One theme emerging from the wares available for riding at the Demo is a theme continuing from last year: long travel getting longer. We saw plenty of all-mountain bikes add an inch, like the Diamondback Sortie series (going from 4″ to 5″) and the Kona Dawgs (increasing from 5″ to 6″). Meanwhile frames are still getting lighter and more finely tuned in concert with shocks, so that all that travel has good manners. Some amazing stuff.
Some of the biggest news is that Chris King has come out with… drumroll please… a bottom bracket. It’s not the most crazy thing out there, but if you remember, as I do, the King catalog page from ten years ago where they talked about how they’re hard at work developing the perfect bottom bracket, it’s pretty big news. Since they started work on this project, mountain bike bottom brackets have gone from square-taper to ISIS to external bearings, but the King masterminds haven’t leapt to follow trend, but rather continued on their monkish path to perfection. The result is a rather unassuming-looking external bearing BB that is compatible with Shimano-style cranks and comes in the familiar King anodized colors, ten of them now (more on that later). But look closer and you see the grease injection ports, find out it has a five (5!) year warranty, and feel how absolutely perfectly the King brand cup-removal tool fits the cups. Of course the cranks feel smooth like buttah both on the countertop and on the handful of demo bikes with the BBs installed. Going for $130 starting immediately.
It’s kind of sad when new colors count as news, but fashion is important among us bike geeks whether we admit it or not, and when it’s a company whose colors are as iconic as Chris King’s, it’s pretty cool. So King has come out with a full range of parts in a nice rich chocolate brown. Mmmmm, chocolate…
Titus is in the process of “taking over the world” (according to Justin), or at least just offering more options. Their two new models, the FTM and the X-Frame, will replace the beloved Moto Lite and RacerX respectively. But don’t worry, kids, the Moto and Racer X aren’t going away, they’re just dropping in price â€“ down to around $1695 each. The $2295 FTM will have an aluminum front triangle (made in U.S.A.) with a carbon rear end (made in Taiwan, home of the new carbon experts) with 135mm of travel. Its similarly-priced sister the X-Frame (shown below) has a more svelte 105mm of travel with carbon seatstays.
In addition to giving the Sorties some growth hormones, Diamondback is making a new limited-edition model, the Sortie Black. This trick-looking bike has a Fox Float RLC fork using the new 15QR quick-release thru-axle standard, a Float RP23 rear, and Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels. Total weight is an amazingly light 26lbs., for a hefty price of $5200. It is still strange to see parts that were formerly the exclusive property of XC racer geeks show up on 5″-travel bikes, and be perfectly at home.
We saw and rode a lot more stuff. Click on over to the Gallery section for photos and brief bits, and check back here for more on what we rode and what we saw. Now I hear there’s a reconnaissance mission to the Pinball Hall of Fame forming…
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