Archive for August, 2010

Bike Checks: New Build on a Santa Cruz Bullit!

We will be featuring bikes that are build at Tionghin from now and having a bike checks on the complete set up!

New Build on a Santa Cruz Bullit!

The complete build!

Running Stans tubeless on a Continental Rubber Queen 2.4 non-UST.

The Charger Expert is designed as an all mountain wheelset, relying on a Sun Ringle designed rim with Stan’s tubeless technology, laced with Wheelsmith spokes to SunRingle hubs. The Charger Expert wheelset weighed in at 1820g (820g front, 1000g rear), which is pretty much bang on Sun Ringle’s claim. The 28mm wide rims are available in white or black and give 2.35″ tires a nice profile when mounted, while the twenty-four spoke design shaves a little weight over conventional 32 spoke designs. The rear hub (135mm) spins on four sealed bearings and employs three pawls on a thirty tooth ratchet, netting the rider an engagement of twelve degrees. The front hub is available either as a 9mm quick release or in a 15mm / 20mm version for thru-axle forks.

Answer Rove FR pedal with Race Face Ride XC Crank equipped with E-13 Bash guard. Shimano XTR front and rear derailleur.

Shimano Saint F/R Brakes with 203mm/180mm XT 6 bolt Rotor. Shimano XTR shifters. Answer DH grip with answer protaper red ano DH bar cut to 700mm.

Marzocchi 66 180mm RCV with 1.5 steerer.

Shimano XT cassette with KMC X9SL gold chain.

Components List
Frame: Santa Cruz Bullit with FOX DHX3.0
Fork: Marzocchi 66 180 RCV with 1.5 steerer
Headset: FSA PIG DH 1.5
Wheels: Sun Ringle Charger Expert Wheelset(Stans equipped)
Tires: Continental Rubber Queen 2.4
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
Bar: Answer DH Protaper 1 inch
Grip: Answer Fall Line DH
Crank: Race Face Ride XC with E13 bash guard
Brake: Shimano Saint Front and Rear
Rotor: Shimano XT 6 bolt 203mm(front) and 180mm(rear)
Stem: FSA 1.5, 50mm length, 31.8mm clamp diameter
Pedal: Answer Rove FR pedal
Cassette: Shimano XT 11t-34t
Shifters: Shimano XTR
Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR non-shadow
Front derailleur: Shimano XTR
Chain: KMC X9SL Gold 9speed

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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More New frames from Titus are here!!

Two more new models of Titus frame arrive at our store today! Look what we have from them on the NEW FTM and X…

The core of any great company is a great culture. The culture at Titus is based on bringing like-minded people together that share a passion for cycling with one goal – lighter, faster, stronger – better.

Titus X
Constructed from mechanically-formed and butted 6069 aluminum front triangle, asymmetrical hydro-formed chainstays, one piece carbon fiber seatstays, forged and machined dropouts, and a one-piece compression molded carbon fiber X-Link. To create a solid and reliable connection between the front and rear triangles four oversized sealed bearings were used at the main pivot. The Horst-link clevis on the chainstays were overbuilt intentionally, all to ensure the perfect ride. At 105mm of rear wheel travel the Titus X is ready for the trail.

Made in the USA!

Mandrel-shaped top tube and down tube with optimized butting profiles.

One-piece compression molded carbon fiber X-Link. Four oversized main pivot bearings, and a 2011 FOX custom valved RP23 shock!

Titus FTM
The FTM is a lightweight trail and all mountain bike that does not sacrifice stiffness or performance, with it’s reliable and efficient Horst Link supension system.

135mm of travel controlled by a custom-valved 2010 Fox RP23 shock

Oversized, tapered headtube flares from an 1 1/8″ headset bearing to a 1.5″ bearing for razor sharp handling.

Light Rail Seatstay profile becomes oversized to increase stiffness by 20% and improve overall strength.

Super light for the X? Get yours today now at Tionghin!!

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New frames from Titus are here with 2011 Shocks!

Three new models of Titus frame arrive at our store today! Look what we have from them…

Titus Rockstar 29er
The rockstar’s nimble and fast ride allow you to rock the trail faster and longer than you have before. All new frame design 100mm of travel tapered headtube for razor sharp handling the flowing tube shapes and unique butted profiles have been optimized though extensive FEA analysis and simulated load testing Carbon fiber rear triangle w full carbon dropout, carbon yoke and s bend shaping Integrated stainless steel chain suck shield. Made in the USA. Compatibility 30.9 seatpost, 73mm bottom bracket shell, 34.9mm low mount, top pull front derailleur. Tapered headtube 1/18 zero stack upper, 29 wheels.

Be a rockstar and ride a 29er bike! The rockstar’s nimble and fast ride allow you to rock the trail faster and longer than you have before.

The all-new seat stay features a full carbon dropout, carbon yoke and new s-bend shaping for enhanced heel clearance.

Oversized, tapered headtube flares from an 1 1/8″ headset bearing to a 1.5″ bearing for razor sharp handling.

Titus X Carbon
Titus X Carbon Frame redefines fast! Not only is the X Carbon light but it is ultra fast and ultra efficient. This is every XC riders dream machine. The medium frame with hardware weights under 5lbs, including shock.

Full carbon fiber construction! Hydro-formed top tube and down tube with optimized butting profiles.

The all-new seat stay features a full carbon dropout, carbon yoke and new s-bend shaping for enhanced heel clearance.

Oversized, tapered headtube flares from an 1 1/8″ headset bearing to a 1.5″ bearing for razor sharp handling.

Titus FTM Carbon
Titus’ FTM (Full Tilt Moto) may well be the ultimate trailbike! Executed here in carbon fiber for additional gram shaving, the 2010 FTM Carbon features carbon fiber main frame, carbon seatstays, and a compression molded carbon fiber link. Comes with 2010 shock.

Complete frame weight is 5.25 lbs. with rear shock.

Oversized, tapered headtube flares from an 1 1/8″ headset bearing to a 1.5″ bearing for razor sharp handling.

Stainless steel R.U.B. plate protects the down tube and BB area from impacts New Full Carbon Construction Swingarm.

More information of the frames at our product page – Titus Cycles

Carbon? Light? Why wait? Get yours today now at Tionghin!!

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2011 Shimano XTR Trail Drivetrain: First Impressions at Pinkbike!

2011 Shimano XTR Trail Drivetrain: First Impressions – by Mike Levy

Shimano takes a new approach to their XTR drivetrain in 2011 – two different top tier groups that are focused on either all out racing or high performance trail riding. I got to put some early miles on the new XTR Trail group while riding in Downieville, California, and inside you can read my impressions on how it performed. You’ll also find some great technical information on the new super group, including the impressive directional chain!

The 2011 XTR Trail crankset uses what Shimano calls CloseStep gearing – 42, 32, and a 24 tooth small ring. When teamed up with the new 11-36 XTR cassette it provides an easier low range (56.6″ vs. 58.3″ of rollout for a standard setup) and is claimed to result in both less shifting and less chain tension that causes friction. But the question is, is it noticeable in real world conditions and does it benefit the user?

Shimano’s 2011 XTR crankset is part of their Dyna-Sys drivetrain system that also includes a 10 speed 11-36 cassette. The new cranks use what Shimano calls CloseStep gearing that consists of a 42, 32 and slightly larger than average 24 tooth chainrings. Don’t panic if you live in the midst of steep terrain or are a larger rider, the 24 tooth ring combined with a 36 tooth cog actually produces an easier gear than the current 22 x 32 combo (56.6″ vs. 58.3″ of rollout for a stanadard setup). The larger granny ring should also work better with a lot of suspension designs as it is closer in size the the middle ring that most bikes are designed around. In usual Shimano style, front shifting has been massaged to exceed expectations via many shift assists on the rings themselves. The Trail crank shown above comes in triple configuration, but a double version will also be available in 40/28 and a racer and hammer head friendly 42/30.

2011 XTR Trail triple crankset details
Entirely new crank for 2011
CloseStep trail-tuned gearing: 42-32-24T
Dual Spike chainring technology
10-speed specific
Standard 104/64 bolt pattern
Durable Ti/Carbon composite 32-tooth Primary Driving Gear
Double ring versions also available
Bottom bracket forgoes bearing tension adjuster

I fondly remember my early days of mountain biking and of all the cool parts that got my teenage heart pumping, Shimano’s XTR cassette was the one bit that nearly put me into fibrillation. It still has the same effect today! The three piece aluminum spidered block uses titanium for the five largest cogs. It is available in both 11-36 and 11-34 spreads.

The key to the Dyna-Sys setup is Shimano’s new 11-36 spread cassette that offers a wide gear range for the average trail rider, but also operates with the composite 32 tooth ring so the rider has to shift less than before. Shimano says that if you use or have used a triple ring crankset you’ll be familiar with having to make multiple shifts in the rear every time you drop down to the smallest chainring, otherwise you quickly loose all momentum on the trail. Having been doing my fair share of climbing lately, I’d have to say that when I’ve dropped down to the granny ring I have been forced to drop multiple gears on the cassette as to not quickly come to a standstill – one just doesn’t think about it when riding. By using a 24 tooth small ring and revised cassette gearing Shimano claims that a rider will now have to perform only a single recovery shift as opposed to having to do two or three on another system. The 36 tooth large cog, the five largest are titanium by the way, means that riders can stay in the middle ring much longer and shift the front derailleur even less.

Shimano also says that the Dyna-Sys design reduces chain tension as well, which greatly reduces drivetrain frictions. I was told there is 30% less drivetrain tension when using Shimano’s 32 tooth ring and 36 tooth combo when compared to a standard drivetrain and in the 22 tooth ring and 26 tooth cog. 30% certainly sounds like a lot and I’m interested to discover if there really is a noticeable difference under load during the longterm test that you can read about down the road.

2011 XTR Trail cassette details
Entirely new cassette for 2011
Wide range 11-36 tooth spread
Five largest cogs are titanium
Three piece aluminum spider design
Standard 11-34 is also available

Geek out alert! These two pieces of gigantic mock chain clearly show the differences between the high end road and mountain chains. The HG-X 10 speed mountain bike chain is designed to work only with mountain bike chainrings and cogs, don’t try and put it on your road bike, and vice versa. The directional chain uses different inner and out links, each side designed to interact with either the rings or cogs.

While the new crankset and cassette are no doubt going to get all the attention, the key to Shimano’s drivetrain may well be it’s new HG-X super narrow chain. The mountain bike specific chain uses differently shaped plates than its tarmac brother that interact much better with Shimano’s mountain bike rings. Unlike many other chains, the HG-X doesn’t feature any plate cutouts that would shave a few grams because Shimano feels that it increases the chance of twisted plates. An important feature of the chain, and one that many mechanics may not realize, is that the HG-X is actually directional – there is an inside and an outside to it! Each of the four plates in a single link of chain (left and right, inner and outer) have different chamfers to their edges that are designed to mate perfectly with the shift points found on the chainrings and cassette. The right side/outer plates are shaped to work best when sifting over the chainrings, while the left side/inner plates mate better with the cassette’s tooth profile. There are some very smart people at Shimano that look at the smallest details! For those wondering which side faces out and which side faces in, the logo, whether it is XTR or Dura Ace, faces out.

The new 10 speed XTR derailleur uses revised A-arm geometry that results in less cable tension being required for a lighter feel and less sensitivity, as well as reducing the chance of skipping as you pedal over rough terrain. The outer cage is carbon, the inner is aluminum.

The 2011 XTR rear derailleur still uses Shimano’s low profile Shadow design, but receives refinements that alter both shift effort and reliability, as well as addressing the issue of skipping while under load when pedalling over rough terrain. Previous models had a very obviously different level of effort needed at the shift lever depending on which cog you were shifting to, but Shimano has changed the geometry of the A-arm (the piece that holds the housing stop) to lower the cable tension, and in turn make for a more reliable system that requires nearly the same shift effort no matter what cog you are shifting to. The cage consists of a carbon outer plate that saves a few grams, and an aluminum inner plate to keep everything stiff and reliable.

A functioning XTR derailleur prototype that was used to test A-arm geometry. This was one well used unit.

2011 XTR Trail derailleur details
Entirely new derailleur for 2011
Revised A-arm geometry for lighter and more linear action
A-arm geo also greatly reduces skipping when pedalling hard over rough terrain
Carbon outer plate, alloy inner plate
Shimano Shadow design

The XTR shifters allow you to adjust the pod laterally for better ergonomics and you can also use Shimano’s i-spec bracket to mount it the same perch as the lever. A mode converter allows both 2 and 3 ring use without have to set up your limit screws as a hard stop.

2011 XTR Trail shifter details
Can mount directly to brake lever via Shimano’s i-spec bracket
Adjustable mount lets you slide the shifter to different bar positions
2x / 3x mode converter adapts to double and triple cranksets

The guts. Smart people build these things! This display shifter shows just how each small piece interacts with its neighbor to pull and release just the right amount of cable.

Riding Impressions
While Shimano’s XTR family was at one point the only game in town when it came to a complete top tier group, this has changed over the years as the competitors have made inroads when in comes to no compromise performance. This must have given Shimano fuel for the fire as for 2011 they have released two different XTR groups, one geared for the racer and the other for the trail rider who wants the same level of performance, but in a more user friendly package. I was able to put in some time on this new XTR Trail group while riding some Downieville’s fast and demanding trails and came away impressed with what Shimano has been able to do.

The shifters have a slightly different feel to them for 2011, with a lighter touch and stronger detents that results in a more tactile sensation while out on the trail. There is no doubt that there is action happening below each and every time that you grab a gear in either direction. Shimano’s Multi and Instant release features, along with 2-Way Release, are still present on the shifters, and I am especially fond of being able to drop or pick up gears from more than one finger position. Although it may not sound useful, it made itself very handy out on the trail and in real world conditions. My Remedy was equipped with Shimano’s triple ring XTR crankset that uses their CloseStep gearing. Shimano says that the CloseStep 42,32, and slightly larger 24 tooth small ring work with their 10 speed cassette (available in both 11-36 and 11-32) to provide a system that requires less shifting, especially recovery shifts, than a standard three ring and common 9 speed cassette. While I’ll need to put more time in on the groupset on more familiar terrain to verify that claim, what was quickly apparent was Shimano’s near instantaneous front shifting. Shifting up to a larger ring seemed to happen as quickly as I could work my fingers over the left shifter paddle, it was even an improvement on Shimano’s already well known impressive front shifting. Rear shifting was also superb throughout the ride, with the chain moving over the cassette with no issues and feeling remarkably quick. No tension adjustment was needed at any point during the ride despite the addition of an extra cog and the resulting tighter spacing. Holding the new drivetrain parts in your hand for a closer inspection reveals an incredible amount of engineering work to each and every piece, but the new directional chain really takes the cake when talking about minuscule details. The new XTR drivetrain’s performance is due to the sum of its parts, but I’d love to discover just how much the chain, with its four uniquely shaped plates per link, add to the overall shift quality of the group.

The last few years have seen immense improvements made to mountain bike drivetrains. Not only can riders expect more gears out back, wider ranges, and more chainring combination options, but also much more reliable shifting compared to what was offered only a few short years ago. Despite the common cry that a 10 speed system on a mountain bike is surely asking for trouble, this has yet to be the case in my experience, although the new XTR group hasn’t been put through a proper British Columbia rainy season beatdown under me. I’ll be putting more time on the new XTR Trail group throughout the remaining summer months and into the rainy fall season – stay tuned for a complete long term review down the road.

Excited about what Shimano has coming down the line? Looking forward to having a go on the new drivetrain? Available soon later at Tionghin once Shimano releases it on the market, will keep everyone updated in our blog!

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Fox 32 F100 RLC FIT 15QR Review at Bike Radar!

“Spot-on damping and spring rates plus a light-yet-stout chassis – just watch out for oil levels” – By James Huang & Guy Kesteven

Fox Racing Shox’s flagship cross-country suspension fork trades in the company’s long-running open-bath damper design in favour of a fully enclosed ‘FIT’ (Fox Isolated Technology) cartridge architecture borrowed from the 36 and 40 platforms.

The FIT design separates the damping oil from air and, according to Fox, virtually eliminates cavitation in rough terrain. Some testers reported better handling on long stepped or rocky descents, but it’s difficult to tell with just 100mm of travel on tap here – it’s likely more obvious an effect with longer-travel bikes.

The real benefit of FIT in this application is the 71g of weight it saves courtesy of the reduced oil volume. That, plus a few minor chassis tweaks, now makes the 32 F100 RLC FIT one of the lightest Fox forks we’ve tested at just 1.49kg (3.27lb) with an uncut 1 1/8in alloy steerer – virtually the same as a current non-remote RockShox SID Team.

Though there’s less weight than before, everything else we raved about on the old F100 RLC (which remains in the lineup) remains or is even improved upon. Damper and spring rates are spot-on, making for a supple ride over stutter bumps plus excellent control on bigger hits and drops, and an overall light and lively feel in the rough.

Provided you invest the time to dial in the various settings, front wheel traction is superb and brake dive is well controlled, too. No problems getting full travel where appropriate, either.

Chassis stiffness is impressively high thanks to the 32mm-diameter aluminium upper tubes and beefy cast magnesium lower legs with their broad-shouldered arch. Our test fork does one better with the addition of a 15mm through-axle, which has a positive effect on steering precision in fast, technical terrain when compared to a typical hub’s 9mm quick-release skewer.

Instead of occasionally pinballing your way through rock gardens and off-axis roots, it’s now more a matter of point-and-shoot (with a little bit of ‘hold on tight’) and the overall sense of control is heightened as well. The through-axle is no panacea, mind you, but it does let you charge through certain sections with that little bit of extra speed and control. If you want even more stiffness (and if your frame allows), Fox also offer the F100 with a tapered 1 1/8in-to-1 1/2in steerer.

Whether or not 15QR is justified in light of the industry-standard 20mm system is still a hotly debated topic though. At 94g, the smaller-diameter Fox axle is comparable in weight to RockShox’s 86g Maxle Lite and until more companies develop dedicated 15mm wheels and hubs (most are conversions on existing 20mm shells), any significant weight savings owing to 15QR’s narrower hub spacing and bearing sizes are still more a matter of potential than reality. Even so, 15QR is an absolute no-brainer as an alternative to standard quick-releases: it’s far stouter, much safer and more intuitive to use for novices.

Alas, all was not perfect with our test fork, as our initial rides were marked by numb hands and an overly harsh feel – tell-tale signs of excess stiction. As it turns out, our oil bath fill levels fell well short of Fox’s recommended 20cc per side (about 15cc in one and barely 5cc in the other). The fix was quick to perform (no more than 10 minutes) but it’s one consumers shouldn’t have to do with a new fork.

Experiences with other forks since this review was first published suggest stiction in the FIT cartridge is far from an isolated incident. The severity of the stickiness varies from fork to fork, although most get better the more you use them. Lack of bob will actually be seen as an advantage by a lot of the racers and fast riders who’ll use the F100 however, so it’s less of an issue than on longer forks.

Otherwise, the magic continues as usual and this is hands-down one of the best cross-country forks on the market – but you might want to keep a bottle of fork oil on hand just in case.

Steerer Size: 1 1/8 inches
Stanchion Diameter: 32 mm
Spring Type: Air
Disc Caliper Mount: Post mount
Travel: 100mm
Damping Adjustment: Air spring pressure, lever actuated lockout, lockout threshold adjustment, low Speed Compression, rebound
Weight: 1.53 kg
Colour: White

Available in only 15QR, or ever considering a Pivot Mach 4 or a Titus X to match this fork? There is a frame kit package from us! Get yours today at Tionghin!

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Answer’s Fall Line DH Grips and Rove FR Pedals Review at Singletracks!

Answer is a name that has been under the radar for a little while but they’re back again with an all new product line up. Here are two Answer products that I’m sure will pique your interest: The Fall Line DH Grip ($30 MSRP) and the Rove FR Pedals ($95 MSRP). Grips and pedals are the two main contact points between body and bike and Answer delivers the goods.

The Fall Line DH grip is specifically designed for the FR and DH crowd with a slightly thinner body than most grips you’ll find. This enables the rider to keep a firm grip while still allowing rapid hand position changes when the need arises. I found the grip felt a bit tacky which actually let me to slacken my grip a bit – no white knuckling, yet I still felt secure. Speaking of security, these lock on grips feature the familiar locking ring format that’s tried and true so there’s little chance they’ll come loose during the ride.

Installing the grips took just a heartbeat with only one allen key necessary. Just make sure you install the grips with the ANSWER logo facing forward. As a side benefit I found the logo added bit of extra grip due to the raised print. If you’re using a carbon bar, be sure to torque the grips down with a wrench slowly, checking often to make sure the grip does not rotate. There is such a thing as too tight, especially when you’re dealing with carbon bars.

Fall Line DH grip deets
Length: 130mm
Weight: 118g (pair)
Colour: Black, Red, Gold, or Metal

The Rove FR pedals felt great underfoot on the trails. With 10 pins and a wide, concave, low profile (16mm) platform, these pedals felt solid when the going got rough. Unlike some other pedals I’ve used, the pins on the Roves didn’t look like they would make mince meat of my legs if a foot slipped off. Still, the slightly lower profile aluminum pins offered good grip on my shoes.

Another cool thing about the hex pins is that you can change them with a socket wrench rather than an allen key. On most pedals the pins are nothing more than long allen screws that are inserted into the pedal which allows the screws to back out easily on the trail. The Rove FR pedal pins have a positive “lock” onto the pedal to avoid this situation.

The 6061 aluminum body can take more abuse compared to other magnesium bodies and won’t show damage as easily. The combination of a cartridge bearing and DU bushing promise to keep these pedals spinning smoothly for a long time.

Answer Rove FR pedal specs
Material: 6061 series alloy
Studs: 10-10 hex head
Bearings: Cartridge
Axle: Steel
Bushing: DU
Weight: 467g
Colour: Back, Red, Gold, or Metal

Get yours today at Tionghin!

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Team Lex / Pivot Racing DH Team

Source: Team Lex / Pivot Racing
We’re proud to announce the start of a new World Cup race team “Team Lex/Pivot Racing”, featuring three top level riders; Kyle Strait (USA), Will Rischbieth (AUS) and Mitch Delfs (AUS). All three riders are unique in their own way with strong racing backgrounds and a big future ahead of them. For the 2010 season they’ll be attending all 6 rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, the Sea Otter Classic, Kokanee Crankworx and other selected events.

Kyle Strait –
“I’m really looking forward to racing for this new team with sponsors and team mates I really respect. Having the support to race around the world in World Cup events plus other key events here in the US, which is very important to me. I want to be able to build on the top 15 results I got last year, and I know with Pivot and our other co-sponsors, I have a great chance to do that.”


Mitch Delfs –
“Team Lex/Pivot Racing is the new team on the scene, and with our very strong list of sponsors backing us in 2010, I’m sure myself and my team mates, Will and Kyle, can secure prominent results in the most exciting season to date. Having “Buzz” working on our Pivot racing machines with his expertise, they’ll be sure to see us all the way down the hill and onto the podium.”


Will Rischbieth –
“I am so happy to be given this opportunity to be riding for Pivot Cycles! Pivot are super enthusiastic and confident about the development of their whole range of bikes. The downhill bike will be no exception. I am stoked to have Mitch and Kyle as team mates. Both riders are talented and I will learn a lot from both of them. Having a meticulous mechanic like, Simon ‘Buzza’ this year will be just one of many new things to look forward to. Our bikes will also be decked out with the best gear on the circuit. There will be no excuse not to perform well at races. I’m excited!”

LifeStyle Excessive is excited to be a part of this racing program and follow us during all of our races and events throughout the 2010 season. Ben Pankhurst of LifeStyle Excessive has been following some of our riders for the last few seasons and fully appreciates the effort and motivation that takes these athletes to compete and succeed.

LEX ‘Lifestyle Excessive’ is a new youth brand who have created their own clothing line and produced some amazing photography work. LEX is owned by an advertising agency, Charles Cannon, based in Switzerland.

Pivot Cycles will be the team’s frame sponsor and they have big plans for the team with the development of their new downhill bike. We are very excited to be working with such a progressive company that is passionate about making bikes that the general public will love. The riders are very confident about the bikes already, and they know that Pivot Cycles will work very hard to make them feel their best when in the start gate of every race.


Chris Cocalis (Pivot Cycles) –
“We are truly excited at the opportunity to be the frame sponsor for Team Lex/Pivot Racing. This is an amazing opportunity for Pivot to showcase our latest designs on the world’s most challenging race courses while providing the tools that Kyle, Mitch and Will require to take their racing to the next level.

World Cup Downhill Racing is a great place to showcase the innovative dw-link technology and Pivot’s design and manufacturing expertise. The team will truly have a technological advantage with a very light bike that soaks up massive hits, is fully active and pedals like nothing else on the World Cup circuit”

Tyler Maine ( –
“We are excited to work with Mathieu and his team this season as they bring their new DH team into the spotlight. Kyle and Mitch are both young and their skill sets continues to grow. Will is full of talent and will feed off his team mates and you can expect to see the whole team on podiums this year.”


The new bikes will be equipped with all the material that Kyle, Mitch and Will demanded for by name, and we really appreciate their support. The team’s co-sponsors signed to outfit our bikes and riders will be SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ, Mavic, Crank Brothers, SDG, FUNN, e*thirteen, Sensus RaceLite, and ODI. The Riders will be wearing Troy Lee Designs clothing and will be following them all season as they participate in events around the world.

We are very happy to be starting off the season with such good help, The racers are very anxious and confident to get out there and enjoy their work.

– Mathieu Dupelle (Team Manager)

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Manitou R-Seven MRD Absolute Review at Bike Radar!

“Plush, reliable, lightweight fork that’ll appeal to XC racers”- By Justin Loretz

Manitou’s successful R-Seven cross-country fork is back for 2009 and is better than ever – but with the new RockShox SID due later this spring, does the R-Seven have the performance to dominate the podium and find a place on your bike?

The new 2009 Manitou R-Seven MRD Absolute is one of the best-looking suspension forks on the market. It’s also the best-performing cross-country fork to emerge from Manitou, which has been working hard recently to restore its reputation.

Altered images
Manitou’s image had been hit hard when former owner Answer Products turned out some poor damping technologies and patchy quality control. Riders, racers and retailers had begun switching to other fork brands when Hayes, the hydraulic brake company, bought Manitou. Hayes quickly chopped out the chaff from the sprawling product line and kept the good stuff: the Manitou Racing Development (MRD) products.

Key to today’s MRD line is the R-Seven cross-country fork, which has success in its genes. Many pro cross-country racers in the late ’90s sported the Manitou cross-country fork. Back then it was called Mars, with a front-facing brace. It was renamed R-Seven in 2003, and continued to perform well in the heat of competition, helping riders such as Jose Hermida and Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesja gather numerous World Championship titles.

The Absolute truth
Wisely, Hayes has left the 2008 R-Seven relatively untouched. The only real crease in the previous R-Seven that needed ironing out was the rather linear compression rate – the fork typically blew through its travel at the first sign of a serious impact.

Our MRD Absolute model has three external adjuster points of interest. The first is the Schrader air valve, which allows you to fill both the positive and negative air chambers at the same time. Simply keep adding air until the spring rate of the fork is as firm or supple as you require. Next, on the bottom of the right-hand leg, is the blue rebound adjuster – again, simply dial in the amount you require.

Last but not least is the Absolute Damping switch on top of the right-hand leg. The dial can be used to toggle between five pre-set damping options. The first, fully open position provides the most supple fork action. Switch to position two for a firmer ‘platform’ feel – still giving up full travel, but requiring more bump force to get there.

However, we found that positions three and four felt like position five, which is fully locked out with a blow-off facility. Despite this, the three discernible settings we experienced are all you’d really need: fully open for general off-roading, platform for hard climbing, and locked-out for road and smooth climbs.

All the external adjusters were easy to use, even while wearing gloves. They’re positioned on the top leg of the fork (rather than offering remote activation), but we didn’t find their location a problem.

Living with the R-Seven MRD Absolute has been very pleasant. It’s stiffer than any previous Manitou cross-country race fork, and consequently it tracks well and handles hard braking without getting into a flutter. That said, we’re expecting the new RockShox SID chassis will prove to be stiffer again and – we think – more finely tunable. We’ve already ridden and raced the new SID, but not tested it head-to-head with the R-Seven, so a complete evaluation isn’t possible yet.

We’ve had no need to delve inside our R-Seven, and neither should you for the first year of ownership. It’s possible to service the fork yourself, or you can return it to a Manitou dealer for work.

Another string in the R-Seven’s bow is its low weight – at 2.8lb (1134g) it’s seriously lacking in mass. If you’re an cross-country racer looking to fit a reliable fork that has a plush ride and the option of a firmer platform ‘race’ setting, then this is the best cross-country race fork you can get. At least until the new SID arrives.

Get yours today at Tionghin! Now available in ABS+ damper with high speed compression…

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Answer Pro Taper 660 XC Carbon Flat Bar available now at Tionghin!


ProTAPER® Carbon XC Straight 660The ProTAPER® Carbon XC Straight 660 is a lightweight, dependable handlebar. It features ProTAPER® technology to put added strength in the clamp without adding excess weight at the ends of the bar. Cutmarks make it easy to cut to your desired length.

ProTAPER® Patented Technology
Lighter, stiffer, stronger
Internal and External Tapered Walls
Increase strength to weight ratio
Competition and race proven back sweep
Grip Grit area
Non slip surface

Width: 660mm
Weight: 130g
Clamp diameter: 31.8mm
Rise: Flat
Back Sweep: 3°
Material: Carbon with unidirectional 12 outer layer
Colour: Carbon

Get yours today at Tionghin!

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2011 Shimano XTR Trail Brakes: First Impressions at Pinkbike!

2011 Shimano XTR Trail Brakes: First Impressions – by Mike Levy
Shimano chose Downieville, California, to let the media have their first ride on the new XTR Trail group and it proved to be an excellent testing ground. Day one has us descending an incredible amount of elevation on some of the fastest trails I’ve ever ridden – a perfect test of Shimano’s new XTR Trail brakes. Inside you can find all of the information and photos, including their new Ice Technology finned pads and impressive aluminum core and steel sandwich rotors. Keep reading to find out how the new brakes performed…

2011 Shimano XTR Trail Brakes
When developing their new flagship XTR component group, Shimano realized that while XTR was at one point thought of as their top end component group across the board, todays riders were splintered into two different mindsets: one group who simply wants to get from point A to point B (otherwise know as the start and finish lines), and another who are not only looking for the best performance, but also more control. This theory propagated two distinct XTR component groups that allow each component to have greater focus on it’s application. The differences that you’ll be able to read about over the next few updates include more adjustments, wider rims, and a more spread out gearing range on the Trail group, while the Race lineup sheds grams and comes in lighter.

The new XTR Trail lever uses a barrel reservoir for a much sleeker appearance and easier bleeding. Lever reach and free stroke adjustments remain. After a long day in the saddle that involved more descending than a lot of riders manage in week of riding I’d admit that the lever and ergonomics are the best I’ve ever used.

Yes, both variations of Shimano’s XTR group will be going 10 speed for 2011 and we’ll get to that a bit further on, but even more exciting to me is the effort that Shimano is putting into their brake systems to push their performance to the next level. Completely new for the upcoming season, the XTR brakes not only look quite different visually to the previous model, but also feature some interesting technology that is hidden away from sight.

Shimano has gone away from their long used master cylinder design, instead debuting a new barrel reservoir that is both lighter and allows for much easier bleeding. The new lever arrangement is also much sleeker and minimalist than their previous designs as well. Riders who have been fans of Shimano’s brakes in the past, but cursed the lack of a split bar clamp, will be happy to see that the 2011 models use a hinged clamp that will make installing or removing controls much easier. While the Race version of the XTR is pared down to only the essentials, the Trail model shown here features both reach and free stroke adjustment that lets you fine tune the position and feel to just how you like it. The Trail brake also uses Shimano’s Servo Wave system to control leverage and add power, but the Race forgoes this to shed a few extra grams. Due to the Trail brakes different leverage it also employs a slightly taller lever blade, 14 mm vs. 13 mm for the Race, for a more comfortable fit in your fingers.

This nearly finished lever shows the path that the Servo Wave system takes as the lever goes through it’s stroke. The Trail brakes are said to have more power than the non-Servo Wave XTR Race levers.

2011 XTR Trail lever details
Entirely new brake for 2011
Short-stroke Servo-Wave mechanism for quick engagement
Tool-free reach-adjust
Free stroke adjustment
Shorter, wider 14-millimeter brake lever with more efficient pivot location
Hinge-clamp mounting bracket
High-power hose uses slightly smaller inner bore
Combine with i-spec bracket to reduce handlebar clutter

Shimano’s new XTR caliper is used on both the Trail and Race systems and hides two full ceramic pistons. The two black objects atop the caliper act as cooling fins that dissipate heat via their increased surface are. They are actually attached to the Ice Tech pads, not the caliper itself. An aluminum banjo bolt is used to attach the hose to the caliper.

Following the new updated brake hose (smaller inner diameter for a stiffer and more powerful feel) down to the caliper, you’ll discover that it has also been completely redesigned for 2011. The new one piece forged caliper is shared between both the XTR Trail and Race groups and still accepts top loading pads that many of us have come to appreciate, but it also hides a brand new full ceramic piston which is an industry first. Ceramic was chosen for the piston material due to its ability to shed heat. In fact, battling the heat caused by prolonged or heavy braking seems to be a major concern of the brake development team and it shows throughout the entire system. You’ll notice in the picture of the caliper above that two black finned pieces are protruding from it’s top. These are not actually attached to the caliper itself, but to it’s brake pads. They act as cooling fins, something common in many other industries, and function by greatly increasing the surface area that can dissipate heat before it affects braking. The XTR Trail brakes come stock with these Ice Technology pads with sintered pad material, but both resin Ice Tech pads and standard non-finned pads are also available, as well as a titanium backed pads that save a few grams, but may not be quite a stiff. According to Shimano, tests at high temperatures have shown that the strange looking pads can cool the operating system’s temperature by 50 celsius.

While the Ice Tech pads are very visible, sometimes the coolest bits of technology are hidden away where you can’t see it. This is the case with Shimano’s new aluminum and steel hybrid Ice Technology rotors – and no, I’m not speaking of the trick aluminum spider either. Concealed by the rotor’s stainless steel braking surface is a thin aluminum core that acts as a heat sink to pull heat away from the braking surface and disperse it. I was told that this aluminum and steel sandwich rotor design reduces heat by an impressive 100 celsius when things get really hot. Very cool technology indeed. Only riders who use Center Lock hubs will be able to give these a go, there are no six bolt versions as of right now.

The aluminum spidered Ice Technology rotors also feature an aluminum core that acts as a heat sink to keep temperatures in line when things start to get hot.

2011 XTR Trail caliper and rotor details
Entirely new brake for 2011
One piece forged post mount caliper
Oversized ceramic pistons
Aluminum banjo hose fitting
Four pad choices for any condition – resin/Al, metal/Ti, resin/Ice, metal/Ice
Additional heat control with Ice Tech aluminum core rotors
Metal pad compound with Radiator backing plate (standard)

This photo shows a cross section of the aluminum core rotor encased in glass. The aluminum core is sandwiched by stainless steel braking surfaces on both sides and the design is able to lower operating temperatures by 100 degrees.

Riding Impressions
While there is no denying that brakes can be a very personal thing and preferences vary greatly from rider to rider, there are also a few common traits that can add up to make a great brake. Usable power, modulation, reliability, and ergonomics all need to come together to make brakes that you feel confident in no matter what the conditions.

The lever ergonomics, how it fits in your fingers and the geometry that changes as you pull it, feel as if Shimano shaped the levers specifically for my hands. While I’ve heard grumblings about their previous levers feeling a bit too skinny and applying too much pressure in one spot, the 14 mm tall Trail levers (the Race levers are slightly smaller at 13 mm) felt comfortable from the get go. Pulling firmly on the blades felt comfortable, even when panic braking into a hairpin that I was about to blow. There are also some small traction giving divots in the face of the lever that I couldn’t really feel with gloves on, but it may be a different story when riding in the rain and mud. The short levers pivot close to the bar clamp as well, thereby avoiding the feeling that your fingers can slip off the end as they get pulled closer to the bar. I’m a big fan of reach and bite point adjustments that many brakes come with these days and the XTR levers feature both, although you still need to use a phillips screwdriver to make changes to the free stroke (bite point) and its range of adjustment is very fine. The lever reach dial turns with little effort which is more than I can say for some other companies offerings. The power of the new XTR Trail brakes was very impressive and I took full advantage of it throughout the ride. While not quite Saint power (most riders aren’t looking for that anyways), I’d venture to say that they actually have more usable power throughout the lever’s stroke. This is made even more impressive by the fact that I was using the optional resin pads during the ride. While I can’t vouch for the Shimano provided numbers that claim Ice Technology lowers operating temperatures by a combined 150 celsius, I had absolutely zero fade during one of the rides 30-40 minute downhill portion. Having experienced other brakes losing power over long descents and have to adjust my riding style accordingly, I was very happy with how they performed during the demanding ride.

There is no doubt that the new XTR Trails brakes work very well, but two questions remain: how will they perform in the longterm and when it is time to perform a bleed, will it be easier than other models as Shimano claims? My impressions above were taken from just one ride, but stay tuned for a longterm test down the road after I’ve put many miles on them and done some wrenching.

Visit Shimano’s website to see their entire lineup of components.

Excited about what Shimano has coming down the line? Looking forward to having a go on the new brakes? Available soon later at Tionghin once Shimano releases it on the market, will keep everyone updated in our blog!

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