Words: Kevin Rouse
Photos: Ryan LaBar
Crankbrothers has been busy this off-season, coming into the 2012 model year with a great deal of either new, or re-designed products. A much fuller product line-up has grown to include saddles and packs in addition to their more commonly peddled wares (pun intended): pedals, wheels and cockpit bits.
Crankbrothers has revamped its wheel offerings throughout, lightening nearly every model and increasing compatibility throughout the line-up. On the XC side, the lineup now boasts the carbon-rimmed, tubeless compatible Cobalt 11 wheelset in addition to their Cobalt 3 and 2 offerings. The set weighs in at 1380 grams and can accommodate both a 9mm QR and 15mm through-axle. Rim width is identical to it's aluminum-rimmed siblings at 19 millimeters. Retail is $2,200, making it Crankbrothers' costliest set of hoops to date. In other news, all of Crankbrothers Level 3 wheelsets, ranging from its Cobalt cross country offering to its Opium downhill wheelset have gone on a diet, shaving grams thanks to more aggressively machined rim profiles.
New Cobalt Hub Aesthetics.
Carbon rims. With gold decals to match the hubs.
Redesigned Opium rims.
Crankbrothers is now making less expensive, 2-series wheels.
Loads of new wheel colors for the Cobalt 3 wheels:
One of Crankbrothers' latest forays into the MTB market is their all-new saddle offering. Building on a wide base of knowledge from sister company Fizik, Crankbrothers is focusing on the all mountain market with their Iodine line of perches. Available in 239-gram Level 11 and 283-gram Level 3 guises, both feature replaceable rails and sport "nose flex technology" engineered into the saddle nose for what Crankbrothers claims amounts to increases in climbing comfort and improved wheel traction.
Continuing with the general trend, Crankbrothers' cockpit lineup hasn't gone untouched for 2012. Notable changes include a much wider range of width offerings for the Cobalt and Iodine handlebar lines, ranging anywhere from the 132-gram, 600 mm flat Cobalt 11, to the appreciatively-wide 700-mm Iodine 11that features 9-degrees of back sweep and tips the scales at a still-feathery 178 grams. The Opium and Sage freeride and downhill bars will be available only in the 780-millimeter width, but feature multiple rise and back sweep options to suit your fancy.
Also new for 2012, is their Level 1 series of cockpit components aimed at the entry-level price point. It will be interesting to see if the new line makes it onto any bikes as OEM equipment. With their clean-looking graphics, that certainly wouldn't be a bad thing.
Wider bars are nice.
Crankbrothers added Sage and Opium bars to its line as well. They come in a nice and wide 780-millimeter width.