Author Archives: "Ryan Palmer"
If I had to name the source of the most considerable frustration during my time as a mechanic it would easily be press-fit bottom brackets. Even a skilled mechanic armed with expensive measuring tools, bearing presses and sleeve-retaining compounds, is not guaranteed a good interface.
Felt is mostly known for its skinny tire bikes, but the California-based brand likes playing in the dirt as well. Last year Felt showed significant improvements to its mountain lineup so when the invite for the annual product release at the company’s Irvine headquarters hit my inbox I was curious to see what 2015 would yield.
Gear Editor Ryan Palmer has had his fun throwing around the newest addition to Specialized fleet, the S-Works Enduro 650B, over the past month. This much anticipated bike–following in the wake of the its bigger brother, the much-loved, long-travel 29er–has been well received by Palmer. The bike is now available to the public and here are his impressions.
We’re not one to blindly accept new technologies or drink the so-called company Kool-Aid, but sometimes it’s hard to tell when getting flown to amazing riding locations, like Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, if there’s something besides water in the bottle.
A couple weeks ago Trek introduced some bikes and technologies at its media event in North Carolina. The Fuel EX 27.5 and RE:aktiv shock are the first of these new products to hit shop floors, so we’ve been spending every waking hour with the new bike and shock putting them through their paces.
When Trek told us that they were doing 148-millimeter rear axle spacing, our first reaction was to turn our noses up at it. We just figured the whole axle spacing thing out, didn’t we? But they swore that it was legit, so we flew out to Waterloo to get the story on Boost 148 to see if this was just a marketing gimmick or the real thing.
After years of living a mundane spandex-clad existence hammering out road miles, Di2 is finally ready for some real fun. That’s right, XTR Di2 is here, or almost here. Shimano says it’ll be available this fall, and it’s designed to work with the recently announced XTR 9000 11-speed group.
Mike’s garage is basically a collection of my old bikes. I’ll ride a bike for a year or so and hand it off to Mike, where he’ll spend the next decade squeezing every last drop out of it. The day before heading to Moab to test a brand new version of the Fox 36 RC2, I stopped off in Denver for a brief visit with my buddy–and my old bike parts.
For three days we were able to dial in the DB Inline on the rocky, rooty terrain in Pisgah and Dupont, Cane Creek’s stomping grounds. The employee-owned company shared with us its passion for riding and making the finest products they know how to.
THERE’S A MARVELOUS AMOUNT OF TECHNOLOGY PACKED into today’s bikes. But we should be as grateful for simple advancements like short stems and sloping top tubes as we are for through axles and disc brakes. While folks in white lab coats are making our bikes lighter and faster, rider-driven frame manufacturers like Transition are making them more fun. So we’re always eager to see Transition’s take on the fun-starved world of big wheels.
THE ANTHEM ADVANCED 27.5 2 IS A BARGAIN. YES, IT’S STILL a lot of money, but considering that it has the same exact carbon and alloy frame as the $8,250 flagship model, it’s a good deal. The 2×10 Sram X.7 shifters are an impressive improvement from the previous 9-speed triggers, with a smaller, streamlined look and more positive lever feel. With these paddles strung to X.7 and X.9 Type 2 front and rear derailleurs respectively, the shifting is crisp and precise.
I went through a phase where I avoided packs altogether, stuffing my pockets with spares or going unprepared because packs were uncomfortable and shifted around while riding. Then I got a Raptor 10.
Carbon wheels are only as sexy as they are strong. ENVE’s new hoops get a boost in brawn.