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  1. The Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie pushes the evolution a step further by introducing the plus sized wheel and tyre format to this iconic model. Our long term test bike is the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie. The build Looking at the Stumpjumper FSR range as a whole it fits firmly in the trail bike category, offering 135 to 150 millimeters of rear travel depending on the wheel size. It is available in standard 650b, 29 inch and 650b+ or “6Fattie” versions, with the standard 650b the only of the three sporting the 150 millimetres of travel in the rear.The Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie features a carbon front triangle with an alloy rear end. As you move further up the price tiers that M5 alloy rear is swapped out for carbon. The carbon chassis includes the Specialized SWAT door for ultra-convenient storage of your spare tube and a few tools within the down tube. It’s an ingenious use of space to free up pockets, backpacks or rid your bike of that awkward saddle bag. The Expert Carbon 6Fattie has a rock solid component lineup, arguably heroed by the RockShox Pike RC 29/27.5+ providing 150 millimeters of dependable travel up front. At the rear, a RockShox Monarch RT3 sporting AUTOSAG supplies 135 millimeters of travel. The wheels comprise of Roval Traverse 650 alloy rims laced to Roval hubs front and rear, in Boost 110 millimeter and Boost 148 millimeter sizing respectively. The rims are wrapped in the voluminous Specialized Purgatory GRID 3.0 tyres.A mash-up of SRAM GX shifters, a SRAM X1 rear derailleur, and RaceFace Aeffect crankset provide a dependable no-nonsense drivetrain that won’t require a re-mortgage to replace. No doubt many will be asking “but what about Eagle?”. For 2018, the Expert Stumpjumper is equipped with SRAM Eagle GX while the Comp model still sports eleven-speed GX. SRAM Guide R brake levers paired with Guide S4 4-piston calipers provide ample stopping power. Rounding out the build, the cockpit and contact points are all catered for in-house. A Specialized Trail alloy bar and stem combo make for a suitably wide and short cockpit with 750 millimeter bars bolted to a 60mm stem. The Specialized Command Post dropper and Specialized Henge Comp 143mm saddle creates a comfortable perch with a 12-position adjustment through 125mm of dropper post travel.It’s worth noting that the 29 inch and 6Fattie variants are identical in their geometry. Swop out the 650b+ wheels for a set of boost 29” hoops and we’re rolling on a Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 29. Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie specifications FrameFull Carbon Front Triangle, Full CaFACT 9m, carbon front chassis, M5 alloy rear end, Trail Geometry, SWAT Door integration, PF30 BB, fully enclosed internal cable routing, ManFu link, 12x148mm dropouts, sealed cartridge bearing pivots, replaceable derailleur hanger, 135mm of travelForkRockShox Pike RC 29/27.5+, Solo Air, compression and rebound adjust, tapered steerer, 15x110mm Maxle Stealth thru-axle, 51mm offset, 150mm travelRear ShockRockShox Monarch RT3, Rx Trail Tune, AUTOSAG, rebound and 3-position compression adjust, 197x48mmCranksetRaceFace Aeffect, 6000-series alloy, 24mm spindle, 52mm chainline, 28TBottom BracketShimano BB-MT800 PressfitFront DerailleurN/ARear DerailleurSRAM X1 Type 2.1, 11-speedShifterSRAM GX, 11-speed, triggerFront BrakeSRAM Guide R, hydraulic disc, organic pads, Guide S4 4-piston caliper, 200/180mm rotorRear BrakeSRAM Guide R, hydraulic disc, organic pads, Guide S4 4-piston caliper, 180/160mm rotorCassetteSRAM XG-1150, 11-speed, 10-42tChainSRAM PC-1110, 11-speed w/PowerLinkPedalsN/ARimsRoval Traverse 650, hookless alloy, 29mm inner width, 24/28h, tubeless readySpokesDT Swiss RevolutionFront HubRoval Traverse, sealed cartridge bearings, 15mm thru-axle, 110mm spacing, 24hRear HubRoval Traverse, DT Swiss internals, sealed cartridge bearings, SRAM XD driver body, 12mm thru-axle, 148mm spacing, 28hTiresPurgatory, GRID casing, 650bx3.0", 60TPI, Aramid folding bead, 2Bliss ReadyHandlebarsSpecialized Trail, 7050 alloy, 8-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 25mm rise, 750mm width, 31.8mmGripsSpecialized Sip Grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thicknessStemSpecialized Trail, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree riseSeatpostCommand Post IRcc, 12 position micro-height adjustable, alien head design, bottom mount cable routing, remote SRL lever, 30.9mm, S: 100mm, M/L/XL: 125mm travelSaddleBody Geometry Henge Comp, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mm On the trail There are a certain set of expectations created when you mention anything plus or quasi-fat in mountain bike terms. Bigger tyres usually mean stability, better traction and improved capability, but often at the expense of weight, precision and feel. While Plus size in general is intended to hit the sweet spot between fat and standard, delivering the best of both, we were curious to see how the 6Fattie would fare. On its very first outing at my trusty local Tokai trails, the Stumpjumper 6Fattie delivered smiles in spades and shattered some of my early expectations. As a trail bike, it naturally excelled on the twisty technical stuff and, if Strava PRs were a measure of a bike’s worth, the fistful of new PRs served as an early indicator that this is a goodie. I quickly found a new excitement for trails and I was instantly able to shave seconds off and comfortably sail through technical switchbacks that I’d usually awkwardly fumble. What makes a Plus bike? While there’s no firmly agreed standard on what defines a Plus bike, the prevailing wisdom is that it’s a tyre of between 2.8 and 3.25 inches, typically paired with a rim in the 30 to 50mm internal width range. Beyond that and you’d risk being called fat. Any smaller and you’re just, well, standard. I had anticipated lumbering climbs up thanks to the “bigger boned” construction and trail geometry. At 13.85 kilograms sans pedals this particular 6Fattie is not all too heavy as far as trail bikes go, especially considering the mid-range build and alloy rear end, not to mention the plus tyres. The distinctly upright and comfortable riding position along with generous gearing make for easy climbing. You do feel the bulkier tyres on the ups and flats, but the added stability and traction over uneven terrain largely offsets any losses from rolling resistance and mass. At slower speeds through flat, obstacle-laden singletrack the broader tyres provide a very forgiving ride. You’re able to roll over roots or rocks with greater ease and the tyres hang onto every bit of grip they can find. The added stability also helps in slow speed, technical turns and switchbacks. I did struggle with frequent pedal strikes initially due to the relatively low bottom bracket, but after a few rides I gained a better sense of the limits. As the trails point down you immediately feel that the bike wants to go. The rolling mass of the tyres create a sensation of speed and although not the quickest to accelerate, once going the bike carries momentum well. It stops promptly too thanks to the larger contact patch and 4-piston calipers. At higher speeds, the tyre pressure does become critical to the performance and needs to be carefully matched to the terrain and rider. Set the tyre pressure too hard and the bike behaves more like a pinball through rock gardens, but too soft on hard packed flowy surfaces and you’ll note a definite wafty squish through berms. There’s a bit of a goldilocks approach to getting this just right and after some trial and error at both extremes, I soon found the sweet spot for my weight and riding conditions. It will vary based on your weight and trail conditions, but at 75kg I found a range of 16 to 18psi to work well, with the front on the lower end and rear higher end of that range. One of the biggest pluses for me was the boost to my confidence on the trail. I don’t proclaim to be a hardened trail shredder, but the 6Fattie had me biting at features I’d usually chicken run and pointing down lines I wouldn’t typically dare. As I grew more comfortable with the bike’s capabilities I pushed it (and myself) that bit further. The only downside was that this new found faux confidence was carried over to other less forgiving bikes at the expense of some skin and dignity. While it’s by no means a replacement for skills, the 6Fattie does add a layer of confidence thanks to its impressive stability. Towards the latter part of the testing, I had the opportunity to try the Stumpjumper 6Fattie out in 29er mode. With some loaner cSixx Carbon hoops the Stumpy shed some rubber and weight. With some “normal” tyres there was a definite improvement in the responsiveness thanks to the lighter wheels and tyres. Additionally, the tyre pressure sensitivity I’d experienced with the 6Fattie tyres was now a non-issue. Overall it felt good, but after a couple of rides, I was somehow left underwhelmed. At the time I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I didn’t love about the 29ers, but in reviewing what I enjoyed about the plus format it was obvious. Reverting back to skinnier tyres took the security and dependability I’d come to expect away, and with it, my new found confidence fizzled. Suddenly I was jittery, unsure and uneasy. There is a tradeoff in ride feel with the fatter tires which can be a bit vague and the more technically adept may prefer the distinct feedback from slimmer tyres. For me it was that “throw me at anything” factor of the 6Fattie which produced the smiles. Conclusion All considered the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie is an incredibly fun and rewarding bike to ride. For a newbie to mid-level rider seeking a playful and confidence giving trail bike the 6Fattie is well worth a test ride. More experienced riders may favour more precision and steer away from the 6Fattie option in favour of the 29” or 650b. ProsLarge volume tyre creates stability and inspires confidence Excellent grip and braking performance SWAT storage neatly stashes your spares Versatility of 650b+ or 29” wheel options ConsSome added weight of the bigger tyres and alu rear end Tyre pressure setup leaves little room for error Low bottom bracket does mean more pedal strikes Find out more: To learn more about the Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie and other Specialized bikes, visit the Specialized website here.You can also follow the latest news from Specialized on the following channels: Facebook - Specialized Bicycles South Africa Twitter - @SpecializedZA Instagram - @SpecializedZA
  2. Looking at the Transition Smuggler’s specifications, it can be a confusing bike to classify. It promises burly trail riding ambitions but with a mere 115 millimetre rear travel most would have some doubts. The recommended fork travel of 130 millimetre and 29-inch wheels might restore some faith in its trail riding abilities. After riding the Smuggler, it all becomes very clear. Do not mistake the bike for an XC/trail crossover bike. It's an unapologetic trail bike. Yes, you could build it up with lighter XC focussed tyres and components but that would be limiting the bike's true calling. The burly Maxxis tyres and Pike are perfectly suited to properly enjoy the Smuggler. The build The SRAM drivetrain and Easton/ Novatec wheelset have been faultless thus far with the component choice suiting this bike to the T. The only issue has been the SRAM Guide RS brakes which had to be warrantied early on in the test period. As Andrew Haylett at Stoke Suspension explained, in the heat of summer, issues with the tolerance between the piston and the lever bore can cause the piston to jam. Andrew sent the brake set off to Cape Cycle Systems who were happy to fix the problem. They have been faultless ever since, surviving the 2017/18 summer without a hiccup.The RockShox Pike and Monarch is one of my favoured combinations. Neither of which gave me any issues. Of course, a dropper seat post is a must for any self-respecting trail bike, and RockShox's renowned Reverb was more than up to the task over the 12 months. FrameTransition SmugglerShockRockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAirForkRockShox Pike RC 130 mmCranksetRaceFace Turbine (currently Lyne Pulse)ChainringRaceFace 30T (currently Lyne 32T)Bottom BracketRaceFace Turbine X-TypeRear DerailleurSRAM GXShifterSRAM GXCassetteSRAM XG-1175 10-42TChainYBN SLA 11BrakesSRAM Guide RSRotorsSRAM Centreline (180 mm front; 160 mm rear)HandlebarRaceFace Atlas Low Rise 785 mmStemRaceFace 55 mmGripsRaceFace Half NelsonRimsEaston Arc 27Front HubNovatec D881SBRear HubNovatec D882SBTyresMaxxis High Roller II 2.30SeatpostRockShox ReverbSaddleSDG Circuit On the trail The Smuggler is a bike that cannot be judged by its geometry, travel numbers, and wheel size alone. The bike is far more capable on the trails than the figures might suggest.I rode the Transition Patrol a couple of year’s ago and was surprised by the soft initial travel with a smooth but aggressive ramp up at the end of the travel creating an encouraging bottomless feel. On the significantly shorter travel Smuggler, with the same GiddyUp suspension, Transition have managed to replicate a similar suspension feel. On the trails, this translated into a mightily capable trail bike pushing way beyond the limits you might place on an ordinary 115 mm bike. It can bash its way through the roughest rock gardens and boost off some decent drops without any sign of struggle. Even when you run out of skills, the Smuggler has some big bike ability to pull you back from the brink and safely back onto the trail.The Smuggler is not the most playful feeling bike on slower, marginal gradient trails. Perhaps betraying its 115mm travel once again. The bike sits low in the travel which means that the rear end feels planted rather than poppy. A great thing for rowdier trails but when pinning it down tamer trails I often flicked the shock into the mid support setting for a bit more fizz. Being 6’4” tall, 29er wheels are my happy place. On an extra large frame, the bigger wheels feel proportional to the frame. At my height, I also appreciate a roomy cockpit and the Smuggler provides that. The stem length and handlebar width (55mm and 785mm respectively) have been spot on. Some might point to the 67.5-degree head angle as not being slack enough compared to modern trends but I have yet to find myself getting caught up on the front. In fact, I feel for this type of bike, the head angle is spot on for the majority of South African trails. While the Smuggler excels at being an exhilarating descender, climbing is not this bike's forte. Don't get me wrong, it’s not a bad climber but compared to the latest trail offerings from other brands, the Smuggler is a touch sluggish. I had the idea to try a lighter, better rolling rear wheel but after some consideration, I gave in to the Smuggler's trail crushing desires and thought it best to rather play to the bike's strengths.Of course, this bike is built for riding serious trails with the indomitable Pike fork and High Roller II tyres, which in the 29er guise could plough a field with the grip they provide. All of which adds up to a weight of 14.5 kilograms with the extra large frame. Not the most nimble but by no means overweight considering the extra large frame size, wheel size, and build kit. The Smuggler is built tough. If you're the sort of rider that treats your bike badly, the Smuggler won't begrudge you. You can confidently throw it in the back of a bakkie, crash head over heels through a rock garden, or generally ride like a hooligan and all the bike will lose is some paint. The aluminium Transitions are certainly worth a look if you're the sort of person who buys a bike every 5 to 10 years. The Smuggler faired well at the local Cape enduros. Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock. The new Smuggler and Smuggler Carbon While reviewing the Smuggler, two new models were announced. First was a new aluminium model boasting more travel, a modified suspension and geometry changes with Transition's SBG design. More recently they revealed the much-anticipated carbon fibre Smuggler frame for those looking for the stiff feel of carbon and some weight savings. The new aluminium Smuggler. The new bike bumped the rear travel from 115mm to 120mm and from 130mm to 140mm on the front. The geometry sees a major slackening of the head angle from 67.5 to 66 degrees. The seatpost has been steepened for a better climbing position, while the frame reach has also been slightly extended. The fork offset has been shortened to 42mm (Fox) or 44mm (RockShox). Transition call this new design Speed Balance Geomtery (SBG). The new Smuggler certainly makes some promising changes. But if you can get your hands on a good bargain on the previous frame, the "old" bike still has a lot to give. That is, of course, if you are not considering the magic of carbon which (I'm speculating here) will probably be a noticeably different feeling bike. The Smuggler in carbon. In the end Enjoyment is the core measure of a good trail bike and Transition have nailed that with the Smuggler. While fast climbing can leave you a bit stiff the next day, the Smuggler has had me whooping and smiling all the way down the trails. Coming away completely satisfied with the ride each and every time. ProsIgnore the numbers on the spec sheet, the Smuggler loves charging trails Built to last The signature Transition bottomless suspension feel inspires confidence ConsRugged built quality puts it on the heavier side of trail bikes New models just released Geometry: Find out more: To learn more about the Transition Smuggler and other Transition bikes, get in contact with Dirt Merchant Bicycle Co. here.You can also follow the latest news from Dirt Merchant Bicycle Co. on the following channels: Facebook - Dirt Merchant Bicycle Co. Twitter - @dirt_merchant Instagram - @your_dirt_merchant
  3. The Vipa is Momsen’s cross country marathon bike featuring 80mm of rear travel. The Vipa Two is a full carbon model sitting one notch up from entry-level, effectively replacing the “XT” version from earlier years. Although the frame itself remains largely unchanged, you may notice that this latest iteration has a far cleaner look thanks to the addition of full internal cable routing. While at first, I was admittedly “on the fence” regarding its looks, the boldly contrasting yellow and black colourway of this model has grown on me over my time with it. Specifications For 2017 Momsen made many notable updates to the specification of this model over prior iterations. The new Rockshox SID fork was a welcome change up front, paired with a Fox Float DPS Performance series shock on the rear. The bike also made the move to one-by with the Shimano M8000 11 speed groupset featuring a 32T chainring and 11-46T cassette providing good range. The switch to one-by means the Vipa Two sports the beefier chainstay previously seen on one-by specific models on the higher-end of the lineup. Interestingly, for 2018 the Vipa Two goes back to two-by with a 2x11 Shimano XT drive train. The Momsen Vipa Two is fitted with a sturdier one-by specific chainstay which, along with providing better chainring clearance, should stiffen up the rear end. A final highlight was the Stan’s ZTR Crest Mk3 rims which are wider, lighter, and stiffer than the immensely popular previous generation Crest. I did have some trouble with the free body on the Shimano XT rear hub. From the get go there was lateral play in the freebody which resulted in creaking under load and reduced shifting performance. The simple and relatively inexpensive fix was a freebody replacement and since then they’ve been hassle free. A handful of items on the specification list were a bit less exciting, namely the Momsen branded saddle, seatpost, handlebar, and stem. All of the above are no doubt where Momsen is able to shave some costs and keep the price down, and, from a functionality viewpoint, they all work just fine. However, the yellow theme which generously extends over the component decals just pushed my yellow tolerance that little bit too far. Thankfully the 2018 range has a notably subdued approach to colour which is welcome in my books. Finally, the alloy bar at 700mm was 20mm too narrow for my natural position and I often found myself slipping off the edge of the grips. The narrow bar relative to more recent trends was a bit of an oversight in my mind, but once again it’s something that has been addressed in the 2018 model which sports a 720mm bar. While on the cockpit, the generic looking stem was also out of proportion for my liking, just that little bit too long at 100mm on the large. Again though, it’s also worth noting that the 2018 range features a more aesthetically pleasing alloy stem which is 10mm shorter across the size curve. On the trail With 100 millimetres of travel up front and 80 millimetres in the rear, the Vipa is firmly a cross-country marathon specialist but is still capable on most moderately technical trails. Coming from a Vipa XT, I was naturally at home on the new Vipa Two.It did take some time to dial in the Rockshox SID RL which replaced the Fox Float 32 on earlier versions, and, compared to my old Fox, has a far firmer (and better) feel. A few tuning sessions on my local Tokai trails quickly found the sweet spot. While overall it has performed well and for me a big improvement over the Float 32, the remote lockout is something I’d prefer to do without in favour of clutter free bars. By newer standards, the 70.5 degree head angle might be considered on the steep side, but I’ve found it to be well balanced for a bike in this class. On the Vipa Two I have found I’m often precariously over the front end, but given time and comfort on the Vipa platform in the past, this is definitely more a result of the longer, narrower cockpit than something I’d pin on frame geometry. Although only 2mm wider than the previous generation, the Mk3 Stan’s Crests give a noticeable bulky look to the Vee Rail Tracker 2.2 tyres. The Vee rubber has been an unexpected surprise on the bike. They’re fast rolling, lightweight tires with a tread profile far racier than what I’d usually run. I had expected to be asking for more grip than available, but on balance, the Rail Trackers have impressed in a diversity of conditions. Particularly so in loose dirt over a hard packed surface. The center knobs have taken a bit of a beating over the year and some outer knobs on the front tyre have torn (oddly only on the left side). They’ve done well through the year though, and this could just be a case of reaching end of useful life in terms of mileage. The move to one-by was on trend and, for my tastes, almost a prerequisite on a bike at this specification level. On any one-by set up, gear range will be a point of consideration for most, but with the wider 11-46 cassette the top and bottom offerings have proven comfortable. I did occasionally find the intermediate gearing steps lacking that “just right” balance for tired legs, but for me, it’s a worthwhile compromise for the simplicity of one-by. Interestingly for 2018 the Vipa Race models all revert to two-by, presumably based on dealer and consumer feedback, so perhaps my tastes are less representative of the broader market. First seen on the 2016 Momsen Vipa range, the addition of a second bottle cage within the frame is a welcome convenience for anyone who has had to strap a bottle cage to a seatpost or lug that second bottle around in a droopy pocket. The triangular adaptor which allows a second cage to be fitted to the seat tube below the rocker is a simple, smart and sturdy solution to what seems to be a particularly South African problem. In the end The boldly styled Momsen Vipa Two sports an impressive specification, delivering excellent value as a cross country or stage racing specialist. It is a bike built on a well-proven platform and while I picked out some minor personal gripes with the cockpit, saddle and seatpost, functionally speaking there is nothing that absolutely must be upgraded from the get go, if at all.For those considering a Vipa, if you find a good deal on a 2017 model and like the colourway, the savings could be put towards some weight shaving upgrades or simply back in your pocket. 2017 Momsen VIPA TWO specifications: SizesSmall, Medium, LargeFrameFull Carbon Front Triangle, Full Carbon 1x Rear Triangle, 80mm Rear Wheel Travel, Dual Waterbottle Mount Design ( for Medium and Large Size ), Integrated Toptube Box ( I.T.B )ForkRockShox SID RL, 100mm Travel, ONELOC Remote Lockout, 15mm Thru-Axle LowersRear ShockFox Float DPS, Performance Series, Firm LockoutChainwheelShimano XT M8000 32T for 11 SpeedBottom BracketShimano BB-MT800 PressfitR. DerailleurShimano XT M8000 Shadow Plus for 11 SpeedShifterShimano XT M8000 for 11 SpeedBrake LeversShimano XT M8000 HydraulicBrakesShimano XT M8000 Short Lever / SM-RT81 Centerlock Rotors / 160mm Front and RearCassetteShimano XT M8000 11-46T for 11 SpeedRimsStan’s ZTR Crest Mk3 Tubeless Ready, 32HTiresVee Tire Co. Rail Tracker Custom Logo, 72tpi Folding Bead, 29 x 2.20 Front and RearHandlebarMomsen Oversize Flat Wide Alloy, 700mm, 6 Degree Sweep, 31.8mm OversizeStemMomsen 3D Forged Oval, 31.8mm Oversize ( S – 90mm, M – 100mm, L – 100mm)SeatpostMomsen Alloy, 31.6mmSeatMomsen 2017 Custom, Composite Base, Chromoly RailHeadsetCustom Integrated Taper for VIPAColorsMomsen Yellow/ Matte CarbonChainShimano HG701 for 11 SpeedHubsetShimano XT M8000 Front 15mm Thru-Axle, FH-M8000 Rear 142 x 12mm Thru-AxleSpokesStainless Butted with Alloy NipplesGripsKraton Composite Lock-OnAdvertised Weight11.85kg (Size: Large, Note: excludes pedals)Retail PriceR62,500.00 Find out more: To learn more about the VIPA TWO and other Momsen bikes, visit the Momsen Bikes website here.You can also follow the latest news from Momsen Bikes on the following channels: Facebook - Momsen Bikes Twitter - @MomsenBikes Instagram - @MomsenBikes
  4. The Build This is a complete custom build and I chose components for the purpose of trying them out in order to review them rather than going with products that I know, or might be considered "safe".The MRP Stage fork and Box drivetrain will be reviewed in depth on their own soon, so I won't go into too much detail here, but in short: The fork took some time to tune to my liking thanks to all the external settings and how they affect each other. The dual air design was the trickiest to get dialed taking a couple of rides just to balance the positive and negative air springs. As mentioned in our First Look of the Knolly build, the most unique feature on the Box drivetrain is the shift lever. To downshift into an easier gear you press the lever with your thumb towards the front of the bike as you would on a SRAM or Shimano drivetrain. You can drop up to four gears in one go should you want or need to. To upshift you push the lever with your thumb from the side in the direction of the stem, with single changes the only option here. Thankfully it works well and it only takes a ride or two to get used to it. Riding different bikes does mean that every time I ride the Knolly after a couple of rides on SRAM equipped bikes I need to get my head and thumb around this way of shifting again. Some fine-tuning of the lever is allowed by the two-position bar clamp which brings the lever in closer. This is even more important as you need to get the upshift in the best possible position in order to be able to shift without 'thumbling' around (see what I did there?). I find the throw of the downshift to be a bit long but the upshift fires like a rocket. The Corse Components Dopamine wheelset has been bomb proof. The overall design and look reminds me of Derby rims which is a good thing. With an inside diameter of 34mm, they fatten out the Maxxis tyres and offer excellent grip. As one would expect there are no signs of flex no matter how hard you hammer them. Even so, they strike a great balance between being stiff without being harsh on rough trails. The Maxxis DHR II front and Aggressor rear have been a great combination. As we all know in sunny South Africa you still have to climb to the top to enjoy the trails on the way down, and due to the length of the downhill sections, the only way to get your fix is to do several runs. That means compromises need to be made in order to enjoy (and survive) the ups and down. There are other options (like running a DHR front and rear) for ultimate grip, but this combo strikes a good balance between sheer grip and speed. I have not experienced a single flat, rip or burp in all my rides. The SRAM Level Ultimate brake set has been up to the task through the past couple of colder months. I can't wait to try them on this bike in hotter conditions to see how they stack up against SRAM Code or offerings from other brands such as Hope and Formula.Thanks to the Warden's straight and short seat tube there is more than enough exposed seat post to run a 150 mm dropper on my size Medium frame with a 77.5 cm saddle height. In fact, I should have gone for a 170 mm dropper and will definitely do so if the opportunity ever comes around to swap the 150 mm dropper out. Another change that is not often talked about is the move back to a 31.8 mm bar and stem from 35 mm. There is quite a bit of tech talk on why 35 mm is better, but after having tried it on three bikes I'm happy to stick to 31.8mm for now. I found 35mm bars (from more than one manufacturer) too stiff and harsh on the trail, even more so when things got really rough. In my experience, the trade off for the on paper benefit simply does not justify sore wrists and arm pump. The Descendant Kyle Strait CoLab handlebar measures in at a healthy 808mm wide and even at that (insane) width they show no signs of flex under load. It's not often that I can say this, but if they are good enough for Kyle Strait at Rampage, they are good enough for me. I can't imagine a tougher test for handlebars than under one of the world's best free riders. I will most likely cut the bars down to at least 780mm soon. Specification: FrameKnolly Warden Carbon, 155mm Rear TravelForkMRP StageShockFox Float X2CranksetSRAM XX1, 32T Absolute Black direct mount chainringRear derailleurBox .one.ShiftersBox .one.BrakesSRAM Level Ultimate, 180mmCassetteBox .two., 11-46TRimsCorse Components Dopamine (27.5")HubsCorse ComponentsTyresMaxxis DHR II front and Aggressor rearHandlebarsTruvativ Descendant Kyle Strait CoLab BarGripsODI RogueStemTruvativ DescendantSeatpostRockShock Reverb 150mm DropSaddleSpecialized Henge Comp On the Trail I like my bikes to have some pop on the trails, which means I balance my suspension somewhere between plush and firm. Progressive suspension design and components help with this, but getting it right means spending time with suspension setup. To get going I used MRP and Fox's recommended settings, but changed the X2 shock to Knolly's soon after and then worked my way from there. Knolly recommended baseline set-up: (all settings from full closed) Optimal sag: 30% Low Speed Compression: 15 clicks High Speed Compression: 15 clicks Low Speed Rebound: 16 clicks High Speed Rebound: 16 clicks ​ Knolly team rider Jeremy Stoward's set-up: Optimal sag: 33% Low Speed Compression: 20 clicks High Speed Compression: 12 clicks turns Low Speed Rebound: 11 clicks High Speed Rebound: 8 clicks The fly in the ointment was getting the front to work with the rear, mainly due to the dual air system of the MRP mentioned earlier. I've managed to get that dialed to my liking and have been happy with the way the suspension performs. The Fox X2 climbs better than what I remember of the Cane Creek DB Inline on the aluminium Warden we reviewed. Admittedly, I do use the climb switch on the shock to get to the top of a trail which firms up the rear without giving it a harsh, completely locked out feel. The bike's mass does mean climbing is best done selecting a comfortable gear and enjoying the view to the top, but only when compared to lighter, shorter travel bikes. Climbing on the Knolly Warden is good, very good in fact for a long travel bike weighing close to 13.5 kg that is meant for going big. Front wheel drift is kept at bay with by sitting on the front of the saddle.Point the bike down and it comes alive. The combination of suspension design and geometry gives it a very nimble, agile feel yet it still stays planted on fast runs. Usually, you would trade confidence at speed with playfulness through the twisties or visa versa, but the Knolly Warden manages a good balance. I ride it mostly in the neutral (high) position, but one has to keep in mind that it is in line with most bikes in the category with the slack position pushing low and slack further down the geometry scale. In the End The carbon version of the Knolly Warden builds on the reputation of the aluminium version as a great do-it-all bike sitting on the enduro/ all mountain end of the riding scale. It won't kill you on the way up and will reward you in heaps on the way down, seemingly giving nothing up on either side. I'll spend some more time on the suspension over the next couple of months to see if there's more performance that can be extracted from the bike and will report back on that in our long-term review. Find out more: To learn more about the Knolly Bikes, visit the TrailTech Cycles website here.You can also follow the latest news from TrailTech Cycles on the following social channels: Facebook - TrailTech Cycles Instagram - @TrailTechCycles
  5. The Warden we have is the carbon version of the aluminium bike we reviewed last year. Travel has been bumped from 150mm to 155mm for the carbon version. As is the case with a number of modern bikes, the Warden has the option to adjust the geometry. The mounting position of the shock can be changed via twin bolt holes on the lower shock mount. In the low position the bike has a head angle of 65.5°, a 337mm bottom bracket height and a 75° effective seat angle compared to the high setting with 66.5° head angle, a 345.5mm bottom bracket height and a 74° effective seat angle. The claimed weight for the frame is 2.8 kg with a DB-Inline shock and features replaceable ISCG 05 tabs, a threaded bottom bracket shell, a pinch bolt 12 x 142mm axle and full internal cable routing. Tyre clearance is massive with enough width out back to run beefy 2.4" or 2.5" rubber. Knolly's dual-linkage suspension design involves many pivots with lengthy maintenance intervals ensured by using angular-contact cartridge bearings on all the main pivots and Igus bushings in lower-stress locations. Such is the confidence in their workmanship and durability of their frames that Knolly have announced a limited lifetime warranty (to the original owner) on their frames along with a crash replacement program SpecificationsSide-pull front derailleur ISCG05 Chainguide Tabs 73mm threaded BB Shell 160mm Post mount Rear Brake Tabs Two geometry settings allow you to fine-tune your ride experience Bottle mount inside the main frame Removable downtube guard included Downtube trap door aids cable routing and houses di2 battery Full length seat tube allows for 175mm dropper posts Integrated rubber chainstay protector included Frame Weight: 2835g with a DB-Inline 155mm Rear Travel Wheel Size & Max Width: 27.5" x 2.5" Dropout/Hub Spec: 142 x 12mm axle (included) Headset: 44mm upper & 56mm lower Seatpost Diameter: 31.6mm Post Collar: Size 35.0mm Seatpost insertion depth: 280+mm Entire frame formed by superior 'internal mandrel' layup process Low stress pivot locations rotate on long lasting IGUS bushings Industry leading geometry - Long reach, Low bb height and standover Full internal routing via all-new custom modular door system. Rear brake line can also be routed externally Geometry Build Kit The following components have been fitted to the Knolly Warden Carbon frame. Fork: MRP Stage The Stage is MRP's All Mountain / Enduro fork and is available 140, 150, 160, or 170mm for 26" or 27.5" bikes and 120, 130, 140, or 150mm for 29ers. The latest version is a dual air fork with positive and negative air that can be adjusted independently. There are also external settings for compression (8 clicks), Ramp Control (16 clicks) and rebound (20 clicks). Most if not all riders, will appreciate the ability to fine tune ramp up via the Ramp Control dial. Ramp Control gives you the ability to make on-the-fly adjustment to the air spring’s ending-stroke curve. Part high-speed compression damping, part bottom-out control. Ramp Control is completely independent of your damper or air spring pressure settings. On a Rockshox or Fox fork you will need to play around with tokens that need to be installed internally (not difficult, but can take some time to fine-tune). Shock: Fox Float X2 FOX says this is their “highest performing air shock,” and have aimed it squarely at gravity-oriented riders. The Float X2 is high on tuning as it features low and high-speed rebound adjustment as well as externally adjustable low and high-speed compression damping. End stroke ramp-up can also be adjusted by sliding off the outer air sleeve and adding or removing volume spacers as needed.The only other shock I've ridden with as many settings that can be adjusted externally was the DB-Inline and I'm looking forward to seeing what is possible with the FOX X2. Features New X2 2-position Open/Firm lever retains high and low speed compression adjustment High- and low-speed compression and high- and low-speed rebound adjustment Advanced RVS damping system provides more tunability High oil flow improves damping control and consistency EVOL air sleeve improves responsiveness and sensitivity Genuine Kashima Coat reduces friction Wheelset: Corse Components Dopamine Corse Components specialise in the design and manufacture of high-end carbon and alloy cycling components. The wheelset is built using their hubs that feature a four pawl, 36 point engagement system, with standard size Enduro bearings used throughout. Both hubs and rims are offered in 32 hole only as Corse Components claim this is due to the inherent strength achieved with a 32 hole, two or three cross lacing pattern: further catering to product reliability. The Corse Dopamine carbon rims have an internal width of 34mm placing them just outside plus size. Corse Components say that these rims combine ideally with a 2.4" tyre, with anything narrower risking a squared edge. Handlebar & Stem: Descendant Kyle Strait CoLab Bar and Descendant stem The Descendant bar and stem are old school 31.8mm Aluminium models. Weighing in at 349g the bars are a healthy 808mm wide (will most likely get chopped down to 780mm) and come with a Backsweep of 9º, Upsweep 5º and 25mm rise. The decals are exceptionally well designed and executed. I've decided to keep it in the family and run a 50mm Descendant stem. It is 3D forged 7075 aluminium that has been CNC machined for weight reduction. It is a work of art with a chunky, aggressive look. Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate Billed as a trail brakeset I will have to see how these fair on an AM beast paired with the 180mm rotors. They carry over several of the Guide brakes tech, but in a slimmed down version to reduce weight. The main thing to watch would be heat build up and how they fare in hot conditions. Grips: ODI Rogue I have carried these over from my Mercer Hungry Monkey build. They have seen their fair share of abuse, but are still holding up fine and I felt that there was no reason to mess with a trusted recipe. Drivetrain: SRAM and Box Components For most, Box's new drivetrain components need little introduction. After several years in development their first MTB drivetrain components started shipping towards the end of last year. First out of the gate was their .one. shifter and derailleur and .two. 11-46T cassette. Their .one. range sits at the top of their line-up with the .two. sitting one level down. Sporting several unique features, what really sets it apart is the unique single-lever shifter which handles both upshifts and downshifts. Pressing forward on the lever like a normal thumbshifter downshifts the drivetrain to an easier gear, and then pressing in on the lever with the tip of your thumb upshifts into a more difficult gear. The rear derailleur (there is no front derailleur) comes with an ace or two up it's sleeve. Pivot Tech allows the derailleur to swing backward when it experiences a hit, in an attempt to keep the derailleur or the hanger from breaking and also comes with the now-common "clutch" tech. Box calls theirs “Cam Clutch technology,” and it’s always on and always engaged. Powering the drivetrain is a SRAM XX1 crank with a 32T Absolute Black direct mount chainring. Seatpost: RockShock Reverb 150mm Drop I've upped the drop from 125mm on the Hungry Monkey to 150mm, but could easily have gone with a 175mm or maybe even a 200mm dropper. I think a 200mm drop will be a bit much to get around on, but a 175mm may just be worth the change on a bike like this. Saddle: Specialized Henge Comp The Henge is the Trail and All Mountain saddle in Specialized's line-up. Available in two widths (143mm and 155mm) and in this Comp version or the Expert that sits one level up. Low-friction coating on the nose and tail ensures you glide smoothly when shifting weight rearwards. SWAT-compatible Allen key mounts in the base of the saddle integrate neatly with Specialized’s own storage solutions, and mean you can mount essential trail gear on the bike and potentially ride without a pack. The comp features extra padding (compared to the Expert) and weighs in at 252g. Tires: Maxxis DHR II front and Aggressor rear We have had these around the office and on a bike or two, details can be found here, but this will be the first time I will try them on a proper big bike. I will keep the option open to run a DHR II on the rear as well, but will first see how things go with the combo as is.They have been converted to tubeless using Stan's sealant and I'm running a set of Huck Norris anti-pinch-flat insert for the first time. Pedals: Point1 Podium The pedals that just won't die! These have been moved around for a good couple of years now and, amazingly, are still holding out fine with all pins in place and the axle spinning up as intended. Find out more: To learn more about the Knolly Bikes, visit the TrailTech Cycles website here.You can also follow the latest news from TrailTech Cycles on the following social channels: Facebook - TrailTech Cycles Instagram - @TrailTechCycles Custom build by Evobikes
  6. Juliana are a sister company to Santa Cruz, and make bicycles for women. Proper grown-up mountain bikes, designed to be ridden. No cheap sports bikes, painted pink here. They use the same frame geometry and suspension design as Santa Cruz, but the major difference lies in the suspension tune, based on research showing that women are on average 30 pounds (approximately thirteen kilograms) lighter than a male counterpart. The contact points: grips and saddle have also been developed with women in mind. The Furtado is a 130 mm travel, 650b trail bike, equivalent to the Santa Cruz 5010. It makes use of the latest generation of the renown Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension system design, with boost rear axle spacing for maximum stiffness, meaning it is bang up to date with industry trends. A 67-degree head angle and short 425 millimetre chainstays mean the Furtado has been designed with fun in mind, and I am expecting agile handling, and some serious attitude when pointed downhill. Our build comes kitted with a SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, a Fox 34 Float Factory fork, and Fox Float Performance Elite shock. Easton Arc 24 wheels wrapped in Maxxi's rubber, SRAM Guide RSC brakes, and a 150 mm RockShox Reverb dropper post complete the package. At this point, there is nothing on the setup that I would want to change.This will be the first time I have had more than a few weeks to play with a bike this capable, and I feel like a kid in a candy store. Time to throw my comfort zone out the window, and make the most of the hard work put in by the Santa Cruz and Juliana engineers. See you on the trails! Specifications: FrameJuliana Furtado Carbon CCRear ShockFox Float Performance Elite 130ForkFox 34 Float Factory 130HeadsetCane Creek 40 series tapered, cartridge bearingStemRaceface Turbine Basic 35mm clampHandlebarSanta Cruz Carbon; 760mm; 35mm clampGripsJuliana single sided lock-on SaddleJuliana Primeiro SaddleSeatpostRock Shox Reverb Stealth; 150mmBrakesSRAM Guide RSC; Avid Centerline Rotors; 180mmShifterSRAM X01 EagleRear DerailleurSRAM X01 EagleCassetteSRAM XG1295; 10-50tChainSRAM X01 Eagle PowerlockCranksetSRAM X1 Eagle Carbon; 32tRimsEaston ARC 24Front HubDT Swiss 350 110x15Rear HubDT Swiss 350 148x12Front TyreMaxxis Minion DHF EXO TR; 27.5x2.3Rear TyreMaxxis Ardent Race EXO; 27.5x2.35Retail PriceR122 995 Geometry: Find out more: To learn more about the Juliana Furtado and other Santa Cruz or Juliana bikes, check out the Juliana Bicycles website or contact Rush Sports.You can also follow the latest news from Juliana Bicycles on the following channels: Facebook - Juliana Bicycles Twitter - @julianabicycles Instagram - @julianabicycles
  7. For those who are not familiar with the Jeffsy 29, it is a 140mm trail bike designed around 29-inch wheels with adjustable geometry using a flip chip that changes the bottom bracket height, head angle, and seat tube angle. Cable routing is mostly external apart from the house for the dropper that enters the seat tube just above the bottom bracket junction and the rear derailleur cable which runs internally. Fortunately, the other cables run neatly on the top of the down tube with guides doing a good job of keeping them in place and minimising excessive rub. As with their Capra and Tues, the Jeffsy makes use of a Virtual 4 Link suspension system. The Build YT is known for excellent value for money thanks to their direct to customer model and it shows on the CF Comp 1.Such is the nature of the specification that, other than the saddle (which is a personal choice), the only thing I'm looking to change is the dropper post lever. To date, I have always run a right-hand lever on the left in order for it to sit below the bar. This makes pushing it easier as it requires less movement of the wrist. I will most likely replace it with RockShox's 1 x remote lever sooner rather than later. Everything else is exactly what one would expect on a 140mm 29er aimed at slaying trails. Wide bars, short stem, beefy Onza Ibex tyres, a dropper seatpost, 1x drivetrain, and great suspension. All of which come from reputable brands that don't look out of place on a premium carbon bike. The only component niggle to date was the Guide RSC brakes that suffered the same fate as the ones on Nick's Transition Smuggler and had to be warrantied. Thankfully turn around time was quick and they have been perfect since then. On the Trail With the dialed spec, confident handling and comfortable fit, it is easy to jump on and just get on with riding. There are no funny quirks to ride around. Some bikes are super stable at speed but need some muscle to get it around tight corners, others can turn on itself but sacrifice some confidence at speed - the Jeffsy exhibits none of these imbalances.The YT Jeffsy has been nothing short of pure unadulterated fun on the trails and has quickly become one of my favourite longer travel 29ers. With their first effort, YT has managed to strike the perfect balance of agility and stability by blending the best on offer from 29" wheels with 27.5-like handling. In the end If you're looking for a fun trail and all mountain bike that will tackle the Enduro scene with confidence, then the Jeffsy could be the bike for you. YT Industries South Africa is currently selling this model for a ridiculously low R 53,500 (down from R 67,900) which makes it the deal of the century for a bike that will reward on every ride.Keep an eye out for the full review later in the year. Build Specification FrameJeffsy Carbon 29"ForkROCKSHOX PIKE RCT3ShockROCKSHOX MONARCH RT3 HeadsetAcros AIX-326CranksetRACE FACE TURBINEBottom BracketRACE FACERear DerailleurSRAM X01ShiftersSRAM X01CassetteSRAM XG 1150ChainSRAM PC1130BrakesSRAM GUIDE RSCDiscsSRAM Centreline 200mm / 180mmGripsRace Face Love HandleWheelsetDT SWISS M1700 SPLINEStemRACE FACE TURBINEHandlebarRACE FACE TURBINESeatpostROCKSHOX REVERB STEALTH SaddleSDG CircuitActual weight13.23 kg including YT mudguard and Shimano SPD pedals Find out more: To learn more about the YT Jeffsy and other YT bikes, visit the YT Industries website here.You can also follow the latest news from YT Industries on the following channels: Facebook - YT Industries Twitter - @yt_industries Instagram - @yt_industries
  8. While the Stage might sport an efficient 100 mm of rear travel, the rest of the bike is not exactly a traditional XC machine. In designing the Stage, Pyga looked to make a bike that can be raced competitively at the sharp end, but still provide the average man and woman with a comfortable and confidence inspiring platform from which to push their endurance limits. It's largely the geometry that makes the Stage so versatile - a slacker head angle and longer reach with a shorter stem. Something that the major manufacturers have only just starting delivering on their XC race bikes. Our test bike is fitted with a 100 mm SID although the bike is equally at home with a 120 mm fork. With this set up, the head angle is around 69 degrees with a healthy 475mm reach. +Five A standout feature on the Stage is the Pyga's +Five chain line concept. A re-engineering of the rear end to correct what they believe is a huge flaw in bikes, the chainline offset. What they have done is offset the whole rear end of the Stage by 5mm on the drive side and in doing so reducing the chainline offset from 49mm to 44mm. Why the change? When the 49mm chainline offset was introduced mountain bikes were using 8 speed cassettes. The measurements then meant that the chainline was centred but as 9, 10 and 11 speed cassettes were introduced the centre chainline has shifted. The result on an 11 speed drivetrain with a 49mm offset is that the centre chainline is out by two gears. If that a bit confusing, all you really need to know is that +Five promises better gear shifting, less component wear, and a stiff, stronger rear wheel. Build kit This bike represents the "GX Build" specification level with (you guessed it) a SRAM GX drivetrain. A RockShox SID RLC with the Charger Damper (very excited to try this out) pairs a Monarch RT3 shock on the rear. The SRAM theme continues with Guide RS brakes and the excellent Roam 40 wheelset wrapped in Onza Canis tyres. It is a solid selection of components with no one part likely to underperform. With the Stage, Pyga say their focus was on stiffness, even at the cost of a few grams here and there but they have not done badly with weight. Even with the robust GX specification level on an extra large frame, the full bike (excluding pedals) comes in at 11.77 kg. It would be interesting to see how low that figure can go with a smaller frame, lighter drivetrain, wheels and tyres, and some carbon cockpit components. I will be putting the Pyga Stage through its paces at the remainder of the WP XCO Series, the odd 100 miler, and hopefully a stage race or two. But most importantly, after many years of envy, I can finally participate in the "Post your Pyga" thread Specification list: FramePyga Stage with 100 mm rear travel (Extra Large)Rear ShockRockShox Monarch RT3ForkRockShox SID RLC with OneLoc remote 100mmHeadsetCane Creek Forty SeriesStemKore 70 mmHandlebarKORE Mega 760 mmGripsRaceFace Half NelsonSaddleKORE FazeSeatpostKORE TorsionSeatpost clampDeedBrakesSRAM Guide RSRotorsSRAM Centreline (180mm front; 160mm rear)ShifterSRAM GXRear DerailleurSRAM GXCassetteSRAM GXChainSRAM GXCrankSRAM GXCrankSRAM GXWheelsetSRAM Roam 40TyresOnza Canis 2.25Retail priceR74 999 Find out more: To learn more about the Stage and other Pyga bikes, visit the Pyga website here.You can also follow the latest news from Pyga on the following channels: Facebook - Pyga Industries Twitter - @PYGABikes Instagram - @pygabikes
  9. Introducing the third long-term test bike to arrive at Bike Hub HQ, the Transition Smuggler. Admittedly, the Smuggler is a bike that I've had my eye on for a while. I'm a huge fan of short travel bikes designed for ripping single track. Slap on a set of 29er wheels and I'm in trail bike heaven. Having reviewed Transition's all-mountain bike the Patrol, I know that the Giddy Up suspension is super capable, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it translates to this shorter travel bike. Click here to view the article
  10. In brief, the Transition Smuggler is a 29er trail bike with 115 mm of rear travel designed for use with a 130 mm fork. These numbers might not seem all too impressive but, with the Smuggler, Transition seems to be trying to kick convention in the nuts. Spoiler alert: I've already taken the bike out for a few rides and so far the bike is stupendously capable. The Transition Smuggler is an all aluminium frame. Our extra large test bike is black, with its unashamed welding seams, is (in my eyes anyway) a bike that looks like it wants to be ridden hard. Transition jumped on the modern geometry movement some years ago and the Smuggler is no different. On my extra large bike, the head angle is 67.5 degrees, reach is a roomy 483 mm, chainstays are 436 mm, wheelbase is at 1218 mm while bottom bracket drop is 35 mm. Check out the full geometry chart below. The team at Dirt Merchant Bicycle Co. have put together a very sensible build. The frame is shipped from the factory with the high volume RockShox Monarch DebonAir shock. On this build, it is paired with a RockShox Pike. The Guide RS brakes are arguably the ones you want in the Guide range, offering the best features for the price. The cockpit complements the frame geometry with a 785 mm wide Race Face handlebar and 55 mm stem. A lengthy 150 mm dropper seat post makes all the difference, especially for those tall enough to be riding an XL frame. Wheels are a set of suitably wide Easton Arc 27 rims laced to a set of Novatec hubs while the Maxxis High Roller II tyres should provide buckets of grip. This Smuggler is geared for some serious trail riding. I will be riding the Transition Smuggler for the year. I am very keen to see how far I can push the Smuggler and how well it holds up against much more aggressive bikes. My initial impression is that it will do well, but let's see if this holds up over 12 months of riding. Build specifications: FrameTransition SmugglerShockRockShox Monarch RT3 DebonAirForkRockShox Pike RC 130 mmCranksetRaceFace TurbineChainringRaceFace 30TBottom BracketRaceFace Turbine X-TypeRear DerailleurSRAM GXShifterSRAM GXCassetteSRAM XG-1175 10-42TChainYBN SLA 11BrakesSRAM Guide RSRotorsSRAM Centreline (180 mm front; 160 mm rear)HandlebarRaceFace Atlas Low Rise 785 mmStemRaceFace 55 mmGripsRaceFace Half NelsonRimsEaston Arc 27Front HubNovatec D881SBRear HubNovatec D882SBTyresMaxxis High Roller II 2.30SeatpostRockShox ReverbSaddleSDG CircuitFrameset PriceR23,000 Geometry: Find out more: To learn more about the Transition Smuggler and other Transition bikes, get in contact with Dirt Merchant Bicycle Co. here.You can also follow the latest news from Dirt Merchant Bicycle Co. on the following channels: Facebook - Dirt Merchant Bicycle Co. Twitter - @dirt_merchant Instagram - @your_dirt_merchant
  11. Matt is our in-house Momsen VIPA expert, having ridden a 2015 VIPA XT for past two and half years, including the 2015 Absa Cape Epic. As a result, he's been handed the new 2017 VIPA TWO for the year. Anyway, enough about us, let's take a closer look at the bike. The Momsen VIPA TWO features a single ring full Shimano XT drivetrain and with it, Momsen's stiffer beefier 1x specific chainstay. The component spec is bang on and the bike is ready to race with a RockShox SID fork, Stan's ZTR Crest rims, XT brakes, and Vee Tire Co.'s fast rolling Rail Tracker tyres. The VIPA's 80mm of rear travel is controlled by a Fox Float performance series shock. The yellow and matte black colour scheme was initially a bit of a shock but the colours have grown on us. The bike has already been affectionately named the bumble bee. Great attention to detail is evident in the branding and colour scheme, which has been rolled out across every component on the bike. Bars, stem, seatpost and saddle all bear Momsen branding with yellow decals on a black background.Momsen are proud of their African roots. This is evident on the top tube which carries their "Forged in the Untamed" tagline accompanied by a contour map of Port Elizabeth's Baaken Valley trails - the home of Momsen Bikes. Matt is looking forward to releasing this bike into the wild to see how it performs over the coming year. 2017 Momsen VIPA TWO specifications: SizesSmall, Medium, LargeFrameFull Carbon Front Triangle, Full Carbon 1x Rear Triangle, 80mm Rear Wheel Travel, Dual Waterbottle Mount Design ( for Medium and Large Size ), Integrated Toptube Box ( I.T.B )ForkRockShox SID RL, 100mm Travel, ONELOC Remote Lockout, 15mm Thru-Axle LowersRear ShockFox Float DPS, Performance Series, Firm LockoutChainwheelShimano XT M8000 32T for 11 SpeedBottom BracketShimano BB-MT800 PressfitR. DerailleurShimano XT M8000 Shadow Plus for 11 SpeedShifterShimano XT M8000 for 11 SpeedBrake LeversShimano XT M8000 HydraulicBrakesShimano XT M8000 Short Lever / SM-RT81 Centerlock Rotors / 160mm Front and RearCassetteShimano XT M8000 11-46T for 11 SpeedRimsStan’s ZTR Crest Mk3 Tubeless Ready, 32HTiresVee Tire Co. Rail Tracker Custom Logo, 72tpi Folding Bead, 29 x 2.20 Front and RearHandlebarMomsen Oversize Flat Wide Alloy, 700mm, 6 Degree Sweep, 31.8mm OversizeStemMomsen 3D Forged Oval, 31.8mm Oversize ( S – 90mm, M – 100mm, L – 100mm)SeatpostMomsen Alloy, 31.6mmSeatMomsen 2017 Custom, Composite Base, Chromoly RailHeadsetCustom Integrated Taper for VIPAColorsMomsen Yellow/ Matte CarbonChainShimano HG701 for 11 SpeedHubsetShimano XT M8000 Front 15mm Thru-Axle, FH-M8000 Rear 142 x 12mm Thru-AxleSpokesStainless Butted with Alloy NipplesGripsKraton Composite Lock-OnAdvertised Weight11.85kg (Size: Large, Note: excludes pedals)Retail PriceR62,500.00 Geometry Find out more: To learn more about the VIPA TWO and other Momsen bikes, visit the Momsen Bikes website here.You can also follow the latest news from Momsen Bikes on the following channels: Facebook - Momsen Bikes Twitter - @MomsenBikes Instagram - @MomsenBikes
  12. In 2017, we're introducing the Bike Hub long-term test fleet. We'll be putting these bikes through their paces as we would our own bikes for an entire year, documenting the highs and lows along the way to give a more thorough and practical review of the bikes. The first bike to arrive is the Momsen VIPA TWO. The delivery caused a ripple of excitement in the office. Workstations were deserted as we unboxed: ooohing, aaahing, analysing the extent of the “yellow”, weighing components, and generally ogling this shiny new race weapon. Click here to view the article
  13. The 6Fattie will reside primarily with Matt, so expect to see a blur of red shooting down the rockiest lines at Tokai. For those who aren't sure, 6Fattie is Specialized's name for 27.5+ sized wheels. These, in a nutshell, are wider 27.5 rims, run with 2.8 to 3" tyres. In terms of tyre width, this is somewhere between a 5" fat bike tyre and a commonly run 2.3" tyre. The Stumpjumer 6Fattie is also compatible with 29er wheels, and we are really looking forward to swapping out the wheels to see how the wheel size affects the ride. This may be the two-bikes-in-one solution that some riders are looking for: and we can't wait to find out. The Expert Carbon build The Expert Carbon 6Fattie has a Fact 9m carbon frame, including the indescribably handy SWAT door in the down tube of the front triangle and a multitool stowed in the top tube. Squish is supplied by a 150 millimetre Rockshox Pike at the front, and a RockShox Monarch RT3 trail tune shock at the rear. Roval Traverse wheels wrapped in Purgatory 3" tyres provide traction. A RaceFace crank with a 28 tooth chainring powers a SRAM GX and X1 mixed drivetrain with SRAM Guide R stoppers. But why Plus size? The wider tyres provide a greater air volume and therefore more cushioning. They also have a greater contact area, providing huge amounts of grip and stability. With the increased depth that comes with a 27.5+ tyre, the final outer diameter is close to that of a 29er wheel, providing the improved rollover that comes with increased wheel size. On the 6Fattie, this supposidly translates into monster truck capabilities while maintaining agile handling. With this bike, we'll be looking for the gnarliest line on the trail, all in the name of fun. Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie specifciations FrameFull Carbon Front Triangle, Full CaFACT 9m, carbon front chassis, M5 alloy rear end, Trail Geometry, SWAT™ Door integration, PF30 BB, fully enclosed internal cable routing, ManFu link, 12x148mm dropouts, sealed cartridge bearing pivots, replaceable derailleur hanger, 135mm of travelForkRockShox Pike RC 29/27.5+, Solo Air, compression and rebound adjust, tapered steerer, 15x110mm Maxle Stealth thru-axle, 51mm offset, 150mm travelRear ShockRockShox Monarch RT3, Rx Trail Tune, AUTOSAG, rebound and 3-position compression adjust, 197x48mmCranksetRaceFace Aeffect, 6000-series alloy, 24mm spindle, 52mm chainline, 28TBottom BracketShimano BB-MT800 PressfitFront DerailleurN/ARear DerailleurSRAM X1 Type 2.1, 11-speedShifterSRAM GX, 11-speed, triggerFront BrakeSRAM Guide R, hydraulic disc, organic pads, Guide S4 4-piston caliper, 200/180mm rotorRear BrakeSRAM Guide R, hydraulic disc, organic pads, Guide S4 4-piston caliper, 180/160mm rotorCassetteSRAM XG-1150, 11-speed, 10-42tChainSRAM PC-1110, 11-speed w/PowerLinkPedalsN/ARimsRoval Traverse 650, hookless alloy, 29mm inner width, 24/28h, tubeless readySpokesDT Swiss RevolutionFront HubRoval Traverse, sealed cartridge bearings, 15mm thru-axle, 110mm spacing, 24hRear HubRoval Traverse, DT Swiss internals, sealed cartridge bearings, SRAM XD driver body, 12mm thru-axle, 148mm spacing, 28hTiresPurgatory, GRID casing, 650bx3.0", 60TPI, Aramid folding bead, 2Bliss ReadyHandlebarsSpecialized Trail, 7050 alloy, 8-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 25mm rise, 750mm width, 31.8mmGripsSpecialized Sip Grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thicknessStemSpecialized Trail, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree riseSeatpostCommand Post IRcc, 12 position micro-height adjustable, alien head design, bottom mount cable routing, remote SRL lever, 30.9mm, S: 100mm, M/L/XL: 125mm travelSaddleBody Geometry Henge Comp, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mm Find out more: To learn more about the Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie and other Specialized bikes, visit the Specialized website here.You can also follow the latest news from Specialized on the following channels: Facebook - Specialized Bicycles South Africa Twitter - @SpecializedZA Instagram - @SpecializedZA
  14. Next up in our long term test fleet is the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie. Another absolute stunner, this bike had us taking turns trying to pop a wheelie in the car park. We'll be treating the bike as one of our own for the year: documenting the journey, and ultimately providing an in-depth review like never before. Click here to view the article
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