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Sea Otter Classic Expo
Monterey, California, USA, April 16-19, 2009
Part 4 - April 21: Yet more bikes from Monterey
By James Huang in Monterey, California
Newfound Glory for Giant's Jared Rando
Lurking about the Giant pit area was a new 2010 Glory downhill bike for team rider Jared Rando complete with a heavily revised frame and revamped Maestro dual-link suspension system.
As on the recently launched Trance X and Anthem X, Giant have repositioned the rear shock to a more vertical orientation and have also employed the novel co-pivot arrangement whereby the lower shock eyelet and forward lower suspension link share a common pivot shaft to reduce weight and complexity. The more open arrangement should also make for easier access for shock adjustments, too.
More importantly, Giant look to have opened up the rear triangle and moved the links further apart to make room for a longer shock. Coupled with the apparently reduced rear travel - 203mm (8") instead of 224mm (8.8") - the leverage ratio should decrease significantly for improved suspension quality.
The current model's tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end carries over but that's about it. The swoopier hydroformed aluminum tubing is more heavily shaped than before for more efficient use of material, the rear derailleur hanger is clearly stouter than before, and the rear derailleur housing is now routed through the chain stay.
We don't have official specs yet but given the changes on hand this latest version is likely to be substantially lighter - and probably more capable as well.
Niner Bikes go big with 29"
Niner Bikes continue to preach their 29" wheel gospel with a revised R.I.P. 9, a 120mm-travel trail bike using the company’s novel CVA (Constantly Varying Arc) dual-link suspension and a wealth of clever touches that are said to improve chassis rigidity without adding any weight from last year.
Hydroformed tubing and a bundle of aluminum forgings and extrusions yield a 3.18kg (7.01lb) package including a Fox Racing Shox Float RP23 rear shock. The front end now sports a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube, replaceable rear dropouts will work with standard quick-release or RockShox’ Maxle thru-axle, the cartridge bearing pivots are capped with keen red-anodized hardware, and there is enough tire clearance for meaty 2.35" rubber.
Niner also take their message to the longer travel segment with their latest W.F.O., which boasts a whopping 140mm of mountain-eating fun using the same CVA dual-link system.
Though somewhat weighty at 3.63kg (8.0lb) for the frame and rear shock, the frame’s enhanced capabilities may make up for the extra mass in many situations. Strength and stiffness-enhancing features abound, from the tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube, integrated ISCG05 tabs, a hydroformed S-bend down tube that leaves enough room for a piggyback rear shock, and optional 150mm rear hub spacing.
At the other end of the spectrum is Niner’s new carbon rigid fork – with precisely 0mm of travel. The new fork is built with carbon fiber from steerer to dropout – including the integrated post mount brake tabs – for a claimed weight of around 550g.
Axle-to-crown measurement is 470mm and fork rake is a 29er-specific 45mm. Suggested rider weight is limited to 109kg (240lb) and Niner will boldly offer the new fork is a generous ten-color palette. If you can’t find one to match your bike, well, perhaps you should answer your phone: 1990 just called and they’d like their splatter paint job back.
Five bucks gets you a new Ibis Mojo…
…assuming you are the lucky winner of Ibis' current raffle, that is.
Ibis have donated a custom-built Mojo to raise money for the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, a local trail building organization centered around the legendary area of Downieville, California. Ibis founder Scot Nicol says the group have donated over 22,000 hours of volunteer labor, maintains over 30 trails, and have also created 25 miles of new trail since the group's creation in 2003 and also benefits from a close - and apparently fruitful - relationship with the local forest service.
The bike itself is based on a standard Mojo frame and is configured by sponsored rider Brian Lopes just as how he himself would race on it at the Downieville Classic. The premium build includes a Marzocchi 160mm-travel 55 RC3 fork and Roco TST Coil rear shock, an Easton Havoc wheelset, Hayes Stroker Gram hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors, a Kind Shock height-adjustable seatpost, a complete Shimano XTR drivetrain and an Easton Monkeylite XC bar and Havoc stem.
Naturally, Lopes also specifies his own signature-edition WTB Silverado saddle and signature-edition Kenda front tire (a Small Block 8 is used out back for faster rolling).
Raffle tickets are available for just US$5 and Nicol says that all proceeds will go directly to the SBTS. Tickets can be purchased at www.ibiscycles.com/raffle but act quickly as the drawing will be held on April 27.
In other news, Ibis' long-awaited Tranny is finally available. The carbon hardtail's unique 'Slot Machine' construction provides easily adjustable chain stay to provide easy geared/singlespeed conversions as well as convenient packing in an airline-regulation travel case for under-the-radar flying.
Recent additions include removable housing stops for an ultra-clean look when applicable plus a special singlespeed-specific rear dropout that swaps the standard derailleur hanger for - you guessed it - a bottle opener. Claimed frame weight is about 1350g (2.97lb) and retail cost is a surprisingly reasonable US$1399.99
Turner DHR nearing completion
Dave Turner has pushed off the release of his highly anticipated DHR downhill race frame until January but from the looks of it, it may very well be worth the wait.
The new rig will offer 210mm (8.3") of rear wheel travel courtesy of an all-new DW-Link rear end that Turner claims will be snappier under power and yet offer better traction than the old single-pivot version.
The burly construction includes a 1.5"-compatible head tube with massive reinforcing gussets, gracefully curved conventional main frame tubes to maintain a reasonable weight, and a pair of girder-like plates at the frame's midsection to both anchor and protect the rear shock and suspension links.
Head tube angle is a speed-hungry 64° and all pivots naturally use Turner's easy-to-maintain bushing system instead of typical cartridge bearings. According to Turner, the bushings have a substantially higher load-bearing capacity than typical ball bearings and are just as smooth if properly installed and maintained.
Target frame weight is 4.31kg (9.5lb) complete with a Fox Racing Shox DHX 5.0 rear shock. Pricing is yet to be determined.
Ventana bolster range with new 69er
Ventana will add a stout-looking new 69er hardtail frame dubbed 'El Chivo' to their range for 2010.
The new frame features a number of Ventana trademarks such as a wraparound gusset at the head tube, looped chain- and seat stay yoke construction, a buttressed extended seat tube, and characteristically clean and even weld beads.
CNC-machined dropouts adorn the rear end and the rear brake caliper is neatly tucked in between the stays for a clean look.
Carbon fiber on the way from Norco
Norco will add a pair of carbon frames to the lineup for 2010: a carbon mountain hardtail and a carbon road frame.
Both frames boast a collection of currently popular features such as a BB30-compatible bottom bracket shell and an integrated seatmast while the road frame also adds a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end for added steering precision and front-end rigidity.
Target weight for the hardtail is 1320g while the road frame is pegged at around 1200g. Norco say the new bikes will be available sometime around early 2010 and pricing is yet to be determined.