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Archive for June, 2010
Answer has been busy lately, revising their entire collection for 2010 as well as adding a few new items to the line. I’ve received a selection of bits to fondle, abuse & wax poetically about, so lets begin.
Protaper 780 DH Bar
The Answer Protaper is a classic. The venerable bar has been around for over a decade, and was one of the first high end dh bars on the market. It was strong & light with a proven motocross lineage. Modern dh geometry & cockpit layout has evolved considerably since those days, and Answer had been unresponsive to the evolution towards lower and wider bars the last couple years. For 2010, it seems they’ve taken notice. The new Protaper DH is 780mm (30.7″) wide, with .5″ or 1″ rises. Upward sweep is 4°, back sweep is 8°. Bar fit is personal, but for my physiology, the ergonomics is perfect. It’s built from 7050 aluminum, with multiple wall thicknesses (thicker in the middle where the forces are greater, thinner at the ends), thus the ‘Protaper’ nomenclature. What’s the intent of such tube torturing? Good strength to weight ratio. The bar weighs an advertised 335g – confirmed on my scale.
The swishy swoop graphic looks decently contemporary, and makes it instantly identifiable from a distance – a good job of aesthetic differentiation. It’s available in a selection of colors that should coordinate with most schemes: black with red graphics, red with black, gold with black and white with black or gold stripes. The gradation marks at the clamp area for centering and at bar ends for cutting are super. The best feature of this bar, which no one will see because it’s hidden under the grip, is this rad pictogram:
Conclusion: this bar is a winner. Perfect length and ergonomics, at a decent weight.
Protaper 720 AM Bar
Little brother to the 780 DH is the 720 AM. Not surprisingly, this one is 720mm long, and is available in 1″ and 2″ rises. To my eyes, the 2″ is an ape hanger, but might make a fine dirtjump bar for those of such inclination. It would be nice to see a 1/2″ rise variation, though I suppose that would result in overlap with the DH. My sample came with the socially acceptable 1” rise. Advertised weight is 320g; mine came in at 328; I assume they weighed an anodized bar.
Geometry, material & construction is the same as the DH 780. I’m typically not a huge fan of powdercoated parts (superfluous grams), but the finish quality on this one is nice; perfect, really. The AM has a slightly more minimalist paint stripe graphic vaguely suggestive of 80’s aesthetics. I generally abhor graphics in favor of severe industrial functionalism, but I’m unoffended by this example. This bar is also available in a plethora of colors to suit any mood : black, silver, red & white.
Rove FR Pedals
Also new this year from Answer is a set of spunky pedals. The 6061 aluminum pedal body is a classic concave parallelogram shape in a nice low profile. Width is 98 mm, depth is 96mm, and thickness is 16 to 18mm. With BB’s dropping, low profile pedals are definitely advantageous. Every millimeter helps. It’s about 1/4″ thinner overall than my previous pedals (Wellgo MG-1), and though subtle, the transition was actually noticeable. The additional width is comfy as well.
Pins are aluminum, which saves a few grams, though they are more easily smooshed on rocks. The pedals come with 10 extra pins and you can always replace them with M4 steel screws if you’re so inclined. I’ve yet to have to replace one however. Pin profile is relatively sedate with 2mm of pin above a hex head base (which allows easy extraction of smashed pins as well as reducing the chance threads will be ripped from the pedal). For me & my gummy 510 shoes, they’re perfect. Great grip when weighted, but the ability to reposition without having to lift your foot off a bed of spikes. Relatively shin friendly too. Those who prefer their pedals savagely spiky can always toss in longer screws.
Bearings consist of a cartridge outboard & a DU bushing inboard. Using a DU at the larger diameter inboard axle location allows for a thinner pedal body cross section. Sealing consists of an o-ring at the DU, which is functioning fine so far after several months of Northshore winter grime. I pulled them apart and they were judiciously lubricated from the factory. Disassembly for cleaning and lubing is a simple enough task: remove the dust cap & a single axle nut. Weight is a verified 467g for the pair; slightly weighty for this gram counter. Available in a rainbow of colors to match your wardrobe: anodized red, silver, gold, and black.
The verdict: a good looking, durable and reasonably priced pedal that works great.
Rove DH & DJ Stems
More shiny new trinkets from Answer this year: stems. The DH – a direct mount (Boxxer standard), and the DJ – a standard mount (1 1/8”). Both are very nicely machined out of 7075 aluminum, and share the same faceplate – efficient manufacturing. Hardware is stainless steel – fantastic. Nothing worse than rusty hardware. Both are available in 31.8mm bar clamp diameter only.
While the DJ suggests dirtjump application (as does the included hollow stem bolt for front brake line routing), it also makes a perfectly fine stubby dh / freeride stem. It’s available in 35mm & 50mm extensions, and with red, black, gold and white faceplate color options. Weight is an advertised 210g for the stubby (confirmed on my scale) & 250g for the long. The stem is stiff & pretty – no complaints.
The DH stem is conveniently equipped with three mounting position options to please nearly everyone: 45mm, 50mm & 55mm extensions. It’s an elegant low profile design that’s also very light – a confirmed 150g with all hardware included. This one comes with a red or gold faceplate. Note that I swapped the plate with the DJ for color coordination purposes. It held my bar with aplomb, so scores top marks for performance. Wide and stiff. It’s a sexy little thing and I like it.
Rove DH Grips
Rounding out the ensemble is a set of lock-on grips. All the goodness you come to expect from ODI, with branding by Answer. Essentially a Ruffian with raised lettering, which is a good thing for me, as Ruffians are my grip of choice. Nothing bad to say here, they rock. Lockrings available in black, silver, red and gold. Weight is 107g on my scale.
Answer has a tidy little package of components for 2010. Solid specifications & great build quality at decent prices, backed up by the estimable Answer name. Good stuff all round.
Proving that the fixed gear trend is most certainly international, French firm Focale 44 has released two more models to their bikes range. These fixed gear bikes – Full Moon (Black), Relax (Grey/Gold), Noble (Black/White) and Revolted (Red/Black) feature the stripped-down amenities that fixie fans adore – basic colors, simple handlebars and, of course, no brakes. The Focale 44 fixies come in two iterations, the first being a classic track bike layout with curved handle bars, the second being a street-minded commuter with a straight handle bar. These bikes are available now at our store, so what are you waiting for?
Full Moon is one of the newest modern/classic bike released by Focale 44 at affordable price range. Every Full Moon bike is delivered with brakes, freewheel and fixed sprocket. You can choose your riding style.
The Relax can be described as an “easy rider”, with a flat bar/stem combo and easy 42/16 gear ratio. The matt grey edition and gold finish give the bike a nice fancy with mixed modern-classical design frame and fork.
The plain black-white combination looks just great. The Noble is a little more serious, drop bars with grips on the lower section and a faster 46/16 gear ratio. The “Noble” is a perfect bike for those who like it clean.
Revolted is the one of the newest top notch modern/classic bike released by Focale 44 with Superstar revolte BMX stem, and narrow raised alloy handlebar.