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Erik’s agrees to buy Rasmussen Bicycle Shop in West Des Moines

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (BRAIN) — Erik’s Bike Shop, which has more than two dozen locations across the Upper Midwest, expects to have its first location in Iowa soon, with an agreement to buy Rasmussen Bicycle Shop in West Des Moines. The transaction is expected to be finalized on May 9. Headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, Erik’s other locations are in Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, and Wisconsin

Flare Roost Downhill Shorts

Flare Clothing Co. is a small UK-based firm that focuses on mountain bike clothing. Initially started a female specific brand, Flare has now branched out into mens ride clothing and, judging by its prevalence at trail centres and events such as the Red Bull Foxhunt, appears to be doing rather well – so we thought it seemed a good time to put its Roost Downhill Shorts through their paces.

The Roost shorts are a new addition to the range, alongside a coordinating long-sleeve Roost Downhill Jersey, and join the Enduro shorts and jersey the company initially launched with. 

One of the most notable features is the fit. I’m an above-average height (5ft 8in / 177cm) and found the shorts came to just below my knees. This is something of a rarity for taller riders in the world of women’s specific cycling shorts – and made a refreshing change.

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Made of robust non-stretch Cordura fabric, the shorts have resisted rips and tears, and stayed in shape despite several crashes and plenty of washing. However, the stripes at the front have begun to crack slightly. This is cosmetic and doesn’t affect the performance in any way, but a more hardwearing print technique for future iterations of the shorts would be a bonus. 

Stretch panels at the rear in a contrasting grey allows plenty of freedom of moment, and combined with a loose but female-specific cut make these a very comfortable pair of shorts for general riding as well as downhill. 

There’s plenty of room to fit knee pads under the shorts, and a definite advantage to the generous length is that the upper leg stays covered when riding; no annoying gap between the bottom of the shorts and the top of the knee pad. If you want to fit impact shorts under the Roost Downhill shorts, you may want to go up a size if you sit towards the upper end of the range. 

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Yuba hires new sales agency in Upper Midwest/Great Lakes

INDIANAPOLIS (BRAIN) — Yuba Bicycles has hired a new sales rep agency for the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region. Bob Sharpe of PedalFree.net will sell Yuba’s lineup of cargo bikes in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and western Pennsylvania. PedalFree specializes in transportation bicycles, and Sharpe is a certified instructor of the League of American Bicyclists’ Smart Cycling curriculum

Full-suspension road bike? What a concept

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — BMC’s Impec concept bike wasn’t the only theoretical display bike on show at Eurobike.

Mavic Inc. hires reps and promotes Walker as Vestal departs

HAVERHILL, Mass. (BRAIN) — Mavic, Inc. has promoted its long-time factory sales rep Aaron Walker to the new position of product merchandising manager

Mondraker Foxy Carbon 2015 – first look

Following on from its phenomenal Forward Geometry range of aluminium bikes, Mondraker has just released one of the most exciting trail bikes we’ve ever seen – the Foxy Carbon.

The Spanish bike manufacturer’s radical Forward Geometry concept extends the top tube of the bike by up to 60mm and uses either a 10mm or 30mm stem. This keeps the cockpit the same as equivalent-sized bikes, but puts the front wheel further out in front by lengthening the top tube. 

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Video: Mondraker CEO Miguel Pina on the new Foxy Carbon

The effect of this is increased grip and stability in almost all situations; the wheel doesn’t lift on steep climbs, the direct steering response keeps things accurate through tight switchbacks and you’ll never be pitched over the bars on descents. It also distributes the rider’s weight evenly between the front and rear wheels, offering the optimum riding stance.

Mondraker foxy rr carbon 2015: mondraker foxy rr carbon 2015

2015 Mondraker Foxy RR Carbon

Mondraker released this technology on select models in 2013, but committed to it across their range in 2014. To do this when the rest of the industry had been taking things 10mm at a time takes balls, but it’s paid off for Mondraker and now other brands are starting to realise the potential.

Mondraker foxy xr carbon 2015: mondraker foxy xr carbon 2015

2015 Mondraker Foxy Carbon XR

Frame: commitment to beauty

The geometry of the new Foxy Carbon is based around that of the 2014 Foxy frame. Its shape follows the same lines as the alloy version, but is more refined and classier looking. The domed area of the top tube – where it meets the head tube – is more streamlined, accentuating the length of the front triangle.

But looks aren’t the only things the carbon Foxy has going for it. By using a careful layup procedure and the highest grade of carbon available, Mondraker has produced an incredibly stiff front end. This is key to the Forward Geometry concept; unwanted flex in such a long front triangle would give terrible handling. Three years of development work have paid off though, and the frame is precise and reliable, yet comfortable and resilient.

Mondraker foxy r carbon 2015: mondraker foxy r carbon 2015

2015 Mondraker Foxy R Carbon

High-end carbon fibre production is dealt with best in the Far East, and the Foxy Carbon emerges from the same factory as other well known high-end frames, though is the most advanced and intricately produced frame to date. The bottom bracket boom shows this off perfectly. It protrudes unsupported from the curved join of the down tube and seat tube. But you’d never know – it’s rock solid under power and suffers no apparent torsional flex.

The Foxy Carbon is also based around Mondraker’s proven Zero suspension platform, which uses a floating shock design to offer 140mm of travel, and is totally isolated to braking and pedaling forces. Where some other designs rely on pedaling forces to offer a compression-resistant platform, the Zero system works so well you simply don’t notice.

It’s very progressive too, so when you’re riding hard there are no nasty surprises or strange characteristics. It’s certainly one of the best platforms available, and offers no-nonsense performance.

The detail: a host of neat features

Keeping the Foxy Carbon looking clean is an internal cable route, using the large down tube to hold the cables. The Foxy is compatible with Stealth type seatposts, and has cable entry points on top and underneath the down tube for optimal routing.

Internal cable routing keeps the foxy carbon looking neat: internal cable routing keeps the foxy carbon looking neat

Internal cable routing

This impressive looking bottom bracket area of the frame is key in making the frame perform well. Mondraker spent a long time, and developed many prototype frames to perfect this – it’s certainly one of the most visually pleasing parts of the frame.

Mondraker spent a long time and developed many prototype frames to perfect the design of the bottom bracket area: mondraker spent a long time and developed many prototype frames to perfect the design of the bottom bracket area

The Foxy Carbon’s bottom bracket area

While the aluminium Foxy looked robust and stocky up front, the head tube area of the Foxy Carbon looks sleek and almost organic. It’s not just about aesthetics though; the long and stiff front triangle is key to the arrow-straight steering precision. 

The long and stiff front triangle is key to the foxy carbon's arrow-straight steering precision: the long and stiff front triangle is key to the foxy carbon's arrow-straight steering precision

Smooth head tube

Though optimised around a single-ring setup, the Foxy accepts a bolt-on machined aluminium front mech mount, using the same mounting bolts as the neat shock mudguard.

The foxy accepts a bolt-on machined aluminium front mech mount, using the same mounting bolts as the neat shock mudguard: the foxy accepts a bolt-on machined aluminium front mech mount, using the same mounting bolts as the neat shock mudguard

Removable front mech mount

Despite the security of modern single-ring chain retention, you don’t want to foul your carbon frame if the chain jumps off. Mondraker specs a guard that mounts on to the ISCG mounts, specifically to catch the chain if this happens.

ISCG mounted protector plate: iscg mounted protector plate

ISCG mounted protector plate

The FG30 stem comes as stock on the 140mm travel Foxy Carbon, although the extreme racing model – the Foxy XR – also comes with the aggressive FG10 stem for direct control, as well as a 160mm travel fork.

The fg30 stem comes on all models appart from the xr carbon, which gets the fg10: the fg30 stem comes on all models appart from the xr carbon, which gets the fg10

Forward Geometry

The shock is actuated from both ends, floating between the lower linkage and the upper rocker. It gives no pedal feedback, no brake jack and has a naturally rising rate which, combined with the damping on the rear shock, offers a very progressive feel with a supple beginning stroke.

The shock is actuated from both ends, floating between the lower linkage and the upper rocker. it gives no pedal feedback and no brake jack : the shock is actuated from both ends, floating between the lower linkage and the upper rocker. it gives no pedal feedback and no brake jack

Mondraker’s Zero suspension platform

Ride and handling: light, lively and agile

We recently test-rode the Foxy Carbon RR in Alicante, Spain. Anyone familiar with Forward Geometry will feel at home the Foxy Carbon RR – it offers the same confidence for a noticeably lower weight (some 2kg lighter than the aluminium model).

The light feel doesn’t just come from the low weight though. The frame feel is incredibly lively. It’s responsive, light and skippy, which made us wonder how it would feel when thrown in at the deep end.

Luckily Mondraker is a company made of riders, and those riders had one hell of a test ride planned for us, led by the company’s bike-shredding CEO, Miguel Pina. Following a clutch-melting uplift we arrived high in the mountains at a notorious trail – apparently the last big ride here resulted in a broken ankle, a broken arm and several pinch punctures!

Test riding the foxy rr carbon in alicante: test riding the foxy rr carbon in alicante

Andrew Dodd test-riding the Mondraker Foxy RR Carbon in Alicante

We flew straight in to a gully filled with babyhead-sized rocks that would normally have alarm bells ringing, but the Foxy felt planted and dampened, never out of shape or out of its depth. The carbon construction is to thank for this, as well as the oddly silent ride – at times we wondered if we’d dropped the chain or even had one at all! The Foxy Carbon is a seriously quiet bike.

It’s also very agile – changing direction, even at speed, was a relaxed affair and we never worried about approaching rocks or turns. The front-end stiffness really does offer incredible precision – we were able to point the front wheel into minute gaps with confidence, even when running scared from Mondraker’s test riders, who were always hot on our heels!

The Foxy’s climbing prowess is impressive too. Even in loose, dry Spanish conditions we easily ascended steep and technical climbs. 

Where the previous aluminium Foxy frame was stiff and offered a great ride, the Foxy Carbon offers a new, updated feel. It has all the ride attributes of a lightweight all-mountain bike and the downhill ferocity of a long-travel, slack-angled bike. Which is exactly what it aims for.

We found the foxy rr carbon to be light, lively and agile: we found the foxy rr carbon to be light, lively and agile

The Foxy RR Carbon was light, lively and agile

Having spent a lot of time on the aluminium models, we can certainly see where Mondraker are headed with the Foxy Carbon. And it’s going to upset a lot of major bike manufacturers that have committed to (shorter) expensive carbon fibre mouldings.

That alone makes us smile – Mondraker made the decision to produce this beast of a bike when many manufacturers were still scratching their heads over 27.5in wheels, let alone long wheelbase geometry.

As far as we’re concerned, the future for trail bikes is definitely longer, slacker and lower, and right now, Mondraker are the forefront of this movement. Unless you plan on buying a Foxy Carbon, we wouldn’t advise test riding one – it’s so good, a purchase would be inevitable!

UK pricing for the 2015 Mondraker Foxy Carbon range is as follows:

  • Foxy R Carbon £4,399
  • Foxy RR Carbon £4,999
  • Foxy XR Carbon £5,999
  • Foxy XR frame £2,699


B’Twin XC9 shoes review

The sole is the basis of any XC-based shoe – you’re looking for a stiff, stable platform that can transfer energy into the pedals, while still giving decent grip on loose or muddy ground. B’Twin’s done a good job with the XC9 shoes.

The sole gives a surprising level of stiffness. It’s not quite up there with more serious (and pricier) race slippers, but we never felt that energy was wasted through flex.

The XC9 fares well on soggy ground. The deep treads are aggressively cut, letting them dig into mud, while the tread’s material has enough give to aid grip. You can add studs too, while the shape of the tread helps guide your foot onto the pedal.

Sadly, the XC9 is let down by the upper. The two velcro/single buckle straps secure your foot, but the upper still gives little support. With the straps done up tight, the lack of structure means the material creased, reducing comfort.? ?

The heel box holds you tight and offers some protection, but the toe box lacks rigidity, leaving your toes vulnerable to impacts. Ventilation has proved to be good so far though.

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


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TSG Task VEP knee pads review

The TSG Task VEP knee pads are at the upper end of the protection scale, with substantial padding.?

Once on and snugged down with the upper strap your knee feels locked in tight – a horseshoe-shaped ridge at the top of the knee cap and anti-slip neoprene details see to that. They also reach further up your thigh and lower down your shins than most.?

TSG claim the outer shell material works like skin, in that it doesn’t just grip in a crash and ragdoll you forward, or skid like a hockey puck. It’s meant to gradually slow you in a controlled fashion, which all sounds rather relaxing and agreeable.?

Impact cushioning comes from the visco-elastic foam that moulds to your body with heat, but it’s not the same effect as impact-hardening D3O-type materials.?

Below the pad sit small, removable lower-shin protectors (attached with Velcro) and an additional strap on the calf, which offer protection where flat pedals can spin back and make painful contact, which doesn’t sound nearly so agreeable.?

On the downside they’re really warm, and their small sizing makes them more obtrusive to ride in.?

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


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2014 road shoes roundup – Eurobike 2013

Road shoe specialists Bont, Sidi, Northwave, Giro and Gaerne – among others (see our image gallery, right) – have been working on new platforms and transformative updates to existing models for 2014, and the results are on show at Eurobike?2013.?BikeRadar?toured a selection of stands to see what footwear is going to be hot next year.

Sidi

The Wire is Sidi’s top-end road shoe for 2014, ridden to great effect in this year’s Tour de France by green, polka dot, white and yellow jersey winners.?The redesigned uppers feature the Techno 3 adjuster, which Sidi were keen to point out isn’t related to Boa. Sidi first used Techno-type fittings in 1965, on their motorbike boots.

All the ground contact points on the Wire are replaceable, and the front tread can be slid back to reveal a mesh covered vent for warmer rides. This feature is common to all shoes with the Sidi Vent Carbon Sole.?

The sidi wire – a shoe used by the four jersey winners at this year’s tour de france: the sidi wire – a shoe used by the four jersey winners at this year’s tour de france

The Sidi Wire

A replaceable heel retention adjuster is said to allow you to walk around with no heel lift, without doing up the main straps.?To aid comfort, the insole is made from memory foam.

Gaerne

Italian shoe specialists Gaerne, used by riders on the RadioShack Leopard Trek pro cycling team, have introduced a new model that sits just below their top-of-the-range G.Chrono. Dubbed the G-Speed, the 272g shoe uses a single Boa L5 reel located fairly centrally on the upper. That means the stainless steel cable should tighten across a broad area of the foot.?

Giro

Giro’s road shoe range has had a substantial refresh for next year. The popular Factor makes use of a refined, flatter buckle that tightens in 2mm increments (the old buckle made adjustments in 3mm steps) and can now be loosened one degree at a time – useful for making minor tweaks during a ride.

Proving that Velcro straps still have a place in the upper?echelon of road shoes, Giro’s Prolight SLX II is a sliver lighter than its predecessor, and is sub-200g for a size 42.5.?

Form and function unite in the giro empire, a performance road shoe with some retro styling : form and function unite in the giro empire, a performance road shoe with some retro styling

Form and function unite in the Giro Empire

It uses a new, wafer thin carbon sole and – like the Factor and retro-style, lace-up Empire –?has a breathable new fibre in the upper. This allows it to do away with mesh venting completely.

Bont

Bont’s Eurobike stand was kaleidoscopic. The Australian company have offered colour customisation through their retail channels for a while now, but will shortly launch a higher profile, online bespoke programme where buyers can choose the colour of their Vaypor and Vaypor Plus models – think Trek’s Project One.?

Bont are increasing their colour options for 2014 and will allow customers to go online and personalise their vaypor and vaypor plus shoes – right down to the stitching colour: bont are increasing their colour options for 2014 and will allow customers to go online and personalise their vaypor and vaypor plus shoes – right down to the stitching colour

Bont are focusing on colour options for 2014

Turnaround will be between two to three weeks, and?BikeRadar were told the system should go live in mid-September. Other models will be added to the Bont programme – dubbed My Bonts – at a later date.

Northwave

Northwave have overhauled much of their road and mountain shoe ranges for 2014. The highlight is the SLW2 closure system, which looks set to be a credible rival to the best of Boa’s dial tightening system and works on the same principle.?

SLW2 can be tightened roughly and then refined with a micro adjusting mechanism. It’s been fitted in couplets to Northwave’s?Extreme Tech Plus road and MTB shoes and trickles down to mid-range footwear too.

Northwave's slw2 tightening dial is slim and intuitive: northwave's slw2 tightening dial is slim and intuitive

Northwave’s slim and intuitive SLW2 closure system

Northwave have also developed a 0.5mm adaptor for Speedplay?pedal users, and the Italian manufacturers claim their shoes have the lowest stack height between pedal and cleat.

Other highlights include the company’s first cyclocross-specific shoe, the Hammer CX, which is essentially their mid-range, three-strap Hammer mountain bike shoe fitted with a neoprene sock to block out grime and keep feet warm.


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By admin on August 29, 2013 | Mountain Bikes
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Specialized brings Turbo e-bike stateside

MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN) — With the U.S. launch of its Turbo electric bike this week, Specialized joins the small list of brands that are looking to carve out space at the upper end of the market. E-bike buyers are typically older Baby Boomers, but Specialized is taking aim at a younger demographic with the Turbo, particularly focusing on locations where cycling commuting is popular