Formula Prototype Hype, e*13 Updates, & SKF Mud Scrapers - Bike Connection Winter 2018

Feb 9, 2018
by Paul Aston  
The Bike Connection is a fresh event held in Massa Marittima, Italy. Close to the infamous Massa Vecchia and Punta Ala locations, hundreds of kilometers of the finest single-tracks weave through the woods, up and down Tuscan mountains with sea views and, ninety percent of the time, great weather. Unfortunately for us, we stumbled into one of the soggy 10 percent periods. The weather definitely got the better of us this week, but the event still managed to bring media and manufacturers together to see, discuss, and test the latest products without the distractions of the big bike shows, halogen lights and non-existent bike trails. Here's a look at some prototypes from Formula, rolling upgrades from e*13 and seals and the 'mud scraper' from SKF.



Proto-hype with Formula and Unno

The Bike Connection 2018 - Formula
The Bike Connection 2018 - Formula


Slap a prototype sticker on something and everyone goes wild; add that to a freshly-built production Unno Dash frame and you're on to a publicity winner.

There's something brewing inside the Formula Selva chassis that we can't talk about yet, mostly because I don't really know what is inside and they weren't divulging all the details. The gold cap on the bottom-left fork leg, however, is definitely not standard. More importantly, whatever is in there will be available for you to retrofit your current fork – "aaarghh bike companies are always forcing us to buy new products..." Hold-on, did they say retro-fit? Yes, Formula are vocally opposed to the constant changing of standards and are planning to make any new technology work with their older fork chassis.


The Bike Connection 2018 - Formula
#lookslikeaguide A four-piston prototype caliper, fresh rotor design and that extra gold thingy on the bottom of the fork leg.


There are also new brake calipers on the Unno Dash, similar to ones we've spotted before on Loic Bruni's race bike. There is no official word on production plans, but the caliper is a four-piston unit that works with the current Cura lever. Formula says they want to make the most powerful brake on the market. They were also keen to point out that the current Cura is no weakling and was the only two-piston brake raced at World Cup DH's in 2017. I have just fitted a pair to a test bike so expect a review soon.


The Bike Connection 2018 - Formula


When I visited Unno two-years ago in Barcelona, their test bikes looked like a first attempt at making carbon frames in the back of their design studio, that had then been smashed down trails, scraped on rocks, modified and patched, and beaten with hammers. It turns out that is exactly what had happened to them. Even after all of that, they were still stunning to behold. But the finish on this production-ready frame is unbelievably beautiful. There are still a few framesets available from the first production run if you are quick.


The Bike Connection 2018 - Formula


The Gemini bar/stem is a separate project from Unno--a creation by one of Cero Designs' (Unno's parent company) engineers. The finish appears of equal quality to the frame and really cleans things up on the business end of the bike. Still no official word if these will make it into production, but here's to hoping.


The Bike Connection 2018 - Formula



Added length and strength for e*thirteen

The Bike Connection 2018 - e 13 dropper post
The Bike Connection 2018 - e 13 dropper post


E*13 seem to be rolling with the good times recently; closing the deal to have their dropper posts, cassettes, cranks, tires and wheels specced across many of YT's top-end bikes can't have been bad for business. Still, E*13 are continuing to improve their products and have added a 170mm TRS+ dropper post to the existing 125 and 150mm options.


The Bike Connection - LG1 Dual Ply tires
The Bike Connection - LG1 Dual Ply tires
The LG1 tires should be another great option for downhill and big wheels.


E*13 have also added a downhill casing to their tire options that have gained the LG1 Race and Plus monikers. No, that's not plus as in "plus-sized", but rather, plus as in... well I'm confused too... But I am all for new DH-casing tire options, especially in 29" diameter. The LG1 Plus is a harder and longer-lasting compound, with a real dual-ply casing and a claimed weight of 1119/1162 grams in 27.5/29 respectively. The Race version uses dual compound, super-sticky rubber and has Apex reinforcement in the sidewall, close to the kevlar bead, but with an added aramid layer to improve air retention. This version weighs in at 1158/1257 grams. If you missed it, the full press release is here.


The Bike Connection - E 13 cranks
The Bike Connection - E 13 cranks
The massive LG1R crank on the left, and an eMTB version with self-extracting crank bolts on the right.


There is something very interesting in the drivetrain pipeline that should be released at Sea Otter, but in the meantime, you will have to settle with less exciting news, like self-extracting bolts being added to their cranksets and replacement crank arms for Brose powered eMTB's in 160mm and 170mm lengths.


The Bike Connection - LG1R hubs
The Bike Connection - LG1R hubs
The outdated spacing is slowly on the way out, but there is still some way to go, I'm glad somebody said it.



SKF Seal Kits and Mud Scrapers

The Bike Connection - SKF mud scraper
Mud scrapers are commonplace in the MX-world for use in bad conditions.


It has been less than ten years since bearing and sealing giants SKF got into the mountain bike suspension game. Since then they have taken over a huge share of the market and now supply OEM products for every major player. With their experience in motocross, SKF realized that, in general, mountain bikers are not as mechanically savvy as MX riders, who are more used to frequently changing oil and filters, opening up engines and gearboxes, and often changing fork seals. Many MTB riders just expect their fork to last forever and only realize they need a service when it's too late and the fork or shock's expensive shiny coating has worn off. It's a fairly simple procedure to change the fork seals and SKF want riders to do this more often. The brand offers aftermarket kits that include seals and any other disposables, such as crush washers and o-rings, for nearly every fork on the market – there are over 130 options in total. They are also working on their own tools to make this task even easier.

SKF currently produce 'mud scrapers' for MX bikes and are considering making them for mountain bike forks, shocks and droppers. The scrapers are an external addition to the seals, add relatively little to no extra friction and scrape dry mud off the stanchions. But, don't mountain bike forks already have expensive hi-tech seals? Yes, and the mud scraper is here to save them; rubber seals are soft and do a good job of preventing dust and wet mud from getting into your fork, but the biggest problem is from mud that has dried hard on to the stanchions. This dried mud is one of the fastest ways to damage and wear out seals, and muddy shuttle or chairlift days are the worst culprits. It's not something for everyone, but I think the mud scrapers could be a great addition for many riders who want a little more riding time between services.



The Bike Connection - SKF mud scraper
The Bike Connection - SKF mud scraper
The scrapers are fork or shock specific and are easy to wrap around the fork legs and fix with a cotter pin.



108 Comments

  • + 91
 That Unno with the Gemini bar/stem is sex
  • + 7
 Scott already makes one you can buy I think: ep1.pinkbike.org/p5pb14836909/p5pb14836909.jpg
Maybe it's the same manufacturer or maybe not, who knows these days in the bike universe.
  • + 36
 Most dumbest thing you can produce is rigid stem/bar combo. I and most of riders want to rotate/adjust my bar in stem to get up-sweep and back-sweep just like I want it. A nice name for this kind of combo would be ''The Dictator'' Smile
  • + 0
 @rodeoJ: I think the Scott bar/stem is made by the Cero Designs as well.
  • + 4
 @rodeoJ: There have been several carbon/stem combo on the market for a while. Going back, it existed since bikes did not have pedals and were made out of wood.
  • + 1
 @RedRedRe: yup but now it is made from fancy composite fiber material. Shortly said, ''I brought bitches flovers, bitches love flovers''
  • + 8
 @b-wicked: most dumbest? how's that again.
  • + 0
 Yes, a one s
  • + 2
 Yes, a one size fits all sex... Idiotic approach to frame manufacturing cost cuts
  • + 0
 @rodeoJ: no that is not a scott one. It’s Syncros
  • + 3
 @juansevo: Syncros is a Scott's brand for years already
  • + 1
 Not enough rise bro....
  • + 3
 @SintraFreeride: Absolutely wrong.
Cero designed their barstem a little earlier than Scott/Syncros but was still undercover when the other started to be drawn. Then Unno released some Instagram picture leaking their barstem a bit before Syncros released their stuff for press release of the Genius. Cero was grumpy claiming the idea was stolen but was actually imagined at the same time, just published later...
The Syncros barstem (Hixon IC) has been initiated and engineered by Ruben Torenbeek where I had the chance to do the design based on his inputs.
  • + 1
 Agree. Period.
  • + 1
 @qreative-bicycle: Thanks for clearing that up. Cero designs do stuff for other companies and I thought they had done the Scott bar/stem as well.
  • + 41
 I think those mud scrapers would sell well in my shop
  • + 17
 I need them, I never clean my bike
  • + 9
 @DC1988: I need them, it's a fecking swamp in my local trail area this time of year. Please make.
  • + 13
 Mud scrapers are very nice until they wear the stachions of your fork. Some forks are more prone to this than others.
  • + 3
 @nozes: I still want these for winter riding. I too live in a swamp.
  • + 3
 They can be good or bad, depending on the rider. There is dirt going to accumulate under those scrapers which, after it has dried, is more likely to be driven through the fork seals rather than just fall off. Especially as you can't see the dirt until you've removed the scrapers.
  • + 4
 As long as they are serviced as well, they could provide a great extra bit of protection. easy to remove, wipe off the soft real seals, and put back on!
  • + 6
 Get a decent sized fender in your fork. We ride all winter and fenders keep 90% of the crap off the stanchions and seals without touching them.
  • + 2
 @vikb: Ha ha, truth.
  • + 2
 @vhdh666: The LS ones only fit up to 100 mm forks, possibly a bit useless in today's market
  • + 1
 @YoungGun13: I'm aware of that. My goal was to make the reader aware of other, in my opinion, better options. I didn't google for too long but there might be other companies selling similar boots that are longer and therefore more useful in today's market
  • + 1
 @vhdh666: Okay, the idea seems pretty good but I think it would cause a lot of extra friction on the stanchions
  • + 20
 New formula brakes, rotor and fork look ace.
I suggest them to be more present on PB, MTBR etc. like DVO and MRP if they want to increase sales, as both fork and brakes are way underrated and much better than RS and Sram disposable commodities.

That said I read the PB review of the 35 and it said that pretty much was not stiff enough for harder ot heavier riders. I then rode the fork and it was definitely stiffer than a pike. Then I read some laboratory test from a german magazine and the 35 was just as stiff as a fox 36 quite more than pike. Wonder why such a different opinion from PB.

Mudscrapers? Why not designing a modern fully sealed for boot?
  • + 6
 Couldn't agree more about the formula stuff. They don't have the presence they deserve. The selva fork is so smooth and rigid enough for me (althoigh i do feel like theyre a similar flex to the pike? Comparing 180 selva to 160 pike though) The cura brakes are fantastic. And backwards comparable cartridge for the selva fork? Thanks formula, I am interested!

I think the new knob is on the fly ramp adjustment, just my guess though!
  • + 2
 The knob in action:
media.mtb-mag.com/pv/26838/embed

I think they were wrong to sell the 180mm 35 to international market.
The italian riders are much lighter than americans or north europeans.
  • + 4
 Im a heavy, hard rider and love my selva - i think its very stiff
  • + 1
 Formule is really releasing awesome stuff but their products are impossible to find : can't buy selva forks or wheels anywhere ? I haven't seen any website that had these
  • + 4
 @Whipperman: Hi, thx for the kind words. You can find our products in France trough The Race Company network (www.racecompany.fr). Or you can visit our Distributor locator on our website (goo.gl/DyP96V). Cheers!
  • - 2
 @Whipperman: maybe their forks are great but the hubs are heavy. My 2018 Jekyll have a pair of formula hubs and the are smooth but very heavy compared to other brands. I have and old formula hub 142x12 from my 2011 Jekyll and I never how heavy was until I swapped it form a hope pro2,day and night. Overall quality is good and it feel very robust and reliable. I think the sold their stuff already in new bikes like Cannondale,
  • + 4
 @homerjm: you are talking about an asian company called formula(tw), not the italian company. A lot of mid range bikes used to come with the formula(tw) hubs.
The Formula wheels and hubs are quite light.
  • - 2
 @rideformula: sending people to your site (1) to be sent to the distributor site (2) to be sent to an online retailer (3) is too many steps for the north american market. It may work in italy as people still rely on bike shops, but in the states, everybody is used to shop around for a deal and buy direct from the store. You have a couple of online stores carrying your stuff, but you need to get on the bigger sites, art cyclery, competitive cyclist etc... regardless without presence on the forums, people are less likely to adventure into a foreign product. I have been wanting to get the Selva for a while, but I have no idea of the support I can get, including buying your tools which i do not see anywhere online. Look at MRP and DVO for reference...
  • + 2
 @RedRedRe: lol are you for real?
I havent got the time to thoughtfully reply to the sheer amount of points in your comment that dont really add up.
  • + 0
 @russthedog: what if... I actually do this for work, and for the same “advice”, delivered in a formal-refined-package, companies shell out 10-20-30k?
What if....
  • + 2
 @RedRedRe: i hope its a lot more refined! "Put your stuff on the net! Now you owe me $30k!"
  • + 2
 @Whipperman: I agree dude, excellent looking products but they are a struggle to find. If they could increase there distribution network they could make a bit of an impact.
  • + 1
 @RedRedRe: Ok I just miss it!thanks!
  • + 22
 They look more like stanchion scrapers.
  • + 5
 I agree, if call em crap trappers, I prefer to let stuff fall away from the stanchion rather than provide a new place for it to collect.
  • + 6
 On top of that, a simple wipe of the stanchions with a glove or handkerchief before putting the bike back on the lift is probably more affective. I’d rather wipe it off wet than scrape it off dry.
  • + 4
 A little pebble gets stuck in that gap where the cotter pin holds it together and there's a lovely line of kashima coating gouged out.
  • + 12
 Where are you riding that mud is drying faster than your suspension is moving?
  • + 6
 @dingus: A 15 minute chair lift ride back to the top of a mountain...
  • + 3
 @ImMattWard: That is definitely a concern but that is also the label given to enduro seals in my neck of the woods...

@dingus: On trails/rides that you descend as well as climb on. Sure the bottom portion of your stanchion isn't an issue but it is at the top third when you have big hits on your second descent.

@ninjatarian: I'm too forgetful for that Wink
  • + 3
 @dingus: Not the guy you replied to, but as mentioned in the article... bike park laps. Splash through some mud on the way down, get on the lift, it spends the lift ride in the hot sun and by the time you're ready to ride again it's a dry crust waiting to get scraped off by the soft seals. Not saying its a good idea... not sure, but it could be, sounds like it works in the MX world.
  • + 0
 @ninjatarian: I feel like wiping it off with a glove isn't a great idea either.
  • + 0
 @ianwish: MX forks have steel fork legs, so scratching isn't that big of a deal, its just to save the wiper seals themselves. Bicycle forks have their own problems due to how soft the aluminum is. Weight!
  • + 1
 @dingus: My local trails Wink
  • + 21
 More Unno shots please
  • + 4
 too much is never enough !
  • + 14
 Thank you Formula and well done for making parts that can be retro-fitted.
  • + 8
 the problem with most race oriented and italian companies (i.e. campagnolo) is they do understand "modern" business model and they fail to generate enough cash to keep with competition.
They just make stuff that make sense and they would use themselves. Campy stuff last 3x as long as Sram, and they do not come out with "innovations" every 4 months. It is made for just one reason, racing and enjoy your bike (rather than just exploit the "consumers" and force them to "upgrade")...
  • + 9
 I clean my stanchions with small rodents. Squirrels are the most absorbant.
  • + 4
 I recommend you try a hamster next, you can get more hamsters per pocket so you have more clean fur for particularly muddy rides.
  • + 3
 @pimpin-gimp: will you flush the hamster down the toilet when you are done with him?
  • + 4
 @Artnshel: only once it’s stopped emotionally supporting me, and/or I can’t take it airside.
  • + 3
 Just gotta get the original Cherokee hair tampons, cause it’s the most absorbant.
  • + 8
 I don't usually get off on uber-expensive bikes, but DAMN that Unno is hot.
  • + 2
 I dont understand, some peeps are downvoting you... wtf.. how can you downvote a positive reply to such an awesome bike???
  • + 0
 @Trailstunter: A lot of us have serial downvoters. They see a comment - they DV. Don't say anything about Trump, Ted Nugent, guns, or hunting, and you'll be OK.
  • + 4
 @endlessblockades: Totally.....Americans are weird Razz
  • + 5
 Way back in the day, forks had gaiters. These kept mud off your stanchions, extended seal life, and protected stanchions from scratches. So of course, manufacturers got rid of them.
  • + 2
 @woofer2609 Nearly. They left them on the cheap forks and took them off the expensive forks. Fashion conscious mountainbikers took care of the rest...
  • + 7
 Unno can build a damn fine carbon frame but they can't put their E13 tyres on the right way round ;o)
  • + 2
 "There is something very interesting in the drivetrain pipeline that should be released at Sea Otter" what is ment with this comment. Something interesting from e13? Or something interessting in general like 13speed xd boostbody?
  • + 4
 with E13's stuff although not all of us love it on pinkbike from a technical standpoint they are definitely putting some of the best innovation to the sport that your average consumer can see. Whatever this drive train component could be it will be quite interesting. Also noted the only part of a drive train they have yet to make is a derailer / shifter.
  • + 1
 @vtracer: And TheHive is just a few clicks up the road from me. I support whenever possible. Good doods.
  • + 4
 That Unno is the sickest bike i've even seen
  • + 2
 jup... love it!!
  • + 0
 I think SKF makes great products, but that scraper will hide the mud let it dry and then sandpaper your stantion, so when you do take, it off you will have a not so nice surprise. With just the seal you can see any dirt and wipe it off, weather you use a squirrel, hamster, rat, or snot rag. Two cents
  • + 3
 Coil Selva would be sweet, but it looks like the "triple air" system from Nero. Smile
  • + 1
 Selva already feels very much like a coil fork at the top stroke... like dvo.... because they have coil to tune the initial travel.
  • + 0
 Really Stupid comments about the seals on motorcycle forks haha, those dirt bike fork had seals that lasted years, MTB suspension is designed to be junk so you have to get ripped off by bike shops all the time servicing the stupid suspension haha
  • - 1
 So in muddy conditions:
why hasn't a chain guide manufacturer thought of adding a chain cleaning/re-lubing system to the guide upper to reduce chain wear? Why hasn't brake manufactures innovated a simple guard to stop the mud from entering the brake calliper to stop excessive wear on pads/poor performance? Why is there not a tyre brush fitted to rear triangles/forks to scrape away the thick gloopy mud from the tyres to increase grip when it counts most?

The answer: Because we love mud? It gives us a reason to care and maintain what we've paid our hard earned cash on and appreciate it? Because the manufacturers want our parts to wear rapidly to increase their turnover?

Dear SKF
Its just another gimmick that will in reality cause more friction & user and maintenance. The current SKF generation seals fitted by Rockshox, Fox, Ohlins (pardon me Swedes out there for the lack of the two dots) are pretty much perfect at halting dirt/water ingress into the lower legs unless some numpty uses a jet wash that is! Keep making high quality seals but the scraper...maybe for the rear shock. Maybe.
  • + 3
 Unno has the best looking bikes out there
  • + 1
 Uh oh, ebike parts. All of Pinkbike: media2.giphy.com/media/Wvo6vaUsQa3Di/giphy.gif
  • + 1
 I guess we will never know, why are the Formula photos shot in September 2016 Frown
  • + 1
 I looked through the comments and didn’t see this, does anyone know the availability of the 170mm e13 dropper?
  • + 1
 Ahh ebike parts! Triggered!
  • + 2
 They are motorized parts! Burn them!
  • + 0
 But it's funny that some e bike parts are being used as cut price DH parts almost like low weight isn't the be all and end all
  • + 1
 ermahgoad, look at that unno dash. such a handsome beast
  • + 1
 Unno has the tires on wrong (sticky on the rear) and it bothers me.
  • + 1
 Mud scrapers could be a hit in GB I reckon.
  • + 1
 pretty smart, the mud scrapers
  • + 1
 I’d buy a skf scraper no doubt,for all the mountain bikes I have
  • + 1
 Sure hope that Uno can take a longer travel dropper , its pretty though
  • + 1
 Can anyone tell me which grips are on the Capra?
  • + 1
 It looks like it says SDG on the clamp.
  • + 1
 Sign me up for those Scrapers! I'll take 4 sets
  • + 1
 that unno just proved that carbon, can also be sexy.
  • + 0
 At what point do e.13 and Box components merge?
  • - 1
 Had to Google cotton pin. Split pin everyone!
  • - 1
 Yeah. Definitely not a cotter pin. It’s called a split pin or roll pin where I’m from.
  • + 1
 @BigballmcCall: cotter pin is a friction fit pin pressed into place isn’t it? Like old cranks of yore.
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