Good Month / Bad Month: New Bikes, Electronics, Injuries & More - February 2019

Mar 5, 2019 at 0:30
by Richard Cunningham  





Bike lust

New bikes and new brands Popping up Everywhere

Lone Bicycles Parabellum in 27 5

Revel Bikes, launched by seven industry veterans, debuted their 165mm travel 27.5" wheel Rail and 130mm travel Rascal, both sporting Canfield CBF suspension. Lone Bicycles, another start-up, showed the Parabellum, a 163mm-travel aluminum bike that can switch between 27.5" and 29 inch wheels without altering its geometry. Chromag debuted a wild, Brit-style steel hardtail, the Doctahawk, which is about as long and slack as we have seen on a bike with a rigid rear end. YT officially launched their Tues 29 DH bike. NS bikes announed their new Fuzz DH 29er. Niner released their 140mm travel RIP-9 RDO in both 29 and 27.5-inch wheel sizes. Kolly launched their first 29er, the Fugitive, a capable aggressive trail bike with either 120 or 135 millimeters of rear-wheel travel. And, the Athertons showed us the first complete DH bike in their new Atherton Bikes range. That's a lot of fresh hardware launching in only the second month of 2019, which leaves us wondering how many more we'll see in Spring, when the new bike season really starts up?

Niner bikes photo shoot
bike



Electrophiles

SRAM debuts AXS Wireless Eagle transmission & RockShox Reverb

The long-awaited AXS wireless-electric transmission from SRAM looks very promising, as does its companion, the RockShox wireless remote Reverb. Electrophiles who have been begging for a wireless option will be applauding SRAM for taking the fight to Shimano Di2 XTR.

Shimano's Di2 uses one battery and one wire to both power and communicate between its shifting components, while SRAM AXS has batteries at each station and communicates without wires. Time will tell if AXS can match the impressive reliability of Di2, but each system has merit and both offer superior shifting,
n a

The elephant in the room, however, is whether their combined force can develop sufficient thrust to prevail over mechanically actuated derailleurs. So far, Di2 has been locked in a holding pattern between electronic shifting's lovers and haters. SRAM's debut could generate enough traction to break that polarity.



Fantasy Team Owners

PB launches fantasy leagues for downhill, cross country and the EWS

Fantasy Leagues
Fantasy Leagues
Fantasy Leagues

Aaron Gwin is only a DH team owner. Play your cards right, and you could own a successful World Cup downhill and a World Cup cross country team, as well as a championship winning EWS team. February, Pinkbike extended our fantasy league contest to include all three disciplines. That means you could pull off a trifecta and be sitting on top of a pile of valuable prizes. To win, however, you'll have to manage a budget, know the players, and dive into the stats. Build your teams now, the racing season is almost upon us. Start here: Fantasy DH, Fantasy XC, Fantasy EWS.







Cecile Ravanel

Seriously injured in training

Cecile Ravanel was unchallenged last year, winning every round of the EWS series This February, a terrible crash while training has sidelined the phenomenally talented Commencal racer. In her words:

bigquotesI just wanted to let you know you I had a pretty bad crash last Thursday during a training session in one of my favorite track. To be quick, I broke my cervical vertebrae C5 and C6, got a compaction at my dorsal vertebrae D4 and D5 and had a concussion. I had a surgery in Nice Hospital the same day. I’ll have to wear a corset and a neck brace for several weeks and I can’t estimate my return on the bike yet but I know I was lucky and that’s the most important thing.Cecile Ravanel

Cecile Ravanel was dominant once again making it 3 for 3 in 2018.


Performance Bike Shop employees

Advanced Sports Enterprises closes all US stores

All of Performance Bicycle's brick-and-mortar stores are expected to close over the course of the next few weeks, the result of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings involving Advanced Sports Enterprises (ASE). ASE was the owner of Performance and Bike Nashbar, and was also the parent company of Fuji, Kestrel, SE, Breezer Bikes and Tuesday Cycle. Performance was the largest bicycle retailer in the United States, with over 100 locations spread across the country. Reportedly, at least 95 employees will lose their jobs in the wake of the disaster.

A consortium has made a bid for Performance's on-line business, but there are no plans to salvage any of the nationwide chain of retail stores.
performance bike shop



Enve Wheels

PB has issues with one of their strongest wheelsets at the worst possible time

Enve's M735E wheels are intended to bludgeoned by e-bike riders who use the 50 pound motorized bikes to self-shuttle DH trails all day long. Pinkbike test riders broke two sets of the wheels, and to their credit Enve replaced both. We called it quits after Enve dutifully sent a third pair.

We acknowledge that thousands happily ride Enve's $3,000 wheels without issue, but for some reason, PB has never hit it off well with their hoops. Our test riders have suffered significant failures in previous tests. Our dour review of the M735E wheels, however, was posted at a most awkward moment. Reportedly, Enve's parent company has been looking to sell the Utah-based manufacturer in addition to its other cycling assets - bad timing all around.
Enve E Wheels



87 Comments

  • + 49
 We were discussing the ENVE article post-ride today and someone made the comment, ‘...the inexpensive carbon wheel market got really good over the last few years - it’s hard to justify a $3,000 set of wheels when you can get a set of Derbys, Nobles, Light Bicycle, or my personal favs, Spesh Rovals for half the price, and they’re for the most part pretty indestructible.'
  • + 25
 Agreed. I can get a pair of We are One Composites for a fraction of Enve's rims. I've had Enve's and I would take the We are One composites any day of the week and twice on sunday
  • + 3
 I agree with your larger point about there being better value, but you're definitely overstating the durability of carbon. I've broken 4 Nobls myself (3 of them with Cush Core in) and seen 1 broken LB, 2 broken Derbys, and 3-4 broken Rovals in my neighborhood, not to mention about that many Santa Cruz, too. Most of us unsponsored types are back on alloy now. Edit: I should mention that Nobl took care of me each time, as did the owners of Derby, Spec, and SC. Not sure what came of the LB rim.
  • + 22
 @scvkurt03: still even at a bargain price of £400 a rim, you’re still utterly mad buying carbon. Mavic D521’s would survive a nuclear holocaust. Progress. We have worse rims than 20 years ago and you’re all happy to pay way more for the privilege. I think anyone running carbon is a total idiot.
  • + 31
 It wasn't merely the broken rims which destroyed their reputation. More than anything, it was their response.
  • + 24
 @vinay: if you send two rims to one of the biggest bike sites and both of them fail, the commentary was the nail to the coffin. Every single part of the company failed. Manufacture, QC and PR. For double the proce of closest competitor you should expect stellar operations across the board an then some more, since from what we hear all carbon rim makers have great customer service. I had contact only with LB and they were amazing.
  • + 6
 @WAKIdesigns: I think their business will be fine because there are a lot of people who want to spend, spend, spend. Putting a high price tag on something does make people think it's better. If it's not better, it's still more desirable to some people.

I'm with cunning linguist on this one. Carbon doesn't make sense to me for rims, cranks, bars. I just wouldn't, but I know there are people who would and that's fine too.
  • + 10
 You forgot to say We Are One. Have you heard about We Are One rims? The number one astroturfed rim in the pb comment section.
  • + 1
 @jaame: Not sure who would want to spend this kind of money on an unreliable product. A decent aluminium rim properly laced to a Chris King hub is plenty expensive for most people (especially if they don't lace them themselves). Enve likes to tell their rims are made in the US but especially here in Europe something similar could be said about good aluminium rims. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think Mavic, DT and Ryde all produce their rims over here.

As for saving weight on cranks I'm still baffled how much effort and money people put into that. So much effort trying to move the center of mass towards the bottom bracket and still saving weight on the cranks themselves.
  • + 4
 that and bontrager wheels are nothing to turn your nose down at these days.
  • + 1
 I think people like carbon rims partly because they like the way the high rim profile looks. Also, it means there is a lot of room for logo’s.

It poses another potential issue though. A friend of mine had a flat with his enve rim and tried to put a tube in. The problem was that the valve wasn’t long enough to go all the way through the rim, so he ended up walking back to the car.
  • + 1
 @vinay: quite interesting... I believe (and I could be wrong) DT has a factory in Switzerland and one in Taiwan. They make the same wheels, Taiwan for OEM and CH for aftermarket
  • + 2
 Indestructible is not a scale. It is an absolute. In the words of a wise old master Jedi: "Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try"
  • + 3
 @cunning-linguist: Ehh, they have their benefits. It's just that durability and cost-effectiveness isn't among them.
  • + 1
 @cheezario: You’re right, technically. Saying something is indestructible however, is just a ‘saying.’ A Toyota Tacoma is ‘indestructible’ but of course we know it isn’t.
Ironically, out of everyone I ride with, I think only one carbon wheel’s been broken and it was an Enve. They replaced it quickly and without argument but that was years ago.
  • + 2
 Has anyone broken an I9 310 Pillar carbon rim? Asking for a friend...
  • + 4
 @jaame: Yeah, DT has a factory in Biel (CH) where they do spokes, suspension and probably everything at least until a good while ago. I can imagine they decided to set up a plant in Taiwan to cater for the OEM market as well as Australia and North West America (US and Canada). Plus of course the Taiwanese are just much better at casting so I expect all fork lowers are being made in Taiwan as well. DT has a video on their website, pretty impressive. Aluminium extrusion is relatively cheap (cheaper than the extrusion of plastics, actually) so I expect they'll do it in both plants. Ryde (Rigida, Van Schothorst etc.) is now owned by Sapim (Belgian spoke manufacturer) but they still make rims in their Boxmeer facilities (The Netherlands). Two wheel sports is strong over there. I think Meybo (BMX race) as well as the biggest BMX race shop of Europe are located over there, as well as a good number of BMX race tracks in the area. A few km from there are the Radioplassen MX tracks where Jeffrey Herlings started. The guy swept the MXGP series last year (in his first year after having won the MX2 a few times).

But I digress. My point is, both the production as well as the riding scene are strong in Europe. Saying Enve rims are made in the US isn't a selling point. Instead, using it as a selling point and then show up with that attitude and low quality products would merely degrade the term "made in the USA" which is a shame for other companies that do actually do a great job. Not sure how it is being viewed over there but for me it is nowhere on the same level as "made in Germany", "made in the UK", "made in Japan" or "made in Taiwan".
  • + 2
 Seems like the only thing Enve could really do to compete with the newer/less expensive/better warranty brands would be to drop their prices, which would then cheapen the brand and anger people who paid full price before. Either that, or make a retroactive switch to a lifetime warranty.
  • + 1
 @wibblywobbly: I’m a real, non-industry person, own two sets of WAO wheels, and love them.
  • + 3
 I really think you are doing something wrong to break that many rims. I’ve only seen a handful of carbon rims break and I work at a shop full time in SoCal. Everyone has carbon here @scvkurt03:
  • + 1
 @evaneisenhart: I’m willing to concede that I ride a bit rear heavy and that I ride stuff a bit above my skill level, but two of those wheels had the spokes pull thru the holes, which is a construction problem more so than rider problem. Also south OC is not Simi/Santa Barbara.
  • + 4
 @wibblywobbly: Bro, are you talking about We Are One rims? The rims that saved my family's life and rescued over 3000 puppies from high-kill shelters? The rims that found and killed Osama Bin Laden? Those rims? Praise be to We Are One rims, handcrafted by Jesus Christ himself.
  • + 0
 @WestwardHo: as long as they.are not laced to Hope hubs you are safe with bashing nearly any wheelset.
  • + 1
 The funny thing is they knew these wheels were going to a Pinkbike reviewer. Imagine what the rest of us would get.
  • + 2
 @DrPete: Same here. I have Agents on both of my bikes. No issues.
  • + 1
 @cvoc: That's on your friend. Tubes are available with various valve lengths.
  • + 1
 @scvkurt03: I was waiting for you to say you went back to alloy.
  • + 1
 @lightsgetdimmer: Well, I did, as I said in my first comment way up top. And that's not to say all alloy rims are created equally. My old Flow EX were bombproof, but the Mk3 are a little soft. Currently building up some DT EX511 to the Nobl (Onyx) hubs that came on one of the carbon wheel sets I had...
  • + 1
 @scvkurt03: yes, I know you did. Guess that my comments true point was missed but yeah, I’ve never ridden carbon and don’t personally ever see myself on carbon rims. I just don’t see the benefit compared to the price and personally, I couldn’t care less about the weight diff between them and alloy. Cheers!
  • + 0
 @scvkurt03: you must have a lot of dentists living in your neighborhood....
  • + 1
 @ConnerPeterson: Funny, the only dentist I know rides a clapped out 2011 Stumpy.
  • + 11
 If you break one of the tubes on the Atherton frame can you just get a replacement for the one part, or would you still have to get a whole new frame?
  • + 5
 I wouldn’t imagine you could easily replace them. The tubes are bonded to the lugs with a double lap shear joint. It would be really difficult to remove these tubes without damaging the titanium lugs. But I’d imagine you can buy replacement sections like other crash replacement programs for front triangles or swing arm links.
  • + 2
 @pinkbike-engineer: I watched a video from Vital on Youtube. That bike looks a lot better in video than in photos. Super sexy.
  • + 1
 @pinkbike-engineer: If it is bonded with lugs, you'd have to take whole sections of frame apart to allow the new piece to fit...
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: good point. There’s that problem as well.
  • + 11
 Why this strange looking Niner doesn`t have oval wheels? That would match to its crushed silhouette! Smile
  • + 6
 I've had one pair of Enve wheels, Enve AMs that came on a bike I bought used and they couldn't hold air worth a shit tubeless. One day I roasted one accidently with the exhaust of my truck and replaced the rim with a Light Bicycle rim and I didn't add air to that rim for about 6 months and it cost me $200.
  • + 12
 I currently own light bicycle rims. Best rims I’ve ever owned hands down.
  • + 7
 Light-Bicycle wheels are very good. Owned a set. However, the problem with the Enve not holding air is because of an issue with the tubless tape, faulty valve, or a crack in the rim. They are not horrible wheels just uber expensive.
  • - 3
 you roasted what? how is that even possible?
  • + 4
 @HollyBoni: damn that sucks. 1 - 0 for EVs
  • + 25
 Fair to say they haven't been through an exhaustive testing process.
  • + 3
 @colincolin: Just like the video but I hung my front wheel over my tail gate on the truck to get the bike in the back with a bunch of camping gear and the front wheel was right over the exhaust. Two hours later on the hwy and the rim was warped to shit, spewing boiling stans fluid everywhere. I had put aluminum wheels like that before without issue.
  • + 2
 @HollyBoni: It makes sense that car exhaust toasted the carbon rim because carbon products use an epoxy bonding agent and epoxy breaks down with heat.
  • + 3
 @tacklingdummy: Yeah, that's the only reason why I don't run carbon rims.

Not because I can't afford them, that has nothing to do with it. Big Grin
  • + 0
 @warmerdamj: I did the same years ago. Melted my tire - POP!. Wheel was fine, though (aluminum). And really, your exhaust coming from your car is not that hot. Cylinder temps are around 200-250 F. If carbon wheels are melting at that temp then they aren't properly cured or something. Melting point is somewhere north of 600 if I remember correctly.
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: The air coming from that truck was hot. Supercharged and strait piped with the cats removed, it probably wasn't 600 degrees but hotter than normal..
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: Exhaust temperatures get much higher when running. I have read where exhaust manifold and exhaust pipe temperatures can get up to 1200*F. Epoxy generally breaks down at 350*F.
  • + 7
 Hey that’s the store I no longer work at! Where did you get that picture of the Richmond store? Also you could have forecasted the closure by the state of our neon sign...
  • + 4
 Funny, I would have put AXS in the bad month category, as another bad excuse to increase prices (already too high). Welcome 15000$ high end bikes and - most worryingly - 5000$ entry level bikes!
  • + 5
 nah, theyre not replacing eagle mechanical, its simply another spec option.
  • + 4
 yes, advancement in bike technology is a bad thing, i'd much rather be riding non damped suspension, 72 degree head angle, v-brakes, biopace cranks and a 120mm stem
  • + 8
 I stand corrected. You’re totally right. We need innovation at all cost.
  • + 5
 ENVE was featured on at least a couple of podcasts (HKT, Singletracks) in February. I suspect they were trying to do some damage control in anticipation of the PB article.
  • + 5
 I still want to know how Cecile Ravanel crashed - she said it was on her favourite track so she was very familiar with it. Was she testing something new that wasn't up to it?
  • + 49
 Enve wheels...
  • + 1
 Training with Vigé and PEF, I bet for a jump fail on dh bike... But I don't know actually
  • + 3
 Anyone can crash anywhere I guess. Little lapse in concentration, front end washout etc. Could have been anything.
  • + 2
 Missing from the round up- Hail Hydra! 6 million points of engagement + great hoops. Torches got an upgrade and a price drop (new 101's). It seems in our excitement to hate on Enve we forgot to send some love to the other, Pisgah built wheel company. I9's FTW!
  • + 6
 It's a good month for dopers in EWS, they can still compete.
  • + 2
 Did richie or jared get to race?
Thats messed up, caught breaking the rules, gotta do the punishment or its not fair play
  • + 2
 @getsomesy: Jared won’t be racing and nothing to do with doping.
  • + 2
 I think all carbon wheels are susceptible to failure due to the nature of carbon. Having adequate tire pressure for the terrain and riding style is more important for carbon wheels. I've destroyed some carbon wheels but I attribute it more to me not running enough tire pressure.
  • + 1
 Di2 was locked in a holding pattern because in addition to being expensive it was built to serve a market that doesn’t exist (2x drivetrains) SRAM is going to have at least a two year head start on them with wireless 12 speed.
  • + 1
 Only if it is priced well. It has to be the same or nearly the same as a GX set for anyone to make the leap. If it is $400 for a derailleur and another $100 for the shifter, no one will touch it.
  • + 0
 NOVA Cycles HTO Washington Bike Center Bicycle Exchange -- aka Bikes USA Pooformance Bike stores that all started small and tried to open several stores. all of them failed. WTF
  • + 1
 When bicycles cost more than cars, there's the sign! Will not be long for this industry to tank!
  • + 2
 Isn't it a bad month for the dude who put drugs in his seat tube
  • + 1
 Not to pat ourselves on the back, but our Fantasy contests make it a pretty good month for you … #humblebrag Razz
  • + 2
 What would we do without Good Month Bad Month?
  • + 43
 Settle for Okay Month Okay Month.
  • + 7
 meh month
  • + 2
 Something else.
  • + 1
 WHY COULDN'T THEY CALL AXIS EAGLE TAP?
  • + 2
 Revel bikes for the win
  • + 1
 Absolutely. I'll admit that I'm left wanting a longer legged 29er from them though. Forbidden Druid looks amazing as well. The Druid and Revel Rascal have me wondering if I could be happy with just a 130mm 29er...
  • + 2
 Aluminium.
  • + 2
 Sweet Victory got robbed
  • + 1
 Where’s that thing about Fabio Wibmer’s cousin tho?
  • + 5
 It was lost in all the glory achieved by Farmer John's Cousin.
  • + 0
 I can’t say I’m envious of those carbon wheels.
  • + 1
 lmao hold this W
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