UK bike maker Fairlight has updated its Faran, an all-steel bike designed for loaded touring, gravel, and anything else you might fancy. The Faran 2.0 comes in a choice of regular and tall geometries and it will be available as a frameset costing £899 or in a range of builds starting at £1,999 with Shimano RX600 GRX components. It features numerous practical touches including mounts for just about everything you could conceivably bolt to a bike. In anticipation of the Faran 2.0 shipping, Fairlight has supplied a gorgeous collection of photos of a raw, unpainted frame fitted with various components. Whether a bike like this is your sort of thing or not, I’m sure you’ll appreciate how lovely the Faran looks in the nude. Related reading Fairlight Secan vs. All-City Mr Pink — who has built the best winter bike? Fairlight Strael long term-review BikeRadar Builds | Matthew’s Genesis Croix de Fer 853 Best touring bikes: How to choose the right one for you Croix de Faran? The Faran will be available as a frameset or a complete bike. Fairlight The Faran accepts both 700c and 650b wheels. Fairlight The Faran is meant for load lugging. Fairlight The rear dropout assembly, made in collaboration with Bentley Components, is a work of art. Fairlight Have you ever seen a nicer flat-mount? Fairlight The bottom bracket is a standard threaded unit. Fairlight The modular cable routing adapts to all drivetrains. Fairlight Fairlight endorses dropout-mounted rear lights. Fairlight Of course there’s cable routing for a dynamo. Fairlight Have you ever seen a nicer photo of some frame hardware? Fairlight All manner of finishing kit upgrades such as this Hope seat clamp are available. Fairlight If the Faran seems strongly reminiscent of the evergreen Genesis Croix de Fer, that’s not a coincidence. Fairlight co-founder Dom Thomas designed the original CdF – a bike with a loyal fanbase – and the latest Faran ticks many of the same boxes in a very up-to-date package, offering a versatile steel frameset that can be specced up as a gravel bike, commuter, heavy-duty tourer, audaxer or any number of other things. The Faran 2.0 frameset accepts both 700c and 650b wheels and has an eminently practical spec list, with no unusual standards. The fork steerer is untapered and the cable routing will work with any drivetrain configuration. There’s a straightforward threaded bottom bracket, plus flat-mount disc brakes and 12mm thru-axles front and rear. The Faran has mounts to accept all manner of luggage racks at both ends, mudguards, up to three conventional bottle cages, cargo cages on the fork, lights and more. It will come in a choice of two geometries for each size, called regular and tall. As you might imagine, the regular option is longer and lower while the tall is shorter in reach and higher in stack. For example, a size 54R has reach and stack figures of 386mm and 559mm respectively, while the 54T’s numbers are 378mm and 590mm. According to Fairlight, the Faran 2.0’s geometry is designed to offer a fast and agile feel when unloaded (like the brand’s Strael road bike), and a more stable ride with a front load (like the Secan gravel bike). Fairlight has supplied images showing the Faran 2.0 wearing a variety of trendy bikepacking bags. These are from Gramm… Fairlight These are Apidura… Fairlight …Wizard Works… Fairlight …Straight Cut Design.. Fairlight …Road Runner Bags… Fairlight …and Restrap. Fairlight If you want to geek-out on every detail of the bike, Fairlight has put together a beautiful set of design notes, which you can view here (opens a .pdf). The Faran 2.0 will be available in a choice of two earthy colours called Winter Bracken and Woodland Green. Framesets will cost £899 (£749.17 outside the EU, minus VAT), while complete bikes start at £1,999 for a Shimano GRX RX600 build with WTB KOM Light I21 rims on 105 hubs. Even if you opt for a standard build, there’s huge scope for customisation, with numerous cost upgrades available including wheelsets, tyres, dynamo hubs, posh finishing kit and more. Fairlight is taking deposits for the Faran 2.0 now, with the first bikes expected to ship this month.
Dynaplug has a new product, the Cover Bard End Tubeless Repair Kit, to help you quickly seal your tubeless tires in the event of a puncture. Details inside from Dynaplug. We’ve posted a few of the Dynaplug products in the past like the lightweight Carbon Racer and below the Carbon Racer is their new bar end offering! This is the people’s tire plugger– made by popular request from Dynaplug customers, the Dynaplug Covert tubeless tire repair kit features Twin Tube technology, which allows you to store 2 plugs in each tool. That’s 4 plugs ready-to-go! The Covert tools threads into mounts that snap into an ODI-compatible grip lockring, adding new functionality to the riders- favorite locking grip system. Even better, the Covert kit includes a free pair of ODI Vans LOCK-ON grips! Just lock on the grips and you’re ready to go. Stealth Game Strong Riders everywhere are going stealth, with mini tools, spare tubes and other repair accessories hidden inside frames, steerer tubes, crank spindles and even thru-axles. Now Dynaplug jumps in to dominate the plug side of the hidden tool revolution with a stealthy version of their fan-favorite, award-winning, Meerkat-approved plug system. A couple turns of the Covert tool removes it from the end cap. The snug snap-on cap protects the plug tips when not in use, just pop it off and the plug is ready to deploy. The Twin Tube technology plug tube unscrews from the tool body to flip around with the other size plug ready to deploy. Fit one side of your bars with the Soft-Tip ready and one with the Megaplug, and you’re ready to go with both sizes, or set ‘em up the same if you tend toward a standard size hole when getting flats. Following in the pattern of their Racer-series tools, the Bar End Racer is double-sided, with one standard Soft Tip plug and one Megaplug ready to plug almost any type of puncture. Megaplugs are (as the name implies) extra-large for big holes, while Soft Tip brass plugs fill garden-variety small tire holes. Both plugs can be doubled up or combined to fill super-sized holes. Covert kits include 3 spare Soft Tip plugs and one Megaplug. Dynaplug® Covert Kit Highlights: Kit includes:2 – Dynaplug® Bar End Tools2- ODI VANS LOCK-ON GRIPS1 – Megaplug3 – Standard Plugs1 – Standard Twin Tube1 – Standard/Megaplug Twin TubeMSRP: $ $69.99Product Page: http://www.dynaplug.com/covert.htmTool Construction- Anodized Billet 6061 Aluminum and Hardened 304 Stainless Steel with Brass/Alloy and Viscoelastic rubber plugs.Weight: 38.5g (2 tools loaded with plugs)Limited Lifetime Warranty The post Dynaplug Covert Bar End Tubeless Repair Kit appeared first on Sick Lines - mountain bike reviews, news, videos | Your comprehensive downhill and freeride mountain bike resource.
YUBA MUNDO ELECTRIC CARGO BIKE Photo: Pat Carrigan We love cargo bikes. Properly set up, an electric cargo bike is an easy replacement for at least one family car. Long a staple in many northern European cities, whether it’s going to the market to pick up groceries or taking your kids out for a spin, the cargo bike is a revelation given all the tasks that they are capable of performing. Yuba is a California bike brand that has been evolving the cargo bike concept in America for years with a catalog of both assist and non-assist models that are broken down into three categories: compact, full size and front cargo. Over the years we’ve ridden a variety of Yuba bikes, including the comically-long Supermarche, a bike with an 8-foot wheelbase and a bathtub-sized carrier (big enough for two kids plus more) up front. The thing all their bikes have in common is an amazing variety of accessories to customize them for whatever you’re going to use it for. The Yuba Mundo Electric is no exception. THE BIKE The Mundo Electric rates as a full-size bike and uses a chromoly frame and fork designed to carry a payload of up to 550 pounds. It is the very definition of beefy, with oversized tubing and bosses everywhere to attach things. It’s a sort of diamond-shaped frame, not available as a step-through, and only available in one size, which can fit riders from 5-foot-3 to 6-foot-6. Because it’s made to handle such heavy loads, it has a stand-alone center stand that lifts the rear of the bike and forming a tripod of sorts. With the springs used, it’s really easy to get it up onto the kickstand and roll it right back off of it when you want to. THE PARTS Yuba chose 26-inch wheels, which seem to be a perfect balance for this bike. It can sit low enough on 26×2.4-inch tires to fit a 5-foot-3 person, but the wheels still easily roll over bumps or other obstacles and keep it from feeling twitchy. The Shimano Deore 1×10 drivetrain handles the really long chain quite well, shifts smoothly, and is geared to get you going easily and humming along at whatever pace you like. Magura four-piston disc brakes provide ample stopping power for this beast. The Bread Basket and liner are really beefy and can be attached with quick-release skewers instead of the bolts shown here. There are front and rear fenders, but also a plastic side-protection plate on each side of the rear wheel to keep cargo and passenger legs away from the rotating spokes and dry if you go through puddles or rain. THE ACCESSORIES Yuba makes a mind-boggling set of accessories for the bike. The rear rack, which is an integral part of the frame, has so many great places to attach things. A Thule Yepp child seat clicks right in, and you can put Monkey Bars (handrails) for the kids if you want, and even a Pop Top rain cover for that. There is a front basket, called the Bread Basket, with a mesh liner and an optional rain cover. You can affix the Bread Basket with bolts, as we did, or with bike wheel-style quick-release skewers to make it easy to remove when you don’t want it. This bolt-on bamboo Utility Deck is a really attractive and useful accessory. Here is what we chose to add on: Bread Basket: $40 Bamboo utility deck: $39 Go-getter bags: $150 each Soft Spot seat pad: $40 Hold-on bars: $70 The Towing Tray actually has a setup for towing another bike (12- to 29-inch wheels), handy if someone breaks down or you want to bring your kids along to ride later. So many customization choices—some are Mundo-specific, others are for a variety of other bikes. The only thing we were missing was an easy option for head- and taillights. THE MOTOR To handle the potentially massive payload, Yuba chose a Shimano STEPS e8000 motor that’s normally a mountain bike-spec motor. It has 70 N/m of torque, meaning it will get you going easily. The best thing about this motor is that if you don’t like the stock programming of the three power modes (we never do), you can change it to what you like. The stock programming has Eco where it should be, Trail only a smidgen more power than that, and Boost is off the charts. We bring Trail up to the middle and sometimes tone down Boost by a notch. Yuba went with a powerful Shimano STEPS E8000 mid-drive, usually put into electric mountain bikes. The battery is a stock Shimano 504-Wh battery, mounted externally on the downtube. We actually liked this, as it made it easy to take off the battery for charging and quick battery swaps. You can, of course, charge it on the bike as well. It provides plenty of range for in-town rides, and with this bike there are plenty of options for carrying another battery or two, plus chargers. The display is different than we’re used to for an e8000 system. Normally, they come with the tiny Shimano e8000 full-color display, but this one comes with a larger monochrome LCD. It’s as easy to read as the smaller one, and you can customize the information it displays to your own liking via Shimano’s eTube app. WHO IT’S MADE FOR The Mundo Electric is aimed at families who like to ride together and/or people who want a cargo bike to run errands, get to work or even those who want to do long trips and go camping. It’s a great all-weather replacement for at least one car in a 2-plus-car family, or just an additional vehicle to use for recreation and utility. THE RIDE Before we rode the bike, we first fired up the e8000 system and the eTube app and then paired up the app to the bike out on the path. This wasn’t ideal, we found out, because there were two firmware updates that would have gone much faster if we’d have done them via Wi-Fi. But we were also eager to try the bike with stock programming first. Ultimately, we preferred it the way we usually tweak it, bringing Trail mode up to the midpoint between Eco and Boost. Quad-piston Magura brakes work very well, even when the bike is fully laden with people and cargo. When unloaded, the bike is sublime in Eco, at least on flat ground. The voluminous tires take out some of the bumps in the road, and the steel frame has some flex to it, but it’s not enough to quell the shocks. If you don’t need to clamp anything to the seatpost, we’d recommend a suspension post to smooth out the ride. The Go-Getter bags live up to their claim that they each hold two full-sized grocery bags. They click shut and are weather-sealed on the inside, with one drain hole in the bottom in case something spills (or has a lot of condensation). Owing to all the carrying capacity of the bags, the Yuba could be a friendly adventure bike for camping. We climbed the steepest hill we could find, about 10 percent, and we climbed to the top using Boost mode, in third gear, on a hot day, with a strong headwind, without sweating. This bike is made to haul bananas in any conditions. Despite the 4 1/2-foot wheelbase, the bike still turns surprisingly well. We were on a bike path and had to turn around and did it within the width of the bike path itself. With the Bread Basket bolted to the front of the frame, it can be a little disconcerting when you initiate a turn to see the handlebars turn but not seeing the wheel turn with it. Making runs to get groceries suddenly became a task we looked forward to, and although nobody was going to make off with this long, heavy bike very easily, Yuba sells a pin lock, similar to what you’d use to attach a bike rack to a hitch receiver. The lock is a different take on the traditional cafe lock and secures the front wheel to two welded tabs on the fork. It doesn’t secure the bike to anything, but it will keep anyone from riding off with the bike. THE VERDICT Yuba makes an electric version for each of its three categories. The entry-level option is the $3,200 compact Boda Boda, and the high end is the $5,500 front carbon Supermarche Bosch. We loved riding the Mundo. As fun as it is to ride, it’s the outright utility aspect of its design that makes it so impressive. If you’re looking for a well-built bike by a proven cargo bike maker, we think the Mundo is well worth the price tag. We’ll warn you, though, picking out accessories for it can be habit-forming, and add a chunk to the price, but amortized over years of owning the bike and riding it often might make it worth it. SPECS YUBA MUNDO ELECTRIC Price: $4,400 ($5,029 as tested with accessories) Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000 Battery: Shimano, 504 Wh Charge time: 3–4 hours Top speed: 20 mph Range: 20–40 miles Drive: Shimano Deore RD-M6000 Brakes: Magura MT32 hydraulic disc Controls: Shimano Fork: Mundo CR-Mo 1.5” threadless thru-axle with post-mount disc tab Frame: Mundo STEPS CR-MO thru-axle with disc tab Tires: Schwalbe Big Ben Plus 26×2.15” Weight: 75 lb. Color choice: Beige Sizes: One size www.yubabikes.com Subscribe Or Renew Here ELECTRIC BIKE ACTION MAGAZINE For more subscription information contact (800) 767-0345 The post Electric Bike Action Bike Test: Yuba Mundo Electric Cargo Bike appeared first on Electric Bike Action.
With warmer spring weather now finally upon us, Specialized has just announced that it’s rolling out a brand new Chisel hardtail for 2021. Based on the current Epic hardtail (you know, that stupidly lightweight carbon fibre one), the Chisel is essentially the alloy counterpart. Based around 29in wheels, a 100mm travel fork and a premium M5 alloy frame, the Chisel aims to pack in much of the same World Cup racing pedigree from the Epic HT, but into a more budget-friendly package. Not that you’d tell by looking at it though. Specialized has redesigned the Chisel for 2021 with a brand new M5 chassis that is claimed to be one of the lightest alloy hardtail frames on the market. Whoa – That Isn’t Carbon? We know right? How smooth are those welds! At first glance, the Chisel does a damn good impersonation of a carbon fibre frame, but there’s no plastic here – this mountain bike is all-metal from tip to tail. Specialized is boldly flexing its engineering prowess with the new Chisel frame, which is built from high-end M5 alloy that is hydroformed throughout the length of the tube to fine-tune the wall thicknesses to provide strength where it’s required, and reduce weight where it’s not needed. Furthermore, the ends of the head tube, top tube and downtube are also hydroformed to create a curved edge, so that when they’re butted up together, there’s a more seamless join between each tube. This allows for that lovely smooth shape around each junction, but it also helps to remove excess material, resulting in a lighter frame. Specialized calls this ‘D’Alusio Smartweld Technology’, and it’s found on other high-end frames in its lineup, like the Allez road bike. How Light Is It? Showcasing just how far alloy technology has come, the Chisel is claimed to be one of the lightest alloy hardtail frames on the market, coming in at a thoroughly impressive 1,350g. Not only is it the lightest alloy mountain bike frame that Specialized has ever built, it’s also knocking on the door of carbon frames from other brands. Yes, it’s still a ways off the 775g claimed weight for the Epic S-Works FACT 12m frame. But then we’re comparing a $3,900 AUD carbon frame to the Chisel, which costs just $2,500 AUD – for the whole bike. The Chisel features an elegant tapered head tube, and internal routing through the downtube. All-Metal Mod-Cons Despite the modest price point and the fact that it isn’t made from carbon fibre, the Chisel still boasts plenty of fine features throughout. You’ll find a tapered zero-stack head tube up front, internal cable routing through the downtube, and a tidy 148x12mm bolt-up axle at the rear dropouts. The rear brake calliper mounts directly to the frame with no adapters necessary with the 160mm disc rotor, while the chainstay is wrapped in soft rubber armour to help quieten down chain slap. Oh and as per all new Specialized bikes of late, this frame gets a good ol’ fashioned threaded bottom bracket. Nice. Epic styling courtesy of a tidy bolt-up thru-axle and post-mount brake calliper. Epic Inspiration Specialized used the current Epic HT as inspiration for the Chisel’s frame shape, and many of the same geometry figures carry over – albeit with a few key differences. For a start, the Chisel is available in five frame sizes down to an XS (the Epic only comes in four sizes from S-XL). The Chisel is also a touch slacker with a 68° head angle, producing more trail and a slightly roomier front centre. The chainstays are also a smidge longer, giving it a broader overall wheelbase than the Epic. In theory, that should give it more stability, particularly at speed and on the descents. Here are the key geometry figures; Head angle: 68° Seat angle: 74° Reach: 385mm (XS), 405mm (S), 430mm (M), 455mm (L), 480mm (XL) Chainstay length: 432mm BB drop: 63mm No press-fit cups here! Metal frame, metal threads, metal BB cups. There’s Just One Model Coming To Oz Though And that’s the Chisel Comp – a $2,500 AUD hardtail that comes with a RockShox Judy Gold fork, Shimano Deore brakes and an SLX 1×12 drivetrain. In the Specialized range, the Chisel Comp sits smack-bang in between the Rockhopper Expert ($1,700 AUD) and the Epic Comp ($4,000 AUD). For someone who’s getting into mountain biking, or for riders who would simply prefer a metal frame and not carbon, it certainly appears to have a lot of the right ingredients. You get tubeless compatible wheels and tyres as standard, and the lovely M5 alloy frame is surely worthy of any upgrades you might throw at it over time. Read on for a closer look at the specs, and if you’re feeling the hardtail vibes, check out our story on the budget Rockhopper range and the latest Epic hardtail. The Chisel Comp will sell for $2,500 AUD and comes in five sizes and two colour options. 2021 Specialized Chisel Comp Frame | Smartweld M5 Alloy Fork | RockShox Judy Gold, 42mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | Shimano MT410 Hubs & Specialized Alloy Rims, 25mm Inner Width, Tubeless Ready Tyres | Specialized Fast Trak 2Bliss Ready 2.3in Front & Rear Drivetrain | Shimano SLX 1×12 w/MT511 32T Crankset & Deore 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano Deore M6100 2-Piston Bar | Specialized Alloy Minirise, 10mm Rise, 750mm Wide Stem | Specialized XC, 3D-Forged Alloy, Length: 60mm (XS-S), 70mm (M-XL) Seatpost | Specialized Alloy, 30.9mm Diameter Saddle | Specialized Power Sport RRP | $2,500 AUD It might not be made of carbon, but we’re kind of into that – it’s a good looking bike hey? 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 First Look | The 2021 Specialized Chisel shows just how good alloy can be appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
Bulls Copperhead EVO AM 4 Both traditional and electric. They offer a bigger variety of bikes in Europe than in the U.S., so the U.S. side is picky about what they bring in. On the traditional mountain bike side, in the past they’ve offered a hardtail called the Copperhead. This year they’re offering a full-suspension electric-assist mountain bike line called the Copperhead EVO AM series. THE BIKE Bulls started with a 6061 aluminum frame with the battery integrated into the downtube. It’s a pretty conventional front and rear triangle combo. The sloping top tube is not low enough to make it a step-thru by any means, but it curves slightly at the bottom to level off, giving you plenty of stand-over clearance. There’s still room in the front triangle for a bottle cage, though likely you’ll use their side-mounting bottle for it. THE PARTS One cool and fairly unique feature on the Copperhead—perhaps we should say “features,” because there’s two of them. The bike comes with a Monkeylink receiver on the stem and at the seatpost clamp. These are magnetic, pre-wired receivers for lights, so you can run them only at night or leave them on full-time. Lights are sold separately. We got a set, and they’re compact and plenty bright. Another feature of the rear Monkeylink mount is that you can use it for a Monkeylink fender that not only helps keep mud off your back, it also keeps it out of the Monkeylink receiver. The Bosch Kiox display is really easy to read, regardless of how bright it is outdoors. It adjusts automatically. The Shimano XTR 1×12 drivetrain proved perfect for everything we tried it on. We were never wanting for higher or lower gears. We did, however, often find we’d shift two to three gears at a time, because the steps were so small. The bike comes with a Limotec dropper post. Depending on the frame size, most come with 100mm of travel, but the large frame comes with a longer 125mm of travel to get the saddle out of the way when you need it to. THE MOTOR The Copperhead comes with a fourth-generation Bosch Performance Line CX. The latest generation of the CX is significantly different than previous versions. It’s not a refinement from the previous generations. The Bosch engineers started over and… ↓ The post Electric Bike Action Bike Test: Bulls Copperhead EVO AM 4 Trail Bike appeared first on Electric Bike Action.
As one of the first enduro-focused 29ers, Trek’s Slash was starting to show its age. It has enjoyed racing success under Katy Winton, Pedro Burns and Florian Nicolai, but its geometry was getting left behind by rivals such as the new Specialized Enduro. So, as you might expect, the all-new Slash is far more up to date. It’s designed to thrive on the ever more demanding terrain seen at enduro races, with more suspension travel and longer, lower, slacker geometry. It’s also got a steeper seat tube angle and a lighter frame, so it should climb better too. What’s more, it’s gone one up on Specialized by offering internal down tube storage in both the aluminium and carbon frames, along with a few features unique to Trek. With more travel and modern geometry, the 2021 Slash should be more capable on rowdy terrain. Trek We’ve already seen the new bike racing at the first round of the EWS in Zermatt, Switzerland, and now we can share all the details. 2021 Trek Slash geometry Perhaps the most important update is to the Slash’s shape. It still uses Trek’s Mino Link system, which can raise or lower the bottom bracket by 7mm while altering the head and seat angles by half a degree, and because we usually rode the old bike in its low setting, we’ll compare the new geometry in that configuration. The Mino Link allows the bottom bracket height and frame angles to be adjusted. Trek The head angle is now 1-degree slacker, at 64.1 degrees in the low setting; the reach has increased by 15mm to 40mm size-by-size (the largest frame now has a whopping 515mm reach); the wheelbase has grown by 25mm to 50mm depending on size. Pretty much all of this growth comes from the front-centre because the rear-centre has only increased by 2mm, to 437mm. Meanwhile, the bottom bracket drop has increased by 8mm, and now sits at 345mm in the low setting. That’s quite low for a bike with this much travel. One particular criticism of the old Slash was the slack seat tube angle, which made it tricky to tackle steep climbs. And while the travel-adjustable fork on some models helped a little, it was almost an admission of the problem. Well, it’s now 2 degrees steeper, measuring 75.6 degrees in low and 76.1 degrees in high. This is still a bit slacker than some of its rivals, but definitely a step in the right direction. What’s the future of MTB geometry? To complement the longer reach numbers, Trek is speccing very short 35mm stems across all sizes, along with (now almost ubiquitous) short offset forks. Internal storage in alloy frames as well as carbon The bike comes with a tool roll to make it easier to get things in and out of the frame. Trek While Trek certainly wasn’t the first to think of turning the down tube into a handy storage area, it’s brought the idea (which we’re big fans of) to more people. We first saw Trek do it with the Fuel EX trail bike and Domane road bike. In the case of the Slash, both the carbon and alloy frames have the handy compartment for snacks, pumps, tools and the like, while Specialized only offers down tube storage on its pricier carbon frames. With the cheapest Slash coming in at £2,650, Trek’s internal storage is available at a lower price point. Trek Slash suspension Trek has boosted the suspension travel by 10mm at each end – it now serves up 160mm in the rear and 170mm up front. The Slash still uses Trek’s ABP (active braking point) suspension system, which works a bit like a Horst-link design, but the chainstay pivot is placed further back and is concentric with the rear axle. Unlike a single-pivot layout, the brakes are not directly connected to the rear swingarm; this causes the suspension to sit higher in its travel under braking, where the suspension is softer. While the layout looks similar to the old, the main pivot has been raised slightly to give the bike a bit more anti-squat, so it should pedal more efficiently. Click here for more on suspension designs and the differences between them High-end models use a thru-shaft version of the RockShox Super Deluxe shock. The small reservoir on the thru-shaft Super Deluxe is just to allow for oil expansion as the fluid heats up. Trek Some Slash models use Trek’s Thru-shaft shock technology, with a Thru-shaft version of the RockShox Super Deluxe shock. Thru-shaft shocks have a damper shaft that goes all the way through the damper body and out the other side. This means the shaft doesn’t displace any extra oil as it enters the damper. This allows Trek to dispense with the dynamic internal floating piston (IFP), which compensates for the oil displaced by the shaft in most shocks. Trek claims this reduces friction so the shock changes direction faster and tracks the ground better. However, it’s worth remembering that IFP friction is only a small component of the total friction in a shock, particularly an air shock. Also, the Thru-shaft design requires a second shaft seal where the shaft exits the damper, which inevitably adds some friction back in. Trek insists the removal of the IFP more than makes up for this, but we’d say that any reductions in friction resulting from Thru-shaft are unlikely to be game-changing. The Thru-shaft slides out one end of the shock as it enters the other, meaning there’s no displaced oil and no need for a dynamic IFP. Sterling Lorence/Trek Bikes The Slash is compatible with some non-proprietary shocks (in fact, two of the less expensive models come with regular, non-Thru-shaft shocks). However, the standard RockShox Super Deluxe won’t fit because the lockout lever hits the frame. The proprietary shock has a lockout lever that’s more out of the way compared to the standard SuperDeluxe. It has a numbered rebound dial to simplify setup. Trek The proprietary RockShox shock has a few interesting features besides the Thru-shaft damper. There’s a lockout lever for climbing, plus a three-position dial to adjust the low-speed compression damping in the open mode. The rebound dial sits behind this and is numbered to make it easy to tell which rebound setting you’re in without counting clicks. The shock also has a larger negative spring volume than the standard DebonAir can. This means it should be softer at the start of the stroke, but firmer after sag. Apparently this change was inspired by the RockShox MegNeg air can, but it’s not quite as extreme. Interestingly, Trek has moved away from its RE:activ regressive damping technology, first used in 2014, in favour of shimmed valves. This change is apparently because modern enduro racing demands sensitivity over pedalling efficiency. Knock Block 2.0 is better, and it’s optional The new Knock Block allows a greater turning radius. It doesn’t require a special stem and can be removed. Trek Knock Block is Trek’s system for stopping the bars turning past a certain angle. This has two advantages: first, it prevents the brake levers hitting the top tube or the cables pulling out if the bars spin in a crash. Second, it allows Trek to design straighter (and therefore lighter) down tubes because they no longer need to curve upwards to avoid the path of the fork crown when spun round. The Knock Block 2.0 in the new Slash is only there for the first reason, because the curved down tube on the new Slash clears the fork crown. The new Knock Block allows a greater steering angle than before – the bars can turn by 72 degrees, up from 58 degrees. This should allow for tighter turns, but we rarely found the steering lock of the old system to be a problem on the trail. It’s also removable, so if your stunt repertoire is broader than ours you can still turn the bars as much as your cables will allow. Big seat tube for big dropper posts Fans of standard conformity will be disappointed by the 34.9mm diameter as well as the proprietary shock. The stouter seat tube standard is not unique to Trek, but it is less common than 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters. The idea is to increase space for dropper post internals and boost reliability and stiffness. The seat tube insertion length has been increased too, allowing the use of longer travel dropper posts. Complete bikes are equipped with droppers from 150mm to 200mm (Medium and Medium/Large sizes get 150mm posts, Large frames get 170mm, XL frames get 200mm). It’s a little heavier, but still light Trek claims the 2021 carbon frameset weighs just 2,450g without the shock. It credits this low weight (for an enduro frame) to Trek’s OCLV carbon layup and the fact that the ABP suspension layout has a pivot concentric with the rear axle rather than on the chainstay, which apparently makes for a lighter overall structure. However, with the shock and hardware the carbon frame weighs 3,180g – the previous frame was slightly lighter at 3,060g. (These are claimed weights in both cases). Trek puts that slight increase in weight down to the bigger shock, down tube storage and 34.9mm seat tube. 2021 Trek Slash models Trek Slash 7 Trek Slash 7. Trek Frame: Alpha Platinum Aluminium Fork: RockShox Yari RC Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+ Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle, 11-50t Brakes: SRAM Guide T Price: £2,650 / €3,499 / $2,999 Trek Slash 8 Trek Slash 8. Trek Frame: Alpha Platinum Aluminium Fork: RockShox Lyrik RC Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, Thru shaft three-position damper Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t Brakes: SRAM Code R Price: £3,100 / €3,999 / $3,499 Trek Slash 9.7 Trek Slash 9.7. Trek Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays Fork: Fox Rhythm 36 Shock: Fox DPX2, EVOL air spring, DPS damper Drivetrain: SRAM NX/GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t Brakes: SRAM Code R Price: £5,250 / €4,799 / $5,999 Trek Slash 9.8 XT Trek Slash 9.8 XT. Trek Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays Fork: RockShox ZEB Select+ Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, Thru shaft three-position damper Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100, 12-speed, 10-51t Brakes: Shimano SLX M7120 Price: £5,250 / €5,999 / $5,999 Trek Slash 9.8 GX Trek Slash 9.8 GX. Trek Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays Fork: RockShox ZEB Select+ Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, Thru shaft three-position damper Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t Brakes: SRAM G2 RSC Price: £5,800 / € 5,999 / $6,599 Trek Slash 9.9 XO1 Trek Slash 9.9 XO1. Trek Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame and stays Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, Thru shaft three-position damper Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-52t Brakes: SRAM Code RSC Price: £7,500 / €7,999 / $8,499
Joining the tidal wave of new XC bike releases for what was meant to be an Olympic year, the 2021 Canyon Exceed has officially joined the swell. Sitting alongside its fully-suspended sibling the Lux, the Exceed is Canyon’s flagship carbon hardtail. It originally launched way back in 2015 as one of, it not the lightest production mountain bikes on the market. Five years is an age in the world of carbon fibre technology though, and over that time, things have also changed considerably on the World Cup XC circuit too. Clearly it was time for an update. The Sub-9kg Hardtail And here we have it – the fully redesigned and reengineered 2021 Canyon Exceed! The crisp white bike you’re looking at here is the Exceed CFR Team, which we’ve just received for testing. As its name suggests, this is the team-edition Exceed, which features the same Fox/Shimano/DT Swiss spec as raced by Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Mathieu van der Poel. Confirmed weight for our test bike a rather jaw-dropping 8.84kg, which is quite frankly, insane. We’ll be putting it to the test shortly, but before we do that, let’s take a closer look at what’s changed with the Exceed, and what’s special about this new razor-sharp race bike. The Exceed is Canyon’s flagship carbon hardtail, and it’s brand spanking new for 2021. The 2021 Canyon Exceed – What’s The Dealio? The new Exceed arrives as the 2nd generation of the platform, and as you’d expect, it’s claimed to be both lighter and stiffer than its predecessor. It also gets a geometry update, a new XS size option, and an ingenious cable routing system to offer some of the cleanest lines we’ve seen from any mountain bike. The basic ingredients remain unchanged. The Exceed is rolling on 29in wheels, is propped up with a 100mm travel fork, and the frame is of course built from carbon fibre. However, everything from the tapered head tube down to the 148x12mm dropouts is all-new. The new frame moves to a flat-mount rear brake calliper, and an integrated seat clamp that affords a super clean aesthetic. The chassis adopts more aggressive lines borrowed from the latest Lux, Inflite and Ultimate models. The top tube is less sloping than before, which actually reduces standover clearance, but allows the seatstays and downtube to take a visually-pleasing parallel pathway. The seat clamp itself is now integrated into the frame, while a rubber seal wraps around the seat post to shield the inside from water and mud ingress. The chainstays are also bridgeless down behind the 92mm wide press-fit BB shell, which is to prevent clumps of mud building up and weighing you down through a race. Just like the Lux, the Exceed has moved to a flat-mount rear brake calliper, and you’ll also find a tidy Quixle rear thru-axle locking down the rear wheel. And in a trend that is rapidly gaining momentum, the Exceed becomes the first Canyon bike to adopt the SRAM UDH derailleur hanger. Hold On, Where’d Those Cables Go? Oh and there’s a clever new headset too! The Exceed’s headset still features the IPU (Impact Protection Unit), which utilises a partially hidden steering limiter to prevent the brake and shift levers from smashing into the top tube during the event of a crash. The IPU has been updated though, and it’s much sleeker than before. It also features cable ports on the front portion of the headset top cap, which allows the rear brake, derailleur cable, and dropper cable to route through the upper headset bearing, past the fork steerer tube, and down through the frame’s downtube. It’s a wild and ingenious arrangement, all of which has been done to keep the cockpit as tidy as possible. Instead of drilling ports into the frame, Canyon has instead routed the cables through the Acros headset. Why route the cables through the headset? Aside from looking über clean, it means Canyon doesn’t have to drill holes into the headtube. Any time you open up a carbon frame, those areas need to be reinforced with more carbon, which adds weight and manufacturing complexity. Also, because the headset and bar rotate together, the cables don’t actually move when you’re steering. This allows the lines to be cut nice and short, and according to Canyon, it makes the steering smoother due to the elimination of any cable-related friction. The downside? You’ll need to remove the brake hose and gear cable to replace the upper headset bearing, which may be of concern to riders in wetter climates. Canyon assures us that this won’t be a common occurrence though. The headset is made by fellow German brand Acros, and much attention was paid to the quality of the sealing and the grease itself to ensure the bearings remain silky smooth for as long as possible. Due to the shipping method, Canyon has to leave the cables and hoses quite long. You can run the lines quite short though – we’ll be trimming the lines on our test bike to tidy things up. Furthermore, in what is possibly the most German thing we’ve ever heard, Canyon apparently built a specific test machine in its R&D lab to test the durability of the new cable routing system. This monotonous machine rotates the handlebar back and fourth over 150,000 times, allowing the engineers to evaluate any untoward rubbing or damage to the cables. Along with eight months of field testing, Canyon is plenty confident in the end product. Ooh Fancy Frank Bars! With the new Exceed, Canyon is also unveiling a new one-piece carbon fibre bar & stem it’s had in development since 2015. Featuring the whimsical model name “CP0008 XC Cockpit“, this integrated cockpit will come standard on the top four Exceed models, further enhancing the bike’s sharp lines. The purposeful front end is complemented by a new one-piece carbon bar and stem. Compared to a conventional two-piece system, the one-piece design is of course less adjustable. And depending on what you compare it with, it isn’t actually any lighter – the bars on our test bike weigh in at a confirmed 333g, which is over 100g heavier than the Syncros Fraser iC we reviewed. “We did not wanted to go crazy on the weight here as we wanted to make sure that the cockpit fits our requirements, our high testing standards and overall to be safe“, explains Canyon’s senior product manager, Julian Biefang. “Another point is also that we tested a lot of super super lightweight handlebars and they’re often too flexy and they do not really feel ‘direct’ in the handling – they can even feel unsafe’. This is something we wanted to avoid as well. We want to provide a good and direct feeling on the cockpit by adding the comfort needed.” Compared to the Syncros Fraser that uses more of a Y-shape profile and T25 torx bolts, the CP0008 features more of a T-shape profile and larger 5mm hex bolts to lock it down on the steerer tube. Canyon has also given the top of the bar also has a wider and flatter profile, which provides a comfortable perch for your hands or even forearms during a fast fireroad aero-tuck attack. Also included with the bike is a neat adjustable GPS bracket for mounting your Garmin/Wahoo computer. The one-piece bars get a very wide and flat profile to provide a comfortable perch or forearms during a fast fireroad aero-tuck attack. The bar gets a distinctly XC-ish width of 740mm, with a 7° backsweep and a 3.5° upsweep. The effective stem length is 80mm, which every Exceed frame size has been designed around. Depending on the frame size, the stem angles downwards either 6° or 17°. We understand Canyon will be releasing the CP0008 XC Cockpit as an aftermarket product later this year, and it will be available in several stem length options. Yes, It’s Lighter The previous Exceed wasn’t exactly chonky, but it wouldn’t be a new XC bike launch without talk of weight reduction right? And you’ll be happy to know the Exceed frame is lighter. Not by much though. For a Medium size, a bare Exceed CFR frame is claimed to weigh just 740g – yikes! Add in the hanger, seat clamp, chainstay protector, metal chain-suck plate, and graphics, and you’ve got an 835g frame. It’s only 35g lighter than the previous Exceed CF SLX frame, and it’s not quite as light as the Specialized S-Works Epic HT, but it’s still right up there. For a Medium size, a bare Exceed CFR frame is claimed to weigh just 740g – yikes! Add in the hanger, seat clamp, chainstay protector, metal chain-suck plate, and graphics, and you’ve got an 835g frame. We’ll point out that there are actually three different frames within the Exceed lineup, and the headline weight figure only refers to the top end CFR (Canyon Factory Racing) frame. Here’s the weight comparison for those three frames; CFR: 835g SLX: 1,105g CF: 1,312g All Exceed frames use the same moulds, which means the geometry and external profile is identical throughout the range. Stiffness is also identical between all three frames, and all will handle a rider up to 120kg. The difference is purely weight-based, with the higher-end frames utilising higher modulus carbon fibre. And that brings us to the new CFR frame. The CFR frame is only found on the top two Exceed models, including the CFR Team we have here. Unicorn Hair Carbon To achieve that 35g weight reduction while simultaneously increasing stiffness and making the new Exceed longer and slacker than its predecessor, Canyon has employed a very special and exclusive type of carbon fibre from Toray called M40X. There are allegedly only three factories in the world that have authorisation from the Japanese government to use M40X, and one of those factories is producing bicycle frames for Canyon. As a raw material, we’re told that M40X is a lot more expensive than the traditional carbon fibre we’re used to seeing in the bicycle industry. As such, the frame is still made with a mix of carbon fibres, with M40X only used in select locations to increase strength and stiffness where it’s needed. Even still, Canyon acknowledges that at a manufacturing level, the new CFR frame is roughly double the cost to produce. Canyon has employed Toray’s fancy M40X carbon fibre to increase the strength-to-weight ratio of the Exceed CFR. This special carbon supposedly doubles the manufacturing cost. It Isn’t Meant To Be More Comfortable Utilising this new ‘Unicorn Hair’ carbon fibre isn’t just about lowering weight. In the case of the Exceed, the engineers have been able to boost strength and stiffness throughout, particularly at the head tube and BB areas. Along with the reworked seat tube junction and less sloping top tube, the new Exceed frame is actually less compliant than the old model. If you’re looking for the smoothest ride, look elsewhere. Worth noting though is that our test bike, the Exceed CFR Team, comes standard with Canyon’s VCLS seatpost, which is essentially a two-piece carbon leaf-spring that’s designed to improve vibration damping. And it is possible to add further squish too – there’s clearance for up to a 2.4in rear tyre (rim & tyre dependent), and the frame has also been cleared for use with up to a 110mm travel fork. The CFR Team comes with the carbon VCLS seatpost, which is designed to flex and improve vibration damping over a regular post. Modernising The Pure Race Bike Whereas other brands like BMC and Norco are bringing trail-inspired geometry to their XC race bikes, Canyon is doubling down with the new Exceed, keeping the angles sharp and the wheelbase tight. If it’s cruisy and comfortable you’re after, then look elsewhere. The head angle has slackened by just half a degree to 69°, while the reach has extended by 10mm on each size. The seat angle has gotten a lot steeper though. It’s now 75°, up from 72.7° the old bike. As mentioned above, there is less standover clearance with the new frame design, and in a reverse move to almost every other new mountain bike release in 2020, the seat tube lengths have gotten longer. The chainstay length has shortened a fraction, though it remains size-specific to help balance weight distribution throughout the size range. The XS-M sizes get 425mm rear centre length, the L is 430mm and the XL is 435mm. 2021 Canyon Exceed Geometry Shorties Rejoice! And for the first time ever, the Exceed is now available down to an XS frame size, which Canyon claims will suit riders as short as 158cm (5’2″). That’s impressive given it’s still utilising 29in wheels, and the XS frame is also still able to fit two water bottles inside the mainframe – good news for the marathon crowd and XC racers saddling up for multi-hour training rides. The top-end Exceed CFR LTD sells for a cool $10,199 AUD, and features a raw carbon frame that’s finished with just 39g of decals. What Models Are Coming Into Australia? All nine of them! The range is made up of CF, SLX and CFR models, which includes two women’s specific WMN models. These utilise exactly the same frame as the unisex models, but feature female-specific contact points. Every Exceed model comes with a 100mm travel fork with a 44mm offset and a remote lockout. They also feature a 30.9mm seatpost diameter, and certain models will be coming with the new DT Swiss 232; a super-light, 60mm travel dropper post that was designed in a collaboration between DT Swiss and Canyon. Pricing starts at $2,649 AUD for the Exceed CF 5, and tops out at a bank-busting $10,199 AUD for the Exceed CFR LTD. As always, you’ll need to add the shipping cost onto any of those prices, since Canyon ships its bikes direct to your door from its factory in Koblenz, Germany. At the time of writing, Canyon informs us that all the CF and SLX models are ready to ship, while the two top-end CFR models are due to ship in September. Complete with a full Shimano XTR groupset, DT Swiss XRC 1200 wheels and a Fox 32 Step-Cast fork, it’s a seriously high-end XC bike that’s basically identical to what the World Cup pros are racing on. All Exceed frames, including the XS size, will fit two water bottles inside the mainframe. On Test – The Canyon Exceed CFR Team Our test bike is the Exceed CFR Team, which sits one step down from the top-of-the-line CFR LTD. Complete with a full Shimano XTR groupset, DT Swiss XRC 1200 wheels and a Fox 32 Step-Cast fork, it’s still a seriously high-end XC bike that’s basically identical to what the World Cup pros are racing on. Since it sadly skips the DT dropper post, it’s also the lightest complete Exceed on offer – confirmed weight for our Medium is just 8.84kg – bonkers! Having gotten cosy with the previous generation Exceed (I’ve tested both the SL and SLX versions) I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the new bike handles on the trail, and how it compares. Stay tuned for an in-depth review and video coming soon, though in the meantime, be sure to ask us any questions about this sleek carbon wunderbike! The Exceed CF 5 is the entry-point into the line, featuring a 1×12 Eagle drivetrain and a RockShox Recon fork. 2021 Canyon Exceed CF WMN 5 Frame | CF Carbon Fibre Fork | RockShox Recon Silver RL,, 44mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | Race Face AR25, Alloy Rims, 25mm Inner Width Tyres | Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance 2.25in Front & Rear Drivetrain | SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 w/Stylo 6K 34T Crankset & 11-50T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Level T 2-Piston Bar | Race Face Ride, 740mm Wide Seatpost | Race Face Ride, 30.9mm Diameter Saddle | Selle Italia Lady Claimed Weight | 12.25kg RRP | $2,649 AUD We’re digging the graphics on this Exceed CF WMN 5 – fresh! 2021 Canyon Exceed CF 5 Frame | CF Carbon Fibre Fork | RockShox Recon Silver RL,, 44mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | Race Face AR25, Alloy Rims, 25mm Inner Width Tyres | Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance 2.25in Front & Rear Drivetrain | SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 w/Stylo 6K 34T Crankset & 11-50T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Level T 2-Piston Bar | Race Face Ride, 740mm Wide Seatpost | Race Face Ride, 30.9mm Diameter Saddle | Selle Italia X Boost Claimed Weight | 12.08kg RRP | $2,649 AUD Moving up to a Fox 32 fork and a Shimano SLX 1×12 drivetrain, the Exceed CF 6 is a lot of bike for the money. 2021 Canyon Exceed CF 6 Frame | CF Carbon Fibre Fork | Fox 32 Rhythm, GRIP Damper, 44mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | DT Swiss XR1700, Alloy Rims, 25mm Inner Width Tyres | Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance 2.25in Front & Rear Drivetrain | Shimano SLX/XT 1×12 w/SLX 34T Crankset & 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano SLX 2-Piston Bar | Race Face Ride, 740mm Wide Seatpost | Race Face Ride, 30.9mm Diameter Saddle | Selle Italia X Boost Claimed Weight | 10.86kg RRP | $3,499 AUD The Exceed CF 7 adds in a lightweight set of Reynolds carbon wheels, along with SRAM’s new GX Eagle drivetrain with the bigger 10-52T cassette ratio. 2021 Canyon Exceed CF 7 Frame | CF Carbon Fibre Fork | RockShox SID SL Select, 44mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | Reynolds TR 309/289, Carbon Rims, Inner Width: 30mm Front & 28mm Rear Tyres | Maxxis Ikon EXO 3C MaxxSpeed 2.35in Front & Aspen EXO 2.25in Rear Drivetrain | SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/Stylo 7K 34T Crankset & 10-52T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Level TL 2-Piston Bar | Race Face Ride, 740mm Wide Seatpost | Race Face Ride, 30.9mm Diameter Saddle | Selle Italia SLS Claimed Weight | 10.55kg RRP | $4,249 AUD The best looking bike of the bunch? Tanwall tyres from Schwalbe finish off this lovely Exceed CF WMN 7. 2021 Canyon Exceed CF WMN 7 Frame | CF Carbon Fibre Fork | RockShox SID SL Select, 44mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | Reynolds TR 309/289, Carbon Rims, Inner Width: 30mm Front & 28mm Rear Tyres | Schwalbe Racing Ray Super Race ADDIX SpeedGrip 2.25in Front & Racing Ralph Super Race ADDIX Speed 2.25in Rear Drivetrain | SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/Stylo 7K 32T Crankset & 10-52T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Level TL 2-Piston Bar | Race Face Ride, 720mm Wide Seatpost | Race Face Ride, 30.9mm Diameter Saddle | Selle Italia SLS Lady Claimed Weight | 10.3kg RRP | $4,249 AUD It wouldn’t be a Canyon launch without some all-black bikes, and the SLX 8 doesn’t disappoint – complete with the DT Swiss D232 dropper post. 2021 Canyon Exceed CF SLX 8 Frame | SLX Carbon Fibre Fork | Fox 32 Step-Cast, Performance Elite, 44mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | DT Swiss XRC 1700, Carbon Rims, 30mm Inner Width Tyres | Maxxis Ikon EXO 3C MaxxSpeed 2.35in Front & Aspen EXO 2.25in Rear Drivetrain | SRAM X01 Eagle 1×12 w/Stylo 34T Carbon Crankset & 10-52T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Level TLM 2-Piston Bar | Canyon XC Cockpit, Carbon, 740mm Wide Seatpost | DT Swiss D232 Dropper Post, 30.9mm Diameter, 60mm Travel Saddle | Selle Italia SLR Boost Claimed Weight | 9.9kg RRP | $5,799 AUD For a bit over $7K, the SRAM AXS-equipped Exceed SLX 9 is packed full of goodies. 2021 Canyon Exceed CF SLX 9 Frame | SLX Carbon Fibre Fork | RockShox SID SL Select+, 44mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | DT Swiss XRC 1501, Carbon Rims, 30mm Inner Width Tyres | Maxxis Ikon EXO 3C MaxxSpeed 2.35in Front & Aspen EXO 2.25in Rear Drivetrain | SRAM X01 AXS Eagle 1×12 w/X01 34T Carbon Crankset & 10-52T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Level TLM 2-Piston Bar | Canyon XC Cockpit, Carbon, 740mm Wide Seatpost | DT Swiss D232 Dropper Post, 30.9mm Diameter, 60mm Travel Saddle | Selle Italia SLR Boost Claimed Weight | 9.73kg RRP | $7,349 AUD You want to ride what MvdP and Pauline race? Here’s your bike. 2021 Canyon Exceed CFR Team Frame | CFR Carbon Fibre Fork | Fox 32 Step-Cast, Factory Series, 44mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | DT Swiss XRC 1200, Carbon Rims, 30mm Inner Width Tyres | Maxxis Ikon EXO 3C MaxxSpeed 2.35in Front & Aspen EXO 2.25in Rear Drivetrain | Shimano XTR M9100 1×12 w/Race Face Next SL 34T Carbon Crankset & 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano XTR M9100 Race 2-Piston Bar | Canyon XC Cockpit, Carbon, 740mm Wide Seatpost | Canyon VCLS 2.0 Carbon, 30.9mm Diameter Saddle | Selle Italia SLR Boost Carbonio Claimed Weight | 8.87kg RRP | $8,999 AUD And the very exotic range-topping Exceed CFR LTD – what a stunning piece of machinery! 2021 Canyon Exceed CFR LTD Frame | CFR Carbon Fibre Fork | RockShox SID SL Ultimate, 44mm Offset, Remote Lockout, 100mm Travel Wheels | Reynolds Black Label, Carbon Rims, Inner Width: 30mm Front & 28mm Rear Tyres | Maxxis Ikon EXO 3C MaxxSpeed 2.35in Front & Aspen EXO 2.25in Rear Drivetrain | SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle 1×12 w/XX1 34T Carbon Crankset & 10-52T Cassette Brakes | SRAM Level Ultimate 2-Piston Bar | Canyon XC Cockpit, Carbon, 740mm Wide Seatpost | DT Swiss D232 One Dropper Post, 30.9mm Diameter, 60mm Travel Saddle | Selle Italia SLR Boost Carbonio Claimed Weight | 8.9kg RRP | $10,199 AUD Mo’ Flow Please! 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Belgian brand Ridley has announced an all-new carbon aero gravel bike with a unique gearing arrangement. The Kanzo Fast combines standard 1× groupset components with a 2-speed wirelessly-operated internal gear hub from Classified, another Belgium-based brand and one that’s new to the market. While the Kanzo Fast borrows aero features from the Noah Fast road bike, the Classified system aims to combine the best features of 1× and 2× systems, with the downsides of neither. The Kanzo Fast will be available this September in Shimano GRX RX800, GRX Di2, and SRAM Rival 1 builds as standard, with pricing to be confirmed. We’ll be updating this story when we have more details on the Kanzo Fast, but here are the key facts. Related reading How Ridley’s new Noah Fast will live up to its name The best gravel bikes Shimano GRX is here: gravel-specific and 1× components for Ultegra, 105 and Tiagra Kanzo Fast: the “fastest gravel bike in the world” The Kanzo Fast is a gravel bike meant for speed. Ridley The F-Surface channel on the seatpost is clearly visible. Ridley The one-piece cockpit is gravel-specific. Ridley There’s a lovely smooth transition from fork to down tube. Ridley The F-Wing fork nubbin is there for aero too. Ridley The Kanzo Fast is designed to be comfy and fast on mixed surfaces. Ridley The Kanzo Fast borrows various aerodynamic features from the Noah Fast including ‘F-Tubing’ profiles, where channels are used to create an aerodynamic tripwire that delays separation of the airflow, thereby reducing drag. The bike also features the Noah’s F-Wing fork nubbins, along with fully-internal cabling and a distinctive fork-to-down tube transition. Ridley claims that, at an unspecified speed, the Kanzo Fast saves 17 watts over an “ordinary gravel bike” and is within 4 watts of the Noah Fast “across all the yaw angles”. The brand calls the Kanzo Fast “the fastest gravel bike in the world”. The Kanzo Fast shares aero features with the Noah Fast road race bike. Ridley We’re used to seeing dropped seatstays on the latest bikes, but the Kanzo Fast’s are particularly low, in aid of rear-end comfort according to Ridley product manager Bert Kenens. Compliance is further enhanced by the D-section seatpost, which is intended to allow additional flex. Because it’s designed to work with the Classified rear hub, the Kanzo Fast’s frame is 1×-only. We’re awaiting confirmation, but from the press photos it appears that, despite the bike’s racy intentions, it may feature mudguard mounts, a welcome bonus. The Kanzo Fast features “smooth gravel geometry” (we’ve not seen the numbers yet), clearance for 42mm tyres, and it’s matched to a one-piece gravel-specific cockpit with short drop and reach and a 16-degree flare on the drops. Claimed weight for the frame is 1,190g (for a medium with lacquer), plus 490g for the fork. A complete bike with Forza Vardar wheels and Shimano GRX Di2 is said to weigh 8.55kg. Classified rear hub: a unique front derailleur alternative Classified likens its shifting mechanism to clockwork. Classified The special thru-axle houses the battery and wireless receiver. Classified Ridley partner Classified reckons its system offers “the same functionality as the front derailleur and way more”. Its 2-speed rear-hub based system is controlled wirelessly and claims to be able to shift in just 150 milliseconds, and under full load up to 1,000 watts. It offers ratios of 1:1 and 0.7:1, giving a total gear range of between 358 per cent with an 11-27 cassette and 451 per cent with an 11-34. Incidentally, there’s no conventional freehub, the Classified hub accepts proprietary cassettes that are machined from solid steel. The hub itself contains no battery but the “smart wireless thru-axle” does. Shifting is activated by induction coils in the axle, and a single charge is claimed to allow over 10,000 shifts. Where conventional internal gear hubs are usually fairly heavy, Classified claims combining its system with a 1× drivetrain makes for bikes that are as light or lighter than conventional 2×-equipped bikes. The brand also believes its system is more efficient overall than a conventional 1× setup because it reduces the amount of cross-chaining. Efficiency is said to be similar to that of a 2× drivetrain, helped by the fact that there’s no smaller chainring up front – smaller rings are inherently less efficient. Ridley Kanzo Fast pricing and availability The Kanzo Fast will be available from 1 September, with pricing to be confirmed. In addition to two standard paintjobs, buyers have the option of going fully bespoke with Ridley’s Customizer programme.
Merida has just announced its latest mountain bike for 2021, but as you’ll see, this one is mysteriously missing a rear shock. It’s called the Big Trail, and it’s designed to plug the gap between the brand’s existing XC hardtails and the One-Twenty full suspension trail bike. Fittingly then, it comes bursting at the seams with all the mod-cons and some spicy trail-oriented geometry. As you’ll see shortly, it’s also packing some serious value for money too. Merida has launched the all-new Big Trail, and it looks like an absolute hoot! Full Suspension? Bah, Who Needs It! Not everyone needs, wants or can afford a full suspension bike, and for those riders a hardtail presents itself as a simpler and more cost-effective option for getting onto the trails. In the past however, getting a hardtail usually meant climbing aboard something racy and twitchy, with narrow bars, skinny tyres, a short-travel fork and XC racing geometry. Urgh! Thankfully times have changed. Geometry has improved, and with the adoption of dropper posts, wide tyres and 29in wheels, the hardtail is a whole lot more capable, and a whole lot more fun than it’s ever been before. While other brands have been on the wagon for a while, Merida is the latest to embrace hardtail simplicity with modern up-for-it trail geometry and components. Geometry has improved, and with the adoption of dropper posts, wide tyres and 29in wheels, the humble hardtail is a whole lot more capable, and a whole lot more fun than it’s ever been before. You can think of the Big Trail has a hardtail-version of Merida’s existing One-Twenty. But it’s more modern overall. The Merida Big Trail – What’s Cookin? The Big Trail is built around a 6061 alloy frame, which uses mechanical forming techniques to bend and shape the round metal tubes into the finished form you see here. Up front is a 140mm travel fork, and the whole shebang rolls on 29in wheels, with the curvy seatstays providing clearance for up to a 2.5in rear tyre. Geometry is thoroughly up to date, and it’s actually more progressive than Merida’s own One-Twenty full suspension trail bike that we reviewed recently. The head angle is slacker at 65.5° head angle, and that’s combined with a steep 75.5° seat tube angle, compact 435mm chainstays, and a nice low-slung top tube. No, it isn’t the most raked out or DH-oriented, especially compared to something like the Norco Torrent. The geometry on the Big Trail is spicy, but it’s more Rogan Josh than Vindaloo, which no doubt makes it a more appealing dish for a wider range of riders. Double bottle centipede! Dual-Bottle Ready One particularly cool feature of the Big Trail frame is that it’ll fit two water bottles inside the mainframe. You’ll also find two additional bolts underneath the top tube, which are primarily there for mounting an integrated bolt-on tool storage system, though you can fit a water bottle cage up there too if you’re an especially thirsty type. There are loads more nice details to be found on the Big Trail chassis, including a tapered and semi-integrated headset, internal cable routing, a good ol’ fashioned threaded bottom bracket shell, and a post-mounted rear brake calliper that tucks in neatly inside the frame. It’s also the first Merida frame we’ve seen to adopt SRAM’s fledgling UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger) standard, though we suspect it won’t be the last. The dropouts are then brought together with a 148x12mm thru-axle, which cleverly integrates a 4/6mm hex key into the end of the removal lever. New-school integrated tool storage is cropping up, and Merida has made sure the Big Trail is ready for such an accessory. The frame is nicely finished with semi-internal cable routing, and shapely tubing that’s been mechanically formed at the factory. The 2021 Merida Big Trail Lineup Advance Traders, Merida’s Australian distributor, will be bringing in four Big Trail models for 2021. Pricing starts at a very competitive $1,249 for the entry-level Big Trail 200. All Big Trail models feature the same alloy frame and will be available in Small through to XL sizes. Every frame size is optimised around a 50mm stem and 760-780mm wide handlebars. Regardless of price, you’ll be getting a 1x Shimano drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes with bigger 180mm rotors, tubeless compatible rims and chunky 2.4in tyres. Here’s a closer look at all four models; The top-spec Big Trail 600 features a Marzocchi Z2 fork and a Shimano Deore 1×12 drivetrain. 2021 Merida Big Trail 600 Frame | 6061 Techno-Formed Alloy Fork | Marzocchi Z2, EVOL Air Spring, 44mm Offset, 140mm Travel Wheels | Shimano MT400 Hubs & Merida Expert TR Alloy rims, 29mm Inner Width, Tubeless Compatible Tyres | Maxxis Dissector EXO 29×2.40WT Front & Rear Drivetrain | Shimano Deore M6100 1×12 w/Race Face Ride 32T Crankset & 10-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano M4100 2-Piston w/180mm CenterLock Rotors Bar | Merida Expert TR Alloy, 20mm Rise, 780mm Wide Seatpost | Merida Comp TR, 30.9mm Diameter, Travel: 125mm (S), 150mm (M/L/XL) RRP | $2,299 AUD In its stealthy nearly-all-black finish, the Big Trail 500 moves to a RockShox fork and a 1×11 Shimano Deore drivetrain. 2021 Merida Big Trail 500 Frame | 6061 Techno-Formed Alloy Fork | RockShox Recon Silver RL, Solo Air Spring, 42mm Offset, 140mm Travel Wheels | Shimano MT400 Hubs & Merida Comp TR Alloy rims, 29mm Inner Width, Tubeless Compatible Tyres | Maxxis Dissector EXO 29×2.40WT Front & Rear Drivetrain | Shimano Deore M5100 1×11 w/Deore 32T Crankset & 11-51T Cassette Brakes | Shimano MT-200 2-Piston w/180mm CenterLock Rotors Bar | Merida Expert TR Alloy, 20mm Rise, 780mm Wide Seatpost | Merida Comp TR, 30.9mm Diameter, Travel: 125mm (S), 150mm (M/L/XL) RRP | $1,849 AUD For well under $2K, the Big Trail 400 gets you an air-adjustable fork, hydraulic disc brakes, a dropper post, and tubeless compatible wheels. 2021 Merida Big Trail 400 Frame | 6061 Techno-Formed Alloy Fork | Suntour XCR34 LOR, Air Spring, 51mm Offset, 140mm Travel Wheels | Shimano MT400 Hubs & Merida Comp TR Alloy rims, 29mm Inner Width, Tubeless Compatible Tyres | Kenda Regolith 29×2.4in Wire Bead Front & Rear Drivetrain | Shimano Deore M4100 1×10 w/Deore 32T Crankset & 11-46T Cassette Brakes | Shimano MT-200 2-Piston w/180mm CenterLock Rotors Bar | Merida Expert CC Alloy, 10mm Rise, 760mm Wide Seatpost | Merida Comp TR, 30.9mm Diameter, Travel: 125mm (S), 150mm (M/L/XL) RRP | $1,599 AUD The Big Trail 200 is the only model without a dropper post, but that makes it even more accessible. And you can always upgrade to a dropper in the future if you fancy. 2021 Merida Big Trail 200 Frame | 6061 Techno-Formed Alloy Fork | Suntour XCM32, Coil Spring, 46mm Offset, 140mm Travel Wheels | Shimano MT400 Hubs & Merida Comp TR Alloy rims, 29mm Inner Width, Tubeless Compatible Tyres | Kenda Regolith 29×2.4in Front & Rear Drivetrain | Shimano Deore M4100 1×10 w/Deore 32T Crankset & 11-46T Cassette Brakes | Shimano MT-200 2-Piston w/180mm CenterLock Rotors Bar | Merida Expert CC Alloy, 10mm Rise, 760mm Wide Seatpost | Merida Comp CC, 30.9mm Diameter RRP | $1,249 AUD We’re digging what Merida is laying down with the Big Trail – this is the type of hardtail that more riders should be on, and it certainly looks ready for some properly rowdy riding! 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. 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Gravel bikes have largely stolen cyclocrossers’ thunder, but we still have an affection for curly-barred barrier-hopping antics, which is exactly what the All-City Macho King A.C.E. is designed for. Sold as a frameset or a complete bike with SRAM Rival 1× gearing, the Macho King is built from All-City’s proprietary A.C.E. steel tubing, which the brand says allows its engineers to customise the tubing for each bike’s needs. We’ve got the frameset here, and it’s pretty stunning thanks to that glorious splatter paintjob. Related reading All-City Mr Pink Classic long-term review The best steel road bikes Riding a dumb fixed gear gravel bike has given me unexpected lockdown freedom While you could certainly build the Macho King into a capable gravel bike, there are key spec details that betray its racy ‘cross intentions. The top tube is ovalised for easy shouldering and, unlike the gravel and adventure bikes All-City also makes, there isn’t a mudguard or luggage mount in sight on the frame. The Macho King is a truly handsome frameset for ‘cross racing. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media Little details like this pretty seat collar are what make the frame distinctive. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media The engraved head badge looks lovely. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media There are no awkward standards here, just a plain threaded bottom bracket. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media Flat mount brakes are a given now. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media The A.C.E. tubing is proprietary to All-City. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media In addition, tyre clearance tops out at 700×42mm, with the frameset apparently optimised for ‘cross-approved 33mm rubber. The geometry is reasonably racy too. This 52cm frame (medium-ish) has 382mm of reach and 566mm of stack. What is Bike of the Week? Every Tuesday, we bring you a detailed first look at one of the latest bikes (or framesets) to arrive at BikeRadar HQ – from road to commuting, gravel to enduro, and anything in between. This is our chance to introduce the bike and everything that makes it unique before hitting the road or trails. Head to our Bike of the Week hub for previous editions. It’s the details that really give the Macho King its appeal. The logo seat clamp is delightful, as is the engraved head badge, and the bottle bosses feature subtle reinforcement. All-City is proud of its paint too. All the brand’s framesets get a phosphorous bath prior to painting, followed by an “electrophoretic deposition” (ED) coating, which uses the magic of electricity to stick an initial layer of paint to the frame and adds a base layer of rust protection. This is followed by layers of conventional wet paint and, finally, a UV-resistant clear coat. The end result is a finish that really shines. The splatter paint is achingly cool. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media Being steel, the All-City isn’t exactly super light. I can’t tell you exactly what this 52cm frameset weighs because it’s currently locked in BikeRadar’s Covid-shuttered office, but All-City says a 55cm frame weighs 1,745g, while a complete frameset with thru-axles comes in at 2,379g. Would you fancy racing cyclocross on some stylish steel? How would you build yours? All-City Macho King A.C.E. frameset specification Frame material: All-City A.C.E. air-hardened, custom extruded steel Rear hub spacing: 142×12mm Brakes: Flat mount disc, 140–160mm rotors Seatpost: 27.2mm Tyre sizes: Max 700×42mm, optimised for 700×33mm Bottom bracket: 68mm BSA threaded Fork: Columbus Futura Cross full carbon, 100×12mm axle Price (frameset): £1,400 / $1,299