BMC Switzerland hires Ryan Cleek as North American marketing manager

SAN DIEGO (BRAIN) — BMC Switzerland has hired Ryan Cleek as the North American marketing manager.

Sea Otter 2018: Brands return after absence; e-MTBs make their mark

MONTEREY, Calif. (BRAIN) — The Sea Otter Classic opened Thursday with an expo that includes more than 500 booths representing nearly 900 brands and covering 165,000 square feet of space at Laguna Seca Raceway

Proposed tariff increase on steel and aluminum concerns some in the bike industry

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The Trump administration’s plans to sign sweeping tariff revisions next week could raise the price of imported steel by 25 percent and increase the cost of imported aluminum by 10 percent.

Specialized celebrates opening of four new ‘Innovation Centers’

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (BRAIN) — This year Specialized will open four new facilities, in three countries, each devoted to innovation, the company said.

Yeti Cycles expands apparel and adds limited edition bike models

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — The dust from a recent remodel had barely settled at Yeti Cycles’ headquarters in Golden, Colorado, when it came time to hop a flight to Germany for Eurobike.

Yeti Cycles expands apparel and adds limited edition bike models

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — The dust from a recent remodel had barely settled at Yeti Cycles’ headquarters in Golden, Colorado, when it came time to hop a flight to Germany for Eurobike. The company added a retail area for apparel to its showroom, which attracts members of the Yeti tribe from all over the world. “The factory has become a destination, so we decided to redo the space.

New and returning sponsors support Arthritis Foundation’s California tour

LOS ANGELES (BRAIN) — The Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic Bike Tour fundraising ride will depart from San Francisco on Sept. 9 backed by presenting sponsor Amgen and a host of industry and non-endemic sponsors. Biotech company Amgen is the longstanding lead sponsor of the Foundation’s eight-day fundraising ride, and the company also recruits a team to fundraise and ride it.

Gates celebrating 10 years of its Carbon Drive system with limited edition white belt

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — At the Eurobike show later this month, Gates Corporation will celebrate ten years supplying its Gates Carbon Drive belt drivetrain to bike makers. Among the new belt drive products that Gates will show at Eurobike is a limited edition white belt.  Gates showed early prototypes of its belt drive at the 2007 Eurobike show in the Nicolai booth. Nicolai has continued to be an important R&D partner with Gates.

Stromer gains Swiss investors, separates from BMC

OBERWANGEN, Switzerland (BRAIN) — An Swiss investor group has made a substantial investment in Stromer, completing the e-bike maker’s separation from owner BMC. “We have been able to engage a group of Swiss investors to commit tens of millions of Swiss francs

Skinny full-sus or plus hardtail for the UK National Endurance Champs?

Wrapped around the lower slopes of Scotland’s Ben Nevis at the end of October, the Relentless Exposure event lap is a serious block of climbing and big grin/big risk descending. I’m going to be racing around it eight times (that’s 88km / 54.5 miles with 2,760m / 9,056ft vertical) and mostly at night as part of two teams of four blokes old enough to know better. Sounds like the ideal place to let a couple of XC freaks out to play.

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  • The course: A superb but very demanding 11km (6.8 mile), 345m (1,132ft) lap including elements of the World Cup XC course and even the last drop of the DH course. Ridden eight times over 24 hours
  • Horse one: Cannondale Scalpel-Si Black Label with Lefty Carbon 2.0 100mm travel fork, Shimano XTR Di2 gears and brakes, Enve bar and Enve rims on Chris King hubs with Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo Snakeskin 29×2.25in tyres
  • Horse two: Open One+ with RockShox RS-1 120mm travel fork, SRAM Eagle XX1 gears, SRAM Level Ultimate brakes, USE Vyce bar/stem and custom DT Swiss X551 rim/SRAM hub wheels with WTB Ranger 27.5×2.8in tyres
  • The equipment goals: Minimising cumulative fatigue and maximising speed on a brilliant but brutal, mostly rocky, wet and dark race lap

If using the term ‘freaks’ sounds like I’m being harsh, then the curious looks I was getting around the race paddock definitely confirmed that both arrows in my quiver were causing a stir, and marked me out as either very lucky or very rich.


The Cannondale Scalpel-Si Black Label is an off-the-peg full-suspension XC bike — albeit a very high peg at £9,500 / $12,790. With Cannondale’s unique Lefty single-legged fork, and other eccentric aspects, it’s definitely a distinctively different option to the large number of super light, but essentially very similar carbon fibre, full suspension bikes available from mostly European brands. To add an extra comparative spark, it’s loaded with a full Shimano XTR Di2 electric shift suite.

The Open Pro+ has a 990g frame that would make an ideal basis for a conventional ultralight 29er hardtail. However, as it’s one of the few frames in that category that can also take a 27.5×3.0 plus tyre, I couldn’t resist experimenting to see how a bit of low-pressure pneumatic float would compare to ‘proper’ hydraulically-damped suspension and small volume 29er tyres. And what else could I use to help me soar through the Scottish mountains than SRAM’s XX1 golden Eagle transmission?

Full sus or full plus?

Despite less grip and less communicative brakes than the Open, I manage to squeeze another 7secs out of the descent

Tortoise and the hare

I fumble down the final descent in a mess of snot, tears, sweat and dribble, but elated to be back on par

Final furlong

Every cleaned climb feeds into a crescendo of dead horse flogging that would mean a jail term from the Jockey Club

Lessons learned

You can