The Results Are In: 10 Speed Mountain Bike Components
A couple of weeks ago, we asked the question “10 Speed Mountain Biking, Have you converted yet?“. The results are in and they are about what we expected.
10 speed mountain bike components have polarized mountain biking in a way. While many are saying “why, 9 speed works”…others are taking on the new standard and using this as a point of upgrade or enjoying it on a new mountain bike.
If you haven’t been around the sport a long time, the argument over the amount of gears you need vs. what is being released to the market is not a new one. While there was the argument on 7 speed vs. 8 speed, the controversy on the move from 8 to 9 speed was much more heated. This latest move from 9 speed to 10 has many mountain bikers asking…where does it end?
On the other side of the coin, the 10 speed gearing setup allows for a wider range on the rear with the ability to run an efficient 2 ring setup up front with minimal gearing choice loss. The ability to drop one ring in the rear (also able to do with 9 speed setups) but run an efficient 36T rear cassette opens up possibilities without having too much of a step through the range in the rear.
Do we need 10 speed mountain biking? Can we expect 11 speed mountain bike components in the future? Time will tell…but in the meantime…just like we saw with 8 speed mountain bike components…9 speed mountain biking will soon be a thing of the past.
60% of riders polled are still in the “No” and “Holding Onto 9 Speed Crowd” while the 40% polled either have made the switch or plan on it in the near future. As the availability of 9 speed parts starts to become a rarity…this percentage will continue to overtake the no crowd until we are wondering what will be next for the mountain bike industry. Electronic shifting maybe?
Race Face Brought Back To Life By A Former Employee
Back in March, the bank came in and closed the doors of one of the staples in the mountain bike industry…Race Face. This Vancouver based company was known for providing mountain bikers with high quality components that could withstand the beatings of every day riding while also looking great on your bike. Their machined aluminum crank arms were arguably the best in the industry.
As with a lot of companies during this recession, the bank closed up their funds and the company was going to go into liquidation. It was a sad day for the bike industry as we were watching one of the greats take a fall.
Chris Tutton Brings New Life To Race Face
Most of you probably have zero clue who Chris Tutton is. As the former president of sales for Race Face, Tutton left RF to become the director of sales for Easton Bell Sports. With Race Face up for auction, a bidding war ensued and the former RF employee ended up as the new controlling arm for the brand.
Chris worked his way up in Race Face ranks over his 12 year tenure with the company starting off as a customer service rep all the way back in 1994.
What does this mean for Race Face?
For the brand, this couldn’t be any better news. With companies like Rocky Mountain and their distributors stepping up to say how happy they are with the result, you can imagine that a lot of Race Face supporters around the world are stoked to see someone with such a passion and intimate knowledge of the brand taking the wheel.
While Tutton will be still contracting for Easton Bell Sports, we can almost be sure that the Race Face brand will continue to manufacturer the kind of components we are used to seeing…instead of getting stripped away and dissolved.
From the team at Bike198, we congratulate Chris Tutton on his new journey and thank him for taking the risk on bringing back a MTB favorite to life.
Local Support: Look For Killer Deals That Benefit MTB Advocacy Groups
Every country has advocacy groups that fund trail building, raise awareness and provide support for local mountain bikers. In our section of the US, we have SORBA (Southern Off-Road Biking Association) which is a chapter of IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association). By becoming a member, you are supporting your local mountain biking groups by increasing membership numbers that help with fundraising and making your small donation that goes towards fees associated with building and maintaining trails.
What you might not know…is that it doesn’t have to stop there. Large companies like to partner with advocacy groups like SORBA and IMBA to provide some killer deals to their members while also supporting the groups at the same time. Recently, Bike198 took advantage of one of those deals.
Subaru VIP Partner Program With SORBA
Subaru has been known throughout the industry for providing support to adventure sports fanatics all over the world. Their cars are actually built with us in mind as they provide fun to drive AWD platforms that include factory racking options and direct mount roof rack mounts. In just about every adventure area of the US, you can find Subaru vehicles around every corner.
In our area, Subaru partnered up with SORBA to provide discounts to members on new cars. With the only prerequisite being a membership length of 6 months or more, SORBA members can get invoice minus 2% and Subaru will also donate $200 to SORBA towards the land access fund.
As you can probably imagine, the full time bike hauler for Bike198 is now a shiny, silver Subaru!
As Your Local Group About Deals In Your Area
This kind of partnership is pretty normal in the mountain biking industry. Check with your local chapters and groups to see if there are any deals you can take advantage of while also supporting local mountain biking.
If there are not any current deals running right now, get with your local boards to brainstorm potential partnerships. You will be surprised how many industry and non-industry companies are willing to partner up with nonprofits to promote their brand, increase business and do all of this through programs that benefit the community.
Win Gear From Yakima, Spot, Niner Bikes and More With SylvanSport
It’s that time of year again and SylvanSport is giving away a MASSIVE amount of prizes with their FindTheGo contest/giveaway.
For the mountain biker, expect a grand prize like you see to the right that includes a Niner Bike, Yakima rack and more outdoor gear than you can handle.
Here are some insider facts on what you can expect:
- Grand Prize package is valued at over $15,000. There are also second and third place prizes as well as giveaways throughout the duration of the contest.
- There will be a weekly prize giveaway all 8 weeks of the contest.
- 8 sponsors are: Yakima, Emotion kayaks, Grand Trunk, SPOT, Niner Bikes, Kelty, Black Diamond and KEEN Footwear.
- Each week, for 8 weeks, a clue video is released. Each video is a feature spotlight on one of our 8 sponsors
- This year’s charity is Gift of Light for Haiti, we will be lighting up a tent city with solar bulbs to provide light where they were unable to have any because of lack of electricity, cost and limited availability of fuel or even candles.
- Final Reveal will have a big media event and party with Oskar Blues Brewery as the Event Sponsor
- Last year’s winner was Matt Briskie, from Raleigh, NC. An Adventure Racer and Mountain Biker.
- Last year’s secret location was Niagara Falls, USA
To stay on top of the contest and get your chance to win some incredible free gear, check out this press release and the links below.
SylvanSport’s FindTheGO contest begins Monday April 4th with over $15,000 in free hidden gear!
Eight of the world’s best outdoor companies join in sponsoring the 2011 FindTheGO event: Yakima, SPOT, Kelty, Niner Bikes, Emotion Kayaks, Grand Trunk, Black Diamond and KEEN Footwear.
SylvanSport, along with 8 partner companies have hidden a cache of spectacular outdoor gear somewhere in North America. Find it first, and it’s yours! A 2011 SylvanSport GO, the brilliant centerpiece of outdoor gear perfection, along with an array of fantastic prizes from the sponsor partners makes up the Grand Prize.
On Monday, April 4th the first clue will go live on www.findthego.com. This fun and unique 8 week event was tremendously successful last year, and this years’ contest promises to be bigger, better and most importantly… even more fun.
Each week, for 8 weeks, a video clue and geo-coordinates to guide participants to the ultimate hiding place, will premier on the dedicated website: www.findtheGO.com. Participants follow the clues and coordinates from any internet connected device as they zero in on the final location somewhere in the US or Canada. The final clue gives the exact location and from there, it’s anybody’s race!
Joining SylvanSport in sponsoring this unique event are Yakima, SPOT, Kelty, Niner Bikes, Emotion Kayaks, Grand Trunk, Black Diamond, and KEEN Footwear. The GO and the Grand Prize gear package are valued at over $15,000. The event also features great prizes for the 2nd and 3rd place finishers, and online giveaways throughout. See all of the prize details at www.findthego.com.
Last year’s winner was Matt Briskie from Raleigh, NC. “I was very pleased at how winnable this contest was. I played along, figured out the location, drove up to Niagara Falls and won it! It was that easy.”
For more information, visit www.findtheGO.com or www.sylvansport.com
New From Santa Cruz Bikes: Blur TRc, Tallboy AL and Highball
There have been rumors flying around the Santa Cruz camp with several spy shots hitting the web, but it is now official…Santa Cruz has 3 new bikes to add to their already impressive lineup.
Santa Cruz Highball
Probably the most anticipated addition to the Santa Cruz lineup is the 2.4 pound full carbon 29er hard tail frame. While this is not Santa Cruz’s first jump into hard tails (see the AM/DJ Chameleon), it is the first lightweight hard tail out of the Santa Cruz lineup geared towards the XC crowd…specifically racers looking for an ultralight, super stiff 29er frame. From what we have heard…this is going to be a HT frame that is aimed specifically at those riders, so racers that are huge Santa Cruz fans should be extremely happy.
Santa Cruz Tallboy AL
Building off of the massive success of the Santa Cruz Tallboy, SC has release an aluminum counterpart to the all carbon frame. For those of you that have been drooling over the carbon frame but didn’t have the $2,400+ to pony up for the carbon version…you will now have a much more affordable (in boutique bike terms) option to get rolling on the Tallboy frame design.
Santa Cruz Blur TRc
The new all carbon Blur TRc is Santa Cruz’s new look at the trail bike. With a frame weight of right at 5 pounds and 5 inches of rear wheel travel (between the XC and LT models), the new Blur TRc looks to mate XC rigs with slacker AM sleds. You get the same carbon layout as the Tallboy and similar VPP suspension setup.
The New Bikes From Santa Cruz
From what we can see, the new rides out of the Santa Cruz camp marks an expansion year for 2011. They are building off of their already stout carbon lineup by adding in two new bikes to the mix and looking to gain off of that popularity with an affordable option of a once carbon only bike. With the new 29er HT, they are really rounding out their entire mountain bike lineup by having a purpose built race rig all the way to a World Cup DH champion with the Santa Cruz V10.
It will be an exciting year for Santa Cruz and we can’t wait to see the bikes in person. You can expect to see these shipping to showroom floors around the beginning of April.
Race Face Is Closed: The Shot Heard Around The Bike Industry
After over 18 years of providing the mountain bike industry with high quality OEM and aftermarket components, Race Face is officially being liquidated.
This Canadian manufacturer has been a staple in the industry almost since the mainstream adoption of mountain biking. With legendary components like the square taper Race Face Turbine cranks to one of the easiest to adjust seatpost mechanisms on the market, Race Face as innovated and provided strong components for riders looking for that extra edge.
According to John Pentecost at Race Face:
I wish the situation was optimistic, but we’ve been told the company is going to be liquidated, and 90% of us are unemployed as of next week. They’ll keep a few people on to assist with the liquidation.
My tenure with the company has been short, but it’s been a fun ride. Thanks to all the great athletes, customers, and media folks I’ve had the opportunity to work with. Thanks also to the amazing group of coworkers I have out here. All of you make stuff like this hurt a lot less…
…It came as a big surprise to all of us. There were about 50 people laid off here in New Westminster today and we were told that another 20 people in Taiwan were also terminated.
In a letter to Race Face employees dated March 14, Grant Thornton Limited announced that it was terminating all Race Face employees at its New Westminster factory, and at its operations in Taiwan.
As the receiver will be shutting down the operations of Race Face Components Inc. immediately, your continued employment is no longer required and, therefore, the receiver on behalf of Race Face Components Inc., hereby terminates your employment, effectively immediately.
The closing and liquidation of Race Face marks the second major loss of a long time brand in the mountain biking industry. Earlier this year, Titus Cycles also went through the same process as creditors are getting tighter on loans. With the name Race Face has in the industry, I would assume a similar auction will take place and someone will pick up the name much like On One did with Titus. Who will purchase the rights to the Race Face name and what they will do with it will still be determined…but we are sad to see such a fixture in the industry leave so abruptly.
Race Face was a premier manufacturer of mountain bike components ranging from machined aluminum with flashy ano coatings to carbon bits that helped shave the weight for many riders. They also sponsored some of the best riders in the world including Steve Peat.
Having owned many Race Face components over the years (Deus Cranks, Atlas Cranks, Seatposts, Stems, Bars, Turbines, etc), I am personally sad to see the brand go. Hopefully there is a firm out there willing to bring it back to former glory. We will have to wait and see…
How The Game Is Going To Change In 2011 And Beyond In The Bike Industry
The past couple of years in the mountain biking industry have been exciting. The mountain biking public now has more high quality frames and components to ride than ever before and it is almost to the point that we are asking…so what is next? Unlike the early days of mountain biking when the industry was just trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t, (remember elastomer forks, huge bar ends and suspension designs like the Y bike?) now even budget bikes are getting big price performance. We are completely spoiled these days with the amount of components, bikes and accessories that we have to choose from.
So where is the industry headed in the next couple of years and what can we expect?
Here is how I see it all shaking out…
The Carbon Bike Takeover
In recent years, we have slowly seen carbon come in as the material of choice for many mountain bikers. A material that used to be used primarily in the road bike industry has now become durable enough to use in mountain biking. With companies like Ibis, Santa Cruz, Trek and Specialized leading the way, we are going to start to see a mass influx of carbon hard tails and full suspension bikes hitting the market as the early runners continue to sell really well.
The surprising part of this takeover is going to be the emphasis on not only race bikes, but the all mountain 5.5″ to 6.4″ sleds. As we have already seen with the Mojo (full carbon), Nomad (full carbon), Enduro (front tri carbon), a longer travel carbon mountain bike is completely doable. As China continues to develop their carbon program, we are going to continue to see more lines make the material switch and add more black weave to their lineups. Eventually, we are going to start to see some budget lines do the exact same thing.
9 Speed Is A Distant Memory
Just as we saw with 8 speed, 9 speed mountain biking is going to become a distant memory. The push for 10 speed mountain biking has been made and it stuck. You are going to see the component manufacturers continue to support 9 speed with legacy components over the coming years, but the end goal will be to eventually phase out 9 speed completely. All development and design dollars have already been shifted over to the new platform.
More Accessories That Improve Our Rides
The past two years in mountain biking have been HUGE for accessory manufacturers. With the emergence of telescoping seat posts, point of view HD cameras (like the GoPro Hero HD), onboard GPS units (like the Garmin Edge 705) and simple, must have items like the RoadID, the accessory market in cycling has opened up to more than just components in new colors. As the bike industry and riding public continues to grow, we are going to see even more innovation in the accessories market. There are even rear view cameras in the works almost ready for production for road bikers. The sky is the limit at this point on what we can use to enhance our rides.
Increased Media Attention To Mountain Biking
Like it or not, the extreme side of sports is what draws in the viewing public in regards to media attention. For road biking, it is the Tour de France. For mountain biking, it is going to be the progression that has hit freeride and downhill that is going to bring more press to the sport much like it did for motocross in recent memory. As much as we love our epic rides and technical downhills, they aren’t that exciting to watch as a spectator. The continued expansion and riding progression of park riding and videos like Follow Me is going to bring more attention to mountain biking than it has seen in the past. Why? Because even my mom likes to watch Thomas Vanderham fly through the air. Crowds need to be amazed and innovators like Cam McCaul are making them say “holy shit” when they see them ride on the screen.
Social Media (aka. Facebook) Will Bring More Riders Together
There used to be a time when you really only knew the riders that rode your trails. Now…with the emergence of a force that no one was really expecting, Facebook as brought together more riders and shared more riding stories than any other online resource. While we still have our large forums, I would expect to see more conversations and pictures shared on Facebook over other online outlets in the near future. The transition has already started and sharing your rides and bikes with other riders around the world has never been this easy. Many riders have already started organizing their group rides, advocacy events and just rides with friends on this platform.
So that is what I see happening…what do you think we will see in the industry in the following years?
The New Bike198: Getting Ready for 2011
As you may have already noticed, things have changed a little bit here at Bike198.com. This week, we went live with a new design that has been in the works that has drastically changed the look and feel of the site. The goal…make all of the content easier to access and easier to read with less distraction. After going live with the design and getting initial feedback from you guys…I believe we accomplished that goal.
With the design change, I wanted to check in to give you a heads up on what you can expect from Bike198 in the coming months. Much of this will go live pretty quickly and some of it is already making its way on the site.
Bike198 Reader Reviews
Bike198 is known for providing reviews from our review team, but we want to hear what you think about the products you are using on the trail. We are in the process of building out a reader reviews section where you will be able to rate your bikes, components and accessories on Bike198.
Bike198 and YouTube
With helmet cams like the GoPro continuing to increase in popularity, we are seeing a ton of trail videos make their way to YouTube. We have a Bike198 YouTube Channel that we like to favorite videos from around the world, but we also wanted a way to show our favorite videos on the site. Simple solution…when we favorite a video, it is now going to show up on our Videos page. Start sending us your Vimeo and YouTube links so you can see your video on Bike198 and get more views!
We have had great success and feedback with the 29er Size Does Matter Tee (it stock and now shipping). We are looking to expand that lineup in 2011 and offer some different designs for other segments of mountain biking. Be on the lookout for these as we head into 2011.
We are working with top name and smaller companies throughout the industry to get in more product to review here on Bike198.com. If you have any specific bikes, components or gear that you want to see reviewed, let us know and we will do our best to get it on the pages of Bike198.
Also in the works are some more eBooks that are going to focus on items like at home bike maintenance.
Looking Back at 2010
As the crew here at Bike198 looks back at 2010, we have accomplished a lot during this calendar year. We officially broke past the 10,000 subscriber mark, released our first premium eBook (Ramped Riding), released the 29er Size Does Matter tee, released the new Bike198 kits that benefit the Livestrong Foundation and continued to crank out content relevant to mountain bikers around the world. However, none of this would have been possible without you guys and we are greatly appreciative of the support. As we head into this holiday season and new year, it is a time to be thankful…and we are extremely thankful for the support of the Bike198 readers. Without you…none of this is possible.
Live the ride,
Breaking News: On One Purchases Titus Cycles
On One, a popular manufacturer of affordable hard tails that range from 29ers to titanium to AM 26″, purchased Titus Bikes in the recent liquidation of Titus and all of its assets. This is an interesting move from On One as their core audience is used to quality at more of a budget price when Titus is known for more boutique pricing structures.
The coming months will show how On One wants to position the expansion in the current full suspension mountain biking market.
Official On One Press Release:
On One, the Mountain Bike Division of Planet X Ltd (Rotherham, UK) has acquired the brand, trade marks and assets of Titus Bikes Inc (Tempe, USA). The Titus acquisition complements the On One range, with the addition of high quality full suspension models. By leveraging our experience in carbon and titanium bike development we intend to build on the already strong Titus range.
In addition the Titus brand and loyal customers will provide a boost to On One’s planned expansion into the US in 2011.
Titus Cycles: Goodbye To A Legend and An End Of An Era
The rumor mills have been stirring and they are true. The long standing premium bike brand Titus Cycles is closing its doors and liquidating all assets. In an official email sent out to dealers and business partners, Titus Cycles writes:
“To All Titus Business Partners:
As many of you know, Titus has been working through a challenging year. We have made significant efforts to restructure the company.* Unfortunately, we have run out of time. Our largest lender is foreclosing… on an outstanding loan.* Commencing immediately, they will initiate an orderly liquidation of company assets.
Titus is well known for great customer service, including warranty service. Please be patient with us as we work through this most difficult time.* We will do everything possible to keep our loyal riders on the trails. All inquiries and requests will be answered beginning Monday, November 8, 2010.
Many of you have been partners with Titus for a very long time. We deeply appreciate your support through the years.
You are on our list because you are a dealer, have been a dealer, or have requested information about becoming a dealer for Titus.”
Titus has always been one of the more popular brands amongst mountain bike racers with the legendary RacerX, however they have seen quite a bit of change in recent years. Titus Cycles founder Chris Cocalis left the company and started a new company (Pivot Cycles) back in 2007 and ever since then…Titus has been struggling to find its way amongst a growing high end mountain bike market. With the decision to move manufacturing overseas only to have production issues, Titus had to replace a lot of inventory and eventually transition back to US production. This hurt the company in the long run and could have possibly lined up the result we see today. Known for producing fast mountain bikes, Titus was also struggling with their designs as rear ends tended to be incredibly flexy. Even the new Rockstar 29er got a negative review from Mountain Bike Action, and if you know that industry magazine at all…a negative review is not an easy thing to get.
With longstanding employees were recently “let go” a few weeks back…there was much speculation around forums as riders tried to guess what was going on.
Even with the liquidation and goodbye, Titus owners will look fondly on the brand and the RacerX will probably go down as one of the greatest full suspension race bikes in history. Unfortunately, there is no substitution for bad business planning and design. The liquidation of all assets will include the brand name, so it will be interesting to see if anyone steps up and tries to resurrect the Titus Cycles name. In the meantime, support and parts might turn out to be a hard thing to get for current Titus owners.
The New Look, The Livestrong Foundation and Bike198
There have been some big changes and releases over at Bike198.com, so I wanted to give you a heads up on each.
Bike198.com and The Livestrong Foundation
Starting today, we are releasing Bike198 jersey’s and shorts for purchase.
However, we didn’t want it to be just another “me too” website cycling jersey. We wanted the sale of our kits to actually mean something and give back to an industry that has provided so much to us over the years…so we came up with an idea.
Why don’t we raise money for the Livestrong Foundation at the same time?!
And that is what we did. Bike198.com is partnering up with the Livestrong Foundation to raise money and awareness for cancer through the sale of Bike198.com jerseys, shorts and bibs.
We are doing a pre-sale at a discounted rate, so check out the design and pricing by clicking the link below. A HUGE thank you goes out to Champion Systems (champ-sys.com) and Joe Cattoni (the design and regularjoe on Flickr) for their help with the process.
We really appreciate your support over the years, so please help us make this a huge success for the site and the Foundation.
Click here to find out more on the Bike198.com/Livestrong kits.
The New Look
We re-designed the entire Bike198.com family to provide a faster, more organized experience. With less graphical elements and more focus on the content, we are able to create a friendlier environment for you guys that makes the content easier to digest.
Check it out and let us know what you think.
Thank you for the continued support.
Live the ride,
Here Is Your 29er Mr. President – Niner Bikes Goes Presidential
I just received a pretty cool email from the crew over at Niner Bikes. The attached press release (below) and picture (credit: C.A. Smith | casmithphotography.com) you see above is Chris Cugai and Steve Domahidy of Niner Bikes delivering a Niner Jet 9 to former President George W. Bush. President Bush has been known for his 26″ obsession, but this is his first jump into the big wheeled category and he picked a great bike to start on.
This story actually brings up a pretty important issue that needs to be addressed in the mountain biking community. One of the great aspects of riding is that I get to hang out with people from varying races, backgrounds, political views and religious beliefs…but we all hold a common ground when it comes to putting down the power with pedals. On a recent trip to the mountains, I was able to talk to a friend of mine on certain issues…some we agree on and some we don’t…but at the end of the day, we are just two unique individuals that like to hang out on bikes.
Mountain biking is a common ground that has the ability to bring people together. There are very few sports in this world that have such a diverse group of obsessed loyalists that are able to set aside their differences for the love of the bike. This press release from Niner has no political affiliation. At the end of the day, it is just a couple of guys talking about the sport they love…mountain biking.
You can read our review of the Niner Jet 9 by clicking here.
Official Press Release from Niner Bikes
8/19/10 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Niner Bikes Go Presidential
Former President George W. Bush checks out 29ers with Niner Bikes
Niner Bikes co-founders Chris Sugai and Steve Domahidy spent Thursday morning of this week delivering and fitting a Niner Jet 9 full suspension bike for Former President George W. Bush, with assistance from local Niner dealer Kennebunkport Bicycle Company.
“Most of Peloton 1, Mr. Bush?s regular mountain bike crew, is on 29 inch wheels and he wanted to check them out. He asked Brandon Gillard, owner of the Kennebunkport Bicycle Company and Peloton 1 rider, if he could try a Niner. Brandon called us and of course we were stoked for the opportunity” said Sugai “ It is really hard to believe that just a few years ago we were showing our first frame at Sea Otter and now we are riding with a former President of the United States”
Bush, Sugai, Domahidy and the rest of the Peloton 1 crew (as well as a full complement of Secret Service people) went for a ride on the crew?s usual morning loop. “Mr. Bush is really fast” said Domahidy, ”and a very good technical rider, too. He was flying on the Jet 9 and at the end of the ride said he dropped 3 minutes off of his fastest time!”
Post ride, there was ample opportunity to chat, and the group?s conversation covered everything from trails, trail access and trail building to entrepreneurship in the USA. Said Sugai, “I found that he was very interested in the challenges of being a small business in the current economic atmosphere. This has been an amazing opportunity and we really have Niner owners to thank – their support over the years has gotten our little company to this point”.
Niner?s Jet 9 is their race-ready full suspension mountain bike. Light and fast, the frame features Niner?s proprietary CVATM full suspension system, and 3” of travel. It is available in three color options and retails at local Niner dealers for $1749.
Additional information can be found here: Niner Jet 9
Niner Bikes was founded 2004 in Southern California by Chris Sugai and Steve Domahidy. The company is dedicated to the ideals of passion, commitment and 29ers only.
www.ninerbikes.com | Niner Bikes on Facebook