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  • 1. WORLD’S BEST BOLT-ONS...UNDER $100 3 298 C0 MOUNTAIN BIK ACTION CC BIKE O APRIL 2009 RK R’S YETI’S BIG FO YE D E SURPRISE! U UI BG YOUR TIRED BIKE CAN RIDE LIKE NEW Cannondale Specialized FROM $769 TO $7700 Attn. retailer: Please display until Apr. 9 $4.99 ISSN 0895-8467 WHAT IS THE BEST DEAL FOR YOU?
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  • 6. THIS MONTH You know you want to upgrade your fork. We show you what is out there and give you tips on how to get the most out of them. Page 60. 40 56 Photo by John Ker Photo by John Ker BIKE TESTS MBA SPECIAL SECTION FEATURES 40 The Specialized S-Works 60 MBA’s 2009 Forktionary 90 Riders Who Inspire Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Your guide for speaking in forked Brian Bushway, leading the blind. The Ferrari F430 of trailbikes. tongue 92 The Nine Most 56 Salsa El Kaboing 64 TURES Tricks And Fork Tips, Underrated Components Secrets Spice of Life ...and one great bike get their Get all the performance you paid long-awaited recognition. 80 The Yeti 303 R-DH for. Ride the Rail 116 Who The Heck Is Aaron 68 2009 Fork Buyer’s Guide Gwinn? 108 The Cannondale F5 Front-end upgrades. Meet the USA’s top World Cup Cannondale’s best-selling threat. mountain bike. TECHNICAL TRAINING & FITNESS 46 Bring New Life To That 96 The Lazy Man’s Guide To Old Bike Gaining Speed When upgrading makes a lot of Become a better bike handler $ense. right now. 76 World’s Best Bolt-Ons Five simple, cheap products that COMPETITION will make you faster. 124 Focus On Winning Elite gravity athletes specialize in 86 Inside The Pros’ Bikes one discipline. Melissa Buhl’s KHS world dominator. DEPARTMENTS Fine tune: There 102 How To Fix A Flat Tire 12 Happy Trails are plenty of tricks You think you already know, Twenty years of innovation. when mounting don’t cha? your bike’s stem. 14 Mac Attack The Garage Files 112 The Garage Files Left out in the cold. show you the ups Stem research. and downs. Page 114. 6
  • 7. contents Photo by Craig Grant Photo by John Ker 108 117 16 Hard Tales 36 Inside Line Wild saddles, demo rides and Are custom-made bikes Goldfinger worth it? VOLUME 24, NUMBER 4 19 Trailgrams 98 How To Subscribe APRIL 2009 The Santa Cruz debate Entertaining, educational, continues. sometimes controversial—and ON THE COVER cheap, too. Three great bikes for three very 24 Trail Mix different reasons. The Specialized 136 Quick Releases Life found on Mars. S-Works Stumpjumper FSR Heads, you win. Carbon, the Cannondale F5, and 30 Thrash Tests the Yeti 303 R-DH. All shot through 138 Down The Trail A lifesaving bag and more. the lens of John “Wish I got a cash An insane stunt that looked bonus for every cover shot” Ker. Group ride: Let awesome. your young’un come along for the ride and get a work- MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION Magazine (ISSN 0895-8467 out at the Canada GST 12500#9266RT: CPC INT’L. PUB MAIL 40024492) APRIL 2009, volume #24, issue #4, is published monthly by Daisy/Hi-Torque Publishing Company, Inc., with editorial offices at 25233 Anza Dr., Valencia, CA 91355. same Subscriptions $19.98 for 12 issues (one year). Canada add $12 additional postage for one year, $24 for two years. time. Foreign add $15 additional postage for one year, $30 for two years. Foreign subscriptions are shipped by surface mail and may take up to 15 weeks to receive. Copyright ©2009 by Daisy/Hi-Torque Publishing Company, Inc. All rights Page 30. reserved. Nothing in this magazine may be reprinted in whole or in part, by any means, without the express permis- sion of the publisher. Contributors: Photographs should be submitted in digital form on CD or DVD. Images should be 4 megapixels or higher. High-quality, low-compression JPEG images are preferred. Please limit submissions to no more than 20 photos at one time. Transparencies and prints will no longer be accepted for consideration; such images should be scanned and submitted as high-resolution digital files. Captions should accompany all submissions. Make sure the photographer’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address are clearly labeled on each CD or DVD. Submissions will not be returned. Written articles should be submitted on CD (unless other arrangements have been made with the editors), saved as “text” files, and accompanied by a printed version. Written submissions, both on paper and CD, will not be returned. The publisher does not assume responsibility for unsolicited material. PERIODI- CALS: Postage paid at Santa Clarita, CA 91383, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mountain Bike Action Magazine, P.O. Box 958, Valencia, CA 91380-9058. Printed in U.S.A. For Canadian returns mail to: Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542 London, ON N6C 6B2. WARNING: Much of the action depicted in this magazine is potentially danger- ous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced experts or pro- fessionals. Do not attempt to duplicate any stunts that are beyond your own capabilities. Always use discretion and wear the appropriate safety gear. 7 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 9. ©2008 Giant Bicycle Inc. All rights reserved. Pictured: 2009 Anthem X0. Putting the “X” in “XC,” the all-new Giant Anthem X cranks up the travel while shedding the weight. World Cup-proven geometry, four plush inches of Maestro travel and the lightest aluminum full- suspender Giant has ever produced. Available now at your local authorized Giant retailer.
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  • 12. HAPPY TRAILS By Richard J. Cunningham fork with adjustable preload. A reliable Index shifting was still around the cor- was assembling an afford- I suspension fork in the mid ’80s—one ner, and trigger shifting? Well, that was able hardtail when I had that actually worked? Come on! Four somewhere in outer space. Mountain one of those “ah-ha!” years later, when the first generation of bikers of that period shifted gears man- suspension forks did arrive, they moments that made me realize ually with friction thumb levers. gushed like pedal-powered oil wells. Sealed components were premium exactly how far mountain bikes It boggles the mind that the lowest priced items in the early days. The have progressed. A dear friend common denomenator in Haro's Haro’s no-name bottom bracket, name had (reluctantly) returned a mountain bike lineup—a $500 hard- hubs and headset had sealed cartridge tail—reflects such an astounding bearings. Cartridge-bearing hubs and vintage steel-framed mountain amount of innovation and (dare I say bottom brackets were only available in bike that I had built in the mid it?) performance. Of course, the value mountain bike widths from Phil Wood 1980s. It was outfitted with the of the Escape S is mirrored by other back then, and Chris King made the bike brands, and this further under- only cartridge-bearing headset. Low- best components from its era scores the fact that mountain bike friction, Teflon-lined cable housings— and probably would have makers, through hard work and imagi- the stuff that comes on every bicycle retailed for a then-exorbitant nation, have placed a busload of tech- made today—were patented, cutting- nology under the saddles of bicycles sum of $1800. The modern edge technology. The topper for any- that almost anyone can afford. one who squealed through mud or mountain bike that I had just The last components to come out of moisture, however, would be the pulled from the box was a Haro the Haro box were pedals—one-sided, Haro’s “Bengal” disc brakes. The Escape S. It retails for $490-- toe-clip style pedals—the items which Taiwan knockoff of Hayes’ mechanical first inspired me to glance over to the disc brakes would most certainly have which in 1985 dollars was prob- vintage Mantis across the room, been depicted in action on point-of- ably $150. To put it mildly, the because it too was equipped with toe- purchase videos near bike-shop cash low-level Haro represented a clip pedals (and straps). It seemed registers throughout the world. quite comical to me that the only com- Mountain bikers who flocked to bike technological leap. Its most ponents on the Haro left unaltered shops to squeeze the mighty Bengal insignificant features would after 20 years of innovation were the brake levers would be blown away by have left both the press and the ones I despised the most. I love my the radical lines of the Haro’s tapered, racing community of the 1980s rectangular-tube aluminum frame. openmouthed. “Awestruck’ might be a more appropri- ate word. The Haro had an eight-speed cassette, while the vintage Mantis had six cogs—but the term “cassette” was not introduced until 1989. Period mountain bikes had screw-on freewheels that tightened with each power stroke until the hub and freewheel were pressure-welded together. They required a Herculean effort to remove—and quite often were destroyed in the process. The novelty of an eight-speed hub alone would have knocked the socks off of mountain bike enthusiasts in the eighties, Shimano SPD pedals. I remem- when the largest cog a bered fussing with cages and straps Most would have never seen a welded derailleur could shift numbered 28 while negotiating technical trails, and I aluminum bicycle frame of any kind in teeth. They would have killed for the realized that I could live without person—and manipulated tubes simply Escape's 34-tooth low gear and the almost every modern mountain bike didn’t exist. But the wonder of all won- SRAM 3.0 long-cage rear derailleur. So invention, but I never wanted to flip a ders would be the Escape’s unprece- imagine their shock at SRAM's SX.4 toe-clip pedal again. Of course, in 1985, dented innovation: the SR Suntour 3.9- under-the-handlebar trigger shifting. nobody would have noticed that. J inch-travel, spring-action suspension 12
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  • 14. THE MAC ATTACK Cold Weather Riding mitt over the gloves. iving on the northern edge L Dang it, I’ve got to snap of Southern California my helmet. The mitts doesn’t present a lot of op- come off. A Buff head gasket gets slipped over portunities for true cold-weather my head so it covers my riding. So when a cold snap blows ears. I should have put through the Heritage Valley, like that on before the jer- it did recently, I’m stoked. But I’m sey, but it is going to be not just stoked, I’m prepared. July before I leave for this ride, so I compro- I wanted to share what may have mise and tuck it in best been the last cold day of the season and I can. The helmet goes I had made a number of calls to invite on, glasses in place, friends to join me for this ride. No luck. mitts back on. I slip on The sun was starting to climb into the the CamelBak and the gray sky, so I knew I couldn’t waste straps are digging into any more time trying to find a partner. my shoulders. Have to I wanted to be on the trail while it was let them out to accom- still crunchy. I started to suited up. modate all those extra It takes 30 seconds to get ready for layers. I’m ready to most rides, but not when it is frigid go. Total dress time: outside. You have to plan carefully. The 27 minutes! operative word is layering. I start slip- I don’t know if it ping into a thermal top and then ther- is the anticipation of mal tights. I slide a set of regular riding the adventure ahead tights with over-the-shoulder holders on or over-hydration, top of the thermals and a baggy short but I take two steps over those. towards the garage Next come the socks. Then I realize and nature calls. I’ve blown it. The long socks should Actually, it yells. I have gone between the thermals and have to go through tights for a better system seal. The the drill of stripping shorts and tights come off and I pull on layers away, but I am getting good at do- the long socks. Then I put all the other The trailhead is just up the road. I ing each step in its proper order. I only stuff back on. A recycled plastic bag roll down the driveway, make a left and waste another ten minutes. goes over each sock, and I put another am surprised by a sheet of ice. The front I open the garage door. Flat tire! I pair of socks on to hold the bags in wheel shoots to the right like somebody keep my spirits high. It could be a slow place. My toes are toasty, even if there attached one end of a rope to the right leak. I get to pumping and it is hard to is the faint smell of peanut butter and slider and the other end to the bumper hear through the Buff. I pull the Buff jelly (the plastic bags were used for last of a garbage truck. I go down so fast that down to uncover one ear. The tube is week’s lunch). I don’t even get my hands out to soften leaking faster than a New Orleans levee. I blow the dust off the awesome the blow. Luckily, all that layering takes I’m not giving up. Gaerne Polar cycling shoes in the back the brunt of the impact. I have to rock I strip halfway down, change the tube, of my closet. The shoes, that look more back and forth a few times to build pump up the tire and slip the wheel like boots, are five years old and still ap- enough momentum to get to my feet. back into the bike. My feet are sweating pear to be brand new. That’s because I The front brake lever is snapped and the by now and one of my two chamois is only get to wear them about three times stem is pointing at a 45-degree angle. soaked. I follow the drill to get all my a year. Once I get these guys laced up I roll the bike back into the garage and gloves, layers, helmet, Buff and glasses and zipped, I slide a set of booties over I walk inside my warm house. I strip back on. I’m finally ready for my nine them. I don’t like numb toes. down to the thermals and turn on the o’clock ride. It is 10:22. I look at the clock. It has been twenty computer. The Weather Channel pre- The phone rings! I don’t take any- minutes since I started dressing. I try dicts a high of 67 degrees by tomorrow thing off as I press the receiver against to focus. A long-sleeve jersey. A jacket and the TV listing shows an episode of my Buff-covered ear. “Speak up,” I shell. A vest. It will be snowing, so I put Law And Order is just starting. I’ll have yell into the phone. It is Sanders. He’s another shell over all those layers. to try that cold weather ride next year. ฀ returning my call about going for a ride Uuuuugh, did it again. My gloves! I and just wants me to know he thinks wanted them under the jersey. Off with I’m nuts. I thank him for calling back Don’t be left out in the cold. Write to the shells, vest and jersey. On with the and wasting another two minutes of me at gloves (the thin ones). Jersey, shell, vest my ride. I head back into the garage and and shell two go back on. I slide another grab my bike. 14
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  • 16. HARD TALES Gear Troy Lee Speaks Italian Troy Lee Designs is best known for its riding gear, casual wear, hel- mets and custom helmet painting. Hard to believe that Troy Lee and his zany crew of designers Look fast (clockwise from bot- and painters find time to take on tom left): The $170 Vertebrae Yutaak, the $99 Shiver Paint Can, the $210 more projects, but they do. SLR T1 25 Years of Troy Lee Designs, Recently, the TLD group got the $210 Flight Eyeballs and the $188 paid the ultimate compliment SLR XP Spider Web. when the 112-year-old Italian saddle company, Selle Italia, asked for some graphic input. Italian companies are renowned for their design expertise, so tapping the Corona, California, compa- ny for design input was flattering to say the least. Compliments aside, Troy and the gang dipped into their bag of tricks and came up with saddles that look so cool, you’ll want to pedal out of the saddle for the first month after you get one. The limited-edition TLD Selle Italia saddles are available from your local bike shop. You can get more informa- tion from Selle Italia’s importer, ProNet, at (800) 279-3793. Where are the rails?: The monocoque car- Hard tail: Not part of the TLD Selle Italia sad- bon CX Zero saddle has integrated rails. dle line but equally eye-catching is this three- Our advice is to invest in a great torque ounce, all-carbon CX Zero saddle. Only the wrench if you are willing to plunk down most hard-core weight weenie will be attract- half a grand for this saddle. You don’t ed to this expensive (around $500) saddle want to crimp these rails. that needs to be carefully cared for. Cross Training Ivan Basso Shreds Snow What do top roadies do to get in shape for the road season? They ride mountain Photo by Roberto Bettini bikes! Elite professional road racer Ivan Basso was spotted riding a carbon fiber Cannondale Moto at the Team Liquigas training camp held in Italy’s Dolomite mountain range. The focus of Ivan’s train- ing is to knock off Lance at the Giro d’Italia this coming May. 16
  • 17. Demo Wanna Ride A Pivot? Pivot Cycles is on the road again with their demo fleet of Mach 4s, Mach 5s, Mach 429s and Firebirds. This is your chance to throw a leg over these impressive bikes with- out committing to a purchase. (Warning; after your ride it may be tough not to commit.) The fleet will appear at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, before heading to Colorado and New Mexico in May. They haven’t figured out where the highway will lead them after May, so you can check their website or call (480) 467-2920 to track the demo fleet’s progress Fact Pivot Demo Tour May 14-21, Ride the Rockies, 28,724 April 16-19, Sea Otter Classic, Rocky Mountains, Colorado Monterey, California May 16, Sports Garage, May 2, Wheatridge Cyclery, Boulder, Colorado Wheatridge, Colorado rts, May 23, Santa Fe Mountain Spo May 3, Golden Bike Shop, Mountain bikes in use Santa Fe, New Mexico Golden, Colorado by police departments May 30, Fat Tire Cycles, May 9, Old Town Bikes, Albuquerque, New Mexico across America. Colorado Springs, Colorado Truck Stop You Too Can Own A Former Downhill Champ! In 2001, former MBA photo rider Todd LeDuc won the NORBA National Series downhill championship. LeDuc left mountain bike racing to join his father Curt and brother Kyle (also a former MBA photo rider) to race trophy trucks. The LeDuc name rings in the off-road truck world like the name Andretti in open- wheel racing. Thanks to Todd’s truck racing success, Winning w you can now buy a replica 2001 Azo ays: Todd LeDuc in decal kit of his Rock Star ride for Stick up: The Todd LeDuc graphic kit for nic advert isement. a your RC truck. your R/C truck. 17 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 18. HARD TALES Winners GT Wants To Make You A Star The GT Golden Bike Series is like a reality TV show made just for cross- country racers. And unlike TV’s secretly scripted “reality” shows, there are no fixes or behind-the-scenes manipulations going on at the GT Golden Bike Series. It works like this: GT has chosen seven races that make up their Golden Bike Series. The amateur cross-country racer (over 18 years old) to turn the fastest time becomes the GT Golden Bike Winner. This rider doesn’t have to be racing a GT bike to be eligible, but there’s a catch. The Golden Bike winner must Moral support: The Golden Bike winner gets defend the bike’s ownership by racing it at the next event in the series or for- an unfair advantage at the next race—the feit the prize package worth more than $10,000 to the second-place finisher. encouragement of The GT Gold Diggers. “The only way to get the Golden Bike is to crush the competition,” explained Jenni Cathcart, Director of Marketing for GT Bicycles. “There’s no silver or bronze in this competition. It is all about the gold.” The Golden Bike Series GT doesn’t expect the Golden Bike winner to fund the bike’s defense alone. That’s why GT will cover an all-expense-paid trip for two to the next April 19,Sea Otter Classic, race in the Golden Bike Series, bestow the use of a commemorative GT Monterey, California Golden Bike, supply a $250 Sugoi gift certificate and top it off with a swag May 2, GHORBA Big Ring bag of cycling gear. Challenge, Coldspring, Texas It gets better. A professional bike mechanic, and a personal cheerleading May 17, Spring Thaw squad known as The Gold Diggers, will support the Golden Bike winner. Of Mountain Bike Festival, course, if another rider throws down the fastest time at the next event, all Ashland, Oregon these rewards are taken from the last event’s winner and transferred to the June 7, Massanutten HOO-HA!, new winner. Harrisonburg, Virginia Since professional riders do not qualify for the Golden Bike Series, we pre- July 4, Firecracker 50, dict a few of last year’s back-marker pros will not renew their pro license so Breckenridge, Colorado they can go after the Golden Bike. After all, the Golden Bike winner will get August 9, Ore to Shore, treated way better than most pro winners. J Marquette, Michigan September 13, Landmine Classic, Hingham, Massachusetts Golden opportunity: The series leader gets to choose a GT Zaskar or GT Marathon (shown here). Both will feature a golden monocoque carbon- fiber frame and Shimano XTR components. 18
  • 19. TRAILGRAMS THANKS FROM TONY Thanks again for the story on my Forward Motion Foundation (MBA, December 2008). We have already received interest in helping out as well as donations to the Re-cyclery. One of the contacts was from a guy who works with the Metro Transit System here in San MBA, Diego. He is helping us set up the routes so folks without cars can get January, 2009 to our events. This is really cool, as we are working with many folks who do not have driver’s licenses. Tony DiLorenzo Forward Motion Foundation BE AN INSPIRATION After reading about Tony DiLorenzo in the January “Riders Who Inspire,” I thought of a friend who is worthy of THE LAST PROFLEX LETTER I bought my ProFlex 956 in 1996. I being featured in a future story. She still ride it. Not much of the original would never think about promoting bike remains, but it is still essentially a herself, so what is the best way for me short-travel, stiff-backed, dual-suspen- to submit her for consideration? sion, cross-country bike—absolutely Bill Hess perfect for the type of riding I do. Chicago, Illinois SLOW YOUR SPIN Curiosity has led me to test a few MBA encourages riders to spin at 80 Many riders who deserve to be featured modern bikes, but I just don't seem to rpm (“New Years Riding Resolution”, in “Riders Who Inspire” would never “gel” with them. Although they float January 2008). This works for smooth recommend themselves, and that’s why along the trails, they seem too heavy, trails, but when the going gets rough friends like you are so important. Drop us bouncy and detached compared to the (extended rock gardens, and extended an email (, ProFlex, which tells me absolutely rooty sections), I find I get better and it will speed things up if you type everything that’s going on underneath results in a bigger gear. Use more mus- “Riders Who Inspire” in the subject line. its skinny wheels. cle and, voila, you make it through the Tell us about the person who deserves a Mark Lovatt rough stuff. I understand the dynamics little recognition and how we can contact Newtown, Wales of the pedal stroke, but the advice of them. As you may already be aware, we pedaling at high rpm does not always have a broad definition of who a rider have its place. Push the gear and learn who inspires is. It can be someone who has MORE COLD TIPS the burn! done things to benefit the entire mountain I ride all winter in Salt Lake City, Tom “Lefty” Lowrie biking community, a rider who helped Utah, and when the trails are too Dalton, Pennsylvania you out of a tough situation, or a rider snowy, I climb the steep roads in the who is fighting against great odds. They’re your knees, Lefty. foothills near the state capital to keep my muscles ready for slickrock in the spring. The trick is to layer with wick- ing materials and wear a big CamelBak pack. I begin the ride with an amount of clothing that makes me feel a bit cool to start the climb and usually includes a polypro underlayer, long- sleeve jersey, wind vest, windproof jacket and appropriate leg covering. As I ride up, I stop briefly to shed a layer as needed before heat builds and caus- es profuse sweating. At the top of the climb, I start pulling layers out of my pack and putting them back on (fleece jacket, windproof jacket, head band with ear muffs, a fleece-lined face pro- tector, thick gloves, knee/shin guards to break the wind). Then I bomb down to the bottom secure in my clothing capsule. What a blast, and what a way to turn heads! Brooks Carter Salt Lake City, Utah 19 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 20. TRAILGRAMS CRAIG FAN Thanks for the profile on Adam Craig (“America’s Best Mountain Biker,” MBA, January 2009). I have been a fan of Adam based on his results, and now I’m more of a fan based on his attitude. If there were more well-rounded riders like Adam racing today, I believe cross-country racing in the United States would be a lot more interesting. Chris Lewis Boise, Idaho RE-TREAD SLIDE GUIDE MBA recommends putting a Kenda I tried Paul Thomasberg’s cable Small Block Eight tire on the rear of tricks (“Garage Files,” January the bike to lessen weight and improve 2009) on my Santa Cruz Blur LT momentum. Nowhere do I see a dis- that uses Shimano XT components claimer stating not to follow this and could not believe the results. advice if you live in the Northeast. The The rear derailleur shifting is Small Block Eight tire might do what noticeably crisper with less pressure you say, but at a cost of lost time due needed at the shifter. The added to lack of traction with all the mud we benefit of keeping dirt out of the have here. housings is just a bonus to the mod- Peter Inserra ification. Please keep these kinds of Oriskany, New York tips coming. MBA Disclaimer: Riders who ride Joe McAdams on frozen lakes, in deep snow, mud bogs San Diego, California or quicksand shouldn’t use a Kenda Small Block Eight tire on the rear either. THE SANTA CRUZ DEBATE FUNNY AND INFORMATIVE GOES ON I realize it is only your January I have to side with Santa Cruz. They issue, but the photo of Dan are not attacking consumers with a Gaudenzi using a glove and tire quot;loophole,” but rather sticking to their tube to dress his head wound has guns. Why should they release a new my vote for the funniest photo of bike when nothing has changed? Should the year. It was funny and at the same they offer a new color next season, hop time informative. I wonder if I would the price, and tell riders it is the all-new have been so resourceful if I found Blur LT? They have, in fact, differentiat- myself in the same situation as Dan? ed their models—not by year, but by Eric Rhodes characteristics, design, and technology: Calgary, Alberta, Canada J Blur, then Blur LT and Blur XC (these were different bikes and different from or the Blur); and now the new BLT2, or Write us at mbaction@h Trailgrams, 25233 Blur LT2 with VP2. A shop that does hard copy us at MBA 91355. Include not know how to explain this to cus- Anza Drive, Valencia, Ca. you live. tomers isn't committed to the lines they the town and state where month: Don’t fill up carry, and that consumer should find a Trailgrams tip of the to the top. Measure shop they can rely on. your hydration bladder ’ll need for the Josh Dennis the amount of water you t. to carry the extra weigh Salt Lake City, Utah ride. No need 20
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  • 23. BATTLE PROVEN. The HollowGram SI Crankset. The lightest, stiffest crankset on the planet. Standard on the Cannondale Factory Racing Team Scalpel. The good fight.
  • 24. TRAIL MIX A FOXY LADY Riding during my vacation to the Alps. Elayna Caldwell Fox Racing Shox IDAHO EPIC In mid November people in our area are thinking about skiing and snowboarding on some of the best snow on earth, at Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s Grand Teton Village. But we were not done riding. We needed to go on one last ride. It was the first time my wife and I had rid- den on snow and ice. Your bike tires make a dif- ferent kind of sound going over snow. The bikes handle differently, and even though you know the six-mile trail, it has changed. The bumps, climbs, drops and rock gardens all make the trail different. As we continued down the trail, the snow turned to mud and we got dirty in a very good way. It was an epic ride that I would recommend to anyone. Cody Saxton Sheryl Saxton Danny Kelly Jackson Hole, Wyoming 24
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  • 26. TRAIL MIX LIFE FOUND ON MARS This is me riding the Fin on Thunder Mountain Trail near Bryce Canyon, Utah. Shannon Lynch Wheat Ridge, Colorado HAPPY BIRTHDAY Celebrating my 54th birth- day at Plattekill, Roxbury, New York. If you ride, you understand. Tony Suppa Stamford, Connecticut TAKE A PICTURE This is my wife and I riding just north of Quebec City, Canada, in the Jacques Cartier National Park. Biking is time we take to spend together, enjoy life and have a blast. As for the most part we are running with too many things to do and too little time to do them. On this ride, we managed to figure out how to run the timer on the camera to get a pic- ture of both of us to remind us how much fun we have biking together. Michelle LeBlanc and Rheal Jaillet Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada WATCH YOUR STEP Mark Dimond (left) and me sitting on the edge of a cliff next to the Slick Rock Trail in Moab. The black line on the middle right is a road, and you can see a car down there. Probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but we got some pretty cool pictures with our cell phones! Bryson Chamberlain Oak City, Utah 26
  • 27. RIDE BELIEVE With 150mm (6”) of fully active travel, the 2009 Compulsion utilizes our award-winning patented Equilink™ technology to achieve true pedaling e ciency. No longer must you “pepper” your pedal stroke to o set rear-end travel. Experience a plush, fully-active suspension operation that is completely isolated from drive train influence. Aggressive, agile and lightweight, the Compulsion’s trail design is capable of tackling all-day, all-mountain riding, no matter the conditions. One ride will make you a believer. Felt’s 2009 Compulsion family of bikes includes the One (shown), Two and Three. RIDE…Fast. Hard. Forever.
  • 28. TRAIL MIX FAMILY RIDE This day out with Dad comes to you from Phoenix, Arizona. Got to love A REAL CAMEL BACK Phoenix in the winter months, and having two boys, Dylan and Luke, who love My wife Jill and I on a 35-mile to mountain bike with their Dad! epic ride in Judea Desert, Israel. The Vince Kaderabek. photo was taken in a dry riverbed Phoenix, Arizona called “gmalim” that means camels in Hebrew. Dry riverbeds in the Judea Desert are the only places TAKING IT ALL IN where you’ll find vegetation for food Cris, Dave, and Bill taking and shade, so a lot of local Bedouins time to check out the view bring their camels to this place for of Castle Peak from the Hole rest and grazing. in the Ground Trail at Samuel Bachar Donner Summit near Lake Richmond, Virginia Tahoe, California. The place has awesome singletrack, slickrock and views. You would never know you are so close to Interstate 80. Cris McReynolds La Honda, California LITTLE JUMPER Cameron Ory at the Snowmass NEW FRIENDS Colorado State Championships. At 11 Friends I made on years old he finished second in the a bike trip through mountaincross and smoked the field in the Congo. the downhill. Junior racing and develop- Tracy Price ment is the future of the sport. Phoenix, Arizona Mo Ory Denver, Colorado J FACE IT We want your face in MBA. Here’s how: 1) Image file size needs to be 600 KB or larger. 2) Tell us what is going on in your photo (include names). 3) Include your name and the city and state where you live. 4) E-mail it to Trail Mix ( Trail Mix rider of the month: Ryan Trebon. 28
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  • 30. THRASH TESTS Thrash test rating: ##### Perfection ####$ Delivers above average value and performance ###$$ Recommended for intended application IBERT SAFE-T-SEAT ###$$ ##$$$ Shows potential but has drawbacks #$$$$ Save your hard-earned bucks Giving Junior a front row seat on your next ride Many riders have a youngster who is too young to pedal along on a ride, so iBert Inc. has come up with the safe-T- seat, a $94.95 child seat that attaches to the steerer tube of your mountain bike. Tech features: The Safe-T-Seat is designed for children age four and under. The minimum age is 12 months, because the child needs to be able to sit up and have the strength to hold The stinger the weight of a helmet. The maximum height of the child that can use the Safe-T-Seat is 42 inches. Kids much taller than that will be uncomfortable. The recommended max weight is 38 pounds. You can reach iBert at (801) 440-4024. After the thrashing: The Safe-T-Seat slides onto a patented stinger mounting system. The stinger clamps to the bike’s steerer tube below the bike’s handlebar stem and above the headset (so you need at least 3/4 inch of steerer tube from the headset to the stem). We mounted the Safe-T-Seat on our Managing Editor Sean McCoy’s tandem mountain bike, which now let him include his youngest child on rides. The installation of the stinger clamp was a simple task and the directions were easy to follow. The Safe-T-Seat slides on and off the stinger clamp easily. We found tolerance between the Safe-T- Seat and stinger to be loose, and this resulted in a bit of play. The loose fit makes the seat slightly sway from side to side, which takes some time to get used to. The drill for getting your child in the Safe-T-Seat works like this: straddle the bike, lift and place your little critter in the Safe-T-Seat. Slip the harness buckle over his or her head, then close the pivot lap bar and you are ready to go. On the trail, we found that the Safe-T-Seat was positioned perfectly to allow the rider total access to the handlebar for normal steering, and pedaling was not hin- dered at all. The weight distribution of the child is also far better for bike handling than a seat that positions the child behind the saddle. A few things to remember: your little riding partner is doing a great job of shelter- ing you from the wind, so remember to dress your child warmly. Also, pick your trail wisely. Leave the technical loops and fast sections for rides you’ll do solo. CYCRAGUARD TWINPACK ##### Deflect your tires’ spray Commutes or dirt road exploration on rainy days become a drag fast with a constant spray of water and mud coming off the tires and into your face. This Cycraguard Twinpack contains universal front and rear fenders that are designed for quick installation and removal. Cycra suggests a retail price of $44.99. Tech features: Cycra includes all of the hardware necessary to mount front and rear fenders to almost any frame and seatpost. Both the 15-inch-long front and 20-inch-rear fender measure four inches wide. They are injection molded from an unbreakable composite plastic. Two quick-hook rubber bands attach the front fender beneath the bike frame’s downtube. A bracket with a quick- release clamp holds the rear fender off the seatpost. The fenders are available in black, white, or titanium colors. Cycra Bike can be contacted at (800) 770-2259. After the thrashing: The complete Cycra fender assembly weighs 11 ounces. The fenders mount to the bike in an instant. Spacers are included that will adapt the front fender to bikes that run the gear cables beneath the down tube. Tuneable position and angle features make it easy to adjust the rear fender to the lines of the bike. The fenders do an amazing job of eliminating the splash that tires throw up while riding in the wet. Besides keeping mud from splashing up on your glasses, the Cycra fenders keep the rider from getting soaked by tire spray. You stay drier, warmer and more comfortable in inclement conditions. This is one of the best mods that a rider can make to his bike for wet-weather riding. 30
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  • 32. THRASH TESTS Thrash test rating: ##### Perfection ####$ Delivers above average value and performance ###$$ Recommended for intended application ##$$$ Shows potential but has drawbacks ADVENTURE MEDICAL KITS #$$$$ Save your hard-earned bucks EMERGENCY BIVVY ###$$ Something right for the times when things go wrong There may come a time when a mechanical failure, poor map-reading skills or lousy planning leaves you stranded on a trail overnight. If that ever happens, you better hope you were smart enough to pack a $16 Adventure Medical Kit Emergency Bivvy in your hydration pack. Tech features: The Adventure Medical Kits Emergency Bivvy, when stowed in its pouch, is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and weighs 3.5 ounces. Once unfolded, it mea- sures eight feet long by three feet wide. The ultra-thin Heatsheet material used to con- struct the bevvy has a burnt orange outer color and a reflective metallic interior. This vacuum-metalized polyethylene material is claimed to reflect up to 90 percent of your radiated body heat back to you. The mate- rial, while thin, is stretchable so it resists rips. You can reach Adventure Medical Kits at (800) 324-3517. After the thrashing: Remove wet layers of clothing, leave on anything that is reasonably dry, unfold the bivvy and crawl inside. It feels too thin to be effec- tive, but you will sense your body heat being reflected almost immediately. The bivvy has zero padding, so you’ll need to find a soft place on leaves or grass before calling it a night. We spent a fitful night under the stars in the bivvy as temperatures dipped into the 40’s. The bivvy reflected enough heat to allow us to sleep for around five hours, and no moisture came through the bag. While not the most comfortable night we’ve ever spent in the great outdoors, it fold it up tight enough to fit it back in its pouch. Amazing. felt like a five-star hotel compared to sleeping on the ground Hopefully you will never need to use the Emergency Bivvy, in cycling gear. but since it only weighs ounces, fits into a small pocket of any In addition to warmth, the bivvy sack makes a great wind- hydration pack and costs a measly $16, we can’t think of an breaker too. One more benefit of this bivvy: turning it inside out argument not to carry one. It could end up being a real life- would make a large reflective target for anyone looking for you saver. from the sky or neighboring mountaintop. We were even able to MUC-OFF BIKE CLEANER ###$$ chemicals work immediately to lift dirt stains and surface grease, which after two minutes easily wash away during a Keeps that bike looking new second rinse. Muc-Off’s protective coating reduces water spotting and gives the surfaces of the components and chas- You want to keep your pride and joy looking as clean as the sis a smooth look. It also contains non-oily ingredients, day you bought it. Yes, that’s impossible, but there are products which means that it is safe on discs and pads. Your bike is that can help you keep it looking, if not new, at least pre- only going to get dirty again, but Muc-Off will make it look sentable. Muc-Off is a non-aerosol spray-on bike wash in a bot- sweet until then. tle. A one-quart, hand pump-bottle of Muc-Off retails for $11.99. Tech features: Muc-Off touts nano technology. What that means is that it contains cleaning and protective components that at the very finest molecular level have been custom restructured to elevate effectiveness. Whatever. That’s their pitch, not ours. Muc-Off is claimed to contain no harsh ingre- dients, is safe to use on all surfaces, and is friendly to the environment. Give Muc-Off a call at (562) 945-9944. After the thrashing: Muc-Off does not magically blast caked mud off your stays, downtube or bottom bracket area. It also does not degunk an over-lubricated drivetrain. It is a detailing spray. Get the offending stuff loosened up using a sponge and brush before rinsing with water (no power sprayers!). Now spray Muc-Off on the bike. Its nano-tech 32 m
  • 33. 2008 N° Beijing MEDAL 1 GOLD OLYMPIC FULCRUM Julien Absalon (Orbea TeaM ) & RED CARBON D stribute Distributed i U.S.A. by: Qualit Bicycle, Security Bicycle, Sinc air Imports BTI Distriibuted in U.S.A. by: Quallity Biicyclle,, Security Bicycle,, Sinclair Imports,, BTI st SA Qua ity cy e ecur t B cycle incl mport TI t cycle nclai p t WWW.FULCRUMWHEELS.COM
  • 34. THRASH TESTS Thrash test rating: ##### Perfection ####$ Delivers above average value and performance ###$$ Recommended for intended application ##$$$ Shows potential but has drawbacks LOUIS GARNEAU DURANGO SHORT #$$$$ Save your hard-earned bucks #$$$$ A short made from earthy materials that comes up short The $109 Durango shorts from Louis Garneau take a holistic approach to cycling apparel. Can you feel the difference? Tech features: The Durango short is made from Bamtex, an eco-friendly fabric made with bamboo. Bamtex is abrasion-resistant, moisture-wicking, and has anti- odor qualities. The Durango comes with a mesh inner short featuring Garneau’s new HD chamois. There are LT-Stretch inserts on the hips, at the back and at the crotch area. This fabric has four-way-stretch and is designed to ensure breathability and fit in motion. You can reach Louis Garneau at (800) 448-1984. After the thrashing: The Durango short fits snugly at the waist and hangs low, crossing the leg just below the kneecap. The Bamtex material is breathable, yet it stood up to scraping along trail shrubbery without ripping or snagging. The pockets directly above the knee do not seem to serve a purpose other than being a convenient place to briefly drop your car keys while you’re unloading your bike at the trailhead. If you store anything in those pockets while you ride, say a multi-tool, energy bar or car keys, it will flop from side-to-side as you pedal. There are tension straps with buckles on the front of the short at the waistline. We never needed these straps to achieve a secure fit; however, they interfere with the waist belt of a hydration pack, digging the buckles into your mid-section. After a couple rides in the Durango shorts, we cut the buckles off the front of the shorts for a more comfortable fit. The stretch-like material in the crotch area is comfortable before or after a ride, but on more than one occa- sion this material snagged on the saddle when we stood up to pedal or dis- mount. The Durango shorts have a lot of features that may look good on paper, but on the trail it becomes clear that they’re better suited for lounging around the house. easy to select the wrench needed and the wrench into the wheel, and the SERFAS ST-SL SLIMLINE to fold the unneeded ones back into four-sided socket design gets a good CHROME MINI TOOL the body. All of the tools have suffi- bite on the spoke nipple. The ST-SL ####$ cient extension and can reach into the Slimline actually has 12 tools and gives tightest spots. you more than claimed. It doesn’t come You don’t have to break the On the opposite end of the body is with useless features like bottle open- bank for a reliable multi-tool the chain breaker, which is the most ers. It only offers the tools needed to useful one that we have seen on a A new entry into the multi-tool service a modern mountain bike, multi-tool. A two-inch-long handle on game, the Serfas Slimline offers 11 including brake lever reach. the driver supplies more than enough tools in one and carries a suggested The only drawback is the lack of an torque to extract a chain pin. retail of $20. eight-millimeter Allen key, but the price Additionally, swinging the handle out Tech features: The Slimline mea- is right. J to the side provides effective torque for sures three inches by two inches, is the Allens and 5/16 of an inch thick and weighs four screwdrivers. ounces. It includes a chain tool, Finally, included Phillips screwdriver, flat-head screw- on the end of the driver, T25 Torx driver, a 3.23-mil- foldout handle is limeter and 3.45-millimeter combo the combo spoke spoke wrench, and 2-, 2.5-, 3-, 4-, 5- wrench. The two and 6-millimeter Allen keys. The wrench sizes are Slimline is produced by Serfas, which the same as the can be reached at (800) 424-0047. most common After the thrashing: The Slimline black and red is a simple, effective and easy-to-use shop spoke mini multi-tool that is a steal at its $20 wrench sizes and price. It has no detachable parts (so will service both you won’t lose them) and is bullet- cross-country proof. The Slimline is much easier to and downhill use than a pocket knife-style multi- rims. The handle tool, which likes to tangle its individ- extension makes ual wrenches. With the Slimline, the it easy to reach tools fold out together on one end; it is 34
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  • 36. INSIDE LINE A SAGGING QUESTION Many of your tests recommend setting suspension sag. I understand how to measure and set sag, but can you explain why suspension needs sag? Doesn’t setting sag (let’s say 20 percent sag) rob you of 20 percent of your travel?” Howard Kinunen Orlando, Florida Jose Gonzelez, who worked on motocross suspension at Team Green and designed mountain bike suspension components for Manitou before establishing Trek Bicycle’s West Coast test facility, explains why sag is so important to your mountain bike. “Suspension sag is critical for proper performance for numer- ous reasons: 1. Suspension sag is a key factor in maintaining traction. Due to sag, the suspension is constantly in traction mode, driving the tire into the ground and maintaining contact as the surface undulates. This is especially the case when weight transfer is taken into account under braking, in off-camber turns, climbing and descending. 2. One of the biggest myths about suspension is that sag robs you of travel. This is not true, especially in off-road situations. There are as many bumps that are cavities in the surface as there are protruding from the surface. Suspension sag allows the suspension to “track” the bump’s shape and respond to bumps and holes that are below the surface. Without suspension sag, CUSTOM RIDE your bike would not be able to “track” the bump and it would drop into the bump—just like what happens when you ride a hardtail. Sag is what gives that “floating” feeling when travel- Is there a big advantage to buying a custom-made ing at speed over uneven terrain. frame over an off-the-rack production frame? 3. Sag also serves to allow the suspension to achieve a “set- James Kehoe tling” point for chassis stability. The sag point is basically a sta- Brattleboro, Vermont bilizing point that reflects the proper spring force required to Sherwood Gibson, a prolific fabricator and the man carry a given load (rider behind Ventana Bicycles (a company that offers both weight plus bike weight). custom-made and production bikes) explains: But all it takes is a small “There are advantages to both. With production frames you get the opportunity to participate in lower pricing and market-driven design trends that are supported by their sheer volume of sales. For example, a big bike company can be both trend-setting, with swoopy-tubed frame designs, and Do you know the way to sag, Jose?: also offer affordable pricing because they sell a whole lot of It doesn’t take up them. But in order to meet volume requirements, production travel and it makes frames are generally offered in five or fewer sizes per model, your bike ride bet- and geometry is determined by the manufacturer with very ter. Trek’s Jose few customization options available, if any. So, if you are Gonzalez talks about the impor- looking for value, your body proportions fit stock sizing tance of setting jumps, and the stock geometry is to your liking for your rid- suspension sag. ing style, then a production frame is your best bet. On the other hand, a custom-made frame has the advan- tage for all those riders who lie outside of the “normal” pro- duction sizing and geometry envelope. All people are not built in equal sizing increments. Really tall or short folks with long or short legs and long or short arms, riders with physical ailments restricting their movement or body posi- tioning, and riders who just want something different are all candidates who should consider getting a custom bike. Ventana offers three levels of customization ranging from a simple lengthening of a top tube to a full-custom build with tube diameters, wall thicknesses, and frame geometry tailored to the rider’s intended use and needs. To top things off, we also offer custom powder coat colors and additional bolt-on upgrades to further customize your ride. So the big advantage to going custom is that you can get a bike built specifically to fit you, to your exact specifications, and with a more individualized look.” 36
  • 37. TIRED TIRES spike in load, such as hitting a small bump, to destabilize that balance and force the suspension to move and absorb the impact. I ride on trails that have ideal conditions (soft, loamy sin- On the subject of sag, one interesting note to put sag into per- gletrack). I can ride a tire for a month and those little mold- spective: off-road racing trucks have 36 inches (yes, that’s cor- release hairs are still intact! A year later, my tires’ knobs rect!) of travel. They set sag pretty much at 50 percent, or 18 still look new. Is there another way to determine if a tire inches up and 18 inches down. It is amazing to drive along at needs to be replaced other than looking at knob wear? 100 miles per hour over terrain that’s infested with five-foot Randy Burgling bumps and not feel a thing. That’s because the wheels are track- Seattle, Washington ing the shape of the bump and floating along. I’ve been fortu- We contacted Maxxis International USA’s Bicycle nate enough to have experienced this, and it is truly amazing!” Product Manager, Christopher Warrick, who not only answers your question, but gives you some great tips for making your tires last longer. Looking beyond the knobs: Tire “This is a great question and one that a wear cannot always be judged lot of riders wonder about. There are other by measuring the knobs. Maxxis tire’s Christopher factors that affect your tire’s performance Warrick talks about inspecting than just tread wear. I’m in a similar spot tires and gives a few tips to in that I can put a lot of miles on a moun- make them last longer. tain bike tire without it showing much wear on the tread. I’m pretty light, and I try to avoid locking the wheels up to avoid unnecessary damage to the trails I love. Other factors to look at are the internal casing, the sidewall, and the rubber itself. It’s possible for the outer tread to still be in great shape but for the internal casing to be suffering from wear and tear. Look inside the tire to make sure you don’t see any places where the casing is becoming visible, and make sure the bead isn’t showing wear from rubbing on the rim. If you are starting to see an increase in flat- ting, then it is very possible the casing is starting to lose its shape. On the sidewalls, you want to look for abrasions and any other sign that the outer rubber is worn and the casing is left vulnerable. For the actual rubber itself, just give it a good look to make sure that it isn’t starting to crack or harden. It’s possible that it isn’t worn down, but the elements can still have an adverse affect on the outer rubber and change the performance of your tire. Feel the rubber with your fingernail and see if it is as soft as it was when you purchased it. If it is harder and more brit- tle, it is ready to be replaced soon. How you care for your tires goes a long way in determining how long your tires will last. Always riding at the proper pressure for the current conditions is the first step. If your bike stays in the garage, try and keep it up off the floor. Cement garage floors attract moisture and cold, so over time they will decrease the life of a tire. Inspect your tires before and after each ride. Make sure you look for any debris that may have stuck to the tire that can eventually work its way inside. Just like your car, bike tires benefit from regular rotation as well. Unless you are running a front and rear specific tread, rotate them to increase the life of the set. The rear tire takes a lot more abuse since your weight is right there. Enjoy the ride!” 37 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 38. INSIDE LINE Got a question for the “Inside Line?” E-mail it to LOOSE HELMET us at and we’ll have one of the sport’s most qualified experts answer it for you. I race downhill and purchased a used full-face Troy Lee Designs D2 helmet. When I go through fast sections that are rough, the helmet gets jiggled around and I have to push it up. Have you had the same experience with this product? Andy Lewis Fort Collins, Colorado We have a lot of hours with our heads inside TLD D2s and have not experi- enced the problem you describe. We spoke to Mike Redding, TLD’s Bicycle Product Manager. “It sounds like you have a siz- ing issue there, Andy. Our D2 helmets come in two shell sizes to assure a proper fit to a wide range of riders. You may have purchased a D2 with the large shell and, in that case, you are out of luck, because it is not a good idea to wear a helmet that is too large. It will move around on you while riding. But all is not lost. “Every D2 comes with a shim kit to fine-tune the fit. It could be a few shims will get your hel- met fitting perfectly. The shims, available from any shop that sells Troy Lee Design products, are very easy to install. You pull out the inside liner and put shims where needed on the EPS inner shell. I’d try that, because the shims should help the fit and keep the helmet from mov- ing up and down so much on your head. “Finally, Andy, there are plenty of places to try to save money, but buying a used hel- met is not one of them. You’ve run into the first problem, a proper fit, but the helmet’s EPS inner shell can be compressed from an impact, and that dam- age may be tough to spot. The outer shell can look fine, but the inner shell has done its job and is finished. I’d recommend try- ing to trim your budget in another area (like buying your tires used from a sponsored rider) and buy your helmet new.” J 38
  • 39. Royal Argyle Jersey: Sweat wicking polyester, with breathable fade resistant graphics. Royal F-Tech Short: 4-way stretch, water shedding fabric, with pop-snap waist closure. Royal Elite Glove: 4-way stretch, sweat wicking visit us at ROYALRACING.COM or call 661 257 2756 spandura, and vented Clarino palm. in Canada call 604 542 5661
  • 40. Fast track: The SW Stumpy has lots of travel without the negatives associated with long-travel trailbikes (lackluster acceleration, slow handling and addition- al weight). Think fast. 40
  • 41. est MBA The Ferrari F430 Of Trailbikes The Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR Carbon here is no other trailbike like the Specialized S-Works While we’ve touched on the major features, further T Stumpjumper FSR Carbon. No other company has inspection reveals even more Specialized touches. The tires, the nerve, the wherewithal, or the energy to commit rims, hubs, grips, handlebar, seatpost and saddle are all as much energy or has gone to such great lengths to deliver Specialized. Even the Avid Ultimate SL Mag brakes were their vision of the perfect trailbike. “Compromise” or “mak- modified just for the SW Stumpy ing do” were not permitted with this project. If a component didn’t exist to get a specific job done, no problem. INVEST IN THE FUTURE (SHOCK) Specialized just made it themselves. The SW Stumpy is a precision instrument, not a bike you jump on and ride off into the sunset. We found that “getting close” doesn’t cut it for setting the SW Stumpy’s NO COMPROMISE AND THE SPECIAL PARTS The S-Works Stumpjumper FSR Carbon (SW Stumpy for suspension. You have to nail it—all of it (air pressure, short) uses a dual-diameter head tube matched to a inertia-valve adjustment and rebound). You will be disap- Specialized Future Shock fork that uses a dual-diameter car- pointed if you don’t take the time to set the suspension bon fiber steerer tube molded in one piece with the fork properly. If you take the time, you will be amazed—and crown. The Specialized fork’s air spring, cartridge damper you only need to do it once. After that, minor changes can and inertia-valve anti-bob hardware are all housed in the be made for particular trail conditions, but the bike will be right leg, leaving the left leg empty. ready to rock. The frame tubes are molded separately, bonded together The new SW Stumpy owner needs to visit the Specialized and reinforced with hand-applied layers of carbon at each website and watch the video on their suspension setup page. junction. This process, while time-consuming, is the lightest way to build complex tubular carbon frames. UNLEASHING THE FERRARI The SW Stumpy uses a rocker-link suspension. The mag- Getting up to speed: The SW Stumpy feels crazy light nesium-alloy link moves on full-cartridge bearing pivots and because it positions its minimal weight low. The Specialized drives a Specialized AFR Brain shock with a remote inertia- Roval wheelset and Captain tires give the SW Stumpy cross- valve-equipped compensator chamber. An external clicker country-race-bike-like acceleration. The Specialized AFR Brain on top of the swingarm-mounted reservoir tunes the anti- shock is amazing. Go ahead, mash a big gear or get out of the bob function to rider preference. Specialized retains the saddle. The rear suspension doesn’t fall into its travel unless Horst-Link rear dropout linkage, and the seatstays are car- the tire hits something in the trail. This bike feels like a hard- bon fiber, while the swingarm is welded aluminum. tail that turns into a dual-suspension bike when you need it. 41 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 42. S-Works Cornering: The SW Stumpy’s slack head tube angle, tall- feeling head tube, and the resulting handlebar position make the bike feel like a trailbike up front, but its seat tube angle, bottom bracket height and high-riding rear suspension give it a racer-like sensation in the rear. Like the suspension, the Captain tires will not deliver if not set properly. The wreck- ing crew felt that five-psi could be the difference between sticking and skidding. Climbing: When 2x10 drivetrains are unleashed (a ten- cog cassette mated to a two-chainring crank), the Specialized probably will offer it as an option. Why? We seldom needed the granny and found ourselves powering up climbs in the middle chainring. Best results were found in a seated posi- tion, moving forward on the saddle as necessary to keep the front wheel in contact with the ground on steep climbs. In the rough: This is where proper suspension setup is a necessity. Wrecking crewers who came back disappointed with suspension performance were sent back to the work- shop for a suspension setup review. Changes as small as ten psi in air spring pressure or a few clicks of rebound adjust- ment (adjustments that would be undetectable on many sus- pension components) make a big difference. Once set cor- rectly, the travel feels like a long-travel cross-country race bike. It stays light and responsive, even in the rough stuff. Downhilling and braking: The seven-inch rear brake rotor looks way too big, as does the eight-inch front rotor. These massive discs only come on the large and X-large SW Long days: Twenty-five pounds was a respectable weight for a cross-country race bike just a few years ago. If you have the bucks, you can have the best of both worlds—long travel and light weight—for those epic-length rides or lunchtime hammer loops. Stumpys, and neither felt like overkill in the real world. The front rotor would occasionally scrape a brake pad during climbing and make a very annoying noise. No amount of adjustment cured the problem. Removing the brake caliper and mounting hardware revealed post mounts with a thick, uneven layer of paint. Sandpapering the post mounts smooth and reinstalling the hardware and caliper finally cured the problem. Your Specialized dealer should do this for you. Pointed downhill this bike feels like a five-inch-travel trail- bike that responds like a short-travel trailbike, and that’s not a dig. Think precision riding. Use the bike’s great handling and unique suspension to slice and dice the downhills, not plow through them. One final note; the SW Stumpy rider never has to reach for a lever during a ride. If the suspension has been set prop- erly, the suspension’s Brain adapts to the situation at hand. That means it is firm during sprinting and climbing and absorbent when downhilling and hitting the rough stuff. ARE YOU A FERRARI RIDER? The SW Stumpy is very much like a Ferrari. If you want a car to commute to work and take the kids to the movies in, a Ferrari is not it. If you want a five-inch trailbike that you can ride hard, put away wet, and neglect, the SW Stumpy is not it either. Both a Ferrari and this bike require a commit- ment from its driver (rider). And, as with the Ferrari, a siz- able financial commitment is required to enjoy the tech- nology Specialized delivers here. The rider willing to take the time to set up and under- Crowded house: The right fork leg houses the air spring, car- stand the suspension and who wants a lot of cross-country tridge damper and inertia-valve anti-bob hardware. The giant racer blood in his trailbike will love the Stumpjumper S- front disc brake rotor is only found on large and extra-large Works Carbon. Stumpjumpers. 42
  • 43. Special parts: (clockwise from top left): Dual-diameter head tube, remote inertia- valve-equipped compensator chamber, AFR Brain shock, Ned Overend signature The Captain tire and Thick lock- on grip. Price $7700 S-WORKS STUMPJUMPER Country of origin Taiwan Weight 25 pounds Hotline (408) 779-6229 Frame tested 19quot; (Large) Bottom bracket height 13.2quot; Chainstay length 16.5quot; Top tube length 24.5quot; Head tube angle 68.5° Seat tube angle 74.5° Standover height 29quot; Wheelbase 45.5quot; Suspension travel (front) 4.7quot; Suspension travel (rear) 4.7quot; Frame material Carbon fiber Fork Specialized Future Shock S120 Shock Specialized AFR Brain Rims Roval Controle SL Tires The Captain (2.0quot;/2.2quot; front) Hub Roval Controle SL XC Brakes Avid Ultimate SL Mag (modified) Brake levers Avid Ultimate SL Mag Crankset Shimano XTR Shifters SRAM X.0 trigger Front derailleur Shimano XTR Rear derailleur SRAM X.0 Chainrings Shimano XTR (44/32/22) Using their clout: Specialized had Avid modify the Ultimate SL Cassette Shimano XTR (11-34) Mag brakes for the SW Stumpy. They use the Ultimate lever Pedals None (weighed with Shimano XTR) (the lightest Avid makes) with a magnesium Elixir caliper. Brake pads are alloy-backed pads and all hardware is titanium. J 43 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
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  • 45. Atlas FR, the new standard in freeride and DH race cranks. 50 grams lighter than its closest competitor, while maintaining Race Face’s legendary strength and stiffness. Machined in Canada from US made OPTIM-AL aluminum, a material 20% stronger than 7050 alloy, so no need for pedal inserts. If you’re tired of hollow promises, look to Atlas FR. Your prayers have been answered. Available in Tippie inspired colours: Bad Ass Black, Rum Red, Blue Steel, Nurple Purple and Agent Orange
  • 46. MBA TECH Well worth it: Be straight with yourself about a bike makeover. If your bike still rides like a dream with only a few rough edges, you are ready to proceed. 46 c
  • 47. Bring New Life To That Old Bike When upgrading makes a lot of $ense ou don’t have to pony up the big bucks for a Y new mountain bike to enjoy a jump in perfor- mance and an improved overall mountain biking experience. There are lots of smart ways to breathe new life into your old bike. 47 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 48. WORTH THE EFFORT If your bike is getting you down the trail without major complaints, it is a great candidate for an upgrade or two. However, if the frame creaks or shows signs of rust, the rear tire rubs the chainstays during hard efforts, or if every bearing and bushing has a loose fit and feel, your mountain bike’s days are numbered. Sell that old bike to the busboy who needs cheap transporta- tion and think about replacing it rather than turning it into a money pit. TRADE IN If you have determined that your bike is not upgradeable, it doesn’t mean you have to buy a new bike. Grab our March 2009 issue and read “Ultimate Recycling.” This story gives you our best tips for finding and buy- ing a new “used” mountain bike. ROUND THEM UP One of our most costly upgrade sug- gestions is also the most effective. Slapping on a new set of wheels gives any old bike a new lease on life. Strolling down the aisles at Cambria Bicycle Outfitter reveals some amazingly great wheelsets that would benefit any used mountain bike. The $350 American Classic Terrain Disc wheelset, the $320 DT Swiss Onyx 4.1D wheelset, the $250 Old Bike Azonic Outlaw wheelset or the $125 wheelset made with Shimano LX hubs and Bontrager Mustang rims would all freshen up any old mountain bike. Make sure that if your bike uses rim Check the hands: Bar ends clamp to the ends of your handlebar to give you more hand brakes the new wheels are engineered positions (and many riders believe more power). for your brakes. Many new wheelsets are disc-brake specific. Since we are naming names, Bob’s Bicycles is a great place to find high- end wheelsets at not-so-high-end prices. They specialize in offering wheelsets at around a 30 percent dis- count off suggested retail. RUBBER SIDE DOWN If you don’t want to go the new- wheel route, the next best thing is wrapping your rims with new tires. Our top ten tire recommendations based on our 2008 tire shootout (MBA, September 2008) are: 1. Kenda Nevegal DTC 2.1 2. Specialized S-Works Eskar 2.3 3. Kenda Telonix DTC 4. Maxxis Advantage 2.25 5. Syncross Flt 2.35 6. Hutchinson Enduro Toro 2.35 7. Kenda Excavator DTC 2.1 8. Kenda Nevegal DTC 2.35 Found in the barn: Not all bikes are worth upgrading and not everyone can afford a new 9. Kenda Nevegal L3R Pro 1.95 bike. Don’t rule out a search for a great previously owned mountain bike as a viable 10. Specialized S-Works Roll X alternative to spending big bucks. 48 f .
  • 49. Sabrina Jonnier The SixSixOne Pressure suit sets the standards for the ultimate in upper body protection. Injection molded plastic cups on the shoulder, arms, and forearms. Removable high-impact plastic back protector. Chest protection with removable inner plastic plate allows you to choose your level of protection. Improved fit and thumb loops help to keep everything in place in the worst crashes. visit us at SIXISIXONE.COM or call 661 257 2756 in Canada call 604 542 5661 f
  • 50. Old Bike Connected with a chain: A drivetrain makeover is best approached as all or nothing. All includes nine cogs (1), a chain (2), the 1 big ring (3), the middle ring (4) and the granny gear (5). 5 3 4 2 THE END OF THE BAR Bar ends have fallen out of favor due to the widespread use of riser bars, but this may be more of a fashion state- ment than true obsolescence. Bar ends give you more hand positions and a feeling of increased power when crank- ing along the flats or climbing. The best thing about bar ends is that they are a very inexpensive upgrade. A quick search of Price Point’s web- site revealed Sette XE Curved Alloy Bar Ends for $12, Titec bar ends for $15 and the very cool Cane Creek Ergo Control 2 Bar Ends for $35. THE BAR ITSELF Handlebars don’t really wear out, but they can be weakened due to abuse. You may also find that the han- dlebar that came on your bike was rela- tively narrow. Many riders feel better with a slightly wider handlebar Roll call: If you ride hard, jump high and make mistakes, your wheels are not round anymore. Wheels like the Azonic Outlaw are great for aggressive riding and won’t break the bank. 50 .
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  • 52. Old Bike because it slows the bike’s steering slightly and opens up the chest for more comfortable breathing. Wheel World (a shop with two loca- tions in Los Angeles and an online store) had a selection of Easton Monkey Bars for a ridiculously low $15 each (these bars sometimes sell for $50). You can’t really lose at that price. HEART OF THE DRIVETRAIN We’ll talk about a new chain, cogs and chainrings, but if you have smacked your cranks on a few hundred rocks and submerged your bottom bracket during numerous stream cross- ings, a fresh crankset and bottom bracket will deliver new power to your drivetrain. We found a killer deal on the proven Race Face Deus-XC Triple Crankset and bottom bracket from Bike Bling in San Diego. They were selling them for $200 (or $99 less than suggested retail). They also had cranksets from FSA for under $200. THE DRIVETRAIN This is an all-or-nothing deal. It is Bar code: Slapping on a new handlebar and grips gives the most tired mountain bike not a great idea to throw a new chain that new-car smell. Don’t worry about saving weight. Go for a wider bar than your on a tired drivetrain, because the worn stocker so you can experiment with your riding position and the bike’s handling. Trust the lights that Tinker trusts. TriNewt LED First to market and STILL best in class FEATURES 3 Retina searing LEDs 3 ½ to 7 hours of run time High, low and ash modes Battery status indicator Optional wireless fob Quick release handlebar mount for remote light operation Tinker Juarez 2007 Solo 24-Hour World Champion and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Inductee 52
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  • 54. Old Bike cassette cogs and chainring teeth just won’t play well with the new part. If you are on a tight budget, you need to at least replace the cogs that you use most often when you replace the chain. These are usually the cogs from the middle to the top of your cassette. CONTACT POINTS Don’t overlook your riding gear when it comes to upgrading. A new pair of shoes can make a giant differ- ence. Cycling shoes come with special soles that stink for walking but are great for pedaling. Over time, these soles wear out and you lose power. Even if you don’t use clipless pedals, take a look at your shoes. Shorts are your next contact point to review. You better be riding in shorts with a chamois (and without under- wear). If not, you will need to budget between $30 and $50 to get yourself a good cycling short. The baggy and Lycra shorts have pros and cons. If you Wear it well: Don’t limit your upgrades to the bike. New gloves give the handlebar and can get past the fit that reveals every- controls a different feel. New shoes can produce more power. A short with a high-quality thing, go for a Lycra short. J chamois might make an old saddle feel new. 54
  • 55. WHY CHANGE SOMETHING SO GOOD? (WE DON’T REST ON OUR LAURELS, NO MATTER HOW MANY WE EARN) TECHNOLOGY >> The new R.I.P. 9 combines 4.5“ of TESTING >> The R.I.P. 9 has undergone a TESTIMONIALS >> The Niner R.I.P. 9 has garnered efficient CVA™ suspension with new hydroformed painstaking process of FEA, mechanical stress tests applause from all major US mountain bike top and down tubes, tapered steerer technology and real world testing to be as strong, efficient and magazines and online publications such as and 10 new forged or extruded parts. The result? fun as possible., including a Best 29er of 2007 and a Drastically increased stiffness with no weight Consumer Choice Award. Read them all on our penalty and the high quality CVA™ ride you expect website, and know that the new R.I.P. 9 is even from Niner. Learn more: better. WWW.NINERBIKES.COM n
  • 56. Hang on: The wrecking crew loved how the El Kaboing responded to hard efforts. Its light feel, twist-free chassis and stable suspension turned the Salsa into a very quick and responsive all-mountain ride. 56
  • 57. est MBA Spice Of Life The Salsa El Kaboing ack in the day, Salsa founder Ross Shafer came to replaceable using standard chainring bolt hardware. Salsa B work with a bag of chips and a jar of picante salsa. sells the frame and shock by themselves for $1522. While pounding those salty carbs, he began experi- menting with lugless frame construction. He first fillet- SCANDIUM IS ELEMENT #21 brazed his frame joints, and then began TIG welding them. The scandium frame weighs 6.9 pounds, which is Ross was one of the men who pioneered the move away respectable for a five-inch-travel trailbike. Take into account from design-restricting roadie lugs, which ultimately resulted its heavy-duty wheelset with brass nipples and seven-inch in the radical dual-suspension frames of today. front disc rotor, and it’s the frugal weight of the frame that Salsa likes to build with scandium, because adding the keeps the bike’s final reading down to 30.6 pounds. Add the scarce element into 7000-series base alloy nets a high- smooth-rolling Kenda Nevegal DTC tires and you have an strength aluminum that can be used to construct frames all-mountain bike that snaps to attention. with smaller tubes, less material and in wilder shapes. It also Making the bike look more polished is that the Race Face has an improved fatigue life, which makes scandium alloy crank matches the Race Face Deus XC seat post and Deus the perfect aluminum material to use for pivotless XC stem. Finishing off the hardware package is a Salsa construction. ProMoto riser bar and a chromoly-rail WTB Rocket V saddle with a cool embroidered Salsa chili pepper. FIVE-INCH FLEX STAYS? The El Kaboing uses a single-pivot suspension. Only one FLEXING ITS STRENGTH main pivot is used at the bottom bracket; there are no pivots When the rider is hammering along in or out of the sad- at the dropout. Instead, Salsa shaped the scandium seat stays dle, the El Kaboing’s suspension feels as responsive as many to flex just above the dropout. This might seem like reverse multi-pivot designs. Take it up to speed and the El Kaboing evolution, yet Salsa claims their design increases lateral sta- responds with the feel of a five-inch-travel trailbike when bility and elevates suspension damping. hitting square-edged bumps and landing off jumps. The El Kaboing frame uses seven forgings made out of the The flex-stay rear suspension shows its unique personali- scandium material. Especially nice are the windowed bottom ty at slower speeds and during less-than-aggressive riding. bracket housing, svelte main pivot yoke and post-mount rear The suspension just doesn’t sag. Running the shock’s air disc caliper bracket. Although equally light and trim-looking, pressure on the lower end of the recommended range or the rocker link is forged from aluminum. Both the left turning off the shock’s ProPedal platform has little effect on dropout and right dropout/derailleur hanger assembly are the suspension. There is an ultra-strong pedaling platform 57 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 58. Salsa built into the El Kaboing’s suspension, and it is set in stone. Use the gears to keep up a good spin and you will motor ascents aboard the El Kaboing. The Fox RP2 shock’s strong pedaling platform is actually overkill in this application. The El Kaboing’s rear suspension is firm enough to keep the chassis level, the steering responsive and the handling spot- on when climbing or railing corners. The big surprise was how well this firm-pedaling, pivotless rear suspension absorbed terrain chatter. We were expecting a harsher ride and wheel spin. Didn’t happen. The El Kaboing’s suspen- sion is tuned to address small changes in the trail surface. Aboard the Salsa El Kaboing, you need to take on tough singletrack with a sense of urgency. We again have to point to the Kenda Nevegal DTC tires. These hot-rod-traction tires are powered through a responsive five-inch chassis that slingshots turns like a much lighter and tighter trailbike. The Salsa rider wants to stay on the gas and hammer hard between sections. TALL IN THE SADDLE So what is the drawback to the El Kaboing’s rear suspen- sion? If the trails you ride require frequent dismounts, you will find them to be more challenging aboard the Salsa than other five-inch-travel bikes. That’s because, as explained Push the pace: The El Kaboing needs to take on tough single- above, this bike sits high in its travel. Many of the wrecking track with a sense of urgency. The rider who stays on the gas crew opted for a slightly-lower-than-optimum saddle height and hammers hard between sections will reap the most rewards. when riding the El Kaboing on technical trails. same time, encourages him to push the pace. Finally, it is an FLEX IS HERE TO STAY It is easy to understand why this bike has such a loyal fol- alternative to big-name-brand mountain bikes. lowing. Salsa backs it with a five-year limited warranty, The Salsa El Kaboing is a bike that pays tribute to its deep relieving concern about the durability of those flexing seat- roots while delivering modern-day performance. And once stays. Its single-pivot design keeps things simple. It delivers you are done with your ride, that bag of chips and a jar of sporty performance and doesn’t punish its rider, but at the picante salsa are going to taste great. J Price $3990 SALSA EL KABOING Country of origin Taiwan Weight 30.6 pounds Hotline (952) 941-9391 Size tested 18quot; Bottom bracket height 14.1quot; Chainstay length 16.9quot; Top tube length 23.5quot; Head angle 69° Seat angle 73° Standover height 30quot; Wheelbase 43.7quot; Suspension travel (front) 5.5quot; Suspension travel (rear) 4.9quot; Frame material Scandium Fork Fox Float RL Shock Fox RP2 Rims Salsa Semi Disc Tires Kenda Nevegal DTC 2.35 Hub Shimano XT Brakes Shimano XT Brake levers Shimano XT Crankset Race Face Deus Shifters Shimano XT Front derailleur Shimano XT Rear derailleur Shimano XT Chainrings Shimano XT (44/32/22) Nice bends: Rather than use a pivot, the thin-walled scandium Cassette Shimano XT (11-34) seat tube bends as the suspension compresses. When the sus- pension begins to move, there are five inches of very sweet travel. Pedals None (weighed with Shimano M520) 58
  • 59. m
  • 60. MBA Fork Special MBA’s Forktionary Your ultimate reference for understanding and talking forks he MBA wrecking crew is proud of the sus- T pension settings we recommend after testing a bike. But all our tinkering, experiment- ing and perfecting won’t help you if you don’t understand the terminology. To help you better understand our recommenda- tions, we bring you the MBA Forktionary. 60
  • 61. Air spring Compression: The action of the suspension (using either a coil spring, air spring, elastomer, damper or combination A compressed-air chamber that of all of these) in which the wheel travels up, or closer to replaces a conventional coil spring. the bicycle frame. Compression damping: Friction, usually hydraulic fluid forced through various valves, used to control the fork’s rate Anti-dive: of compression. The primary reason for compression damp- Any device, ing is to slow the damper near the end of its stroke to pre- usually a form vent harsh bottoming and to maintain a certain ride height of low-speed for better cornering and braking (low-speed compression). hydraulic com- pression damp- Crown: The piece of the fork that joins the two fork legs ing, that is used to the steering tube. Most mountain bikes use a single to prevent the crown, although bikes designed for gravity use will use dual fork from com- crowns. pressing under braking forces. Damper: A device, usually hydraulic, that opposes (slows) the suspension as it compresses or rebounds after a bump to Bleed circuit keep the suspension from bouncing out of control. (free bleed): A channel inside a Damping: The action caused by the damper. hydraulic damper that Damping clickers: An external dial used to adjust the allows some sus- Dual-crown fork damping force. pension fluid to bypass the rebound or com- pression valves. Bleed circuits are too small to pass significant volumes of fluid and thus are A fork that uses an upper and used to control low-speed damping. Almost all external crown for additi onal strength. a lower rebound and compression adjustments control bleed circuits. Generally found on long-travel bi kes. Blow-off valve: A spring-loaded valve in the compression side of a hydraulic fork that protects the fork from destruc- tion by releasing fluid when internal pressure exceeds safe levels. Blow-off valves are employed most often in forks with a lockout feature. Bobbing: An aggravating condition that occurs when the fork repeatedly compresses with each pedal stroke. Bottom-out: When a fork is compressed to the point of reaching the end of its travel. Bottoming compression: The internal valving or an external adjustment that controls the fork’s resistance to bottoming out. Bottoming compression is used to prevent bottoming after a hard impact without causing the fork to ride harshly through the majority of its stroke. Bushing: A simple, tubular-shaped, metal or plastic bear- ing. Most forks use bushings where there are sliding sur- faces like fork lowers or damping pistons. Cartridge damper: A self-contained damping system, similar to a slender shock, that is inserted into a fork. Cartridge dampers can be manufactured under strict con- trols to increase reliability, are easier to service, and are lighter weight than damping systems which are assembled directly into the fork sliders (see “Open-bath damper”). Clicker: Any adjustment knob or lever that has an indexing detent. Typically, the low-speed rebound and compression dials. Coil spring: Any spiral-wound spring, usually steel or Forktionary titanium. 61 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 62. MBA Fork Special Dust boots: Corrugated (like an accordion) rubber tubes Fork leg: The assembled combination of a fork slider and fitted externally to forks to shield their moving parts from stanchion tube. Fork travel(stroke) dirt and grime. Improvements in dust wipers and fork seals have made dust boots nearly obsolete. May be added to the fork as an accessory by riders in areas of extreme weather and trail conditions. Dust wiper The maximum distance that the fork can be compressed. An external plastic seal that forms the first line of defense to keep crud from attacking the seals inside a fork. The dust wiper is usually visible where the fork stanchion enters the slider. The fork’s dust wiper can be removed for cleaning and lubricating. 3.9 in Front fork: A redundant term used incorrectly to describe a bicycle fork. Free-bleed: A tube or port that allows suspension fluid to bypass the main damping circuit in a hydraulic fork. Free- bleed circuits are typically fitted with adjustable valves for fine-tuning low-speed damping. Elastomer stack (MCU): A wide range of plastic springs Harsh bottom-out: Same as bottom out, but the fork used as main springs in many forks and top- or bottom-out transmits a metal-to-metal clank that a rider will often feel cushions. Fork arch through the handlebars. Inertia valve (mass valve): Used by Specialized on its Future Shock fork and, until recently, by Fox inside its X- forks, the inertia valve is basically a weighted valve which closes off the flow of suspension fluid in compression. When Curved reinforcement that connects a bump moves the bike upwards, the weight unlocks the sus- the lower fork tubes over the front pension. A properly operating mass-valve is the ultimate tire. Designs vary so the fork arch anti-bob weapon. can pass in front, behind or on both sides of the fork tubes. Lefty: A Cannondale-developed fork that uses a single fork leg connected to the bike with a proprietary dual-crown and axle. The Lefty requires a dedicated front hub. Linear spring: See “spring rate.” Lockout: Any device that temporarily prevents a fork from operating in compression. MCU: See “elastomer stack.” Main spring: The spring that supports the rider and bicy- cle’s weight. Can be a coil spring, air spring, elastomer or a combination of all of these. Negative spring: Used primarily for air-sprung forks because air springs have a large amount of static pressure at the beginning of the travel. A negative spring acts against the main spring at full extension to soften the initial spring 62
  • 63. Sliders rate. The stronger (higher pressure) the negative spring, the softer the suspension will ride in the first 20 percent of its travel. Negative springs can be pneumatic, coil or even closed-cell plastic foam. Coil-sprung forks don’t require neg- the fork assembly The lower part of e front axle and ative springs, because a coil spring has no stored energy th that attaches to wn on the stanchion when it reaches full extension. up and do slides sion s) as the suspen tubes (upper tube Open-bath damper: Damping that operates completely immersed in a reservoir of fluid. There is a continual operates. exchange of fluid during operation that keeps the system cool and lubricated. Speed-sensitive valving: A hydraulic damper that pro- Pack up: When a fork’s rebound valving is too slow to vides a different damping rate at low or high shaft speeds allow the suspension to fully extend between bumps. This (the velocity at which the fork or shock moves). causes the suspension to remain fully or partially compressed. Spring rate: The ratio used to measure how resistant a Pogo: A severe lack of rebound control that causes the sus- spring is to being compressed (or expanded) during the pension to bounce off bumps instead of follow the terrain. spring’s movement, usually measured in pounds per inch. Example: a 300-pound linear spring will store 600 pounds of Preload: The amount of energy stored in a fork spring energy if it is compressed two inches. when the suspension is completely extended. Often external- ly adjustable, more preload requires more force to move the Sprung weight: The weight suspended by the fork (you fork into its travel. Less preload allows the fork to move into and your bike). its travel faster. Stanchions: The upper part of a telescopic fork that is Progressive rate: When the suspension’s spring rate clamped to the crown. These tubes remain stationary during increases during compression. Example: a 300-pound linear the operation of the suspension. spring will deliver 600 pounds of resistance if it is com- pressed two inches. A 300-pound progressive-rate spring Stiction: Initial friction when the fork tries to move from might deliver 700 pounds of resistance if it is compressed rest into its travel. Fork seals, bushings or poor design may two inches. cause stiction. Stiction may occur at either end of the fork stroke. Less stiction is better. Rebound: The action of the fork while the wheel returns to its original position. When the suspension rebounds, it is Straight rate: When the spring remains proportionate to extending its length. Rebound damping the suspension travel. Fork travel: The distance the wheel travels in the same plane as the suspension. Top-out: When a fork returns abruptly to its full exten- Some form of friction (see “compres- sion, causing a clicking noise or even the feel of metal-to- sion damping”) that opposes the main- metal contact. This is a sign that the fork lacks proper spring as it returns the suspension to rebound damping. its extended position. Triple clamp: See “dual-crown fork.” Thru-axle: An oversized axle (usually 15 or 20 millime- ters in diameter) that requires a special wheel hub and can be clamped to the fork sliders with a variety of different designs. Unsprung weight: The mass not suspended by the bicy- cle suspension. That is, your wheels (tire, rim, spokes, axle and hub) and fork sliders. Valve stack: One or more thin, flexible steel washers that block the flow of suspension fluid in a hydraulic fork. Fluid must bend the washers to pass. The stiffness of the “washer stack” determines the amount of damping, and the configu- ration of the washer stack changes the damping rate at vari- ous shock speeds. Wheel travel: The maximum distance the wheel travels Rising rate: See “progressive rate.” on the vertical plane. J Sag: The measurement of how far the fork is allowed to settle Forktionary under the rider’s weight when the bike is at rest. 63 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 64. MBA Fork Special Fork Tips, Tricks & Secrets Get all the performance you paid for here is good news and bad news about the T modern mountain bike fork. The good news is that today’s forks boast hundreds of fea- tures, have tons of adjustments, and can be better dialed-in for your type of riding and your riding style. What’s the bad news? Understanding all those features and adjustments! The MBA wrecking crew put their collective hel- mets together and came up with a bunch of tips, tricks, suggestions and secrets to get the most out of your fork. Tip 1 Tip 2 YOU WON’T FEEL IT BREAKDOWN Your fork will function even if neglected, and that’s The oil circulating in your fork’s damping system what fools riders. Loss of performance and damage has two functions. One is to absorb energy, and the from lack of proper maintenance are gradual other is to lubricate moving parts. When oil mole- (although they could end up leading to a catastrophic cules start breaking down, the film that once failure at some point). Forks may function for years offered a protective barrier disappears. If you don’t without service, but you are losing performance that treat your forks to periodic oil changes, the damp- you paid for. Use a calendar to determine when to ing quality suffers and you’re going to be wearing have your fork serviced, not feel. down and tearing up components. 64
  • 65. Tip 4 ROUTINE MAINTENANCE Your bike’s fork is a mechanical device that is sub- jected to a lot of abuse. Just like your car needs an oil change every 3000 miles, your fork needs mainte- nance. There is no such thing as a maintenance-free fork design. Tip 5 PLAN AHEAD Don’t buy a bike thinking you’ll upgrade the stock fork later. While there are some upgrades that make sense, most upgrades are not cost-effective. You are far better off choosing a bike with a good fork that already has the travel, axle size and adjustability you want. Tip 6 REPLACE IT You have a great frame, drivetrain, wheels and a clapped-out fork. Do you rebuild the fork with updat- ed features or bite the bullet and throw on a new fork? Bite the bullet. If you don’t believe us, price out the total cost of upgrading the forks (if that is even possible) and compare it to the price for a new fork. The price difference may not be as wide as the performance gain you are going to feel. Tip 7 LOWER RIDER If you add an inch of travel to your fork and can’t get used to the taller position, try removing a few spacers from under your stem. That will get you back into a more familiar position. Tip 8 Tip 3 WORDS OF WISDOM DON’T BE ILLITERATE A good fork will make a bad bike good. Your fork came with an owner’s manual that explains how and how often to service your forks. If you have a fork with a cartridge-damping unit, con- gratulations, your service is going to be a snap. If you’re riding an oil bath system, budget more time (and shop rags), but don’t freak. Unless you are mechanically inept, you’ll do just fine. Fork Tips 65 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 66. MBA Fork Special Tip 9 EASY EXPERIMENT Many riders have never taken the time to properly set up the fork’s damping. It is not that hard. Find a short loop that has varied terrain. Ride the loop with your fork at its current settings. Now change the set- tings to full open and ride the loop again. Come back, change the settings to full closed and do another lap. This exercise will give you an understanding of what the settings do. Our preference is to run our fork a little more on the fast side (lively) than on the slow side (sluggish). Tip 10 SPRING THING Your fork was delivered with springs for a 150-170 pound sport/expert-level rider (unless you have air forks). If you are lighter, you need a lighter spring. If you are heavier, you need a heavier spring. Your bike shop should have replacement springs to experiment with. Make sure you have the manufacturer’s recom- mended sag when you’re done. Proper sag may be the most important adjustment you make to your fork. Tip 11 TAKE ADVANTAGE Fork companies’ race support areas at major events are not there solely for professional and sponsored riders. They are there for all the racers who use their products. The guys who work the support areas can set you up perfectly. Take advantage of this killer service. Soft touch: Not getting full travel out of your fork? The fix may be as simple as a tap on the Schrader valve pin, as expensive as replacing a coil spring, or as technical as reducing compression Tip 12 damping. DON’T BE BIASED Modern full-suspension bikes are much more effi- cient and lightweight than the beasts of the past. Tip 13 Changing fork suspension settings can alter the feel- ing and action of the rear suspension as well. It is important to have the proper balance of front and ADDING TRAVEL rear suspension to get the most out of your ride. In general, if you make the fork stiffer or softer, Adding an inch of travel to your fork will not signifi- adjust your shock in the same direction. Signs of improper cantly alter the handling of your bike. Some of the balance are laziness in the steering or handling (rear suspen- extra travel will be used when setting the fork sag any- sion is too soft relative to the front) or stink bugging, the way. Adding an inch of travel will lift the front end feeling that the bike is trying to send you over the bars (the 3/4 of an inch. You will slacken your head angle front is softer than the rear). When riding on flat ground, approximately one degree for every inch you raise the bounce up and down in your normal riding position and see head tube. Slacker steering geometry steers slower, but more if the suspension is moving in a balanced manner. Use precisely, and more fork travel makes your bike easier to han- spring preload or air pressure changes to make your dle in technical sections. Word of warning: adding a longer- machine a balanced unit. travel fork to your bike may void the warranty. 66
  • 67. Tip 14 Tip 16 BOOTIES TROUBLE SHOOTING RECOMMENDATIONS If you ride in extreme conditions and your fork doesn’t have fork boots, try a product like the $13.99 Problem: Your fork is not using all its travel or Lizard Skins Fork Boots. They will pay for themselves the travel feels harsh. These are signs of overly in the first month of operation. The trick is not to stiff spring or compression damping settings. leave them on indefinitely. Only slap them on when Solutions: Lower air pressure or use softer coil conditions are bad. Today’s quality fork seals do not springs. You should also try a reduced compres- require booties under normal riding conditions. sion damping setting. Tip 15 Problem: Your fork bottoms out too easily or too often. This is a sure sign of a spring rate that is too low throughout travel. It may also be that you have set your ZIPPY IDEA compression damping too light. Solutions: Add air pressure or use stiffer coil springs. Secure a zip tie to the fork stanchion between the You may also need to increase compression damping. fork slider and the fork crown. Slide it down to the top of the fork slider. Go ride a loop that mimics your Problem: The fork feels great on small bumps but normal ride and make sure there are some big hits gets overly harsh when impacting larger bumps. included in the loop. After the ride, measure the dis- Solutions: The fork’s compression damping is set too tance between the zip tie and the top of the fork high. Reduce the fork’s compression damping. slider. If you are not getting the full travel of your fork, you have too much air pressure, too stiff of a coil Problem: You feel every small bump as you cruise along, spring or too much compression damping. but the fork still uses its full travel when you hit something larger. This is a sign that the initial spring rate or preload is too high. You may have also dialed in too much compression damping. Solutions: Try lowering your fork’s air pressure or installing softer springs. Reduce compression damping or reduce spring preload. Problem: The fork reacts great to the first in a series of bumps, but feels like it firms up and loses performance when you hit bumps in quick succession. Solutions: You’ve dialed in too much rebound damping. Reduce rebound damping if that feature is adjustable on your fork. If it is not, you may have to use lower-viscosity fork oil. Problem: The fork springs back too quickly after bumps, sometimes making a clicking noise. Solutions: Your fork does not have enough rebound damping. If the fork has an external rebound setting, increase the rebound damping. If it is not externally adjustable, take the fork to a technician for servicing. J No service schedule: If you put excessive demands on your fork, it will need more attention than a fork used by a rider who sticks to mellow singletrack. Fork Tips 67 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 68. MBA Fork Special Big Slider Buyer’s Guide Front-end upgrades ountain bike suspension M has advanced in the past five years more than any other component in the sport. Forks today are more tunable, user- friendly, lighter, and stiffer than ever before. We’ve broken down our fork buyer’s guide into sections related to the appropriate type of bike and riding the forks are designed for. 68 c
  • 69. RY SS-COUNT CRO FORKS rs Fork: DT Swiss XRC 100 Air RLREM Travel: 3.9 inches Claimed Weight: 3 pounds el slide Short-trav Damping: Open oil in orks Adjustments: Air pressure, rebound, untry f cross-co ravel ge in t lockout, blow-off The tion ran this sec o 3.9 inches and Spring: Air, negative spring t from 3.1 ed to be light- Outers: Hollow carbon arch, carbon esign are d tubes, magnesium dropouts for nd tuned weight a racing. Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum e enduranc Colors: Carbon Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: Standard Price: $1351 Fork: RockShox SID World Cup Travel: 3.1 or 3.9 inches Claimed Weight: 3.2 pounds Damping: Black Box Motion control Adjustments: External rebound, low speed compression, ‘Lock’ with external Floodgate Spring: Dual air Fork: Marzocchi Corsa Cento Outers: Magnesium, carbon fiber Power Travel: 3.9 inches Bulge Claimed Weight: 3.6 pounds Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Damping: Oil Colors: Black, white, SID blue Adjustments: TST Micro, lock-out, com- Brake Mount: Post-mount disc pression, rebound, Dropouts: Standard Spring: Air, negative spring Price: $1020 Outers: Magnesium Steerer: 1-1/8-inch alloy Colors: White Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: Standard Price: $649 Fork: Manitou R7 MRD TPC Travel: 3.1 or 3.9 inches Claimed Weight: 3 pounds Damping: Cartridge TPC Adjustments: External rebound, com- pression Spring: Noble air Outers: Reverse arch magnesium Fork: X-Fusion Velvet Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Travel: 3.1, 3.9 and 5.1 inches Colors: Candy red Claimed Weight: 3.8 pounds Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Damping: Sealed cartridge Dropouts: Standard Adjustments: Rebound, air pressure, Price: $649 Spring: Air Outers: Magnesium Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Colors: Black Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Fork: Magura Durin SL Dropouts: Standard Travel: 3.1 or 3.9 inches Price: $300 Claimed Weight: 3 pounds Damping: Oil with fix compression damping Adjustments: Air pressure and rebound Spring: Air Outers: Magnesium Double Arch Design Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Colors: White, black, custom available Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: Standard Price: $869 Fork Buyer’s Guide 69 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 70. MBA Fork Special TRAILBIKE F Designed for all-day ORKS explorations The difference be tween cross-country an Fork: RST First Platinum RL d trailbike forks can be a li Travel: 3.1 or 3.9 inches ttle fuzzy at times. Trailb Claimed Weight: 3.3 pounds ike forks most often range Damping: Oil in travel from 3.9 inches Adjustments: Air pressure, rebound, to over five inches and are eq remote lockout, compression uipped with a type of thru-a Spring: Air xle. Forks in this category ge Outers: Magnesium nerally fill the gap between Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum cross-country racing forks and Colors: Black or white burlier all- mountain models. Brake Mount: Post-mount disc, V-brake Dropouts: Standard Price: $299 Fork: Fox Racing Shox 32 Float Travel: 5.5 inches Claimed Weight: 4 pounds Damping: Open bath Adjustments: Air pressure, low-speed compression, lockout force adjust, lockout, rebound Fork: Spinner Aeris Pro Spring: Air Travel: 3.1 inches Outers: Magnesium Claimed Weight: 2.5 pounds (without Steerer: 1-1/8-inch or 1.5-inch taper steerer tube) Colors: White Damping: Open oil Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Adjustments: Air pressure, rebound, Dropouts: 15QR compression Price: $750 Spring: Air Outers: Magnesium Steerer: 1-1/8-inch scandium Colors: Black Fork: RockShox Reba Team Brake Mount: Flange mount disc Travel: 3.1, 3.9, or 4.7 inches fixed travel, Dropouts: Standard U-Turn travel adjust available between 3.5 Price: $999 and 4.7 inches Claimed Weight: 3.6 to 4 pounds depending on options Damping: BlackBox Motion Control Adjustments: External rebound, low-speed compression, external Floodgate Spring: Air Outers: Magnesium Steerer: 1-1/8-inch Colors: Black, white silver Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: Standard or 20-millimeter Fork: Fox Racing Shox 32 F RLC Maxle Lite Travel: 3.1, 3.9 or 4.7 inches Price: $741 Claimed Weight: 3.3 to 3.5 pounds (with standard axle) Damping: Open bath Adjustments: Air pressure, low-speed Fork: Magura Thor compression, lockout force adjust, lockout, Travel: Adjustable between 3.9 and 5.5 rebound inches Spring: Air Claimed Weight: 3.9 pounds Outers: Magnesium Damping: Albert Select Intelligent oil Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Adjustments: External rebound, travel Colors: White adjust, remote lockout Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Spring: Air Dropouts: Standard and 15QR available Outers: Magnesium Double Arch Design Price: $700 Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Colors: Black, white, custom available Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: 20-millimeter Maxle Price: $899 70
  • 71. Fork: DT Swiss XMC 130 Travel: 5.1 inches Fork: Manitou Minute Elite TPC Claimed Weight: 3.5 pounds Travel: 3.9, 4.7, or 5.5 inches Damping: Open oil bath Claimed Weight: 3.5 to 3.5 pounds Adjustments: Air-pressure, compression, Damping: TPC threshold launch control system Adjustments: Air pressure, rebound, Spring: Air, negative air compression Outers: Hollow carbon arch, carbon Spring: Mars air tubes, magnesium dropouts Outers: Magnesium Reverse Arch Steerer: 1-1/8-inch alloy Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Colors: Carbon Colors: Black Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: Standard, DT Swiss thru-bolt Dropouts: Standard or 20-millimeter Hex Price: $1351 axle Price: $529 (std axle), $589 (Hex Axle) Fork: Marzocchi 44 ATA Micro Travel: Adjustable between 3.9 and 5.5 Fork: RST Titan Air inches Travel: 3.1, 3.9, 4.7, or 5.1inches Claimed Weight: 3.8 pounds (std. axle), Claimed Weight: 3.7 pounds 4 pounds (QR15 axle) Damping: Oil Damping: Oil Adjustments: Air-pressure, compression, Adjustments: Air pressure, lockout, com- rebound, lockout pression, rebound, Terrain Selection Spring: Air Technology, ATA travel adjust Outers: Magnesium Spring: Air, negative air Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Outers: Magnesium Colors: Black Steerer: 1-1/8-inch alloy Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Colors: White Dropouts: Standard axle Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Price: $399 Dropouts: Standard or QR15 axle Price: $759 (std axle), $799 (QR15 axle) MANUFACTURERS GUIDE MAKE CONTACT Fork: Maverick SC32 Travel: 4.7 inches Avalanche (860) 537-4306 Claimed Weight: 3.8 pounds Bontrager (920) 478-2191 Damping: Oil BOS Adjustments: Rebound, air pressure, oil DT Swiss (970) 242-9232 volume and viscosity Spring: Air Foes (626) 683-8368 Outers: Aluminum Fox Racing Shox (800) 369-7469 Steerer: 1-1/8-inch Magura USA (800) 448-3876 Colors: Blue anodized Manitou (800) 747-1681 Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Marzocchi (661)-257-6630 Dropouts: Maverick 24/7 (24mm) Maverick (303) 415-0370 Price: $575 RockShox (312) 664-8800 RST (310) 895-7776 Spinner (800) 666-5000 Surly (877) 743-3191 Vicious Cycles (845) 883-4303 White Brothers (800) 999-8277 Fork Buyer’s Guide 71 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 72. MBA Fork Special DOWNHILL FORKS Fork: Marzocchi 888 RC3 World Cup Travel: 7.9 inches Claimed Weight: 8 pounds Dual-crown forks designed for Damping: Oil downhill riding and racing Adjustments: Rebound, high-and-low- speed compression, volume adjust Downhill forks average about Spring: Titanium coil eight inches of travel, and Outers: Magnesium the stanchions vary in width Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum from 35 to 40 millimeters. Colors: Silver These forks are at home at Brake Mount: Post-mount disc bike parks with a chairlift. Dropouts: 20mm thru-axle Price: $1659 Fork: Manitou Dorado Travel: 8 inches Claimed Weight: 6.4 pounds Fork: Foes F1-XTD Damping: TPC+, open bath Travel: 8.5 inches Adjustments: Rebound. High-speed com- Claimed Weight: 8 pounds pression damping, TPC compression Damping: Oil damping, air preload Adjustments: Rebound, compression, Spring: Air bottom out, air pressure Outers: Carbon Spring: Coil (titanium and steel available) Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Outers: Aluminum Colors: Black, carbon, red Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Brake Mount: Post and IS-mount Colors: Foes team colors brackets Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: 20-millimeter Hex axle Dropouts: Foes 25mm thru-axle Price: $2775 Price: $1999 (steel spring) Fork: RockShox Boxxer World Cup Travel: 7.9 inches Claimed Weight: 5.9 pounds Fork: Fox Racing Shox 40 RC2 Damping: Motion Control DH Travel: 8 inches Adjustments: External beginning stroke Claimed Weight: 6.8 pounds rebound, ending stroke rebound, high- Damping: FIT cartridge speed compression, low-speed Adjustments: Low-speed compression, compression high-speed compression, coil spring pre- Spring: Solo Air load, rebound Outers: Magnesium Spring: Titanium coil Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Outers: Magnesium Colors: Boxxer red, black, white Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Colors: White or black Dropouts: Maxle Lite DH Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Price: $1602 Dropouts: 20mm thru-axle Price: $1600 Fork: RockShox Boxxer Team Fork: BOS Idylle Pro Travel: 7.9 inches Travel: 7.9 inches Claimed Weight: 6.6 pounds Claimed Weight: 7.2 pounds Damping: Motion Control DH Damping: Oil cartridge and piggyback Adjustments: External beginning stroke reservoir rebound, ending stroke rebound, high- Adjustments: High-and-low-speed com- speed compression, low-speed pression damping, rebound spring compression preload, air bleed screw spring Spring: Coil Spring: Coil Outers: Magnesium Outers: Aluminum Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Colors: Boxxer red, black, white Colors: black Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: Maxle Lite DH Dropouts: 20mm thru-axle Price: $947 Price: $1700 72
  • 73. Fork: Avalanche DHF-7 MT Fork: Marzocchi 55 ATA Micro Travel: 7.5 inches Travel: Adjustable between 4.9 and Claimed Weight: 8.7 pounds (includes 6.5 inches triple-clamps, steerer tube and axle) Claimed Weight: 5.2 pounds Damping: Oil bath cartridge Damping: TST closed cartridge Adjustments: Compression, rebound, air Adjustments: Lock out, compression, bleed screw rebound, Terrain Selection Technology, Spring: Coil air pressure Outers: Aluminum Spring: Air Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Outers: Magnesium Colors: Black Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Colors: White Dropouts: 20mm thru-axle Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Price: $995 Dropouts: 20mm QR Torque Axle Price: $949 LONG-TRAVEL Fork: Magura Wotan FORKS Travel: 6.3 inches Claimed Weight: 5.5 pounds For aggressive all-m Damping: Oil, adjustable Albert Select ountain and platform bike park riding Adjustments: Albert Select, rebound, preload via air valve, Flight Control These single-cro wn sliders are found on bike Remote s with an average six inch Spring: Air es of rear wheel travel and Outers: Magnesium Double Arch Design are at home on technical desc Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum ents or going big at the bike Colors: Black, custom available park. Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: Maxle Price: $999 Fork: Fox Racing Shox 36 Van RC2 Travel: 6.3 inches Fork: White Brothers Fluid 140 Claimed Weight: 5.2 pounds Travel: 5.5 inches Damping: FIT cartridge Claimed Weight: 4.6 pounds Adjustments: High-and-low-speed com- Damping: Open oil bath pression, coil spring preload, rebound Adjustments: Air pressure, compression, Spring: Coil rebound Outers: Magnesium Spring: Air Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum or Outers: Magnesium 1.5-inch option Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Colors: Black Colors: Black Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Brake Mount: Flange disc Dropouts: 20QR thru-axle Dropouts: 20mm thru-axle Price: $930 Price: $879 Fork: Spinner Cargo Travel: 5.9 inches Fork: RockShox Totem Solo Air Claimed Weight: 4.5 pounds Travel: 7 inches Damping: T-Spul valve system Claimed Weight: 5.9 pounds Adjustments: Air pressure, compression, Damping: Mission Control rebound Adjustments: Rebound, high-speed com- Spring: Air pression, low-speed compression, Outers: Magnesium Floodgate Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Spring: Solo Air Colors: Black Outers: Magnesium Brake Mount: High flange mount Steerer: Aluminum 1.5-inch or Dropouts: 20mm thru-axle 1-1/8-inch tapered Price: $500 Colors: Galvanized, black, white Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Fork Buyer’s Guide Dropouts: Maxle 360 Price: $1096 73 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 74. MBA Fork Special Fork: Maverick DUC32 Fork: RockShox Argyle 409 Travel: 6 inches Travel: 3.1 or 3.9 inches Claimed Weight: 3.9 pounds Claimed Weight: 5.2 pounds Damping: Cartridge Damping: Motion Control Adjustments: Rebound, air pressure, Adjustments: Air pressure, rebound, Climbing Mode travel adjuster low-speed compression, lockout with Spring: Air Floodgate Outers: Aluminum (inverted fork) Spring: Solo Air Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Outers: Magnesium Colors: Black Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Brake Mount: Flange disc Colors: Black, Purpletrator Dropouts: Maverick 24/7 axle (hub not Brake Mount: Post-mount disc included) Dropouts: 20mm Maxle 360 Price: $970 Price: $570 DIRT JUMP FORKS Designed for dirt jumps and Fork: Marzocchi 4X World Cup skate parks Travel: 3.9 inches Claimed Weight: 5.7 pounds Damping: RC3 cartridges Forks designed fo r dirt jumping and street riding Adjustments: Rebound, high-speed com- usually range in travel from 3. pression, low-speed compression, 1 to 3.9 inches of travel, have a air preload th are more robust th ru-axle, and Spring: Coil, air assist an trailbike forks with simila Outers: Magnesium r dimensions. Occasionally, thes Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum e forks are used for 4-Cross Colors: White or dual slalom, because some ride Brake Mount: Post-mount disc rs use the same bike for jumping Dropouts: 20mm thru-axle and gated rac- ing. Price: $599 Fork: Marzocchi Dirt Jumper 1 Fork: RST Space Jump Travel: 3.9 inches Travel: 3.1 or 3.9 inches Claimed Weight: 5.7 pounds Claimed Weight: 5 pounds Damping: Cartridge pre-set by Damping: Oil bath Marzocchi Adjustments: Air pressure, rebound Adjustments: Rebound, air preload Spring: Air Spring: Coil Outers: Magnesium Outers: Magnesium Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Colors: Black Colors: Grey Brake Mount: Flange-mount disc Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: 20mm thru-axle Dropouts: 20mm thru-axle Price: $299 Price: $429 74
  • 75. 29ER FORKS RIGID FORKS Big-wheel sliders on-free forks Twenty-niner bikes may sti Old-school, suspensi ll be a niche segment within to a niche cross-country bikes, but Rigid forks appeal de rigid , more frame and fork manufactu ri o bunch of riders wh e are a few rers are making 29er-specific untain bikes. Ther l make mo designs than ever before stil manufacturers who . to riders , and they appeal them ep it real or who who want to ke a novel rigid just want to add rage. bike to their ga Fork: RockShox Reba Team 29er Travel: 3.1, 3.9 or 4.7 inches Claimed Weight: 3.5 pounds Damping: BlackBox Motion Control Adjustments: Air pressure, rebound, low-speed compression, lockout, Fork: Surly Instigator Floodgate Travel: None Spring: Dual air Claimed Weight: 3.1 pounds Outers: Magnesium Outers: Chromoly steel Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Steerer: 1-1/8-inch steel Colors: Black Colors: Black Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Brake Mount: Flange-mount disc Dropouts: Standard or Maxle Lite Dropouts: Standard axle Price: $701 Price: $79 Fork: Manitou Minute 29er Travel: 3.1, 3.9 or 4.7 inches Claimed Weight: 3.7 pounds Damping: Absolute Platform Damper Adjustments: Rebound, platform Fork: Bontrager Race X Lite Switchblade Spring: Mars air Travel: None Outers: Magnesium Reverse Arch Claimed Weight: 2 pounds Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Outers: Carbon fiber Colors: White Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Colors: Black Dropouts: Standard or Hex Lock thru- Brake Mount: Flange-mount disc axle Dropouts: Aluminum, standard axle Price: $569 (std. axle), $629 (Hex axle) Price: $299 Fork: Fox Racing Shox 32 F29 RLC Travel: 3.1, 3.9 or 4.7 inches Claimed Weight: 3.8 pounds Damping: Open oil bath Adjustments: Low-speed compression, Fork: Vicious Mountain lockout force, lockout, air pressure, Travel: None rebound. Claimed Weight: 2.6 pounds Spring: Air Outers: Steel Outers: Magnesium Steerer: 1-1/8-inch steel Steerer: 1-1/8-inch aluminum Colors: Black Colors: White Brake Mount: Flange-mount disc, rim Brake Mount: Post-mount disc Dropouts: Standard axle Dropouts: Standard axle Price: $275 Price: $740 J Fork Buyer’s Guide 75 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 76. MBA TECH World’s Best Bolt-Ons Five simple, cheap products that will make you faster bolt-on is a simple A product that comes in a small package. It’s easy to put on the bike and gives the promise of more speed, better handling, and incredible riding happiness. After years of testing, the MBA wrecking crew can recommend the five best under-$100 bolt-on products in the world. 1. MOUNT UP KENDA NEVEGAL TIRES This two-time MBA shootout win- ner is the overall best accelerating, climbing, descending and cornering tire made. It’s a $47.99-times-two investment that is one of the ulti- mate bolt-on upgrades any rider can make to a mountain bike. Odds are they will last a full season even if you live where the “season” is year round. 76
  • 77. Team Cycles da/Seven he Ken or t f Choice f The Tire o pion l XC Cham pian 008 Olym S Nationa ฀2 5 2003 U 2007 200 pion hampion TXC Cham ฀ 2008 tinental C ational S rican Con 07 US N ฀ 20 Pan Ame 006 2008 ฀ 2005-2 Olympian ฀ 2004 RMA K917 K A ND COMPOU Photo: Chris Milliman BE A D DTC SIZE FOLDS UST 26 x 2.20 FOLDS UST/DTC 26 x 2.10 FOLDS DTC 26 x 2.10 FOLDS US T 26 x 2.0 0 FOLDS UST/DTC 26 x 1.95 FOLDS L 3R R R O 26 x 1.95 FOLDS L3R PRO 29 x 2.20 FOLDS 29 x 1.90 s. ore detail m ebsite for heck the w C 1-866-KENDAUSA ft
  • 78. Bolt-Ons MBA TECH 3. GO BOLT-ON LIZARD SKINS LO IPS LOCK-ON GR trol of the bike.con For $27.50, these grips give better 2. surface is unparalleled. Locked to The Logo’s tacky rubber interface between rider the bar, the Logo gives an instant and machine. 4. CONVERT TO NOTUBES No other modification offers as much bang for the buck as going tubeless. Purchase the $59.95 NoTubes Tubeless System. Watch the how-to videos on Stan’s Spend the hour it takes to convert your current wheels to tubeless. Run between 25 and 30 psi of tire pressure. Your old tires will grip and turn better than they did new, and the bike will take bumps NOKON GEAR One of the best $8 CABLES AND HOUSIN like it has a good inch more of sus- G 0.99 investments pension travel. Best yet is that the Other you w than giving th ill ever make. minum ball-and-so e bike a factory look, Nokon’s alu tires will hold air better and become 5. - cket housing resu “self healing” after a puncture. lts in quicker and accurate shifting every time. more WTB ROCKET V PRO SADDLE At $90 and at a reasonable weight of 9.4 ounces, this WTB saddle is the everyman’s version of the elite titanium-rail saddle. It has the per- fect shape for mountain biking. The profile keeps the rider seated in the sweet spot. Even when wheelying or riding without hands, it won’t take extra arm strength to hold your body position. J 78
  • 79. Royal Argyle Jersey: Sweat wicking polyester, with breathable fade resistant graphics. Royal F-Tech Short: 4-way stretch, water shedding fabric, with pop-snap waist closure. Royal Elite Glove: 4-way stretch, sweat wicking visit us at ROYALRACING.COM or call 661 257 2756 spandura, and vented Clarino palm. in Canada call 604 542 5661
  • 80. est MBA Ride The Rail Yeti’s new 303 R-DH f there’s a brand that’s been synonymous with racing tile for a wider range of downhill trails. Yeti says the 303 R- I throughout its history, it’s Yeti Cycles. Names like DH frame weighs 10.5 pounds, about two pounds lighter Tomac, Furtado, Voreis and Giove paved the way in the than the other 303. The letter R in the new model name 1990s for this decade’s World Class gravity riders, like refers to rate, meaning the only rail on the new frame con- Nathan Rennie, Tara Llanes, Jared Graves, Sam trols the spring rate on the single-pivot design. The “R” has Blenkinsopp, Justin Leov, Aaron Gwin and Rich Houseman. an eccentric shock mount for adjusting the head angle In 2006, Yeti debuted their 303 DH downhill bike featuring between 64 and 65 degrees. the Linear Rail system: two gliding pivots (one horizontal and one vertical) that work together to provide an efficient suspen- TEST BIKE BUILD sion system with a wheel path that transfers impacts directly Our 303 R-DH test bike features the Yeti factory team build. to the suspension with nominal effect on a rider’s momentum. Although it’s possible to buy the new 303 R-DH frame and Although proven on the World Cup circuit, and ideal for ultra- build up a “team” bike, Yeti is not selling this build as a com- intense and steep courses, the 303 DH frame is pricey at plete bike. Our team bike features a 2009 Fox Shox 40 RC2 $3870 and not offered as a complete bike. Yeti set out to create with the new FIT damping cartridge, a full Shimano Saint dri- a more agile, budget-friendly, complete downhill package. The vetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, DT Swiss 5.10 EX wheels, finished product is the Yeti 303 R-DH. Sunline handlebar, Chris King headset, and Yeti lock-on grips. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? YETI SPOTTED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA The new model is more than simply adding an “R” to the The original 303 took riders to multiple World Cup podi- previous 303 model name. As opposed to the original 303 ums. Can the 303 R-DH fill those big Yeti shoes? DH (still available as a frameset) which was designed for Ergonomics: Those familiar with Yeti’s previous 303 will World Cup level courses, the new 303 R-DH is built to be instantly notice the new single-pivot version’s lower top quicker, more nimble, a better jumping bike, and more versa- tube, tighter cockpit, and significantly shorter wheelbase. 80
  • 81. Forty-millimeters to free- dom: Fox’s 2009 40 RC2 fork features the FIT RC2 damping cartridge, a titani- um spring and robust 40- millimeter stanchions. 81 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 82. 303 R-DH The 29-inch-wide Sunline handlebar is spot on for a versa- tile and competitive downhill bike build. Pedaling: The single-pivot “R” frame uses a Fox DHX 5.0 coil shock, featuring bottom-out adjustment and the ProPedal platform. The Yeti sprints with the best of them, and no energy is wasted transferring the power to the ped- als. The benefit of such an efficient-pedaling downhill bike is that we ran just a couple of clicks of the ProPedal adjust- ment, opting for maximum small bump absorption. The reliable precision of the Shimano Saint rear derailleur and shifter gives you confidence to sprint while popping through the gears out of a corner. With the Saint component group, you get an excellent mix of efficiency, power and durability. Technical descents: Use the sag with the sag-meter stamped onto the frame to make sure you have the correct spring rate, and point the new 303 R down hill. This bike screams over rough, rocky terrain. The “R” maintains momentum over rock sections and out of corners better than any downhill bike we’ve raced over the past year-and-half. On practice runs when we were just scoping out the course and different lines, intentionally not pinning it, we found ourselves riding near race speed. Yeti and Fox Shox work closely on frame and suspension development, and that was evident on this bike. The supple rear end tracked well over choppy terrain, and the new Fox 40 RC2 featuring the FIT damper is a completely different animal. In the past, we found the 40 to be very stiff and durable, but at times brutal on your hands and wrists. The new damping cartridge improved tuneablility to the extent Jump start: Need to sprint into a double jump? No problem that we were able to run less low-speed compression to aboard this Yeti. It is one of the most nimble downhill bikes we achieve supple beginning stroke travel so the fork main- have tested. tained traction at speed. We increased the high-speed com- pression for race-speed drops and impacts. The Yeti (ODI) lock-on grips are worth mentioning. They have an aggressive Cornering: We can’t say enough about how well the Fox “Yeti” pattern as the design, and your hands stick to them 40 and the Yeti rear-end with the Fox DHX 5.0 shock like glue on rough terrain. worked together. Whether charging through gnarly terrain or cornering at speed, the front and rear end worked in har- mony, allowing you to get the most out of your effort. The 29-inch-wide Sunline handlebar is ideal for turning a big bike with eight inches of travel. The wide handlebar slows down steering and takes away twitchiness in the front end. Braking: With single-pivot frames, “brake jack” or stiffen- ing of the rear suspension is often a problem. On the Yeti, it wasn’t an issue. When riding a downhill bike you want to brake before gnarly sections and let the suspension do its job. We’ve ridden the Shimano Saint brakes a ton over the past year. The levers are easily adjusted to your desired reach, and the power is impressive. It had been a few months since we’d ridden Saint brakes, and it does take a few runs to get re-acquainted with their power, especially the front brake’s effect on traction. MINOR CHANGES YETI 303 R-DH BUILD KITS It was difficult to find one thing we’d tweak on the new COMPLETE DOWNHILL 303 R-DH. The most obvious one is that its name is almost BIKES NOW AVAILABLE the same as Yeti’s other downhill bike, the 303 DH, which The new 303 R-DH is the first complete 303 downhill could cause some confusion. bike offered by Yeti. The complete race-ready bike will The shock’s rebound adjuster is almost impossible to sell for $4700, and the frame and shock for $2570. The reach without removing the shock. We’re fans of direct- complete bike features a Fox 40 RC2 fork, Fox DHX 5.0 mount stems. Not only are they stiffer than traditional coil shock, Mavic DeeTrax wheelset, Truvativ Hussefelt stems, but they don’t get twisted in a crash. Now that the cranks, Avid Elixir brakes, Maxxis High Roller tires and a mountain bike industry has settled on a direct-mount stem SRAM X.9 rear derailleur. standard, we’ll use the Yeti and the new Fox 40 to test some down the road. 82
  • 83. Rail slide (clockwise from top left): The Shimano gravity-oriented Saint rear derailleur, the Fox 40 RC2 fork offers high- and-low-speed compression, rebound and preload adjustment, the single-pivot sus- pension design uses a swing link to drive the shock and the rail controls the shock’s spring rate. Price $6915 (frame and shock $2570) YETI 303 R-DH Country of origin Taiwan Weight 41 pounds Hotline (303) 278-6909 Frame tested Medium Bottom bracket height 13.75quot; Chainstay length 17.25quot; Top tube length 21.5quot; Head tube angle 65/64° Seat tube angle 58° Standover height 30quot; Wheelbase 45.25quot; Suspension travel (front) 8quot; Suspension travel (rear) 8.25quot; Frame material Aluminum Fork Fox Shox 40 RC2 Fast times: It may sound silly, but the Yeti 303 R-DH carries Shock Fox Shox DHX 5.0 coil momentum so well you’ll find yourself nearing full-speed when Rims DT Swiss 5.10 EX it feels like you are just cruising. The powerful Saint brakes with Tires Maxxis Minion eight-inch-rotors easily bring in the reins. Hubs Shimano Saint Brakes Shimano Saint VERDICT Brake levers Shimano Saint It had been too long since we reviewed a Yeti. And what a Crankset Shimano Saint pleasant surprise the 303 R-DH was. The new simpler sus- Shifters Shimano Saint pension design, shorter chainstays, and lighter frame make Rear derailleur Shimano Saint this an agile descender that absolutely rips on technical ter- Chainrings Shimano Saint rain. Although our test bike featured the “team” build, Cassette Shimano XT 11-34 which is only available if you buy the frame and build it up Pedals Weighed with Shimano M647 yourself, the new complete bike will offer a competitive package at a real-world price. J 83 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
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  • 86. Inside Weight: 26 pounds Price as equipped: $2950 The 12 Pros’ Bikes 11 Melissa Buhl’s KHS 10 world dominator elissa Buhl, 27, had a dream M year in 2008. She won the 4- Cross title at the World Championships, and U.S. national cham- pionships in 4-Cross, dual slalom, and downhill. She even won the Jeep 48Straight dual slalom series. Born in Colorado on January 25, 1982, Melissa took up cross-country rac- ing at 14, but she would soon concen- trate on gravity events. Buhl joined the Devo team in 1998, racing junior expert downhill and pro dual slalom that year. “I spent most of 9 the time on my head,” says Melissa of her rookie pro experiences, but she won America’s junior downhill title that year. Buhl won her first pro title in 2002, in mountaincross. Her first pro downhill title came in 2005. In 2006, she took a 16 7 first place in the National Mountain Bike Series and a fourth at the World Championships in 4-cross. In 2007, she was the national dual slalom champion, don’t have to worry about them break- “I put a little more air pressure in it for NMBS downhill champion, and the USA ing off big jumps.” mountaincross racing. If it’s slalom, I Cycling Gravity Racer of the Year. Now, let a little out of it.” with her performance in 2008, Buhl is 6. Shimano M647 SPD pedals. clearly the top female gravity rider in “I like the Shimano pedals because they 3. Thomson Elite X4 stem, 50-millime- America. never break. I like the limited range of ter reach, zero rise. Off the dirt, Melissa is completing her float. I can always tell when I’m clipped “Thomson makes a good gravity stem pre-med degree in kinesiology at in. I can pull up really hard with these because it’s shorter, which makes for a lit- Arizona State University and planning pedals and not worry about pulling tle quicker handling and better cornering.” to go to medical school. out.” Here is the bike that Melissa uses 4. Kenda Nevegal tires, 26x2.1-inch when she’s racing dual slalom and 7. Kenda Ultralight inner tubes. front, 26x1.95-inch rear. mountaincross. “Rolling weight’s always a big concern. “Nevegal is my favorite all-around tire. 1. KHS DJ 300 frame, 6061 aluminum When I’m picking tubes, I’m usually I can take it anywhere in Europe, and it tubing (designed for dirt jumping). picking a lighter-weight one.” can fit a lot of the conditions. Even “This particular frame has a little bit when it’s muddy, it’s pretty good, and shorter chainstays. I like the respon- 8. Shimano XT cranks, 170-millimeters, it’s got a good life span.” siveness of the shorter stays that make with 36-tooth chainring. the bike feel snappy out of the gate.” “I usually go with 165’s on my down- 5. Sun Ringle Charger wheelset, with Sun hill bike, but I go with 170’s for moun- Dirt Flea hubs and Wheelsmith spokes. 2. X-Fusion Velvet fork, 3.9 inches of taincross because they have a little “They’re lightweight and good for travel. more leverage.” acceleration. They’re strong too, so I 86
  • 87. 13 15 18 3 1 14 17 8 4 2 6 5 come down hard off a jump.” 9. Shimano XT rear derailleur, short 16. Gamut P30 chain guide. cage model. “I’m extremely happy with that chain- 13. ODI Lock-On grips “It’s just really reliable and really sturdy. guide. I’ve never had it derail the chain. “They’re the best. They last forever, I’ll go through three derailleurs a year Some chainguides make a lot of noise and if it’s wet, you don’t have to worry racing downhill, but with this bike, one and cause a lot of friction when you about them coming off.” derailleur is good for a whole year.” ride. This one is a lot quieter. When you hear noise, you know you’re losing 14. Shimano XT shifters 10. Shimano Ultegra, 9-speed cassette energy. This one’s more efficient. “They’re quick and they’re responsive. I (12-23). Overall it’s one of the better chain don’t have to worry about them jump- “I chose that range because it’s the guides I’ve ever ridden.” ing too many gears when I’m down- least amount of jump between gears shifting.” with that ratio.” 17. Cane Creek Solo headset. “It’s strong. I don’t have to worry about 15. Hayes Stroker Trail brakes, with 11. Thomson Masterpiece seatpost. it all season long.” six-inch rotors and carbon fiber levers. “It’s really light and strong.” “These particular brakes are perfect for 18. Azonic B52, handlebar, 3/4-inch mountaincross. Some brakes are too 12. SDG Ti Fly saddle. rise. grabby and slow you down too much. I “A seat that’s a little lower profile is “I went with a little lower rise this year prefer the modulation on these brakes good when you’re getting behind your to see how I would like it for gating and and the lightness of the levers. One of seat in steeper sections, and it’s really cornering, and I liked it. The bar is 28 the misconceptions of gravity racing is strong, so you don’t have to worry inches wide stock and I cut it down to that you don’t brake that much.” about the seat rails bending if you 27 inches.” J 87 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
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  • 90. MBA RIDERS WHO INSPIRE Brian Bushway Leading The Blind An unlikely mountain bike leader Ready to ride: Brian rian Bushway was 14 when it happened. B Bushway had a great He had been on his school’s mountain bike excuse to quit mountain biking, but he is not a man team while in seventh grade in Rancho known for making excuses. Santa Margarita, California, and loved to ride. The blind-man’s cane gets Then his eyesight started getting bad. him from his home to the trail. He straps it to the “The doctors didn’t know why I was going rack when he takes off. blind,” says Bushway, now 26. “I was an active 14-year-old, skating and stuff. My vision started affecting all these things in small ways. Finally, I remember waking up one morning and I had barely usable vision. And then, the next morning, I woke up and it was gone.” 90
  • 91. Doctors diagnosed it as optic nerve No handicapped parking: BATS co-founder Andy atrophy, but they couldn’t stop it. In Griffin leads a group of four months, he went from having nor- blind riders in 2001. Brian mal vision to a world of darkness. “I (fourth from rear) and the remember being in a state of unknow- group’s co-founder, Dan ing. I didn’t know how to process it. I Kish (beside Brian in the felt ‘done’ as a mortal being. I asked dark shirt) do what most would consider impossible. God why it was happening. There’s a natural grieving process when this hap- pens to someone. Still, the hardest part ushway at tact Brian B about going blind was how everybody You can con treated me differently.” cc www.worlda Brian’s parents enrolled him in a school that teaches mobility skills to the blind. While there, he learned that Andy Griffin and Dan Kish, two instructors on staff, were experiment- ing with mountain biking for the blind. Griffin, a fully sighted instructor and regular mountain biker, had found he Finding his way: Merely could ride his bike blindfolded, using getting from the garage to the sound cues of his girlfriend riding the trail head is a major in front of him, and he thought blind challenge when you’re students might enjoy riding, too. Kish, blind. Brian strapped his cane to the back of his who had grown up completely blind, bike when he was ready had learned to ride a bike in his neigh- to ride. borhood with his friends as a kid. Brian Bushway and some other stu- dents heard about the blind mountain biking experiments and wanted to do it too, so the Blind Adventure Travel Society, the name they came up with for the group, was born. The BATS began to go on regular mountain bike rides in the hilly trails south of Los Angeles. With zip-ties clicking against their spokes, they could follow each other by ear, with instructor Griffin leading. A story on the BATS appeared in our May 2001 issue, and that led to exposure by Australian, Japanese and European media outlets. Television crews trav- eled thousands of miles to tape the group’s rides. Bushway, the most skilled blind rider, was featured promi- nently in the coverage; taking on stair- step downhills, narrow singletrack trails, and rocky stream crossings. The BATS shrunk over the years as riders headed off to college or careers. Griffin got a job at another school, and Kish left to start his own nonprofit business, World Access for the Blind, teaching mobility skills, including echolocation, to the visually handi- capped. Bushway attended Pepperdine University and then joined Kish’s orga- nization, which they now run together. Brian found that mountain biking helped blind students face the world with confidence and courage. In recent months, Brian’s mountain biking has usually been done for the benefit of doc- umentary crews and cameras, but that’s Good trails: Brian has a great trail system about to change. A number of his behind his house, but finds it hard to get a group together for rides. It’s not that they teenage students recently started bug- don’t want to ride; none of them can drive ging Brian to take them mountain bik- to the trailhead. ing. It’s time for the BATS to rise again. J 91 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 92. MBA FEATURE The Nine Most Underrated Components And one great bike get their long-awaited recognition by R. Cunningham ife isn’t fair. Fancy products and flamboyant personalities become media darlings, while we L take dependable people and well-engineered components for granted. They are there when we need them, always do a little more than we ask for, and rarely complain. So it is with moun- tain bikes and components. It is easy to fawn over the assumed stiffness of a swoopy carbon fiber suspension frame, or rave about the performance of a fork that bristles with color-anodized clickers, while the front derailleur that has never missed a shift across 300 miles of singletrack is not men- tioned. I want to highlight ten items for this feature that deserve some long-awaited recognition. 3 1 DT SWISS SPOKES GIANT TRANCE X0 Before you laugh, consider that every rider input Giant got it right when they built the Trance XO. and every force generated by cornering, acceleration and This low-slung, five-inch-travel, dual-link suspension chassis braking is communicated through the spokes of your wheels. has a fresh, cross-country feel that would have fallen victim DT Swiss has made a science of spoke design and manufac- to the big-bar, shorty-stem, black-anodized, 33-pound, all- ture. The stainless steel wire is selected from the best source mountain trend had its designers not been top bike handlers, available, and the spokes are not pulled into their final hungry for a lightweight, all-day trailbike. The Trance X0 butted shape like most. DT Swiss developed a rotary forging remains pure. Maestro suspension and balanced, center-of- technique that slowly kneads the high-strength stainless the-bike handling give the Trance set-and-forget suspension steel into its final butted and tapered profile. The resulting performance that is rare in the long-travel, cross-country reliability and performance have outlasted every fancy spoke genre. It climbs effortlessly and pumps up the fun factor on alternative for nearly 100 years. technical descents. The Trance XO’s silver-anodized alu- minum frame will look beautiful for years because it won’t show scratches. Giant sells it in four sizes, its component 2 THOMSON SEATPOST AND STEM selection is near perfection—with a variety of Thomson’s seatposts and stems are almost invisi- dirt-proven items ble because we see them on so many bicycles. Beautifully not often seen on made and impeccably finished in silver or black, they pump mass-market menus— up the look of anything they grace without shouting “Hey, and its $5700 average look at me!” Thomson’s simple two-bolt saddle adjustment street price simply mocks is not revolutionary—just trouble-free and tuneable to with- its competitors. The in a millionth of a degree. Their stems, with the internal- Trance X0 is like getting a wedge steerer clamp and four-bolt handlebar cap, hand-built bike, but with have a precise, “we care a major- that it fits” fit. If manufac- Thomson products had turer’s typical, matte black, war- made-in-Asia finishes and ranty. graphics, they would still grace high-performance production and custom bicycles worldwide. Thomson, however, goes the extra mile—from good-looking to stun- ning. 92
  • 93. San Diego, CA .com Top Bikes, Brands, & Deals “Downhill Speed” Ryan Cleek Film Cleek Fi k Film AR Downhill Mountain Biking Documentary DVD On Sale Only $19.99 Order online at, or call 1 (800) 767-0345 LOG-ON or CALL US AT: 800- BIKE-911 2453 *FIND DEALS LIKE THESE* Tomac DTC Nevegal 2.1 Tires Lowest WEB for only Price $ 28 .99 .99 *LIMITED TIME* Use the Code: MBAX for HOT prices on your next web order. 12310 World Trade Dr. #107 San Diego CA, 92128 93 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 94. MAGURA MARTA SL BRAKES 6 MBA FEATURE No disc brake looks sexier today, but when Magura abandoned the motorcycle-style, in-line brake lever/master cylinder in favor of a vertical piston and reservoir integrated into the lever perch, the design was not so well received. Of course, Magura was ahead of its time, as evidenced by its pre- sent imitators. The magic of Magura’s Marta SL brake is hidden, however; it’s what the Marta doesn’t have that makes it the best cross-country brake. Martas have the best reputation SHIMANO XT 4 in the industry for running drag-free, If Shimano had forgotten to make its impressive- and they weigh a looking (and wildly expensive) XTR ensemble, we would, no scant 11.6 ounces doubt, extol the shifting precision, light weight and (the magnesium bombproof reliability of Shimano XT. But because there must version with car- be a number two in order to keep number one at the top, mar- bon levers only keters, both at Shimano and within big-ticket bike brands, weighs 11 ounces). have suppressed the performance of Shimano’s silver- Perhaps the reason anodized secret for a decade. Shimano often releases innova- that Magura’s stan- tions under the cover of XT a season earlier than the same dard-setting stop- feature appears on XTR (like the Shadow low-profile rear pers are not cham- derailleur). Bottom line: unless you absolutely need to shave pioned is that only 3.5 ounces from your drivetrain, there is no significant perfor- squeaky wheels get mance difference between XTR and XT—and after you attention. scratch it up for a year, performance is all you have left. ROCKSHOX REBA FORK CHRIS KING HEADSET 7 5 The first RockShox Reba was not as much of a rev- When you buy a Chris King headset, you can be elation as it might have been because it was released before sure that there are no alternatives that can claim to be better mid-travel cross-country bikes went mainstream—and made or designed, but the nearly flawless look and construc- SRAM, RockShox’s parent company, didn’t completely com- tion underscores those facts. What you may not know is that prehend how good a fork it was. With a micro-adjustable, King recycles everything they use in their production—cut- low-speed compression and pedaling threshold (Motion ting oil, metal chips, exhaust air—they even return their Control/Floodgate), and Dual-Air negative and positive air- water in better shape than when it comes to them from the springs, the Reba fork can be easily tuned from technical- city pipes. Quality control is so stringent at King that whole trail supple to cross-country-racing firm. It can be bought in batches are recycled because the anodized color isn’t right. a 20-millimeter Maxle Lite through-axle configuration and Chris King headset owners have been known to substitute in a 29er size. The top-drawer Team Reba has an adjustable- another brand when they sell their bikes so they can re- travel U-Turn fea- install their used ture. With 32-mil- headset on their limeter stanchions, new bike. Still, it’s it steers precisely just a headset, in the rough—and right? Not to the you get all of this people at Chris in a 3.5-pound King. package. Rebas are versatile enough to have won both World Cup cross- country and dual- slalom competi- tions, but the mountain biking masses have not absorbed this mes- sage. Before you start shopping for the ultimate cross- country trailbike fork, look down— you may be riding it already. 94
  • 95. FOX FLOAT RP23 SHOCK DKG QUICK-RELEASE 9 8 SEATPOST CLAMPS If you’ve never had problems with your rear sus- pension, your trailbike probably has a Fox Racing Shox Float Dave Garoutte was in Marin County when it all hap- RP23 damper. So many suspension bikes are sold with RP23 pened. Dave’s unbridled appetite for design, fabrication and shocks that this exquisitely machined and assembled device CNC machining attracted notables like Gary Fisher (RS1), is predestined to be ignored. Like a great Swiss-made Wilderness Trail Bikes (Roller Cam brakes), The Koski mechanical timepiece, the RP23’s internals include dozens Brothers (Koski Trailmaster frameset), Moots (suspension of delicate parts that somehow wake up with you every day parts) and ultimately Ross Shafer of Salsa Cycles, which led and go to work with precise accuracy. All the knowledge to the development of the best quick-release seatpost clamp RP32 owners need to ride a Fox Float RP23 shock once the ever made. It fits the hand, never slips out of adjustment, spring pressure and rebound are set is which way to flick and clamps smoothly and securely every time—and, like all the lever for the climbs. products from DKG (Dave’s company), it’s a functional work of art. DKG, (415) 479-5482, still makes the original seatpost clamp that graces both production and custom mountain bikes throughout the world. 10 EASTON EA70 MONKEYBAR a How did an aluminum riser handlebar achieve place on this list of ten? Well, has anyone ever broken, or even bent one? If you have, I’d love to see the video. In the anything-goes world of park riding and all-mountain adven- ture, Easton’s EA70 MonkeyBar is the ruler of the risers. It comes in three heights and has the bend that everyone copied. It was the first bar to go wide and will be the last handlebar you will ever own. At 9.3 ounces, it isn’t light- weight, but it isn’t heavy enough to warrant a fancier carbon replacement, either. Easton’s EA70 MonkeyBar earns a place in the mountain bike strength-to-weight museum—an edifice populated by Easton Products. J 95 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 96. MBA TRAINING The Lazy Man’s Way To Gaining Speed Be a better bike handler in 2009 aneuvering your bike is the most fun M skill to work on and results of this work come fast. No painful hill repeats or threshold workouts required; read the terrain, respond appropriately, easily clear the obstacle, and then move on to the next one. Bike handling is a combination of balance and reflexes. Improved bike handling keeps you calm and builds confidence. With better balance and handling reflexes, you can float over obstacles, land lighter off jumps, and be able to get out of any tight situation without panicking and bruis- ing your knees. You don’t have to join a school or travel to a Track stand: special location to work on your bike handling. Sl turn the whee ow to a stop, l in, and se You can (and should) work on these skills every long you can e balance (app how and releasin lying time you ride. Using these simple exercises will g help). Practi your brakes will ce in both se turn you into a better overall rider and make and standing ated po skill will co sitions. This every ride more enjoyable. J me in handy riding a toug wh h switchback ile even in clim bing situatio and ns. Setup: Adjust reach and dea the lever engages the bra d stroke so kes as the knuckles form a square ang le. Crucial braking control is lost if the lever firms with the fingers too or too close to the grip. stretched out Look ahead: Make it a hab it to look way up the trail instead of just a few feet in front of your front tir e. Read the terrain and size up what you will be riding over. Choose the best line, shift to an appropriate gear, and stand before being forced into a panic situation. 96
  • 97. Tread lightly: Read the upcoming trail and stand early. When the bike begins skip- ping across bumps or lands off jumps, help absorb the impact with arm and leg com- pression. The bike will thank you by not rebounding wildly off hard hits. Learn to bunny hop: Find a six-inch-tall rock (or sponge if you are worried about dinging your rims). Approach it at a moderate speed, push into the bike, spring off the suspension and lunge forward while pulling up on the bar. Practice until you can easily clear the obstacle. You’ll use this skill on every ride. Armor up: Not having to worry about a scraped knee or banged elbow elevates confi- dence and improves a rider’s ability to tackle challenging terrain. The obstacle-train- ing course should be chal- lenging enough to make pads an absolute requirement. Stay loose: Relax your grip, get over the handlebars and keep the elbows bent and up; let the bike move around beneath you. Tightening the upper body turns it into a rigid, upright exten- sion over the bike and this throws your balance off. 97 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION o
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  • 100. Sram PC 971 Chain w/ Powerlink ‘08 msrp $120 Panaracer Panaracer IRC Hutchinson $8998 Fire XC Pro Rampage 29er Mythos XC II Python New Gen Air msrp $50 msrp $40 msrp $48 msrp $55 $1498 $1998 $3498 $2498 Hayes HFX9 XC Disc Brake msrp $85 $3998 R Rockshox Pike 454 Air U-Turn Fork msrp $750 $63998 XT M760 msrp $90 Smarty msrp $60 Cane Creek SGS Mega-9 $6998 Pedals $ S-3 Headset 39 98 Rear Der. msrp $50 $3298 XT M760 Dual msrp $270 50/50 X msrp $80 Control Levers $ Pedals $ 54 98 99 98 w/ Cables Sram PC 971 Hayes HFX9 XC Chain w/ XT M765 Dual msrp $370 Egg Beater msrp $140 Disc Brake Powerlink ‘08 Control Levers 109 98 SL Pedals $ $ msrp $150 89 98 msrp $32 for Hydraulic $5998 $1998 Disc Brake Parts, Accessories, ie Clothing, Bikes & Frames visit view the complete Sette line tte Sette Ryde New World ST-850 Fox Mid- TLD Disorder Suspension Ranger Training Box Set w/ Dropper Short ‘08 Jacket Bonus DVD Seatpost msrp $65 Sette Eyewear msrp $45 msrp $90 msrp $45 Sette Torx msrp $30 msrp $85 $4498 Vexx2 w/ $ 98 3 Lenses 19 21 Function $ 98 Fun Fn $8098 $1498 $34 98 Multi Tool 12
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  • 102. MBA TECH How To Fix A Flat Tire You think you already know, don’t cha? I n the hierarchy of mountain bike maintenance, fixing a flat tire is probably the second thing you learned to do after lubing your chain. The question is, did you learn to do it right? We’ve personally witnessed experienced riders whose meth- ods of fixing a flat tire shocked us. Here is the proper way to do it. Step 1: Step 2: Step 3: Make the best of a bad situa- If the tire is still holding some This is the most misunder- tion by hanging your bike from a tree air, let it out. A partially inflated tube stood step of fixing a flat tire. The tire has branch. No tree? Pick a fairly clear area so makes getting the tire off the rim a bear. a bead that pops into the rim when air if you drop something, you won’t lose rid- pressure is added. You have to unseat this ing time looking for it. Shift your bike to bead into the rim before you do anything the smallest or second smallest cog if you else. Grab the tire and push near where it have a rear flat. Unlock the quick release connects to the rim with both thumbs. and slide the wheel out. Push hard. You will feel the bead pop into the rim. Go all the way around the rim, popping the bead out. You can leave the bead seated on the other side of the rim, but this makes getting the tire off a little more difficult. We pop the bead on both sides of the rim. Step 5: Take a second tire tool and slide it in about two inches from the first tire tool. Push down on one tool, lifting the bead over the rim’s wall. Now do the same with the second tool. Step 4: Carefully slide a tire tool between the tire’s bead and rim wall. 102 t c
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  • 104. Flat Tire MBA TECH Step 6: Step 7: Step 8: Leave one tool between the Once you get the bead mov- The biggest mistake in fixing a bead and the rim and work the other far- ing, you can peel the tire off with your flat is not finding out what caused the flat. ther away, pulling the bead over the rim hands. Note that we only take one side of Run your fingers inside the tire. You are wall as you move along. Some tire/rim the tire off. You are not replacing the tire, feeling for whatever could have punctured combos fit tightly while others fit loosely just the tube (or adding a tube to a tube- your tube. You may cut a finger doing this. enough to be removed without tire tools. less setup). Sorry. Destination Monterey! .
  • 105. Step 9: Step 10: Even if you found the “stinger” Get out your spare or patched on the inside of the tire, inspect the ex- tube and inflate it just enough so that it terior. Its other end may still be there ready holds its shape. to work its way into your new tube. Also, if you picked up one thorn, there may be others ready to strike. Tecnic FS 900 1-800-238-6377 105 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 106. Flat Tire MBA TECH Step 11: Step 12: Work the tube into the tire. Step 13: Slide the tube’s valve into the Slip the tire’s bead into the rim. You can put a valve nut on the stem rim, starting opposite the valve stem. so it doesn’t slide into the rim. Make sure you are not catching the tube between the tire’s bead and rim’s wall. You shouldn’t need tools at this point.
  • 107. Step 14: Step 15: The bead will get tight as you Add some more air. Make near the valve stem, and you may need sure the tube is not caught between the your tire tools to lift the last five or six tire bead and rim wall. Keep adding air inches of the tire’s bead into the rim. In until you hear the bead pop on the rim. many cases, your thumbs will do the trick. Put the wheel back on the bike and ride away. J
  • 108. Great fit: The F5 fits like an old pair of your favorite jeans. Cannondale has had a lot of time to perfect the geometry of their best- selling mountain bike, and it feels like it. 108
  • 109. est MBA Cannondale’s Best-Selling Mountain Bike The Cannondale F5 e didn’t ask Cannondale to send us their most the cost of one top-of-the-line trailbike, we didn’t restrict our W expensive cross-country race bike. We didn’t rides to easy trails and bike paths. The F5 was asked to attack request a long-travel, downhill, gravity sled. And the same terrain that all the expensive bikes eat up. we didn’t place an order for a big-buck trailbike. Instead, we Moving along: Proportionally, the F5 is as close to perfec- asked to ride Cannondale’s best-selling mountain bike. That tion as a hardtail trailbike gets. It should be. It benefits from turned out to be the $769 Cannondale F5. every Cannondale hardtail that came before it. The bike The F5 is an aluminum hardtail. The frame boasts feels right from the first pedal. The bar is a good width, the Cannondale’s trademark oversized and ovalized grips feel fine and the top tube length is spot on. The saddle PowerPyramid downtube. Most of the frame tubes are inter- needs a bit more width, but it is acceptable for rides of less nally butted. Don’t know what that means? Look at the than epic length. The proven SRAM drivetrain shifts crisply, headtube (because it is externally butted) and imagine it and the shifter triggers are right where you need them. inside out. That is what internal butting is. Spinning along the trail is the only time the platform pedals The F5 has mechanical disc brakes, a quick-release seat- show their inferiority to clipless pedals (when spinning a post clamp, full cable housing to the rear derailleur (cuts gear, your feet have the tendency to lift from the platform down on maintenance), trigger shifters, aluminum rims, a surface at the top of the stroke). fork lockout, mounts for a book rack, aluminum 26-inch- Cornering: The F5 is a quick-steering little package. It wide bar and a fork with 3.9 inches of travel. Add the beau- swoops along tight singletrack without breaking a sweat. tiful finish and understated graphics of our Race Red F5 (it Cannondale’s big trick in the cornering department is wrap- is also available in Jet Black) and you have a classic hardtail ping the rims in Kenda Nevegal tires with Stick-E rubber. mountain bike ready to roll. These tires give the F5 a knob up on lesser-equipped hardtails. Climbing: The tires we just praised earn more accolades on the climb, as they bite regardless of rider position. This FLYING THE F5 The MBA wrecking crew gets spoiled riding ultra-expensive bike’s weight is noticeable, but not overwhelming. Move up mountain bikes, but none of us felt like we were being pun- a cog on the cassette and work it. The frame, wheels and ished when asked to ride the F5. A few twists on the fork cranks keep you moving up the climbs at the pace you are spring’s preload knob, positioning the saddle, and angling the willing to throw down. shifters and brake levers were all it took to become comfort- Technical: Where a dual-suspension bike allows the rider able on this bike. Simplicity is one of the most welcomed fea- to be a little lazy, the F5 (and any hardtail) requires an alert tures of the F5. And just because you could buy seven F5s for and responsive rider in the technical sections. Stay out of the 109 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 110. F5 saddle, bend your arms, and choose your lines. The F5 will get you through without complaint. Riders will find themselves attempting tricky sections on the F5 because the platform ped- als give them the guarantee of a quick escape if they goofed. Descending: You don’t want to get too crazy on fast or steep descents, as the quick-steering F5 doesn’t give the rider much room for error. The fork travel feels too short in these situations. A longer travel fork is a necessary upgrade for riders who want more descending performance. Pick your line, don’t try to hang on the wheel of the guy with the five-inch-travel trailbike, and take advantage of the Kenda tires and Avid disc brakes. F5 FACTS Early production RockShox Dart 3 forks suffered oil leak- age (fixed at no charge by RockShox), but this one didn’t. The lockout feature offers some subtle adjustability. Turning the lockout dial from its most-firm lockout position of six o’clock to five o’clock gives the fork a very nice pedaling platform while still taking the bite out of trail chatter. There is a blow-off circuit so direct hits while locked will not Sweet, smooth shifting: The F5 gets more than the proven knock your dentures loose. SRAM X-7 rear derailleur. A single-piece housing from the trig- Recommended upgrades? When you have spent a year on ger to the derailleur protects the cable from contaminants. This the wheels (or less if you are tough on wheels), you could have equals less maintenance for the rider. them rebuilt with lighter spokes. Clipless pedals would be a nice, but not essential, upgrade. Lock-on grips and a chainstay protector are both products that you should work into the deal NO SURPRISE After spending time on the F5, we can see why this is the when you buy the bike. A 4.7-inch-travel fork would be an best-selling mountain bike in the Cannondale lineup. It over-the-top upgrade that should only be considered by riders works great and looks awesome doing it. A good rider on looking to ride the F5 more aggressively on the downhills. 110
  • 111. Price $769 CANNONDALE F5 Country of origin Taiwan Weight 30.5 pounds Hotline (800) 726-2453 Frame tested 17quot; (medium) Bottom bracket height 12quot; Chainstay length 16.5quot; Top tube length 23.5quot; Head tube angle 70° Seat tube angle 73.5° Standover height 29.5quot; Wheelbase 42.5quot; Suspension travel (front) 3.9quot; Suspension travel (rear) None Frame material Aluminum Fork RockShox Dart 3 Shock None Rims Jalco Disc X320 Not cheap: Don’t let the low price fool you. There is nothing Tires Kenda Nevegal (2.1quot;) cheap about the Cannondale F5. Don’t hold back. Take the F5 Hub Formula DC20/22 on any trail and go for it. The F5 has got your back. Brakes Avid BB-5 Brake levers Cannondale XC this bike will embarrass a lesser rider on a more expensive Crankset FSA CK-306TTT bike, and a beginner will be treated to what a real mountain Shifters SRAM X-5 triggers bike is supposed to be. Add your enthusiasm and go. Front derailleur SRAM X-7 One final note. You cannot discount the importance of the Rear derailleur SRAM X-5 strong Cannondale dealer network. Your F5 will be built Chainrings FSA (44/32/22) properly and then fitted to you correctly. Back up a great Cassette SRAM PG-950 (11-34) product at a super price with a knowledgeable staff of pro- Pedals Wellgo platform fessionals and you have all the ingredients necessary for a best-selling product. There you are—the Cannondale F5. J f c
  • 112. MBA TECH Stem research our bike’s handlebar is an important connection to your bike that affects braking perfor- Y mance, shifting accuracy, cornering prowess, climbing ability and overall rider comfort. That’s probably why we tend to overlook the importance of the handlebar stem. No more! The Garage Files takes a look at little stem tricks that can make a big difference in your bike’s performance. 1 3 4 2 If the bike is in a workstand, Slide one of the spacers that Most bikes come with a num- Loosen the stem’s bolts that make sure the front wheel is was positioned below the ber of spacers positioned clamp the stem to the steerer in contact with the ground. stem off the steerer tube. above and below where the tube. These bolts do not Remove the top cap screw handlebar stem clamps to the need to be completely and slide off the two top fork’s steerer tube. In this removed. The handlebar is spacers. case, there are two above removed in this photo, but if and two below. The bar feels you are only repositioning the a little high to the rider, so we spacers, you can leave the are going to reposition spac- bar attached. ers to lower the bar. Before you start, you should know 5 the torque recommendation for the stem’s hardware. This Slide the stem back on, position- will be available from the ing three spacers on top. stem maker or fork maker. Replace the top cap and snug the screw. This screw is adjusting the headset tension; cranking down on it will cause binding and leaving it too loose will result in headset play. It may take a few tries before you feel the sweet spot. Tighten the bolts that clamp the stem to the steerer tube using the recommended torque setting specified by the stem and/or fork manufacturer. Don’t just torque each bolt to the max setting. Tighten the pinch bolts in increments until you reach the recommended torque settings. 112
  • 113. f
  • 114. FINE TUNE TWO FINE TUNE THREE USE THE SPACER FLIP OUT A B MBA TECH 2 3 B 4 1 A This Specialized stem has a The spacer is eccentric. You’ll sleeve that allows for more note that it is thicker on one tuning. side than the other. Tighten the bolts that clamp Positioning the C If shuffling spacers and rotat- the handlebar to the stem thicker side of the ing shims doesn’t get the bar using the recommended shim towards the where you want it, many torque setting specified by front of the stem will stems can be inverted to the stem and/or handlebar lower the bar slight- lower the handlebar. Remove manufacturer. Don’t just ly, and positioning the handlebar from the stem torque each bolt to the max the thin side for- (leave the shifters, brake setting. Tighten the pinch ward will raise the levers, grips and all cables bolts in increments in the bar slightly. This is a attached). Follow our steps order shown here until you very sweet fine-tune to remove the stem, flip it reach the recommended tip if your stem has and put it all back together. torque settings. such a shim.
  • 115. FINE TUNE FOUR GET STRAIGHT C D One of the most difficult adjustments is getting the handlebar perfectly parallel to the front axle. A trick is to position a straight edge either on the fork crown or fork tubes and eyeball down the handlebar. This stem is pointing way too far to the left. ~ WRONG ~ ~ RIGHT ~ This shows a handlebar This is a stem that was tight- clamp that was correctly ened incorrectly. The top two tightened. bolts were tightened before the bottom two bolts. The clamp is now pinching the handlebar, which will severely Aligning the handlebar to the straight edge can save you a lot of limit the bar’s lifespan (and trial-and-error in finding the stem’s true north. J maybe yours).
  • 116. MBA Competition Introducing Aaron Gwin USA’s top World Cup threat aron Gwin’s rise to the forefront of American mountain biking appears sudden. A However, to Aaron, it’s long overdue. At just 20 years old, he is a seasoned veteran of two-wheel racing. He was a BMX champion before the age of ten, and a promising motocross career was cut short due to a laundry list of injuries. Southern California’s Gwin threw a leg over a downhill mountain bike for the first time in 2007. Less than nine months later, he scored two top-ten World Cup results on notoriously brutal courses and watched his stock rise as a professional downhiller. Rather than radiating arrogance after his improbable first-year success, Gwin has the quiet confidence of a seasoned veteran. His demeanor can’t help but make us think he knows something the rest of the competition doesn’t. We caught up with Aaron at his training grounds in Temecula, California, to find out what dri- ves this up-and-coming American racer and how he plans to follow up such an incredible year. Ready to strike: Don’t tell downhill racing rookie Aaron Gwin that his improbable World Cup results were beginner’s luck. To him, this kind of success was a long time coming. Photo by Craig Grant Mountain Bike Action: You are practically unknown in the MBA: Tell us about racing motocross? AG: Motocross was a major part of my life. My goal was mountain bike world. What is your cycling background? Aaron Gwin: I started riding bikes at three years old and to make a living racing. I was home schooled so I could going to BMX tracks and racing at four years old. By the age of ride moto every day and work with my trainer. I was rid- six I was racing all of the ABA and NBL nationals and was ing injured a lot of the time, and I had put too much pres- sponsored by Dan’s Competition. By age eight I was racing full sure on myself. I was never healthy and that was frustrat- national seasons, but began to get a bit burnt out. I quit BMX ing. The injuries were what made me quit motocross, and switched to school sports for a while. At age 12, I picked up because riding stopped being fun. motocross and raced at the intermediate level until I was 17. 116
  • 117. Throttle jockey: Gwin’s motocross background is evi- dent in his downhill riding. He attributes his ability to navigate technical World Cup courses at speed to his early moto days. Photo by Craig Grant MBA: Did Cody Warren motivate you to ride at his level? MBA: Do you put that same amount of pressure on yourself AG: I tend to take everything to the limit. I want to be today? good at everything I do. With a guy like Cody around, you AG: My approach to mountain biking is a lot different know what going fast looks like. I think riding with him from motocross. I’m more relaxed and do not put that kind helped me and opened my eyes to how fast top guys like him of pressure on myself. can go. If you want to ride with guys like him, you have to step up and go for it. Cody is really supportive of me and is MBA: What turned you on to mountain biking? there if I need help with anything. I was lucky to have him AG: One of my good friends in the Palm Springs area around from the beginning. where I live owns a bike shop, and he’s friends with Cody Warren (pro downhill racer). I went to Interbike in 2005 and met Cody there. He had recently won the U.S. National MBA: You’ve had a fairytale inaugural season. How did it Downhill Championship, and I remember his bike and feel to go from racing local downhill events to World Cups? AG: It was crazy. I had a season plan that I put together awards on display. Cody and I ended up hanging out there in with SoCal Yeti team manager Rich Houseman. I was going Las Vegas and riding BMX together. Later in the year, he to ease into it. I did a few races at Fontana and some took me up to Big Bear to ride cross-country. We just had Colorado Mountain States Cup events and did well. The short travel bikes, but it was a lot of fun. I ended up buying World Cups were certainly a new experience, and I felt it at a mountain bike after that trip. Cody talked me into riding the first two I raced. I felt like I belonged at the World Cup with him in 2007 while the mountain bike movie “Stars and finals in Schladming, Austria. Also, it helps when you have Bars” was being filmed. I hadn’t ridden a downhill bike teammates like Sam Blenkinsopp and Justin Leov. I can before, but got comfortable quickly and several of my whips always go fast in practice, but going fast in the race is some- are in that video. A couple of months later I entered my first thing totally different. When they tell you you’re on pace downhill race at Fontana, California. I had only ridden a you tend to believe it! downhill bike a few times, and never raced a mountain bike before. I decided to enter the pro class and got third place (out of 20 pros) in my first race. After that race, I thought MBA: Is racing something you’re enjoying for the moment, or about doing it more than just once in a while. are you working towards making a career out of it? AG: Downhill racing is definitely a career focus. I tried the college thing for a while, but it wasn’t for me. I left the MBA: How did motocross and BMX skills prepare you for motocross thing unfinished, and believe I could have made downhill? it there if I was healthy. I belong in some kind of racing, AG: The mixture of BMX and moto worked out well. and I have the best support from Yeti. This is the perfect Riding motocross taught me to be aggressive and study line mix of racing for me, meaning my health, enthusiasm, and selection. A course like Mont-Sainte-Anne, that most riders support. I plan on making it last as long as I can and am categorize as gnarly and fast, seems mellow to me. BMX working to make it lead to industry opportunities after taught me to be smooth on the bike and taught me basic racing. handling skills. 117 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 118. Aaron Gwin MBA Competition THE BOSS SPEAKS YETI’S CHRIS CONROY ON GWIN “I was introduced to Aaron through Rich Houseman. He runs Yeti’s SoCal regional program scouting for tal- ent to mentor. Rich did a good job bringing in Aaron MBA: What surprised you about world-class level racing? Gwin and Kevin Aiello to our program. Rich told me this AG: The number of guys who can go fast at the World Aaron kid was fast and that we needed to get him on a Cup level was eye-opening. When I raced moto there would bike. I trusted him, but it’s always tough to tell how fast be a couple of fast guys at local races, but at the World Cups someone is. A rider can look fast in a section or two, 20 guys go really fast, and the top 100 are all really good rid- but can he string it together for a complete run? We ers. Everyone’s times are really tight, and I’ve learned how have new team riders ride with our top World Cup guys little things can make a big difference. A foot dab can lead to for their evaluation. I asked our top two riders, Sam a five-second loss, and 25 spots. Blenkinsopp and Justin Leov, if Aaron could hang top ten at World Cups. They said absolutely. We rely heavily MBA: What was the reaction of the seasoned racers to your on what our racers say to gauge new talent. eighth place at the World Cup finals? “One criterion for our riders to advance to the World AG: Everyone was just stoked for me and they were really Cup level is that they have to dominate the National cool. Sam, Justin and I all want to beat each other, but your events. Gwin had beaten both our Junior World results are on you. You want your fastest time, of course, but Champion Sam Blenkinsopp and perennial World Cup are happy when a teammate does really well. The 2008 podium threat Justin Leov in Mountain States Cup races, World Cup finals in Schladming were awesome for Yeti. Sam so we thought he would compete at the next level. won, Justin got sixth, and I finished eighth. All three of us “Talking with Aaron, you’ll notice how incredibly finishing top ten was a cool experience. All of the other fast grounded he is—laid back, but intense about racing. On dudes showed support and said congrats as well. It’s pretty a near perfect run he will tell you ten things he could’ve sick to see how for the most part everyone gets along and is done better, where and how he could improve. Whenever willing to help out. a racer can see things so clearly, they’re likely to get bet- ter quicker. Aaron is also surrounded by some of the best MBA: A common trait of elite athletes is the confidence that downhillers in the sport on the Yeti team. They’re all inter- they will succeed. In the back of your mind did you know you’d ested in seeing him succeed. Our team riders want to find success at some form of racing, and it all came together in pull him up to their level, not keep him down. downhill? “Honestly, Aaron’s top ten World Cup results weren’t AG: When it comes to racing, I’ve always felt like I belong surprising. The funny thing is that I watched the Mont- at the top. I have my own way that I approach racing. I work Sainte-Anne event online where he got tenth. He was really hard and want to keep improving. I’m not sure where excited about it, but I could tell he secretly wanted to be it comes from; I guess my dad’s pretty competitive. Having top five. When he was racing and beating Sam and success in BMX at an early age makes me want to transfer Justin locally, I knew right then he was at least as fast on that aspect to riding and competing in other sports. I feel a good day as those guys. A top ten World Cup result is once you learn what speed is, you want to keep that level of no fluke. It was a ‘real deal’ moment for us, as we real- performance. I’m working hard with my trainer these days ized he could continue to be a top ten threat each race.” to be the best I can. 118
  • 119. Visit our 14,000 item video-rich website! Why Choose Adrenaline: 1. Customized builds: change any part on any bike we sell to any other part! 2. Best prices: We strive to sell No Sales Tax! for less. All price match/beat Fast & 714-288-2012 (or) 800-579-8932 FAX 714-288-1365 On any items shipped outside California requests are welcomed! friendly 3. Satisfaction guarantee, bike service! fit guarantee: details online! New for 2009 on For 2009 1. World’s largest bike selection: 700 new & sale models, 40+ brands! 2. World’s largest selection of parts and accessories: over 14,000 items including almost 7,000 new, updated, or recently discounted items. 3. Hundreds of Product Videos, Build Kits, hard-to-find goods & more! #1 Volume Dealer since ‘99 #1 Selection/service/PRICES! Fury 5” Frame $995 es Battery 5” Frame Over & Sale fram F! Ario w/lock-out $1149 Fox RP23 $1249 OF 30 New p to $1700 Fox RP23 $1300 SALE Bikes u online Titanium e SALE Bikes $1749 & Up Mtn. USA fram $1499 & Up Bikes $1295! Too! Tech X2 New2009 model 2008model Largest Marin Suspension Dealer since 2004 More SALE Why? Best selection, service, & PRICES! marins online! e 6” Fram the $99! $1300 Mt. AXC $330 e of er $3 670 ! Vision Bik r winn $799! Frame with 99 ea $ frame ox y F $1249 RP23 hi cc Bik aye arzo HM es ak East Pe 49 6 frame $ NEW R7, 2:1 Pro Largest Volume USA Dealer since 2003 Why? Best selection, service, & PRICES! Lite, Pro Lite XC C50 HP FLY XCT 5 FXR e” 2008: MBA: trail bike mad 7” 6” Curnutt Curnutt “Best e Mini Pro X2 Dura Ac $5499 $1000-OFF Kit $799 XT Build Kit 40+ new & SALE models online! s 5” 36-Tala Marz- Juicy-3 8 Button le $1600 XT M74 Full Awl occhi Brakes $2800 9 Fox b Shifters adjusta Bike Frame u $699 Juicy-7 5” trav $179e 36 travel! $3370 Manitoer ly Brakes Fork OnLbs! FSA Rac Talas Swing Gamma e 30 XT-317 l Facas hee Atl EXO W Cranks Set cranks & bar X9 OVER ! ntdow a nt 6.5” froavel XT Sh urs & 6.5” froar shiftersurs FF HALF O re ra tr 6”dear ille eraille 6” re Tech M4 d Also available: hardtail, Also available: SALE Road frames 5” & other ‘08 frames! from $699, & 15 more BMC models $1300 SALE ‘08 ‘08 BMC ‘08 bonrear lFrames Limited $3900 Element,Car shocks: $899! SLC01 Bikes SXC6”Trave r shocks Shiver . numbers & Fox lockout 70 $799 & Fox DHX Ai Frame 4” Trav from act fast! ! SXC-30 $ 1500 $999 ent30$13 $999 $2799! Frame $1399 Elem 1700 Element 70 $ SXC-50 $ 1800 $1299 4” Travel 5.5 Lbs. More ‘08 Build Kits ‘take-off’ available DT XM180 mesonline fra with lock-out! blk mrkt $1000 26er OR Call for a $799! 29er! k on Frame/For ‘08 Best ‘09 Talon Carb plete quote! Three57Com049! Canzo 5” Tech V2 deals ox $1750 Scandium Bike:Only $1 ksh online! Roc ck ‘09 Frame $899! Lo HALF t ou OFF! 5.5 Lbs Check out other HOPE products at Canzo full Dura AceBike bikes $2650$2199! All 16 Road ! In white from &mtn.models For information call $1348! or black Let’s make a deal! Price Orange County California Store 800.303.6863 beat requests welcomed! In Orange County,LAXminutes from hours North 45 San 10 Disneyland, All brakes built, bled and ready to mount. minutes South of airport. 1.25 of Diego. 366 South Tustin, Orange CA 92866. Mapquest us! We are on the West side of Tustin Designed, Built & Tested Ave, just North of the 22, & just West in Barnoldswick, England of the 55. Hours: 9-6 M-F, 10-5 Saturday. 119 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 120. Roost: Speed can’t be taught, and MBA Competition Gwin has it early in his career. He is entering his true rookie World Cup season with a couple of top- ten finishes from 2008. Aaron Gwin MBA: How do you stay focused in the presence of your almost immediate success? MBA: What will be your encore performance in 2009? AG: My first-year success doesn’t really get to me. I strug- AG: I will race the full World Cup schedule and the gled a lot to make it happen in moto. I had the speed, but it World Championships on the Yeti team with Justin and never worked out, because of either bike problems or injury. Sam. I’ll definitely race the U.S. National Championship Something always seemed to hold me back. I don’t mind any and some Mountain States Cups. My goal is to consis- hype around me now. I’m not cocky, but confident in my abili- tently be in the top ten at World Cups. 2009 will techni- ties. In my mind it’s an “about time” kind of thing for me. J cally still be my rookie year racing the complete circuit. AARON GWIN and before that I worked as a plumber Nickname: Gwiny for a little bit. Age: 21 Goals: To always give it 100 percent Birthday: 12/24/87 and be the best I can be. Hometown: Morongo Valley, Heroes: God California Most embarrassing moment: When I Height: 5' 11quot; asked the guys at Yeti how to take the Weight: 165 rear wheel off while packing my bike Marital status: Single for Schladming. Current home location: Morongo If you were not a pro rider you Valley, California would like to be: A pro motocross Started mountain biking: 2007 rider or some type of sports trainer. Turned pro (year): 2007 Cars owned: 1999 Toyota Tacoma Sponsors: Yeti, Monster Energy, race machine. Smith optics, Freestyle watches, Something you always take when Houseman racing, Jett, 661, you travel: My laptop, cell phone, and, and Dylan Dean designs wallet. Riding specialty: Gooners Favorite bands: Jimi Hendrix, Favorite place to ride: Anywhere new Wolfmother, and Jack Johnson. Favorite food: Mexican Favorite hobbies: Surfing, tennis, Jobs held other than bicycle rider: moto, snowboarding. I used to be a motocross mechanic, 120
  • 121. YOU SAVE $51 YOU SAVE $56 YOU SAVE $51 2008 GIRO ANIMAS MTB HELMET 2008 GIRO E2 MTB HELMET 2008 GIRO ANIMAS MTB HELMET 110 59 130 74 110 59 Reg. $ SALE $ Reg. $ SALE $ Reg. $ SALE $ YOU SAVE $215 YOU SAVE $300 YOU SAVE $275 YOU SAVE $100 Mavic Ksyrium Elite Mavic CrossMax SLR Mavic CrossMax SX Disc Mavic DeeTraks Wheelset 624 409 999 699 774 499 399 299 Reg. $ SALE $ Reg. $ SALE $ Reg. $ SALE $ Reg. $ SALE $ YOU SAVE $36 YOU SAVE $26 YOU SAVE $26 YOU SAVE $30 ‘08 CamelBak HAWG 100oz. ‘08 CamelBak MULE 100oz. ‘08 CamelBak LOBO 100oz. ‘07 CamelBak CHAOS 10 1 74 85 59 75 49 79 49 Reg. $ SALE $ Reg. $ SALE $ Reg. $ SALE $ Reg. $ SALE $ *With your good credit, call for details. Not responsible for typographical errors. Prices subject to change. *LOW PRICE GUARANTEE: SEE WWW.WHEELWORLD.COM OR ASK A WHEEL WORLD SALES ASSOCIATE FOR DETAILS. f go
  • 122. reg. $289 sale $199 reg. $80 sale $44 reg. $1 0 sale $64 1 reg. $90 sale $52 Shimano XT / Mavic EX325 Disc Black Spokes, Black Rims,32 Hole, Shimano MT31 Shoe Shimano RO85 Shoe Black Nipps, Disc Brake Shimano RO75 Shoe 26 x 2.5 A true all-rounder, More Than lightweight folding Kevlar beads. 50% OFF reg. $299 sale $219 reg. $59 sale $24 reg. $855 sale $409 reg. $89 sale $39 Azonic Outlaw Wheelset Continental Diesel Protection 2007 All Mountain SL Crank Bros. Egg Beater C Pedals Comes with axel conversion kit. 36 spokes, sealed bearings. 75mm, 1 22/32/44, Black 2 PC-830 8sp. reg. $1 sale $1 9 5 PC-951 9sp. reg. $26 sale $1 9 PC-971 9sp. reg. $29 sale $1 reg. $379 sale $1 39 reg. $239 sale $1 reg. $1 sale $79 69 69 CHAIN SALE Shimano M525 / Sun Ringle Single ype” Crank Set Hayes HFX9 XC Disc Brake Evolve XC “X-T 20mm Trak Thru Axle. EA70 DH Handlebar $60 sale $24 reg. EA50 DH Handlebar $40 sale $15 reg. 31.8 Oversized Low Rise XC reg. $130 sale $89 reg. $70 sale $44 reg. $80 sale $49 SRAM X.9 T er Shif ter Race Face Deus XC Bar rigg SRAM X.7 Trigger Shifter 80% OFF DH Productions Best Selling Titles Red Bull Bike Battle Baltimore, Seven Vision “The Cut” Jeff Lenosky’s Greatest Hits & Chain Reaction 5 reg. $1 99 sale $799 reg. $100 sale $69ur ,5 reg. $70 sale $39 reg. $1 sale $20 00 FREE RIDE Build Kit ille Dera SRAM X.7 Rear Derailleur SRAM X.9 Re ar DVD 4-Pack Blowout! f c
  • 123. ‘07 KONA STINKY 7” TRAVEL FOX VANILLA R FR FREERIDE reg. $59 sale $29 reg. $1 9 now $699 reg. $69 sale $42 ,29 reg. $89 sale $59 2008 Fox Base Shorts Shorts 2008 Fox Mid Ranger LIMITED SIZES AV 2008 Fox High Frequency Short AILABLE reg. $25 sale $14 49 reg. $299 sale $1 reg. $249 sale $99 2 reg. $39 sale $1 Azonic 08 Terrain Glove 07 KHS DJ25 Dirt Jump Frame 07 RST T Launch Fork 2008 661 Descend Gloves -7 reg. $89 sale $39 reg. $50 sale $15 0 reg. $22 sale $1 4 reg. $25 sale $1 2008 O’Ne al A- 10 Short ‘08 CANARI CRUISER JERSEY errain Glove 2008 O’Neal Element Jersey Azonic 08 T reg. $59 now $24 reg. $1 now $1 4 reg. $59 now $29 49 reg. $79 now $39 reg. $49 now $23 1 Sella Italia XO Gel Saddle WTB Rocket-V SLT Sad WTB Pro Gel Saddle WTB Pure-V Comp Saddle WTB Speed-V Comp Saddle dle reg. $60 now $23 reg. $86 now $42 reg. $1 now $29 39 reg. $90 now $29 reg. $1 now $59 00 Metallica Activewe ar Jersey Castelli Aries FZ Jersey 2006 Fox Lady’s Trooper Jacket Me tallica Soccer Jersey 2008 Bell Variant Helmet *With your good credit, call for details. Not responsible for typographical errors. Prices subject to change. WOODLAND HILLS CULVER CITY TOTALLY REMODELED *LOW PRICE GUARANTEE: SEE WWW.WHEELWORLD.COM OR ASK A WHEEL WORLD SALES ASSOCIATE FOR DETAILS. f c
  • 124. MBA Competition Focus On Winning Party on: Dual-threat riders tend to compete in mul- Elite gravity athletes specialize tiple events at stand-alone festival races that are not part of a series. Dual slalom national champ Chris in one discipline Herndon leads slopestyle star Kyle Strait in the 2008 Crankworx Giant Slalom. MICK HANNAH wenty years ago, it was common for moun- T tain bike racers to race a cross-country Mongoose rider Mick Hannah took a break from racing during the 2008 season. Before his hiatus, Mick was a event on Saturday and compete in the perennial podium threat for dual slalom, downhill and 4- downhill the following day, often on the same Cross racing. He is also one of two riders to ever win both a bike. Once the sport introduced dual slalom, NORBA dual slalom and downhill in the same weekend many downhillers added that discipline to their (Eric Carter being the other). Mick is back on the World Cup circuit for 2009 and gave us some insight into his rac- schedule. Today, at the elite World Cup level, you ing plans and thoughts on the specialization of gravity rac- can count the number of riders who race both ing. downhill and a gated event (dual slalom or 4- “This year I’ll be focusing on World Cup downhills and will race some 4-Cross events,” explains Hannah. “It Cross) on one hand. Even just five to eight years depends on the race’s scheduling for the weekend. My pas- ago, many top World Cup gravity racers often sion is downhill. I raced BMX growing up and then fell in competed in dual slalom (or 4-Cross) as well as love with downhill. I like to ride 4-Cross, and I’ve done well in qualifying, but I have had trouble getting through the downhill. rounds. Has each gravity event become so specialized it’s “The World Cup 4-Cross tracks have been really good the impractical to be an elite racer in both disciplines? past couple of years, but I’d still like to see bigger jumps. We We asked the sport’s top racers for their input on [pro riders] can ride a lot bigger courses, but nothing like that has been built yet. In 4-Cross, the crowd needs to look at the the subject. 124
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  • 126. MBA Competition Winning Thoroughbred: Once the UCI made the change from dual slalom to 4-Cross, most elite gravity racers opted to specialize in down- hill. Why the drastic drop-off in participation? racing and be in amazement of the racer’s bike handling. In regards to riders choosing one event and specializing in it, I believe the level of both downhill and 4-Cross racing is much higher now, and it’s difficult to be competitive in both events. It goes back to training, too. Downhill training is quite a bit different from 4-Cross; one is like a 100-meter sprint and the other is like training for a mile-long race.” STEVE PEAT Legendary downhiller Steve Peat has won multiple World Cup downhill championships, been a three-time downhill World Championship runner-up, British 4-Cross champion, and an accomplished World Cup dual-slalom racer. We caught up with Steve at the 2010 RockShox Boxxer intro in Alicante, Spain, for his thoughts on the specialization of downhill racing. “I stopped racing 4-Cross because the tracks weren’t really fun anymore. I would race dual slalom if it made a comeback. It’s fun, and I feel it takes true bike handling skills. And in 4- Cross the tracks need to be longer, because the races are all over after the first turn. It’s becoming more specialized in gravity, because not all guys have the time necessary to prac- tice BMX gates while preparing for downhill racing. Master and student: Australian Jared Graves (left) talks 4-Cross strategy with world champion Brian Lopes. Graves is one of the few top-tier downhillers who also race 4-Cross. Lopes knows the dedication required for an athlete to be competitive at both events. 126
  • 127. 127 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 128. MBA Competition Going strong: Brian Lopes has more UCI World Cup career wins than any other mountain biker, including three 4-Cross world championships and one dual slalom world championship. Today, he is still a top contender at unique downhill events, like the Garbanzo endurance and A-Line downhill races in Whistler. Winning The king: Legendary World Cup downhill racer Steve Peat is also accomplished at dual slalom and a British 4-Cross National Champion. He would race more 4-Cross events if the courses were more challenging. Photo by Victor Lucas 128
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  • 130. MBA Competition Winning Two-of-a-kind: Mick Hannah and Jared Graves battle at the 2007 Sea Otter Classic dual slalom. Mick and Jared are the rare exceptions at World Cup events, as they often compete in both downhill and 4-Cross. THE DUEL GETS DOUBLED energy and training into one event ultimately negatively DUAL SLALOM TURNS TO 4-CROSS affects the other. “For 2009, I have no intention of racing any World Cup 4- The Dual Slalom World Cup was launched in 1998 Cross events. But, if dual slalom were brought back, I would and involved knockout heats with two riders on the consider doing a couple of events. A couple of years ago at a course in each heat. Slalom evolved into 4-Cross World Cup in Slovenia, I sat down with officials and down- (with four riders per heat) in 2002. hillers to discuss what it would take to get more downhill racers racing 4-Cross at the World Cups. There were a lot of downhillers there, and one of the topics that came up was dual slalom. The question was asked, if 4-Cross went back “The guys who race 4-Cross are amazing on their bikes, to slalom, would more downhill-specific riders race it? It but sometimes the tracks don’t make them look as skilled as was interesting, because a lot of riders said they’d consider they really are. In downhill, the clock doesn’t lie, and all of it. But there wasn’t an overwhelming number of riders say- the pressure is on you.” ing yes they’d definitely race both events if slalom was brought back. Occasionally you’ll find a guy like Jared BRIAN LOPES Graves, who wasn’t the best at either discipline, but worked Brian Lopes specialized in dual slalom and 4-Cross late in hard and now he’s a top rider in both. his career, but the four-time World Champion also dominated “If you’re a top-ten downhill guy, why would you want to downhill. A three-time NORBA downhill series champion in waste time and energy racing 4-Cross? Not to mention the the late 1990s, Lopes continues to be the man to beat at race scheduling and cost. It’s so expensive flying bikes. A lot world-class downhill events like Crankworx in Whistler, of guys probably don’t think it’s worth packing two bikes, British Columbia. Brian, who is never shy about commenting extra tires, and the rest of their gear. There seem to be more on the state of mountain bike racing, gives us his two cents and more factors against riders competing in both disciplines on why so many gravity racers are choosing one discipline. at the World Cup level. However, there are popular events “There are a few reasons racing has gotten more special- like Crankworx that spread out the races over a week. You’ll ized. Riders are figuring out that if they are going to be have more guys racing both slalom and downhill there, competitive at the highest level, it takes intense focus, plus a because the event is stretched out over a week with plenty of lot of time and energy. When it comes down to it, putting time to practice downhill and gated events.” J 130
  • 131. Southern California’s Connection since 1999 Five Seven Five el 5.75” Trav e 5.7 lb. Fram AS-R Carbon el 3.75” Trav me ra 4.2 lb. F AS-R Alloy (Carbon Rear) el 3.75” Trav e am 4.8 lb. Fr (Yetis: in-store sales ONLY, NO mail orders) 366 South Tustin Avenue Orange California 92866 714-288-2012 131 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 132. 1.888.880.3403 We Offer a 30-Day Price Protection Policy, Plus NO- HASSLE RETURNS CALL US TOLL FREE OR ORDER ONLINE AT CALL US TOLL FREE OR ORDER ONLINE AT TO L NE with NO Restocking WWW.JENSONUSA.COM FEES! Marzocchi 66 RC-3 ‘08 Fork 40% 44% Inspired by countless runs Authorized Mail Order Retailer! in Whistler’s MTB park OFF $2195 and the desire to have a OFF! lightweight, long travel single crown fork with 888 performance. FK303A19 msrp $899 Titus Racer X Ti Frame ‘08 $499 sha The shaped 3Al/2.5V titanium main triangle provide provides the ultimate combination of durabili durability and weight savings. msrp $3895 FR288B FR288B02 Marzocchi 66 ATA ‘08 Fork Titus Motolite Kit 1 Bike ‘09 the 66 ATA is a highly A fun to ride trail bike that offers great customizable fork that fits performance, thanks in part to it’s Fox fueled Horst in perfectly on the Freeride Link Suspension system. Tricked out with Mavic, or Downhill scenes. Nevegals, X.9, Magura Louise & FK303A17 SIDI Bullet 2 Shoes More msrp $1099.99 BI289B05 Sizes 42-47 $699 36% $2995 SH311B07 OFF MSRP $181.99 $109 99 40% 37% 54% OFF OFF OFF 29% $66 $78 OFF! Giro Animas Helmet ‘08 Giro E2 Helmet ‘07 Sun Ringle Disc-O-Tek XC Specifically designed for long rides Combines 24 cooling vents with Giro’s Roc Loc 4 Wheelset fit system and an adjustable visor for the best in Matte Carbon/Black (S or L) a lightweight and smooth rolling wheelset comfort and fit. Matte Gold (S) Red, White Flames (S,M,L) that is great for any XC rider. Matte Titanium Flames ( S,M,L) Black Carbon(S,M,L) Red/Titanium (S,M,L) $229 WH295A00 HE302A03 Silver/White ( S,M,L) MSRP $499 MSRP $105 MSRP $130 HE402A03 Shimano XT 756/ $499 TA Rhynolite Wheelset 54% OFF Need an aggressive wheelset? Then look no Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Frame BMC Trailfox 2.0 further this wheelset $1167 features Sun Ringle’s w/Free Ultegra ‘08 kit Frame ‘07 strong Rhyno Lite rims Bianchi’s Coast to Coast line has been optimized for Enjoy 120mm of travel with BMC’s laced to disc hubs with DT long distance racing and riding. The Via Nirone 7 Advanced Pivot System for great Swiss spokes. Ultegra/105 features a strong mix of Shimano Ultegra pedaling efficiency. 54% $139 msrp $299.99 WH296A00 and 105 components. White/Black 17, 19, 21” msrp $1649.99 OFF! BI298C12 FR293H01 MSRP $1095 RockShox Ario 2.2 Shock! Sh $765 WTB Dual Duty Jamis Parker 1 2008 Shimano Deore 26% 61% OFF Incredibly Versatile! Ready for Wheelset OE OFF! slopestyle, jumping, or all day A strong and versatile trail rides. BMC Trailfox 2.0 $999 wheel that features WTB’s BI290B01 msrp msrp $1350 popular Dual Duty rim Frame ‘07 laced to reliable Shimano This could be the long-travel, GREAT PRICE disc hubs. lighweight XC frame you’ve been DROP! WH289A05 looking for. $89 White/Black 17, 19, 21, 23” FR293H00 MSRP $1950 Compare at $130 Rockshox Recon 351 Also Available as FRAME Only for $499.99 U Turn Fork FR289B01 08 OE 51% 17% QR, 85-130mm Trav, 185 mm Cut Steerer OFF! OFF! FK289A01 $279 Schwinn Fastback Sport Bike 2007 Compare The Fastback Sport feature quality components Jamis Diablo 2.0 Bike 2007 Jamis Dakota Sport Bike including TruVativ cranks, Shimano shifters, derailleurs Built for big hits and big air, with a super- Race Face 2008 at $410! and levers, and a Selle San Marco saddle. $133 msrp $679.99 strong hydro-formed frame and a double BI292C00 A quick and efficient hardtail XC bike, Evolve XC-Type crankset. thanks in part to a short chainstay. Crankset ‘08 $449 BI290B00 $832 50 BI290A00 925 g, 6066-T6 Alu msrp $1000 $1649 26% OFF msrp $3350 CR302A04 34% OFF MSRP $179
  • 133. 2009 MARZOCCHI FORKS IN STOCK! Dare to Compare! FREE HEADSET Jenson USA offers fast, GET A FREE CANE CREEK fair shipping. Always S3 OR TANK HEADSET compare item cost with the Lowest Prices Guaranteed! W/PURCHASE + shipping for true comparison A $30 Value or More! 54% Marzocchi XC OFF! 600 ‘08 Black, 120 mm, TST2 FK303A07 MSRP $390 $189 52% OFF Marzocchi 55 R ‘08 Shimano XT M765 Hydro $1599 Black, 140 mm Brake Lever Set Bell Faction Helmet ‘07 FK303A13 Fits Calipers M800, M765, M756, M555 MSRP $399.99 Design inspired by skateboarding. Cool and BL409Z00 $79 comfortable! MSRP $169.99 60% OFF $239 Red, Black or White MSRP $39.99 HE402F01 40% OFF Shimano Dura-Ace CS- 7800 10sp Cassette Marzocchi XC600 ‘08 Fork 173 grams, 10 sp ATA. 100-140mm 77% CS706A00 FK303A07 11-21T was $207.99 NOW $92 MSRP $459 OFF 12-21T was $207.99 NOW $135 12-23T was $207.99 NOW $135 $245 Shimano Saint M801 Rear Marzocchi XC 700 ATA ‘08 Derailleur f/135mm Frame White 100-140 mm $389 Long Cage Top Normal 47% FK303A06 $49 Shimano LX ST-M585 Levers MSRP $699 RD311A01 OFF msrp $129.99 Dual-control design (one lever operates 44% OFF 99 69% brakes and shifters) in a hydraulic specific $39 design. 9sp. OFF SL604B02 Jamis Diablo 1.0 Bike ‘07 msrp $216.99 A strong freeride/downhill bike that eats up drops, big hits and jumps while still giving you a smooth ride to the bottom $235 25% of the hill. OFF! BI294T00 MSRP $2300 33% Jamis Exile Single OFF $1299 Speed Frame ‘06 A Classic hardtail with a air-hardened Reynolds 631 steel chassis. 44% OFF 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 MSRP $350 FR290A00 Order Online and Delivery to any Jenson USA $235 33% location is always free! OFF Bianchi Via Nirone 7 AL/ Carbon Ontario, California Will-Call Window Jamis Exile Single Tiagra Bike ‘08 Speed Frame ‘07 Features BAT and K-VID technology to help absorb vibration 1441 S. Carlos Ave providing you with a comfortable and stable ride that can go Mission Blvd A Strong and stiff air-hardened Reynolds the distance. Ontario, California 91751 631 Chromoly Frame. $895 BI298C14 15, 17, 19, 21 909.947.2100 Archibald S.Carlos msrp $1199.99 FR289G00 Open Mon-Sat Vineyard 15 Francis 64% 76% OFF OFF 60 Corona, California Superstore 15 Easton Vice AM Stem ‘08 Easton EA50 Stem FREE DVD Research Dr Perfect for aggressive all-mountain riders. Forged 2014 aluminum Auto Center Dr $12 ST402A05 ST295A05 $18 MSRP $50 MSRP $50 Get A Free “Hypnosis” Lincoln Wardlow Rd Or “Synopsis” Dvd 28% With Any 2009 OFF! Bell Or Giro Helmet 91 Purchase. Serfas Club Dr Plus Free Shipping! 2410 Wardlow Rd Suite 109 15 Corona, California 92880 951.736.0700 Manitou R7 MRD ‘08 Fork NOW OPEN 7 DAYS The MRD (Manitou Race Development) A WEEK! represents “as good as it gets” design for cross-country riders. Features weight-saving tricks like a hollow cold-forged crown and 30mm alloy stanchions. Red, 80mm, Disc Only. Disclaimer* Quantities on some items may be limited - shop early for best selection. Pricing may vary between Bianchi Axis LX/Tiagra Cyclocross FK301A01 our magazine ads, catalogs, showroom, retail stores, and website. Currency fluctuations, manufacturer price Bike ‘08 MSRP $699 increases, model year changes, and other factors may cause our costs to change. JensonUSA reserves the right to modify our prices at any time without notice. Prices listed do not include shipping. Errors in product descriptions, $299 A smooth rolling cross bike that features a full Alu 7005 weights, prices, or photography are unintentional and subject to correction. Customer bears the cost of return 57% hdyroformed frame with different wall thickness for strength shipping for exchanges/returns unless Jenson USA has made a shipping error. Please call for a return authorization and weight savings. OFF $939 number. Jenson USA strives to offer the best prices on every item we sell. We will price match any nationally BI298C36 advertised price - just give us the details at the time of your order. The identical item (size, color, model year) must msrp $1300 be in stock at the time your order is placed. This does not include items which are on sale/clearance/blowout. Price match may not be combined with any other offers. * All Shimano logos and brands are the exclusive property of Shimano American Corporation. c
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  • 135. SHOWCASE DRAW ATTENTION TO YOUR AD WITH FOUR-COLOR SIZE 3x 6x 12x 1-inch 4/C $345 $330 $305 2-inch 4/C $520 $495 $455 3-inch 4/C $655 $625 $570 1/6 Page 4/C $935 $895 $855 Call or e-mail: DERRECK BERNARD 661.367.2153 800.767.0345 ex153 DERRECKB@HI-TORQUE.COM 161 135 November 2008 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 136. QUICK RELEASES 1 2 rotecting your noggin P should be your numero uno priority when select- ing equipment for your ride, and you should always dress for the inevitable crash. For this edition of “Quick Releases,” we’ve round- ed up a handful of the sport’s top brain buckets for you to wrap your head around. 1 Built for speed: Giro’s Athlon hel- met is geared for cross-country competi- tion, but doesn’t sacrifice smooth style. The Athlon features 23 wind tunnel 3 vents with internal channeling, the ROC LOC 4 fit system, and a remov- able visor. Olympian Adam Craig will be sporting Giro’s Athlon helmet in 2009, along with Giro eyewear and gloves. $130, (800) 456-2355. 2 Strategically placed: The first mountain-specific open-face helmet from Specialized, the Tactic has an inte- grated visor and the Pro Fit 2 retention system. Specialized’s patented 4th Di- mension cooling system draws fresh air across a rider’s head and out the back of the helmet. $65, (408) 779-6229. 3 Bell rung: The Variant helmet from 4 Bell is a go-anywhere, do-everything mountain bike helmet. It features Bell’s Twin Axis Gear fit system and Fusion In-Mold Microshell construction with trail-tuned ventilation. $90, (800) 456-2355. 4 Going back to Kali: Durgana means difficult to control and is also the name of this helmet from Kali Protectives. The Durgana is designed for downhill riding, has an EPS liner, 14-vent Air- flow system, an antibacterial washable liner, and breakaway visor. $149, (408) 224-3600. 5 Turn it up: If you’ve never rid- den with music, you don’t know what you’re missing. The Azonic Surround Sound helmet has built-in speakers that don’t hamper outside noise. This unique 5 mountain bike helmet has 11 ventilation holes, is compatible with most MP3 and CD players, and is available in either matte black or Army green. $39, (800) 326-6325. 136
  • 137. 6 7 6 8 Women only: The Diva helmet from Louis Garneau is a women’s helmet that’s available in white, blue and pink, has an ergonomic quick-release buckle, and offers Airdry Fusion ventilation for optimum comfort. $39, (800) 448-1984. 7 Fashion meets function: You won’t find a more stylish full-face helmet in downhill mountain biking than the Troy Lee Designs D2. The D2 Carbon Crow Black has a Hi-Flow ventilation system, TLD color-matched visor, tita- nium hardware, removable roost guard and one-of-a-kind graphics. $375, (951) 371-5219. 9 8 Fly high: The SixSixOne Flight 2 Hy- brid LTD helmet is a DOT and SNELL approved motocross helmet that’s also very popular on the downhill mountain bike scene. It features an adjustable vi- sor, removable and washable lining, and triple front air intakes to keep you cool. 10 $199, (888) 520-4888. 9 Fit for a giant: Not everyone knows that Giant Bicycles makes helmets. The Ares helmet features their Car- bonCrown reinforcement ring, Cinch retention system, 22 vents to keep you cool, and is available in white, red, blue, charcoal and pink. $107, (805) 267-4600. 10 Tinsel Town lid: The new line of full- face helmets from THE has killer graph- ics. The composite Hollywood helmet has 15 vents and a dual EPS liner. The chinstrap has stainless steel D-rings and custom THE rivets. If the Hollywood helmet doesn’t suit you, check out their other new looks for 2009. $199, (562) 407-2184. 137 April 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
  • 138. DOWN THE TRAIL ur April 1999 issue had O one of the most spectacu- lar covers in our illustrious history. Ace photographer John Ker captured movie stuntman Eddie Fiola being lowered down an impossibly steep rock face at Stoney Point in Chatsworth, Cali- fornia. We asked John how well he remembered the day. “Like it was yesterday,” John replied.฀ “I don’t know how long it took for Eddie and his guys to set up the shot,” remembers John. “I showed up, determined the best angles to shoot, and Eddie was ready. It was so scary to see Eddie hanging 50 feet above the rock landing! I just wanted to get the shot done and get Eddie down safely. We removed the cables from the photo that appeared on the cover. I have always wondered if that cover shot inspired Josh Bender to start his career of jump- ing off cliffs.” 138