Leave it to the guys at OneUp to show something clever. I already looked at their new EDC stem earlier today on a video, but let's check out how it works and why it might make a lot of sense. The idea is to skip having to smash a star nut down into your steerer tube or, if you use their EDC tool, to not have to cut threads into its steerer's inner wall.
It's simple in how it works: There's a threaded collar trapped under the stem (it's invisible when installed) and a conical washer that goes under it but on top of your headset. When you tighten the collar's screw, it pushes the conical washer down to take up extra room and compress everything.
When you install the stem, you push it down by hand; then you should only need to take up a few millimeters with OneUp's preloading washers. Threading the inside of a steerer tube isn't a big deal, but you know suspension companies aren't a fan of that move. Now you don't need to do that to carry an EDC tool inside your steerer. There's an extra bolt to tighten with this design, but you're also losing the star nut and its preload bolt.
All you need to do is lower the slider until the 4mm hex key touches the top of the chain. Tighten the bolt and then it should be bang-on at the right height.
OneUp has also tweaked its chain guides to make setup as easy as possible. The upper slider has the image of a chain link molded into it to help you set it to the correct height, but it's even more of a no-brainer. When you put your 4mm hex key through the slider to snug up the bolt, all you need to do is lower the slider down until the hex key is resting on top of the chain, then you tighten the bolt and it should be in the best spot and not rub on anything. Pretty clever.
The updated OneUp dropper uses a revised travel-adjustment system and a shorter overall length.
OneUp's dropper post has been getting a lot of positive feedback - I've had a 175mm version for months and it's been trouble-free - but they've made some notable changes to the design for 2019. Internally, it uses the same cartridge and activation system, but they've managed to take a bunch of height out of the design (22mm of the 150mm model) so that riders can get as much drop as possible. That came from a lower stack height clamp and seal head.
The plastic shim system that you used to change the travel is gone, too, with that job now being done by adding extra anti-rotation pins into the slots. There's less adjustment range now, but it looks like a more robust layout.
All the titanium, none of the pivots. The 120mm-travel Ibis Bow-Ti is still the stuff that dreams are made of.
Ibis has been releasing fresh bikes non-stop over the last few years, but it was their titanium Bow-Ti from the 1990s that stopped me in my tracks at Otter. I wasn't the only one, either, with a constant stream of people putting on the brakes to stare. The bike came from the mind of John Castellano, and the pivotless titanium frame offered 120mm of travel and cost $3,500 USD. Those were huge numbers back in the 1990s, by the way. We make jokes about URT (unified rear triangle) bikes these days, but this stuff was the thing of dreams when it debuted and it still is for a lot of riders.
The titanium tubes were designed to flex vertically but be rigid enough laterally.
More titanium, this time from RSD, but very different geometry compared to the Bow-Ti. Think enduro without rear suspension.
I'm a bit conflicted about the painted titanium, but RSD's MiddleChild is a looker regardless. They've been doing the steel MiddleChild for a while now, and word is that this Taiwanese-made 3AL 2.5V titanium version weighs 5.2lb, or nearly 2lb less than its steel brother. It's only going to be made in limited quantities, though, so don't dillydally if you're in the market for an exotic, enduro-friendly hardtail. You'll also need $2,199 USD.
They've used adjustable dropouts to get the correct geometry for both 29'' and 27.5+ wheels, and the front-end sits at 64.5-degrees with a 140mm-travel fork installed. It has a steep 74-degree seat tube, and the large-sized frame gets a 465mm reach as well, so it's definitely on the forward-thinking side of things, rear suspension or not.
The black paint is lasered off the frame to reveal the titanium underneath.