With the drive forward to stuff ever more gears onto rear hubs, it is nice to see SRAM take a step back and create a group with less gears simply because that is what makes the most sense for the application.
The real key to this system is the new 7-speed X-Dome mini-block cassette in a 10-24 range. Most downhill bikes are equipped with road-geared cassettes with something like a 12-26 range and 10 speeds. While this was plenty of range for a downhill bike, the tight gear ratios meant often shifting two or three gears at once to get to the desired ratio.
A similar range, with less gears means bigger jumps between gears and less shifting. Many riders of XX1 and X01 11-speed groups (with the 10-42 cassette) have discovered the same thing, that these larger jumps between gears is actually better suited to the way most people ride. This setup only works with the XD cassette body from the X01 and XX1 11 speed groups.Tweet Print
WTB released a new, gravel-specific tire named the Nano 40c today at Quality Bicycle Products’ Frostbike product expo. The tire employs a high volume 40mm casing, rounded profile, and centerline tread pattern designed for speed, consistency, and ample cushioning aimed at the rapidly emerging gravel market.
WTB says they were inundated with requests for a gravel racing tire at the 2013 Frostbike show and decided to use the classic Nano tread as a starting point.
Ultra endurance athlete, Jay Petervary spent time on early prototype tires and was impressed with the speed and comfort the tires provided, having initially requested something in the 35c range. To further the Nano’s racing credibility, WTB will be sponsoring the Trans Iowa gravel race in late April as well as Jay Petervary’s own Fall Gravel Backyard Pursuit with Nano 40c Race tires.
WTB Nano 40c tires will be available in Race and Comp versions starting April of 2014. Nano 40c Race tires will feature a folding Aramid bead, Lightweight Casing, DNA Rubber, weigh in at 470g, and retail for $49.95. Nano 40c Comp tires will feature a wire bead, Durable Casing, DNA Rubber, weigh 550g, and retail for $31.95.
WTB also wanted to give a shout-out to Mike Varley of Black Mountain Cycles in Point Reyes Station, California as well as Sean Walling of Soulcraft in Petaluma, California for their invaluable input and insight into the design and creation of the WTB Nano 40c tire.Tweet Print
45NRTH’s Dillinger tires have been a big hit with anyone looking for more traction than what the big rubber can give on its own. Now available in a 5-inch size, the new Dillinger 5 has a 120dpi bead and 45NRTH‘s new two-piece concave stud design that actually sharpens as it wears.
The tread pattern is slightly revised from the still available Dillinger 4 (26×4.0) and like it’s “smaller” sibling, will be available in a studdless version as well. Ultimate traction doesn’t come cheap though: The studded version will sell for $250, studless for $175.Tweet Print
News today from Frostbike and our friends over at Fat-bike.com: Surly is introducing a new fat bike dubbed the Ice Cream Truck. The steel frame (‘natch) is built around a symmetric 190mm rear hub spacing to clear the largest of tires. The rear dropout is the same convertible unit seen on the Instigator 2.0 that can run a QR, thru-axle or singlespeed. The bottom bracket shell is 100mm press fit.
More details to come. Guess this blog post from Surly back in January was a pretty good tease.
Surly also posted this on its blog today, alluding to an all-new Karate Monkey. Stay tuned.Tweet Print
There was no fanfare and no press release, but a handful of 27.5 versions of Specialized’s tires have become available on the brand’s website. There are versions of the S-Works Fast Track (2.0), Ground Control (2.1) and Butcher (2.3) listed.
The new tires are notable in that Specialized doesn’t make a 27.5 bike to fit these tires, though a push into the aftermarket segment is certainly a good idea since the wheel size is here to stay.
Will there be a new round of Specialized bikes built around 27.5? No comment yet, but the brand was famous for saying it would never make a 29er, and we all know how that turned out:
UPDATE: We got a hold of Specialized and predictably enough they didn’t spill the beans on any new bikes, but they did confirm these tires are going after the aftermarket segment.
“A lot of riders think of us as a bike company,” said Sean Estes of Specialized. “In reality, tires were our first product and we remain a tire company as well as a bike company. These treads reach across XC to Trail to All-Mountain giving these riders high quality choices for their 650b wheels.”Tweet Print
Steve Domahidy left Niner a few years ago and has been working with a few other industry brand to launch bikes, but always in the back of his mind was a titanium hardtail that was prototyped in 2007 but never produced at Niner.
That is about to change with the launch of Domahidy Designs. The new company is starting with two hardtails, the aforementioned Ti bike, and a Reynolds 853 steel model. Both bikes us lots of modern standards, including tapered headtubes, 142×12 belt-drive compatible sliding drop-outs, and removable cable stops for a clean look when not running gears.Tweet Print
Last year we got a preview of the first full-suspension bike from Redline. Now the D880 29er with its new Binary Link suspension design is closer than ever to the trail.Tweet Print
Some spy shots floating across the web today:
Kiwi Brook MacDonald posted this pic on Instagram of his 27.5 Trek Session that he’ll be racing at the New Zealand National Championships tomorrow:
Meanwhile, Kevin Aiello was spotted in Bootleg Canyon, Nevada, with this 29er KHS prototype at the Mob ‘N’ Mojave race. Aiello raced a 27.5 downhill bike in 2013, so the only way to go was bigger.
Will the bigger wheels lead to faster times this summer? We’ll have to wait and see. My guess is there will be several 27.5 DH bikes at Sea Otter and nearly every major brand will have one by Interbike.Tweet Print
British brand Empire Cycles has partnered with a Belgian firm to create what they are calling the world’s first 3D printed mountain bike frame. Renishaw, a first that specializes in advanced 3D printing techniques, builds the frame layer by tiny layer from titanium. The finished product is said to be one third lighter than a traditional titanium frame because of the accuracy available in construction.
Right now the frame is said to be undergoing tests before being made available to the public, but so far so good. Get more on how the process works over at dezeen.com.
The majority of trail and XC riders have embraced tubeless tires for the increased traction and reduced weight and punctures. But hard charging riders in rough terrain have always had issue with burping tires on hard landings or even under high cornering loads. I’ve talked to more than a few enduro racers that have gone back to using tubes for just these reasons.
Schwalbe, who seems to have gained a shocking amount of the mountain bike tire market in the last few years, released info about its new dual chamber system that addresses some of the shortcomings of tubeless tires, while allowing for even lower tire pressures. The component maker Syntace was working on a similar system, but decided to combine forces with Schwalbe.Tweet Print