The Oceanian Bike Project: Steel Hardtails, Trail Building Tools, New Brakes, & More

Apr 19, 2023
by TEBP  
The European Bike Project is one of our favorite Instagram accounts. Alex from TEBP constantly updates his feed with everything from interesting curios from tiny manufacturers to inside looks at European manufacturing to analyses of the environmental impact of our sport. He's currently travelling in New Zealand, where he started The Oceanian Bike Project. He will publish a few articles on NZ manufacturers over the next few weeks here on Pinkbike.

In this article, we'll look at steel frames, trail building tools, MTB apparel and brakes from New Zealand.




Vibe Bikes: Affordable steel frames for good times

Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
The Vibe Bikes "Bliss" frame.

Two young and passionate Kiwi riders who set out to make affordable steel frames in New Zealand – they must have been friends forever, right? In fact, the story of how Tom and Andy met doesn’t involve a school or kindergarten - it’s a bit more complicated than you might think. It involves one’s wife, the other's parents and a lot of coincidences. And it’s a really good thing that they met, because Vibe Bikes probably brings you the most affordable NZ made frames that you can currently get.

bigquotesVibe Bikes is riding your bike like you did when you were a kid. Just riding with friends and enjoying everything about it! Not everything has to be a race bike and weigh next to nothing, life is about enjoying the journey as well as the destination.Vibe Bikes Mission Statement

Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
Made in a shed.
Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
4130 straight gauge tubing.

Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
Andy working on the very first Vibe Bikes Ti frame.
Vibe Bikes Factory Tour

While Tom is based in Wellington (where he works full time for Zerode Bikes) and mostly builds bikes and answers customer inquiries, Andy lives in Rangiora near Christchurch. This is also where he makes the frames and handlebars.

So far, Vibe Bikes offer two different frames. The “Method” is their do-it-all dirt jumper and pumptrack bike and the “Bliss” is their 29er 150 mm hardtail.

The “Method” dirt jumper comes with a 420 mm reach, 71° seat angle and 70° head angle. The chainstays are 400 mm, the headtube is 120 mm, seattube 330 mm and stack is 548 mm.

Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
Vibe Bikes Factory Tour

Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
The "Method" is a do-it-all dirt jump bike.

We’re looking at reach sizes of 450 mm (schooner), 475 mm (pint) and 500 mm (jug) for the “Bliss”, which comes with a 64° head angle and 75° seat angle as well as 430 mm chain stays and 667 mm stack in any size. The seattube is 430 mm for the schooner and 470 mm for the pint and jug. If you’d like to tweak the geometry of your frame a bit, Andy can do that for you for a surcharge.

Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
Vibe Bikes Factory Tour

Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
The 29", 150 mm travel "Bliss" frame. It comes with a seat tube seattube gusset and a bottle opener at the brake mount.

Vibe Bikes use US-made 4130 straight gauge steel tubing, which keeps the costs for raw material low and the final prices too. The Method frame costs 1200 NZD ($740 USD) and the Bliss costs 1800 NZD ($1120 USD). These frames are not for weight weenies though, you should definitely expect the weight of the Bliss frame to start with a 4 (kg that is). The Bliss frame has an integrated bottle opener at the rear brake mount, a seattube gusset, bosses for bottle cages (might as well work with beer can holders) and machined details on the headtube. The straight headtube, which you often find on steel bikes, means you can literally fit any fork with the right headset. All frames come with a Vibe Bikes rear axle which is also made in Andy’s shed and they have a 73 mm BSA bottom bracket.

In the future, the team would like to offer titanium frames too and I was lucky enough to see their first ever Ti frame in their shed when I visited.

Vibe Bikes also offer the “Crawl Bars”, which are made from 4130 chromoly too. They measure 810 mm in width, have a 50 mm rise, 9° back sweep and 5° upsweep. The bar clamp area is 22.2mm. They are yours for 150 NZD (93 USD) and come with the signature “Pubs over Podiums” slogan.


Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
The first 100 NZD the team made - framed in the workshop.
Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
Andy working on the lathe.

Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
The custom made dropouts, bottle opener, ISCG tabs and brake mount.
Vibe Bikes Factory Tour
Having the small lathe in the workshop makes life much easier, says Andy.

Details
- Frames and handlebars made in New Zealand / other components made overseas
- Price: from 1200 NZD (740 USD) for the dirtjump frame / from 1800 NZD (1120 USD) for the Enduro frame
- 4130 chromoly straight gauge tubing
- Website: https://www.vibebikes.co.nz/
- Instagram: @vibebikes





Revolution Bikes: Trail building tools

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The current range of trail building tools: McLeod (left), Hilty Hoe (center), Trail Boss 5 in 1 (right), Trail Rake (bottom).

Not satisfied with other options on the market, Hilton from Revolution Bikes in Havelock North decided to make his own trail building tools. It all started with some plough blades that he found in a shed - they proved to be very sturdy and durable. While the first tools had wooden handles, he later used fiberglass handles.

Hilton cuts the plough blades himself, and other metal work is done by local companies in Hawke's Bay. He prefers his tools to have cutouts, so you can strap them to your backpack or your bike.

The tools are usually made in small batches of 10, however Hilton does accept larger orders from clubs if he's given enough notice. According to Hilton, the tools are also popular among gardeners, landscapers and vineyard operators.

Let's have a look at the different options:

- MTB Trail Rake: A heavy duty rake in wood or fiberglass handle.
- Hilty Hoe: Hilton's original design with a curved blade ideal for scooping and shaping. Shorter 90cm fiberglass handles.
- Mini Hilty Hoe: A kid sized trail tool - lighter to carry and throw around than the full sized models. Full length 120cm wood handle.
- McLeod Trail Tool: The original double sided tool as used to fight forest fires, designed in USA in 1905 by Malcolm McLeod, a US Forest Service ranger. Current stock with wood handles.
- McLeod 2.0 Trail Tool: Their own improvement on the original double sided McLeod Trail Tool - wider and lighter, with shorter teeth that won't get clogged up with debris.
- Trail Boss 5 in 1 Trail Tool: A winning combo of Hilty Hoe, rake, scraper, compactor and cutting blade. Current stock has shorter 90cm handles.

What if you could have a trail building tool that you could actually take with you on your bike? Hilton started to work on telescopic trail building tools around 6 years ago. The first prototype was made from the seattube and the seat post of a broken bike. The extension was the steerer tube of an old fork. It worked, but he wanted this design to be more reproduceable. So he ordered carbon tubes which he sanded down by hand to get the perfect diameter. He's currently working on a light telescopic version of his trail building tools, however they are not available yet. They will be 850 mm long (closed: 500 mm) and come with a 170 x 200 mm blade. The price will be around 200 NZD (tbc). He's also working on an integrated saw, which will come at a surcharge. All Revolution Bikes tools are made in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.


Revolution Bikes NZ Trailbuilding Tools
photo
The first prototype of the telescopic trail building tools.

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photo
Current prototypes of telescopic trail building tools.


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photo
Hilton's bike is a bit on the Mad Max side of things, but it works very well for him.


Details
- Made in New Zealand
- Price: from 129 NZD (80 USD)
- Website: https://revolutionbikes.co.nz/collections/tools/products/mtb-trail-tools
- Instagram: @revolutionbikesnz






Ground Effect: NZ made bike apparel

Ground Effect HQ Tour
The Christchurch-based factory where Ground Effect products are made.

Ground Effect is one of the very few clothing companies that still manufacture in New Zealand. Founded in 1994 by friends Steve, Frase and Guy from a desire to work together, Ground Effect has become synonymous with durable and well-made NZ bike apparel.

When Steve, Frase and Guy decided to work together their main goals included working with interesting people, set up a company with a healthy work-life-balance and create proper mountain bike clothes. Back in 1994, most people were riding in tight lycra shorts or tramping clothing, but real mountain bike specific clothes didn’t exist. Outdoor companies were booming in the 70s, but they mainly focused on hardware such as tents and sleeping bags, so it wasn’t easy to find appropriate clothing for exploring off the beaten track in beautiful New Zealand. The team knew that there had to be a way to create a cool MTB look and took inspiration from the boardshorts surfers were wearing. They say that they were among the first brands to make baggy pants specifically for biking.

After one year, they were able to hire their first employee and Ground Effect has been steadily growing ever since. While the Internet was slowly but surely becoming a thing in the 90s, they were a mail-order (and phone-order) company during the first couple of years – they even created a mobile phone mount for their handlebars because customers would call Ground Effect early in the morning when they were cycling to the post office to pick up their mail. Ground Effect printed roughly 40 semi-yearly catalogues before internet promotions finally took over.


Ground Effect HQ Tour
The anti-cyclone Rainjacket boasts a breathability of 33,000 gm/sqm/24h.
Ground Effect HQ Tour
Quality shirts made by Ground Effect.

Today, there are seven people who work at the Ground Effect HQ in the Christchurch suburb of Ferrymead and another 15 who work at the factory in Christchurch. Steve, Frase and Guy always wanted the office staff to be less than ten people, so they could work as one team without any sub-teams.

While the factory is owned by someone else, they work closely together and plan together. Long-term durability is a key to their success, and so the relationship with their supplier is based on mutual profitability, quality and trust.

Since the beginning, Ground Effect has always been a direct sales company, selling directly to customers only. By doing so, they get feedback and unfiltered information from the customers. And when you call the company, you can talk to the person who designed the rainjacket or shorts you’re interested in, so you get valuable advice.

The founders say that they never set up the business to conquer the world. They are not growing for the sake of it. “If a pair of shorts lasts eight years, that makes us happy,” says Guy. Product improvement tends to be incremental rather than refreshing the entire range each season. This allows the team to focus on quality fabrics and fit, rather than just introducing new colours.

Ground Effect HQ Tour
One open-space office is enough for all the Ground Effect office staff.
Ground Effect HQ Tour
The Ground Effect HQ has a fully equipped bike workshop.

Ground Effect HQ Tour
One of the founders uses this bike for his daily commute...
Ground Effect HQ Tour
... while this Cargo-E-Bike is used for transporting goods around the city.


When they founded the company, it wasn’t very difficult to manufacture in New Zealand. There were quite a lot of clothing factories around, however during the 80s and 90s many suppliers moved to Asia. A few stayed in the Christchurch area and today, not many are left. They say that making bike gear locally still works for them and that the advantages of flexibility and short manufacturing runs outweigh the disadvantages of going offshore, but they also acknowledge that it would be rather difficult to start the company today.

The fabrics are mostly made in Taiwan, Australia (merino), and Japan (waterproof shells). All products apart from basic t-shirts and gloves are sewn in Christchurch. Of course the team is always working on new products and trying new fabrics. They are proud to make rain jackets such as the anti-Cyclone that have a breathability of 33,000 gm/sqm/24h. Many rain jackets come with a much lower functional value of 10,000 or 20,000.

In recent years, the supplier’s lead times have gone up, as did the minimum order quantities. Ground Effect always tries to order just in time and keep finished stock low, which also reduces their footprint. They usually have 800 stock units – a very low number when compared to other clothing companies, which have to put their items on sale all the time. During the seasonal changeovers they often have hardly any stock left. However, their local manufacturing approach allows them to make new items within a very short time, should some unexpected orders come in. Roughly half of all Ground Effect products are sold to New Zealand customers, the other half is sold to the rest of the world, with a particularly big fanbase in Australia.

Ground Effect HQ Tour
Ground Effect clothes are shipped with minimal packaging.
Ground Effect HQ Tour
The team is always experimenting with new fabrics and colours.

Ground Effect HQ Tour
Ground Effect HQ Tour

Ground Effect HQ Tour
A mini edition of the former Ground Effect van, which was stolen and demolished with an angle grinder.
Ground Effect HQ Tour
Steve, Fraser and Guy, the three founders of Ground Effect.


During winter, their most popular products are rain jackets and warmer tops, while during summer shorts tend to be their best selling items. Their signature colour orange was introduced a few years after the company was founded. They had made a nice bike jacket, however it only came in tarmac grey. Customers told them that they should make brighter colours for better visibility, and a lot of their products have been available in Ground Effect orange ever since.

Ground Effect also gives back to the MTB community. The “Slush Fund” hands out small amounts of cash to help build trails. During my six months of mountain biking in New Zealand, I saw numerous bike wash stations and trails that were sponsored by Ground Effect, so the Slush Fund actually makes a difference. The team also established a series of work parties in order to help build the world-class trails at Craigieburn, just two hours from their HQ.

In the future, Ground Effect wants to continue to focus on high quality, NZ made cycling clothes, including the relatively new pursuits of e-biking, bikepacking and gravel. They are not chasing trends, though, and will only launch a new product when they are 100% satisfied with its quality.


Details
- Made in NZ
- Products: Everything from socks to shorts, shirts and rain jackets
- Website: https://www.groundeffect.co.nz/
- Instagram: @groundeffectclothing






Radic: Powerful disc brakes

Radic Brakes HQ Tour
One of the first 3D printed prototypes.

It’s photos like these one that put Radic on the map roughly two years ago – additive manufactured brake calipers? Nobody had ever seen something like this before and the photos were heavily trending on Instagram. The calipers were in an early prototype stage back then, but due to their unique manufacturing technique and the generative-design looks they certainly created a lot of interest around the world. It was on a chairlift in Whistler where Taylor from Radic had his personal lightbulb moment: "I could probably 3D print a brake caliper – and even many more bike related parts!"

This was not long after Taylor graduated from The University of Auckland, where he got a degree in mechanical engineering. Uni was anything but boring for Taylor, as he was a part of the Formula SAE team, where he gained a lot of experience.

After seeing this 3D printed goodness, you might think that Radic is a rather big company with several engineers working full time on the world’s best brake. In reality, it’s quite the opposite – Radic is a labour of love from Taylor. The Radic HQ is a single room in Taylor’s apartment in downtown Auckland, where he works on the brakes in the evenings. During the day, he works in the automotive industry as a Senior Engineer designing high performance gearbox components in Auckland’s North Shore.

Radic Brakes HQ Tour
Radic Brakes HQ Tour
The Radic HQ is smaller than you might think, but that doesn't hold Taylor back.

Radic worked with several suppliers and got more than one working AM prototype caliper. However, several challenges meant that they had to pause the work on the AM brake calipers. Instead, they focused on a machined brake system – the Kaha – for which they accept orders now.


Radic Brakes HQ Tour
Getting these additive manufactured calipers to work perfectly was not easy.

Radic Brakes HQ Tour
Radic Brakes HQ Tour
The latest iteration of the caliper and master.

Radic Brakes HQ Tour
Ready for assembly.
Radic Brakes HQ Tour
The threaded pistons make maintenance easier.

This first batch of available Radic brakes won’t be made in-house, instead, with a reliable overseas partner that can deliver the precision machining Taylor needs. However, he says that he would love to make the brakes in New Zealand at a later stage. He found it very difficult to find a supplier that could work within the tolerances that are needed to build an outstanding mountain bike brake that wouldn't blow the bank. "Outside of New Zealand it's much more common to find cost-efficient ISO certified manufacturers, here in New Zealand things are very different," he explained. He hopes to work full-time for Radic at some point in the future, which would ideally involve having his own 3D printers and CNC machines.

After a lot of engineering and time that went into this project, the first batch is also a vital stage for the young company to raise money for future steps.


Radic Brakes HQ Tour
Radic Brakes HQ Tour

Topology optimization and FEA were used to design the brakes – no guessing, just engineering. The oil flow route in the caliper was designed in a way that minimises trapped air and increases the effectiveness of flushing oil. The "Full Flow Bleeding" reduces the risk of trapped air bubbles by looping the whole caliper, passing all chambers sequentially – this allows a complete flush of the system when bleeding.

The brake comes with a 9 mm master cylinder piston; the stainless steel caliper pistons are 17 and 16 mm. One of the goals was to minimise the heat build-up in the brake fluid by carefully managing the heat generated. The stainless steel pistons act as an thermal resistor, as they have a low thermal conductivity. If you are still worried about performance, Radic recommends using their "super juice" mineral oil, which has a boiling point of 420° C.

The calipers can be serviced at home should you wish to do so – the pistons are threaded and can easily be extracted with Radic's piston extraction tool. Titanium hardware keeps the weight low and stainless steel braided hoses with titanium fittings ensure a consistent bite.

They use sealed stainless steel bearings, low friction dynamic PTFE seals and the brakes are compatible with either mineral oil or DOT 5.1 (depending on which seals are installed). Radic will soon be offering both configurations. The brake lever reach can be adjusted infinitely and it comes with a short dead stroke. The pads use the rather common Hope V4 style shape.

All Kaha brakes will be assembled, bled and tested for performance in New Zealand.


Radic Brakes HQ Tour
Do the Mahi (work), get the treats. Taylor has certainly done the Mahi but realises there is still a long way to go.
Radic Brakes HQ Tour
Taylor Grey.

Details
- Brakes are currently made overseas and assembled, bled and tested in New Zealand
- 9mm master cylinder piston
- 17mm and 16mm caliper slave pistons
- Titanium hardware
- Stainless steel braided hoses with titanium fittings
- Sealed stainless steel bearings
- Low friction dynamic PTFE seals
- Compatible with either Mineral Oil or DOT 5.1
- Infinite lever reach adjustment
- Compatible with Hope V4 shaped brake pads
- Website: https://www.radicperformance.com/
- Instagram: @RadicNZ


Author Info:
TEBP avatar

Member since May 15, 2020
41 articles

104 Comments
  • 57 0
 mineral oil and dot compatability is cool
  • 15 0
 I think they use different seals depending on which one you order.
  • 67 9
 You can put mineral oil in dot brakes without seal issues if the dot brakes have never seen dot (i.e dry from new).

(Drops smoke bomb and disappears batman style)
  • 2 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: really? Could you do a really good flush with isopropyl or some other cleaning method to completely clean all DOT from the system?
  • 6 4
 @Darwin66: I believe dot permanently alters the seals it touches so that if mineral oil goes in after dot then they swell. I don't think its a case of cleaning it out.....the seals are forever changed.

Depending on the caliper you can buy new seals.
  • 19 2
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: I have seen multiple rubber manufacturers compatibility tables and except for some exotic fluoropolymers, there's no rubber in any of them that is compatible with both DOT and mineral oil. AFAIK most brakes use either neoprene or epdm rubber seals depending on fluid. At least according to the manufacturers of rubber, these are each only compatible with one type of fluid. I hope you are very very certain of what you are saying here, it could be very dangerous if you are not.
  • 5 2
 @ak-77: well I hope nobody would do this without doing more research but to support what I said:

- I run "dot only" calipers with mineral oil and shimano levers. I guess if they were going to have an issue it would have happened by now. I could be wrong!

- the caliper manufacturer offers a mineral variant of another of their calipers. When I emailed their tech support to ask about why they don't do it for other models they made it sound like all they were doing is supplying it dry.

I did a bit more research, took a punt and trialled one brake before doing the other brakes.
  • 5 0
 @ak-77: Seconded. Mineral oil brakes generally use Nitrile rubber (sometimes called Buna-N), DOT brakes use epdm sealing. The fluids and the seals are specific to each other. If mineral oil comes into contact with the epdm rubber it will swell to many times it's size and deteriorate quite quickly
  • 1 0
 @taborlin: nitrile indeed, I said neoprene but the two words got mixed up in my head, thanks for the correction
  • 2 1
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: Interesting. Did your 'more research' also lead you to find out what the material of the seals is?
  • 3 1
 @ak-77: they are listed unhelpfully as "rubber" but I figured they would be epdm. My own prior experience of epdm is that its pretty bombproof and then I read somewhere (I couldn't find it now probably!) about the difference whether it had been in contact with dot or not first would make.

I was fully prepared for the trial caliper to jam/stick but it hasn't in 4+ months.

This chat is going to make me more attentive to anything going awry although i figured it would be pretty quick if it were going to do it.
  • 1 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: I guess swelling can take some time but 4 months seems long. Are you using Shimano oil (which is mineral, crude oil based) or a synthetic oil like Putoline HPX? www.matsmatsmats.com/commercial-industrial/epdm-resistance-to-chemicals.html says that makes a difference.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: shimano oil. I do actually have some hpx for another reason so i"ll give switching it out some thought.

If the seals are deteriorating even if slowly then I would also be expecting to feel it at the lever or notice the bite point going weird.....which aren't happening.
  • 2 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: www.peterverdone.com/sram-guide-insanity scroll down to see what happens if you put mineral oil in dot brakes
  • 2 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: It must be some other rubber than EPDM then. EPDM is well known to deteriorate quite quickly in oil.
Although I just found this: www.intechopen.com/chapters/77975 . What they basically say is that if the rubber is used for a seal, the swelling just makes it seal better because of increased pressure. But the swelling also softens the material so it might at some point break. They talk about years as the timescale.
I wouldn't feel comfortable riding your setup, and I'm not the type that shies away from a bit of experimentation with brake fluids.
  • 10 0
 No I prefer to pick a fluid and be a d*ck about it.
  • 1 0
 @arek-hs: it was these kinds of horror stories I was prepared for when I did the trial. This one mentions it all going wrong very quickly.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: I do wonder if its the shimano oil that means its fine (so far). "Mineral oil" covers a very wide base of definition.

I don't think it would be possible not to notice something if it had happened...the piston seals are what cause the retraction of the pistons when you release the lever.

But your comments are noted and I won't assume everything will be hunky dory forever.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: I should clarify I was doing this mainly to run shimano levers with the caliper I wanted. So it's at the caliper side where the risk is.

Yes that's right....."wrong" levers and 'wrong' fluid!
  • 2 3
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: I have done this on my Sram RSC and Hayes Dominion. Both brakes got swelled reservoir and seals from the mineral oil. I just did this on my hayes last weak thinking they use better quality seals than Sram. NOPE! Hayes also using cheap seals. I also bought new seals for the sram code rsc and I thought the same as you, and I made sure everything was super clean and free of DOT but still the seals and reservoir bladder swelled. BUT I did started again by using DOT and use a Magura caliper and I didnt have any issue with the Magura swelling orings on their caliper. Both hayes and Sram code levers works fine with the DOT but not with mineral oil. Only Viton, FKM and FLM seal types can cross contaminate fluids without having any issues and they can handle super high heat temp and very resistant to any type of oil. They're also super super expensive and there is no right size in existence to match both Sram code and hayes dominion. If anyone here wanted to spend over $200 like I did just to kill your curiosity, go right ahead. I spent money on buying just the hayes lever, multi reservoir bladder and lots of Sram Code rebuild kits and lots of bladders. I even bought the shoutai and risk titanium pistons on aliexpress and the sellers there told me their seal can be used both mineral and DOT, and I found out they lied. Their oring also swelled like a chick on a buffet and levers keep getting stuck and wont fully retract for a ling time. One thing I found out that worked with the Sram Code was using avocado oil and safflower oil but both made the lever feel more heavier to pull. As of right now, I'm using DOT on my Hayes with Magura caliper and Safflower oil on my code with Magura caliper. So far so good but I only have it sram for 6 months and Hayes with magura for only about 2 weeks. Both brakes I haven't really ridden in any long distance downhill trails. I'm sure that the DOTZ will be fine but I'm not sure about the Safflower oil on my Code.
  • 1 0
 @Xilema: I would be much more cautious going the other way (dot on mineral brakes) as dot is aggressive stuff more generally.

Did anything take 4 months or more to show itself?
  • 3 1
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: this is 100% bullshit and will be expensive/ potentially dangerous for anyone who tries it.
  • 2 0
 @Xilema: Why would Hayes use a much more expensive seal material and make all their customers pay so that the very few who want to risk such a thing can experiment with mixing equipment between brands? They aren't going to condone this anyway, it's way too risky from a liability perspective. EPDM works fine in billions of brakes in motor vehicles, it's not as if the fluoropolymers are superior in other aspects than heat and chemical resistance, so normal users wouldn't have any advantage.
Even offering a brake in multiple fluid versions like the guy in the article above probably wouldn't pass in a bigger company. Can you imagine being a mechanic at a shop and you get handed in a bike for a general service and you don't even know if it runs DOT or mineral oil in the brakes?
  • 3 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: 'dot is aggressive stuff more generally' . That is not how chemistry works. Some acids that eat through metal will do nothing to plastics, while the same plastic may be dissolved in a solvent that does nothing to the metal. DOT gets a bad rep because it is more aggressive to paint and fingers than mineral oil, but mineral oil is toxic too and it attacks EPDM and other rubbers in a bad way.
I am more and more convinced that you got very lucky with the type of brake you experimented on and I cannot yet explain why you didn't experience any problems.
  • 2 0
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: Mineral on DOT (ie: Mineral oil on epdm rubber seals) is far harder on those seals than the other way around.
  • 1 3
 @The-Spirit-of-Jazz: when I used mineral oil to DOT, it got my levers harder to pull the very next day and getting stuck the 2nd day. Mineral oil brakes uses buns type orings and have more capabilities to resist other chemicals than the ones on dot brakes. You can look up all these seals, Viton, FKM, FPM FFKM they're all resilient to any type of chemicals and also have resistance to higher temps, but they come at a price much higher. But these manufacturers use what's cheap and that works good enough. IMO This is about the bottom line to manufacturers, they don't care about you and me and that's why they don't offer better seals with high temp and charge everyone with premium price.
I would prefer DOT over mineral oil because of the high temp and resistance to cold weather and I dont get that black stuff that comes out of the mineral oil but may be that only happens on the magura blue oil. I haven't try the other way around yet using DOT on my magura lever, I've only used it on calipers. I might experiment on my mt30 levers that i have since I have no use for them.
Dont use mineral on sram codes if you're still using the original plastic piston. The shimano oil swelled that puppy up and it took me using a punch to get the piston out. I was lucky enough that the internal bore of the lever didnt get damage.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: I would also like to know why I haven't experienced a problem (yet)! I am going to buy a spare seal and measure what it does in shimano oil (maybe this should have been my original test!!)
  • 1 0
 @Xilema: I am glad you are not done experimenting!
  • 1 2
 @ak-77: you can look up seals such as VITON, FKM, they have resistance to any oil you put in it and can hold at much higher temp. I agree and you're right that EPDM seals are good enough. But if you live in PNW, you will need to bleed the brakes every begining of summer which is not cost effective. But then again, I just burnt more than $200 experimenting on this stuff lol. Both DOT and mineral oil are toxic even if that mineral oil is plant base, But only DOT are corrosive. Dot5.1 is much less corrosive compare to Dot3 but it still is corrosive.
I'm just sharing my experience just in case someone's wondering and it should stop them from experimenting and stick with the manufacturer's recommendation.
  • 2 0
 @Xilema: I know those materials but I don't think they will seal better than epdm. Or do you mean you want to use mineral oil because you believe you won't have to bleed as often? I bleed my Shimano brakes a few times a year.
I completely understand why manufacturers don't want to design brakes for more than one fluid, sooner or later somebody will mess up and they will be blamed. There are plenty of quality mineral oil brakes out there. If you can't replace your seals with the correct material, get a brake that is designed for the fluid you want to use.
  • 1 1
 @ak-77: I wonder if you read the thread at all? This new company will come out with the brake capable of using both DOT and Mineral oil. My back ground is aviation and I'm very familiar with seals and oil. Like I mentioned, the brake can use a seal that can use both, that's why I'm intrigued with this new brake coming out. I said to myself, finally a company with a brain and leave it to the consumer have them use whatever they want. Did you even look up Viton, FKM and FPM? They are very resilient to any oil and very abrasive resistant and also high temp. If the consumer or bike shop made a mistake, it will not damage the seal because its capable of doing so. Its fool proof and future proof, there's nothing wrong with that and this new brake company will enjoy my money once they come out with their product.
  • 1 0
 @Xilema: I definitely read the thread. It hasn't become clear to me what the reason was for you to start experimenting with mixed oil and DOT brakes, or why you would want a brake that allows you to switch from one fluid to the other. (not a judgment, just stating I don't know your reason for it)
I too have experience with Viton and Kalrez seals through my profession, I didn't need to look them up. I read the article above about the brakes and it says: (compatible with either mineral oil or DOT 5.1 (depending on which seals are installed)' . I assumed that means you still cannot switch between the two fluid types without changing seals. I remember when working with Kalrez it was less 'bouncy' than regular rubber. It may be superior chemically but the mechanical properties play a role as wel in the piston seals. I've never designed a brake so I don't know whether these materials would be better or worse than nitrile and epdm. For sure they are more expensive and that cost is only justified for people who actually switch between the fluids.

I think the market for people who want to be able to switch between fluids is super niche, but if there are customers and they get catered to all is good. I also think that the brake performance is determined much more by the design of the hardware than by the type of fluid. The main reason I like mineral oil is that I've been running oil brakes for >10 years and in that time I only had to buy two bottles of oil. And if I hadn't accidentally dropped the half full bottle of LHM to the floor a few years ago I might still be using that...

BTW, never underestimate fools. Even with Viton seals you still shouldn't mix the fluids so it's definitely not fool proof.
  • 17 0
 Ground Effect! So cool to see these guys and gals get some credit. Their stuff is the longest wearing gear of ANY kind I have ever owned. I am still rocking leggings and shorts that I have been riding in for 15+ years with thousands of hours in the saddle. From a value and sustainability perspective this blows away all the other gear I've tried over the years. Highly recommend checking them out!
  • 2 0
 I bought one of their Stormtrooper jackets to use on the Old Ghost Road (which we didn't do due to weather) and I use the jacket for plenty of things. It's too good to just sit in my riding pack. I don't know why I took so long to get a decent trail jacket.
  • 3 0
 Completely agree, ground effect gear is super durable and value for money. The only shorts I wear are ground effect as they are bulletproof! (Had many a Friday fails moment wearing them over the years and unlike me they come out unscathed).
  • 14 2
 Unfortunately, I found out about Radic just a few weeks before (finally) receiving my long-awaited Trickstuff's. That said, the Radics appear to be, essentially, Trickstuff Maximas.

I'd love to see a review of those brakes. I have to say, the Trickstuffs are as amazing as advertised: perfect modulation and more power than anyone could possibly need. But if the Radics offer the same abilities in a $740 USD price point...well...that's something.
  • 6 1
 @kjp1230 I had a set of Direttissima's on my previous DH bike. Can confirm they are mulitple levels above anything else on the market after a few Whistler trips and endless laps at Trestle (expert rider, albeit in my 40's). Sold the brakes for what I paid for them two years later. There are plenty of great brakes out there (TRP Evos come to mind) with similar performance, but nothing is on par with Trickstuff fit, finish, quality and level of performance. People downvoting you on your comments on them must just be jealous at this point.
  • 1 0
 @bman33: Funny you bring up TRPs. I was very curious about the DH-Evo's before I mounted my Maximas. Folks at my local shop say great things.

But yes, so far my experience with the Maximas is that they are exactly as good as advertised. Hard for me to imagine a better brake as I cannot think of anything to improve.
  • 3 0
 @KJP1230: I have the DH-EVO-R's on my DH bike.... think of them as a 'poor man's Trickstuff'. That isn't a dig, more of a compliment.
  • 4 0
 I’m also stoked to see reviews on the new Intend Trinity brakes. Designed by the same guy as one of the minds behind trickstuff brakes apparently… and everything about them seems phenomenal!!
  • 7 0
 I love seeing small builders at work! Best of luck to Vibe! That being said, I don't want to be "that guy", but if the photo stating that Andy is welding the first Ti bike of theirs is correct, they should know that it's not properly back-purged and that weld is compromised in a very serious way. Ti is way more sensitive to oxygen than steel. For that reason you need to fill the frame with argon to shield the backside of the weld. The two holes on the downtube mean that there's no way it's fully purged even if they're running gas into the frame.
  • 2 1
 I think the caption might be a mistake? Looks like steel to me.
  • 2 1
 I don't think the photo is of him welding the ti frame
  • 2 0
 Was gonna say, he’s gonna need a bigger cup
  • 3 2
 Mansplaining is so 90s…
  • 2 0
 Andy has been welding Titanium daily on a commercial level for years, I can guarantee this photo was staged for the shoot.
  • 10 0
 "he brake lever reach can be adjusted infinitely " not sure about that...

These look good, would love to read a review
  • 12 0
 That would be an interesting conversation with tech support. 'What do you mean, I cannot adjust my levers to reach beyond the boundaries of the solar system? Look what it says here...'
  • 7 0
 I am the very pleased owner of a set of Taylor's Kaha brakes and can confirm they are excellent, very light lever feel with very aggressive bite, they are consistent in their bite, the finish is excellent and the bleed is very simple. I also have a set of Trickstuff Maximas, the power and power delivery feel identical, the trickstuff have a much stiffer spring in the lever which gives an effect that takes getting used to the the Radic do not.
If you have been considering getting Maxima but the price is a turn off the Radic Kaha are excellent and worth the $740 ish USD price tag, also Taylor is super responsive via email.
  • 3 0
 Since too few people have grabbed the lever of a Maxima, can you compare the Kaha to other more common models (Codes, Shimanos, Dominions, Maguras, etc.), if you have experience?
  • 6 0
 Love seeing trail tools featured. Still looking for the perfect McLeod that will fit on my bike, yet still be effective for hard use. Seems I can pick any two out of [ effective, light weight, telescoping ] unless I want to pay a LOT of money.
  • 1 0
 The Trail Boss McLeod is excellent and the handle breaks down to fit in a backpack. $310 is certainly not cheap, but for a long lasting trail tool I think it's worth it. I have many hours of digging on mine.

trailbossusa.com/collections/packages/products/trail-building-mcleod
  • 8 0
 How pissed off (?) must someone be to destroy your microbus with an angle grinder?
  • 1 0
 The actual combi van was destroyed I believe , not the micro version... Bit odd ... Ex employee gone crazy maybe ?
  • 2 0
 @glenno: if I recall correctly it was stolen and butchered.
  • 1 0
 @heinous: you recall correctly...it was stolen and dismantled for components, primarily the roof. All that Ground Effect got back was a very partial shell.
  • 4 0
 Those brakes look absolutely amazing ! It's cool that a lot of smaller manufacturers make amazing stuff these days ! Articles like this one are cool to actually find out about some of them !
  • 7 0
 When you get to the final boss MTB dad he has that exact SC Blur.
  • 5 0
 Do the founders of Ground Effect remind anyone else of Top Gear?
  • 2 0
 Was looking for this comment
  • 2 0
 The only way those guys could look more Kiwi is if they were hugging sheep.
  • 3 0
 Nice brakes but same problem as with all boutique parts, if things break it is hard/expensive to get spares etc.
  • 2 0
 Those steel hardtails look great. For that price, you could make a heck of a bash-around bike.
  • 1 0
 667mm stack on all sizes is an interesting choice. On the 450mm reach version that over 50mm higher than a similar sized 2023 Trek Fuel Ex 8 and 25mm higher than a similar sized Nukeproof Scout 290.
  • 9 9
 Those brakes are just a Rolex. A Timex will do everything you need, but some people just want a Rolex. Pretty big turn off when the website claims "Best brake on the market" with ZERO qualifications whatsoever.
  • 16 1
 I've had the pleasure to ride plenty of different brake models over the years. Code RSCs, Saints, Elixir Carbon, XTs, Magura, etc.

I recently installed Maximas and they are a significant upgrade. Feather-light pull, oodles of modulation, objectively (measured in extensive reviews by Enduro MTB) more power, and zero detectable fade on 15+ minute descents under a rather heavy bike and rider.

Other brakes are absolutely capable of being brakes. But to say that they are identical in the way that watches are identical is....incorrect.
  • 3 6
 I think it's really awesome, what the young engineer is doing, but I don't think 1 young engineer has a chance at matching the performance of an experienced team of people from trickstuff(dt swiss), formula, trp, etc. But, I would still love to see these thrown in a long term test aside other top of the line brakes.
  • 19 2
 @11six: *Mr. Cornelius Kapfinger enters the Chat.*

One guy can build some seriously awesome things and be succesful.
  • 3 7
flag 11six FL (Apr 19, 2023 at 11:26) (Below Threshold)
 @Konterbunt: Kapfinger makes the Intend forks? Also, how much experience does he have? I'm just saying it's highly unlikely(but not impossible) for 1 person with relatively little experience to be able to match the expertise and resources of a team of experienced people with access to the best in r&d. I'm in no way trying to diminish his accomplishments. -coming from a young engineer with little experience lol
  • 4 0
 @11six: Yes, Mr. Kapfinger is the brainiac behind the whole brand Intend. He was engineering at Trickstuff before he started Intend.
At first he made an assembled everything in his own house. Very interessting character this dude.
  • 6 0
 @11six:
Cornelius Krapfinger was head behind Trickstuffs Diretissima and Piccola brakes, before he made his own thing with intend. So it was one young engineer.
  • 4 0
 Welcome to marketing. Every company claims their product is the best.
  • 8 0
 @11six: I think mountain bike brakes are not so complicated that one engineer cannot match and exceed most current big brand offerings. Whether his product's performance exceeds that of other small brands like Trickstuff or Intend is a higher bar. Even more difficult for a one person team would be to design and produce a brake that can be made with the volume, performance and price point that the big brands offer. Engineering is so much easier if the price is not holding you back.
  • 3 0
 Hold on here, Yes objectively these both serve the same purpose and do so well. But a Rolex and timex are very different in functionality, and ultimately quality. (I own neither so this is not a defense against fancy watches)
Your statement is also in line with saying a exotic sports car and a generic economy care both do the same thing. Well yes objectively you could make that argument. I could however very easily break down each brake were speaking of and put together a pros/cons list in not just performance, but quality and longevity. Claims of "best brake" can be applies to multiple points beyond just performance.
I would also argue that performance is somewhat subjective, you will never have a difinitive consensus on what is "the best".
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: agreed. That is what I was trying to get at. I forgot to mention coming close to matching price points, durability, weight etc
  • 2 0
 Trickstuff got rebranding to Radic ?
  • 3 1
 "dubs over podiums" pal I've been tryna get a dub for a while now
  • 5 0
 it say "pubs"
  • 2 0
 @terrylikesbikes: where's the fun in pubs without dubs!
  • 2 1
 Glad they got a photo of that lego van before it was stolen and demolished with an angle grinder
  • 3 1
 If you want affordable enduro Steel drames, go Marino from Peru.
  • 1 0
 but don't dubs lead to podiums?
  • 1 0
 what kinda dubs we talkin?
  • 1 0
 the maverick fork on the boss-sc-commuter. :O
  • 1 0
 Brass brake pistons? That is a stepping stone to titanium brake pistons.
  • 1 0
 Pubs over podiums is def something I can get behind.
  • 1 0
 A good hoe is hard to find
  • 1 2
 looks like a commencal meta am ht
  • 1 0
 More like a Norco torrent
  • 5 1
 I didnt see a crack so it can't be a commencal.
  • 1 0
 @BoneDog: Do commencals really break that often?
  • 2 0
 @Wojciek0: follow their facebook owners group. It's insane
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