Jeff Jones showed up somewhat unexpectedly at Dirt Demo with good news for those waiting to buy some rigid goodness. Starting this fall, expect better availability and lower prices on all Jones products, thanks to the island of Taiwan. A three frameset lineup starts with the space frames and truss forks in the now familiar Ti for $3800, and a new steel Space frame for $1500. A steel diamond frame and unicrown fork will round out the line at $750. All forks will be fat tire compatible with 135mm spacing, rear tire clearance is improved allowing for 65mm rims. One size to start with, a 23” top tube. Steel frames will be available in November, Ti in early 2011. Handlebars will be available again too, Ti $380 and aluminum (which is lighter than the Ti bar) for $120.
– Eric McKeegan
Breezer Cloud 9
The Cloud 9 carbon 29er HT is a visually unmistakable 2011 addition to a celebrated return of Breezer mountain bikes. There are several well thought-out design features that make this a stand out bike. It all starts with a direct-mount front derailleur. This allows for a few key aspects of the bike’s design. The seat tube is ever so slightly curved and connects the down tube above the BB92. And that’s why the Cloud 9 can offer some of the shortest chain stays of any 29’er mountain bike.
What that means for us riders, a nimble bike that climbs well. The rear caliper is placed on the chainstay, inside the chain and seat stay. With stouter chainstays the rear end is noticeably stiff and efficient. Which makes perfect sense if you’re an engineer to mount a caliper to the beefey chainstay instead of the seat stays. But the seatstays aren’t totally neglected. They have the subtle downward bend that you find on other Breezer bikes and the well-known Breezer drop outs. There’s a steel version on the way that will round out a line up of two alloy and two carbon models.
On the couple loops I did with the $2500 SLX spec at Boulder City it was nimble, but not twitchy, and seemed to be a capable climber. Given the design aspects of the bike it seems that Breezer’s focus was function and then form. The function was made into form that combines a well handling bike with some great looks. The only thing I would change about the bike is a slightly wider bar.
– Matt Kasprzyk
Devinci is the first bike company to bring Dave Weagle’s new Split Pivot suspension design to market. The Canadian company offers three categories of Split Pivot- equipped bikes: a 110mm xc-marathon race bike, the Dexter; the 145mm all- mountain Dixon; and a 200mm downhill race bike, the Wilson. All three models
feature custom valved fox suspensions and variable geometry to raise or lower the bottom bracket, and steepen or slacken the head tube.
Weagle, who made a name for himself as a suspension designer with the introduction of the popular DW-Link, was on hand at the Devinci booth to walk us through his latest creation. The goal was to create a highly tunable suspension platform with good all-around characteristics. Split Pivot uses a pivot concentric to the rear axle to prevent the braking forces from influencing the suspension while
minimizing pedal-induced suspension movement.
So how does it ride?
Karl rode the 110mm-travel Dexter on Dirt Demo test loop had this to say:
As I rode the Dexter away from the Devinci booth I was immediately impressed by how little the rear suspension bobbed when I was pedaling. Even under hard pedaling efforts, suspension bob was minimal, as long as I remained seated. Pedaling out of the saddle did cause some suspension movement, but switching on the Pro-Pedal nipped the bob in the bud.
On the trail, the rear suspension felt supple and active. Small, washboard bumps disappeared beneath me. When things got rough, the Dexter gobbled up big hits without feeling harsh at the end of the stroke. In fact I was surprised when I stopped for a break and noted that the O-ring on the rear shock indicated full travel, and I hadn’t felt any “bottoming out” sensation.
For my test ride, the frame was set in the steeper of its two settings, and the handling was decidedly snappy. I enjoyed the racy personality of the Dexter, but if this were my personal scoot, I’d replace the stock, narrow handlebars with something wider and less twitchy feeling.
The Dexter cornered with confidence, thanks to a frame that gave no hint of lateral flex. The tight, solid nature of the frame was also apparent, and much appreciated, when the going got rough. Overall the Dexter impressed me as a tight package that would make a fine racing steed for the competitor, or a lightweight XC machine for the recreational rider.
Eric took the 145mm Dixon for a quick spin and kept his thoughts short and sweet:
After a short burn on the Dixon, I came away impressed with how well suspension managed to absorbed trail chatter while remaining efficient. The stiff alloy frame and slack 67 degree head angle combined for a bike I was immediately comfortable charging the sharp rocks of Bootleg Canyon, and left me wishing for an extended test.
– Josh Patterson
Norco Phaser 1
The hydroformed aluminum tubes reads “Prototype” along the rear triangle, but this bike is indeed a production frame with only the color having changed after modifications over the 2010 model were made.
Highlight changes over last year include a more aggressive race geometry and the repositioning of the rear pivot. The piviot has been positioned on the seatstay below the rear axle and slightly more forward, but it still remains in the realm covered by the FSR patent. Norco calls the resulting suspension A.R.T. –Advanced Ride Technology – the new placement is said to enhance pedal efficiency, provide active
breaking, offer more square-edge bump compliance, and make the suspension more tuneable while having a bottomless feel to it. The pivots received Norglide Teflon coated bearings, weighing about a gram each, and a Micro Link linkage to enhance stiffness near the rear shock.
Rear caliper mounting has also been changed to post mount and forgoes the use of an adaptor. Bolting the caliper directly to the frame creates a stiffer mounting platform and distributes braking forces more evenly. It also eliminates brake squeal and reduces weight.
RockShox’s Monarch RT rear shock and SID RLT 100mm front fork felt properly spec’d among the A.R.T. suspension. The suspension felt smooth as I rolled or dropped into the trail’s transitions. The rear suspension did feel bottomless the short time I rode it and felt laterally stiff.
The Phaser 1 is the most well equipped platform of the three model line and retails for $3575, the 2 comes in at $2665 and the 3 at $1950 with, of course, the components being the distinguishing feature. Phaser is available in size S-XL, with the medium weighing in at a claimed 23lbs. www.norco.com
– Shannon Mominee
Giant Anthem X29
Giant was late to the 29er party. But they showed up in style when Carl Decker won the
2011 2010 Super D at Sea Otter. The 100mm f/r Anthem X 29 will set you back $1800- $3200 depending on spec. There’s enough tire clearance to allow for 2.3” tires. The integrated bb92 is the base of a stiff frameset making good use of hydroformed tubes. The top tube is tapered 1 1/8” – 1 1/2”.
I’m not Carl Decker. Although the bike seemed plenty capable and any world-class rider could probably crush a Super D course with it, I crashed. The bike had no noticeable flaws, but given Giants reputation with performance and their fashionably late entrance to the party, I had hoped something more from the
Anthem X 29. At an attainable price point this would be a great pick for many riders, but I returned the X 29 with a bloody knee wondering what was next.
– Matt Kasprzyk