CHICAGO, IL (BRAIN) — RentaBikeNow.com, a nationwide bike rental network that helps cyclists find and rent bikes when traveling, has added direct deposit to its payment services so that bike rental payments are made directly into bike shop accounts. Direct deposit also allows shops to set any deposit amount they want on advance rental reservations instead of the standard 15 percent. The new payment system can collect a deposit on advance reservations and then collect a full payment for walk-ins automatically. The new payment system retains credit card numbers and allows balance due charges or incremental fees to be collected
While much of the cycling industry seems content on making incremental increases in rim width, American Classic is taking a much bolder stance for its 2014 wheel range. Nearly every model, both road and mountain, sports a wider-than-conventional rim. There are lot more tubeless and disc brake compatible models, too, making American Classic one of most progressive wheel companies currently on the market.
There’s wide – and then there’s wide
Highlighting the mountain bike range for the coming season is the new US$849 Wide Lightning, which uses a brand-new aluminum extrusion with a massive 29.3mm internal width – a 5mm jump from American Classic’s other models, about 50 percent wider than Mavic’s latest enduro offerings, and more than 8mm wider than most so-called ‘trail’ wheelsets currently available.
“I saw what was working and how we were evolving and then looked at where I thought the end point would be,” said company founder and engineer Bill Shook.
Despite the breadth, American Classic is aiming the new Wide Lightnings primarily to the cross-country and trail categories. Claimed weight for a pair of Wide Lightning 29er wheels is just 1,569g, while the 27.5in version is only 1,512g – on par with many companies’ carbon wheels. Notably, there is no 26in version – for any American Classic mountain bike wheel, in fact.
The new Wide Lightning is nearly 50 percent wider than most traditional cross-country rims
“By going wider we can actually save weight on the tire for cross country use,” Shook added. “You can use a smaller tire and get the same air volume and the whole package is lighter even though the rim is wider and a little bit heavier.”
Shook says that dedicated cross-country racers will probably still opt for the company’s US$999 MTB Race Tubeless wheels, which are about 5mm narrower but also roughly 100g lighter per pair. Likewise, Shook recommends that enduro racers and riders who are generally more abusive with their gear stick with the company’s existing US$849 All-Mountain wheels, which are the same width as the Race Tubeless wheels but use a thicker extrusion for better ding resistance. Claimed weight for the All-Mountain wheelset is still light – 1,673g for the 27.5in size and 1,752g for the 29in version.
The MTB Race is still American Classic’s lightest off-road wheel option
In addition to the usual plethora of axle options, all of American Classic’s disc-compatible wheels are now also compatible with 11-speed Shimano and SRAM road cassettes, which should make them viable options for privateer cyclocross racers who prefer to run tubeless instead of tubulars. Racers entering UCI-sanctioned events will want to limit themselves to tires labeled no wider than 30mm, however, as the wider rim will balloon any tire several millimeters larger than the stated width.
Wider road rims, too, plus more disc options
The ‘wider is better’ philosophy also applies to American Classic’s updated 2014 road lineup, with the biggest beneficiary being the mid-range Victory 30. Last year’s version was just 13.6mm wide (internal width) but the new version grows to a far more generous 18.1mm. Even better, the 30mm-deep rim is now tubeless compatible and 45g lighter. Claimed weight is a competitive 1,547g and suggested retail price is US$559.
Key rim dimensions on the higher-end 30mm-deep Hurricane carry over from last year with the same 18.1mm internal rim width as the Victory 30. However, American Classic has revamped the extrusion for 2014 – it’s essentially a thicker version of the top-end Argent – to add tubeless compatibility. Claimed weight drops just slightly from last year to 1,580g and the retail price is US$799.
“The Hurricane is still our super duty wheel even though the rim is light,” said Shook. “The wheel is extremely strong.”
Looking for a stiff and durable road wheelset? American Classic says the Hurricane is for you – and it’s available in disc and rim versions
Still want more? Both the Hurricane Tubeless and Argent Tubeless get disc brake compatibility (and dedicated disc-specific graphics) for an additional US$50. Interestingly, adding that lumps an extra 60g of weight on to the standard Hurricane but about 160g on to the standard Argent according to American Classic’s specs.
American Classic has several new carbon road wheels for 2014 as well: the 46mm-deep Carbon 46 Tubular in both rim brake (US$1,799; 1,278g) and disc brake (US$1,849; 1,435g) flavors; the 40mm-deep Carbon 40 All Carbon Clincher (US$1,799; 1,580g); a lighter-weight Carbon TT Disc tubular rear wheel (US$1,599; 1,050g); and the three-spoke Carbon TT 3 tubular front wheel (US$1,199; 684g).
American Classic has revamped its 46mm-deep carbon rims with a more rounded profile
American Classic unfortunately doesn’t offer its top-end models as standalone rims, but DIYers still get the new 18mm-deep AC RD 2218 hoop for 2014, featuring an 18mm internal width, CNC-machined sidewalls, tubeless compatibility and an appealing claimed weight of 375g,? Retail price is US$99.
We’ve got several key models already incoming for test, so stay tuned for full reviews soon.
LANCASTER, NY (BRAIN) — DP Brakes, manufacturer of sintered metal braking pads for motorcycles, is growing its product line with offerings for the bike market.
Trek has a stacked roster of freeride and slopestyle athletes. Andrew Shandro, Brandon Semenuk, Brett Rheeder, Cam McCaul and Ryan Howard have hucked their way across the pages of magazines and through countless videos. They’ve won numerous freeride and slopestyle on compeitions on frames that were available only to C3 Project athletes.
Trek has heard the cries of riders who felt it was downright criminal to support a team and not offer consumers the chance to ride the same products. Starting this fall, Trek will offer the Ticket S, Ticket DJ and the all-new Session Park in limited quantities.
The Ticket S, or at least some version of it, has been one of Trek’s athlete-only bikes for almost a decade. When freerider Cam MacCaul joined trek in 2004 the company modified the Session 77 to suit MacCaul’s highflying antics. As the years went by and the sport progressed the bike slimmed down, losing both weight and suspension travel. (Click here for a look at MacCaul’s 2011 Ticket S prototype.)
Trek’s C3 Project athletes thought the Ticket S frame was dialed as far back as 2009; Trek mountain bike engineer Ted Alsop thought differently. He worked with the athletes to redesign the Ticket S to have geometry that matches up to the hardtail dirt jump version of the Ticket, allowing for a nearly seamless transition between bikes.
The Ticket S sports 100mm of very progressive rear travel via Trek’s ABP suspension. The progressive nature of the rear suspension allows it to pop off jumps and take the edge off landings. Upfront, the frame can handle 100-130mm suspension forks.
In addition to the ABP suspension, the Ticket S also gets Trek’s Mino Link. This offset chip located in the rear of the rocker link allows for a .5-degree change in headtube angle and a 10mm change in bottom bracket height. The steeper setting, used by Trek’s slopestyle competitors, also makes the rear suspension even more progressive. Flipping the Mino Link to the lower, slacker setting transforms the Ticket S into a dual-slalom and 4X racing machine.
The Ticket S will be available this fall and will retail for US$1,500 for the frame with Fox Float shock. (UK pricing and availability has yet to be announced.)
Initial availability will be limited to just 125 units.
Ticket S Signature Series
Until now the Ticket S was only available to team riders. Each rider had his own signature paint scheme artfully painted at Trek’s Waterloo, Wisconsin, headquarters. For 2014, Trek will be offering the Ticket S in versions with paint schemes dreamed up by Brandon Semenuk, Brett Rheeder, Cam McCaul and Ryan Howard.
Availability will be limited to 50 frames per color scheme, with no upcharge in pricing over the standard matte and gloss black Ticket S.
Ryan “R-Dog” Howard’s all-American Ticket S will be the first in the series
Signature Series versions of the Ticket S will be available in early 2014. Trek plans to roll out one version per quarter.
The Ticket DJ was offered as a production model several years ago. As a complete bike the price tag was rather steep and sales were sluggish. The Ticket DJ will be available as a frame-only for US$700 next spring. (UK pricing and availability has yet to be announced.) Initial availability will be limited to 100 frames.
The Ticket DJ has an aluminum frame, ISCG-05 chainguide mounts and a tapered headtube
While the geometry is the same as the frame formerly available to consumers, the Ticket DJ does get updated 142×12mm sliding dropouts, allowing it to be run geared or as a singlespeed.
Freeride and downhill race bikes have become increasingly distinct creatures as the years have gone by. Long, low and slack bikes, such as Trek’s Session 9.9, are purebred gravity race rigs that shine on the racecourse, but have geometry that’s not as well suited general park riding, where flickability and fun trumps speed.
The all-new Session Park is Brandon Brandon Semenu’s weapon of choice for this year’s Redbull Rampage
The Session Park was developed withBrandon Semenuk. Seminuk wanted a bike that was more nimble than the standard Session’s for events such as the Redbull Rampage. The Session Park shares the same carbon front triangle of the Session 9.9, but has an aluminum rear end that is 20mm shorter. The Session Park also sees a reduction in rear wheel travel from 210mm to 190mm.
The Session Park will be available next spring. Price will be US$4,500. (UK pricing and availability has yet to be announced.) Initial availability will be limited to 50 frames.
This week,?BikeRadar are offering you the chance to save 11 percent on tickets to The Cycle Show 2013, which will be held at the NEC, Birmingham, from 27-29 September.
For ?11.50 you can book your advance ticket to the UK’s biggest consumer bike show, making a great saving on the standard advance price of ?13 and on-the-door price of ?16.
The Cycle Show is your chance to see, ogle and even test the latest bikes that will hit the UK market later this year. The list of exhibitors is impressive, with nearly 150 confirmed for the show so far.?Whether you ride on roads, mountains or to work you can check out the latest bikes on the following tracks:
To book your advance tickets for ?11.50 per adult, visit www.cycleshow.co.uk/book and enter the discount code BRD when prompted.?Tickets for children aged 14 and under are only ?1 when bought with an adult ticket, and children under five years of age go free. This ticket offer is valid until 20 September 2013.?(An additional ?1 booking fee per transaction is charged for tickets to the show.)
The Cycle Show 2013 is the UK’s number one cycling exhibition
Enduro racing may be the hot topic in mountain biking today but Specialized is continuing to push the cross-country envelope for 2014. Included in the range is a whole new collection of Epics, a wholly revamped Stumpjumper HT carbon 29er hardtail and the more refined Crave aluminum 29er hardtail for when going fast is your top priority.
Three new Epics
Ten years after launching the original Epic to a chorus of pundits criticizing it as too heavy and too slow to be successful on the XC stage, Specialized has now not only completely overhauled the design for 2014 but split it off into two variants. Marathon riders and general cross-country riders will get a lighter and snappier version of what they already know while more dedicated competitors will get an edgier World Cup edition with slightly shorter travel, sharper handling and even more efficiency.
Specialized says the new standard 100mm-travel S-Works Epic Carbon sheds about 50g from the previous version while also offering increased frame stiffness and overall efficiency, thanks to all-new frame tube shapes and the stiffer ’shock block’ upper swing link borrowed from the Enduro and Camber range that rigidly bolts directly to the back of the shock eyelet. A new concentric pivot design on that link also piggybacks several pivots together around a single axis to further reduce weight and potential flex points.
The S-Works Epic World Cup
Added to that is a smaller and lighter rear shock that ditches many of the softer settings of last year’s bike. Just five clicks are left on the Brain Fade adjuster for easier setup and despite the firmer threshold, Specialized claims the transition before fully locked and active is yet again smoother than before for better performance on rough courses.
“We’re trying to make it simple but still effective,” says Specialized mountain bike PR man Sam Benedict. Should a buyer not like the stock settings, Benedict points out that the company still offers its ‘S-Tune’ program for a custom feel.
Other features for 2014 include thru-axles at the rear and front, internal routing that can be configured for up to four lines, chain stays that are 16mm narrower at the rear for improved heel clearance, in-molded headset bearing seats, post mount rear brake caliper tabs tucked inside the rear triangle, a high direct mount front derailleur tab, and a slightly revised rear shock position that’s now tucked a little more tightly into the top tube than before.
The Brain-equipped fork should provide a balanced feel with the Brain-equipped shock
That new shock position lends a slightly cleaner silhouette than before but it also provides one huge advantage over most other full-suspension cross-country bikes: the ability to mount two water bottles inside the main triangle. And not just any two water bottles – we’re talking two big ones on sizes medium and higher. This may seem like a trivial point to trail riders accustomed to donning hydration packs, but for racers, it’s a big deal.
Along those same lines, Specialized also introduces on the new Epic the SWAT (Storage, Water, Air, Tools) accessory suite, which will be included as standard equipment on S-Works, Expert Carbon, and Marathon-level bikes. The full SWAT suite includes three separate pieces: a small plastic box that secures to a third rivnut on the down tube to hold a spare inner tube, CO2 inflator, and tire lever; a mini-tool that snaps securely into a hidden socket just ahead of the forward shock mount; and a chain tool that stores inside the steerer tube and doubles as a headset preload cap.
In total, all of the SWAT bits add about half a kilogram to the bike weight but it’s all tucked neatly out of the way and is always available without having to strap on a bunch of bags or resort to unsightly electrical tape. All Epics will be SWAT-compatible for 2014.
The SWAT (Storage, Water, Air, Tools) accessory suite includes this frame-mounted flat pack
Critical geometry figures are mostly carried over on the standard Epic version, including the 70.5-degree head tube angle and 448mm-long chain stays so handling still falls on the quicker end of the spectrum.
If that’s still too tame, consider the even edgier Epic World Cup, which is designed exclusively for use with single-ring drivetrains – there is no provision (or room) for a front derailleur whatsoever. While the front end is shared with the standard Epic (save for the omission of the front derailleur tab), the World Cup’s dedicated rear end offers just 95mm of travel (with a fork to match), the chain stays are 9mm shorter, and the head tube angle is 0.5 degrees steeper.
Epic World Cups will also have firmer Brain Fade damper tunes and there is no SWAT kit included.
Actual weight for a large Epic World Cup is a stunning 8.90kg (19.6lb) without pedals and just a few minor upgrades (foam grips, a lighter S-Works Renegade front tire, and a 160mm front rotor) but there’s a similarly stunning price tag of US$10,500 to match.
Thankfully, pricing on carbon Epics will start at a more reasonable US$4,250 and there will also be all-new aluminum Epics with similar frame upgrades and an even more dramatic weight loss of 200g relative to the previous version.
New carbon and aluminum hardtails, too
Stumpjumper HT carbon hardtails have undergone a similar transformation for 2014 with a lighter frame, quicker handling, more efficient rear ends, and a generally sleeker look that better fit the platform’s racing intentions.
Also included is the same configurable internal cable routing as the new Epic, 142×12mm thru-axle rear dropouts, and post mount rear caliper tabs tucked inside the rear triangle. Three rivnuts on the down tube will make the new Stumpjumper HT compatible with Specialized’s SWAT system, too, although in this case the multi-tool will be affixed to the bottom of the seat tube-mounted bottle cage.
The S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon 29er
Claimed frame weight for the top-end S-Works edition is down just slightly to 1,050g and Specialized will have about half a dozen new models for 2014, including World Cup editions with SRAM 1×11 drivetrains. The Stumpjumper Comp Carbon and the women’s specific Fate models will use the same frame as last year, though, and alloy Stumpjumper frames will be carryover as well.
Specialized’s mid-range aluminum 29er hardtails get a wholesale redesign, however, plus a new name – Crave – since there was apparently some sort of trademark dispute with the old Carve moniker. As compared to last year, the top-end Crave Pro’s triple butted alloy chassis sheds more than 200g for a claimed 19″ frame weight of 1,585g while also gaining a more comfortable rear end. There’s also 6-9mm more standover depending on size, cleaner-looking dropouts, larger chain stays, and a broader top tube.
There will be five Crave models for 2014 with prices ranging from US$1,300 to US$2,000. UK pricing was not immediately available.
Last year’s Carve is a lighter bike with a new name – Crave
With 120mm of travel at each end and a sub-13kg (29lb) weight, the Orbea Occam H30 is at the cross-country end of trail – it’s a much more polite bike than the aggro Norco Sight or stealth bomber Avanti Coppermine, for instance. Not everyone wants a slacked-out trail bruiser though, and there’s definitely a place for the Occam.?
Ride & handling: Light and lively
We’re used to seeing thru-axle forks on almost everything, but the standard H30 makes do with a twangy and less secure quick-release on its Fox Evolution series fork.?You can specify a thru-axle – and we recommend you do – but the cheapest QR15?option adds ?280.
There’s ample chassis stiffness elsewhere, and you get a decent 710mm bar. It’s a little steeper than current thinking dictates – the head angle is a sharp and rapid-steering 68.5 degrees – so you need your wits about you at higher speeds, but the low weight and short chainstays make the Orbea fun to chuck around. It’s very effective in tight singletrack.
Okay, you don’t get that monster-truck roll, but the 27.5in (650b) and?29er?competition are all at least a kilo heavier and/or don’t offer the same level of kit. For weight and value 26in hoops still win, then… Except the 29er Occam is only ?30 more for essentially the same spec, which sounds like a good deal.
Frame & equipment: Custom opportunities?
The H30 is the cheapest of four Occams, although the distinctions are blurred by Orbea’s spec-tweaking customisation options. Given our price range we didn’t go mad with this, but did swap the standard Hutchinson Cobra tyres for some knobblier, UK-friendly Cougars – a no-cost option.?
At the back the Occam has a concentric chainstay/seatstay pivot that’s very similar to the Trek ABP (Active Braking Pivot) system. The main swingarm pivot housing and bottom bracket shell are one big forged?piece, while the seat and down tubes are welded to it.?
Under the top tube there’s a good quality Fox Float CTD shock (with the expected cheaper Evolution damping) and a neat forged linkage, but it doesn’t affect the leverage ratio – it’s just there to keep everything in line. It’s a pleasingly vice-free and effective setup, and out on the trails it feels predictable and controlled.
The latest trend is for 2×10 transmissions – which give a good range with increased ground clearance and reduced complexity – but we’re still seeing lots of bikes with triples. There’s something to be said for having a smaller jump between chainrings too for big days in big hills.?
It’s all Deore kit with the welcome inclusion of an SLX Shadow Plus anti-clatter clutch rear mech. The Formula RX brakes offer decent modulation and power, but the long-sweep levers won’t suit everybody.?
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.
On hearing the price of these inner tubes from Swiss company Eclipse, the standard reaction is surprise followed up by mild indignation that anyone would dare to charge 10 times as much as they would for normal inner tubes.?
However, at just 61g for one of the 29×1.5-2.25in tubes we tested, they are substantially lighter. Replacing our standard tubes instantly removed 322g (0.7lb) of all-important rotating weight.
Getting rid of that mass sat right out at the edge of the wheel has a profound effect on the amount of effort it takes to accelerate them up to speed and change direction – and that’s even more prominent if you’re on a big-wheeler.?
Within a few pedal strokes, the change was immediately obvious, with a much perkier feel to the bike. This goes some way to making these tubes look cost effective too; upgrading to a 300g lighter wheelset will cost you significantly more than this, and super-lightweight tyres are both expensive and fragile.?
Of course, there are other ways of getting rid of rotating weight and most tubeless conversion kits are cheaper. The weight saving from tubeless is less substantial however, especially once you have around 50ml of sealant sloshing about in your tyres.
Also, if you’re a regular rubber changer then messing about with sealant can be both tiresome and messy, and running low pressures can lead to regular tyre burping. On the flipside, running sealant does offer protectection against thorns and minor tyre cuts.
These tubes held air as well as normal tubes and pinch puncture resistance, amazingly, is just as good or better. Our sister mag MBUK ran a set through a puncture-plagued gravity enduro round without any issues, despite using them in lightweight tyres.?
One of the four tubes we had on test did split by the valve, though UK distributor Silverfish put that down to a faulty batch and quickly replaced it. We haven’t had any trouble since then.?
As for longevity, we’ve only had a flat once from a thorn, and that was easily and effectively fixed using the special self-adhesive Eclipse patches, available separately.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.
Component makers?Ritchey have released details of a saddle and versatile mid-range mountain bike wheelset aimed at the enduro crowd.
The upper mid-range aluminium Trail WCS wheels – available in 26in, 27.5in and 29in sizes – were unveiled at the Riva del Garda bike festival earlier this month, along with the Trail WCS saddle.
The rims accept universal tubeless tyres and have a slightly broader internal width than those in the WCS Vantage II range, which the Trail series will complement.?The wheels are laced with DT Swiss Competition spokes and nipples, and the standard 26in set weighs a claimed 1,574g.?
The hubs are sold with standard quick-release skewers but are easily modified to a 142×12 thru-axle at the rear. Adapters are sold separately to support 15mm and 20mm front axles.?SRAM XD and Shimano?freehub versions are available, and the guide price is €599, with UK and US prices to be fixed closer to the 2014 release date.
The Trail WCS saddle looks like a well-padded number suitable for longer rides. According to Ritchey it employs the same low profile shell and CrN/Ti alloy rails as the slightly more expensive Streem. Guide price is €109.
Ritchey Trail WCS saddle, new for 2014
For more information on Ritchey products see www.ritchey.ch.
Specifically developed for SRAM’s 120mm bolt-circle twin-ring cranks, this has specially offset teeth. They push the chainline over to centre of the standard twin ring setup, which can help with shifting and chainguide setup.?Pre-threaded holes allow you to reuse your?stock bolts.?
We tested the smallest 36-tooth ring and, when matched with an 11-36T cassette, the gearing spread was enough for flatter rides but our legs did suffer on bigger days in the hills. Wear rate is good so far, and the shaping is good.?
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.