By Adam Newman
Spot Brand Honey Badger
He’s more than just nasty, he’s the latest model from Colorado-based Spot Brand. A steel 29er with sliding dropouts, it’s designed to run traditional gears as well as being Gates Carbon Belt Drive compatible in singlespeed mode.
The Japanese-made tubes are radically shaped, and beyond the obvious seatstay curve the downtube features ribbing instead of an extra gusset at the head tube, the head tube itself is actually tapered instead of being a straight 44mm—a rarity for steel bikes—and there is a large cutout in the seatpost so the rear wheel can tuck in, with a very short chainstay length of just 17 inches at the sliders’ minimum adjustment point.
With a headtube angle of 69.25 degrees, paired with the short stays, it looks like it could be a much more versatile option than many of the race-bred hardtails on the market.
Retail prices are $2,200 for the singlespeed, $2,600 for the complete build with Shimano SLX running gear, or $900 for the frame. Production bikes should be available soon.
The name has been around for a while, but the new Sewanee has nothing to do with the bikes of the past. Built from custom-drawn tubes of 3/2.5 titanium, this 4-inch travel race bike is built to run either 650b or 26-inch wheels. The Sewanee and some of Litespeed’s hardtail models share what the brand is calling the Multi-Wheel Concept. The PressFit30 bottom bracket comes with a Problem Solvers eccentric adapter that lets riders adjust the bottom bracket height when changing wheel sizes.
Shown here equipped with 650b wheels, it looks like there would be monster tire clearance for 26-inchers. Three stock sizes are available, with a retail price of $4,200 for the frame and shock.
Pinarello Dogma XC
The most recent Tour de France-winning brand returns to the mountain bike market for 2013 with the Dogma XC. The striking carbon fiber frame uses the same 60-ton layup as those yellow jersey-clad road bikes. It uses the same asymmetric design philosophy as well, with the two arms of the seatstays not joining each other at the seatpost clamp, and meeting above the top tube, so as not to transfer the impact forces back into the front triangle.
Also, rather than curve the down tube around the reach of the fork crown, Pinarello added this polymer bumper that protects the frame from impacts, while allowing for the lowest possible attachment point on the headtube. Al calbes are run inside the frame, including the hose to the chainstay-mounted rear brake caliper, with different front derailleur routing for Shimano and SRAM. Despite its futuristic looks, it does include one key traditional feature: a 135mm QR rear axle.
The Dogma XC will only be offered as a frame/fork/headset combo for $3,500, starting this fall.
One of the biggest hurdles for new riders is riding clipless shoes for the first time. Anyone who has worked at a bike shop has been there trying to convince a customer that they won’t result in a broken neck.
Shimano is targeting new and casual riders with its new Click’R pedals, which use the same basic design as SPD pedals but are 60% easier to clip in and out from. The large pedal platform creates a larger comfort zone when not clipped in, and the pedal engagement is tilted slightly to make clipping in easier. There are two models in the line so far, a $70 version and a $110 XT-level version.
To go with the new pedals is a new line of clipless shoes that are designed to be as comfortable for walking as for riding. There are men’s and women’s versions available, with and without Velcro straps. Prices will range from $90-$120.
E-13 had Shimano’s XTR cranks squarely in its sights when it designed the TRSrace crankset, available with a single or double setup, the arms and spindle weigh in at only 500g, and only 650g with a bottom bracket and 34-tooth chainring.
We also got a look at the Steve Peat signature edition chainguard, of which only 500 will be made and numbered. Five lucky, random buyers will find theirs is actually signed by Peaty himself, though they’re unlucky in that they’ll probably have to buy a second!
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