Gates celebrating 10 years of its Carbon Drive system with limited edition white belt

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — At the Eurobike show later this month, Gates Corporation will celebrate ten years supplying its Gates Carbon Drive belt drivetrain to bike makers. Among the new belt drive products that Gates will show at Eurobike is a limited edition white belt.  Gates showed early prototypes of its belt drive at the 2007 Eurobike show in the Nicolai booth. Nicolai has continued to be an important R&D partner with Gates.

PressCamp: Strong sales season for Pivot speeds debut of new models

PARK CITY, Utah (BRAIN) — Pivot had been scheduled to unveil the revamp of its Mach 4 Carbon model at Eurobike. But a robust early selling season for the original version of the lightweight 27.5-inch, 115-millimeter-travel trail bike, which debuted here at PressCamp three years ago, accelerated the time table. With a low-slung toptube providing generous standover, the bike was a favorite among shorter riders, and had sold out from sizes XS to M about a month and half ago, Pivot founder Chris Cocalis said.

Ibis releases fourth-generation Mojo HD trail bike

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (BRAIN) — Ibis Cycles has revealed the fourth generation of its Mojo HD trail bike, called the HD4

Profile Design recalling Cobra S stems

Nearly 10,000 stems were sold in the aftermarket and as OE spec. WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Profile Design is recalling about 9,700 Cobra S handlebar stems because the carbon-wrapped stems can corrode and break

Bicycling magazine announces its Editors’ Choice Award winners


Gates, NuVinci and Mobia collaborate on industrial/share bike, while Gates gets spec’ in Chinese share bike program

DENVER (BRAIN) — Gates Corporation is looking to the international share bike and industrial/commercial bike market for sales growth of its belt drive systems. The company worked with NuVinci and Mobia bikes on a new commercial bike that will be shown at the Taipei Cycle Show in Taiwan next week.

New BRAIN issue includes e-bike report, annual bike sales figures, and a visit to a Cuban mountain bike race


Cannondale’s Scalpel-Si Carbon 2 at the Titan Tropic Cuba

I first caught wind of the Titan Tropic this August, with an email asking if I’d like more information on a five-day mountain bike stage race during the first week of December in Cuba. Yes, Cuba, the up-to-just-recently off-limits (for Americans) island to be found a mere 90 miles south of Florida. My interest was piqued.  

  • The bike: Cannondale Scalpel-Si Carbon 2
  • The course: Titan Tropic five-day mountain bike stage race in Cuba
  • The equipment goal: Fast, light, maintenance-free bike with suspension for my back and repeated huge efforts day after day

The bike

Knowing it was on the edge of the rainy season in Cuba, and it being Cuba in general (without many bike shops and limited resources), I wanted a simple, reliable full-suspension bike. One with decent mud clearance also weighed on my mind. I also considered the terrain and the back-to-back days of riding so I knew light was the way to go, which meant short travel was in order.

Cannondale’s revamped Scalpel fit the bill. It was light, somewhat slack at the front, had tight rear stays and a sporty 100mm of travel. While 100mm isn’t much, it feels even less on the race-hungry Scalpel with a drastic ramp up on both ends. But it was adequate for my endeavour and it made the bike feel like a rocket.  


It took a bit of futzing to get the Scalpel set up. I flipped the stem so it had rise instead of drop, moved the saddle around a bunch, and experimented with suspension air pressures and settings until I got the performance I was needing. A big ‘thank you’ also goes out to guys at University Bikes in Boulder for knocking out some quick warranty work on a bunk XT disc caliper. 

I toyed with the idea of swapping the Schwalbe tires, the thin, hard grips, and even the flat bar, but decided against it. Outside of tweaking the fit and suspension I ran it stock to see if the out-of-the-box build was suitable for racing. 

Additional gear

The racing

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

The right choice

Calm and welcoming

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Specialized Women’s Camber Comp Carbon 650b first look

Specialized unveiled the new women’s version of the popular Camber Comp Carbon this year and it’s an eye-catching bike to say the least. Sleek frame, hidden storage compartments and a subtle glittery paint job are just part of the feature list on the carbon-framed 130mm-travel 27.5″ full-suspension trail bike. 

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A bike designed for ripping round your local trails, Specialized states that the Camber is excellent at climbing and confident at descending — achieved by combining a carbon trail chassis with an alloy rear end to give “lightweight, rigidity, and durability in one package.”

The women’s Camber Comp Carbon comes only in a 650b or 27.5″ wheel size, unlike the men’s/unisex Camber range which also offers 29er versions. This means that the cross-country focussed Era is the only women’s 29er in the Specialized line up for 2017. 


Unisex frame, women’s specific finishing kit

With the Camber Comp Carbon, Specialized is part of a general trend within mountain bikes to produce women’s and men’s (or unisex) versions of a bike around one frame; with gender-specific finishing kit such as saddles and paintwork, and occasionally also varied handlebar, crank and stem length. 

Specialized has a specific reason for this approach with the Camber. It uses a huge amount of data from thousands of bike fits it has conducted and also from Retul, another bike fit company, as a basis for its designs. In addition to body dimension and fit data, this information also includes the type of riding people are doing, so Specialized says it is able to marry particular fits to particular activities, which then influences its approach to bike design — what it calls it’s “rider first” approach. 

An eye-catching ride

One of the selling points of the Specialized Camber is the SWAT storage system that’s built into the oversized downtube

Price and availability

  • £2,900 / $3,800 / AUS$5,500

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Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650b review

Specialized’s Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon family covers every possible modern trail bike base, including 29er and plus versions, but it’s a conventional cruiser rather than a radical charger.

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A mid-range composite front end is mated to an M5 alloy back end, and the down tube features Specialized’s unique SWAT internal storage hatch under the bottle cage. The RockShox Monarch RT shock gets a bespoke ‘Rx Trail Tune’ and ‘Autosag’ side valve for easy set-up of the 150mm stroke.

The rear of the shock uses a custom cradle to connect to the shock driver yoke, which in turn connects to the U-shaped linkage of Specialized’s FSR kinematic. A curved seat tube and 148mm wide Boost rear hub allow super-short asymmetric chainstays, and gear and dropper post cables are all routed internally. The down tube sports a big protective plate in front of the PF30 bottom bracket shell and there are also chain guide mounts.


The tight grip of the SRAM GX rear mech and Race Face direct-mount chainring meant we never felt the need for a chain guide, though. The RockShox Yari RC fork is a seriously tough unit, while the Specialized Butcher and Slaughter tyres get reinforced Grid casings.

The 200mm front rotor on the size L and XL bikes amplifies the power of the SRAM Guide R brakes. Specialized’s bar and stem suit the trail character and the own-brand dropper is reliable, if eye-wateringly rapid in action. Specialized’s 29mm internal width wheels add tyre volume, but reduced spoke count affects stiffness.

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