Archive for June, 2011

Transition Bikes 2011 rest are in!!!

2011 Transition Bottle Rocket
We classify the BottleRocket as the original slopestyle bike that set the standard for a new generation of bikes. We didn’t realize this would become one of our most popular and versatile bikes that can handle almost any type of riding. Our customers use their BottleRockets for almost every type of riding and who can blame them. The bike is just at home in the air doing tricks as it is railing singletrack or shredding Whistler trails. The BottleRocket geometry created a revolution for a new style of bikes to come and to this day we haven’t changed the magic numbers that we feel achieved perfection. The combination of shorter chainstay lengths, lower BB and the perfect head angle all work together to create a ride that is one of our funnest bikes. Responsive in corners, easy to manual and bunny hop and complete stability in the air all add up to one of our most versatile geometries we have ever created. Our full length seattube with a gusset allows you to get the seat up when need to get to the top.

2011 Transition Covert
The Covert is our 6″ travel quiver-killing do-it-all bike. Ya, we know that there is no such thing as a do-it-all bike but the Covert is at the top of our lists if we could only have one bike. In the hands of a capable rider it can jump from a multitude of riding disciplines. The new frame sports a massive amount of refinements that perfectly balance weight and strength to give you the total package. Weighting in at a respectable 6.7 lbs without rear shock, and builds up to a 28-32 lb, this bike is made for efficient days in the saddle. At the core of the Covert is our completely new proprietary tubeset designed in house. The new tubes create a stronger frame with better contact points for welding shock mounts, pivots, and the headtube. The result is a great do-it-all package for the rider that demands their bike to do more.

2011 Transition Blindside
We call the Blindside a Big All Mountain bike designed to be a versatile big travel bike. With a front derailleur setup to get you to the summit and up to 190mm of adjustable rear travel so you can take on any downhill. The Blindside’s versatility is quite surprising as the bike can pedal extremely well, is nimble on singletrack and jumps and can eat up rough DH style trails. The suspension utilizes a large 2.75″ stroke shock for low leverage and features a slightly progressive leverage rate curve that gives excellent consistent leverage throughout the travel allowing the natural progressiveness of the shock to ramp up perfectly. The frames features our own custom formed tubeset with internal gussets and a slimmed down rear triangle with internal cable routing for a clean look.

Available at Tionghin now!

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Bike Checks: New Overhaul Service on a Orbea Team!

We will be featuring bikes that are full overhaul service at Tionghin from now and having a bike checks on the complete assembly!

Bike Checks on a new Overhaul Service on a Orbea Team!
The bike was left untouched for months and it was filled with dust and rust. So for it getting back to racing again, it was a total detail overhaul.

Read on…

The overhaul result of the bike!

Upfront of the complete bike service.

Fork with the classic Rock Shox SID.

Cockpit with Shimano XTR Dual control levers and Pazzaz Carbon flat bar on the Thomson Elite stem.

Cane creek integrated headset for the smooth turning control of the bike.

Front drive train with Shimano XTR crankset and Shimano XTR front derailleur.

Rear drive train transmission with Shimano XTR rear derailleur, Shimano XTR cassette and Shimano XTR chain.

Wheels are on Shimano XTR center lock hubs, DT swiss competition spokes and Sun Ringle DS2-XC rims.

Details of the overhaul.

Full colour restoration.

Brakes are on Shimano XTR.

Components List
Frame: Oreba Team
Fork: Rock Shox SID 120mm, Motion Control with standard QR
Headset: Cane Creek Integrated headset
Wheels: Shimano XTR center lock hubs, DT swiss Competition spokes and nipples, Sun Ringle DS2-XC Rims
Tires: Hutchinson Python 2.1 Front and Rear tubeless
Saddle: Tioga Spyder
Bar: Pazzaz Carbon Flat Handlebar
Grip: Lizard Skin Lock On grips
Crank: Shimano XTR Triple 175mm Cranks
Brake: Shimano XTR
Rotor: Shimano XTR center lock Disc, 160mm(front) and Shimano XTR center lock Disc,, 160mm(rear)
Stem: Thomson ELite, 70mm length, 25.4mm clamp diameter stem
Seatpost: Thomson Elite Seatpost
Pedal: Shimano XTR SPD Pedals
Cassette: Shimano XTR 9 speed cassette
Shifters: Shimano Dual Control shifters with brakes
Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR
Front derailleur: Shimano XTR Top Swing
Chain Guide Device: None
Chain: Shimano XTR 9 speed chain

Stay tune for more upcoming new overhaul services and bike checks!

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2012 Shimano XT M780 788 785

Shimano released their new XTR M980 components late last summer and their recently launched 2012 Shimano XT components see many similar revisions. XT has always been a go-to setup for most riders who want quality components without the additional expense of XTR. From racers to enthusiasts, the XT line of products offer some XTR features but at a more affordable price point. Shimano has brought many updates to the XT components in the M780 series that should have many riders jumping for joy. Inside is a preview of some of our first impressions on the new XT gruppo.

So for this press presentation of the 2012 Shimano XT components we’ve lined up a Pivot Cycles Mach 5.7 to bolt the new components to. Pivot Cycles is well known for providing good pedaling performance without sacrificing bump absorption. It makes for a good work horse to bolt the 2012 XT components to given the demograph of the Mach 5.7. FOX has updated their fork seals and more for 2012 so a 15mmQR 150mm FOX Talas 32 RLC with Kashima coating was bolted up front to handle front suspension duties. It’s been doing quite well so far and the actuation has been smooth and full travel utilized. The Talas option allows the travel to be swapped to 120mm or 150mm but we’ve stayed with 150mm mode so far.

Ride one on the new XT components took place outside of Northstar in Galena Creek state park. We rode a wide variety of trails in this region that tested out almost every aspect of the new components. We descended, climbed, and did most everything in between. You can see some snips of the ride in the video below.

Shimano XT overview with Devin Walton

So to begin with the BL-M785 / BR-M785 Hydraulic Disc Brake System sees similar revisions that are carried over from the XTR M988 brakes. Servo wave technology, iSpec, oversized 22mm ceramic piston, and much more. The brakes feel almost identical to the XTR M988 brakes. In a blind test without the holes in the XTR brake lever, I’d be hard pressed to identify them from each other.

Shimano claims 25% more power with the ICE brake pads and rotor combination. These brakes have a lot going for them. The short lever I’ve found has made me move the brake lever inboard quite a bit more in comparison to other brakes. One finger setup is ideal for these.

You will notice the servo wave technology carried over again here form XTR. Free stroke adjustment is there again, but in my opinion still isn’t as great as it could be in terms of a wide adjustment range.

The styling is clean. Shimano offers this new XT component set in either a black or silver setup.

Front detail shot with the shifter snugged nicely inside. If you are after an integrated setup, Shimano also offers these shifters to mate to the lever with an ispec adapter.

One bolt access for the brakes allows them to be removed without removing your other components on the bar. There is a safety mechanism in place that helps ensure the lever doesn’t disengage fully unless you depress the safety mechanism on the side of the brake lever clamp.

The rear caliper sees 22mm ceramic pistons as well as ICE-Tech rotors that have finned pads to aid in cooling. Additionally the brake rotor has a sandwiched aluminum design that helps keep things cool here as well. For those of you who have been after ICE-Tech rotors but do not run centerlock hubs, Shimano has a new 6 bolt disc option for ICE-tech rotor.

Finned pads to aid in keeping things cool.

A close up of the ICE-tech center lock rotor.

The new XT crankset is offered in a double option or a triple option this year. The triple option you see here (black 24-32-42) is available in black or silver options as well as a variety of chainring sizing options. The shifting on these cranks are similar to XTR but there certainly are differences. The DynaSys 10speed chain is also a big component to ensuring things work properly as the asymmetrical chain allows the chain to traverse up and down the cog/chain rings with ease.

Classic pinch bolt setup to ensure these cranks stay on. Proven design and has worked quite well in our experience without any issues.

The rear XT derailleur is available in black or silver as most all of the new XT components. They have revised the cable routing as well as still utilize their Shadow Technology that keeps the derailleur tucked nicely out of harms way. The 11-36t 10speed cassette is a nice feature that allows you to stay in a given chain ring longer. The 36t offers some nice bail-out that lets you stay in the middle ring.

Shadow derailleur tucks inside out of harms way from rocks and other trail obstacles.

The front derailleur on the Mach 5.7 uses a direct mount front derailleur setup. This makes aligning derailleurs almost 100% idiot proof but some will find a way to set things up incorrectly. Shifting is crisp and predictable.

One of the big highlights of the XTR M980 series was the addition of the trail pedal. Similarly, XT also gets a Trail version that offers much of the same benefits but in a more affordable package. Weight wise they’re not as light as the XTR option, but you’ll save a good amount of money here with similar performance. The wider pedal body allows for more contact with the shoe in general whether you’re clipped in or not. If you are after a more traditional XC style clipless pedal, Shimano XT also an option for that as well.

These new XT shifters have a lot of new features to them that have trickled down from the M980 series shifters. The action is quite light and you can feel the mechanical advantage of Shimano’s Vivid system. In comparison to XTR these are very close in quality shifting. We did find they do offer a very positive click in comparison to XTR. Some may actually prefer the actuation of the XT to the XTR. Additionally, XT has adopted XTR’s dual down shift technology. So with the push of the downshift lever, you can click one or two gears easily. The detente spacing has improved since M970 that I felt was easier to downshift twice accidentally. The new XT and XTR shifters offer a better predictable double down shift in comparison.

Gear indicator on the XT shift levers as well. They hug low so should prove to be more durable in crashes. The shift indicator can also be removed as well should you decide you don’t want it.

The front shifter features a mode select option. If you are running a double or a triple XT crankset, this handy switch allows you to run the same shifter without having to spec a specific front shifter for both systems.

Shimano has revised the XT wheels here as well. They are still tubeless rims but the rim bed height has been reduced slightly. The XT wheels are available in two trim levels. The XC-ish setup offers a 19mm internal rim width and a 135QR / 15mm / Front QR option. The Trail level offers similar options but has a 21mm internal rim and an additional option for a 142x12mm wheel. Both wheelsets are still centerlock and utilize the classic Shimano angular contact bearings as well.

Overall the 2012 Shimano XT components have a ton of trickle down from the XTR M980 series. The brakes, pedals, shifters, wheels, shifters, derailleurs, and much more benefit from XTR’s technology advancements. This workhorse gruppo can work well on a variety of bikes. I suspect many riders will spec XT over XTR based on price alone. XT offers a great amount of new Shimano technology found on their higher priced XTR gruppo. XTR still offers a finer finish and polish to it but I suspect for the general rider, it will be hard to pony up for XTR when XT offers much of the same from a features perspective.

The new Shimano 2012 XT Groupset are available at Tionghin now!

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Bike Checks: New Overhaul Service on a Pivot Mach 4!

We will be featuring bikes that are full overhaul service at Tionghin from now and having a bike checks on the complete assembly!

Bike Checks on a new Overhaul Service on a Pivot Mach 4!
It was brought to us for maintenance and overhaul to extend the life of the bike more, even its in a race ready form at first.

Read on…

The complete overhaul bike!

Upfront of the Mach 4.

Front fork with Manitou R7 Carbon. Super light and stiff.

Cockpit with Kore Race stem, Answer Protaper AM handlebar. Shifting with Shimano XT shifters and braking with Shimano XTR brakes.

Details of the overhaul.

Front drive train with Shimano XTR crankset and Shimano XT direct mount Front derailleur for the shifting.

Rear transmission with Shimano XTR Shadow Rear derailleur, Shimano XTR cassette and KMC X9 9 speed chain.

Wheels are on Crank Brothers Cobalt, on Magura Storm Rotors.

Finishing of the bike were taken care of with a slight coat of protection.

The Pivot’s carbon DW Link.

Carbon rocket on the Pivot.

Custom tuned Fox rear shox to matches the DW-Link.

Steering with Rithchey WCS headset.

Components List
Frame: Pivot Mach 4 2010
Fork: Manitou R7 ABS+ Carbon
Headset: Ritchey WCS sealed headset
Wheels: Crank Brother Cobalt wheelset
Tires: Panaracer FireXCPro 2.2 Front and Rear UST
Saddle: Kore I Beam Saddle
Bar: Answer Protaper AM Low rise Handlebar
Grip: Answer XC Lock On grips
Crank: Shimano XTR 175mm Cranks
Brake: Shimano XTR brake set
Rotor: Magura Storm 6 bolt Disc, 180mm(front) and Magura Storm 6 bolt Disc, 160mm(rear)
Stem: Kore Race, 100mm length, 31.8mm clamp diameter stem
Seatpost: Kore Seatpost
Pedal: Answer Rove FR Pedals
Cassette: Shimano XTR Cassette 9 speed
Shifters: Shimano XTR 9 speed shifters
Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR Shadow carbon
Front derailleur: Shimano XT Direct Mount
Chain Guide Device: None
Chain: KMC X9 9 speed Chain

Stay tune for more upcoming new overhaul services and bike checks!

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Bike Checks: New Build on a Giant Reign!

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 Giant Reign!
Another bike upgrade project for us, the entire groupset was upgraded and pimped with matching colors.

We do provide Race Shield protections on your bikes with additional cost on the labour charges too!

Read on..

The complete build and upgraded bike.

Upgraded entire drive train groupset on the bike.

Cockpit with Sram X0 10 speed shifters and Avid Elixir R brakes for the braking.

The upgrades.

Front drive train with Sram X0 double crankset.

>Rear drive train with Sram X0 rear derailleur and Sram 10 speed cassette.

Running on the Sram PC1031 10 speed chain.

Wheels are on Shimano non series hubs and Mavic EX321 rims.

Full polish down after the build and upgrade!

Components List
Frame: Giant Reign
Fork: 2010 Fox Float RL 140mm with 15QR axke
Headset: FSA sealed headset
Wheels: WTB 15mm Front and Shimano Non-Series 135mm x QR Rear hubs with Mavic EX321 rims and DT swiss competition spokes
Tires: Kenda Nevegal 2.35 Front and Rear
Saddle: –
Bar: Giant mid riser Handlebar
Grip: Giant Lock On grips
Crank: Sram X0 double crankset in 175mm
Brake: Avid Elixir R Disc Brakes
Rotor: Avid G3 6 bolt Disc, 180mm(front) and Avid G3 6 bolt Disc, 160mm(rear)
Stem: Giant stem, 70mm length, 31.8mm clamp diameter stem
Seatpost: Giant seatpost
Pedal: Wellgo pedal
Cassette: Sram PG1050 cassette 11t – 36t
Shifters: Sram X0 Shifters
Rear derailleur: Sram X0
Front derailleur: Shimano SLX Dyna-Sys
Chain Guide Device: Nil
Chain: Sram PC1031 10 speed chain

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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2011 Answer -ONE Drop Stem 50mm 55mm

For 2011 Answer came out with a new direct mount stem. It provides the rider with a lower drop than typical direct mount stems. This new stem from Answer is called -One aka “Minus One”.

The Answer -One stem is a sturdy stem that is a dropped (-20mm) design. This allows you to get your bars lower than you typically would be able to. Certainly this dropped design isn’t for everyone but if you’ve got a bike that you feel has the bars too high no matter what you do, this could be your solution. This direct mount stem bolts directly to the top of your crown giving you a sturdy interface to mount to.

Answer testing out the -ONE stem.


  • Height is -20mm (Bar Center)
  • The -ONE offers two length positions for the rider to pick from. A 50mm, or a 55mm option.
  • Metal used to machine the stem is 7075 Series alloy
  • Color wise, you can pick between black or white
  • Hardware used is A2 Stainless w/thread patch
  • Bar clamp is 31.8mm

Fits Boxxer, Dorado, FOX 40, BOS, and any other crown that uses the current Boxxer Mount that most everyone is using.

It is important to note that Answer’s -ONE stem will not fit the Manitou Dorado flat crown in the 50mm position.

The wide 62mm wide faceplate helps give Answer a stiff stem and yields a wide clamping area on the handlebars.


  • One Stem 152g

If a drop stem isn’t your cup of tea, Answer also makes this same stem in a non-dropped format called the DH Stem. It is similar in design but doesn’t offer the dropped design. It offers you three adjustable positions (45mm,50mm, and 55mm). The stem is designed well and machined without any sharp edges. It comes in at a respectable weight and should withstand some good hits. It does have a square look to it that some will like and some will dislike, but we think it looks just fine. Both models are a nice option that won’t break the bank and will compliment your ride nicely.

Available soon at Tionghin!

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Bike Checks: New Build on a 2011 Pivot Mach 5.7!

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 2011 Pivot Mach 5.7!
The bike was targeting at a light weight set up, and there you have it, weighting at 11.76kg for an All Mountain Bike with 5.7 inches of travel! Super light and sexy looks.

We do provide Race Shield protections on your bikes with additional cost on the labour charges too!

Read on..

The complete bike on the weighting scale!

The over all complete bike build!

Upfront of the build.

Upfront shock absorbed with Fox Float RLC 140mm of travel and tapered steerer for super stiff and precision control of the bike.

Formula R1 brakes for the stopping power.

Cockpit with Nuke Proof Warhead mid rise handlebar and Sunline Stem. Controls on Shimano XTR Dyna-Sys shifters and Formula R1 brakes.

Head tube view of the bike.

Front drive train with Shimano XTR Trail Triple crankset (Race Shield) and Shimano XTR Dyna-Sys direct mount front derailleur.

Rear transmission with Shimano XTR Dyna-Sys Shadow rear derailleur, Shimano XTR 10 speed cassette and Shimano XTR 10 speed chain.

Industry Nine Custom wheels on ZTR Crest rims.

New Mach 5.7 with maximum mud clearance on the rear triangle.

The Pivot’s DW-Link.

Custom tune RP23 to match the rear DW-Link.

The Pivot’s.

Selle Italia with Carbon rail seat on Thomson Elite seat post.

Components List
Frame: 2011 Pivot Mach 5.7 Medium
Fork: 2011 Fox Float RLC FIT 140mm with 15QR and Tapered steerer tube
Headset: Pivot Precision sealed headset
Wheels: Industry Nine 15mm Front and 135mm x QR Rear hubs with ZTR Crest rims and Industry Nine Custom spokes
Tires: Continental Rubber Queen UST 2.2 Front and WTB Wolverine UST 2.2 Rear
Saddle: Sella Italia Carbon rail seat
Bar: Nuke Proof Warhead mid riser Handlebar
Grip: Ritchey soft grips
Crank: Shimano XTR Trail Triple ring crankset in 175mm
Brake: Formula R1 Disc Brakes
Rotor: Formula R1 6 bolt Disc, 180mm(front) and Formula R1 6 bolt Disc, 180mm(rear)
Stem: SunLine stem, 70mm length, 31.8mm clamp diameter stem
Seatpost: Thomson Elite seatpost
Pedal: Crank Brother Candy pedal
Cassette: Shimano XTR Dyna-Sys 11t – 36t
Shifters: Shimano XTR Dyna-Sys Shifters
Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR Dyna-Sys
Front derailleur: Shimano XTR Dyna-Sys Direct Mount
Chain Guide Device: Nil
Chain: Shimano XTR Dyna-Sys 10 speed chain

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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Bike Checks: New Build on a 2011 Transition TR250!

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 2011 Transition TR250!
As requested, the TR250! Build for durability and trashing with the best suspension technology from the TR450! Stay tune for more Transition builds at our site!

We do provide Race Shield protections on your bikes with additional cost on the labour charges too!

Read on..

The complete TR250 build!

The complete TR250 build!

Manitou Dorado for the front shock absorber.

Sun Ringle Jumping Flea 20mm hub with Baradine 203mm rotor for the braking.

Manitou Dorado TPC+ damper, high speed compression adjuster and low speed compression.

Shimano Saint 4 pod brakes for more braking power and durability.

FSA Gravity sealed bearing tapered body headset.

Cock pit with Answer Protaper DH handlebar and Answer Direct Mount stem. Shifting with Shimano Saint shifters and brake on SHimano Saint 4 piston.

Answer cockpit.

Shimano Saint cock pit.

Front drive train with Shimano Saint 83mm, 165mm crank arm length for the crank and E13 SRS+ for the chain guide.

All new E13 SRS+ chain guide.

Rear gear transmission with Shimano Saint rear derailleur and Shimano Saint 11t – 28t cassette and KMC X9SL gold chain.

Sun Ringle 150mm x 12mm Jumping flea hubs and Wheelsmith DB14 colour spokes on Mavic EX 823 rims.

The TR250 suspension link.

Rear shock with Fox DHX RC4.

Rear shock with Fox DHX RC4.

The TR250 decals on the frame.

Fizik Zeak Seat.

Front cock pit view.

Components List
Frame: 2011 Transition TR250 Small Size
Fork: 2011 Manitou Dorado custom lowered to 180mm, 20mm axle with TPC+ damper
Headset: FSA Gravity sealed headset
Wheels: Sun Ringle Jumping Flea 20mm Front and 150mm x 12mm Rear hubs with Mavic 823 rims and Wheelsmith DB14 colored spokes
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 Front and Maxxis Minion DHF 2.35 Rear
Saddle: Fizik Zeak seat
Bar: Answer Protaper DH 1″ 780mm Handlebar
Grip: Answer Rove DH lock on grips
Crank: Shimano Saint 165mm Crankset in 83mm with Bash guard
Brake: Shimano Saint 4 piston Disc Brakes
Rotor: Baradine 6 bolt Disc, 203mm(front) and Baradine 6 bolt Disc, 203mm(rear)
Stem: Answer Direct Mount, 55mm – 45mm length, 31.8mm clamp diameter stem
Seatpost: Thomson Elite seatpost
Pedal: Answer Rove FR pedal
Cassette: Shimano Saint 9sp 11t – 28t
Shifters: Shimano Saint Shifters
Rear derailleur: Shimano Saint SS
Front derailleur: none
Chain Guide Device: E13 SRS+ with bash
Chain: KMC X9SL 9sp gold chain

Stay tune for more upcoming new builds and bike checks!

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WANT WIDE? Answer AM 720 Protaper Bars!

When it comes right down to it, handlebars are probably one of the simplest, yet most often overlooked components on a mountain bike. If you ask around, chances are most riders you talk to are still riding the stock handlebar that came on their bike or whatever they have been riding for years. Those who have changed their bars more often than not have done so due to weight or color rather than width or geometry.

Many riders haven’t experimented with different handlebars for whatever reason, whether it be fear that the bar won’t be liked, will be too expensive, too complicated to change out, or they’re just afraid of change. Truthfully though, as one of the main contact points on your bike, big advantages can be gained from trying something new, and perhaps a bit wider. Many mountain biking experts will agree that going to a slightly wider bar (in conjunction with a slightly shorter stem) in many situations will aid in control and rider confidence.

I’ve had a chance to bolt up both the AnswerProtaper carbon and aluminum 720 AM bars to multiple bikes now, and it certainly checks the wide bar box, but is it for everybody?

Just a sample of the numerous versions of the Protaper.

While quite possibly my favorite, the AM 720 is only one of many different Protaper bars currently offered by Answer. Protaper bars are available in multiple widths from the 660mm XC carbon bar, to the 780mm Protaper DH monster shown at the top of the photo above. The 720 width bar may be a tad too wide for many users, but the thought remains the same across the board: narrow is out, wide is in. You probably won’t see many XC racers with 700+ wide bars, but XC racers who were on say 620mm bars might bump up to 660s, and the DH racer who was riding a 700mm bar may now be riding the 780mm. Riders of all types are starting to widen their bars and liking the results.

Don’t take my word for it though, try it yourself.

For the past few years I have been riding around on bars anywhere from 660-690mm on my XC/Trail bikes, although like most other XC riders back in the day, I started with flat bars around 550mm. Of course, the shorter bars were also used with longer stems, and as my stems have gotten shorter my bars have gotten proportionally wider. Recently, I had the chance to test out the two versions of the Answer AM 720 bars, and what initially started as a sweet upgrade for the Orbea Rallon I was testing, turned into trying to find a bike that the bars didn’t feel good.

You may recall, that the initial spec on the Rallon included a bar that even Orbea thought was a bit narrow. Naturally, the AM 720s were a great fit when coupled with a 70mm stem. As Fall turned to Winter, and I found myself riding Cyclesport’s Surly Pugsley, I couldn’t help but feel the same cockpit set up on the Rallon might improve the handling in the snow. I was right, as the wider bar and shorter stem allowed me to power through loose sections with heavy snow trying to pull the wheel in ever changing directions. As Winter turned to Spring, the bar and stem found their way onto my Fuel EX which seemed to greatly help tackle the crazy muddy conditions and keep the front wheel pointed in the right direction. Finally, as Spring slowly rolled into Summer, the Carbon 720 AM bar showed up, and while the mud is starting to dry up, my love of the bars is staying put. I would definitely consider my riding style to be on the playful side, with much more emphasis placed on having fun than being race-y. However, that isn’t to say that I don’t ride XC distance and time, and after the longest rides of the season so far I am still happy to have the wider bars. I love the extra leverage they provide, not just when muscling the bike around, but when climbing as well.

Most of the AM 720s great feel likely comes from the tried and true Protaper 4° up sweep, 8° back sweep which are the numbers that denote how much a riser bar, well, rises. But what about those riders who are looking for weight savings first, and bar geometry second? Neither of the AM 720 bars will jump out at you as being super lightweights, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. My Bontrager Carbon RXL bar that came off the Fuel comes in at 180g for a 660mm bar. While it is 35g lighter than the Carbon 720 AM (25.4mm rise), the Answer bar is a whopping 60mm wider! Not only does the extra width add weight, but wider bars offer more leverage, but in turn need to be stronger to avoid breaking, so all of a sudden that 35g starts looking pretty good.

When compared to the current competition of wide, carbon bars, the AM 720 finds it’s place among the lighter bars over 700mm.The aluminum bar is a different story, and a lot of that story has to do with the paint, white wet paint to be exact. While the anodized AM 720 bars are spot on their 315g claimed weight, the white bars are noticeably heavier at 334g on my scale. That makes them even heavier than the anodized Protaper DH 780mm bars.

In addition, the glossy white finish made it difficult for me to get my GoPro mounts to stay put which could be an issue as well. Problem is, with a white stem and a few other white parts they do look really good. I did get a chance to briefly ride the aluminum AM 720s on the Remedy 9.9 as well, and as no surprise, they felt right at home although this time with a 60mm stem.

Like all Protaper bars, the AM 720s include generous hash marks to ease alignment with your stem especially if it is an Answer Rove AM as pictured here, due to its large sighting windows. Also, should you buy the 720 AM and wish for a slightly narrower bar, they are all marked with easy cutting guides with visual cues that range from hucker to hipster.

With an MSRP of $60-$72 for the aluminum AM 720s, and $140 for the carbon version, the AM 720s are one of the best deals going. If you are looking for a wide, strong, and comfy all mountain handle bar you owe it to yourself to give the Answer AM 720s a try. The Carbon 720 is easily my favorite bar I’ve used to date, and the aluminum model isn’t far behind. Five out of five thumbs up for the carbon bar, and probably a 4 out of 5 for the aluminum model.

Answer Protaper 720 AM Aluminum:

  • Width 720mm
  • Weight 315 g
  • Clamp diameter 31.8mm
  • Rise 25.4mm, 50.8mm
  • UP Sweep 4°
  • Back Sweep 8°
  • Material 7050 series alloy
  • Color Red, Black, Silver, White

Answer Protaper 720 AM Carbon:

  • Width 720mm
  • Weight 205g & 225g (50.8 rise bar )
  • Clamp diameter 31.8mm
  • Rise 12.7mm, 25.4mm, 50.8mm
  • UP Sweep 4°
  • Back Sweep 8°
  • Material Carbon with unidirectional 12 outer layer
  • Color Carbon

Grab them while stock last at Tionghin!

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Transition Bikes Team – a hard week on the East Coast

Transition Bikes’ Team members Lars Sternberg, and Jill Kintner traveled to the East Coast for the Highland Pro GRT, and they were joined a week later by Bryn Atkinson for the Plattekill event before heading to the US Open at Diablo Freeride Park. Their trip started out well at Highland, with Jill taking the win and Lars placing 7th, however that all changed at Plattekill when Bryn crashed in practice and broke his femur and his arm. Jill and Lars skipped the Plattekill event to be with Bryn in the hospital before heading to the US Open in Vernon, New Jersey.

Going into the US Open Jill was having a bit of a tough time, emotionally drained from the days at the hospital, she elected not to do DH practice the first two days and instead concentrated on slalom. Jill and Lars both qualified well for the Giant Slalom and the next day Jill got out on the DH course for a few practice laps before qualifying. Jill qualified first in DH, and Giant Slalom finals went well with Jill taking the win and Lars placing fourth, things were getting better. Sunday, DH finals at the US Open. Women were up first and Jill had a great run, beating closest competitor Melissa Buhl by over 2 seconds. Then it was Lars’ turn, and bad luck struck again. He went down in the second corner and rolled his ankle, breaking the fibula and tearing some tendons…

Sometimes racing can be bittersweet, even when you’re winning. I spoke with Jill about it after the event and this is what she had to say:

I just finished the weekend here at the US Open with some really good results somehow, but man has it been one of the most emotionally draining weeks I have ever experienced!

First Bryn’s super traumatic injury, then my mom flew out to look after him, and her blood pressure went up to 200/90 and she ended up in the ER with a serious heart scare on Friday. And now my other teammate and good friend Lars crashed in the final DH run and broke his fib and wrecked his ankle, we’re at the hospital again!

I sat out the first two days of downhill practice just for mental sanity. You don’t want go charge down rocks without 100% focus. So come qualifying time I had only done 3 runs and was just trying to do whatever I could. I was happy to get down, and a bit surprised I had won really. Bryn, and mom were doing a lot better, so I could just focus on the joy of riding and got it done. But adding Lars’ injury to the mix here has really added more tears. My whole crew is down and out, I was devastated. It kind of surpasses the joy of winning anything.

Jill has headed off to the Europe, first stop Fort William, World Cup and I haven’t had a chance to speak to Bryn about everything yet, but here is what Lars had to say about the week:

It has been an indescribably tough week and a half. When Bryn went down, we literally had to rally. It was actually really hard to accept at first – the possibility that his season was done. It was really hard to leave him in Albany and move on, it just didn’t feel right – like we were missing a piece, and we were. But it is good that we were together. Jill and I traveled a lot together last year, and I think we were able to pull it together with each other’s and Scottie’s help.(Scott Sharples is Jill and Bryn’s personal coach. They pay for his travel and expenses, but it was good to have him there). And all the support from all our racing friends and sponsors over the last week. I could literally feel it. And it was good to have Charlie around as well, he’s pretty lighthearted. It is reassuring to know that we are surrounded by such good people.

As tough as it was for me, I’m sure it was twice as hard for Jill. But then again, she’s probably twice as head strong as I am, so I think it evened out.

I never felt totally comfortable on the DH course at the Open this weekend. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but in practice I felt good in some places, but others I felt really uneasy. I felt pretty good after giant slalom. You know, you never want to think about crashing, kind of the rule. But this last week it was even more out of mind. I figured after everything we’d been through that was the last thing we had to worry about. So, it was just surreal to have this happen. I just slipped a bit in the first left, put my foot down, and that was it, end of story. Broken fibula, and torn soft tissue in the ankle. In the hospital now having had surgery this morning. Should be good to go in 8-12 weeks. I am disappointed to be down. I felt better than ever on the bike. But I will live to shred another day. Just gotta stay focused.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Bryn and I are gonna work hard at getting healed, and Jill is going to just do her thing. And everything else is going to work itself out. That which we manifest, lies before us.

I just want to say thanks again to everyone who has sent messages etc. and helped us in some way since last weekend. There are so many people I can’t list everyone. I’m grateful for every last little bit, and have learned a lesson in humanity. See you on the trails!

Lars pinning it through the first corner in practice…

and over the step up in GS Finals.

For more info on Transition Bikes check out their website.

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