Author Archives: "Nicole Formosa"
I NERVOUSLY ROLLED up to the starting line, wrapped my hands around the bars in a white-knuckled death grip, firmly planted my flip-flop on the pedal and hunched myself over in racing position. I glanced at the two competitors to my left, then at the racer on my right. The announcer count- ed us down. I pedaled half a stroke, promptly popped a wheelie and landed flat on my back, clumsily taking the woman to my right down with me.
Chances are you haven’t heard of Kirk Pacenti. Chances are you have heard of 650B, or 27.5, the wheel size between 26-inch and 29ers that the industry can’t seem to get enough of right now. Save for Specialized and Cannondale, 27.5-wheeled bikes have become the dominant choice on the majority of all-mountain, 5- to 6-inch trail bikes for most brands. Some, like Giant and Scott, have almost entirely foregone both 29ers and 26-inch wheels to focus on designing frames around the mid-sized hoops.
To most mountain bikers, Mammoth Mountain needs no introduction. This is, afterall, the ski resort that pioneered lift-accessed riding and, in turn, transformed a non-descript, dusty access road into one of the most famous race courses in the world. Now, as Mammoth Mountain emerges from a difficult past few years, it wants to revive its reputation as a world-class cycling destination in order to attract more visitors and drum up business in the financially-strapped mountain community.
The Southern California bike industry turned out in the hundreds last Friday night to support Wheels 4 Life, the nonprofit organization of mountain-bike luminary and Laguna Beach, California, local Hans Rey. Wheels 4 Life provides bicycles to villagers in developing countries, mostly in Africa, in hopes of improving the quality of life. The bicycle allows locals the ability to get to work or school, or to carry goods, which would otherwise be done only by walking.
We can still hear the ringing of slot machines in our ears, and the feeling of the oppressive desert heat singing our skin hasn’t quite worn off, but despite how our bodies and minds may feel after six long days in Las Vegas, Interbike 2013 is officially over.
While the show is still fresh, though, here are a few more noteworthy bits of gear you can expect to see on store floors next year.
liv/Giant started from scratch with its women’s line for 2014, developing the bikes from the ground up, all based around the ever-more-popular 27.5-inch wheel size. That means unique geometry, colorways and graphics and factory molds cast specifically for women’s frames, an investment few brands are making.
Jeff Archer houses about 450 vintage bikes in his shop and museum in Statesville, N.C., the majority of which are mountain bikes. His collection traces the sport’s entire technological history, including the quirky, kooky stops along the way (ahem, Manitou FS and Ritchey Lite Beam). Displays of craftsmanship and artistry from a generation of builders rest inside Archer’s walls: Potts, Shafer, Breeze, Bontrager, LeMond, Klein and Fisher are all there. It’s truly the mothership for bike geeks.
The fall tradeshow season kicked off with the Eurobike show, held last week in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Fourteen massive halls housed booth after booth of shiny, new bikes and eye -candy components produced by the smallest and largest companies in the industry, and nearly every brand in between.
Giro has a long history of developing gravity-oriented helmets starting with the Mad Max in 1995, followed by the Switchblade three years later and the Remedy in 2006. The venerable helmet company now starts a new chapter in its story with the Cipher, the first update to its full-face line in eight years.
We are not party planners here at Bike magazine. Probably because it’s not often we play the role of hosts, preferring to concentrate on what we’re good at—having fun— and leave the actual planning to those far better suited to sweating the small details. Thus, as we headed into Thursday night’s party at Crankworx to celebrate Bike magazine’s 20th anniversary we had the nerves typical for a first-time hosts: Will anyone show up? What if everyone hates the music? What if no one has fun?
Scott Sports has abandoned 26-inch hoops in favor of the larger 27.5 and 29-inch options on all of its trail, all-mountain and XC mountain bikes, leaving the smaller wheel size available only on its DH Rambler, Voltage freeride and dirtjump bikes and a few entry-level Aspects.
Kona Factory rider Matthew Slaven is recovering in a San Jose-area hospital after being shot last night in an apparent mugging while he was in Santa Cruz for an Easton-Bell Sports sales meeting. Slaven is a team rider and sales rep for Bell helmets, a company based in nearby Scotts Valley.
Kiwi Tim Pierce is a director, producer and cinematographer who has been shooting mountain biking since he was a teenager. He travels all over the world on assignments for skiing and snowboarding clients, but his truest passion remains that of the two-wheeled, trail shredding sort.