Archive for July, 2007

Fan Pic!

July 31, 2007

Moments before my first ride aboard my Paraon at the 12 hours of Temecula

Serotta TiMax 29er

July 31, 2007

unleash the demons

27Five: A Wheel Size Repackaged

July 29, 2007

There is a new move afoot to bring you another choice in wheel size for your next mountain bike, or “frankenbike” project. It’s being dubbed “27five” by it’s main promoter and it has been promised to be ready to play when dealers come to ride bikes at this years Outdoor Demo at Interbike. What exactly is it and why should readers of Twenty Nine Inches care? Well, it may seem odd to you that a site dedicated to a wheel size would cover anything else, but in reality there are several paralels to 29″ers being drawn here and we are always suckers for anything outside the standard 26 inch wheel format. (Check out our previous stories on 36″ers for instance)

So just what is a 27five, you ask? Well, the first thing to know is that it’s nothing new. Well, that is to say that the wheel size is not new. In fact, it’s been in use for over sixty years, most notably by cyclo-tourists. It’s normally known as “650B”, and specifically as a 584 ISO bead diameter. This wheel standard hasn’t been much more than a curiousity in the annals of cycling for most of us, but it is worth noting that even some very early modern era mountain bikes used this wheel size. Mountain biking is no stranger to this wheel format!

The part that is “new” is that the tires, forks, and rims that would make this wheel format a viable choice for mountain biking today are already, or will soon be reality. If this is the case, then the question becomes, “Why should we care?” Let’s take a look at what the wheel/tire combination might have to offer.

It’s promise lies in the fact that a “27five” (the moniker refers to the outer wheel dimension of a 650B rim and 2.3″ tire combination) is right smack dab inbetween a 26 inch and 29 inch wheel in diameter. The thinking runs like this, some big wheeled benefits will be had while not gaining as much weight, losing as much wheel strength, compromising “tried and true” 26 inch geometry, and making longer travel big wheeled bikes more viable than it would be by going to 29 inch wheels.

Detractors claim that we already have 26 inch rims and tires that nearly come out to be 27.5″ in diameter already. We don’t need a 650B long travel bike, since the 26 inch ones are so good and are lighter weight with quicker acceleration than a 27five would be in that format. Some say the fact that the wheel size is so close to 26″ers that a difference will be hard to discern anyway.

Regardless of whether or not 27five will make sense for anybody, the format is coming. Tires made by Panaracer that are serious, White Brothers forks, and Velocity Blunt rims are all high quality, high performance off road components. Many smaller manufacturers and custom builders are taking notice, and are somewhat excited about the prospects of designing around this wheel package. Some are even making frames compatible with 27five already, and are simply awaiting parts to put on the frames.

Time will tell if this will take root, or enjoy a few fleeting moments in the sun, only to be whisked away and become the shadowy myth of a wheel size that it has been for over half a century. Whatever happens, Twenty Nine Inches will follow the developements and be there to test it all out to see if there is anything to this.

2008 Gary Fisher Superfly, first look

July 26, 2007

Below you’ll find the most info available and first real pictures of the 2008 Gary Fisher Superfly.

The bike is aimed at serious cross country racers that like their frames light and extremely stiff and is the lightest frame that Gary Fisher has ever produced (in both 26 inch and 29 inch platforms).

The frame is Co-Molded Monocoque Carbon and weighs in at just 1250 grams. That’s 2.75 pounds.

The bike pictured below is the RockShox Reba made custom for the G2 geometry with a 51mm offset and 100mm of travel, however the Superfly will be sold with the G2 Fox F80 RLC.

The pictures below were taken when Nat Ross showed up with his mechanic, Myron Billy, to pick up the Superfly and get it dialed in for racing the upcoming 24 Hour Nationals. So everything you see in the picture is not necessarily what you’ll see on the stock version, notably the paint job. The paint shown below matches the Fisher team colors. The stock will be more of a nude carbon fiber color.

The stock bike will be sold with the below specs:

  • Fork – Fox F 80 RLC 29 w/air pressure, rebound, compression, lockout, alloy steerer, 80mm travel, G2 offset
  • Wheels – Bontrager Race X Lite 29
  • Tires – Bontrager Jones ACX, 29×2.2″, folding, Tubeless Ready
  • Drivetrain – SRAM X.0
  • Crankset – Bontrager Race X Lite 44/32/22, carbon
  • Saddle – Bontrager Race Lite
  • Seatpost – Bontrager Race X Lite ACC carbon
  • Stem – Bontrager Race X Lite, 31.8mm, 7 degree
  • Handlebars – Bontrager Race Lite Big Sweep, 31.8mm, 12 degree
  • Headset – Cane Creek ZS-6 w/cartridge bearings, sealed
  • Brakes – Avid Juicy Ultimate, hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors

I couldn’t get an MSRP for the bike yet.

There’s more info below captioned with some of the pictures so read it all to get all the info. Pay special attention to the last picture…

And as always, click to see the pictures bigger.

Nat’s bikes are getting prep’d by Trek’s Vance McCaw and Nat’s mechanic. His two race bikes are currently the new HiFi Pro 29er and the Superfly.
2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

Brace between the stays on the non-driveside to resist any braking twisting forces.
2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er
 
Notice the shaped downtube… the underside of the downtube is flattened to improve stiffness and performance.
2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

Notice the front end… the front junction is built up for increased front end stiffness. In addition, this area is proportionate to the frame size. The XL frame has a larger proportionate area than a SM frame because the larger XL rider needs that extra material and on the flipside, the smaller rider doesn’t need that extra material and weight. End result is that the ride quality among frame sizes remains the same.
2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er
The seatmast cluster is a highly shaped affair that ties in the top tube to the seatstays to increase overall stiffness. And check out that rear wheel clearance on the Bontrager Dry X Tubeless Ready tires.
2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

Wide 73mm bottom bracket with a wide downtube feeding into it. Again, very heavily shaped for maximum stiffness.
2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er
 
Asymmetric chainstays. Tall driveside chainstay. Wide non-driveside chainstay balances the drivetrain forces. Also worth noting: there is loads of clearance between the stays. 10mm on each side w/ a 2.5� tire.
2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

The next few pics are of Nat Ross dialing his bike into the Wobble Naught system that he uses.
2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

Here’s the picture I wanted to point out. That is Chris Eatough with Nat. He showed up to pick up his new racing bike… a geared Trek 69er.
2008 Gary Fisher Superfly 29er

Big Orange

July 26, 2007

This is my 1×7 XXIX in commuter mode- 11-30 cassette, sitting on 700×38 Specialized Nimbus tires. I commute 17 miles a day in the Sierra foothills and have No problems.

In Mountain mode I use a 13-34 cassette and IRD Fire XC Pro tires.

First Impression: RST M-29

July 24, 2007

Well, it’s been awhile since we announced that we recieved the M-29 fork from RST for review/test. Now that I have a few rides off road on it, I wanted to give you all a first impression on it.

First of all, it’s important to understand how to operate and adjust a fork these days. What with all the knobs, pressure settings, sag rates, and what not, some suspension forks and shocks require a full on “get aquainted” session or two out on the trails before you can really put the wood to it. Well, happily, the RST M-29 isn’t one of those forks.

The RST has an air spring. You find the chart in the supplied manual, convert your body weight to kilograms, and check what pressures are recommended for you to start at. With your supplied RST “Bag Pipe” shock pump, you adjust the pressure to the setting of choice, grab your bike and hit the trail. Simple? Well, almost that simple. It’s just a bit more involved than that, but not much more.

You also have the lock out feature which also doubles as a compression adjustment. The closer you move the lever to lockout, the stiffer the fork feels. It resists compression more and more as you turn the lever towards the lock symbol on the cap. Does it work? Well, it definitely locks out when it’s supposed to, and it does have blow off protection for spike hits while in lock out that works. The adjustment doesn’t feel all that linear……yet. It probably will get better once the fork is broken in, which RST claims will take 2o hours of use. For now, I’m a happy camper, because I hate brake dive, and I can effectively dial it out with the M-29.

There also is a rebound adjuster which seems to be having a positive affect on the fork as I adjust it. Once again, I’ll reserve final judgement until I feel the fork is broken in. But that’s it, really. There isn’t really anything else to mess with out of the box to get up and riding right away.

The fork tracks really well. One look at the beefy lowers and massive drop outs helps you understand why. Braking performance is quite good as well. Again, the post mounts and drop outs are helping here, but the fork seems pretty stiff fore and aft too, because I can’t discern any brake shudder. I’m running a 185mm front rotor too.

Action on the smaller bumps is not as buttery smooth as a Reba, but better than the Fox F-29 that I rode at the Ballyhoo. I suppose this might change with break in as well. Big hits are swallowed up with out any real problem. I hear a slight hiss on sharper hits, but that’s not uncommon. (The Fox F-29 did that even more than this M-29 does) I am running a lower pressure than I would with a Reba, but I am feeling the M-29 to be a slight bit stiffer. Again, time may mellow that out, but an even slightly lower air spring pressure is going to be tried just to verify my initial feelings on that.

All in all, the RST M-29 is making a really good initial impression from a suspension stand point, but there is more to it than that.

Remember this fork has a slightly longer offset than a Reba? (43mm vs. 38mm) Well, the Dos Niner I put the RST on was always a tiny bit on the stable side with the Reba. With the RST, I can tell it turns in just a touch quicker. It’s a very subtle change, but I am looking forwards to getting into more varied terrain and different trail situations to check this out further.

Finally, there are some details I am going to check on and when I get those sorted out, and have a few more rides under my belt, I’ll be back with another update.

GT Peace 9r Review: Final Update

July 24, 2007

If you recall during my last update on the 2007 GT Peace 9r, I stated that I thought the headset was somewhat noisy and squeaky. Well, as it turns out, I found out the reason for this not long after I wrote that. I was getting everything set up for a ride and noticed the handlebars felt very stiff when I tried to turn them, sometimes not moving at all. I took the top cap and stem off to get at the headset to see what was going on and bearings began to fall on the ground. Obviously the headset, a Cane Creek unit that was manufactured by TH Industries, was shot. I’m not sure if this is a common problem for this headset, however GT was very helpful in getting a new headset out to me right away and I was back riding quickly.

This headset problem was the second mechanical issue I ran into. If you remember from a previous update, the the Truvativ “Blaze” crank gave me some problems as well. Even with these issues I’d say you get a lot of bike for the $550 pricepoint, however these would be a pretty big dissapointment for most riders if the same things came up soon after a purchase.

As a recap, here’s a quick list of what I think is hot and not-to-hot about the Peace 9r.

    HOT

  • $549.00 price tag
  • WTB Dual Duty rims and GT hubs
  • Comfortable and responsive handling
  • Frame durability
    NOT SO HOT

  • Truvativ “Blazeâ€? crank
  • Cane Creek Headset
  • No disc brake mounts

There are of course plenty more positives about the bike with the WTB Laser V seat, Tektro brakes and levers. And besides the above mentioned problems, there haven’t been any other negatives. If you’re looking for a no-frills singlespeed 29er, take a look at the Peace 9r from GT in 2008. If they can fix the potential headset/crank problems and add some disc brake tabs, this could be a great budget bike.

Find out more here:

http://www.gtbicycles.com/mountain/catalog/detail.php?id=2763&country=usa&brand=moun

If you have any last questions please let me know!

Click here to read all the articles from this review…

Vanilla SS29er

July 19, 2007

Vanilla SS29er

July 19, 2007

Bontrager Rhythm 29"er Wheel Sets

July 19, 2007

Pictured above is the Rhythm Comp 29er wheel set

There has been a few wondering if there was a less expensive alternative for getting into a pre-built set of tubeless compatible wheels. Well, there is and they are called “Rhythm”. It’s Bontragers newest sets of wheels that support the Tubeless Ready system which works with any of Bontragers Tubeless Ready tires and Super Juice sealant.

pictured above is the Rhythm Elite wheel set

These wheels have some really cool features. First, they are Tubeless Ready and ship with the plastic rim strip needed to make them tubeless. They also sport 28mm wide rims which have some important details built in. Bontrager was one of the first rim brands to sport offset spoke hole drilling to reduce wheel “dish”. The Rhythm wheels also have this feature to increase strength. One of the more important, unseen details; however, is the symetrical inner rim wall. Bontrager engineers realized that if they could roll an extrusion that had a symetrical inner rim well, (no mean feat in itself), they could deliver a rim that supported the sidewalls of a tubeless tire in a better way. This feature and the 28mm width actually helps “open up” the tire so more tread comes into play on the trail surface. This gives you better traction and tubeless tires superior rolling resistance traits.

Another cool feature is in the front hub, which is available as a standard quick release or a 20mm through axle compatible set up. Twenty eight DT 14/15 guage spokes with alloy Pro Lock nipples round out the package on both wheels in both models. The main differences are in the hubs, which affects the overall weight of each model as well. The Elite’s hub is based on a DT Onyx type and the Comp is a dual sealed bearing front and rear set up. The weight of the Elite set is 1956 grams and has a MSRP of $539.99. The Comp wheels weigh in at 1976 grams and have a MSRP of $349.99

These are not just some run of the mill trail wheels as the high performance of this model range has not been lost on the likes of Gary Fisher /Subaru Team rider Nat Ross and Fisher 29″er Crew Team member “Desert Dan” Cain who are training and racing on the Rhythm wheels. And for what it’s worth, I got a chance to ride a set of Rhythm wheels at the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo and I have a great first impression of them. Check them out at your nearest Bontrager dealer and get a proper tubeless 29″er tire and wheel system for your big wheeled bike of choice. Bontrager Rhythm wheel sets are available now along with a couple models of Tubeless Ready tires. (These can also be run with tubed tires) Look for more Tubeless Ready tires to go along with the Rhythm wheels in the near future, as well.