Intense Recluse Elite review

The Intense Recluse Elite is the latest in a flurry of new bikes introduced this year by California-based brand and it’s a hard beast to tame.

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Intense’s top ‘SL’ lay-up and titanium fixtures save 250g over the standard carbon frame, but it’s still a tough and practical chassis with bottle, front mech and ISCG mounts, and user serviceable, grease injected bearings. The internal cables rattle badly though and the rubber belly ‘armour’ soon started peeling off.

The DT Swiss hubs have a slow-reacting freehub and the 160mm rear disc reduces braking power

Intense’s new wide carbon rims keep wheel weight on par with narrower alloy hoops. The triple-compound Maxxis tyres, Thomson stem and Renthal bar create a rock-solid cockpit. Race Face carbon cranks are a visual highlight and the e*thirteen cassette gives a very wide, if slightly rumbling, gear range.


The DT Swiss hubs have a slow-reacting freehub, though, and the 160mm rear disc reduces braking power. Mid-range Performance Fox suspension units are disappointing for a bike at this price too.

Unfortunately the fork’s relatively basic damping is obvious in either a lack of small-bump compliance or inconsistent support under cornering loads if you try to run lower pressures to counter that. Despite hours spent adjusting the rear shock, we couldn’t escape similar issues there either.

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Kryptonite introduces global Anti-Theft Protection Offer

CANTON, Mass. (BRAIN) — Kryptonite has launched a global Anti-Theft Protection Offer (ATPO) that covers select U-locks and chains from the company’s line for as long as five years. The program is now available in 30 countries, including 24 in Europe as well as the United States and Canada.

ESI Fit silicone mountain bike grips review

For years, ESI has been the benchmark and trendsetter in silicone mountain bike grips. Sitting at a comparable weight to foam grips, but with greater shock absorbency, improved durability and better grip (especially when wet); silicone grips are now offered (you might say copied) by numerous other brands and are used by the majority of cross country and marathon pros. 

The original ESI silicone grips have been a long-time favourite of mine, and so I was eager to learn more when ESI released a contoured version – the Fit. This new shaped grip is available in either a thicker ‘XC’ version or a thinner ‘CR’ version.

For those that know ESI grips, the CR version is the thickness love child of the Chunky and Racer’s Edge grips. The thicker XC is more a mix of the Extra Chunky and Chunky grips. With less material, the CRs weigh 55g for a pair, with the XC at about 10g more.


Varying thickness grip, that’s Fit

Where the standard ESI grips feature a straight, yet subtly ovalised shape, the Fit models are quite different. Here, the round profile grips are divided into three distinct zones of thickness along the generous 130mm length. The thickest part of the grip is at the outside (where the bars are widest), where shock-absorbing comfort is provided for your palms. The innermost part of the grip provides a step which is said to provide bar control in turns, while the middle of the grip tapers down, something that is said to be ideal for driving ‘power on climbs’.

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Scott Arx Plus helmet

We’ve always liked Scott’s ARX helmet, thanks to its 22 large cooling vents and its reasonable price. The new Plus version adds MIPS to an already impressive mix.

MIPS is a patented ‘Brain Protection System’ that is claimed to increase safety by separating the shell and the liner with a low-friction layer, allowing the helmet to slide relative to your head in the event of an angled impact (see top right for further info). The ARX’s MIPS system is anchored to the shell by three rubber straps, which permit the necessary movement without interfering with how well the lid fits on your head.

Related: Scott Arx helmet reviews


Scott has previously incorporated MIPS technology into its mountain bike and winter sport helmets. We’re pleased that now MIPS has hit Scott’s road range it hasn’t resulted in a significant price hike over the standard lid.

Adding MIPS increases the weight, but our large helmet weighs 282g, which is just 20g more than the standard ARX. And frankly, low weight is not the first thing we look for when it comes to safety.

The ARX Plus is particularly impressive at the front, where its large internal channels and a well-vented brow prevent the build-up of sweat. Vertical adjustment may be limited to three press-studs offering 20mm of adjustability, which is less than sliders offer on top-level lids, but this proved perfectly adequate in practice. The small rear dial offers true micro-adjustment, which helps get a precise fit.

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Yeti’s women-specific Beti SB5c is primed to paint the trails coral

Yeti created the Beti SB5c to make a splash entry into the women’s-specific mountain bike market, with a high-end carbon-framed trail-ready machine that boasts 140mm of suspension up front, and 127mm at the rear with Yeti’s innovative Switch Infinity suspension system. We’re lucky to have taken delivery of one…

Tearing your eyes away from this stunning coral-painted vision in order to get into the nitty-gritty is tricky, we know. Deep breath. Ready? Right then.

Yeti has chosen to base its women’s specific offering around the standard unisex SB5 frame, drawing on Yeti’s philosophy of making bikes to fit smaller riders including components that the brand says says will improve the ride experience for women.


Related: Yeti SB5c review

There’s a story behind the name. It comes from team Yeti Beti, a women’s specific mountain bike team set up by American Amy Thomas, who also directs the Beti Bike Bash, which Yeti claims is the biggest MTB event in the US. Inspired by the Betis, who were also instrumental in putting the line together, Yeti christened the bike after them. 

According to Yeti, the bike has been built for “hard-charging women who are looking for the ideal trail bike”. It’s fair to say that bold claims like that only make me even keener to start putting this bike through its paces. 

High-end carbon goodness and Switch Infinity suspension

Number crunching the suspension and geo

Women’s-specific design elements

Ready to roll

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Speedplay releases lower priced SYZR pedal, and 4 spindle lengths

SAN DIEGO (BRAIN) —?Speedplay is releasing a new version of its SYZR mountain bike pedal, with a chromoly spindle and a $165 retail price. The new SYZR Chrome-Moly has all the same components and features as the SYZR pedals with stainless steel or titanium spindles. Speedplay also is making available SYZR stainless steel spindles in four different lengths for riders who need to customize their pedal stance

POC toughens range with Tectal and Coron MTB lids

Swedish protection specialist POC will have two new mountain bike helmets early next year. The Tectal is a new trail-oriented half-shell while the Coron will be the company’s premier full-face helmet.

Related: BikeRadar’s complete Interbike coverage


The Tectal blends elements of the road-going Octal with the company’s first half-shell mountain bike helmet, the Trabec. POC claims this new off-road helmet is nearly as well-vented as the Octal. Compared with the Trabec, the Tectal sits lower on the back of the head. POC claims the Tectal Race weighs in at 340g, which means it’s approximately 20g lighter than the Trabec. 

The standard Tectal will retail for $190. The Tectal Race will set buyers back $210. Upgrades over the standard Tectal include a google retention strap on the rear of the helmet, a full aramid liner and the inclusion of a RECCO reflector. UK and AU pricing was not immediately available.

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Speedplay now shipping Zero Aero pedal

SAN DIEGO (BRAIN) —?Speedplay, Inc. is now shipping its Zero Aero Pedal System. The pedal, first shown at last year’s Interbike, was designed to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Speedplay now shipping Zero Aero pedal

SAN DIEGO (BRAIN) —?Speedplay, Inc. is now shipping its Zero Aero Pedal System. The pedal, first shown at last year’s Interbike, was designed to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Liv Cycling adds muscle with Intrigue SX for 2016

Having launched as a separate, women’s-specific brand to Giant Bicycles in 2014, Liv continues into 2016 with its ever-expanding range. Many of the road models carry over with minor aesthetic and component upgrades, while the mountain bike range gets burly with the new Intrigue SX.

Related: Giant stiffens Trance, adds carbon Glory for 2016

2016 Liv mountain range

While the 27.5in wheeled 140mm-travel Intrigue remains in the range, the Intrigue SX 1 fits a longer travel 160mm RockShox Pike on the front, which in turn slackens the head angle from 68 to 66.9 degrees.


The Intrigue SX is the Intrigue with more guts

The alloy frame remains unchanged from the standard Intrigue, keeping 140mm of travel at the rear wheel. However, the suspension should be ready to handle a little more aggression and descent with a piggyback rear shock in the form of a RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir.

2016 Liv road range

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