Not all hydration packs are created equal. I’ve been using these three all-purpose adventure packs lately and evaluating the pros and cons of each. Get a detailed report below.Tweet Print
Across the board, the staff at Dirt Rag was more than a little surprised by this new suspension design. We knew there was a new 27.5 bike in the works, but we had no clue it would be so new and unique.
Yeti calls this new design Switch Infinity, or a “translating pivot”. As the suspension moves through its travel, the main pivot, mounted to a carrier that slides on two Kashima coated shafts, initially moves up, but at the inflection point, it moves back towards the bottom bracket.
The Auron is Suntour’s 34mm stanchioned entry in the enduro market, a 27.5 fork in a few damper configurations and travel lengths, topping out at 160mm. This is a basic RC damper with low speed rebound and compression clickers, a slick QR thru-axle, forged hollow crown, and magnesium lowers, adding up to 4.1 pounds with a cut steerer.
Competition is stiff in this segment, with the Fox 34 and darn near perfect RockShox Pike owning most of the market. I’m happy to report this fork plays in the same league on all levels: steering stiffness, damping adjustments and ride quality.Tweet Print
The new Crossmax Enduro wheel system is unique in that it’s designed around (and includes) Mavic branded tires, the dual-ply Charge and Roam XL. While the wheelset itself doesn’t break any new ground, it does use specific rim widths, spoke counts and lacing for the front and rear.Tweet Print
Liteville isn’t a brand you see much of on this side of the pond. A sister company to German component maker Syntace, Liteville makes just three understated models, which, when examined closely, display some of the finest design and engineering in the industry.
Rather than complaining about what wasn’t on the market, Liteville was formed to create bikes its founders wanted to ride, but weren’t available and the 601 is an obvious example, with a whopping 190mm of rear travel, adjustable geometry, and a full range of gearing capable of going up as well as down.
The 601 attracts very little attention on the trail because its flat black, ball-peened finish hides enough features to fill the rest of this page. Some highlights: super smart cable routing, model specific Syntace chain guide and a rear derailleur rock guard. Liteville designed specific aluminum tubing for each size and model, and the amount of shaping is nothing short of impressive. The 601 looks like the bicycle equivalent of an assault rifle; all business, and in the right hands, very dangerous.Tweet Print
In this day and age, a new 29-inch hardtail often isn’t big news. But with a company like Ibis (which has a very small bike line up) and a bike like the Tranny, this is more than another “me-too” bicycle.
The 26-inch version of the Tranny was recently retired, and this 29er replacement has been in development for years, but the full suspension Ripley took most of the lion’s share of Ibis’ development power. Now that the Ripley has left the nest, it leaves room for this new carbon fiber hardtail.Tweet Print
For almost as long as fat bikes have been a thing, trying to set them up tubeless has also been a thing. We even wrote a blog about it.
45North is the first company to release a tubeless ready tire, the Vanhelga, a four inch wide tire with what looks to be a trail bike tread pattern. Marketed as winter trail riding tire, 6.5mm tall, aggressively shaped and siped lugs look promising for the all season fat-biker as well. The Vanhelga uses dual compound rubber, harder in the middle for increased tread life, softer on the outside for more traction when cornering.Tweet Print
Trek hasn’t shied away from developing proprietary suspension products in its search for better performance. About five years ago, the Dual Rate Control Valve (DRVC) air spring system appeared on Trek’s full suspension bikes, and has remained part of its suspension designs ever since.
About the same time, Trek started talks with Penske Racing Shocks through a fortunate father-son connection, the father being a well-respected NASCAR engineer, and the son being a frame engineer with Trek.
I knew the Penske name had something to do with racing, but I was mostly familiar with the big yellow rental trucks. Penske is a whole other ballgame supplying high-end, bespoke suspension solutions to the fastest motorsports racing teams in the business, including six of thirteen F1 teams.
There are a few mountain bikers on staff at Penske’s Reading, Pennsylvania, “skunk works” where most of the suspension design takes place. Those riders realized that the “regressive” damping design developed for F1 racing would have some application for mountain bikes, and a partnership with Trek would be a perfect vehicle to deliver it to the mountain bike market.Tweet Print
Juliana pro rider, Anka Martin, has already proven the worthiness of the new 150mm travel Roubion with a victory at Trans-Provence, perhaps the world’s most challenging enduro race, a six-day stage race in France. The Roubion is named aster Anka’s favorite Trans-Provence stage.Tweet Print
The good old Fox 36 was getting a bit outdated, and with new wheelsizes taking hold, it was high time for a new fork. We recently brought you the news that it has been completely redeveloped for 2015, and now we have one in the office for testing and we’ve got more details to share.Tweet Print