Archive for September, 2010

Titus FTM Carbon Review at Bike Radar!

“Light, lively and with an impressive turn of speed, but watch the fork length and rear shock setup” – By Seb Rogers, What Mountain Bike

Tempe, Arizona-based Titus began in 1991, specialising – as their name suggests – in titanium hardtails. The wonder aerospace material was a hot ticket back then, but times change and Titus have moved with them to embrace alternative materials, including aluminium and carbon.

Their 135mm-travel trail full-susser, the FTM, is available in all three flavours. We opted for the full-carbon version, which – at £1,999 for a frame – offers a weight advantage over the aluminium option (£1,799) without going to the wallet-emptying extremes of the top-of-the-range titanium FTM (£3,199).

The Titus FTM Carbon is light and plush, with that indefinable vibration-damping feel that characterises carbon frames. The 140mm fork feels too long and contributes to a wandering front end at low speeds, but this bike is ideal if you’re a smooth rider looking for the ultimate mile-munching machine.

Ride & handling: Lithe, plush carbon mile-muncher that delivers effortless pace

The FTM carbon is a seriously fast bike. With its sub-25lb overall weight, a stiff frame structure and rear suspension that’s both plush and pleasingly pedal-neutral, this is a very easy bike to wind up to eye-watering speeds. The beautifully balanced Fox shocks fitted to both ends of our test bike soaked up everything we could throw at them, while the carbon chassis delivered the vibration-absorbing tautness for which the material is famous.

It’s not perfect, though. In spite of a set of numbers that look about right for a 135mm bike, at first we found ourselves occasionally gouging clods of turf from the edges of the trail with our pedals. A tad less sag in the shock helped matters, but there was a related problem: at its longest 140mm setting, the Fox fork felt too long, giving the front end a lazy waywardness on steep climbs that had us scrabbling for the TALAS travel-adjust dial and flicking it to 120mm. This improved things in the steering department, but dropped the bottom bracket a bit lower.

Last year’s FTM was, we’re told, occasionally criticised for a bottom bracket that sat too high. This year’s should be on the money, but something about the FTM’s rear suspension seems to make it sit further into its travel than a number of other bikes. Don’t get too hung up on these points, though. Despite our nit-picking, this is one of the fastest mid-travel trail bikes around.

With a slightly shorter fork and careful rear shock setup, the FTM carbon is capable of blistering speed and without the geometry issues, this would have scored even higher. It’s light enough to embarrass some cross-country race bikes and has enough travel to keep up with the all-mountain brigade on the descents.

Frame & equipment: Despite concerns over the front end geometry, this is a quality chassis

The big advantage of carbon over the various metal alloys for a frame designer is that material can be put exactly where it’s needed and removed from where it isn’t. The end result here is a chassis that barely has a straight line. So the top tube fuses into the head tube, which in turn morphs into the down tube, and that blends into the bottom bracket and so on.

And all this comes with a healthy weight saving, too. The FTM carbon frameset weighs a claimed 5.25lb with rear shock – positively anorexic for a bike with 135mm of rear wheel travel. Elsewhere, the suspension is handled by a classic Horst Link setup, with a pivot in front of and below the dropout, and linkage-activated shock.

One of carbon’s drawbacks as a frame material is that it can be susceptible to failure as a result of invisible damage caused in crashes. Titus’s inclusion of a stainless steel plate under the down tube and above the bottom bracket area is a sensible precaution that should help prevent damage from any rocks flicked up by the front wheel.

Hard-wearing paint and lacquer should also help. But owners should take extra care to avoid big scrapes and dents and have crash damage inspected by a savvy bike shop. Titus’s partial internal routing suits the frame’s clean lines but, as with any internally routed bike, you should allow extra time when it comes to changing the housings.

The finish on our test bike was below par in a couple of areas, but we’re told that it was an early production sample and that these bugs have been ironed out on the full production versions of the FTM.

Titus distributors Axel Imports kitted our test bike out with a Shimano XT-based transmission and own-brand finishing kit, with a dose of trail fashion provided by a pair of shiny red Industry Nine wheels. It’s all good stuff, and enough to bring the overall weight comfortably below 25lb.

Frame & Fork:
Frame Material:Carbon
Fork Model:Fox Float RP23 air, 135mm
Headset Type:Ritchey WCS
Brakes Model:
Avid Elixir CR Mag hydraulic discs
Cranks Model:Shimano Deore XT 22/32/44T
Bottom Bracket Model:Shimano
Rear Derailleur Model:Shimano Deore XT
Front Derailleur Model:Shimano Deore XT
Shifters Model:Shimano XTR
Chain Model:SRAM PC991
Cassette:Shimano 9-speed, 11-32T

Contact Points:
Saddle Model:Fizik Gobi
Seatpost Model:Titus
Stem Model:Titus, 90mm
Handlebar Model:Titus aluminium riser, 670mm

Bottom Bracket Height (in):13.3 in
Chainstays (in):16.75
Seat Tube (in):19.25 in
Standover Height (in):30.5 (in)
Top Tube (in):23 in
Wheelbase (in):42.7 in
Tyres:Schwalbe Nobby Nic 26×2.25in
Front Wheel: Industry Nine wheelset with Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Arch rims
Rear Wheel: Industry Nine wheelset with Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Arch rims

Grap the NEW TITUS FTM CARBON FRAME today at Tionghin!

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2011 Pivot Mach 5.7 Mountain Bike – Quick Review at FeedTheHabit!

2011 Pivot Mach 5.7 Mountain Bike Quick Review – By Jason Mitchell

Will 2011 be the breakthrough year for carbon fiber? Some may say it happened already, but all the signs I’m seeing are pointing to that fact that 2011 will be HUGE for carbon. Yet even with the onslaught of carbon fiber, there are still many great bikes made out of good ‘ol aluminum and I’d say the all-new 2011 Pivot Mach 5.7 is one of those great bikes that will buck that trend in a big way.

The new Mach 5.7 is a beautiful bike that is built to go head-on with some stiff competition: Yeti 575, Ibis Mojo, Santa Cruz Blur LT etc. The 5.7 moniker represents the amount of travel provided by this capable trail slayer, and feels just about perfect on the trail.

Pivot Mach 5.7 Features (Official specs pending):

  • 1/2″ more travel than the Mach 5
  • Slacker angles for a better all-around trailbike feel
  • Lower BB than the Mach 5
  • Tapered head tube (Now standard on all Pivot bikes)
  • DW-Link suspension with carbon upper link
  • 0.5 lbs lighter than the Mach 5 frameset

Pivot Mach 5.7 Review
With Bike DealerCamp coming to my stomping grounds, I was able to ride the Mach 5.7 on familiar trails and terrain. The venue was Deer Valley, UT (A far cry from Bootleg Canyon, NV where the Interbike Outdoor Demo is held), so I was stoked for both lift-served and lung-served singletrack.

My first impression of the 5.7 was its light weight. Hefting the complete build, I was completely amazed. While I neglected to catch the exact weight, I’d say the build tested was easily 26 lbs or less. Highlights of the build include: DT Swiss XR400 wheelset, Fox Float 32 fork, full Shimano XT 3×10 grouppo, Shimano XT brakeset, FSA SL-K riser bars, and Kenda Nevegal tires.

As it turned out, the complete build worked extremely-well except for the wheels. Not that the wheels failed or anything, but they weren’t quite as stiff and capable as those I’d expect to come standard on this rig. Crank Brothers Cobalt or similar would be much better-suited to this bike’s capabilities.

I really had a blast on this bike. It felt nimble and fast on the uphill with traction aplenty. Shock setup is aided by a custom sag indicator that’s included with the bike (a nice touch). With that proper setup, both the negative and positive travel of the DW-Link suspension design comes into play — yielding trademark DW smoothness in all terrain (something other suspension designs have trouble matching).

While climbing, the rear wheel seems to extend and compress to match the terrain — no matter how technical. I could push this bike hard and all it would do is keep ascending without complaint whatsoever.

Snaking through fast and flowing singletrack is just what the doctor ordered for the 5.7. It seems to settle into its comfort zone very quickly — encouraging the rider to lean harder into the turn, pedal faster and point it straight through technical sections. Overall handling felt very balanced in all conditions except for a teeny bit of front-end wander on the steepest of climbs — nothing a little Fox TALAS or RockShox U-turn travel adjustments can’t remedy.

Good Mach 5.7

  • Extremely lightweight — especially for aluminum
  • Seemingly perfect travel
  • Ultra-capable climber
  • So flickable and fun, it’s amazing
  • DW-Link suspension is hard to beat
  • The perfect do-it-all machine
  • Tapered head tube for stiffness
  • Very balanced singletrack assault bike that just flows from turn-to-turn

Bottom Line: 2011 Pivot Mach 5.7
This is a great new bike for Pivot and should prove to be very popular. I have only very briefly ridden the Mach 5 prior to riding the 5.7 but the difference is astounding. The Mach 5.7 feels like a great trailbike while the regular Mach 5 feels like a long-legged XC race bike. That difference is felt on the trail as the 5.7 is as comfortable as they get and performs on par with the best trailbikes on the market. I really had a great time on this bike.

The 2011 Pivot Mach 5.7 will be available soon at Tionghin!

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Bike Checks: On a Titus FTM!

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

Bike Checks on a Titus FTM!

The complete build!

The FTM anodize finish with gloss logos!

Easton stem and handlebar with Sram X9 shifters and Avid Juicy 5 brakes with goodridge cables!

Sram X9 rear derailleur with KMC X9 gold chain, Shimano XT Cassette and Shimano SLX crankset with Shimano XT front derailleur.

Wheelset with Chris King ISO hub, DT spokes and Syncros FLR DS23 rim and lastly with Magura SL rotors.

Our Tionghin webby sticker!

Components List
Frame: Titus FTM USA
Fork: FOX 2009 Talas 140mm RLC, 9mm standard QR
Headset: Cane Creek sealed headset
Wheels: Chris King ISO hubs, Syncros FLR DS23 Rim and DT spokes with Syncros skewer
Tires: Panaracer Fire XC Pro 2.1 Front and Back with Kore Rim tape
Saddle: WTB
Bar: Eastom Monkey Lite XC Handlebar
Grip: Standard blow on grips
Crank: Shimano SLX crank
Brake: Avid juicy 5 disc brake with Goodridge cable
Rotor: Magura Marta SL Disc, 160mm(front) and 160mm(rear)
Stem: Easton EA50, 100mm length, 31.8mm clamp diameter
Seatpost: Thomson Elite ALU 30.9mm
Pedal: Crank Brother Egg Beater
Cassette: Shimano XT 11t-34t
Shifters: Sram X-9 shifter
Rear derailleur: Sram X-9
Front derailleur: Shimano XT
Chain: KMC X9 gold

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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2011 Manitou R7 and all-new marvel XC suspension forks!

We just got our hands on some nifty little internal documents showing that for 2011, Manitou has completely revamped their classic R7 to drop about 40g, improve stiffness and load bearing and make it look much slicker. The new casting brings the R7 down to 2.95lb to 3.05lb, making it one of the lightest fully featured XC forks on the market. Follow up calls ensued:

“Basically, our R7 tooling was worn out and rather than just redo the same thing, we figured we’d use this opportunity to redesign the fork,” says Rich Travis, Manitou’s Product Manager. “So we used FEA design to improve load tolerances and drop weight, and while we were at it we improved mud clearance and made it look better, too.

“If it had only been for the U.S. market, we may have just killed it. The R7 sells really well in Europe (around 10,000 pieces per year), but in the U.S. people are now mainly looking at forks with 32mm stanchions.”

And to address that market, for the past year, Manitou has been working on a new XC fork that has 32mm stanchions and “radically different looking lowers” that’s going to be called the Marvel. It’ll feature 100mm and 120mm travel options, a tapered steerer tube and a new, proprietary 15mm thru axle design.

A Marvel Expert will be OEM focused with 9mm QR and could be shown as early as this fall, but for aftermarket early next year will be the real deal. Travis wouldn’t commit to any timeline but said a 29er version was likely in the works.

Flip past the break for more comparison photos of the new R7 casting…

We’ve been testing Manitou’s current R7 in both 26″ and 29er form all Summer and can honestly say that they’re great forks. They’re way stiffer compared to older 28mm stanchion forks, and even among current 32mm ones, they’re adequately stiff for XC racing and trail riding. A full review of both are in the short term review queue, but if you’re in the immediate market for a new fork, you wouldn’t be disappointed by them…the action is smooth with good external rebound and compression adjustment. This new casting should make them even better and give XC racers an extremely lightweight option that doesn’t skimp on performance.

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Bike Checks: New Build on a Titus FireLine TI!

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 Titus FireLine TI!

The complete build!

The complete build upfront! With Manitou R7 100mm ABS+ fork.

Shimano XT cassette, Shimano XT non-shadow rear derailleur, Shimano XT front derilleur, Shimano XT chain and crankset!

Shimano XT brakes set with Shimano XT hubs, with Wheelsmith spokes and SunRingle equalizer 23 rims!

Components List
Frame: Titus FireLine TI USA
Fork: Manitou 2010 R7 100mm ABS+, 9mm standard QR
Headset: Ritchey WCS sealed headset
Wheels: Shimano XT hubs, SunRingle Equalizer 23 Rim and Wheelsmith DB spokes with XT skewer
Tires: Maxxis High Roller 2.1 Front and Back with Kore Rim tape
Saddle: Selle Italia
Bar: Kore Flat 6061 Handlebar
Grip: Ergon GP1 Lock on grips
Crank: Shimano XT crank
Brake: Shimano XT disc brake
Rotor: Shimano XT Center Lock Disc, 160mm(front) and 160mm(rear)
Stem: Kore Race, 110mm length, 31.8mm clamp diameter
Seatpost: Easton EA70 ALU 30.9mm
Pedal: Wellgo pedal
Cassette: Shimano XT 11t-34t
Shifters: Shimano XT
Rear derailleur: Shimano XT non-shadow
Front derailleur: Shimano XT
Chain: Shimano XT 9 speed

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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2010 Eurobike: 2011 Pivot Cycles

Pivot Bicycles recently announced that Upgrade Bikes would be carrying its range in the UK. Here’s a quick look at what we can expect…

The Mach 5.7 is, as you might expect a 5.7in travel trail bike. It’s been lightened for 2011, slackened a hair and now has a de-rigeur flared headtube.

The Mach 429 isn’t a 4.29 bike, it’s Pivot’s 100mm travel, 29in bike.

The Mach 4: 100mm travel, features a DW Link, like the rest of the range, BB92, a carbon rocker and should come in under 22lbs.

The Phoenix lives on, and here’s its big brother: the Phoenix DH.

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Bike Checks: New Build on a Santa Cruz Nomad!

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 Nomad!

The complete build!

The complete build upfront!

Fox 2011 36 160 Float RLC!

Fox 2010 DHX 5.0, Shimano XT crankset with bashguard on Wellgo Pedal, Shimano XT Front derailleur.

Shimano XT cassette, Shimano XT non-shadow rear derailleur and KMC X9 gold chain 9 speed.

Kore B52 70mm stem, Easton Monkey Lite XC bar, Shimano XT Shifters and Magura Marta SL Brakes with Goodridge cable.

Components List
Frame: Santa Cruz Nomad with FOX DHX5.0
Fork: FOX 2011 36 160 RLC, w/20mm
Headset: FSA 36 degree sealed
Wheels: Hope Pro2 hubs, ZTR Crest Rim and Marwi ano spokes with Hope skewer
Tires: Schwalbe Nobby Nick 2.35 front, Schwalbe Nobby Nick 2.2 rear, using Stans tubeless system
Saddle: Selle Italia
Bar: Easton Monkey Lite XC
Grip: Lock on grips
Crank: Shimano XT crank with bash guard
Brake: Magura Marta SL with Goodridge cable
Rotor: Magura Marta SL 160mm(front) and 160mm(rear)
Stem: Kore B52, 70mm length, 31.8mm clamp diameter
Seatpost: Race Face Deus 30.9mm
Pedal: Wellgo pedal
Cassette: Shimano XT 11t-34t
Shifters: Shimano XT
Rear derailleur: Shimano XT non-shadow
Front derailleur: Shimano XT
Chain: KMC X9 Gold 9speed

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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2010 UCI World Championships Mont Saint Anne spotted the PHOENIX!

Here are the shots from one of the pits at the 2010 UCI World Championships:

2010 UCI World Championships practice run downhill:

Stay tune for more pics and news from the Phoenix at the UCI World Championships!

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Manitou Minute MRD Review at Bike Radar!

“Light, with decent control, but has twist and bolted axle issues” – By Guy Kesteven, Mountain Biking UK

Manitou have worked hard to regain their reputation for reliability and their 2010 forks are a lot better controlled, less pressure sensitive and therefore much easier to set up than their previous years’ offerings.

The Minute is now a trustworthy and lightweight trail option. There’s none of the sudden braking or drop-off dive found on previous Manitous, just reasonably supple midstroke damping and initial sensitivity.

The dials have a positive click, and the anodised finish and polished, sloped shouldered MRP crown give the Minute MRD a high-class look. It’s light for a 20mm through-axle fork and mud clearance under the rear brace is decent. Overall height is low enough not to disturb handling.

The narrow stance, low weight chassis does tend to twist in rough, rutted, rocky or high load turning situations. Older Manitous that we’ve been using for a couple of years have stayed supple and smooth with minimum maintenance.

Our 130mm-travel (5.1in) version never delivered more than 120mm (4.7in). The major niggle, though, is that you have to undo five Allen key bolts just to get the wheel out, which is a pain compared to screw-through setups.

Features: Hexlock 20mm bolt through axle
Damping Adjustment: External Low Speed Compression, High Speed Compression
Lowers: Post Disc Mount
Height: 505mm
Stanchion Diameter: 32mm
Travel: 130mm
Weight: 1726g
Colour: White

Get yours today at Tionghin!

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