Author Archives: "Ryan Palmer"
Did you know that World Cup downhill racers tune their wheel stiffness by adjusting spoke tension to suit certain courses? Optimizing wheel stiffness can improve traction, control and comfort. Reynolds has done an excellent job at this with the Blacklabel wheels. For me, they strike a great balance between providing stable, yet supple ride–something I appreciated after experiencing how harsh some of the other carbon wheels on the market can be.
Enduro is all the rage these days, but people have been racing their bikes without taking ‘time outs’ long before someone brilliantly decided to stop the clock on the climbs. Cross country racing put mountain biking on the global map, and it started right here in the good old U S of A. Grassroots cross country racing is alive and well in the US, but our elite races–the ones that make the fastest euros leave behind their delicious chocolate and cheese for Hershey’s and Cheese Whiz–need a boost.
This bike loves rough trail and only gets more comfortable with speed. A mid-height, 13.5-inch bottom bracket provides pedal clearance without much sacrifice to the handling, while long 17.7-inch chainstays and a 66.5-degree head angle give the bike excellent stability in the chunky bits.
Eurobike, held each year in Friedrichshafen, Germany, is the ultimate bike junkie gear fix, with its many halls packed to the gills with each company’s latest and greatest widgets. This year we kept our product updates limited to our Instagram feed–but since the show is over and we still have images to share, here’s a Eurobike wrap-up gallery.
Just one day after the most grueling round of the Enduro World Series, held in Whistler, British Columbia, I experienced winner Jared Grave’s and second place Nico Lau’s bikes exactly as they were set up during the race.
The Specialized Demo 8 has been an eye-turner since the original with its distinctive twin seat stays and spider web shock enclosure. The bike has gone through several redesigns since then, but none as transformative as what you see here.
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.