This is the bike that everyone was intrigued about in round one of our Eurobike randoms. It’s so luminous that you can see the glow it gives off from miles around. Called the Capital, the 4130 steel frame is a 24” wheeled street bike. The example you see here is finished in a range of their own components, all covered in a matt and exceedingly eye catching colour called Brazilian Acid. It’s a bright hue and no mistake. Rims are their Trailmasters, the pedals are sealed Aerial Pro’s and the grips are Sam Pilgrim’s signature items. The yellow seemed to be the softest of the colors available and appeared to be a super grippy option. On one side is the Sam Pilgrim story cut into the rubber while the other features NS Bikes’ history. HOPE INTEGRATED CASSETTE
Always ones for carrying plenty of prototype goodies on their stand are Hope. Last year they introduced the initial concept of their integrated freehub and cassette, for all to see. A much later generation was on display this time around and is much closer to the product which should be available to buy in time for next season. It will only be available to those riders currently running Hope hubs for obvious reasons and a new axle will be required for those running the older Pro2 to upgrade from the 15mm to the revised 17mm axle of the Evo. So how does it work? It in effect is two parts. The carrier comprising the replacement freehub body and the means with which to mount the cogs.
And then there are the cogs themselves which are hewn from a block of steel billet and bolted to the carrier from the rear. The carrier will be manufactured from titanium, like the original Hope Ti-Glide and Bulb, and in the case of the six speed downhill model shown here in green will incorporate a guard to prevent the chain being dropped over the back on the biggest cog. It’s undecided whether it will be based around the need for a 9spd or a 10spd shifter, but there is a good chance that it will be made for both. But the biggest news is of course confirmation of the 9t bottom cog thanks to removal of the cassette lockring from the equation, using instead the normal end cap present on the hub already.
Last year it was clearly a work in progress, but nevertheless it excited us with the possibilities it could open up. So this year is no disappointment for it looks like what we wished for will become reality. No weights or savings have been mentioned, but they are bound to be pretty considerable given the removal of several redundant cogs and a cassette carrier. There was a second cassette tucked away on their stand which followed the same recipe as the first. This time it was hidden on the back wheel of a cyclocross bike, but it provided a glimpse of what a trail/all mountain style cassette could potentially offer once released. Utilizing the same style of one piece freehub/cassette carrier this time, the assembly is a full 9spd or 10spd and will have the cogs broken down into several segments to save money when replacement time looms. While the biggest and smallest cog parts will be manufactured in titanium for weight savings, the middle bracket of cogs will be in steel to both maximize wear and minimize cost. A welcome reason!
MARZOCCHI 55 Micro Switch TA
We’ve recently tested the 44 RC3 Titanium and loved them. We’ve currently got the 888 RC3 Evo Ti, and love them too. So we would expect that these 55’s from Marzocchi would too be pretty special. Of course the final decision would need to wait for some proper testing on some proper trails, but there is some likelihood that they would prove equally as capable as their already featured brethren. The model we liked the look of most was this Micro Switch TA (shown far left in the first photo). At 160mm max travel in the standard chassis of the 20mm quick release axled 55 there should be no flex, especially as that includes 35mm nickel plated stations. But there is plenty more to this fork than a solid construction for it’s also packed full of features. First of all is the TST micro adjust travel which enables the fork to be reduced from 160mm to a lower 120mm in one simple flick, while a flick of the lever on the top of the other leg enables a lock out to be activated. There is obligatory compression and rebound thanks to the RC3 damper while air handles the springing duties. Weight is claimed at 2360g and the fully calibrated Pinkbike handheld scales seemed to back up these claims. Actually, we held them in our hand and guessed, but the weight does feel pretty on the money. We’ll need to get a pair of these on test to come up with some definitive opinions, but they certainly look pretty promising.
Crank Bros Mallet – 3rd Generation
Crank Brothers have recently overhauled their pedal range. The 5050 has already been reviewed by Pinkbike and here you see the revised Mallet. Several themes recur throughout the range, starting with just one axle set across all Crank Brothers pedals which are now reputed to be 50% stronger than their predecessors from the 2nd generation Mallet. The Acid goes for 2012, replaced to all intents and purposes by the Mallet 1 which features an all polycarbonate two-piece body and bushes rather than bearings. The next level sees you at the Mallet 2 which features an aluminium outer casing on the two part body with traction pins. The top dog Mallet 3 is now significantly cheaper than its predecessor despite packing greater punches with cast rather than punched steel wings, needle roller bearings and more extensive machining of the aluminium body. Prices across the board are cheaper than the last few years, which can’t be a bad thing.
Mallet One - €59.90
Mallet Two - €89.90
Mallet Three - €119.00HOPE TECH PROTOTYPES
We’ve already featured both the pedals and cranks which were on display and which we have an update for, but this top chain device looked pretty trick too so it’s worth a look even if there are currently no plans for production. Additionally the word is that the cranks are some distance from production – they’re still in the whole grey area between paper sketches and production. And as we all know that’s a pretty large grey area. So it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing production models any time soon. On the other hand, the pedals should be available in a relatively short space of time – think this side of Christmas.SARACEN MYST - TEAM & PRO
We’ve already shown a sneak peak of Saracen’s 2012 range, but here is another. The 2011 Myst was tested on our front page and on the Pro the spec remains relatively unchanged which means good value, great components and a low price. But there is now also a second model added to the range, or which rather creates a range. The Myst Team is based around the spec used by the race team this year which provided you with your 2011 Junior women’s World Champion – Manon Carpenter. A factory RC4 shock from Fox deals with motion out back, while a pair of FiT Kashima coated Fox 40’s does the same at the front. One criticism we did have of the Myst tested earlier in the year was a lack of compression so it’s good to see the Pro now come with a Vanilla RC which is a pretty decent bit of kit.
Price on the Myst Pro increases by £100 (now £2500/€2750) to cover some component improvements while the Team comes in at £4,300/€4730. Both bikes come with improved Kore finishing kit, the Team also coming decked out from head to toe in Saint, from the wheels to the brakes and drivetrain. The gold and two tone black color scheme also shown on the frame only Ariel 14X and 16X is also available here and looks pretty classy. Frame only price comes out at £1500/€1600.SARACEN ARIEL 143
Another Saracen on display was this Ariel, an all mountain bike from Saracen. From past experience the suspension action at the back is pretty sweet, climbing well and descending with confidence and stability that belies its 140mm travel. The 143 shown here is top dog in the shorter travel range from Saracen which means a mix of SLX and XT to drive you forwards and slow you down with Kashima coated Fox products dealing with the bounce. A KS dropper post is included too which is a welcome feature, while up front is a Float RL FiT with an RP23 BV Adaptive Logic nestled between the linkages out back. All this leaves the price at a penny under £3k in the UK which translates to a Euro price of €3300. We’ll be looking to bring you a review in the next few months for this versatile bike.GT FURY ALLOY 1.0
GT’s top downhill bike has been around a year or two now in carbon form, the world’s first full carbon downhill bike. There’s no escaping the high price on that, but now there’s an alternative in the form of the Alloy, a monocoque aluminium version of the same frame. Utilizing the well proven I-drive system the geometry follows the lead of its already established cousin in carbon. In some ways this is good, but it does seem that the opportunity has been missed to modernize things and really appeal to those racers out there who’re after low and slack – yes, you can throw some angleset cups in there to rake the front end out a bit, but that then has an impact on the bottom bracket height and it doesn’t help the slightly too short top tube for length. Weight obviously increases slightly, but is still well within reasonable numbers for a race frame. Spec on the 1.0 shown here is a mix of SRAM, and E*thirteen with a Boxxer RC up front and a Vanilla RC at the back. It’s proven stuff and should be a capable bike in the way of its bigger and more expensive brother. A slightly cheaper Alloy 2.0 model swaps the RockShox and Fox for an 888 RV up front and a Roco R out back. All good spec and while we don’t have prices for these latest models yet, we’ll bring them to you as soon as we can.Stay tuned for more from Eurobike 2011