Suspension Fork Options
More boing to choose from than ever before
With a number of new forks debuting over the past month, March was an interesting time for suspension technophiles, and not just for those who don't mind spending big coin on a new fork. RockShox brought the iconic Judy
name back from the grave in the shape of a price-conscious trail fork with 80 - 120mm of travel that starts off at a reasonable $380 USD. Those looking for around twice the amount of stroke as the Judy might like the look of DVO's new Onyx DH fork
, a 203mm-travel offering in a right-side-up package that, at around $1,700 USD, retails for $500 less than the company's inverted Emerald fork. DVO's Beryl all-mountain slider is also new, and it's basically a simplified of their Diamond that costs $750 USD, or $250 less.
Riders looking for something other than the norm are probably excited about MRP's air-sprung Ribbon trail/all-mountain fork
that, depending on wheel size, has 120mm to 170mm of travel on tap. Stroke is adjustable in 5mm increments, a twin-tube damper controls the action, and MRP has also fitted the $989 USD Ribbon with their effective Ramp Control cartridge. The biggest suspension news of March was undoubtedly the release of Cane Creek's Helm
, a fork that has been five years in the making. The $1,100 USD Helm is massively adjustable in every which way, offering between 100mm and 170mm of travel, an extremely tuneable air spring and, somewhat surprisingly, a mono-tube damper. Phew; that's five new forks, and we haven't even got to Sea Otter yet.
Kiwis at Wetworx
NZ sweeps the EWS podium in NZ
Crankworx used to be a one-time extravaganza in Whistler that was basically ten days in mid-August of partying and maximum bikes. The party is now a series of its own, with four events spread across the globe that kicked off last week in a very wet and very slippery Rotorua, New Zealand. There seems to be a competition at CWX for pretty much every niche of fun-focused mountain biking, from downhill to pump track to slopestyle to enduro racing, and it's that last discipline that the NZ homeboys dominated
The Masters brothers took first and third, with Wyn on the top step and Matt Walker splitting him and Eddie, a podium that's probably responsible for about 93% of the wheelies and manuals that have ever been done on a mountain bike. Keegan Wright, yet another New Zealander, won the Pump Track Challenge, making it an awesome weekend for the locals.
Fans of Just the Tip
Tippie signs with YT
If you've met Brett Tippie, or even just watched one of his 'Just the Tip' videos, you know that the guy has more enthusiasm for cycling in the tip of his pinky finger than most of us have in our entire bodies. The rest of the world could do with more Tippies, but they'll have to get their own because mountain biking's Director of Good Times signed on with YT this past March
, making for one of the most eclectic teams in the sport - Aaron Gwin, Cam Zink, Andreu Lacondeguy, Neko Mulally... and a legendary 48-year-old going on 20-year-old Canadian freerider turned announcer/crusader of fun.
You can expect to see Tippie aboard his SR Suntour-suspended YT Capra and Tues at even more events throughout 2017, as well as here on Pinkbike.
Cycling Loses Two More
Illness and an accident take two of the best
Last year was a tough one for our little cycling community and, unfortunately, it looks like 2017 isn't starting off much better. Florian Goral, manager of the Canyon Factory Enduro Team, recently passed away due to a blood infection
, and while the circumstances surrounding his passing aren't clear, it's a huge and unexpected loss. ''We do not want nor will we ever forget Florian. Florian leaves behind an unfathomable void, not only as a member of the Canyon Family but much, much more as a friend and inspiration. I wish us all - Florian's family and friends - much strength in the difficult times ahead,'' Roman Arnold, Canyon CEO and Founder said of Flo's sudden passing.
It's absolutely terrible when any cyclist (or anyone, for that matter) is struck and killed by a vehicle, but the death of endurance superstar Mike Hall
during the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, an unsupported adventure spanning Australia, feels especially heavy. Hall, who was wearing a GPS tracker at the time and being followed by countless people all over the world, was hit by a vehicle early in the morning on the 30th and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Richie's EWS title defense
20th overall in NZ but still smiling
The first Enduro World Series race of 2017 was a slick one, with torrential rain turning the New Zealand ground from dirt to something more akin to oil-slicked ice, especially for those with a later start time. Yeti's Richie Rude
, the two-time overall EWS champ, was one of those racers who saw the monsoon steal any chance of a top finish, but the young American was as classy as they come about his 20th overall placing: ''Big day today fighting the rain and the haggard trails after all the riders. Never been so excited to say I'm over the moon to get 20th overall plus a stage win and a 3rd. Hats off to all the boys starting late,'' he said on his personal Instagram
. I'm sure Rude wasn't stoked, but that post is how a champ reacts to a bad weekend.
Oh, and if you had any thoughts about the 20th place finish putting an end to Richie's quest for a third straight overall title, think again - not even a 25th at last year's Aspen EWS was enough to keep him from taking the crown. My bet is still on Rude.
The Start of Blenkinsop's 2017 Season
Shoulder injury takes out the Kiwi
Sam's 2017 race campaign is off to a rough start with an unspecified should injury
from a tumble while filming in New Zealand. The Kiwi was at Crankworx Rotorua to race the downhill, the first major event of the year and the first race of 2017 where he would have been putting his new downhill bike
and himself up against some of the best international competitors, but it didn't work out how he had planned.
The word is that while it's serious enough for him to take some time off the bike, he won't be forced to miss the first World Cup downhill of 2017 in Lourdes, France.
Broken Canyon Sender
Our test bike breaks... after the test airs
There's no arguing that Canyon's Sender downhill bike is a thing of beauty. I mean, just look at it; it's one of the few original looking downhill rigs out there right now, and it appears to be a cross between a fighter jet and a mountain bike
. Appearance aside, however, we had some issues with the bike's rear suspension and Fox Float X2 shock that comes stock on it (we sub'd in the coil-sprung version), and its adjustable headset cups continually rotated around in the headtube. Self-adjusting geometry is going to be the next big thing! Er, hopefully not.
Those are fixable foibles, though, whereas the crack on the left side of the headtube and downtube junction that only recently showed itself, long after the review went live back in the middle of March, is more concerning. The timing isn't great - it would have been better to talk about it the review - but at least we can reveal the issue here. It looks like it may have been caused by the fork's stanchion coming around and hitting the frame, but that's what the built-in bumper is there to stop. Is it from a crash? Paul Aston, the Pinkbike reviewer who tested the bike, did have some spills when on the Sender, but he can't recall anything that would have caused this kind of damage.