By Lee Klevens
The folks at Razor Rock Racing wanted us to check out some of their latest and greatest stuff. Razor Rock Racing makes hubs, disc brake levers and 20mm rear end kits for a handful of dual boinger bikes. Our king of swag, i.e. Karl Rosengarth, suggested that it would be much easier for us to test their products if they arrived in a ridable form. Thankfully they agreed to the terms. Soon a bike-sized package arrived here at Dirt Rag from Razor Rock Racing. When I opened it, much to my delight, their stuff was adorning a beautiful, curved Retrotec bicycle. The seductive lines of the frame were only made more enticing by its intricate, yet subtle, flamed paint job. I needed to ride this bike. And after building it up, ride it I did. This test would mainly be about the Retrotec bicycle, but unfortunately, the bike had another appointment and I had only just begun to feel at home on the rig. I spent the first half dozen or so rides getting comfortable on it and working through changing the tires, the saddle adjustment, and the stem to the correct position for me. But alas, although the bike is not here, all hope is not gone. There may still be some more to write about Retrotec in the future (Retrotec is busy making at least three different models as of now).
While I didn’t get quite enough happy time on the bike to give it a just review, I was able to get a good feel for the Razor Rock Racing componentry on the bike. Right off the bat, the Stiffy one finger levers were a hit. They are the perfect length for, you guessed it, one finger braking action. The Hayes disc brakes work exceptionally well, but they definitely can be improved upon by adding these levers to them. The Stiffy levers add a lot of adjustability to the Hayes brakes. Being able to adjust the reach and the engagement point lets you fine tune your brakes for optimum comfort and control. Razor Rock Racing’s Stifffy One Finger Levers only fit Hayes brakes but their hubs will work with; Formula, Hayes, Hope, Magura, Sachs and any other disc brakes using the 6-bolt international standard. Their downhill disc hubs are beefy, and their singlespeed/ slalom disc hubs are no exception. They are fully sealed and their smooth-rolling cartridge bearings are adjustable to boot. A nice feature as they begin to show signs of wear. The black hard anodized, laser etched aluminum singlespeed hubs are similar to their downhill brethren. The most noticeable differences are the standard sized axles which accept quick releases or can be bolted on. Standard Shimano cassette cogs slip onto a chromoly freehub shell for your singlespeed gear changing pleasure (although it could accept up to three gears). The hub that was tested actually used a prototype aluminum freehub body to reduce weight (I just love being a Guinea pig). I can report that the aluminum freehub body held up fine to the hammering that I subjected it to. The cut down singlespeed freehub body produces a nice pronounced ratcheting sound as you coast along. This hub doesn’t just sound loud, but to me it has more of a confidence inspiring precision sound to it. That nice strong sound is produced by the hub’s 20-tooth ring pawl engagement system. That’s right, 20 teeth on the clutch, all mating simultaneously with the ring pawl. This provides a mondo amount of surface area resulting in an extremely strong contact point between the driver ring and the clutch pawl. In fact, I was told that there have been no failures of any of their hubs to date. Razor Rock Racing also claims that their hubs are up to three times stronger than a Shimano hub. I will not argue that point at all. I managed to blow up a pedal while cranking along, but not once did hub failure enter my mind. I’m thankful for that, because I really hate it when I’m climbing or accelerating and a driveline failure sends me sailing unexpectedly over the bars. The front hub, when bolted to a Marzocchi Atom Bomb fork, resulted in one of the stiffest front ends that I’ve ridden in a while. Yet another confidence inspiring feeling. The weight of the front hub is 222g. The rear weighs 429g. Not too shabby for a strong, serviceable and probably very long lasting hub set. One point of interest that entered my mind though, was that this was the first bike which I’ve ridden that seemed to have more dish on the front wheel than the rear wheel. Kinda weird! Stiffy One Finger Levers can be had for $69. Singlespeed/Slalom hubs go for; $119 front, $249 rear.
Contact: Razor Rock Racing, 205 Wonderview Trail, Wondervu, CO 80403; 303.642.2453; www.razorrock.com. You can contact Retrotec by phone at 707.258.2203