Canyon has released its new shape-shifting enduro bike, the Strive. This year though, it sports 29er wheels instead of 27.5 wheels and comes only in carbon builds.
The most unique feature of this bike though is it’s Shapeshifter Stage 2.0 suspension system. The shapeshifter is a gas spring integrated into the suspension pivots that allows the rider to adjust the rear travel from 135mm up to 150mm. Along with this the geometry of the bike is modified in the longer travel mode. The bottom bracket height is lowered and the wheelbase is extended. Because the shapeshifter physically changes the suspension pivots it also changes the kinematics.
Switching from 150mm to 135mm mode increases anti-squat. This in theory should help the bike be a more spritely climber. Beyond the shapeshifting the geometry numbers are pretty standard and are comparable to other bikes in this category like the Specialized Enduro.
With the shapeshifting technology come some inherent complexity. It will be interesting to see if the more complex system really provides benefits a standard 3 position lockout shock cannot.
As the temperatures dip further and further down, cold weather gloves are becoming more and more a necessity in much of the northern hemisphere. Handup, who are known for their stylish line of mountain bike gloves has introduced a cold weather version of their gloves with some unique designs.
Cold weather is a relative term among mountain bikers. Unlike snow-sports, one riders cold weather is another riders warm day. So, I always like to bracket cold weather gear reviews with the conditions that I was actually riding in while using the gear.
I tested these gloves in December in the high desert of western Colorado. Tracking my ride temperatures with klimat.app, I found my average riding temperature for the month to be right around 35 degrees and relatively dry. I tested the Handup Winter Gloves down to about 15 degrees and as high as 45 degrees.
The Handup Winter Gloves feature the same stretch neoprene cuff found on Handups summer gloves. They also feature bold designs and their trademark silicone phrases on the palms that double in providing extra grip.
The backs of the gloves are a waterproof / windproof material that is designed for keeping your hands warm. The palms are a Clarino leather that preserves dexterity unlike traditional winter gloves. The finger tips themselves are touch screen compatible.
Inside, the gloves are lined with fleece to provide an extra layer of warmth. The thumb feature a lens wipe area for keeping glasses and goggles clean.
The Handup winter gloves don’t look exactly like your typical riding gloves. Because of the extra insulation and materials used they have more structure than most gloves. This caused me to worry initially if they would lack dexterity. I quickly found however that my worries were unfounded and I was able to operate zippers, my smart phone and do other fiddly things with the gloves in place.
On the bike the gloves feel good as well. The leather palms definitely provide good feel while the lining and waterproof backing provide additional warmth. I quite honestly forgot I was wearing “winter” gloves most of the time.
In regards to warmth, I rode these gloves in temperatures ranging from about 45 down to about 15 degrees. They were comfortable without pogies in all these conditions except for one occasion. That one occasion was a gravel road decent at about 18 MPH while the temperature hovered around 20 degrees. In this one instance my hands started to get a little numb, but in every other instance they have worked perfectly.
If you’re a backcountry fat-biker who needs unparalleled cold-weather performance these might not be the gloves for you. But, on the other hand, if you ride you bike year round and want gloves that won’t make you look like the Michelin Man these gloves might be the perfect fit.
Fit and Value
In regular hand-up gloves I wear a medium and the fit is snug but not too snug. It seems the winter versions might have slightly more room, so if you are on the edge of sizing you might want to size down if you like a more snug fit.
The Handup “Lumberjack” gloves that I tested sell for $32. These aren’t the cheapest cold weather gloves you’ll find but they also aren’t the most expensive. Being that these gloves are pretty cool looking I’ve found that I wear them even when not biking. This raises the value in my mind as I love any product that get’s use beyond cycling. If you’re in the market for a new pair of medium/light winter gloves anyways the Handup winter gloves make a great buy.
Handup provided us a sample of these gloves for review.
After a strikingly unique teaser video featuring Christopher Walken the new YT Jeffsey MK2 is here. Much has changed with both the 29er Jeffsey and the 27.5 Jeffsey. The geometry of the bikes is revised and build kits are revised as well.
We won’t try to go over every change of every build in detail here. But here are some highlights of the geo changes. The 29er version of the Jeffsey has seen the most dramatic changes. The seat tube angle has been steepened from 74.5 to 77 degrees while the headtube has been slackened out by 1 degree from 67 to 66 degrees. The reach has also been lengthened for each size.
On the 27.5 version, the changes have been less drastic but you do still get a seat tube that is steeper by 1 degree and a head tube slackened out half a degree from 66.5 to 66. degrees. The reach has been bump up slightly as well.
The the build kit side the base aluminum model no longer comes with a mix and match drivetrain. SRAM NX Eagle is specced along with SRAM T 4 piston brakes. Fox suspension is found front and rear with a respectable 34 Float Rhythm fork and a Float DPS Performance shock. Wheels are DT SWISS M 1900 SPLINE rounded out with an assortment of Raceface cockpit parts and a SDG Tellis dropper.
The amazing part of all this? The base aluminum model costs only $2,299.00 with carbon fiber models stepping up from there. Now you won’t get dealer support so any issues you will have to work directly with YT on. But, the value of these bikes is pretty undeniable for those looking to get into an adequately specced full suspension bike.
Nukeproof has announced its new version of the Digger dropbar bike. Generally known as a mountain bike specific company building enduro sleds for riders like Sam Hill and Elliot Heap, Nukeproof has released the Digger as a bike aimed directly at mountain bikers who want a training bike that matches their riding style.
The bike comes specced with WTB Sendero 650x47C tires but the frame can clear 27.5×2.3″ or 29×2.1″ mountain tires. The frame features rack mounts, internal cable routing and dropper post routing. A removable seat stay bridge allows you to create more mud clearance or run full length mudguards.
The frame is a triple-butted, hydroformed alloy paired with with a carbon fork. It features through axles, a threaded bottom bracket and geometry that is ready for gravel/singletrack/road/training adventures.
The Digger comes in two builds, the Digger Pro and the Digger Comp. Both feature 1x drivetrains and hydraulic brakes. The Digger Pro gets a SRAM Rival 11-Speed speed build and includes a Brand X Ascend internal, 120mm dropper. The Comp version has a fixed seatpost and a SRAM Apex 11-Speed groupset.
The comp version will start at $1350 and the pro version will be available at $1700.
Cycling has many facets, adventure, athletics, technology… the list could go on and on. One facet that many riders find fascinating is the data around their rides. Strava is a central hub for this data for a huge number of riders, but there is one area that Strava does not provide data on even with their Summit plans: weather. That’s where the Klimat.app comes in.
Klimat is a web app that connects to Strava and inserts weather data into the description of your ride after it is finished. Some other tracking software (such as Garmin Connect) has had a similar feature built into their software, but this feature has been lacking from Strava.
The Klimat app is transparent to your Strava usage once you connect it to your account on the Klimat.app site. When an activity is saved in Strava, Klimat automatically adds weather data. No syncing activities or pushing buttons in apps needed. I really liked how I could set it and forget about it.
The format of the weather data you are presented with can be customized in the Klimat settings screen. Beyond simple customizations the units of measurement, you can fully customize what data is attached to each ride. You can also add both start of ride and end of ride measurements.
A sample of what a saved activity looks like with beginning and ending activity weather stats.
Klimat also includes a dashboard that shows the weather stats for your activities along with some average stats. I like these running averages and would love to see this area of the app expanded with even more stats. Seeing how temperature affects my performance on segments would be interesting for example.
The Klimat dashboard with averages and activities.
The basic version of Klimat.app is free so there’s no reason not to give it a try. You can also upgrade to the paid version for one dollar a month. This paid version provides advanced features like, weather conditions from the end of your activity, additional data fields, removal of branding from the description and more.
Handup has made a name for itself as a maker of bold, no-nonsense cycling gloves. Now Handup is expanding its line to include full kits of riding apparel, but in a unique style that fits what Handup represents. The new FlexTop Flannel and A.T. Pant combine to provide riders with apparel that fits in equally well on the trail, at work or the bar.
The FlexTop Flannel is a button down flannel shirt with some unique, rider focused features. As the name suggests, the “FlexTop” is a cotton/polyester blend patch, stretching from chest to back, so the shirt flexes while riding. The FlexTop also features an extended back to keep your rear covered in all situations. Beyond this Handup has chosen to keep these shirts simple in design. Adding just enough features to make them rider friendly while keeping the cost at an extremely reasonable $44.
The A.T Pant (All Time Pant) follows a similar design philosophy. Featuring zippered pockets and a super stretchy Poly/elastane blend of fabric, Handup seems to be hitting the most important features needed by all riders. The cut is also cyclist friendly, with tapered legs to prevent your chain and pants from getting mixed up. Just like with the FlexTop flannel, Handup has delivered all these features for under $50. These pants retail for $48 and come in two colors.
By offering both riding pants and shirt for a combined price of under $100, it seems like Handup has come up with a pretty compelling offer. We can’t wait to get our hands on some of these and report back with a full review.
Many mountain bikers ride alone and a fear many riders (and their loved ones) share is crashing hard in the woods and never making it back out. Two new products claim to offer a digital solution to adding some safety while riding solo.
A new line of helmets from Specialized will be featuring ANGi (Angular and G-force indicator). This devise, features an accelerometer and gyroscope as well as a bluetooth radio to connect to your phone. Without that phone connection it appears that the ANGi won’t really do anything. The key is the Specialized Ride app that connects to the ANGi sensors alerts your loved ones when a crash is detected.
This feature of course relies on your cell phone having signal in order to send a text. Many areas where I ride, cell signal is spotty at best. To try to get around this the Specialized Ride app allows you to also set an expected ride time. If you go over your ride time, the app will alert your loved ones with your last known location when your phone had a connection.
ANGi helmets get a 1-year subscription to the premium version of Specialized’s Ride App. After the first year, there’s a $29.99 annual fee for the service. The sensor alone, which can be fitted to any 2019 specialized helmet retails for $50. The most affordable mountain helmet with ANGi preinstalled is the $95 Tactic III
The second new product comes from a new company out of Denmark. The TILT sensor works in much the same way as ANGi by connecting to an app on smartphone. However, the sensor attaches to your wheel like a speed sensor instead of to your helmet. Whether one method is better than the other for preventing false alerts will remain to be seen as people start using these products.
The TILT detection system also includes a unique social feature that will alert any other TILT users of a crash in their area. To make this even remotely effective though TILT would need a lot of users. While this feature sounds nice on paper, it feels like the likelihood of another TILT user being on the same trail system at the same time to be very low at this point.
The TILT system integrates with the SingleTracker app that supports a social network of sorts and online mapping. I took the app for a little test drive and it appears that they are building their trail maps from scratch. As a result, there are almost no trails mapped in the U.S.
There’s a new kid on the block in the world of flat pedal footwear. Ride Concepts is launching its session series of shoes November 30th. The Session series will be available in four different models for Men, Women and Youth. It looks like Ride Concepts’ offering will line up squarely against a market dominated by FiveTen.
The Session shoe series starts with a standard flat shoe, the Livewire. It’s followed up by a hightop design, the Wildcat and is rounded out by a more hardened shoe, the Hellion and a sandal, the Coaster. On each of these shoes, Ride Concepts has teamed up with Rubber Kinetics to create rubber compounds for the tread.
The shoes have been designed with the strikes and impacts that mountain bikers experience on the trail in mind. In another collaboration, Ride Concepts has teamed up with D3O, a design and technology company that makes high performance impact protection products. The shoes feature, D3O High Impact Zone Insole Technology along with custom molded toe and heel guard protection.
The proof will of course be in the riding, but these shoes look to be a thoughtful new entry in the flat pedal shoe market. You can find out more about these shoes at https://rideconcepts.com/
Recording and posting MTB rides has become increasingly popular. Even here at Everyday MTB we’ve gotten into the act of sharing some of our rides on YouTube. These videos however are not cheap to produce. Professional mountain bike vloggers are often carrying over $1000 worth of video equipment on their rides. I wanted to see what kind of POV mountain biking camera setup I could put together for less than $300. Here’s What I came up with:
The biggest differentiator between amateurish looking helmet and chest cams and professional smooth looking POV videos is the stabilization system. Most professional MTB vloggers today are using gimbals to achieve this smooth, fluid video. The gimbal not only smooths out all of the bumps of the trail, it also keeps the horizon level which is key to producing watchable POV shots that don’t make your viewers sick.
Many riders swear by the EVO SS gimbal. It’s compact design and 3 axis stabilization make it ideal for chest mounted footage. However it does come with a $250 price tag. If I was even going to come close to my sub $300 goal I’d have to find something cheaper.
Enter the Hohem XG1 Gimbal. This gimbal has a very similar form factor to the EVO SS but costs only $149. The Hohem XG1 also has 3 axis stabilization and mobile app for fine tuning settings.
Some features are not quite as nice as the EVO. For example the battery is not removable, so if you wish to extend your battery life an external battery pack is needed.
The next item that was needed was a camera to mount in the gimbal. The Hohem gimbal uses a clamping mechanism that cam accommodate a variety of cameras.
To stay in my budget, I opted for the YI lite action camera. This camera is not capable of 4k 30fps but it can to 1080p just fine and it also features wi-fi connectivity both for live view and review of footage. YI is a large electronics manufacturer in China so I chose to go with a brand that I though might have some sort of quality control.
The controls on the YI Lite action camera are easy to use with a touch screen that works surprisingly well. There is a power/record button on the top, along with the internal mic.
The final piece of my mountain biking gimbal setup was the Stuntman Chest Harness. Suggested by several YouTubers, this chest harness features a flexible ball mounting system and a larger chest plate for increased stability. I was very impressed with the quality of this Harness and it’s probably the most premium part of my setup. Still, at only 36.99 it isn’t a huge investment.
How Does it Work?
So how did my components work together? All of the products I selected fit together without any special finagling. I took it out for some of my first test rides on a trip to North Carolina. Overall for an untested system it worked great! However there were a few shortcomings. First, the gimbal was sluggish in turns. If you watch the videos from my North Carolina trip you can see that the gimbal lags behind in turns and I ended up having to cut out footage with sharper turns.
The Hohem gimbal comes with an app and bluetooth connectivity that lets you fine tune responsiveness and dead zones of each axis. However, even after making these adjustments, I couldn’t get the gimbal to keep up. I finally figured out that some axis of the Hohem gimbal are more responsive than others, I’m not sure if different motors are used or perhaps the sensors are different. At any rate if I adjusted the mounting of the gimbal so that it was hanging “upside down” on my chest mount, the gimbal tracks through turns beautifully.
Mounted in this upside down orientation the gimbal tracks through turns well.
Here is an example of the tracking in the proper orientation:
The next challenge that I had was eliminating wind noise. This is a challenge with just about any bike mounted camera. The YI Lite action camera did ok but not great out of the box. Thankfully the fix was free and easy. Since the mics are mounted on the top of the camera, I took a piece of felt and electrical taped it to the top of the camera. It still slides into the gimbal mount fine and the audio is much improved.
Felt electrical-taped to the top to reduce wind noise.
The final challenge that I had was dealing with the battery life of the gimbal. The YI action camera has replaceable batteries and they last for a very long time as is. The gimbal on the other hand was done after about 40 to 60 minutes of riding. This was fine for a short riding video. But, it required careful management of the battery resources as the battery is non-replaceable.
There is a solution though. The Hohem Gimbal can be charged while in use through the USB port on the gimbal. This means that I can simply pack an external battery pack (like what you use to charge a cell phone) and cable while on longer rides and charge while I ride. I did this successfully on a full lift service day and had no trouble having gimbal power all day.
My Next Upgrade
All told this setup cost me $300 and is capable of producing some great content. So what is still lacking from my setup? I would say video quality. The YI Lite while great for was it is really doesn’t do too well with fast-moving subjects. The compression tends to smear the video and give a compressed, blocky look. Upgrading to a used Hero 4 Black would set me back about another $50 over my current setup and I think it would be worth the bump in quality.
Kind of like runners always searching for the perfect shoe or motorheads looking for the next engine tweak it seems like mountain bikers are constantly searching for a better way to carry their tools, food and water on the trail. The options are limitless. Lately an option from 30 years ago has come back into style: fanny packs. The Dakine Hot Laps 5L takes the basic concept of a fanny pack, or Enduro Pack, or Lumbar Bag, whatever makes you feel less embarrassed, and puts it on steroids (pardon my road racing pun). The Hot Laps 5L adds a full hydration system, cooling vents, internal storage pockets and a clever synching system.
Starting from the outside, the Dakine Hot Laps 5L features a well thought out belt system. The large buckle features a single-sides cinch system and a handy elastic keeper for the slack strap. Attached to the strap is a large padded area that reaches around an average sized pair of hips. The padding along the sides and back also features engineered venting to provide additional cooling. Lumbar packs make a lot of sense in hot conditions where a full backpack would produce massive back sweat. So, this additional venting is welcome.
The pack itself features two main compartments. The one closest to your body holds the hydration bladder. Specially designed by Dakine, the 2L bladder features an internal baffle that helps it hold it’s shape even when it is not full. The bladder also has a fold over opening at the top for filling and cleaning that is secured with a sliding clip.
The hose for the bladder is routed out a slit in the side of the pack. It is designed to wrap around one hip and all the way to the other where it is secured with a magnetic buckle that is the best I have ever used. It goes beyond being a simple magnet and includes a clip that holds it securely while riding yet is easy to remove with a twist.
The second compartment contains organizing pockets for all the bits and bobs you bring on a ride. I have found that I am able to bring all of my standard equipment along with a couple of bars easily in this compartment. I run out of room though if I try to pack along camera gear as well. Which is when my Osprey Daylight comes back out.
A typical carry for a 2 hour ride. Not pictured: phone and hydration bladder.
The first thing you will notice when switching from a backpack to a hip pack is just how free your shoulders and back feel. The Dakine Hot Laps 5L definitely delivers in this departments. With no straps going over my shoulders and across my chest I felt much more “free” while riding.
However, after loading up the Dakine for the first time I also realized that hip packs are much more sensitive to loading, setup and weight. If the straps are too tight they would constrict my stomach while riding. Too loose and the pack would be bouncing all over the place. In that just right amount of tension though, the Hot Laps pack is a pleasure to ride with. Don’t be surprised if you have to experiment and adjust to find the right fit.
Compression straps on the sides help to eliminate bouncing and hold your load close to your body.
I found that if I loaded the Hot Laps 5L with a full load of water and my tools / nutrition I would get stomach pain no matter how I adjusted the pack. In my case I found that about 2/3 full on the hydration bladder is all that can be carried comfortably. On the bright side, the hydration bladder tastes good, and is a joy to use. As mentioned earlier, the magnetic latch mechanism is secure, yet easy to use. I had no trouble grabbing a drink on smoother sections of trail. My only other complaint with the bladder is that the hose doesn’t have any sort of shut off, which would be nice to prevent leaks during transport.
Overall the Hot Laps 5L is a very capable fanny pack and it has found a permanent place in my lineup of go-to bags. The option of running hydration or extra storage along with the freedom a fanny pack provides has made me a convert for most rides lasting less than two and a half hours.