shimano

Praxis to debut complete wide-range 10-speed mountain bike cassette

Praxis Cycles will soon debut its first complete mountain bike cassette aimed at riders who want more range from their current 10-speed systems but aren’t interested in breaking the bank for a complete 11-speed setup. The new cassette will feature a wide 11-40T range, even ratio jumps, and a price and weight roughly on par with Shimano Deore XT.

Aftermarket ‘range expander’ cogs have been available for some time now for 10-speed drivetrains, adding a hill conquering 40-tooth or 42-tooth on top of the standard 36-tooth one. Their add-on nature doesn’t come without compromises, though. Adding that cog forces users to remove another cog elsewhere in the cassette to make room – which produces an awkward ratio gap – and the jump from the original 36T cog to the new add-on gear isn’t always factory-smooth. In addition, those new range extenders are often added to older cassettes and chains, which can make for a rough-feeling drivetrain and accelerated wear.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

The new Praxis wide-range 10-speed cassette promises better shifting performance than other cassettes that have been modified with an add-on range expanding cog

Instead of jumping into the increasingly-crowded expanded range market, Praxis Cycles has decided to launch a complete wide-range cassette with a useful 11-40t spread. Praxis says that since its new cassette was designed from the outset as a cohesive unit, its new cassette will have relatively even ratio gaps throughout and will offer smoother shifting performance than any add-on system.

Praxis isn’t releasing complete details just yet, but we do know that the new cassette will feature a mix of steel and aluminum cogs with standard 10-speed spacing for use on Shimano or SRAM transmissions (although something like the new Lindarets GoatLink might still be a good idea). The weight target is roughly on par with Shimano Deore XT, which would put the Praxis cassette at about 340g. Pricing is still being finalized but provided Praxis can keep costs in check, this new cassette should be very enticing given that many range extending setups cost nearly US$100 for a single cog.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Shimano joins NAHBS as show sponsor

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BRAIN) — The North American Handmade Bicycle Show announced this week that Shimano has signed on as a sponsor for next month’s show. This year, Shimano is working with several bike builders to showcase the potential of their new e-bike electric assist system, Shimano Steps.  “We are more than happy to sponsor NAHBS as it is a great opportunity for us to support an event that provides a platform for frame builders and their work to be seen on a global level,” said Dustin Brady, Shimano American’s marketing manager

Shimano XTR 12-speed Di2 and mechanical: What we want

The ink on Shimano’s new XTR M9000 and XTR Di2 M9050 box labels is barely dry but we’ve already starting thinking about what the next iteration of the company’s flagship mountain bike groupset will bring. 

Based on what we know about Shimano’s engineering principles – not to mention one glaring competitive disadvantage – we strongly believe the next version will not only move to a wider-range 12-speed setup (twelve!) but might even be Di2-only.

Shimano undoubtedly has the best front shift performance in the mountain bike market. This is a bit of a moot point, though, given that enthusiast riders have been showing a strong preference toward single-ring drivetrains. For them, 1x setups offer better chain security and reduced complexity while frame engineers now have more flexibility in their designs since they no longer have to set aside precious real estate for a front derailleur.

ADVERTISEMENT
advertisement

In this context, even the latest XTR CS-M9000 cassette just can’t compete with SRAM’s XX1 for one simple reason: range.

Single-ring drivetrains are hardly new but SRAM was able to bring the technology to the masses thanks to the XX1 cassette’s remarkably wide 10-42T spread and the generous 320-percent range that comes with it. Shimano has indeed narrowed that gap with the new XTR, moving from the previous 11-36T setup to a wider 11-40T. But even that still falls short with a 264-percent total range – essentially identical to XX1 if you omit the 42-tooth cog.­

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

PressCamp Winter notebook, closing day

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (BRAIN) — Highlights from our final day of visits with suppliers as the second edition of PressCamp Winter wrapped up Thursday. Raleigh Could this be the rig that makes anti-e-bike IBDs change their tune on stocking electrics?

Shimano celebrates 25th anniversary of SPD with new shoe model

OSAKA, Japan (BRAIN) — It was 20 years ago that Shimano first introduced its clipless mountain bike pedal, which used what it called Shimano Pedaling Dynamics — later called SPD or “spuds.” The 1990 M737 pedal and M100 shoe may have been designed first for mountain bike use, but the SPD technology was later applied to road racing and casual riding shoes and pedals. To celebrate the anniversary, Shimano is launching a new shoe and pedal design for mountain biking. The PD- M530C pedal comes in a limited edition black finish

Token 11-speed CNC Cromo cassette review

This 11-speed cassette from Token is designed to fit eight-, nine-, 10- or 11-speed wheels, and offers the facility to use older race wheels (or perhaps newer mountain bike wheels on a cross bike) with a new drivetrain. Token is perhaps best known for its CNC and colourful anodised components, with this cassette being a good example of the Taiwanese brand’s machining knowhow.

Few expenses have been spared here, with 10 of the cogs CNC machined from a single piece of steel and then press-fitted to a carbon carrier. The steel construction means durability is high, as is cog strength – especially when compared with aftermarket aluminium cassette options.

Our 11-28t sample weighs a respectable 185g with the included alloy lock ring. Given the expense, the weight of this cassette is best compared to the likes Shimano’s Dura-Ace 9000 and SRAM’s XG-1190, at 193g and 151g respectively for the equivalent sizes.

The largest cog is offset from the freehub spline, therefore making room for an 11th cog : the largest cog is offset from the freehub spline, therefore making room for an 11th cog

The eleventh cog is offset so it can fit onto a narrower freehub body

Fitting 11 cogs In a space designed for 10 is done by offsetting the biggest cog inward of the freehub body. This is exactly how Shimano’s latest 11-speed XTR achieves the extra gear, but Token’s cassette pre-dates this being Shimano’s idea.

Despite our reservations over the press-fitted carbon spider’s strength and durability, and its potential for creaking, we received zero issues. The cassette shifts well and stomping on the pedals while forcing it through gears gave no delay in comparison with an equivalent Shimano cassette.

So it’s durable, lightweight and smooth shifting, but it’s not quite perfect. Similarly to SRAM’s older Red ‘PowerDome’ cassette with its hollow construction, the Token’s structure resonates noise from the chain and under shifting. It’s not as bad as the sound produced by the older SRAM cassettes, but it’s noticeably different to new Shimano or SRAM componentry – and is likely to bother riders who value virtual silence.

Another potential concern is that it’s possible for this cassette to make contact with the spokes on some wheels. While we didn’t experience this on the DT Swiss, Ritchey and Reynolds models we tested, some wheels with poor cassette clearance could prove problematic.?

With 10 cogs in one piece, installation couldn’t be easier. The carbon spider offers a wide base that won’t dig into soft aluminium freehub bodies, while the 11t cog locks in with the cassette to create a solid unit once tightened. Even the lightweight lock ring has a longer thread on it, perfect for a secure fit with some ‘delicately’ (AKA poorly) threaded freehub threads.

Designed to fit a narrower 8/9/10-speed freehub, a spacer is needed (and supplied) for use on newer 11-speed wheels: designed to fit a narrower 8/9/10-speed freehub, a spacer is needed (and supplied) for use on newer 11-speed wheels

The cassette fits onto a narrower space than normal 11-speed road cassettes; this spacer is needed if using on new 11-speed wheels

The cassette is also supplied with a spacer for use with 11-speed freehubs. In this configuration, the cassette sits slightly more outboard than a stock Shimano 11-speed cassette, so you’ll need to adjust the derailleur limits and cable tension slightly.

Fitting to a 10-speed DT-Swiss freehub, the alignment was comparable to an 11-speed equivalent hub, but not identical – requiring the very slightest of limit screw adjustment again. Keep this in mind – swapping in your race wheels with this cassette may not be quite as simple as using a quick release.

Now that there’s cross-brand 11-speed spacing, this cassette should suit SRAM and?Campagnolo?drivetrain users too. Given the Cromo’s price, you might argue that it’s cheaper to upgrade the freehub (if possible) or even the wheels – and in most cases, you’d probably be right. However, the Token Cromo cassette remains a genuinely interesting option for riders who are stuck with 10-speed wheels and want 11-speed shifting.

Note: This cassette is available in a choice of either 11-25t or 11-28t.








Token 11-speed CNC Cromo cassette review

This 11-speed cassette from Token is designed to fit eight-, nine-, 10- or 11-speed wheels, and offers the facility to use older race wheels (or perhaps newer mountain bike wheels on a cross bike) with a new drivetrain. Token is perhaps best known for its CNC and colourful anodised components, with this cassette being a good example of the Taiwanese brand’s machining knowhow.

Few expenses have been spared here, with 10 of the cogs CNC machined from a single piece of steel and then press-fitted to a carbon carrier. The steel construction means durability is high, as is cog strength – especially when compared with aftermarket aluminium cassette options.

Our 11-28t sample weighs a respectable 185g with the included alloy lock ring. Given the expense, the weight of this cassette is best compared to the likes Shimano’s Dura-Ace 9000 and SRAM’s XG-1190, at 193g and 151g respectively for the equivalent sizes.

The largest cog is offset from the freehub spline, therefore making room for an 11th cog : the largest cog is offset from the freehub spline, therefore making room for an 11th cog

The eleventh cog is offset so it can fit onto a narrower freehub body

Fitting 11 cogs In a space designed for 10 is done by offsetting the biggest cog inward of the freehub body. This is exactly how Shimano’s latest 11-speed XTR achieves the extra gear, but Token’s cassette pre-dates this being Shimano’s idea.

Despite our reservations over the press-fitted carbon spider’s strength and durability, and its potential for creaking, we received zero issues. The cassette shifts well and stomping on the pedals while forcing it through gears gave no delay in comparison with an equivalent Shimano cassette.

So it’s durable, lightweight and smooth shifting, but it’s not quite perfect. Similarly to SRAM’s older Red ‘PowerDome’ cassette with its hollow construction, the Token’s structure resonates noise from the chain and under shifting. It’s not as bad as the sound produced by the older SRAM cassettes, but it’s noticeably different to new Shimano or SRAM componentry – and is likely to bother riders who value virtual silence.

Another potential concern is that it’s possible for this cassette to make contact with the spokes on some wheels. While we didn’t experience this on the DT Swiss, Ritchey and Reynolds models we tested, some wheels with poor cassette clearance could prove problematic.?

With 10 cogs in one piece, installation couldn’t be easier. The carbon spider offers a wide base that won’t dig into soft aluminium freehub bodies, while the 11t cog locks in with the cassette to create a solid unit once tightened. Even the lightweight lock ring has a longer thread on it, perfect for a secure fit with some ‘delicately’ (AKA poorly) threaded freehub threads.

Designed to fit a narrower 8/9/10-speed freehub, a spacer is needed (and supplied) for use on newer 11-speed wheels: designed to fit a narrower 8/9/10-speed freehub, a spacer is needed (and supplied) for use on newer 11-speed wheels

The cassette fits onto a narrower space than normal 11-speed road cassettes; this spacer is needed if using on new 11-speed wheels

The cassette is also supplied with a spacer for use with 11-speed freehubs. In this configuration, the cassette sits slightly more outboard than a stock Shimano 11-speed cassette, so you’ll need to adjust the derailleur limits and cable tension slightly.

Fitting to a 10-speed DT-Swiss freehub, the alignment was comparable to an 11-speed equivalent hub, but not identical – requiring the very slightest of limit screw adjustment again. Keep this in mind – swapping in your race wheels with this cassette may not be quite as simple as using a quick release.

Now that there’s cross-brand 11-speed spacing, this cassette should suit SRAM and?Campagnolo?drivetrain users too. Given the Cromo’s price, you might argue that it’s cheaper to upgrade the freehub (if possible) or even the wheels – and in most cases, you’d probably be right. However, the Token Cromo cassette remains a genuinely interesting option for riders who are stuck with 10-speed wheels and want 11-speed shifting.

Note: This cassette is available in a choice of either 11-25t or 11-28t.








Vitus Sentier 290 review

When you think of a 29er hardtail, you generally think racy cross-country – but the ?900 Vitus Sentier 290 doesn’t care about that.

It’s a tough, enthusiastic, 29in-wheeled, 140mm-forked trail bike that’s been thoroughly overhauled for 2015.

Frame and equipment: aluminium frame with a tall front end and a solid spec

The aluminium frame combines 439mm chainstays (which are now rounded for extra ‘give’) with a decent effective top tube – 603mm on this medium sized test bike – and a low-slung bottom bracket to create a stable, reassuring ride.

The front end is tall, however. Even without spacers and the stem flipped for a seven-degree drop, the 720mm bars are a bit high, and head tubes get 10mm taller per size. Flatter and/or wider bars will fix this – Vitus calls these 720mm bars flat, but they rise around 20mm.

xxxxx:

The front end feels quite tall, but that’s easily remedied with flatter or wider bars

The Sentier has chainguide mounts for chain devices, and though the SLX clutch mech keeps the chain on well without one, it’s a benefit if you choose to go single front ring. The lack of guides for a dropper post is a disappointment though. The Sentier 290 is far too capable as a fast trail bike for a dropper not to be the most obvious, useful upgrade possible.

The rest of the spec is solid if not always outstanding. The WTB Vigilante/Trail Boss tyres are a fantastic pair, combining great, predictable grip with tall, supple sidewalls, which – along with their huge diameter – mute considerable levels of chatter. They’re not especially fast rolling on smooth surfaces, but they’re not draggy either.

The Shimano M396 brakes offer only medium levels of power, and feel is similarly muted in comparison to its basic Deores. That’s despite the use of resin pads – they’re softer and bite more immediately than sintered, though Shimano doesn’t do sintered pads for these.

In all, the 2015 Sentier comes totally ready to ride, which adds to the already strong value of the direct-sale method. The finish is strong, with deep paint and attractive decals, but the overall look is… polite. We think some lairy, modern colours would catch the eyes of more potential buyers.

Ride and handling: fun, inspiring and stable – a bike for trails rather than cross-country

Drop the saddle, stand up and pile into some singletrack and the Sentier 290 feels just right. It’s confidently stable, thanks both to the inertia of those big wheels and the 1,138mm wheelbase – this Medium is longer than last year’s size Large, thanks in part to a head angle that’s two degrees slacker (68 degrees). It’s still very flickable and eager.

The? WTB-rimmed wheels are stiff enough for accurate tracking through rough ground and hard corners, while the 12.7kg weight and excellent rubber play their own part in the planted-yet-lively feel. It’s a fun and inspiring ride that feels far better than its price suggests.

The shimano deore chainset lets you put the power down:

The Shimano Deore chainset lets you put the power down

Climbing is proficient rather than sparkling – it’s definitely a trail bike rather than XC, despite those rather Germanic looks – but traction is great and there’s plenty of room in the cockpit for weightshifts, even with a 6ft rider. Riders who are that tall may be ultimately better off with a Large coupled with a wide flat bar and dinky stem, however.

Manitou’s Minute Comp fork is smooth and supportive once blown up quite hard with fairly minimal sag, and? the rebound and compression damping adjustments are effective. The axle’s a 15mm screw-through, which is just as well as the narrow legs are rather flexy.

This year the Sentier comes in an extra size, so there are now four options. The 635mm effective top tube of the new XL properly accommodates rider over 6ft – or anyone who wants to fit a shorter stem than the standard 60mm from the off.?

The 2015 Sentier strikes a great balance: it’s built for fun descents and spirited riding, but it’s not so heavy or stiff it can’t be enjoyed everywhere else. The big wheels really score in both all-day comfort and tricky-moment traction over a traditional, 26in-wheeled hardcore hardtail too.?

The sentier climbs well, but is oriented towards attacking the fun stuff:

The Sentier climbs well, but is oriented towards attacking the fun stuff

Better still, it arrives ready to rock. Yes, a dropper post and a wider/flatter/shorter bar and stem would improve it, but there’s nothing that absolutely needs changing. There are few bikes you can say that about – and even fewer at such an impressive price.

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








New BRAIN issue looks at Shimano distribution, cycling media

January 1 issue also contains the 2015 Industry Directory, the Sales Training Guide and a look at the Quebec cycling industry. LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (BRAIN) — It’s been 12 months since Shimano American overhauled its U.S.

Horse for the Course: Cape to Cape MTB race

At the end of October I was invited as a guest of Shimano to a very remote area of the world – Margaret River – 277km south of Perth. The invite was to attend the Cape to Cape mountain bike race and put the new 11-speed Shimano XTR to the test.

The brief from Shimano was a simple one: “Provide your choice of frame, fork and tyres, and we’ll provide the rest.” Deal.

  • The course:?57km of Margaret River’s finest singletrack (and much pedalling to follow after)
  • The equipment goal:?A marathon superbike to play host to long-term testing of Shimano 11-speed M9000 groupset
  • The horse:?A Niner Jet 9 RDO with a Fox Float Factory fork, Specialized Fast Trak Command rubber and Shimano/PRO everything else

Given the cross-country marathon nature of the event, I wanted a frame that was going to be efficient, but still with enough trail attitude to put the Shimano components to the test. There were many suitable options on the market, but it was the recently updated Niner Jet 9 RDO that caught my eye.

I was in no doubt that this top-tier full carbon frame was deserving of Shimano’s best gear and while a 2380g frame weight (medium frame) wasn’t winning any awards, the solid reputation, versatility and distinctive aesthetic decided it.

In Australia, Niner is distributed by Rowney Sports, the owner being former pro-mountain biker Paul Rowney. If this name rings a bell, it’s because Rowney is a former Olympian and rode for the Cannondale/Sobe team among others. Rowney recommended putting a 120mm fork on the front, something that slackens the head angle and gives a little more trail confidence. Despite it not being an exact match for the 100mm rear, I took the advice.

xx: xx

A 120mm fork on a 29er marathon bike makes for a comparatively tall front end

With the frame sorted, I went about finding a suitable cross-country orientated fork with 120mm of travel. Given the Fox shock on the back, a 2015 Float 29 120mm Factory with Kashima coat was the natural match.

For 2015, the fork received updates in the form of refined Kashima coating, different oil and improvements to the seal head and damper cartridge tune – all changes to seek reduced friction and improve small bump compliance and plushness. As with the frame, the 1.8kg weight (including thru-axle) isn’t amazingly light, but I was optimistic about its ability to deliver the goods reliably.?

xx: xx

Lastly, rubber was needed. Of course when it comes to a cross-country tread there are a plethora of options from nearly every brand. Specifying tubeless, 29in, lightweight and fast rolling didn’t reduce these options either. In the end, I went with a pair of 2015 Specialized Fast Trak Controls. It had been a few years since I last used these, and I wanted to see how far they had come.

Having handed over our part-kitted steed to Shimano’s people, they finished off the build with a complete XTR M9000 XC race group (including wheels) and new Tharsis XC components from in-house component brand PRO. The result – a respectable, but not superlight 10.83kg total build before pedals.

The race

Although the Cape to Cape race is a four stage event that covers some 220km, our invite was for the 57km third stage, one that includes much of the event’s singletrack and has the reputation as being the day with the most fun. In addition to this, the invitational ‘elite only’ RedBull Showdown would take place the evening before, offering time bonuses for those competing – as well as great potential for embarrassment among the rarely participating media types.

There were certainly a few nerves leading into the weekend and, mainly because a hip injury had kept me from doing any form of distance training for a frustrating length of time, to say I was prepared for this event would be an outright lie.

That wasn’t the only factor preying on the mind either. Speak to any experienced rider about doing an event, and the advice will always be the same – ride what you know. Wear your favourite shorts, be confident in your equipment, and never use anything brand new. Well, I had none of those luxuries.?

Having received the bike just hours before the RedBull showdown, there was plenty to go through in terms of setup. Unfortunately the brand new, unseen nature of everything meant that things were far from ideal – and I quickly became a painful sight to the Shimano employees.

xx: xx

With a false start, further testing is still to come with the new PRO Tharsis XC stem

One of the main setup quirks was with the PRO Tharsis XC stem that, by not using a traditional star-nut and topcap to preload the headset, leaves the steerer tube open for a Di2 battery. Instead, it uses a threaded collar on the outside that’s adjusted with an old headset spanner to preload the bearings.

In theory the design is clean, but it was quickly obvious that the system doesn’t allow for removing spacers from beneath the headset, as that would lead to a raw steerer tube unsafely poking out the top. Another major issue was that without the topcap present, the stem constantly would rock itself just enough off the steerer that the headset would become completely loose. With little more than a hammer and a screwdriver, a star-nut was installed and a much-needed lower handlebar height was achieved and the weird self-loosening headset disappeared. More testing on this will follow.

With just over an hour to get used to the jumps and berms that made up the Showdown course, every short lap resulted in a different mechanical. Whether it was the rear tyre leaking pressure so it burped from the rim, the dropped chain from a poorly set limit screw or the headset that worked itself loose on three separate occasions, my issues seemed endless. Thankfully, with time up, the final test lap resulted in a problem free ride and I was ready to race.

While my fitness was clearly lacking, the bike was not. Jumping on the pedals at the start was met with respectable acceleration, with the relatively lightweight wheels and tyres being a key advantage here.

Being covered in Western Australia’s infamous pea gravel, the surface wasn’t ideally suited to the Fast Trak’s low-profile tread – but few other tyre choices would have been much of an improvement. The corners caused an immediate drift beneath, but berms eagerly awaited every tyre slide, which took some getting used to.

One hour of practise on the new horse and then it's time to race... perfect: one hour of practise on the new horse and then it's time to race... perfect

Short and sweet – that’s exactly what the RedBull Showdown course was

The consecutive jumps, braking bumps and gravel covered terrain immediately put the suspension to the test. It proved confident on landing while still offering a respectable level of small bump compliance to keep the front from washing out – the subtle improvements to the fork’s initial stiction were noticeable.

Not a bad place to stay, huh? we hope to return for 2015: not a bad place to stay, huh? we hope to return for 2015

The view from our accomodation, a 30 minute drive from the race start

The following morning was the main event, 57km accompanied by some 1,800 other riders on a course that makes its way from a winery to a brewery through twisting pine forests. Tough gig, hey?

Having dialled the bike in the night before, I was disheartened to see the ‘tubeless-ready’ rear tyre had lost substantial pressure overnight. After a quick top-up and a serious shake to move the tubeless sealant in the tyre, I was hopeful it would just seal on the move. Thankfully it did the trick, but after the race I got these tyres properly sorted – replacing the leaking valve stem and resting the wheel flat on a bucket fixed the pressure loss.

Efforts to ignore the early groans from my hip occupied the opening kilometres of the day’s riding, a combination of road and firetrails geared to enable gaps form before we hit the custom-built singletrack trails – and offering a chance to fully test this horse.

The first corners were met with reasonable confidence, learning the bike’s capability the night before. The 120mm front fork shrugged off any embedded rock or root, with the 100mm out back following suit.

I certainly seemed to have an equipment advantage among the group I was riding with, with changes in pace from the terrain not proving too energy intensive. Where competitors spun out on loose climbs, the Niner just effortlessly kept traction – technique was a factor for sure, but the bike still climbed with impressive poise.

xx: xx

Helping to provide confident steering precision were the M9000 wheels. While they don’t scream ‘race’ on the scales, they spun so freely that I needed the brakes more than expected. I’d never before seen a well serviced mountain bike wheel spin so smoothly.

At the 24km mark, not too long after reaching the beautifully manicured and flowing pine forest trails, I hit trouble. I shifted for the big ring and waited once again for the XTR’s swiftness… instead I was rudely interrupted by a sudden noisy jamming of the crank.

Shifting was working perfectly until the e-type mounting bolts let the derailleur slip from its position:

Shfiting was working perfectly until the derailleur slipped from its position

Had I just dropped a chain on the new XTR (after setting it up properly the day before)? No, unfortunately that would be too simple.

Instead, the E-type front derailleur hadn’t been tightened fully and the shifting had pulled the entire derailleur downward and into the crank. Without being able to remove the crank to access these bolts, there was nothing more I could do than pull the derailleur up by hand and try to remember not to use the left shifter again. Bugger.

The next 30km or so were done in the 26t chainring – a potential race killer for many, but perhaps a blessing in disguise for me given my injury and general lack of preparation.

Up until this point, the new XTR had been working near-flawlessly and with perfect precision. The rear gears at least continued to work in this manner, requiring the lightest twist of the shifter-mounted barrel adjuster to keep the shifting crisp following a little settling of the new cables.

Something that I and a few other media counterparts experienced was creaking in the 11-40t cassette. While many noted that this all but disappeared as the riding went on, mine got noisier. It’s because of these kinds of niggles that we keep our hands on groupsets – and bikes – for longer term testing, and we’ll be actively looking into a fix for the noise issue.

Light rain, a little mud and some grass riding quickly built into a mess by the end: light rain, a little mud and some grass riding quickly built into a mess by the end

The Niner’s suspension design provides an unwanted shelf for muck from the rear wheel

The rain had begun to fall by the end of the stage, creating a gloopy peanut butter-like surface that plugged the tread in the tyres, although there was still plenty of space in the frame and fork to handle it. The conditions highlighted a negative to the Niner’s suspension linkage layout, with grass and muck collecting in the bottom linkage.

After I finished the race in a time definitely not worth gloating about, the guys from Shimano jokingly asked if I had any more troubles following the mishaps from the evening before. They were clearly sad to have asked.

xx: xx

The new nickname for BikeRadar’s Australian editor

Following those past two days of mechanical issues with the new ride, they presented me with my bike case… decorated with a fresh nickname – ‘Dave the wrecker’.

While I was apparently the only rider to have issues, given that I hadn’t assembled my ride this didn’t seem entirely fair. But I later found that I’d also managed to hole a brand new pair of socks in just 57km – so perhaps the nickname was appropriate after all.