Archive for May, 2008

Origin 8 Aluminum Scout 29"er

May 31, 2008

Origin 8, who will be at the upcoming Big Wheeled Ballyhoo, have finally taken inventory of their aluminum version of the Scout 29’er.

The bike, which is available only as a complete, will be offered in medium and large sizes (18″ and 20″) with effective top tube lengths of 23.8″ and 24.6″ respectively. A couple of other interesting measurements and geometry features to note: Parallel seat and head tube angles at 72 degrees. Chainstay measured at the middle point on the horizontal drop out is 17 inches. The fork offset for the rigid cro-moly fork is 45mm. The bottom bracket drop is 60mm.

The bike will come equipped with Mavic A317 disc rims, Maxxis Ignitor tires, Avid BB-5 disc brakes, Formula hubs (cassette single speed) and Truvativ Hussefelt crankset. The remainder of the spec is mostly Origin 8 components. The bike can also be set up as a geared hardtail with the integral derailluer hangar and cable stops.

I got a short spin on a medium sample and while being a bit undersized for me, I found it to be a very quick handling, sharp turning bike. The frame felt solid and the forged and CNC’ed chainstay yoke looked big enough to clear 2.3 inch tires with ease. Maybe even 2.5 inchers, we’ll have to check on that. Samples of both the Origin 8 Scouts will be on hand to be ridden at The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo on June 21st and 22nd. (Steel and Aluminum) Stop by and check them out if you can! Plus, I am hearing that Origin 8 will unviel a surprise at the Ballyhoo, so definitely be there to see what that might be. Origin 8 will also have a few samples of componentry to check out as well.

Continental Mountain King 2.4": Update

May 28, 2008

Across the inner-web-o-sphere there has been some talk of how the Continental Mountain king has not “measured up” size-wize, and also how it stretches after mounting. Some of the claims may be a bit on the “generous” side, shall we say, but here I offer up for your approval what i have found in my case.

Continental Mountain King measurement

When I first mounted up the Continentals I mounted them on two different rims sans tubes and took some measurements. To keep this in perspective, I will only mention my results from the Stan’s Flow rim. Initially the casing measured 52.6mm. After running the tires in Texas I noticed that they looked bigger to my naked eye. So recently I took another measurement. (The picture above shows the results) The 2.7mm increase in girth is certainly enough to be noticed. I also took some other tread width measurements and at the end of the test period I will update any changes I notice there, although it is my opinion that the tire has probably stabilized at it’s current size.

To be clear, these tires have not been removed or doctored up in any way since my initial installation with Stan’s sealant on the Flow rims. I have not experienced any flats or other discouraging occurances at all. In the next update I will comment on the Mountain Kings dry hardpack performance. Stay tuned!

Rawland Cycles are Almost Here

May 28, 2008

Late last week I received an email to let me know that the Rawland frames should be in to the states within a month. Teamed up with the Quasi Moto tires that will be arriving around the same time these bikes should really rock for all types of riding and terrain.

Back in February I met up with Sean of Rawland Cycles and was able to test spinthe Rawland’s for a few minutes and can say the Sogn Disc is on my short list for a commuter/touring bike. With clearance for 2.3 tires it will be the perfect all around bike.

Wanted to pass this great information along to all of our readers.

Intense EX-2 Stickey Lite Tires: First Impressions

May 26, 2008

I was finally able to get out a bit on these new Intense tires and see just what they had going for them. Here are a few of my initial observations.

Intense tires on my bike

I was able to hit up some dry dirt and rode to and from the ride on some pavement. The first thing I noted was how the tires rolled. It would seem that they are about middle of the pack in terms of rolling resistance. Nothing amazing here in that respect. I did also notice how the EX-2’s were grabbing sand and small stones and flinging them all over the place. The stickey tread was the culprit there, no doubt. If I ran through a sand pile, the downtube would resonate from all the sand hitting it. Much more so than any other tires we have tested.

Tread shot

The cornering on dirt was amazing! I felt like the tire was planted and was not going to let go. I had about 30psi in the rear and about 27psi in the front, for those that want to know. The tires didn’t exhibit any squirmy feelings or any flexy casing characteristics either. They felt solid and sort of dead compared to some other tires I have ridden. I think the softer compounds used here are making for a different feeling at the handle bar.

I decided to lean into it on a paved corner going home at speed and the same stuck-to-the-trail feeling was there. Nary a hint of slippage. I did notice that when I got home there was noticeable wear on the tread though, so I think the EX-2’s have seen there last pavement ride! I’m going to reserve the rest of the testing for true single track, rougher trails, and some off camber soon.

My impression so far is that the EX-2 Stickey Lite is stickey for sure, but not so light, and feels sort of sluggish due to the rubber compound used. We’ll see if different trails impart any of these feelings and report back soon.

Pre Order Quasi Moto's Now!

May 26, 2008 has been reviewing a pair of Quasi Moto’s for a few months now.  The tires were pre-production samples that were sent out to a select 650b crowd.  You can read my previous reviews here and here.

If you are XC rider, or someone that can’t barely fit a Neo Moto tire into their converted 26″ frame this tire is for you!!!   650b x 2.0 with a fast rolling tread.  Pre-order them now as they might be sold out VERY quickly.  I know my shop will be ordering a few sets to give those experimental types a change to try them.

Visit BikeLugs for more details.  Expected arrival date is late June.

Big Wheeled Ballyhoo 2008

May 24, 2008

It’s time again for that get together of big wheeled afficiandos from all over. The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo will occur in less than a month from now in Decorah, Iowa on June 21st and 22nd. You can click on the link for more information, but here are some salient points and features for you here.

The  Big Wheeled Ballyhoo! Come On Down!

The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo is a get together of mountain bikers of all sorts, but is particularly geared towards 29″er fans. There will be a lot of riding on Decorah’s excellent system of challenging single track trails. Iowa? Yes, single track in Decorah, Iowa is amongst some of the most challenging riding you will do anywhere. Climbing, descending, and sweet flowing single track, all maintained meticulously by the Decorah Human Powered Trails organization, will be available to all who come to the Ballyhoo. But, there is more!

*Demo Rides Niner Bikes, Salsa Cycles, Origin 8, Gary Fisher Bikes, and more.

Camping Available right by the Demo area and a stones throw from the trails and downtown Decorah.

Fun and Games Activities at the campground to amuse yourself with involving bicycles.

The Raffle All registered attendants are eligible for cool stuff that we will be giving away at 2pm. Sunday at the Registration Tent located at the campground. Just stop by at the Registration Tent Saturday or Sunday during Ballyhoo hours or pre-register online for a chance at a special prize just for signing up early. It’s all free, but you must be present at 2pm Sunday June 22nd to win.

Special Surprizes! There will be some big news worthy 29″er happenings at the Ballyhoo this year. Be the first to see them and hear about them. Don’t miss this opportunity to be the first on your block to experience the latest in big wheeled goodness, news, and rumors! Last years Ballyhoo featured the debut of WTB’s Prowler and Stout tires along with Niner’s newest eccentric bottom bracket idea. What will be showing up this year? Well, I’ll say it’s waaay bigger news than last year!

Niner Jet 9 Update: The Climbing

May 23, 2008

Ed. – This is part of my ongoing review of the Niner Jet 9. To read the first post in this series, click here.

It’s been a bit over two weeks since my initial post on the Niner Jet 9 and while some torrential downpours have kept me off the trails more than I’d planned, I’ve had a chance to put in a good amount of riding and am ready to give my initial thoughts.

First off, I’d like to share a picture with you of the aftermath of my first wreck on the Jet 9. I was moving at a pretty good clip through some tight singletrack and caught the edge of the handlebar on a tree. After flying through the air, I came to a stop over 20 feet away. I was ok. The bike was ok. But the tree didn’t fare to well.

For my initial rides I’ve setup the Fox Float RP23 rear shock to the recommended PSI for my weight and have begun to play around with the ProPedal and rebound settings. For most of my riding I’ve kept it in position 2 for “Medium ProPedal” and four “clicks” into the rebound, which is where they recommend starting out. This is a highly customizable rear shock, so I’ll be spending a good amount of time messing with the settings to get the perfect setup for me.

Hands down, the best thing about the Jet 9 is how it climbs. Every ride I go on, I’m surprised by what I’m able to ascend. Steep, rutted singletrack that normally puts me on foot, I’m able to spin right up on the Jet 9 without much trouble. Also on the climbing, I’ve found Niner’s CVA suspension to be holding well to their “pedal neutral” goals. I’ve experienced very little pedal bob on the climbing.

Upcoming testing will include fine tuning the suspension to get the right level of comfort. While it’s been feeling good, I’d like to get a little more plushness when seated through the rocky, rooty terrain we have out here. However at this point, Niner’s CVA suspension system has been performing pretty well. I’m interested to see how it does as I tinker with the Fox settings to get it perfect for me and my riding style.

One aspect of the Jet9 I was initially having trouble with was a bit of wheel flop on tight, switchback turns during a climb. I would experience the sensation that I was having trouble pulling the front wheel around, and then when it finally went it would snap all the way and I would have to bail. Since experiencing this, I’ve taken time to get my fit on the bike tweaked and have moved my position in the cockpit forward. Since doing this, it’s helped with the wheel flop, but this will continue to be a place I focus on as it’s an important aspect of performance for my riding.

So far that’s my thoughts on the climbing ability of the Jet 9 at this point. I’ll be adding more updates to my review in the coming weeks as I continue to tweak the suspension settings and put the bike through the paces.

To answer a few questions from the comments of the last post…

The terrain I ride her on the east coast is very rocky and rooty. In particular, the trails I ride regularly have a lot of short ascents and descents. My home trails here in Lynchburg, VA are Peaks View Park and Liberty (formerly Candlers) Mountain. Trails I’m riding outside of Lynchburg include Mill Mountain and Carvin’s Cove in Roanoke, Falling Creek in Bedford and Douthat State Park in Millboro.

I got the bike weighed and with a new Bontrager stem (as opposed to the Thomson, I had to change it out for fit), the bike weighs 28.5 pounds.

History of 650b

May 22, 2008

This history is brought to you by Joe Breeze.

If you can’t view let me know!

Tire Rumors And News

May 21, 2008

Here are some rubbery bits to chew on regarding new shoes for 29″ers rumored to be coming your way soon.

First up we have news about Continental who have given the green light apparently to the developement of a 29″er Race King. The tire in 26″er form has a 460 gram weight, so the 29″er version should come out to be quite light. Another plus: All Continental tires are okay for tubeless use, so that should make the race king a true racers delight when it hits the scene. Reportedly, that will be late this summer.

Next up we have heard a solid rumor out of California about the Big “S” releasing some new 29″er tires. apparently Specialized is readying two tire models, one already offered in 29″er form and one that hasn’t been a 29″er tire as of yet. The information we have is that the new 29″er model will be the Eskar, which was the model Specialized used to replace the much loved Resolution with. The other model? The Captain, but this time in a “2Bliss” version. The Eskar is also said to be coming out as a “2Bliss” model as well. So, two new “2Bliss” tires and also each will be offered in the Control Casing along with standard casings.

We’re hearing that the weights on the standard casing tires should be around 660-680 grams each and that the Control casing tires will be about a 100 grams heavier.

Here’s a look at the Eskar in the 26″er version. It looks to have several working edges and is touted as an excellent hardpack/loose over hardpack conditions tire. If so, I’ll be digging that! Sounds like my trails in the summer!

No word on exactly when these tires will be available, but our source told us that they are in prototype stages and are going out to testers now. That would indicate to me that perhaps we’ll see something of them late in the summer, or around Interbike time.
Stay Tuned!

Multi-Purpose Big Wheeling: A New Trend, Or Old?

May 20, 2008

In my last rumors post, I made this prediction: “ I will take a stab and say that off road touring/long distance rigs with 29″er wheels will be the next big trend in big wheels. This got a few responses, and has prompted me to take a look at that statement in regards to what has already been with us in regards to 29″ers.

Karate Monkey in utility mode

You can’t mention multi-purpose bigwheeling and not talk about the Karate Monkey. This 29″er, an unquestionable classic big wheeler, has probably been seen in more variations than all other 29″ers put together. In fact, the very first Karate Monkey’s I ever laid eyes on were at Surly’s headquarters. They were proto-types being tested by employees and were set up as commuter bikes. Fenders, racks, and the whole nine yards.

Dual Sport Montare

Then there are the “not quite” 29″ers, the Gary Fisher Dual Sport range of bikes. Touted as “urban” rigs, the Fishers have been seen doing “dual duty” on the road and on the trail. They do fit bigger 29″er tires, so they can do the dirt, albeit in a limited capacity in stock trim.

These sorts of bikes have been with us all along, but I think a newer version that will be coming is going to revolutionize this category. A newer take on the 29″er as a touring/offroadable/utility/commuter rig. Not just a “do-it-all” bike like a Karate Monkey, or a mountain hardtail spec’ed as a hybrid bike, but something more purposeful. A new direction, if you will. I see these rigs as the throw back to the very early days of mountain biking, where exploration, self support, and multi-day adventures were the norm rather than the oddity. Call it “mountain touring” or whatever, I see this as a new/old idea that is going to work with big wheels really well.