Author: Matt Stenson

Niner RDO Rip 9 Ride Review

Bike Niner RDP Rip 9 Trail System Crested Butte Bike Park, Crested Butte Colorado Testers Weight 150lbs Testers Personal Bike Kona Process 153 In the past couple of years Niner has gone through a number of changes. They’ve been bought by the same parent company as Huffy and they’ve opened up their minds to producing bikes that are not 29ers. Their first foray into this market is the Niner Rip 9 which is offered in both 29 and 27.5 wheel sizes. The Rip 9 is also Niner’s most aggressive bike. It feature 150mm of travel up front and 140mm of travel in the back. The Rip 9 also features a new frame look for Niner while maintaining the same CVA suspension platform. We got a chance to ride the 29er version of this bike and put it through its paces. The most striking part of the Rip 9 are the Rib Cage struts across the front triangle that encase the shock. This extra bracing is designed to reduce bottom bracket flex while allowing the rest …

New Norco Torrent “S” Steel Hardtail

Norco has dropped a new “All Mountain” hardtail in one of the oldest bike manufacture materials, steel. This is not going to be your XC race bike. The builds are equipped with 4-piston disc brakes, long-stroke dropper posts and aggressive Maxxis Assegai 29er tires. Even though it shares the Torrent name with Norco’s already aggressive 27.5 alloy trail bike, this bike is a different beast. As a 29er with 2.5in tires the Norco Torrent S is not your standard entry level 27.5 plus trail hardtail. Featuring a massive 150mm of travel up front on a slack 64 degree head tube angle, a reach of 450mm on a medium and an effective seat tube angle of 76 degrees, this bike has enduro like numbers without the rear suspension. Build Options The Norco Torrent S comes in two build options and a frame only option. The base build comes in at $2,199. For this, you’ll get a SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain (the lowest Eagle option available from SRAM) combined with TRP G-Spec Trail S 4 piston brakes. …

Top Sub $3000 Enduro Bikes for 2020

Enduro is becoming a more popular racing format, but more than that we continue to ask our bikes to go faster down more gnarly terrain. Even if you don’t plan on racing, an “enduro” bike may be the right next bike for you. If you visit lift access bike parks, jump lines and like to go on 4-5 hour rides, modern enduro bikes can do it all. Today we’ll be looking at a number of great enduro bike options at the lower end of the price spectrum. Best Spec 27.5 Option – Canyon Spectral AL 6.0 The Canyon Spectral AL 6.0 is a 160mm by 150mm travel enduro bike. Equipped with a FOX 36 Rhythm fork, Float DPX2 rear shock, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Guide R brakes and DT Swiss M1900 wheels this bike comes with the most complete build in our list. With this great spec though you may not be getting the most progressive geometry. With one of the shortest reaches and slackest seat tubes in our list the Spectral AL 6.0 …

New Ibis Ripmo AF

Ibis has released a new Ripmo 29er enduro bike, this time in Aluminum. This is the only Aluminum bike in the Ibis lineup and the material change isn’t the only trick it has up its sleeve. The new Ibis Ripmo AF has slackened the headtube angle when compared with the carbon Ripmo from 65.9° to 64.9°. The wheelbase has also in turn increased and the reach has as well. What results is an even more aggressive bike on paper. The travel has been kept the same at 160mm up front and 147mm in the rear. To go along with these geo tweaks, the Rip­mo AF is com­pat­i­ble with both coil and air shocks due to a more pro­gres­sive lever­age rate on the DW-Link™ suspension. All of the builds come stock with a DVO Topaz T3 Air, 210 x 55 and are up-gradable for $100 DVO JadeX coil shock. As someone who writes about writes about and rides more “budget” oriented bikes having the same shock spec across all builds is really exciting. Often finding a build …

Fezzari La Sal Peak Ride Review

Bike Fezzari La Sal Peak Comp Size Medium Trail System Crested Butte Bike Park, Crested Butte Colorado Testers Weight 150lbs Testers Personal Bike Kona Process 153 The first bike I checked out at Outerbike Crested Butte 2019 was the Fezarri La Sal Peak. This bike is a 160mm/150mm trail/enduro 29er bike. I was riding the base spec version that starts at $3,599 with a full carbon frameset. That frame features Fezarri’s “Tetra Link” suspension that at its core is a Horst Link. The suspension layout itself is quite simple and you’ll find the minimum number of pivots needed for this type of system. The Tetralink is tuned to have a progressive leverage ratio so it can be paired with a coil shock if desired. The frame will also clear a 29×2.6in tire and features CleanCatch™ rattle-proof internal cable routing. In addition, 2 water bottles will fit in the front triangle which is an achievement few bike makers can tout in this travel range. The frameset does have some odd angles and it is in the …

Outerbike Crested Butte 2019

I’m fortunate enough to be located within a few hours of Crested Butte, CO, the Summer venue for Outerbike. For the uninitiated Outerbike is a multiday bike demo, organized by Western Spirit with hundreds of demo bikes at some of the most iconic riding locations in the United States. This was my first opportunity to attend and I’ll be back with details on the bikes I rode but I wanted to give an overview of my experience at this demo event. The Event Outerbike is a 3-day event with really all your needs taken care of for you while demoing bikes. There is a registration fee for the event. This covers your lunches for 3 days at the event, lift tickets and unlimited bike demos from all the brands at the event. Lodging for the event is the participants responsibility. This means that you have a number of options. The Crested Butte Outerbike is located right at Crested Butte Mountain resort so hotel/condo stays are simple. Alternatively, camping in Crested Butte is available outside of …

Giant Drops A New Affordable Stance 29

Giant has long been a powerhouse in producing bikes that are a good bang for you buck. Recently though their lower end offerings seemed to be falling behind in component spec and geometry. The new Stance 29 looks to change that with an update geometry, two formidable build under $2000 and the look of a modern trail bike. The Stance 29, as the name suggests is a 29er platform with 120mm of travel in the rear and 130mm of travel up front. The rear linkage is not the usual Maestro link that Giant’s more expensive bikes do. Instead, the Stance 29 follows in the footsteps of the old 27.5″ Stance and uses Giant’s FlexPoint suspension. This suspension is a single pivot design that uses a flexing chainstay/seatstay junction. There are two builds to choose from a that come in at $1500 and $1750. They both share SRAM’s lowest end SX Eagle drivetrain. The drivetrain uses a traditional Shimano driver instead of the SRAM XD driver. Unfortunately, the rear end of the bike uses a weaker …

DZR Sense Pro Flat Pedal Shoe Review

Arguably the most important connection between you and your bike is the interface between your shoes and your pedals. The DZR Sense Pro flat pedal shoes promise to provide this interface while providing an everyday look that is at home on or off the bike. This FiveTen Freerider diehard rider recently got a pair in for testing and I was pleasantly surprised by their performance. Construction and Features The Sense Pro shoes are constructed from DZR’s full grain leather. The padding around the shoe and tongue is substantial. Traditional laces provide the closure for the shoe and a highly visible reflective badge is sewn into the heel for rear visibility if these shoes are tasked with commuting duties. All this is well and good, but flat pedal riders know that the real difference is made where the rubber meets the pedals. The Sense Pro shoes utilize SAP Rubber. This sticky rubber has been an ongoing development for years. DZR says that it is designed to balance the needs of pedal traction, durability and foot position …

New 2020 Trek Top Fuel Gets a Downcountry Treatment

Trek’s full suspension XC race bike, the Top Fuel, has been revised for 2020. Going from a 100mm by 100mm bike, the new Top Fuel has 120mm of travel in the front and 115mm in the rear. The Top Fuel has undergone geometry revisions with this new design. All of the changes follow the same trends that other manufactures have made to their XC race bikes. The frame design itself now borrows the Knock Block system from the trail bike Fuel line. This system utilizes a straight downtube which is stiff and lighter combined with a steering limiter and prevents the fork crown from contacting the frame. The suspension linkage has been revised and includes a “Mino link” flip chip. The flip chip and be rotated to provide a 0.5° change to the head tube angle and seat tube angle, while changing the BB height by about 6mm. On the components end, the Top Fuel builds include TwistLoc suspension lock outs. This system simultaneously locks out front and rear shocks with a Grip Shift-like motion. …

New Fox Dropframe Helmet

First seen a few weeks ago, the new Fox Dropframe helmet delivers some additional protection over most traditional half-shells. It also delivers some interesting looks. Fox’s M.O.RE. (Mandibular Occipital Reinforcement) Guard design provides coverage somewhere in between a full face helmet and a traditional half shell. M.O.RE. provides more coverage for the ears, jaw, and back of the head. The M.O.RE design gives a distinctive look by leaving most of the ear uncovered and opes to build a frame around that portion of the head. Interestingly there is no mention of MIPS or other concussion reducing technologies. The helmet does come with a Fidlock® SNAP magnetic helmet buckle to provide quick entry and exit while wearing gloves. The look of the Dropframe will definitely be polarizing. Time will tell if the additional coverage and new look will catch on with riders. You can pick up the new dropframe today for $169.99.