With its long wheelbase, mudguards and steel frame, the prototypical touring bike may look like a blast from the past of road cycling. However, there are good reasons for the retro look that lead to a machine that’s versatile, durable and, above all, ideal for long day rides and multi-day trips, loaded up with everything you need for your adventure. It’s also good for commuting and other riding, as we’ll see. Best bike: our buyer’s guide to which bicycle type you should buy in 2020 Best gravel bikes 2020: 27 top-rated picks What makes a touring bike? Frame material Although you can tour on a frame made of any material, steel is ideal for this type of bike. It’s strong, can handle heavy loads and can be equipped with lots of mounting points. Quick guide to bike frame materials It’s also easy to repair and to find replacement components for in far-flung places. Often the fork will be steel as well as the frame, for the same reason. Steel can be repaired in the field. Genesis Bikes When Laura Bingham’s steel Genesis tourer was run over by a car as she rode the length of South America in 2016, a local welder fixed it and she was able to carry on in a couple of days. On a bike made of any other material that would have almost certainly been game over. You may not be planning to travel that far afield, but that durability is great even for a smaller adventure – the last thing you want is a broken frame ruining your holiday. Best steel road bikes Durable components Shimano still offers touring-specific groupsets. Shimano The same logic applies to components – tough parts are more important than saving a few grams. With that in mind, wheels will typically be ultra-rugged with high spoke counts, well-sealed hubs and strong double- or triple-wall alloy rims. Tubeless running helps with ride comfort, but the wise tourer will make sure that they are equipped with spare tubes, a tyre boot and a puncture repair kit too. Dynamo power Dynamo lights can be invaluable on a touring bike. Andy Lloyd It’s always good to have lights on your bike, even if you don’t plan to ride at night. Unless you plan on going old school with paper maps, you’ll also need to keep your GPS computer charged up. Some touring bikes will come with front hub dynamos to give you a constant source of power that’s not dependent on mains electricity. The dynamo cable may run through the inside of the fork leg, to keep it out of harm’s way. Mudguards Mudguards are a must-have for a touring bike. Jack Luke / Immediate Media You’re not going to be able to choose your weather on a multi-day tour, so a touring bike will have mounting points for full mudguards. These help to keep you more comfortable and cleaner on wet days. Best mudguards and fenders: a complete buyer’s guide and recommendations Disc vs rim brakes Mechanical and even hydraulic disc brakes are an increasingly common sight on touring bikes. Paul Components Nowadays, touring bikes will usually come with disc brakes in place of the v-brake or cantilever of old. Road disc brakes: everything you need to know Discs offer much stronger braking on a laden machine and better all-weather consistency. Worldwide availability of spares for disc brakes is still slightly lacking over traditional rim brakes, so there is still a small case for these. That said, reliability has massively improved in recent years, even for hydraulic disc brakes. Geometry Touring bikes favour an upright comfortable riding position. Stanforth Bikes A touring bike’s geometry will favour stability too. It will typically have a long wheelbase and chainstays, and slack frame angles. The longer wheelbase also means that it’s less likely that luggage or a front mudguard will get in the way of your pedal stroke. A short-ish reach, often coupled to a riser stem, will give quite an upright ride position for comfort over long days in the saddle. Drop bars will allow you to vary your hand position as you ride and lower your frontal profile on a day with persistent headwinds, although some touring bikes have flat bars. Trekking bars (aka butterfly bars) are also an option. Touring bike gearing A wide gear range down to 1:1, or lower, will help you get up hills on a heavily loaded tourer. The complete guide to bicycle gears — bicycle transmissions explained It’s still nice to have the top-end gearing to keep up a fast pace on flatter roads. I once spent a day riding down the Moselle valley and it included 100 or so miles of gentle downhill riding at a 20-plus mph average pace. It was great to have a big top gear in this situation. Some tourers still come with a triple chainset, although modern double-ring groupsets will give you the same range. Heavy-duty load-lugger Touring bikes can carry large loads comfortably. Felix Smith / Immediate Media A touring bike is designed for multi-day rides where you’re carrying everything you need with you. Depending on the ride that you’ve planned, that might include a tent, food, cooking gear, multiple changes of clothes, as well as wet and cold weather gear. Or you might be riding between hotels or hostels and not need to carry so much kit. Traditionally, that luggage is carried in panniers mounted on a front or rear rack. Load-lugging capacity might be increased further by a saddlebag, rack-top bag and a bar bag. There are advantages to the more traditional pannier-centric set-up. Panniers keep the centre of gravity lower than newer and trendier bikepacking bags. They are also fixed more firmly to the bike, giving you more stable handling. Here’s what you need for a bikepacking adventure Panniers are out of the way at the front and rear of the bike and less likely to rub against your legs as you pedal. They are also easier to get on and off your bike because they are fixed with just a couple of clips rather than an array of straps that need to be tightened firmly. On the downside, racks and panniers are heavier than bikepacking bags, and work best on a frame with rack mounting points, whereas bikepacking bags can be strapped to any frame. What is the difference between a gravel bike and touring bike? Gravel bikes are increasingly popular, and with good reason. Cannondale Touring bikes of old had quite tight tyres clearance, so there was a limit to how wide you could go. That’s changed with newer touring bikes, such as the Genesis Tour de Fer, taking tyres up to 38mm wide and the Dawes Galaxy coming with 32mm rubber as stock. Both can take larger tyres should you wish. Wide tyres, comfort and stable handling sound like features of a gravel bike, but a gravel bike is designed around off-road riding, whereas the majority of traditional touring bikes are designed with tarmac in mind. Clearances are typically much more generous on gravel bikes. Robert Smith Although you could fit knobbly tyres or ride unmetalled surfaces, a touring bike will usually come equipped with road-going rubber. Clearance to cope with mud build-up may not be as generous as on a gravel bike either. Best gravel bike tyres in 2020 A touring bike’s gearing will also be tuned for tarmac, often with a wide range to let you press on when riding on the flat and conquer climbs when loaded up. With all of that said, some touring bikes, such as the Kona Rove, blur that distinction. This bike comes with the option of 47mm WTB tyres on 650b wheels in its classic steel frameset. Many gravel bikes also have the option to run panniers and mudguards, so these shouldn’t be automatically discounted. Not just for the long run A touring bike can also be great for other cycling, not just multi-day adventuring. Being weather-proof and with its load-carrying potential, it’s a great option for the all-year commuter. Panniers are ideal for shopping trips too. They’re easy to unclip from the bike and carry around a supermarket. For several years, a tourer was my only means of transport and I used it to travel to work and keep myself fed. Plus, there’s the allure of heading off on a summer’s morning for a long, relaxed ride through the back roads, maybe with a picnic in your bags, as an antidote to the all-out blast on your carbon bike to up your threshold power and claim a few more KOMs/QOMs.
[Golden, Colorado] – The Yeti / FOX Factory team was announced today and will include two-time Enduro World Series (EWS) champion Richie Rude, who has raced with Yeti / FOX since he was fifteen and signed for an additional three years, and local Colorado racer Shawn Neer. Neer finished strong in 2019, including being a key member of the three-man USA team that won the Trophy of Nations title and finishing 15th overall in the EWS Series. As one of the most decorated riders on the EWS circuit, Rude claimed a spot on the podium for every race he competed in during the 2019 season. “I’ve been racing for Yeti / FOX since I was a kid. The team is dialed, I’m stoked on the bikes and look forward to another great year,” Rude said during a recent trip to the Yeti factory in Golden, Colorado. Teammate Shawn Neer plans to carry this momentum into the upcoming season and recently headed to California to train with Rude for two-weeks. The Yeti / FOX Factory race program is unique in that it has three tiers – the World team, a National and a Development (Devo) team. This structure has been in place for over a decade and has been integral in developing some of the best riders in the sport. The Yeti / FOX National Team will be led by Carson Eiswald and Jubal Davis. Eiswald, from Bellingham, WA, made the jump to the National team early in 2019 after multiple podium appearances and though he was sidelined at the end of the season with an injury, looks to be a force on the circuit this year. Veteran racer Jubal Davis returns for 2020. Davis is a consistent podium contender on the national circuit and his international experience will help fast track younger Yeti riders in their development. Davis also battled injuries in 2019 and is looking forward to getting back on the bike for 2020. The Yeti / FOX Devo Team has an exciting and promising core of young racers. Quinn Reece and Lauren Bingham will lead the Yeti Devo team. Reece secured his first pro podium in 2019 and Bingham is the current US National Junior Enduro Champion. Both return with plans to step into the national circuit. New additions of Warren Kniss and Dillon Santos puts the team in a strong position to reclaim the Big Mountain Enduro title. The team will also benefit from expanded development and coaching opportunities. Expect to see some of these athletes compete in the North American Continental Enduro Series and other high-profile, international events. Yeti Cycles president, Chris Conroy, is excited about this year’s riders “This should be a great year for Yeti racing. Richie and Shawn are at the top of their games and our National and Devo teams are packed with strong and talented young riders.” Long-time Team Manager Damion Smith will continue to oversee the successful Yeti / Fox Factory Race Program. Team mechanical support will be provided by the experienced lead mechanic, Shaun “Polar Bear” Hughes and assisted by Mark Hild. “I’m excited about the upcoming year of racing with legacy riders and the new upcoming talent. Our roster is as strong as ever. We’ll have the best combination of equipment, support and mentorship for the entire team. We’re all prepared and ready to compete for podiums around the globe.” – Damion Smith The Yeti / FOX Factory Team continues to thrive with the support of long-time and generous sponsors that offer high-performance products put to the test on the most grueling racecourses in the world. Sponsors for 2020 include: Fox, Maxxis, Shimano, DT Swiss, Ergon, Toyota, OneUp Components, Giro, Renthal Cycling Motorex, CushCore, Backcountry Research, Chris King, Stages Cycling, Victory Circle Graphix, Honey Stinger, Thule, Smith Optics, Skratch Labs, Big Mountain Enduro. Yeti / FOX Factory Team will kick off the season at the first stop of the EWS circuit in Manizale, Colombia March 28 & 29, 2020. About Yeti Founded in 1985, Yeti Cycles makes race-bred, obsessively engineered, masterfully crafted mountain bikes proven by the fastest riders in the most demanding conditions. Based in Golden, Colorado, Yeti is owned and staffed by riders who are more likely to be out riding the company’s latest creation than sitting in a conference room. Visit www.yeticycles.com to learn more.
Campagnolo has added a 33mm depth to its line-up of carbon fibre Bora WTO wheels. The new wheelset is available in rim and disc brake versions, both tubeless-ready. The Bora WTO range was initially launched in 2018 with 60mm and 77mm wheels. The WTO 45 followed last year and is now completed by the WTO 33, which Campagnolo describes as “a truly multi-purpose wheel”. It’s pitched as an all-round wheelset designed to offer an aerodynamic advantage on flat roads or in a sprint, while significantly reducing weight when the road heads uphill. Will UAE Team Emirates be using tubeless tyres this season? UAE Team Emirates The Bora WTO 33 has been tested by the Campagnolo-sponsored UAE Team Emirates and, given that Campagnolo hasn’t announced a tubular version, suggests the WorldTour outfit will be using tubeless tyres at some point this season. “This profile is a further option when we have to adapt to the different kinds of terrain we tackle over a season,” says UAE Team Emirates rider Marco Marcato. The Bora WTO 33s weigh a claimed 1,395g for the rim brake wheelset and 1,485g for the disc brake wheelset. Campagnolo hasn’t offered any numbers for comparative aerodynamic testing between wheels in the range, but says the WTO 33 offers an advantage of 7.5 watts at 45 km/h “compared to a wheel that is not wind tunnel optimised”. The streamlined aluminium hubs are said to improve aerodynamic performance and run on ceramic bearings. Campagnolo That’s a significant number but it shouldn’t be altogether surprising that an aerodynamically profiled wheel is faster than an (unspecified) non-aero wheel. The Bora WTO 33 wheels have the same aluminium hubs and USB ceramic bearings as the rest of the range. The streamlined hubs are slim in the centre and curve upwards to taller flanges; a shape said to improve aerodynamic performance. Campagnolo’s distinctive G3 spoke pattern sees the spokes laced in groups of three on the rear wheel. The wheels are compatible with clincher and tubeless tyres. The 19mm rim width is designed for use with the 25mm tyres common in the pro peloton, though Campagnolo also says it’s suitable for 23mm and 28mm rubber. Both the rim brake and disc brake wheelsets are priced at €2,160. Campagnolo WTO 33 rim brake wheelset Weight: 1,395gRim depth: 33mmInternal rim width: 19mmTyre compatibility: Clincher, tubelessSpokes: Steel, 18 front, 21 rearNipples: Aluminium, self-lockingWeight limit: 120kg (rider and bike)Price: €2,160 Campagnolo WTO 33 disc brake wheelset Weight: 1,485gRim depth: 33mmInternal rim width: 19mmTyre compatibility: Clincher, tubelessSpokes: Steel, 24 front and rearNipples: Aluminium, self-lockingWeight limit: 120kg (rider and bike)Price: €2,160
Last year Merida rolled out its second generation eOne-Sixty electric mountain bike. To say this has been a highly anticipated bike would be a gross understatement. Merida delivered on the hype though, with a new carbon fibre mainframe that tucked a Shimano battery cleanly into its downtube to provide a much cleaner look, with room for a water bottle inside the mainframe. The Merida eOne-Sixty has been completely overhauled for 2020, and the new bike is better in every way compared to the first generation model. There’s a tonne of other improvements on the new 2020 eOne-Sixty, including fresh geometry, a mullet wheelsize combo, and changes to the rear suspension kinematics. You’ll have likely read about those in our first ride review of the flagship 10K model (which confusingly costs $12K…), and we also published a comprehensive range overview of all seven models across the 2020 eOne-Sixty and the new eOne-Forty platforms. More recently, Wil put the 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 9000 to the test on home turf, and you can check out his in-depth review of this killer long travel e-MTB right here. Merida clearly isn’t done yet though, with today’s announcement of a brand new alloy ‘Limited Edition’ option for both the eOne-Sixty and eOne-Forty. Merida has just introduced a new alloy ‘Limited Edition’ version of the eOne-Sixty and eOne-Forty platforms for 2020. Geometry, suspension and frame shape are identical to the carbon models, but you get more bang for your buck. Utilising the same integrated profile as the carbon models, the new alloy eOne-Sixty and eOne-Forty models simply swap the carbon fibre mainframe for a hydroformed alloy mainframe. The shape is very similar between the two, with the alloy frames also featuring an open downtube that accepts Shimano’s internal E8035 battery pack. Both the eOne-Sixty and eOne-Forty Limited Edition bikes are built around the more powerful E8000 motor (rather than the E7000 motor used on the cheapest carbon models), and they feature a burly RockShox suspension package and 12-speed Shimano drivetrains. Geometry is identical to the carbon models, and that means you’ve got the big 29in wheel up front with a 2.5in wide tyre, and a 27.5in rear wheel with a 2.6in wide tyre. The suspension design is the same, as is the travel. In fact, the back end of the frame is identical, since the carbon models use an alloy sub-frame anyway. The alloy eOne-Sixty now gets that sleek integrated Shimano battery pack. Suspension travel and kinematics are carried over from the carbon models. Pricing for the new eOne-Sixty Limited Edition is $6,699, which is actually identical to the cheapest carbon model (the eOne-Sixty 5000). So that begs the question; would you go for the carbon frame and the 10-speed drivetrain? Or the alloy frame with the more powerful motor and Shimano’s new 12-speed shifting? We’d love to hear what you folks think, so be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments below! As for the eOne-Forty Limited Edition, it’ll be selling for $6,499, which is considerably cheaper than the carbon model (the eOne-Forty 8000). Read on for the full specs below. The eOne-Sixty Limited Edition gets the more powerful E8000 motor, along with a Shimano 1×12 drivetrain and Maxxis Minion tyres. 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty Limited Edition Specs Frame | Lite II Aluminum Alloy Mainframe & Alloy Swingarm, 150mm Travel Fork | RockShox 35 Gold RL, 51mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | RockShox Super Deluxe Select+, 205x65mm Drive Unit | Shimano STEPS E8000, 60Nm Battery | Shimano E8035, 504Wh Wheels | Shimano Deore Hubs & Merida Expert TR Alloy Rims, 29mm Inner Rim Width Tyres | Maxxis Assegai EXO+ 3C Maxx Grip 29×2.5in Front & Minion DHR II EXO+ 3C Maxx Terra 27.5×2.6in Rear Drivetrain | Shimano SLX M7100 1×12 w/FC-E8000 34T Crankset & 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano M520 4-Piston Front & M500 2-Piston Rear Bar | Merida Expert eTR Alloy, 20mm Rise, 780mm Wide Seatpost | Merida Comp TR Dropper, Travel: 100mm (XS/S), 125mm (M/L/XL) Claimed Weight | TBC RRP | $6,699 With a shorter stroke shock and a 140mm fork, the eOne-Forty sharpens the angles and lowers the centre of gravity for more intuitive handling. 2020 Merida eOne-Forty Limited Edition Specs Frame | Lite II Aluminum Alloy Mainframe & Alloy Swingarm, 133mm Travel Fork | RockShox 35 Gold RL, 51mm Offset, 140mm Travel Shock | RockShox Deluxe Select+, 205×57.5mm Drive Unit | Shimano STEPS E8000, 60Nm Battery | Shimano E8035, 504Wh Wheels | Shimano Deore Hubs & Merida Expert TR Alloy Rims, 29mm Inner Rim Width Tyres | Maxxis Minion DHF EXO+ 3C Maxx Terra 29×2.5in Front & Minion DHR II EXO+ 3C Maxx Terra 27.5×2.6in Rear Drivetrain | Shimano SLX M7100 1×12 w/FC-E8000 34T Crankset & 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano M520 4-Piston Front & M500 2-Piston Rear Bar | Merida Expert eTR Alloy, 20mm Rise, 780mm Wide Seatpost | Merida Comp TR Dropper, Travel: 100mm (XS/S), 125mm (M/L/XL) Claimed Weight | TBC RRP | $6,499 If you’re not so fussed on carbon, the new alloy models get you better parts for your dollar. Yiew jumps! Mo’ Flow Please! Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow! The post Merida Introduces New ‘Limited Edition’ Alloy eOne-Sixty & eOne-Forty Models For 2020 appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
Hunt has announced the latest addition to its range of road bike wheels: three tubeless-ready carbon rim brake wheelsets designed to maximise speed and aerodynamic efficiency. The deepest option (82mm) is said to offer “class-leading” aero performance. The Carbon Aerodynamicist wheels borrow engineering knowledge gained from the development of Hunt’s disc-specific 48 Limitless Aero Disc wheels (which Hunt claims are the world’s more aerodynamic wheels under 50mm in depth). Where the Limitless wheels were designed with wider tyres in mind, the Aerodynamicist wheels aim to optimise the rim profile for aerodynamic performance around 25mm tyres and the width constraints of rim brakes. Hunt’s Carbon Aerodynamicist wheel range is available in three different depths; 52mm, 62mm and 82mm. Hunt Coming in 52, 62 and 82mm depths, each wheelset has a 19mm internal rim width, which Hunt says is “optimised for superior aerodynamic performance with a 25-28mm tubeless tyre, but also works well with 23mm tyres”. Hunt says the rim bed is compliant with the latest ETRTO tubeless standards. We’ve been eagerly waiting for the arrival of this eminent standard, but have yet to actually receive any official details on it. Each wheelset is built with CeramicSpeed hybrid ceramic bearings (which come with a six year warranty) and 18/24 Pillar aero spokes, front and rear. Hunt also says all modern freehub standards can be accommodated. All of the wheels in the Carbon Aerodynamicist range are tubeless-ready and rim brake-specific. Hunt Hunt Carbon Aerodynamicist range details, claimed weights and pricing Hunt 52CA wheelset: 52mm / 1518g / £1,189 / €1,443.80 / $1,606.81 Hunt 62CA wheelset: 62mm / 1575g / £1,249 / €1,516.66 / $1,687.90 Hunt 82CA wheelset: 82mm / 1738g / £1,329 / €1,613.80 / $1,796.01 Hunt has released a white paper detailing the aerodynamic testing it performed to benchmark the new wheels against other comparable options on the market. Notably, Hunt claims that the 82mm wheelset is “class-leading” in terms of its aerodynamic performance, besting similar wheels from Specialized, Enve, Zipp and DT Swiss. Hunt claims its wind tunnel testing shows the 82CA wheelset is “class-leading” in terms of aerodynamics. Hunt Though that’s clearly not an exhaustive list of competitors (and curiously the 82mm wheelset and its competitors were tested with 23mm tyres) it’s always refreshing to see a bicycle brand actually release the data behind its claims. According to Hunt, the rim width should marginally exceed the width of the tyre for optimum aerodynamic performance, especially at higher yaw angles (which Hunt says are more frequently experienced by road racers and riders in “real world conditions”). Hunt says the Carbon Aerodynamicist wheels have rim profiles optimised around 25mm tyres. Hunt Indeed, Hunt’s data shows there is a relatively significant drop off in aerodynamic performance when changing to a 28mm tyre, compared to the difference between 23mm and 25mm tyres. It would follow that for optimum aerodynamic performance with a 28mm tyre, the rim would need to be at least 29-30mm wide (the rims on Hunt’s 48 Limitless Aero disc wheels are 35mm wide), something that current rim brakes are likely to prevent. Hunt’s wind tunnel data shows that 23mm and 25mm tyres are the fastest options, in terms of drag, on its new Carbon Aerodynamicist wheels, with 28mm tyres showing a small but measurable aero penalty. Hunt It’s also interesting to note that, in terms of pure aerodynamic performance, Hunt’s testing shows that a 23mm tyre tends to be faster. The testing doesn’t take into account differences in rolling resistance, so it doesn’t necessarily tell us that narrow tyres are faster overall, but it does serve as a reminder that there are a huge number of factors at play in finding the fastest wheel, tyre, bike and rider combination. The Hunt Carbon Aerodynamicist wheel range is available to pre-order now, for delivery in late March 2020. Customers will be able to order all wheels in the Carbon Aerodynamicist range as either a set or as single wheels.
For quite some time, WTB has held a good share of the MTB saddle market with their classic Silverado model. Its aesthetically pleasing silhouette features a fairly wide and supportive tail with a slightly rounded off nose and just the right amount of padding throughout. In an area of the bike where cyclists can be up understandably picky, it has boasted and still does boast an impressively broad appeal. Not long ago, WTB introduced a new fit finder on their website which is surprisingly simple – all you need is a ruler and your wrist. Their research has shown a strong correlation with wrist width and sit bone width, so when prompted I measured my wrist and they sent out something new for me to try – the SL8. This new (to me) saddle is reminiscent of a Silverado, but leaner in profile and it a bit more stripped down. After a few months of use, here’s how it has been working out. Details Chromoly, Titanium (tested) and Carbon rails available Narrow, Medium (tested), Wide – 127, 142, 150 x 265mm length 211 grams (our scale) Microfiber cover with Kevlar side panels $129.95 Like many WTB seats, you’ll find tough, abrasion resistant Kevlar at the corners of the tail. We all crash, and this protective measure protects your investment. The titanium railed option saves about 60 grams over its more affordable chromoly counterpart. My personal experience with titanium railed saddles is that they are also a bit less prone to bending if/when you case a jump while seated. I ended up with the Medium 142 width saddle based on my measurements, as you can see above. Also pictured, you can see the relief in the shell as indicated by the “comfort zone” graphic. That cutaway definitely helps prevent unnecessary pressure in the most prone area of our anatomy. Coming in at 211 grams with a bunch of dirt on it, the SL8 is pretty darn light given how dense its padding is. You can go about 60 grams in either direction with carbon fiber or chromoly – which will also cost or save you a bit of coin as well. On the trail When I first eyed up the SL8 visually, I was a bit skeptical of how well I’d get along with it. The hose looked a little on the pointy side and it seemed a bit narrow in the center, but I was quickly proven wrong. I’ve certainly not been averse to fairly low profile saddles, and I’m a firm believer that no amount of padding can trump contour, shape and design. Prior to the SL8, my go-to saddle has been the Specialized Phenom. Starting up front, while the nose doesn’t curl and drop off quite as dramatically as the Silverado, it stays out of the way well enough and I didn’t have issues with it wanting to snag on my shorts or jersey. Speaking of such things – moving around, hovering over the saddle and using the inside of the thighs to steer all proved to be pleasant experiences with the SL8. Back to padding – while the center section visually appeared a bit narrow, it actually proved to be very comfortable on some rather big days in the saddle. I had no issues with numbness whatsoever. Out back, the width was just right for me and I never found myself fussing and shifting around side to side a few hours into a ride. As far as technical details go, first and foremost – I felt the padding was dense and well distributed, which is what makes the minimalist approach still somehow manage to be comfortable on trail. The padding has also held up so far through a rather wet winter during which it has seen a great deal of moisture and washings. Thus far there hasn’t been any degradation. The Kevlar is an obvious plus, but keep in mind that whether you ride in Lycra or Baggies, the chaffing will wear down your riding shorts to a certain extent. So far, the materials and craftsmanship have proven to be quite sturdy, with no split seams, bent rails or premature wear despite a few cases and small crashes. Additionally, the padding still feels as plush as ever. Overall I typically look to WTB when I’m after a saddle with a bit more to it – the Silverado fits that bill and it’s the kind of seat that I’ll typically mount on an Enduro or DH bike. To my surprise, I actually found the SL8 to be even more comfortable on long days despite its slender nature. There’s no reason to think that it can’t hold up just as well as it shares many of the same high points on the construction side. In terms of value, $129 for the titanium railed version is pretty reasonable. If you’re less weight conscientious, the $79 chromoly version is an even better deal. Don’t let its slender shape fool you into thinking it’s only good for the Gravel and XC crowd…I’d put the SL8 on just about anything, but maybe stop short with a downhill bike. In any case, it’s a great all around saddle, and the fact that it’s available in 3 widths is also surely a nice bonus as it will better fit a broader range of riders. www.wtb.com
A new Zwift advert may have inadvertently revealed Canyon’s latest update to its popular Aeroad aero road bike. The advert shows XC, cyclocross and road superstar Mathieu Van der Poel riding a number of different Canyon bikes on a Wahoo Kickr smart trainer in a room with Zwift projected onto the walls. His road bike appears to be an updated version of Canyon’s highly regarded but slightly long in the tooth aero road bike platform, the Aeroad. It’s a bike that many of us here at BikeRadar were hoping to see in 2020. While the overall profile of the frame appears similar to that of the current model, originally released back in 2014 and updated with disc brakes in 2016, there are a few notable differences when the two bikes are compared side by side. Though at first glance the bike appears to be very similar to the current Aeroad, there are a few notable differences on the bike Van der Poel is riding. Zwift For a start, the cable routing around the handlebars and head tube has been significantly tidied up, with all cables (including hoses for hydraulic disc brakes) now routed fully internally through the handlebar and into the frame. The integrated handlebar also looks to have received an update, with the traditional-bend drop shape found on the previous model being replaced by a more modern, semi-compact shape. Additionally, the seat stays appear to have been widened and the new fork also tapers less at the dropouts than the previous version, perhaps both taking advantage of the updated UCI rules, which now permit tube shapes that are slightly longer and thinner (and therefore more aerodynamic) than when the original version was released. Zwift’s advert provides a fleeting close-up glance at what is potentially the new 2020 Canyon Aeroad. Zwift The down tube appears to also have been widened to match the width of the head tube, likely to increase stiffness and improve aerodynamic performance with water bottles in place – similar to how Pinarello widened the down tube when redesigning its F8 to make the F10. Tyre clearance at the fork looks to have also increased, which would be a welcome update. Being able to take a 28mm tyre was considered very progressive for an aero road bike when the current Aeroad released, but times have moved on and we’re hoping this new version might be able to take even larger road tyres. The proprietary aero seat post also appears to have been significantly beefed up, presumably in search of greater aerodynamic efficiency, but we’ll be interested to find out how comfort compares to the current model when we can eventually get one in to test. When the current model launched in 2014 it was positively futuristic, but six years is a long time in bicycle design terms so it’s certainly due an update soon. James Huang / Immediate Media As always, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for any more details from Canyon. Interestingly, the UCI’s latest list of approved frame models lists this new model only in disc form (as the Aeroad CFR Disc R065), so could this spell the end of the rim brake Canyon Aeroad? It might upset a few die-hard rim brake fanatics out there, but with Scott recently announcing its new Addict RC would be a disc-only platform and Cannondale’s SystemSix aero bike only coming with discs, that appears to be the direction the performance road bike market is now heading.
Get a bunch of high-profile friends together, take them to an area they’ve probably never ridden and show them a great time. The post All-Star Crew Rides Northwest Arkansas appeared first on Mountain Bike Action Magazine.
To our dearest Frothers Of The Flow. It is time for us all to shed a wee tear, because this right here is the very last edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce for 2019. Alas! It is true! We have arrived at the conclusion of the year, a very big year, which has been absolutely chock-a-block full of riding adventures, travelling and new bike releases. For a timely round-up of some of the finest gear to have hit the market in 2019, be sure to check out Wil’s Top 10 list of some of the best mountain bikes and kit he tested over the past 12 months. We’ve worked alongside some absolute legends of mountain biking, including Hans Rey, who recently returned to Tasmania to witness first hand the evolution of the sleepy town of Derby since his first visit in 2016. We also joined Canadian freeride luminary, Thomas Vanderham, on an epic road trip that concluded with a memorable party at the Ignition MTB festival in Falls Creek. In a big piece of news for NSW mountain bikers, and those who are looking to travel to Thredbo this season for a riding holiday, a brand new trail called ‘Ricochet’ has just opened up. You can take a closer look at the new trail, and how it threads into the broader Thredbo network, in our feature story here. Or just check out the short video below! Further down south, there have been some notable upgrades at Maydena to make the bike park more suitable for e-MTB riders. We sent seminal e-Frother Josh Carlson down to Tassie to check out the trails and see exactly what makes a bike park e-Ready. And while we’re on the Tassie Tip, you’d have to be hiding underneath a piece of firm sediment to have not heard the news that the St Helens MTB trail network, including the Bay of Fires trail, is now officially open! If you want to know what the riding and scenery is like on this 42km journey from the Blue Tier to St Helens, be sure to check out the feature and video here. On the bike testing front, we also published our review on the 2020 Canyon Lux – a very agile, very light and very well-rounded package for those who like to go fast. For those who like to go fast in a different way, be sure to check out the in-depth review of the highly-anticipated 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty. Speaking of e-MTBs, we caught up with Robbie from Drift Bikes in Newcastle to ask him about his experience of taking his little tacker on adventures with the Thule Chariot, which he tows along on the back of his S-Works Levo, no less. So as you can probably tell, it’s been hella busy for us here at Flow – and that’s only the past four weeks! But we aren’t done just yet. Before we make the leap into 2020 and start popping those bottles of champers, we have one final instalment of our regular round-up feature of all things new and shiny to get you all frothing for the New Year. So sit back, relax, and enjoy, and we’ll see you all in the very near future! Funn UpDown Dropper Post The Funn UpDown dropper post has a very clever feature lurking inside its proprietary cartridge. For those who like their saddle to go up and down remotely, Funn has an option for you in the UpDown dropper post. Using AL7050 alloy outer and inner tubes and a twin-bolt saddle clamp, the UpDown is an internally routed and cable-activated dropper post. Inside is a proprietary RCR cartridge, which features a ‘self-bleed’ function that’s designed to purge the oil bath of any air bubbles that might sneak in over time. If you’ve ever had a dropper post go spongy and turn into a pseudo suspension seatpost, you’ll know exactly why you don’t want air bubbles in that oil reservoir. Unlike the BikeYoke Revive and the new generation RockShox Reverb dropper posts, this bleed function is built into the cartridge, which means it automatically bleeds out any trapped air bubbles each time you compress and release the post fully. Well, that’s the marketing spiel anyway – we’ll be testing this one, so stay tuned for a longterm review. The UpDown dropper comes in 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters, and 125mm and 150mm travel options. It’s joined by a neatly machined alloy remote with a large textured paddle that can be mounted to the bar via its own clamp, or via SRAM’s MatchMaker system. From: KWT Imports Price: $350 SRAM X-Sync 2 Oval Chainring SRAM offers both round and oval versions of its excellent X-Sync 2 direct mount chainrings. Arriving in time for a summer holiday rebuild of Wil’s XC race bike, this oval chainring from SRAM promises improved power delivery and climbing traction due to its non-round shape. SRAM offers its X-Sync 2 Oval chainring in both Boost and non-Boost varieties in 32, 34, 36 & 38T sizes, and it uses the brand’s 3-bolt direct mount interface to fit Wil’s X01 Eagle cranks. Of course it also features the intricately machined X-Sync 2 tooth profile that is purpose built for SRAM’s 12-speed mountain bike chains, which is there to keep the chain secure while bouncing down the trail. From: PSI Cycling Price: $179.95 SRAM X01 Eagle 12-Speed Chain 12-speed-Eagle-chain-in-a-box. And to go along with the new cassette and the bigger 34T chainring, we’ve got a fresh X01 Eagle chain. One of the best wearing mountain bike chains on the market, the X01 12-speed chain uses a Hard Chrome finish on both the inner links and on the rollers, which SRAM says boosts wear life by 4x over its cheaper chains that don’t have that same surface treatment. Includes a tool-free PowerLock connector. From: PSI Cycling Price: $119.95 Shimano AM702 Shoes Shimano’s AM7 shoe has been updated for 2020 with a new rubber outsole and a low-profile TPU upper. Shimano recently rolled out its new 2020 off-road footwear range, which included updates to its GR (flat pedal) and AM (SPD) models. The AM series is the brand’s burly SPD offering that’s designed for trail riders, enduro racers and downhillers, and the AM702 shown here sits right in the middle of the three-shoe lineup. The new AM702 (or AM7 for short) features a revamped rubber outsole with a deep central cleat channel and chunky tread blocks for providing traction when trudging back up the trail. The near-seamless TPU upper has also been updated to absorb less water and dry faster by way of a new mesh fabric. There’s a moulded toe cap for protection, and a rear pull loop for tugging the shoes on. Internally, a glass fiber-reinforced shank provides stability on SPD pedals, though stiffness is deliberately lower than an XC race shoe. Available in two colours and sizes from EU36-48, the AM7 uses a combination of laces with a single Velcro strap for adjusting the shoe’s fit over your feet, and there’s also a neoprene ankle collar for keeping rocks and debris from working its way into your shoes. From: Shimano Price: $189.95 Shimano Deore XT M8120 SPD Trail Pedals Modelled on the XTR Trail pedals, the new XT M8120 gets a reworked platform that increases stability with the underside of your shoe. When Shimano launched its new Deore XT M8100 12-speed groupset this year, the Japanese brand also introduced two new SPD pedals to go with it; the M8100 (Race) and the M8120 (Trail). We’ve got the new M8120 Trail pedal here, which retains the classic SPD mechanism, but builds it inside a totally revamped forged alloy body that is slimmer in height, but broader in platform. This increases surface contact between the shoe and pedal, with a wider platform that should increase stability. The overall design mimics that of the XTR M9120 Trail pedal, though XT skips the exotic materials to come in at nearly half the price. Chromoly spindles roll on stainless steel cup & cone bearings that are designed to be user serviceable, and the SPD mechanism itself can be adjusted via a 3mm hex key. Claimed weight is 438g for the pair, and of course you get a set of fresh cleats (and cleat spacers) in the box. From: Shimano Price: $189.95 Santa Cruz Tallboy CC V4.0 Frameset In one of the zestiest releases of the year, Santa Cruz unveiled the completely revamped and repurposed 4th generation Tallboy. While the Tallboy 4.0 remains as the Californian brand’s short-travel 29er trail bike, the new frame is basically unrecognisable from the old version. Utilising the new generation lower link-driven VPP layout, suspension travel has had a slight massage with rear bumping up to 120mm, and the option to run a 130-140mm travel fork up front. Along with its radicalised geometry, we reckon this bike is pretty much a Minitower. Since its release back in August, the Tallboy has been in hot demand, having clearly resonated with riders all over the globe who are digging the aggro short-travel trail bike vibes. But despite the frames and complete bikes selling long before they’ve even arrived on our shores, somehow Flow’s marvellous Mick Ross has been able to wrangle a bare Tallboy CC frameset. You’ll be glad to know that it didn’t stay bare for long though. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the website for a closer look at a seriously drool-worthy custom build coming your way soon… From: Lusty Industries Price: $5,499 Shimano 4-Piston N04C Metal Brake Pads Fresh brake pads from Shimano designed for the new-school 4-piston brake callipers. If you’re running the new generation 4-piston disc brakes from Shimano (XTR M9120, Deore XT M8120, or SLX M7120) then you’ve got a few options for replacement disc brake pads. There are both finned and non-finned versions, and you can also choose between resin or metal compounds. Here we’ve got the finned metal compound pad (N04C), which are due to replace a set of well-used pads in our Merida eOne-Sixty. The metal compound offers improved wear life over the resin compound, and it also copes better with wet conditions, harder braking and higher temperatures. The downsides of a metal brake pad? You can get more noise compared to a resin pad, and you also won’t get the same initial bite, particularly at lower speeds where there’s less heat in the rotors. If you prefer quieter braking and only ride in dry conditions, you’ll want the resin version of these, which are the N03A pad. From: Shimano Price: $54.95 per end Shimano Deore XT M8100 12-Speed I-SPEC EV Shifter This little XT shifter is due to be a hop-up for our SLX long term test groupset. Also destined for one of our long term test bikes is this Shimano Deore XT 12-speed trigger shifter. You may have seen our big review feature on the SLX M7100 1×12 drivetrain, where we pitched it against the SRAM GX Eagle groupset. One of the things we’ve missed with the SLX shifter is the double up-shift functionality, which is featured at both the XT and XTR level. So Shimano has sent us out a right-hand XT shifter as a running upgrade for our SLX test groupset. There are a couple of other differences though. Whereas the SLX trigger shifter has traction grooves moulded into its plastic thumb paddles, the XT shifter adds a rubber traction pad onto the big thumb paddle. You might also notice that this particular shifter is the direct mount version, which bolts onto a new generation Shimano brake lever clamp using the I-SPEC EV system. This means we’ll be able to remove one more clamp from the handlebars to neaten up the cockpit. Nice! From: Shimano Price: $99 Mo’ Flow Please! Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow! The post Flows Fresh Produce | New Pedals, A Dropper Post, Fresh Kicks & A Santa Cruz appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
New bikes and kit hit the market in a seemingly endless stream, with continual updates rendering products obsolete at a terrifying pace. At the same time, some products just stay the same, remaining available and oddly immune to the ceaseless march of progress. Have carbon bikes reached classic status yet? A gruesome reminder of why your bike has bar end plugs Here are five outliers we can’t quite believe you can still buy… 1 Shimano Dura-Ace 7710 track cranks Still available, still lovely. Shimano Shimano’s current R9100-series Dura-Ace groupset is a technological tour de force. An 11-speed masterpiece that offers hydraulic disc brakes and electronic shifting as options. It’s a far cry from the 9-speed Dura-Ace 7700 groupset that launched more than two decades ago but, somehow, a remnant of that nineties groupset lives on. The Dura-Ace Track FC-7710 is still listed as a current product on Shimano’s website and you can still buy it new. This gorgeous crank uses the splined Octalink bottom bracket interface that has since been superseded by Hollowtech II and press-fit designs. Its continued existence can be credited to the fact that track bike drivetrains don’t really need to get any more technologically advanced. That said, it’s perhaps somewhat surprising that Shimano hasn’t knocked out single-ring versions of any of its subsequent Dura-Ace cranks, if only for the sake of product harmony and also because why wouldn’t it? Even more impressively, the square taper FC-7600 cranks that preceded the 7710s are still available new from selected shops. Latest deals 2 Lizard Skins Headset Seal The fork used in this product image gives you a clue to how long the Headset Seal has been around. Lizard Skins I don’t know how long this little bearing condom has been on the market but it has to be at least 20 years, and yet somehow it endures. The Headset Seal slips over the lower cup of a traditional external headset, in theory reducing the ingress of water and dirt. These days, integrated headsets are the norm on the vast majority of bikes, but it’s reassuring to know that for around £3 / $5, you too can have cosy lower balls. Latest deals for the Lizard Skins Headset Seal 3 Planet X Pro Carbon The Pro Carbon has always been a benchmark for affordable road bikes. Planet X Someone will doubtless correct me, but I believe that the Pro Carbon has been continuously available for longer than any other carbon bike on the market, with only minimal changes along the way. It looks quite dated now, but it remains a solid choice and, most importantly, it’s very affordable, with complete bikes starting around £800. Ironically, after years of press-fit dominance, the Pro Carbon’s threaded bottom bracket actually looks fashionable again, as manufacturers question the wisdom of pressed-in bearings. Buy the Pro Carbon direct from Planet X 4 Park Tool PZT-2 Pizza Cutter The Park Tool pizza cutter is a gift guide stalwart Park Tool Has any product ever been included in more gift guides for cyclists? It seems unlikely. The Park Tool pizza cutter is a legend in its own lunchtime, a utensil that, unlike those now-ubiquitous fixie pizza cutters, actually appears moderately ergonomic. Park Tool actually teased a new range of cutters made from Reynolds 853, titanium and carbon back in 2017, but this was sadly an April Fool’s. Something tells me people would have flocked to buy them. Latest deals for the Park Tool PZT-2 Pizza Tool 5 Mavic Open Pro Tubular rim Seriously, who buys low-profile aluminium tubular rims these days? Mavic The Mavic Open Pro is a bit of a legend, the default box section rim for thousands of cyclists, for what feels like thousands of years. It was never the lightest, the most aero or the cheapest, but its spec struck a balance that made it very appealing to wheelbuilders. Various versions were available over the years including a ceramic coated rim and a classic grey anodised option. The Open Pro clincher finally received an update a couple of years ago (although you can still buy the old version), gaining a wider, more up-to-date profile that’s tubeless compatible. There’s even a carbon version. What’s truly remarkable is that the tubular version of the old Open Pro still exists. The market for low-profile tubular rims must be absolutely minuscule but Mavic still lists the Open Pro T on its website, and you can order it from various online bike shops. Latest deals for the Mavic Open Pro Tubular Do you have a favourite evergreen product? Have you recently bought any of the ones in this list? Let us know in the comments.