shimano

Stif Cycles Morf first ride review

Yorkshire-based Stif Cycles has long sold bikes from the likes of Orange and Santa Cruz, but this is the first time in its 33-year history that it has actually had its own name on a head tube. The Morf is that bike — a long, slack, 650b-wheeled hardtail, which has been designed by Stif staffer Sammy Smithson, in partnership with frame designer Brant Richards, to be a true ‘do it all’ ride.

  • Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you
  • Which is faster: hardtail or full-suspension?

Stif Cycles Morf spec overview

  • Fork: Rockshox Pike Solo Air RC 130mm
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano XT M8000 GS RD
  • Shifter: Shimano XT M8000 SL
  • Brakes: Shimano XT M8000
  • Rotors: Shimano RT86 ICE TECH 180mm
  • Crankset: Shimano XT M8000 32T w/BB 175mm
  • Cassette: Shimano XT M8000 CS 11-42T
  • Chain: Shimano HG70011
  • Handlebar: Burgtec RideWide, 30mm rise, 800mm wide, 31.8mm clamp
  • Stem: Burgtec Enduro mk2 35mm long, 31.8mm clamp
  • Grips: Burgtec Lock-On
  • Headset: Hope 2H with Hope top cap and bolt
  • Seatpost: KS LEV Integra with Southpaw 150mm travel
  • Saddle: Burgtec the Cloud with cromo rail
  • Front wheel: Hope Pro4 hub laced to WTB Frequency Team i25 TCS rim
  • Rear wheel: Hope Pro4 142×12mm laced to WTB Frequency Team i25 TCS rim
  • Front tyre: Maxxis Minion DHF 3C EXO TR 27.5 x 2.3 tubeless
  • Rear tyre: Maxxis Minion DHF 60/62a EXO TR 27.5 x 2.3 tubeless
  • Tubes / sealant: WTB TCS Sealant and WTB TCS valves

Stif Cycles Morf frame and kit

The intention with the Morf’s geometry was to give this rigid-rear-ended machine similar riding characteristics to a modern full-suspension trail bike. It has a fairly long reach (435mm on the medium size), a raked out 65-degree head angle and the chainstays have been tightened up to a very short 420mm. The bottom bracket height is a reasonably average 311mm.

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The frame is made from 4130 chromoly steel. There’s a bend in the down tube to prevent any clashes with the fork crown and Stif has used ovalised tubes at the rear end to give a small amount of flex and bump absorption. There are a few neat details, such as an inboard mount for the rear brake and replaceable bolt-through dropouts. The frame’s signature feature is the ‘12 Bore’ chainstay bridge, which allows the back end to be made as short as possible while also providing clearance for 2.4in tyres.

The complete bike (the frame is available on its own for £499 / $623.75 / AU$838.32) comes with a burly RockShox Pike fork, in 130mm (5.1in) travel guise. Stif says that a longer fork would make the front end dive and steepen the bike’s geometry too much as it neared full travel. The brakes and 1×11 drivetrain are both Shimano XT, and although no chain device is supplied, there are tabs for fitting one.

Stif Cycles Morf ride impression

Stif Cycles Morf early verdict

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Shimano XT Di2 M8050 1×11 first ride review

Shimano’s new XT Di2 group is finally arriving at local bike shops and online vendors around the world. You can read the component run down and actual weights of Shimano’s second-tier electronic mountain bike drivetrain in our First Look. After a day on the trails, here are my initial impressions of the Shimano XT Di2.

  • Buyer’s guide to mountain bike groupsets
  • A complete guide to rear derailleurs
  • Shimano XT Di2: real-world weights and updated pricing

Shimano XT Di2: Three ways to ride wired

XT Di2 can be set up in three different ways. It can be a 2×11 drivetrain with front and rear derailleurs controlled by individual shifters like a traditional cable-actuated drivetrain. Or if you want the simplicity of a 1x drivetrain, but with the total gearing of a 2x system, Shimano’s Synchro Shift technology lets you just shift up and down with one lever, and automatically shifts the front derailleur as needed to keep gear changes progressive and smooth. Lastly, you can use XT Di2 as a 1×11 system with Shimano’s narrow-wide chain ring and the new 11-46t XT cassette, which is how this test bike is set up.

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Electronics mean options

One of the primary benefits of Shimano’s electronic drivetrains is the multitude of ways riders can customize functions to suit their particular needs.

This customization starts with functions of the shift paddles. The default arrangement is opposite of the lever operation of Shimano’s cable-actuated drivetrains: the lower shift paddle shifts into a lower gear and the smaller, upper paddle shifts the derailleur into a higher gear.

Shimano XT Di2 initial ride impressions

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Carrera Vendetta first ride review

In a world of £8k superbikes, it’s great to see that relatively little gets you quite a lot. At £500 the Vendetta looks a reasonable prospect, but given frequent price reductions to £280, it’s a steal.

  • Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you
  • Which is faster: hardtail or full-suspension?

Carrera Vendetta spec overview

  • Forks: Suntour XCM-DS 29 (100mm travel)
  • Tyres: 27.5″ x 2.8″ Kenda Havoc
  • Rear brake: Tektro Novela mechanical disc brake
  • Front brake: Tektro Novela mechanical disc brake
  • Rear mech: SRAM RD-X4
  • Front mech: Shimano FD-M410E
  • Gear shifters: SRAM SL-X4 trigger shifters
  • Cassette/freewheel: Shimano 8 speed, 12-32T
  • Chain: KMC Z-72
  • Chainset: Suntour Triple 42/32/22T with 175mm cranks
  • Grips: Velo grips
  • Handlebars: 740mm, 31.8
  • Headset: Semi-integrated 1 1/8″
  • Saddle: Velo saddle
  • Seatpost: Alloy, 350mm

Carrera Vendetta frame and equipment

Carrera proves two things. First off, geometry costs nothing. In short, the shape of the bike is up there with some of our favourite trail hardtails. The 55mm stem and 740mm bars, when combined with a relatively slack 68 degree head angle and low bottom bracket, gives confident, precise handling, far surpassing the usual nervous, upright feel bikes at this price often have.

Secondly, plus tyres work at this price point. From a standing start the 2.8” Kenda Havok tyres are slow to get rolling, but once at speed, and down at 15psi the grip and comfort they give stamps all over the skittery plastic rubbish usually seen. This means the Vendetta is confidence inspiring for new riders, while the big volume absorbs trail buzz, diminishing the harshness of the frame.

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Carrera Vendetta ride impression

Up front there’s a Suntour XCM fork with 100mm of travel. Yes, the skinny, QR legs are a touch flexy and the undamped rebound means if you run your front tyre too hard it’ll ping everywhere. But with a bit of patience it is possible to marry front tyre bounce and fork rebound in to a relatively happy coexistence.

It is perhaps less forgivable at its RRP, but for £280, we’re not too worried that the cable operated Tektro brakes aren’t the most powerful, nor deliver great feel, and the mixed Shimano/SRAM 3×8 drivetrain, is certainly behind the times. But, it does work, and the 22:32 bottom gear is ideal for winching it back up the hill.

Before riding the Vendetta we thought it would be a sluggish tractor of a bike, but after our first lap of the woods we were thinking again! Beginners, or those with a limited budget will find the it a perfectly capable bike for hitting local woodsy singletrack and trail centre blues.

Carrera Vendetta early verdict

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Shimano XT Di2: real-world weights and updated pricing

Shimano’s XTR Di2 group impressed our testers with its performance, but the price of admission is incredibly high. If you’re tempted by the possibilities of electronic shifting, but want a slightly more affordable option, XT Di2 kit might be the group you’ve been waiting for.

  • Buyer’s guide to mountain bike groupsets
  • A complete guide to rear derailleurs

In addition to lowering the price point, Shimano focused on refining ergonomics, improving durability and making the group “smarter” by adding some wireless functionality.

We’re in the process of building up our XT Di2 test bike and wanted to bring you some real-world weights and updated pricing.

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The build

I’ll be testing XT Di2 in a 1×11 configuration with the long-anticipated wider range 11-46t cassette. The test rig is a Santa Cruz Tallboy 3.

Here’s the rundown of the components…

Deore XT SW-M8050 Firebolt shifter

Deore XT RD-M8050-GS Di2 Shimano Shadow RD+ rear derailleur ?

SC-MT800 system information display

BT-DN110 battery

Shimano E-Tube Wires

SM-JC41 Junction Box B

The non-wired drivetrain bits

  • 1x crankset with 30t chainring: 679g
  • Bottom bracket: 82g
  • 11-46t cassette: 437g
  • Chain: 257g

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Pioneer now shipping power meters introduced this fall

IRVINE, Calif. (BRAIN) — Pioneer’s Cycle Sports Division is now shipping products introduced at Interbike this fall, including the SGY-PM9100 Series Dual Leg Power Meter, which is compatible with Shimano’s Dura-Ace R9100 cranks, and the SGY-PM9100C Power Meter Kit, which adds Pioneer’s dual leg power meter to existing Dura-Ace R9100 cranksets.  Pioneer is also shipping power meters compatible with Campagnolo, Cannondale and FSA cranks, as well as Shimano mountain bike models, XTR Trail and XT. The power meter kits can be installed on the cyclist’s existing crank or crank arm. The kits offer the same force direction data and advanced HDPower Metrics as other Pioneer cranks.

Over to you: Does the colour of your bike matter?

Ah, bikes. We love them, you love them. But when it comes to the bikes you love, how important are looks? And, if we’re being super-specific here, the colour. When you’re shopping for a new road or mountain bike would the shade it comes in influence how likely you are to buy it? Or are you not at all bothered by such things?

  • Enough with the black bikes already
  • Over to you: what’s on your ultimate bike wishlist?

We know cyclists in both camps. Some are only interested in performance and componentry, others also want the bike they spend their hard-earned cash on to look good as well as ride well.

Have you ever spent up or down on your budget because you preferred the colours of a different model of the bike you were after?

Some brands like Trek Bicycles get around the issue by offering custom paint options — Project One in Trek’s case — where you can have any colour combination you desire applied to your dream frame.

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Plenty more brands get around the issue by having a colourful option and a plain option in their top selling lines. And of course, a lot of brands will offer differently spec’d models in different colourways — for example the Shimano 105 model of one bike in the range might be, say, black and orange, but the Ultegra model may be white and blue.

And for the truly dedicated, there’s also the world of custom decals, patterned frame protection and sending it to the paint shop yourself.

So over to you. Would the colour of a bike influence how likely you are to buy it? Have you ever spent up or down on your budget because you preferred the colours of a different model of the bike you were after? Have you ever splurged on Project One or got a custom paint job? And, most important, which colours do you like?  

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Shimano RX830 wheelset review

While there’s never been more choice in road disc wheels than there is now, component giant Shimano has been surprisingly slow to expand its range.

  • How to change your bike wheels for winter
  • Complete guide to winter road cycling

The Shimano RX830 wheelset is based on 32.5mm deep, squared-off rims that have a carbon-laminated-alloy construction, similar to that used on Shimano’s existing high-end road clinchers.

The RX830s are tubeless-compatible, which opens up some options, but it’s worth noting that Shimano doesn’t condone the use of third-party sealants with its wheels

With no need for a braking track, the RX830s get away with a particularly thin-walled rim extrusion, one that we measured at 17.8mm internally and 23mm externally at its widest point — that’s bigger than traditional rim designs, but restrained by current standards. Shimano recommends a minimum tyre size of 25mm, and given the totally non-aero profile, these wheels seem a natural match for a gravel or ‘cross bike, which is exactly what we mounted ours on.

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The RX830s weigh in at a substantial 1,841g for the pair (plus 118g for the skewers), of which a good chunk is in the hubs. Like all Shimano wheelsets, these use robust adjustable cup-and-cone hubs and these particular units have an Ultegra look to them, albeit with straight-pull spokes rather than j-bends.

The other important difference from a standard road hub lies in the labyrinth sealing, which is borrowed from Shimano’s XT-level mountain bike hubs — making these wheels better suited to wet and muddy conditions. We’ve got a lot of time for Shimano’s higher-end hubs — they can go for years and years with proper care, but it’s essential that you keep on top of servicing.

Disc mounting comes courtesy of Shimano’s ultra-convenient centre-lock design, while your choice of axles is limited to traditional skewers, and er, there’s no provision for thru-axles at all.

  • Front: £360 / $384 / AU$507
  • Rear: £430 / $469 / AU$620

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

A complete guide to rear derailleurs

Is it time to upgrade or replace your derailleur? Do you sit awake at night worrying about what a tooth capacity is? Or have you ever simply wanted to know absolutely everything there is to know about buying a rear derailleur? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

  • SRAM and Shimano front derailleurs explained
  • How to adjust a rear derailleur

While we certainly don’t recommend you break out this hot derailleur chat at your next party, this is undoubtedly useful information if you’re looking to buy or upgrade a rear derailleur.

We must stress that this article only covers rear derailleurs because including front derailleurs would make this guide far too unwieldy. Plus, if you’re to believe SRAM, the front derailleur is dead anyway.

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Which brand of derailleur should I buy?

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best not to mix and match drivetrain components from different brands. While things like cranks, chains and cassettes are largely interchangeable between brands, shifters and derailleurs generally speaking aren’t.

  • Buyers guide to road chainsets

In brief, Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo all use different cable pull ratios (the amount that a derailleur moves for every millimetre of cable pulled through by the shifter), and mixing parts will result in very poor shifting.

How many gears does my bike have?

  • How to replace a bike cassette

Derailleur compatibility explained

  • Buyers guide to road groupsets

Shimano derailleur compatibility

  • All 11-speed Shimano road components are inter-compatible — you could for example use a Dura-Ace 9000 derailleur with a pair of 105 5800 shifters
  • All 10-speed road components are inter-compatible — you could for example use an old Ultegra 6600 derailleur with new, Tiagra 4800 shifters
  • Current 9-speed road components are backwards compatible with older 9-speed road and mountain bike components, excluding the aforementioned exception
  • All 11-speed Shimano mountain bike components are interchangeable — you could for example use a XTR M9000 derailleur with a pair of SLX M7000 shifters
  • All 10-speed Shimano mountain bike components are also interchangeable — you could for example use an old, 10-speed XTR M986 rear derailleur with new, Deore M610 shifters
  • Current 9-speed Shimano mountain bike components are compatible with older 9-speed road and mountain bike components, excluding the aforementioned exception
  • Mountain bike groupset buyers guide
  • Shimano Dura-Ace vs. SRAM Red

SRAM derailleur compatibility

  • 7-/8-/9-speed SRAM components are all inter-compatible, regardless of whether they are road or mountain bike parts
  • 10-speed SRAM components are inter-compatible, regardless of whether they are road or mountain bike parts — for example you could run road shifters with a mountain bike rear derailleur
  • 10- and 11-speed SRAM mountain bike components are not inter-compatible
  • 10- and 11-speed SRAM road components are inter-compatible — meaning you could run a 10-speed, SRAM Red rear derailleur with a pair of SRAM 22 shifters
  • How to convert your bike to a 1X drivetrain

Campagnolo derailleur compatibility

  • All 8- and 9-speed Campagnolo groupsets before mid-2001 used the same pull ratio and are compatible with each other. This generation of parts is often referred to as ‘Campy old’
  • After mid-2001, Campagnolo started using a revised pull ratio for its newer 9-speed kit, and these and all 10- (and 11-speed) groupsets from this period are inter-compatible — for example you could run an Athena derailleur with Record shifters

What cage length derailleur should I buy?

Derailleur cage length quick guide

Derailleur tooth capacity explained

Clutch derailleurs explained

  • How to adjust a Shimano Shadow Plus rear derailleur

What do I get with a more expensive derailleur?

Weight

Longevity

Finish

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Kona Hei Hei Trail DL first ride review

The Hei Hei name has been around almost as long as Kona and a look at how the bikes with the Hei Hei moniker have changed over time is extremely telling as to where our sport has been, and where it’s going.

  • Kona Process 153 DL review
  • Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you
  • Kona goes after the trail market in a big way

Kona Hei Hei Trail DL highlights

  • New pivotless carbon fibre rear end
  • Full carbon fibre frame with 27.5” wheels
  • 140mm of travel from Fox Factory shocks
  • Single ring specific design

Kona Hei Hei Trail DL spec overview

  • Frame: Kona Race Light Carbon 140mm travel
  • Fork: Fox Factory 34 Float Air, 140mm tapered, 110mm spacing
  • Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
  • Shifters: Shimano XT
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR
  • Chainset: RaceFace Aeffect, 30T
  • Cassette: Shimano XT 11-42t 11spd
  • Rims: WTB Ci31 TCS
  • Hubs: Hope Pro 4, 15×110mm/12×148mm
  • Tyres: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
  • Brakes: Shimano XT, 180mm/160mm
  • Handlebar: Kona XC/BC 35
  • Stem: Kona XC/BC 35
  • Saddle: WTB Volt Comp
  • Seatpost: KS Lev Integra

Kona Hei Hei Trail DL frame and equipment

Originally a rigid forked, titanium framed hardtail, the intervening 25 years have seen it move into a range of lightweight, carbon fibre framed machines, none of which share the same wheel size as the original. This is the Trail version of the Hei Hei, which means you get smaller 27.5” hoops and 140mm of wheel travel rather than the big 29” hoops and shorter 100mm rear travel pairing of the non-Trail line of bikes. 

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While all Kona bikes have traditionally used a linkage driven single pivot ‘faux bar’ design, all the new Hei Hei bikes now use the Fuse system, which deletes the seatstay pivot and instead relies on the inherent flex of the carbon fibre back-end as the bike cycles through the travel. Thanks to tweaked main pivot placement, there’s a bit more anti-squat designed into the bike rather than when compared to the longer travel Process 153, meaning the suspension will stiffen up slightly when you pedal. While there’s a 30T ring fitted to this model, the system is designed to run with up to a 34-36T ring. 

As befits a modern trail bike, the Hei Hei gets a metric sized shock with a trunnion mount and there’s Boost 148 hub spacing at the back too. There’s some rather clean internal cable routing, with the main cable port cover at the bottom bracket junction also hiding a spare derailleur hanger inside it.

Unlike many super-swoopy carbon frames, the outline of the Hei Hei is clean, with very straight top and down tubes connected together by a broad headtube junction. That does mean the top tube isn’t dipped for extra standover clearance, but even riding a Large frame and being about 5’8 tall, I didn’t find that too much of an issue.

Kona Hei Hei Trail DL 2016 ride impression

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Ragley BigWig 29 first ride review

The 130mm travel BigWig 29 is the most expensive bike Ragley sells. It’s made of 4130 chromoly steel, which is strong but also cheaper and heavier compared with other steel framed bikes such as the Cotic Solaris version 2 and Stanton Sherpa 853 — which use 853 Reynolds tubing. The BigWig weighs 14.6kg.

  • 10 things you should never do on a trail
  • Best mountain bike helmets for trail riding

Ragley BigWig 29 spec overview

  • Frame: Custom triple butted 4130 chromoly steel
  • Forks: Rockshox Yari RC, 130mm travel
  • Chainset: Shimano M677 SLX 2x, 175mm, 36×22T
  • Shift levers: Shimano SLX M670 2x 10 Spd
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Deore M616 Down-Swing 2Spd
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano XT M786 10Spd Shadow Plus
  • Rims: WTB STI23, TCS, 29”, 32 Hole
  • Front hub: Novatec D811SB-15 Disc 100mm x 15mm
  • Rear hub: Novatec D882SB-X12 Disc Rear 12×142mmm Thru-Axle
  • Front tyre: WTB Vigilante TCS 2.3 – 29”
  • Rear tyre: WTB Trail Boss TCS 2.25 – 29”
  • Front brake: Shimano SLX M675 180mm
  • Rear brake: Shimano SLX M675 160mm
  • Handlebars: Ragley Wiser Riser Bars — 760mm Wide, 10mm Rise
  • Stem: Ragley Stubbing Stem — 50mm Reach, 0 Deg Rise
  • Saddle: Ragley Tracker
  • Seatpost: Nukeproof OKLO AIR, 125mm Travel

Ragley BigWig 29 frame and equipment

Ragley has created a hardtail with numbers that rival many top enduro bikes. The super slack 65 degree head angle (65.5 degrees when sagged), slammed 70mm bottom bracket drop and snappy short 435mm chainstays should have the rippers frothing at the mouth.

The BigWig boasts a 35mm legged RockShox Yari fork connected though a 44mm headtube. The back end gets a 142×12mm bolt-thru-axle to keep it tracking true and the dropouts are exchangeable should you want to fit a wheel using a regular 9mm quick release. Bottle cage mounts are found on the downtube.

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There’s a Nukeproof dropper on board and while it’s not great, we’re surprised there’s one at all for the price. If you’d like something more classy, the frame has stealth routing allowing you to upgrade later.

Ragley low-rise 760mm bars and a 50mm stem feature to facilitate quick handling, but with a brace of shifters and a dropper-post remote crowding the brake levers, the cockpit is a busy place and cables look annoyingly messy.

Ragley BigWig 29 ride impression

Ragley BigWig 29 early verdict

You can read more at BikeRadar.com