All the best kit from Core Bike and The Bike Place
MBR took quick trawl round the two mini UK bike shows to see what’s hot for the coming season
We featured the new short-travel Orange Four on here previously but there are a couple of extra bits of info we discovered at the show.
The new Four is made from a thinner 1.4mm sheet material, the current Orange Five uses 1.6mm. This saves weight and while the Four is a new bike, it’s a good pound lighter than it would be if Orange had uses the same material as the Five.
Each tube is shoed and welded in Halifax and Orange is not longer using a heavy Reynolds seat tube. It’s also cut weight from the dropouts and ditching the front mech and all the associated fixings, saves even more weight.
You can’t tell but Orange has increased the width of the main pivot by 6mm to accommodate the boost rear end but it’s also added some extra stiffness to the swingarm with a bit of extra manipulation which you may be able to make out on the front.
The pivot is also moved up and back compared to a Five, which Orange says this makes the suspension slightly more progressive. The Four has a better small bump ride but it also ramps up in the stroke, so doesn’t shoot through the travel or bottom out too harshly.
Want to make your ride more progressive? Try adding some Bottomless Tokens
Combing the higher pivot and switching to a ISCG 05, also frees up space for a chain device – in the past very few chain devices that fitted Orange frames, simply because the guide usually contacted the swingarm. That shouldn’t be in issue on the new frames.
Also on the Orange booth was the new MKII Segment . This 105mm travel 29er uses the same 1.4mm aluminium sheet construction as the Four but since the weight and geometry of the original frame is well documented, we know this has resulted in a 400g weight saving.
The bike gets a conventional swingarm but a Boost 148mm back end and the same repositioned and wider pivot as the Four. Orange has also lengthened the top tube by 10mm and is running the ISCG 05 mount and a 1x drivetarin on all models. Interestingly Orange also had a Segment on its stand fitted with 650b Plus wheels and tyres?
After about five years of seeing prototypes at Core Bike, Hope has finally got its wide range cassettes into production. Two 11-speed ratios are available – a 10-44t and 10-40t.
Like the E13 cassette elsewhere, the Hope cluster has a two-piece construction with the top four sprockets machined from lightweight aluminium and the bottom seven from hardwearing stainless steel.
There are 20 per cent jumps between the gears, which Hope says is the optimum but interestingly there’s no 9-tooth cog.
Apparently Hope tested one but the lack of teeth caused several broken chains, so it ran with the 10-tooth instead. The cassettes will only fit on a special Hope body but this driver is retro-fitable to the current Pro 2 Evo and Pro 4 hubs.
Hope has also got its carbon post underway. This is made in a two-piece mould in the UK factory and uses a combination of UD (uni-directional), 1k and 3K carbon fibre.
Hope also launched a new disc rotor with a deeper band surface, making it more compatible with none-Hope disc brakes, and an XT-compatible narrow wide chain ring. More details at hopetech.com.
New bike firm Alchemy makes a range of titanium road bikes and one mountain bike – a 160mm all-mountain ripper! Yes we know that’s a bit of an odd juxtaposition but the Arktos does reflect the company’s attention to detail.
Each frame is handmade using a carbon tube wrap construction to cut weight and improve the ride feel. And the suspension is also sorted using the Sine suspension system, which Alchemy licenses from David Earle, the same guy who developed Yeti’s Switch system.
Price for the frame is a hefty £3000 but it’s superb quality you can have it in one of 12 different colours.
ANVL is a Canadian component manufacturer and, if you own a Transition you maybe familiar with them because some ANVL parts are fitted to those bikes.
The Tilt pedal uses an extruded alloy platform, which is 14mm thick and has 10 pins per side. It runs a belt and braces bearing systems using three cartridge bearings and DU bushing in the centre. Weight is 422g for a pair and it comes in black, red and blue.
UK company Burgtec has finally got its Penthouse Clip close to production. Developed with the help of Josh Bryceland, the pedal is a caged clipless but the difference over other designs is the pedals features a chip system on both the leading and trailing edges.
These thin spacers allow users to pack out the distance between the platform and shoe, increasing support and the contact area. Chips are available in 1, 2 and 2.5mm and you can also run six pins if you prefer. The pedal will retail for £119 and will be available in red blue and black.
Burgtec’s has stems and bars already but the intention is to have a complete finishing kit and the last piece in the puzzle is the new Cloud mountain saddle. Named after a local riding spot, this seat features a carbon base, titanium rails and a durable polyurethane cover. Only one colour, the price is £65.
To ensure it’s third time lucky for Crank Brothers’ dropper post, the new Highline uses a sealed cartridge piston, which can be removed easily for servicing. Two IGUS guides keep play to a minimum and the post is also covered by a three-year warranty.
The Highline is cable operated, has 125mm of drop and comes with a new multi-positional remote lever. It will be available around July; expected retail is £275.
One of the most affordable trail bikes on the market right now is the YT Capra – good suspension, great geometry and a stunning spec for the money. It’s hard for companies to compete but Devinci may just have a contender.
Its new Troy gets the same front and rear travel (150/140mm) as last year and a full carbon frame but it has a slacker head angle, longer top tube and shorter chainstays and crucially a way lower price tag.
Empire has been developing its unique cast aluminium frames for a few years now and the MX6-Evo is the latest model. It gets 150mm travel but it seems everything else is pretty fluid – you can run 26 or 27.7in wheels and either hub or chain device standard.
The MX6-Evo has super aggressive geometry and at £1200 for a frame only it is really affordable. Full specification and details on the whole range at empire-cycles.com.
Rather than three different lengths, Ergon’s BA3 Evo Enduro pack now has an adjustable harness, so fits different height riders by adjusting two straps.
It designed for enduro so has a full-face helmet holder, tons of internal storage and a wide, stable waist strap. No reservoir but there’s space for one or a spine protector is desired. Two colours, about £120.
Chain devices are E13’s bread and butter but it’s starting to branch out this year with carbon wheels, a carbon crank, wide-range cassette and a new trail tyre.
The TRSr wheelset uses a hookless carbon rim, which uses a slightly thicker sidewall for increased strength but still features a generous 27mm internal width. At 1690g, the TRSr this wheelset is strong rather than light but it is affordable – the front is £599, rear £699.
Two carbon cranks are offered –LG1r for downhill, and TRSr for trail/enduro use. Both feature 30mm alloy spindles and E13’s unique polygon interface, which now has a slight taper for easier of removal. There’s also a new easy-to-use APS bearing pre-load adjuster. Crank arms are £439, a direct mount ring is £46.95 and the oversized BB is £62.95.
Unlike Hope, E13 has gone for a nine-tooth sprocket on its new wide-range cassette. Available in a 9-44 for 11-speed and 9-42 for 10-speed both the cassette is a two-piece design with the top three sprockets (two on 10-speed) are made from aluminium and the bottom eight from steel.
The upper cluster fits to a regular SRAM XD driver body and the lower cluster then locks in by using a chain whip. The 11-speed cassette is £229 and the 10-speed is £209.
E13 is offering two versions of its new tyre – a TRS Plus with a 60a compound and a TRSr with a softer 45/55a compound. The tyre is available in a 2.35in width for both 27.5 and 29.
Evil’s new all-mountain 29er is called The Wreckoning. It has 160mm front and rear travel, a full carbon frame and two geometry settings via a chip built into the link that you can flip round to lower the bottom by 3/4in and slacken the head angle by nearly a degree.
Like The Insurgent, the frame comes with an E13 carbon chain device and boost rear end. It is £2899 for the frame only but all you need to know is Luke Strobel, one of Evil’s sponsored riders, won a downhill race riding this bike so prepare for one hell of a ride.
Danny MacAskill is putting is name on some Evoc bags including this Streetpack (£69.95) a wheelie bag called the Rover Troll (£179.95) and Evoc’s fabled BT BikeBag (£299.95). This stuff is also available none-branded if you don’t want to be mistaken for the bouncing Scott.
The Japanther is a revamped version of the Fasterkatt, a fully waterproof SPD boot we tested in MBR about three years ago. It’s lighter, sleeker and features a rubberized polyurethane upper with a new angled zip, which is lot more durable than the old vertical design.
Inside there is a waffled foam insole lined with wool felt and backed with reflective aluminium to retain heat. Even the area around the cleat is fully sealed to stop water ingress. The boot is rated to -3°C and comes in 36–50 sizes, costs £205. Contact charliethebikemonger.com
The CX Trail is the first self-contained light from antipodean company Gloworm. It cost £134.99 but bangs out a whopping 1300 lumens. It can be helmet or bar mounted, with a GoPro style bracket for the former and an optional remote switch for the latter.
The CX Trail has high, medium and low settings and is also programmable. Run time is 2hrs on high beam, 35hrs on low. More info at ison-distribution.com
The Mettle is a new all-mountain ripper from UK firm Indentiti. It’s been developed using the riding skills of in-house pro Pat Campbell-Jenner combined with the industry knowledge of Michael Bonny, who previously worked at Orange.
The bike has 145mm of rear travel and can accommodate up to a 170mm fork, and as you’d expect, pretty aggressive geometry. The medium has a long 1200mm wheelbase, slack 65-degree head angle and short 435mm chain stays.
It’s available in three sizes and should retail for an affordable £1500. There’s no shock on the bike in the pictures simply because the frame is rocking a new standard and the shocks for this are not available just yet.
This is Shaun Palmer’s signature Tracer 275C, which means every component is hand picked by the great man himself. That build includes a Fox 36 fork, UK designed Fabric saddle, E13 Carbon chain device, Maxxis High Roller II tyres, DT Swiss wheels and a Renthal bar and stem.
At £5999 it doesn’t come cheap, but it looks stunning in this simple monochrome scheme. For more details go to extrauk.co.uk.
Want to take your kneepads off without removing your shoes? Then you need Ion’s new K-Lite Zip. The flexible guard has a zip down the back so can be removed or fitted in seconds. Protection comes from a self-hardening Sas-Tec cap and the K-Lite Zip also features a tacky Skin Neoprene on the inside to eliminate movement. Available in single sizes for £75 or £65 without the zip.
One of the bugbears of wearing a trail pack is you will get a sweaty pack but Ion has a solution. Its Transform backpack features Air Conditioning, a feature that allows you to pivot the pack away from your torso. It’s available in two lengths and two sizes (16 or 24litres) and can also be fitted with an optional spine protector (£24).
To complement it’s bar and stems Joystick has a new range of saddles. The Builder is a fat noised trail saddle with steel rails, a composite cover and pressure-relieving channel. There are also two sleeker looking saddles called the Analogue and Binary, which are also available in a top-end carbon construction. Keep an eye out for a test on the Builder in the next issue of MBR.
The big deal with Ninjaz gloves is they have a super thin palm resulting in maximum feel and dexterity. These gloves are worn by top riders such as Lacondeguy and Kurt Sorge and are now available in the UK. The gloves have a Lycra back and a simple closure but the palm has to be worn to be believed – it really is wafer thin.
Available in four sizes and eight colours, go to hookitproducts.co.uk
You don’t notice a good tubeless sealant because it does the job with minimal fuss and Orange Seal is one of those. It’s made from natural latex but features secret additives to stop it congealing in the tyre and also held seal some pretty big holes and tears.
You also get a dipstick, which you poke down through the valve stem, to check on the sealant height without having to removing the tyre.
Better known for its high-end components, Race Face also makes some great value entry-level hardware. The Chester and Affect stems are both get 35mm diameter bar clamps for a bargain basement £36.99! There’s also matching handlebars in 780mm and 760mm widths respectively.
This is the carbon Renthal bar Aaron Gwin rode at the 2015 World Champs in Vallnord, Andorra. It’s a one off but it was actually painted here in the UK by Ali Mclean at Fat Creations, who was also a downhiller racer back in the day.
Apparently there are no decals – it’s all paint! If you want something similar you’re looking at around £180, plus the cost of Renthal bar, which isn’t included. For more info visit fatcreations.com
Three Bushwhacker trail helmets are available from Sweet Protection with the top-end £200 model featuring a five-piece, carbon composite shell and impact deflecting MIPS liner.
Sweet Protection also unveiled a new zipped kneepad called the Bearsuit Pro. Like the Ion K-Lite Zip elsewhere, it uses an impact-stiffening Sas-Tec cap and lightweight neoprene chassis. Available in single sizes from S to XL, this £100 knee guard is a little pricey but the quality is top notch. More info at sweetprotection.com
The unique feature of the Numbernine Titan flat pedal from Syntace is it’s available in three platform sizes. It’s also totally reliable with fully sealed Enduro cartridge bearings and a tiny grease port for ease of servicing. To aid grip the platform has a slight amount of concavity as well as 14 pins per side. Weight is 291g for a pair.
As you can see this Syntace Megaforce 2 stem in 60mm does really weight 127g. If that’s too long for your bike or too heavy, the stem is available in a 30mm, which weighs a trifling 107g. Contact o-w-d.nl for pricing and UK dealers.
This is the Turner RFX v4.0, a full C6 Turner Carbon, 160mm travel bomber with 27.5in wheels and dw-Link suspension. It has adjustable geometry, Enduro sealed bearings at all the pivots and an adapter for the front mech, which can remove if you want to run 1x.
Even the geometry is sorted with the large size getting a 66-degree head angle, low 345mm bottom bracket height and long-ish 1190mm wheelbase. £2695 for the frame only is a lot but the RFX v4.0 is a quality bit of kit that’s refreshingly understated and totally desirable.