It’s the middle of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and most cyclists could be forgiven for putting their feet up, staying out of the cold and enjoying the off season. Others, though, will be out in full winter kit, ticking off the miles in the name of ‘base training’. But is this pursuit of winter miles out in the elements something all cyclists should be doing? Or is it best left to the pros of the WorldTour who can dedicate 20 hours a week to training? We spoke to two cycling coaches to discover whether base training is a myth or must-do. What is base training? Base training describes the long, steady rides intended to build your aerobic fitness. Base training also provides the foundation on which to build your form through the rest of the season. The clue is in the name – if you consider your fitness as a pyramid, base training provides a solid endurance base, while your top-end form is represented by the peak of the pyramid. “The goal is to develop your aerobic base fitness,” explains Matt Rowe of Rowe & King Cycle Coaching. “That gives you the fitness and ability to train harder and absorb a greater workload further down the line.” Completing a phase of low intensity endurance training prepares the body for more intense work to come, adds Matt Bottrill of Matt Bottrill Performance Coaching, allowing you to sustainably build towards a higher peak of form. “Things like HIIT [High Intensity Interval Training] are the pillars of your future training blocks, which is how you’re going to get your peak performance,” he says. “But base training is about building those foundations so you can then take the load.” In terms of intensity, slow and steady is the name of the game – this is no smashfest around the local lanes, chasing KOM/QOMs on Strava. Base training rides should involve riding steady in zone two. If you train with a power meter, zone two is 56 to 75 per cent of your Functional Threshold Power; if you train with a heart rate monitor, zone two is 65 to 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate. Training with heart rate vs training with power | Which is best for you? Steady group rides are ideal for base training. Robert Smith/Immediate Media What are the benefits of base training? As we’ve already alluded to, base training has three main benefits: to improve your aerobic efficiency, to improve your ability to use fat as a fuel source, and to provide a solid foundation of fitness on which to build your form. Let’s take a closer look at the physiological impact on your body and how that will set you up for the season to come. “Base training improves your endurance, so you’re able to cycle at a lower percentage of your VO2 max,” says Rowe. As a result, you’ll be able to produce the same amount of watts for less effort, he adds. Put simply, this will enable you to ride faster without becoming fatigued. But it’s not just in terms of your effort-to-output ratio where you’ll see improvements as a result of base training. “It enables you to cycle more aerobically, using more fat as opposed to carbohydrates as a fuel source,” says Rowe. When riding at a low-to-moderate intensity, the body is using its aerobic energy system, with fat as the primary fuel source. The good thing about fat is that there are almost endless supplies of it, but it takes the body a lot longer to turn it into energy. During high intensity efforts (be it going with a break or tackling a hill) or when fatigued, the body switches to its limited stores of glucose sourced from carbohydrates (glycogen), stored in muscles and the liver. By boosting the body’s ability to source energy from fat during steady efforts, it leaves your stores of carbohydrate for when you need them most – and potentially preventing the dreaded bonk. Base training will help raise the point at which your body switches from fat to carbohydrates as the primary fuel source. A solid base will also leave you better prepared for any setbacks in training, according to Rowe: “Once you’ve got that solid base, if you have a bit of time off due to illness or injury, you bounce back a lot quicker. “Also, when you build up the training sustainably, you hold your form for longer when starting off with a good base.” The science behind base training It’s clear that base training has the potential to improve your fitness, but what’s happening on a cellular level after long sessions in the saddle? “The main physiological adaptation you’re seeking is better mitochondria density,” explains Rowe. “The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, and having more – and denser – mitochondria allows your body to process greater amounts of fats and carbohydrate per minute. Your [lactate] threshold increases as well, which is a positive for endurance.” He adds: “There are a bunch of other scientific adaptations that happen, too. You increase muscle glycogen storage – basically more energy – so you should have more left in the tank at the end of a long ride. “That’s important because having bigger mitochondria in the cells increases your capacity to ultimately cycle more efficiently and train harder.” Some cyclists go on a winter training camp to log base miles. Russell Burton/Immediate Media Who needs to do base training? Base training has been long-favoured by professional cyclists, who have the luxury of logging winter miles on dedicated training camps in Calpe, Mallorca, Tenerife and other sun-kissed destinations. “If you’re a professional cyclist, the traditional method of base training will help create that big aerobic base, but it takes a long time and hours of riding,” says Rowe, whose brother, Luke, rides for Team Ineos. So what about the rest of us? “Everyone’s got to do base training,” says Bottrill. “If you don’t do the base, you’ve got nowhere to go with it. You’ve got to do that first phase of base training – getting the winter miles in – to get a response and take the load for the rest of the year.” Most riders have limited time to train, however – particularly if you’re balancing family, work and social commitments alongside a training plan. While base training can be beneficial to everyone in some shape or form, Rowe emphasises the importance of variety. “If you can train for six hours a week and that’s all the time you have available, then spending those six hours soley base training and riding fairly steady will result in a reduced total work done, so a reduced training stress, which could leave you losing fitness,” says Rowe. The key, he adds, is to combine base training with rides at a higher intensity. With that in mind, how can you introduce base training into a time-crunched training plan? Winter miles = summer smiles. Immediate Media How can I introduce base training into my winter plan if I’m short on time? If you are targeting a specific event or goal, creating a training plan to prepare you for the particular demands of that objective will ensure you’re able to produce your best performance on the day. However, whether you’re planning to race hour-long criteriums or a long sportive, Rowe and Bottrill both advise starting your training with a ‘build phase’ which incorporates base training. “It’s all about periodisation,” says Rowe. “After the build phase is where you would see the most difference in the training for these two riders.” Rowe advises combining a long weekend base ride with indoor turbo sessions at a higher intensity, with a focus on sweetspot training: intervals at the top end of zone three / lower end of zone four are said to offer the most training bang for your buck for riders with limited time. “The trick is combining indoor and outdoor riding,” adds Rowe, who also sets HIIT training sessions for his coached riders year-round. “Zwift complements outdoor riding – it’s not a replacement for it. You can use your weekend to develop your base endurance; a long ride, club run-type environment is fantastic. And then, in the week, you can do a bunch of sweetspot work.” Use the turbo trainer to complement long weekend rides. Rapha Long rides have an additional benefit beyond improving your fitness, Rowe says, particularly if preparing for an event where you’re likely to spend many hours in the saddle. “Getting that long riding in will develop you as a bike rider – not just your legs and your energy systems but those muscles in your upper body as well,” says Rowe. “If you’re trying to do races, events and sportives that are 4 to 6 hours long, you need to get your body used to sitting on a bike in a certain position for a long time.” Bottrill also recommends using long rides as a way to work on any weaknesses in your technique, including cadence drills. “The winter is always about ‘what’s my weakness? I should be working on that in some respect’,” he says. Bottrill advises warming up at a high cadence, before starting the drill: riding in a high gear for two minutes followed by a low gear for two minutes, repeated 10 times. “Generally, we’re looking at around 40 minutes of variation of cadence within a set,” Bottrill says. “Then there would be a cool down period.” Taking this approach to training should stand you in good stead for the season ahead by building your aerobic base, while also keeping your higher-end fitness ticking over. Time needn’t be a barrier to effective training. “I am a huge believer in quality over quantity,” concludes Rowe.
Shimano Enduro Tour, Round 3 – Derby, TAS.Event Management Solutions brought the third round of the Shimano Enduro Tour to Derby after stopping in WA and QLD. Into the Derby Tunnel, duck! While the racing and practice were running, there were still plenty of crew riding and shuttling the trails. Evolution’s new Buggy Shuttle service can take riders from the Devil Wolf section up to Black Stump for zippy runs down some great tracks! Launceston’s Izzy Flint looked so good during practice and took the win on Sunday with a gutsy display of smart race-craft and bike skills. Dave Ludenia scoping faster ways to ride the technical sections. Ben McIlroy flies past with epic pace. While the racing and practice was running, there were still plenty of crew riding and shuttling the trails. Evolution's new Buggy Shuttle service can take riders from the Devil Wolf section up to Black Stump for zippy runs down some great tracks! We love you, Derby! Fingers crossed the EWS will return again one day soon. Former National Gravity Enduro Champ, Chris Panozzo took a 120mm travel Santa Cruz Tallboy to the podium with an impressive display of racing. Don’t call him an XC rider, multiple National Champ Cam Ivory breaking the mould and blasting the rocks during practice. Few riders negotiated the crack, on trail Detonate like 17 year-old Izzy. Very smooth and controlled. Dropping Izzbombs. Zoe Cuthbert rides with immense commitment, watching her drop off the large granite boulders and hold speed through the big turns was amazing. Panozzo under a tall one in the lower parts of Roxanne, a solid track to negotiate at race pace. Timmy Eaton not slowing down through the rocks. We crashed Team Shimano’s team dinner, a good bunch of people indeed! Pre-race parm and a pint. Well, for the photographer anyhow… Paul and a golden Derby pint of Scottsdale brew. Team manager Toby loves Derby more than most, it appears! Pre-race prep. Pre-race Instagram. Paul van der Ploeg’s Giant Reign 29 dialled and ready. Chris Panozzo’s Santa Cruz Tallboy, short travel, who cares. Izzy Flint’s Merida One-Sixty gleaming all of the colours in the morning sunlight. Race day, time for the first long pedal up. Fresh soles for Sunday. Handguards gaining in popularity, for good reason. Ludenia aims up for the long session of rock-eating on Shearpin. Crowds heckling their lungs out. Connor Fearon was on a tear all weekend, and took a convincing win. Rowena Fry stamped her authority once again on the trails of Derby, backing up her EWS podium with a win this weekend. Yiew! Fixing carnage. Any moisture in the Derby dirt was drying quickly under the harsh Tassie sun. Zoe on the long road to the top before more hard descending. Chainsaws and two-stroke to fill your senses. Rowena picking lines like a pro. Plenty of stats to back up the tired body. There was a bar at the finish line… Shelly Flood always smiling, despite the obvious! Hoppy pain relief. The Kona crew on their Tasmanian trip, loving life, off to Maydena for the National Champs next. Little Rivers had their new pop up bar Side-Tracked in full swing. Distinctly Connor. Cam Ivory, done! Elite Women’s podium; Rowena Fry, Zoe Cuthbert and Leanna Curtis. U21 Women – Izzy Flint, Fenella Harris, Emma Bateup. Elite Men – Connor Fearon, Dan Booker, Chris Panozzo. And that’s a wrap for the Shimano Enduro Tour! Row Fry, series champ! And Jodan Prochyra takes overall, too. We love you, Derby!Fingers crossed the EWS will return again one day soon. The post Racing Enduro in Derby | The Shimano Enduro, Asia-Pacific EWS appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
Mondraker presents their new electric mountain bike Crafty Carbon models, breaking the rules with its flagship model RR SL by being the first e-MTB with 29″ and 150mm of travel under 20kg. Main Features Frame: Stealth Air Carbon Wheels: 29″ Suspension: Zero Travel front/rear: 160mm/150mm Hub spacing front/rear: Boost 110×15mm/148×12mm Drivetrain: 1×12 Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX 4 Battery: Bosch Powertube 625Wh (Crafty RR SL also available with 500Wh battery) Weight: 19,3kg (Crafty RR SL + 500Wh battery); 19,8kg (Crafty RR SL + 625Wh battery); 21,3kg (Crafty RR); 21,8kg (Crafty R) Sizes: S, M, L, XL Prices: 7.499€ (Crafty R); 8.999€ (Crafty RR); 12.000€ (Crafty RR SL) Geometry For all Crafty Carbon models, Mondraker has refined and optimized its Forward Geometry. The sum of a 76° seat tube angle, 455mm short chainstays, long reach, and a 65.5° head tube angle combined with short 44mm fork offsets and 30mm stems pretend to offer overall better control and handling, stability, and confidence on every terrain, whether you are riding uphill or downhill. Detalles Mondraker has anticipated the future and the new trends that are to come, where weight and performance will play a very important role in some models of electric mountain bikes from different manufacturers. That is why, to lighten the weight of all Crafty Carbon frames, and thus also achieve a finer and nicer tube at the same time, Mondraker had to make the decision to depend on the battery extraction system, a feature that many will think is not right. While it is true that it is a risky decision, we must take into account that it is a pure performance electric mountain bike, and its purpose is not to be used to make long routes where you need to change the battery halfway. Crafty Carbon frames use Stealth Air technology, a manufacturing process that starts from the best selection of high modulus carbon fibers and the elaboration of a thorough and complex laminate. They feature a new cooling system that helps dissipate the heat generated by the battery, allowing the air to enter through integrated gills near the steering pipe, flow through the inside of the bottom pipe, and go outside through an outlet which is located above the lower part of the same tube. Bosch’s new fourth-generation Performance Line CX motor is now more compact, powerful and quiet, and although I like its improvements and operation, I can’t say the same about the display and the remote control, which I would like them to be more compact and ergonomic, like those of Shimano. The Bosch motor speed sensor is located inside the left rear dropout of the frame and the magnet is integrated into the brake rotor itself. Another very interesting new feature that we can find in the Crafty Carbon models is the Acros ICR (Integrated Cable Routing) steering system that allows the introduction and internal guidance of the rear brake cables, derailleur and seat post from the top of the head tube, leaving a very clean aesthetic on the front of the bicycle. The Crafty Carbon models feature a new redesigned and optimized kinematics especially according to the needs and rigors of an electric mountain bike. The Zero suspension system stands out for a very sensitive initial behavior, more absorbent and with marked progressivity. The upper-link is a Trunnion carbon monoblock that offers better lateral torsion stiffness. The 17mm thru-axles together with the oversized Enduro Max bearings offer more durability, perfect for demanding use and capable of withstanding greater loads. The top of the range model Crafty Carbon RR SL has been created with no compromises, designed for those riders who prioritize maximum lightness and performance over autonomy. It comes equipped with the new Bosch Performance Line CX motor with an integrated 500Wh Powertube battery, and some of the best components on the market such as Fox Factory suspensions, SRAM’s and RockShox’s AXS electronic system, Shimano XTR brakes, e*thirteen carbon cranks, and DT Swiss carbon wheels. A dream build like this only weighs 19.3kg, currently being the lightest electric mountain bike on the market with 29″ wheels and 150mm of rear travel. If equipped with the 625Wh battery, which offers 25% more of autonomy, its weight is still less than 20kg, weighing 19.8kg. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful and exclusive electric mountain bikes I’ve seen so far. In Action A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to try the new Crafty Carbon around Gondramaz, a beautiful small town belonging to the Aldeias de Xisto located in the Serra da Lousã, Portugal. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate during the test. Heavy rains made the trails complicated, leaving big puddles and a lot of mud, forcing me to be almost more aware of the unknown terrain than the bike itself, trying not to crash as I rode over slippery roots and rocks. Although I could not enjoy the new Crafty Carbon to its full potential, my first impressions were the following: My height is around 1.81m and I tested both size M and L. Taking into account my riding style, I always prioritize the handling and playfulness of a bicycle above all. Considering the geometry numbers and that it has 29” wheels when turning and jumping, I felt more comfortable with an M, unlike with the L, which although it was more stable at high speeds, and perhaps a little more comfortable to pedal, I noticed it felt a bit long for my liking. It was a shame not to be able to try the new Crafty Carbon and enjoy the beautiful landscapes and trails of the Serra da Lousã in better weather conditions, with some more sun and less mud and water, since it seems that Mondraker has created a very capable electric mountain bike. mondraker.com
San Diego is known for a lot of things—namely craft breweries, beaches and perpetual sun—but mountain biking doesn’t always fall into the common descriptors. Trail access is tricky. Many networks sprouted from neighborhood trails built by locals in patches of open space over the years, and haven’t yet been sanctioned. And though the San Diego Read More The post Bright Horizons appeared first on BIKE Magazine.
“I reckon you’re going to get lucky today. It’s been raining here for the last month, but today’s looking good.” Frankly, I’m not sure I was looking at the same sky as my host, Roger, at Ardwyn House B&B, as angry clouds bubbled away in the cauldron up above. Perhaps this is what passes for good weather in Llanwrtyd Wells, or maybe his expectations have shifted after what was a truly rotten early 2019 summer. Maybe we’d get lucky. He says the weather here, in the self-styled smallest town in Britain, on the southern tip of the Cambrian Mountains, is suitably localised; they could get snow in nearby Abergwesyn and not get a flake here. Wales’s secret: the Cambrian Mountains. Joseph Branston Roger’s words were still rattling around my brain when, with a turn of the pedals, drops of rain fell onto my sunglasses. As we turned onto a section of gravel before the first kilometre was out, the sky caved in and bitterly cold rain came tumbling out. Welcome to the summer solstice, mid-Wales style. Set for adventure There’s something less offensive about copping a soaking while bikepacking, as opposed to, say, the Sunday club run. The inevitability that it’s bound to happen? That this is an adventure and that getting wet can be filed in that draw? Or perhaps the biggest saddle bag you’ve ever had makes the best ass saver, shielding you from the muck-spreading that is riding a gravel bike in the wet, or the spare dry clothes stuffed into said bag, should you need them? Whatever the reason, I wasn’t as downbeat as I usually am while riding in the rain. The bones of today’s ride were devised by a local rider I got in touch with in 2016, when gravel riding was beginning to take hold in Britain. The ride never happened for various fails on my part, but I always kept the route in mind and it made sense to do it today, as part of a bikepacking tour, in an altered form. Dependent on terrain, gravel miles are double compared to road miles. Joseph Branston Back then I was still wet behind the ears when it came to the unique demands of gravel riding. The 100-mile route I’d requested – based on what I was used to on the road bike – was met with some words of warning. The 80-mile route we settled on in 2016 was, I’d come to realise, still too demanding as a single day’s ride for me (and photographer Joe, who was hauling around an indecent weight of camera equipment in his rucksack), particularly with the kit we were carrying, so we shrunk it down further to a pint-sized 36 miles. Still, in my growing experience of gravel riding, 36 miles with 1,200m elevation loaded with kit wasn’t insubstantial. Dependent on terrain, gravel miles are double compared to road miles A general rule of thumb – and this is very much dependent on terrain – is that gravel miles count double compared to the road. This new route had a bit of everything: fantastic, extended sections of genuine gravel roads, connected by rural, quiet tarmac roads (including the supremely testing Devil’s Staircase climb, which we’d accidentally stumble upon) and some tougher, but short, sections of more mountain bike terrain. Not a problem for the Scott Addict Gravel 20, which, in the six months I’ve been riding it, has shown itself to be a supremely versatile machine – I’ve ridden it, without modifications, in road gran fondos, gravel rides and now bikepacking trips and it really is a do-all bike. Travelling smart and light is important when bikepacking Joseph Branston Hidden beauty This part of Wales is one that might be easily overlooked, sandwiched as it is between the national parks of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia. In 1965, attempts began to designate it as a national park, though these failed eight years later. Work is ongoing in securing it as an area of outstanding natural beauty. “If you pick up a relief map showing the National Parks and AONBs of England and Wales, you will quickly notice one large upland area that has neither; that’s mid Wales,” says the Cambrian Mountains Society, an action group set up to further the region’s cause. “If you’ve never been there, you might well conclude – and who could blame you? – that mid Wales is some kind of barren, dull wasteland that deserves no protection. But you’d be wrong.” The Devil’s Staircase spits at you, gaining 151m in 1.3km... it’s formidable They’re right, this is spellbinding terrain. Straight out of the gate of Llanwrtyd Wells, the route took us onto the rough stuff, and fast up to around 500m altitude. Not good news for photographer Joe, who, with his camera equipment in a rucksack, was hauling what felt like the equivalent of a small child on his back. He wasn’t moving fast, though this could easily have been the result of the gastrointestinal effect of him eating kippers for breakfast, swiftly followed by a peanut butter nutrition bar, a queasy combination that I felt determined to stay upwind of. This gravel track, and the hundreds of miles of similar tracks in this region, exists because of the huge industry of logging in the area. Not all of the roads are open to cyclists, or the general public. As a general rule, if there’s a sign that explicitly prohibits cyclists, we’d never recommend riding down it, though several locals we spoke to said they do and have never had any issues. One sign we saw said ‘Strictly no mountain bikers, runners or horse riding’ – does that mean we’d get off on a technicality in this new age of gravel riding? The sting in the tail is the aptly-named Devil’s Staircase. Joseph Branston Abergwesyn brought down the curtain on the first section of gravel and onto the tarmac, though this section of road, which stretches 20 miles all the way to Tregaron is so narrow, remote and desolate that you won’t care one jot. Come the Devil’s Staircase, however, and you might: it spits at you, gaining 151m in 1.3km making it a formidable climb on a lithe road bike, let alone a loaded gravel machine – and even more so when your photographer requests repetitions on its steep switchbacks. Just shy of the summit of the steep stuff, you swing a sharp left and get back onto the gravel. A relief for some, not for others, the gradient at least levels out, though you may have to mount a gate, which isn’t easy on the upper body after your wrestle with the Devil. At this point the climbing began to take its toll. While never long, they come thick and fast and such is the concentration and lower speeds needed for gravel descents, you don’t take the momentum into the next climb like you would on a road ride. Momentum was also cut by a never-ending series of cattle-gridded gates, which necessitated ungainly heaves of the Addict above my head and over the gate – all part of the bargain of gravel cycling. Refill stops: there are no shops or cafes on this route. Joseph Branston The sun – and a warm sun at that – was out by now and such was Joe’s thirst he was forced to refill his bottles in a stream. As expected there wasn’t a single cafe or shop to refuel and rehydrate on the whole route, so don’t travel light should you try this route out for yourself. By now we’d arrived at the northern reaches of the Llyn Brianne dam, which regulates flow of water into the River Tywi. We’ve been here before down its eastern tarmac side but today would negotiate down its more circuitous – and gravelly – western side, which strays higher and further away from the water. Construction on it finished in 1972, coming at a time of increasing water shortages in west Wales, and at 91m in height at 280.4m above sea level, it’s the highest dam in Britain. A hydro-electric station was added in 1997 – apparently, it’s a big tourist attraction and the modest sprinkling of cars was pretty much the sum of vehicles we saw during the entirety of our ride. The Llyn Brianne dam in all its glory. Joseph Branston From here to the finish in Llanwrtyd it was more of what had come before – and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We’re lucky to ride our bikes in all of the best places, but some rides still stand out. This was close to impeccable (any ride without a coffee stop doesn’t get 10 out of 10) but that serves us right for not packing a flask, we had the space. The Cambrian Mountains might not be a National Park, or an AONB, but it sure gets the seal of approval. Get the route Adventure Addicts Wales (This tour is private) Adventure Addicts Wales (2days) Grand Tour: guide to smart bikepacking The Scott Addict Gravel 20: “It really is a do-all bike“ Joseph Branston 1. Lighten the load While bikepacking isn’t about speed, travelling as light as possible always makes the ride more enjoyable, particularly on gravel roads. There is now a huge range of bikepacking luggage available, from the likes of Alpkit, Altura and Apidura. I had Specialized’s Burra Burra across the bike, and the Stabiliser Seatpack 10 is a highlight because you barely realise it’s there. Think about exactly what kit you need for your trip – over-packing evening clothing is a common mistake. If you’re camping, this kit will take up the bulk of your space (ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk is worth a look to keep your weight down. Be warned, low weight is generally proportional to high cost!) Staying in B&Bs is the ultimate way to travel light. 2. Plan your route, but stay flexible Sketching your route on apps such as Komoot is a must, but be prepared for unforeseen events on the road that you might not spot on your computer. Given the mixed terrain of bikepacking, your path may end up blocked – a river may be too high to cross, or a gravel road might be prohibited to cyclists. 3. Be prepared for bike emergencies Given the remote terrain that you might encounter on a bikepacking trip, be prepared to be your own mechanic. On a road bike you might be used to getting away with just a mini pump and a spare tube, but out in the wilderness you need the skills and tools to perform your own repairs, to bike and body. Chain tools and first aid kits are essential items. 4. Load your kit correctly Tents and clothing are best in the saddle bag, to give added weight to the rear. A front handle-bar bag is best to keep light, so something that doesn’t weigh too much and isn’t going to rattle around. The frame bag is best for items you need easy access to with water bottles in their usual place in a cage.
That unque West Coast blend of fog and sun rays combined with super-fast and loamy trails.( Photos: 4, Comments: 1 )
Welcome to the latest edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce! Not visited before? If this is your first time joining us, all you need to do is sit back and relax, because we’re here as your personal one-stop-wrap-up-shop of all things new and exciting in the wonderful world of mountain bikes! As we power on through the Australian spring, things are continuing to heat up with a load of new bike releases, and some cracking events and riding trips that we’ve been documenting here at Flow. Mick has safely returned from West Coast, having shot a belter of a gallery of what he’s calling the ‘event of the year’ – the Cape to Cape. Oh and for those who love the tech stuff, make sure you check out the cool bikes and tech from the 2019 Cape to Cape. Mick’s been on another riding adventure closer to home on the hallowed ground around Mt Sugarloaf in NSW. With the aim of rediscovering the old downhill tracks he used to race back in the 90s, Mick set off with three other lunatics for an epic adventure on a gaggle of Specialized Levos. Check out the (very entertaining!) video below, and make sure you have a read of the full feature here. We’ve also been busy launching some mahoosif competitions over the past few weeks too, including this one where you could win a brand new 2020 Giant Reign 29er! And then there’s the Ultimate Victorian Ride High Country Adventure competition – you choose a mate, the destination, your riding style, and a bike, and the World Of Flow travel agents will take care of the rest. It’s a killer prize pack, so if you haven’t entered that one yet, make sure you do it right now to be in with a chance! Speaking of the High Country, Wil took a trip over to Beechworth in north east Victoria to visit Shane Flint of Tor Bikes. Shane is a custom frame builder who specialises in hardcore hardtails made from slender Colombus steel tubing that’s masterfully fillet brazed together. If you fancy a closer look at Shane’s work and his workshop, check out the feature here. Alrighty. With y’all up to speed on what’s been happening in Flowlandia, it’s time to get stuck into all the fresh kit that’s arrived in time for this edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce! 2020 Norco Sight A1 29 Norco hasn’t held back on the Sight’s geometry, with the new bike taking a huge leap forward. Canadian brand Norco continues the aggressive upheaval of its mountain bike lineup, this time with the arrival of the all-new Sight. Pepped up with a bit more suspension travel and some seriously progressive geometry numbers, this All Mountain ripper basically takes off where the previous Range checked out. Available in both 27.5in and 29in platforms, and with a carbon or alloy frameset, there are exactly 10 different Sight models for 2020. We’ve got the top-end alloy model, called the A1, so stay tuned for a full review on Big Blue coming soon. Oh and for those with offspring, you may also be interested in the Sight Youth – a pint-sized version of the adult version that features a 150mm travel RockShox Pike and a 63.5° head angle – wowsers! From: Norco Bicycles Price: $5,799 Ride Concepts Powerline Flat Pedal Shoes Look out Five Ten – Ride Concepts has some good-looking flat pedal shoes on offer! Looking to take on the likes of Five Ten, Ride Concepts is a young Lake Tahoe-based company that’s specialising in footwear for gravity-based mountain biking. The brand offers both clip-in and flat pedal solutions, and we’ve got a pair of each on test to see just how they stack up against the big players. Slotting into Ride Concept’s “Flow” range, the Powerline shown here is described as a high performance All Mountain flat pedal shoe. It features a full rubber outsole made by Rubber Kinetics, which hexagonal tread blocks and compound labelled as ‘DST 4.0 MAX GRIP’. Think they’re trying to tell us something there… With an eye on protecting your footsies, the Powerline features custom-molded rubber toe cap and heel protection, as well as an asymmetric collar with D3O padding integrated into the inside panel around the ankle bone. More D3O padding can be found inside the forefoot and heel area of the footbeds, and that’s there to help absorb impact shocks from hard landings. The upper itself is distinctly lacking stitch lines, with a fully-welded construction that keeps it all very neat and streamlined. From: Lusty Industries Price: $249.95 Fox Defend LS Jersey Ooph, it ain’t summer just yet We’ve got some fresh threads courtesy of Fox Head, including this new Defend long sleeve jersey. Utilising a series of mesh panels and TruDri fabrics, the Defend jersey is meant to be easy-breezy for hot summertime shredding, while giving you more abrasion resistance and sun protection than a short sleeve. Also available in Black, from Small to XL sizes. From: PSI Cycling Price: $89.99 Maxima Cleaners, Degreasers & Lubricants No excuses for a dirty bike now! Looking to cover the full gamut of mountain bike maintenance, Maxima has a broad range of cleaners, degreasers and lubricants to keep your pride and joy in tip-top condition. Going form left-to-right, there’s a bottle of Assembly Lube ($18.95), which is designed for metal-on-metal components when grease is a little too heavy. We’ve also got a bottle of Chain Wax ($16.95), the classic SC1 Bike Polish ($21.95), and a big blue bottle of Bio Wash ($16.95). For post-wash treatment there’s the Suspension Spray ($22.95), and for cleaning disc rotors and pads, a 518ml can of Contact Cleaner ($18.95). Lastly, we’ve got a yellow bottle filled with 100% biodegradable Degreaser ($24.95), and a tub of lithium-based Waterproof Grease ($24.95). From: Lusty Industries Price: $16.95 – $24.95 Bluegrass Eagle Legit Carbon Full Face Helmet The Legit Carbon is a premium full-face lid that puts a focus on low weight, ventilation, and high-tech protection thanks to its MIPS-E2 technology. Bluegrass Eagle, the more muscly arm of MET, recently launched a new full face helmet called the Legit. Available in a standard version for $300, and the carbon model that we have here, the Legit has been spotted atop of noggins belonging to Dean Lucas, Tracey Hannah, and Sam Blenkinsop. There’s a tonne of neat features inside that stealthy carbon shell, so get a look at the full story on the Bluegrass Legit Carbon here. From: Advance Traders Price: $600 DT Swiss EXC 1200 Spline 30 Wheelset Rounding out its three-tier carbon mountain bike range, DT Swiss has recently launched its burliest and most enduro-worthy wheelset yet; the EXC 1200. Joining the XMC 1200 (AM) and XRC 1200 (XC) wheels, the EXC 1200 uses a heavier duty carbon rim that’s said to offer greater strength and durability than its lighter weight brethren. Like those other two wheelsets, the EXC 1200 is rolling on ultra-premium 180 hubs that feature SINC ceramic cartridge bearings and the new Ratchet EXP freehub mechanism that we recently took a detailed look at. We’ll be thrashing the new EXC 1200 Spline 30 wheelset over the coming months to see just how well it holds up to our haggard riding style. In the meantime, you can check out all the details and confirmed weights for this luxurious Swiss wheelset right here. From: Apollo Bicycles Price: $2,999 Timber! Mountain Bike Bell Last, but certainly not least, we have this little device. Err, it’s a bell. Not particularly exciting right? WRONG! This is the Timber! MTB Bell, and it’s basically a mini-cowbell for your handlebars. It produces a lovely ring-a-ding sound, like a wind-up telephone from the 70s, and it’ll daintily brrrring away while you bounce and hop along the trail, helping to alert inattentive hikers, dog-walkers, horse-riders and youths of your impending arrival. But what if you don’t need your sweet singletrack symphony, and it’s annoying the heck out of you? There’s a little switch that allows you to instantly silence the bell, so you can savour the sound of your tyres on fresh dirt. We should point out that this wasn’t sent in for to test – Wil actually bought this with his own cold-hard internet money. Having frequently encountered walkers and off-leash doggos on one of my local hotly-contested Strava segments, he decided this would be a suitable option rather than a manual bell, as they’ll hear you before either of you see each other. And we figured some of you folks might be interested in such a solution, so here you go! From: Timber MTB Price: $24.95 USD (plus shipping) Mo’ Flow Please! Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow! The post Flow’s Fresh Produce | New flat pedal shoes, carbon wheels, and one very nifty little accessory appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.