Commencal's Meta AM 29 was gathering quite a bit of attention from the crowd. With a relatively slack 68 degree head angle, the 130mm travel bike is aimed at the more aggressive big wheel riders out there. The frame features internal cable routing that enters at the head tube, and Commencal even routes both the shift and brake lines through each chain stay. The result is an incredibly clean looking bike.
The Meta AM 29 employs a trimmer version of their latest Contact System suspension layout, with the bike's FOX air shock floating between the rocker link and the chain stays - it isn't mounted to the front triangle at either end. The main pivot is captured between the twin uprights, likely creating quite a laterally stiff package. Again, this bike looks to be ideally suited for riders who push hard and who may not have been considering a 29er for their riding style.
The burly theme continues out back, with Commencal speccing a 12x142mm Maxle (left). Post mount brake mounting (right) eliminates the need for a rear brake adapter.
We've shown you IXS's Metis helmet from a recent trade show, but the sharp looking lid has just now been made available to the public. The rear of the helmet is shaped to play nice with neck braces - a great feature if you are looking to take the next step in safety. The CE/EN1078 and CPSC certified Metis weighs in at a competitive 1100 grams, and uses a D-ring strap to hold it on your head. It retails for $150 USD and comes in five different color options.
Are you looking at an Orange Five? Nope, this is actually their brand new Gryo 29er. With its very Orange-esque swingarm and folded aluminum down tube, the 110mm travel Gyro has clearly lifted its DNA from the Five. Look closely and you'll spot the frame's ISCG tabs - ideal for a strong rider who wants to run a single chain ring and proper guide.
We showed you the Grammo Skunkworx in an earlier post, but we now have a few more details to go along with it. The aluminum frame can be fitted with different length shocks thanks to its large adjustment range of the forward shock mount, allowing the rider to run between 4'' and 6'' of travel while still maintaining proper geometry, and its single pivot design employs a captured main pivot that is roughly in line with the top of the chain ring (depending on the ring, of course). Here's the kicker: Grammo is currently in the process of a redesign and is selling off their current Skunkworx frames for a mere $599 USD.
Crankbrothers' first product was a tool called the Speedlever, a tire lever that was mounted centrally at the axle allowing you to simply spin it around the rim to remove the bead, but that design isn't as handy now that there are so many different axle sizes. This new tire lever uses a fully enclosed handle that will limit the chance of removing skin from your knuckle, as well as a clever hook that lets you push the tire bead back in place without worrying about pinching the tube.
Crankbrothers' booth was also swamped with people after their seat post trade-in announcement offer: bring in your old Joplin and $150 USD and walk away with their new Kronolog dropper post. The offer only applies here at Sea Otter and very limited numbers are on hand.
We recently spent two days riding FOX's new 2013 suspension offerings, including their latest CTD equipped forks and shocks. CTD stands for 'Climb, Trail, Descend', and refers to the three available levels of compression damping adjustment that are chosen by pushing the anodized blue lever. The black oval dial just above the CTD lever lets the rider pick from three different levels of compression damping while in the Trail setting.
While that may sound complicated at the first read, FOX says that this system lets them valve the shock more effectively from the factory while still giving the rider a wide range of damping levels to choose from. Stay tuned for a full write-up on the technology soon.
Will gearbox bikes ever take off? Zerode certainly believe so. They were showing off their G-1 downhill bike that uses an eight speed Alfine hub mounted centrally within the frame, along with 9.25'' of rear wheel travel. The bike's main pivot is located quite high, just aft of the Alfine hub, in order to give the rear wheel plenty of rearward motion throughout its travel. The 2012 model comes in 1.5lb lighter than last year's version, helping to fight the stigma of gearbox bikes being hefty, and will come stock with a Cane Creek Double Barrel shock. MSRP $3499 USD, including the Alfine hub.
The large gold anodized rocker arm (left) activates a 3'' stroke shock, and much of the bike's hardware is titanium. Adjusting chain tension between the chain ring and Alfine hub is accomplished via vertical slots in the hub's mounting bracket (right), while a spring loaded chain tensioner takes up the slight amount of growth in the long drive chain.