Shimano has today announced details of a new Di2 electronic version of its top-tier XTR mountain bike groupset.
Rumours, as well as leaked images of the group, have been floating around the net for some time, but now everything is official we can give you the full run-down.
XTR M9050 marks the first migration of electronic shifting technology into the world of mountain bikes. The system will use one battery and remain wired, using already proven parts from Shimano’s Ultegra and Dura-Ace road Di2 groups.
So what are the advantages? Shimano claims that XTR Di2 will offer faster and more accurate shifting. Also, with no cables to stretch, it’s said to offer shifting consistency that a mechanical transmission cannot match. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but one part of XTR Di2 that we really should be taking notice of is Syncro Shift – for those who are running double or triple set-ups it could be a game changer.
Syncro Shift allows the rider to control both front and rear derailleurs with one shifter. Simply shift up or down and the transmission will follow a pre-programmed (and customisable) shifting map, moving both derailleurs when necessary to find the next ratio while maintaining a good chain line. So, that’s less clutter at the bar and more time to worry about things other than gear selection.
XTR Di2 shares its chainset, cassette and chain with Shimano’s recently announced?mechanical XTR M9000 groupset,?so that means Di2 options for single, double and triple transmissions.
The new M9050 rear derailleur does a great job of hiding away its motor, which is 50 percent more powerful than the one you’ll find in Shimano’s road Di2 derailleurs. That’s to combat the additional weight that muddy conditions can add to the components.
Just like its mechanical brother, the RD-M9050 has Shimano’s?
The derailleur will be available in a short- and long-cage option, with the former weighing a claimed 289g.
The XTR Di2 front derailleur is less subtle than its rear counterpart. It has a claimed weight of 115g and features the same auto trimming technology as the company’s Di2 road components.
Thanks to Syncro Shift functionality, XTR Di2 can be set up to run with either one or two shifters at the handlebar, even with a triple chainset. The shifter isn’t really a shifter, it’s simply a switch that’s been given a short yet positive throw to try to replicate the feel of a conventional unit. The claimed weight is 64g per unit.
The brain of this groupset is a small handlebar mounted LCD display. While riding, the display communicates essential information such as battery level, gear position and shift mode (whether or not Synchro Shift is activated). It’s integrated with Fox’s electric iCD suspension adjustment system – where the bottom right of the display includes an element which shows the suspension mode of a compatible fork and shock. It certainly leaves the door open for nerdy types and perhaps other manufacturers to exploit in the future.
The display also functions as a charging point for the system and a connection to Shimano’s E-tube software, where – just like in Shimano’s road applications – riders can customise a wide range of functions.
Bottle cage mount will not be the only option (L) – notice the wires emerging from the head tube (R)
The battery unit as well as the wiring for XTR Di2 are identical components to the ones used in Shimano’s electronic road groups. The battery can be mounted on a bottle cage, in a seat tube and can even be contained within the steerer unit of certain forks (although full details on this haven’t yet fully emerged).?
Di2 technology has, just like it did for the first generation in the world of road, debuted at the top-end of Shimano’s mountain biking range. The pricing alone is likely to keep these parts out of the hands of anyone other than Shimano-sponsored athletes and the very wealthy.?
Stay tuned to?BikeRadar?for our first ride impressions on XTR Di2 soon.
Setting up tubeless mountain bike tyres is nothing to be afraid of, but there is an easy way and a hard way to go about it. These five tips will save you the time and headaches that can accompany your first attempt at going tubeless.
This might seem elementary – almost not worth mentioning – except for the fact that many riders (myself included) have been running tyres designed for use with tubes without tubes many years. There’s no shortage of tubeless-ready or true UST tyres available these days (look for the badge), so stick with them for the most dependable tubeless setup.?
What’s the difference between UST and tubeless-ready tyres??UST stands for Universal Standard for Tubeless. This dictates tight tolerances between the tyre’s bead and the rim.?
UST tyres generally have an additional layer of butyl in the casing, to make them airtight without sealant. They also tend to be heavier and have stiffer casings, which is one reason tubeless-ready tyres have become more prevalent.?
Tubeless-ready tyres forgo the additional airtight layer, relying instead on sealant, but use a similar reinforced bead to aid in seating the tyre.
Again, it’s not rocket science. And, yes, many rims can be converted for tubeless use. Thankfully, the majority of mid- to high-end mountain bike wheelsets now come with UST or tubeless-compatible rims. As with tyres, there are some notable differences between UST and tubeless-compatible rims.
Stan’s NoTubes rims are the most prevalent tubeless-compatible design, and several other companies license the design. In a nutshell, NoTubes rims have a shallower drop channel (the center of the rim), which aids in initial inflation, and a tighter-fitting bead hook to hold the tyre in place.
A number of companies license the Stan’s NoTubes tubeless rim profile
UST rims are made to work with UST-rated tyres, which generally ensures they will inflate with very little fuss. One downside of non-UST systems is the lack of adherence to tight tolerances between various rim and tyre manufacturers.
There can be enough variance between non-UST rims and tyres that one might need to add an additional layer, or two, of tubeless tape in order to create a tight enough interface to inflate the tyre with a floor pump. Try inflating the tyre without sealant first – if you can’t seat it then you might need to add an additional layer of rim tape.
Spraying the tyre and rim with soapy water will allow the rubber to snap into place at a lower pressure. This is important because many tyres, even those with tubeless-ready beads, should not be inflated to more than 40 or 50psi (depending on volume). Exceeding these pressures can cause damage to the tyre and rim.
A light spritzing of soapy water on the tyre/rim interface will help the bead pop into place
This is my personal mantra. I want all my tubeless setups to be field serviceable. If I’m on a road trip or at a race and need to swap tyres I still want to be able to run them tubeless.?There’s one cheat I occasionally use to speed things along: remove the valve core when first seating a tyre
Remove the valve core during initial inflation for stubborn tubeless tyres
Removing the valve core will allow you to push more air into the tyre faster. Once you hear the bead snap into place, remove the pump and replace the valve core. Don’t worry too much about air loss when reinstalling the valve core; once the bead is locked into place the tyre will be much easier to reinflate.?
Tyre sealant has a finite lifespan. Make a point of checking your tyres to ensure the sealant hasn’t dried out. You might find that your sealant remains in liquid form for many months, maybe even a year, if you live in a cool, wet climate. If you live in a dry climate, you might need to add sealant every couple months.
All the sealant in this tyre has dried out but a fresh splash of sealant will keep it airtight
Knowing how to repair a puncture is an essential skill that every cyclist needs to master. It can be daunting for the inexperienced but only takes a few minutes once you know what you’re doing.
In this video, BikeRadar’s James Tennant explains how to carry out the task in a step-by-step walkthough, which demonstrates the procedure on a mountain bike.
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Need to stock up on tools before you start? You can purchase Park Tools used in the video at a number of dealers across the UK and internationally.
Here’s written instructions for those who prefer them to visual demos.
Starting at the valve, check all the way around the tyre’s tread to ﬁnd the cause of the puncture. Remove any glass or grit that you spot. Even if you ﬁnd one possible cause, continue checking the tyre until you get back to the valve.
Let the air out of the inner tube and push the valve up into the tyre – unscrewing and retaining the valve ring, if ﬁtted. On the side of the wheel opposite the valve, slip a tyre lever under the tyre’s bead and a further tyre lever about 5cm away. Pull the nearer tyre lever (available from all good bike shops) towards you, lifting the tyre’s bead over the edge of the rim.
Continue until one bead of the tyre is completely free of the rim. Pull the tube out. Remove the tyre completely from the rim – with most tyres this can be done by hand unless exceptionally tight.
Note: it’s not always essential to remove the tube from the tyre, as the video above demonstrates.
Inﬂate the tube and listen for air escaping. Passing the surface of the tube over the lips is a favourite trick of mine. If the hole still can’t be found, re-inﬂate the tube and pass it through a bowl of water until you spot escaping bubbles. Then dry the tube before proceeding to the next step.
Take care – do not twist a push-fit pump on the valve. The pump should be pushed on straight and pulled off with a single straight pull. The stem nut can easily be broken off if the pump is twisted sideways.
Select the correct size of patch – use a bigger rather than a smaller patch if in doubt. Roughen the surface of the tube around the hole with emery paper. Ensure that any moulding marks are ﬂattened completely. Apply one drop of tyre cement and spread it thinly with your ﬁnger over a 2cm circle around the hole. Allow to dry. Apply a second thin layer similarly. Once again, allow to dry – the rubber cement will change from shiny to matt.
Inﬂate the tube slightly – this will help to highlight the position of the hole. Firmly press the patch into place after removing the backing foil. If there’s a thin cellophane backing on the patch, it can be left on. Dust the repair with chalk, talcum powder or road dust to prevent it sticking to the tyre casing.
Before reﬁtting the tube, double-check the tyre casing from inside for the cause of your puncture. On one occasion after riding a canal towpath with hedge clippings, I found over half a dozen thorns! Placing the tube over the tyre will help to you to discover the position of the puncture. Run your ﬁngertips carefully around the inside of the tyre to feel for the cause of the puncture and remove.
After repairing the tube and checking the tyre for glass, thorns or any other sharp debris, reﬁt one bead to the rim. Slightly inﬂate the tube and reﬁt it to the rim, putting the valve through its hole ﬁrst. Starting at the opposite side of the rim to the valve, use your thumbs to lift the tyre’s bead (the part of the tyre that connects the rim to the wheel) over the rim. Work around the rim until there’s just one small section of tyre left. Push the valve up into the tyre and then, using your thumbs, ease the remaining section of the tyre’s bead over the edge of the rim.
Check that the tube isn’t trapped between the rim and the tyre bead. Inﬂate to the point where the tyre feels soft but has maintained its shape. Check that the moulding mark around the tyre follows the rim evenly all the way around. If not, deﬂate a little and ease any high spots down and pull low spots up until the bead is ﬁtted evenly.
Inﬂate to the recommended pressure and check once again that the tyre’s bead is still seated evenly and that the tyre isn’t lifting off the rim at any point. Finally, check that the tread is running reasonably straight by spinning the wheel. If not, deﬂate the tyre and start again from the beginning of this step.
Two small holes in a tube placed fairly close together indicate a pinch puncture. This is caused by the tube getting trapped between the tyre and the rim when riding over a sharp object. Tyres not inﬂated hard enough are a frequent cause of this. Check that the tyre’s sidewall isn’t cut. If it is, you may need to use an emergency repair – see the ‘Emergency tyre repairs’ section below.
A hole on the inner side of the tube indicates that the puncture was caused by a spoke head. Check around the inside of the rim to ensure that the rim tape properly covers the spoke holes and no spoke end protrudes above the inner surface of the rim. If this happens it’ll need ﬁling down.
A less common cause of a puncture is a rough edge to the valve hole rim. The puncture will be at the base of the valve and will not be repairable.
Pump aside, all this should pack in an underseat bag.
Check your tyres for cuts in the tread, swelling in the sidewall, or serious wear. Tyres with cuts, swelling or casing visible through the tread must be replaced. Remove any grit or glass embedded in the tread. Check your tyre pressures with a proper gauge. Tyres inﬂated to the correct tyre pressure will have fewer punctures and a longer life. The recommended pressures are normally marked on the sidewall of the tyre.
Repairing a puncture is very difﬁcult in the rain as the patch will not stick to the tube. Instead, ﬁt the spare tube that you always carry! The spare tube is also essential if a tyre blows off a rim, or if the tube is cut by the valve hole.
Double over a largish section of heavy duty polythene. Trim off a piece 10cm wider than the gash and 5cm wider than the tyre. Remove the tyre from the rim. Wrap the double layer of the patch around the inside of the tyre casing centred on the slit or cut. With the patch overlapping each side of the casing, reﬁt the ﬁrst tyre bead, trapping the emergency patch.
Fit a new tube if necessary and inﬂate it a tad. Reﬁt the second tyre bead with the patched section last. Check that the patch is trapped at both sides. Reinﬂate the tyre and trim off any excess patch. The patch will be held in place miraculously by the tyre’s air pressure.
A blog by BPSA executive director Ray Keener Editor’s note: Ray Keener is a longtime friend of Bicycle Retailer and writes occasional columns, blogs and articles for the website and magazine. Ray’s background includes stints as a bike retailer, executive director of the Bicycle Industry Organization, editor of a trade magazine, founder of Growth Cycle and now executive director of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association. Fred Clements, executive director of the NBDA, recently asked this question on his blog : “Are casual bike consumers being frightened away from shops because of sticker shock?” While Fred focused on selling used bikes as a way to serve lower-priced demand, that isn’t every shop’s option
Whether you’ve set your bike aside for snow sports or rode it hard all winter, now is the perfect time to give your machine a thorough inspection to ensure it’s in tip-top shape for spring.
First and foremost, it is always good to settle on a system when inspecting your bicycle. You could divide the task by various categories — e.g., wheels, frame, suspension, brakes, drivetrain, etc. — or you could simply work from front to back. Either method works, so long as you cover all the bases.
Here are 10 things to check over.
Editor’s Note: This list is list is geared towards the beginner and intermediate home mechanic and is by no means exhaustive. Have some insight to share? Leave a comment below.
1. Inspect your tires
Determine how much tread your tires have left and check for knobs that are peeling off as well. Inspect the tire to make sure there are not small tears or thorns stuck in the tire that could become a problem on the trail.
It’s not uncommon for tire casings to give out before you’ve worn out the tread. Check for excessive sidewall wear: look for abrasions and threads protruding from the casings.
If you run your tires tubeless, now is a good time to top off your tires with a fresh scoop or two of your favorite sealant.
How to set up tubeless mountain bike tires
Spin your wheels to check for any side-to-side wobbles or vertical hops. This is also a good time to make sure the wheels are spinning freely and that the hubs are neither too loose nor too tight. Give the spokes a quick squeeze to make sure none are loose. Tension and true as needed. If you are not comfortable doing that, take the wheel to your favorite shop.
Take a close look at where the nipples meet the rim; hairline cracks could quickly turn into a major problem.
How to true bicycle wheels
While checking your wheels for trueness, you hopefully heard the sweet sound of silence as the disc brake rotors spun through the brake calipers. If you heard scraping it may be time to reposition the brake caliper.
Brake rotors can also become bent, so pay attention to any side-to-side wobble; this is an easy fix with an adjustable wrench, a quiet workspace, and gentle tweak of the rotor.
Check the brake pads for excessive wear and replace if needed.
How to align your disc brake calipers
How to straighten a bent disc brake rotor
How to remove and replace disc brake pads
Inspect the fork stanchions for any nicks or scratches. Use a clean rag to wipe off any dirt from the fork seals. Check the seals for cracks or excessive fluid build up; both are signs that your fork may need to be rebuilt.
Once everything seems to be in working order, cycle the fork and rear suspension several times before checking your sag settings and adjust your air pressure accordingly.
How to set suspension sag
The stem, handlebar and seatpost may be the three most thankless components on a mountain bike. While they need very little in the way of routine adjustments, it is still important to inspect them for signs of damage from time to time.
Remove your seatpost and regrease the seat tube, or use carbon paste if the post is carbon. Remove the handlebar and inspect it for signs of over-clamping; check for deep gouges that could lead to a potential failure down the line.
When it’s time to reinstall the handlebar, make sure the stem is straight, the headset properly adjusted (there should be no play or binding as the handlebar moves back and forth) and position the brakes and shifters to your liking. Be sure to tighten everything to its proper torque.
How to adjust handlebar height
How to service a headset
Are wider handlebars better?
6. Shift and brake lines
Check derailleur housing for signs of wear, paying special attention to where the cables stop on the frame, as it is not uncommon for the wires encased in the plastic derailleur housing to pull through the ferrules at the end of the casing. Replace worn cables and housing as needed.
Follow a similar system for the brake and dropper seatpost if applicable.
Follow the brakes from the levers to the calipers checking for signs of wear and scuff marks.
How to replace and adjust derailleur cables
How to replace a hydraulic brake hose
After inspecting the shift and brake lines for wear, it is also a good idea to check the frame. Brake and shifter housing that is allowed to rub excessively against a frame can and will chew through steel, carbon and aluminum frames. It’s easy enough to prevent this with a few small strips of protective tape.
Examine the frame for signs damage from rock strikes, pay particular attention to the down tube and chainstays.
If you ride a full suspension, be sure to check the suspension pivots and shock bushings for any signs of play.
Tips to protect your frame from wear and tear
Without a functional drivetrain you’ll be going nowhere fast.
Shift through the gears, there should be no popping or skipping from one cog to another without you moving the shift levers.
Inspect the derailleur hanger to ensure it’s not bent.
Examine the teeth on the chainrings and cassette cogs for signs of bent or broken teeth. Keep in mind that on most modern components the teeth have varying shapes to aid in moving the chain from one cog to another.
Inspect the chain for wear, ideally with a chain-checker tool. Over time the bushings that make up the chain’s rollers wear down and develop play, this play allows the chain to “stretch.”
How to adjust a front derailleur
How to adjust a rear derailleur
How to check for chain wear
How to fix a broken chain
9. Frame fasteners
While some of these nuts and bolts would have been covered while looking over your brakes, cockpit, frame and drivetrain, this is still worth its own mention.
If you don’t own a torque wrench and plan on doing your own bike maintenance, buy one. Keep a list of the manufacturer’s recommended torque values whenever possible. Pay special attention to those bolts that you rely on to keep your smile intact: stem, handlebar, brakes, shifters.
Why torque wrenches are invaluable
10. Prep your gear
Last but not least, take a few minutes to go over the gear that connects you to the bike.
Check to make sure the buckles on your shoes are in good shape and that your cleats are firming screwed in.
Examine your helmet for cracks and replace if needed.
If you ride with a hydration pack, take the time to clean it out and repack it. Have a bladder in need of cleaning? Never bothered to throw out any of the energy bar wrappers? Have several punctured tubes stuffed in the bottom of your bag? Now is the time to deal with all of this.
Inspect your tools, too. Make sure your shock pump and mini pump are both in working order. If you carry a first-aid kit, replace anything you used.
Telltale signs it’s time to replace your helmet
What to pack for long mountain bike rides
Have something to add to the list? Leave your comments below.
Last week, Copenhagenize Design Company moved from our old office in Frederiksberg, down to the harbour area of Copenhagen. Our new home is Papirøen, or ‘Paper Island,’?an artificial island just across the water from The Royal Danish Playhouse and Nyhavn. It was first used by the army as somewhere to put their weaponry, and then from 1958 the island was for many decades used for the storage of huge rolls of paper imported from Sweden, ready for use by Danish newspapers. Hence the name. (Interestingly almost the whole of Christianshavn was for a long time entirely used by the military, until the ‘Copenhagenization’?of the Danish military by the British in 1807 meant that suddenly the navy didn’t need so much space. So you could say we are re-Copenhagenizing Christianshavn)
Consuming bars, gels and drinks while on the bike is standard practice for most riders, but it can be a different story if you have special dietary requirements such as Coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.
Coeliac disease affects one in every 100 people, with nearly 75 percent of cases going undiagnosed according to Coeliac Australia.
BikeRadar recently spoke with endurance mountain bike athlete Andrew Blair of team Swell-Specialized about how he manages his Coeliac disease. The 2012 Australian mountain bike marathon champion said: “It took me many years, but I’ve learned that it’s not a hindrance to my performance. It doesn’t stop me from being my best.”
Blair told BikeRadar that it’s definitely easier than it used to be, as most gels and sports drinks are now gluten-free. “I don’t eat solid foods during races, but when training I prefer to eat real food,” he said. “I often make my own cake, which is tasty and full of appropriate energy.” (Blair’s cake is similar to Jo Hogan’s recipe below.)
Blair mentioned the importance of not self-diagnosing Coeliac disease or gluten intolerance and consulting your GP doctor before taking any action – cutting out gluten could mean that a proper diagnoses cannot be made.
Many grocery stores have nearly doubled their gluten-free selections in recent years, and more people have chosen to live gluten-free by preference, so there’s way more choice for Coeliac sufferers than there used to be.
BikeRadar has assembled a list of gluten-free energy bars and recipes that have proven to work well for those with food allergies – as well as those without.
AU$4.95 per bar / US$N/A / ?N/A
Em’s Power Cookie Bars are three-time multi-sport world champion and nutritionist Emily Miazga’s homemade cookies. Em wanted something closer to real food during her races and began using her power cookies as fuel. Of the five available flavours, chocolate cranberry craze is the only gluten-free option, however this is also BikeRadar’s favourite.
AU$4.50 per bar / US$3 per bar / ?43 for 12 (from UKhealthspot.co.uk)
With a fresh homemade taste, Bonk Breaker uses only the best ingredients in its bars. Now the official bars of the Ironman Series and the USA Cycling Team, all 11 flavours are certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization and are also dairy-free.
www.bonkbreaker.com / firstendurance.com.au
From AU $2.60 per bar / US$1.79 per bar / From ?23.99 for 16 (from astronutrition.com)
LARABARs are made from a mix of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices, and that’s it. There are no more than nine ingredients in any given bar, and every flavour – bar those with chocolate chips – are kosher, vegan, and gluten- and dairy-free.
AU$3.30 per bar / US$1.89 per bar / ?20.43 for 12 (from UKhealthspot.co.uk)
The ingredients in Raw Revolution bars are 80 to 100 percent raw; the company claims this eliminates any loss of nutrients through the cooking process. All products are vegan, gluten- and dairy-free, non-GMO and organic.
Australian professional cyclist Jo Hogan, aka the Healthy Cyclist, suffers from coeliac disease, as well lactose intolerance. This homemade energy bar is ideal for her riding nutrition needs.
Lim says: “I started making these rice cakes at training camps and races to give riders something savory and fresh to eat while on the bike. They became a huge hit, since almost everything the riders ate was pre-packaged and sweet. Not only are these rice cakes delicious, they also provide a consistent energy source that doesn’t upset the stomach.”
This makes about 10 rice cakes in 30 minutes.
Tip: Always use calrose rice, a strain of medium-grain rice common in Asian cooking. This variety cooks fast (in 20 minutes or less), retains a nutty flavor, and is just sticky enough to hold our cakes together. If you can’t find it, use another medium-grain rice or any kind marked ’sushi rice’.
This recipe was republished with permission of VeloPress from The Feed Zone Cookbook, by Chef Biju Thomas and Dr Allen Lim. The book features 150 athlete-friendly recipes that are simple, delicious and easy to prepare. Try more pre-ride, portable and post-ride recipes at FeedZoneCookbook.com.
Mikael led a portion of the course involving a massive Desire Lines analysis of two intersections at either end of the Dybbøls Bridge in the Vesterbro neighbourhood. The students’ final project was broader than that. They were given the task of rethinking the entire area. The wide swathe of unused railyards, access to the harbour and bicycle traffic through the area.?
Working with the students was brilliant and inspiring. Mikael was also an external examiner on the final projects at DIS. We thought it worthwhile to get the students to present their projects in short form. Showing off their abilities, ideas and visions. We’ll divide them up into two articles. Here’s the second one.?
Finally, the unused land adjacent to the S-Tog stop would be allowed to return to a natural habitat, with inlets from the harbor uniting the park to the new retail development and the waterfront.? Through these measures, the disjointed spaces of the Fisketorvet-Dybbølsbro zone would be refitted to form a cohesive, environmentally conscious, accessible, and livable neighborhood center.
Photes via:?Michel & Augustin
100 triporteurs dans Boulogne-B from Michel et Augustin on Vimeo.
Mavic couldn’t have got off to a better start with their first ever mountain bike tyre than they have with the jaw-droppingly controlled Crossmax Charge.
The mix of wide-spaced, siped tread with toothy buttressed shoulders and a super-sticky, slow damped rubber mix gives outrageously surefooted traction.?
It’s the ultra controlled compression and ride of the carcass that really stands out though. It’s so smooth and compliant over stutter roots or big drops that it made mid-level RockShox Sektor forks on test bikes feel like top-end Pikes in terms of succulent tracking and precision.
The smooth rollover and amount of speed you can carry through sketchy sections offsets their weight and rolling speed in a gravity context too. Just beware of the soap-slippery Roam back tyre.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.