Archive for the ‘29Sneak’ Category

Cannondale To Introduce Carbon 29″ers In 2010

June 16, 2009

The Cyclist has learned that Cannondale plans on introducing a carbon hardtail 29″er to it’s current line up of aluminum hardtails for 2010. The line, which will be introduced at a sales meeting in Park City, Utah next week, will include two versions of the bike. Dubbed the “Flash”, the hardtail will be offered in a “Flash 1” version and a presumably lower spec’ed “Flash 2” option. We also have learned that one of the versions will be white, the other red.

Cannondale apparently will continue to offer its four aluminum models as well, but at this time there is no word on whether the Scalpel 29″er we have heard is roaming the planet as a prototype will be offered as a model for sale to the public. Stay tuned as more information becomes available.

Geax Gato 29″er Tire: First Impressions

May 13, 2009

Editor’s Note: chris_geotec chimes in with his first ride impressions of the upcoming Geax Gato 29″er treads…….

Part 2, First ride impressions:
Now that we have the numbers down it is time to get them dirty and what a dirt we started out
with. The first time riding the 29er Gatos here in Southern Germany we were blessed with
completely soaked soil, lots of mud, wet roots, and sprinkled with a few remains of snow
here and there – all in all slippery and nasty but perfect testing grounds for the Gato. At first
I only mounted the front. I liked the Gato right away for the great braking traction. It sure
helped me descend with more confidence and corner a bit more aggressively. I ended having a
very enjoyable ride; riding a bit more than what I expected to ride, and walking most of what I
thought I would. With my prior experiences on GEAX´s TNT tires I knew these tires could
handle low pressures – but more on this later.               

Gato on the trail

Gato on the trail

The next ride I swapped over to full Gato   front and rear and … boy I was flying …traction was awesome. Self cleansing in the mud was no issue except for the nastiest stuff
(more like sandy glue than soil).  I was having a blast!! I knew that the Gato – 26er that is – was good on the wet and slippery, but this one was a Gato on steroids!! It showed
me once more why I had committed myself to 29er wheels. At one point I found myself at the top of a technical rooty downhill I certainly do avoid under these conditions,
thought for a moment and…. down I went. No moment of uncertainty, hardly any slippage.

 I have no conformation about this,  but it feels like the Gato´s compound is softer than its brothers´ – mucho grip on all the slippery stuff. Sure the multi sectored, aggressive knobs add much to that impression, but I hold my opinion, it feels stickier! Along the ride I encountered
like the Gato´s compound is softer than its many sections that I usually clear with luck under such wet conditions, or often not at all and this time I rode it all! I will not comment on rolling resistance and acceleration as this was just no ground for such thoughts. Plainly said – I was happy enough to stay on my bike for most of the ride rather than counting off time.
OK – I must admit this review turned out to be a bit more emotional and less objective, but I simply had a blasting riding,  and isn´t that what mountain biking is all about? (Sorry I have no pics of these rides – wouldn´t dare to take my camera out in these conditions. But here is one a few days later )

A Few Days Later....

A Few Days Later....

Over the next weeks riding conditions remained the same and I found myself playing with riding pressures to test the tires´ sweet spot. All in all my first thoughts were fully confirmed: Very good grip, excellent mud clearance, strong cornering and to add this one – very stable at a very wide range of riding pressures. So much for the first few rides.

First Impressions: Stumpjumper S-Works Carbon 29er and Epic Marathon 29er

May 6, 2009

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Just before Sea Otter I was sent an email from a buddy that has friends in low places in the bike biz. It was a sneak peek at the soon to be released Carbon Stumpy S Works hardtail and the Epic Marathon 29er. Then, I was informed that the bikes would be on display at the Specialized trailer at Sea Otter with an invite to take a ride. I was on my way.

Stumpjumper S-Works Carbon 29er

At Sea Otter, Nic from Specialized took me through the details. The custom Reba fork with the carbon crown/steerer, the Roval wheels, it was all pretty smooth. It is a very good looking bike, sharing in the arched top tube form of the road bikes from the big S. It looks fast. Is it? Am I?

With a weight of just past 20 lbs, this is a light bike. The first few pedal strokes tell you that. It rolls out easily and feels rock steady. I was riding a 19” frame and the stem was set low and forward from my normal position. The stretched out result complimented the overall feel of the bike. Race bike, ya know.

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Climbing up a paved road toward the singletracks of Sea Otter, I clicked up two gears, stood, and hammered as only I can do. Not impressive. Not the bike…it is impressive, I on the other hand? I am less than impressive but this bike felt more like a good road bike than any mountain bike I have ever ridden. Fast bike.

It was shod with the Fasttrak tires in the 2.0 size and the wheels were very light as well, so that was a nice package. Diving onto the singletrack, I was impressed with how well the bike steered. I was concerned it would be a bit scary handling, but it was not at all that way. It did respond to, and actually nearly demanded, an aggressive posture. It also showed another trait in that the stiffness in the pedaling response of the frame carried over into the ride of the bike. It is not plush. I have not ridden a Fisher carbon 29er, but they have a reputation for riding very smoothly. I think this frame may be tuned more to the aggressive side of things.

Turning to climb back up the singletrack, the bike was just as agile and steady as on the way down. It does what a 20lb, full carbon hardtail with light wheels does…it goes up as fast as you can pedal it. And if you are the kind of rider that can do that well, then you will love this bike.

Epic Marathon 29er FS:

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Coming off of the Stumpy hardtail, I was looking forward to a bit of bump relief with the full suspension Epic. Now as much as I love driving…I mean riding…Ferrari bikes like the S Works, the aluminum framed Epic 29er had my interest. I like long rides and endurance events, but I am a bit old for hardtails and the punishment involved. The Epic will be the natural contender for the podium that is now shared by the Niner JET-9 and the Racer X 29er.

I found the Epic to feel slow and heavy at first, which was an understandable feeling having just ridden the uber-light Stumpy hardtail, but that initial impression faded and it showed itself to get up the road nicely, especially with the Brain shock keeping things composed. The Epic and the Brain response brought back memories of the time I rode the Stumpjumper 29er FSR. The platform shock does a great job of keeping things tight and tied down till you hit a bump, then it goes to work. This Epic is tuned more to the aggressive side as far as Brain settings compared to an FSR. Once on the trail, the Epic felt very good, pedaled well, and steered a bit slower than I remember with the JET-9. I really need to spend an extended time on the Epic to get a good feel for it as I bet it will be a serious choice for those who are looking for a faster, less travel trail bike or 24 hour/Endurance bike.dscn4402dscn4399dscn4400

Sea Otter 2009: Report #4

April 17, 2009

Okay, another sunny day in the confines of Laguna Seca Raceway where more Sea Otter goodness is going down. Here’s my report from today…..

Rocky Mountain's new Altitude 29"er

Rocky Mountain's new Altitude 29"er

The linkage has bearings and bushings in there.

The linkage has bearings and bushings in there.

The Rocky Mountain Bikes company has taken the opportunity of Sea Otter as a stage to introduce their newest 29″er designs expanding on the steel hardtail selections they already have. This Altitude has “Form” aluminum tubing, which is hydro-formed to maximize weld areas and strengthen the frame without adding any extra weight. Interestingly the bike employs a different geometry called “Straight Up” that incorporates a steeper than normal static seat tube angle. The sagged angle then approaches optimal positioning for maximum rider efficiancy. The sagged angle should be about 74 degrees with the rider on board.

Don't call me Horst!

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The 15QR will be standard issue on the Altitude

The Altitude will also have a low rear pivot placement, but it isn’t a “Horst Link”. Rocky raised the pivot placement to be just above the QR, thus eliminating issues with the licensed design. Rocky Mountain says that it makes granny ring climbing more efficient with less bob while cranking in the saddle.

The 15QR is standard issue on the Altitude. This will help stiffen up the front end, which also sports a tapered 1 1/8th to 1 1/2″ steer tube. Other features on the Altitude are 4 inches of travel on the rear, XT components with Race Face cranks, Formula Brakes with little maple leaf details, and Stan’s No Tubes Arch rims stock. No word on price or availability just yet.

The other bike in the line up is the hard tail Vertex 29″er. This bike has many of the same features as the Altitude with the Fox 15QR and tapered steer tube, all wrapped up in Form aluminum tubing. A couple of shots of the Vertex here for your approval.

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The Vertex 29"er

The Vertex 29"er

Both the Altitude and the Vertex 29"ers feature direct mount front derailluers

Both the Altitude and the Vertex 29"ers feature direct mount front derailluers

I then made it over to the Specialized Team ten where Nic Sims set me up on a great looking S-Works carbon hardtail 29″er. The bikes will be available in the fall, but for now, this was my best chance at riding one, so I took it!

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I took this one out on the wide open climbs and descents around the racing area and a few things were immediately noticeable. First, this chassis is pretty stiff where it needs to be, but it isn’t brutal. It has that “carbon” ride down, which it should, since Specialized has been into carbon structures for several years now. Trail chatter was nicely muted, but part of that was certainly the (gasp!) 25.4 diameter carbon bar at work. Also, the bottom bracket seemed to be quite stiff, as grunting up a steep climb single speed style resulted in no discernable flexing. The front triangle was also noticeably stiff and resisted flex well. This made descending the ruts and rough stuff much nicer.

It was a limited ride, so I won’t make any grand claims, but this frame seems as though it is both light, strong, and stiff where it needs to be stiff. The overall weight of the production bikes is sid to be just over 20lbs. I didn’t have a scale handy, but it was quite light, maybe a bit more than claimed, but it couldn’t be much.

Tapered steer tube, carbon frame = stiff!

Tapered steer tube, carbon frame = stiff!

The Roval wheels were pre-production

The Roval wheels were pre-production

All wasn’t peaches and cream though. The rig was set up with pre-production Roval 29″er wheels which as I posted in my report earlier, have a radial laced drive side, cross pattern disc side front wheel. As I was thinking, this wheel was a bit vague laterally. Most noticeable in “g-out” type sweepers and directional changes at slow speed pointed down hill. The wheel just doesn’t have the lateral support I like to see in a 29″er wheel. However; it is an all out racing weapon, so some compromise for weight maybe were given over to. I am not sure, but I found this to be a blemish in an otherwise spotless first ride.

Notice how thin the chain stay is around the tire/crank area....

Notice how thin the chain stay is around the tire/crank area....

....and how wide it is in profile. Advantage carbon!

....and how wide it is in profile. Advantage carbon!

Look for more detailed information later here on Specialized’s new 29″ers from The Cyclist.

Sea Otter 2009: Report #2

April 16, 2009

Lots of things going on even though for most of the morning vendors and exhibitors were just getting around to setting up shop! Apparently they were told no work could be done on Wednesday. At any rate……..

The Foes Racing 2:1 B-29 will be produced if there is enough interest.

The Foes Racing 2:1 B-29 will be produced if there is enough interest.

Foes Racing showed this pre-production B-29 model that sports 4 inches of travel. Foes said that if he sees enough interest in the project that production bikes may start being made in the fall of this year.

The design could support the Curnutt AirShock or a Fox RP-23. The design is said to be a good performing design for cross country, marathon, or endurance racing.

Foes also showed a super cool commuter bike that we will post up on the Urban section here. It was a hydroformed aluminum bike that was nice looking. Also at the Foes tent was a trick wheel chair with independant suspension and teensy disc brakes.

This trick wheel chair by Foes racing has some teeny disc brakes!

This trick wheel chair by Foes racing has some teeny disc brakes!

Finally, there was a really cool trike for a lucky toddler with some amazing machine work.  Brent Foes is quite the craftsman.’

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Duro Tires, which is better known for cheap, entry level “mart-bike” rubber is showing some tires that Duro’s Mike Sabin says will be turned into some serious high performance tires for the Big Wheeler set. Four treads will be available by late summer that will range from a faster, XC type traed to a blocky, aggressive type tread pattern. No word on widths or weights, but we will be keeping track of this developement.

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Choose your color!

Choose your color!

Niner Bikes is officially announcing the long known about carbon fork line up here at Sea Otter. The forks are available in a wide array of colorways, one to match any Niner hardtail bike made now. The forks are quite striking looking and will certainly draw attention to your Niner bike, should you have one mounted up. No other news from Niner at this time as they are currently busy trying to fill orders for eager Niner fanatics.

The Niner tent had the tapered steer tube Fox, Marz, and Rock Shox forks.

The Niner tent had the tapered steer tube Fox, Marz, and Rock Shox forks.

Specialized’s Team tent had an Epic race 29″er being prepped as I was walking by early Thursday morning that was gone just a few hours later. Here are a couple views.

Unmarked  Reba with a tapered steer tube and Black Box crown

Unmarked Reba with a tapered steer tube and Black Box crown

Epic 29"er in the stand

Epic 29"er in the stand

The "Brain" of the Epic's rear suspension

The "Brain" of the Epic's rear suspension

Another look at the Black Box crown

Another look at the Black Box crown

More to come! Stay tuned!

Sea Otter 2009: Bontrager 29″er Tires- Sneak Peek

April 15, 2009

I was told at Trek World 2008 that a new design team was tasked at Bontrager with re-designing the entire 29″er tire line up at Bontrager starting with the now released XR-1. I also heard rumors of a more aggressive tread, with a central “ribbed section” for less rolling resistance and aggressive side knobs for climbing and traction. Well, it looks like that project is coming to fruition. Not only that, but another tread design, the 29-3 is being developed as well.

This is the dealer copy detailing the new FR-3 29"er tire benefits.

This is the dealer copy detailing the new FR-3 29"er tire benefits.

These are specific 29″er tire designs and have been thoroughly field tested by Trek/Bontrager riders including Travis Brown.  Here we can see that the designers even differentiated the tread for the narrower two inch version of the 29-3.
The FR-3 gets a different pattern in the two inch size.

The FR-3 gets a different pattern in the two inch size.

A central ridge, or rib section, gives this design lower rolling resistance.

A central ridge, or rib section, gives this design lower rolling resistance.

I mentioned earlier the central ribbed tread design I had heard about and the following image shows this quite clearly.  This tread will also be offered in a 26 inch version. Of course, all these will be TLR type tires that will work with Bontrager’s excellent Tubeless ready wheel systems.
Stay tuned for more Sea Otter coverage coming soon!

Sea Otter 2008: Rocky Mountain Goes Big On 29″ers

April 14, 2009

Rocky Mountain Bicycles announces a release of 29″er bikes at Sea Otter 2009. Here’s the full press release…….

Vancouver B.C. –Rocky Mountain Bicycles announces its 2010 – 29’er product launch at the Sea Otter Classic, April 17-19th, Monterey California. Rocky Mountain will be exhibiting both of its proven platforms, Vertex and Altitude, both now available in 29’er.

 

Since 1981 Rocky Mountain bicycles has pioneered and pushed the limits of 26 inch wheel mountain bikes. Now we feel the time is right to launch our B.C. take on the 29er experience

 

The notoriously technical trails in our Vancouver backyard have always been our testing ground and we’ve used these same trails to test and develop our 29ers. Our new 29ers are just as suited to the treacherous trails at our doorstep as fast, flowy Marin County singletrack, or high alpine Swiss mountain passes.

 

Our new Altitude 29 puts a big wheel spin on our phenomenally successful Altitude platform. With our patented SmoothLink suspension and first of its kind StraightUp geometry, we have set a new standard for pedaling efficiency and suspension quality. The Altitude 29 with its 120mm of rear wheel travel is about covering big distances efficiently while having enough suspension to soak up everything in its path.

 

Rocky Mountain’s extensive World Cup racing heritage is immediately apparent in our new Vertex 29 platform. Much of the R&D for our Vertex RSL was also applied to the Vertex 29, resulting in a bike that handles like a race bike, but also showcases the best of the 29er.

 

Both bikes feature completely redesigned FORMTM tubesets, Shimano Direct Mount front derailleurs, and both represent the evolution of Rocky Mountain’s legendary ride quality.

 

Interestingly, this may indicate that Rocky Mountain is offering the 29″er in a carbon hardtail form, since the Vertex RSL bikes have carbon FORM Monocoque construction. Although it isn’t necessarily the case, since Rocky also does FORM tubesets from hydroformed aluminum. Either way, both the Altitude, a marathon/XC platform, and the hardtail Vertex will be scrutinized thoroughly while The Cyclist is at Sea Otter. Stay Tuned for more!

Specialized 29″er Sneak Peek!

April 14, 2009

It has been rumored for years that Specialized has been testing a 29″er Epic. Stories abounded in the darkened corners of the inner-web. Now it can be told that indeed- a 29 inch wheeled Epic is going to debut tomorrow at a special press camp near Sea Otter. The Epic 29″er and another model we have teased here- the carbon hardtail- will both be at Sea Otter for viewing.

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Here is the carbon hardtail in production trim………

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Look for more on these two rigs from our Sea Otter Coverage starting on Thursday!

April Fool’s is Over the Top

April 1, 2009

This is a distributor of bicycle parts that has several April Fool’s “new products” on their dealer site.

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My all time favorite :

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Giant 29″er Hardtail: Sneak Peek!

March 30, 2009
This Giant 29"er design utilizes their "Alliance" technology.

This Giant 29"er design utilizes their "Alliance" technology.

Giant Bicycles utilizes social media and has a Facebook page which they use to drop hints of upcoming product and new models Just recently this image popped up there showing a hard tail 29″er design.Several interesting things are evident here. First is the use of Giant’s “Alliance” technology which is a mating of carbon fiber to hydro-formed aluminum structure. Check out the image here and I bet you can about guess which parts are carbon and which parts are not!

The frame also features a tapered steer tube and replaceable drop outs, lending credence to the theory that it could be a single speed with a drop out swap, or due to the bolt on seat stays, a belt drive bike. We o not have any further details but with this amount of development, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a 2010 release for this model. Stay tuned!

Update 4/4/09: We now have some pics of the Giant aluminum hardtail and an actual prototype being tested for your perusal. Take a look and we’ll add more as updates come in…….

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Some views of the aluminum hardtail

Some views of the aluminum hardtail