Happy Monday Frothers! ‘Tis the start of a new week here at Flow HQ, but sadly that means it’s also the end of the 2019 Cape to Cape over in Western Australia, which from all reports has been one of the most thrilling and successful editions ever. Mick has been out in the Wild Wild West for the past week shooting photos for the event, so for those of you who haven’t checked them out yet, make sure you get a look at some of the best shots over on the Flow MTB Instagram feed. While he was over there, Mick also papped some amazing shots of a very special custom Giant Anthem that was gifted to Brendan ‘Trekky’ Johnson to celebrate a very special milestone. That bike is a b-e-a-uty!
There’s been plenty happening elsewhere too, with Norco having unleashed its brand new Optic, which is basically nothing like the previous generation Optic. Check out our video on the 2020 Norco Optic below to see what we mean;
As well as new bikes, there’s also been a big development in the suspension world, with Giant Bicycles surprising everyone with the launch its new Crest 34 fork. We were one of the first news outlets to run a story on it, and from first glance, it actually looks like it could be a decent trail fork. Given that it’s manufactured entirely in-house by Giant, we wonder what Fox and RockShox are thinking right about now…
There’s been heaps of other new product news over the past fortnight too. Stan’s NoTubes has developed a clever tubeless tyre repair tool called the DART, and Canyon has unveiled a bunch of new models within the 2020 Spectral range. We’ve also got our hands on a fresh Lux in for a proper long term review, so be sure to take a closer look at our 2020 Canyon Lux CF 8.0 test bike here.
Perhaps the most exciting story of the past week though has been the announcement of our latest competition, where you or one of your lucky riding mates, could win a 2020 Giant Reign 29er! No, that isn’t a typo – you could actually win a carbon fibre Reign 29, along with an epic weekend at the 2019 Cannonball Festival in Thredbo, worth over seven thousand dollars. If this is news to you, get entering right now for one of the biggest competitions of the year!
With that important slice of news out of the way, it’s time to get stuck into this edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce – our regular product round-up article where we take a closer look at all the new test goodies that have showed up for review here at Flow HQ. Grab yourself a cuppa, sit back, relax, and enjoy!
BikeYoke Divine SL Dropper Post
German brand BikeYoke has been making waves in recent years with its superb Revive dropper post – a big favourite here at Flow. The Divine SL is a newer model from BikeYoke, though this one is firmly targeted at the weight-sensitive XC riders out there. Claimed to be the lightest dropper post in the world, the Divine SL features just 80mm of travel. That might not sound like much (especially alongside BikeYoke’s own 185mm travel options) but for XC riders and racers, 80mm is likely to be sufficient.
The short-travel design means much of the internals of the Divine SL can be made significantly smaller. Along with a machined alloy body that has been relieved of as much excess material as possible, the Divine SL comes in at just 401g (31.6mm) and 388g (30.9mm) on our Scales Of Broken Dreams™.
The shorter internals mean the base of the Divine SL post is actually hollow, which isn’t unlike what you’d see with an XC fork from Fox and RockShox. Because of this, the Divine SL is cuttable – so if you’ve got sufficient room to do so, you could remove a few extra grams by slicing off part of the outer tube, just like you would do with a regular seatpost. Total length is 400mm, and the Divine SL is available in 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters. You can get a 2x compatible handlebar remote, or the 1X Triggy that we’ve received with our test post.
- From: MTB Direct (AUS), or BikeYoke (INTL)
- Price: $620
BikeYoke Triggy 1x Dropper Post Lever
To go with our Divine SL test post, we’ve got the BikeYoke Triggy remote. This is a 1X specific remote that sits underneath the left-hand side of the handlebar, and features an adjustable paddle as well as a SRAM MatchMaker compatible mount. If you’re running a Shimano brake lever, BikeYoke makes the Triggy in an I-Spec version so you can bolt it directly to the brake lever clamp.
As well as dropper posts, BikeYoke manufacturers a whole range of upgrade components, including aftermarket shock yokes for existing Specialized and Canyon bikes (that’s where the BikeYoke name originates from). One of the smallest and most unassuming devices that BikeYoke manufactures is this little machined alloy wheel called the ‘Shifty’.
What exactly does it do? It’s designed to replace the stock plastic wheel in the back of your SRAM 1×11 or 1×12 derailleur, which according to BikeYoke, can exhibit ghost shifting when riding through particularly wet and muddy conditions. The Shifty utilises a sealed cartridge bearing to provide smoother cable operation, and in theory more accurate shifting, regardless of the conditions. Available in a black, gold or red anodized finish, at the very least it looks rather snazzy!
Also in our BikeYoke test box was this little seat collar called the Squeezy. Made from CNC machined Al-7075-T6 alloy and featuring a Ti-6Al-4V titanium torx bolt, the Squeezy weighs just 9 grams (36.4mm size), making it exceptionally lightweight. BikeYoke says the Squeezy isn’t just light though, with a band-style design that makes it less prone to ‘pinching’ your frame’s seat tube and seatpost, and instead providing more even clamping force around the entire circumference.
AMS Honeycomb XL Frame Guard
Arriving just in time to fit to our newest long term test bike, this XL Frame Guard kit from All Mountain Style (AMS) is one of three different frame protection kits from the Barcelona-based brand. Designed to shield your bike’s paint finish from rock chips and cable wear, the stick-on panels are made from high impact-resistant PVC that is sufficiently flexible for wrapping around curvy downtubes and slender seatstays. Automotive-grade adhesive is designed to create a strong bond between the guard and the frame.
The XL Frame Guard kit comprises of a large panel for underneath the downtube – a particularly vulnerable area on any mountain bike – along with arrow-shaped panels to line the underside of the BB shell, and several rectangular strips for protecting the chain and/or seatstays. AMS also makes an XXL kit that comes with additional panels, as well as specific kits for fork legs, crank arms, and chainstays.
- From: Lusty Industries
- Price: $89.95
With a load of different test bikes on the go at the moment, this box of Clugs from Hornit has come at the perfect time to help with some storage organisation. Proclaimed as the ‘World’s Smallest Bike Rack’, the Clug is designed to help you store your bike vertically on a wall. Hornit makes an array of different Clugs to suit various types of bikes, with the smallest Clug suiting road bike tyres, and the XXL Clug suiting plus tyres up to 3.2in wide.
Using a simple U-clamp structure that bolts straight to a wall of your choosing (wood or brick is fine, though not hollow plasterboard), the shapely Clug is designed to hug your bike’s front tyre. The weight of the bike isn’t supported by the Clug itself though – the Clug merely holds the front wheel to stabilise the bike, while the majority of the weight is supported by the rear wheel, which remains on the ground. Clever!
- From: 99 Bikes.
- Price: $24.99 – $34.99
Shimano Deore XT BB-MT800-P Press-Fit Bottom Bracket
We recently received an SLX M7100 groupset from Shimano for a long term test, though one of the missing pieces of the puzzle is this press-fit bottom bracket. Designed specifically for Shimano Hollowtech II cranksets (all modern Deore, SLX, XT & XTR cranksets), the BB-MT800-P bottom bracket uses sealed cartridge bearings and resin cups for a smooth fit with alloy or carbon PF92 bottom bracket shells.
- From: Shimano
- Price: $49
Shimano SL-MT800 Dropper Post Lever
Also joining the SLX groupset is Shimano’s under-the-bar dropper post lever. Designed to mount directly to a new-school Shimano left hand brake lever via the I-Spec EV mount, the MT800 dropper lever gets lateral adjustment via the single mounting bolt. A sealed cartridge bearing promises smooth actuation, and the cable-activated design is compatible with a wide range of dropper posts already on the market.
- From: Shimano
- Price: $89
Shimano RT-MT800 Disc Brake Rotors
More puzzle pieces, this time for the 4-piston SLX M7120 disc brake callipers. The latest RT-MT800 disc brake rotor sits at a Deore XT M8100 level, and uses Shimano’s Ice Technologies sandwich construction that sees a stainless steel braking surface mated to an alloy core for improved heat dissipation. The outer rotor is then mounted to a forged alloy central spider, which is hollowed out for weight savings. Look closely at the backside, and you’ll see a pocket designed to fit a speed magnet for e-MTBs.
We’ve got both 203mm and a 180mm rotors with a Centerlock disc rotor spline, though Shimano also offers this same rotor in 160mm and 140mm sizes. There isn’t a 6-bolt version, though Shimano still makes those in the existing RT-86 rotor.
- From: Shimano
- Price: $89 (180mm), $105 (203mm)
Shimano TL-BT03S Bleed Kit
And to help us get those SLX brakes installed and setup, Shimano sent us out the basic bleed kit that includes both the lever reservoir cup tool, and a plastic syringe for injecting fresh mineral oil through the system. We foresee some workshop beers and an epic Essential Mix playlist in our near future.
- From: Shimano
- Price: $40
Fox Defend Shorts
Fresh threads have just arrived from Fox Racing, including a tough looking pair of shorts that fall under the ‘Defend’ label. These are the regular Defend shorts (Fox also makes Defend Kevlar and Defend Pro Water shorts), which means they get an over-the-knee length using TruMotion 4-way stretch fabric, along with a ratchet closure system for the waist as well as zippered hand pockets. You can get these in Black, Cardinal Red and Maui Blue, with waist sizes from 28 up to 40, and there’s also a women’s specific Defend short too.
- From: PSI Cycling
- Price: $149.99
Fox Defend Gloves
For the paws we’ve got a set of matching Defend gloves, which combine protective panels over the top of the fingers and the back of the hand, with a thin single-layer Clarino® palm for flexibility and tactility on the grips. Available in four colours from Small through to XX-Large,
- From: PSI Cycling
- Price: $59.99
Fox Trail Cushion Socks
These are fancy foot gloves from Fox in the form of the 8in Trail Cushion socks, which we’re informed meet regulation height standards. Constructed from a 52% nylon, 37% cotton, 9% polyester and 2% spandex mix, these socks are meant to be breathable while providing a little extra cushioning under the heels and soles for all-day comfort. Available in S/M and L/XL sizes in three colour options.
- From: PSI Cycling
- Price: $29.95
Mo’ Flow Please!
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