Bike Connection might not ring a bell like the Interbike (RIP) and Eurobike shows do, but the three-day event in Massa Marittima, Italy, takes a different approach. Instead of a sprawling hall full of everything from custom carbon to valve cap manufacturers, Bike Connection brings together a smaller group of companies - just twelve at this winter show - for a more focused, personal event.
First up is Hope with their revised EVO crank arms. Carbon fiber might get most of the oohs and ahhs, but many of us still prefer good ol' aluminum when it comes to cranks, and Hope's EVO arms are some of the most lusted after. For 2019, Hope has simplified the installation process greatly and also ditched the proprietary tools that used to be required to do the job. There's a self-extracting crank bolt that threads into the 30mm spindle, too, because there should always
be a self-extracting crank bolt.
The revised EVO cranks ditch a few grams and, more importantly, no longer require Hope's tools to install.
Visually, you're probably going to be hard pressed to tell the old and new arms apart, but Hope has removed more aluminum from the backside of the updated EVOs and is claiming 560-grams for the 170mm length without a bottom bracket. You can get them in 165m and 175mm, too, and with a spider or a direct-mount chainring. Color options are many because it's Hope, and MSRP is $325 USD.
Want to go wider? Hope now offers the Fortus in 23, 26, 30 and 35mm internal widths.
Hope has also re-worked their aluminum rim lineup by adding more width, with riders able to choose from 23, 26, 30 and 35mm (internal) wide rims. Still holding onto to your 26" hopes and dreams? Both the 26mm and 30mm wide Fortus rims can be had in that nearly extinct diameter, so you're in luck. Weights start at 420-grams and go up to 610-grams.
Mavic's new goods at Bike Connection include the Crossmax Elite Carbon wheelset that's aimed at the cross-country and trailbike crowd. With a 26mm internal width and 1,600-gram claimed weight for a set of the 29ers, they're light enough to feel very sporty but they're also a few millimeters wider than Mavic's pure cross-country race wheels.
Mavic says that they're using "Impact Resistant Resin,'' and that the rim is engineered for ''maximum durability, lightness, and compliance to minimize pinch flats.''
Mavic's ID360 clutch employs two splined discs and a single spring.
They're laced up with twenty-four straight-pull spokes in a two-cross layout, with a set of Mavic's new hubs in the middle. The French company had some reliability issues with their older freehub system many years ago but the newer Instant Drive 360 setup has been proving itself. With two ratchet wheels that interlock with a splined face inside the freehub, ID360 looks a lot like DT Swiss Star Ratchet system, but the former employs a single spring whereas DT Swiss uses two.
While air-sprung suspension might still be far more popular, coils have made a big comeback over the past few years due to less friction and new types of steel that have drastically cut the difference in weight. Formula's Selva fork has an incredibly adjustable air spring but the flipside to that is the setup process that's anything but normal - it not only requires you to lockout the damper, but the pressure in the negative chamber must be at zero every time you do anything to the positive chamber.
A preload dial replaces the air cap, but you get to keep all of the damper adjustments.
The new Selva C ditches all that for a preload dial and a coil spring that's available in three different rates. There's no word on weight but expect it's likely going to be a nip heavier than the air-sprung version, of course.
More important than grams, it'll still make use of Formula's Compression Tuning System that lets riders easily swap compression valving to better suit their weight, style, and terrain, with seven options to choose from.