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  1. Planned as a 2016 Model, the VIPA Trail has been in development for several months and a couple of running prototypes have started to hit our trails for feedback and further design improvements. Click here to view the article
  2. Following on the success of the full carbon VIPA and the recent Team Issue with dedicated 1x chainstays, this new frame is set to be an exciting addition to Momsen Bike's ever expanding range for the 2016 season. Final specification and geometry are still being confirmed ahead of the 2016 Dealer presentations, but what we do know for now is the following: Increased rear wheel travel to better cope with bigger hits Plusher suspension tune for increased traction and small bump efficiency Lower BB to better carve single track and rail berms Production frames won't have Momsen Bike's integrated top tube bag Slacker head angle to make the bike big-mountain friendly Longer top tube for better reach when running a shorter stem Increased tire clearance to be able to run wider tires with bigger knobblies (Note: prototypes use existing moulds from the Team Issue, but production will see an entire new rear end) Internal routing for dropper seat posts Optimized for 120mm - 140mm forks First RideI've spend some time on a large running prototype on Cape Town trails and can only say that Momsen Bikes have a potential winner on their hands. It manages a fine balance between a trail ripper and all day, all mountain bike through it's lower bottom bracket, longer top tube and reach, and bang up to date angles. Handling is sharp with a lively ride, coupled with great traction. The lower BB allows it to rip around berms without causing pedal strikes on every bend. The longer top tube means that I could comfortably run a shorter stem with wider bars and not feel cramped or run out of breathing space on longer rides. Once at the top the lively ride and sharp handling makes for a super fun and rewarding ride. It doesn't take long to realise that the VIPA Trail can be enjoyed with a slammed dropper post. I've run a 120mm Revelation and 140mm Pike on the bike and it is comfortable with both. The extra burl and confidence the Pike brings is not let down by the bike's rear suspension. I am sure the versatility of the frame will suit many local trail riders to the T and with a well thought-out component choice this bike could be many things to many riders. 2016 already looks promising. Please note that the complete bicycle as pictured features a custom build and does not represent final specification or OE parts. Decals on the bicycle is unique to this prototype and does not represent what the production model will look like. The Momsen logo on the top tube features a "camouflage" design idea borrowed from the car industry to keep prying eyes guessing.
  3. With availability in both 27.5" and 29" models and a new carbon spin-off called the Carbonator, there's a model for just about any bike and budget. The 32 hole rims are build 3-Cross Front and Rear into a wheelset using their own 14/15 gauge spokes and aluminium nipples. Claimed weight for the set is 1569g which is very competitive. The Wide Lightnings feature the same basic driver mechanism as used on other American Classic wheels. The ratchet teeth are integrated directly into the one-piece aluminium freehub body while a steel cam plate simultaneously engages and disengages six aluminium pawls depending on whether you're pedaling or not. The advantage to using aluminium all the way through is an incredibly light rear hub, 225g, according to American Classic. The disadvantage is the ratchet teeth have to be bigger than usual to withstand the applied forces. This results in a slow 15-degree engagement. The argument for wider rimsWider rims can dramatically increase the volume of a given tire by increasing the distance between the bead seats. Wide rims also have the additional benefit of increasing the sidewall support. This results in a more stable tyre - especially at lower pressures which in turn leads to better traction, out-right traction under load, braking traction and comfort. Momsen Mount Graham 29x2.20" tyre mounted on an Alex Rim DH19 rim. Momsen Mount Graham 29x2.20" tyre mounted on a Wide Lightning. By gaining traction and grip through a wider rim a rider would not necessarily have to run a bigger or gripper tyre, meaning a lighter tyre can be used. As an example: You're riding Schwalbe Racing Ralphs, but find them a bit skiddish in front. Usually you would look at fitting a Rocket Ron or maybe a Nobby Nic to get the grip and confidence you're looking for or you would run a wider tyre in front. By running wider rims this wouldn't necessarily be needed. On the Trail The Wide Lightnings feature a 29.3mm internal width and a 32mm external width. I recently spent time on the Momsen Mount Graham tyres for a review. After about 3 months of use, I started toying with the idea using a grippier front tyre instead. While I was looking around at some options, I changed my wheelset to American Classic's Wide Lightning and decided to move the front and rear tyres across to get an idea of the effect of the wider rim. For reference, the Wide Lightning measures 29.3mm internal and 32mm external vs the AMC MTB 29 Tubeless which is 21mm internal and 26 external.What a difference those 8.3 internal millimetres make. For starters, I could run even lower pressures than I usually do for extra grip and traction and not sacrifice confidence caused by the tyre rolling on it's carcass. Secondly the extra width of the rim gives the tyre tread a less rounded profile with less of a drop-off on the sides, giving the tyre a bigger contact patch. This makes the transition from the centre to the side knobs more predictable and further boosting confidence. On the Wide Lightnings, the Mount Grahams proved themselves capable of trail riding with ease and reached it's limits much later. The American Classic Wide Lightning rear hub setup for single speed gearing. Keen to see what the effect would be on a more trail orientated tyre, I swapped the front tyre for a Vee Crown F. I usually run somewhere between 20-23PSI front and 25-28PSI. Again I could pump it up with 5PSI less than usual when mounted to the Wide Lightnings.My only complaint would be the slow engagement of the rear hubs. By no means terrible, just not in tune with modern offerings and definitely something that takes getting used to. Even more so when there's an Industry Nine hub on my other bike. Pedaling up technical single track takes some careful planning and requires consistent pedaling - something that's not always possible on tricky sections. Once up to speed though, there are no complaints. Also, I haven't Enduro'ed them, but I would imagine that with a 2.7mm wall thickness they will be too thin to bash day in and out. I have had them on three 29" bikes (Steel Single Speed, 100mm Dual Suspension race bike, Trail 29er) and they were comfortable doing duty on all three. The extra cushioning of the lower pressures were welcome on the single speed, the low weight (especially when factoring in tyres as well) was welcome on the race bike, While on the trail 29er they took whatever was thrown at them in their stride. After months of use they are still true and dent free and haven't needed any TLC. VerdictOne always has to remind oneself with reviews to put personal preference aside and see something for what it is or meant to be. In this case, however, I feel comfortable to call the Wide Lightnings game changers. Until you've tried wider rims for yourself there's no way to properly describe the impact it has without sounding like hype or that you've just spent too much time in the sun. When I got my first set of Wide Lightnings, I did not think such grip, traction and comfort was possible at this weight. They are definitely very good as XC, Marathon and trail wheels, and are more than happy to play out on the trails without the worry of breaking - not something that can be said of other race wheels. Besides, where can you buy one wheelset that will cover so many bases and look good doing it? Get out there and drink some of the wide rims cool aid. The American Classic Wide Lightning wheelset has a RRP of R7,800. Should your Local Bike Store not have stock, new stock will be arriving in June. Manufacturer's specifications: DisciplineMTB | Cross Country | Enduro ''RimsMTB Wide lightning Tubeless Aluminum Disc Rims 29” Spokes and nipplesAC 14/15 gauge Spokes Black | AC Aluminum Spoke Nipples Silver | 32h 3-Cross Front and Rear Weight front727g Weight rear842g Weight pair1,569g Front Hubs / SpacingDisc 130 100 mm | 15 mm Thru Axle Disc 100 mm | 9 mm Thru Axle Disc 100 mm | Lefty Disc 100mm Rear Hubs / SpacingDisc 225 135 mm | 10 mm x 135 mm Thru Axle Disc | 142 mm Thru Axle Disc | Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11 or SRAM XX1 IncludedAC Tubeless Tape Installed | AC Tubeless Valves Quick releaseCromoly QR's UpgradesCeramic Bearings | Titanium QR's | Wheel Bag Thru Axle QR's Brake interface6 Bolt International Standard
  4. Although not the first to launch properly wide rims, American Classic's Wide Lightning were the first to offer extra width in a light and strong rim. Billed for anything from XC to Enduro, we put them to test to see for ourselves how they hold up after months of real-life use. Click here to view the article
  5. For 2015 Giant builds on the foundation it has laid for it's Trance in 2014. The latest model makes a worthy claim at being the true do-it-all trail ripper that it's always promised to be. Click here to view the article
  6. The FrameAt the heart of the Trance is the hydroformed ALUXX SL frameset with Maestro suspension. Giant is proud to say that it's the lightest alloy 5.5-inch/140mm travel full suspension frame they have ever made. I am glad to see their swooping top tube is back after they abandoned it a couple of years ago in favor of a marginally lighter straight top tube. Not only does it look better to me, it also adds much needed standover height. The swingarm is 27.5 specific for the shortest possible chainstays and wheelbase, supposedly resulting in snappy handling. At 440mm the chainstays they are not the shortest, but I didn’t really notice the additional length out on the trail. It is shortsighted to put too much value in a single measurement of a bike's geometry - all the angles, lengths and widths should be considered together, as it's in this melting pot where magic happens. Cables are routed internally for a clean look and Giant has managed to do this in a way that doesn't lead to any annoying rattling or slapping that so many frames with internal routing suffers from. Keeping with internal routing, the Trance is compatible with "Stealth" dropper seat posts. The hose for the rear disc brake is still routed down the top of the down tube for ease of maintenance, but can also be routed internally should you wish to do so. More evidence of attention to detail can be found in the integrated chainstay protector. We're seeing more and more of these on frames and can only applaud the industry for adding value and bits where it matters. Trance frames feature convertible rear dropouts that allow you to run either 135mm QR (standard) or 142/12 through-axle wheels. I did find it strange that Giant ship their bikes standard with 135mm QR and not, the now widely adopted, 12x142mm. For 2014 the Trance's head angle was slackened from 69.5 to 67 degrees, wheels downsized from 29" to 27.5" and the top tube was stretched out for a longer front center and better reach which helps when running a short stem. The seat tube angle was steepened by half a degree to a climb-friendly 73.5 degrees. The geometry stays unchanged for the 2015 model. Overdrive 2 For their 2012 model range Giant introduced a new steerer standard called Overdrive 2. Rather than having a 1 1/8th inch diameter, these forks had a diameter of 1 1/4, and tapered down to 1.5″, which Giant claimed resulted in a 30% increase in stiffness at the handlebar. Although it was unique on their bikes, Overdrive 2 (OD2) was not patented and therefore free for all to adopt. There were however 2 practical issues with OD2. First, complete bikes shipped with OD2 forks which is fine if you weren't planning to upgrade and sell the OE (Original Equipment) fork. If you did, you could only sell that fork to another Giant rider with OD2 or to someone with a 1.5" straight steerer, but these are becoming hens teeth and should you find one it would be on a DH bike. Secondly, it used an OD2 stem and finding those aftermarket was a pain to say the least. Only a handful of stem manufacturers developed and launched OD2 compatible stems and most of them disappeared soon after. In terms of it's benefit I'm sure Giant saw a 30% increase in stiffness on a test bench. My initial thought was that that 30% would be over and above what the average rider would be able to feel on the trail and no real benefit in real life.Why all this historic info you ask? Well going forward Giant has gone back to standard tapered steerer which means forks and stems are readily available and you will find a buyer for your OE fork or stem that came stock on your Giant. Riders rejoice! Note that Giant still refers to their tapered head tubes and steerer as "Overdrive". Maestro Suspension First introduced in 2004 the Maestro has seen several evolutionary changes over the past decade to adapt to riders, modern geometry and drivetrain revolutions. In recent years changes have been made to take full advantage of 1x and 2x drivetrains and cartridge bearings have been incorporated in the upper shock mounts to improve the bikes’ small-bump compliance. ComponentsFork: The Fox 32 Float on the Trance 2 offers a noticeable upgrade in performance over the 2014 Talas and 2014 Float that I've ridden recently. It was easier to get the front and rear suspension balanced to my liking. That being said, at 140mm the fork feels stretched and battles with stiffness. Under load or when the trail gets rough there's quite a bit of twang and it soon feels over-run. This is in part due to the frame's seemingly willingness to go faster and bigger, but in doing so it stretches the Float 32's boundaries. From my experience a RockShox Revelation would have better suited the geometry and the faster, harder riding expected on the Trance. Tyres: Nobby Nics are great all rounders for general trail riding, but when pushed hard they battle to offer enough grip to maintain the speeds the frame can handle. Tires with some form of added sidewall protection is a must on most of the trails I ride and it didn't take long for the sidewalls to show signs of damage and wear. Note that the Nobby Nics on the Trance are from Schwalbe’s Performance rather than Evo line. Wheelset: The Trance 2 runs on Giant's in-house branded rims and hubs. We have ridden several Giant's fitted with Giant rims and hubs and so far they have proven themselves reliable. We can't comment yet on how their hubs hold up after a wet and muddy season. For the type of technical riding the bike is capable of it would be nice to have a hub with quicker engagement - especially when negotiating tricky sections that need half a pedal stroke to make it over or through an obstacle. Adjustable Seat Post: It would be nice to see a dropper post standard on all Trance models. It was the one thing I wanted to change most on the bike in all the time I spend on it. Thanks to proper guides and the internal routing option it is an easy enough (if not cheapish) fix. Drivetrain: Shimano's SLX groupset has become a fan favorite and for good reason. It is tough, strong, and reliable. The 24/38 chainrings paired with the 11-36 cassette provides a good spread of gears whether going up or down. Cockpit: A 730mm Handlebar paired with a 70mm stem is definitely a huge step in the right direction. No longer is it almost guaranteed that you will need to swap out the bar and stem to find something that works best for what the bike is capable of. After playing around with different set ups, I settled on a 60mm stem and 750mm bar - purely personal preference of course. MRP 2X Chain Guide: The bottom guide does a great job of keeping the chain in place and the ride quiet when the trail gets rough. Seeing one on a bike in this price range is testimony to Giant's attention to detail in speccing the Trance. On the TrailSimply put - this bike wants to go fast! The combination of the bike's geometry and suspension coupled to the natural fit and feel the first moment you climb on the Trance lends itself to high speed trail action. Increased small bump sensitivity means traction and grip is good on most terrain. The suspension does feel a little soft when changing direction quickly or when pushing it hard into a corner, but I would put that down to the Fox Evolution rather than the bike's suspension. The supple feel of the suspension means that you can run the shock a little firmer than usual. Giant's Maestro suspension always resulted in a wide tuning range and it's good to see that that has remained unchanged with this latest incarnation. To suit my liking, I set the shock up in Trail mode and left it there. This also helped getting a balanced feel between the front and rear in most situations. Flicking the switch to Descent resulted in a ride that does not have enough "pop" for me and the shock would blow through it's travel too quick on heavier terrain. It is another example of a mid-travel bike where component choice compromises the bike's geometry and ease at speed. Push the bike hard and the fork and tyres battle to keep up. Even with a QR rear axle the frame feels stiff overall with the only discernible flex coming from the Fox fork up front especially when attacking high-load berms or when coming off bigger jumps and drop offs. On the 2014 Trance 2 27.5 I previously rode, I had the time and luxury to tinker with the fork's internals. In an effort to rid the fork of it's linear feel, I added extra oil in the air chamber to ramp up progression. I think it is something heavier riders or riders riding heavier terrain should consider on the 2015 model, even though it did seem to perform better than the 2014 model during my time on it. Set in trail mode there is little to no suspension bob. Spinning away on uphill sections is good with very little chain tug even in the small chainring. It was easy to find a good seated position to keep the front end down, even on the steepest of climbs and with the neutral suspension uphill sections were disposed of with relative ease. VerdictI still remember when, not so long ago, the Trance was the awkward middle child. Not as fast and nimble as it's younger brother the Anthem, but not as burly and big-hit capable as the Reign. In 27.5" wheels, 140mm travel and a well-balanced geometry spearheaded by a 67 degree head angle, Giant has found the Trance's sweet point. It is still not as race-focused as an Anthem and won't cope with quite as much as the new Reign, but therein lies it's strength. It's stopped trying to be a long travel Anthem and with more and more downhillers finding a home in Enduro racing it doesn't have to border on the Reign anymore. It sits comfortably in the middle - exactly where most weekend warriors need their bike to sit. It's light so it can go places and not kill you off. It's fast and agile and will happily play in the forest on single track all weekend. And when the trail turns south it will cope with most downhill sections riders may face on our trails without blinking an eye. The Trance is no longer trying to be something it's not - the Trance has come home and found it's niche. It's a fast, agile and capable trail-muncher that will happily do a race (XC, Marathon or Enduro) when called upon. As a do-it-all bike, the Trance represents excellent value for money. Recommend retail is R27,500 at the time of going to press. Full specificationshttp://media.thehubsa.co.za/forum/uploads/monthly_10_2014/ccs-62657-0-89548900-1414228412.jpg http://media.thehubsa.co.za/forum/uploads/monthly_10_2014/ccs-62657-0-16660600-1414228414.jpg
  7. The Impact Low features what Five Ten coins an action leather upper, mesh venting in the sides & tongue and their trade mark S1 Stealth Rubber sole. To eliminate heel lift, keep your feet secure in the shoe and eliminate hot spots & blistering they employ slingshot construction at the heel. All leather and mesh panels are double stitched, and the rubber parts are glued in place. Further proof of their attention to detail is the fact that the tongue is actually a half-tongue; meaning that it is only separate from the rest of the shoe on the outer side, the inner side being a continuation of the shoe, wrapping across the instep. This further helps to keep your feet in place while out on the bike. In addition, the soles feature a compression-molded polyurethane midsole to absorb vibration and impact to reduce fatigue. On the bikeThe grip of the Stealth rubber sole is astonishing. So much so that I've found that I can use pedals with less grip or shorter, fewer pins. Paired with super grippy pedals it is almost impossible to move your feet around on the pedal and trails-slips are just about unheard of. You really have to experience it to fully understand just how much grip there is. The fit is spot on and they are extremely comfortable. I'm sure the mesh helps, but on summer days wearing these shoes can get hot. The heat has reached uncomfortably levels but they're definitely not breezy. The soles have just enough flex to give feedback through the pedals and to make hike-a-bike sessions comfortable, but are stiff enough not to hamper pedaling. The burly, abrasion-resistant leather upper offers decent protection. This does, however, come at the expense of weight and, as mentioned earlier, ventilation. I don't see this as a deal-breaker as Five Ten have other options available to suit those with these needs. If you're looking for a lighter version, go for their Impact VXi or Freerider. If it's more protection you're after try the Impact High and if you're after a more casual look the Dirtbag or Spitfire would be the way to go. 2015 will also see the launch of the clipless Kestrel complete with a BOA closure system and stiffer sole. The one thing you can be sure of regardless of the model you choose is all of them will provide excellent grip levels and quality. With the likes of Giro, Specialized, 661 and Shimano entering the market, it is good to see Five Ten are not resting on their laurels. Grip when it's wet and muddy seems even better than in the dry which aids confidence as you can focus on riding your bike and enjoying the trails. The Impacts do get heavy when riding in the rain due to the tongue and sides retaining water. It is easy to squeeze it out and they dry out fairly quickly, but it is something worth considering. VerdictI have had my pair since 2009 and they have only recently started to show signs of wear with some of the glued parts loosening. Nothing that a bit of super glue can't fix though. Comparison of Five Ten's Spitfire, Impact VXi and Impact Low (from top to bottom). When I bought my Impact Lows, I did so after months of reading reviews and wondering whether the investment would be worth it. Considering how long they've lasted and the fact that they should last another year or two, the cost was more than worth it. They have never let me down and not once did I have to battle trail-side with a fancy closure system that bombed on me. Product SpecsAction leather upper for lightweight, all-season durability. Light and cushioned PU midsole. Barrel lace-up closure. Redefined patterns on the collar and Raptor tongue. Slingshot construction on the heel locks the foot down for a comfortable and secure fit. Reflective silver accents. Stealth® S1 rubber outsole technology for friction and durability. Available in sizes 7-13 and run pretty true to fit. Weight 510.29g (Claimed for Size 9) From the manufacturerPerhaps the most talked-about shoe in bike history, the Impact is burly enough for the most hardcore riders, yet comfortable enough to wear around your local bike shop. Breathability is enhanced through the lateral mesh panel while the Slingshot construction at the heel locks the foot down for a secure and comfortable fit from heel to toe. http://fiveten.com/
  8. Five Ten and their Impact Low flat pedal shoes need little introduction. They have been the benchmark flat pedal shoe since 2005, when the Impacts returned to the market. In the 9 years since then, they have expanded their line to include grippy sole shoes for just about any mountain bike application. Click here to view the article
  9. It is everything I hoped for and am glad I didn't tinker with the geometry. "Bent at the knees, Iwan" has been my conscious and sometimes vocal reminder out on the trails as I soon realised I need to learn how to properly ride a hardtail again. I almost snapped my shins doing a drop off thanks to years on a dual suspension and the bad technique I've slipped into. Getting the front wheel, and whole bike for that matter, up in the air is the easiest I've ever had it on a bike that one can still pedal to the top of a trail. What is clear as day is the fact that the Hungry Monkey is a blast to ride. Sold on wide rims by American Classic's Wide Lightnings I decided to go one up and build a pair of Derby Rims. The 34mm Inner / 40mm Outer profile of the Derby rims are monstrous. I've had countless people who've asked whether it's a fat bike or 27.5+ because of the extra volume of the tires. I still need to find the sweet spot, but I've been running the air pressure lower and lower and the grip and traction just keeps getting better and better. 13 - 15PSI in front and 20PSI rear seems to be the way to go if the internet is to be believed. In a way I regret not trying it first with a more conventional wheelset as I'm not 100% sure where the comfort of steel ends and the extra squish of the rubber running on uber fat carbon rims begins. If you're considering one and are worried about the head angle on climbs then don't be. On the handful of rides I've done I've only used the lower setting of the dual-position Pike once and that was on the first ride while I was still trying things out. I have however used it to access the "other bike". Riding a trail like Meerendal with it's flat flowy single track with the bike in 120mm mode is heaps of fun. With a head angle that's still slack for a 120mm the bike carves and rips the trail with more confidence than most dual suspension bikes of similar front wheel travel. The Hungry Monkey with a dual position fork does make for a very versatile bike that will be fun for most riders. It will comfortably do a race on Saturday and carve a black route on Sunday. I still find myself looking down at the raw steel shining through the Bogus Designs paint job - pure trickery that would have seen him burned at the stake in the dark ages. My only let down so far has been the brakes. I've become used to the SRAM Guide RSC's on another bike I've been riding and the Hope's feel a bit wooden by comparison. Not at all what I was expecting. Will try a good bleed before I swap them out for either the new Tech 3's or Guide Ultimate that's coming the end of May. A big thanks to David Mercer for building a frame I've been dreaming about for years and to Anton (Bogus Designs) for blowing my mind with your attention to detail, creativity and incredible skill. Who knew building a mountain bike can be this rewarding?
  10. And so it ends. Or begins. The Hungry Monkey is up and running and all that's left to do is rip trails and contain my laughter and screaming (like a child) while out riding it. Click here to view the article
  11. Other than the lack of an integrated seatpost, the fundamentals of the Advanced 2 are the same as the SL: the frame geometry is identical and they share aero profiled tubes, oversized head tube and bearings, hidden brakes and profiled bars. For the ladies, looking for an aero road bike, Giant has added an Envie Advanced to their Liv range. There is no excess on the frame with lots of attention to detail and, in keeping with the aero nature of the frame, everything is neatly tucked away behind or under a sculptured tube. The only oddity seems to be the loop the rear derailleur outer makes from the handlebar to where it disappears into the top tube behind the steerer tube. In terms of aero gain that's the place to do it as it's already in "dirty" air, but I'll try to see if I can get it a bit less unsightly. Powering the Advanced 2 is Shimano's excellent 11-speed 105 groupset. Except for the KMC chain and Sapim spokes, the rest of the kit all comes from Giant's own range of gear. On first inspection nothing looks or feels out of place. I will be riding the Prop Advanced 2 over the next couple of months and will report back on it's ride, specifically on-road feel. It has already passed the looks test with flying colours. RRP: R 27,495.00 Weight: 8.42kg (Actual weight including 2 bottle cages and pedals) Specification SizesXS, S, M, ML, L, XL ColoursComp (Matte/Gloss), Blue (Matte/Gloss) FrameAdvanced-Grade Composite ForkAdvanced-Grade Composite, Hybrid OverDrive Steerer HandlebarGiant Connect StemGiant Connect, ±8-degree rise SeatpostGiant Vector Composite SaddleGiant Performance Men's, Manganese rails ShiftersShimano 105, 11-speed Front DerailleurShimano 105, 11-speed Rear DerailleurShimano 105, 11-speed BrakesGiant SpeedControl SL Brake LeversShimano 105 CassetteShimano 105 11-28, 11s ChainKMC X11L CranksetShimano RS500, 34/50 Bottom BracketShimano, Press Fit RimsGiant P-A2 HubsGiant Performance Tracker Road, Sealed Bearing SpokesSapim Race TyresGiant P-R3, Flat Guard, front and rear specific, 700x23 From the Manufacturer: Escape from the pack, its just you against the wind. Sprints, attacks or solo rides find your edge with this class-leading aero road bike. Stiff enough to transfer power to the pedals, forgiving enough to keep you comfortable during long training efforts. A class-leading aerodynamic road frame module based on extensive wind tunnel testing-that’s Propel Advanced. Lightweight Advanced-grade composite frameset Aerodynamic shaping throughout including headtube, downtube, seatstays, fork and seattube Aerodynamic composite seatpost for maximum aero’ advantage Internal cable routing and aero brake system-no detail overlooked
  12. Giant first entered the aero road bike game in 2013 with the launch of their Propel Advanced SL. Tests showed that, at 40 kph, the Propel Advanced SL saves 12-36 seconds over 40 kilometres. Third-party wind-tunnel tests showed that the Propel Advanced SL is more aerodynamic from every yaw angle tested when compared to other leading aero road bikes. Click here to view the article
  13. Camelbak’s Charge was one of the manufacturers most popular bike packs when first introduced. It featured a unique low mounted reservoir, which centred the water weight over a rider’s hips. The Charge was adapted from Camelbak’s adventure/trekking line to include bike features, but was fairly compact with a 2lt reservoir and 8lt cargo space. Its popularity prompted Camelbak to design the Volt LR, which adds both extra cargo and water capacity making it all-day friendly. Click here to view the article
  14. I have been looking to get a bigger hydration pack in order to comfortably carry more gear on rides and at the same time have enough water for longer rides. When out reviewing a bike I usually take a shock pump, a GoPro with different mounts, adaptors, spare batteries and fittings, and a camera to take some pics. All of this over and above the usual multi-tool, car keys, and something to snack on. My current Camelbak Charge LR was getting a bit small for "review" rides, but I've really grown to love the lumbar mounted reservoir. I looked around at what's currently available and decided to get a Volt LR. It adds some much needed cargo space and an extra litre of water, but keeps the lumbar reservoir and all the practicality and durability we've come to expect from Camelbak. The 3L lumbar reservoir is designed to place water weight low on your hips, thereby taking the load off your shoulders and upper back. By placing it lower, the water is more stable and doesn't throw you off balance as you race down the trail. The 3L reservoir is taller and less triangular than before, but a central baffle still keeps the contents from sloshing around. To further stabilise the reservoir, Cambelbak has added compression straps. All you have to do is pull the contrast coloured webbing that is tunneled behind the waist belt pocket to compress the reservoir and keep it tight and secure. To loosen it, lift up on the tension lock and fine tune to your liking. In addition, the bladder's lid has a hard plastic extension that hooks into a special pocket that adds extra security. With a convenient rear-entry panel, that provides the added benefit of a full-length main storage compartment in front, the reservoir is easy to fill and load. Pockets and pockets and pockets Integrated helmet hooks utilise the helmet's chinstraps to be able to carry a variety of styles and sizes. Storage is spread across a number of compartments and pockets to help keep things better organised and neatly tucked away. Designed to carry a helmet, multi-tool, CO2 pump and cartridges, spare tube, extra layer, energy bar or snacks, phone and keys in it's multitude of pockets, I found the Volt LR more than big enough for all the extra bits and pieces I have to lug around. It features:Main Compartment with:zippered pocket for your phone or camera two mesh pockets (divided into 2 thirds and 1 third of width) bigger pocket with a Velcro top [*]2 hip pockets for gear and snacks you'd like to keep close as you won't need to take the pack off to access these [*]Front zippered pocket with a main storage area as well as two mesh pockets and a clip for your keys. [*]Stretch panel between main compartment and front zipper compartment to keep base layer or or jersey. On The Trail The back panel features a pair of airmesh-covered foam strips that are raised to cushion your back and allow even more airflow. Camelbak calls this "Integrated Ventilation System" and it proved it's worth on hot summer rides. The shoulder straps are virtually unpadded, but even with it fully loaded, comfort and stability is excellent thanks to being wide and well ventilated. A testimony to the "lumbar" design of the Volt LR and it's base weight of only 550g excluding the reservoir. Fully loaded (read stuffed to the brim) with a maxed out reservoir the pack stayed in place and never felt as heavy as I knew it was. Movement, up and down as well as left to right, is non-existent when tackling rough terrain, jumps and drop offs. Comfort is high and one hardly ever takes notice of it once it's loaded up and strapped down. The bite valve "tap" works when it's supposed to and stays drip-free the rest of the time. Verdict Looking at the Volt LR with all it's built-in features, I cannot help but think it's a design study in finding solutions to issues mountain bikers have. The lumbar reservoir is a genuine plus out on the trail and a heavily loaded backpack has never felt this comfortable and secure, allowing the rider to get on with riding. With it's sorted design, years of experience designing class leading hydration packs, extreme comfort on the trails all backed up by Camelbak's Got Your Bak Guarantee the Volt LR is hard to beat. RRP: R 1,850.00 From the manufacturer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCCdaawILUM An ultra-light, lumbar reservoir-based mountain bike pack that repositions the water weight on your hips for maximum stability and comfort. Hydration Capacity: 3L Lumbar Total Capacity: 10L (600 cu in) + 3L Reservoir Total Weight: 0.73 kg (pack only) Dimensions: 50 x 66 x 23 cm Torso Length: 43 cm Back Panel: LV Harness: Ultra-light 3D Mesh Independent Suspension™ with Slider™ Sternum Strap Belt: Fixed 25mm / 1" with cargo pockets Fabric: 40D Diamond Ripstop & 230D Taffeta, 210D Nylon with DWR + 1000 mm PU + Silicone
  15. Featuring thicker sidewalls and 1mm wider outside profile than the aluminium Wide Lightnings (33mm vs 32mm outside, 26mm vs 29.3mm inside) to ensure durability, strength and stiffness. That extra material comes at a weight penalty of just 100g, making these one of the lightest, properly wide wheelsets available today at 1676g for the 29" set. Built with American Classic Disc 130 and 225 hubs, laced to the 32 hole rims using 14/15g DB spokes and aluminium nipples front and rear. The wheels allow for standard QR or 15mm/ 142×12 thru axle configurations, with an XD driver available to run SRAM's 11 speed. Build quality is top-notch and doing away with the white and gold graphics certainly gives them a more premium look. The Carbonator wheelsets are available in 27.5" or 29" and come pre-installed with American Classic's tubeless tape. Skewers and tubeless valves are included in the box. Recommended retail price for a complete set is R18,500. Specifications: RimsCarbonator Tubeless All Carbon Disc Rims 27.5 / 29" SpokesAC 14/15 Gauge Spokes Black / AC Aluminum Nipples Silver 32h 3-Cross Front and Rear Weight 27.5" Front 740gr | Rear 855gr | Pair 1595gr Weight 29"Front 784gr | Rear 892gr | Pair 1676gr Hubs/SpacingFront Disc 130 100 mm / 15 mm / Thru Axle Disc 100 mm / 9 mm Thru Axle Disc 100 mm Rear Disc 225 135 mm / 10 mm x 135 mm Thru Axle Disc / 142 mm Thru Axle Disc / Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11 or SRAM XX1 Brake interface6 Bolt International Standard American Classic MTB tubeless tape installed and tubeless valves included.
  16. The FrameWhile the 2013 update to the line up is well remembered for the death of the 26" Genius and the introduction of the 27,5" and 29" "new" Genius, of greater importance were the tweaks the model range received. Gone was the familiar pull shock, replaced with a more conventional push shock layout. This opened up shock choices, kept it out of the muc trail and made setup a bit easier. Everything else one would expect from a high end trail frame is there. 142x12mm rear axle, beefy Press-Fit 30 bottom bracket, removable ISCG-05 mount or chain guard, a tapered headtube and both carbon and alloy models feature internal routing for a dropper post. Not one to comment on graphics and color scheme in reviews unless it's way off as it very subjective, I do have to say that Scott nailed it on the 740. Bright green accents and logos off sets the otherwise plain black. A "chainblocker" plate protects the frame from chain suck by blocking it from falling off the inner ring and damaging the frame. The system is compatible with 3x and 2x drivetrains. The optional ISCG adaptor allows riders to run a chain device for single or 2x chain set and is removable when not in use. The frame is hydroformed using 6061 Alloy that is custom butted and designed around the use of a link driven single pivot suspension design, with a forged link activating the rear shock. The ace up it's sleeve is adjustable geometry by way of a shock mount chip in the linkage. This is done by removing the shock mount chip and flipping it in either "high" or "low" mounting position. Doing this will affect the bottom bracket height by 5.5mm and the head and seat tube angles by 0.5 degrees. It has a knock-on effect on other measurements as well - in actual fact, only the chainstay and seat tube lengths are unaffected. Scott utilizes a progressive leverage curve and a relatively low main pivot which follows the current industry trend, and allows a more supple suspension at sag, but with some ramp up as the wheel moves towards bottom out. This helps give the Genius good small bump efficiency, but keeps it from bottoming out or diving through it's travel when the going gets rough. The relatively low main pivot location was a clear decision by Scott to maximize pedaling efficiency. The area in in front of the rear tire where the front derailleur mounts is a possible mud-clogger. More attention to detail can be seen in the IDS-SL dropout system which works with 142x12mm, 135x12mm and 135x5mm QR rear axle standards as well as bolt torque specs printed on the bearing caps. Claimed weight for a medium alloy frame and shock is 2,75kg with Scott's expertise in carbon dropping that to 2.3kg for the top of the range carbon model. Twin Loc Lever Systemhttps://vimeo.com/6849224 If it's not enough that the frame comes with a trick or two up it's sleeve, Scott takes it a step further with their patented TwinLoc system, which is controlled by the handlebar mounted lever. When the lever is pushed to switch the shock to Lock mode, the fork is simultaneously put into Climb mode. Switching to Traction mode limits the rear shock's travel to 100mm and puts the front fork into Trail mode. The reduction in travel in Traction mode is achieved by reducing the shock canister's air volume, creating less sag, which in turn raises the bike's ride height, and slightly steepens the head angle. Pushing the lever to its second stop locks out the shock and fork entirely, turning the Genius into a rock solid pedaling machine. Components Fork: A Fox 32 Float Evolution CTD does duty up front. At a 150mm it is showing noticeable signs of flex when pushed. A Fox 34, Rockshox Pike or even a Revelation would be a welcome upgrade for those looking to ride the bike at it's limits.Shock: The 32 Float is mated to a Fox Float CTD. As I only rode the bike for one weekend, it was a bit tricky to get the suspension dialed to my preference. The shock did however perform as advertised and did not feel as linear as I have experienced it on other bikes. This is most likely down to the custom tune to match the Genius frame. Drivetrain: The mix of Deore and XT parts are not really noticeable and, typical Shimano, just gets on with the task at hand. Brakes: Stopping power comes courtesy of Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes. Although not fancy in any way they do get the job done. It really is nice to know that even the cheaper disc brakes out there can perform as expected when needed. Wheelset: Shimano hubs laced to Syncros TR67 rims using DT Swiss Champion spokes, are fitted to the Genius 740. I have become used to wider rims and it takes some getting used to and a slight adjustment of riding style. It's not a major issue and if you're not riding wide rims you won't even notice. Tires: Schwalbe's performance series tires are a popular OE choice. I would bump the Nobby Nic front and Rocket Ron rear up one level in the Schwalbe line-up and fit a Hans Dampf front and Nobby Nic rear. The new Nobby Nic is doing a great job covering most basis and when out riding your favorite trails you want tires with grip that can match the potential of the frame. The finishing kit (handlebar, stem, seatpost and saddle) all comes from Syncros. Acquired by Scott in 2012 from Ritchey, Syncros is well-known for quality gear. Again, to match the potential of the frame, I would bump the 720mm handlebar to at least 750mm and drop the stem to 50 or 60mm. The long stem and narrow-ish handlebar felt a bit old school and the bike definitely felt more comfortable and capable when I switched those out. This is obviously a very personal choice. The Syncros XM saddle was comfortable and hitting all the right notes for me. A dropper seatpost was notable in it's absence and although a QR release for the Syncros seatpost was welcome, I did miss a dropper post. I however understand the need to keep costs down and as the entry level bike in the line-up some cuts had to be made. On the TrailBilled as a do-it-all bike, the bike's tagline one bike to rule it all, the Genius was designed to cover a lot of ground. If this will be your only bike you could easily race it in XC events in the "high" geometry setting and then drop it for social rides our some dirt-action on single track. Although not as slack as many other bikes in the 150mm category, the Scott counters that with sharper handling and climbing ease. I definitely had to to work less to keep the front wheel down when climbing technical sections than with a slacker bike which helped preserving some energy for when the trail turned south. I didn't make much use of the complete suspension lockout setting, but can confirm that it well and truly locks it out. Traction mode was enough for me when needed. Once I swapped out the handlebar and stem the Genius was in it's element carving the single track on the Bottelary Hill trails. The shorter stem and wider bars counters the steepish head angle, leaving you with handling that is well-balanced for trail riding. On steeper terrain, I missed a slightly slacker head angle, but not to the extent that I felt I was missing out. Scott's trail bike tag is spot on as the Genius 740 felt best suited to tight, twisty, moderately technical trails and tackled these with ease. VerdictWith it's easier to get along with geometry, the Genius 700 range is a great bike for riders who want to get into bigger trails, but either do not want to buy a second bike in order to do it or who would still like to be able to do the odd race or event. For this type of rider, the geometry and suspension tune will suit their needs and the Genius 700 range will open up a new way of riding. For the rider looking for a proper big mountain or Enduro bike you'd need not look much further than the Genius LT. Specification FrameGenius Alloy 6061 custom butted, Hydroformed tubes / tapered Headtube, BB92 / IDS SL dropout for 142 × 12mm, U-Mono Link / rear 180PM, BB height adj. TravelFront 150mm; Rear 150 / CTD / Shock 200 × 57 ForkFOX 32 Float Evolution CTD Air, CTD remote damper with 3 modes, 15mm QR axle / tapered steerer, reb. Adj. ShockFOX Float CTD / 3 modes, Climb - Trail - Descend, reb. Adj. Remote systemSCOTT TwinLoc Remote Technology, 3 modes front and rear HeadsetSyncros / VP-A41AC1 / 1.5" - 1 1/8", semi integ. OD 50/61mm / ID 44/55mm Rear derailleurShimano XT RD-M781 SGS, Shadow Type / 30 Speed Front derailleurShimano Deore FD-M610-E / DM ShiftersShimano Deore SL-M610-I; Rapidfire Plus / 2 way release; Ispecs Brake leversShimano BL-M615 Disc BrakesShimano BR-M615 Disc; 180/F and 180/Rmm SM-RT54 CL Rotor CranksetShimano FC-M622; 2-piece Design; 40Ax30Ax22T BB-setShimano SM-BB71-41A / shell 41x92mm HandlebarSyncros FL2.0 Tbar; Alloy 6061 D.B. / T shape Flat / 9° / 720mm StemSyncros TR2.0; 6061 / 4D forged / oversize 31.8mm; 1 1/8" / 6° angle SeatpostSyncros FL2.5 / 31.6mm SeatSyncros XM 2.0 / CROM rails Front hubShimano HB-M618 / 15mm Rear hubShimano FH-M618 Disc CL; 142 × 12mm / DT RWS axle ChainKMC X10 CassetteShimano CS-HG50-10, 11-36 T TiresSchwalbe; Front: Nobby Nic / 2.25; Rear: Rocket Ron / 2.25, Performance Series SpokesDT Swiss Champion Black 1.8mm RimsSyncros TR67 / Eyelets / 32H Approx. Weight KG12.85 kg Recommended retail priceR 34 500.00 Geometry From the Manufacturer: The SCOTT Genius 740 boasts a super light 6061 custom butted alloy frame. The 740 comes fully equipped with a custom FOX Float CTD shock, a FOX 32 Float fork and our Patented TwinLoc technology, allowing for three travel settings to always optimize your ride. This is the ultimate trail bike, but at a fraction of the cost.
  17. Scott's Genius range of bikes have formed part of their line-up for more than a decade and has undergone numerous refinements since its introduction. In 2013, the Genius was launched in 27.5" and 29” wheels sizes with the 27.5" 700 series featuring 150mm of travel, while the 29" 900 series have 130mm of travel. SCOTT Sports SA sent us a 150mm Genius 740 to test. Click here to view the article
  18. Born out of a desire to explore, the Silverback Signo Tecnica combines the roll over traits and bigger contact patch of a 29" front wheel with the quicker accelerating, more agile 27.5" sized rear wheel. By doing this Silverback believe that they have combined the best of both worlds into one chassis giving the rider an advantage on the trail. Click here to view the article
  19. The Tecnica sits at the top of a three bike model and if there's any doubt about it's intended purpose one only needs to look at the spec sheet. Featuring a 1x10 drivetrain, 130mm RockShox Revelation fork, wide handlebar, short stem and Arch EX wheels with 2.3 Maxxis Minion DHR II rubber fitted - this bike is meant to be fast and fun on single track. What the spec sheet is missing at first glance is a dropper seatpost, but I do understand that base price can shoot up quickly with a couple of seemingly small changes. As an alternative a QR clamp would have been nice. We will be riding the Signo Tecnica on several of Cape Town's trails to bring you an in-depth review. RRP: R19,999 From the Manufacturer:The Signo Tecnica is a groundbreaking new platform that pushes the boundaries of modern trail riding. The key feature of the mountain bike model is the 279 Dynamic Efficiency Technology. The 279 concept incorporates the advantages of both 27.5” and 29” wheels into one platform; this is done by using the larger 29” wheel on the front and the midsized 27.5” wheel on rear the. The result is a uniquely new ride feel that fits perfectly into the aggressive trail-riding category.
  20. The Electronic BitsAll NEO models in the Easy Motion range employ a rear drive system (RDS). This system positions the electric motor inside the rear hub shell. A 350W planetary gear motor is used and is configured to provide 4 pedal assist settings: ECO: this is the lowest setting and offers 70% of rider's input as power assist. Being the least powerful assist mode, it offers the greatest range on a single charge. Standard: this is the first level to provide more of the forward motion than the rider's legs. The power assist on standard mode is 140% of rider input. This is the best balance between range and power assistance. Sport: with Sport the scale tips towards a livelier feel and less emphasis on range with 200% of rider input being provided by the motor. Boost: this is the all-out option with 300% of rider input produced by the motor. It will get you there with the least amount of effort, but range is minimised. Torque is measured by a frame mounted sensor, response to pedalling is immediate and the kick-in varies based on the mode you are running. To protect your investment, the battery is locked to the frame using a coded key. The fully integrated, high quality Samsung Lithium-ion battery is removable and can be charged to 80% charge in just two hours, it will take a further two hours to reach a full charge. According to Easy Motion, you can expect the battery to last for approximately 3-5 years with 1,000 charges, powering the Neo for 16,000-32,000 km's. RangeEasy Motion claim a maximum range of 90km from a single charge. To achieve this you will have to ride efficiently in Eco mode. Other factors that can have a big impact are wind, weather, tyre pressures and terrain. You can expect less range from your e-bike if you live in a hilly area. Larger riders or people carrying heavy loads can also expect reduced output. What happens when it rains?All Easy Motion bikes are water and weatherproof, but don't expect them to be water-tight! If you submerge any of these products in water, it will seep into the openings and likely cause damage. The bike are fine in light rain or damp riding conditions, but during heavy down pours or deep puddling, they recommend pulling over and waiting for the weather to subside. If you plan on riding in the rain on a regular basis, it is recommended to further waterproof your e-bike. This includes ensuring all electrical connections are wrapped in electrical tape and all connectors and exposed openings are sealed with clear silicone. ComponentsApart from the bits that make this a pedal-assist mountain bike, the bicycle parts of the bike are fairly low spec. One has to take into account the additional costs of the electronic components when assessing the components on e-bikes. Frame: NEO 29ER Aluminum 6061 Considering the size of the battery and all the wires running to an from the computer & motor, Easy Motion have done a great job concealing them and making the bike look somewhat like a normal mountain bike. Welds are neatly done and the integration with all the electric bits is well executed. To accommodate the battery inside the front triangle, Easy Motion did away with the bottle cage mounts and stretched the head tube. One can easily compensate for the lack of cage mounts by riding with a hydration pack, but the long head tube takes some getting used to. Taking into consideration the target market, I don't think this will be a major issue for most interested buyers. In actual fact, the higher front end will add some comfort for many riders. Fork: Suntour XCR-MLO 80mm The coil sprung fork will be at the top of my list to replace, should I ever own a Neo. It, along with the handlebar, stem and tyres are the main culprits that keep the Neo from being comfortable at speed on technical single track. Handlebars: Emotion Cross Alloy At 640mm they are too narrow for my liking and seemed a little "old school". Replacing them is an easy fix but by now I would expect all mountain bike manufacturers to spec at least 700mm+ handlebars on their bikes. Tyres: Scwhalbe Rapid Rob 29 x 2.25” Rapid Rob's are the Racing Ralphs of yesteryear. They have thin sidewalls and when mounted on narrow rims do not provide the best grip. I wasn't a fan of the schrader-valved tubes either as punctures front and rear left me scrambling to find tubes to replace them. Whilst doing that I took the time to add some sealant to ensure I don't get stranded again. Not a massive issue, but something worth considering. Saddle: Easy Motion Emotion Performance I found the saddle comfortable and easy to get along with. As saddles go I don't think everybody would love it, but I'm sure it will work for the majority of riders. Battery: 36V/9ah Samsung Lithium Hi-Output battery Lithium-ion batteries are the highest quality batteries available in today's market. Although they cost significantly more upfront, they have the longest life and the lowest weight. Because they last 3-4 times longer than cheaper battery types, the higher cost will be negated over time. The full bike specification is listed below. On The TrailSo how does it ride? For the most part, like a normal mountain bike. The extra weight (the battery alone adds close to 2.5kg) is only noticeable when riding with the pedal assist off and, thanks to clever design, sits quite low in the frame keeping the centre of gravity low. The electric motor will kick in to varying degrees depending on the mode you are in. For general riding this does not interfere, but is something that you will need to pay attention to out on the trails. If for example you give half a pedal stroke to get your outside foot down around a berm or corner, the torque sensor will pick this up as pedaling and will tell the electric motor to kick in. This caught me off guard a couple of times until I remembered to get my feet in the correct position before leaning the bike over. When riding long downhill sections I found it best to turn the pedal assist off in order to focus on the trail and the fun of riding. My usual 50 min - 55 min morning loop was disposed of in just over 30 minutes with the bike in Boost mode and that was without me trying to set an Endomondo PB. In boost mode you can pull away in just about any gear - as long as you can give half a pedal stroke the torque sensor will pick up that there's action and the motor will kick in to get you off the mark in an almost comically fast way. Riding trails in Boost mode felt a bit like riding inside a video game set to 1.5x speed. This again takes some getting used to, but can be quite fun. The Sport or Boost settings are also the ones that will get you to the top of that hill you've always wanted to conquer. You still have to pedal to keep the wheels turning, but the extra support from the motor will make things a bit more fun and less sweaty. With most of the extra weight sitting low and to the rear of the bike, getting the front wheel up and over stuff was the easiest of any bike I've ever ridden. Easier than the agile and playful Mercer Hungry Monkey. It actually caught me by surprise at first and as the video below shows, the Neo can be as much fun as one lets it be. On the smooth, flowy single track around Greyton the Neo handled itself well and is better suited to these kind of trails than the ones that face mountain bikers in Jonkershoek and Tokai. Not that you won't be able to ride there. In actual fact you will be able to get to the top faster and ride more of what Jonkers has to offer in a day, but the rocky rooty sections will expose the under specced mountain bike. If your riding is more about being out and about, chances are this won't bother you too much. Stand-over height was a bit of an issue on the large due to the top tube needing to make space for the battery. At 179cm with a 84cm inseam, it was touch and go and required some careful dismounts. One thing that impressed me throughout the test was how mature and developed the complete system felt. Never did I feel like I was riding some crude prototype or frankenbike slapped together by a mad scientist in his basement. Power delivery is smooth and consistent, the computer is easy to understand and operate and there is very little noise from the motor. For example, on tar the tyre noise drowns out whatever whiz comes from the motor. CommutingI used the Neo 29er to commute to work on and off over a two week period. I managed to cut a good chunk of time out of that run as well and arrived at work a little fresher than I usually would. Being able to maintain a good average speed made a big difference in traffic and the quick acceleration helped keeping out of the way at traffic lights and intersections. Instead of bolting straight to the office, I worked in a some gravel and arrived at the office feeling like I had a short trail ride before work. Most fun. VerdictIn the end, did I enjoy my time on the Neo 29ER? Yes, I did and yes, that surprised me just as much. To do so you have to reset how you look and think about mountain bikes. I don't think e-bikes will appeal to hardcore mountain bikers riding purely for fitness or the challenge of technical terrain. If however you have a partner who does not ride as often as you or who aren't as serious about cycling as you, but who would still like to join you on rides this could be the bike for them. This could also be the perfect riders for older riders or people recovering from a health issue. A pedal assist bicycle will allow you to just get out and ride, but allow you to cover greater distances when doing so. That's not to say that it won't appeal to average Joe mountain biker. Everyone who had a go came back smiling and impressed by the technology hidden inside the tubes. Swap out the fork, tyres, handlebar and stem and you will have a capable mountain bike. From the Manufacturerhttp://www.easymotion.co.za/29er 29ers are the latest big development in mountain biking. Larger wheels give a faster ride and make covering rougher terrain easier. The Neo 29ER is a great cross-country electric bike For those interested, you can have a look at their dealer network here. They have more models on the way including some dual suspension options. To stay in touch you can follow Easy Motion SA on Twitter or like them on Facebook. Full specification FrameNEO 29ER ForkSuntour XCR-MLO 80mm HeadsetFSA Integrarted ShiftersShimano Deore Rear derailleurShimano Deore Shadow 10SP Front derailleurShimano Deore CranksetShimano 175mm Bottom bracketShimano CassetteShimano HG62 10SP (11-36t) ChainStainless CN-HG54 Brake leverTektro Auriga E-Comp Hydraulic BrakesTektro Auriga E-Comp 160mm rotor WheelsAlloy Double Wall TyresSwchalbe Rapid Rob 29 x 2.25” HubsShimano SpokesStainless Steel SaddleEmotion Performance Seat binderAlloy Quick Release Seat postAlloy 31.6 mm HandlebarsEmotion Cross Alloy GripsErgonomic PedalsAlloy antislip BatterySamsung Lithium Ion Battery 36v/9Ah (324Wh) Motor“Gear Driven” Brushless 350w Control screenLCD Emotion Removable RangeUp to 50 miles Recommended retail priceR39 995
  21. The Crown Range Available in 27.5 and 29-inch versions, the Crown F and R are front- and rear-specific. The front features a broad, widely-spaced knob pattern while the rear has a tighter, narrower pattern for better rolling with tall side lugs for traction. They also offer a third tyre, the Crown Gem, which is aimed at medium to hard-pack conditions and uses taller side knobs and a lower centre tread to create a fast tyre that still has bite when leaning it into the bends. All three models—the Crown F, Crown R and Crown Gem—are available in Vee Tire Co.’s long-wearing Dual Compound or more grippy Stickee Compound. The tyres can be run with tubes or using sealant for tubeless set-ups. I have been riding a 29er Crown F on the front, with a Momsen Mount Graham rear, for a couple of months and so far I've been impressed. On the Trail Mounting the tyre on an American Classic Wide Lightning was easy enough, but needed a CO2 bomb to air it up. Once inflated, it stayed so from day one, only needing a little top up to keep it at the right pressure. The Crown F balances it's intended purpose as front tyre well. Overall grip in most conditions is good and the handling always felt predictable. Rolling resistance was low and the tyre never felt like it was dragging. The transition to the aggressive side knobs is predictable and boosts confidence around berms. This allows for the tyre to be pushed hard without too much drift. When rocks and roots have allowed, I've regularly run it below 20psi for ultimate grip without burping or creeping. Strong and sturdy sidewalls ensures the tyre does not roll on it's sidewall at these pressures. Widely spaced lugs with cut-out sheds mud well and adds to the Crown F's year-round capability. After 6 months tread wear is good and the sidewalls are still looking healthy. Verdict During my time on the Crown F, I didn't once wish I was running something else. It rolls well and provides lots of predictable grip. At 830g (measured) the weight is competitive for a grippy tyre - even more so when you take into account that it's a 29er tyre with sturdy sidewalls. Riders looking for a front tire that offers predictable grip in a relatively fast rolling tread design, should look at the Crown F. RRP: R660. From the manufacturer The Crown F’s pattern features side knobs aggressive enough that the tire can hook up in all conditions, but it also eliminates the tire from pushing when you go through a corner. The elongated tread and spacing was designed to clear mud from the tire so that it doesn’t pack on. This tire is incredibly versatile in all kinds of terrain. VEE Tire Co. prides itself on offering affordable, innovative products that enable you to push the boundaries of your ride. With over thirty years in the industry, our engineering advantage has elevated the biking experience by providing you with a premium tire you can trust is on the cutting edge. Compound: Dual Compound, Tackee Tire Casing: 120TPI Bead: Folding Bead Recommended pressure: 22.5-50 PSI (1.6-3.5 bar) Available in: 27.5×2.35 (DC/1 ply) 27.5×2.35 (Tackee/1 ply) (Synthesis Sidewall) 27.5×2.35 (Tackee/1 ply) 29×2.3 (DC/1 ply) 29×2.3 (Tackee/1 ply) (Synthesis Sidewall) 29×2.3 (Tackee/1 ply)
  22. The Vee Tire Co. Crown series features three new enduro/all-mountain tyres, designed with the help of former BMX and downhill world champion Mike King. Vee Tire Co. have been manufacturing well-respected OEM and value tyres for years. They recently began to take their offerings upmarket, first with fat bike tyres and now the Crown series. Although not a household name in South Africa, Vee Tire Co., along with their local distributor, are working hard to get our attention. Click here to view the article
  23. A custom build is always a rewarding project. Part of this is the agonising process of looking for the perfect fit of design and components. For me, the direction of the build gets locked down once the look, or in this case the colours, has been decided. Once that is done, then the hunt for a complementary build kit begins. Click here to view the article
  24. Searching for satisfactory components can take a while and bring about many direction changes - as I'm sure BogusOne can attest to. For instance, with this build the final look was only determined after it became clear that I wouldn't be able to get my hands on a green DVO Diamond fork in time. Seeing it all come together in the end is rewarding and a big part of why I go the bike build route rather buying a complete bike. Frame: Mercer Bikes Hungry Monkey Frame builder: Mercer Bikes The frame and reasoning behind it has been covered thoroughly in Part 1 and Part 2. What is new, however, is the spray job by Bogus Designs (user BogusOne on The Hub) and the inspiration for it. The brief handed to Bogus Designs for the frame paint scheme. The inspiration for the Hungry Monkey's look came from the big screen. The idea really took off when I saw custom paint jobs Field Cycles did on two of their bikes. I have become a big fan of their work and the incredible passion and attention to detail is obvious. Pearl Drums nailed the coffin shut when they showed a unique colour kit at the 2015 NAMM Show. I shared my ideas with Anton (BogusOne) and he took the initiative from there. Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Dual Position, 150mm Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems There is not a lot that needs to be said about the Pike, as it's reputation precedes it. For the first time in years, I have gone with a dual position fork. This was done for two reasons. Firstly, there was the desire to compare how it feels out on the trails to fixed travel forks. Secondly, I thought it could be a good fit on the Hungry Monkey as the ability to drop the travel will come in handy when tackling technical climbs or using it as a "play" bike. Wheelset: Derby Rims / Industry Nine Torch Hubs / DT Swiss Aerolite Spokes Rims: Cycle Factory / Hubs: Rush Sports Cycling / Spokes: SCOTT Sports Africa Derby Rims were the first properly wide, competitively priced and durable carbon rims to hit the market. Launched in the U.S. in 2013, they have proven themselves to be reliable, strong and a popular choice for custom wheel builders. I won't go into too much depth on the wide rim debate here, but I consider myself a believer following a good couple of months on a set of American Classic Wide Lightnings. The 34mm Inner / 40mm Outer profile of the Derby rims is a level up from the American Classics and if all the glowing reviews on the Ibis 741 rims (35mm Inner / 41mm Outer) are to be believed, then I shouldn't be disappointed with these. I picked Industry Nine hubs for their reliability, crazy sound, adaptability and super fast engagement. For what they offer, they are very competitively priced and the fact that one can order them in all sorts of anodised colours adds to the lure. Going with a complete Industry Nine wheelset with red spokes was an option, but I soon realised that I would struggle to match the anodised red with the overall look of the bike. Instead, I opted for DT Swiss Aerolite spokes for their look, competitive weight and the wider profile of bladed spokes. Drivetrain: SRAM X1 Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems Chosen for the value it represents over its 1x11 siblings and (to be perfectly honest) being all black. I am looking forward to giving SRAM's entry 11-speed mountain bike groupset a go and comparing it to the XX1 and X01. Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 125mm drop Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems Another RockShox product that doesn't need much of an intro or explanation. I like how the Stealth version keeps things neat and tidy, and being black plays well the overall look. In three years, I've only had one mechanical on a Reverb and that was when an OTB incident tore the hose and locked the post in the dropped position. Brakes: Hope Stealth Tech Evo with 183mm floating rotors Distributor: International Trade The only piece of kit that has survived from my Ibis Mojo HDR build. Back then RockShox's Guide range of stoppers were just announced. It will be interesting to see how the Hope brakes fair against the Guide RSC's that I'm running on another bike. So far the RSC's have been faultless, but can they compete long term with Britain's finest? Time will tell. Tyres: Hans Dampf TLR 2.35 front, 2.25 rear Distributor: Stage N9NE I had these tyres on another bike and was impressed with their all-round performance; although sand seemed to be their weakness. Having experience with these tyres, I decided use them as a benchmark to assess the impact that the Derby Rims have on tyre performance. The tyres have been converted to tubeless using the supplied Derby rim tape and Stan's NoTubes sealant. Pedals: Point1 Podium Distributor: Not available locally. Not as sticky as Spank's Spike flat pedal, but I had these in the parts bin and will probably ride them until they die. Bottle Cages: Specialized Zee Cage II with EMT Cage Mount Tool Distributor: Specialized SA Credit to Specialized for their range of S.W.A.T. kit and gear. It offers solutions to problems that actually exist and brings versatility to riders - prefect. With these I will be able to hit the trails without the need for a hydration pack and will only need a pocket for an energy bar or cellphone. (With only 1 broken chain and no flats on tubeless tyres in over 6 years, I feel it's a calculated risk to not carry any spares or additional tools with me on rides). Handlebar & Stem: Easton Haven 35 Carbon 20mm Riser Bar, 750mm | Easton Haven 35 Stem, 50mm Distributor: Hullabaloo It is incredible how much mountain bike geometry, set up and trends have changed over the last couple of years. The revolution has pushed gear and kit to new heights with innovation resulting in a number of new standards. One of which is handlebars and stems with a 35mm clamping area. The additional diameter has allowed manufacturers to keep the weight down and strength up on wider bars. Easton was one of the first big players to release 35mm bars and stems and it certainly looks like it's here to stay and possibly take over as the steering of choice for longer travel bikes. Saddle: SDG Duster Mountain Ti-Alloy Distributor: A-Line MTB and Outdoor Speed Defies Gravity has got to be the coolest name in the business! It's not the only reason it made the parts pick. I've been riding SDG saddles for the last couple of years and have found them to my liking and they've proven themselves to be very durable. Grips: ODI Rogue Distributor: Cycles Africa I have been a fan of ODI for as long as I can remember. With colour, width and feel options to suit just about every rider regardless of discipline. The Rogues have been my grip of choice, as they provide an extra bit of give without being too soft or spongy. Plus, they perform well come rain or shine. Headset: Nukeproof Warhead 44IETS Distributor: Dial'd Bikes Along with a bike's bottom bracket, the headset is often an unsung hero expected to slave without much love and attention. This will be the first time I try a Nukeproof headset, but judging from the quality of their other gear I'm sure it will perform flawlessly.
  25. The Frame Made from 6061 Alloy with custom butted tubing, the frame features Silverback's IDS (Intelligent Design System) Revo Technology. IDS features a lower linkage that is concentric to the bottom bracket and uses large cartridge bearings to create a stiff and strong attachment point for the rear triangle. Optimised to compliment dual and single chainring drivetrains, the system uses a relatively high anti-squat value to ensure that power transfer remains efficient and direct. The upper linkage design creates a progressive leverage ratio that results in small bump sensitivity as well as large impact absorption. Tubes are hydroformed to increase stiffness and strength while keeping weight down. The headtube is tapered and the rear has 12x142mm dropouts to aid stiffness and reduce flex. Workmanship and attention to detail is high on the frame and extends to the build kit with colour matching rim decals and saddle. Cable routing is external for ease of maintenance and there is space for a large water bottle inside the front triangle. With 110mm travel and a 70 degree head angle, it is evident that the Sprada is aimed at trail riders rather than pure race snakes. Components Silverback use what they call Advanced Riding Dynamics (ARD) when speccing a bicycle. They have identified the frame, fork and wheels as key elements to enhance the ride quality of a bicycle and will ensure that for the given price and intended use any bike in their line-up will sport the best wheels, frame and fork possible. It's easy to make bold claims and hide behind acronyms, but what does this look in real life? Good is the short answer.Fork: A RockShox Reba RL is a welcome sight. Having spent some time on 2014 and 2015 Fox equivalents, I'm always happy to see a RockShox product on a bicycle. The Reba is stiff, light and affordable (who said you couldn't have all three?), most importantly it's a beaut out on the trails. At 120mm, there is no sign of flex and the bike goes where you point it. Rear Shock: Another test bike with a Fox Float CTD Evolution shock. Much to my surprise this one felt quite good and well-suited to the frame and fork. It did need the use of the CTD lever, but more on that later. Drivetrain: The drivetrain is predominantly Deore with a XT rear derailleur. I didn't have any issues with shifting or overall performance. Yes, shifting is not as fast and mechanically crisp as XT, but it doesn't take anything away from the ride and you get used to it quick. Besides, I would much rather have a bike with good suspension manners than one with a great drivetrain and disappointing suspension when the fun starts. Rims: Stan’s popular Arch EX rims with custom decals and yellow rim tape pre-fitted do duty on the Sprada 2 and is the perfect fit for the bike and build. Stan's ZTR rims are popular for good reason. Hubs: The rims are laced to Shimano Deore hubs. They are a solid, reliable choice. Engagement is on the slow side and can catch you out when pedalling up technical sections that need a quick quarter or less pedal stroke to make it safely through. They are by no means terrible, but it is something to get used to and ride around. Tyres: I was impressed with the Maxxis Ardent Race tyres. Traction in dry conditions was good and it handled Cape Town's summer-sand, gravel and hard pack well. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try them on wet or muddy trails. Brake Set: The open hydraulic system and levers comes from Shimano's lower ranges and are fairly basic. Resin Pads perform well in dry and wet conditions although, I did not get to try them in proper wet and muddy conditions. Stopping power was what was expected and Shimano's range of hydraulic stoppers continue to impress. A 180mm in front is another sign of the attention to detail that goes into Silverback bikes. The finishing kit all comes from Silverback's own Sector range. At 720mm the handlebar is a good width, but I felt the 90mm stem was a little too long for me. I removed all spacers underneath the stem and ran it at a negative angle to get the position I prefer. The saddle features Cr-Mo rails with light foam padding and was immediately comfortable. The colour bits that match the frame is a neat touch, further showcasing the attention to detail on this bike. On the trailThe bike was delivered with a setup guide recommending 20% sag for the fork and 13mm worth of sag for the shock. At first, I thought it was going to be too little, but decided to ride it as recommended before playing around with settings. To my surprise the Sprada's suspension felt very balanced with the shock obviously tuned with that figure in mind. At 445mm the rear is short for a 29er, giving the Sprada a balanced feel out on the trails and it feels at home in flowy single track with the odd twist and turn. When things get tight, turn-in is sharp and I always felt in control. There is an immediate plushness to the bike which goes miles towards giving extra grip and traction when it matters most and in this case the Sprada is more than happy to rail berms and boost confidence on off-camber sections. This does however mean that one has to make use of the shock's climb mode when pedalling up long climbs, but flicking the switch does firm the shock up enough to not have to worry about the loss of pedalling efficiency. Climbing on the Sprada is good and the only time I gave thought to how much it weighs was when I had to research it for this review. I'm not sure what the obsession is to design a shock that you can ride in the open position when you spec your bike with one that has a climb mode. On a pure race bike it (kind of) makes sense, but for the most part why have it when you think it's not necessary. Certain suspension designs help a great deal, but again, a bike that's firm under pedalling forces will probably be quite firm when hitting bigger stuff. I don't mind flipping a shock's lever into climb mode if that means the trail and descent modes are useful out on the trail and it certainly was true in this case. In trail mode, the bike has a lively "pop" on the trails that lends itself to jumping roots and rocks. Pre-loading the suspension is rewarded with good airtime and as long as you have rebound dialled in the landing is controlled. The rear suspension will use full travel without feeling the need to let you know about it. Running more sag made the descent mode on the shock too soft to use on bigger hits. I would recommend sticking to 13mm and make use of the CTD settings of the Fox shock. The cable routing around the BB to the rear triangle could be better though. Suspension movement straightens the routing from the front to rear triangle which leads to them rubbing against the rear tyre when using more of the rear wheel travel. This meant I had to stop at the top of a climb or pedalling section to move them away from the tyre in order for there not to be any annoying buzzing against the tire. On my second ride, I employed 2 trusty cable ties to keep the routing in check, but this shouldn't be necessary. Silverback is aware of the problem and are working on a fix. My only other upgrade would be a wider front tyre. I've become used to the extra grip that comes with wider rims and it felt strange at first to not be able to push the bike harder even though it has a gripper tyre than what I've been riding on the American Classic Wide Lightnings. I do realise that this is pure personal preference. VerdictOn the Sprada 2 it's as if all the components work in unison to make it the best bike it can be for the money. There is no one component that left me thinking it shouldn't be on a bike with the Sprada's intended use or price point in mind. It sounds obvious, but it's not always the case. Often a bike is let down by a single component or two. A good climber is let down by it's fork on descents, a trail bike is speced with tyres with thin sidewalls and not enough grip from the tread pattern or cable routing seem to be an after-thought. Here clever use of the spec budget sees money spent where it matters most and the only spec changes I would make are down to personal preference and that says a great deal about the overall package. I haven't looked too much into Silverback's other bikes versus selling price, but on the Sprada 2 ARD gets the job done. Nothing looks or feels out of place. Riding this bike I have realised that more 29er owners should ride a "trail" 29er like the Sprada. It is a good climber, fun on single track and doesn't shy away from descents and the odd jump or three. Crucially, it is a lot more forgiving than a pure race bike that so many people ride and it won't break the bank. The frame offers good upgrade potential meaning you can hang onto it for longer and it is backed by a limited lifetime warranty making this a worthy proposition. From the manufacturer:The Sprada mountain bike is a high performance 29er trail bike that features 120mm of fork travel and 110mm of rear suspension travel. This is perfectly suited for the rider wanting a slightly more aggressive 29er for trail riding. IDS Revo suspension technology is used on this platform resulting in a stiff and predictable suspension feel with great pedaling stability. The Sprada mountain bike frame features short chainstays and a compact tapered head tube which keep the ride feeling agile and precise. Full specification: FrameSilverback Intelligent Design System(IDS) Revo Technology, Exclusive Suspension Science, 29”, Hydroformed 6061 Alloy Custom Butted Tubing, Tapered 1⅛” – 1.5” headtube, Silverback 12 x 142mm Dropouts, Super-Stiff Stays ForkRock Shox Reba RL, 29”, 120mm Travel, Solo Air, Tapered Alloy Steerer, Crown Lockout, QR15 Dropout, Post Mount Disc Rear shockFox Float CTD SV, 110mm Travel, Evolution Series, 184 x 44mm RimsStan’s Arch EX, Alloy 29, 32H, Stan’s Yellow Rimtape and Valves, Black, Custom Decals Rear hubShimano Deore FH-M618, Centre Lock Disc Mount, Adjustable cup and cone angular contact bearings, Cassette, 12 x 142mm Axle, Black Front hubShimano Deore HB-M618, Centre Lock Disc Mount, Adjustable cup and cone angular contact bearings, 15mm Axle, Black TyresMaxxis Ardent Race, 29” x 2.2, Kevlar Bead, 60TPI ShiftersShimano Deore SL-M610, 2x10 Trigger, Black Front derailleurShimano Deore FD-M616D, Double, Direct Mount, SLX Grey Rear derailleurShimano XT Shadow Tech Plus RD-M786-SGS, Long Cage, 10 Speed, Black CranksetShimano FC-M625, 38/24T, L: 175mm All sizes, Black CassetteShimano CS-HG50-10, 10 Speed, 11-36T, Silver Brake setShimano BL-M445 w/ BR-M447 , Open Hydraulic System+ Levers , Resin Pads, Rotors Front: 180mm; Rear: 160mm, Centre Lock, Black SaddleSector, Cr-Mo Rails, Light Foam Padding HandlebarSector Plane, 6061 Butted Alloy, W: 720mm; Back Sweep: 9° x ∮31.8mm StemSector Triple, Alloy, S/M: 80mm; L/XL: 90mm, 7° x ∮31.8mm, Black HandlebarSector Level, 6061 Alloy, ∮31.6mm, S: 300mm; M: 350mm; L/XL: 400mm, Black Claimed weight13,4 kg RRPR 24,999
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