Over the weekend we traveled to Quality Bicycle Products’ headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota, to see what was new from their own brands and the brands they distribute to most of the local bike shops in America.
The LG1+ chainguide is one of e-Thirteen’s best selling products, and the new generation makes the popular gravity guide even better. One of the key goals for the changes are making setup easier and reducing noise. While the current model uses a toothed lower roller, the new version has a rubber roller without teeth for quieter operation. The roller is also now a separate piece from the bash guard and base plate, so it can be adjusted independently or removed altogether. The upper guide can be opened without a tool, making chain swaps easier, and it’s also lined with a rubbery polymer to reduce noise.
The plastics used are a new polycarbonate that are more resistant to solvents such as mineral spirits, which are found in many cleaning products, and would degrade the previous generation guides. Finally, the ISCG tabs now have longer slots for adjustment and the included shims can be installed without completely removing the baseplate, making fine-tuning the spacing a LOT easier. It also includes three bashguards to use depending on your chainring size: 30t, 34t and 36t.
The TRS+ trail bike guide will adopt many of the same changes, but without the roller. The base and race level guides will get the same updates soon when their base plates are ready.
The e-Thirteen cranksets are gaining popularity thanks to its simple design and direct mount chainrings. The two-piece setup mounts the non-drive-side crankarm onto a triangular lobe, which has been redesigned with a 1 degree taper instead of 3 degrees, and is slightly deeper. e-Thirteen says these changes have made the entire crankset package 20 percent stiffer. To go with the changes is a new bottom bracket with radial bearings, though it is backwards compatible with all e-Thirteen cranks. It still threads the two PF30 cups together in the center of the bottom bracket shell, which helps keep the creaking away.
The e-Thirteen wheels also use the LG1 and TRS1 designations for both gravity and trail riding. They are available in both “plus” and “race” level, with the race wheels featuring extra machining on the rims to save weight and carbon fiber shells in the bottom bracket. The hubs have three pawls with two teeth each and 60 points of engagement, requiring only 6 degrees of rotating to engage the pawls. All the wheels come with a SRAM xD driver, tubeless tape and all the adapter end caps you could need.
e-Thirteen is offering its tubeless gear to the aftermarket as well, with sealant, tape and valves. The valves are especially interesting, with a two-piece design that sandwiches the rim and includes shaped gaskets to fit nearly any rim. The valve core is still removable to better seat the tire bead. They’re available in colors too, because matching.
The new LG1 cranksets are available now, and the other pieces will be coming in late spring.
Hope continues to expand its product line, and the latest UK-made components are the long-awaited cranksets, which are shipping now. The three-piece design uses two aluminum crankarms and a 30 mm spindle that attaches with a expanding collet. The spindle is included, but is available for 68 mm, 73 mm, 83 mm bottom bracket shells. The arms are 165 mm, 170 mm or 175 mm.
They ship with either a replaceable spider for single or double chainrings or without a spider at all, and can be used with Hope’s own direct mount chainrings, which are available in sizes 26t to 36t. If you go with the spider you can attach this minimalist bash guards to your single ring. All the usual Hope colors are available as well, though not the chainrings, which are only available in black. Hope claims a weight of just 641 grams for the arms, spindle and chainring and the set without the chainring is £215, or about $375. Included is all the tools you need to install or remove the crankarms.
See how they’re made in this awesome behind-the-scenes video.
TRP is the high-end sister brand to Tektro, which makes many of the brakes on the market, even some other other brands’ names on them. The new Slate line is designed as a trail/all-mountain brake with four pistons per caliper and top-loading pads.
They’re compatible with both SRAM’s Matchmaker mounts and Shimano’s iSpec, and like Shimano brakes they use mineral oil and use Shimano-compatible brake pads. The lever/master cylinder also bears more than a passing resemblance to Shimano’s units—no word if that is intentional or not. Look for these to hit the trail in April for $160 per wheel.
Park Tool rolls out dozens of new products per year, but two of the latest highlights include this internal cable routing kit and the cassette pliers. If you’ve ever routed cable housing through a frame you know what a nightmare it can be, but the IR-1 kit ($54) should help ease the suffering. You can feed the blue line through the frame and use a powerful magnet to help guide it through (on carbon of aluminum frames, natch). One it’s through, simple attach your electronic wires or housing to the blue line then pull it through. Park says it works on hydraulic lines as well.
The CP-1 cassette pliers ($49) take the place of a chainwhip for removing cassette lockrings. It can fit on cogs from 9 to 24 teeth, and should make the process a lot easier.
Kenda is expanding into fat tires as well with the new Juggernaut in both 4.0 and 4.5 widths. The wire bead, 60 tpi Sport level is available now and the 120 tpi Pro version is on its way. Pricing is $80 and $120, respectively, for both sizes.
Xpedo’s new CXR pedals are lightweight cross-country or cyclocross pedals ($109) with a forged aluminum body and a chromoly spindle. They use three cartridge bearings per side, come in five anodized colors and have a claimed weight of just 290 grams. The Xpedo cleats are SPD compatible, but are much wider than Shimano’s for a more stable engagement with the pedal.
While 27.5+ tires are coming down the line (for bikes that don’t even exist) the 29+ market continues to grow, with Vittoria joining the fun with its new Bomboloni tires. They come with a folding, tubeless-ready bead and will be joined by a 26×4.0 version when they go on sale this summer. No word yet on pricing, Vittoria said.
In case you missed it, you can check out Part 1 of our gallery here.