Archive for August, 2007

Salsa Updates The El Mariachi, Intros The La Cruz

August 31, 2007

New El Mariachi

Salsa Cycles has updated it’s popular El Mariachi model for ’08 with a new frame design. Also, Salsa says that it’s 29″ers have been tweaked to streamline the 29″ers on offer by them. The only exception is the Dos Niner, which by nature of it’s design will retain it’s look and feel.

The El Mariachi sports updated graphics with styling cues derived from the Limited Edition El Mariachi from last model year. As always, the complete model will sport matching painted stem and a 1 X 9 drivetrain. It will still also be offered as a frame set.

La Cruz

New for ’08 is this disc specific cross bike dubbed the La Cruz. It is built with True Temper OX tubing and will also be available as a complete bike or just a frame and fork for those that desire to build it as they see fit. With the ability to fit up to 45mm tires with ease, this new La Cruz might even be seen as a good candidate for a “monster cross” rig or light duty mountain bike.

We’re also hearing that the La Cruz complete will eschew the black components so common these days and will come with a polished set of rims, seat post, and even polished Bell Lap drop bars!

More on Salsa’s upcoming ’08 line up in the coming weeks. Stay Tuned!

GT Debuts '08 Line Up For 29"ers

August 31, 2007

GT Bicycles, which had one lone 29″er in it’s line up for 2007, has expanded their offerings for ’08 to include a disc brake equipped Peace single speed, a geared version of the Peace, and this I-Drive 29″er full suspension bike. The bike is called the Marathon 9R and is part of it’s Marathon series of mountain bikes.

GT looks to be getting very serious about their mountain bike offerings again and these 29″ers are looking to be in that same vein. You can check out the specs on this new FS 29″er here.

Check for more ’08 updates soon.

Spotted! Schwalbe Racing Ralph In 29"

August 30, 2007

Schwalbe Tires 29er

This picture of a Niner with 2.3 inch 29″er Racing Ralphs has surfaced on the Internet recently. Schwalbe, which previously had only a couple narrowish tires for off roading in a size they called “28 inch”, (Typical German designation for wide 700c trekking tires) now appears to have seen the light as these are reportedly marked as “29 inch” tires.

Hopefully we will be gaining more information very soon as the Eurobike Show starts in earnest today. Look for any news concerning this tire or other tidbits to come here on Twenty Nine Inches

Fix That Flex Already!

August 30, 2007

Editors Note: This is a piece that also appeared on my blog: Guitar Ted Productions

Flex:It’s good in some places, other places- not so good.

Take front and rear triangles of a lot of 29″ers out there, particularly front triangles. They are too flexy. Too much twist, bend, and tweakage in all the wrong directions. Some frames have this dialed out, but they are the minority, and of those some are real tanks. A leight weight, non-flexy 29″er frameset is hard to come by.

Word is that the Fisher has really dialed in this area for ’08. If so, it would be one of the only line ups of 29″ers that was rigid torsionally top to bottom. I rode a Paragon ’08 model at the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo in June, and if that ride was any indication, I’d say this was truth.

What am I talking about here? Well, if you have a twenty nine incher handy, hop on, grab the grips, and alternately push and pull on the bars as if you were grunting up a climb. (Only you aren’t, you’re just straddling the bike) You’ll likely notice that the ends of the handle bar are going up and down and that your front end is flexing in a strange way. It’s those long top and down tubes that are to blame. More length due to the bigger wheels means more chance for twisty flex. The shorter head tubes don’t help much either. This all translates to some strange handling characteristics out on the trail. Stuff we don’t need.

Hopefully 29″er geometry and tubing technology will be getting more and more dialed in now with the popularity of the big wheels and this flexiness will become a thing of the past. Quite honestly, it’s one of the major things that keeps a lot of high performance racers and enthusiasts off big wheels. With the newer crop of Fishers and others that are following suit, like Salsa and Lenz Sport, this problem should start to fade away as people gravitate towards the more solid handling and feel of these bikes.

Fan Pic!

August 28, 2007

Before and after. Great Frame. Greater ROCK.

Hutchinson Python Tubeless Ready 29"er Tires: First Impressions

August 28, 2007

Captain Bob's Salsa

Editors Note: This is the companion review to the Mavic C29ssMax wheel set review that Captain Bob wrote. He has these tires mounted to that wheel set. I have inserted some pertinent measurements and comments where necessary.

Another First For Captain Bob!

You may remember that just over a couple of weeks ago GT let you see the new Hutchinson Python tubeless ready 29ers tires. Since then I was asked to give them a go around. I was excited and a bit reluctant at the same time. You see, I have never ridden tubeless tires before. Heck, I have never even touched them before I was handed these. You see, I have always heard that they are, for the most part, more of a hassle than running tubes. So, combining the hearsay and my slight intimidation towards the whole system, I steered clear of them completely. Thankfully, GT already had the tires (with Hutchinsons Fast Air sealant) mounted and aired up for me. I will let GT comment on the initial mounting happenings. The tires didn’t fit as snugly as a Bontrager Tubeless Ready system does. I also couldn’t air up the tires without a compressor. The sealant comes out kind of like shaving cream, which was weird, and then turns to a liquid later on.

Upon seeing the tires for first time I thought to myself, “Where are the side knobs?” Really, it looked a little strange to me that the sidewall was a lot wider than the tread. I thought, “How am gonna rail my favorite corners at Cedar Bend and what about the off camber at the Camp? Oh crap, what about the gravel roads? Well, let’s just say that looks are deceiving.

I was a little worried about riding them and getting too far from home and have some kind of ride ending issue arrise. So, I ran the psi around 35 psi front and rear. Took off on a nice gravel ride. There is about a 1/4 mile gravel downhill right by my home that turns left at the bottom which takes you not just left, but almost back the same direction you were traveling. Not to mention off camber. I thought about slowing down but for some reason I didn’t. To my surprise the front end held it’s line like just fine. Carving the corner without anything unexpected. I was excited to say the least. They even cornered better on gravel than the Geax’s did, and they have more knobs on the side than the Hutch’s do. The rest of the gravel ride was the same. The second 1/3 of that ride was on a blacktop section that takes me to the Marsh. The tires seemed to roll like tires should on pavement. No problems there either. Once I reached the Marsh I hopped up on the dyke. It was a grassy double track. The grass was about 10 in. long but sort of packed down. Tires worked like one would have expected there also.

On the way back home I decided to drop the air pressure down a long ways. They were at 28 psi front and 26 psi rear (when I checked them after the ride). Once I made it back to the gravel I realized that the rear was way too low. The rear was squirming around below me way more than I wanted. I was climbing out of the saddle and seated but the feeling was the same. Squishy. Felt like the sidewall was just to soft. The treaded area felt firm when pressing it with your finger but the sides were not. So, I backed off a little since I was nervous about the tire rolling off the rim. About 5 miles from home I stepped up the effort again by sprinting, climbing, and bunny hopping over any given spot on the gravel road, and to my surprise I had no issues with the bead seating to the rim. In fact, the rolling resistance was still pretty good even with the too low of pressure. So, I made it back home safe and sound. Let the bike sit in the garage for two days and checked the air pressure again. Still 28 psi front and 26 psi rear. Sweet! So far, I have had no problems with traction. Works like it should while still being fast.

Then, I decided to make a really true complete test of these tires I would need to take them off and remount them myself. So, I took them off. They actually came off quite easily. I remounted the front, but was unable to get them to air up with a floor pump. Tried my underpowered compressor. Still nothing. Crap! Now, what do I do? I put the front aside and tried the rear one. Once the rear was remounted I tried the floor pump again. Pop! Pop Pop! By the time I reached 20 psi there were five pops from the bead seating. All right! I pumped it up to 40 psi and left it for a few minutes. Went back to the front tire. Still nothing. So, I dipped my finger into the sealant puddle and smeared it on the bead all the way around both sides of the tire. Still nothing. So, for some reason I started spinning the tire around the rim (like you would with a tubed setup to re-align the valve). Then, I ran the floor pump at the same time as I spun the tire and Pop! It started to seat. A few more pops and then I was at 20 psi again. So I pumped it up to 40 psi as well. I put them back on the bike and rode it up and down the driveway a bit. Loaded it in the van and went to bed. I was a little disappointed about the front tire giving me so much trouble but in the end it worked out. I could not have imagined doing this on the trail. There shouldn’t be as many trailside flat issues with tubeless though, right? I hope not.

My second really good ride on the tires was a better test of the terrain that most of you want to hear about. Singletrack! Okay, I went to Cedar Bend the other night. The trails there are unique to our area. The dirt appears to be the perfect mix of soil and sand and possibly some clay. Whatever it is made of it is great. I set the tire pressure at 30 psi front and 32 psi rear. Seemed to be perfect too as the squirm from the tires is gone. The trails there also have wooden bridges too that can get pretty slimy since there is that green mossy stuff growing on it. It had rained not long before my ride and usually it’s pretty slippery when wet. I did not take those bridges too fast but I think I could have gone a little faster. No problems there. I did take a few fast downhill corners and never once lost side traction. I was shocked. I put on around 12 miles that night. The tires packed up with mud but not much. Remember though, this is good soil and never packs up badly and I never felt a loss of traction in the muddier sections either. There are a few steep dirt climbs and I tackled those without any traction issues. There was one loose rocky climb that I had to walk. Partly a loss of traction issue and partly that it’s so steep that I coulnd’t pedal up it. I run a 36 t front chainring and a 12-34 cassette. The tires seem to grip well when braking too.

So, sorry to make this first impression so long but I like details. I am a detail kind of guy. I should be riding these for a few more weeks, possibly longer, and will provide a final review at that point.

Captain Bob

Editors Note: Captain Bob is riding these tires exclusively and indeed he will be making some more observations soon. Measurements that I took with my digital calipers with the tires mounted at 40 psi on the Mavic C29ssMax wheels: Casing width = 51.4mm Tread width (knob to knob on the outside edges) = 44.1mm Casing Height = 49.7mm

Titus Racer X 29er

August 28, 2007

Haro Aluminum 29"er Prototype Surfaces

August 26, 2007

Haro Aluminum Proto

This news comes from The Bike Biz Babe’s blog and depicts a new Haro aluminum prototype model that appears will become available in some form or another in the spring of ’08. In another attempt to bring 29″er prices down below the $1000.00 level, Haro is going to kit this bike out to be a more affordable model in response to feedback from their highly successful Mary line up.

Haro prototype

Although this certainly will not be the final spec for the production model, the green RST M-29 fork is pretty cool and would be a fine spec to compete with the usual Rock Shox Dart forks that will be common on sub $1000.00 29″er hardtails in ’08. Let’s hope it makes the cut.

We’ll be poking around at Interbike to find out more on this new model from Haro. Stay tuned!

Marin '08 29"er News: Sneak Peek

August 26, 2007

I have found these images scanned from a dealer catalog that show two of the four Marin 29″ers for ’08. Enjoy!

Pine Mountain SS

This is the top of the line steel hard tail single speed, the Pine Mountain.

Marin '08

Marin '08

These are the two colors available for the sub $1000.00 geared hard tail made in aluminum.

More information as it turns up.


August 25, 2007