ALLENTOWN, Pa. (BRAIN) — Industry consultant group Gluskin Townley is making a bike brand marketshare report available at a significant discount this summer. The roughly 20-page report contains detailed market share information for 36 bike brands who sell into all distribution channels in the U.S. The report includes unit and dollar sales figures for the brands.
MIAMI (BRAIN) — J&B is now distributing Portland Design Works products nationally, the distrbutor announced Thursday. “The crew at PDW focus not only on how they can make what is already on the market better, but also by becoming a student of the details and taking efficiency, aesthetics, durability, and rebuildability into account,” the company said. “PDW is such a well-established brand, I can’t wait to offer their products to all of my accounts,” said inside sales manager, Vin Meloro. PDW’s most popular products are available now through JBI.bike
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (BRAIN) — Bixbi bikes is launching a new line of 12-inch wheel balance bikes for the 2014 summer. The Route 12 bikes are available in five colors and weigh 7.4 pounds.
MOORABBIN, Australia (BRAIN) — BikeBox will become the exclusive distributor of all Orbea products in Australia effective July 1, providing technical support and warranty service to new and existing customers.
CHICAGO (BRAIN) — Todd Schmidt is joining SRAM’s Road Marketing Communication team as a brand manager for SRAM and Quarq, the company announced this week.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (BRAIN) — The Bike Cooperative has added Osprey Packs to its supplier network, meaning the co-op’s members will now earn rebates on their purchases of Osprey products. “Our members are thrilled that we’ve added such a high-quality brand like Osprey Packs to our stable of supplier partners,” said Scott Barrett, president of The Bike Cooperative. “It’s a brand that outdoor enthusiasts hold in high regard and seek out, which is one of the many reasons we think this partnership will be great for our members. At the same time, we’re committed to help Osprey grow their market share in the IBD space
When it comes to achieving consistent results within the Australian mountain bike scene, Andy ‘Blairy’ Blair is a name often high in the rankings – whether that’s in cross-country eliminator (XCE), Olympic discipline, marathon or even enduro mountain biking. Blair’s first race for Australia was at the Cairns World Cup in 1996. At the time he was just 17; now, with more than twice that life experience, he’s preparing for his return to Cairns to represent Australia on the world stage.
Based in the nation’s capital, Canberra, Blair has easy access to a strong local race scene featuring the likes of Olympian and 2013 World Cup second-place finisher Dan Mcconnell. As a full-time engineer, Blair shares the same challenges as many of his local competitors: having to balance a career outside sport with the demands of being an elite athlete.
For 2014, the team Swell-Specialized rider and 2012 marathon national champion has shifted his focus to the shorter, faster format of cross-country Olympic (XCO) racing. Blair told BikeRadar: “I’ll be racing the opening two World Cup rounds in hope of qualifying for the Commonwealth Games. There’s only three spots available for the men and between the strong U23 field and the likes of Dan Mcconell, it’s going to be tough.”
“My national season didn’t go how I’d planned, I’ve been fighting a mystery virus since the first round in Adelaide and only recently have I been finding my speed – even though I don’t feel 100 per cent. I’m going to need a strong performance at the world cups to prove myself for Commonwealth Games selection.”
Andy Blair of Swell-Specialized
BikeRadar took a look at Blair’s new 2014 race bike before a recent national XC round. Riding a mostly stock 2014 Specialized S-Works Epic WC, there’s little Blair has changed beyond the saddle, grips, tyres and brakes. We’ve previously reviewed this bike in detail and found it be a true ‘no-excuse’ race weapon.
At 10.11kg, it’s not a superlight rig, but keep in mind it’s a dual-suspension 29er in a large frame size. Furthermore, Blair’s marathon success has led him to run with reliability over ultimate low-weight.
Bolted to the rear seatstay, the Brain is remote of the rear shock – ready to react to rear wheel feedback
A standout feature is Specialized’s own Brain technology that keeps the suspension locked out against rider input but reactive to bumps beneath – it’s not new technology but something that continually gets better with each year’s revision.
As a SRAM-sponsored rider, it’s not surprising to see Blair with a full XX1 groupset and matching brakes. Blair’s frame is single-ring specific and has no capability to mount a front derailleur, enabling Specialized to further stiffen and lighten it with an oversized drive-side chainstay.?
Specialized is starting a war on the hydration pack: part of the new SWAT system allows for two bottles in this dual suspension frame
Although the stock bike includes Specialized’s new SWAT (Storage, Water, Air, Tools) box for emergency repair storage, Blair wasn’t running one. “I actually don’t have one, otherwise I’d probably use it. I always carry spares with me. It’s often quicker to repair your own tyre or chain than run to an allocated service zone, even on a 5km lap course.”
Could this be a new top-end Specialized Phenon?
The pre-production Specialized saddle is perhaps the most exciting item. It appears to be a new S-Works level Phenon saddle; Specialized’s mountain bike-specific saddle but with carbon rails and what we think could be an overall lighter construction.?
Complete bike specifications
See our gallery (top right) for a more detailed look at the bike.
BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — RockyMounts Inc. has named Verde Brand Communications as its PR agency of record. “Verde is as entrenched in the outdoor, bike and snowsports culture as we are, and they understand the need to cast a wider net by targeting broad-market media,” said Bruno Maier, president of RockyMounts Inc
Mountain bike bars seem to be getting wider and wider these days, but for riders who are less gravity focused, widest isn’t always best. The Exsero LTD handlebar from 3T is a flat bar designed for speed and distance, with a middle ground width of 700mm, as used by the likes of cross-country legend Julian Absalon.
Like most of 3T’s components, the Exsero is offered in three tiers of performance, at corresponding prices. The aluminium Pro, the carbon Team and the high modulus LTD, which is the one we’ve tested here. The three models weigh 215g (220g claimed), 178g (180g claimed) and 147g (160g claimed) respectively.
The LTD version is competitive with the best on the market in terms of weight, and also in terms of the price. It’s stiffer than most bars in its weight range, providing confident steering. The downside to the stiff construction is the minimal bump compliance or ‘give’ that you’d experience with some carbon handlebars.
At 700mm wide, it’s already on the narrow side of more modern widths, but is well suited to a focused cross-country bike. Aggressive riders will likely want more width, but that’s not this bar’s purpose.?
We feel the 9-degree backsweep is ideal for a cross-country bar and we felt right at home on this one straight away. 3T have used what they call an eccentric design, which lets you choose up to 3mm of upsweep or downsweep on the bar – we happily settled with a little upsweep.?
Cutting guides along the bar make is easy to cut them down if you wish to, while clear guides at the clamping centre makes installation simple. A roughened surface at the centre provides greater security, less torque required to prevent slipping on the otherwise slick bar.
If you’re in the market for a new flat cross-country handlebar, you should definitely consider the Exsero. The hardest question? With minimal mass separating each model, how much is that weight worth to you?
Pricing for the three tiers:
Pro: ?49.99 / US$70 / AU$88
Team: ?94.99 / US$130 / AU$175
LTD: ?109.99 / US$160 / AU$197
We recently showcased some of the best 20in kids bikes on the market. These are great options for the vast majority of children looking to keep up with mom and dad. But there are a few additional, more trail-worthy bikes you may want to consider if you’re looking to spend some quality time with your young one on singletrack.
The price of admission, coupled with the fact that riders will outgrow these machines in a few short years conspire to make this a decidedly niche market, but if your budding trail shredder wants something capable of keeping up with you on the gnarliest trails, there are a handful of companies that produce pint-sized bicycles that can truly be called mountain bikes.
Lil Shredder – Prodigy, Icon and Phenom
Brian Stanton is a father and mountain biker who founded Lil Shredder out of necessity. “I started going to Whistler with my son when he was very young. There weren’t any good options out there, so I starting modifying bikes for him, putting disc brakes and suspension forks on 16in frames,” Stanton said.
It wasn’t long before Stanton took the things to the next level by producing kids bikes with off-road geometry, spec’d with quality parts that any parent would be proud to hang on their bike.
Stanton’s company produces a full suspension model called the Prodigy and a hardtail called the Icon. Both feature lightweight aluminum frames that are constructed in the United States. Both bikes also use an interchangeable dropout system that’s compatible with 16in and 20in wheels, so growing riders can get more mileage out of them.
The Prodigy frame with an MRP (formerly known as White Brothers) Rustler fork and a Fox shock retails for US $1,750. Complete builds start at US$2,550.
The single-pivot Prodigy has 80mm of rear suspension travel
The Icon hardtail frame with Spinner fork retails for US$975. Complete build start at $1,895.
The Icon has a claimed frame weight of 2.1lb (0.95kg)
Lil Shredder has also added a 24in wheeled model called the Phenom to cater to slightly taller riders. Like the Prodigy, it has a simple single-pivot rear suspension, though the travel is adjustable from 4 to 5in.
The 24in Phenom frame with shock retails for US $1,350
Kona – Stinky 24
Kona is synonymous with the freeride movement of the late 90s and early 00s and the Stinky is arguably the most iconic freeride mountain bike of all time.
The Stinky 24 was one of the first kids’ bikes built to withstand the tough love dolled out by young groms in bike parks. It features 100mm of front and rear suspension travel to help budding riders and tackle roots, rocks and tabletops.
The Stinky 24 is still one of the best options available for kids who already know how to spell H-U-C-K
The Stinky 24 retails for US $1,699.
Commencal – Supreme 20 and 24
Commencal makes two versions of the Supreme for up-and-comers
The Supreme 20 is a singlespeed with a light but durable parts kit. It has sturdy double-walled rims and a Fox Float CTD shock that serves up 100mm of rear suspension.
The Supreme 24 looks nearly identical to the full-sized model and has little league enduro world champion written all over it. The Supreme 24 has a whopping 140mm of front and rear suspension travel, hydraulic disc brakes and a nine-speed drivetrain.
Neither model is cheap: the Supreme 20 retails for US$2,799 / ?1899.99 while the Supreme 24 retails for US$3,099 / ?1999.99.
26in wheels are for kids
One happy consequence of this year’s 650b (27.5in) wheel onslaught is that there’s a glut of heavily discounted new and gently used 26in wheels, frames and forks and on the market.
We spoke with a representative from one online retailer who mentioned that 26in bikes and components are collecting dust on warehouse shelves while all things 29in and 650b are flying out the door.
If your budding rider is around 5ft tall then the world is your oyster when it comes to building up a new mountain bike.
Mountain bikes aren’t the only way to hone trail skills
Last but not least, if you don’t have easy access to singletrack, or you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider looking into BMX racing. It’s a great way to develop the skills needed to be a capable mountain biker at a much more beginner-friendly price.