For some reason on Tuesdays I think of the Moody Blues. I am sure that it is due to their song, Tuesday Afternoon... but I digress.
If you own a Cannondale Jekyll, and quite a number of you do, you know that there aren't a whole lot of options for the rear shock. Should yours blow up, you can send it back to Fox, send it to Push, hope to find a new one on eBay, or hope to find a Manitou Swinger 3-way that fits. Now, you can add X-Fusion Shox to the list. It looks like most of their air shocks have a trunion mount option. Very cool, if you ask me, though I know nothing about the company. Looks like I'll have to chat with them at InterBike.
As usual, the guys at Cyclingnews have some great tech stuff. Check out Jan's blunder at the Tour of Germany as well as carbon fiber wheels from Bontrager (shown below), new Zipp cranks and a new bike from Slingshot - yes, they are still in business.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
For some reason on Tuesdays I think of the Moody Blues. I am sure that it is due to their song, Tuesday Afternoon... but I digress.
Monday, August 29, 2005
As the Big Show steams ever closer, more and more gear goodies are coming to light. I received my confirmation today, so I will be there for both days at the outdoor demo and three days of air-conditioned schmoozing... er... fact gathering for the 2006 model year.
First off, a personal plug. My review of the new Fi'zi:k stuff is up and running. Hop on over to GearReview.com and check it out. Of note are the new Nisene (right), it's leaps and bounds better than the old saddle with the same name, and the Saddle Pa:k. The Saddle Pa:k is simply ingenious. Really.
Next up... More new Trek and a lightweight full squish bike, sort of, and Rush (not the band or the self absorbed radio talk show host).
Cyclingnews.com is reporting that Travis Brown, single speed master and all around tough guy, is racing a bike with a 26" rear wheel and a 700c - 29" - front wheel. With a Maverick DUC32 no less. Why?!?!?! To be honest, even with the explanation this makes no sense to me. Sure, the bigger wheel rolls over stuff better, and the smaller rear wheel is tougher and accelerates better (think Beast of the East from years ago) but why the Maverick fork? It's a single speed for Pete's sake. Honestly, what are people thinking, putting a 6" travel dual crown fork on a bike that will be pedaled standing up!? Oh well, not my bike, and I am nowhere near as good a rider as Travis, so I'll shut up now.
Scrolling down the same page we come to Gretnabikes new creation. How do you remove weight from a full suspesion bike? Remove the shock of course. The suspesion relies on the flexing of the carbon members to provide the spring, though this would be, it appears, undamped motion at best. Interesting though.
Finally, some Cannondale goodness. The folks at Singletrackworld.com have a write up on the new Rush shorter travel bike. Basically this fits between the Scalpel and the Prophet. I'll bet the line will be long at the Cannondale booth this year.
Posted by James at 8:58 AM
Friday, August 26, 2005
Cyclingnews.com has more info on that SRAM shift/brake lever that I talked about yesterday. Actually, there really isn't more info, aside from some speculation. SRAM is being pretty tight-lipped about it. I suspect that if they didn't have to road test the stuff, we wouldn't have the images we have now.
Scroll down the Cyclingnews.com page and what do you see? A full Carbon Litespeed. Surprised? I'm not. Remember that Litespeed is owned by ABG - who owns Merlin - and a few weeks ago I told you about a full carbon Merlin, the C110. Same frame rebadged as a Litespeed? I doubt it, but if you have the technology...
Posted by James at 8:53 AM
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I just saw this over on Velonews.com and thought you lot would like to read more about it. Zellman hinted at something like this at Sea Otter this year, but only said that we would see something in the road market before long. Well, looks like the wait is almost over. Personally, a road version of the XO derailliur would be awesome.
The photo is from the Velonews article.
Posted by James at 1:40 PM
Yesterday I showed a little love to Trek by pointing you over to Roadbikereview.com for a peak at a couple of new bikes for the road and light off road - that was the 'cross bike, by the way. Today I'll point you over to RBR's sister site, MTBR.com for a peak at the rest of Trek's new stuff.
I am not sure what show this is, but clearly it is a trade show or media convention or something that - again - I didn't get invited to.
One more thing, by Trek I mean Trek, Gary Fisher and Lemond. Also, check out all the Bontrager goodies on some of those frames! Ol' Keith has been busy.
Posted by James at 7:30 AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
As promised, below are some images of FSA's new wheels. In keeping with the carbon theme I ended on yesterday, I'll start with the highend RD-488.
This carbon fiber rimmed wheel is of the tubular variety (like the vast majority of carbon rimmed wheels out there). The price? An astounding $1100. Ugh.
Speaking of price, that neat-o tensiometer that is shown in yesterdays post will retail for a mere $250. Also, I do have the price on that one-piece bar/stem combo... $580. Carbon fiber is not cheap my friends.
Back to wheels. New this year will also be the RD-460 a disc compatable road wheel. Great for minor off road excursions and all winter long commuting in the very wet Northwest.
Retail for these bad boys will be around $430/pair. Not too bad, really. Remember, you won't be wearing out the rims if you run discs. I'll end todays picturesque FSA post with a nice image of FSA's rear hub. Very nice.
Now I did mention Trek in the title, so rather than leave you hanging, head on over to Roadbikereview.com and take a gander at the '06 Portland. The perfect commuter for the Northwest - appropriate name, don't you think? Now, I am no Trek fan but I dig the placement of the rear brake. It's all tucked away so you can mount fenders and racks easily and still have all the bennies of discs.
One more thing, that FSA BB I mentioned yesterday is on FSA's website. So if you want more info point your browser here. It's officially called the MEGA EXO ISIS bottom bracket. I'll get back with pricing and availability - I think it's available now - later.
Posted by James at 2:21 PM
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I recently received some information from FSA about their new products that will be unveiled at InterBike. Rather than get all wordy, I'll post some images. First up, a front derailleur. Naturally, this one is made to work nicely with their compact double road cranksets.
Next, we find more carbon stuff - a theme that will be played out throughout the new products. This past season of racing we saw Gilberto Simoni riding a one-piece bar/stem combo. Well, now even those of us who have never lined up on a starting line can own the bar. No word on price, but the Plasma handlebar/stem will be a bunch of dollars, I am sure.
Not one to merely use carbon fiber in componants, FSA will introduce a spoke tensiometer in - go on and guess - carbon fiber. Very trick.
Unfortunatly, there was no word on the bottom bracket that I talked about before. Bummer. Check back tomorrow for more info on FSA's new wheels and seatpost.
Posted by James at 9:01 AM
Monday, August 22, 2005
Looks like the old man - under the direction of Trek - is trying really hard to make a name for himself in the freeride/downhill/I'll-jump-off-anything-health-insurance-be-damned crowd. Hop on over to Singletrackworld.com for a peak at the 2006 lineup. Er... rather the 2006 lineup that they know about. It's not an inclusive list by any streatch.
Of note are the the Ferrous Eccentric-BB and the Fat Possum (who the heck came up with that name) with 6" of travel sporting the Maverick DU32 fork everyone either loves or hates. Not a lot of middle ground on the Maverick fork. I rode it and liked it, but I only had about 20 minutes on one. It's tall and you won't be able to use your fork mount bike racks with it, but oh well. You should buy a Bob Ratchet anyway.
Posted by James at 8:34 AM
Friday, August 19, 2005
Nothing to see here, folks.It's Friday, and I really don't have a whole lot to post today. Oh there is a race going on here or there, but this blog is about one thing... GEAR. Check back on Monday when I'm sure I'll have something interesting.
Posted by James at 3:37 PM
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Relativity aside, earlier I mentioned that ABG (Merlin, Litespeed, Quintana Roo) were introducing relatively less expensive Merlin frames. Well, hop on over to Litespeed and check out the new 2006 Vortex. Too be honest it's not that attractive; I am not really a fan of the diamond shaped - or whatever shape - tubes. But, aesthetics aside, you have to admit that 1050 grams is pretty light for a frame made of metal. That's 2.31 pounds for those of us in the U. S. of A. There are sub-kilogram frames out there, but they are all - I think - made of CFRP. That's Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic. Sure, the marketing folk like to drop off the plastic, but it is. I'm not mocking those of you who ride them, just pointing it out.
So, what does this bad boy set you back? Try $4000 for the frameset and, as they say in car commercials, $6000 nicely equipped... with Dura-Ace.
Just so you don't think I made up the weight, click this link to Cyclingnews.com. There might be a sub-kilo frame from Litespeed in the future, but no word on cost, availability or even the name of the wonder-bike.
Posted by James at 8:31 AM
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
A few weeks ago, we reviewed the Hayes El Camino brakes. They are great brakes, but they didn't look like this!
These images are from www.NSMB.com, so be sure to hop on over there and check out more goodies from the Crankworx festival. They've got new stuff from Rock Shox (SRAM), Truvativ (SRAM) and more.
Posted by James at 9:36 AM
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Get used to hearing those three letters if you are looking for high-end sunglasses. Turns out the government recently de-classified the material - which is harder than polycarbonate - for non-millitary use. Polycarbonate was developed over 40 years ago, and has been the de-facto standard in shatterproof lenses ever since. 40 years is a long time for a material to stand unchallenged, though. NXT is an optically clear urathane. "NXT® is a patented family of polyurethane optical polymers, transparent and unbreakable, originally developed for the military to provide superior protection and performance." This material is now being used by a number of brands, including Specialized - who jumped into the eyewear market with both feet - and Rudy Project - a veteran in the industry. Originally devolped in the U.S. in the 1990's to stop bullets, the material should be plenty strong to keep errant bugs out the wearers eyes. Intercast, based in Italy, has the worldwide exclusive license to the technology. This means that every manufacturer has to go through the middleman in this. They can't have just anyone make their lenses.
For more information on some sunglasses used in the Tour de France with NXT lenses, check out Cyclingnews.com.
Of note, both Rudy and Specialized are using the material in a photochromatic lens. This is a first for Rudy Project. I, for one, can't wait to see them!
Posted by James at 10:35 AM
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Cycling clothes off the bike?Today I had the pleasure to hike Mt. Scott at Crater Lake. If you live in or around Oregon, you owe it to yourself to go and see it.
For the hike, I wore the Nema Guide jersey. This jersey has a ventilated back panel to keep sweat from collecting under my hydration pack. There are no pockets. This makes a GREAT hiking shirt. I'm not really surprised, it's a great jersey on the bike, too.
Posted by James at 9:21 PM
Friday, August 12, 2005
OK, to make up for yesterday - not really, I just ran across this and thought you'd like to be included.
Cateye, long known for good, if somewhat quirky, electronics for bikes has been testing out the following lights and it looks like they are near to being sold... for around $600 for the set! Ouch. I should make my own and sell them. It's not like they are using parts that everyone can't get. Surf on over to LumiLEDs for more info on the Luxeon emitters.
You are looking at a helmet mounted dual beam setup and a handlebar mounted triple beam set up. They use the Luxeon 3 watt LEDs. The burn time is a respectable 3.5 hours with a good charge time of 3 hours. But the price! I mean, I understand - sort of - the cost of HID lights since the bulb are expensive and aren't available to everyone (because of that whole issue with the ballast, etc.). But the only issue with the LEDs is the voltage regulation and heat dissapation. Clearly Cateye is using the housing to get rid of the excess heat - supposedly it's made of Aluminum - and I am sure that they are using a proprietary circuit and lens, but come on. Too much money, period.
More info available on this thread on MTBR.
Posted by James at 1:13 PM
First off, an apology to both of you who read this tripe. I was feeling a little glum and under the weather yesterday so nothing got posted. The only thing that was even post worthy was this...
This is a fuel cell powered motorcycle. It is biking related since it uses a Marzocchi Shiver (I think) fork and Hope Mono-4 brakes. The bad part - other than there is no where to fill the dang thing up - is the price, $6000 and the top speed, 50 mph. Come on, put one more gear in there and make it go 100 mph. Ah well, I doubt you'll ever see one on the road/trails anyway.
Back to bike stuff.
Be sure to point your browser to our new review of the latest Hutchinson tires. We like them. We really like that Hutchinson tires are easy to seat. They just work, and work well. Go buy some. Really.
Speaking of the tires seating well, it seems that I can't get road tires to seat evenly to save my life. I think that I am just inept when it comes to the narrow road bike tires. Except for Hutchinson. I am reviewing a pair of the Carbon Comp tires (which I like) and the darn things popped right into place, litterally. Just like tubeless tires, they went "POP" and were seated. I love that! I have no plans to run anything but Hutchinson on my road bike, unless these start to fall apart in the near future. So far, so good, though.
If you are having problems seating tires, this tip from the MTBR forums might help. While soaping the tires isn't new, the Armor All is a new one for me. I'll have to give it a go and report back.
Posted by James at 11:44 AM
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Merlin has always been a magical brand for me. My first look at a Merlin mountain bike was way back in 1988 or '89. I thought, then, that this was the finest mountain bike I had ever seen. It was certainly the most expensive. Since then, Merlin Metalworks has grown and changed hands. It is now owned by American Bicycle Group (ABG), who also owns Litespeed and Quitana Roo - the latter is a triathalon oriented brand that was once owned by Saucony.
If I thought that Merlin bikes were works of art before, recent additions to the lineup have blown me away. The Cielo, for example, should be hung on a wall in an art gallery. But this all comes at a hefty price; a complete Cielo will set you back over $8000. And that is with standard, but high-end, parts. Throw a carbon wheelset in the mix and you are looking at nearly 10 grand. Ouch. Recently, however, Velonews has reported that they, Merlin, will be adding to the lineup with some more affordable steeds. Bear in mind that "more affordable" is a relative statement. In this case, framesets will be in the $2000 and up range, while complete bikes will be in the $3500 and up range.
Merlin Metalworks will also be selling a bike with, ironically, no metal in the frame: the C110. It will be made out of carbon fiber - the other wonder material.
Posted by James at 10:20 AM
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
As I type this the TransRockies race is going on and hardy souls of all nationalities are riding day after day from Fernie, British Columbia to Canmore, Alberta. The race covers 373 miles in 7 stages, with over 39,000 feet of climbing. The racers compete as teams. Unlike other team events, like the 24 hour racing format, the teams need to stay together. The time for the team is taken when the final team member crosses the line. All I can say is ouch.
The first two days are finished, with the racers competing in todays stage - #3 - from Elkford, BC to Etherington, AB. Good luck to all the racers, you guys ROCK!
Posted by James at 10:01 AM
Monday, August 08, 2005
That's right folks, nothing to see here... move along. Really it was a slow weekend for the Bike Biz. Oh, sure, there was a bunch of racing, but we aren't about racing, we're about G-E-A-R. Of course, if you want to see racers' gear, hop on over to Cyclingnews.com and check out Eddie Mazzoleni's Cannondale.
You know, for being ridiculously expensive, the SRM power meter cranks are showing up everywhere.
Posted by James at 8:09 AM
Friday, August 05, 2005
I recently took a gander at the 2006 Cannondale U.S. lineup, and it looks... interesting. In 2005 Cannondale introduced the Synapse - watch GearReview for a review soon - to go head to head with the likes of the Specialized Rubaix and Trek Pilot. Namely, a high(er) end bike that is light and agile, but more comfortable to ride than the typical lightweight racing bike. The headtubes are a little longer, placing the handlebars higher. The Synapse is also the first - and, so far, only - bike in the Cannondale family that isn't made in the U.S. of A. Well, for 2006, Cannondale will have a lower priced Synapse Al, an aluminum version of the same bike. The chainstays will still be 'pinched' for compliance and the headtube will still be longer for that more-upright position. It'll be interesting to see how the ride compares.
In other road bike news, Cannondale's 6/13, the venerable race bike that helped the likes of Simoni and Cunego race to victory in the Giro di Italia, will be available in two flavors. The higher end one - Team designation - will feature carbon fiber top and down tubes while the lower end one - with a Pro designation - will only have a carbon down tube. Again, it'll be interesting to see how this affects the ride of the bike.
Posted by James at 9:37 AM
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Push Industries, as you may or may not know, are in the business of making Fox forks and shocks run the way they should - or better - by tuning them to the individual rider. They do factory-quality rebuilds and can add platform damping to older Fox shocks and forks. With forks, they remove the lockout... actually with both forks and shocks they remove the lockout, but in the case of the forks the lever remains. What it does after the Push treatment is turn on or off the platform damping. We reviewed the Stratos ID cartridge in a Fox TALAS a little over a year ago and felt that it worked great, but there were times when we wished we could turn it off and just let the fork work as it originally did. Well, with the Push mods, you can.
But what if you don't have a Fox fork, but want all the beni's that Push can offer? Now Push is an authorized retailer for Fox products. You can buy a Fox fork - say a TALAS 130 - with the mod already in place. How cool is that!
We are working on getting a review sample from Push... if they return my calls. When we do, I'll report my findings, as usual, on GearReview.com. Until then, poke around Push's site and see what they offer.
Posted by James at 9:51 AM
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Outboard bearings are bigger, last longer (in theory) and allow for larger diameter - stiffer - bottom bracket axles. The only way to get them, though, is to either dig up an old Cannondale/Magic Motorcycles crank (hard to impossible to find) in good condition, or buy one of the myriad of new cranksets from Shimano, FSA, Truvativ and Race Face. But what do you do if you have a crank that you like and is in good condition? Until now, you'd toss it out or sell to someone else. Now, however, according to the guys over at BIKEmagic, FSA will be making an ISIS compatable bottom bracket that has outboard bearings. How cool is that!
Posted by James at 11:18 AM
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Cannondale recently announced a partnership with Diadora footwear and today Diadora clarified the relationship with the statement below.
"Diadora clarifies U.S. cycling footwear distribution partnership.
On July 25th 2005, Diadora-Invicta S.p.a. announced that it had reached an agreement in principle to a global partnership with Cannondale Bicycle Corp. The partnership, which starts with the introduction of the SS 2006 Collection, will include exclusive distribution rights of Diadora cycling footwear in the North America and Japan markets. Cannondale will be the sole distributor, after November 30th 2005, with rights to sell Diadora cycling footwear in North America and Japan. Diadora looks forward to its new partnership with Cannondale, as both companies share a commitment to performance cycling products."
It'll be interesting to see what the 2006 footwear lineup looks like for both Cannondale and Diadora.
Posted by James at 11:44 AM
I can see it as a headline "HAYES ACQUIRES SUN/RINGLE", but there isn't a newspaper out there that posts such news as front page fodder. However, this is big news for those of us in the mountain biking world. Sun Metals started life making rims, and Ringle was well known back-in-the-day for purple anodized chi-chi parts. They combined a number of years ago to make components and complete wheelsets.
Also, though less of a headline grabber, Hayes now has 7 inch rotors for sale. They call it the V7. Now if you want a bigger rotor but your fork isn't approved for a big ol' 8 incher, Hayes can hook you up. Hmmm... I think I need one for the back of my Jekyll.
Posted by James at 10:18 AM
We've taken the wraps off of two products that are, in a word, GREAT! Hayes' new El Camino brake - the top of their line up - with a redesigned one-piece caliper and new lever. If you haven't seen them yet, find a shop that has them. They really are tremendous brakes.
We've also finished reviewing Cannondale's new - for 2005 - Prophet. This is a 5 inch travel trail bike that replaces the venerable Jekyll - one of the best loved Cannondales ever. It's lighter, has a little more travel and takes a standard shock. No more threaded trunion mount making shock replacement a bear. They've also brought back the Delta-V frame to give the Prophet more standover - at the expense of a water bottle mount. You know, some of us like to use energy drinks and wouldn't think of putting that stuff in a hydration pack! But since I own a Jekyll - one of the best loved Cannondales ever - I can tell you that it seriously needed a dropped top tube. All of you Jekyll owners out there, go ride a Prophet and let me know what you think!
One more tidbit, check back to GearReview.com in the next week or so to see our thoughts on Hutchinson's new tires.
Posted by James at 9:39 AM
Monday, August 01, 2005
Specialized '06Looks like Specialized has pulled out all the stops for their high end bikes in 2006. They have increased the use of carbon fiber for the top-of-the-line Epic, Stumpjumper and Stumpjumper FSR bikes. Rumor has it that the Stumpjumper frame (not FSR) weighs in at 1,150 grams. We'll have to wait and see at Interbike in a couple of months. Point your browser to SingleTrackWorld.com and BIKEmagic for more info.
While you are over there, check out the new Cannondale lineup as well. 2006 is looking to be a great year to buy a bike!
Posted by James at 10:44 AM