shimano

Zealous Division review

Andy Gowan, one of the co-designers at Zealous, was working for Trek/Gary Fisher when they introduced the first mass production 29ers over a dozen years ago, but a decade later he still hadn’t seen one from anywhere that combined the steamroller smoothness with the chop and change agility he still loved his 26er for. So he started designing his own…

  • Highs: Inspiringly accurate, stable steering and snappily agile high velocity hardcore hardtail
  • Lows: Unforgivingly stiff and heavy by alloy frame standards
  • Buy If: You want a flat-out fun big- wheeled BMX for blasting technical trails

Frame and equipment: divide and conquer

The keystone of the Division is the ‘Eclipse’ seat tube, which uses a stirrup-shaped twin lower section. This lets the rear wheel slot right in above the bottom bracket for super-short chainstays without creating a wonky seat angle. While a 2.3in knobbly or 2.4in semi-slick is the most practical fit limit, the open hoop means that it’s almost impossible to clog with mud.

The rear wheel tucks right up inside the stirrup-shaped base of the eclipse seat tube to create a super-short, yet mud friendly rear end:

The rear wheel tucks right up inside the stirrup-shaped base of the Eclipse seat tube to create a super-short, yet mud friendly rear end

Licensed versions of DMR’s universal axle ‘Swopout’ dropouts sit at the far end for maximum stiffness and upgrade potential. A 44mm head tube way out front of the sloping top tube and lazily curved main tube give 110-130mm stroke tapered fork capability too.

Ride and handling: hammer time

The Division rides as distinctively as it looks, with no trace of twist or vagueness in feedback from the front end. A relatively low bottom bracket means the bike hunkers down onto the trail with brooding authority too. There’s absolutely zero flex in that short tail and power barks and crackles from pedal to rear wheel like a rally car exhaust.

The division's super short rear gives great agility and power delivery…:

The Division’s super short rear gives great agility and power delivery

Jab the go pedal or drop it through the gate at the top of a descent and all hell breaks loose. Forget subtle nuance, smoothed impacts or squirming compliance – the Division is almost demented in its determination to get to the bottom by the fastest, straightest route possible. If you ride like a passenger then it will kick the crap out of your knees, punish your palms through the skinny grips and shake your brain in your skull like a maraca.

You need to get used to the rearward weight distribution trying to pivot the whole bike round on the back wheel under power. It’s that whip round turn potential and belligerently accurate attitude to attacking the trail that gives the Division its premier league technical trail performance though. It genuinely pumps jumps and rollers, slingshots berms and pops off drops like a smaller wheeled bike but with all the speed sustain, grip and surefooted traction of a 29er.

The result is a ferociously fast, infectiously involving and fantastically rewarding ride for those riders who have the skills to really make the most of it. Despite the hefty frame weight, undiluted power transfer means it will hustle up climbs or cut between black runs with impressive efficiency.

Specifications As Tested:

  • Size: M (also available in S, L and XL)
  • Weight: 12.46kg / 27.46lb
  • Frame: Custom alloy
  • Fork: MRP Stage, 130mm
  • Shock: N/A
  • Max tyre Size: 2.4in

TRANSMISSION

  • Chainset: Shimano SLX/Black Spire, 32T
  • Shifters: Shimano SLX
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Zee (R)
  • Chain: Shimano SLX
  • Bottom Bracket: Shimano PF BB91
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX, 11-36T

WHEELS

  • Front: WTB Frequency i23 TCS rim, Hope Pro 2 Evo hub
  • Rear: WTB Frequency i23 TCS rim, Hope Pro 2 Evo hub
  • Tyres: WTB Vigilante TCS, 29×2.3in (F), WTB Wolverine TCS, 29×2.3in (R)

FINISHING KIT

  • Brakes: Shimano SLX, 180/160mm rotors
  • Bars: Renthal flat bars, 740mm
  • Stem: Renthal Duo, 50mm
  • Grips: WTB, lock-on
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Saddle: WTB Silverline
  • Headset: Cane Creek
  • Pedals: N/A

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








Singular Buzzard review

Singular describes its Buzzard as a Swift (its cross-country frame) “with a shot of adrenalin and a couple of healthy measures of Dutch courage” but it’s pretty much a completely new bike with very different geometry. Has it got the recipe right for technical raving?

  • Highs: Resilient ride with precise, slow speed handling
  • Lows: Short front end cramps climbing capability and fast and loose descending style
  • Buy if: You want the smoothness of 29er wheels in an almost trials-style hop and pop format

Frame and equipment: tight butt

The Buzzard gets off to a good start with a wide splayed plate bridge behind the bottom bracket and a curved seat tube to give room for the chunkiest conventional boots available, such as the monster Maxxis High Roller 29×2.4in if you want maximum air cushioning.

Using a thin plate rather than tubular chainstay to give maximum tyre clearance isn’t a new idea but it’s simply effective:

Using a thin plate rather than tubular chainstay to give maximum clearance isn’t a new idea but it’s simply effective

While you don’t get the Swift’s eccentric bottom bracket for tensioning the chain, or a bolt-thru axle, you do get chainguide mounts (as well as pragmatic rather than pretty touches, such as folded metal cable guides, which keep the price down). The chromoly steel main tubes are upsized for strength over the Swift, and to take a tapered fork of up to 140mm travel, the Buzzard is fronted by a straight 44mm head tube. Combined with the shorter, more easily flicked round rear end, fat rubber capabilty and rearward shifted weight distribution for instant wheelies it’s potentially looking good for more technical trail taming.

Ride and handling: stunted front

What Singular has done with the front end definitely puts that techy potential in jeopardy. Rather than extending it to give a longer front centre and a decent reach with the shorter stem needed to make sense of the slack, long fork handling the designers have actually shortened it. Not just a bit either, but by 22mm compared with the Swift, which also makes almost 30mm shorter than many other comparable medium frames. Add the rear shifted rider position and the cramped feel immediately makes you think ‘fit a basket’ not ‘blast it’ up climbs or down descents.

At 570mm the effective top tube of the buzzard is very short relative to some of its peers, which has a dramatic effect on handling balance:

At 570mm the effective top tube of the Buzzard is very short relative to some of its peers, which has a dramatic effect on handling balance

Even with a super slack head angle, the short front end is prone to tuck in and slither rather than let you properly get weight behind it and drive it hard.

In its defence getting out of the saddle and working your weight around definitely helps and it’ll pick its way down really steep, tight turning slopes with precision as long as you force your weight back.

It’s worth working round the geometry if you can as the tubeset definitely has the trademark resilient feel and natural spring of steel when you start clobbering through rocks and roots. That tight back end also kicks well as long as you can keep the front wheel down and avoid kneeing the shifters.

Singular doesn’t have distributors in the US or Australia but will ship worldwide – see www.singularcycles.com/faq for details.

Specifications as tested:

  • Size: M (also available in L, XL)
  • Weight: 12.41kg / 27.3lb
  • Frame: Double butted 4130 steel
  • Fork: MRP Loop, 140mm
  • Shock: N/A
  • Max Tyre Size: 2.5in

TRANSMISSION

  • Chainset: Shimano Zee
  • Shifters: Shimano Zee
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Zee (R)
  • Chain: Shimano SLX
  • Bottom Bracket: Mortop Ceramic
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX

WHEELS

  • Front: Mavic CrossMax XL rim and hub
  • Rear: Mavic CrossMax XL rim and hub
  • Tyres: Mavic Quest, 29×2.4in

FINISHING KIT

  • Brakes: SRAM Guide, 180/160mm rotors
  • Bars: Renthal flat bars, 750mm
  • Stem: Renthal Duo, 50mm
  • Grips: Hope, lock-on
  • Seatpost: Easton EA30, 31.6mm
  • Saddle: Selle San Marco
  • Headset: Hope
  • Pedals: N/A

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








Singular Buzzard review

Singular describes its Buzzard as a Swift (its cross-country frame) “with a shot of adrenalin and a couple of healthy measures of Dutch courage” but it’s pretty much a completely new bike with very different geometry. Has it got the recipe right for technical raving?

  • Highs: Resilient ride with precise, slow speed handling
  • Lows: Short front end cramps climbing capability and fast and loose descending style
  • Buy if: You want the smoothness of 29er wheels in an almost trials-style hop and pop format

Frame and equipment: tight butt

The Buzzard gets off to a good start with a wide splayed plate bridge behind the bottom bracket and a curved seat tube to give room for the chunkiest conventional boots available, such as the monster Maxxis High Roller 29×2.4in if you want maximum air cushioning.

Using a thin plate rather than tubular chainstay to give maximum tyre clearance isn’t a new idea but it’s simply effective:

Using a thin plate rather than tubular chainstay to give maximum clearance isn’t a new idea but it’s simply effective

While you don’t get the Swift’s eccentric bottom bracket for tensioning the chain, or a bolt-thru axle, you do get chainguide mounts (as well as pragmatic rather than pretty touches, such as folded metal cable guides, which keep the price down). The chromoly steel main tubes are upsized for strength over the Swift, and to take a tapered fork of up to 140mm travel, the Buzzard is fronted by a straight 44mm head tube. Combined with the shorter, more easily flicked round rear end, fat rubber capabilty and rearward shifted weight distribution for instant wheelies it’s potentially looking good for more technical trail taming.

Ride and handling: stunted front

What Singular has done with the front end definitely puts that techy potential in jeopardy. Rather than extending it to give a longer front centre and a decent reach with the shorter stem needed to make sense of the slack, long fork handling the designers have actually shortened it. Not just a bit either, but by 22mm compared with the Swift, which also makes almost 30mm shorter than many other comparable medium frames. Add the rear shifted rider position and the cramped feel immediately makes you think ‘fit a basket’ not ‘blast it’ up climbs or down descents.

At 570mm the effective top tube of the buzzard is very short relative to some of its peers, which has a dramatic effect on handling balance:

At 570mm the effective top tube of the Buzzard is very short relative to some of its peers, which has a dramatic effect on handling balance

Even with a super slack head angle, the short front end is prone to tuck in and slither rather than let you properly get weight behind it and drive it hard.

In its defence getting out of the saddle and working your weight around definitely helps and it’ll pick its way down really steep, tight turning slopes with precision as long as you force your weight back.

It’s worth working round the geometry if you can as the tubeset definitely has the trademark resilient feel and natural spring of steel when you start clobbering through rocks and roots. That tight back end also kicks well as long as you can keep the front wheel down and avoid kneeing the shifters.

Singular doesn’t have distributors in the US or Australia but will ship worldwide – see www.singularcycles.com/faq for details.

Specifications as tested:

  • Size: M (also available in L, XL)
  • Weight: 12.41kg / 27.3lb
  • Frame: Double butted 4130 steel
  • Fork: MRP Loop, 140mm
  • Shock: N/A
  • Max Tyre Size: 2.5in

TRANSMISSION

  • Chainset: Shimano Zee
  • Shifters: Shimano Zee
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Zee (R)
  • Chain: Shimano SLX
  • Bottom Bracket: Mortop Ceramic
  • Cassette: Shimano SLX

WHEELS

  • Front: Mavic CrossMax XL rim and hub
  • Rear: Mavic CrossMax XL rim and hub
  • Tyres: Mavic Quest, 29×2.4in

FINISHING KIT

  • Brakes: SRAM Guide, 180/160mm rotors
  • Bars: Renthal flat bars, 750mm
  • Stem: Renthal Duo, 50mm
  • Grips: Hope, lock-on
  • Seatpost: Easton EA30, 31.6mm
  • Saddle: Selle San Marco
  • Headset: Hope
  • Pedals: N/A

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








Norco Threshold, Search and Range 2015

The 2015 Norco Bicycles lineup features many new and innovative frame platforms across all styles of riding. Three of the new and exciting models are the Norco Search, Threshold and Range.

Check out all three in the video below:

Please install Adobe Flash player to view this content

Video: Norco 2015 road and mountain bike highlights

Search spec details

  • Frame: Search Mid-Mod Carbon – TA Disc?
  • Fork: Search Mid-Mod Full Carbon – TA Disc
  • Shifters: Shimano Ultegra SL-RS685 11spd w/Hydro Disc
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra FD-6800 11spd?
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra RD-6800-GS 11spd?
  • Cassette: Shimano Ultegra CS-6800 11-speed 11-32T?
  • Crankset: Shimano Ultegra FC-6800 11-speed 50/34T?
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano SM-BB71 Pressfit BB86
  • Chain: Shimano CN-HG700 11-speed
  • Rims: Easton EA70 XCT – tubeless
  • Tyres: Clement X’Plor USH 120tpi 35c folding
  • Front hub: Easton EA70 XCT – 15×100mm
  • Rear hub: Easton EA70 XCT – 12×142mm
  • Spokes/nipples: Easton EA70 XCT – tubeless
  • Seatpost: Norco Lite Composite 27.2 – UD Stealth?
  • Saddle: Fizik Tundra M5
  • Stem: Norco Lite – Black Stealth?
  • Handlebar: Ritchey WCS Evo Curve – Black
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-RS785 Hydraulic Disc w/160mm

Threshold spec details

  • Frame: Threshold SL High-Mod Carbon – TA Disc??
  • Fork: Threshold SL High-Mod Full Carbon – TA Disc
  • Shifters: Shimano ST-R785 11spd Di2 w/Hydraulic Disc
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070
  • Cassette: Shimano Ultegra CS-6800 11-28T 11 speed?
  • Crankset: FSA SL-K Light BB386 46/36T?
  • Bottom bracket: FSA BB-PF30 w/BB386 Spacers?
  • Chain: Shimano CN-HG700-11 11-speed
  • Rims: Easton EC90 SL Disc Carbon Tubular Disc TA?
  • Tyres: Clement Crusade PDX 33c Tubulars
  • Front hub: aston EC90 SL Disc 15×100mm Thru-Axle?
  • Rear hub: Easton EC90 SL Disc 12×142mm Thru-Axle?
  • Spokes/nipples: Easton EC90 SL Disc
  • Seatpost: Norco Di2 Lite Composite 27.2 – UD Stealth
  • Saddle: WTB Volt Team – Black?
  • Stem: Easton EA70 – Black??
  • Handlebar: Easton EC90 SLX3 – Carbon
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-RS785 Hydraulic Disc w/160mm

Range spec details

  • Frame: Range carbon 650B frame w/160mm travel?
  • Fork: Rockshox Pike RCT dual postion air 160mm, 15mm??
  • Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel air w/climb switch
  • Shifter (rear): SRAM XX1 11-speed trigger??
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1 11-speed long cage?
  • Cassette: SRAM XG 1180 10-42T 11-speed
  • Crankset: SRAM XX1 X Sync w/30T ?
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM Pressfit BB92?
  • Pedals: SRAM MMX match maker right clamp ?
  • Chain: SRAM PC 1130
  • Chain tensioner: E-13 TRS + single DMB top guide small guard?
  • Rims: Stan’s ZTR Flow EX FR/AM
  • Tyres: Maxxis High Roller II 650Bx2.30 3C Maxx Terra?
  • Front hub: DT 350 alloy with disc mount front 15 mm?
  • Rear hub: DT 350 alloy w/36T engagement 142×12 XD driver?
  • Spokes/nipples: DT Competition butted stainless black spokes?
  • Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb Stealth seatpost 30.9 mm?
  • Seatpost Clamp: Norco design alloy nutted clamp ?
  • Saddle: WTB Volt Race w/chromoly rail?
  • Stem: Race Face Atlas 50mm stem, 35 mm clamp?
  • Handlebar: RacFace SixC 800mm carbon bar 35mm ?
  • Grips: Norco lock-on ?
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC hydraulic disc w/180 mm rotor








Norco 2015 Threshold, Search and Range

The 2015 Norco Bicycles lineup features many new and innovative frame platforms across all styles of riding. Three of the new and exciting models are the Norco Search, Threshold and Range.

Check out all three in the video below:

Please install Adobe Flash player to view this content

Video: Norco 2015 road and mountain bike highlights

Search spec details

  • Frame: Search Mid-Mod Carbon – TA Disc?
  • Fork: Search Mid-Mod Full Carbon – TA Disc
  • Shifters: Shimano Ultegra SL-RS685 11spd w/Hydro Disc
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra FD-6800 11spd?
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra RD-6800-GS 11spd?
  • Cassette: Shimano Ultegra CS-6800 11-speed 11-32T?
  • Crankset: Shimano Ultegra FC-6800 11-speed 50/34T?
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano SM-BB71 Pressfit BB86
  • Chain: Shimano CN-HG700 11-speed
  • Rims: Easton EA70 XCT – tubeless
  • Tyres: Clement X’Plor USH 120tpi 35c folding
  • Front hub: Easton EA70 XCT – 15×100mm
  • Rear hub: Easton EA70 XCT – 12×142mm
  • Spokes/nipples: Easton EA70 XCT – tubeless
  • Seatpost: Norco Lite Composite 27.2 – UD Stealth?
  • Saddle: Fizik Tundra M5
  • Stem: Norco Lite – Black Stealth?
  • Handlebar: Ritchey WCS Evo Curve – Black
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-RS785 Hydraulic Disc w/160mm

Threshold spec details

  • Frame: Threshold SL High-Mod Carbon – TA Disc??
  • Fork: Threshold SL High-Mod Full Carbon – TA Disc
  • Shifters: Shimano ST-R785 11spd Di2 w/Hydraulic Disc
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070
  • Cassette: Shimano Ultegra CS-6800 11-28T 11 speed?
  • Crankset: FSA SL-K Light BB386 46/36T?
  • Bottom bracket: FSA BB-PF30 w/BB386 Spacers?
  • Chain: Shimano CN-HG700-11 11-speed
  • Rims: Easton EC90 SL Disc Carbon Tubular Disc TA?
  • Tyres: Clement Crusade PDX 33c Tubulars
  • Front hub: aston EC90 SL Disc 15×100mm Thru-Axle?
  • Rear hub: Easton EC90 SL Disc 12×142mm Thru-Axle?
  • Spokes/nipples: Easton EC90 SL Disc
  • Seatpost: Norco Di2 Lite Composite 27.2 – UD Stealth
  • Saddle: WTB Volt Team – Black?
  • Stem: Easton EA70 – Black??
  • Handlebar: Easton EC90 SLX3 – Carbon
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-RS785 Hydraulic Disc w/160mm

Range spec details

  • Frame: Range carbon 650B frame w/160mm travel?
  • Fork: Rockshox Pike RCT dual postion air 160mm, 15mm??
  • Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel air w/climb switch
  • Shifter (rear): SRAM XX1 11-speed trigger??
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1 11-speed long cage?
  • Cassette: SRAM XG 1180 10-42T 11-speed
  • Crankset: SRAM XX1 X Sync w/30T ?
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM Pressfit BB92?
  • Pedals: SRAM MMX match maker right clamp ?
  • Chain: SRAM PC 1130
  • Chain tensioner: E-13 TRS + single DMB top guide small guard?
  • Rims: Stan’s ZTR Flow EX FR/AM
  • Tyres: Maxxis High Roller II 650Bx2.30 3C Maxx Terra?
  • Front hub: DT 350 alloy with disc mount front 15 mm?
  • Rear hub: DT 350 alloy w/36T engagement 142×12 XD driver?
  • Spokes/nipples: DT Competition butted stainless black spokes?
  • Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb Stealth seatpost 30.9 mm?
  • Seatpost Clamp: Norco design alloy nutted clamp ?
  • Saddle: WTB Volt Race w/chromoly rail?
  • Stem: Race Face Atlas 50mm stem, 35 mm clamp?
  • Handlebar: RacFace SixC 800mm carbon bar 35mm ?
  • Grips: Norco lock-on ?
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC hydraulic disc w/180 mm rotor








Kona 2015 mountain and hybrid bikes available at Halfords – sponsored post

Kona bikes are designed for riders who want to hit the trails or streets hard, and five stunning models from the Canadian brand’s 2015 range are now available at Halfords.

The lineup includes the limited edition NuNu 27.5, which is exclusively available from Halfords. This smooth-riding cross-country bike has been updated with 650b (27.5in) wheels and will retail for ?699.

The kona nunu 27.5 is exclusive to halfords for 2015: the kona nunu 27.5 is exclusive to halfords for 2015

The Kona NuNu 27.5

Elsewhere in the mountain bike range, you’ll find the Lava Dome 29er, Fire Mountain 27.5 and the long-serving, but thoroughly updated Blast 27.5.

The Lava Dome is built around a 6061 aluminium frame and a Suntour XCT fork that provides 100mm of suspension travel. This sure-footed 29er is priced at ?499, and comes equipped with a SRAM X4 24-speed drivetrain. It’s a great choice for riders who want to really start honing their mountain bike skills.

2015 kona lava dome: 2015 kona lava dome

The 2015 Kona Lava Dome

The Fire Mountain 27.5 is mid-wheeled ride for mountain bikers who want to venture a bit further off the beaten track. It features Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, a Shimano Altus 27-speed drivetrain and a 100mm travel Suntour XCR 32 fork – a great package for just ?549.

The 2015 kona fire mountain: the 2015 kona fire mountain

The 2015 Kona Fire Mountain

Finally, there’s the Blast 27.5, a ?799 hardtail constructed from Kona’s renowned Scandium frame tubing. The 100mm travel RockShox XC30 fork is matched beautifully to a Shimano Deore/Alivio 27-speed drivetrain, Shimano M396 hydraulic disc brakes and Maxxis tyres. The Blast is one of the longest-running models in Kona’s history and with features like this, it’s easy to see why.

All four mountain bike models are available in 17in, 19in and 21in frame sizes.

Finally, for commuters and more leisurely riders, there’s the Kona Dew, a hybrid bike that’s at home on both country tracks and city streets. It retails for ?399, and comes with alloy V-brakes, a 24-speed Shimano drivetrain and Kenda 700c tyres.?

The 2015 kona dew: the 2015 kona dew

The 2015 Kona Dew

For more information on Kona at Halfords visit halfords.com/kona.








By admin on September 8, 2014 | Mountain Bikes
Tags: , , , , , ,

Liv/Giant Tempt 27.5 2 – in brief review

With its steeply sloped and kinked top tube giving a standover of 645mm and a straight seat tube letting you slam the seatpost, the Tempt 2 is an impressively inclusive bike in terms of sizing. The angular looking saddle turned out to be a winner with our female test team too and the 640mm wide bars get narrow diameter grips.

  • Highs: Angular female specific saddle; no interruption to height adjustment; good value FSA/Shimano 30-speed gear range and Shimano brakes
  • Lows: Over stiff fork spring; long, stable back end with a twitchier front end means handling takes some time to master

The upright riding position is definitely more ‘look at the view’ rather than ‘ready to race’ but with a very low weight and shod with fast-rolling Schwalbes it picks up speed smartly. The impressive value mixed Shimano transmission with Giant branded triple ring chainset shifts smoothly and the Shimano brakes are consistent too.

650b wheels provide a useful balance between smoothness and sprightly acceleration and long chainstays contribute to a comfortable ride in the saddle. The long back end adds stability, but the front end feels twitchy in comparison. Unfortunately Giant has failed to compensate the coil sprung fork properly for lighter riders so you’ll be lucky to get more than half travel on an average ride.

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








Scappa Purosangue review

You’re very unlikely to known anything about Scappa… but should get to know because this bike is something special. This Italian brand was founded in 2010 by Gernot Mueller, a man with some 27 years’ experience at the top level of the cycling industry.

The mission was a simple one – to create the ultimate. It had to be handmade, state-of-the-art, superlight and bespoke, with the luxury experience of buying a supercar, something that probably isn’t entirely alien to anyone that doesn’t choke on the price.

  • Pros: Handling, stiffness, compliance, weight, bespoke sizing and colours, exclusivity
  • Cons: Selling all your other possessions to buy it

So far Scappa is a small company but it’s growing surprisingly fast. The range already includes an aero-road and a TT bike (neither of which seem obvious places to start because of the intensive aero R&D required), alongside a sportive steed, a women’s road machine and a hardtail mountain bike. Titanium and steel road frames will follow, plus a track bike and an urban range. On top of that, Scappa already has its own stem, seatpost and bars (fitted here) and in the works is a saddle and complete wheel range. It’s all designed in-house and is, of course, super light.

Just in case you forget that purosangue means 'thoroughbred':

Just in case you forget that Purosangue means ‘thoroughbred’

The Purosangue (it means ‘thoroughbred’ in Italian) is the flagship, a featherweight race bike as pure in its design as its name suggests. There are no token aero features nor fussy bump-absorbing kinks or hinges – you get round tubes and straight stays. Within that package, though, is great attention to detail: the head tube tapers from 1.5in at the lower race for steering fidelity, the chainstays are beefy and the seatstays are pencil-thin all the way to the seat tube.

The claimed frame weight is a barely-there 630g – and that includes around 80g of paint because it has three full layers to get this deep finish. If you don’t like this paintjob (it is rather divisive), fear not; you can have literally any hue you show them to match.

The claimed frame weight is a mere 630g –?a sub-5kg build is therefore possible:

The claimed frame weight is a mere 630g – a sub-5kg build is therefore possible

That frame weight undercuts everything we know of: the new Trek ?monda, Cannondale SuperSix Evo Nano, AX Lightness Vial, Cerv?lo RCA, Scott Addict… A sub-5kg build is possible if you choose the very lightest components.

What none of those frames can offer, though, is bespoke sizing. Scappa can, because its frames are made by hand to order using a tube-to-tube process rather than a mass-production friendly monocoque. We sent Scappa our tester’s fit data and they built a bike that fits beautifully. We say this a lot, but bike fit is so important to get right and it will never be better than with a bespoke frame.

Our test bike is built with appropriately high-end parts: Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, Rotor 3D+ cranks, tubular Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate wheels and Scappa’s own carbon bars, stem and post. It totals 6.0kg…

Under your hands, scappa's own carbon bars:

Under your hands, Scappa’s own carbon bars

The lightness is tangible all the time, not just on the climbs, and it’s coupled with very impressive stiffness. You can sprint up a short, steep ramp with a big effort and the frame is completely unflustered.

Ascending is – predictably for a 6kg machine – an utter pleasure…:

Ascending is – predictably for a 6kg machine – an utter pleasure

That’s thanks to consistent rigidity through every part of the frame and cockpit. On longer steep climbs, out of the saddle or spinning a low gear, it surges forwards under every pedal stroke with a deeply satisfying efficiency. This is how you’d hope a bike like this would feel.

The Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimates have been around for a few years but they’re still stunning – to look at and to ride. There’s a little lateral give but their power transmission is absolute. And as they weigh under 1,200g, the Scappa climbs and accelerates with vigour.

Mavic's cosmic carbone ultimates deliver ultimate power transmission:

Mavic’s Cosmic Carbone Ultimates deliver superb power transmission

The Purosangue impresses on descents just as much as on the climbs. It’s stable, precise, neutral as the lean increases and confidence inspiring. It’s on your side. Dry braking is superb but there’s the usual delay in the wet.

The icing on the cake is the great comfort from the compliant fork, seatstays and post. We’ve done a couple of five-hour rides on it and by the end it really made a difference.

The compliant rear end ensures it'll only be your ego that receives a massage after a few hours in the saddle:

The compliant rear end ensures that your ego will be the only thing receiving a massage after a few hours in the saddle

Light, stiff, comfortable, precise, desirable and tailored; the Purosangue really is a special bike. It’s exclusive, too. So far only 25 have been made. If you can afford one, you will never regret it for a second.

Specs as tested:

  • Frame: Scappa Purosangue
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
  • Crankset: Rotor 3D+, 53/39
  • Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace
  • Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-28
  • Wheels: Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate
  • Tyres: Mavic Yksion Griplink/Powerlink
  • Headset: Scappa UL 1 1/8” – 1 1/2”
  • Stem: Scappa carbon
  • Handlebar: Scappa carbon
  • SeatPost: Scappa carbon
  • Saddle: Fizik Arione 00
  • Fork: Scappa, full carbon
  • Weight: 6.0kg (as tested, no pedals)
  • Price: €7,400 (frameset) – €10,700 (as tested)

This article was originally published in Procycling magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.








Shimano SH-XC70 mountain bike shoe review

Although Shimano’s top-end SH-XC90 shoes seem to draw all of the marketing attention, it’s the second-tier XC70 model that have really attracted our eyes, packing most of the performance of the flagship model but at a significantly lower cost. Unless your feet absolutely need the custom mouldability of the XC90s, these should be all the shoe any cross-country (or cyclocross) rider will ever need.

  • Highs: Great fit, very stiff carbon fibre reinforced sole, heat mouldable insole
  • Lows: Non-heat mouldable uppers, tread material is too hard
  • Buy if: You’re a dedicated XC rider with normally shaped feet and don’t plan on doing much walking

It’s generally wise not to use relatively untested gear in a mountain bike race – in particular, one that’s 111km (69mi) long with more than 2,100m (7,000ft) of climbing. And there are few pieces of gear to which that rule is more applicable than shoes… and yet that’s just what we did. While we had all sorts of aches and pains after crossing the finishing line, our feet were impressively cosy and have stayed that way for every ride since.

The shimano sh-xc70 shoes lack the heat moldable uppers of the top-end xc90 model but provided your feet are fairly typically shaped, these should work well: the shimano sh-xc70 shoes lack the heat moldable uppers of the top-end xc90 model but provided your feet are fairly typically shaped, these should work well

Even without the heat mouldable uppers of their more expensive SH-XC90 cousin, Shimano’s SH-XC70 shoes proved to be wonderfully comfortable

We didn’t really notice the reduction in foot fatigue that Shimano claims with the new, flatter Dynalast shape, but the roomier toe box left ample room for our little piggies to wiggle around. Further back, though, the well-shaped synthetic leather uppers wrap tightly with their cleverly reversed middle straps (something Alberto Contador used to have done on his custom Sidis), ratcheting main buckles, and deep heel cups.

Despite the very secure hold, the feel was very evenly and pleasantly snug, with no pressure points to pinch or rough interior seams to irritate. Should you need them, Shimano makes the XC70s in a wide fit, too.

The XC70 shoes are built with abbreviated carbon fibre reinforcing plates in the midsoles rather than the full-length plates in the XC90. Whatever difference in stiffness that results is slight at best, as we still found the XC70s to be plenty stout. Moreover, there’s essentially no weight penalty. Shimano’s own specs put the XC70 just 5g behind per pair. We weighed our size 43s at a good – though not fantastic – 730g including the heat mouldable insoles.

The tread is more generous than the xc90 model but make no mistake - these are best used for pedaling, not walking. the tread material is quite hard and slippery on rocks and roots. there is, however, a rubber coating in the middle to provide a bit of purchase should you miss your pedal: the tread is more generous than the xc90 model but make no mistake - these are best used for pedaling, not walking. the tread material is quite hard and slippery on rocks and roots. there is, however, a rubber coating in the middle to provide a bit of purchase should you miss your pedal

Real carbon fibre is only used under the cleat area but the shoes are still amply stiff for everyday cross-country riding

Shimano graces the XC70s with a more generous tread than the XC90 although, as with any stiff-soled mountain bike shoe, walking is best left to short stints – and the shorter, the better. The cat’s-tongue lining in the heel cup also keeps the backs of your feet from pulling out of the shoe when trudging uphill (without wearing holes in your socks or creating blisters) but the tread blocks themselves are still awfully hard. Grip is pretty good on softer surfaces but scrambling on rocks and roots can be a little treacherous.

We’ve noticed slightly faster-than-expected wear on the tread (which is non-replaceable) but the uppers have been holding up quite well otherwise, particularly with the light armouring built around the toe box. Past experience has demonstrated excellent overall durability with Shimano footwear, too.

The plastic cap provides some protection for your toes while also boasting a legitimately effective vent right up front. additional light armoring is built in a little further back: the plastic cap provides some protection for your toes while also boasting a legitimately effective vent right up front. additional light armoring is built in a little further back

There’s light armouring around the toe box to protect your feet from minor impacts. The vent in the front of the shoe is legitimately functional

All that said, the XC70 shoes are clearly intended primarily for pedalling, not walking, and in that context there’s little to complain about. Though perhaps a bit pricey, they’re very comfortable, they’re well built, and unless you’re planning on spending a lot of time on foot in rocky conditions, should last for several seasons.








By admin on August 19, 2014 | Mountain Bikes
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Merida road range 2015 – first look

BikeRadar?recently visited Hidden Vale in rural Queensland for a dealer launch hosted by Advance Traders, Australia’s distributors for Merida, Lapierre, Norco, Met and a handful of other brands. With the venue being surrounded by trails, the launch of the 2015 mountain bike range gained the most attention, but we got a brief look at what’s new in Taiwanese big-hitter?Merida’s road range, prior to the upcoming media-flurry that is the Eurobike trade show.

The Warp TT and Scultura both continue with solely componentry and aesthetic changes for 2015, but the big news is with a new endurance-based Ride Disc carbon, a triathlon specific Warp and a new price-conscious range of cyclocross bikes. Detailed specifics of each of the models, including geometry, are still a little vague, but below is a brief glimpse and what we know so far.

As well as the new bikes, Merida has fully reworked its previously confusing model naming across its range. The numbers following the model names prefix refer to the level of the bike: four digits is for anything carbon, 9000 being the highest, 1000 the lowest. Three digits is for alloy bikes, with 900 the highest, 100 the lowest. And double digits are left for steel bikes.

Ride Disc

Originally designed as an endurance bike for the masses that its sponsored WorldTour team could also use for the cobble races, the Ride offers a relaxed and stable position in the saddle, along with greater frame and fork compliance for comfort. For 2015, the Ride is joined by a carbon disc-brake version – the Ride Disc.

The new full carbon CF-2 (Comp level) frame features a large offset from the seatstays to seat tube along with ‘FlexStays’ to allow for far greater compliance in the rear end. The seatstays are a super thin 10mm diameter, something Merida states is a UCI minimum. A slim 27.2mm seat post is there to further aid compliance.

Merida road: merida road

A 15mm thru-axle sits upfront of the Ride Disc

Encouraging compliance at the front is the Merida F-Flex fork blades, which have been designed with less material at the dropout for greater flex. Adding back the confidence in this disc-brake full carbon fork is a 15mm thru-axle and tapered steerer tube.?

Post mount brake mounts feature for both the fork and rear chainstay, with the rear one placed at an angle that allows for easy tool access. While the front wheel gets a thru-axle, the rear sticks with a standard 5mm quick release.

Like most carbon frames that offer internal cable routing, the Ride Disc frame is Di2 and mechanical compatible. The fork also receives internal cable routing, with the front brake hose/cable entering near the crown.

Without rim brake calipers, tyre clearance has been increased to allow for 28mm rubber plus fenders (mudguards)? – Merida will offer special aftermarket models that provide a more seamless look with the bike.

One example of the new Ride Disc range that should prove quite popular is the Ride Disc 9000 (AU$3,799 / UK?TBC) which features a 11-speed Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, RS685 hydraulic brakes and DT Swiss R24 Spline centerlock wheels.

Warp Tri

Merida road: merida road

2015 Merida Warp Tri 7000-E

Compared with the UCI-approved Warp TT bike, the Warp Tri is purpose built for those who cycle between a swim and a run. Merida’s NACA Fastback aero tube profiles continue from the Warp TT onto this Tri version. The Warp Tri models we saw were all using a lower grade of carbon – what Merida calls ‘CF2′ – than the WorldTour-level Warp TT Team.

The biggest difference from the TT is in the geometry, with a steeper seat tube facilitating a far more forward position, and a taller head tube for the longer races. The seatpost head can also be flipped, opening up more fore-aft position adjustability.

Merida road: merida road

A look at the highly adjustable head tube design

Other features include Merida’s ‘Spacer Solution’, which combines aero shaped fork steerer spacers with a dropped head tube to allow for a great range of front end adjustment, without a significant drag increase from the bike.?

In a fetching white and black paint scheme, the Warp Tri 7000-E (AU$6,999 / UK?TBC) caught our attention. Its Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, direct-mount brakes, 54/42t Rotor Flow crankset and Profile carbon F58/R78 wheelset appears to be a well thought out package – and one that weighs in at 8.97kg. At the entry level, and sharing the same frame, there’s the Warp Tri 3000 (AU$2,999 / UK?TBC) with Shimano Ultegra/105 gearing.

Cyclocross

While there were hints at a carbon cyclocross bike for 2016, 2015 brings in an all-new disc-brake equipped platform. Featuring a heavily hydroformed alloy frame with full carbon 15mm thru-axle fork, the new Lite series is a price conscious race option. A 27.2mm seatpost should help take a little sting away when seated.

The frames’ angled internal cable routing offers a wide, friction free exit port at the bottom bracket, which should help reduce cable friction from dirt contamination.

Merida road: merida road

The rear brake is tucked away

Positioned on the chainstay, the post mount brake mount was apparently something not easily achieved in aluminium and required brand-new tooling to make it happen. The frame and fork’s low-profile fender mounts add a little daily versatility to the new cross range.

Starting at the Cyclo Cross 300 (AU$1,299 / UK?TBC) with Shimano Tiagra components and a 50/34T compact crank, this new model looks to be a competitive option for those looking to try out cyclocross and gain a versatile commuter at the same time. The other models in the range feature more cross-specific 46/36T gearing.

For a closer and deeper look at the range, scroll, swipe or click through our gallery at top.