09 Jul 2020

In our regular test product round-up, we check out a sleek new workstand for home mechanics, tubeless tech, and a $239 bottle of chain lube - wowsers!

Greetings Flow Frothers, and welcome to the latest edition of Flow’s Fresh Produce! We bring this treasure trove of treats and trinkets to you as a tandem effort from both halves of our award-winning team; Mick, who steers the good-ship Flow from our northern hub in NSW, and Wil, who pumps the propeller from the southern hub in Sicktoria. No need to heighten your sense of anxiety though, as we’ll be quickly navigating our way around these COVID-infested waters to reach our final destination – a treasure island that’s filled with shiny new mountain bikes, endless ribbons of pristine hand-cut singletrack, high-fives, and the most refreshing ale that has passed your lips. Time to leave those woes behind, because there’s nothing but bikes and good times ahead – yiew!

You’ve probably noticed that thumbs haven’t exactly been twiddling since our last quest, with the interlude having been dominated by the launch of the new 2021 Specialized Epic & Epic EVO. The crew from California sent us over one of each bike to test them out on Aussie soil, giving us the opportunity to compare both bikes directly. In case you missed it, be sure to check out our detailed review of the Specialized Epic here and the Specialized Epic EVO here.

On top of that, Wil just finished building up our latest test bike – a Cotic BFeMAX that arrived as a standalone frame just a couple of weeks ago. To begin with, this British Bulldog has been assembled with a RockShox Lyrik, 2.6in tyres, a 180mm dropper post, and the new SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain. Check out the full build and our first ride review here.

Okey dokes folks, all up to speed? Got the tabs open to read those marvellous reviews later? Great! Without further ado, let us now set sail into this week’s Fresh Produce, sun on our faces, fresh air whipping against our skin, and loamy soil soon to be beneath our tyres!


Feedback Sports Pro Elite Workstand

feedback sports pro elite workstand
The Pro Elite workstand folds up easily, using quick-release levers and foldable legs.

The Pro Elite workstand uses folding legs and quick-release adjusters to adapt its height and position as needed. It’s constructed from anodised 6061 T6 alloy tubes to keep it light, but it’s also strong enough to handle an e-MTB.

feedback sports pro elite workstand
In our experience, this is one of the best foldable workstands going.

A new addition to Flow’s Southern HQ is this portable Pro Elite workstand from US brand Feedback Sports. Having used one before and been thoroughly impressed with the quality, this was our top choice when looking for a new stand for the workshop that would be easy to move around and pack in the car for test missions. And not only because it’s red.

Constructed from anodised 6061 T6 alloy tubes, the Pro Elite is quite light at just 5.7kg. In use however, it’s mighty solid for a portable workstand and is rated for up to 39kg, meaning if you have the biceps for it, it’s e-MTB friendly. The ratcheting clamp uses a satisfying push-button release mechanism, and you can rotate it any which-way to secure a seatpost or frame tube up to a diameter of 66mm. The rubber clamp jaws are replaceable, as is basically every other component, which sees it, err, stand out from cheaper generic stands on the market. Along with the 3-year warranty, that makes it a solid investment that we can happily recommend for any home mechanic.


2021 RockShox ZEB Ultimate

2021 rockshox zeb ultimate
The RockShox ZEB has arrived! Slotting in-between the Lyrik and Boxxer, this is one humongous fork designed for big travel e-MTBs, park riding and the most aggressive enduro racers.

Officially released this week, the new RockShox ZEB is a humongous long-travel single-crown fork with 38mm upper tubes and 160-190mm of travel. There are four models available, including a new Dual Position Air model that offers on-the-fly travel adjustability. How retro! But who needs such a fork? And what happens to the Lyrik? We’ve been riding the ZEB Ultimate for the past month, and you can read about all that and more in our full review right here.


Stan’s NoTubes Sealant (946ml Bottle)

The original, and in many rider’s eyes, still the best. Made from natural non-hazardous materials, Stan’s NoTubes sealant is designed to provide tubeless tyres with an airtight seal and the ability to repair punctures up to 6.5mm in size. We’ve got a big jug for the workshop, which Americans refer to as a ‘Quart’, though we measure it as a very specific 946ml. That’s apparently 16 tyres worth, or around eight days worth of tyre-faffing for a bicycle journo on a testing deadline.


Stan’s NoTubes DART Tubeless Tyre Tool

stan's notubes dart tubeless tyre repair tool
The DART is a tubeless tyre repair tool, designed to plug those nasty slashes that sealant won’t sort out on its own.

Along with fresh sealant, Stan’s NoTubes sent us out a replacement DART tool and spare plugs. This is a new generation tubeless tyre repair tool, which is designed to plug those bigger holes that the liquid sealant can’t seal. You get two plugs included with the carbon-pronged tool, and spare plugs come in a five-pack that’s stowed inside a little film canister.


Stan’s NoTubes Micro Spline Freehub Body

For those out there with a Stan’s NoTubes complete wheelset, who might be pondering an upgrade to a new Shimano 12-speed drivetrain, this freehub might be the missing piece to your puzzle. It’s a Durasync freehub body that’s designed to fit the NEO rear hub, which is found in complete Crest, Arch and Flow wheelsets, among others. The freehub body comes pre-loaded with brand new cartridge bearings, along with six pawls and springs, and the necessary Micro Spline end cap, all ready to plug in.


Stan’s NoTubes Flow CB7 Wheelset

stan's notubes flow cb7 carbon wheelset
New carbon hoops from Stan’s NoTubes – this is the Flow CB7 wheelset, and it comes with some very special rims.

Also just in for testing is the brand new NoTubes Flow CB7 wheelset. This is the first carbon rim to wear the Flow name, and it’s designed for hard-hitting trail riders and enduro racers. The rim shape itself is unique to NoTubes – as well as being really shallow to help with radial compliance, it also gets a 4mm offset for the spoke holes, which provides benefits from a spoke balance and wheel strength perspective. Building an asymmetric rim wasn’t the easiest thing – check out our detailed first look here for more.


Fabric Silicone Grips

While these Fabric grips are made from 100% pure silicone, they don’t feel the same as some other silicone grips, like those from ESI. These have a much tackier, rubber-like feel to them, with textured grip that’s enhanced by a honeycomb tread pattern. They’re also asymmetric. The fatter side is designed to face your palms for added vibration damping, while the thinner side ensures that the overall diameter isn’t too thick, providing maximum wrap for your digits.


Fabric Gripper Bottle & Cage

fabric gripper bottle cage
It might ‘just’ be a bottle, but that doesn’t make us like it any less.

We’ve also just got our hands and lips around a Fabric Gripper Bottle. These come in both 600ml and 750ml sizes, and while it is only just a bottle, it is actually very good. The high-flow silicone mouth-piece works well, and the grippy texturing around the upper bottle makes it noticeably easier to grab while riding. You only notice how slippery regular bottles are once you use one of these. To go with it, we’ve got the matching bottle cage. Again, it’s just a cage, but it wraps around the matching bottle beautifully and securely.

  • From: PSI Cycling
  • Price: $15.99 (bottle) + $19.99 (cage)

absoluteBLACK Graphenlube

No, it isn’t Greg Minnaar’s latest signature cologne (good guess though), this is a bottle of what is supposedly the world’s first chain lubricant to contain everyone’s favourite carbon allotrope, graphene. Oh and with a sticker price of $239 AUD for a 140ml bottle, we also understand this is the world’s most expensive chain lube. For anyone doing the maths at home, that works out to be around $1.70 per millilitre. To put that in perspective, Lark’s superb single malt whiskey goes for $0.36 per millilitre.

Why is it so expensive? Well according to absoluteBLACK, the purveyors of this fine chain oil, Graphenlube “exhibits extraordinary durability at single application whilst maintaining impressively low friction for a prolonged period of time in both wet and dry conditions. It’s everything you can really wish for in lubrication. Up to 1800km on single application (dry conditions), 3-10W savings over other lubes“.

After spilling a $34 puddle of it on his workbench, Mick is currently swilling some around in a cognac snifter glass to distinguish the various flavours and aromas. We look forward to his full evaluation.


Bontrager Line Pro 30 Wheels

More carbon wheels, this time from Trek’s in-house component brand, Bontrager. These are the Line Pro 30 wheels, which like the Stan’s wheels above, also feature carbon fibre rims with a 29mm internal rim width. That makes them ideally suited for 2.35-2.6in wide tyres, and the newly redesigned OCLV carbon rims are purported to be the strongest that Bontrager has ever built, and ever tested in-house. Get the lowdown on the new Line Pro and Line Elite wheels here.


Shimano XTR Race Pedals

shimano xtr race pedals
Short spindle on the left, regular spindle on the right. Get the right pedals for your hips.

No, that’s fortunately not how they come out of the box – we just forgot to photograph these XTR Race pedals before they made their way onto a test bike. These are the latest generation XTR M9100 Race pedals, and as you’ll tell in the photo above, we have two different versions. The pedal on the left is the narrow Q-factor option, which features a 3mm shorter spindle that’s designed to bring your feet closer into the cranks. This is Wil’s preference, due to his narrow non-child-rearing hips, while the standard option on the right is what Mick goes for.


2021 Specialized Epic & Epic EVO

With Specialized having launched both a new Epic and Epic EVO at the same time, we decided to ride both bikes back-to-back to dig down deep into the differences that separate the two on the trail. Structurally, there’s a lot of similarities between the two, but on the trail they couldn’t be further from each other. Who is the Epic for? What kind of rider suits the EVO? Check out our comparative video above for the lowdown.


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!