The best bikes and components of 2014? Each of Bike’s editors gave their spin on the “dream build”. Here’s Vernon Felton’s choice: a hopped-up version of Giant’s Trance Advanced SX. Here’s the review.
Cullinan’s incredible worlds-winning run is the stuff of legend. It happened five years before Philippe Kahn decided to connect a digital camera to a cell phone and broadcast the birth of his daughter, so the course was absolutely void of iPhone-toting spectators documenting every angle and second of the event on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and Vimeo. And the Red Bull Media House wasn’t even a faint glimmer in an entrepreneur’s eye back then. So, Cully’s rainbow-winning performance is much more mysterious and under-documented than, say, Danny Hart’s astonishing Champery ride in 2011. It was, nevertheless, something extra special.
Our crew was completely divided on Santa Cruz's flagship DH machine. With back to back World Championship pedigree, and an equally impressive price tag, the biggest debate was on value. Be sure to pay attention when the testers mention fit, as this bike runs on the small side.
XX1, SRAM’s dedicated single ring 11-speed drivetrain debuted at Crankworx 2012 and it has proven to be a smart, rider-focused drivetrain solution that has captured the attention of a lot of mountain bikers, despite its high cost. Last summer SRAM announced X01, a slightly less expensive 1 x 11 group. It's expected that the technology will eventually trickle down to lower price points, allowing it to become attainable for even more riders, but we'll have to wait a bit longer for that. The February SRAM camp in Queenstown, New Zealand was all about downhill.
If one happens to be a regular bike racer, entering a bike race or two while on vacation is probably a fine and dandy way to explore the familiar competitive milieu in an exotic setting. If, however, one has thrown 12 years worth of soil on top of the grave of one’s competitive aspirations, then stomped that soil down good and hard, entering a cross country race in the heat of a Nelson summer at the bottom of the world is probably not the smartest idea.
This was one of the more controversial bikes we tested. On one hand you have a brilliant carbon chassis and on the other hand you have an inhibiting component spec and a love-it or-hate-it automated rear suspension.
I’m not hell bent on breaking myself. I’d love a season without slings and crutches, but I’ve also found that when I go long periods without a wreck, it’s not because I’ve hit some new plateau of awesomeness. It’s usually because I’ve stopped taking risks. I’ve stopped pushing myself. And, invariably, I’m not having nearly as much fun on the bike.
Mountain bike World Champion, 9-time U.S. National Champion and BMX Hall of Famer Leigh Donovan launched a new business on Thursday called ichoosebikes.com that will teach female riders the fundamentals of the sport.
This bike impressed all the testers with its sensible component choice, lightweight, stealth matte-black carbon frame and variable suspension, making it practical for XC races or all-mountain rides.
The established wisdom in mountain biking is that pedaling will make you go faster. I can’t argue that on a smooth, straight piece of trail (like a gravel road) you will go faster if you pedal harder. However, on singletrack it often pays to not pedal. Why? Read on.
A lot of race bikes have a fairly narrow range in which they excel. To wit, if you aren’t pinning it on a relatively buff course, some of those bikes are about as fun as donating blood. This, of course, is understandable—they are race bikes, after all, and racing generally isn’t concerned with smelling the roses: it’s about gritting your teeth and putting the hammer down and tasting blood. Fair enough. Well, the Hei Hei can do the race thing just fine, but it’s also actually fun to ride as well.
The combination of vertical terrain and accessible greenery, as well as a culture that seems to embrace getting outside and enjoying it, have allowed Wellington to become a Candyland of mountain-bike trails. The Wellington region boasts somewhere near 200 square miles of parks and forests, and mountain bike development has been a permissive and ongoing project utilizing these open spaces for several years now.
The Specialized Epic Comp Carbon made our testers want to don race bibs and give Dave Wiens and Lance Armstrong a run for their money in the Leadville 100.
Go on a group ride today and nearly everyone sports some kind of eyewear. Cyclists, however, rode through the bulk of the 20th century with no eye protection whatsoever. It was truly a devil-may-care period during which condoms were for French sailors, helmets were for astronauts and protective eyewear was for… army snipers? Maybe CIA agents? The Oakley Razor Blade changed all that.
Construction is set to start next year on a long-awaited bike park at Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe. The yet-to-be-finalized plan includes a total of nine to 10 miles of entry- to mid-level gravity-oriented trails that will be built in the East Peak Basin area at the top of the gondola, accessed by the Comet Express and Big East lifts.
The latest version of Salsa's all-mountain 29er, the Horsethief 2, left some of our testers wanting to hit the trail as if they were running from the law.
Every year, the United State's largest bike parts distributor, QBP hosts its own little trade show at its Bloomington, Minnesota, headquarters. Fittingly it's called Frostbike. We ventured out in the cold to check out some upcoming products from some leading brands.
Get out and ride. It’s cold as hell. The mud is going to play hell with your fancy new drivetrain. You’re going to need some lobster gloves and that balaclava that makes it look like you’re gearing up to rob the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts. In other words, it’s a perfect day for a ride.