flex

Boston Cyclist Union Still Fighting For Improvements To Longfellow

Anyone who has ridden over the new Longfellow bridge knows…its not good.  Even with the new “improvements” it still is pretty bad, especially considering how much better it could be.  But the BCU and a lot of other people are STILL FIGHTING!

Update from them below:

It’s been more than a month since you’ve received an update on the Longfellow, and a lot has happened!

The Boston City Council unanimously passed a resolution last month endorsing our proposed striping design, joining the Cambridge City Council, which passed a similar resolution in April. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone and Rep. Mike Capuano also endorsed the plan, with Capuano writing to MassDOT, “…the Boston Cyclists Union raises legitimate concerns, and I urge MassDOT to address them.”

Responding to mounting pressure and working with advocates, MassDOT has already committed to several safety improvements we have been asking for. This includes reducing the speed limit to 25 miles per hour, and installing a speed feedback board; narrowing inbound travel lanes by a total of one foot, while widening the bike lane from 5.5’ to 6.5’; installing flex posts on the inbound and outbound sides to physically separate cyclists from moving car traffic; and adding signage directing large vehicles to use the left inbound lane, to give additional comfort to cyclists in the bike lane. All of these changes to the original design are slated for completion in the first week of June.

These are all welcome changes that will make the bridge dramatically safer than it would have been under MassDOT’s original plan. We applaud MassDOT for listening to and heeding the voices of so many cyclists, advocates and elected officials, and for showing a commitment to working with us toward a safer solution.

What’s more, MassDOT is not done making improvements to the bridge. After hearing from us, many of you, and other stakeholders who have engaged with them over the past few months asking for safety upgrades to the bridge’s design, MassDOT is working hard to respond to our concerns. Yesterday, MassDOT met with stakeholders, who have engaged over the past few months with safety concerns over the bridge design, to discuss future plans to make the bridge even safer. Secretary Pollack committed to working with stakeholders to run a pilot on the inbound side of the bridge, testing out the narrowing of the bridge to one lane for cars with a wider, separated bike lane that would allow safe passing. We’ll be looking to you to give feedback as this change happens, to help secure the safer, wider lane permanently, so please continue to follow the progress and be in touch with us!

This is a huge victory, and it would not have been possible without you showing up and speaking up. Whether you canvassed for signatures, signed our petition online or in person, emailed or called your state rep or city councilor — YOU made a difference and are impacting a decade-old decision that many felt was unchangeable. We are accomplishing the impossible, all because we stood together to ensure MassDOT listened. This is our collective strength in action.

We look forward to seeing this project progress. We hope the flex posts and other design changes make you feel safer when the bridge reopens to full beneficial use, and we are eager to see what further improvements we can achieve by continuing to work together. Momentum is on our side.

Topeak Defender M1 front mudguard review

The Topeak DeFender M1 is very much out of the old-skool moto inspired mould, with a large fender that mounts via an expanding plug into your steerer tube.

  • Best mountain bike mudguards
  • Best mudguards: a buyer’s guide
  • Buyer’s guide to winter MTB tyres

It’ll cope with all sizes of steerer and this means it’ll also work with a Cannondale Lefty or any other upside down fork that has an exposed lower steerer tube.

Despite the flex and distance from the wheel, it does do a surprisingly good job of keeping water spray off you at all speeds

It’s made from hard plastic with a softer rubberised edge that’ll prove more gentle to rider and frame should you contact it in a crash, though being mounted high up means it’s much more exposed to damage than a guard that follows the contour of the wheel. 

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The DeFender also flaps about rather alarmingly in use and because it’s so high up it also obscures your view of the front wheel, which is really rather unnerving when you’re trying to place it accurately on technical terrain. Some of the play in the fender is down to the fact that either blade can be removed via a small clip to allow you to transport it with your wheels out without damaging the guard.

Despite the flex and distance from the wheel, it does do a surprisingly good job of keeping water spray off you at all speeds, though claggy mud tends to get thrown about a bit more and also adds to the flapping about issue once the guard is weighted down. It’s also nowhere near as good as the full coverage guides that sit close to the tyre, but being high up means there’s no way it’ll get jammed.

At 202g it’s no lightweight either, though the price isn’t extortionate.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Five soft-riding road seatposts tested in the lab and on the road

There are lots of seatpost options these days that promise a more comfortable ride without the complication (and weight) of mechanical pivots or sliding bits. But which ones actually work, and which are just hype? We enlisted the help of Microbac Laboratories in Boulder, Colorado to find out which of the new crop of soft-riding rigid seatposts does the best job of saving your butt.

For all the work that road bike designers put into making their frames more comfortable, the simple fact remains that their triangulated tube layouts make them inherently resistant to movement under vertical loads. Seatposts, on the other hand, are simple cantilevered tubes with no additional bracing, meaning they’re free to flap about in the breeze and far more apt to move when you hit something.

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A bicycle frame’s triangulated arrangement of tubes doesn’t allow for much flex. A seatpost, however, is much more free to move under load

Of course, all seatposts are not created equal – even when they share critical dimensions such as diameter and length – and component engineers have recently started to capitalise more thoroughly on the design possibilities of carbon fibre composites. Fibre lay-ups and even the fibre types themselves can be tuned to allow more flex in one plane than another, for example, while more elaborate designs cleverly incorporate mechanisms to promote movement without the complexity (and weight) of physical pivots, springs, and dampers.

Road bikes don’t generally have to deal with much in terms of bump amplitude, though, so while some companies have focused on taking the edge off of bigger hits, others have decided to concentrate on canceling out annoying vibrations that come with coarsely paved asphalt – that incessant buzzing that might not have much effect at first but can really become irritating after a couple of hours.

The contenders

  • Canyon VCLS: Canyon’s entry has actually been around for several years now – so long, in fact, that the company no longer offers it as an aftermarket product but still includes it on many of its complete bikes. Instead of only using carbon fibres in this post, Canyon incorporates a mix of carbon and basalt fibres in a specific lay-up pattern that supposedly allows for lots of flex fore and aft but not side to side.
  • Ergon CF3 Pro Carbon/ Canyon VCLS 2.0: Offered as both the Ergon CF3 Pro Carbon and the Canyon VCLS 2.0 (respective company heads Frank Arnold and Roman Arnold are brothers), this rather ingeniously designed seatpost splits the usual cylindrical cross-section into two halves. In essence, this creates two flat leaf springs that are inherently more prone to move upon impact but without adding undue bulk or mass. This is strictly a road/CX-only model, though, as it’s explicitly not approved for mountain bike use and carries a 100kg (220lb) rider-plus-gear weight limit.
  • Ritchey WCS Carbon Link FlexLogic: Much like the Canyon VCLS, Ritchey’s entry looks like any other typical carbon fibre seatpost from the outside. Beneath the skin, though, Ritchey says the fibre plies have been tuned to be more flexible under load over the company’s standard carbon offerings – by as much as 15% based on claims. The interchangeable head accepts Ritchey’s single-rail saddles, too, and this model is by far the lightest of the bunch.
  • Specialized CG-R: Certainly the most unusual looking of the bunch, the CG-R incorporates a pivotless carbon hinge up top plus an elastomer wedge that Specialized says provides up to 18mm of vertical movement along with “unsurpassed comfort, control, and efficiency without adding weight or complication to the frame.” As promised, it’s certainly light and the location of the flex mechanism doesn’t require much seatpost extension, which could be a boon for shorter riders.
  • Syntace P6 Carbon HiFlex: This seatpost follows the same philosophy as the Ritchey, resorting to careful fibre orientations to promote a smoother ride – “twice the shock absorption capabilities in the riding direction as previously”, at least according to Syntace. Notably, this is the longest seatpost in our test and carries no usage restrictions or weight limit so it’d also be a viable option for trail riding.
  • Thomson Elite: This stalwart model served as the benchmark for our test – a machined aluminum seatpost that has proven itself to be one of the most popular premium models ever produced as well as one of the most durable. We also chose this model for its well-documented firm ride quality. If ever there was a standard to be measured by, this is it.

The results

So which one is best for you?

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Fizik releases new saddles and shoes

Fizik has revealed a ground-up redesign of its popular Aliante saddle at Eurobike. The Aliante debuted 16 years ago and has become a benchmark saddle for sportive/gran fondo and endurance riders.

The full saddle range has now been reordered to fall in line with Fizik’s shoe range and bar and stem lineups. The latest range of saddles is topped by the R1 series, mid-range saddles are now all R3 models, with the lineup now starting with the R5.

Fizik’s brand manager, Alberto Fonte, explained: “We needed to make the range easier to understand, and as we have moved into other areas (like shoes, bars, stems and seatposts), it’s important to us that our Fizik riders can fully coordinate everything for their riding.”

The new flagship Aliante has been slimmed down and reworked to shed some weight. It now tips the scales at a scant 185g. Alberto was quick to point out that “with our studies and research through the University of Boulder Colorado, we’ve gained plenty of knowledge about physiology and rider position in relation to saddles. The research shows that it’s not as easy as wider sit bones, wider saddle. The rider’s position and the rotation of the hips is a huge factor in creating a comfortable performance seat”.

Fans of the Aliante will be glad to read that the actual seat area of the saddle is unchanged – if you take a measurement from the nose to tail, and the width too, this triangle has the same dimensions as the original. The shape is the same iconic waved design too. Essentially, the new Aliante looks similar to the original but is a little longer and slimmer and has a much lower overall height.

The new shell is constructed from a carbon composite co-injected with nylon, this new material means that the shell doesn’t have to have the same cutaways and surface machining as the old saddle to gain the same flex as the old twin-flex design. The new cover is thermo-welded over a new high-density yet super light padding that’s unique to Fizik. The new Aliante is completely handmade in Italy, as is the rest of the range.

The R3 version uses a composite (fibre) glass hull co-injected with nylon to provide the flex and is finished with the same thermo-welded cover as well as Fizik’s own K:ium rails. The R3 tips the scales at 220g. The base model R5 shares the new design of the R3 and R1 but has a carbon-injected nylon base, K:ium rails and a microtex cover. It weighs 245g.

New Kurve saddle

Fizik has also redsigned the Kurve saddle range. The Kurve’s unique Mobius rail design debuted as a 3D-forged alloy piece but it’s now been reworked in braided carbon-fibre. We never really got the point of the original Kurve line – yes, it was a different way of constructing a saddle but compared to the original range, the Kurve saddles were identical in performance, yet weighed a little more.

With the new Kurve range, Fizik aims to make a clear distinction between the two. Alberto explains: “We aim to find the very best saddles for competitive riders where light weight is as important as performance, but most cyclists (who aren’t pro tour riders) want and need a more comfortable and flexible saddle, with the new Kurve range we have that. Our new carbon Mobius rails are lighter and more forgiving than the alloy and the new hull has strategic cutaways to offer a more comfortable riding position especially for endurance riders.”

The new hulls ‘Re:flex’ carbon material offers plent of flex within whilst the large cutaway sections are re-inforced with a super-tough kevlar based fabric. Its far lighter than the original material used in the cutaways but also much tougher and thinner, so the new Kurve range like the standard range is much reduced in overall height and volume too. The new Kurve carbon snake (Arione style) is 180g, the Kurve Bull (Aliante) 185g and the Kurve Chaemeleon (Antares) 185g.

2015 shoe range

Fizik’s Italian handmade shoes remain unchanged for 2015 – they still feature the traditional two velcro straps and aluminium ratchet buckle. The R1’s kangaroo leather finish, sail cloth straps, and carbon fibre buckle mean they are still the pinnacle of the range.

Fizik has added a parallel line of shoes, however, in both the R3 and R5 range, with the latest BOA IP1 dial. With a single sailcloth-tensioning velcro strap at the toe, the new R3 tips the scales at 230g (for a size 43). The IP1 BOA offers two-way micro adjustment on its dial and still has the pull-out fast-release function of the previous BOAs.

Alberto says: “We could have used a different BOA dial that is a little lighter and a little slimmer but we think that the IP1’s two-way adjustment is a much better system meaning that you can adjust the fit as you ride easily, and for the extra 2mm in depth (overall on the one-way BOA ratchet), we think its more than worth it in terms of performance.”

Its not only the road R-series that gets the new IP1 BOA; the mountain bike M range now has a dial option too.


Specialized Myka Sport Disc – in brief review

Specialized has done an amazing job of shoehorning 29in wheels into even its smallest women’s bike. The 14.5kg weight and bigger wheels needed some serious effort from our smaller testers to get the Myka – like other 29ers – moving and successive stop/start trails weren’t a ton of fun.

  • Highs: Custom tuned fork works even under the most petite riders; low standover and agile handling through size specific bars and team favourite flanged grips
  • Lows: So-so saddle; long, skinny fork legs and semi-slicks are best coaxed rather than carved through slippery corners

Once running the fast rolling tread and bump shrinking big wheels of the Specialized steamrollered over trouble without us even thinking about it. While there’s a big clunk as it bounces back if you really wallop the fork into something, it’s great to see Specialized has actually tuned the spring to a lighter rider. You get full travel if you really try and the smooth traction offsets the flex coming from the skinny fork legs and QR hub axle.

The Myka is still remarkably quick witted for a 29er, turning with ease and rarely feeling too big for even the tightest singletrack. Standover clearance on our sample was better than some 650b bikes we’ve tested too.

An immediate rider-to-bike connection is helped out by size specific 640 or 660mm handlebar widths, and all our testers liked the small diameter flanged comfort grips.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.








Fizik releases updated Aliante saddles and shoes

Fizik has revealed a ground-up redesign of its popular Aliante saddle at Eurobike. The Aliante debuted 16 years ago and has become the benchmark saddle for sportive/gran fondo and endurance riders.

The full saddle range has now been reordered to fall in line with Fizik’s shoe range and bar and stem lineups. The latest range of saddles is topped by the R1 series, mid-range saddles are now all R3 models, with the lineup now starting with the R5.

Fizik’s brand manager, Alberto Fonte, explained: “We needed to make the range easier to understand, and as we have moved into other areas (like shoes, bars, stems and seatposts), it’s important to us that our Fizik riders can fully coordinate everything for their riding.”

The new flagship Aliante has been slimmed down and reworked to shed some weight. It now tips the scales at a scant 185g. Alberto was quick to point out that “with our studies and research through the University of Boulder Colorado, we’ve gained plenty of knowledge about physiology and rider position in relation to saddles. The research shows that it’s not as easy as wider sit bones, wider saddle. The rider’s position and the rotation of the hips is a huge factor in creating a comfortable performance seat”.

Fans of the Aliante will be glad to read that the actual seat area of the saddle is unchanged – if you take a measurement from the nose to tail, and the width too, this triangle has the same dimensions as the original. The shape is the same iconic waved design too. Essentially, the new Aliante looks similar to the original but is a little longer and slimmer and has a much lower overall height.

The new shell is constructed from a carbon composite co-injected with nylon, this new material means that the shell doesn’t have to have the same cutaways and surface machining as the old saddle to gain the same flex as the old twin-flex design. The new cover is thermo-welded over a new high-density yet super light padding that’s unique to Fizik. The new Aliante is completely handmade in Italy, as is the rest of the range.

The R3 version uses a composite (fibre) glass hull co-injected with nylon to provide the flex and is finished with the same thermo-welded cover as well as Fizik’s own K:ium rails. The R3 tips the scales at 220g. The base model R5 shares the new design of the R3 and R1 but has a carbon-injected nylon base, K:ium rails and a microtex cover. It weighs 245g.

New Kurve saddle

Fizik has also redsigned the Kurve saddle range. The Kurve’s unique Mobius rail design debuted as a 3D-forged alloy piece but it’s now been reworked in braided carbon-fibre. We never really got the point of the original Kurve line – yes, it was a different way of constructing a saddle but compared to the original range, the Kurve saddles were identical in performance, yet weighed a little more.

With the new Kurve range, Fizik aims to make a clear distinction between the two. Alberto explains: “We aim to find the very best saddles for competitive riders where light weight is as important as performance, but most cyclists (who aren’t pro tour riders) want and need a more comfortable and flexible saddle, with the new Kurve range we have that. Our new carbon Mobius rails are lighter and more forgiving than the alloy and the new hull has strategic cutaways to offer a more comfortable riding position especially for endurance riders.”

The new hulls ‘Re:flex’ carbon material offers plent of flex within whilst the large cutaway sections are re-inforced with a super-tough kevlar based fabric. Its far lighter than the original material used in the cutaways but also much tougher and thinner, so the new Kurve range like the standard range is much reduced in overall height and volume too. The new Kurve carbon snake (Arione style) is 180g, the Kurve Bull (Aliante) 185g and the Kurve Chaemeleon (Antares) 185g.

2015 shoe range

Fizik’s Italian handmade shoes remain unchanged for 2015 – they still feature the traditional two velcro straps and aluminium ratchet buckle. The R1’s kangaroo leather finish, sail cloth straps, and carbon fibre buckle mean they are still the pinnacle of the range.

Fizik has added a parallel line of shoes, however, in both the R3 and R5 range, with the latest BOA IP1 dial. With a single sailcloth-tensioning velcro strap at the toe, the new R3 tips the scales at 230g (for a size 43). The IP1 BOA offers two-way micro adjustment on its dial and still has the pull-out fast-release function of the previous BOAs.

Alberto says: “We could have used a different BOA dial that is a little lighter and a little slimmer but we think that the IP1’s two-way adjustment is a much better system meaning that you can adjust the fit as you ride easily, and for the extra 2mm in depth (overall on the one-way BOA ratchet), we think its more than worth it in terms of performance.”

Its not only the road R-series that gets the new IP1 BOA; the mountain bike M range now has a dial option too.








Tioga Spyder Stratum Carbon saddle review

Tioga’s innovative Stratum Spyder saddle derives part of its name from having a striking ‘webbed’ appearance. However, that unique construction also holds the keys to its performance and comfort – which, as it turns out, are much better than you might expect.?

  • Highs: Great price-to-weight ratio, surprisingly comfortable, innovative design
  • Lows: Narrow suggested rider weight range, relatively short lifespan, coarse shell texture
  • Buy if: You’re a techy weight weenie looking for a novel option for road or XC riding

Whereas Tioga’s original Spyder saddle was built using a single density, fiber-reinforced nylon shell that the company admitted would eventually sag and/or crack, this newer version uses a harder and more durable material for both the outer perimeter and strategically placed spars in the middle. Laid over the entire shell is a second layer – called SpiderWeb, of course – made from a much softer and more flexible blend.?

Taken in combination, the effect is akin to sitting on a hammock – albeit an exceedingly light hammock that happens to weigh just 124g with carbon rails or 186g with chromoly ones (actual weights).

The tioga spyder stratum saddle looks like some sort of modern torture device but it's actually quite comfortable - in the right conditions: the tioga spyder stratum saddle looks like some sort of modern torture device but it's actually quite comfortable - in the right conditions

The Tioga Spyder Stratum saddle looks weird but it feels quite normal for the most part

Three months of testing on both the road and trail have demonstrated the Spyder Stratum to be nearly as comfortable as one, too. Compared with many race-oriented, lightweight saddles that go with the firm-but-fair supportive route, the super flexible Spyder Stratum is shockingly soft.

“We find that paddings for saddles are inefficient shock absorbers because their level of absorption is proportional to their mass – more absorption requires thicker and heavier padding,” explained Tioga USA’s marketing director Kai Cheng. “As most performance saddles use padding of well less than 15mm thick, and then factoring in the padding compression once you sit on it, there’s not much shock absorbing value left to take on the hits.”

Despite this, we wouldn’t have minded a more finely patterned SpiderWeb top layer – a thicker chamois is almost a prerequisite. This isn’t so much to provide padding – after all, the shell is the padding in this case – but to insulate your bony bits from the multiple exposed edges.

Whereas the original tioga spyder saddle used a single-density plastic construction, this new version uses a two-layer, dual-density design that's more flexible while still retaining decent levels of support:

Although the striking ‘SpiderWeb’ upper layer is very soft and flexible, you can still feel the edges if you’ve got the wrong pair of shorts on

Longer road rides in a pair of ultra-cushy Assos shorts, for example, were totally pleasant and uneventful. However, a seven-hour mountain bike race wearing a more minimal chamois was a slightly different story. We thankfully didn’t suffer any saddle sores, but we never forgot that we were riding a saddle with a bunch of giant holes in it, either. We’d also avoid using the Spyder Stratum on more technical trails – both the nose and tail are very hard and unforgiving.

Tioga also admits that the Spyder Stratum’s unique construction has some limitations. Although the chromoly version has no rider weight limit (and the carbon one is approved up to 109kg / 240lb), the flex is preset and tuned for a 68-83kg (150-185lb) rider so it’s unlikely you’ll get the intended ride quality if you fall outside of that window. As with most predominantly plastic load-bearing structures – reinforced or otherwise – the saddle will eventually start to sag, and Tioga quotes a relatively short lifespan of two to three years with regular use. Finally, the Spyder Stratum is offered in just a single, rather narrow, 185mm width.

Even so, the price-to-weight ratio is compelling, especially for riders on a budget who are still interested in shaving grams without giving up much in terms of comfort. We still like the Spyder but, as with most quirky products, it’s best applied to certain niches. Regardless, Kudos to Tioga for rolling the dice with such a novel design.








By admin on August 10, 2014 | Mountain Bikes
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tioga Spyder Stratum Carbon saddle review

Tioga’s innovative Stratum Spyder saddle derives part of its name from having a striking ‘webbed’ appearance. However, that unique construction also holds the keys to its performance and comfort – which, as it turns out, are much better than you might expect.?

  • Highs: Great price-to-weight ratio, surprisingly comfortable, innovative design
  • Lows: Narrow suggested rider weight range, relatively short lifespan, coarse shell texture
  • Buy if: You’re a techy weight weenie looking for a novel option for road or XC riding

Whereas Tioga’s original Spyder saddle was built using a single density, fiber-reinforced nylon shell that the company admitted would eventually sag and/or crack, this newer version uses a harder and more durable material for both the outer perimeter and strategically placed spars in the middle. Laid over the entire shell is a second layer – called SpiderWeb, of course – made from a much softer and more flexible blend.?

Taken in combination, the effect is akin to sitting on a hammock – albeit an exceedingly light hammock that happens to weigh just 124g with carbon rails or 186g with chromoly ones (actual weights).

The tioga spyder stratum saddle looks like some sort of modern torture device but it's actually quite comfortable - in the right conditions: the tioga spyder stratum saddle looks like some sort of modern torture device but it's actually quite comfortable - in the right conditions

The Tioga Spyder Stratum saddle looks weird but it feels quite normal for the most part

Three months of testing on both the road and trail have demonstrated the Spyder Stratum to be nearly as comfortable as one, too. Compared with many race-oriented, lightweight saddles that go with the firm-but-fair supportive route, the super flexible Spyder Stratum is shockingly soft.

“We find that paddings for saddles are inefficient shock absorbers because their level of absorption is proportional to their mass – more absorption requires thicker and heavier padding,” explained Tioga USA’s marketing director Kai Cheng. “As most performance saddles use padding of well less than 15mm thick, and then factoring in the padding compression once you sit on it, there’s not much shock absorbing value left to take on the hits.”

Despite this, we wouldn’t have minded a more finely patterned SpiderWeb top layer – a thicker chamois is almost a prerequisite. This isn’t so much to provide padding – after all, the shell is the padding in this case – but to insulate your bony bits from the multiple exposed edges.

Whereas the original tioga spyder saddle used a single-density plastic construction, this new version uses a two-layer, dual-density design that's more flexible while still retaining decent levels of support:

Although the striking ‘SpiderWeb’ upper layer is very soft and flexible, you can still feel the edges if you’ve got the wrong pair of shorts on

Longer road rides in a pair of ultra-cushy Assos shorts, for example, were totally pleasant and uneventful. However, a seven-hour mountain bike race wearing a more minimal chamois was a slightly different story. We thankfully didn’t suffer any saddle sores, but we never forgot that we were riding a saddle with a bunch of giant holes in it, either. We’d also avoid using the Spyder Stratum on more technical trails – both the nose and tail are very hard and unforgiving.

Tioga also admits that the Spyder Stratum’s unique construction has some limitations. Although the chromoly version has no rider weight limit (and the carbon one is approved up to 109kg / 240lb), the flex is preset and tuned for a 68-83kg (150-185lb) rider so it’s unlikely you’ll get the intended ride quality if you fall outside of that window. As with most predominantly plastic load-bearing structures – reinforced or otherwise – the saddle will eventually start to sag, and Tioga quotes a relatively short lifespan of two to three years with regular use. Finally, the Spyder Stratum is offered in just a single, rather narrow, 185mm width.

Even so, the price-to-weight ratio is compelling, especially for riders on a budget who are still interested in shaving grams without giving up much in terms of comfort. We still like the Spyder but, as with most quirky products, it’s best applied to certain niches. Regardless, Kudos to Tioga for rolling the dice with such a novel design.








Torus Ti29 review

It doesn’t take a genius to decipher what kind of bike the Torus Ti29 is – it’s made from titanium and it rolls on 29in wheels. It’s a quirky antidote to full suspension trail bikes with traditionally fast handling – and a surprising amount of give despite the rigid forks.

Frame and equipment: custom kitted

Burls Bicycles developed the bike with Clee Cycles, whose race team use Torus products in cross-country and marathon events. The Ti29 is a pretty racy number, the sharp handling angles feeling very much the part when you’re trying to cover as much ground as possible.

Clee Cycles built our test bike to showcase some of the lightweight kit it’s able to feature on its custom built bikes. The Russian made, plain gauge tubed frame is built to accept a 100mm suspension fork, but our test model came with a Torus TiF36 titanium rigid fork equivalent to an 80mm suspension fork.

The rigid fork is made from the same plain gauge titanium tubing as the frame:

The rigid fork is made from the same plain gauge titanium tubing as the frame

Usually, rigid forks are punishing on the hands, especially those that use carbon construction, tapered steerers and bolt-thru axles, transferring every millimetre of impact to the hands. These TiF36 forks keep the same Ti-3Al-2.5V plain gauge tubing as the frame, along with old-school quick release dropouts and 1 1/8in steerer. The titanium Torus handlebars are held in place by a light KCNC aluminium stem.

The front end comes with a 44mm head tube, fitted with a semi-integrated headset for 1 1/8in steerer fork. Fitting a more conventional tapered headset would effectively lengthen the head tube, slackening the steering, and so for the Mk2 the head tube’s been shortened and stiffened, making fitting a tapered fork easier without affecting the geometry, and aiding steering precision.

The Ti29’s geometry is on the traditional cross-country side. The 72/73-degree head and seat angles are designed for fast, agile handling, while keeping your hips forward enough for efficient power transfer to the cranks. The steep head angle is countered a little by the impressively long 511mm (17in) effective top tube, which gives extra, nerves-reducing stability at higher speeds.

The geometry numbers are traditional cross-country: steep and lively:

The geometry numbers are traditional cross-country: steep and lively

Our test machine came built as a singlespeed, with the sliding rear dropouts enabling us to tension the chain without running a tensioner. The driveside dropout comes with a built-in mech hanger, should you wish to add gears, and there’s a full complement of cable stops on the frame.

Clee Cycles fitted a Goldtec elliptical 33-tooth chainring, partnered with an 18-tooth sprocket on the rear. The idea behind the elliptical ring is that during the most powerful section of your pedal stroke more chain is pulled through. During the weaker section of the stroke, less chain is pulled through, effectively lowering the gear.

Whether you like them comes down to personal preference, but on a singlespeed, they can make sense – you want to maximise your power, and lowering the gear through the weaker spots of your pedal stroke makes sense. Chain tension varies through the chainring’s rotation, but we had no issues dropping the chain.

Our test bike was finished off with Hope Race Evo X2 brakes, with skinny KCNC rotors. Headset, stem spacers, seat clamp, chainring bolts and cranks also come from KCNC, while you perch upon a Velo Senso saddle.

Ride and handling: minimalist flex

There’s a lot of hyperbole that can be spouted about the ride qualities of titanium, phrases such as ‘vertically compliant’, ‘zingy’ and ‘rides like a magic carpet’ are often wheeled out. We’ll do our best to avoid those then.

Jumping on the Ti29 the most obvious thing you notice is the weight, or rather the lack of it. This minimalist build around 8kg. With the Stan’s ZTR Crest wheels running tubeless, a Schwalbe Racing Ralph on the back and Nobby Nic on the front, it doesn’t feel sluggish.

The Mk1 Ti29 we tested isn’t a hugely stiff frame, especially when compared with an aluminium or carbon race bike. This does take some of the sting out of the trail, and when combined with the 27.2mm titanium post, you’re able to remain seated for longer on rougher terrain.

The flip side is that, especially around the bottom bracket, it’s somewhat twangy, lacking the really solid feeling you get from a bike with a chunky downtube. It’s worth noting that a Mk2 frame has just become available (?1100) with a slightly ovalised down tube at the bottom bracket, increasing the weld area and theoretically the stiffness too.

xxxxx:

The Torus’s flexy titanium fork inevitably steers slightly less directly than ones made from stiffer materials

While we’re usually complementary of stiffer forks and bars, on the rigid Torus the flex present works to its advantage. There’s not much in the way of suspension going on here, save for the little bit that’s offered by the tyres, but the vibration damping from the bars and fore-aft flutter from the fork saves your hands from a complete pummelling. Steering directness suffers over other stiffer rigid forks, but the only issues we had were when hitting off-camber sections at speed or in mid-bend compressions, where the front end felt a little too twangy and didn’t want to hold its course.

In summary, the Ti29 isn’t a bike we’d jump on for heading to steep techy trails. But if we wanted to cover miles quickly and efficiently, with an element of hardtail comfort, it’s an entertaining and decidedly different ride.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.








By admin on May 19, 2014 | Mountain Bikes
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Torus Ti29 review

It doesn’t take a genius to decipher what kind of bike the Torus Ti29 is – it’s made from titanium and it rolls on 29in wheels. It’s a quirky antidote to full suspension trail bikes with traditionally fast handling – and a surprising amount of give despite the rigid forks.

Frame and equipment: custom kitted

Burls Bicycles developed the bike with Clee Cycles, whose race team use Torus products in cross-country and marathon events. The Ti29 is a pretty racy number, the sharp handling angles feeling very much the part when you’re trying to cover as much ground as possible.

Clee Cycles built our test bike to showcase some of the lightweight kit it’s able to feature on its custom built bikes. The Russian made, plain gauge tubed frame is built to accept a 100mm suspension fork, but our test model came with a Torus TiF36 titanium rigid fork equivalent to an 80mm suspension fork.

The rigid fork is made from the same plain gauge titanium tubing as the frame:

The rigid fork is made from the same plain gauge titanium tubing as the frame

Usually, rigid forks are punishing on the hands, especially those that use carbon construction, tapered steerers and bolt-thru axles, transferring every millimetre of impact to the hands. These TiF36 forks keep the same Ti-3Al-2.5V plain gauge tubing as the frame, along with old-school quick release dropouts and 1 1/8in steerer. The titanium Torus handlebars are held in place by a light KCNC aluminium stem.

The front end comes with a 44mm head tube, fitted with a semi-integrated headset for 1 1/8in steerer fork. Fitting a more conventional tapered headset would effectively lengthen the head tube, slackening the steering, and so for the Mk2 the head tube’s been shortened and stiffened, making fitting a tapered fork easier without affecting the geometry, and aiding steering precision.

The Ti29’s geometry is on the traditional cross-country side. The 72/73-degree head and seat angles are designed for fast, agile handling, while keeping your hips forward enough for efficient power transfer to the cranks. The steep head angle is countered a little by the impressively long 511mm (17in) effective top tube, which gives extra, nerves-reducing stability at higher speeds.

The geometry numbers are traditional cross-country: steep and lively:

The geometry numbers are traditional cross-country: steep and lively

Our test machine came built as a singlespeed, with the sliding rear dropouts enabling us to tension the chain without running a tensioner. The driveside dropout comes with a built-in mech hanger, should you wish to add gears, and there’s a full complement of cable stops on the frame.

Clee Cycles fitted a Goldtec elliptical 33-tooth chainring, partnered with an 18-tooth sprocket on the rear. The idea behind the elliptical ring is that during the most powerful section of your pedal stroke more chain is pulled through. During the weaker section of the stroke, less chain is pulled through, effectively lowering the gear.

Whether you like them comes down to personal preference, but on a singlespeed, they can make sense – you want to maximise your power, and lowering the gear through the weaker spots of your pedal stroke makes sense. Chain tension varies through the chainring’s rotation, but we had no issues dropping the chain.

Our test bike was finished off with Hope Race Evo X2 brakes, with skinny KCNC rotors. Headset, stem spacers, seat clamp, chainring bolts and cranks also come from KCNC, while you perch upon a Velo Senso saddle.

Ride and handling: minimalist flex

There’s a lot of hyperbole that can be spouted about the ride qualities of titanium, phrases such as ‘vertically compliant’, ‘zingy’ and ‘rides like a magic carpet’ are often wheeled out. We’ll do our best to avoid those then.

Jumping on the Ti29 the most obvious thing you notice is the weight, or rather the lack of it. This minimalist build around 8kg. With the Stan’s ZTR Crest wheels running tubeless, a Schwalbe Racing Ralph on the back and Nobby Nic on the front, it doesn’t feel sluggish.

The Mk1 Ti29 we tested isn’t a hugely stiff frame, especially when compared with an aluminium or carbon race bike. This does take some of the sting out of the trail, and when combined with the 27.2mm titanium post, you’re able to remain seated for longer on rougher terrain.

The flip side is that, especially around the bottom bracket, it’s somewhat twangy, lacking the really solid feeling you get from a bike with a chunky downtube. It’s worth noting that a Mk2 frame has just become available (?1100) with a slightly ovalised down tube at the bottom bracket, increasing the weld area and theoretically the stiffness too.

xxxxx:

The Torus’s flexy titanium fork inevitably steers slightly less directly than ones made from stiffer materials

While we’re usually complementary of stiffer forks and bars, on the rigid Torus the flex present works to its advantage. There’s not much in the way of suspension going on here, save for the little bit that’s offered by the tyres, but the vibration damping from the bars and fore-aft flutter from the fork saves your hands from a complete pummelling. Steering directness suffers over other stiffer rigid forks, but the only issues we had were when hitting off-camber sections at speed or in mid-bend compressions, where the front end felt a little too twangy and didn’t want to hold its course.

In summary, the Ti29 isn’t a bike we’d jump on for heading to steep techy trails. But if we wanted to cover miles quickly and efficiently, with an element of hardtail comfort, it’s an entertaining and decidedly different ride.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.