength and stiffness needed, without using excess material. Furthermore, keeping the insides of the tubes as smooth as possible also reduces material usage. Neat cable routing keeps the bike looking fast. Harookz When it comes to the tube junctions, Specialized reckons that, in certain areas, less is more. It told us that smaller interfaces can be just as stiff if engineered properly, while also being lighter. This is why the frame has a particular skinny look to it, especially at the bottom bracket junction and where the seatstays meet the seat tube. The same focus was also given to the type of carbon used. Thirty different types of carbon fibre feature in the frame, with different carbon and resin compositions. Carbon with less resin in the sheet tends to be stiffer and lighter, but less impact resistant, so these have been placed in appropriate areas to help reduce weight. Slender stays and a slightly bent seat tube are said to improve comfort. Harookz Finally, little details such as the cable routing have been optimised, according to Specialized. The hose and cable guide entries are all moulded as part of the frame (so no bolt-in cable guides), which saves weight, as does the elimination of aluminium inserts at the dropouts. You also get a co-moulded aluminium threaded bottom bracket insert, which is no heavier than the effective block of carbon used when making a press-fit bottom bracket shell. It is also, ultimately, more user-friendly. Specialized Epic geometry improvements Longer and slacker is the name of the game here, which is also the case across the entire mountain bike spectrum. In a size large the Epic has a reach of 455mm, which is relatively long for a thoroughbred XC bike, and a head angle of 68.5 degrees, which is 1.3 degrees slacker than the previous model. Even with the post up, I still felt fairly comfortable rolling this rock – it helps having an audience. Dylan Dunkerton Longer, slacker bikes, in conjunction with the shorter 42mm offset fork (51mm previously), should help to calm down handling for an easier ride on technical terrain. This has been done in conjunction with running shorter stems (60–75mm) to ensure handling doesn’t end up too lazy. SRAM’s wireless AXS Eagle groupset keeps clutter to a minimum. Harookz Conversely, Specialized said it didn’t want to make the Epic into a barge, so the shorter offset fork helps keep the wheelbase relatively snappy at 1,146mm in a size large. The seat tube sits at 74 degrees, while the bottom bracket lies 63mm below the axles at a height of 309mm. Chainstays are 430mm, and the size large seat tube is 470mm with a stack of 622mm. Comfort is key Specialized’s product testing included 15 frames with slightly different builds, which were ridden by a number of testers to get the feel of the frame fine-tuned. In the end, Specialized went for a slightly stiffer front triangle, which gives precise handling and makes it easier to haul on the bars when climbing, with a slightly softer back end. This provides more compliance and comfort, and also helps keep the rear wheel stuck to the ground; stiffer frames tend to get a bit pingy through rocks and round rough corners. There’s a reasonable amount of space for moderately chunky tyres. Harookz The seat tube has a 30.9mm diameter, so is dropper post ready. The slight curve, in addition to the thinner seatstays, adds compliance, according to Specialized, so no comfort is apparently lost over the previous, skinnier-posted Epic. Bikes are specced with 2.3in tyres and there’s plenty of clearance for mud. Specialized Epic models Specialized Epic HT S-Works SRAM AXS £8,000 / $9,150 This is the top-end Epic model and comes with the sub-800g S-Works frame, a Brain-controlled SID Ultimate fork and SRAM’s 12-speed wireless AXS drivetrain. Specialized’s new Epic HT claims to be one of the lightest in the world. Harookz Specialized Epic HT Expert Carbon £4,250 / $4,310 With a sub-kilo frame, the Expert level Epic comes with a RockShox SID, and features Brain damping and a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain. Expert level bikes get a Brain SID fork and a GX Eagle drivetrain. Specialized Epic HT Comp Carbon £2,750 / $2,610 The Comp Carbon has an NX Eagle drivetrain and a RockShox Reba RL fork. The Comp level bike gets a Reba fork and NX Eagle drivetrain. Specialized Epic HT Carbon £2,250 / $2,110 The entry-level Epic still gets a sub-kilo carbon frameset and relies on a SRAM SX Eagle groupset and RockShox’ Judy Gold fork. The entry-level Epic comes with SRAM SX Eagle and a Judy fork. Specialized US Specialized Epic HT models Our lucky US readers get a few extra models that don’t appear to be being imported into the UK. Specialized Epic HT Pro $5,510 RockShox SID Brain, SRAM X01 Eagle Specialized S-Works Epic HT XTR $8,510 RockShox SID Brain Ultimate, Shimano XTR 12-speed groupset Specialized S-Works Epic HT Ultralight $9,210 Fox 32 StepCast, Magura MT8 brakes, SRAM XX1 drivetrain Specialized S-Works Epic HT AXS / Quark $9,510 Spec of the S-Works Epic AXS but with a Quark power meter as standard Specialized S-Works Epic HT frameset $2,000 The 790g frame is available for your own custom build Specialized S-Works Epic HT AXS first ride impressions During the bike’s launch, I rode the top-level Specialized S-Works Epic HT AXS on unfamiliar tracks near Lake Tahoe for about four hours, so these are only very brief, initial ride impressions. I hope to get a bike in for a thorough test soon though. Put the power down, and there’s a fair turn of speed. Harookz With a very light build, it was no surprise that the bike felt lively riding up fire road climbs. While it’s clichèd to say, it really did feel like every watt of power was going to the rear wheel and being converted into very effective forward movement. Traction was reasonable, but in loose, dusty conditions the Fast Track tyres were never going to be the grippiest option. Still, 500m of climbing on the Epic felt a lot friendlier than other 500m climbs I’ve done in the past. The dropouts lose alloy inserts to shave weight, while the AXS mech sits pretty without cables. Harookz Once the Epic got flowing on singletrack it was rather fun, in its own ‘head’s down XC racer’ kind of way. No hardtail is ever going to give you the comfiest ride, but with 2.3in tyres and the additional compliance of the new bike, the Epic isn’t as harsh as some other pure cross-country bikes I’ve ridden. On smooth trails the bike seemed to zip along very, very happily. Handling was fairly calm, and despite the rain coming in and the rocks getting wet, I certainly felt comfortable letting go of the brakes. When things got rougher the bike encouraged you up and over obstacles, maintaining a resemblance of flow. Like all hardtails, you have to work the bike more to maintain speed, but if speed was lost, a quick kick of the pedals got it all back up and running again. Specialized and RockShox have worked together to develop the auto-adjusting platform-giving Brain SID fork. Harookz The Brain-controlled SID fork was also fairly impressive. The system opens the damping when impacts are detected and closes it when things are running smooth. There’s an adjustment on the top of the fork to change the threshold of how it reacts, and there’s a noticeable difference at either end of the scale. I ran it open the majority of the time, which only really let it stay closed on smooth road and fire road drags, leaving it open during pretty much the whole descent. Roval’s carbon hoops and skinny Fast Trak tyres help keep weight low. Harookz With such limited time on the bike, it’s hard to give a thorough first ride review. But initial impressions do count, and I think Specialized is on to something with the Epic. It’s not a bone-shaker, nor is it terrifying as soon as the gradient gets below horizontal. When the trail kicks up, the Epic is certainly going to be a long way down your list of excuses for not smashing every KOM/QOM going.
Specialized's new Epic hardtail gets longer, slacker, and lighter than ever.( Photos: 9 )