Rocky Mountain Bikes
If there was an award for the raddest looking bike at the show it would likely go to Rocky Mountain's Element 70MSL. No, it doesn't have nine inches of travel or a built in gearbox, but there is no denying that the 120mm travel 70MSL is pure sex. The frame is built nearly entirely from carbon fiber, minus only a few grams of aluminum shock hardware. Even the linkage is made from carbon, and everything is finished off with a killer matte black look that is about as stealth as you can get. The bike's 120mm of rear wheel travel means that it clearly isn't designed as a rowdy all-mountain machine, but rather a capable trail bike with a shred-able 69.5° head tube angle. www.bikes.com
The Element 70MSL uses internal cable routing (left
) that is new for 2012. Internal routing is great for smooth lines and protecting cables from wear and tear, but it can be a real pain in the ass to replace the cable and housing if you aren't a clever mechanic. Rocky makes the job a bit easier by building in a removable plug at the bottom bracket. Simply pop it out and you can feed the new lines out the bottom of the frame. Carbon is the name of the game with the 70MSL and it's even used for the bike's shock linkage (right
Rocky has placed the rear axle pivot slightly above the hub axle, something that they claim helps to keep chain tension from acting on the suspension. There is a lot of technical talk to go along with that, but the general idea is to have the chain torque line parallel to the suspension's lower link during all of the suspension travel. I think Pinkbike will have to get on one of these stealth looking bikes for a longterm test and report back!
The Element 70MSL uses what Rocky Mountain refers to as "ABC Pivots" for every location except the main pivot just above the bottom bracket shell. The ABC acronym stands for Angular Bushing Concept, but don't be put off by the bike's use of bushings in most pivots instead of sealed bearings. Unlike the bushing designs of older bikes that simply bound up when tightened down, the Element's ABC system rotates on tapered aluminum pivot hardware that is designed in such a way to eliminate binding when torqued to spec. Rocky not only says that the ABC Pivots save 120 grams per frame when used instead of sealed bearings, but also create a rear end that is 105% stiffer as well. That's a big number!
We know what you want to see... The Element 70MSL looks great, but their Flatline World Cup is the bad boy that a lot of you would rather throw a leg over. The bike's 200mm of rear wheel travel is controlled by their Low Centre Counter Rotating (LC2R
) linkage, allowing their designers to tune the leverage rate independently from the bike's main single pivot. The World Cup model shown above sits at the top of the food chain and comes equipped with SRAM's new XO DH rear derailleur and brakeset, as well as a Kashima coated and custom valved Fox DHX RC4 shock and a Fox 40 RC2 fork. Want to build it up to your own dream spec? It can also be had as a frame that is painted up in Rocky's Blackout color scheme. Shimano Tharsis
While Shimano may be best known for their drivetrains and brakes they also do a number of different component lineups under the PRO moniker, including a great looking direct mount stem and downhill width bar. With its unique looks, it was their carbon Tharsis range that caught our camera's attention though. The Tharsis stem shown above uses a monocoque carbon construction and a round back to lessen the pain of a knee strike - the clamp bolts have been moved to the side of the stem body. The bar clamp may look conventional, but it has been designed in such a way to limit as much stress as possible from the clamping area and bolts, enough so that Shimano doesn't hesitate to outfit the stem with titanium hardware. www.pro-bikegear.com
The matching Tharsis bar is made from T800 -1000 unidirectional carbon and uses a titanium mesh at the stem clamping zone for added resiliency. The 195 gram bar measures up at 710mm wide and combines 20mm of rise with 8° of backsweep and 4° of upsweep. Just in case you were wondering, the Tharsis name comes from the largest volcano in the solar system, found on Mars.
A grip is a grip is a grip, right? It's all in the details, though. The Tharsis grip doesn't use an outer locking collar that can be uncomfortable for the outside edge of your palm, but rather an internal locking system to augment the standard inner clamp. The grip itself also tapers slightly near their inside end to allow for more clearance for the paddles of trigger shifters. How many grips out there use titanium hardware? The Tharsis does, and its thin waffle pattern will suit those who like narrow grips. They weigh 120 grams and can be had in either black or white.
Their new Trail pedals are turning out to be a great choice for riders who are looking for a slightly larger platform, but we can't forget about the standard version as well. The cross-country XT pedals hit the scales at 343 grams (the Trail version weighs 408 grams per pair
) and offer a slimmer profile than the Trail model, something to keep in mind if you suffer from frequent pedal strikes. www.shimano.comDakine
Dakine's booth was swarming with riders who were looking for functional clothes that don't make them look like a European storm trooper, including the ladies ensemble being worn by the cute model above. The Siren short uses a 12" inseam length - long enough to be comfortable and short enough to not feel like you're wearing a pair of shants - and are made of a burly 200D micro corded nylon shell. Zippered vents let the air flow on hot days, and the Siren's stash pocket is a good place to hide the key to the shuttle truck, an iPod or something else that you don't want found. There are no belt loops, but rather hook and loop side waist tab adjustments, and they come complete with a removable women's Comp Chamois liner short. www.dakine.com
The matching Flight short sleeve jersey is designed for warm conditions, with its top section and sleeves made from ventilated mesh paneling. It comes in both a long and short sleeve version, both of them using the same anti-microbial finish and sporting an eyewear wipe at the left interior sideseam. The minimalist girl's Exodus glove is also well suited to hot conditions with a moisture wicking 4-way stretch nylon top panel and lightly padded palm. A strap at the wrist makes getting them on and off easier.
Are you wanting to bring the business casual look to the trailhead? With its snap down enclosure, breast pockets and collar, Dakine's Triumph jersey does just that. It isn't all for show though, there is functionality thanks to the Triumph's wicking and breathable waffle knit fabric that will keep you from getting sticky and gross while also looking ready for any occasion that may arrise post-ride. Just don't pop the collar, please.
Dakine's AMP pack is available in an 8L size that is great for those days when you just need some water and a few essentials, a medium sized 12L version that can fit enough tools, water and food to keep you trucking during a long ride, as well as the biggest 18L size that is shown above. The 1.1lb pack comes equipped with a 3L bladder that uses a Quick-Disconnect hose for easy refills, and uses a new and lightweight mesh helmet stash that will fit your XC lid. It is pictured above in the new timber color, perfect if you are going for that one-with-nature look.
Above, Kathy Pruitt models the Nomad in its new Cypress color scheme. The 18L Nomad bag is suited for those who leave home with pads, but don't want to have to wear them during the entire ride. The Nomad's armor carry straps are nearly hidden externally at the bottom of the bag, yet they can be pulled out and used to secure knee and leg pads if you need to earn your day's turns and don't plan on falling over during the climb up. Likewise, it also uses a helmet carry that will work for both XC and DH lids, and it sports the same 3L bladder with a Quick-Disconnect hose as the AMP. Gripshift
There are many riders who have been waiting for the day when SRAM finally releases their 10 speed compatible Grip Shift and it looks like that day may be arriving soon. Exactly when, we don't don't know, but Specialized rider and cross-country Champion of Everything this season Jaroslav Kulhavy is one of the lucky few who have been rocking these on his race bike. We know nothing about them - my probing questions to SRAM were met with a polite "we're not talking about them yet
" - but that sort of silence often means that there is something cool going within a new product. We had heard that the delay in producing a functioning 10 speed Grip Shift was down to the finer indexing required when making the jump from nine to ten gears, something that was difficult to achieve with the internals of the currently available Grip Shift, so we're eager to see what makes this new version tick. It is apparently not as easy as simply adding another click the shifter! It is worth noting that the model on Kulhavy's bike was remarkably easy to turn, requiring barely any force. How did they do it? Is it going to be compatibile with their current rear derailleurs? It is no doubt lighter than a trigger shifter, but how light? Let the speculation begin... www.sram.com