Syncros' Hixon iC integrated, carbon bar and stem tips the scales at a feathery 290 grams. That weight is for the 760-millimeter wide bar with a 50-millimeter virtual extension The Hixon iC sells for $329 and is available in 40, 50 and 60-millimeter extensions. The bars feature 12 millimeters of rise and a 9-degree backsweep.
There are a lot of people talking about Marin's new bike line these days--particularly the 160-millimeter travel Wolf Ridge 29er (at left), which is based on Nail'ds R3ACT rear suspension system. There are, however, plenty of other bikes in the Marin booth, including the updated Attack Trail 8 (shown above). The Attack Trail has been Marin's main enduro model for a while now, but for 2018 it gets a bit longer in the cockpit. The company felt the reach was the main thing that needed to be tweaked with the bike's geometry. The $4,200, Attack Trail gets a beefed-up Boost 148 rear end as well and is hung with a quality parts kit that includes SRAM GX Eagle, a RockShox Lyrik RC fork and a Monarch Plus RCT3 Debonair shock.
Lezyne's Classic Chain Drive actually debuted a ways back, but I'm a sucker for nice shop-quality tools, so this is what struck my eye as I walked past their booth. The chain breaker has that endearing elegant-yet-strong-like-bull thing going for it. The nicely turned wood handle, the hardened-steel breaker pin (there's an extra pin tucked away inside the handle) and you can adjust it to work with any chain. Nice. At $50, it ain't cheap, but it's on par with other shop-grade chain breakers.
Bill Shook, the engineering muscle behind American Classic, came up with the 3430 wheelset after he found people were flat spotting the hell out of the company's Wide Lightning wheelset whilst enduro'ing about. The Wide Lightning, however, was never meant to be bashed about on longer-travel bikes. It was always an ultra-light, cross country wheel. The Wide Lightning, however, was wide as hell and paired well with big hunks of rubber...leading to its use on the hairier end of the mountain biking spectrum. Complaints of "Hey, I just bent my Wide Lightnings all to hell," gave Shook a clear understanding of how to design a wheel that would thrive in enduro's more demanding conditions.
The Wide Lightning rim shape was spot on, but the wheels were consistently getting bent on the sidewall and hook section of the rims. Shook designed the new 3430 rim so that this vulnerable section of the rim was three times thicker than that of the Wide Lightning. The extra material adds about 60 grams to each rim. "It's like the Wide Lightning on steroids," says Shook. But it's still, for an enduro wheel, quite lightweight. The 29er version of the 3430 weighs in at 1,855 grams. American Classic also offers a 27.5 version. The 3430 is also available in both Boost and non-Boost iterations. Internal rim width? Thirty millimeters.The 3430 will be available in spring of 2018.
Kenda's Nevegal was a classic tire back in the day. The company went back to the drawing board with the Nevegal. It's still an all-condition tire, but like the new trail version of the Hellkat, the latest version of the Nevegal is built upon Kenda's lightweight, Advanced Trail Casing. The Nevegal features a bit of sidewall protection as well as a proprietary aramid layer that runs down the center of the tire casing, to help prevent puncture flats. The new Nevegal doesn't feature as aggressive a tread pattern as the Hellkat. It's low rolling resistance, makes it a promising choice for a rear tire, though it can also be run front and rear on trail bikes. At less than 800 grams, a 27.5x2.4 Nevegal is also relatively svelte.
Depending on how you swing, riding a bike trainer can either be a great way to stay fit during the winter or an excellent first-step on your journey to a hot, sweaty and tedious journey into hell. Who's up for sweating their balls off on a stationary bike? Any takers? Hello? Anyone? Cue the sound of crickets. Well, Wahoo's Kickr smart trainers are designed to help you stave off madness during winter training by allowing you to connect the trainer to your laptop and feel the pedaling pain as you watch a little, digital version of you feeling the same pain on a virtual ride. It's like virtual riding masturbation. Except it hurts. And that's good. Or so I am told....
Well, the latest addition to the Kickr line is the Kickr CLIMB. In a nutshell, as you begin to gain elevation during your pre-programmed, training rides, the fork attachment rises, giving you a more realistic approximation of how much it sucks to suddenly hit that 20 percent grade that, in the real world, would have you vomiting by the side of the road, but in our virtual, smart-trainer world, merely has you vomiting in your family room instead. Clearly, I've not joined the ranks of the smart-trainer, Zwift-obsessed. I am, however, surrounded at work by guys who've grown increasingly fast and fashionably wraith-like thanks to their smart trainers. Becoming addicted to indoor training seems as likely a proposition to me as growing addicted to plunging an ice pick in my eye. After seeing the results, however, I'm thinking there might be something to it after all.
Back in America, e-bikes are still as popular as genital herpes. Over here in Europe? They are truly popular. In fact, "popular" is a decidedly inadequate adjective in this case. Eurobike is absolutely rife with e-bike-specific saddles, hydration packs, grips and any kind of product large enough for you to slather on the the word "e-bike". And yet there's no denying this fact: every time I walked past the Pivot Cycles booth, there was a small crowd of people staring at their new "Shuttle" e-bike. The Shuttle won't be up for sale in North America during 2018, but it looks like it might go gangbusters on this side of the Atlantic.
The companies manning booths at tradeshows often entice visitors to stop and check out the goods by laying out bowls of snacks. Surprisingly, no one was lining up to partake of this bowl of dicks. Who'd have guessed?