The small Tuscan town of Massa Marittima, Italy was the host for the winter edition of the Bike Connection Agency. While it may have still been winter for the locals, who were clad in multiple jackets and woolly hats, it was nothing short of a mini-summer for the rest of us tourists. Dry and dusty trails, exceptional coffee and a bunch of brands attending to show off who they are and what new products they have to offer.
Fox had their latest Speedframe trail helmet on show. The Pro model features MIPS and dual density EPS foam to handle safety duties. 19 vents and XT2 anti-microbial pads handle ventilation and hopefully keep your dome from stinking. Plus, there a Fidlock buckle and a 3-position visor to handle goggle storage and visor angle preference.
In Europe, the Speedframe also comes in a non-Pro version which drops some of the top tier features of the Pro, like the MIPS, Fidlock buckle and XT2 padding, but also drops the price so that everyone can take advantage of the Speedframe. The Speedframe Pro retails for 149 EUR and the standard Speedframe for 99 EUR.Update:
we've learned that the 99 EUR standard Speedframe is a Europe-only release.
Fox’s spring 2020 clothing collection was also on show. Fox made the move away from segregating their clothing based on discipline, instead choosing to use durability, versatility and breathable mobility as the dividing factors in the Defend, Ranger and Flexair categories respectively. You can then pick and choose based on your own needs and it seems even the athletes do with DH racers often choosing the Defend pants combined with the Flexair jersey.
Fox also continue their Water, Fire and Wind segments for use in keeping you dry, warm and protected from the wind. Each segment has men's and women's specific cuts.
Hope made the trip out with a van full of Barnoldswick bullion. In addition to the plethora of components and bikes that they manufacture they were having a bit of a focus on e-bike components in either specific ones designed for the job or highlight particular products that they already make that would also be best suited to an Ebike application.
The e-bike cranks are 165mm long and are a new forging of 7150 aluminum alloy to take advantage of the better grain structure that a forging gives, rather than just machining the pedal thread further up a current crank.
There are options for Specialized, Brose/Yamaha, Bosch and Shimano with a tweaked Q-factor to ensure clearance with most frame and motor combinations. The cranks use Hope’s self-extracting system and come in the usual array of Hope colours. E-bike cranks are 225 EUR and available shortly.
Specific e-bike direct mount chainrings are also now on offer for Bosch, Shimano and Specialized systems giving a 52mm chain line for use with a 148mm back end. There’s a narrow wide tooth profile, and for the moment it’s only a 34T size, although if the demand is there then they’ll expand to 36 and 38T. Availability will be March 2020 but no word on pricing yet.
Hope also suggest using their Fortus 30 wheels with a steel freehub to withstand the increased torque output and Tech 3 V4 brakes for stopping duties with that extra bit of heft. There are options to run 200mm floating rotors or even the vented rotor option on an e-bike. Plus, there are e-bike specific brake pads on offer to further up the stopping power and heat capacity of the V4 brake when used on an e-bike.
Fortus wheels start at 530 EUR for the pair but can be purchased front and rear separately for 200 EUR and 330 EUR respectively. V4 brakes are either 240 EUR for a standard hose and 250 EUR for a braided hose. 220mm floating rotors are 60 EUR and vented rotors come in at 135 EUR. E-bike specific brake pads are 19 EUR a pair. All available right now.
All these suggested components can also be used on non e-bikes and are part of Hope’s normal line, so no need to be bitter about the people riding assisted bikes. Let’s all play together nicely.
Piece by piece Leatt is expanding their range to cover you from head to toe. Their new goggles caught our eye, and with their bullet proof lenses that should be all that is catching your eyes.
There are 6.5, 5.5 and 4.5 options available and follow the Leatt culture of a bigger number being better-er. But independent of which goggle you go for the lenses remain the same and come in Velocity and Iriz versions and a myriad of colours to suit your individual tastes. This also means that all goggles are tear-off compatible... just don’t forget to go pick your tear offs up afterwards.
All lenses have a wide 170-degree field of vision and are constructed from a 2.7mm thick piece of bullet proof plastic. There’s an anti-fog coating on the inside of the lens, which we’ll be putting to test in the moist spring conditions.
Each goggle is shaped to allow water and mud to have a channel to clear off the bottom of the lens, rather than build up, and there’s roll-off compatibility built into each one.
The 6.5s have non-fixed outriggers and the largest 50mm strap. There’s dual density foam used for a snug contact with your face and it’s removable to make for easy washing. A removable nose guard is included too and there’s a faster system for swapping lenses out.
The 5.5s drop the strap size to 45mm and the dual-density foam now stays permanently on the goggles. The outriggers are fixed and the goggle should do well for use with both full face helmets and open face helmets.
The 4.5s drop the outriggers and drop the strap size down to 40mm for best use with open face or trail full face helmets, where the ventilation of the helmet can be less impeded by the strap.The price is lower than the 6.5 and 5.5 but all the same features for goggle shape and lens technology are still in there.
6.5 Iriz goggles come in at 94.99 EUR and standard 6.5s at 84.99 EUR.
5.5 Iriz goggles come in at 74.99 EUR and standard 5.5s at 64.99 EUR.
4.5 Iriz goggles come in at 54.99 EUR and standard 4.5s at 44.99 EUR.
Standard replacement lenses are 19.99 EUR and replacement Iriz lenses are 29.99 EUR.
Nukeproof were another brand that had a plethora of bikes and bits on show. Their recent additions of redesigned carbon and aluminum bars, updated Sam Hill signature pedals, bottom brackets, headsets and tubeless valves and repair kits were all out to see.
One new component on show was their new chain guide range. It's available in 3 versions, one full guide and bash ISCG mount, one top guide only ISCG mount and one top guide only SRAM S2/Shimano E-type mount.
All guides use 6061 aluminum alloy backplates and stainless-steel hardware with a bunch of spacers included to fine tune the alignment. Compatibility is from 28 to 36T and the guide is designed to work with oval chainrings too. A neat feature is the co-moulded rubber portions of the top guide. According to Nukeproof, a noisy bike was like nails down a blackboard to the engineers so they designed in something to quieten the chain slap.
The full guide with bash comes with 2 separate bash guards for use with up to 32T or 36T rings.
The SRAM/Shimano guide weighs in at 32g, the top only ISCG guide is 45g and the full guide with bash is 106g.
All fixtures in the guide are captive and only need loosening, not taking off completely, to install or adjust the guide. The top guide even splits and rotates if you ever need to remove your cranks or chain.