Flow’s Fresh Produce | A $1500 Trainer, Big Rotors, 10-52T Cassette & A Spanish e-MTB

A warm welcome to all of you wonderful Flow Frothers who have come to join us for the crispest edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce! We must apologise since it’s nearly been a month since our last instalment. But, well, things have been busier than a mosquito on a nudist beach here at Flow HQ.

There’s been tonnes of hot product news – we’ve just finished off our review of the new 2021 Giant Trance X (check it out here), which officially launched today all around the globe. We’ve also just received a new 2021 Orbea Oiz for testing, and for the more stylish riders out there, you may have already seen the announcement that Trek has added some outrageous colour options to its Project One custom bike builder.

We’ve also wrapped up a couple of in-depth bike reviews, one of which is on the Cube Stereo Hybrid 160 – perhaps the biggest value e-MTB on the market right now. And if that wasn’t a bold enough claim for you, here’s 9 reasons why the Merida One-Twenty is nearly the perfect trail bike. No really, that bike is so underrated.

It isn’t all tech news and reviews though. The crew from Blue Derby in Tasmania have been busy cleaning and rebuilding the now-iconic trail network, and there’s a great story about the art of trail restoration that you can read here. And if you’re in need of a little more inspiration during these trying times, then it doesn’t get much more fun than this little video about riding in isolation. Grab a brew and put aside a couple of minutes to watch it, it’s just what the doctor ordered!

While you’re finishing off your brew, here’s a whole gaggle of new gear to lay your eyes over. Sit back, relax, take a deep breath and soak it all in, because it’s time for Flow’s Fresh Produce!

Orbea Wild FS M10

orbea wild fs e-mtb electric
The Orbea Wild FS is a 160mm travel e-MTB that’s built around the powerful Bosch Gen 4 engine and a 625Wh battery.

At the end of 2019, Orbea unveiled its totally revamped Wild FS. Built around the latest Bosch Performance CX engine, a big 625Wh battery pack, and 160mm of rock-gobbling travel, the Wild FS is built to excel on epic mountain missions. The frame is available in both alloy and carbon variants, though both bikes share the same four-bar suspension platform and frame geometry, with a 65.5º head angle and a 76º seat angle. Pricing starts at $7,999 for the H30 model, and goes all the way up to $14,399 for the M-LTD model.

Mick currently has the Wild FS M10 on test, though there are a few differences compared to the stock bike, including the Schwalbe Eddy Current tyres, CushCore tubeless inserts, and Ergon contact points. How does the Wild FS stack up against the likes of the Specialized Levo and Trek Rail? Stay tuned for our review coming soon.

Saris H3 Smart Trainer

saris h3 smart trainer
The agent of pain – Saris’ new high-tech H3 trainer.

Not only is it that time of year that many of us decide to keep off muddy trails, it’s also a time where parts of the world remain under lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the recommendation to stay indoors, the lure of the stationary trainer is stronger than ever. Thankfully this activity is not the mundane endeavour it once was, thanks to the likes of the Saris H3 – a ‘smart’ trainer that plugs into a power point and talks wirelessly with your phone, tablet or laptop to control your workout.

We’ve just gotten in the Saris H3, which is the brands quietest trainer to date. It offers compatibility with the likes of Zwift and TrainerRoad, and features a claimed power accuracy of +/- 2%, which unfortunately does make it harder to cheat. Being a direct drive trainer, it just needs a cassette fitted onto the driver, and it comes with swappable end caps to provide compatibility with 135mm quick release dropouts, as well as 142x12mm and 148x12mm thru-axles.

So what’s it like to use? And why would any self-respecting hairy-legged cyclist use such a device? Stay tuned for an in-depth feature on the secret world of Zwifting for the mountain biker.

Thule RoundTrip Bike Duffel Bag

thule roundtrip duffel bag

Don’t be that person who turns up to a group ride (or a self-isolating solo ride), only to find out you somehow didn’t remember to bring your riding shoes, or that you totally forgot to fix that puncture. Get organised you slob, and stop wasting everyone’s time! Thankfully Thule is here to help you get your shit kit together with a neat duffel bag designed just for forgetful mountain bikers like you. Pack it full of spares, snacks, and all your riding essentials, so you never forget ’em again.

Ultradynamico Rosé Race & Cava Tyres

Ultradynamico might not be the tyre brand on every mountain bikers lips, but that’s because it’s a small, boutique gravel tyre company that only produces rubber for mixed surface riding, predominantly in a 650B size. Using a luxuriously supple high TPI tanwall casing (also available in black), the Rosé Race uses a mixed condition tread profile and comes in a very specific 47.99mm width. The Cava Race is the faster-rolling option, with a near semi-slick profile. According to Ultradynamico, the “3D diamond file tread massages granular terrain for perceivably 20-30% more traction than a slick” So there you go. Both are tubeless compatible and are lightweight at 490g each per tyre.

Smoove Universal Chain Lube & Prep

smoove universal chain lube prep degreaser
Fresh Smoove Lube & Prep for the Flow workshop. Just in time for a bit of iso-inspired maintenance.

Fresh lube and degreaser has arrived at the Flow Workshop, with Saffa brand Smoove coming to the party. The Universal Chain Lube is perfect for spreading on crumpets indeed a chain lubricant, and not only is it 100% biodegradable, it’s also self-cleansing and designed to work in dry and wet conditions. Hence the ‘Universal’  bit. The thing is, your chain needs to be spotless before you apply Smoove Lube for the first time, so Smoove developed Prep – a liquid degreaser that’s designed to clean your chain before lube goes on. Smoove says to think of Prep as the shampoo, and the lube as the conditioner*

*Smoove does not recommend using Prep as actual shampoo or the Universal Chain Lube as actual conditioner

Backcountry Research Mutherload Magnum Strap

Helping to support the pack-less dream, Backcountry Research offers an array of clever strap systems that are designed to take spare tubes, tyre levers and tools away from your body, and put them closer to the earth on your bike instead. The Mutherload is BR’s standard strap, and the Mutherload Magnum we have here is the plus-size edition. It still uses the same shock-cord holster, but the main strap is 50% bigger, giving a more secure hold onto your frame, particularly if you’re carrying more stuff.

SRAM X01 Eagle Single Click Shifter

sram x01 single click e-mtb shifter
One click at a time.

Mick’s Specialized Levo has just had a full strip-down and rebuild with a new 1×12 SRAM Eagle drivetrain to replace the stock 1×11 setup that was on there originally. Up at the controls he’s got a new X01 Eagle Single-Click shifter, which differs from the regular X01 Eagle trigger shifter in that it will only up and down-shift one single gear at a time. The hard stop inside the thumb paddle eliminates any possibility of you over-shifting, which on an e-MTB, can be a recipe for a chain-related disaster.

SRAM 220mm Centerline Rotor

With all the heft associated with carrying a 700Wh battery and a backpack full of camera bodies and lenses, Mick’s decided to upsize his front brake rotor to 220mm for MOAR POWAH! Not all forks are rated to take a rotor of such proportions. If you’re keen for such a dinner plate, consult your fork and frame manufacturer first.

SRAM Code Brake Pads

Fresh brake pads to go with fresh rotors, Mick’s gone with the metallic compound for his SRAM Code RSC brakes. While noisier than resin/organic pads, these are designed to perform at higher temperatures with less chance of fading, again an important aspect for a heavy e-MTB.

SRAM XX1 Eagle 10-52T Cassette

Along with the new GX Eagle drivetrain it launched back in June, SRAM has also rolled out the new 10-52T cassette ratio at the X01 and XX1 Eagle level. Here we’ve got the XX1 Eagle cassette, which comes in a variety of colour options, though Mick went for gold because he’s clearly #1 so why try harder? The 520% cassette offers more range than the existing 10-50T cassette, though if you own a mechanical 1×12 Eagle drivetrain, you will need a new mech to have it shifting properly with that big 52T sprocket. AXS mechs are already compatible, though you may need a new chain (and you should fit a new chain with a new cassette anyway ok?).

SRAM DUB Threaded Bottom Bracket

sram dub threaded bottom bracket
Replacing the previous Reggae and Ska bottom brackets, the latest DUB system offers better performance at sub-sonic frequencies.

SRAM’s DUB bottom bracket system has been around for a couple of years now, and while its debut amassed the collective rage of the internet due to the 28.9mm axle standard it’s designed for, that rage seems to have subsided. And we’re glad it has, because in our experience, the DUB BBs are actually really good. Bigger seals, quality bearings, and a tight fit ‘n’ finish. Here we’ve got a threaded BB, but you can also get PF92, BB30 and PF30 versions.

RockShox DebonAir C1 Spring

A couple of months ago, RockShox rolled out an air-spring upgrade for its Lyrik, Pike, Yari & Revelation forks. Called the DebonAir C1 spring, this little doo-dad alters the location of the main air piston seal in relation to the transfer port. The result is that you don’t need to manually cycle the fork through its travel to equalise pressures between the positive and negative air chambers (the seal sits directly over the transfer port, therefore filling and balancing each chamber simultaneously), and it also keeps the fork riding noticeably higher in its travel.

You can get the DebonAir C1 spring assembly for $70, or if you own a 2020 fork, you can just buy the little upgrade kit for $45.

Mo’ Flow Please!

Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and sign up to our Facebook page and Instagram feed so you can keep up to date with all things Flow!

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