Since 1981, Moots has been handcrafting frames from U.S. made titanium and are well known for their soft-tail YBB frame and high-quality hardtails, road, and ‘cross frames. Feeling the need to cater to XC and Epic riders and racers looking for a short travel bike, other than ones made from carbon or aluminum, Moots partnered with the suspension experts at the Sotto Group. The Sotto Group has helped bike companies such as Fox, Mountain Cycle, Lynskey, and Ahrens with suspension designs, and after two years of working with Moots, the 29-inch-wheeled MX Divide was created.Tweet Print
Call it fate. I recently purchased a Santa Cruz Highball frame and needed a fork to complete my build, and while I searched an email was forwarded to me from Fox looking for a tester for this fork.
The fork happens to be a Fox 32 Float 29, 100mm FIT Terralogic model, and yes, I’d like to test it. This model is available with either a 9mm drop-out or with an included 15mm thru-axle, which I opted for, and with either a tapered or 1 1/8” straight steerer. Kashima coated uppers, Terralogic threshold, rebound, and an air spring with updated damping for 2014 are all included.
The Terralogic technology was first introduced in 2004 and before that Fox partnered with Specialized to develop the Brain for its full-suspension rigs. If you’re not familiar, here’s the basics: when Terralogic is engaged, the fork rides as if it were locked out. Stand up, mash the pedals, pump the bars back and forth and there’s very little movement in the fork. When you hit a bump, the force from below activates the suspension by pushing the lowers up. As the lowers rise, a brass mass, which seemingly moves but really stays in place relative to the fork, reveals a piston for the oil to flow through and the suspension to become active. The amount of force needed for activation is controlled by a threshold adjuster. A return spring eventually pushes the brass mass back into place when the trail smoothes out, restricting again the flow of oil.Tweet Print
Club Ride has made a name for itself in the cycling industry for offering high-performance apparel with a unique style. From the trail head to the pub, the Roxbury jersey and Pin’It shorts are great options if you want to stand apart by blending in.Tweet Print
The Beargrease, one of two fat bike platforms from Salsa, is billed as a soft conditions racing bike. It’s designed for maximum performance when floatation and stability are necessary. As spec’d, it’s ready to take on frosty winter races or weekend fun on pretty much any terrain.
Made EV6 Xtrolite aluminum, the Beargrease has size-specific, double- butted tubing. For stiffness there’s a tapered head tube and hydro- formed top and down tubes. Full-length cable housing helps to inhibit contamination and the durable matte anodized finish saves weight over paint. Geometry is designed for stability at slow speeds with plenty of clearance to stuff those fat tires into the frame and fork. A 170mm spaced rear accommodates a 26-inch x 4.0-inch tire while the 135mm fork can fit a 4.8-inch fatty. Its relaxed 69.5-degree head tube adds stability and helps control the heavy front wheel, while the 45-inch wheelbase increases stability in soft conditions.Tweet Print
By Shannon Mominee
Can you spot the dog in this photo?
How about the dog in this photo?
The blaze orange Track Jacket from Ruffwear definitely makes it easier to spot my dog, Roman, in the woods and makes him more visible on night walks. And even though he’s not hunting, there are hunters in the woods that we hike and mountain bike in, and I’d rather they see my dog than mistake Roman for a deer or other game. Read the full storyTweet Print
By Shannon Mominee
Trek’s Fuel is one of the most popular full-suspension bicycles on the market, and for 2014 the company hopes to expand on that success by offering the option of 29-inch wheels. We recently got one in for a long-term review. Read the full storyTweet Print
By Shannon Mominee. Photos by Justin Steiner.
Easton’s EA70 XCT 29” wheelset is essentially the high-end EA90 UST rim laced to a less expensive hub. The stealthy graphics are attractive and the multiple axle options make them available to a wide range of users.
The tubeless rims have welded seams, and are laced three-cross with 24 straight pull, butted spokes to Easton hubs. Though, their 19mm inner width is on the narrow side. I mounted the wheels to my rigid Niner with carbon fork, which provided a good impression of the wheels isolated from any suspension movement.
The more I ride 15mm thru-axles, the more I appreciate them. The wheelset has excellent steering precision and felt solid when making quick steering adjustments and when carving through switchbacks. Nothing felt flexy, and the wheels held a line through turns. They proved stiff and have an awesome strength-to-weight ratio. I think the EA70’s are durable enough to use everyday and won’t have you wasting time at the truing stand.
The two-pawl design with 20 degrees of engagement is slow to catch, so there’s a lot of play in the drivetrain before moving forward. I would’ve expected a faster-engaging rear hub for the price.
If you are looking for durable wheelset that isn’t overly heavy, these could be for you. If you frequently riding in technical terrain, where you need to ratchet the pedals frequently, you may want to look for a wheelset built around a rear hub with quicker engagement.
- Price: $750
- Weight: 1,900g
- Hub Compatibility: 9/15 Front; 135x10mm, 142x12mm rear
- Degrees of Engagement: 20 degrees
- Internal Width: 19mm
- Spoke Count: 24 front, 24 rear
- Country of Origin: Taiwan
- Online: eastoncycling.com
By Shannon Mominee. Photos by Shannon Mominee, Jon Pratt and Justin Steiner
The Intense Spider 29 Comp is the bigger and bolder brother of the Spider 29. Intense should have picked a different name for the Spider 29 Comp, because unlike the Spider, this machine has a carbon fiber frame with more rear travel, shorter chainstays and a slacker head angle than its aluminum counterpart. It’s pretty much an entirely different beast except for the suspension design.
With 4.5 or 5 inches of adjustable travel and VPP suspension licensed from Santa Cruz, the Spider 29 Comp is ready to face the most aggressive trails or be dialed back for more groomed dirt. My inaugural rides took place over a weekend of riding in and around the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, North Carolina. What better way to become acquainted than with a 7-mile climb and a 4-mile descent through a rock garden.
For each of those trail situations I used the CTD setting on both the Fox Kashima coated Float CTD shock w/boost valve and the 130mm, 32 Float 29 FIT CTD fork to ascend and descend as efficiently as possible. I liked the “Climb” setting on the fork when, well…climbing, but that same setting on the shock was at the cost of rear tire traction, so I mostly used the “Trail” setting for the rear instead. For my downhill enjoyment, both shocks were set to “Descend” which provided a high degree of absorption on small and large hits alike.
The Spider 29 Comp has a long 46.5-inch wheelbase and rides exceptionally smooth and stable, but lets the length be known in tight switchbacks where it doesn’t maneuver so nimbly. The 67.5-degree head tube makes steering feel natural and is quick enough to pick a line, instead of running over everything, which this bike is also capable of doing. At 28.4lbs. the bike climbs lighter than the scale foretells. The carbon chassis is stiff and provides a comfortable ride, climbs well, and mutes trail vibration, without be so stiff as to be jarring or feel flexy.
Some cool features of the Spider 29 Comp is the internal cable routing with cable guide tubes, internal cable routing for a Rock Shox Reverb Stealth dropper post, which my tester has, ISCG mounts for using a single chainring in the front, a tapered head tube, rubbery protector on the chainstay and downtube, and G1 dropouts that can be swapped to accommodate 135mm QR wheels or 142x12mm thru-axles. A size medium frame weighs a claimed 5.5lbs.
The Spider 29 Comp retails for $5,928 as built without the dropper post, or $2,900 for a frame and shock. Unlike all of Intense’s U.S. made aluminum frames, the carbon ones are manufactured in Taiwan and assembled in the U.S. Look for a full review of the Spider 29 Comp coming soon to a Dirt Rag Magazine near you.
By Shannon Mominee
Call it luck, but with 8-12 inches of snow on the ground and a Salsa Beargrease in for test, I was ready to see what the snow bike flurry has been all about. If you’re not familiar with the Beargrease, it’s one of Salsa’s two aluminum fat bikes.
The Beargrease frame is made from EV6 Xtrolite aluminum for corrision resistance, has a tapered head tube, hydro-formed top and down tube, full length cable housing, direct mount front derailleur, and mounts for two bottle cages. It has a black anodized finish with blue highlights that match a set of fat blue rims. The matching aluminum fork has D-shaped blades, a 51mm I.S. disc brake mount, and 135mm spacing for a 4.8-inch-wide tire. The rear hub is the 170mm fatbike "standard."
The Mukluk (not pictured), on the other hand, is made from 7005-aluminum and has Alternator dropouts that allow for singlespeed setup and uses set screws to adjust chain tension when pulling the wheel back in the vertical dropout. The steel Enabler fork it ships with also has mounting options for two additional bottle cages and and a fender mount. The rear triangle has rack mounts to extend your adventure.
Basically the Beargrease is a "stripped down" fatbike, while the Mukluk is designed for more adventurous expeditions.
I’m running low air pressure at 6psi. in both the 45 NRTH Hüsker Dü tires. Not sure if that name is a tribute to the 1970s board game or the 80s rock band from Minnesota, but either way the tires hook up in snow and provided more traction than I had anticipated.
For winter boot riding, the chainstays are shaped to provide extra heel clearance. Although I didn’t catch my heels on the chainstays, I did hit the back of my thighs on the seatstays when I paused pedaling to relax and stretch my hamstrings on down strokes. There’s ample standover clearance too in case you’re sliding toward a tree and need to bail.
On New Years Eve I went out for the maiden voyage with climbs through deep snow that included a lot of huffing, puffing, and pushing. The 2×10 drivetrain uses an e*thirteen 22/36-tooth crankset and 11-36-tooth Sram cassette. This 10-speed combination was adequate for the majority of riding until the snow becomes too deep to navigate through. After five miles I was spent and my upper body fatigued, but I had the bike dialed in. I set it aside and waited for an early morning ride.
New Years Day, I met my friend Jerry with his Mukluk and pedaled through the city to the trails. First thing I learned; tire pressure is key. I began with about 8psi., which caused me to spin out during climbs. After letting 2psi. out the tires came alive and gripped powder way more than I’ve experienced with a 29er. With a snow bike there’s less drifting and fighting against the wheels to maintain a somewhat straight line. The wider contact patch and volume floats on snow, instead of digging in. That’s not to say there’s no sinking, and I certainly wasn’t riding on top the snow, but think of the Beargrease as a bike wearing snowshoes. The larger footprint distributes the weight.
On downhills, I just removed my fingers from the brake levers and hoped to maintain my distance from trees. Once I got rolling I had the feeling of sledding as a kid and let out a few wooo hoos! as I sped to the bottom narrowly missing a deep drift. The Beargrease is just a pleasure to ride.
Turning is compliant as well with very little slipping or weird body movements to keep from losing the wheels. Braking actually slowed the bike without skidding or fish tailing, which aided control and kept my momentum moving forward. I also like that I had the confidence to roll over log piles and obstacles that make trail riding fun and could just relax, ride, and enjoy the winter scenery.
What I’ve learned in a few rides is that snow bike riding is less about speed and more about reaching the destination, if you have one. After a 5-hour ride and roughly 25 miles covered I was completely exhausted, but I experienced trail riding in an entirely new manner than I have in 20-some-years of riding.
A fat bike isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to ride through all snow, and make it up every climb. Some snow is just too deep to pedal through. But a bike like the Beargrease is a guarantee that you’ll at least be out riding in the winter through snow and having an awesome time doing it.
The Beargrease retails for $2,999 complete or $999 for the frameset.
Watch for my long-term review in an upcoming issue of Dirt Rag.
– Shannon Mominee
By the Dirt Rag staff
This is our first attempt at a holiday gift guide, and, in typical Dirt Rag fashion, we had to do it our way. We’ll share a dirty little secret with you: most magazines’ gift/buyer’s guides are not created based on the recommendations of riders, but by the wants and desires of advertisers.
That’s not how we roll. Instead, we asked each staffer to select two items that they had experience with and would wholeheartedly recommend to fellow a mountain biker. Real riders, honest recommendations, realistic prices—the way it should be.
Each day for the next two weeks we’ll be sharing a different staffer’s choices for their favorite gear of the year. Today’s picks are from Operations Manager Shannon Mominee.
WTB Laser V Team saddle – $130
This has been my go to saddle for the past 10+ years. At 148mm wide by 265mm long, it supports my body comfortably. It’s made from leather and synthetic material and has titanium rails. I use the Laser V Team on my mountain and cross bike and a cheaper version with the same shape, the Speed V, on my commuter, but honestly the Speed V wears out quickly, whereas the Laser V Team provides years of comfort and is worth the extra $60.
Adidas Evil Eye Pro – $175
These glasses are the only glasses that stick to my face no matter how rough the terrain. They’re available in a half or full frame in two sizes. The nosepiece and hinges are adjustable and the coverage is awesome; rarely does debris get into my eyes. The optically correct, interchangeable lenses are distortion-free, but RX inserts are available. The Evil Eyes fit well with every helmet I’ve used. Definitely worth the price.
Lupine Piko 3 – $330
This is the helmet light I reach for first. It puts out a bright 750 lumens and the aluminum lamp weighs 55g. This tiny 24mm x 32mm package can hardly be felt on a helmet. If you use an Uvex Supersonic LX helmet, the lamp mounts directly with no straps required and the battery slides onto the back of the helmet. At full power there’s 2 hours of burn time and the lower three settings stretch the rechargeable lithium-ion battery life up to 40 hours. Recharge time is 3 hours. What I love most is even if the unit sits for a month, I know the battery is still holding the charge and is ready to ride.