Archive for Interbike 2011

Manitou’s Marvel Pro and Real Custom Tuning – Eurobike 2011

Available in 100mm and 120mm travel options, Manitou’s Marvel Pro is their top tier XC fork. Inside you’ll find a damper that combines Manitou’s proven TPC damper with the pedalling performance of the Absolute+ piston and shim configuration. TPC refers to the fork’s Twin Piston Chamber – two pistons, one compression and one rebound, in a serviceable cartridge that lowers weight through oil volume. Manitou pioneered the two piston design in mountain bike suspension (later on developing the TPC+ system that uses a third floating piston as well) that you can now find inside of many other forks.

This is then combined with the Absolute+ damper to create a system that offers a firm pedalling platform early in its stroke, but that also opens up quickly to let the suspension work over the terrain. The 32mm stanchion Marvel Pro is available in both QR and 15mm axle versions. The fork’s price of $699.99 USD price puts it well under the competitions high-end offerings, but only time on the trail will show how it compares in performance. Stay tuned, we have our names a Marvel Pro for testing.

Manitou Marvel Pro details:

  • 100/120mm travel options
  • ISO Air spring
  • TPC Absolute+ damper
  • Adjustable compression (to lockout), rebound and air spring
  • 32mm stanctions
  • QR15 hex thru-axle or 9mm QR lowers
  • White or black lowers
  • Tapered and straight 1 1/8th steerer options
  • Weight: 3.5lbs
  • MSRP: $699.99 USD (tapered steerer, QR15 axle)

15mm HexLock thru-axle: Manitou’s QR15 HexLock thru-axle uses a 90 degree quick release lever to disengage the axle from the lowers. The silver dial adjusts the tension once the QR lever is tightened down. Adjust it once and it is set from then on in. The photo above clearly shows the axle’s hex shaped clamping zone that resists twisting. The recessed dropouts on the Marvel are shaped so that the tension adjustment – the anodized grey aluminum dial assembly on the axle – sits mostly inside the lowers, with only the dial itself exposed. The opposite side uses threaded insert for the axle to tighten into that is also replaceable if damaged.

Absolute+ damper: The compression damper ()above left() used within the Marvel Pro fork employs a digressive shim stack to provide a specific amount of low speed compression damping early in the stroke. This provides a firm pedalling feel at the top of the fork’s travel to keep it from bobbing under power. The large black tube just above the piston is a closed cell foam compensator that does the same job as an IFP (internal floating piston), but without the added friction of an air spring seal, in that it compensates for changes in the oil volume as the rebound damper rod enters and exits the cartridge. Without it the fork would require an air gap in the cartridge, something that can lead to foaming oil and inconsistent damping.

How it works: A digressive damping curve means that once the oil pressure (which creates damping force) climbs high enough to engage the shim stack, the opening of the shims is drastic enough that any further increase in stroke velocity does not add any appreciable increase in damping force. This is differentiated from an orifice damper in which damping force climbs exponentially with stroke velocity, or a standard linear shim stack where damping force climbs linearly with increase in stroke velocity. This was first used on race cars and motorbikes to prevent chassis roll when braking or changing direction, but still allowing the suspension to absorb the ground below. It is accomplished by preloading one or more of the shims so that they are flexing in the opposite direction of the oil flow before entering the travel.

Manitou achieves this by shaping the compression piston (bottom right in the above photo) in such a way that the outside edge of the bottom shim rests on a raised lip and is flexed down – preloaded – by tightening the piston bolt. This preloading requires more oil force to flex the shim at first, giving the damper its platform feel. Once oil pressure (damping force) climbs to a level that matches the preload of the shim, the outer edge of the shim will lift off the lip, rapidly releasing that pressure. With the right shim stack, the system can handle high stroke velocities with little or no increase in damping force. The really neat thing with a digressive shim stack, and what Manitou have done on their Absolute+ damper, is the ability to actually tune the exact amount of damping force change that you want by altering the amount of preload and shim thickness in the very same way that you would tune a standard shim stack.

True custom tuning: Manitou is bringing custom tuning to the masses in 2012 with their Absolute Plus Tuning Kit. Unlike the motocross world where riders can open up and alter their suspension, supplying shops and consumers with the means to alter their fork’s damping by changing the shim stack has not been something that the mountain bike industry has embraced. While some may argue that the average consumer is likely to do more harm than good by messing about within their fork’s damper, this certainly shouldn’t keep those who know, or who want to know, from doing the job.

Thankfully, Manitou agrees. Not only does the Absolute Plus Tuning Kit come with all parts that are needed, including shims, pistons and other assorted bits, it also comes with a detailed booklet that provides a number of different shim stack suggestions and corresponding dyno charts to show you exactly what to expect. This allows you or your shop to explore nearly endless custom tunes in order to find the right setup for your style and terrain. We picture suspension nerds and wannabe suspension nerds everywhere jumping with joy right now.

Visit the Manitou website to see their entire lineup.

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Pivot Cycles Launches Carbon Mach 5.7 – Interbike 2011

Pivot Cycles has been tight lipped about when it was going to join the carbon revolution. Designer-founder Chris Cocalis is no stranger to the stuff, having designed a few carbon mountain bikes and most recently, line of breakthrough road bikes under the BH name – so the question has always been ‘When,’ not ‘if.’ The Mach 5.7 Carbon appears to be well worth the wait.

Mach 5.7 Carbon
While the Carbon version of the Mach 5.7 shares the same geometry and dw-link suspension, it cuts a different profile when standing beside its welded-aluminum sibling. The carbon frame’s top and down tubes flare significantly where they join its tapered head tube, and especially so at the seat tube/top tube junction. The frame members are significantly larger in cross-section as well. Pivot optimized the bottom bracket area for carbon construction as well, with a huge ‘Hollow Box’ profile that spans the full width of its 92-millimeter-wide PressFit bottom bracket shell. Unlike the aluminum 5.7, the lower dw-link wraps outside the composite frame where it is supported by double-row bearings.

The carbon layup and molding technique of the 5.7 is said to employ a close-tolerance-molded internal bladder and a special high-pressure curing technique which ensure that the inner walls of the carbon frame are of consistent thickness and nearly as smooth as its sleek outer complexion. Precise compaction of the carbon layers during the molding process helps shave 6 ounces off of the original aluminum 5.7 with a ten-percent boost in stiffness.

Mach 5.7 Carbon Frame Details:

  • DW-link suspension with position-sensitive anti-squat provides the cornering benefits of a lower bottom bracket.
  • Fox RP23 Kashima shock with custom rebound and ProPedal settings for better tunability and small-bump sensitivity.
  • 142/12mm through- axle and 160mm post-mount dropouts.
  • Under top tube cable guide includes routing for dropper seat post.
  • Rubberized leather chainstay, seat stay, and down tube protectors.
  • Direct-mount front derailleur design accepts Shimano and SRAM systems.
  • 145mm (5.7 inches) of rear-wheel travel
  • 140mm or 150mm fork compatibility (150mm standard).
  • PressFit 92mm-wide bottom bracket shell allows for wider pivots and better bearing support, and increased stiffness.
  • 1.5” tapered head tube.
  • Frame weight: 5.25 pounds (2.381g)
  • Sizes: XS, S, Med, Lg, XL.
  • MSRP: $2599 usd

With a 150-millimeter-stroke fork, the 5.7’s head angle is 67.1 degree, which is is slack enough to enjoy gassing it down technical descents without giving up the 5.7’s climbing ability. Position-sensitive dw-link anti-squat suspension allows Pivot to drop the bottom bracket to 13.7 inches without giving cause to bang the pedals on every sizable rock. The original 5.7 was spec’ed with a 24-millimeter-stroke fork and while the ‘Carbon can roll nicely with that choice, Pivot will ship the Mach 5.7 Carbon with a 150-millimeter fork as standard fare. Rear suspension is a specially tuned Fox RP23 Kashima shock which is fitted with Pivot’s sag gauge to make it easy to set up.

Mach 5.7 Features: (clockwise) Pivot’s sag meter is shipped with every one of its dw-link bikes. The suspension is position-sensitive to ensure that there is no conflict between its firm ‘anti-squat’ pedaling action and the need for plush, long-travel suspension performance • Double-row bearings in each link keep side-play and premature wear out of the Mach 5.7’s suspension equation, while a markedly different frame configuration that employs a central spine, better optimizes the qualities of carbon fiber at the bottom bracket • Integrated bash protector keeps the carbon happy on the down tube.

The Mach 5.7 carbon’s swingarm is configured differently than the aluminum version as well. Taking advantage of carbon’s better stiffness-to-weight ratio, the new swingarm eliminates the double-triangulated C-section bracing up front and adopts a single, left-side strut, with a small right-side strut near the dropout. The new configuration follows the lines of the well-proven Santa Cruz Blur series. Pivot further sweetens the stiffness of the ‘5.7 with a 142/12-millimeter through-axle arrangement and direct, post-mount caliper fittings for 160-millimeter rotors.

Chain Guide Mount Option
While the Mach series frames lacks dedicated ISCG chain guide tabs, Pivot offers a machined-aluminum ISCG chain-guide mount that bolts to the frame and clamps securely around the bottom bracket. The metrics of the new carbon frame are slightly different, however, so Pivot had to design a new adapter which will be shipping in winter of this year.

Will There Be Complete Bikes?
Yes, Pivot’s website is already populated with specifications for seven different models of the mach 5.7 Carbon featuring both Shimano or SRAM components. The Shimano Deore XT/XTR model shown in this feature is pegged at $5599 usd. The first bikes will arrive at dealers this Fall.

Stay tune for more interbike news here!

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Shimano’s 2012 XTR Rear Derailler

Shimano’s 2012 XTR Rear Derailler Explained on how the system works and to get the low down on its “ON” and “OFF” switch,
The newest addition to the XTR Dyna Sys drivetrain is the RD M985 Shadow Plus rear derailleur. The Shadow Plus feature provides a selectable pivot for the pulley cage that can use a heavier spring and increased pivot friction to counteract the forces of up and down chain momentum in rough terrain.
The chain bouncing can often cause noise as the chain slaps the top and bottom of the chainstay, or even cause the chain to derail from the front ring in extreme circumstances.
The new pivot when selected to the ON position dampens the cage and consequent chain movement for a nearly silent and stable riding experience. In the OFF position the derailleur will function like a standard Shadow rear derailleur and eases the installation and removal of the rear wheel by relaxing the spring tension on the cage.

Shimano didn’t waste anytime updating both their XT and XTR groups. Reissued in 2010 with Dynasys and 2×10, IceTech and directional chains, both groups aren’t exactly aging. But, for 2012, both will see improvements.

XTR gets the new Shadow Plus rear derailleur, which claims to all but eliminate chain slap and dropped chains…which means a quieter, more flawless ride. XT gets a far more drastic update, adding a 2×10 option and borrowing a lot of the brake technology from XTR to virtually create a whole new group. In the video above, Shimano’s Bicycle Components Project Manager Matt Robertson runs through the changes.

Inside the new XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur is a locking cam gear that holds the lower pulley cage in place. The effect is considerably more resistance to the cage pulling forward, even when pushing on it manually with more force than a bouncing suspension is likely to generate on bumpy trails or big drops. The gold switch should be turned downward (off) to remove the wheel and adjust the shifting, but for riding, it should remain on. As it rotates upward, a graduated cam pushes the silver band closed, clamping down on the ratchet gear and holding it in place.

The assembly adds a bit of weight, but nothing that trail/all-mountain riders should balk at for the potential gains in performance, quiet and keeping the chain where it’s supposed to be. I played around with it on the demo bikes and it does add some resistance to the downshift (thumb lever), but most people should acclimate to it quickly. It should be available in June.

2012 Shimano XTR rear derailleur details:

  • Uses Shimano’s new Shadow Plus technology
  • Weight: 210 grams
  • MSRP: $249.99

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Answer’s New XC Stem, Sun Ringle Punch DJ Wheels gets Graphics!

Shown here in a really long 120mm size, Answer’s new forged alloy XC stem. It’ll be available June 1 in black and white for $85 and come in 70, 90, 100, 110 and 120 lengths. For some reason, my photo of it on a scale disappeared, so not sure of the weight, but it felt in line with other brands’ alloy offerings. More pics of this, plus Sun-Ringle’s new Punch dirt jump wheels with graphics to match their Circus DJ fork…

Hayes Bicycle Group (Answer, Manitou, Hayes, Sun-Ringle) showed hometown pride by bringing several Milwaukee Bicycle Co. frames to display their products. At left, the front cap of the new XC stem. At right, a different stem, but that’s the white color the new one will come in.

We saw these wheels naked at Interbike, and now they’ve finalized graphics that keep with the big top theme!

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New Colorful Answer Protaper XC/TRAIL Bars at Sea Otter!

With the unfortunate demise of Race Face, there is one less component manufacturer who is building light handle bars for XC/trail bikes in a variety of colors. Not only has Answer stepped up and snatched one of RaceFace’s pro athletes, they have also tossed their hat into the ano XC bar category!

Ok, so they’re not that light, but they are respectable considering they are all 685mm width, and come in flat, 1/2 inch, and 1 inch rise models. The flat bars come in at 235g, while the risers add an additional 30g, for a grand total of 265. Obviously, the bars come in a variety of colors, including a “women’s” model that is pink ano with black overlaid flowers. The quotations are there just in case you’re a dude who is ok with a pink bar with flowers, however you probably won’t fit into the matching Answer women’s Petal gloves.

Check out the full Specs along with some close ups!


  • 7050 –T series alloy.
  • All are manufactured with our Patented Pro Taper Technology in the clamp and rise regions of the bars.
  • Available in several new colors, Black, Brunette, Green, Red, Mango and Pink Petal.
  • All the bars have the same Splatter graphics and simple cut graphics on them.
  • Pink Petal has a Floral / Petal graphic that will tie out to some new Women’s Petal Gloves.

All bars are available in:
Flat -685 width / 3 degree back sweep.

  • Weight 235 grams
  • Suggested retail $65.00

12.7mm (1/2 rise) -4×8 degree rise and sweep 685 width

  • weight 265 grams
  • Suggested retail $65.00

25.4mm (1inch rise) -4×8 degree rise and sweep 685 width

  • weight 265 grams
  • Suggested retail $65.00

Ladies get the flowers.

The rest, get the Answer logos.

Available soon at Tionghin!

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Answer Unleashes Ladie’s Pedal Gloves and Matching Bars!

Originally unveiled just before Sea Otter, Answer’s new XC Trail Protaper bars look to be a strong and reliable way to add some color to your bike. Not wanting to leave out any of the ladies who would like to upgrade their bikes as well, Answer has included a Women’s colorway to the bars, with a pink anodized bar with a black flower petal overlay.

Taking the color scheme one step further, Answer has also released a line of Women’s Fall Line XC gloves with matching flower petal graphics. The women’s line of XC gloves is brand spanking new, and we have our hands on some of the first production samples.

Scope out a few of the different colorways of the Pedal glove, along with more details on the XC Trail bar after the break!

The far left glove is a men’s sample for comparison.

While the Fall Line XC glove for men has been out for a little while now, Answer just dropped the female counterpart to the glove, seen above. Coming in four colorways, they all feature the flower petal graphics featured on the pink XC Trail bar. Just like the men’s version, the ladie’s Fall Line XC glove features a stretch fit, no Velcro wrist closure, and a tough but soft, pre-curved palm to prevent bunching when grasping a handlebar. As Answer states, the Pedal Glove’s two-way stretch nylon is tough enough to survive repeated crashes and wash cycles, yet breathable enough for epic summer rides.


  • Clarino Amara palm material
  • Absorbent cotton terry cloth thumb
  • Silicon printed non-slip palm
  • Pre-curve shaped fingers
  • Durable 2-way stretch breathable woven nylon

I’ve been riding one of the men’s Fall Line gloves for a bit now, and if the women’s glove is anywhere near as comfortable as the men’s, it’s a sure winner. The pre-curve shape really improves grip comfort, and while the glove seems thicker than some that I’ve tried, it seems to breath just as well, lending to overall comfort. Also, the palms are made out of a fairly soft material that is dense enough to absorb vibration, yet thin enough that it doesn’t interfere with your grip. Sizing wise, I find my men’s medium to fit fairly well, if not slightly bigger than most standard mediums.

And where would the gloves be without the matching bar, right? Answer’s new Protaper XC Trail bar continues the Protaper’s history of reliability, comfort, and style with a few new colors to boot. In addition to the flower petals that grace the pink bar (and aren’t all obscured by grips), all of the XC Trail bars include a nice centering grid in order to ensure proper stem placement.

Protaper XC Trail bars are available in three rises, with a completely flat bar, 1/2″, and 1 inch models (1″ rise shown here). All of the XC Trail bars, including the pink one, are all reasonably wide at 685, and include well marked cutting gradients as shown below.

Answer claims the XC Trail bars come in at 265g for the riser bars, and our scales show that is exactly true with 1 gram to spare. This reaffirms the fact that these aren’t the lightest bars in the world, but they aren’t heavy and include a one year warranty against bending or breaking (2 years in Europe, I guess America should put down the Twinkies).

Then add in the fact that they incorporate the incredibly well liked Protaper geometry, and you end up with an incredibly comfortable, durable, colorful bar for only 65 bones. Not bad.


  • 7050 –T series alloy.
  • All are manufactured with our Patented Pro Taper Technology in the clamp and rise regions of the bars.
  • Available in several new colors, Black, Brunette, Green, Red, Mango and Pink Petal.
  • All the bars have the same Splatter graphics and simple cut graphics on them.
  • Pink Petal has a Floral / Petal graphic that will tie out to some new Women’s Petal Gloves.

All bars are available in:

Flat -685 width / 3 degree back sweep.

  • Weight 235 grams
  • Suggested retail $65.00

12.7mm (1/2 rise) -4×8 degree rise and sweep 685 width

  • weight 265 grams
  • Suggested retail $65.00

25.4mm (1inch rise) -4×8 degree rise and sweep 685 width

  • weight 265 grams
  • Suggested retail $65.00

Available soon at Tionghin!

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Kyle Strait’s Pivot Cycles M4X Prototype at Seat Otter!

At this year’s Sea Otter Classic, Pivot Cycles brought a new prototype bike called the M4X. Designed for 4x/dual slalom duties, this little shredder is quite the eye catching bike. Check out the details on Kyle Strait’s Prototype M4x.


Pivot M4X Prototype

Based off of the Pivot Mach 4, the M4x takes it up a notch. They incorporated a stout aluminum CNC lower pivot and it has CNC’ed ISCG-05 chain guide mounts integrated into the bottom bracket.

The frame gets 100mm of rear wheel dw-link travel and the upper pivot is carbon fiber.

Pivot M4X Prototype lower pivot

Pivot uses a shorter rear end with a thick aluminum derailleur hanger in the back.

A 142x12mm rear axle configuration with a post mount brake tab

Pivot M4X Prototype 142×12 dropout

This bike is still a prototype but it seems like a few people are anxious to see if this prototype makes it into production. Kyle chose to ride his M4X at both the Sea Otter dual slalom as well as the downhill. Up front, the m4x uses a tapered head tube.

Pivot M4X Prototype hanger

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Sun Ringle Debuts A.D.D. Tubeless Downhill Wheelset!

Sun-Ringle’s new A.D.D. tubeless downhill wheels license Stan’s NoTubes rim technology for quick, easy tubeless tire seating.

While the license limits them to using the rim tech on complete wheels only, Sun-Ringle took the overall rim design a step further by adding eyelets at the spoke nipple holes to allow them to run higher tension and build up a stronger, more durable rim and wheel.

Full specs and photos below…

The A.D.D. Pro wheelset is built on Jumping Flea-like hubs with direct pull spokes that are only available on this wheel set. Quick specs are:

  • 1995g / set
  • 12×150 or 12×135 rear
  • 20mm and 15mm frot adaptable hub
  • Rim width 30mm
  • Expert series will be available, too, with a heavier hub but same Stan’s rim.
  • 28 spoke front and rear
  • Wheelsmith DB spokes
  • $649 Pro / $499 Expert
  • Available in July
  • 1 year Mfr’s defects warranty

I also learned that Hayes Bicycle Group (they own Sun-Ringle) manufactures these in their Chinese factory, and they make Stan’s rims, too.

For a component that’s meant to take some serious abuse and is often replaced or completely rebuilt once or more per season, these look to be pretty solid and, at just $650/set, a steal. In fact, most of Sun-Ringle’s wheelsets are extremely competitively priced and tough to beat on weight and quality for the money.

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Kyle Strait’s 2011 Pivot Cycles Phoenix Downhill Bike at Sea Otter Classic!

For 2011, Pivot has released their new downhill bike that they’ve been showing off at Interbike/Eurobike. They’ve also managed to get some good testing done at many World Cup venues as well as the Red Bull Rampage. Check out the video inside as well as more details on their new downhill bike.


Piloted by Kyle Strait and tested by other pro athletes like Mitch Delfs last year, they’ve learned and incorporated a variety of features into their downhill bike

Rear dropouts are replaceable and optional ones are also available to change the geometry on the bike to tweak the geometry of the bike.

The dw-link equipped bike is designed to be efficient at pedaling as well as bump absorption. 83mm bb shell, 150mm rear spacing, ISCG-05 chain guide mounts, and a 1.5″ head tube.
The bike has some robust frame construction in key areas to provide a strength, stiffness, and long life for owners without being too heavy.

Access to lower shock dials can be done through the frame
The frameset comes with the Cane Creek AngleSet so if you want to slack the bike out more (or steepen it) you are able to do so.

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2012 Titus Racer X Carbon 29er at Sea Otter Classic!

Titus has got a new Carbon 29er that they were showing at this year’s Sea Otter Classic.

Titus is now owned by Planet X/Orange distributed by Unique Sports Company in the United states. They will be establishing a dealer network in the near future but will also be looking into doing consumer direct purchases much like On One already does. Production is still in Oregon at SAPA for aluminum frames and China is used for the carbon models.

The Racer X 29 carbon was on the books at Titus before the sale but was never talked about publicly. The new owners went on with the project after the purchase of the company.

The Racer X 29 has internal cable routing, a tapered headtube, and utilizes a 135 mm rear end.

Sizing will be S, M, L to begin with and discussions of other sizes being figured out as well.

Titus is aiming for the pricing on the Racer X 29 in aluminum to be about $1,500 for the frame and the Carbon version they are shooting for $2,000. Final release dates are uncertain that this moment as they are still in the prototyping phase.

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