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Mountain.Bike.Action.August.09 Mountain.Bike.Action.August.09 Document Transcript

  • MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 3 298 C0 CC AUGUST 2009 Att’n Retailer: Please display until August 6 $4.99
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  • THIS MONTH The Sea Otter Classic is a celebration of cycling. Our special section devoted to the racing and new products starts on page 66. 46 54 Photo by John Ker Photo by John Ker BIKE TESTS 92 The Santa Cruz Jackal TECHNICAL 42 The Specialized Epic A jump bike from the mind of 46 How Handlebar Width Expert Kirt Voreis. Affects Your Ride Winning on performance A back-to-back, bar-to-bar ride and price. 106 The Tomac Snyper 140 comparison. “Johnny T” is watching over 54 The Trek Fuel EX 9.9 you. 100 Ten Ways To Bulletproof Premium fuel equals premium Your Trailbike performance. MBA SEA OTTER Preventing problems before CLASSIC COVERAGE they happen. 62 The Norco Fluid 1 A Canadian trailbike built 66 Cross-Country Under 110 Inside The Pros’ Bikes to take it. The Sun Geoff Kabush’s Rocky Mountain Dry and dusty puts a new twist Vertex RSL Team. on the Otter. 114 The Garage Files 70 The Heat Gets Turned Up Setup tips for Avid’s Elixir Elite racers clash at the dual brakes. slalom and downhill. 76 Miles Of New Products TRAINING AND Hidden treasures found in FITNESS the pits. 84 Ride Your First 24-Hour Race PEOPLE Ten tips that will make it fun. 50 Young Rippers Re-introducing Brandon COMPETITION Semenuk. 118 The Good Doctor Of 58 Riders Who Inspire Downhill Mathew Portell rides so kids Inside Steve Peat’s decade of Hit the brake: Does your mountain bike can read. dominance. really need a parking brake? Find out why the wrecking crew will never see a bike slip away again. Page 34. 4 &
  • 92 contents 106 Photo by John Ker Photo by John Ker DEPARTMENTS 12 Happy Trails Year of the 29er. 16 Mac Attack Getting schooled. VOLUME 24, NUMBER 8 AUGUST 2009 20 Hard Tales Faces of the racers, gossip and near truths. ON THE COVER 26 Trailgrams It is rush hour at the Sea Otter Classic with Specialized’s Todd Wells That resistance feeling is real! already in the place where he will finish. Photo by Jim “Please don’t put this magazine back on the rack” McIlvain. 28 Trail Mix Riders share their favorite photos. MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION Magazine (ISSN 0895-8467 Canada GST 12500#9266RT: CPC INT’L. PUB MAIL 34 Thrash Tests 40024492) AUGUST 2009, Volume 24, Issue 8, is published monthly by Daisy/Hi-Torque Publishing Company, Inc., with editorial offices at 25233 Anza Dr., Valencia, CA 91355. Subscriptions $19.98 for 12 issues (one year). Canada Wheels, pedals and a parking add $12 additional postage for one year, $24 for two years. Foreign add $15 additional postage for one year, $30 for brake for your bike. 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 reserved. Nothing in this magazine may be reprinted in whole or in part, by any means, without the express permission of the publisher. Contributors: Photographs should 38 Inside Line 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 The eternal sponsorship ques- prints will no longer be accepted for consideration; such images should be scanned and submitted as high-resolu- tion answered again. tion 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 82 How To Subscribe accompanied by a printed version. Written submissions, both on paper and CD, will not be returned. The publisher Come on already, drop four fins does not assume responsibility for unsolicited material. PERIODICALS: 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, and get 12 issues a year. Valencia, CA 91380-9058. Printed in U.S.A. For Canadian returns mail to: Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542 London, ON N6C 6B2. 126 Quick Releases Pedals for every type of mountain bike. WARNING: Much of the action depicted in this magazine is potentially danger- 130 Down The Trail ous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced experts or pro- Joe Lawwill shows off his fessionals. Do not attempt to duplicate any stunts that are beyond your own serious capabilities. Always use discretion and wear the appropriate safety gear. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 5 &
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  • HAPPY TRAILS By Richard J. Cunningham Will cross-country phenomenon leadership from the big brands. The N iner Bikes was selling Julien Absalon abandon his 26-inch- first victim of the 29er shuffle will be T-shirts at the Sea Otter wheeled Orbea Alma and opt for a every dual-suspension trailbike with Classic espousing that this 29er? Probably not—but the man less than four inches of travel—easy was the “Year of Niner,” which got who ultimately dethrones him may matches for a big-wheeled hardtail. me thinking, on the long drive well be sporting big wheels. All of the Add a few inches of rear suspension home, about the inevitable restruc- 29er’s technical barriers have been to the 29er equation and it will mock turing that results when a per- flattened. Folks like Niner have any 26-inch suspension bike with less ceived fad within our sport ironed out weight, wheel-strength, than five inches of travel. After that becomes a scientific reality. A tire design, geometry issues and prop- point, however, physical complica- pivotal teacher of mine said that er gearing. Perhaps the only hurtle tions related to swinging a huge when a new concept presents itself, that stands between the 29er and the wheel into the seat tube block the it’s like an important guest entering pro peloton is the fact that the sport’s 29er from further encroaching into a room where all are seated and top racers hail from Europe, where the territory of the 26er. The foresee- there is no additional chair. 29ers have been summarily rejected able conclusion to this game of dual- Everyone must rise to greet the by both industry pundits and enthusi- suspension musical chairs is that the guest, all must reconsider the new asts alike. Once Europe gets its head realm of the 26-inch wheel cross- seating arrangements, and around big wheels, however, the sim- country bike (strictly from a perfor- ultimately, one person will end up ple fact that a 29er hardtail can mance standpoint) will begin at five without a seat. Niner’s prediction is approach the downhill performance inches. Anyone who can read the accurate. The 29er has entered the of a complex, short-travel, dual-sus- wind will agree that this is already room, the cross-country guests are pension bike will eventually turn the happening. all scrambling, and it appears that tide. I am sure that Absalon and What does this mean to cross-coun- the 26-inch wheel hardtail will be friends would rather race a big- try enthusiasts? Well, nothing immedi- left without a chair. wheeled hardtail than accept the real- ately, because we already own bikes ity of rear suspension—ever. that fit our riding style. But the year of And what about rear suspension? the 29er will surely affect our next Blasphemous words, no doubt, but How will the new seating arrange- purchase. If you belong to the 26-inch- the truth is impossible to ignore—the ment upset the status of dual-suspen- wheel establishment, ride a few 29ers 29-inch hardtail is superior to its sion cross-country bikes once the (really ride them) before you throw smaller-wheeled cousin in all corners 29er hardtail is comfortably in its down for a same-old, same-old—you’ll of the cross-country performance chair? The reality is that bike makers be pleasantly surprised. Ignore this envelope. It rolls faster, climbs better, are lost on this one, so don’t seek advice, and you may be left standing. ❑ descends with a measurable improve- ment in control, and the larger-wheel format nearly approaches the rough- terrain capabilities of a four-inch- travel, dual-suspension 26er. In short, if you prefer a hardtail, your first and only choice is a 29er—unless you are simply too short to fit between two 29-inch wheels and maintain an ergonomic pedaling position on the bike. Don’t bother pointing the crooked skeletal finger of accepted tradition and spouting with your toothless mouth: “If 29ers are superior, why is the 26-inch wheel hardtail the first choice of World Cup Professionals?” We heard it all before when suspen- sion forks appeared, and then dual- suspension, and then disc brakes. Professional racers resisted low-pres- sure tubeless tires after that, and yet, all of these “nevers” fill the start line R. Cunningham illustration at World Cup cross-country events today. The overwhelming evidence exists in North America’s amateur cross-country ranks, where 29ers will soon outnumber 26ers in marathon events and are a rapidly growing pres- ence at traditional cross-country venues. As they say in Montana: “Eat more lamb—10,000 coyotes can’t be wrong.” 12 &
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  • The Power of 4 The four most innovative brands in cycling have come together behind one singular goal: to craft the most advanced 2x10 cross country group ever: XX™ XX was an idea whose time was right: our first MTB group. We didn’t just want to be better—we wanted to be beyond comparison. Revolutionary front shifting, unmatched ergonomics, and unequalled hydraulic remote suspension lock-out, all in the first-ever 2x10 MTB package. © 2009 SRAM, LLC &
  • Jon Cancellier, BlackBox® Racing Manager &
  • THE MAC ATTACK By Jim McIlvain Getting Schooled Y ou’ve got to listen closely when single carbon-framed Gary Fisher speaks. He starts bike, although I’m sure out in a normal speaking tone there were a few in the and then has a tendency to lower the field. Instead, the bikes volume as he continues. The listener appeared to be pulled has to lean in close, turn an ear and from the back of garages hope there is not too much ambient and pressed into service. noise competing with Gary’s soft deliv- There were more plat- ery. Now, you not only listen carefully form pedals than clipless because of Gary’s low tone, but pedals, and baggy shorts because you don’t want to miss what far outnumbered Lycra. this man is saying. Thousand-dollar carbon Gary has a knack for identifying fiber wheels with sew-up trends way before they become trends. tires? You’ve got to be kid- He has done it many times over a ding. I’d be surprised if career that spans from the pioneering anyone was running tube- days of our wonderful sport to the less tires. complexity of the splintered and highly The racing brought me defined disciplines of the sport today. back to the early days of So when Gary spoke about the NorCal mountain biking. Here were High School Mountain Bike Racing riders on oversized junkers League way back in 2001, I paid atten- borrowed from dad flying tion. down the trail in contention The soft-spoken words sounded like for the lead. There was seri- thunder in the distance. Something big ous dicing going on for 22nd was coming our way. Eight years of place. There were riders try- growth have proved that Gary still has ing like mad to make up time a knack for separating the wheat from after making a miscalculation the chaff. The NorCal High School on cornering speed and pay- Mountain Bike Racing League has ing the price. There were rid- grown every year since its inception, ers finding out this mountain and it expanded into Southern bike racing stuff wasn’t as California this year (“Earn A Letter In easy as they thought it was Mountain Biking,” MBA June 2009). going to be. Overall, there was Racing League is global domination. I didn’t know what to expect arriv- that overwhelming feeling of discovery Well, at least national domination. And ing the night before the first round of that I hadn’t felt or seen since my first after seeing the finishers with smiles, a the Southern California series, but it mountain bike race. few tears and lots of dirt-caked shins, didn’t take too long to realize Gary was Still buzzing from the positive ener- I’m optimistic that they are going to again on to something big. Teams hud- gy of that first event, it was hard to accomplish it. The High School dled around campfires eating pasta and believe my eyes. The story that Mountain Bike Racing League is a won- getting last-minute tips from their appeared on the front page of the local derful program, not only for the future coaches. The tips ranged from getting paper’s sports section was a feature on of our sport, but the futures of the young to the start on time to the next day’s the Channel Islands High School athletes taking part in it. racing strategy. Goals were set, riders mountain bike team. There it was, If you would like to become involved encouraged and everyone went off to color photos of a bunch of riders jam- in coaching, volunteering, supporting the their tents for a good night’s sleep. I min’ during a training ride. The last league or in the future of some fine couldn’t help but envy these kids. My time cycling was so prominently fea- young riders, you can visit the website generation didn’t have mountain bikes tured in this paper was two years ago for the NorCal League in high school, and if we did, there when the Amgen Tour of California ( or SoCal League wouldn’t have been coaching like this. passed through Ventura County (and ( And if you get a These kids are getting off to a great that coverage was skinny tire guys). It chance to talk to Gary Fisher, ask him start. took the SoCal High School League to what we’ll all be doing eight years from More teams showed up the next get mountain biking back in the main- now. ❑ morning, and racer turnout was twice stream media and show non-riders what I was expecting for a first-time what we already know about this great ched event. The most obvious difference sport of ours. Jimmy Mac can be rea between adult mountain bike racing The goal of the NorCal High School (when he is not playing hooky) .com. and the High School League was the Mountain Bike Racing League and the at Jamesmac@hi-torque equipment. I don’t remember seeing a SoCal High School Mountain Bike 16 &
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  • HARD TALES Art Limited Edition “Johnny T” Print Tomac Bikes is offering a limited edition print for John “Johnny T” Tomac fans (and we know there are a lot of you out there). The print is of a Randy Rigg painting based off a 1995 photo by Tom Moran, which features Johnny drifting through a corner at the Mammoth Mountain Kamikaze. Tomac Bikes will do a limited run of 20 John Tomac autographed giclee prints on canvas, which will also be signed by the artist. The prints will cost $250 with $50 of each print going to the Tara Llanas Road to Recovery Fund. “My goal was to create a realistic portrayal of Johnny’s racing,” says artist Randy Rigg. “The painting is just a snapshot of a moment, but there is this inherent movement that I hope was captured in it.” The artist himself produces the giclee prints on museum-quality, acid-free canvas using a high-end archival printing process. They measure 15-inches-by-20-inches-by-1.25-inches deep and can be hung as-is or framed. If you act fast, you might be able to get a print by calling Tomac Bikes at (402) 261-3988. Word E.C. On Retirement “I’m pretty much retired and focused Tires on traveling and doing dealer visits for GT, but I’m riding strong, having a lot of Sticking Like Glue fun and just keep winning.” —Eric Carter, after winning the down- hill championship in Southridge Racing’s 15th Annual Shimano Winter Series. Projects Replica Racer We already documented the advantages of the Geax Saguaro tubular tires for 26-inch wheeled bikes (“Tubular Tires For Mountain Bikes?” MBA March 2009). Geax didn’t want to leave the 29er crowd out of all the fun and introduced a 29-inch version of the tire Motocross champ Ryan Villopoto and Cannondale donated a we tested. The tire will sell for $120 at a bike shop near custom Cannondale Moto to use in an auction to raise funds to you. Can’t find one? Call (800) 223-3207. send three riders to the 2009 U.S. Motocross des Nations (the Olympics of motocross). We hope Ryan got to ride the bike before it was auctioned off. 20 &
  • People Faces At The Races Kelli Emmett Jared Rando Tracy Moseley Sam Hill “Johnny O” O’Mara Georgia Gould Jill Kintner Christoph Sauser Cody Warren Gee Atherton Emily Batty Todd Wells Prototype Santa Cruz’s Stupid Bike When not designing World Cup-winning downhill bikes, the guys at Santa Cruz create their “Stupid Bike” to display at events like the Sea Otter Classic or the Downieville downhill race. This year’s creation was made from two Santa Cruz Bullit frame front triangles, two RockShox Boxxer World Cup forks, the Truvativ HammerSchmidt transmission, and for ultimate versatility, a Crankbrothers Joplin adjustable height seatpost. From the looks of the drivetrain, it took some creative thinking to get the Bullit creation to move.❏ Santa Cruz Bicycles engineer Joe Graney August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 21 &
  • HARD TALES Racing New Gravity Circuit Debuts Photos by Jeremiah Dean As the U.S. National race series has floundered over the past few years, top riders were forced to focus on successful regional events, rather than pursuing a national title from events held across the country. Spearheaded by Jeremiah Dean, and Kelli Lusk of USA Cycling, the 2009 Pro Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) was born with the goal of crowning the United States’ top professional downhillers. The Pro GRT consists of five races taking place at already scheduled events at mountain resorts across the country, including three UCI- sanctioned races. Round 1 of the series was held on the flowing, technical terrain of Port Angeles, Washington, at the second stop of the Fluidride Cup series. For more information on upcoming Pro GRT events, visit Champions: Curtis Keene (left) and Katie Holden captured the victories at the inaugural Pro Gravity Tour event at the second round of the Fluidride Cup in Port Angeles, Washington. Numero uno: Curtis Keene rode his Specialized Demo 8 to victory at the inaugural Pro Gravity Tour race in Port Angeles, Top spot: Katie Holden was the fastest pro woman at the first Washington. Keene, 30, traveled from Northern California to race stop of the inaugural Pro GRT event. in Washington. 22 &
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  • HARD TALES Solo project: J.D. Swanguen put together his own race program for 2009, with sponsors including Intense Cycles, ODI grips, Troy Lee Designs and Spy Optics. J.D. put down a run good enough for seventh place. PRO GRT RESULTS Men 1. Curtis Keene (Team Keene) 2. Luke Strobel (Team Maxxis) 3. Ryan Condrashoff (X-Fusion-Intense) 4. Andrew Mitchell (CAN) 5. Joey Schusler (Yeti/Fox) Women 1. Katie Holden (Specialized) 2. Kathy Pruitt (Jamis) Fast times: Twenty-two-year-old 3. Katrina Strand (Oakley) Northern Californian Ryan Condrashoff 4. Abigail Hippely (Yeti) of the X-Fusion/Intense team put down 5. Darian Harvey (Cannondale) a quick run for third place. 24 &
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  • TRAILGRAMS Kind of a drag: Riders responded in The question from Dan Newman massive numbers about the phantom feeling of drag when adjustable travel about the pedal resistance he felt after forks are slammed. The MBA wreck- reducing fork travel and the answer ing crew is not done on the subject. from Dave Weagle (of dw-link fame) in Stay tuned. our May “Inside Line” generated a ton of mail. Here are a few of the responses we received. I FEEL IT, TOO I have a Trek Remedy 8 with a Fox TALAS 36 fork that adjusts from 6.2 inch- es of travel down to 3.9 inches. Like Dan Newman from “Inside Line,” I experience an increase in resistance when I drop the fork to its lowest travel. It’s not a big increase in resistance, but it is noticeable. My previous bike was a Rocky Mountain Slayer with a Marzocchi Z1 fork. It had the old ECC cartridge that would lock the fork into a lowered position. The increase Therefore, those components need to be forks. It doesn’t feel like shifting to a full in resistance was even more noticeable on adjusted differently when travel is gear higher on the cassette, but there is a that bike. I have never quantified the per- changed. noticeable difference in effort needed to formance difference by comparing times, Perhaps a better assessment could be turn the crank (which, psychologically, is so I don’t even know if there is one. Riding made if we looked at what happens on a not a good thing when struggling up a with the fork in the lower position makes hardtail fitted with a travel-adjustable steep climb). I have noticed it when climb- climbing steep hills easier. An added bene- fork. Set the bike up for 6.2 inches of ing steep sidewalks with no change in fit on the Remedy is it shortens up the travel, ride it and then switch to 3.9 grade. I’m with you Dan! wheelbase, which makes it easier to get inches of travel. How about it? Brooks Carter around tight switchbacks. I’ve heard of Ronnie Sittner Moab, Utah other people talking about the phenome- Randolph, New Jersey non, so I don’t think Dan and I are Sounds like a great tech story to us. FRONT BRAKE GREMLINS imagining it. We are on it. I have two forks with a rebound lockout Roy Miller and one with a TALAS feature. I know Longmont, Colorado DON’T WANT TO BE A DRAG exactly the feeling Dan Newman was I ride a 2005 Santa Cruz Blur with a referring to. I would describe it not as dri- NOT IMAGINED 2003 Marzocchi Bomber Marathon SL vetrain drag, but like somebody is holding I wanted to respond to Dave Weagle’s ECC5 fork that has five clicks of travel my front brake. The most interesting thing answer to Dan Newman’s question con- adjustment, and a Fox Float R shock. I is that this is most pronounced on my cerning pedaling efficiency when lowering have a similar situation as described by hardtail, not the five-inch-travel, full-sus- the front suspension. It is my contention Dan in his comment. Sometimes when pension trailbikes I ride. The lower the that the original question has merit. I have climbing I will click my fork adjuster fork is into the travel, the worse the drag noticed this phenomenon as well, on an just two clicks down from fully open, feels. This is true on a climb or even on a efficient-pedaling Intense 5.5 EVP. It is so and it feels as if I have shifted to one, if flat road. I can only determine that the apparent to me that I stopped using a trav- not two, gears higher—even though I am major difference between the bikes is the el-adjustable fork years ago. I would rather still in my granny! This is a very notice- head angle. The steep head angle on the adjust my center of gravity by moving my able feeling, and I rarely click the shock hardtail seems more susceptible to this, weight forward while climbing. A lowered out just for this reason. I have wondered and the slack head angles on my trailbikes fork on a climb feels like you are trying to for years what causes this sensation, but are not as affected. Perhaps dropping the ride the bike into the side of the hill. When just figured it must have something to fork to a point where the trail of the front I ride a bike that is designed for, say, 5.5 do with the geometry change. In most tire is affected, or simply putting weight inches of travel at 3.9 inches of travel, it situations, partially locking the fork out on the front wheel, creates the phenome- feels like I’m sliding off the saddle and con- doesn’t give me enough added advantage non and it really has nothing to do with stantly pushing back on the handlebars. to compensate for the feel of the loss of the rear suspension. My solution is to not This must substantially increase the gearing, even though locking out makes get the fork too low and just scoot out weight on the front wheel. a big difference in bike control. onto the tip of my seat for steep grades. Dave’s reply focused mainly on the Keith Thompson John Weber effect of the lowered front suspension on Santa Maria, California Buckhannon, West Virginia ❑ the rear suspension design. I would con- tend that the issue is more the fact that the AMEN, BROTHER geometry of a frame is changed outside of I want to give an “amen” to what Dan Write us at its design parameters. His theorizing may Newman said about feeling drag in the or hard copy us at MBA Trailgrams, hold true if a motor turning the cranks drivetrain when dropping an adjustable 25233 Anza Drive, Valencia, Ca. propelled the bike. But a rider, who has a fork to a lower travel setting. Dave 91355. Include the town and state body that needs to be positioned efficiently, Weagle seems to dismiss it by saying that where you live. Trailgrams tip of the works differently. Different riders may Dan is “superhuman” and that you month: Approach ruts at a 90-degree build a given bike with different travel would have to have “very tuned-in legs” angle and hop over them. If there are forks, but the setup would also be differ- to feel the difference. I have noticed this multiple ruts, continue crisscrossing ent. The stem rise, seat position and other phenomenon on several bikes after over the trail, keep the front end light, stay adjustments may be very different. seven years of riding adjustable travel off the brakes and skim them. 26 &
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  • TRAIL MIX FLYING LOW I go to school at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, which offers some of the best riding around. This Culvert Gap is conveniently located on campus. This is me, shortly after I picked up my new Santa Cruz. Byron Ingels Durango, Colorado FUTURE CHAMP A picture of a future world downhill champ! Her name is Sara, and she is two years old. Andraz-Vide Celigoj Taos, New Mexico MILITARY MANEUVERS Here’s my buddy, Mark Galeno, getting some serious air in the middle of a casual ride through the quiet valleys in Kyllburg, Germany. We’re a group of Air Force indi- viduals (below) enjoying our weekends abroad! John Winn, SSgt, USAF Spangdahlem AB, Germany 28 &
  • FASTE R , NO M ATTER THE TER R A I N. Designed for riders who appreciate the superior performance and quality of a lightweight, hand-built wheelset, Bontrager XXX, RXL, and Rhythm Pro wheels help you climb with less effort, accelerate out of switchbacks more quickly, and descend with greater confidence and control. Whether you’re looking for the lightest option for your 29er or an incredibly strong cross country wheelset for your trail bike, Bontrager has the perfect wheelset for the way you ride. Upgrade your ride to the legendary performance of Bontrager wheels. BONTRAGER.COM © 2009 TREK BICYCLE CORPORATION &
  • TRAIL MIX FAN MAIL It is always great to see the big names come down here to race. Adelmarie Cruz and Dashira Castillo stand between WHY WE RIDE Adam Craig and Kelli Emmett at a race in Rincon, Puerto My buddy, Russ Karaus, on Porcupine Rim Trail in Rico. Moab, Utah. Castle Valley is in the background. Johanna Homs Zeno Troy Hartman Quebradillas, Puerto Rico Denver, Colorado &
  • TOWER LEDGE No, I didn’t huck the ledge. I was out there on busi- ness and had the bike in the car “just in case.” Pretty much had the place to myself. The trail is Steve’s Loop at the Kokopelli Trailhead area in Fruita, Colorado. Not a place for those who don’t like exposure. John Neiley Glenwood Springs, Colorado &
  • TRAIL MIX IN LOVING MEMORY I ride 24-hour events in Alaina’s honor (she went to heaven in February 2003). I do the first and last laps with Alaina’s seat on, since she loved going on bike rides with me. The hand sign you see is sign lan- guage for “I love you,” something Alaina and I would do as I drove off to work each day. No, Alaina wasn’t deaf. It was just easier for both of us to show our love for each other instead of shouting. Shawn Lester, Alaina’s daddy Gardnerville, Nevada WATER-COOLED BOTTOM BRACKET My son-in-law, Jason, took this photo of me navigating through some early season snowmelt at Rampart Reservoir (8900 feet up in the Pike National Forest). A wet spring brought the lake several feet higher and left Jason, my other son-in-law, Travis, and me facing some very chilly water crossings. Tim Sanford Colorado Springs, Colorado 32 &
  • PARTING THE WATER It was a great time on the Womble Trail, part of the Ouachita National Forest in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. I DO Unfortunately, about two minutes after this picture After smuggling an engagement ring into my CamelBak, I loaded up was taken, my rear derailleur was in two pieces. the bikes and Kat and headed up to Case Mountain in Manchester, My Titus Racer X then became a single-speed for Connecticut. I had it all set up perfect. We were supposed to reach the the ride back to the parking lot. A spare bike made summit for sunset, where I would get down on one knee and pop the it an incredible trip. question. Halfway up the mountain, Kat insisted she knew a shortcut to Jim Shipman the summit. I figured we would still get to the top by sunset, so I went Tulsa, Oklahoma ❑ along with it. An hour later we were wandering around the woods lost, and it was getting dark. I traded in the summit at sunset for a trailside BECOME ALMOST FAMOUS boulder in the pitch-black night. While Kat was looking out for bears We want to make you a star. Here’s how: and coyotes, I got down on my knee behind her and waited for her to 1) Image file size needs to be 600 KB or larger. turn around. She turned around and was shocked. After she said yes, 2) Tell us what is going on in your photo we quickly removed the ring and it went back into the CamelBak for (include names). safekeeping. After a long, technical downhill in pitch black, we some- 3) Include your name and the city and state where you live. how arrived at our truck. At least it’s a good story to tell. 4) E-mail it to Trail Mix ( Andy Provencher Trail Mix rider of the month: Ray Petro. Enfield, Connecticut August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 33 &
  • THRASH TESTS Thrash test rating: ★★★★★ Perfection ★★★★✩ Delivers above average value and performance XPEDO MX-11 PLATFORM PEDALS ★★★✩✩ Recommended for intended application ★★✩✩✩ Shows potential but has drawbacks ★★★✩✩ ★✩✩✩✩ Save your hard-earned bucks For those who don’t clip Xpedo offers a line of clipless and platform pedals that look expensive but sell at reasonable prices. The MX-11 Platform pedal is intended for heavy gravity usage. Tech features: The MX-11 has a CNC-machined alu- minum body that uses one cartridge bearing and one bushing to float on a chromoly spindle. A large rubber seal is employed to keep dirt away from the bearing. The platform pins are replaceable, and the pedal body can be had in anodized black/silver, red/pink or green/orange. The pair weighs 15 ounces. The set sells for $100. You can reach Xpedo at (800) 221-6655. After the thrashing: The MX-11’s platform surface is an ideal size—big enough to find when you are scram- bling, but not so big that it feels like riding on waffle irons. The large rubber seal keeps the pedal from freely spinning when unweighted, making it easier to get your foot back on the platform and pedaling. Just as nice as the platform is the pedal’s thin profile that makes for better obstacle clearance. The pedals turned out to be tough little critters. We abused them for months without problems. It would be nice if the pedals included an extra set of pins with a more aggressive spike for slimy conditions. AZONIC WORLD FORCE 09 HANDLEBAR ★★★★✩ Going to great lengths If you are thinking about trying a wider handlebar, Still, from the first ride, the grips felt like they were in the the problem is selecting the correct width. The $59.99 right place. A rider used to 27-inch-wide bars felt 30 was Azonic World Force 09 handlebar takes the guesswork too wide until the second run. The bar feels better with out of choosing the right one. every mile per hour increase, and the rougher the downhill Tech features: The Azonic World Force 09 handle- course, the better. We used it with an Azonic Barretta bars are made for downhill abuse with double-butted, stem, and the duo never slipped. The marks on the ends of 2014-T6 aluminum. They are available for either 31.8- the bar are great for those unsure about using a tape mea- or 25.4-millimeter clamp size. The bars have a bead- sure. It gets the extra star because Azonic gives you the blasted finish with a polished grip area for better grip width necessary to experiment. Just don’t be surprised if adhesion. They have a 3x9-degree sweep, and our black you leave them be. version weighed 11 ounces uncut. The bar comes stock in a 30-inch width and is marked for easy trimming. You can reach Azonic at (800) 326- 6325. After the thrashing: The bar’s bend and sweep are spot on if you leave it at the full 30- inches wide. Who’s going to leave them that wide? We did, and that caught us by surprise. We intended to trim them after some hours at the full width. Never happened. The bike was ridden by riders from five-feet, ten-inches to six-feet tall, so smaller pilots might be tempt- ed to take a little off the sides. 34 &
  • né Raphael Gag Lea Dav ison nt émo e Pr Hélèn rie- Ma h bus f Ka of PHOTOS :: COLIN MEAGHER Ge Ready to turn the tables on this year’s XC championships You can bet your bottom dollar that our XC Aces Geoff Kabush and Marie-Hélène Prémont will be two of the best high rollers on the track, each with a full house and tires to match. Maxxis’ line of championship XC tires defies the odds and puts the house advantage in your hands... and the hands of our world class team. Place your bets, because Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain will be going all in on the circuit this year. Maxxis tires, podium proven this year and every year. &
  • THRASH TESTS AZONIC BARRETTA STEM BIKE BRAKE ★★★✩✩ ★★★✩✩ Wide bars need a firm grip Keep your bike from rolling away We laughed when we first saw this product. Then we used it If you plan to run wide handlebars, you are going to be and stopped laughing. putting more strain on your bike’s stem. The $59.99 Azonic Tech features: The Bike Brake is a rubber band that slips Barretta Stem was designed to work with Azonic’s World on your handlebar. When you want to set the parking brake, Force handlebar. you pull the band over the brake lever. It is available with six Tech features: The Barretta is CNC-machined from 6061 different color highlights to match your bike. The Bike Brake T6 aluminum. It is 45-millimeters long with no rise. It is sells for $2.99 (postage included) from available for either 31.8- or 25.4-millimeter diameter handle- After the thrashing: This is a simple product that gets the bars. It weighs less than nine ounces and is available in job done so effortlessly you’ll wonder how you ever got along black, red, gray or white. You can reach Azonic at (800) 326- without it. How many times have you leaned your bike against 6325. something, turned your back and heard a crash? The Bike After the thrashing: This stem is a return to form for Brake eliminates this gut-wrenching experience. We became Azonic. Their stems from the past few years were solid per- addicted quickly, using it while pumping up the tires, checking formers, but with nothing that caught your attention. The the suspension settings and every time we leaned the bike Barretta is eye-catching, and the attention to detail is notice- against anything. The wrecking crew, being the cheapskates able. The anodizing is as tough as it is beautiful. Each stem that we are, cut up an old tire tube to make our own Bike looks like the creation of a master machinist. Even the hard- Brake. Didn’t work. It ripped easily, was too thin and needed ware is custom. There is not an exposed thread to catch on more fussing than it was worth. Hey, we are only talking about your shorts (or worse). Used with the ultra-wide Azonic $2.99. We already know what our favorite Christmas stocking World Force 09 handlebar, we found this stem to be more stuffer is going to be for 2009. If you get one to try, we will bet than up to the job. that you’ll be back to get one for every bike in the garage. SIXSIXONE RACE BRACE PRO ★★★★✩ Join a support group If you have injured your ankle while doing a dangerous sport like skateboarding and want a little more support while mountain biking, the SixSixOne Race Brace Pro will act as your support group. Tech features: The Race Brace Pro uses a criss-cross design of laces and hook-and-loop straps to wrap a rider’s ankle. The brace has a ventilated tongue and sides. The brace sells for $29.95 and comes in small (4-7), medium (8- 10) and large (11-13). You can get more information at SixSixOne, (888) 520-4888. After the thrashing: It would be nice to get some instructions with the Race Brace Pro, because the straps and pedaling or walking. It looks like it is going to be restrictive, laces can be confusing the first few times you put the brace but you will actually forget you have it on. It cleans up easily on. It takes a moment to figure it out. The brace fits with a simple wipe down (we would not want to put this between your sock and shoe. It is thin in the right places, so much hook-and-loop material in a washing machine with it fits inside your shoe with no problems (we did not use other items). While we are not doctors, to our untrained the brace with a high-top shoe that might cause fit issues). eyes the Race Brace Pro looks similar to orthopedic braces Once laced up and with the straps secured, the Race Brace that sell for over $90. At $30, this is cheap insurance for Pro gives great side-to-side support without interfering with riders with ankle problems. 36 &
  • DT SWISS FR 2350 WHEELS ★★★★★ World Cup-proven wheels DT Swiss built this wheelset for serious downhillers who aren’t afraid to ride wide open. The FR 2350s were developed on the World Cup race circuit with the Santa Cruz Syndicate Team, and Sam Hill. The FR 2350 wheels are sold indivi- dually. The front sells for $461, and $623 for the rear. Tech features: The red DT Swiss’ FR 2350 wheels feature a 20-millimeter thru-axle front hub, and rear wheels are avail- able in three different sizes: 135x10-millimeters, 135x12-mil- limeters, and 150x12-millimeters. The wheelset we reviewed features the standard front wheel and a 150x12-millimeter rear wheel. The 32-spoke front wheel features three-cross lac- ing, DT Pro Lock brass nipples, stainless steel cartridge bear- ings and is available with a DT Swiss conversion kit with a DT Swiss Thru-Bolt. Our FR 2350 front wheel weighed 2.35 pounds. The 150x12-millimeter FR 2350 rear wheel features DT Swiss’ Ratchet System freehub, stainless cartridge bear- ings, and utilizes a 12-millimeter thru-axle. Our triple-butted, 32-spoke rear wheel weighed 2.8 pounds, and, like the front downhill run we thought, “Uh, oh, there was the hit that’s wheel, can be converted to DT Swiss’ 10-millimeter Thru-Bolt going to ruin this wheel,” only to get to the bottom and find it axle. The FR 2350 wheelset includes rim tape, a wheel bag in perfect condition. These experiences gave us the confidence and centering, too, plus it comes with a two-year warranty. to pin it run after run in training and not be worried when the DT Swiss USA, (970) 242-9232. time came to put down a race run. After the thrashing: After months of punishment from Downhill-specific tires have ultra-burly casings and can be a riding downhill trails all over Southern California and racing headache to mount. They often require a motorcycle tire lever. at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada, there were only We had no problem mounting downhill tires from Maxxis, slight dings in the rim. On more than one occasion during a Kenda and Specialized to the FR 2350 wheels. ❑ &
  • INSIDE LINE Got a question about mountain biking? Send it to “Inside Line” and let some of the most knowledge- able folks who ride answer it for you. E-mail your question to, and we’ll get it answered. LOCKED AND LOADED My bike has a Fox F80 RLC fork, and I ride with it will certainly firm up your ride, but I’m a believer in getting locked out almost all the time. After taking some hard what you paid for, so use that travel. Sag should be 20 to 25 hits, I have to wonder if riding so much with the fork percent of the travel. locked out will lead to excessive seal wear or even early A neat test you can do is to set the low-speed compression to fork failure? If so, would raising the air pressure be a the lightest setting and push on the fork slowly, then turn the better solution? low-speed compression dial all the way firm and try it again. Tom Cook You’ll notice it firms up significantly. I personally never use the Hollister, California lockout feature. Instead, I use the low-speed compression adjuster A pretty obvious question comes to mind, Tom. Why to firm up for the climbs, and then open it back up for maximum put up with the weight, complexity and cost of a great plushness on the descents. The advantage I find with using the fork if you are not going to use it? If you insist, we low-speed adjuster is I still have suspension action if hitting asked Brian Lindsey, who is Fox Racing Shox’s bumps while climbing, and if I forget to dial down the compres- Bicycle Service Supervisor to field your question. sion adjuster, I’m still getting plush travel and not having my Let me answer your question and then give you a little fillings rattled loose from my teeth like I would if I forgot to turn added advice. What can happen if you ride locked out all off the lockout. the time? There are a number of possibilities: 1. Premature bushing wear. When the fork hits a bump, bath oil is forced up between Use it or lose it: Riders who use their fork’s lockout feature too the stanchion and bushings. If the fork is locked out, this often are missing out on performance and shortening the life of their fork. movement is restricted and the oil isn’t being forced up into the bushings, especially the upper bushings. A thin coat of oil gets trapped between the stanchion and bushing during use, and since liquid can’t be compressed, the trapped oil acts as a cushion between the stanchion and bushing, not allow- ing the two surfaces to actually touch. If the oil doesn’t make it to the upper bushing, then the stanchion makes direct con- tact with the bushing, causing premature wear. Movement is needed to force the oil up into the bushings. I see this a fair amount with cross-country riders who over pressurize their air spring and only use a third of their available travel. The forks aren’t stroked deep enough into their travel to force the oil to the upper bushings. 2. Deterioration of the lockout effectiveness. There is a blow-off built into all the forks Fox makes with a lockout. This blow-off feature is a spring-loaded check valve built into the base of the damper assembly. When you have the fork locked out, you’re cutting off the oil flow to the compression valving and forcing it through the base valve when you hit a big enough bump to make it “blow-off.” Eventually, like any spring, it will fatigue and get softer, making the lockout softer, since the check valve can open easier due to less spring force pushing the check valve closed and keeping the oil from passing through it. 3. Premature oil breakdown. A lot more force is put on the oil when it is forced through the blow off rather than the compression valving, causing the oil to lose viscosity faster. Now, some ideas for you to take advantage of the perfor- mance your fork has to offer. Since you have the RLC model, you have the low-speed compression adjuster, which you should utilize rather than riding with the lockout on all the time. If you have issues with brake dive, or even pedal bob to a certain extent, you can use the low-speed compression adjuster to control that movement. This will make for an overall more comfortable ride. Besides, the low-speed com- pression offers a lot more controlled damping than using the blow off, which is either open or closed. More air pressure 38 &
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  • INSIDE LINE HELP PAY THE BILLS I’m 16 years old and ride downhill and love doing stunts. I’m fast and can do big drops and big jumps. I have a 25-foot jump in my backyard, and I go to Mammoth Mountain. I can ride every double black diamond they have. I live in a small town near Yosemite. What’s my chance at getting sponsored? Ryan Sullivan Groveland, California Your question, Ryan, is one we get often. We asked the Santa Cruz Syndicate Team Manager, Kathy Sessler, to explain how sponsorship works and the best way to get some. Sponsorship is given to those who give value in return for the sponsorship support. Typically, this is in race results, media exposure and community involvement (such as giving clinics, developing riders, putting on events and other chari- table endeavors). As a young rider, you need to find out what you can give sponsors, not what they can give you. If you are passionate about what you are doing and can find Fast company (from left): Kirt Voreis, Steve Peat, Santa Cruz Syndicate Team Manager Kathy Sessler, Hans Rey and Jamie something valuable to a sponsor, then you may have a Goldman. chance at getting some sponsorship. Often this will start at the local level. You may try your etc.). You need a track record of results, and you need to start a local shops to see if they have interest in what you are doing. portfolio of your media exposure. But what are you giving them? That is the question. If you A young rider from Australia, 17-year-old Shaun O’Connor, are good, and fast, as you say, then you need to get to nation- is a perfect example of a hungry, young, talented downhiller who al events to showcase your talents. That means paying your found his way to Crankworx a few years back. He printed up way to get out there and be seen. People notice fast guys on a business cards and introduced himself to everyone possible. Of racetrack when they see the results. Crankworx is a great course, he had some great junior downhill results to back up his event for this type of thing, as there are a big variety of races talent as a racer. He is now on the international Playbiker Team, to compete in and lots of media are there. traveling the UCI World Cup downhill circuit. He writes detailed There are also great programs out there, like Kirt Voreis’ race reports after each event and sends them to all his industry Santa Cruz Syndicate AllRide Academy. He selects a few contacts. He takes a very professional approach for such a young young riders each year to work with and helps support and man, and he is continually grateful and gives back far more than develop them. But you need to get people’s attention, and he takes. that is through results and media. You need to put yourself If you have the will, find a way to make your passion and into the circles in which these people are (races, festivals, talent turn into a sponsorship-worthy package. I think the “guys” you were asking about ceramic bearings didn’t want to let you in on the scoop. They wanted to hold onto an advantage. There are many ceramic bearings available for cycling appli- cations. All ceramic bearings are not created equally, however. We put our ceramic bearings through lots of testing to help us produce the hardest, roundest and most consistent bearing possi- ble. I’m bragging a little here, but I’ve seen our ceramic bearings go beyond the charts and scope of a test so the test had to be ended before damaging the testing equipment. On the other hand, we have tested ceramic bearings from different suppliers CERAMICS CLASS that have failed before a quality stainless steel bearing. Riders I’ve talked to who were early adopters of FSA sources individual components from around the world to ceramic bearings in their suspension, headset or drive- assemble our ceramic cartridge bearings. We use only high-qual- train were unhappy with the durability of these bearings, ity retainers and races to prevent friction. Only high-quality and none of them could honestly say they felt a perfor- grease is specified, because what good are low-friction bearings if mance difference. More companies are offering ceramic they are only to be bogged down by heavy grease? bearings as an option, and I’m curious if these ceramic The best place to start upgrading is in the hubs since the bearings are an improvement over the early versions. wheels are always rolling and can take best advantage of the Arnie Gerard ceramics, but if you also upgrade to ceramic bearings in your Quebec, Canada bottom bracket, derailleur pulleys and pedals, you’ll really Excellent query, Mr. Gerard. We have just the guy notice the difference. And don’t tell your buddies you’ve upgrad- to field that one. Dae Oh, Full Speed Ahead’s janitor ed. It just might be the difference between riding neck and neck and sometimes FSA’s Tech Support Manager, doesn’t with them or coming around them at the finish line. FSA know much about pottery, but he has ceramic bear- believes in the advantages of ceramic bearings because they ings covered. reduce friction, offer greater durability and are lighter weight. ❑ 40 &
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  • MBA est Winning on Performance & Price The Specialized Epic Expert Finally, the spotlight has to be turned on the rear suspen- S pecialized Bicycles produces seven models in their Epic cross-country race line. The top offering is the World sion’s swinglink. This little beauty is so compact and so well Championship-winning S-Works Epic Carbon Disc at a integrated into the bike’s design that it is easy to overlook it staggering suggested retail price of $8800. While we would all completely. It is beautiful and functional. love to ride the bike that Christoph Sauser races (he’s the World Champ), we’ve got to put food on the table and gas in HOW DOES IT PERFORM? the car. Luckily for us, Specialized understands and brings The setup: Epic riders are required to visit the Specialized much of the S-Works technology down to the more affordable website and watch the suspension tutorials. Yes, it is a little bit Epic Expert. of a hassle (make sure you have a pad and paper for taking notes), but once you set the suspension properly, you will only WHO IS IT MADE FOR? need to make minor adjustments for trail conditions and you The Epic Expert is a cross-country race bike that can easily will never have to worry about throwing platform levers dur- be pressed into service as an all-round trailbike, provided your ing a ride. Moving out: The Expert’s frame tubes are compact, so the bike feels small between your legs. This diminutive size makes the bike feel racy from the get go. The moderately narrow handlebar and generous top-tube length position the rider in an aggressive mode, with the rider’s weight biased towards the rear. The Expert bucks the trend of early Epics that felt high in the rear. Where we used to wish for another half inch of fork travel, this bike feels more balanced. Pedaling performance: In a word, amazing. The bike moves out like a hardtail and soaks up trail chatter like a dual-suspen- sion bike, all at the same time. The frame allows you to throw the bike from side to side between your legs for out-of- the-saddle bursts, but the bike reacts better if you stay in the saddle. That cool little swinglink? It does a lot more than look pretty. The little powerhouse kills flex before it happens. We adjusted the shock’s Brain Fade trails do not require long travel for continuous rocks, ruts and adjustment to full platform for our hard-packed trail condi- bumps or slack steering for ultra-steep descending. tions. Riders in muddy or soft conditions can back it out a few clicks. WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? Cornering: The Expert is quick and nimble. Specialized The Expert is one of only two bikes in the Epic line that settled on cross-country race geometry that allows the bike come with aluminum frames (all the others are carbon fiber). to change directions instantaneously for that quick pass or The aluminum is Specialized’s own alloy blend, and the tubes to avoid an obstacle. This geometry gives up some stability have been formed to look identical to the flowy lines of the and confidence in fast corners, but Specialized throws in a carbon Epics. The suspension pivots use sealed cartridge bear- low bottom bracket height to limit your losses. ings, and you get a replaceable derailleur hanger. Climbing: The Epic doesn’t care if your style is smooth, fluid spinning or big-ring gear mashing. It responds equally WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT? well either way. It does reward you for staying seated, All of them. The tiny Specialized AFR shock with the though, as your seated weight keeps the rear tire from slip- remote Brain inertia valve is refined to the point where it is ping during the power stroke. A lowering of your shoulders hard to imagine what Specialized can do next. Specialized uses is all it takes to keep the front wheel in contact with the their clout to get almost every component supplier to make earth on steep climbs or tricky switchbacks. concessions. Brakes get carbon upgrades. Cranks come in dif- Descending: The Expert will sail down singletrack with ferent lengths, depending on the bike’s size. The brake rotor the best of the cross-country race bikes, but when things size is wheel-specific (larger in the front, smaller in the rear). turn ultra-steep you won’t have the confidence that comes The hubs are made for Specialized. And when Specialized with the long-travel and fat tires found on a trailbike. Still, couldn’t get the performance they wanted from a supplier, they the excellent suspension components, solid chassis, superior made it themselves. That includes this bike’s saddle, seatpost, brakes and the bike’s light weight all work together to get bar, grips, stem, headset and tires. you down the mountain. 42 &
  • Balancing act: The Specialized Epic Expert bucks the trend of early Epics that felt high in the rear. Where we used to wish for another half-inch of fork travel, this bike feels more balanced. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 43 &
  • Winning TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? The shock’s Brain Fade and rebound adjustment require experimentation. What feels like the shock topping out (nor- mally cured by increasing rebound damping) may actually require backing off the Brain Fade. We suggest your first ride on the Expert (or any Epic model) be confined to a short loop where you can log multiple laps while experimenting with the suspension settings. Once you find the ride you want, the reward is you never have to touch it during your rides or races. If you plan to use your Epic for trail riding instead of racing, you might consider a slightly longer travel fork and a wider handlebar. This would slow down the steering and make steep descents more manageable. But don’t make any changes until you have spent some time on the bike. It is very possible that it will serve your trail riding requirements in stock form. BUYING ADVICE Forget that the Expert costs less than half the S-Works Epic’s $8800 price tag. And don’t let that guy who spent twice as much on his bike intimidate you. The Epic Expert is a competi- tive cross-country race bike right out of the box. If you can’t win aboard this bike, you simply can’t blame your equipment. It is versatile, and the aluminum frame makes it strong enough to serve as your everyday trailbike for years to come. If the trails you ride are fun and flowy, why carry the extra bulk of a trailbike when the Expert will get you to ride’s end faster Uphill burst: Combine the Epic Expert’s pedaling performance and more efficiently? with the race-oriented Specialized Fast Trak tires and you have Finally, the Expert comes from a solid company that stands a bike built to win. behind its products and boasts a massive dealer network. This fact should not be discounted if you plan to race, rage and ride your new bike for the next five years. The Specialized Epic Expert is an amazing combination of price, proven performance SPECIALIZED EPIC EXPERT and passion. This bike earns the MBA wrecking crew’s “highly Price $3900 recommended” status. You won’t be disappointed. ❑ Country of origin Taiwan Weight 25.8 pounds Hotline (408) 779-6229 Frame tested 17.5" (medium) Bottom bracket height 12.75" Chainstay length 16.75" Top tube length 23.5" Head angle 70° Seat angle 74.2° Standover height 28.5" Wheelbase 43" Suspension travel (front) 3.9" Suspension travel (rear) 3.9" Frame material Aluminum Fork RockShox SID Race Shock Specialized AFR Rims DT Swiss X420S Tires S-Works Fast Trak LK (2.0") Hub Specialized Hi Lo disc (f), DT Swiss 370 Brakes Avid Elixir R Carbon SL Crankset Shimano XT Hollowtech II Shifters SRAM X.9 Handlebar Specialized XC low rise (25.5") Front derailleur Shimano SLX Rear derailleur SRAM X.9 Special delivery (clockwise from top left): The suspen- sion’s Brain with blue Brain Fade adjuster, Specialized’s own Chainrings Shimano (44/32/22) DMD (Direct Mount Derailleur) positions the front derailleur Cassette Shimano (11-34) on the swingarm, a tight fit for the rear brake and Brain, Pedals None (weighed with Shimano XTR) flowy frame tubes and the little shock that does a big job. 44 &
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  • How Handlebar Width Affects Your Ride MBA TECHNICAL A back-to-back, bar-to-bar ride comparison Bar brawl: Four bars with a width (from left) of 27 inches, 26 inches, 25 inches and 24 inches make the same bike react very differently. Which width is best for you? and durability. This handlebar comes T he trend towards riding with riding destination, the park serves our wider handlebars came from in a 27-inch width, so it was perfect comparison needs perfectly with a 1.2- where most mountain biking for our comparison. Once Race Face mile course that includes rocks, sand, innovations come from—the fringes. graciously donated four of the $110 steep climbs, tight turns and fast Single-speed mountain bikers adopted handlebars for our bar-to-bar compari- descents, allowing us to ride short laps wide bars early on to increase leverage son, we were in business. (essential for comparisons) and experi- for those make-it-or-break-it climbs. One handlebar was left at the full ence a little bit of everything a trail rider More recently, the most elite downhill 27-inches wide. The other Race Face would encounter (except water cross- racers in the world have been clamping Next XC 3/4 low-rise handlebars were ings). up wider and wider bars to slow down cut to 26-, 25- and 24-inches wide. the way the front end reacts through The next step was to mount the four WIDE LOAD rocky and rough sections. bars on the MBA test fleet. The MBA One question we had going into this Where bar width was an afterthought test fleet consists of four identical experiment was answered on the second just a few years ago, it is now a studied Specialized Stumpjumper Comps that lap: Can a rider feel a difference with a tuning option for everyone from cross- we press into service for comparison handlebar that is trimmed a mere half country racers to dual-slalom racers. We testing. Why not simply swap bars on inch on each side? The surprising answer recently added the bar type and width to one bike? While changing handlebars is yes. There is a marked difference in the bike specification chart in every bike is a simple and quick procedure, espe- the ride quality and rider position with test. So why is bar width so important, cially if they are equipped with each width. The difference was so pro- and how does it affect your bike? Glad Specialized’s XC Locking Grips, it is nounced that it was easy to identify the you asked. still not as fast as jumping from one width of the bar after just a few turns. bike to the other. The MBA test fleet is This was a relief, because a compari- GOING BAR-TO-BAR the best way to make back-to-back son where there is not much of a differ- We recently tested a Race Face Next comparisons. ence is boring and a waste of time. The XC 3/4 low-rise handlebar (July 2009, We loaded up the bikes and headed bar width comparison was neither. We “Thrash Test”) and came away thor- to Corriganville Park in Simi Valley, have broken down the feedback on each oughly impressed with its ride quality California. While not a recommended bar width. 46 &
  • THE 27-INCH BAR Moving along: The 26-inch-wide THE 26-INCH BAR bar gives the rider a slightly better connection with the trail than the XL. You become more in touch with the trail surface and its irregularities. Steering is precise but not overly quick, and you still get the benefit of an open chest cavity. Climbing: This large bar offers powerful leverage while climbing out of the saddle, but it is not as easy to loft the front wheel accidentally while climbing in the saddle. It is easy to hold your intended line. Sand: It tracked straight and felt ultra stable. Descending: The 26-inch-wide bar slows down the input from hitting rocks, ruts and roots at speed. This bar softens blows, and riders could hold their lines, even through techni- Moving along: The 27-inch-wide cal sections. bar stretches out the rider position Clearance: The reduction of a half and opens up the rider’s chest cavity. inch on each side of the bar helps It may be psychological, but riders make this bar a lot easier to ride on felt they could breathe better with the thick trails lined with bushes, trees wide bar. The front feels light, and and rock faces. the added leverage makes it easy to oversteer if you’re not careful. Rough trail seems smoother, as rocks and THE 25-INCH BAR roots don’t easily deflect the front wheel. This bar allows for plenty of hand positions (on the grips, on top bike tracks straight while hammering of the brake levers, or inside the in the seated position, and there is a brake and shift levers). power stroke feeling you get with Climbing: A rider feels like he your elbows tucked in and pulling magically gains two horsepower when back on the grips. grabbing the 27-inch-wide bar and Climbing: The bike felt different powering up a climb out of the saddle. on the climbs. Forget the big ring The added leverage that the wide bar torqueing. Stay in the saddle and offers while rocking the bike up the spin. There is a good bend in your climbs (or during a sprint) allows you elbows, and there is more emphasis to grab another gear and muscle it. on pedaling technique than upper Some care needs to be taken with in- body muscles. The front wheel stays the-saddle climbing, because the front in better contact with the trail sur- end feels lighter and it is slightly easi- face, especially when the going gets er to loft the front wheel. steep. Sand: The 27-inch-wide bar trans- Sand: You have to keep a light formed the Stumpjumper into a 29er touch on the grips and keep your in the sand. It tracked straight and weight back. The front wheel has the felt ultra-stable. tendency to wander if you don’t con- Descending: This bar slows down centrate on keeping it pointed the input from hitting rocks, ruts and straight. roots at speed. The wide bar seems to Descending: The bike felt more soften the hits because, while it is not nervous on the downhills, and the something you’d classify as flexy, the rider felt every rut and surface wider bar offers more give with the change. Riders found themselves rider’s weight farther away from the Moving along: The 25-inch-wide more concerned with searching for handlebar stem. bar felt familiar, like the bar that the smoothest line and steering away Clearance: This big guys’ largest comes stock on a medium-sized from obstacles. fault is that you scrape your hands on Stumpjumper (which is actually 25.5- Clearance: We didn’t even brush every bush, tree or rock face that may inches wide). After riding the larger our arms on the same bushes that line a tight section of trail. These bars bars, riders felt like they were pinch- grabbed our hands with the two are so wide that even riding close to ing their shoulders with this bar. The larger bars. other riders is a learning experience. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 47 &
  • Handlebar MBA TECHNICAL THE 24-INCH BAR the grips and nothing else. The bike turns quick and is super fun on tight sections of trail. Climbing: Stay in the saddle and spin. There is a good bend in your elbows, and there is more emphasis on your pedaling technique. The front wheel stays in better contact with the trail surface, especially when the going gets steep. Out-of-the-saddle efforts are not rewarded. Sand: Sketchy! Unless you use prop- er body position for sand, you will find Same corner, different feel: The widest the front wheel plowing the soft stuff. bar (above) boosted confidence entering Descending: The small bar is harsh corners, and riders felt more in contact and transfers every bump to the rider. with terra firma. The narrowest bar (below) The quick steering takes a steady hand required a more upright position and a lower cornering speed. and steel nerves when the going gets steep and fast. Clearance: There were no issues here, and if something did stick out into the trail, it was easy to steer around it. Moving along: The 24-inch-wide THE BEST WIDTH bar is a definite shoulder pincher. The Your size, your riding style and the rider sits with bent elbows in an aero- trails you ride will all determine the dynamic position. Surprisingly, riders best bar width for your bike. The con- liked the power feeling of this bar venient aspect of experimenting with while pedaling in the saddle, even if bar width is you don’t need four bars. they didn’t benefit from the leverage of Start with a wide bar and feel the the wider bars. In the saddle, it feels same things we felt. You can then slide like you are using your hands to help your grips and controls toward the pull your legs forward for another rota- stem and ride more, feeling the differ- tion on the cranks (like rowing). The ence in ride quality. Once you find one trouble with the narrow bar is the that magic width, you can cut the bar lack of hand-position options. You get to your perfect length. ❑ BAR WIDTH AND FIT CHANGES TO THE COCKPIT Your bar width effectively lengthens the cockpit by straightening out your arms, forcing you to move forward over the front wheel. Looking down over the bike, we imagined an invisible isosce- les triangle, with one corner on each side of the handlebar (where the bar plugs would push in) and the third cor- ner halfway between the stem and sad- dle (where your shoulders would rest). We calculated the height of each trian- gle to approximate how much handle- bar choice affects the cockpit. Approximate change in Handlebar width stem’s effective length From 24" to 25" +8mm From 25" to 26" +10mm From 26" to 27" +14mm Push or pull: Climbing with the narrow bar (left) was best accomplished in the saddle while From 24" to 27" +32mm using your hands and arms to pull the bar towards you (think rowing). Climbing with the wide bar allows for out-of-the-saddle attacks and throwing the bike from side to side. 48 &
  • ld Cup Proven dor sed, Wor Rider En n Champio National ss al Slalom ntain Cro 2008 Du 006 Mou 05 and 2 2003, 20 hampion n N ational C Champio Champio n 4-Cro ss World al Slalom mpion 2004 Du -Straight nhill Cha 2008 Jeep 48 nal Dow atio les d 2003 N d World BMX Tit 1999 an ional an d world- Mult iple Nat es igner an r, track d Race promote t rider class tes STICK-E DTC TOR 59 EXCAVA UND K10 COMPO BEAD STICK-E SIZE BEAD E STICK-E 0 WIR BEAD 26 x 2.5 E DTC 5 WIR ING BEAD 26 x 2.3 LD DTC 5 FO ING BEAD 26 x 2.3 FOLD DTC 26 x 2.1 0 G BEAD 5 FOLDIN 26 x 1.9 om dausa.c w ww.ken SA ENDAU 1-866-K Sea cavator to m GT) ri des the Ex ill class! annah (Tea ro Downh S FLAS H - Mick H up silver in men’s P NEW orld C and UCI W Otter gold &
  • YOUNG RIPPER MBA FEATURE 18 And Brandon Semenuk Re-introducing Life To Go shy back then. He would just stare at “People were surprised when he won me, like one of the kids from Children of the Rampage,” says Shandro. “They see the Corn. Yeah, it was creepy.” a kid out there riding in tight jeans and “I first saw him four years ago in think he’s only a jumper. It was pretty Whistler and was impressed with his obvious at that event, seeing some other riding, but more impressed with how guys flounder, how good an all-around serious and passionate he was about rider he is. getting better,” says Andrew Shandro. “He looks effortless aboard the bike “I started doing a Nike 6.0 mentorship and is very well-rounded. He rides role with him, and a couple years later downhill in the park, dirt jumps, and I helped get him aboard Trek Bicycles. does cross-country rides in Pemberton. The coolest part of working with Him winning the Rampage was a sur- Brandon is seeing his progression from prise for a lot of people, but not for us. his first few years to now; he’s really He’s not scared of steep stuff or corner- getting it all figured out.” ing. He just kills it.” Shortly after Morland was on board “I’ve been given a lot more opportuni- E ighteen-year-old Brandon Semenuk made the cover of with SRAM, he was given the responsi- ties to travel and ride for film projects, Mountain Bike Action after bility of managing the BlackBox Labs and it’s led to more sponsorships, too,” winning the 2008 Red Bull Rampage at Team (BLabs), which is similar to explains Semenuk. “The coolest part is just 17 years old, and he has appeared in RockShox’s BlackBox racing program. being able to travel the world with my our Crankworx Slopestyle coverage the However, instead of focusing on racing friends and just ride my bike. past few years. Born and raised in and World Cup results, it’s more lifestyle “I just want to keep up with the way Whistler, British Columbia, Semenuk oriented and helps their slopestyle and I’m doing things now, stay healthy and acknowledges how living in the world’s dirt jump athletes develop. Semenuk have a good time. I’m not going to stress greatest place to mountain bike shaped was one of the BlackBox Labs’ first about it. I’m just keeping it fun, not his life. selected riders. looking at it as a job.” “The best part was the amount of ter- “SRAM is just awesome,” Semenuk rain I had to work with right in my said. “The BLabs deal is a special thing You can keep up with Brandon as he backyard,” says Brandon. “I started rac- to be a part of. They pretty much make travels the world by checking out his ing cross-country when I was eight years sure we have the sickest bikes out there, blog at old, and when I turned 13, I started rac- and they listen to us on ideas ing 4-Cross, too. A year later, I attempt- for new products. Slopestyle ed to qualify for the Crankworx isn’t that big as far as compo- Slopestyle in Whistler but didn’t make nent sales are concerned, but it. From there, I kept working hard, and they’ll still make parts for us if doing contests.” they feel it will help us with “I received a lot of help from Tyler what we do. They’re all about Morland of SRAM and Andrew innovation, for sure.” Shandro of Trek and Nike 6.0,” Brandon Semenuk makes Brandon explains. “When I started going big on a mountain bike doing more contests, they led me in the look so easy, but what’s the right direction and advised me on how key to his riding? to deal with sponsors. They’ve been on “In slopestyle, I try to pick the scene for a long time and accom- the best lines possible every plished a lot as riders themselves time,” he says. “Slopestyle is (Morland is a multi-time Canadian more all-mountain riding than national downhill champion and former just dirt jumping, so it’s impor- World Cup racer, while Shandro is a for- tant to be able to link sections mer World Cup downhiller and a pio- together. It takes a more well- neer of the big-mountain slopestyle rounded and solid rider to be scene coming out of the Pacific able to try to trick every hit, Northwest). Tyler and Andrew guided but still flow the course.” me towards what was appropriate from “Watching his progression sponsors and taught me how to work from a cross-country grom to with the media.” pulling no-foot cans—and now Both Morland and Shandro are proud to inventing his own tricks— of how Semenuk has grown as a rider it’s mind-blowing to me,” says and person. “I’ve known Brandon for Morland. “The sheer talent six years,” explains Tyler Morland. “He and drive he has is insane. I’ve was always around, and I’d see him at been with him at Whistler’s the weekly Looney cross-country races Air Dome, and he’ll ask people in Whistler Village. He was just a little around him what he should Homeboy: Brandon Semenuk tailwhips kid then, but I watched him get a lot do, or a trick to make up and his way to third place at the Whistler stronger as a rider. Brandon was very try, and then he does it.” Crankworx Slopestyle. 50 &
  • ©2009 FOX Factory Inc. All rights reserved. MTB TRAIL talas150 32 rlc . In a perfect world, you’d have Downhill suspension technology on your lightweight trail bike. Now with our World Cup proven FIT™ and Boost Valve technology, you can. Our FIT damping system is now available on all our new lighter weight 32mm forks, giving riders incredibly consistent, fade-free damping and steering confidence. Our FLOAT rear shocks feature Boost Valve technology for increased small-bump compliance and bottom- less feel on big hits. Purpose built. Race proven. FOX Racing Shox. We’re never done. Visit our all new Website: float23 rp &
  • A picture is worth a thousand words... * NOTE - Both crankset weights include 175mm crank arms, spindles, complete bottom bracket sets, 44/32/22T chainrings and all hardware. &
  • or in our case 53 grams. &
  • MBA est Premium Fuel Equals Premium Performance The all-new Trek Fuel EX 9.9 through the gears is a cinch, and the SRAM and Shimano L ast year, Trek introduced a totally redesigned trailbike with their 4.7-inch-travel Fuel EX line featuring their drivetrain goods work together with ease. Active Braking Pivot (ABP) and Full-Floater suspen- Cornering: The Fuel EX 9.9 has remarkably balanced sion. We raved about the aluminum-framed EX 9, but felt suspension, which allows you to pin it into a corner and something had been lost in the translation with the carbon drive the wheels into the turn for traction. The rather unas- fiber-framed Fuel EX 9.5. Trek seems to have agreed. suming 2.25-inch Bontrager Jones XR tires appear to be New for 2009, the flagship carbon fiber Fuel EX 9.9 designed to roll fast. However, they have some serious bite replaces the aforementioned EX 9.5 in the lineup. Trek when turning at speed. It takes a couple of rides to com- offers six Fuel EX models that utilize the ABP and Full- pletely trust them, but they will win you over. We got the Floater suspension, ranging in price from $2310 to $7149. best all-around results running the Jones XR tires with 30psi in the rear and 28psi in the front. Optimum tire pressure WHO IS IT MADE FOR? varies according to rider weight, but for a The Trek Fuel EX 9.9 is intended medium-sized person (about 165 pounds) for the trail rider who is willing to pay riding a medium-sized frame (17.5 inch- a premium for a high-performance trail- es), our recommended settings are a bike in a weight category not far off that of good starting point. competitive cross-country race bikes. The 25-inch-wide Bontrager handle- bar felt too narrow and limited the WHAT IT’S MADE FROM amount of leverage we could put on The 4.7-inch EX 9.9 the front end. The EX 9.9 has a totally handles direction changes redesigned carbon nicely, but could be even fiber frame with a better with a 26- or 27- different ride tune. inch-wide handlebar. It now features a Climbing: At just magnesium EVO 25 pounds, the Fuel Link and Trek’s EX 9.9 rockets uphill. tapered E2 head As we mentioned tube. The EX 9.9 is before, most climbs are available in five sizes. more than feasible with the Fox RP23 shock’s WHICH COMPONENTS ProPedal feature in the off STAND OUT? position. Not only does this make for a smoother ride, but it Fox takes care of both the front and rear suspension also increases traction on very technical terrain. duties on this quintessential trailbike. The EX 9.9 features a Should you be in the saddle for an extended period of custom-tuned 4.7-inch-travel Fox RP24 fork with a four- time on a smooth, hardpack trail, the ProPedal feature does position platform and E2 tapered alloy steerer. The shock is offer undeniable improvements in acceleration, but applying a custom “trail tuned” Fox Shox Float RP23 XV air shock the ProPedal feature should be reserved for extended fire with ProPedal. The cockpit components are all Bontrager, road climbs or long stretches of smooth singletrack. while the frame’s tapered head tube utilizes a Cane Creek We tried the Bontrager Jones XR tire backwards on the rear Frustum SE Light headset. wheel. This additional scoop was appreciated on hardpack terrain that was covered with loose rocks or sand. The Fuel HOW DOES IT PERFORM? EX 9.9 is a remarkable-climbing mountain bike, but on more In the saddle: The EX 9.9 is a beautifully crafted bike, and than one occasion we were scratching our heads as to why the carbon fiber Bontrager handlebar and seatpost stand out the tallest rear cassette was a 32-tooth instead of a 34-tooth. immediately. The first time you hop aboard the all-new Fuel The Fox RP24 fork has a “tunable” ProPedal platform fea- EX 9.9, you’ll appreciate the comfortable Bontrager Race X ture that is unique to Trek and Fisher bikes. This adjust- Lite saddle and slim Bontrager lock-on grips. The combination ment is basically four preset detents applied to the previous of the slightly rearward weight bias and a 25-inch-wide handle- lockout/blow-off feature. When climbing in the saddle, we bar conjures up memories of last year’s EX 9.5 trailbike. experienced very little fork movement and opted to keep the Pedaling performance: On your first ride aboard the EX suspension open on nearly every ride. 9.9, you won’t be 50 yards from the trailhead before you Descending: As impressive as the Fuel EX 9.9 is on the realize you’re aboard a special machine. The key to the EX’s uphills, it’s equally striking on the descents. Our best descend- pedaling performance is the ABP and Full-Floater suspen- ing performance came when we ran the Fox RP24 fork and sion. It efficiently propels you forward with each pedal RP23 shock wide open and rebound a tad faster than normal. stroke, even with the ProPedal lever in the off position. The The Fuel’s 69 degree head angle seems like it would be on the EX 9.9 carries momentum so effortlessly you’ll feel like twitchy side, but it navigated steep, rutted terrain with ease. you’re having one of those superhuman days in the saddle The rear end of the EX 9.9 tracks very well when entering when you want to drop the hammer and do another lap. whooped out sections of trail and makes you wonder if it’s When spinning along on mildly smooth terrain, popping just being modest about its 4.7 inches of rear wheel travel. 54 &
  • Traction control: With the Fuel EX suspension wide open, it hugs high-speed, off- camber turns with the control of a bike with more travel than its 4.7 inches. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 55 &
  • Fuel Although impressed with the Fuel’s descending capability, we would have been able to hang it out even more with a slightly wider handlebar. Braking: Trek is hanging their hat on the Active Braking Pivot, and for good reason. The ABP truly allows the suspen- sion to remain active when braking forces are applied, and this allows you to brake more effectively and maintain better traction on rough terrain. Although the ABP is working at slower speeds, it’s when you’re pinning it through flowing, rock-strewn singletrack that the ABP shows what it’s made of. When you pull in the Avid Juicy Ultimate brake lever, the seven-inch front rotor does a great job of keeping speed in check while the rear end remains in contact with the ground. TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? As with any suspension setting, the sag is the key to opti- mizing your riding experience. Be sure to consult the recom- mended air pressure chart found in the Fuel’s manual or Going up: During extended climbs, the Fox RP23 shock’s online. You can fine-tune the shock’s sag with the Fuel’s ProPedal feature reduces suspension movement and increases pedaling efficiency. removable sag measuring device sold with the bike. Throughout our test of the Fuel EX 9.9, we couldn’t help but wonder how much better this remarkable package would be if it were equipped with one of Fox’s Float forks with The new Fuel offers a lightweight, 4.7-inch-travel package their 15QR thru-axle. with impressive suspension performance and a top-shelf The Bontrager Rhythm wheels are tubeless ready, and we component spec. At $7149, it’s certainly going to be outside recommend going that route right away. We flatted the Jones of many people’s budgets, but don’t fret. There are several XR tires more than usual on our cross-country test trails. Fuel EX models in Trek’s line, and the ABP and Full-Floater The Fuel includes valve stems so the wheels can be run suspension technology is found on every Fuel EX from the tubeless. Be sure to follow up with the dealer, and make sure $2310 EX 7 on up. ❑ the valve stems come home with you. Our only real beef with the Fuel EX 9.9 is the 11-32 rear cassette. A bike this versatile would benefit greatly from an TREK FUEL EX 9.9 11-34 cassette. Thankfully, that’s an easy fix. Oh, did we Price $7149 already mention we’d prefer a wider handlebar? Country of origin Taiwan Weight 25.5 pounds BUYING ADVICE Trek didn’t hit a homerun with the all-new Fuel EX 9.9; Hotline (920) 478-2191 it’s more of a grand slam because it scores in so many ways. Frame tested 17.5" Bottom bracket height 13.3" Chainstay length 16.9" Top tube length 23.2" Head angle 69° Seat angle 72.5° Standover height 29" Wheelbase 43.5" Suspension travel (front) 4.7" Suspension travel (rear) 4.7" Frame material Carbon fiber Fork Fox Float RP24 Shock Fox Float RP23 Rims Bontrager Rhythm Pro Tires Bontrager Jones XR (2.25”) Hub Bontrager Rhythm Brakes Avid Juicy Ultimate Crankset Shimano XTR Shifters SRAM X.0 Handlebar Bontrager Race XXX Lite (25" wide) Front derailleur Shimano XTR Rear derailleur SRAM X.0 Chainrings Shimano XTR (44/32/22) Fill’er up (clockwise from top left): Trek’s Active Braking Cassette Shimano XTR (11-32) Pivot, E2 tapered head tube, SRAM Matchmaker and the Pedals None (weighed with Shimano XTR) m magnesium EVO link. 56 &
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  • MBA Inspire RIDERS WHO Mathew Portell Turns The Page Ride for Reading Photo by Bryan Bloebaum, Blue Tree Images D uring Mathew Portell’s first year of teaching his fourth-grade class in Nashville, Tennessee, he handed out what at the time seemed like a simple homework assignment. “I asked my students to read for 15 minutes at home every night before bed,” remembers Mathew. He wasn’t expecting what happened next. “One student explained that he couldn’t complete the assignment because he didn’t have any books at home to read,” says Mathew about the eye-opening experience. “It didn’t take long for me to realize that this student’s problem was not unique.” According to the Handbook of Early Literacy Research by Susan Neuman, EdD, and David Dickinson, EdD, the ratio of books per child in low- income neighborhoods is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Since reading is such an inte- gral part of education, Mathew felt compelled to do something to help his students and others like them. Being an avid mountain biker, Mathew combined his passions for cycling and education to form Ride for Reading. The organization distributes donated books to children who are not fortunate enough to have their own. Nashville-area bike shops (including Biker’s Choice, East Side Cycles, Allanti Bicycles, Sun & Ski, Woody’s Bicycle Shop Cumberland Transit, Murfreesboro Outdoor and Bicycle, and Fairytales Bookstore) agreed to install drop boxes for donated books. Mathew spread the word on his rides and worked the local radio stations to get the message out. It worked. Ride for Reading has collected 5000 books so far, and the number is growing. This fall, Ride for Reading will step it up by host- ing their first charity race: Dirt, Guts, and Donuts. The September 12th race will wind through one of central Tennessee’s most enjoyable mountain bike trails, Lock 4. The event is about collecting books and having fun. Riders will be stopping at two donut stands along the route, and those who partake of the round tasty morsels will receive one minute off their race time for every donut eaten. Racers will be classi- fied by weight rather than age. There will be donut holes (kids under 13), cake donuts (women), glazed donuts (men under 140 pounds), jelly donuts (men 141-165 pounds), Long John donuts (men 166-190 pounds), and last, but not least, the bear claws (men over 190 pounds). “Education is not an entity only found within the at you can g n’s books th cin four walls of a school building,” says Mathew. “You Got a few good childre ise some money by ra u can go anywhere, see anything, and experience every- ant to help ra nuts event? Yo thing within the pages of a book. I hope to give the donate or w er Dirt, Guts, and Do ing the Ride for in the first-ev bo th by visit children experiences that will change their lives t how to do din forever.” ❑ can find ou site at www.rideforrea Rea ding web 58 &
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  • MBA est A Trailbike That Can Take It The Norco Fluid One WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT? N orco is located in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, north of our border in Canada. Their location gives Norco went for the Shore-approved Marzocchi 44 ATA them a certain advantage when it comes to develop- fork with a 15-millimeter thru-axle. The fork’s travel adjust- ing mountain bikes. There are few places on the planet that ment ranges from 3.9 inches to 5.5 inches. The Fluid One allow you to ride most of the year on epic trails that gets a Thomson stem and seatpost, a mix of Shimano drive- spawned a new style of riding, and during the summer you train components, Avid Elixir brakes and specific disc brake are only a carpool away from the grand daddy of all ride diameters for the front (seven inches) and the rear (six inch- parks, Whistler Mountain Bike Park. The Norco Fluid One es). The Pro Palm lock-on grips, WTB Devo Team saddle is proof that Norco takes advantage of their surroundings. and Shimano XT leave the Fluid One rider with nothing to add to this bike but leg power. WHO IS IT MADE FOR? The Fluid One (and its brothers, the Two, Three and HOW DOES IT PERFORM? Four) is Norco’s adjustable-travel trailbike. Norco’s design Moving out: Jump on the Fluid One and you know this goal was to make a bike strong enough for major trail riding bike was made in a land where trails are tight and surprises abuse but with enough versatility to handle the longest are many. The Fluid One rider is positioned slightly forward climbs without punishing the rider. of center in an upright position. The top tube is short, as is the stem, but a slack head tube angle gives the bike a well-mannered, singletrack person- ality. The grips, saddle and pedals are ideal contact points. Cables tuck in neatly, and the seat stays and chain- stays get generous bends to keep them from contacting your heels or calves. Pedaling performance: Throw the shock’s easy-to-reach blue ProPedal lever to the on position (we’ll leave the three firmness settings up to you), flip the fork’s red lockout lever to lock, and hammer away. Both suspen- sion components have some give in their firmest set- tings, so you get a solid accelerating bike that still removes trail chatter. The Shimano drivetrain backs up the chassis’ performance for a bike that moves right along under your leg power. WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? Cornering: The Fluid One has a great balance of quickness The Fluid One uses a hydroformed, butted-aluminum and stability. It doesn’t slice a corner the way a cross-country frame with the top tube curved to keep the standover height race bike would, and that’s what Norco wanted. The Fluid comfortably low. The hydroformed tubes eliminate the addi- rider can be, well, fluid. The Fluid tracks corners easily with- tional weight of gusseting. The rear suspension’s forged out nervousness or sluggishness. rocker beam has two shock mounting positions for your Climbing: Throw those pedal platform levers to the on set- choice of 4.5 or 5.5 inches of rear-wheel travel. Norco licens- ting and spin away. The rider position makes it easy to keep es Specialized’s FSR rear suspension design. You should use the front end from unwanted wheelie’ing when the going gets a magnifying glass to examine the frame’s welds, because steep. The Fluid One devours uphill switchbacks, and it they are more than burly. They are beautiful. All the pivots remains light enough on its tires that you can pick the line of are big, sealed affairs that look ready to handle a few sea- least resistance (or use the suspension to plough over sons of nasty Shore riding before needing attention. obstacles). 62 &
  • West-Shore ready: We had to take the Fluid 1 off a little log drop for the fun of it. While the bike was developed in Vancouver, British Columbia, it felt right at home on the trails of So Cal. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 63 &
  • Fluid One Descending: Open up the suspension and let it rip. The Fluid One is a confident descender with its much-loved Avid Elixir brakes, great wheels, MBA tire shootout winners, and suspension that doesn’t give you any surprises in the form of harsh spikes or frame deflection. Point this bike and go. TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? We didn’t find ourselves using the fork’s travel adjustment for two reasons: One, the bike feels best at the full 5.5 inch- es of front wheel travel, regardless of where the rear wheel travel is set. Two, the travel adjustment knob takes nine complete rotations (not clicks) to go from full travel to 3.9 inches of travel. That is not an on-the-fly adjustment. The fork’s lockout lever is pressed in and can be knocked loose, at which point you may lose the internal nylon gear. If you ride extremely technical trails, try reducing the rear wheel travel while leaving the front at full travel. This slack- ens the geometry, and you will find the steep stuff even more fun to drop in on. BUYING ADVICE This is an easy one. The Fluid One is a well-constructed, serious trailbike. It will serve as a great all-around trailbike in any riding situation. It will really shine where the sun doesn’t. If your trails are tight, nasty snakes that wind through wet and wild forests (think the Pacific Northwest, Lead out: The Fluid One likes tight, twisty and uneven trails so parts of Oregon, Pennsylvania, New England and, of course, much that it will set the pace for your riding partners. This bike British Columbia), the Fluid One is the one. ❑ is built tough. NORCO FLUID ONE Price $3725 Country of origin Taiwan Weight 28.4 pounds Hotline (800) 663-8916 Frame tested 17" Bottom bracket height 13.75" Chainstay length 17" Top tube length 23" Head angle 69° Seat angle 73° Standover height 28.5" Wheelbase 44" Suspension travel (front) 5.5" Suspension travel (rear) 5.5" Frame material Aluminum Fork Marzocchi 44 ATA Shock Fox Float RP23 Rims Mavic XM 317 Tires Kenda Nevegal (2.1") Hub Shimano XT Brakes Avid Elixir R Crankset Shimano XT Shifters Shimano XT Rapidfire Handlebar Ritchey WCS Carbon (26.5" wide) Front derailleur Shimano XT Rear derailleur Shimano XTR Chainrings Shimano XT (44/32/22) Nice touches (clockwise from left): The production frame Cassette Shimano XT (11-34) and swingarm welding would impress any welding artisan. Marzocchi’s take on 15-millimeter thru-axles for trailbikes. Pedals Shimano XT 64 &
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  • 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC Let The Sun Shi ne In Dry and dusty is a new twist at the Otter T he Sea Otter Classic has a reputation for greeting riders with cold winds, heavy rains and plenty of tough compe- tition. Well, the tough competition was there in the form of world and national cross-country champions, but the inclement weather took a year off. When the dust had settled (yes, dust), these were the riders who had left their mark. Spring is in the air: Catharine Pendrel leads Lene Byberg Sanoness through the meadows that serve for sheep grazing when the Sea Otter Classic is not in town. Purple power: Jeremiah Bishop is riding for the MonaVie/Cannondale team, and we assume that his team supplies him with an endless supply of the purple antioxidant drink. It appears to be working with Jeremiah mak- ing the top ten in both cross-country and short track. 66 &
  • Equipment battle: Burry Stander used a dual-suspension, 26-inch wheeled Specialized Epic while teammate Todd Wells (8) used a prototype hardtail S-Works 29er (with what looks like carbon rims and sew-up tires). Todd used his bike selection to win the short track. Keeping tabs: Sid Taberlay doesn’t seem to get the props he deserves. The five-time Australian national champ consistently rides to strong finishes and does it with as much intelligence as determination. This is a dark horse ready to become a favorite. Sales lady: Canada’s Emily Batty rides for the Toronto Trek Bicycle Store. We can’t estimate how her short track win impacted Trek 820 WSD sales at the store, but we can assume the shop staff was stoked. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 67 &
  • 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC Honored guest: While many pampered World Cup competi- tors skipped the Sea Otter (so they wouldn’t have to travel to America), the reigning world champion Christoph Sauser made the trip. He won the cross-country and gained even more American race fans. Don’t be left alone: While the Sea Otter course offers tight sin- gletrack, it is on the wide-open jeep trails where fortunes are won or lost. Get stuck out in the strong Monterey winds by yourself, and you will get shelved. Road rage: The cross-country events start off on the historic Laguna Seca Raceway’s 2.238-mile road course before dropping the field down a white-knuckled, 40 mph down- hill. Getting off the pavement in the top ten was essential. 68 &
  • S u n S h i ne Georgia on everyone’s mind: America’s great hope for cross-country wins on the The professor and student: Do you ever get the feeling you are being followed? world stages rests mainly on this 29-year-old Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski does, with his protégé Sam Schultz making like a shadow. lady’s shoulders. She played it cool in the The two spend more time together than most Siamese twins. short track and scorched the cross-country. How many can you name?: Derek Zandstra (5), Sid Taberlay (4), Jeremy Horgan- Kobelski (2), Seamus McGrath (6), Todd Wells (8), Burry Stander (126), Tinker Juarez (75), the winner, Christoph Sauser (118) and Ken Onodera (101). One hundred and thirteen riders followed them. PRO MEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY PRO WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC RESULTS 1. Christoph Sauser, Specialized, 2:02:54 1. Georgia Gould, Luna Women, 1:22:451 2. Sid Taberlay, Sho-Air/Specialized, 2:07:01 2. Lene Byberg Sanoness, Specialized, 1:23:52 3. Max Plaxton, Sho-Air/Specialized, 2:07.62 3. Catharine Pendrel, Luna Women, 1:23:59 4. J. Horgan-Kobelski, Subaru/Gary Fisher, 2:08:02 4. Kelli Emmett, Giant, 1:26:43 5. Sam Schultz, Subaru/Gary Fisher, 2:08:30 5. Willow Koerber, Subaru/Gary Fisher, 1:26:54 6. Todd Wells, Specialized, 2:10:05 6. Pua Sawicki, Ellsworth, 1:27:00 7. J. Bishop, MonaVie/Cannondale, 2:10:56 7. Katerina Nash, Luna Women, 1:28:07 8. Conrad Stoltz, Specialized, 2:10:56 8. Heather Irmiger, Subaru/Gary Fisher, 1:29:02 9. Carl Decker, Giant, 2:10:56 9. Jenna Rinehart Mankato, Specialized, 1:29:47 10. Ken Onodera, Subaru/Gary Fisher, 2:14:47 10. Lorenza Morfin Cuernavaca, Self. 1:30:22 PRO MEN’S SHORT TRACK PRO WOMEN’S SHORT TRACK 1. Todd Wells, Specialized 1. Emily Batty, Trek Bicycle Store 2. Burry Stander, Specialized 2. Lene Byberg Sanoness, Specialized 3. Carl Decker, Giant 3. Catharine Pendrel, Luna Women 4. Jeremiah Bishop, MonaVie/Cannondale 4. Heather Irmiger, Subaru/Gary Fisher 5. Sam Schultz, Subaru/Gary Fisher 5. Georgia Gould, Luna Women 6. Ryan Trebon, Kona 6. Kelli Emmett, Giant 7. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Subaru/Gary Fisher 7. Willow Koerber, Subaru/Gary Fisher 8. Robert Marion, Kenda/KMC 8. Katerina Nash, Luna Women 9. Seamus McGrath, Jamis 9. Melanie McQuaid, Sho-Air/Specialized 10. Colin Cares, Kenda/Tomac 10. Jenna Rinehart Mankato, Specialized ❑ August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 69 &
  • 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC The Heat Elite racers clash on the dual-slalom and downhill courses E very spring, mountain biking’s fastest racers pop in from around the world to kick off a year of grav- ity racing. The world-famous dual-slalom competi- tion had its strongest and fastest field in history, as over 100 racers attempted to qualify for the top 32 spots and a shot at the finals. The 2009 event saw new faces knock Lookout below: The 2009 season sees Nathan Rennie off some perennial favorites, while a handful of world- (right) on the all-new Kenda/Morewood team, while Mick class veterans showed why there’s no substitute for expe- Hannah comes out of retirement to race for GT. Mick rience. blistered the course for the top qualifying spot but was knocked out after bobbling against Jared Rando. The Sea Otter downhill is by no means a World Cup- level course, which is why there is no room for error. One second separated the top six pro men finishers on the blazing fast hardpack downhill course. 70 &
  • Is On Pink lady: Kathy Pruitt (above) is a perennial podium threat in downhill. She guided her Jamis to third place in the women’s pro downhill. Whipped: Kieran Bennett of Cambell, California, is on board with the new Intense Cycles/X-Fusion team for 2009. He whips his modified Intense Tracer en route to 32nd place on the day. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 71 &
  • Master blaster: Former Sea Otter dual-slalom champion Nathan Rennie displays the power he is known for as he destroys one of Laguna Seca’s famous berms. Nathan didn’t race up to his usual form, finishing in 12th place. Good showing: Seventeen-year-old Mitch Ropelato held his own against the big boys in dual slalom. His 18th place qualifying spot was due to a much slower second qualifying run and Rainbow warriors: Sam Hill (2) aboard his new Specialized SX slalom-specific bike eliminat- not representative of how fast he was ed Gee Atherton in the semi-final. Although known for his downhill skills, Sam has made the racing. Mitch narrowly lost to eventual finals in other prestigious dual-slalom events like Crankworx in Whistler. winner Sam Hill in the second round. 72 &
  • 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC Dynamic duo: Aussie Bryn Atkinson teamed up with his Hot streak: Melissa Buhl has essentially dominated every event girlfriend, world champion Jill Kintner, to form their own she’s entered on U.S. soil in the past year. She knocked off top race team for 2009. Bryn looked quick, but not quick qualifier Jill Kintner in the finals for her first dual-slalom win at enough. He was eliminated in the second round. the Otter. Head-to-head: The top two downhillers in the world, Sam Hill and Gee Atherton, battled in the round of four. Hill bested Atherton, eventually beating Cody Warren in the finals for his first Sea Otter slalom championship. Atherton finished in the fourth and final podium spot. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 73 &
  • 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC Blow out: Eric Carter, now 39 years old, qualified third in the field of 101 racers. But when his tire blew off the rim it put an end to his pursuit of his first Sea Otter dual-slalom championship. Runner up: Greg Minnaar (25) finished second place by just .01 seconds to Mick Hannah. Although both are top World Cup riders, they couldn’t have a more con- trasting style. “Big Air” Minnaar was throwing huge whips over the jumps, while Hannah stayed low to the ground, speed jumping every obstacle. Tough luck: Reigning world downhill champion Gee Atherton spent most Welcome back: Throughout his career, Aussie of his winter training nearby the Sea Otter venue in Santa Cruz, California, Mick Hannah has had the Sea Otter downhill’s although he returned home a short time before the event. He traveled a number. After taking a year off of racing, Mick long way back to Northern California from West Wales to slide out in a took this year’s Sea Otter win aboard his new high-speed berm at the top of the course. GT Fury carbon fiber downhill bike. 74 &
  • Return to victory: After a four-year break from racing at the Sea Otter, former downhill winner Tracy Moseley rode her new Trek downhill bike to victory once again. She spoiled Melissa Buhl’s hope of winning both the dual slalom and the downhill by edging her out for the win by just .6 seconds. Newcomer: Twenty-year-old Mitch Delfs showed more style than speed in Monterey, finishing 60th in downhill. 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC GRAVITY RESULTS PRO MEN’S DUAL SLALOM 1. Sam Hill, Specialized/Monster Energy 2. Cody Warren, Team America/Specialized 3. Jared Rando, Giant Bicycles 4. Gee Atherton, Animal/Commencal/Red Bull 5. Mick Hannah, GT Bicycles 6. Eric Carter, GT Bicycles 7. Kyle Strait, Team America/Specialized 8. Mike Haderer, Fox Racing Shox PRO WOMEN’S DUAL SLALOM 1. Melissa Buhl, KHS Bicycles 2. Jill Kintner, Intense/Oakley/ Red Bull 3. Kathy Pruitt, Jamis Bicycles 4. Mio Suemasa, Intense Cycles 5. Claire Buchar, Chain Reaction/Intense 6. Sondra Williamson, Specialized 7. Darian Harvey, Self 8. Joy Martin, Vixen PRO MEN’S DOWNHILL 1. Mick Hannah, GT Bicycles, 2:08.18 2. Gregg Minnaar, Santa Cruz Syndicate, 2:08.24 3. Andrew Neethling, Trek World Racing, 2:08.89 4. Justin Leov, Trek World Racing, 2:09.06 5. Brian Lopes, Ibis/Oakley, 2:09.24 6. Eric Carter, GT Bicycles, 2:09.38 7. Dan Atherton, Animal/Commencal/Nissan, 2:09.62 8. Jared Rando, Giant Bicycles, 2:09.92 9. Bryn Atkinson, Intense/Crankbrothers, 2:10.32 10. Nathan Rennie, Kenda/Morewood, 2:10.32 PRO WOMEN’S DOWNHILL 1. Tracy Moseley, Trek World Racing, 2:21.60 2. Melissa Buhl, KHS Bicycles, 2:22.20 3. Kathy Pruitt, Jamis Bicycles, 2:27.76 4. Claire Buchar, Chain Reaction/Intense, 2:28.07 5. Lisa Myklak, Self, 2:32.05 Style points: Reigning junior world 6. Miranda Miller, Self, 02:32.82 champion Josh Bryceland rode his V10 New kit: Andrew Neethling made the trip 7. Jacqueline, Harmony, Self, 2:35.46 downhill bike to 40th place in pro down- from Cape Town, South Africa, and had a 8. Katie Holden, Specialized, 2:35.60 hill. You may recognize Josh from the great showing, taking third place for the 9. Danice Uyesugi, Self, 2:36.24 Apple MacBook Pro advertisements. Trek downhill team. 10. Casey Brown, Self, 2:36.98 August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 75 &
  • MBA SEA OTTER SPECIAL Miles of New Products Hidden treasures found in the pits A side from four days of great racing, the Sea Otter Classic has become a mecca for gearheads. These are riders who can’t wait to see the latest and greatest gadgets from people who make products for mountain bikers. Luckily, we are a bunch of gearheads, too. We scoured the pits and found everything that was new, interesting and, well, stuff we wish we had on our bikes. Here are the standouts of our search. Otter earthquake: A nameless 2010 downhill weapon from Marin Bikes (don’t go by the QuadDH) looks close to production. Claimed to have 9.8 inches of rear wheel travel, Marin moved the pivot bearings inboard for a much more slender cockpit (right) than on previous Quakes. The hardware was cobby, so expect refinements there before this bike hits production. The standover height was way less than 30 inches. That’s awesome for a bike with this much travel. 2 2 1 2 2 4 3 Time on your side: Brian Lopes gets the Tough trails: DT Swiss rolled out See-thru hub: We are suckers for cut- the 340FR for trail riders who don’t star treatment with his own signature sad- away components, and since the hand- dle from WTB. Since Brian has always want to risk failure with a light- assembled DT Swiss 240s hub shows up weight wheel, but don’t want to been about beating the clock, he chose to on so many test bikes, this one really have the stopwatch graphic. This is not a suffer the weight tax of full-race caught our eye. downhill equipment. The FR600 rim dual-slalom saddle, although it could be 1. Aluminum 15-millimeter axle used for that. The Lopes design appears to uses DT Swiss’ SBWT (Strength 2. Quad bearing system with stainless Boost Welding Technology) that is be comfortable and light enough to be steel ball bearings. your every-ride saddle. found on the elite mountain bike 3. DT Swiss’ Star Ratchet System. wheels, double-butted spokes and 4. DT Swiss Thru Bolt quick release. a 340 Hub. Think Trek Remedy, Fisher Roscoe and Giant Reign. It will retail in the $700 range. 76 &
  • SHERWOOD AND BRENT MADE IN THE USA It is a neck-and-neck race between Ventana’s Sherwood Gibson and Foes Racing’s Brent Foes for the hardest- working-fabricator-in-mountain-biking title. Both of these guys work way too hard, and they seem to enjoy it. Go fig- ure. They still make all their bikes in their factories that aren’t factories at all. They are race shops. The two fabrica- Ventana El Comandante: Sherwood is stoked about the Gates Carbon Belt tors wowed the Otter crowd again. Drive (MBA May 2009) and built this beautiful single-speeder so he could ride one. The removable dropouts allow for belt replacement and adjustment without adding the bulk of an eccentric bottom bracket. Ventana El Chucho: Something look off? That’s a 29-inch wheel upfront and a 26-inch wheel in the rear that gets 5.5 inches of travel. We have begged him to make one available to the wrecking crew for a full test. By the way, Chucho is mutt in Spanish. Very appropriate. Reach him at (916) 631-0544. Nip and tuck: Ventana is experimenting with the position of the rear brake. Does it increase brake performance? We’ll have to find out, but Sherwood said he did it because “it looks so good tucked in like that.” Foes Big Wheel: Obviously, Pasadena’s most prolific bike builder decided not to sleep the month before Sea Otter, because this study in overkill took a few hours to put together. That’s a hydro- Foes 29er prototype: It is hard to tell the difference formed front between a “production” Foes and a proto, because wheel, sealed when you handmake bikes, they all look like one offs. bearings all This proto has four inches of rear wheel travel and uses around and the same welding quality and heat-treating that goes into the Foes 2:1 shock leverage ratio, taking 29er tuning to a big boys’ Foes. Our guess is if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford new level. The bike will accept the Curnutt XTD air it. “If I got enough interest to do a run of 20, I’d probably be able to sell shock or a Fox Float RP23. The new model should hit them for about $1000,” explained Brent. There are two in existence—this the trail around the end of the summer. Reach Foes at one and one that went to Brent’s Italian importer. (626) 683-8368. Ramming speed: The coolest thing about the Otter is the unexpected. When we saw Richard Sheppard rolling past on his Ram, we told him to hit the brakes. The bike uses a low leverage ratio (claimed 2.2:1) to get seven inch- es of very tunable travel. It had stubby chainstays at less than 16 inches and a standover height that would be accept- able on a small-sized hardtail. A quick spin revealed a rear suspension that felt very much like a coilover shock was in use. All this, plus Richard seemed like a real fine fellow. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 77 &
  • New Products MBA SEA OTTER SPECIAL Fast feet: Mavic reps ran like we were swine flu carriers when we walked into their display Back on track: Manitou reintroduces area, but that didn’t stop us from shooting the the Dorado MRD Race inverted, dual- Fury cross-country race shoe. The Fury has a crown downhill fork with an integrated carbon fiber sole with rubber lugs for off-bike stem and adjustable TPC (Twin Piston traction. A full carbon 3D heel looked well- Chamber) Plus Cartridge for position formed to offer a firm fit, and the upper activated damping. The fork is claimed appeared to be beefed up to limit stretching. to weigh 6.4 pounds and offer eight If the look of a shoe can make you faster, the inches of travel. We are not sure if the Fury is made for fast feet. welcomed return of the Dorado will replace the Travis fork in Manitou’s line. Downsizing: Manitou showed a remote lock- out lever that breaks the trend of clumsy and ugly designs. The Milo felt silky smooth Built for a lifetime: Lezyne offers floor pumps that aren’t cheap to buy. The whether pushing on the red thumb lever or trick is you only need to buy this pump once. The $100 CNC Floor Drives are punching the gray release button. CNC-machined aluminum with a long travel piston with a reduced barrel diame- ter. The $60 Classic Floor Drive pump uses an aluminum foot, steel piston and barrel and wood handle. What, no plastic? Nope. Stunningly fast: The Titus FTM blew us away (MBA July 2009) in the performance depart- ment, and this limited edition FTM takes our breath away just looking at it. Color-coordinat- ed hardware, rims, cable housing, seatpost Built for a beating: The Titus El Guapo is one of the meanest-looking black- clamp and steerer tube spacers on a flat black diamond bikes to grace the side of a cliff. This version is a joint effort with frame with black graphics are the stuff that Crankbrothers, who supply the color-coded cobalt wheels, Mallet pedals, would make you the envy of any group ride. cobalt headset and Joplin adjustable-ride-height seatpost. 78 &
  • Welcome to America: When Schwalbe first imported tires to America, they were too Euro-centric for our taste (fast rolling at the expense of cornering and compliance). Not so anymore. Their new tires show a commit- ment to American- style riding. The Schwalbe Wicked Will is intended for down- hill or black-diamond trails and comes in a 26x2.50 size with your choice of Triple Riding over the landfill: Dan Nelson fabricated props for movies and Compound or Gooey watched his hard work become landfill after filming was done. He Gluey rubber. started NTP Custom Bikes to craft frames from titanium that would be anything but disposable. His new creations would last a rider for- ever. He’ll build a sano titanium single-speed like this one for you. Just say “action.” (415) 822-1300. New rubber to roll: Sea Otter is the place to spot Along comes a spider: Dirty Dog MTB new companies and old friends. Duro Tires makes doesn’t make wild performance claims rubber for hundreds of applications and is going about their brake discs. They are made to to offer a line of mountain bike tires. The old One for the wet: The Dirty Dan stand out in all popular diameters. The friend is Michael Sabin (center) who will be head- is a 26x2.35 downhill racing tire Spider Web has a suggested retail of $74. ing up Duro’s bicycle tire effort. You can get more for muddy conditions that uses Contact them at (408) 892-6468. information at (208) 946-1153. a soft, compound rubber that Schwalbe calls Gooey Gluey. It will wear out fast, but are you a racer or a rider? No longer a secret: Race mechanics and custom bike builders have known a little weight-saving secret that is no longer a secret (because we are telling you). The KMC X9SL-Ti with its titanium nitride gold finish shaves weight and has proven ultra- Color-coded: KMC Chains offers single speeders chains in a rainbow of colors to cus- reliable. This recommended upgrade has a tomize and color-coordinate their rides. The chains sell for between $35 and $40, suggested retail of $75. depending on the color combinations. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 79 &
  • New Products MBA SEA OTTER SPECIAL Expensive stack: A short stack of $26,400 worth of Bare bones: Trigon offers the full carbon monocoque frame Specialized S-Works Epics. MQC905 for the racer who never wants to touch a lockout lever because it is a fully rigid cross-country race bike. Available only for 26-inch wheels, the MQC905 frame goes for $1400 and the MC07 rigid fork is $440. Turner DHR: Coming in 2010 from Turner is this 8.3-inch travel aluminum downhill racer that uses a dw-link rear suspension and will come stock with a 150x12 rear thru- axle. The frame will include a Fox DHX 5.0 shock. Affordable fast: Sette has the reputation for building solid bikes at affordable prices. This Vexx downhill racer is a prototype that is headed for production. The aluminum hydroformed frame uses a head tube gusset and components from Truvativ, RockShox, FSA and Hayes. Real intense: The Intense 951 downhill bike is designed to adapt to many differ- Casual cool: There are a lot of trail riders who ent courses, from flat-out speed to tight and technical. They use a proprietary don’t want to look like billboards. Nema gets it. Easton aluminum tubeset. A G3 dropout allows for an adjustable head angle, They offer casual riding attire that is functional bottom bracket height and wheelbase. Rear wheel travel can be set to eight or and low-key. 8.5 inches of travel. 80 &
  • Colors are back: Riders who like to customize their bikes are in for a treat from SRAM and Truvativ. Component parts will be available in colors that you can match, or if you are really a wild and crazy rider, mix. Light nine: Niner built a 17-pound Air 9 using Easton Scandium for the frame and their own carbon fiber fork. Yes, of course those are 29-inch Stan’s wheels and tires. The bike’s light weight makes the 2x9 drivetrain a sensible spec. Middle ground: Jamis’ Craig Hoyt let us in on this 2010 Dakar 650B. The bike uses 27.5-inch wheels and gets five inches of rear wheel travel. A White Bros. fork will be standard equipment, and the Crankbrothers Joplin adjustable height seatpost will be on at least one of the two models. Cable routing will be “enhanced” before production. Connect the dots: While there are drawbacks to integrated bar/stem combos, the Control Tech Crossbow does draw attention and interest. The one-piece monocoque carbon fiber bar/stem is claimed to weigh 13 ounces and deliver shock- absorbing qualities not found in two-piece setups. Wink and a nod: The worst-kept secret of the Otter was the use of a SRAM ten-cog Single-minded: Cannondale had a cassette on Greg Minnaar’s Santa Cruz V- prototype 5.5-inch-travel Lefty fork 10. While SRAM officials would not com- on display. The entire aluminum ment, the ten-cog cassette is showing up upper fork leg was forged from one on both downhill and cross-country bikes Get a new altitude: Rocky Mountain was show- piece of aluminum, including the at World Cup events. Like it or not (there ing off their first full-suspension, 4.7-inch-travel single stanchion and crowns. The are still riders who long for the reliability of 29er in the pits. This new Altitude features fork’s lockout feature now has a the eight-cog cassette), ten cogs are com- Rocky’s Form29 tubeset and a tapered head blow-off valve so unexpected hits ing your way. tube that’s designed to be lighter and stiffer. won’t knock you silly. ❏ August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 81 &
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  • Ride Your First MBA TRAINING 24-Hour Race Ten tips that will make it fun R. Cunningham Traditional start: First-time racers are traditionally indoctrinated to 24-hour racing by being chosen for the running start—usually a half-mile sprint to a jumble of parked bicycles. The leaders get to race dust-free for one lap. The followers get to ride the cha- cha-cha line. ace your first 24-hour event and you will R enter a world that exists outside of all other forms of mountain bike competition. For Plan ahead starters, you’ll be living in a tent city with nonstop music, fire pits, food and gear vendors, and be sharing a ten- to 15-mile cross-country course with 1 Twenty-four-hour races are quite popular and generally sell out months before the event. well over a thousand competitors—most of whom Pick your race and send in your entries early to you will become familiar with as the hours roll by. ensure your spot. When your race takes place is also a You won’t need a special bike, because this is an concern. If you choose an early season race, like the arena where anything goes—from beach cruisers 24-Hours in the Old Pueblo, you and your team mem- with baskets to carbon fiber-framed 700C bers will have to stay fit through the winter months. cyclocross bikes. Darkness, and how well racers Late season races, like Granny Gear’s classic Moab prepare for it, becomes an unfolding drama that event, can be toasty hot or subject to howling snow- often determines who bags podium spots long storms. It is also imperative to ride with your lighting before the noontime finish. The experience is equipment before you race with it. Tip: Bring at least one spare bike. It is much easier transforming and addictive. Everyone should race to switch bikes than to fix bikes. at least one 24-hour event, whether you are race-fit or not. Here’s how it’s done. 84 &
  • that you are willing to excuse some- body for dozing off and missing a rider exchange. If you don’t want to risk a letdown, either by your fault or anoth- er’s, then ride solo and go for a person- al best—it’s all good. Going solo 4 requires training commitment To win the solo division, you’ll need to ride over 250 miles, which is a bit more than a ten-mile-an-hour average speed without stopping. Of course, you will have to take a few breaks, so fig- ure your average speed at 15 mph and you’ll be in the money. To do this takes a dedicated athlete and at least a year of conditioning for long, fast-paced rides. Tip: To get started as a solo rider, work your endurance up to the point where 50-mile off-road rides are not extraordinarily tough. Then, ride your 50 miler on Saturday, with a 20-miler on Sunday. Extend your Sunday ride No easy way: Don’t believe that being part of a team is a lazy man’s way out of until you can ride 50 miles off-road on One for 24: Solo competition was not both days and you will be ready to try allowed until John Stamsted purchased suffering. Four- and five-member teams your hand at 24 hours. You won’t win, four entries at a Granny Gear race—each require top racing fitness to be competi- under a different arrangement of his name. tive, because each lap is an all-out sprint. but you’ll know that even with a mid- Today, the solo category has world and night nap, you will have the stuff to national championship status. Craig finish better than mid-pack. Gordon leads Chris Eatough. Comfort is king 2 Tent camping is fine if Riding with a team is a commitment, too the weather cooperates, but use a large enough tent to make room for preparing to ride while 5 Four- and five-member teams require top racing fit- sion cross-country races, then you can hope for a podium finish at a 24-hour another sleeps. The best option is a ness to be competitive, because event. I say “hope” because speed is only travel trailer or motor home. Getting each lap is an all-out sprint. If all of your half of the 24-hour equation. Planning out of the weather and into a quiet team places in the top ten in upper divi- and execution are equally important. space is an invaluable asset for weary racers. Many events publish real-time results on free WiFi, so having an elec- trical outlet or a way to run your com- puter is extremely helpful. Choose your 3 team and your tempo Everyone races at a different tempo, but it is wise to select team members who ride pretty close to the same speed and intensity. Ask upfront what each prospective rider expects from the race, and evaluate how you fit into the plan. It doesn’t make sense to join up with three hotshot racer boys on carbon hardtails if you are wearing a 2.35-inch spare tire around your waist and racing a Santa Cruz Nomad. If your team is Tent City: A 24-hour race creates a canvas metropolis where racers can dine out, get a up for a casual performance, make sure massage, charge up their lighting systems, trade race lies and try to get a few hours of rest. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 85 &
  • 24-Hour MBA TRAINING Pick a leader 6 Twenty-four-hour racing is a team event even for solo riders, because every competitor needs some- body to watch his back. Choose a make-it-happen leader who has previous 24-hour experience and can stay focused and calm during the race. This is also the person who makes phone calls and follows up on everyone’s paperwork to get the team ready for race day. Tip: Make a lap list. Look up the previous year’s results and use those lap times to divide up the 24-hour period. Next, agree on a team sequence (Bob, Gregg, Nancy, Bill and Fred), and then list each rider’s estimated start and finish time. Armed with your master lap list, you can plan who rides the night laps and when to assemble lighting systems onto bikes and organize meals. Jot down the racers’ actu- Going corporate: Trek focused their pro al times on the list as the event team on 24-hour events and has been a progresses, so each successive dominant force. Chris Eatough (1) took over where Tinker Juarez left off—winning team member can better judge just about everything. Hopefully, 24-hour when to warm up and be ready events will retain their communal feel as at the transition zone. more pro teams compete for top honors. One gear all night long: Single speeds and 29ers have become wildly popular among endurance racers. Occasionally, single-speed racers dominate geared riders and set the fastest lap times. The rivalry is heating up. 86 &
  • Don’t depend 7 on alarm clocks If you are racing solo and need to lie down for a short nap, arrange for your team leader or someone trustworthy to wake you up and get you on the bike at a spe- cific time. (I relaxed for a moment once and dozed half the night dur- ing a solo race). For teams, the best method is that the racer who has just finished a lap must awaken the rider who will be up next—and make sure he or she is upright and walking around. In this way, there is always one rider out racing, one getting ready to go to the transition tent, and one racer recovering. If there is a problem out on the course, one team member will always be awake to respond. Tip: If you can get reception, make sure each rider has a cell phone with him. Should there be a mechanical or other problem, know- ing where a rider is on the course can save huge amounts of time. Lighting 8 systems Few courses are technical enough to require megawatt lighting sys- tems. Your best bet is a medium- power lighting kit with a long burn time. LED systems are 24-hour favorites because they use smaller, lightweight battery packs and burn longer than HID or Halogen types. Always ride with two separate lighting kits; one on the handlebar and one on the helmet is the norm. The list of riders who have lost a race or blown their team’s chances of a competitive result due to a lighting failure grows longer with each 24-hour race. Don’t add your name to that list; ride with a back- up lighting kit. Tip: Put some tape on your bat- tery and use a marker to indicate how long or the number of laps that you have used it. Bring an extra battery. There isn’t usually enough time to recharge a system between laps. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 87 &
  • MBA TRAINING 24-Hour Eating and 9 drinking Arrive at the event hydrated, well fed and rested. This means that you should not be riding hard for three or four days before the event. You will not be able to eat or drink enough to com- pletely recover, so pre-race preparation is important. With few exceptions, every rider will eat a little solid food midway through the race. Gels, sports drinks and energy bars can fuel you for the duration, but a hot meal during the night stages will provide a welcome boost— emotionally and physically. Chili, chicken soup, or pasta and a little protein will do wonders. Tip: Drink as much as you For the win or the grin: Make sure you and your teammates are on the same page. can, but spread it out so you You will save yourself a potential disap- won’t feel bloated. It is equally pointment if you set your goals as a team. important to be able to com- If you race for fun, let it all hang out. To win, fortably digest your food. however, requires a different mindset. Press on regardless: Many companies have caught the 24-hour flu and extend free support to all racers. The atmosphere at a 24-hour event is one of cooperation and encouragement. 88 &
  • Sunup is 10 strategy time From the start until about 8 a.m., concentrate on plunking off laps. After the sun rises, it’s time to work out the math to take advantage of the last-lap strategy. Rules say that if you are out on a lap after the noon cutoff, you are scored for it—and the winner is the team or rider who puts in the most laps. Review your lap list and calculate each team member’s average lap times against the remaining time in the race. The trick is to use the faster riders to cram in as many laps as possible in the morning hours, and then send the slowest rider out at 11:50 to bag the extra lap. ❑ FIND A RACE OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY There are many independent 24-hour races held every year in the United States and Canada. Checking the bulletin board at your local bike shop is the best way to find these regional events. If that doesn’t work, these promoters have been run- ning 24-hour events for years and put on great events. Epic Rides: Grannygear Productions: 24 Hours of Adrenalin: August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 89 &
  • We Offer a 30-Day Price Protection Policy, Plus NO- 1.909.947.2100 local or international HASSLE RETURNS with NO Restocking or toll free 1.888.880.3403 FEES! or Giro Havoc Helmet ‘08 Plenty of vents to keep you cool. Shim Shimano XT M765 SAVE MONEY ON FREIGHT! Matte Black, Red/Black White/Titanium HE302A04 Hydro Brake Lever Set Black/Si Black/Silver, w/Lines and oil BL409Z BL409Z00 Discounted rates with our NEW MSRP $64 MSRP $169.9 $169.99 “Economy Shipping” Option! Available Exclusively Online 8 Bell Variant Helmet ‘08 Matte Black, Matte Titanium HE296A00 MSRP $99.99 SIDI Bullet 2 Shoes Black, 41-47 SH311B07 MSRP $181.99 KHS DJ200 Frame ‘05 Don’t miss out on this amazing deal! A full TIG welded chromoly DJ/Urban/ Street frame. Run disc or v-brakes. Grey( S or M) FR284A00 MSRP $299 Intense Cycles Slopestyle Frame A bike that is built for the style of riding R Race Face Deus that can be had in bike parks. Fox DHX 5.0 Shock. Stealth Black (S, M, L) S Special Edition FR294H02 MSRP $2420 C Crankset R Red Special Edition, 175mm. 2 22-32-44 T C CR287A02 DH Fro Lite Tire FRO Lite 909 26” Tire 26x2.5, Dual Ply, Folding Bead 26x2.5, or 26x2.35 Dual Ply, TI287A14 MSRP $49.99 Folding Bead TI300A02 MSRP $49.99 Hayes Stroker Ryde Disc Brake kit Grey 160mm, F or R BR303C01 msrp $149.99 Intense Cycles Spider XVP Frame The “gold standard” in full suspension cross-country frames. Manitou Swinger 3 Way Shock. Pearl White (S, M, L) FR503A00 MSRP $2140 Shi Shima Shimano Dura-Ace Hydrapak Flume ‘08 Hydrapak Air Scoop CS-7800 10sp Cassette 70 oz reservoir, 70 cu space Cargo ‘08 173 grams, 10 sp HY284A00 msrp $44 70 ozreservoir,70 cu space CS706A00 HY284A01 msrp $64.99 11-21T was $207.99 NOW $135 12-21T was $207.99 NOW $135 12-23T was $207.99 NOW $135 Hoss Rustler Jersey ‘08 Giro Atmos Helmet ‘09 S, M, L, XL, XXL Black/Pewter or Matte Titanium S,M, L JE285A01 HE290B03 MSRP $29.95 MSRP $175 y Sun SOS/Disc Jockey AM Wheelset * Disc Jockey sealed bearing 10F Jamis Parker 1.0 Frame 2008 OE disc hubs * Wheelsmith 14 gauge There are so many options to choose from when selecting a full suspension Black Spokes * Sun SOS black frame. You know you want a frame that is lightweight, pedals efficiently disc specific rims * Estimated but also want the ability to do much more. The Jamis Parker is the perfect weight 2350 grams for the set blend of XC performance with an array of trail capabilities. WH285A00 SixSixOne Pressure Suit FR289B01 msrp $799.99 100 mm travel MSRP $350 * Laced, Trued, and ready to ride! White (S, M, L, XL) PG302A02 MSRP $149.95 Disclaimer* Quantities on some items may be limited - shop early for best selection. Pricing may vary between our magazine ads, catalogs, showroom, retail stores, and website. Currency fluctuations, manufacturer price 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, weights, prices, or photography are unintentional and subject to correction. Customer bears the cost of return shipping for exchanges/returns unless Jenson USA has made a shipping error. Please call for a return authorization number. Jenson USA strives to offer the best prices on every item we sell. We will price match any nationally advertised price - just give us the details at the time of your order. The identical item (size, color, model year) must 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. &
  • Dare to Compare! EASY ONLINE Jenson USA offers fast, fair shipping. Always compare item cost PRICEMATCHES! + shipping for true comparison Get Get your match at and see your match t JensonUSA com and t h USA d lower price right at checkout, before you pay! with the Lowest Prices Guaranteed! HUGE PRICE DROP! Mavic Crossmax ST RockShox Tora V-Brake Wheels 100mm Fox Float The Mavic Crossmax ST wheelset is a Truvativ, Candy, X9, lightweight and responsive wheelset that is More! a great choice for anyone who is running a non-disc setup and still wants a strong and durable wheelset. WH289A04 msrp $699.90 Rocky Mountain Flow DJ Frame ‘08 Tough and capable of taking the abuse you’ll give them, the Flow Frame is designed for dirt jumping, bike park, street, trail and almost any other kind of progressive riding you do. Med Brown GT Bicycles I Drive 4 2.0 Bike 2006 SixSixOne Evolution Carbon Helmet FR285A00 The GT I-Drive 4 2.0 is a smooth and responsive XC bike that features GT’s stable i-drive An ultra lightweight helmet which features real Carbon msrp $599.99 suspension system. 4” Travel Front & Rear. S or M Fiber in a brand new shell design that provides greater BI291T01 msrp $2100 coverage and an even better fit. Black (S, M, L, XL) HE298G00 INCREDIBLE EASTON CLOSEOUT! MSRP $289.95 Easton EA70 DH Handlebar Easton EA70 Stem ‘08 Easton’s most popular and strongest aluminum riser bar. Marzocchi 55 R A lightweight, reliable upgrade for HB294A00 ‘08 Fork your road or MTB machine. MSRP $60 55 R Black, 140 mm ST402A01 Travel MSRP $80 FK303A13 MSRP $399.99 Easton Monkeylite XC Riser Bar ‘07 Featuring CNT (carbon nano tube) technology, making this bar light and strong. HB402A00 MSRP $120 Jamis Diablo 1.0 Frame ‘07 A strong freeride/downhill bike that eats up drops, big hits and jumps while still giving you a smooth ride to the bottom of the hill. Easton EA50 Stem ‘08 FR287B02 Delivers a ton of features and 7” Travel! performance for the money. ST295A05 Easton EA50 DH Riser bar MSRP $50 The DH model is beefed up to handle the stresses exerted by more aggressive riders. HB402A10 MSRP $40 Ontario, California Will-Call Window 1441 S. Carlos Ave Mission Blvd RaceFace Deus Mini-Kit Ontario, California 91751 Marzocchi 66 909.947.2100 Archibald S.Carlos ATA ‘08 Fork Deus X-Type Deus XC Riser Open Mon-Sat Vineyard 66 ATA, White, 140-180mm travel, Crankset ‘07 08 Bar ‘08 Deus XC Stem ’07 15 1 1/8 steerer Francis MSRP For Fastest Pickup, FK303A17 MSRP $1099.99 $399.99 Order Online or By 60 Phone First! Corona, California Superstore 15 Research Dr Marzocchi 55 Auto Center Dr ATA ‘08 Fork Bell Faction Helmet ‘07 55 ATA, White, 125-165mm Travel Features a sharp design inspired by Lincoln FK303A10 skateboarding. M,L Wardlow Rd MSRP $935 HE402F01 MSRP $39.99 91 Serfas Club Dr 2410 Wardlow Rd Suite 109 Corona, California 92880 15 951.736.0700 RaceFace Evolve DH Crankset ‘08 NOW OPEN 7 DAYS An optimal combination of strength, stiffness, & weight. A WEEK! CR302A06 MSRP $195 Order Online and Delivery to any Jenson USA location is always free! &
  • Float on: The all-new Jackal is sold as a frame only for $650, however, the build we received was spot on for serious dirt jumping and street riding, featuring reliable compo- nents like the RockShox Argyle fork and Truvativ Holzfeller OCT cranks. 92 &
  • MBA est A Wild Ride Santa Cruz’s redesigned Jackal T he evolution of urban stunt and dirt jump bikes con- fork is designed specifically for dirt jumping and features the tinues to move forward with advances in frame con- 20-millimeter thru-axle Maxle. The cockpit consists of an SDG struction and versatile geometry. Just a few years dirt jump seat and post, Thomson 50-millimeter stem and ago, one could count the number of companies producing Race Face Evolve DH handlebar. worthwhile jump bikes on one hand. Today, nearly every major mountain bike manufacturer has at least one jump- HOW DOES IT PERFORM? specific bike in their line, and component manufacturers Ergonomics: You don’t need to throw a leg over the Jackal make specific equipment, from headsets to tires, for these to see that this is a use-specific, one-trick pony as far as moun- mountain bikes. tain bikes go. The jump-oriented saddle is run low for maxi- For their second-generation Jackal, Santa Cruz Bicycles mum maneuverability, while the burly Race Face Evolve DH turned to their Syndicate team riders, Jamie Goldman and component build and low standover height and bottom bracket Kirt Voreis, for input on what characteristics are important promote agility and snappy handling. The Jackal’s handlebar to jumpers. and stem spec centers the rider in the bike, making it a cinch to become comfortable with. Pedaling performance: As to be expected with hardtail frames, the Jackal accelerates quickly. The ultra-stiff Truvativ Holzfeller OCT cranks were designed for World Cup downhill racing, so no power is wasted when transferring energy from the pedals to the rear end. The SRAM X.9 dri- vetrain is as dependable as they come, and you won’t have to worry about the rear derailleur slapping the chainstay. The Jackal is a quiet ride when you’re on the gas. Cornering: With intentionally sharp angles for precise han- dling, the Jackal corners like a dual slalom machine with the fork in its 3.9-inch setting. In fact, Santa Cruz Syndicate racers who compete in dual slalom and prefer a hardtail often race aboard the Jackal. Opting for a setup with a single spacer WHO IS IT MADE FOR? under the stem positions a rider aggressively over the front The Jackal is a jump-specific aluminum frame with geom- end. This positioning, combined with the stiff fork, makes for etry ideal for street riding, skateparks and dirt jumps. The an ideal setup for torquing through pump tracks. Kenda’s Jackal is sold as a frame only, because the fellas at Santa Small Block 8 tires are designed for cross-country racing, but Cruz feel that dirt jumpers are a picky lot and they all like to the fast-rolling tread makes them a popular choice for dirt build up their bikes differently. jumpers and street riders. If you ride mostly street, jumps and pump tracks, these tires will have enough bite. Trails with WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? looser conditions will require a more aggressive front tire to Available in two sizes, standard or long, the aluminum- hook up under power. On average, we ran about 45psi in the framed Jackal does not accept a front derailleur and is built for single-chainring use with a maximum, 38-tooth chain- tires when riding dirt jumps and a few more psi when riding ring size. Anything bigger will interfere with the chainstay street. yoke. The frame utilizes a 1-1/8-inch headset and is specifi- Jumping: The Jackal’s stiff frame makes for predictable cally designed for 26-inch wheels but will accept 24-inch pumping between sets of jumps. This is important, because wheels. The all-new Jackal has a lower standover height, momentum is all you have when approaching consecutive hits. adjustable rear dropout, and is single-speed or rear-derailleur The fork’s Motion Control damping allows you to dial in the ready. low-speed compression, reducing the fork dive between sets of jumps. This also helps keep the fork firm so it doesn’t soak up WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT? the energy transferred from the lip of a jump. We’ve had great Santa Cruz built up our test jumper with a mix of durable luck with DT Swiss’ line of wheels designed for long-travel components that can handle the demands of aggressive dirt bikes. The EX 5.10s were no different and withstood months jumpers. The coil-sprung, 3.9-inch-travel RockShox Argyle 318 of beating with few signs of distress. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 93 &
  • Wild Ride Poised to pounce: It’s no surprise that the Santa Cruz Jackal has dialed geometry for dirt jumping or dual slalom-like cornering. The Jackal was designed with the input of Santa Cruz Syndicate rider Kirt Voreis. Once airborne, the Jackal flies predictably, and despite the component spec, the Jackal is a super-fun jump bike with stiff frame, it doesn’t feel harsh on the landings. The best the precise handling to pull double duty should you want to feature of the new Jackal is the short chainstays. The 15.3- test your skills on a slalom track. Santa Cruz understands inch chainstays make pulling a manual effortless. that dirt jumpers can be picky about their component selec- tion, so they left that responsibility up to you. We think our TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? test bike’s build is a great place to start. ❑ The Jackal is sold as a frame only, which puts customiza- tion in your hands. Our test bike did not come with pedals, so we opted for Pivit’s MX pedals by Haro. They have SANTA CRUZ JACKAL replaceable pins, a low profile and turned out to be a perfect Price $650 (frame only) choice. The Pivit pedals took a pounding and didn’t show any signs of fatigue. Country of origin Taiwan Weight 33 pounds BUYING ADVICE Hotline (831) 459-7560 If you’ve read to this point, you’re likely a prime candi- Frame tested Standard date for this bike. The ever-growing dirt jump segment con- Bottom bracket height 12.8" tinues to gain steam with the popularity of pump tracks. Chainstay length 15.3" With dual-slalom-like handling, a rigid frame and a durable Top tube length 22.5" Head angle 68.7° JUST LIKE A JACKAL Seat angle 72° KIRT VOREIS TALKS DESIGN Standover height 28.5" Wheelbase 40.6" “I have been working on this frame design for many Suspension travel (front) 3.9" years. When I signed with Santa Cruz five years ago, I Suspension travel (rear) None was on a mission to design the best jump bike that could Frame material Aluminum also be ridden at the skatepark or raced in a slalom event. Most of the hardtails at that time were small cross- Fork RockShox Argyle 318 country bikes with steep head angles and tall standover Shock None heights. I wanted to spin the bars without the front tire Rims DT Swiss EX 5.10 slapping my foot and do flatties without my feet blowing Tires Kenda Small Block 8 (2.35") off the pedals. Hub DT Swiss Disc “The head engineer at Santa Cruz Bicycles, Joe Grainey, and I worked on a few prototypes before I was okay with Brakes Avid Juicy 3 the geometry. When the first Jackal was finished, the Crankset Truvativ Holzfeller OCT geometry was spot on, but the bike was a bit overbuilt, Shifters SRAM X.9 and people had strong opinions about its styling. I still Handlebar Race Face Evolve DH (27" wide) love the look. But, we needed a more traditional, light- weight frame that had adjustable dropouts. Mike Woods Front derailleur None welded half a dozen different frames for Jamie Goldman Rear derailleur SRAM X.9 and me to evaluate and destroy. Every frame was differ- Chainrings Truvativ Holzfeller 36-tooth ent. Finally, Jamie and I settled on what is basically now Cassette SRAM (12-27) the Jackal.” Pedals Haro Pivit MX 94 &
  • Deus XC Post $64.95 $52.50 &
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  • I Iodine C Egg Beater C Pedals Truvativ Stylo 3.3 Headset H Team Crankset Smarty msrp $60 Power msrp $20 msrp $90 m msrp $80 2008 msrp $190 Pedals $ 98 Pump $ 98 $6998 $5498 34 14 $11498 Hayes HFX9 XC Disc Brake msrp $150 $4998 Remedy ‘08 msrp $120 Mavic Crossmax SX Disc $9498 Wheelset UST Tubeless ‘08 Hammer Nutrition msrp $775 Gel (26-Serving) $44998 Jug $1998 Flak ‘08 msrp $35 Reba SL Dual Air 29er Fork ‘08 T Time ATAC Alium $2498 P Pedals msrp $80 msrp $510 $5498 Xen ‘08 $32998 Panaracer Fire XC Pro msrp $130 Tire msrp $40 $9998 $1998 Parts, Accessories, Clothing, Bikes & Frames visit view the comp e complete Sette line Fox Commando Comm Comm Jersey Je Sette Air 2 Oakley Dakine ‘08 ST-35 Universal Fighter Stitch Shock Pump Sette Sette Jersey Jersey msrp $45 Hitch-It itch It msrp $18 $18 Sette msrp $25 msrp $50 0 msrp $40 msr ms ms p msrp $50 98 Bike Si l S Single Speed $19 $998 Conversion Kit $1298 $2998 8 $1998 $2498 Mount &
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  • 10 Ways To MBA TECH Bulletproof Your Trailbike Preventing problems before they happen he best way to ruin a great ride is to suffer CABLE ORGANIZATION T a mechanical problem that could have been prevented. Here are ten steps you can take to make sure your great ride stays that way. 3 A mountain bike can have six miles of cables and hoses once you factor in the connection to your brakes, derailleurs, seatpost adjusters, remote lock- outs and computer. Okay, six miles is an exaggeration, but there are a lot of cables and hoses snaking around the frame tubes of your bike. Check to make sure all these cables and hoses are not rubbing against components or against you RIM TAPE IT 1 Many bikes come with cheap rim tape. It might work great at first, but over time the tape moves around, and (especially on your shoes when you pedal). Turn the bar to the frame and make sure there is nothing binding. Cycle the suspension and check cable clearance again. Cable binding or rubbing will cause failure down the road. the sharp edges of the rim’s spoke holes become exposed to your tire’s tube. This will result in a flat tire. Pull your tire off and replace the cheap rim tape with a higher- Too long: A quality tape or even cable and electrical tape. housing left to flop around freely could snag on a suspension component and actuate whatever it is attached to. TAKE A POWDER 2 After you re-wrap the rim with fresh tape, sprinkle some baby powder inside your tire before you put it back on the rim. This will keep the inner tube from sticking to the tire and help reduce friction. Rubbed the wrong way: A loose cable will rub paint off or mar a finish as fast as sandpaper. This kind of contact also wears cable housing way too fast. 100 &
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  • From trail to Bulletproof MBA TECH mag to your CABLE SECURITY computer, 4 If your bike uses those very clean-looking cable guide clips, replace them with zip-ties. The clips do a good enough job of holding the cable or hose in place, but they can be knocked loose accidentally. After you install the zip-ties, go back to the previous step and check clearances again. always evolving Cable guide clip. Zip tie the cable housing and clip the zip tie’s end so it won’t create a sharp edge. FRAYED ENDS 5 Check the ends of both derailleur cables. If the end cap has been knocked off (or never installed), the cable will begin to fray. Over time, this may cause the cable to work loose. If it is frayed, clip it shorter or replace it. 102 &
  • PROTECT IT 6 A chainstay protector is cheap insurance. It keeps the chain from smacking your chainstay, and it reduces noise. GET TIRED 7 Reduce the chances of a flat tire by inspecting your tire tread and sidewalls regularly. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 103 &
  • Bulletproof MBA TECH LUBE IT 8 AIR IT UP Keep an eye on your tires’ air pressure. Tubes and tires are porous, so air seeps 9 More rear derailleurs have been ripped from their hangers by a kinked chain than a big rock on the right side of the trail. Make sure your out. We recommend checking air pressure chain is clean and lubed. Don’t apply chain lube minutes before every ride, even if you ride daily. before your ride. Apply it the night before your ride, and in the morning, use an old rag to wipe excess lubricant off the chain. &
  • C wheel toward and away from you. Play 10 WIGGLE TESTS Check your bike’s bear- in the wheel bearings will be detected ings once a week using a if there is any. C: Do the same to the quick, four-step wiggle rear wheel (holding the seatpost test. A: Straddle the bike and grab the instead of the stem.) Play will reveal front brake. Rock the bike forward loose wheel bearings or a loose sus- and backward. If there is play in the pension linkage. D: Rotate the cranks headset, you’ll feel it. B: Get off the to the 12/6 position, hold the saddle, bike, hold the handlebar stem with pull the crankarm toward you and one hand and grab the top of the push it away from you. Play will reveal wheel with the other. Wiggle the bottom bracket problems. ❑ A B D &
  • MBA est “Johnny T” Is Watching Over You The Tomac Snyper 140 the Tomac gang built a great bike on a budget. The DT C an it really be only two years since the Tomac brand was reintroduced (for the third time) under the con- Swiss X1800 wheels have already earned our praise (May trol of an all-new company headed by industry veter- 2009 “Thrash Tests”) for their performance and value. The an Joel Smith and John “Johnny T” Tomac? That seems Shimano LX/XT drivetrain is proven. The Avid Elixir impossible, because the latest incarnation of Tomac brakes are great stoppers. The fork is perfect in this appli- Mountain Bikes is already so entrenched in the mountain cation and offers a half-inch more travel than the fork on bike community. They offer bikes for the extremes of down- our first Snyper test bike. And you know we have enjoyed hill racing and cross-country, plus everything in between. good results using Kenda Nevegal tires. This is the second time we’ve gotten a chance to spend some time on the Snyper 140 (the first we tested back in 2007). HOW DOES IT PERFORM? Moving out: The Snyper positions its rider dead center WHO IS IT MADE FOR? between the wheels. Rider position is classic trailbike (slight The Tomac gang can make use-specific race bikes that bend in the back with elbows bent and down). The low-rise Johnny T wishes were available when he raced, but even FSA XC 190 handlebar and FSA OS 190 stem put the bar Johnny knows these designs have limited use outside of rac- just where we want it, although it would be nice if the bar ing. There are a thousand miles of singletrack for every mile were a little wider. of racecourse, and the Snyper is made versatile enough to Pedaling performance: The Snyper 140 does not need handle what the backcountry can throw at it. the shock’s ProPedal feature engaged to get up to speed. Pivots are positioned so very little pedaling force finds its WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? way to the suspension. The Snyper 140 pedals better Don’t be fooled by the black. This is not an all-carbon wide open than many trailbikes pedal with a platform fea- frame. Tomac uses 6069 T6 aluminum for the main trian- ture turned on. Tomac runs the derailleur cables through gle. The Snyper’s rear suspension is a single-pivot design full housing from the shifter to the derailleur, and while with a forged aluminum rocker link between the shock this decision means less maintenance and more trouble- and carbon fiber seat stays. Proprietary, oversized alu- free miles, it takes away from the Shimano LX drive- minum hardware is used for all the pivots. The package train’s crisp shifting. gets nice touches that include three sets of low-loaded Cornering: Steering feels totally neutral. It is not as ner- bearings, a forged aluminum chainstay yoke and dropouts, vous as a cross-country race bike or as sluggish as the major- integrated cable guides, chainstay protectors, an under- ity of five-plus-inch travel trailbikes. The seven-inch-rear the-downtube water bottle mount and a subtle, flat-black brake rotor is overkill and required a light touch to prevent finish. skidding going into downhill corners. Johnny T wishes his old cross-country race bikes cornered with this much WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT? authority. Our Snyper was built with a Discover Card, not a no- Climbing: The Snyper 140 is a power climber if you limit American Express Card, and we are impressed. stay in the saddle and work on spinning along in a com- Anyone can build a great bike if money is no object, but fortable gear. There is no wandering or tendency to wheelie. It does not, however, respond well to out-of-the-saddle climbing because your weight is shifted too far forward (remember, you are centered while in the saddle). The rear wheel will lose traction fairly easily. The only time we turned on the shock’s ProPedal feature was on long climbs, and then only if we were pedaling in torque-mode instead of spinning. Descending: On paper, the Snyper’s single-pivot rear suspension has limitations. On dirt, this bike is a total blast. Its custom-tuned shock with an oversized air canister is mated per- fectly to the Tomac’s rear suspension. The same shock that was so supportive on the flats and climbs now soaks up everything like it had bot- tomless travel. Nobody would laugh at you if you mistook the 106 &
  • Push it: Ride this bike hard and you will be rewarded. It does everything better the faster you push the pace, and staying centered gives the suspension a balanced, confident feel. August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 107 &
  • Watching Over You feel of this rear suspension for a coil-over shock. It has that magic, progressive feel. The Snyper is a quiet bike. Nothing smacks, pings or dings the frame, even in the roughest sec- tions. TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? We believe that a lot of effort went into tuning the Snyper’s shock to match it to the suspension design. It is dead on. Don’t waste all this effort. Set the rear suspension with at least 20 percent sag with the ProPedal lever in the off position. The only other tip is to ride this bike hard and ride it in the saddle as much as possible. It does everything better the faster you push the pace, and staying centered gives the sus- pension a balanced, confidence-inspiring feel. Okay, we’d throw on a wider bar too. BUYING ADVICE We shocked many riders by favorably comparing our first Snyper to a few long-standing pillars of the trailbike commu- nity (bikes from Santa Cruz, Specialized and Foes). Two years later, the Snyper still impresses us. It is a long-travel trailbike that has enough racing in its DNA to make it as much fun on the climbs as it is on the descents. The Tomac Snyper 140 remains a trail-riding Still a favorite: Johnny T wishes his old cross-country race achievement and on the short list of our favorite trailbikes. ❑ bikes cornered with this much authority. Nobody would laugh at you if you mistook the feel of this rear suspension for a coil-over shock. It has that magic, progressive feel. TOMAC SNYPER 140 Price $1599 (frame and shock) Country of origin Taiwan Weight 28.7 pounds Hotline (402) 261-3988 Frame tested 17" (medium) Bottom bracket height 14" Chainstay length 17" Top tube length 23" Head angle 68.5° Seat angle 72° Standover height 29" Wheelbase 43.75" Suspension travel (front) 5.5" Suspension travel (rear) 5.5" Frame material Aluminum Fork Fox 32 Float R Shock Fox Float RP23 XV Rims DT Swiss X1800 Tires Kenda Nevegal (2.35") Hub DT Swiss Brakes Avid Elixir R Crankset Shimano SLX Shifters Shimano LX Rapidfire Handlebar FSA XC 190 (25.25” wide) Front derailleur Shimano XT Rear derailleur Shimano XT Experience goes in: The guys behind the Tomac brand (includ- Chainrings Shimano (44/32/22) ing Johnny T himself) use all their experience so you don’t have Cassette Shimano SLX (11-34) to experiment. The Snyper 140 needs very little setup time to get it right. The swingarm-mounted derailleur improves shifting Pedals None (weighed with Shimano XTR) performance. 108 &
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  • Inside Weight: 19.8 pounds Estimated Price: $6000 19 The Pros’ 8 Bikes Geoff Kabush’s 17 22 Rocky Mountain Vertex RSL Team 14 B ritish Columbia’s Geoff Kabush has been the winningest cross- country racer in North America for the last five years. While Geoff was fast enough to finish ninth at the Olympics in 2000, it wasn’t until 2004, when he joined Team Maxxis, that he really began racking up the victories. Kabush, at 32, has earned four national cross-country series titles in the U.S. Counting his cross-country victory at the Fontana, California, national, Geoff upped his total to 14 national wins in the U.S., matching the record set by John Tomac. As for short-track national wins in the U.S., Geoff now claims 17, the most ever recorded. Not limited to winning races in America, Geoff also has six Canadian national titles in mountain biking and one Pan American Championship (2007). 13 12 In the World Cup arena, Geoff can claim seven podium appearances to date, with a 3. Maxxis Larsen TT, 2.0 tires, “I switched to a wider riser bar this year fourth overall in the 2008 series and a front and rear. (from 26 inches to 27). I feel much more top-ten finish this year at Offenburg, “The TT is a great all-round tread relaxed in the technical sections, and it Germany. with good air volume. The air volume makes it a lot more fun. I can be more Geoff returned to Team Maxxis for the soaks up the bumps and allows me to aggressive and save energy.” 2009 season, but the team has a new bike run between 24 and 26 psi.” sponsor, Rocky Mountain Bicycles. Jeff 8. Race Face Next SL seatpost; gave us the scoop on his Fontana 4. Stan’s NoTubes sealant. 30.9-millimeter diameter, carbon. National-winning bike. “NoTubes has been revolutionary for “It’s a nice, light seatpost with easy my riding. I used to run 52-55 psi, back adjustment. The fore/aft and tilt adjust- 1. Rocky Mountain Vertex RSL in the days of tubes.” ments are separate. That’s an important Team frame; size XL, carbon fiber feature.” construction. 5. Shimano XTR wheels, front “This is my first time on a carbon and rear. 9. ODI Ruffian Lock-On grips. mountain bike, and it has been great so “The XTRs are no-nonsense, tough “I have tried lighter grips, but I don’t far. I feel really balanced with the wheels that will handle anything I like the feel. The Ruffian is a grip that geometry and super comfortable on encounter on the race course.” both I and the mechanics love.” the technical trails.” 6. Shimano XTR disc brakes. 10. Shimano XTR 175-millimeter 2. Fox 32 F-Series RL fork. “They’re good for late braking and, cranks with 44- and 32-tooth “The 3.9-inch-travel fork has much best of all, they work in any conditions.” chainrings. more usable travel compared to the 3.1- “It is always a blessing to have a inch-travel fork; the remote lockout is a 7. Race Face Next XC handlebar; Shimano drivetrain. I never have to worry great feature to have for racing.” low-rise, 27-inch width, carbon. about chain suck, chains breaking or shift- 110 &
  • 9 7 15 1 20 21 18 6 23 2 4 10 11 3 16 5 ing problems. I take off the small chain- which is really beneficial to integrate 19. Fizik Tundra Kium saddle. ring because it saves a little weight and when using carbon fiber. No worries “The saddle is really important to me, just isn’t necessary for race speed.” about over-clamping and flex. There is and it has been great to work with Fizik. no XTR version yet.” It balances comfort, control, and 11. Crankbrothers 4ti Eggbeater weight.” pedals. 15. Shimano XTR Rapidfire Plus “I feel these are the best pedals for shifters. 20. FSA Ceramic Revolution cross-country, especially when it turns “I have tried every shifter, and I am a internal headset, 45-degree-by-45- nasty. They work awesome in the mud.” big fan of Rapidfire. Nothing works as degree bearings. well for me in every condition, and the “This upgrade makes the steering 12. Shimano Dura-Ace CN new triggers give everyone an option to super smooth.” 7701 chain. push or pull. The biggest benefit is the ability to brake hard and shift as I enter 21. Lezyne water bottle cage. 13. Shimano XTR Shadow rear corners.” “It has been great to work with this derailleur. young company, which is providing the “I switched to the Shadow last year. It 16. Shimano XTR 6-inch team with pumps, tools and some fancy saves some weight and has more precise brake rotors. bottle cages.” shifting. The mechanics find it easier to work with.” 17. Shimano XTR 11-34 cassette. 22. Complete titanium hardware “With 44/32 chainrings up front, this package from Wheels 14. Shimano XT direct mount gives me all the combinations, high and Manufacturing, installed and tuned front derailleur. low, that I need for racing.” by Gary Wolff. “Rocky Mountain is one of the first companies moving to direct mount, 18. Shimano SP41 cables. 23. Fontana National Trophy. ❑ August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 111 &
  • KENDA Nevagal reg. $399 sale $299 reg. $25 sale $15 reg. $54 sale $29 reg. $1 9 sale $799 ,89 Mavic DeeT s Wheelset rak WTB Velociraptor Wire Bead Kenda Nevagal Back Country Build Kit 140mm of Travel reg. $249 sale $129 reg. $689 sale $399 reg. $199 sale $89 reg. $774 sale $499c 08 Stroker Carbon V6 Brakes 2008 FOX Float RL OEM Race Face Ride XC Crank s Mavic CrossMax SX Dis 175mm, 22/32/44, Black PC-830 8sp. reg. $1 sale $1 9 2 PC-951 9sp. reg. $26 sale $15 PC-971 9sp. reg. $29 sale $19 reg. $1 sale $59 69 reg. $239 sale $109 reg. $379 sale $169 CHAIN SALE Shimano M525 / Sun Ringle Single Hayes HFX9 XC Disc Brake Evolve XC “X-Type” Crank Set 20mm Trak Thru Axle. 31.8 Oversized Low Rise XC reg. $130 sale $89 reg. $399 sale $269 reg. $80 sale $49 reg. $70 sale $44 FSA SL/XC Disc Wheelset SRAM X.9 T er Shif ter rigg SRAM X.7 Trigger Shifter Race Face Deus XC Bar Hook your “Back Country” or “Cross Country” rig up in style! EA70 DH Handlebar reg. $60 sale $24 EA50 DH Handlebar reg. $40 sale $15 reg. $100 sale $69ur ille reg. $70 sale $39 reg. $299 sale $219 Azonic Outlaw Wheelset Dera SRAM X.7 Rear Derailleur SRAM X.9 Re ar Comes with axel conversion kit. 36 spokes, sealed bearings. &
  • reg. $29.99 sale $9.99 Blackburn Mammoth Pump reg. $59 now $29 reg. $59 now $14 reg. $29 now $13 reg. $50 sale $12 Topeak Joe Blow Floor Pump reg. $44 now $24 ‘08 CANARI CRUISER JERSEY 2007 O’Neal Hardware 2008 SHIFT Strike Jerseys 2008 SHIFT Assault Jerseys Jerseys reg. $1 now $20 00 reg. $89 now $39 reg. $59 now $29 reg. $89 now $59 reg. $99 now $59 DVD 4-Pack Blowout! 2008 O’Neal A- Short 10 2008 FOX Base Shorts 08 FOX High Frequency Shorts 2008 FOX Blitz Shorts AM ALL MOUNTAIN reg. $1,299 now $499 reg. $25 now $14 reg. $24 now $14 reg. $24 now $14 reg. $18 now $12 2008 FOX Reflex Gloves 2008 Kona Dawg Deluxe, 5” T Azonic 2008 T 2008 FOX Mojave Gloves ravel errain Glove 2008 FOX Tahoe Gloves reg. $90 now $29 reg. $49 now $23 reg. $79 now $39 reg. $59 now $29 reg. $1 0 now $59 1 Metallica Soccer Jersey WTB Speed-V Comp Saddle WTB Pure-V Race Saddle WTB Speed-V Pro Gel Sad dle 2008 Giro Animas MT B Helmet reg. $60 now $23 reg. $1 0 now $69 reg. $74 now $49 reg. $1 .99 now $9.99 6 Metallica Activewe ar Jersey 1 reg. $85 now $54 Mini 9 Multi T T 2008 CamelBak 100oz. 2008 CamelBak 100oz. LOBO ool oPeak HAWG 2008 CamelBak 100oz. MULE *With your good credit, call for details. Not responsible for typographical errors. Prices subject to change. CULVER CITY TOTALLY REMODELED *LOW PRICE GUARANTEE: SEE WWW.WHEELWORLD.COM OR ASK A WHEEL WORLD SALES ASSOCIATE FOR DETAILS. WOODLAND HILLS &
  • MBA TECH Setup tips for Avid’s Elixir brakes BRAKE LEVER REACH I n 2009, Avid introduced the Elixir, a lightweight brake designed for trailbike duties, but powerful enough to be The Elixir’s brake lever is easily adjusted by dialing the used on downhill machines. Throughout the first half of black knob on the brake perch. the year, we’ve had numerous test bikes equipped with either To get the most power out of your brakes, place the levers Avid’s Elixir CR or Elixir R brakes, so we thought we’d offer close enough to your handlebar grip for one-finger braking. some tips regarding brake lever reach, pads and pad contact Imagine that you’re carrying a full plastic grocery bag. You points. It may not make sense to you at first, but properly set will have more control if you hold on with the middle of your up and adjusted, brakes will actually help you ride faster. fingers, at the bend of your knuckles, than you would holding on with the tips of your fingers. Tools you’ll need: eter wrench, a 3-millim a A 2-millimeter Allen m the rebound adjuster fro river Allen wrench (or thead screwd and a tiny fla RockShox fork,) t screw. to remov e the brake pad se Closer is better: Use the lever reach adjustment on the perch to move the brake lever closer to the handlebar grip. You’ll have bet- ter modulation and control if you brake with the bend of your knuckle rather than the tip of your finger. Versatility: From the trailbikes to downhill machines, the Avid Elixirs can get the job done. They have an ideal mix of stopping power and adjustment features. 114 &
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  • PAD CONTACT POINT BRAKE PADS MBA TECH The pad contact-point adjustment allows you to adjust the Avid’s top-loading pads allow you to look into the caliper to point in the lever’s throw where the pads contact the rotor. see if the rotor is centered, and it is easier for mechanics to That helps you do two simple but important things: pick the identify problems with the piston. position you’d like your fingers in when your brakes grip, Top-loading pads allow improved ventilation and heat dissi- which means you can perfectly match your fingers’ comfort pation. with the brake’s power. And, it allows you to balance both When changing brake pads, reset each piston housed inside levers so the levers contact at the same point. No more the caliper with a small box end wrench. uneven brake levers. It’s important to understand that both the lever reach and pad contact adjustments are independent of each other. When you adjust the pad contact point, the pads never move, and the distance between the pads and rotor never changes. The adjuster repositions the master cylinder’s piston in relation to the tapered portion of the cylinder. Lock and load: The Avid Elixir CR brakes have top-loading brake Contact point: Using the red pad contact adjustment on the Elixir pads. Simply look down through the top of the brake caliper to CR brakes adjusts the point in the lever’s throw where the brake make sure the rotor is centered between the pads. Conveniently, pads hit the rotor. This feature allows you to achieve the same the rebound adjuster at the bottom of your RockShox fork leg is brake feel no matter how far the lever is from the handlebar. the perfect size to remove the pad retainer bolt. 116 &
  • Don’t throw it When installing new pads, you have to reset the caliper pis- away!: Although it appears to be tons, because they self-adjust to compensate for pad wear. useless once You’re resetting the pistons by pushing them all the way you’ve installed retracted, because they have been advancing as the older pads your Elixir wore. When installing new, thicker pads, you need to reset the brakes, the pad pistons to make room for the rotor. spreader is help- The pad spreader is helpful for bleeding the brakes or for ful for bleeding the brakes and chocking the pistons with the wheel removed, and it has a for chocking the handy bottle opener. ❑ pistons with the wheel removed. It also has a WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT DOT 5.1 handy bottle BRAKE FLUID? opener. AVID REQUIRES DOT 4, AND PREFERABLY 5.1 DOT 5.1 is half as viscous as DOT 4. This means a sys- tem filled with DOT 5.1 provides quicker lever response, better modulation and faster pad retraction. When ser- vicing, the lower viscosity facilitates bleeding and pad adjustment. DOT 5.1 also experiences less volume change as a result of temperature shift than DOT 4, allowing more consistent braking through a range of temperatures. Remember, DOT 5 brake fluid is totally different from DOT 5.1. DOT 5 is not compatible with Avid brakes! Also, never mix brake fluids. The bleed process for Avid Elixir brakes is identical to all of Avid’s Juicy brakes and uses the same bleed kit, despite the different technologies. Brake master: Avid’s Paul Kantor gave us the inside scoop on how to get the most performance from your Elixir CR brakes. &
  • The Good Doctor Of Downhill Inside Steve Peat’s decade of dominance or the past 15 years Steve Peat has been a F dynamic force on the World Cup mountain bike racing circuit. The 2009 World Cup season is at the halfway point in the season, and Steve Peat needs only one World Cup win to break Nicolas Vouilloz’s record of 16 World Cup down- hill victories. Just as remarkable as “Peaty’s” downhill career is his immense popularity among fellow riders and spectators. “Steve’s loved by all of the fans,” says Santa Cruz Bicycles President Robb Roskopp. “No one ever has a bad word to say about him. He’s just an all-around great guy.” Photo by Kathy Sessler 118 &
  • And, action!: Throughout his career Peat has ridden in numerous downhill videos. Here he’s being filmed for his riding segment in “Seasons” by The Collective. Photo by Sterling Lorence The record books will forever reflect friends,” explains Syndicate teammate guess I’ve been doing it so long, I know Peat’s on-bike accomplishments. Lesser Kirt Voreis. “I have seen him do amaz- how I need to feel coming into a season known is his involvement in charity ing things on his bike and consider him or race. It’s hard to know where exactly work, his devotion to his wife and fami- to be the best downhill rider ever. His you stand, but I know I’m doing the ly, and his role in developing mountain versatility is unmatched, and no one can same preparation I’ve always done. I’m bike riding gear for the brand Royal keep up with his wet-weather skills. The trying to keep training fun. Racing. thing that ultimately makes Peaty the “I can’t ever see Steve stopping riding best ever is his personality. No matter MBA: How is the World Cup cir- and racing,” explains Nick Bayliss, who the outcome of his day, he seems to cuit viewed in Europe versus the co-founded Royal Racing with Peat. “It’s make the most of every moment with United States? funny; I think Steve still can’t believe his others. He’s still on top for a reason.” SP: The U.S. had a really good racing luck. To him, he’s still just riding his We caught up with Peaty at his home scene back in the day, with tough cours- bike with his mates the way he did back in Sheffield, England, just days before es like Mount Snow in Vermont. It’s a in the woods around the heavy industri- his second child was due to be born, as shame there are no more classic venues al town he grew up in. However, on the he was embarking on the 2009 World in the U.S. People in Europe are much weekends he’s the ultimate professional Cup season. more enthusiastic about racing and at the races. aren’t scared to get behind riders. Over “The constant bombardment from Mountain Bike Action: After 15 here, everyone has a hero and likes to fans doesn’t faze him. He remembers years of professional racing, how do follow that rider. peoples’ faces and names from years ago, you approach the World Cup season and is always happy to chat and sign differently than you did when you MBA: What’s your frame of mind autographs.” began your career? a few days before a World Cup race? “With Steve, what you see is what Steve Peat: It’s different now because SP: It’s pretty hard for me to pack you get,” says Santa Cruz Syndicate I’m so experienced. Coming into this my bags to leave for a race and leave Team Manager Kathy Sessler. “He’s a season, I had to train differently because my family behind. All of my packing is truly kind and genuine person.” I knew my wife, Adele, and I were going done at the absolute last minute. I “I have known Peaty for 15 years and to be having our second child around wake just hours before my flight leaves think of him as one of my closest the time of my first couple of trips. I and jam all of my stuff into a bag. It’s August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 119 &
  • Doctor team. The next day is a full day of practice, so I’ll aim for five or six runs, look for the best lines, and watch peo- SP: It’s been really cool to be a part of RockShox for most of my career. A lot of other athletes I race against wish all changed in the past couple of years. ple on the tough sections of the track. I they were on the BlackBox program. Having a family and leaving them at train as if they are race runs and go as Everyone is really good to work with home is the hard part. It’s hard to get fast as possible. Depending on how in the pits, and they don’t make it too on a plane, but once I’m at a race and practice is going, I’ll walk the track serious. riding my bike, the fun comes back. again, have a chill evening with a nice meal from Kathy, and I’ll go for a spin MBA: What’s the deal with all of MBA: How about racing at a new ride after dinner. On race day, I’ll do a the talent coming out of the venue? few more runs, followed by a full, top- Commonwealth of Nations these SP: I like the new venues, and my to-bottom run with no mistakes, and days? experience helps me out there. I then head back to the house for lunch. SP: I don’t really know what it is! I approach it like any other race and go Before my run, I like to warm up for guess once you have a couple of fast through the same amount of practice about 30 minutes and then have a can guys it brings out more fast guys. runs the first day. Whether it’s a new of Monster and head down the hill. Riders like Gee Atherton, Brendan course or not, I do the same routine. Fairclaugh and Marc Beaumont come MBA: What advantages do you out and chase after me. The same is MBA: How is the Santa Cruz feel you have over the fearless and true for Australia. For their federation Syndicate experience different youthful up-and-comers? to pick the top five guys for the from your previous teams? SP: My mental attitude is my advan- World’s team is really hard, because SP: I was really happy when I joined tage. I can forget things easily—a bad the Syndicate, because it’s not like any- section of the track or bad practice thing I’ve ever really been a part of. run, a flat tire or problem with the Robb Roskopp, the president of Santa bike. I can put it all behind me and for- Cruz Bicycles, is a pro skater from the get it. I don’t need everything to be ’60s. Just kidding, the ’80s! But, being perfect the entire weekend. I still know a professional athlete, he knows what I can put down a good race run. it takes for athletes to be able to per- form at their best, and all of the prepa- MBA: What changes have you ration it takes to be able to compete at made to your training regimen? a high level. He puts 100 percent into SP: Over the years I’ve stepped up the Syndicate, which also makes it real- on different aspects of training. This ly fun for all of us. Our team manager year I’m working with the Sheffield Kathy Sessler does an amazing job, too. University Strength and Conditioning Nobody takes care of us like “Mama!” and Cycling programs. There’s also a The incredible support all of the riders sports psychologist I’ve been talking to. of the Syndicate get is what gives us I’m taking part in their overall training the opportunity to be so successful. package. MBA: How do you approach a MBA: You’ve been on RockShox typical World Cup event? forks for over 10 years. What’s it SP: I’ve been doing it so long that been like working with one compa- I’m pretty set in my ways. I’ll walk the ny for such a large part of your track and then have a meal with the career? JOINING THE SYNDICATE TOLD BY SANTA CRUZ PRESIDENT ROB ROSKOPP PEAT’S TIME ON GT “I first began talking with Steve in June of 2005 at the World Championships TOLD BY ERIC CARTER in Livigno, Italy, months before his deal with Orange was up. He and I traveled “In 2001, Steve and I were both rac- from the Worlds to his house in Sheffield, driving straight through the night at ing for GT Bicycles, and he moved to about 100 mph in a Sprinter van. It took 20 hours, and I hadn’t done a trip like Temecula, California, so we could train that in years. It felt great to be on the road. We went to Steve’s house, and then together,” explains Eric Carter. “I really on to the Fort William World Cup. He took the win there at his home World Cup got to see a different side of Steve course, and it was pretty emotional for him and everyone who witnessed it. during that time, and he showed me “I wanted to increase the possibilities of the Syndicate to win races, because his work ethic and how the top World Cup downhillers train. Steve was at the time Nathan Rennie was pretty much by his lonesome. I think out of all always willing to help me out, whether of the people of the last decade, Steve’s been the most dominant on the World it was with line choice or tire setup. He Cup circuit; he’s always on the podium. is such a genuine guy and was really “In July, Steve was at an event in Whistler and hung out in the pits with the excited for me on the rare occasion I Syndicate team. That gave him a flavor of what it was all about. He was on his beat him in downhill. Before I met own program at the time, having to make all of his travel arrangements. He saw Steve, I was a decent downhill rider, what it was like to have Kathy Sessler managing that part of his responsibili- but I would have never reached the ties. We had him come to Santa Cruz in December of 2005 to try the bikes, level I did if I was not teammates with and we cut a deal. Joining the Syndicate freed him up to fully focus on racing.” Steve.” 120 &
  • PEATY’S FIRST WORLD CUP TITLE TOLD BY ROCKSHOX’S JEREMIAH BOOBAR “I remember Peaty’s first year on Orange, when he won the World Cup overall. We were at finals in France, and Peaty had brought his mom out to see the race. Steve had been using the RockShox truck to pit out of that season. “Mrs. Peat was a total wreck on race day. She want- ed Steve to get that globe trophy so bad, she could hardly talk during the event. At the time, our European Race Manager Tim Flooks and his wife and European Hospitality Manager Helen were run- ning the RockShox truck. Helen was very nervous and excited about the whole thing, but she just sat with Mrs. Peat, who couldn’t bare to watch the event. She was trying so hard not to pay any attention to what was going on with Steve’s race run. “When Peaty came down with a time that gave him the overall World Cup title, there was a huge sense of emotional relief throughout our pit. The proud Mrs. Durango domination: Steve Peat was a regular on Peat just welled up with tears, which then got Helen the U.S. National circuit before the wheels fell off of sniffling. The rest of us were cheering. It was such a the series about five years ago. Here he takes the great experience to see Steve finally achieve that win at the 2003 NORBA finals in Durango, Colorado, among a field of the world’s elite racers. goal.” August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 121 &
  • Doctor there are so many riders trying for the last spot on that team. The same is also true in the UK. It’s really just healthy competition that brings it out of the riders. The U.S. used to have it the same way back in the day with Mike King, Brian Lopes, Eric Carter and Kirt Voreis. Today, it seems like the U.S. racers just race regionally, and it’s not clear who the top five riders in the country are. MBA: You and your wife, Adele, are about to have your second child. Did your outlook on your career change when your first kid, Jake, was born a couple of years ago? SP: Yeah, my outlook has changed. Road to success: Peat is legendary on the World Cup circuit, but he’s also won seven- I’ve got this child at home who means consecutive Red Bull Downtown races through the streets of Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by the world to me, but racing means a Kathy Sessler. lot, too. Now, if I don’t do well at a race, I still have my family at home. It’s really taken some of the pressure to CREATING A BRAND win off of me. Although, I still want do TOLD BY ROYAL RACING CO-FOUNDER NICK BAYLISS well because I want my kid to be proud of me. I don’t only think about racing, “When Steve and I met, I was working for a fashion brand in the UK and try- I think about spending time with my ing to set up a mountain bike clothing brand. We batted about a few ideas, kid once I’m home. There’s a lot more but it wasn’t until 1999 when I was working freelance for a few mountain bike to life now than doing well at a World and motocross brands in the States that we hit on something. I was staying Cup race. with Steve in Huntington Beach, California, while working and training. We talked about starting a brand that was mountain bike specific, not adapted MBA: Everyone knows Steve Peat motocross gear. We wanted to create something completely pedal friendly. is an amazing racer. What are some Adele, Steve’s wife, came up with the name “Royal Racing” from the “Royal other business ventures or side pro- Family” of mountain biking. We played around with some samples I’d stitch jects you’re a part of that people together in my studio. Steve would test and tweak them until we had the best might not be aware of? fit and function possible. I stitched up a few more sets with logos on them, SP: I own a couple of houses that I and once Steve was seen in them, boom! Royal was born. rent out, although most of my projects “You can’t argue with Steve’s ability and experience as a rider. Nothing gets outside of racing still involve cycling. past him unless it makes sense and really works. He’s a rider, not just a I’ve been mentoring a couple of younger designer, so I get tons of ideas and concepts from him. riders who have a lot of potential—Billy “Steve is the hardest rider I’ve ever met. He goes faster in all weather con- Matthews and Josh Lewis. I’m basically ditions and terrains than anyone I’ve ever seen. And, he crashes harder than trying to help those kids out and make anyone I’ve ever seen. I work a lot on SixSixOne mountain bike armor now, too. Steve is the best crash test dummy you can have! If the product can work racing a little easier for them. I also do and survive being used by Steve, it’s going to be a good one.” some design work with the brand Royal Racing. MBA: Is it true you use trials money is put into the teenage cancer mountain biking and charitable work. It motorcycles as training? unit. Last year one of the guys we met was cool to be recognized by my own SP: Eh, it’s just a little hobby. My dad actually died shortly thereafter. community for all of the effort I’ve put has been riding for about 50 years, and Situations like that really bring it all into riding my bike all of these years. for the first 15 years of my life he’d drag home, and everyone realizes how serious me to his events. For a big part of my life the disease is. I’m really happy to use my MBA: Is racing still as enjoyable as I was around the scene, which is pretty name to help bring money to a good it was when you turned pro? big in the U.K. I do it for fun in the win- cause like that. SP: I still really enjoy riding and doing ter. It’s a good time on two wheels! well at races. My whole approach is a lot MBA: Do we really have to start different than a few years ago, because I MBA: Tell us about your charita- calling you Dr. Peaty? have a family at home. Once I get my leg ble work. SP: Absolutely, mate. I received a let- over the bike, whether at a race or train- SP: I’ve been a part of a cancer charity ter at the end of last year from a local ing, the enjoyment comes back. It’s get- event for the past three years at a local university offering me an honorary doc- ting to the races that is the tougher part cancer hospital. It’s really satisfying rais- torate degree. It was basically for putting now. I guess the secret to keeping it fun ing money for a good cause. All of the Sheffield on the map with my career in is simply not to take myself too seriously. 122 &
  • From trail to mag to your computer, always evolving August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 123 &
  • MBA Competition Doctor WORLD CUP RACING IN 1994 TOLD BY SYNDICATE TEAMMATE KIRT VOREIS “I first met Peaty at a downhill World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, back in 1994. There was a rumor floating around about a possible grass stair gap near the condos that someone needed to launch. So, I ventured over to the spot and came upon two tall, lanky, longhaired downhillers, Steve Peat and Rob Warner, scoping the spot. Playing through: “Not many people know “Downhill practice had just finished, and the three of us were in our span- this, but Steve’s an avid golfer,” says dex race gear. Mine was yellow and black Yeti gear, and theirs were multi-col- Santa Cruz Syndicate Team Manager ored Coors Silver Bullet skin suits. As we stood there scoping the line, Warner, Kathy Sessler. “In the off-season, you can in classic form, was going off on some hilarious rant about how impossible find him on the golf course or riding his tri- the line was and every scenario that could go wrong. Meanwhile, Peaty als motorcycle.” Photos by Kathy Sessler pushed his bike up the run above the stair gap to give it a go. “Steve mounted his Sintese, threw up the deuces to the sky and gave ’er a couple bow-legged pedal strokes towards the grass gap. He popped the lip and soared across the sidewalk leading to the stairs. I was near the bottom step, so my view of him launching high above a six-stair gap was awesome! “He flew so high, and went so big, that we all forgot about the distance, especially Peaty. He hooked the corner of the last step with his foot and cased the landing straight to his head. Rob and I ran over to Peaty, who was clutching his feet. “The thing I was most excited about when I met Peaty was the fact that I had met someone similar to me amongst the stiffs who were rolling around. Just because it was the night before the race didn’t mean Peaty wasn’t going to try the stair gap. I hung out with him and Warner that night and learned about English from proper Englishmen. Yes, Peaty missed that race because his foot swelled up so large.” STEVE PEAT MBA: What personality traits are Nickname: Peaty necessary to be a successful down- Age: 35 hill racer? SP: You’ve got to have huge mental Born (date): 6/17/74 strength. You need the ability to put Birthplace: Sheffield, U.K. Photo by Kathy Sessler things behind you and block out any- Height: 6’3 thing that could keep you off the Weight: 14 Stones e pedestal. When I’m racing, I don’t Marital status: Married think about anything other than get- Children: Almost two ting down the hill as fast as possible. Current home: Sheffield, U.K. Cars own: Sprinter race truck, Volvo XC 90, Bright r MBA: What has meeting the yellow convertible Bug for the wife (I don’t go in it) demands of the lifestyle of a pro- fessional athlete taught you about Started riding: At age three yourself? Turned pro: 1995 Photo by Kathy Sessler SP: I’ve learned a lot and have had a Riding specialty: Downhill great life out of it. However, I think it’s Favorite event: Ft. William World Cup actually mountain biking that taught Favorite food: Fish and chips me. Racing molded me into who I am Goals: To win races today. Before I started racing and doing Heroes: Jeremy McGrath well, I was kind of a shy kid and didn’t Favorite Artist: Dr. Seuss and John Squire push myself too much. Mountain bik- Favorite Hobbies: Snowboarding, moto trials, ing gave me focus. I never hoped to be motocross, golf good at mountain bike racing; it just happened. I won the first race I Jobs held other than racer: Apprentice plumber entered and kept trying to get better at for three years every race. I let mountain biking mold Most embarrassing moment: Landing a gainer to On the box: “I think of all of the people of me into who I am today. That’s the my face in front of T.J. Lavin the last decade, Steve’s been the most reason I’ve been able to do it for so If not a bike rider you would be: A plumber dominant on the World Cup circuit; he’s long. I didn’t enter racing with any always on the podium,” says Santa Cruz Best gift from a fan: Dr. Tito in Portugal always aspirations. I never wanted to be the gives me fine wine Bicycles President Rob Roskopp. Here, Peat celebrates another podium finish at best in the world. But becoming the Something you always take on a trip: My Flip HD his home U.K. World Cup event in Fort best in the world at mountain biking recorder and a can of Monster William, Scotland. paved the way for the rest of my life. ❑ 124 &
  • 9 8 SHOWCASE August 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 125 &
  • here are a handful of components T that can breathe new life into your trusty old mountain bike, and they are tires, grips, drivetrains and pedals. In recent issues, we’ve focused on tires and drivetrain maintenance, so for this month’s 1 new product section we’ve collected a vari- ety of pedals for all different riding styles. 1 find an all-around better pedal you won’t Workhorse: For the money, than Shimano’s XT (PD-M770) SPD offering. The XT pedals have the same body as the high-zoot XTR pedals (and are less than an ounce heavier), but they are specifically designed for all-mountain riding. They 2 weigh 12.3 ounces a pair and feature a chro- moly spindle and a mud-shedding design. $129, (949) 951-5003 2 Forceful: Xpedo M-Force AL Ti pedals are SPD cleat compatible and have a claimed weight of just 10.6 ounces per pair. The M-Force AL Ti pedals utilize cartridge 3 bearings and achieve their light weight with a hollow body and hollow titanium spindle. $185, (800) 221-6655 3 oriented ATAC Time’sCarbon pedal features Full attack: XS TI cross-country, race- a titanium axle and carbon-reinforced com- posite body. ATAC is Time’s Auto Tension 4 Adjustment Concept foot retention system and is independent from spring tension. The ATAC XS TI Carbon pedals have a claimed weight of 10.1 ounces per pair. $460, (877) 727-7661 4 SPD pedals performance: Shimano’s DX Gravity (PD-M647) are staples on the downhill and dual slalom race circuits. The dual-sided, pop-up bindings position the outside pedal body at a 12.5-degree angle for fast and easy entry. Cleat tension is adjustable for rider preference. Shimano says the DX pedals weigh 1.2 pounds per pair. $134, (949) 951-5003 5 machined 420 Flat Pedal is available in Flat feet: Azonic’s all-new, CNC- 5 black, white, red and gold colorways. Featuring sealed cartridge bearings and replaceable pins, the 420 pedals have a claimed weight of 15 ounces. $99, (800) 326-6325 126 &
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  • 6 6 Downhill performance: The V-One pedal from Sunline has a machined body with traction pyramids for extra grip, with or without pins. The V-One includes screw traction pins and is built with a chromoly spindle and sealed ball needle bearings. Sunline says the V-One pedals weigh 1.3 pounds a pair. $129, (888) 520-4888 7 Eggbeater Ti pedals Crankbrothers Beat down: The feature a titanium body, stainless steel spindle and wings. 7 The Eggbeaters have a 15- or 20-degree release angle and a two-year warranty. Crankbrothers says these pedals weigh 8.1 ounces a pair. $240, (949) 464-9916 8 Drilled-out: Speedplay’s Drillium pedals are designed to be the ultimate flat pedals for racing. The Drillium fea- 8 tures one needle bearing, two cartridge bearings and a 12-millimeter spindle. Lubrication doesn’t require disassembly because of the built-in grease port. The Drillium pedals have 20 replaceable pins. $109, (800) 468-6694 9 Laying low: The Lo Pro Mag 2 plat- form pedals from Specialized come stock on their Demo line of bikes, but they are worthy upgrades as well. Made from 9 magnesium, the Lo Pro pedals have a chromoly spindle with adjustable spin resistance. The pedal’s concave body improves grip, and the Allen head trac- tion pins are replaceable. The Lo Pro Mag 2 pedals have a claimed weight of 17.5 ounces a pair. $80, (877) 808-8154 10 10 Total control: Time’s Z Control pedal has a wide contact surface for improved grip for aggressive riding. Featuring Time’s ATAC entry and release concept, it has a chromoly steel axle and a claimed weight of 1.1 pounds per pair. $135, (877) 727-7661 ❑ 128 &
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  • DOWN THE TRAIL icking the photos for the cover is never P an easy task. That is, unless you send Joe Lawwill to a sweet jump. Ten minutes into this 1999 photo shoot, Mr. John Ker knew he had it. Joe graced the August 1999 cover, and these are a few of the outtakes. Today, Joe runs rider clinics for and recently penned a story for us, “Joe Lawwill’s Manuals Made Easy,” that appeared in our May 2009 issue. ❑ 130 &
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