Raised in an island bike shop, Spurcycle’s founders find success with high-end bike bell

SAUSALITO, Calif. (BRAIN) — The Spurcycle Bell is a made-in-the-U.S.

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 6Fattie

While the paint job is more muted than its 650b cousin, the 6Fattie Stumpjumper is a head-turner in its own right. The big tyres are immediately noticeable, yet don’t look ridiculous – make no mistake, this isn’t a fat bike.

While the rubber is big and bulky, the carbon mainframe complements it with smooth lines and an impeccable finish.

Spec substitutions

Costing the same as the 650b Stumpy we rode alongside it in the Alps during testing, the 6Fattie gains a carbon frame to keep its weight in check at 14.02kg. With more money spent here, it’s no surprise to see lower-grade bits hanging off the frame.


Related: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Elite 650b review

Shimano Deore brakes and a SRAM GX groupset perform virtually as well as their pricier counterparts, but the Performance-level 34 fork and Float shock from Fox lack the subtle control levels of the Pike and factory shock on the 650b. While the Roval rims are shared, the 6Fattie also has slightly cheaper, but Boost-width, Specialized hubs.

Rough-terrain gobbler

A bike that rips on most trails

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BikeRadar gear of the year: Matthew Allen’s 2015 roadie picks

Readers of The Skinny and 11spd may have noted that my glass isn’t so much a half-empty vessel as a void of nothingness and despair. Despite this, I do experience from time to time the faintest twinge of pleasure when presented with gear that doesn’t suck.

Luckily 2015 has been a good year for lovers of bike tech, and 2016 is showing great promise too. Here are five things that moved the needle for me over the last 12 months…

Focus Izalco Max Disc


Related: Focus Izalco Max Disc – first ride

You’re probably sick to death of hearing about how disc brakes are taking over the world, but this is my gear of the year, so suck it up. I haven’t had the opportunity to review it over the long term yet, but the Izalco Max Disc impressed me enormously at the launch. It’s the first disc machine I’ve ridden where it really felt like there was no compromise at all, a bona fide race bike that rides sublimely and which just happens to have really good brakes.

Garmin Edge 20

Speedplay Zero Pavé pedals

Superstar Pacenti SL23/Icon Ultra wheels

Chien King rice husk pedals

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Focus Concept CPX Plus seatpost

Focus’ entry into the comfort seatpost market is undeniably strange-looking, but we rather like it.

It’s like a standard carbon post, but below its head is a large cutout. This means the saddle is effectively only connected to the bike by two narrow sections of material, allowing for a good deal more flex than a conventional post.

A 350mm long, 27.2mm diameter post weighs in at a respectable 199g.


There’s nothing complicated about the CPX Plus, and its two-bolt clamp arrangement is conventional and straightforward. Saddle angle adjustment is a case of alternately tightening and loosening the bolts, and there’s no compatibility issue with different types of rails.

With care, you can actually swap saddles without removing the bolts, which saves time and faff.

Like most posts, the Focus is not going to turn a boneshaker into an endurance machine. It does, however, absorb the high-frequency vibration of broken road surfaces very well.

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Speedplay Syzr mountain bike pedals

Like many others, I watched with eager anticipation as Speedplay developed its long awaited mountain bike pedal, the Syzr. More than eight years in the making with one concept fully developed (but ultimately scrapped), it’s finally on the market with no shortage of promised performance and a laundry list of novel technical features. As impressive as it is on paper, though, the Syzr sadly disappoints on the trail.

The Syzr is unlike any other mountain bike pedal currently on the market and for the most part, that’s a good thing. Critically, Speedplay co-founder Richard Bryne designed it so that the rider power was directly transferred through metal-on-metal contact between the cleat and pedal with no rubber-on-pedal squishiness or vagueness. 


Speedplay aimed to create an entirely different kind of mountain bike pedal and largely succeeded with the long awaited Syzr

As a result, the design boasts a rock-solid connection between the pedal body and cleat that doesn’t rely at all on a big cage for shoe stability. Whereas conventional mountain bike pedals incorporate free float by building slop into the cleat-pedal interface, the Syzr instead builds precisely adjustable rotation into the cleat itself, and like the company’s Zero series of road pedals, the inboard and outboard stops are independently tunable for a custom feel up to 10 degrees of total range.

The cleat is quite the marvel in and of itself with built-in extensions that naturally guide it on to the pedal plus ceramic ‘rollers’ that Bryne says produces a more consistent release in a wide range of weather conditions. Since there’s no movement between the pedal and cleat, the cleats also last a lot longer than usual.

Promises on paper vs the real world

No cigar

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By tester on December 3, 2015 | Mountain Bikes, Nuts

Meet the battery-free bike light powered by magnetism

Remember those bike lights powered by little friction generators? Remember how they were a real… drag? The NEO Reelight promises something better, and more impressive-sounding: a bike light that’s powered by a current induced by magnetism.

That’s Eddy currents, to be precise – also known as Foucault currents, they’re induced within conductors by a changing magnetic field in the conductor – the alloy wheels of a bicycle, in this case.

Related: CatEye flicks on-switch for 6,000 lumen Volt light


So how does it work? Well the design looks much likes an old-school dynamo, and clips onto the forks or frame next to the wheel rim. The NEO generator contains six powerful magnets, and Eddy currents are generated within them when the rim starts rotating next to it.

The makers claim it generates enough power to run two 1W LEDs and one or two (front and rear light) low-power LEDs for backup light. When you’re riding, a concentrated beam is focused on the road ahead, and an extra-wide angle rear light provides rear and side visibility. When you’re stopped at the lights, a backup system kicks in to deliver energy to the low-power LEDs to keep you visible.

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Throwback Thursday: Ned Overend’s 1992 Specialized S-Works M2

The bicycle industry has seen its share of wonder materials come and go. In the early 1990s, Specialized pinned its hopes on metal matrix composite – 6061 alloy tubing reinforced with aluminum oxide ceramic particulate, supplied by Alcan and then marketed as ‘M2’. Like beryllium and magnesium, metal matrix didn’t quite stand the test of time – but not before racing legend Ned Overend piloted this shining example to heaps of cross country wins.

The draw of metal matrix was an understandable one. By dispersing small percentages of aluminum oxide ceramic powder during the alloying process, the resultant material would end up stiffer than the otherwise-standard aluminum upon which the composite was based, all while adding essentially zero weight. In practice, this would lead to lighter frames since less material was needed to maintain the same stiffness.

Less weight, the same stiffness, and a fancy buzzword to boot? Sign us up.


Specialized had high hopes for its ‘M2′ metal matrix frames back in the early 1990s

The problem, however, came in actually turning that potential into reality. Ceramic-reinforced metal matrix composites are notoriously hard on cutting tools, for example, and tubing supplier Alcan only offered its ‘Duralcan’ in a limited range of sizes, all of which were strictly round in profile and straight-walled. In the end, the high manufacturing costs and limited design flexibility doomed metal matrix as yet another ‘what could have been’ material.

Complete bike specifications     

  • Frame: 1992 Specialized S-Works M2 Team Issue
  • Fork: Specialized Future Shock
  • Headset: Specialized, 1 1/8in threaded
  • Stem: Zoom, 135mm x +6°
  • Handlebars: Zoom alloy, 560mm, with Profile bar ends
  • Grips: Grab-On foam
  • Front brake: Suntour XC Pro
  • Rear brake: Suntour XC Pro
  • Brake levers: Suntour XC Pro
  • Front derailleur: Suntour XC Pro
  • Rear derailleur: Suntour XC Pro
  • Shift levers: Suntour XC Pro
  • Cassette: Suntour 7-speed, 11-28T
  • Chain: Suntour
  • Crankset: Suntour XC Pro Microdrive, 175mm, 22/32/44T
  • Bottom bracket: Specialized Direct Drive Titanium
  • Front rim: Specialized TXL21, 32-hole
  • Rear rim: Specialized GX23, 36-hole
  • Front hub: Suntour XC Pro Grease Guard
  • Rear hub: Sugino Tension Disc 846
  • Front tire: Specialized Cannibal Umma Gumma, 26×2.2in
  • Rear tire: Specialized Ground Control More Extreme, 26×1.95in
  • Saddle: Vetta SL
  • Seatpost: Suntour XC Pro
  • Pedals: Shimano PD-M737
  • Other accessories: Ciclomaster CM37 computer, N-Gear chain watcher, Specialized alloy bottle cages (2)
  • Weight: 12.25kg (27.00lb, complete, as pictured)

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Scott Voltage FR 710

Scott’s Voltage FR straddles that somewhat awkward middle ground between full-on downhill rig and long-travel trail bike. But where does it differ exactly and what type of rider does it suit?

Tweakable setup

Just like its longer-travel brother, the Gambler DH bike, the Voltage FR is highly adjustable – Scott wanted to make it as versatile as possible. This burly little beast will accept a single or dual-crown fork, and angled headset cups (provided) can be used to adjust the head angle between 62 and 66 degrees.

Related: Scott Gambler 730 review


Rear travel can be extended from 170 to 190mm in a matter of minutes via a flippable shock mount, and chainstay length can be switched from the standard 425mm to a stumpy 410mm (though this shorter setting can only be used with 26in wheels, not the 650b hoops the complete bike comes with). To help keep things stiff at the rear, the Voltage FR uses a chunky one-piece link to drive the shock.

Scott’s IDS-X dropout system lets you adjust the length of the chainstays

Ready for some hammer time

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Anna Glowinski shows you how to wheelie

There’s a sound practical reason why you’d want to learn how to wheelie: it helps you manoeuvre the bike up and over obstacles. But perhaps more importantly in many people’s eyes, it’s old-school cool.

Related: Anna Glowinski shows you how to trackstand


In this video, Anna Glowinski talks you through the basics, from getting into the right starting position and correct gear, then leaning back to find the right balance point, and keeping the bike rolling smoothly with judicious dabs of pedals and rear brake.

From there it’s practise, practise and more practise – before you know it you’ll be riding everywhere on one wheel. Maybe.

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CSG joins SmartEtailing Supplier Sync program

WILTON, Conn. (BRAIN) — Cycling Sports Group announced Monday that it has joined SmartEtailing’s Supplier Sync service

By Emma on October 26, 2015 | Bike News, Folding Bicycle, Nuts