Specialized announced that it is starting a “Click and Collect” program available immediately on https://www.specialized.com/. The program allows bike and equipment purchases online and then have them delivered to your nearest dealer. When you select “click and collect” as a delivery method, products will be available for pickup in 2-4 days for equipment and for bikes, 6-8 days.
“Today, with over 50% of the purchase journeys initiated online, we have to evolve and adapt the ways we work together with our retailers to serve the rider,” said Jeff McGuane, USA Market Leader. “Over the past 3 years, we have invested significantly into technologies that enable our marketing to drive more riders into our retailer’s doors.
You’ll still need to get to your nearest specialized dealer in order to pick up your bike or equipment. For some this is not a big deal. For others, in less densely populated areas this still may be a major stumbling block. For instance when I went through the checkout process to locate my nearest participating dealer I found that I would have to drive a hour and a half away to pick up my online purchase.
100% has launched it’s protection collection for 2019 that includes 4 different lines of pads. Each line includes both elbow and knee pad options and offer varying levels protections.
Ridecamp is the lightest duty pads in the lineup. They feature a slip on sleeve with ventilated rear mesh. The pad is pre-curved to be in a natural riding position and the protection itself is lightly padded nylon for abrasion protection. These pads are geared toward XC and light trail use. Knee pads and elbow pads are $59 and $49 respectively.
Stepping up in the amount of protection provided, the Teratec line features a moderately padded with nylon anti-abrasion outer skin. This pad is impacted tested with Level 1 CE Protection. Like the Ridcamp line, Teratec features a slip on sleeve with ventilated rear mesh. The Teratec knee pads and elbow pads retail for $69 and $59 respectively.
The Fortis is a non-slip on design that features a injection molded protective shell for abrasion resistance and Level 1 CE impact protection. It is attached with a hook and loop thigh and calf closure along with a security cinch. These pads are billed as, “light enough for cross country, protective enough for gravity rides and breathable enough for everything in between.” Knee pads and elbow pads in the Fortis line are $79 and $69.
The heaviest duty pads, the Surpass line, are Level 2 CE certified. They feature a rubberized ventilated outer skin. The Surpass pads are a slip on design that also feature cinch straps for added security. 100% has worked to keep these heaviest duty pads pedalable though by adding an internal elastic flex joint. The Surpass knee pads and elbow pads retail for $139 and $129.
Coinciding with Sedona Mountain Bike Fest Diamondback has brought a 29er version of it’s popular Release trail bike to market. Coming in two versions this alloy bike fills a obvious hole in Diamondbacks line of trail bikes. Up until this point Diamondback did not have any 29er full suspension bikes in it’s lineup for those that wanted to run bigger wheels.
The Release 29 shares the same suspension platform, Level Link, with the 27.5″ versions of the release. It also share much of the same geometry numbers with only small tweaks to accommodate the 29″ wheels and make them perform well. The rear suspension stays at 130mm while the fork is reduced by 10mm to 150mm of travel.
There are two version of the Release 29 available, the Release 29 2 and the Release 29 3. Both are alloy frames with with fox suspension. The 29 2 is the base model at $2,699.99. Highlights on the build are a Fox Float DPS EVOL LV rear shock, Fox Rhythm 34 fork and Shimano SLX drivetrain and brakes.
Release 29 2
Fox Float DPS EVOL LV, Performance, 3 Position Lever, 200x57mm, 22.2mm Eyelet Width
Minnesota based Salsa Cycles has unveiled it 2019 line of full suspension mountain bikes. Most bikes in the lineup are available in carbon and alloy with a variety of build options. With the travel ranging from 150mm/130mm all the way down to 120mm/100mm bike the Salsa lineup covers quite a range.
All of the bikes feature a split pivot rear suspension design that Salsa has used in past. However, Salsa has made refinements to this platform. Salsa redesigned the leverage rates and worked to improved braking and pedaling performance. They also added metric shock comparability and a Flip Chip that allows riders to adjust the bottom bracket height and head tube angle.
This is Salsa’s biggest bike in the lineup. The rustler is a 27.5 trail bike with 130mm travel out back and a 150mm fork. It only comes in carbon and has two builds: Rustler Carbon GX Eagle and Rustler Carbon NX Eagle. The NX build retails for $4,199 and the GX build retails for $5,199.
OTTOLOCK has released a new version of it’s locks that are even heavier duty. Intended to balance portability and security, the OTTOLOCK HEXBAND uses the same basic design as the original OTTOLOCK, but adds six stainless steel band layers instead of the three. It has a unique coiling band that is very compact when stowed.
Even with this added strength the lock is still light and compact. It is available in 3 lengths: 18” (190g), 30” (250g), 60” (375g). When stored it coils to a 3 inch diameter. This means that the HEXBAND can fit in a jersey pocket, small pack or using one of their on bike mounts.
The locking mechanism itself is a 3-dial combination lock that can be reset, combined with a unique strap closure mechanism that makes the entire package compact and sleek.
OTTOLOCK is very clear that this is not a perfect solution for every bike security situation. OTTO DesignWorks notes that all bike locks can be defeated by a motivated thief with proper tools, technique, and time. Even so, it seems like it could be a great option for throwing in your pack when you might find yourself stopping at a coffee shop or leaving your bike at a trailhead for a short time.
Minnesota based Framed Bikes has long been associated with a whole slew of fat bike options including full suspension fat bikes and to a lesser extent 27.5+ hardtails and road and adventure bikes. Now framed has launched in a new direction with their Bootlegger Carbon, full suspension XC bike.
The Bootlegger features a horst link 4 bar linkage suspension system with 100mm of travel. It’s also designed to be run with a 100mm fork up front. The geometry chart checks out as being in line with the latest crop of XC race rockets, 68 degree head tube angle, 438mm chainstays and 428mm reach on a medium.
The Framed Bootlegger comes in 3 different builds. The base model is the “NX 1×12 – Rockshox with Alloy Wheels” build and retails for a very tempting $2,299.95. The next build up is the NX 1×12 – Fox with Alloy Wheels build that goes for $2,599.95. The final build that goes for $2,999.95 is the NX 1×12 – Fox with Carbon Wheels. A Carbon XC bike with for 3000 dollars is rare, one with carbon wheels is just about unheard of.
Weights for the builds have not been published but on paper there is nothing to suggest that this bike wouldn’t be a very capable XC race contender. Framed has specced the bikes modestly with NX drivetrains, SRAM level brakes and in house alloy cockpit components. But for the price each of the builds seems very compelling.
Hot on the heels of SRAM announcing the $2000 AXS system, a relatively unknown drivetrain maker, Microshift, has something on the other end of the spectrum. The $125, 9 Speed, Microshift Advent. This is definitely not a drivetrain that you’ll be trying to impress your mates at the trailhead with and no it doesn’t have it’s own app. But, the Microshift Advent does present an extremely affordable, clutch drivetrain that offers a 381% range. For comparison’s sake that’s the same as SRAM’s NX 11 speed offering.
So what does $125 of drivetrain buy exactly? Well you get a $59.99 derailleur, a $39.99 cassette, and a $24.99 shifter. The most interesting part of this drivetrain is probably the derailleur. It features a clutch that uses a proprietary ratchet-and-pawl tension assembly. The clutch features a modular design that is also easily adjustable and fully repairable. Having a clutch at this pricepoint means 1x retrofits are in theory much more affordable while still being reliable.
The cassette provides an 11-42 range which as noted, is the same range as SRAM NX 11 speed. The gear spacing is 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-34-42. Currently on a day to day basis I ride 11 speed SRAM GX which is a 10-42 range and I find that I don’t necessarily need every step in that range. I would be interested to downgrade to 9 speed and see if there’s any noticeable gaps. As far as construction is concerned, the cassette features a machined aluminum large cog for reduced weight and carbon steel cogs for the rest of the cassette.
The shifter itself is a relatively simple looking affair. There are sealed lever bearings reduce design to reduce shifting effort. It should also be noted that the cable pull is not compatible with SRAM or Shimano drive-trains, so it appears that mixing and matching won’t be an option.
Handup is a bike apparel company known mainly for its gloves. They even have “hand” in their name. Recently though they’ve branched out into other apparel as well. Handup sent us over a pair of their new A.T. (All Time) riding pants for review, and boy am I glad they did.
Finding pants that work well for mountain biking can be a challenge. It seems many apparel companies spend 90% of their energy working on shorts. Pants, if even included in a line, are an afterthought. I must say I’m not at all a fan of the shorts with tights underneath look. So, I don’t consider that a solution for mountain biking under 50 degrees.
Pants often are not flexible enough, have too wide of legs or are made of the wrong material. The Handup A.T. pants has answers for all of these concerns.
The Handup A.T. pants are made of a super stretchy Poly/elastane fabric. While not waterproof these pants are not clammy, horrible cotton. The pants are inspired by the skinny jeans that many of us wore growing up riding, but the stretchy fabric combined with slim cut means that they are ridiculously comfortable. They really feel as good as wearing spandex while being one thousand times less dorky.
Handup didn’t stop with flexible fabric and great cut though. They’ve also added other riding focused features. My favorite? Zippered pockets. Why don’t all riding pants and shorts have zippered pockets? I often keep my phone or a car key in my pockets and I never cease to be paranoid about them falling out. Deep zippered pockets fix this problem once and for all. The pockets are deep enough to fit my large smartphone without issue.
Other great features include a drawstring that allows the pants to continue to fit well without a belt. There is a reflective HANDUP logo for an added touch of night-ride safety.
Other than that logo the pants are extremely understated in their styling and don’t look like “bike wear.” They look equally at home on the trail or hanging out afterwards. I’ve found that I wear these pants pretty much whenever they are clean, whether I’m riding or not!
Riding in the Handup A.T. pants is a pleasure. They fit super well. Don’t catch on my saddle and the tapered ankles never give me a concern about getting tangled up in my chainring. The flexibility of the pants means that I can move around on the bike just as comfortably as when riding in shorts.
The pants do a good job of staying relatively dry when riding on sloppy days yet they stay very breathable in warmer temperatures. I’ve found that in extreme cold (below freezing) wearing a base layer underneath provides an extremely comfortable ride.
The Handup A.T. pants retail for $48, which by my estimation is pretty much a steal of a deal. They are currently available in two colors, Olive Green and Black. I’ll definitely be picking up multiple pairs of my new favorite pants.P
MIPS Technology adds a low friction layer that allows independent movement between the outer shell of the helmet and the wearers skull. This ability to absorb rotational forces helps to reduce the change of head injuries in the event of a crash.
The RESET MIPS is available in two colorways and seven sizes (yes, you heard that right, seven). Claimed weight for a medium is 1100g (size medium). They are available today for $150.
Keeping your tires inflated is a pretty basic need while mountain biking, but it comes with several challenges. There are two potential valve standards, the valve is tucked between spokes, you have to carry this device with you in order for it to be useful and last but not least, you don’t want to spend your entire riding time inflating your tires. We’ll be looking at the Lezyne Sport Drive HV hand pump to see how it stacks up to all of these challenges.
The Lezyne Sport Drive HV takes on the challenge of keeping your tires inflated while on the go with a clever design. Unlike many mini pumps that feature a valve head attached directly to the barrel of the pump the Lezyne Sport Drive HV features a separate hose hidden in the body of the pump that attaches to your valve and to the pump. This mini hose is reversible to allow connection to both presta and shrader valves.
The flexible hose also reduces any lateral pressure on the valve stem while using the pump. This is really a key feature in my mind as the last thing you want to do while inflating your tire is bend or break a valve stem.
The HV, in “Lezyne Sport Drive HV” stands for, high volume. Lezyne sells both high pressure and high volume versions of its pumps. The HV version is better suited to mountain biking as the volume of tires is high while the pressure remains relatively low.
When I got the Sport Drive HV I was a little concerned that it would be inconvenient to use since I needed to connect a hose and screw it on, on both ends in order to use it. In reality, this hasn’t been an issue at all. Of course this is not the ideal tool for a race situation. But, for everyday use the Sport Drive HV is by no means inconvenient. I must say I actually prefer the security of the hose being screwed to the valve stem instead of being attached by a more traditional chuck.
Another major concern with mini pumps is that you’ll end up spending half an hour crouched on the ground furiously attempting to get enough air into your tire. The Sport Drive HV claims to do a better job than traditional pumps at inflating high volume mountain bike tires. I took my 29″ Maxxis Ardent 2.4 and tried inflating them from zero pressure up to 20PSI. It took about 250 pump strokes, but those pumps are small and I was able to get the tire re-inflated to a riding pressure in under 5 minutes.
The Sport Drive HV itself features a metal body with plastic used for some of the small parts. Included with the pump is a waterbottle cage mount. I find the cage mount to actually be very useful. I like having the pump attached to my bike and I never have to worry if I remembered my pump. Both ends feature rubber caps that work well for keeping mud and gunk out of the internals.
I’ve been very happy with the Lezyne Sport Drive Hv and for the price I don’t think you can go wrong. It would be nice to have a pressure gauge and it could be faster to get connected, but overall I really like this pump.
Flexible hose work well at reducing strain on valve