Easton goes wide with new ARC mountain bike rims

Easton today officially announced its new ARC aluminium mountain bike rims for riders that prefer to build their own wheels. The tubeless-ready rims will be offered in three different widths and two diameters, they’re impressively light, and their reasonable prices are within reach of mere mortals.

  • 20mm depth
  • Welded construction
  • 24mm, 27mm, or 30mm internal widths
  • 32-hole spoke drilling
  • 27.5in or 29in diameters
  • Claimed 27.5in weights: 425g (24mm); 475g (27mm); 490g (30mm)
  • Claimed 29in weights: 455g (24mm); 515g (27mm); 535g (30mm)
  • US$100 / £80 / €100 / AU$TBC
  • May availability

Easton’s new ARC rim specs are quite impressive, at least based on company claims


Easton says the ARC’s multiple rim widths are intended to fulfill the needs of a broad spectrum of riders, from XC to trail to enduro. And while the rim dimensions are much wider than anything else Easton has produced to date, advancements in aluminium extrusion, alloy, and heat treatment technology have brought the weights down.

According to Easton’s senior manager of product creation, Adam Marriott, the 24mm-wide ARC is in fact lighter than the rim used in the current 21mm-wide Haven.

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Best mountain bike disc brakes

As with any upgrade, when shopping for new disc brakes you first need to work out what you need or want from them, compared with what you have now. If it’s simply more power, for instance, you might be able to get that by upgrading to a larger rotor.

If your brakes used to be fine but have become unreliable, the levers or pistons are sticking, or they’ve lost power, don’t assume you need new stoppers. A thorough service/bleed/pad change might get them back to full working order for a fraction of the price. Even if your brakes have never felt great, it’s worth reading the relevant brake reviews here on BikeRadar. It’s a great way to see if your set is performing like it should or whether you’ve got a warranty case.

If you definitely need fresh brakes but your rotors and brackets are the right size, choose a brake that comes just as the lever/body, hose and caliper rather than buying extra rotors and mounts you don’t need.


When it comes to buying your new brakes, make sure they solve the problems you have with the old ones. Try as many different models on the trail (pester your mates) before buying to see how different they can feel and narrow down what you like. If you don’t like the lever feel or positioning of your current brakes, it might be worth investing in a set with bite point adjustment or cam style leverage changes. Read our reviews to check that these features live up to their promise though, because some are more ornamental than useful.

If your current stoppers feel wooden or lack fine control, look for brakes that get praised for excellent modulation. If you want more power, check out our dynometer readings. If you want to shed grams, have a look at the weights on our scales – you might be surprised at how these compare with the manufacturer’s figure. (NB: All brakes have been weighed, priced and tested with 180mm rotors and full post mount kit.) Remember that using a 160mm rather than 180mm front rotor can save up to 50g in bracket and rotor weight, though you will lose a little power.

If you want a brake that’s easy to look after at home, then check our long-term reliability reports, how easy they are to set up in the first place or bleed and service later down the line. Think about pads too – thankfully, many budget brake manufacturers are now smart enough to make their stoppers work with widely available Shimano or Avid pads. It’s still something that’s worth checking if you travel a lot with your bike though.

Key components of a disc brake

Best mountain bike disc brakes

  • Price: £100 / US$130 / AU$240
  • Weight: 485g
  • Power: 111m/s2
  • Price: £22.50 / US$61 / AU$N/A
  • Weight: 448g
  • Power: 77 m/s2
  • Price: £130 / US$220 / AU$240
  • Weight: 461g
  • Power: 147 m/s2
  • Price: £227.50 / US$273 / AU$450
  • Weight: 529g
  • Power: 135m/s2
  • Price: £229 / US$275 / AU$505
  • Weight: 397g
  • Power: 115m/s2
  • Price: £139 / US305 / AU$TBC
  • Weight: 405g
  • Power: 102ms2
  • Price: £210 / US$275 / AU$355
  • Weight: 474g
  • Power: 146m/s2
  • Price: £202.50 / US$250 / AU$420
  • Weight: 469g
  • Power: 109 m/s2

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Fox Factory grows sales in 2014 despite dip in bike business

Port slowdown has little effect on fiscal-year earnings but is expected to have an adverse impact in early 2015.

Get a free issue of What Mountain Bike magazine

Get a free issue of What Mountain Bike magazine

What Mountain Bike magazine has got itself a new, all-singing, all-dancing app for iPhone and iPad users, and to celebrate, it’s giving away an issue of the magazine completely free.

All you have to do is download the What Mountain Bike app from iTunes and then select the December 2014 issue. If you choose to subscribe, you’ll also get the current issue of the magazine absolutely free, as well as getting a discounted price on the subscription – and you’ll never miss an issue.

What Mountain Bike is filled with in-depth kit reviews and inspiring features. It’s packed full of new products that have been ridden and rated each month. So whether you’re new to mountain biking or a seasoned veteran, it has the advice and insight to help you get the most out of the most of the.

The app is also packed with additional pictures and interactive content, making it ideal for anyone who loves mountain biking.

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Rolf Prima promotes Pete Moe to sales manager

EUGENE, Ore. (BRAIN) — Rolf Prima has promoted Pete Moe to sales manager, where he will also oversee international sales.

Zach Vestal joins Scott Sports as marketing manager for bikes

SALT LAKE CITY (BRAIN) — Zach Vestal. formerly of Mavic and VeloNews, is joining Scott Sports as its new bike marketing manager in the U.S. “Zach’s industry relationships and knowledge make him the perfect fit for the bike marketing position at Scott,” said U.S

How to choose a bike saddle

There are many different saddles on the market, and for good reason: there’s a huge variety of riders.

Choosing a saddle can be a challenge, but it’s worth putting the effort in to find the right one for you, and the key thing to look for is comfort – the more comfortable you are, the longer (and faster) you’ll be able to ride.

Unfortunately, saddle comfort is extremely subjective – ask a dozen riders what the most comfortable saddle is and you’ll get a dozen answers. This isn’t surprising – when you sit on a bike, your weight rests on a pair of bones collectively called the ischial tuberosity or, more familiarly, the sit bones. These are positioned differently in different riders.

Not only that, but depending on your riding style and bike set-up, you’ll experience pressure on different areas to the next rider.

How to buy a new saddle

Choosing the right saddle tends to be an iterative process – most experienced riders have tried a few before settling on a favourite. To avoid buying a succession of saddles, think about what it is with your current one that isn’t working for you.

If it’s just that it’s comfortable but knackered or just a bit heavy, then choosing a new one is fairly easy. The same saddle shape is usually available in a range of cost, material and weight variants, so upgrading within the same family is generally a safe bet.

A bigger challenge is replacing a saddle because it’s uncomfortable. This needs a bit of thought – try to pin down what it is that doesn’t work for you. If you feel you have to constantly correct your seating position, why not try a seat with a more pronounced dip to keep you in one place? Maybe it’s too wide and rubs your legs, or you like to sit on the nose but it’s hard and narrow? Use your observations of previous perches to narrow down your choice.


Figure out what it is you do and don’t like about your current saddle before choosing a new one

Once you’ve got a checklist, see if you can audition some likely candidates.

This might involve cadging rides on friends’ bikes or getting test rides at shop or manufacturer demo days. Some shops have lending schemes so you can get a few miles in before buying, and some manufacturers have 30-day ‘comfort guarantee’ schemes for risk-free purchasing.

What to look for in a bike saddle

There are variations between mountain bike and road cycling saddles – mountain bike saddles are usually made from stronger, more durable materials, and road bike saddles tend to be lighter, for example – but fundamentally, the things you need to consider to find one that suits you are the same.?


Mountain bike saddles need to be robust enough to cope with trail abuse

Here’s what you need to consider…


Most modern saddles use synthetic materials, although you’ll still find real leather on more expensive ones. The key thing is to make sure any seams, sticky bits or reinforcing panels don’t chafe. Mountain bike saddles are likely to suffer crashes, so a hard-wearing cover is essential.


The base of the saddle controls the basic shape and how springy it is. Several manufacturers produce different width or shaped shells for different physiques. The majority of saddles have a Nylon shell, but often there’ll be some carbon reinforcement. Really posh perches have all-carbon shells.

Grooves or cutouts

Some saddle shells have a groove in the centre or a hole cut out – this is designed to reduce pressure and heat around your sensitive veins and nerves.


This Specialized Rival saddle has a cutout in the centre to relieve pressure


Padding distributes pressure from your behind across the surface of the saddle. Polyurethane foam is the most common padding material – it comes in a range of densities to give firm or soft saddles. The crucial thing to remember is that while a soft, deep saddle might feel comfortable at first for a beginner, more contact and movement is likely to increase heat and discomfort the longer you’re in the saddle.


The padding in the Fizik Gobi is well placed and offers a good balance of firmness and comfort


The rails are the bars that the seatpost clamps onto under the saddle. Cheaper saddles use steel alloys, while titanium or carbon rails make for a lighter saddle. Single rail saddle and post systems are gaining ground in road cycling for their light weight and adjustability.

Extra details

You’ll find all sorts of other touches on saddles, from Kevlar-reinforced corners or plastic bumpers, to built-in mounts for tail lights or saddle packs.

By Emma on May 11, 2014 | Mountain Bikes
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Prototype Shimano pedals spotted on Sven Nys’ new Trek Boone

Trek today announced a brand-new Boone carbon fiber ‘cross bike for Katie Compton and new signings Sven Nys and Sven Vanthourenhout. While the bike itself is newsworthy, what also stood out was a pair of prototype Shimano pedals on Nys’s machine.

The new Shimano pedals bear a strong familial resemblance to the current PD-M970 XTR Race model with a cartridge-style spindle and retention hardware that appears to be wholly carried over. The new prototype pedals feature an aluminum body that’s much more pared down than the current version however, with minimal – if any – dedicated contact area for the shoe tread.

While increased contact area is generally regarded as a good thing when it comes to clipless pedals, some top cyclocrossers have voiced complaints that the current version’s increased platform doesn’t perform as well in mud as the previous version, which many racers continue to use. The slimmed-down body should alleviate this issue for more consistent engagement and release, plus we also expect it will be slightly lighter, too.

Sven nys's new trek boone was equipped with a set of prototype shimano pedals with a slimmer body that should perform better in mud than the current xtr model: sven nys's new trek boone was equipped with a set of prototype shimano pedals with a slimmer body that should perform better in mud than the current xtr model

The prototype Shimano pedal spotted on Sven Nys’ new Trek Boone

We don’t have confirmation from Shimano on whether this prototype will eventually be added to the standard catalog but given the company’s usual mode of operation, it’s a safe bet that it will be. Since the current pedal’s larger body still holds benefits for general mountain bike use – which is still a much larger market than cyclocross – we anticipate that this may end up being billed as a CX-specific model that may not even use the XTR designation.

Stay tuned for more information.


BikeRoar adds new features

BRISBANE, Australia (BRAIN) — , an Australia-based site that contains bike product information and links to IBDs, has added several new features to its site.

AngryAsian: Race bikes are dumb

We’re enjoying an unbelievably rich and diverse period of mountain-bike design these days, with competent choices from enduro rigs to 29er trail bikes to short-travel slopestyle machines and more. A few are built for racing, but many styles are built for what real-world riders do every day. When it comes to road riding, however, the choices are basically race bikes, or… slight variations on race bikes. This is dumb.

The mountain bike market is no longer driven by cross-country racing like it was just a few short years ago. Likewise, the prototypical ‘mountain bike’ is no longer a lightweight hardtail built for shaving seconds off of the day’s big climb. That being said, even the most specialized cross-country racing equipment – tubular tires included – are perfect given the right application. If you’re not competing, though, race bikes aren’t always the best tool for the job, and it hasn’t taken long for the average mountain biker to recognize that.

Take a look at your current mountain bike right now. What kind is it and what goes through your mind when you ride it? Are you thinking of channeling your inner Nino Schurter and besting a PR around a prescribed course or are you simply out having a good time?

Now take a look at your current road bike and think about the type of riding it’s really designed to do. If your mountain bike is aimed more at fun and versatility, why is it then that most of us still riding road bikes that are purpose-built for racing? Why are so many of us so singularly focused on some imaginary finish line?

Racing bikes are excellent - for racing. for the type of riding that most of us do, though, there's got to be more options: Can you find yourself in the Giro d’Italia peloton here?

The nature of mountain bike competition is increasingly driven by what’s going on in the consumer marketplace – note the growth of enduro – whereas on the road it’s still a “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” relationship with pro competition. Perhaps we can blame the UCI, pro racing’s global government that often seems mired in tradition and hell-bent on stifling technological innovation.

Sure, so-called ‘endurance’ bikes have exploded in popularity. But even those machines are little more than standard road racing bikes with slightly taller front ends, tires that are a scant few millimeters wider than the norm, and overall frame geometry that’s just a smidgeon more relaxed than the frenetic caffeine-addled thoroughbreds on which they’re based – think sports car with all-season tires and cushier seats.

Is this what the average road cyclist really should be riding?

I am not proposing that true road racing bikes should be eliminated from the retail lexicon. I absolutely enjoy rocketing up climbs on a ridiculously light-and-stiff machine and blitzing down the other side with aero-profile wheels. Similarly, there’s no match for a good 29er hardtail (or any other type of dedicated off-road race bike, for that matter) in terms of speed given the right conditions. I’ve tested countless samples of both and have absolutely adored more than a few of them.

But then again, I also cherish a sublimely smooth and refined ride, the float of higher-volume tires and the confidence of fat contact patches, gear ratios that are designed for real people, and brakes that are more than two blocks of rubber clamped on a surface whose primary function isn’t friction. Race bikes are brilliant adaptations for the task at hand but they’re also functionally compromised when used even slightly outside their comfort zone.

Let’s face it: road surfaces are worse than ever, we aren’t getting any younger, and only a very small percentage of the riding public regularly sees a 200m-to-go marker. Just as most average consumers have much more fun off-road with some kind of rear suspension than not, I dare say that average road cyclists would have an eye-opening experience if they ventured just a little off of the straight and narrow.

How about something with plump-but-fast tires, superior braking and comfortable-but-efficient geometry?

Giant's intriguing anyroad doesn't look or behave like a traditional road bike - and according to giant ceo tony lo, that's been a good thing sales-wise where the bike has been available. giant will soon bring anyroad into the us, too: The Anyroad is a surprising and commendable departure for the often-conservative Giant

Independent lab data has already proven that fatter tires roll faster than narrower ones (weight and aerodynamics set aside and other factors being equal). If that’s not intriguing enough, consider that the everyday road bike of 1988 Giro d’Italia winner Andy Hampsten – who’s still insanely fit, by the way – is shod with 33mm-wide rubber.

Still unconvinced? Consider that Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) admitted to me just prior to this year’s Paris-Roubaix that his Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL4 feels just as stiff and efficient as his Tarmac SL4 but with more comfort. Yet when I then asked why he didn’t use the Roubaix all the time, he wasn’t sure how to answer.

Classics superstar and 2013 Paris-Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard-Trek), on the other hand, is more emphatic. He races his Trek Domane ‘endurance’ bike year-round.

By all means, let’s continue to advance race bikes. Make them lighter, make them more efficient, make them faster, and make them more affordable to more people. If competition is your thing, buy the fastest and most purpose-built machine you can afford; take no prisoners and exploit every legal advantage.

Sylvain chavanel (omega pharma-quickstep) used this specialized s-works roubaix sl4 during this year's paris-roubaix, saying it's as stiff and efficient as his usual tarmac sl4 but with more comfort. when we asked why he didn't use the roubaix sl4 year-round, then, he wasn't initially sure how to answer: Sylvain Chavanel says this Roubaix is as efficient as his Tarmac, but more comfortable. Why doesn’t he ride it year-round, then? He can’t quite say

But the bike industry should also present us with more real-world choices instead of leaving those options to smaller niche companies. Once upon a time, mainstream companies were more willing to take some risks with their product offerings, but these days, many ranges feel more motivated by predicted earnings than simply making better bikes.

What ever happened to following your gut, pushing the envelope, and shaking things up? Specialized rolled the dice ages ago with the original Roubaix. Ditto for the original Gary Fisher 29ers, which were widely chastised when they were introduced in the mid-90s. Neither were necessarily safe or logical choices but look how things have turned out.

Hey, road bike industry: grow some balls. Cast aside the UCI’s silly, archaic requirements and pay more attention to what real-world consumers actually need and want. Take some chances again.

Gravel grinders? Bring it. 650b randonneur bikes with fast-rolling, high-volume slicks? Sure thing. Clothing that doesn’t make every redneck in America scream out the window, “Hey, Lance Armstrong, get off the road!”? By all means. Full-blown road racing bikes with disc brakes? Hell, yes. Of course those aren’t proven big sellers – because the industry hasn’t yet made them widely available.

Calfee recently showed off this innovative carbon fiber 'adventure road' bike that could handle either high-volume 650b tires or more traditional 700c rubber, all on the same frameset: Small builders display signs of what is possible, like this fat-tire, disc-brake Calfee

There are some indicators that change is already happening. Custom builders at NAHBS have long been building road bikes with fat tires, Giro has taken a big gamble with its New Road line of clothing, and even perennially conservative Giant has decided to bring its versatile Anyroad machine into the United States on an experimental basis.

I’m not telling you not to buy a road racing or endurance bike if you’re interested in cranking out the miles on your favorite stretch of pavement. Just keep in mind that there may be more available than what’s presented and be aware of the limitations of your choice. While one of those so-called ‘fringe’ machines might not be the first thing you see, it might end up being the perfect fit for what you actually intend to do.

It’s time to expand our collective horizons a little bit, wouldn’t you say?