The New Maxxis Shorty
has been designed as a proper soft terrain downhill race tire that isn't as wet condition-specific as their Wet Screams, the tires that racers often trim down to be slightly less aggressive for use in mixed conditions. And while it does clearly employ tall lugs that are spaced widely to shed mud and offer good penetration, its round-ish crown and staggered side knobs have been chosen for their consistency in changing track environments - all signs that the Shorty will excel in more than just the worst slop. As with most of Maxxis' high-performance rubber, the Shorty utilizes their 3C rubber make-up that sees it assembled from, you guessed it, three different durometers of rubber. The specific mix used for the Shorty is something called Maxxgrip, a downhill oriented blend that uses a stiffer base for support, with two much softer and slower rebounding rubber compounds laid over top. This is in contrast to their Maxxspeed mix employed on their cross-country tires that puts more of an emphasis on rolling speed, or their Maxxterra combination that is a compromise intended for trail bike use. The Shorty's 3C Maxxgrip rubber is applied over a true, dual-ply downhill casing that features 60 TPI construction, with the finished product coming in at a very downhill-only 1250 grams. Although the Shorty is currently only available in a single 26" x 2.4" size, Maxxis did hint that they are contemplating offering the tire in other diameters and widths in the future. MSRP $85 USD. www.maxxis.com
Magura's battery powered compression damper
, the eLECT, uses a 3D accelerometer and micro-sized piezoelectric motor to alter the amount of low-speed compression damping to better suit the attitude of the bike. If that sounds like science fiction, keep in mind that the tiny 3D accelerometer found within the damper is very similar to what an iPhone uses to "right" the display regardless of which orientation the phone is used in, and that its piezoelectric motor is far from being new technology - it's all existing components, with Magura adapting their use to control the eLECT damper. How does it work? The 3D accelerometer senses the angle of the bike and tells the the pint sized motor to either open the compression damping ports if the bike is angled down or level, or close them to firm up the fork if it is angled up during a climb. The motor rotates a disc with three kidney shaped openings that correspond to openings on the compression piston, either aligning the openings to allow the oil to flow and the fork to go through its travel, or rotating it roughly an eighth of a turn to close off the oil passages and firm the fork up. Magura have also incorporated a blow-off, although the fork won't sag into its travel when locked out like with their DLO system, a useful feature for preserving handling on climbs. The system's operating window can be tweaked manually by "zeroing" the damper on either a slight incline or decline by holding down the reset button for a few seconds, effectively tricking it into thinking the terrain is either more level or more sloped, and therefore changing when it firms up.
The eLECT system doesn't alter the low-speed compression instantly, with a slight delay that is similar to how long it takes your phone's display to change, about a second or so, which means that the design might not be best suited to an aggressive trail rider who is looking for wide open performance. And while Magura readily admits that fact, they do also say that the eLECT damper offers some serious performance advantages when talking about efficiency for the sporty trail rider or cross-country racer.
The damper's built-in battery can be charged via a micro-USB cord (similar to what many phones and cameras use
), and Magura says that it lasts 40 hours when set to automatic to allow the 3D accelerometer and micro-sized piezoelectric motor to work full-time. Want more control over the lockout? A handlebar mounted remote is an optional accessory that lets the rider operate the damper manually, with a 60 hour battery life if they choose to do so, and the system simply reverts to being full-open if the battery dies on the trail. Interestingly, the eLECT damper can be retrofitted to Magura's TS8 R, TS6 forks, as well as all of their suspension forks from 2010 on, although we suspect that it makes the most sense on their forks that feature 120mm of travel or less. www.magura.com
showed us their 104mm BCD Guidering that utilizes a narrow/wide tooth profile that has been proven to do an excellent job of holding the chain in place, making them a great upgrade for riders who are looking for a simple single-ring drivetrain setup, and we've even started to see downhill racers also using the rings in conjunction with a full chain guide for even more security. This new version shown here features a nifty offset machined face that lets users adjust their chainline between 49 and 50mm depending on which side faces out, a clever setup that should allow for perfect alignment.
With immense amounts of traction and a massive platform, their standard LG1+ pedal is already our absolute favourite option when it comes to platform pedals for downhilling, but e*thirteen wanted to offer a lighter version for racers or those who like to count grams. The result is the new LG1r pedal that, with revised heat treated aluminum pins and a titanium axle, weigh in at a claimed 380 grams. That's 88 grams lighter than the standard version. Regardless of their lighter weight, the LG1r pedal still features e*thirteen's nifty SpinControl T25 adjuster (as well as the upgraded seals that allow them to turn with less friction than the original versions
) and replaceable 'IFD' impact absorbing polycarbonate wear plates on both sides of the pedal body. Traction can be tuned by using the optional 1, 4, and 7mm replacement pins. www.bythehive.com/e-thirteen