Handily arriving at the start of our Australian spring is this shiny new test bike; the 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 9000. It’s an e-MTB we’ve been thoroughly excited about getting onto our home trails, having had a taster of the new eOne-Sixty platform at the official launch back in June. There’s been a load of buzz around this bike since that launch, though admittedly not everyone was thrilled by the $12K price tag of the top-of-the-range 10K model we tested at the launch. The good news? There will be four eOne-Sixty models available for 2020, including this one; the 9000. Merida’s second generation eOne-Sixty platform has launched in a big way for 2020. We won’t be going into a load of detail about the new eOne-Sixty platform here, since Oli already did a fabulous job of that in the original launch feature (you can read the full story here). We’ll also be bringing you a broader range overview shortly, including a closer look at the eOne-Forty model too. In the meantime, here’s a short and sweet rundown of what’s special about this new e-MTB. The 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty In A Nutshell This is Merida’s second generation eOne-Sixty. The original model was a much-loved bike here at Flow, having made its way into our long term test fleet where it joined us on many an adventure around the country. It wasn’t perfect out of the box though, and we made a bunch of changes to its setup and specification during our time with it. Looking to address some of those shortcomings while taking advantage of newly available technologies, Merida unveiled the new eOne-Sixty platform back in June. The biggest change? From first glance it’s pretty obvious – this bike looks a kerbillion times better! The 2020 eOne-Sixty now gets a lighter and sleeker carbon fibre mainframe, which integrates the Shimano E8035 battery neatly into the downtube, giving a much cleaner look without the bolt-on style of the old model. It also allows you to fit a water bottle inside the mainframe, which earns a big tick from us. The eOne-Sixty gets a 160mm travel fork plugged in at the front, with 150mm of squish at the rear wheel. Shimano’s latest integrated battery sits inside the sleek carbon mainframe. Merida has retained the metal back-end though. Suspension travel remains the same, so you’ve got 150mm out back and a 160mm fork up front. However, wheel and tyre sizes have changed. There’s still a 27.5in rear wheel, but Merida has gone all on-trend on us with a 29in wheel up front. Depending on your personal feelings about wheelsize, that makes the eOne-Sixty either a mullet bike or a reverse mullet bike. Oh and you also won’t find plus tyres anymore. Instead, Merida has spec’d new-school 2.6in wide tyres front and rear. Geometry gets a wee massage, with the head angle slackening to 65.5°, and the seat angle steepening to 75.5°. Chainstay lengths remain at 439.5mm, because the welded alloy back end has actually been carried over from the previous model. That means you get Boost hub spacing, anti-slap rubber armour on the drive-side chainstay, and post mounts for the rear brake calliper that tucks it in behind the seatstay for a little extra protection. The eOne-Sixty has had its geometry massaged for 2020. What’s It Wearing? There are exactly six models in the Merida eOne-Sixty range for 2020. Two of those are alloy, and they’ll carry over the previous generation frame design. The other four pricier models use a hybrid carbon/alloy frameset that is all-new for 2020, which gets the refreshed geometry and integrated battery design. The eOne-Sixty 9000 that we’ve just received for long term testing is one step down from the big banger 10K model. While it uses exactly the same frame and Shimano STEPS E8000 drive system, it lobs off a cool three thousand dollars by moving to alloy DT Swiss wheels, and changing to a Shimano Deore XT 1×12 groupset, instead of XTR that comes on the top model. High-end alloy hoops from DT Swiss are e-MTB specific, with thicker-walled alloy rims, reinforced hub internals and stronger spokes. Particular highlights on this bike include the aggressive Maxxis EXO+ tyre combo, Kashima-coated Fox suspension, and four-piston disc brakes complete with 203mm rotors front and rear. Proper powarrr! There’s a swag of other neat details, like the integrated on/off button on the top tube, the removable 4/6mm allen key inside the rear thru-axle lever, and the rubber-coated downtube armour that protects the removable battery within. Along with the bike, Merida includes its own cute front and rear mudguards (and zip ties to cable them on), tubeless valves, a carbon fibre bottle cage, and a multi-tool that tucks into its own special pouch underneath the saddle. Nice details! There’s a 29in front wheel paired to a 27.5in rear wheel. Merida has spec’d 2.6in wide tyres at both ends though, complete with the burly Maxxis EXO+ casing. 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 9000 Specs Frame | CFA Carbon Fibre Mainframe & Alloy Swingarm, 150mm Travel Fork | Fox 36 Float, Factory Series, GRIP2 Damper, 51mm Offset, 160mm Travel Shock | Fox Float DPX2, Factory Series, 205x65mm Drive Unit | Shimano STEPS E8000, 70Nm Battery | Shimano E8035, 504Wh Wheels | DT Swiss HX 1501 Spline One, 30mm 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 Deore XT 1×12 w/Deore XT 34t Crankset & 10-51t Cassette Brakes | Shimano Deore XT w/203mm Rotors Bar | Merida Expert eTR Alloy, 20mm Rise, 780mm Wide Stem | Merida Expert eTR Alloy, 40mm Length Seatpost | Merida Expert TR Dropper, Travel: 125mm (XS), 150mm (S/M), 170mm (L/XL) Saddle | Merida Expert CC Available Sizes | S, M, L, XL Confirmed Weight | 22.09kg (Medium size, setup tubeless, without pedals) RRP | $8,999 Shimano’s sleek 12-speed XT rear mech keeps the back end nice and low-profile. New XT brake levers share the same handlebar clamp with the I-Spec EV shifter mount. Inside is a bomber Star Ratchet freehub mechanism. Give the rear axle lever a tug, and out it pops to provide you with a 4 & 6mm hex key. How neat! What’s Next? I’ve already had a couple of rides on the 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 9000, including a local gravity enduro race on the weekend just gone. So far everything’s settling in nicely, though there’s a fair bit of tuning required on both Fox dampers, which offer a load of dials and levers to twiddle with to get everything just-so. I also want to play around a bit with the cockpit setup, which will be interesting since the stock Merida bar/stem use internal wiring for the Shimano STEPS control unit. We’ll have plenty of time to get to know one another though, and we’ve got some pretty epic rides planned for spring and summer that I am VERY much looking forward to. I’ll have an in-depth review coming down the line, but in the meantime, give us a holla if you’ve got any questions about the eOne-Sixty, and we’ll see if we can get them answered for you! Want to know more about the 2020 eOne-Sixty? Then make sure you check out the launch story here. And if you want to know how things ended up last time round with our long term eOne-Sixty long term test bike, have a gander at the story and video here. The new eOne-Sixty looks a kerbillion times better than the original version. As to how it rides? Stay tuned for the review! The post On Test | The 2020 Merida eOne-Sixty 9000 is an e-MTB with a mullet appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
Sigma has released two new multisport smartwatches, the iD.TRI and iD.FREE. Both watches have nearly all of the features you’d expect from a premium multisport smartwatch, but come in at bargain prices (relatively speaking). Sigma might not yet be a household name in cycling, but being a current sponsor of Team Sunweb, it has plenty of experience in making GPS cycling computers and wearables for use at the highest level. With an RRP of €179.95 for the Sigma iD.TRI and €169.95 for the iD.FREE, we can’t say that either of them are cheap, but when stacked up against some of their competitors, they do appear to offer great value. Sigma iD.TRI and iD.FREE smartwatch specs and prices The Sigma iD.FREE and iD.TRI smartwatches were on display at Eurobike 2019. Rob Spedding/Immediate Media The iD.TRI and iD.FREE share the same hardware, but there are slight differences in software that account for the iD.TRI’s extra €10. The iD.FREE is pitched as a general purpose multisport watch and has preloaded profiles for cycling, running, swimming, hiking, fitness and skiing. The iD.TRI is triathlon focussed, so comes preloaded with profiles for swimming, cycling and running. It also gets access to extra modes for structured workouts and competition planning, which the iD.FREE lacks. Both watches have an extra profile that can be fully customised to any sport (via the Sigma companion app on a smartphone or tablet), and include daily activity tracking features, such as steps, distance, calories and sleep. The Sigma iD.FREE is available with four subdued colours of wrist band. Sigma The watches have a compact, rectangular design – similar to the Apple Watch at first glance. They weigh just 42g, feature mineral glass displays and are rated as waterproof up to 50m. The displays are black and white only, have relatively large bezels and aren’t touch sensitive, but these appear to be the only major compromises made to hit this price point. Both watches feature barometric altimeters, a three-axis compass, as well as GPS recording and navigation – enhanced by integration with the Komoot smartphone app. A ‘smart notification’ system is also able to display incoming calls and texts from your phone, and an inbuilt ‘smart light’ can provide visual cues on upcoming turns and notifications. Sigma claims the battery will last for seven days in its always-on mode or up to 12 hours when recording GPS data. Wrist bands for the Sigma iD.TRI are available in three spicier colours, and black. Sigma As expected, both watches feature integrated optical heart rate sensors. While the on-bike accuracy might not match a dedicated chest strap, it’s perhaps the data that can be gathered from more general use (which can potentially be used to provide extra insight into recovery) that makes smartwatches attractive to those that take their training seriously. Nevertheless, both watches support ANT+ and Bluetooth smart devices, so you can also pair external heart rate monitors, power meters and speed/cadence sensors. Though we hope you’d never have to use it, both watches also feature automatic crash detection. If linked to a smartphone, they can notify emergency contacts that you’ve fallen and can automatically show medical and location information on the display. The watches come bundled with a bike mount as standard, and there are four different colours of silicone band available for each watch. Sigma iD.TRI Price: €179.95 Colours available: Black, Red, Neon Green, Neon Mint Sigma iD.Free Price: €169.95 Colours available: Grey, Plum, Green, Blue Do you use a smartwatch to track your cycling or daily activity? Are you a data nerd or do you perhaps think that the modern obsession for tracking and quantifying every part of our lives is a bad idea? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
With only a few months left of the 2019 race season, we’re gearing up for 2020, and next year’s Santos Tour Down Under will take place from 16 to 26 January in Adelaide. How to watch the Vuelta a España 2019 | full schedule for live TV, streaming and highlights How to watch Tour of Britain 2019 TV coverage | full schedule for live TV, streaming and highlights The 2020 Tour Down Under The four-stage 2020 Women’s Tour runs from 16 to 19 January, with 382.8km of riding and 5,750m / 18,865ft of climbing. The six-stage Men’s Tour then kicks off on 19 January, with 921.2km of riding and 12,047m / 39,524ft of climbing. After the success of last year’s changes, it will once again climax on the Willunga Hill climb, on 26 January. How can I watch the Tour Down Under 2020 live in the UK? The broadcasting schedules are yet to be announced, but we anticipate that Eurosport will once again be showing live coverage of the Tour Down Under. A subscription costs £6.99 per month or £39.99 per year. Highlights will likely be shown on ITV 4. An alternative way to access the Eurosport channel is via Amazon Prime. Eurosport Player costs £6.99 per month after a 7-day free trial and Amazon Prime comes with a 30-day free trial and costs £7.99 per month. TVPlayer also provides access to the Eurosport channel via its Premium Plan, which comes with the first month free and then costs £6.99 per month or £69.90 annually (giving you two months for free). How can I watch the Tour Down Under 2020 live in the US? NBC Sports Gold should be showing live coverage of the Tour Down Under. In order to watch, you’ll need to sign up for the NBC Cycling Pass, which costs $54.99 (subscription period 28 May 2019 to 1 May 2020). NBCSN — available through cable — should also be showing live coverage. How can I watch the Tour Down Under 2020 live in Australia? As with last year, Seven West Media will be broadcasting the Tour Down Under in Australia, accessed via the 7plus streaming service or 7Sport app, both of which are free to use. How can I follow the Tour Down Under 2020 if I can’t watch live coverage? The Cyclingoo app provides racing results and news, and covers the entire cycling season including the Tour Down Under. Download the Cyclingoo app from Apple Store Download the Cyclingoo app from Google Play The Tour Tracker app is free to use and will also provide race coverage of the Tour Down Under. You can use it online or download it for iPhone or Android. Highlights are also being shown for both the women’s and men’s races on the official Tour Down Under YouTube channel. Women’s Tour Down Under 2020 schedule Ziptrak Stage 1: Hahndorf to Macclesfield, 16 January Distance: 116.3km The 11-day TDU festival kicks off in Hahndorf. tourdownunder.com.au Novatech Stage 2: Murray Bridge to Birdwood, 17 January Distance: 114.9km Stage 2 features the debut of the Christmas Tree Ridge climb with a max 11% gradient. tourdownunder.com.au Subaru Stage 3: Nairne to Stirling, 18 January Distance: 109.1k Following its first finish last year, Stirling is once again the destination for Stage 3. tourdownunder.com.au Schwalbe Stage 4: Adelaide, 19 January Distance: 42.5km Type: Schwalbe Classic (25 laps x 1.7km circuit) The Women’s Tour concludes with 25 laps of the Adelaide circuit. tourdownunder.com.au Men’s Tour Down Under 2020 schedule Schwalbe Classic: Adelaide, 51km, 19 January Distance: 51km (30 laps x 1.7km circuit) The opening circuit returns to the heart of Adelaide for the first time in years. tourdownunder.com.au Ziptrak Stage 1: Tanunda to Tanunda, 21 January Distance: 150km Stage 1 is a five-lap 30km circuit connecting Tanunda, Bethany, Angaston, Penrice and Nuriootpa. tourdownunder.com.au Novatech Stage 2: Woodside to Stirling, 22 January Distance: 135.8km Stage 2 once again takes in the Adelaide Hills. tourdownunder.com.au Subaru Stage 3: Unley to Paracombe, 23 January Distance: 131km Stage 3 is one of the more complex stages. tourdownunder.com.au Stage 4: Norwood to Murray Bridge, 24 January Distance: 152.8km Stage 4 should promise an exciting sprint finish. tourdownunder.com.au Stage 5: Glenelg to Victor Harbor, 25 January Distance: 149.1km Stage 5 could suit a breakaway at the final climb. tourdownunder.com.au Be Safe Be Seen Stage 6: McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, 26 January Distance: 151.5km The 6th and final stage once again climaxes on the notorious Willunga Hill. tourdownunder.com.au
This Yasujiro Svelte weighs just 5.42kg, which we reckon makes it the lightest steel road bike in the world. Yasujiro is the in-house bike brand of tubing manufacturer Tange. This frame is constructed from the brand’s premium double-butted Ultimate tubing. The walls of this tubing are a mere 0.35mm thick (!) at their thinnest point. This ultralight tubing is at the heart of this remarkable bike and we are utterly in love with it. Eurobike 2019: latest news and highlights from the world’s biggest cycling show How Joe Norledge built his 5.1kg hill climb bike Yasujiro Svelte — world’s lightest steel road bike specs We’re in love with this pastel pink beauty. Jack Luke / Immediate Media Frameset: Yasujiro Svelte, Tange Ultimate tubing, Be King carbon fork Groupset: SRAM Red eTap with RED 22 crankset and Be King chainrings Brakes: Cane Creek EE brakes Finishing kit: Be King carbon Wheels: Be King tubular Unpainted, the 52cm frame weight just 1,240g. Yasujiro The Svelte frame is delightfully simple, with only a few small modifications made to the frame components to reduce weight, bringing this 52cm frame down to just 1,240g (unpainted weight). The build of the bike is (no surprise) fairly premium, but it doesn’t feature nearly as much crazy carbon exotica as you might imagine. The finishing kit has been painted to match the frame. Jack Luke / Immediate Media The shallow tubular wheels, seatpost, saddle, bars and stem all come from Be King, which appears to be an OEM frame and component supplier based close to Yasujiro. Details on the seatpost and handlebars have been painted to match the delightful salmon-y light-ish pink colour of the bike. Svelte by name and nature. Jack Luke / Immediate Media As the most millennial-y millennial on the BikeRadar team, it should come as no surprise that I immediately fell for this pastel hue when I first glanced at it from across the hallowed halls of Eurobike 2019. There are not enough bars wrapped with cotton tape. Jack Luke / Immediate Media The bars are wrapped in a lovely thin, black, cotton bar tape. Running no bar tape would, of course, be lighter, but I appreciate this nod towards practicality. The bike is built around a SRAM Red eTap groupset. Jack Luke / Immediate Media The bike is built around a previous generation SRAM eTap 11-speed groupset, though, curiously, Yasujiro has opted for an older RED 22-era crankset. These are finished with a set of lightweight chainrings, which also come from Be King. In a most welcome but rather rare move for a weight weenie bike, the bike features a threaded bottom bracket shell. Most press-fit bottom bracket systems are lighter than traditional threaded bottom brackets but, as we all know by now, these can be a nightmare to live with. The complete guide to bottom bracket standards The bike has small cutouts in the base of the bottom bracket to reduce weight. Jack Luke / Immediate Media Small windows have been cut out from the base of the bottom bracket shell to shave precious grams. Simple slimmed-down external stops for the rear brake cable are also used to shave weight over internal routing. The straight 1 1/8in steerer matches the tubing perfectly. Jack Luke / Immediate Media Yasujiro has opted for a traditional straight 1 ⅛in steerer with an external headset for the Svelte. I personally welcome this because it complements the skinny profile of the bike’s main tubes better than a modern chunky, tapered head tube. Cane Creek’s EE brakes offer super strong braking in a lightweight package. Jack Luke / Immediate Media No lightweight build is complete without a set of lightweight brakes and Yasujiro has opted for a set of Cane Cree EE brakes. We’re big fans of these feathery calipers here at BikeRadar because they offer remarkably strong braking in a ludicrously light package. The true weight weenie in me sees plenty of opportunities to trim weight from this build — a 1x drivetrain, a lighter crankset and removing the steerer bung are all obvious places to start. However, I appreciate the practicality of the bike as it currently stands. It was refreshing to find such a simple and beautiful frame at Eurobike. Jack Luke / Immediate Media It was also a breath of fresh air to see such a simple and handsome bike among a sea of ‘dropped seatstay this’ and ‘aero formed that’ at Eurobike. Tange Ultimate tubing is some pretty special stuff. Jack Luke / Immediate Media That it’s such a lovely looking thing while pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with a steel frame is nothing short of remarkable. The Yasujiro Svelte frameset is available now and will cost approximately $1,600. International pricing and availability is not available but the bike will be available through the brand’s network of international distributors. Note: I have searched extensively to make sure this really is the lightest steel road bike. However, it is entirely possible that in some hidden corner of the internet, reports of something even lighter exist. Please let me know if you’re aware of something lighter in the comments!
Curve Cycling is a relatively small outfit based out of Melbourne, which over the past six years has established its name from producing carbon fibre wheels that are designed for everything from road racing, through to gravel, cyclocross, ulta-long distance bikepacking and mountain biking. The company has since broadened its product line to encompass complete bikes and frames built from steel, titanium and carbon fibre, but the wheelbuilding business still remains at the core of what Curve is best known for. The Curve Dirt Hoops came well prepared for a chilly Victorian winter with these neat rim-warmers. Down & Dirty With a keen focus on value and keeping the performance-for-the-dollar ratio high, Curve works with manufacturing partners in Asia to produce its carbon fibre rims, which are then handbuilt in its Melbourne-based workshop utilising high quality DT Swiss hubs and Sapim spokes. Up until recently though, Curve’s rims utilised what’s known as an ‘open-mould’ design, which means they’re basically a standard rim out of a catalogue that Curve purchases directly from of the factory. This is no bad thing, and there are plenty of small wheelbuilders out there who import rims directly from the factory to build up well-priced carbon wheels for their customers. Assuming you find the right factory and the quality is right, it can be a cost-effective way to get a great set of wheels. Though that’s worked in the past though, Curve has taken a slightly different approach with its new Dirt Hoops. The new Dirt Hoops are available as a complete wheelset, or rim-only too. Ain’t No Catalogue Rims Here Released earlier this year, the Curve Dirt Hoops are the brand’s newest off-road wheelset. Drawing upon the past six years of wheelbuilding experience, Curve has developed its own unique rim profile that aims to harness the benefits of modern high-volume tubeless tyres, while creating a vastly stronger rim than previous designs. The Dirt Hoops had been in development for well over a year prior to their release. The test process was as extensive and as wide-ranging as the staff pool at Curve Cycling, which included being walloped at Whistler Bike Park, belted at the 2019 National XCO Championships, and pummelled during the arduous 2018 Race To The Rock. The result is a set of wheels made to cover everything from long-distance bikepacking through to All Mountain riding, which Curve says is its most durable to date. Curve-sponsored rider, Jon Odams, getting wild on the new Dirt Hoops during the 2019 Reef to Reef at Smithfield MTB Park. Odams is running the lighter Wide 35 version of the Curve Dirt Hoops, complete with a DT Swiss 240 hub upgrade. Aussie Designed & Tortured Curve has had a number of its sponsored riders putting the new Dirt Hoops through their paces during the development process. That’s included super-endurance riders Sarah Hammond and Jesse Carlsson, and XC racer Courtney Sherwell, who finished 6th at the National XCO championships in Bright this year. Jon Odams has also been racing on the Dirt Hoops Wide 35 wheelset, which he’s had upgraded to DT Swiss 240 hubs to shave off a few more grams. Claimed weight on those wheels? Just over 1400g. 5mm thick carbon fibre hookless beads aim to provide more strength over previous rim designs. Curve furnishes the Dirt Hoops with its own tubeless tape and valves. Wide And, Err, Really Wide There are two options in the Curve Dirt Hoops range; the Wide 35, and the Wider 40. The number in the name refers to the rim’s external width, which as you’ve probably just realised, is bloody massive. Along with the 27mm depth, these wheels have some serious presence. The Wide 35 is pitched as more of an XC/gravel wheelset with a 25mm inner width that (according to Curve), will support 1.75-2.5in tyres. The Wider 40 is the burlier trail/AM wheelset, which has a 30mm inner width and will take 2.3-3.0in wide tyres. Both rims get 5mm thick beads, which is about as big as we’ve seen from any carbon rim on the market. In comparison, those new Zipp 3ZERO MOTO rims use 3.75mm thick beads, and that’s regarded as being pretty darn fat. Why the thicker bead? According to Curve, it’s all about impact strength and durability. Having identified this as an area where previous rims had failed, the Curve team decided to beef up the carbon walls to make them a lot thicker to help spread impact loads. The thicker bead also lessens the chance of cutting the tyre on a heavy bottom-out, which should reduce pinch flats. Those wide rims have some serious presence! Through Thick & Thin The rims themselves are constructed from 3K & Unidirectional Toray T700 carbon fibre and feature what Curve refers to as ‘Mo-Spo technology’. This refers to two things. One is the internal profile of the rim, which is reinforced with thicker layers of carbon fibre around each of the spoke holes. By adding extra carbon only around the inside face of the spoke holes, Curve is able to increase the rim’s strength under pulling forces from the spokes, without adding excessive weight. The other is the spoke holes themselves, which instead of being drilled like most carbon and alloy rims, are moulded instead. This is something we’ve seen ENVE champion on its own carbon fibre rims, and indeed it holds a patent on it too. However, ENVE’s patent is specifically around moulding the pocket for the spoke nipple, which sits inside the rim. That gives a very clean look, but coming from the world of bikepacking and bike shop wrenching, Curve’s design team didn’t want to do that. So the nipples remain external, where they’re more easily adjustable out in the field. For those who want to build their own Dirt Hoops, the rims are available on their own for $729 each. The Wide 35 comes in both 27.5in and 29in diameters, with a claimed weight of 365g and 385g respectively. The Wide 40 only comes in a 29in size, and has a claimed weight of 440g. All rims feature 28 spoke holes. Here you can see just how thick the carbon is around the hookless sidewalls, as well as the slight build-up of carbon around each spoke hole. Curve states an official max rider weight limit of 120kg. What About The In-Between Bits? As for the complete wheels, they’re built in Curve’s Melbourne workshop utilising Sapim’s CX-Ray bladed spokes and Secure Lock brass nipples. Curve acknowledges that alloy nipples are lighter, but prefers the durability and reliability of brass over the minimal weight savings of alloy. At the centre of the wheels is a set of DT Swiss 350 Straight-Pull hubs with an 18T Star Ratchet freehub mechanism. The 350s utilise slightly larger bearings than the 240s, while only being about 40g heavier. Curve does offer the option to upgrade to 240 hubs if you so choose, and it can also upgrade you to a faster-engaging 36T or 54T ratchet kit too. Being a DT hub, you also have the option of SRAM XD, Shimano HG, and Shimano Microspline freehub bodies, which offers a degree of future-proofing. Well, until another standard comes out anyway. Straight-pull DT Swiss 350 hubs are a smart choice on Curve’s behalf. Keep it tight! The bomber Star Ratchet freehub mechanism within. On a similar note, the hubs use a Centerlock disc brake spline, which means you can run them with Shimano Centerlock rotors, or 6-bolt rotors with an adapter. As for the straight-pull design, Curve went down this route since straight-pull spokes are physically easier to remove and replace than J-bend spokes. By that we mean that you don’t have to remove the rotors and cassette to replace a spoke – something that long distance bikepackers, adventure riders, and travelling mountain bikers will likely appreciate. How Do They Compare To The Competition? Curve is selling the Dirt Hoops complete wheelset for $2,198, which puts it somewhere in the middle of the price spectrum for carbon fibre mountain bike wheels. Confirmed weight for our test set of Wider 40 wheels is 1637g – impressive given the generous proportions of the carbon rims. The closest competitor would be the Giant TRX 0 wheelset, which comes in at exactly the same price and is only slightly heavier (1662g). Sitting on either side of the Curve Dirt Hoops is the $1,800 Bontrager Kovee Pro 30 (1500g claimed weight), and the $2,800 Roval Traverse SL Fattie (1735g claimed weight). We’ve spent a good bit of time abusing those three wheelsets, so we’ll have a good basis for comparison with the Curve Dirt Hoops. The Other Details While Curve originally started out selling its wheels direct to consumer, it now offers its products through a dealer network too. You can find more information about that via the Curve Cycling website. All wheels come with a 2-year warranty that covers you for any manufacturing defects that might arise. Curve is pretty confident in its product though, with a substantial 120kg max rider weight limit. Still, should you bust one up pulling a failed 360° tailwhip after being inspired by Red Bull Rampage video highlights, Curve has a crash replacement policy to get you rolling again. Our test wheels have been wrapped with a set of 2.4in wide Pirelli Scorpion MTB tyres, though we’ll be testing out a variety of other rubbers on here in the coming months. To see just how tough these new Dirt Hoops are, Curve sent us out a set of the Wider 40 wheels in a 29er size. We’ve currently got them setup with a pair of 2.4in Pirelli Scorpion MTB tyres, though we’ll be trying out a few other tyre combos in there over time. Here’s a closer look at all the tech specs; Curve Dirt Hoops Wider 40 Wheel Specs 3K & UD T700 carbon fibre rims Hookless & tubeless compatible profile w/5mm thick beads Available in 27.5in and 29in diameters Mo-Spo moulded spoke holes External rim width: 40mm Internal rim width: 30mm Rim depth: 27mm Designed for 2.3-3.0in wide tyres DT Swiss 350 Straight-Pull hubs 18T Star Ratchet freehub mechanism Centerlock disc brake mount 28 x Sapim CX-Ray bladed stainless steel spokes per wheel Sapim Secure Lock brass nipples 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects Claimed weight: 1595g Actual weight: 1637g (including supplied tubeless tape, valves, and Centerlock rings) RRP: $2,198 As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts – tell us what you reckon about these Aussie-designed carbon wheels. And if you’ve got any questions for us about the Curve Dirt Hoops, then make sure you drop them into the comments below! The post On Test | Curve Cycling’s Strongest Carbon Wheels Yet – The Dirt Hoops Wider 40 appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
Prologo has unveiled the 2020 models of its long-running Scratch and the Dimension saddles — the Scratch M5 and the Dimension Tri — at this year’s Eurobike, boasting all sorts of clever acronym-heavy tech. Catering to the needs of long-distance cyclists, triathletes and time-trialists, the Italian saddle brand has reduced the length of the Scratch and tweaked the Dimension to give it a more forward position. Eurobike 2019: latest news and highlights from the world’s biggest cycling show Fizik goes short-nosed for 2020 with new Argo saddles Prologo Scratch M5 overview The Scratch M5 also comes in a version where the pressure relief channel isn’t cut out. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media Having no cut-out on this version of the M5 should keep you dry and clean in foul conditions. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media The Prologo Scratch has been a staple of the brand for more than a decade, with a rounded profile that’s claimed to allow the pelvis a natural rotation. Measuring at 250mm in length, the Scratch M5 is 30mm shorter than its predecessors, following the short-nose trend that’s been present for the last few seasons. Its rounded profile is combined with ProLogo’s MSS system, which debuted last year on its e-bike specific Proxim range. MSS (Multi-Sector-System) refers to the way the saddle is divided into five sections that are distinguished by their different densities, for a more tailored approach to undercarriage support. The individual zones are claimed to favour the natural push-pull movement of the pedal phase. It’s not just about the padding, either. According to Prologo, the carbon hull is constructed with long-strand carbon fibres, designed to offer compliance on the flanks and nose, and firm support through the mid-section. Finally the Scratch M5 features what the brand calls the PAS (Perineal Area System). This is a channel that’s designed to relieve pressure on the perineum and improve blood flow to the area. Prologo Scratch M5 price, sizing and availability The new Prologo Scratch M5 follows the classic rounded shape of the Scratch but in a shortened form. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media The base of the Scratch M5 is constructed using long strand carbon fibre. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media The Prologo Scratch M5 comes in one size: 140mm×250mm. The multi-sectional design is available with two options: one with a full cut-out that’s ideal for roadies, and one with a relief channel that would suit off-road riders. Nack Scratch M5 €199 (carbon rails) Tirox Scratch M5 €135 (titanium-alloy rails) Prologo Dimension Tri overview The Dimension Tri is 7mm broader at the nose than the standard Dimension Prologo The Dimension Tri is another new addition to Prologo’s 2020 offering. Building on the tried and tested previous model, the Dimension Tri is aimed at triathletes and time-trialists, with an ergonomic ‘V’ shape combined with the brand’s PAS channel, described above. Compared to the standard Dimension saddle, the seat area has been moved forward by about 20mm, while the tip is 7mm wider. While the Dimension Tri is not multi-sectional in design, it still incorporates a variety of foam densities, which the brand says will increase stability and comfort. The saddle is available with Prologo’s patented CPC (Connect Power Control) technology. This comprises conical and hollow 3D polymer nano-structures, claimed to increase airflow and provide shock and vibration absorption. Prologo Dimension Tri price, sizing and availability The new ProLogo Dimension Tri comes with a CPC covering version, something we wanted to see on the original Dimension. Prologo The Prologo Dimension Tri also comes in one size: 143mm × 245mm. Nack Dimension Tri €195 (with CPC €249) Tirox Dimension Tri €139 (with CPC €159)
Hunt seem to have new wheels coming out left, right and centre at the moment, and our experience thus far has been pretty positive. We caught up with their man at Eurobike, Sam, to have a quick peek at their latest wheelset — the E_Enduro. All our coverage from Eurobike 2019, the world’s biggest bike show Hunt’s £479 alloy wheel set is claimed to be faster than Zipp NSW 202 Hunt releases ‘World’s fastest aero disc wheelset’ with data to prove it Big width and burly components Hunt has a new heavy duty wheel available. It’s labelled as an e-bike wheel but we reckon it could also be spot on for heavier, more aggressive riders of regular bikes. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media Thicker spokes ensure a strong build. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media The alloy hub shell on the E_Enduro wheelset. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media There’s extra sealing on the hub’s end cap. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media This cooling fin for the brake rotors may well be unique in the MTB world. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media Hunt designed the axle to take big loads. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media A steel freehub ensures the cassette won’t dig in. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media The E_Enduro is basically Hunt’s EnduroWide wheels, but slightly beefed up. Instead of a 33mm internal width, these alloy rims are 37mm wide inside, and 41.5mm wide externally — wide enough to provide ample support for 2.5in or 2.6in rubber, even up to 2.8in should you wish. With appropriate tape, etc, they’re obviously tubeless-ready too. J-bend spokes are strong and easy to build. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media Next up are the spokes, which have a thicker gauge (2.3/1.8/2.0) to keep them nice and stiff, helping them deal with the larger loads an e-bike typically puts through the wheels. Given their claimed strength, if you’re a heavier or more aggressive rider who often destroys wheelsets, these could be a good option for non-e bikes too. There are 36 spokes on the rear, though at present we don’t have a front spoke count. At the hub level, Hunt have again ensured strength and reliability, at the expense of some weight. The rear hub uses a steel freehub body to cope with the forces put through the cassette and avoid the issue of cassette sprockets digging in to the freehub body. While the standard Shimano design was shown to us, Hunt will also offer it with an XD driver body, and, if the Microspline standard opens up, presumably with that too. A steel freehub ensures the cassette won’t dig in. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media The freehub has 6 reinforced pawls. This ups the engagement angle from 3 degrees to 10, but this could well be a price worth paying, and is slightly less important on an e-bike. The bearings are protected by an extra set of seals on the non-drive side also. Finally, and this is the first time we’ve seen this, there’s a cooling fin machined into the hub body by the disc mount. This is there to give a little extra heat dissipation from discs that may well be running hot on a heavy e-bike. Hunt have built a wider rim, meaning plenty of volume for your chunky tyres. Tom Marvin / Immediate Media While Hunt still needs to confirm with production wheels, you’ll be looking at around 2,500g for a pair of 27.5in wheels, or 2,600g for the 29in set. Pricing is expected to fall within £10-£20 (ish) of their Enduro Wide wheelsets, which have a £359 price tag. More information will be available on full launch from Hunt Bike Wheels.
Welcome to another addition of First Look Friday, where we take a closer look at the very best products to arrive in the BikeRadar office this week. This time we’ve got supple and wide tan wall tyres, some of the lightest enduro-ready wheels on the market, and yet another tyre insert designed to prevent punctures. This week we’re at the world’s largest cycling trade show, Eurobike, and there’s been plenty to talk about so far: from Brompton’s new adventure folder the Explore and news that Schwalbe is ceasing production of tubular tyres to ABS brakes on mountain bikes and CeramicSpeed’s mad chainless Driven drivetrain that now changes gear and is for mountain bikes too. We’ve also seen loads of product reviews from suspension forks to pannier racks, and a fair few bikes besides. Just yesterday we covered the launch of the new Trek Allant+ and Supercaliber, as well as Orbea’s new lightweight, aero OMX. In between getting out on our bikes this weekend, we’re looking forward to watching the final round of the cross-country and downhill mountain bike World Cup in Snowshoe, USA. You can watch it here on Red Bull TV. But first, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of some shiny new products. DT Swiss EXC 1200 wheels DT Swiss’ first carbon wheelset is tough enough for enduro racing and weighs just over 1,700g in 29in. Immediate Media DT Swiss is no stranger to carbon mountain bike wheels. It’s already got the XRC 1200 for cross-country racing and the XMC 1200, which was intended for lighter duty all-mountain applications (though YT still specced it on its enduro-capable Capra). But when it comes to enduro wheels DT has stuck with the alloy rimmed EX 1501 Spline One wheels as its top-end offering. It’s a highly-regarded wheelset, and weighs a very respectable 1,893g a pair on our scales in 29in with valves and tape. According to DT’s UK rep, DT would only make a carbon enduro wheel if it had a significant weight advantage, and that’s exactly what we have here. These tip our scales at 1,716g in 29in with valves. That will make them among the lightest enduro-ready wheels we’ve tested. The carbon rim is claimed to be at least as impact-resistant DT’s EX511 alloy rim. Immediate Media According to DT, they’re at least as tough as the notoriously reliable EX 1501 wheels in lab tests. The carbon rim is stiffer, but DT compensates for this with 28 bladed spokes, which apparently allow a little more flex in the wheel than round spokes, as well as lower spoke tension. These are tied in to DT’s new 180 hubs, which we featured in an earlier edition of First Look Friday. They use a simplified star ratchet design, ceramic bearings for lower rolling resistance and a wider bearing stance to reduce side-load on the bearings. DT’s 180 hubs are light, free-spinning and compatible with Centre Lock rotors as well as 6-bolt discs with the included adaptors. Immediate Media One feature we really like is the valve. It has an oblong lockring to make it easier to clamp the valve tight enough onto the rim to prevent any leaking and a valve core remover in the valve cap. Immediate Media They’re available with SRAM XD freehubs as well as Shimano’s new Microspline 12-speed adaptor. £1,900 / $2,735 Buy now from Bike24 Teravail Rutland gravel tyre Gravel tyres are looking more and more like early nineties MTB tyres. Immediate Media Teravail offers an impressive range of gravel tyres, as well as road and mountain bike options too. The Rutland is aimed at soft-conditions gravel riding. It’s got a pretty toothy tread (for a gravel tyre), with closely packed centre blocks and ramped leading edges to minimise rolling-resistance. The tread towards the edge of the tyre is slightly taller and spaced further apart to help it bite into mud and soft dirt when you’re leaning into a corner. The intermediate tread blocks are siped (they have small grooves cut into them) to help the rubber splay out like a goat’s hoof to improve grip too. The tread is designed to offer both straight-line speed and cornering grip. Immediate Media They’re available in three sizes: 650b x 47mm, 700c x 37mm and 700c x 42mm. We have the latter in a handsome tan wall variant. There’s a tough casing option for added puncture protection, and a light and supple casing, which should offer less rolling resistance and a smoother ride at a given pressure. In 700c x 42mm the tyre weighs 453g on our scales of truth. Despite its old-school looks, it is of course tubeless ready. £55 / $55 Buy from The Woods Cyclery Rockstop rim protector Though far from the first in-tyre insert, Rockstop looks to be better made than most. Immediate media The mountain bike market is awash with inserts like the Rockstop. They are designed to prevent pinch flats and rim damage in a tubeless mountain bike tyre by cushioning the tyre from the rim when the wheel impacts a rock, which would otherwise press the tyre against the rim bead. Most are made from foam and we’ve found that some work much better than others. The problem with foam is that it can absorb tubeless sealant, so there’s less liquid left to plug tears in the sidewall and you need to top up the sealant more often. Rockstop uses a Polyurethane-based rubberised polymer, which is claimed to absorb no sealant. Apparently, the same material is used in Formula One car bump stops. And as we all know, if it works in a Formula One car it must be ideal for a bicycle, right? The holes save weight while the central ridges hold it in the rim bed. Immediate Media The insert is slim in profile, with just a few mm of padding above the rim bead. The design is relatively complex, with large holes in the middle to save weight where it’s not needed to protect the rim edges. Despite this, it’s one of the heavier inserts at 247g on our scales in 29er size. For comparison, similar foam inserts such as Huck Norris or Nukeproof Ard weigh 106g and 144g respectively. Meanwhile CushCore — one of the heaviest — weighs 265g, but it improves sidewall stability and rough-terrain traction as well as reducing the risk of picking up a pinch-flat. By the time you read this we’ll be out testing it to see if it works any better than the competition. £65 Find out more from Rockstop
Orbea has announced an update to its flagship race bike and it’s called the Orca OMX. The OMX aims to combine lightweight and aero features in a single package, and adopts the now seemingly universal dropped seatstay frame design. Orbea’s current race bike line-up is pretty strong. At the lightweight end of things there’s the sub-800g framed OMR with its slender round tubes, traditional two-triangle design and flourishes such as a keyed-in fork crown and integrated seat clamp to add a bit of flair and even aerodynamic gains. Eurobike 2019: all the news from the biggest bike show on Earth Colnago goes fully mainstream, dropping seatstays and grams with new V3Rs Then there is the Orbea Orca Aero, a bike whose main goal is aero-efficiency, with its Kamm tail shaped tubing, smooth frontal area and details such as the ‘Freeflow’ fork — which with its bowed leg design it is claimed to offer a 4W reduction over a standard fork. The Orca Aero is one of the best of the current crop of aero bikes around, earning a Best Aero award back in 2018 in our Bike of the Year Awards, so it seemed a little odd when Orbea announced to that it has another machine on the way. The fork legs are bowed to keep them away from the turbulent air of the front wheel as it turns. Russell Burton The new OMX has not been designed to be a replacement for the OMR or Aero — although the OMR will now trickle down to much lower price-points — but is instead a bike that aims to combine the aero advantages of the Aero with the lightness of the OMR in performance terms. Orbea designer, Joseba Arizaga, told us: “We wanted a bike for the modern rider, a bike that can be ridden everywhere be it in competition, gran fondo or long rides with friends, we want the Orca OMX to be your best bike for the best days out.” As with pretty much every rival to the OMX, the new Orbea has a D-shaped seatpost. Russell Burton The details behind the design are impressive, with a claimed frame weight of just 833g and a 370g fork — it’s not that far away from the flyweight OMR. The important thing to remember though is that these figures are for a disc bike, with the OMX being the first Orbea road bike to be available in disc-only specification. Arizaga tells us that in the last year more than 75 per cent of all Orbea road bike sales have been for disc-specific models, and current sales are tracking for a further a reduction in rim-brake bike sales. Orbea also claims that the OMX is 15 percent stiffer than the OMR, and when you combine that with a drag reduction of over 10 percent compared to the OMR, the OMX starts to look like a pretty compelling machine. It’s also claimed to have an 8W advantage over the OMR at 40km/h. The OS ICR stem routes the cables internally. Russell Burton The frame features full internal routing and Orbea’s new OS ICR stem on the Dura-Ace Di2 bike, and you’d be hard pushed to find a cable or hydraulic hose exposed anywhere on the bike. Most brands now have an integrated cable stem design on at least one of their models, but the OS ICR does look to be one of the simplest and neatest. The main body of the (alloy) stem is three sided (like an inverted u-channel) with the base bolting in in two pieces; one is a flat section holding the cables in the body of the stem, and the second combines the base of the (163g) stem with the flush fitting split headset spacers. Both the hydraulic brake hoses run through this via the headset, and the gear cables (or wires in the case of Di2) follow similar channels. The design means the front end of the bike doesn’t have to have steering stops like on a lot of full-aero designs. Dura-Ace Di2 adorns our test bike. Russell Burton The stem holds Orbea’s own 220g carbon bar in place, and the bar has holes to allow the cables to enter the stem without seeing daylight, further adding to the sleek finish of the OMX. Below the stem Orbea has adapted its `Freeflow’ fork from the Aero, and it has a similar bow-legged profile, which keys neatly into the OMX’s main frame. The fork shape affords generous tyre clearance, and that’s matched at the back. So although the OMX is a light, racy bike by nature, it does have provision for a generous 32mm width tyre. The internal seat clamp is one of the smarter solutions we’ve seen. Russell Burton Another neat piece of integration is the seat clamp. Most internal hidden designs either mount the bolt on top at an angle or in the join between top and seat tube. Orbea, however, runs a bolt straight through the junction between top and seat tube, which means access is easy. On other designs, we’ve struggled to get a torque wrench into many seat clamp bolts (not idea when dealing with delicate carbon frames) because of their location, but that’s not the case here. The new OMX doesn’t come cheap. Prices start at £4,199 / $4,999 / €4,699 for the M20-LTD-D with Shimano Ultegra and rise to £8,299 / $9,599 / €9,499 for the Red eTap AXS-equipped M11e LTD D. Orca OMX pricing and models Orca OMX M20 LTD D (Shimano Ultegra): £4,199 / $4,999 / €4,699 Orca OMX M20i LTD D (Shimano Ultegra Di2): £4,999 / $5,999 / €5,699 Orca OMX M21e LTD D (SRAM Force eTap AXS): £5,299 / $6,399 / €5,999 Orca OMX M10i LTD D (Shimano Dura-Ace Di2): £7,899 / $9,299 / €8,999 Orca OMX M11e LTD D (SRAM Red eTap AXS): £8,299 / $9,599 / €9,499 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2Eyt-edeQs&feature=youtu.be
Short saddles have been the trendsetters for a few seasons now, with Specialized’s original Power design setting the standard closely followed by PRO and its impressive Stealth, ProLogo’s popular Dimension range and Selle Italia’s short design ‘Boost’ models, to name a few. Challenge’s super-supple tyres finally go tubeless (and yes, there are tan-wall options) All our Eurobike 2019 coverage Fizik was for a long time considered one of the most innovative saddle brands, but its short-nose model has been a long time coming. An all-new saddle Luca Bertoncello, Fizik’s brand director, explains: ‘The new Argo range has been in development for a long time, it’s part of our Concepts program where experts at Fizik in design and manufacturing have collaborated with medical experts, medical academics, and bike fitting experts.” It appears that the Argo range isn’t just a shortened version of Fizik’s existing designs, but a new saddle designed from the ground up. The idea behind a shorter saddle design is one where riders are in a more fixed position, offering better stability and better weight distribution, because you’re not moving around as much. It’s for these reasons that short saddles seem to have found favour with racers in particular. The Argo Vento (top) has a distinct dropped nose while the Tempo (bottom) has a straighter profile. Fizik The new Argo range comes in two flavours, the Vento and Tempo. The Vento is designed specifically for racers and is 265mm long with widths of 140mm or 150mm. The short shape also features a distinct dropped nose and is built up with a specific low-profile foam that’s decidedly more ‘springy’ than the stuff usually found under Fizik’s covers. The Vento has a wide pressure relief channel too to keep things comfortable when you’re riding hard. The Vento is available in both R1 and R3 specs. The R1 gets carbon rails and a claimed weight of 179g in 140mm width and 186g in 150mm width, while the K:ium railed R3 weighs in at 213g in 140mm and 220g in 150mm. The Tempo is aimed more at endurance riders, and has a shorter nose (it’s 260mm long) with a larger, more defined pressure relief channel. Fizik has also chosen to use its Type 2 foam on the Tempo; here it’s thicker around the sit bones to aid in a more upright riding position with cushioning that’s a little softer than that used on its racing saddles. The Tempo, like the Vento, is available in R1 and R3 specifications (so that’s carbon rails or ‘K:ium’ chromoly) with the R1 tipping the scales at 195g (150mm width) or 202g (160mm width) and the R3 at 229g (150mm width) or 235g (160mm width). Fizik Argo range and pricing The Argo Tempo R1 saddle is the premium offering for endurance riders at a claimed 195g weight, with a £180 price tag. Fizik The Argo Tempo R3 is a more affordable £130 and tips the scales at 229g. Fizik The Argo Vento R1 is Fizik’s premium short racing saddle with a claimed 179g and a £185 price tag. Fizik The R3 version of the Vento comes in at 213g and with a £135 price tag. Fizik Tempo Argo R1: £180 / $215 / €189 Tempo Argo R3: £130 / $139 / €129 Vento Argo R1: £185 / $225 / €199 Vento Argo R3: £135 / $149 / €139