Last week, the focus of a lot of the bike industry was centred on Friedrichshafen, on the Bodensee in southern Germany. In an area that isn’t short on kitsch, it’s a fitting place for one of the annual cycling trade shows. The bike industry must seem pretty quaint and small compared to other industries, but Friedrichshafen is also an ideal place for the show as it’s in such a bike friendly area. Although the carparks overflow, there are still countless people using their bikes to get to the show. Even in the wet weather that was experienced this year. We took a look at a few interesting parts for marathon and stage racers last week, and here’s a follow up.
Shorter Dropper Posts
Much of the mountain bike industry is losing their shit over dropper posts. And if you haven’t ridden one, you might not get it. Sure, they come with a pretty big weight penalty, but if it has you clearing more technical terrain in a race than you might otherwise, perhaps that’s an advantage? I first saw one being used in a stage race in Poland in 2009 at the Beskidy MTB Trophy. A nuggety Czech rider bombed a long, steep chute that was freshly eroded from overnight rain, way off the back of the seat and way low. Two climbs later I caught him again. He made a big gap. KS Lev have a few shorter drop (and therefore lighter) models available, like the carbon version shown here, with 65mm drop.
More Lockout options from Magura
“I would have made that section but I wasn’t locked out” – that must be a very infrequently heard comment. Just about any suspension fork offers a lockout option. Even the most basic mountain bikes will come with it, well before rebound damping, alloy legs or even alloy steerers. Despite those features arguably being more useful for the rider. But lockout is still a useful function, and the speed at which you can unlock your fork, and ease of use, really counts in a racing situation.
Magura use a wireless system to actuate their lock out, and it’s not only available for their forks, but also their rear shocks too. Free from cables, it is well sealed from the elements, and a little more crash proof.
Superlight Cranks by Tune
Tune are known to make some very low weight, high price parts. And the Black Foot crankset is no exception. Weighing 360g for the cranks without spider or rings, they had this 2x setup with a 24/38 chainrings (arguably the greatest ratio for many Marathon or Stage Race MTBers) coming in at just 455g. That’s at least 200g saving of most high end cranksets. The removable spider means you can put an XX1 spider on there too, so not only is it light, but it’s also versatile.
Lightweight Suspension Forks
More than the RS-1, this full carbon fork from Lauf is truly a lightweight design. It’s 29er specific, and weighs just 990g while offering 60mm of suspension travel. So many frames and seatposts promise flex and suspension qualities, so why not your fork? The idea is that the leaf spring (made from S2 glassfibre) creates the spring, and the carbon is designed and laid up to provide the flex. The spring is progressive, and also available in two weights, one for riders under 65kg, and one for riders over 70kg. Presumably if you’re between those two weights you need to make a reasoned decision. Find out more on their website.
Shimano XT made to be sexy
The highly reliable Shimano XT is sometimes forgotten. But do remember you can set it up 2×10, 3×10 or as a neat 1×10 option. A few bikes were sporting single chainring setups based on XT cranks. And why not? They’re strong, well priced, and very stiff. This setup with a Wide Narrow ring looks very neat.
New Treads from Maxxis
Tyres – also not that sexy. But so useful! Maxxis have a couple of great marathon racing tread patterns and casings already, but are adding to their line up with the Pace and Treadlite. So far the Pace isn’t available with the EXO casing or TLR bead – but I’ve heard those models will be on their way. The Tread Lite is pretty much what it says – the tread height is low, but not overly sparse. It still has good edge knobs and looks to be a great hardpack tyre to do battle with the Thunder Burt from Schwalbe – although it doesn’t come any bigger than 2.1″