Dirt Rag Magazine

Rocky Mountain introduces new aggressive trail bike: the Pipeline


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Rocky Mountain is jumping in the full-suspension, plus-tire game with its new carbon Pipeline: a bike with 150 mm front suspension, 130 mm rear and room for 27plus tires (up to 3.25 inches). The bike is 1x-specific, features internal cable routing, stealth-dropper routing, a PressFit BB92 bottom bracket, Boost spacing and is offered in sizes from small to extra large.

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Rocky Mountain’s “Ride-9” system allows riders to adjust the frame geometry and suspension rates for riding styles, terrain and rider weight. Nine configurations are possible thanks to two interlocking chip inserts that move on two separate axis.

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The top-end Pipeline, the 770 MSL, comes equipped with a Fox 34 Float Factory 150 fork, Fox Float DPS Factory 130 rear shock, full Shimano XT components, Race Face Turbine crankset, Maxxis Rekon EXO 27.5×2.8 tires and a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post. MSRP: $4800 USD.

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The 750 MSL utilizes a RockShox Yari RC 150 fork, RockShox Monarch RT Debonair 130 rear shock, a mix of Shimano components, and the same tires and dropper as its big brother. MSRP: $4000 USD.

Find the Pipeline at your local bike shop starting in May.

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First Impression: Lauf Carbonara fat bike fork


Let me tell you, few things make quite an impression as seeing one of these in person. The Carbonara fat bike fork is the second major product release from Lauf, after the Trail Racer mountain bike fork, first for 29ers and then for 27.5. Hailing from Iceland, Lauf is a small company dedicated to bringing its radical design to market, and so far these suspension forks are its only product.

The very sight of the Lauf design usually results in the peanut gallery unloading in the comments section of its favorite social media network or making jokes about the brand’s name.* Mountain biking wouldn’t exist without experimentation, so hat’s off to Lauf for trying something new.

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My first impression after taking it out of the (exceptionally nice) packaging is that it resembles something Ripley blasted out of the airlock at the end of “Alien.” The fork weighs 1,144 grams with the included, bolt-on axle and tapered steerer tube. It has a 494 mm axle-to-crown measurement and uses a 150 mm hub. It retails for $990 and is available stock in white or matte carbon (pictured). For $100 extra, you can order one custom painted in one of eight Pantone colors.

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It works by using a dozen S2 glassfiber plates that flex to allow the axle to move vertically. The Carbonara has 60 mm of travel, and there are bumpstops integrated into the design so you can’t overdo it. I haven’t been able to bottom it out in normal riding. Lauf says the resistance is progressive, meaning it moves more easily through the first third of its travel than the last third. The springs slot into the carbon fiber chassis and are bonded in place, and Lauf says it took thousands of trial-and-error samples until they got the desired flex just right.

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The Carbonara is available in two stiffness tunes for the leaf springs: one for riders under 187 pounds and one for riders over 175 pounds. Yes, they overlap. It’s not a weight limit, but more of a guide for how you want the fork to perform. The benefit of such a design? Zero maintenance for one, and no performance degradation from the cold. I’m led to believe it gets cold in Iceland.

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I’ve mounted it up to my trusty Salsa Mukluk (which has had approximately 258 different build setups at this point) and we’re headed out to see what it can do. Watch for the long-term review in Issue #191. Subscribe now so you don’t miss it.

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*If you’re still making puns substituting this brand’s name for “laugh,” please stop. That joke is over. It’s the bike industry equivalent of people making “Seinfeld” references in regards to my last name.

 

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Inside Line: Ibis releases the Trans-Fat, a fat tire version/conversion of the Tranny


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One of the more interesting features of Ibis’ Tranny 29 hardtail is its two-piece frame. Not only can it be taken apart to fit in a airline-legal bag, it can also be used to tension a chain for singlespeeding. Now you can take your Tranny fat-biking by replacing one piece of that two-piece frame with a Trans-Fat rear triangle available early next year. No Tranny? No problem. Get a complete Trans-Fat for $5,099 or a frame only for $1,700.

Trans Fat Ortho White

For $699, you’ll get a rear triangle with 177 mm spacing, a spacer kit to take the bottom bracket shell to 100 mm for proper chainline, and a 3 mm taller crown race. Of course, you’ll also need a RockShox Bluto fork with 120 mm travel, a crank with a 100 mm spindle and a set of fat bike wheels and tires.

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Tire clearances are based on the Schwalbe 26 x 4-inch Jumbo Jim with an 80 mm rim. Geometry is very similar to the Tranny 29 with a standard 120 mm fork, except for slightly longer, yet still reasonable 17.8-inch chainstays. Ibis wanted to keep this Trans-Fat on the fun end of the spectrum so geometry is decidedly on the slacker side of the coin. The complete bike includes a dropper post, more evidence this is more of a trail bike and not a back-country explorer.

Some other features via Ibis:

  • 3.25 lb carbon monocoque frame
  • Designed to work with 120 mm forks
  • Works with 4-inch tires
  • Geared or singlespeed compatible
  • Gates Carbon Belt Drive compatible
  • Internal routing for dropper posts
  • Clean, versatile multi-option internal cable routing
  • Tapered head tube (suitable for various Cane Creeks & Chris King InSet 3)
  • 100 mm BSA thread bottom bracket (with provided BB92 adapters)
  • 177 mm x 12 mm Maxle rear axle
  • 160 mm carbon fiber post mount rear brake mounts (we recommend 200mm/180mm rotors)
  • Headset: IS ZS44/28.6 | EC49/40
  • BB height w/ 4″ Jumbo Jim tires: 315 mm
  • Geometry measured with 531 mm axle to crown fork and our 3 mm crown race

Trans Fat Ant 3Qtr

Current production run of Trans-Fats have been allocated to dealers already, so you best get on the phone if you want one. This first run will only be complete bikes in the orange/copper frame color. There will be another round of production in February 2016, which will include completes, rear triangle conversions and frames.

Ibis website has more information.

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Inside Line: Stan’s NoTubes debuts new Bravo carbon wheels


Carbon fiber has come to dominate the high end mountain bike market when it comes to frames and components, and more and more brands are using it in wheels as well. Stan’s NoTubes first molded its Bead Socket Technology design in carbon last year with the cross-country and race oriented Valor wheels, which we were impressed with in our testing. Now the same technologies are being adapted for trail and all-mountain use with the new Bravo model.

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With an inner width of 26.6 mm the Bravo rims aren’t as wide as many competitors, but NoTubes points out that bigger isn’t always better. It claims that its sidewall shape offers many of the benefits of the wider rims, specifically increasing the tire’s overall volume, without exposing the sidewalls or deforming them in ways they were never intended to.

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Stiffer isn’t always better either, said NoTubes’ Michael Bush. While the concept of “laterally stiff/vertically compliant” has long been a cliche, NoTubes is proud that its carbon wheels offer competitive lateral stiffness while still allowing for up to 10 mm of vertical compliance. This deflection improves ride quality and increases speed, Bush said. The Athertons have been racing the Bravo rim design with a different “team-only” carbon layup this season with good success.

The Bravo rims will be available in complete wheels, built in New York, in July, in 26-inch, 27.5 and 29-inch sizes. The two price points are $1,575 and $1,900 depending on the hub spec.

 

Neo hubs

Also new this year is an all-new hub design that will phase out the 3.30 hubs the brand has used for years. As axle widths and dimensions have expanded and freehub bodies have changed, NoTubes realized it was time for a clean-slate design overhaul.

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While the 3.30 hub shells are forged, the new Neo hubs are CNC machined from bar stock for tighter tolerance control and more adaptability—in case someone dares create a 153.5 mm “standard” in a year or two! The front hubs will be available in 100 mm or 110 mm, while the rears will be available in 135/142 as well as Boost and even 157 mm downhill versions. No 170 mm or 190 mm fat bike hubs yet, but it wouldn’t be difficult to do, Bush said. While the end caps are still interchangeable between thru-axles and quick release skewers, the interface has changed for better retention, so they’re not as likely to fall off on their own.

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Also new are much larger bearings (6902 replacing the 6802) and a new four or six-pawl freehub body design. The standard Neo hubs use a 4-pawl driver with a 36-tooth ratchet ring for 10 degrees of engagement, while the high-end Neo Ultimate version has a 6-pawl driver for 5 degrees of engagement. All the pawls engage simultaneously for strength and durability, and the two freehub bodies are interchangeable, so you can switch from four to six when if you were to swap to a SRAM xD driver, for example.

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The Neo Ultimate also sheds weight with a more heavily machined axle, shell and other pieces, and is available in a matte finish to better match the carbon rims. The freehub body is also silver to differentiate the models.

Both the Neo and Neo Ultimate will eventually replace the 3.30 hubs in all NoTubes wheels later this year.

Correction

The internal width of the Bravo rims is 26.6 mm. An earlier version of this post had an incorrect measurement.

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Shop tour: Ruckus Composites carbor fiber repair


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Apart from wheel sizes and the number of gears involved, the biggest trend in the mountain bike industry in the last decade has been carbon fiber. You can get carbon anything these days: frames, rims, handlebars, brake levers, stems, seatposts, cranksets, chains… ok, maybe not chains, but the Gates Carbon Belt Drive is pretty close.

And while it makes for an excellent structural material, like anything you throw down a mountain as fast as you can, things can break. When you drop three months salary on a new mountain bike (what else would you spend that kind of money on?) it can be a bitter pill to swallow when you realize even the strongest carbon fiber has its limits. That’s where Ruckus Composites comes in.

With more than a decade of carbon fiber repair experience, Shawn Small and his team have made repairing or reviving carbon frames an art form, with exacting OE-style refinishes and modifications to carbon frames.

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Inside Line: New Mach 4 carbon from Pivot


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The Mach 4 has always been an important bike for Pivot Cycles. It was the brand’s first big hit, and long a mainstay of the lineup. But let’s face it, a 26-inch bike with 100mm of travel is a hard sell these days, and the new, fourth-generation Mach 4 Carbon has not only embraced all the current design trends and standards, it is creating new ones.

Like all Pivot bikes, the heart of the full carbon frame is the dw-link rear suspension, considered one of the finest ever created for controlling pedaling forces into the suspension. Instead of choosing a travel number and going for it, Pivot tried lots of different suspension setups before deciding on 115mm as the best compromise between racy pedaling feel and trail-bike performance. The 27.5 wheels allow for industry-leading standover height in all sizes, including extra small.

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