FOX 36: The Evolution Continues

The all-new Fox 36 Float RC2.
The all-new Fox 36 Float RC2.

The new 36 lineup doesn’t feature any dramatic changes from its predecessor, however smaller adjustments should only improve on the excellent performance of the range.

We reviewed the last version of the Float 36 RC2, and you can read our in depth thoughts here.

Now, let’s see what’s changed and some new offerings of this iconic product!


MORE THAN AN ENDURO RACE FORK:

FOX-MY18-FS-36-black-side

We took the award-winning 36, integrated our EVOL technology, updated the air spring curves and damper tune to improve performance across the board. Between wheel size, damper, and axle options, the 36 offers a wide range of options to fit your all-mountain and enduro needs.

• New FLOAT EVOL air spring
• FIT HSC/LSC, FIT4 and FIT GRIP three position damper options
• 15QRx110 mm, 15QRx100 mm, or 15/20 mm convertible thru-axle • Travel options:

27.5” – 150, 160, 170 mm
29” – 150, 160 mm
26” – 100 mm (831), 160, 180 mm

• 1.5” tapered or 1-1/8” (26” only) steerer tube
• E-Bike-specific chassis available
• Factory Series models feature Genuine Kashima Coat
• Performance Elite models feature black ano upper tubes • Matte Black

New Fox forks will include an air pressure chart on the back of the left side fork leg- hooray!
New Fox forks will include an air pressure chart on the back of the left side fork leg- hooray!

Small Tweaks Make Big Changes on the Trail:

A more linear air spring curve gives EVOL forks plushness off the top, extra mid-stroke support, and more tunable bottom-out progression.

  • •  EVOL is Extra Volume in the negative air spring
  • •  Creates a more linear spring curve through first 25%of travel
  • •  Increases small bump sensitivity
  • •  Greater mid-stroke support
  • •  More tunable bottom-out progression
  • •  Used in MY2018 32, 34, 36, and 40 forks
EVOL internals
The EVOL system will be used in all 2018 Fox forks.

FLOAT EVOL: Self-equalizing positive/negative air spring system:

  • •  Utilizes our patented FLOAT shock transfer port technology, first introduced in our circa 1999 FLOAT shock
  • •  New EVOL air spring has fewer dynamic seals
  • •  Less feedback through handlebar
  • •  Highly tunable with air volume spacers – Adjust the amount of mid stroke and bottom out resistance

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 12.41.49 pm


FIT HSC/LSC:

Using our proven Championship- and award- winning FIT sealed cartridge design, HSC/LSC is our most advanced damper.

  • •  High- and low-speed compression adjust
  • •  Rebound adjust
  • •  Low friction seal head design
  • •  Dual circuit rebound allows more controlled return from hard hits and quicker recovery from successive impacts
  • •  New damper oil with lubricating PTFE for improved compression and rebound flow

FOX-MY18-FS-36-black-d5


FIT4:

Our patented FIT4 (FOX Isolated Technology) closed cartridge system provides three on-the-fly compression damping positions—Open, Medium, and Firm—to adapt to varying trail conditions.

  • •  Three on-the-fly compression damping positions
  • •  22 clicks of additional low-speed compression adjust in the Open mode
  • •  Low friction seal head design
  • •  Dual circuit rebound allows more controlled return from hard hits and quicker recovery from successive impacts
  • •  Updated tune
  • •  New damper oil with lubricating PTFE for improved compression and rebound flow
FIT 4
The FIT4 cartridge features 22 clicks of low speed compression.

GRIP:

Inspired by moto fork damping systems, FOX’s award- winning GRIP damper uses our FIT sealed cartridge technology combined with a coil-sprung, internal floating piston. The system allows excess oil to purge through a specially designed port at the top of the damper to maintain consistent damping and increase durability. Performance Series forks provide Open, Medium, and Firm modes with additional micro-adjust between settings.

  • •  FIT-based sealed cartridge damper with self- bleeding moto design
  • •  Patent pending compression valve design gives wide range damping adjustment
  • •  Blended LSC/HSCLockout
  • •  Increased adjustment for this level of product
  • •  Remote option available
  • •  OE only
FIT Grip
Expect to see 36’s equipped with the GRIP cartridge on lots of bikes this year.

So that’s what Fox have to say about their new 36 range, but the true test will be out on the trail, so keep your eyes peeled for our first thoughts when we get our hands on a set!

Happy New (Bike) Year: Here’s Our 2015 Top Five

With Eurobike done and dusted, just about every bike brand has now shown us their wares for the new season. But before we begin afresh, riding whatever wheel size it is this year, we thought we’d take a look at our personal five top mountain bike ‘things’ of the past 12 months. These are just our personal picks – what would you put on your list?


Shimano XT 11-speed:

XT-11-speed-6

It took a long time for Shimano to come up with an 11-speed mountain bike grouppo that was a viable contender for SRAM’s plethora of 1×11 drivetrains; SRAM had already released XX1, X01 and X1 before Shimano showed us their XTR 11-speed groupset. But not only was XTR mega bucks, it also topped out at with a 40-tooth cassette, which wasn’t low enough for many people to consider going 1×11.

And then, finally, came the XT version. Not only was it a shitload more affordable, but it also comes with a 11-42 cassette, which is a nice low granny gear. The use of a standard freehub body means it’s an easier upgrade to 11-speed too. Plus it works flawlessly too.

Read our full XT review here. 


 

Tasmania:

Ok, so Tassie has been around a lot longer than the last 12 months. But it’s only in recent times, thanks to the development of new trail centres, that we’ve been happy to call it Australia’s leading mountain bike state.

Tasmania-Flow-Nation-68
Riding the Juggernaut at Hollybank.

In particular, the amazing Blue Derby and Hollybank MTB parks, both not far from Launceston, really put Tassie at the forefront of Australian mountain biking. We were lucky enough to spend some time at both of these trail centres last year, and they blew us away. Since our visit, Blue Derby has undergone a whole stack of new trail building too, and we’re itching to get back.

Flow-Nation-Blue-Derby-19
The Blue Derby trails are stunning.

But there’s far more to Tassie’s mountain bike scene than just these centres – Hobart has killer riding too, the west coast has some of the best adventure/back country trails going, and there’s a healthy race scene too (take the Hellfire Cup or Wildside for example).

It’s a little nugget of mountain bike awesomeness. Read more about Hollybank, Blue Derby and Hobart.


 

Crankworx Rotorua:

Crankworx’s first foray to the southern hemisphere was a huge success, in every regard, and Rotorua further cemented its status as one of the coolest mountain bike towns on the planet.

Crankworx-Slopestyle-52
Slopestyle at Crankworx Rotorua.

The courses were great, the town was totally buzzing, the locals got right behind it all and it all went smoothly! It was great to see how many Aussies made the trip over too, filling the forest trails in between the events and getting into it.

We’re bummed to hear that the Enduro World Series won’t be combined with Crankworx Rotorua next year, but apparently there will still be an enduro, just not an official part of the EWS. Given how much the riders seemed to froth on Rotorua, we’d imagine a healthy contingent of the world’d best riders will still be on hand.

The Enduro World Series down under.
The Enduro World Series down under.
Crankworx-Day-1.1-17
The local crowds came out in force for Crankworx Rotorua.

Regardless, we’ll be back next year, and if you’ve been thinking about a riding holiday to Rotorua, we think it’s the perfect time to do it.


 

FOX 34 and 36 forks and DPS EVOL shock:

FOX got their arses handed to them when RockShox released the Pike, but they’ve responded with a furious bout of development and the new 36 and 34 forks are the result. Put simply, the Factory versions of these two forks are mind-blowingly good.

Fox-36-First-Bite-8

The 36 is lighter than many of the old 32 forks we used to ride, but has proper downhill race-worthy performance, and the 34 is so sublimely smooth it seems to be predicting the terrain.

FOX-2016-14

While FOX have traditionally had the edge when it comes to rear shocks, they’ve been losing ground to RockShox in this arena, but the DPS EVOL shock should stem the bleeding. The new air can shape seems like such a simple change, but the improvement in small bump response in particular is so dramatic it’ll make your old shock feel like it’s filled with Selleys Space Invader.

Read our full review of the FOX 36 here, and our review of the 34 and DPS shock here.


 

Yeti SB5c:

For us, this was the standout bike of 2015 in a field of incredible contenders. We admit to having a soft spot for Yetis, but when you look raw performance alone (and ignore the stunning looks and fantastic heritage) this bike is a winner.

Yeti-SB5-C-16

Yes, it costs a million bucks and can’t fit a water bottle, but as a tool for slicing and dicing the trail, they don’t get any better. Just enough travel, delivered via a suspension system that is both efficient and plush, perfectly poised geometry, low weight, great versatility – this is a bike you can race at an EWS round one day then cross country on the next. In short, it embodies the kind of do-it-all performance that the best trail bikes shoot for.

Read our full Yeti SB5c review here. 


Also on the shortlist:

RedBull’s race coverage: It just keeps getting better and better. We’ve been glued to the computer too many Saturday and Sunday evenings to count this year!

Aussie young gun downhillers kicking arse: We get the feeling we’re about to see a return to that age of Aussie domination in downhill, with Andrew Crimmins, Connor Fearon and Dean Lucas all set to follow in the footsteps of Brosnan and Hill.

Cairns: Rad trails, crazy jungles and even crazier locals. The scene in Cairns just keeps on growing as it undergoes a huge revival. Bring on the 2016 World Cup!

Ibis 741 rims: These 35mm wide rims have been a revelation, transforming out trail bikes into grip seeking missiles!

 

 

Happy New (Bike) Year: Here's Our 2015 Top Five

Happy New Year! The bike industry has done the countdown, popped the cork and, with Rod Stewart’s rendition of Auld Lang Syne on the hi-fi, said goodbye to 2015.

With Eurobike done and dusted, just about every bike brand has now shown us their wares for the new season. But before we begin afresh, riding whatever wheel size it is this year, we thought we’d take a look at our personal five top mountain bike ‘things’ of the past 12 months. These are just our personal picks – what would you put on your list?


Shimano XT 11-speed:

XT-11-speed-6

It took a long time for Shimano to come up with an 11-speed mountain bike grouppo that was a viable contender for SRAM’s plethora of 1×11 drivetrains; SRAM had already released XX1, X01 and X1 before Shimano showed us their XTR 11-speed groupset. But not only was XTR mega bucks, it also topped out at with a 40-tooth cassette, which wasn’t low enough for many people to consider going 1×11.

And then, finally, came the XT version. Not only was it a shitload more affordable, but it also comes with a 11-42 cassette, which is a nice low granny gear. The use of a standard freehub body means it’s an easier upgrade to 11-speed too. Plus it works flawlessly too.

Read our full XT review here. 


 

Tasmania:

Ok, so Tassie has been around a lot longer than the last 12 months. But it’s only in recent times, thanks to the development of new trail centres, that we’ve been happy to call it Australia’s leading mountain bike state.

Tasmania-Flow-Nation-68
Riding the Juggernaut at Hollybank.

In particular, the amazing Blue Derby and Hollybank MTB parks, both not far from Launceston, really put Tassie at the forefront of Australian mountain biking. We were lucky enough to spend some time at both of these trail centres last year, and they blew us away. Since our visit, Blue Derby has undergone a whole stack of new trail building too, and we’re itching to get back.

Flow-Nation-Blue-Derby-19
The Blue Derby trails are stunning.

But there’s far more to Tassie’s mountain bike scene than just these centres – Hobart has killer riding too, the west coast has some of the best adventure/back country trails going, and there’s a healthy race scene too (take the Hellfire Cup or Wildside for example).

It’s a little nugget of mountain bike awesomeness. Read more about Hollybank, Blue Derby and Hobart.


 

Crankworx Rotorua:

Crankworx’s first foray to the southern hemisphere was a huge success, in every regard, and Rotorua further cemented its status as one of the coolest mountain bike towns on the planet.

Crankworx-Slopestyle-52
Slopestyle at Crankworx Rotorua.

The courses were great, the town was totally buzzing, the locals got right behind it all and it all went smoothly! It was great to see how many Aussies made the trip over too, filling the forest trails in between the events and getting into it.

We’re bummed to hear that the Enduro World Series won’t be combined with Crankworx Rotorua next year, but apparently there will still be an enduro, just not an official part of the EWS. Given how much the riders seemed to froth on Rotorua, we’d imagine a healthy contingent of the world’d best riders will still be on hand.

The Enduro World Series down under.
The Enduro World Series down under.
Crankworx-Day-1.1-17
The local crowds came out in force for Crankworx Rotorua.

Regardless, we’ll be back next year, and if you’ve been thinking about a riding holiday to Rotorua, we think it’s the perfect time to do it.


 

FOX 34 and 36 forks and DPS EVOL shock:

FOX got their arses handed to them when RockShox released the Pike, but they’ve responded with a furious bout of development and the new 36 and 34 forks are the result. Put simply, the Factory versions of these two forks are mind-blowingly good.

Fox-36-First-Bite-8

The 36 is lighter than many of the old 32 forks we used to ride, but has proper downhill race-worthy performance, and the 34 is so sublimely smooth it seems to be predicting the terrain.

FOX-2016-14

While FOX have traditionally had the edge when it comes to rear shocks, they’ve been losing ground to RockShox in this arena, but the DPS EVOL shock should stem the bleeding. The new air can shape seems like such a simple change, but the improvement in small bump response in particular is so dramatic it’ll make your old shock feel like it’s filled with Selleys Space Invader.

Read our full review of the FOX 36 here, and our review of the 34 and DPS shock here.


 

Yeti SB5c:

For us, this was the standout bike of 2015 in a field of incredible contenders. We admit to having a soft spot for Yetis, but when you look raw performance alone (and ignore the stunning looks and fantastic heritage) this bike is a winner.

Yeti-SB5-C-16

Yes, it costs a million bucks and can’t fit a water bottle, but as a tool for slicing and dicing the trail, they don’t get any better. Just enough travel, delivered via a suspension system that is both efficient and plush, perfectly poised geometry, low weight, great versatility – this is a bike you can race at an EWS round one day then cross country on the next. In short, it embodies the kind of do-it-all performance that the best trail bikes shoot for.

Read our full Yeti SB5c review here. 


Also on the shortlist:

RedBull’s race coverage: It just keeps getting better and better. We’ve been glued to the computer too many Saturday and Sunday evenings to count this year!

Aussie young gun downhillers kicking arse: We get the feeling we’re about to see a return to that age of Aussie domination in downhill, with Andrew Crimmins, Connor Fearon and Dean Lucas all set to follow in the footsteps of Brosnan and Hill.

Cairns: Rad trails, crazy jungles and even crazier locals. The scene in Cairns just keeps on growing as it undergoes a huge revival. Bring on the 2016 World Cup!

Ibis 741 rims: These 35mm wide rims have been a revelation, transforming out trail bikes into grip seeking missiles!

 

 

Fresh Product: Upcoming New Helmet Range From Giant

Giant are one of a growing list of bike manufacturers to throw themselves wholeheartedly into the soft-goods and apparel market, along with other players such as Specialized, Trek (with their Bontrager kit) and Scott.

Should match your Reign nicely!
Should match your Reign nicely!
Time to get all matchy-matchy!
Time to get all matchy-matchy!

They’ve just released all the details of their new Rail and Infinita helmets (men’s and women’s respectively), which are extended coverage style helmets, aimed at the trail and enduro market. Packing more rear protection than a standard cross-country lid, they’re also mighty #enduro with plenty of room for a goggle strap, a moveable visor and swathes of flat surfaces to stick your camera mount.

Unfortunately it’s still a few months before we’re likely to see these helmets in Australia – expect to find them here about the same time as the new season bikes, in August/September.

 2015_Giant_Rail_Black-White

• Trail-specific design with extended rear coverage.

• AirFlow ventilation combines 18 straight side vents to guide airflow through deep internal channels to keep riders cool at variable speeds.

• Removable, moto-style extended protection visor mounts cleanly to the sides and is infinitely adjustable on the move.

• Integrated goggle strap clip keeps the strap in position and prevents goggle from falling off in a fall.

• Integrated camera mounting surface, GoPro mount compatible.

• Low-speed and high-speed impact-tuned construction with Direct Support vents, optimized low-density EPS, and ultra-thin toughened polycarbonate shells all in-mold bonded together.

• Element Strap System (ESS) brings together Cinch Pro™, Optimal Position Y, and LiteForm™ webbing into one fit and retention system for superior fit and comfort right out of the box.

• Cinch Pro™ fit system offers optimal coverage by cradling the occipital bone for full protection, support and comfort. • Lightweight LiteForm™ webbing wraps around the head better for a more secure fit.

• TransTextura Plus™ anti-microbial padding helps fight bacteria growth by pulling sweat from a rider’s head and transferring it through the AirFlow vents. The natural property of the fabric inhibits microbes that cause odors.

• Sizes: Western: S (51-55cm), M (55-59cm), L (59-63cm) Asian: S (52-56cm), M (56-60cm), L (60-64cm)

• Weight: 275g (size M, CPSC, w/visor)

• Colors: Black/Blue, White/Blue, Orange/Yellow, Black/White, Cyan/Blue

• Certifications: CPSC, CE, AS/NZS

The women's version is called the LIV Infinita. All the same features, just more purple.
The women’s version is called the LIV Infinita. All the same features, just more purple.

 

RockShox 2016. New Graphics, Boost and 27.5+ Standard Compatibilty

RockShox release new coloured shocks and forks from their 2016 lineup, and add Boost compatible forks. FOX Suspension released news of their support behind the Boost and 27.5+ recently too, it’s happening!


 

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.22.06 pm

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.57.48 pmScreen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.56.36 pm
MY14_RS_VIVID_AIR_R2C

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.30.39 pmWHY BOOST?

• Many still view the 29-inch wheel as the weak link in aggressive trail and enduro riding.

• Boost uses a wider spacing for the hub’s flanges (5mm per side on front hub, 3mm per side on rear hub).

• The wider flange spacing allows a stronger spoke-bracing angle resulting in a stiffer wheel.

• A 29-inch Boost rear wheel is as stiff as a 27.5-inch rear wheel on an existing 142-mm hub with the same rim and spoke.

SRAM Backs New Boost 148 Standards

It looks like 2016 will be a year filled yet again with news of bike and component manufactures keeping up with new standards. SRAM have announced complete support of the Boost system. We feel that the dust has just settled with the wheel size debates. So what is Boost all about?

With the arrival of Boost spec components, we will now see wider spaced hubs on bikes to increase stiffness in the wheels. Trek initiated the whole movement this year with their Remedy 29er, using a 148mm wide rear hub on the bike (current standard is 142mm wide). Wider flanges on hubs will give the spokes a stronger stance, hence a stiffer wheel.

It’s said that a 29″ wheel with Boost 148 is just as stiff as a 27.5″ wheel.

To accommodate for a wider rear hub, the chain line is shifted outwards 3mm via a new chainring.

And up front a new hub spacing rounds out the Boost system. 10mm wider, using a new fork and hub to achieve a stiffer wheel.

Our thoughts? If this is in all aid of a stiffer 29er wheel, and the ability to run wider tyres, could this have been achieved any other way? Let’s see how it all pans out, if SRAM are backing the new standard that Trek seem to have let the licence available to all, maybe the improvements will be worth the hassle and confusion that comes along with the addition of a new standard.

Read on to hear SRAM’s take.


For a long time now, SRAM had been looking for a way to open up more room around the crankset for frame designers to further optimise their bikes.

SRAM 1x™ was the first step in this direction by eliminating the need for a front derailleur. However, SRAM also had hopes to move the chain line outboard as well. It wasn’t until an OE came to us with a similar goal that we were able to realise this hope.

SRAM_MTB_X0_Hub_Rear_Red_print copy
Boost 148 means wider spaced hubs and chainrings.
Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 3.17.50 pm
Boost spec means the chain line shifts out 3mm.

Boost 148 compatible cranks provide increased clearance, which allows more options for tire choice and rear-end designs.

SRAM_MTB_XX1_Crankset_DM_ChainRing_Side_Red_MH
Cranks remain primarily the same, it’s the chainring that is moved 3mm out to give the chain a straighter path to the cassette which will sit further outboard.

Boost is a new wheel and drivetrain specification that provides:

  • Increased wheel stiffness and durability
  • Better riding efficiency and bike handling precision
  • Improved frame geometry with shorter chain stays
  • Wider and stiffer suspension pivots
  • Wider range of chainring options
  • More clearance for bigger tires

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 2.47.00 pm

The Boost system uses a front hub that is 10mm wider than a 100mm design

Each flange is 5mm farther from centre. The greater flange offset allows a stronger spoke-bracing angle resulting in a stiffer wheel.

Given the same rim and spoke spec, a 29” wheel built with a 15×110 Boost hub becomes as stiff as a 26″ wheel built with a standard 15×100 hub.

ROCKSHOX WILL OFFER BOOST 110 COMPATIBLE MODELS OF ITS MOST POPULAR FORKS:

• Available option for MY16 SID, REBA, PIKE

• All 29″ forks with Boost 110 compatibility also fit 27.5″ plus (27.5″ x 3.0 +tires)Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 2.46.48 pm

REAR WHEELS

Much more than a new, wider axle standard, the Boost system uses a rear hub that is 6mm wider than a 142mm design—each flange is 3mm farther from centre.

The greater flange offset allows a stronger spoke bracing angle resulting in a stiffer wheel. Given the same rim and spoke spec, a 29″ Boost wheel will have the same stiffness as a 27.5″ wheel built on a 142mm hub.

Boost technology is available in ROAM 40 wheels

as well as X0 and MTH 700 Series hubs

AVAILABLE BOOST WHEELS

• ROAM 40 (27.5″, 29″)

AVAILABLE BOOST HUBS

• X0

• MTH 746/716

Flow’s Freshies: Products we’re using, testing or loving

Flows Freshies 3

Bontrager TLR FLASH Charger pump

www.bontrager.com

$189

Getting a tubeless tyre to bead is all about filling it with a lot of air, quickly. Sometimes an ordinary track pump is up to the job, but often it’s not, meaning you’ll need to find a compressor to get your tyre to bead. Bontrager have come up with a killer solution with the new FLASHCharger pump. It’s a pretty simple concept (and truth be told, we’ve actually had a crack at making something very similar ourselves in the past!). You pump air into a large volume, high-pressure air chamber using a regular track pump arrangement. Then simply lift the red lever and all that stored pressure is released in one big hit, snapping the bead of your tubeless tyre into place! Bloody. Good. Idea. You can then top up the air using the pump as a regular track pump. It’s a lot bigger and heavier than a standard track pump, but heaps more convenient than a compressor or sweating like a mad bastard with a standard track pump. Product of the year?

Flows Freshies 5

Flows Freshies 2

 

Flows Freshies 2 (1)

 

Northwave Scorpius SRS shoes

www.northwave.com

$149.95

Brighter than Steven Hawkins love child, the very orange Northwave Scorpius SRS have the kind of looks normally reserved for mega-dollar shoes but at a sensible price point of just $149.95. They’re supremely well ventilated throughout, and with a thermoplastic sole, our initial impressions are that they’re super stiff. Closeur is via twin Velcro straps and a ratcheting buckle. The slim buckles are replaceable should you tear one off. There’s precious little stitching to be found on the shoe, with all the seams thermo-welded as well, which is always a plus for durability.

Flows Freshies 3 (1)

Flows Freshies 6 (1) Flows Freshies 5 (1)

Crank Brothers Mallet 2 pedals

www.crankbrothers.com

$109.95

The Mallet pedal is what happens when you take Crank Brothers’ legendary Egg Beater pedal and downhill-ify it. It features the same four-sided, simple, mud-shedding jaws as the Egg Beater, but encapsulates them in an aluminium and polycarbonate body. There are four models in the Mallet line up, and coming in at a very reasonable $109, the Mallet 2 runs a chromoly axle and weighs in at 440g/pair. The brass cleats give you a smooth entry/exit even in crappy conditions, and six grub screws per side add some traction should you miss an entry. We’ll be giving these a proper test over the next few months.

 

Fresh Product: SRAM Guide RSC brakes

Cutting to the chase, SRAM/Avid’s run with the Elixir series of brakes over the past few years has been up and down. We’ve ridden plenty of good sets, but reliability has not been a strong point and consequently we saw a lot of brands move away from SRAM OEM spec (take Specialized for instance). But now SRAM are looking to put that all behind them, with the new Guide series of brakes.

Guide brakes-2

If you’re thinking that the Guide lever body has a similar profile to the old Juicy series of brakes, then you’d be partially right. SRAM have moved away from the notoriously air-sensitive Taperbore reservoir system to a far more conventional reservoir design, ala Shimano, which should cope with the odd air bubble without going into an inconsistent meltdown. Look beyond the reservoir configuration and you’ll find that the Guides are a world away from the Juicys of yesteryear.

Guide brakes-7
With a more convention timing-port / open reservoir design, the Guide’s are less susceptible to bleed issues.

There are three variants of the Guide brake; the RSC version we have here puts all of SRAM’s latest braking innovations on display. The R stands for reach, which is adjustable using the large forward-facing dial on the lever blade. No longer do you require dexterous child fingers to twiddle the reach, and the problems with the adjuster fouling on other bar mounted levers, which sometimes occurred with the Elixirs, are gone.

Guide brakes-8
Reach is adjustable via the dial on the lever blade, and contact point via the dial on the lever body itself.

The C stands for contact point. Spinning the round dial on the lever body gives you control over the amount of lever free stroke before pad engagement. Again, it’s far easier to use than the is-this-actually-doing-anything in-line system found on the Elixirs. 

Guide brakes-9
Here you can see the SwingLink mechanism. Of course, the Guides are all Match Maker compatible, so you can mount your brake and shifter off the one clamp.


Finally, the letter S stands for SwingLink. The lever blade does not directly drive the master cylinder on this model of the Guide brake – instead, the lever actuates a separate link that then pushes the piston. What this accomplishes is a variable rate of leverage (much like Shimano’s servo wave), moving the four brake caliper pistons quickly at the start of the stroke, then more gradually deeper in the lever throw. The idea is speedy engagement, with better modulation of the power once the pads are on the rotor. Speaking of the rotor, SRAM have brought in a new disc pattern called Centreline, which aims to remove the warbling magpie sound effects that accompanied braking with the Elixirs.

 

Guide brakes-4
The caliper is unchanged from the Elixir Trail series.

On the caliper end of the line, you’ll find the exact same four-piston as graced the Elixir Trail series brakes. This end of the system never had an issue, so it has been continued on. The other models of brake in the Guide series are the Guide RS (no contact point adjustment) and the basic Guide R, which has a simpler lever construction without the SwingLink or bearings on lever blade pivot.

Guide brakes-16
Centre Line rotors are available in 140, 160, 180 and 200mm diameters.

We’ll be testing these in the coming months, so we’ll soon find out if the Guide can lead SRAM’s brakes to the top of the market. Pricing is $239/end, excluding rotors. 

 

Schwalbe launch Procore Dual Chamber Tyre System

Is this be the next evolution of tubeless? A system that allows more traction than ever before, but without the risk of burped air, snake bites or tubeless tyres rolling off the rim?  Or is this complication we don’t need, especially with the new generation of super wide rims?

Procore_A4

Schwalbe have finally given us a look inside the belly of their new ‘dual chamber’ tyre system, Procore. We’ve know about the existence of this system for some time, especially since riders on the World Cup circuit began riding around on bike with two vales on each rim, but the exact particulars haven’t been known until now.

The system is actually a collaboration between Schwalbe and Syntace; both companies had been working on the concept independently but have pooled their knowledge and resources to bring this project to fruition.

So what’s it all about? Procore is ultimately aimed at allowing riders to run lower pressures for a smoother and grippier ride, at the same time as nullifying the risks of either a puncture or rolling the tyre off the rim.

Procore_CloseUp_A4

The way it works is actually pretty simple. Procore is a high-pressure, secondary air chamber that is located inside a standard tubeless tyre. This chamber is run at between 55-85psi and serves a few purposes; it provides an extra layer of protection against punctures, it help protect the rims from damage normally associated with running lower pressures, and it helps lock the tyre to the rim protecting against any risk of rolling or burping the tyre. Furthermore, should you still somehow get a flat, Procore offer an emergency ‘backup’ keeping some pressure in the tyre.

In testing, Schwalbe claim that riders have been running pressures as low as 14psi without issue, and relishing in the extra grip and control this provides. That’s an impressively low figure, though not that much lower than some riders are currently achieving using a standard tubeless setup on a super wide rim.

DSC_5667

Schwalbe claim the system will only add 200g to a conventional tubeless setup, and that some of this weight will be offset by the ability to run lighter tyres than in the past. Until Eurobike, we won’t know further details about compatibility or pricing. We’re certainly intrigued – it’s a cool concept, but is it more complex than your average rider will accept? We can definitely see it appealing to racers, and perhaps that’s where this technology is primarily aimed. In that vein, Nico Lau, Sam Hill and Emmeline Ragot have all had success on the Procore system already, so it clearly works at the highest level of competition.

proCore_shooting_ews_tweedlove_16_hiRES

 

Avanti unleash the 2015 Torrent range

Avanti have just given us a look at their 2015 range, highlighted by a revised Torrent series, which we’re very excited about. We’ve ridden a number of evolutions of the Torrent in past years – including the 2014 Torrent 2 recently – and we’ve always found them to be remarkably smooth bike with well-sorted geometry and faultless construction.

The new CS 7.2 sits at the top of the Torrent line.
The new CS 7.2 sits at the top of the Torrent line. 27.5″ wheels, 150mm travel.

In 2015 Avanti have given the Torrent series a number of revisions. Firstly, travel has been boosted across the line-up, with 150mm front and rear now. With the travel increase also comes a slacker head angle (66.5 degrees) and a 5mm longer top tube. All these tweaks should make an already superb descender even better.

But even more interesting is the introduction of carbon to the Torrent range, with two carbon ‘CS’ models, plus a carbon frameset option. Unfortunately Avanti didn’t have a Torrent CS 7.1 on hand for us to check out, but we got a good grasp of what the range-topping Torrent CS 7.2 is all about, and also had a look at two ‘S’ series alloy-framed Torrents.

Below are some of our initial impressions and observations about the Torrent range. We hope to have one on test very soon!

  • Torrent S 7.1 $2799

  • Torrent S 7.2 3699

  • Torrent CS 7.1 $4499

  • Torrent CS 7.2 $5499

Avanti 2015-13
The alloy Torrent S 7.2, $3699.
The Torrent S 7.1, $2799.
The Torrent S 7.1, $2799.

For the two CS models, a carbon front end is paired to an aluminium rear, and the mainframe looks fantastic, very beefy through the down tube, with a PF30 bottom bracket shell and Syntace X12 rear axle. Frame stiffness was a highlight of the Avanti Ridgeline we tested recently, and the new carbon Torrent follows a very similar construction by the looks of it. We don’t have a figure for the frame weight, but the complete CS 7.2 weighs in at just over 13kg.

A stiff, welded link is a key element in the Torrent's robust construction.
A stiff, welded link is a key element in the Torrent’s robust construction.

Avanti have continued to utilise their Tru-4 suspenion system, which is a proper four-bar configuration, using a chain stay pivot very close to the drop out. This should ensure very little pedal feedback and a very active suspension feel.

The new Marzocchi 350 CR is a 'bloody good fork' according to Avanti's Brent Burrows. We've been hearing a lot of positive talk about the performance on new Marzocchi products.
The new Marzocchi 350 CR is a ‘bloody good fork’ according to Avanti’s Brent Burrows. We’ve been hearing a lot of positive talk about the performance on new Marzocchi products.

While both CS carbon models are equipped with FOX CTD Evolutions series shocks, the alloy framed S 7.1 and S 7.2 get a Rockshox Monarch RT rear shock. Interestingly, the Torrent frameset gets a shock upgrade, with a Kashima FOX Factory shock.

In terms of the forks, it’s a mixed bag: the CS 7.2 gets a 34mm FOX CTD Evolution series fork, while the CS 7.1 gets the same fork in a slimmer 32mm format. Brent Burrows, Avanti’s mountain bike product manager, explained that he felt there is a market of riders who want longer travel but don’t need or want the extra beef of a 34 fork.

On the alloy Torrents, Marzocchi and X-Fusion are represented. These aren’t forks we see all that often, but they look great, the Marzocchi 350CR in particular. The X-Fusion Sweep fork on the Torrent S 7.1 is also highly acclaimed, and we’re looking forward to actually giving one of these a ride!

Avanti 2015-33

Dropper post routing can be run internally ‘stealth’ style (perfect for X-Fusion Hi-Lo post on the Torrent CS 7.2) or through the top tube, popping out just before the seat tube junction for posts that have external actuation.  Only S 7.1 misses out on a dropper.

On the carbon CS models, any unused cable ports (for instance, if you decide to run a single chain ring) can be fitted with the supplied ‘blanks’ to keep the frame neat and smooth.

Neat 'blanks' fill any unused cable ports.
Neat ‘blanks’ fill any unused cable ports.

In keeping with the push towards wider rims, the Torrent range comes with fatter hoops, with wide-ish DT1700 wheels on the CS 7.2, DT1900s on the CS 7.1 and Mavic 421 hoops on the S 7.2

Kenda Honey Badger tyres feature across the whole range. These gummy treads are quite low-profile with a 2.2” width. The CS 7.2 scores the new Kenda SCT tubeless-ready rubber, for easy tubeless conversion.

The TRS+ crankset on the CS 7.2 has a removable spider, allowing easy fitting of e13's spline-mount 1x chain ring option.
The TRS+ crankset on the CS 7.2 has a removable spider, allowing easy fitting of e13’s spline-mount 1x chain ring option.
With the longer top tube and slacker angles, Avanti have been able to spec a short and more aggressive cockpit without fear of cramping the ride.
With the longer top tube and slacker angles, Avanti have been able to spec a short and more aggressive cockpit without fear of cramping the ride.

All the Torrents feature multiple chain rings, bucking the 1x trend. Brent Burrows explained that he feels 1x is too limiting for the average rider, with a 2x system suiting most. The cheaper S 7.1 actually gets a triple chain ring for maximum versatility. However, going to a 1x system on CS 7.2 is pretty easy, as the new e13 TRS+ cranks can easily be converted to run the new spline-mount e13 narrow/wide chain ring.

avanti 2015 2 -36

The Torrent CS framset is a hot looking piece of kit. Included in the package is a headset and the new X-Fusion HILO Strate dropper post with 125mm of adjustment.

Unfortunately a test ride of these bikes wasn’t on the cards today, but we’re hoping to secure a Torrent for a few weeks on our home turf soon. Stay tuned!

Fresh Product: Troy Lee Designs Ace Jersey and Shorts

Designed with the grittiest XC riders in mind, the Ace line is built for performance. The lightweight, moisture wicking material feels tailored to your body and features all the technical components you need to get to the top of the climb first. Whether you prefer grinding out long rides, sprinting events or cruising easy trails, the Ace line is the premium gear that works as hard as you do.

Troy Lee Designs Ace gear-1

Jersey:

  • Trail fit cycling jersey with 10″ front zipper.
  • Breathable, moisture wicking 50+ UPF material.
  • Lycra shoulder panel for increased comfort.
  • 3 rear open pockets and 1 zip stash pocket.
  • Reflective detailing on drop tail.
  • Screen printed front panel graphic.

Shorts:

  • 4 way stretch, highly durable 90% Polyester / 10% Spandex mix material.
  • Full waist and hip height adjustment with branded adjusters.
  • Permanent crotch ventilation via welded intake and exit vents.
  • Additional thigh and crotch ventilation zippers.
  • Removable inner short chamois with Lycra thigh panels.
  • High quality ribbed Spandex stretch panel.
  • Pedal friendly inner side pockets.
  • Padded rear zip media pocket.
  • Reflective logo detail.
  • YKK brand zippers.

Fresh Product: Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3

Small package, big punch.

In 2014 the new Monarch Plus has even more to offer. Providing traction-gaining suppleness, giving you more control over any type of terrain – all in a lightweight bombproof package.  Proven Rapid Recovery, and Solo Air technologies come standard for this lightweight big hitter. Now with twice the rebound range, the new Monarch Plus allows you to take your riding to levels you never thought possible with a short and mid travel air shock.

TRUVATIV BlackBox Athlete Series

It started nearly two decades ago with the original RockShox BoXXer and our desire to provide completely personalized support to a special group of riders.

The goal was to give our team a clear performance advantage in World Cup competition, and to win races. In this relentless pursuit of the podium, no rider request was too crazy or too costly—the average yearly salary of a pro mountain biker wouldn’t have covered the manufacturing cost of those gen-1 BoXXers.

It paid off. We won races and wrote some of the most exciting stories in mountain-bike history. With our athletes’ successes—and failures—we learned what worked, and what didn’t. Some of those BlackBox technologies have made it to market.

As the sport evolved, the BlackBox program extended beyond RockShox. Across the SRAM brand family, if it could extend the boundaries of mountain biking, the BlackBox team was there to develop new products and technologies.

When our athletes asked for a different kind of handlebar, TRUVATIV answered with the BooBar, a bar designed to meet the demands of World Cup downhilling, as well as the discerning feel of our athletes. And now we’re proud to announce the TRUVATIV BlackBox Athlete Series, a collection of bars specifically engineered to match the demands of each signature athlete’s discipline and riding style—and to enhance each rider’s cockpit interface.

DANNY HART BLACKBOX BAR – THE RIGHT ANGLE.

Danny Hart. He rides fast and loose. He turns the impossible into the ride of a lifetime. Danny spends countless hours working with his trainers and coaches to get more traction, power, and speed — and how to build the bike that’ll get him there. In the past, Danny used a 5mm space under his direct mount stem combined with a 20mm rise Boobar to lift him to the exact height he wanted, but that setup wasn’t seamless.

Designed by Danny himself, the new TRUVATIV Danny Hart BlackBox bar delivers the 25mm rise that he  needs — with no spacers and less weight. We also  added two more degrees of back sweep for a total 9 degrees, which moves his weight back, putting more pressure on the rear wheel. That keeps him exactly where he wants to be — on the trail, smashing turns.

Danny Hart BlackBox bar.
  • 7050 Al Alloy
  • 780mm wide
  • 25mm rise
  • 5˚ up-sweep
  • 9˚ back-sweep
  • 340g

 

JEROME CLEMENTZ BLACKBOX BAR – DEGREES OF PERFECTION.

Jerome Clementz. He’s an all-mountain legend whose name is synonymous with mountain bike enduro. Megavalanche, Mountain of Hell, Enduro des Nations — Jerome Clementz has won them all. Staying at the top means he needs to go even faster with as little effort as possible. Jerome asked us for wider, stiffer, lighter bar that gives him ultimate control without sacrificing the toughness he needs for powerful sprints and descents.

Working one-on-one with Jerome, we created the TRUVATIV Jerome Clementz carbon BlackBox bar — 750mm of carbon fiber perfection. With 5 degrees of up sweep and 7 degrees of back sweep, this signature bar keeps your bike light and strong so that you can rail every turn with precision.

Jerome Clementz carbon BlackBox bar.
  • Carbon Fiber
  • 750mm wide
  • 20mm rise
  • 5˚ up-sweep
  • 7˚ back-sweep
  • 240g

 

STEVIE SMITH BLACKBOX BAR – RAISING THE BAR.

Stevie Smith. He rides the gnarliest terrain extremely fast. He’s a brute, strong, powerful and pointed straight down the mountain. Stevie lives in a place where the trees can swallow you whole so his style requires a heads-up approach.

We teamed up with Stevie to create a bar that is high and out in front, giving him ultimate control. His signature 780mm downhill bar features a 30mm rise, keeping his hands forward, his head up, and his eyes focused. It’s the strength, stiffness, and quality you’ve come to expect from TRUVATIV —  but with some Stevie Smith baked in.

Steve Smith BlackBox bar.
  • 7050 Al Alloy
  • 780mm wide
  • 30mm rise
  • 5˚ up-sweep
  • 7˚ back-sweep
  • 340g