Name This Prototype
European brand Solid had a booth full of their heavy hitting aluminum bikes, including this yet to be named prototype that they said is basically a pint sized version of their Strike downhill sled. Designed as an enduro race bike, its rear wheel travel sits at 172mm, which is a bit longer than the majority of bikes in the same class. Not surprisingly, Solid has employed a tweaked version of their Center Force Suspension design that sees the shock mounted between two stout looking links that create a virtual pivot point out in space. According to Solid, ''the unique suspension system transmits the bearing forces evenly to the main chassis so that we are in a position to create a chassis which is lighter than most of the products of the competition.
'' Claimed weight of the assembled prototype pictured here is 29.7lb, although Solid did say that the production version, which will be available sometime around March or April of 2016, will come in at around 2lb less, partly due to it featuring a carbon fiber upper link in place of the rather burly aluminum one on this bike.
Solid intends the bike to be used with forks between 160 and 180mm of travel, although the bike won't feature any built-in geometry adjustments to compensate for changes in fork length, and the exact geo isn't finalized quite yet - this particular bike is serving as a geometry mule. With Solid having a technical partnership with BOS, you can expect the production version to be fitted with BOS suspension as well.
Solid also offer a range of components under the Reverse name, including the Seismic carbon handlebars that have been designed to dissipate high-frequency vibrations from the ground and bike before they are transferred into the rider's hands. This isn't the first time we've seen this sort of approach - Spank uses low density foam in their aluminum Vibrocore handlebars to do the same thing - but Solid have used carbon fiber and decided against adding any sort of damping material. They are claiming that the butted layup profile of the carbon fiber is able to to the same job, and that extensive testing with data acquisition proves that the Seismic handlebar works as advertised. Word is that feedback from their racers mirrors Solid's findings, all of which makes us eager to test them out for ourselves. Longer, Slacker Ripley
I've spent a lot of time on Ibis' 120mm travel Ripley and have very little to complain about, but there's no denying that a lot of companies are now offering longer and slacker geometry than what the original Ripley was designed with. Ibis went back to the molds and came up with a revised version, called the Ripley LS, that has a longer top tube and a slacker head tube angle, going from 69.2 degrees to 67.5 degrees, and gaining 12mm up front. There's also a threaded bottom bracket in place of the old bike's press-fit design, revised internal cable routing, and a 1/2'' shorter seat tube.
The back of the bike gets a new rear triangle that offers a bit more tire clearance - it's tight on the original bike when you mount up some burly tires - but the bike's eccentric-driven rear suspension remains unchanged.
Not shown here is the new standard Ripley that gets all of the above updates, minus the geo changes. Frames only will retail for $2,900 USD, and standard builds (all popular Shimano and SRAM components
) begin at $3,950 for the "Special Blend" and end at $8,600 for a bike with Shimano's Di2 drivetrain.Formula R0Racing Brake
Used by Formula's sponsored racers for the past two years, the R0Racing brake is just now being released to the public. It utilizes the same two-piston caliper from the Italian brand's other offerings, but it's the top end where things are drastically different. Formula, along with everyone else, use a standard push-style master cylinder that, as the description suggests, pushes the plunger in as you pull the brake lever. The R0Racing brake's master cylinder does the opposite, though, actually pulling the master cylinder piston's out away from the handlebar when you pull the brake lever due to the lever's pivot being on the opposite side of where it would usually be located.
Formula cites two reasons for the change: first, it allows them to bring the lever's pivot in closer to the handlebar for better ergonomics. Second, they say that it makes for lighter lever action due to the pulling action through the master cylinder not binding as much as when you're pushing it.