Crankworx Tech: Morning Walk Through Whistler's Expo Village

Aug 15, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  
Giant's polished aluminum frame makes their mid-priced Reign look pro. Renaissance of aluminum, coming in hot.

Take an early morning walk through Whistler Village during Crankworx and you'll see groms kitted up waiting for the first chair of the day, dog walkers, locals balancing coffee, and a busload of industry folks racing to erect their tents before mass confusion rolls in at ten o'clock sharp. This is the calm before the storm.


Giant's athletes and ambassadors barely got their Sharpies opened before they were swamped.

Rock crawling: Five Ten offered two chances to drive their RC Jeep up and over the boulders. Successful drivers were entered to win a pair of shoes.

Five Ten's Youth range has been expanded. Small Freeriders use the same technology and construction. Youth sizes start at $80 USD.

Continental offered a Crankworx two-for-one deal and it has exploded. Basically, that's $75 CAD for a pair of tires. Rob Angle says they've been trucking in tires every day.

CamelBak has responded to the anti-hydration pack trend with a pair of minimalist hip packs. The super-light Flow (left), and the more capable Repack (right). Flow - $71.89 CAD, Repack $120 CAD.

Cush Core's range of performance inserts now covers tires from gravel grinder to Plus-sized monsters.

What Whistler locals ride: Whistler trails may bristle with dentist downhill machines, but take a stroll through the village and you'll see hundreds of museum pieces tucked in between banged-up big box store brands.

MET's new Parachute MCR looks good in Red. Magnetic chinbar release, 810 grams as a full face and 450 grams as a half shell. $330 USD/$450CAD. Read about it here.

Recently released: Rotor's carbon Kapic crankset has direct-mount chainrings and a rapidly growing fan base in the pro ranks.

Rotor was first to break into the thirteens. Their stunning CNC-machined wide-range cassette starts at ten and ends with a 52-tooth cog. No, it won't adapt to your SRAM XD driver.

Maxxis athletes get ready to be mobbed by the crowd.

Maxxis had their new 2.4-inch Dissector tire on display, It's a fast rolling tread that most riders will use on the rear wheel. Its tread pattern is more capable than the Aggressor's and should pair well with the Assegai. DH and EXO casings, as well as hard and soft compounds will be available.

If the Dissector/Assegai combo performs as Maxxis Pros say it does, the reign of the DHF/DHR may be coming to an end. Although, you'd never believe that if you counted Minions at Whistler.


Regions in Article
Whistler Mountain Bike Park


104 Comments

  • + 71
 13 gears is good and all, but i'm waiting for that Box Prime 9. 11-50 cassette with a phat 9spd chain. I pop more 12spd chains than ibuprofen so I'm really interested in the Prime 9.
  • + 120
 Have you tried picking your gear before you shift and stomp on your pedals going up hill?
  • - 24
flag arthom (Aug 15, 2019 at 14:14) (Below Threshold)
 @GypsyTears: said an xc’er
  • + 6
 Try some Aleve. This will make you feel like you’re riding 9 Spd again.
  • + 30
 @GypsyTears: it is called Sram cassette and it breaks the wallet as well as chains. XTR on the other hand... you may shift during BMX gate start
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: yup love the ability to powershift
  • + 2
 I used to have a similar mindset, but I recently went the other way after getting on GX 12 speed. The benefit of spacing for general trail riding is smoother down shifting so you don't get that no-resistance short pedal rotation when the chain drops a gear, which makes stand up sprinting in shorter spaces better (such as building up speed before a drop without a big run up).
  • + 20
 Have you ever tried a Box drivetrain? I’d rather run a single speed.
  • + 7
 @WAKIdesigns: not sure if improperly setup, but i was riding a rental bike with XTR 12 spd a few weeks ago and tried shifting under load. it crackled and popped like any other groupset would.
  • + 0
 @poleczechy: Care to elaborate? As a 240lb individual I have found 12sp chains to be the best yet, but snapped countless 9spd chains when those were a thing riding during high school.
  • + 4
 @zyoungson: I’m exaggerating obviously but two breaks this season (different bikes), both not during shifting. First was practicing for an enduro, sprinting on an long straight, most recent was coming off a tight turn into a fun section of rollers, power down and pop. I’m 210lbs all in the legs. At least it learned me to replace my chain every race.
  • + 7
 Not sure why no one gets this. Most riders who aren't pedaling up hill to break records, but to get to the top so they can go down, are looking for more range and fewer gears. These 12 speed cassettes are designed with XC riders and uphill racing in mind.
  • + 5
 Same here went back to 11 speed after multiple chain snaping for no reason
  • + 3
 Why not just buy the SRAM EX1 8 speed drivetrain that already exists instead of waiting on BOX?
  • + 3
 @mountainyj: I wasn't aware of EX1. Looks interesting! If a little pricey (cassette MSRP is $420!)
  • + 1
 @hamplanet: the problem is that this cassette weighs even more than 11sp 11-46 SLX. Read: a Ton!
  • + 1
 @jayacheess: this is so true! Climbing is a necessary evil for most non-racing mtbers. You just want it as easy as possible even if it's slow to get to the fun bits.
  • + 2
 At the risk of sounding like a vegan, I just wanted to say... I'm gearbox.
  • + 2
 @excavator666: Gearbox's do interest me as well. I'd love to have a go on a Deviate Guide. That thing looks a right beast. Although again, a touch rich for me!
  • + 1
 @rocky-mtn-gman: every drivetrain sucks if badly adjusted OR if the cheapest part isnt working good. the shift cable is something alot of people miss when adjusting the gears. alot of new bikes i got in my workshop have the shimano superslik shit and they have alot of resistance... its either the cable or the way its thru the frame... if badly done you XTR will perform poor. alot of times i swap out the cable for an regular well made stainless steel cable and it perfoms much better!

next part is the derailleur, alot of them are adjusted with too much tension on the spring (to far away from the cassette) next big why it performs badly.

next time get a real machanic on the bike, then try again if the drivetrain is shit Wink
  • + 2
 @hubsession: I dont have box parts on my bike but i ride XT with an Sunrace (same as Box) cassette and i really like it. performs really well. sure its not an XX1 or XTR but for the price, it is fantastic.

the good thing about box, it is combined with shimano or sram parts
  • + 1
 @Zany2410: yeah, i was wondering if it was just improperly tuned, too. however, i was a little confused because it otherwise shifted fantastically through the rest of my ride, super silent & smooth.
  • + 1
 @hamplanet: Just go for it man, finance the shit outta that thing, you won't regret it.
  • + 30
 We need more pictures of that Reign!
  • + 6
 An aluminum Reign finally, have my credit card ready to rock, frame only please.
  • + 2
 Polished al... yes!!!
  • - 2
 You sure that's a Reign? No bridge between the seatstays and the chainstays. Looks more like a cheap Stance to me...
  • + 3
 @southoftheborder: i think its offset now, and hidden by the tire in this photo .
  • + 3
 @southoftheborder: They say it's a Reign in the caption and I believe them.
  • + 1
 @jorgeposada: They don't sell AL frame only on any of their other bikes, not sure why they'd start now Frown
  • + 1
 @friendlyfoe: Maybe to go back to the original Reign 6.7" I flew to the moon and back on.
  • + 4
 @southoftheborder: It is the new Reign 29. This is the Alu version with GX Eagle and Yari.

And also note it is not polished aluminium(raw) it is more of a chrome finish - it is painted not brushed and clear coated.
  • + 4
 @jorgeposada: Alu frames and frame sets need to become a thing in mtb again like they used to be.
  • + 1
 @i-am-lp: Thanks for the details. I guess the brace got hidden behind the tire, as stated in a previous reply.
  • + 1
 Agreed . for a 170 mm rear travel 26er, it pedaled totally fine up steep hills--
. I would love to see/buy an updated 29er model -- 76+ SA
- mirror finished--
  • + 29
 Man that MET chin bar must be solid with a 765 gram savings with it off!
  • + 22
 Yes, and the rest of the helmet is literally a piece of yarn that holds the chinbar to your head.
  • + 4
 @KennyWatson: lol. yarn.
  • + 2
 I need a fanny pack stat, my girl said she won't shut me down but I still don't believe her.
  • + 1
 @jorgeposada: I won a Source 'Hipster' in a FB competition, so tried that for a bit. It was really uncomfortable though, too big and bulky especially with the bladder in. But it got me hooked on the idea, so I went and bought a Deuter Belt II for £7 in the sale and it's been great. Water bottle on the bike, spares and snacks in the 'fanny' pack. It's small enough to have it under your jacket too so you don't look quite so much of a nerd. My wife still bullies me though...
  • + 23
 I can't wait to put a Maxxis Ass-Dissector combo on my bike
  • + 1
 Yea it sounds a lot different if you read those tire names slowly. I guess we know what the peeps at Maxxis are into, or you just read what you want to out of it
  • + 16
 Disappointed from a pun perspective that they didn't name Mr. Brosnans tire The DesTroyer...
  • + 1
 Yes, with a wonderful DesTroyer Assegai combo
  • + 11
 I'd think it would be YT athletes getting Mobbed.
  • + 10
 More radio controlled car coverage please!
  • + 8
 Giant really needs to do a frame only option on that color!
  • + 9
 And also release frame-only options in aluminum!
  • + 4
 Who rides Continental? Not trying to be a prick, just seriously don't know which, if any, of their tires are viable in real mountain biking terrain. Real meaning what most are using DHF type tires on.
  • + 4
 Thought the same thing. Then I saw Gee Atherton running a set about 5mins ago in whis.
  • + 2
 Me. Trail Kings. Love 'em.
  • + 5
 Lots of people in Germany/Austria.
I will gladly take the Made in Germany BlackChili instead of other tires madd in Asia for the same price.

And they hold really, really well
  • + 4
 @Bchambers09: he's been on them for years. Helped with development as well.

Trail kings had shite casing and amazing rubber, not sure if they fixed it. Sticks nicely to wet roots and rocks in pnw

Der Barons are compete with mm and shorty.

Kaiser is agressive dry/loose tire. Ok as rear in wet.
  • + 1
 Their Der Barons and Trail Kings are my go-to tyres of choice.
  • + 3
 That’s exactly why they’re offering 2 for 1. I think Conti rep suffered big time w the casing problems. With ample choices from Maxxis, improved tires from Schwalbe, and reliable performance from Spesh and Bontrager, why gamble again with the Germans? I won’t.
  • + 5
 My experience with Conti tire casings about 4 years ago was so terrible that it will probably still take an additional couple years of good reviews and feedback to convince me to try one again
  • + 3
 @showmethemountains: everything has been updated in the last 16 months. None of the same casings exist
  • + 2
 @sngltrkmnd: they want people to try the new models. When everyone is sold on something else you have to make it as easy as possible.
  • + 4
 The Baron and Kaiser tires are really good. Grippier rubber than Maxxterra without a rolling speed penalty, casing strength somewhere between Exo and DD. And you can run them in icy temperatures without the rubber turning to glass and cracking, which has always been a problem with Maxxis 3C tires. They used to be tricky to set up tubeless but reportedly that has been improved over time and they are now on par with the rest of the industry.
  • + 1
 @StevestonDad: Certainly for that price the strategy ought to work. I’d take the gamble for $75 CAD.
  • + 6
 What about a dh or dd casing and hard(ish) compound dissector? I don't want to change my rear tire every month or so
  • + 5
 Yeah hope these are coming. Just EXO and DH casings with 3C rubber for now, seems DD or EXO+ in dual compound would be the ticket for a lot of folks in a mostly-rear tire.
  • + 1
 This ^^^. Make one is a maxxterra dd and sold...Maxgrip for a rear is silly.
  • + 4
 @ryan83: I have Aggressor in dual on the rear, couldn’t need softer compound there
  • + 1
 Haven't you heard? The industry has unanimously decided that good, tough, resilient tires can only ever exist in soft rubber and everyone who believes different is a heretic and will be purged.
  • + 1
 I've never been more upset with myself for not having Send It Society's booth up for that shot with my neighbours at Continental; but so extremely grateful to have had the time there at CW! Pleasure to get to meet you RC! Great shots and story telling; so happy to see CushCore in there *shout out to Randall and Nick and the crew; can't wait to visit!*. Cheers to Rob with Cont for the slayer line; and grats on sending Dirt Merchant first time through. Lastly; real talk, GIANT great job with the interviews it was incredibly inspirational to hear from these athletes and how they've changed some of the face of riding 3
  • + 1
 I used to love the Trail Kings until about 3-4 years ago when I couldn't get them to seal anymore. After a half hour with an air compressor I gave up and went to Maxxis. I just had an Aggressor fail with tread separation and severe cracking between the side blocks. Maxxis warrantied it, but it gives me pause to use one again.
  • + 3
 What's likelyhood of that Dissector tire coming in 26" with DH casing? Guessing slim.
  • + 2
 Maxxis said on another website their sales of their current line of 26" tires are nearly nonexistent so your odds are zero.
  • + 2
 It's called a Specialized Chunder. They're from 2005
  • + 2
 @tempest3070: Do you remember if that was globally or just Maxxis US? Because i still see tons of 26" bikes in Europe and they all still need tires. Not to mention that Schwalbe released brand new 26" tires just last year.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: You may see them but they're not selling. Maxxis didn't specify.
  • + 3
 Huh, for once a Maxxis tire that looks like a Specialized, and not the other way around.
  • + 4
 Can’t unsee!
  • + 0
 It does tho
  • + 2
 The prices for the hip packs are ridiculous. You can get something similar for less than half each of them. And going the China route, less than 10-20 each.
  • + 1
 I got that camo pack for around 35 euro’s including the bottle. Was sceptic at first but great piece of kit. Used to lug a big hydration pack around filled with 3 liters and lots of tools, but for the regular marathons I now use the hip pack. Can recommend! Bottle stays put, but easy to grab when needed.
  • + 4
 More RAW please. To go !
  • + 1
 13-speed gearing and magnetic chinbars Confused

Great to see all the new products and great deals on gear! That 2-for-1 continental tire deal is a steal tup
  • + 2
 Waiting for Continental to announce the Cross Country/Leader Pro combo again in modern sizes
  • + 2
 I had the Cross Country 1.5" a lifetime ago.
  • + 2
 1x12 chain line is already ridiculous .... 1x13 is just getting stupid
  • + 1
 Giant Rainier 2003!! I so wanted that bike back then but could not afford it. I ended up with a Giant Iguana Disc instead.
  • + 1
 Where can I get that bottle in the Maxxis athletes photo? (Breathe, Relax(?) etc. ) Smile
  • + 2
 There's an anti hydration pack movement?
  • + 1
 I like to take a salt lick bolted to my stem!
  • + 1
 Yeah, I keep reading that there's an anti-hydration pack thing but I don't see it in real life. I just think people like the option of hip packs or water bottle friendly frames.
  • + 1
 Lol to camelback, less people buying hydration packs = anti hydration pack movement
  • + 2
 What's the pros and cons of the Dissector over a DHR2?
  • + 1
 faster rolling, less outright grip.... i'm assuming.
  • - 3
 @islandforlife: I'd guess the opposite. Slower rolling, more grip. Smoother transitions as well.
  • + 1
 Pro: Can be marketed as "new"
  • + 0
 @makripper: Than a DHR II? That's exactly the opposite way they're marketing it. If you're comparing it with the aggressor sure, but not DRH II.
  • - 2
 @islandforlife: yep for the average guy. For Troy Brosnan more grip equals faster. Less vague transition is a big deal too for some people. The dhr2 has ok grip and zero transition knobs.
  • - 2
 @islandforlife: nsmb is trash. I won't even click on that.
  • + 1
 Tread patern is a think. Compound is a game changer.
  • + 2
 Keep a look out for a D4
  • + 1
 Look like a Griffin
  • + 1
 I'm running the Griffin DD/AssyGay Exo+ combo and its great for dry terrain, Assegai definitely seems to let go earlier than DHF under aggressive cornering angles, tends to suddenly let go and then catch hold again when at the limit of its grip, I found I needed about 3-4psi less to get the same cornering grip as DHF although it still rolls about the same speed as a DHF.

I wouldn't say the Assegai is going to replace the DHF, it has its place on slower or more technical trails but doesn't seem offer the outright grab and confidence to me that DHF does under hard lean angles.

The Griffin will take some beating though, such an awesome tyre, won't be using anything else for the foreseeable future.
  • + 1
 MET helmet looks good.
  • + 1
 Price, not so much.
  • + 5
 @islandforlife: Yea fair enough...but in the US we gotta pay out of pocket for stitches. lol

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