Tech

Sea Otter 2016: Trek Farley EX

Bets around the Dirt Rag virtual water cooler (which is located in the virtual Dirt Rag HQ) put money on Trek releasing a 27plus full-suspension trail bike or a Stache 29plus full-suspension ripper. Neither guess was accurate, obviously. Instead, Trek dropped a 27.5 x 3.8 Farley EX trail bike with full suspension at the Sea Otter Classic. Actually Trek […]

First Look: Shimano XT Di2 and SLX 11 speed

XTR M8050 In not altogether unexpected news, Shimano trickles-down electronic shifting to XT level with a new M8050 group. Before you get all excited, this stuff isn’t hitting the shelves until September 2016, so you might still be pulling cable and not pushing electrons to shift for a while longer. The new XT group gets most […]

Feature: Coming up short—In search of the truth about women’s-specific bikes

By Kate Skrainka Get to the bottom of it. That was my goal: Once and for all, to clarify the murky, muddy waters that are women’s-specific bikes. I pored over vintage bike catalogs, read up on the mathematics of frame geometry, interviewed more than a dozen people and tested a few bikes. I heard a lot […]

Blast From the Past: Cheapo Bike Rack

Editor’s note: This article by Truls Johnsen first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #101, published in July 2003. Mountain biking eats some serious dough, and after I acquired the perfect dirt bag mountain bike road trip vehicle (an ‘84 Vanagon camper) I realized that I could use a cheap roof rack to carry bikes in […]

First Look: OneUp Shark 10-50 11 speed drivetrain conversion

OneUp was one of the first, if not the first, to market wide range adapters for 10 speed drivetrains. It is not surprising to see the same thing for 11 speed. The Shark is a 10-50 “system,” as it requires a range of components to make it work: OneUp 50 tooth cog OneUp 18 tooth […]

Redesigned Reverb dropper post, now with 150 and 170 options

It’s that time of year, SRAM is dropping the new product news on the regular. The latest out of Chicago is a Reverb with all new internals and more travel options. The changes aim to improve reliability, and offer longer travel options for modern trail bikes. Bushing overlap is increased, which should increase longevity. SKF, […]

How to Rebuild Your Singlespeed Freewheel

Editor’s note: This article by Brad Quartuccio and Michael Browne first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #96, published in October 2002. Singlespeeders are obsessed with simplicity. No derailleurs to mess things up, no shifters to backfire and leave you stranded. But what happens when one of very few moving parts stops working? Most people think […]

Inside Line – SRAM NX 1×11: 1x for entry-level bikes

SRAM has been slowly trickling down 1×11 tech to lower and lower price points over the last few years, but with the release of this newest 1x group, even those with a less-than-sizeable bike budget can get in on the 1x evolution that is taking over mountain biking. Read on for full details and our […]

First Ride – Santa Cruz Hightower 27plus/29 inch trail bike

Disclaimer: Junket- a free trip by a member of the press to a place where something (such as a new bike) is being promoted. Let’s get that out of the way first. The new Santa Cruz Hightower was introduced to select members of the media on a trip to Chile for the first running of […]

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

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 […]

Blast From the Past: The Power of Pump

Editor’s note: This article by Lee McCormack first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #123, published in August 2006. These days you don’t have to reel in 20 miles of singletrack to feel like a mountain biker. You can blitz a downhill run, mess around at a skatepark, session some jumps or make a playground out […]

T47: More standards, more problems, or one bottom bracket shell to rule them all?

Years ago, in search of more stiffness, cranks with 30 mm aluminum spindles were introduced. Unlike the steel 24 mm spindles already on the market, those new oversized spindles didn’t work with the established threaded BSA bottom bracket. This led to a new standard: BB30. The BB30 standard involved bearings installed directly into frames and snap rings […]

First Ride: Ibis Ripley LS

Last year, I reviewed the Ibis Ripley. I liked it well enough, but my tastes in mid-travel 29er leans towards low and slack, while the Ripley is more long-travel cross-country. I also got yelled at (via email) by for being too soft on the bike. Which was a valid complaint, as I had inadvertently cut […]

Inside Line: The new Maiden DH bike from Rocky Mountain

There are a lot of bad bike videos out there. This is not one of them. Good music, not too much slow-mo, good job capturing the feel of just how fast this bike is movings, and Vanderham isn’t dressed like a toddler who didn’t get out of his PJs. Bravo. Below is the bike in the […]

One Bike Challenge: Is the quiver killer finally possible?

Last year when working on the 2015 editorial calendar for Dirt Rag, I realized the holy grail might finally be found. Found is really the wrong word, and maybe the grail is the wrong metaphor, but who doesn’t love a good Indiana Jones reference? In any case, the grail I’m referring to is a single mountain […]

Canfield Brothers redesign the Yelli Screamy 29er

The original Yelli Screamy helped to redefine what a production hardtail 29er could be, with short chainstays, a slack head angle and a playful nature. “The original Yelli was the 29er that we wanted to ride,” said Lance Canfield, owner and designer. “It didn’t exist, so we built it. It’s fun up, down, in the air, […]

Ruckus Composites rolls out a new website

Ruckus Composites is working hard to diminish the idea that carbon fiber frames are disposable. While steel is always touted as easily repairable, the crew at Rukus can do the same for just about any broken carbon fiber frame. Working with a new motto, Remade in the U.S.A., check out the new website for more […]

Project 27plus Part 2 – WTB Trailblazer 2.8 tires

By this point you’ve likely heard plenty of watercooler chatter (both excitement and complaining) about the latest crop of bikes with 27.5 wheels and tires ranging from 2.8 to 3.5 inches wide. If you’re looking for some backstory, check out Part 1 of this occasional series. Here at Dirt Rag we’ve only had some short […]

Blast From the Past: A Letter From “The Captain”

  Editor’s note: In this letter from Dirt Rag Issue #85 (April 2001), serial art contributor “Captain Black” explains how he eschewed proper engineering principles and created a magical machine for sharing the joy of cycling with his son. Keep reading We’ve published a lot of stuff in 25 years of Dirt Rag. Find all […]

Blast From the Past: Singletrack Hounds

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag #111, published in November 2004. Words by Karen Brooks. Photos by Brad Quartuccio. If you’re reading this, chances are you know the joys of gliding through the woods, the satisfaction of making it up that hill, and the release of elevating your heart rate. It makes […]

Blast From the Past: How to Have a Retro Ride

Editor’s note: This story by Karl Rosengarth first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #76, published in December 1999. It’s all about fun. I ride my mountain bike in search of maximum smiles per hour, and I’m not shy about spreading this philosophy. Occasionally, my riding crew loses their perspective, and I feel like I’m riding […]

Blast From the Past: Tallbiking

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #120, published in April 2006. Words by James Flynn. Photography by Ian Merritt. Let me tell you about the time I made my tallbike. Shortly after I moved to Chicago, my friend Mike showed up to my place to sit on the stoop. He rolled […]

Inside Line: Pacenti PDent Shorty Stems

With all the tire size and hub width standards getting pushed around lately, it might have been easy to overlook something as simple as a dent in a handlebar. But with the industry ready and willing to throw convention out the window these days, why not rethink bike sizing as well? The PDent is Kirk […]

Inside Line: Fox unveils new Float 34 fork and DPS Float shock

We’ve ridden a lot Fox 34 forks and Float CTD rear shocks and they’ve been reliable performers that just needed a few changes to really bring them to the next level. While you could send your suspension bits away for tweaking, it seems that Fox has been paying attention to what riders are after, and updated the […]

Blast From The Past: Coaster Brake Bacon

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag issue #173, published in October 2013. By Paul de Valera Mountain biking is a province of firsts. Repurposing cruisers for dirt duty: a first. Bikes with suspension on the front and back (that work): a first. Hucking huge gaps: a first. Using your coaster brake to […]

Project titanium 29+ from Carver, Whisky, Syntace and Vee Tire

The new Carver Gnarvester is designed specifically for  29+ (29×3.0 tires) and we got one in-house for a long-term review. We are building up this titanium frame with a selection of new and used components. This is a pretty sweet chainstay yoke. What kind of word is yoke anyway? Sliding dropouts with Paragon Machine Works […]

Monday morning rant: ‘No one is ruining anything’

Take a look at the bikes above. They seem to share very few things in common. One is a stripped down rigid bike, or as they say on the in Internets, “ridged.” The other is a very modern all-mountain bike, able to survive weekend trail rides and the worst downhill tracks imaginable. What are they […]

Inside Line: First ride on the 11-speed Shimano XTR and XTR Di2

Coming as a surprise, the entire fleet of media demo bikes for the recent Orbea Oiz launch was outfitted with 11-speed 2015 XTR, including four sets of the scarce electronic shifting M9050. We managed to put in a good ride on both groups. Shimano originally announced the new XTR back in April, and we got a […]

Shop tour: Ruckus Composites carbor fiber repair

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. […]

Inside Line: Get the scoop on Specialized’s radical new Demo 8

I think it’s safe to say that Specialized has created an instant icon. Simply put, the new Demo 8 is unlike any downhill bike we’ve ever seen. While it retains the classic FSR suspension layout, the pivot points were all moved as far down as possible, with the main pivot finding itself concentric with the […]