Updated Musashi DH-1
We got up close and personal with the Musashi at the most recent Sea Otter gathering, but One Ghost Industries' front man, David Meredith, has now completed an evolved version of the 203mm travel downhill bike that deserves another look. The updated Musashi DH-1 is assembled around an entirely new front triangle that sports a mega-slack 62° head angle, raked out even more from the original's 64° stance. This number could, of course, be tweaked by adjusting the stanchions in the fork crowns, or with an angle-adjusting headset, but we're willing to be that the Musashi DH-1 is quite comfortable pointing it down the steep and fast bits in stock form. Meredith said that his goal when designing the new bike was to "create a machine that a World Cup racer would be comfortable on,
" he explains, "which is why I also lengthened the bike's top tube slightly
". Another big change is the tube's drastic downward slope that gives the rider some breathing always important room.
The bike's re-worked front triangle features a massive I-beam section in place of the previous version's round seat tube that, according to Meredith, adds quite a bit of rigidity to the chassis. That extra stiffness was a major goal of the redesign, enough so that the frame actually weighs slightly more than the old Musashi: 9.5lb vs. 9.2lb with a FOX DHX RC4 coil shock. A window machined into the lower portion of the I-beam allows the bike's lower link to be joined together with a bolt-on bridge, and the linkage also receives larger sealed bearings.
While the latest Musashi DH-1 frame looks quite different, it utilizes One Ghost Industries' proven 'Moto*GP' dual link suspension layout. The design features low leverage ratio of just 2.46:1, and the shock is also attached to both the upper and lower link to creating a floating shock that isn't mounted to the front triangle. Although the bike pictured here is equipped with a DHX Air, the top-end production versions will come fitted with an RC4 DHX.
A lot of downhill bikes out there feature some sort of integrated bump stops to protect the frame from being damaged by the fork slamming into it during a hard crash, but One Ghost Industries' has been quite crafty about creating their own system. Instead of bolting on a set of bumpers, Meredith has had a tube welded (which is actually a section of their Candy Components handle bar
) completely through the downtube, allowing a standard-sized rubber bar plug to be fitted. Pretty clever. www.oneghost.com
World Champ Specials
The Santa Cruz booth is always guaranteed to have some great looking bikes in it, but this selection took it to a new level. This year marked Steve Peat's twentieth World Championships, an anniversary that most certainly required some special kit. His Syndicate race bike, a carbon V10 complete with an Enve-manufactured carbon rear end, was done up in Union Jack colours to celebrate, with many components made to match. Custom decals were produced for the white lowers of his FOX fork as well, and even his Burgtec direct mount stem was anodized for the occasion.
While many of us can only dream about fitting our bike with a set of carbon fiber Enve rims, Peat's Worlds bike is spec'd with a set of custom painted hoops that match the red, white, and blue colours of the rest of his machine. Even the e*thirteen chain guide and 37 tooth ring commemorate the event.
Peat wasn't the only Syndicate rider with a tricked out bike; his teammate Greg Minnaar was also flying the flag of his home country, albeit in a bit more subtle manner. The South African rode his V10 to his second World Championship title, with his first coming way back in 2003 - talk about longevity! His bike may not be as flashy as Peat's, but it sports factory-level FOX suspension, including the RAD (Racing Applications Development) fork, and a slew of lightweight, carbon fiber Enve components.
One of the more interesting details of Minnaar's V10 was his stem setup. While a low and wide position seems to still be the trend at the amateur level, riders at the peak of the
sport continue to run higher and higher bar heights, as evidenced by the stack of custom-made spacers sitting under his Burgtec stem. Greg is quite a tall guy, which obviously plays a role in where he wants his bar to be positioned, but even taking that into consideration, his setup is quite extreme. He was obviously quite comfortable with it, though, given that he took the win on the Leogang Worlds course.www.santacruzmtb.com
Big Wheeled SE
If you've had your fill of carbon fiber and suspension leverage-speak, it might be time for a look at something simpler. A lot simpler. SE is a name that has deep roots in the BMX world, and it shows in their 29" Big Ripper, a bike that is part of their Retro Series lineup. Is it a 29"-wheeled BMX bike? Whatever you want to call it, it looks like it would be fun to blast around on. The 29" Big Ripper retails for $599 USD, which is actually far less than retail price of a single Enve carbon rim.www.sebikes.com
New German Helmets
Uvex has a number of new-to-the-US helmets on display, with the great looking i-vo cc pictured above being one of them. The 270 gram lid features twenty four vents, with the forward openings covered with mesh to keep the bugs out. It uses Uvex's ratcheting Fas-chin strap system that allows riders to easily adjust strap tension with the push of a button, and its IAS band is adjustable in both tension (via the dial at the rear of the helmet
) and height. The made-in-Germany i-vo cc goes for a very reasonable $85 USD, and is available in the 'petrol blue mat' shown here or a more subtle 'black mat' colour.
The HLMT 9 full face was available in Europe last season, but 2013 is the first year that it can be purchased in North America, with Uvex being required to construct the full face from a slightly denser EPS foam material in order for it to gain a North American CPSC rating. Five sizes are available, XS through to XL, with the full face using two different shell sizes spread across the range. A medium HLMT 9 weighs in at 1050 grams, and you can chose from either a white/green colour combo or the black/blue pictured above. The HLMT 9 is manufactured in Germany, and retails for $169 USD. www.uvex.com
Their ultra-light MT8 brake scores most of the attention, but the $104 USD MT2 makes a lot of sense for a rider who is looking for the excellent modulation that Magura's brakes are known for, but don't require the gram-saving bling. We've spent quite a bit of time on Magura's brakes over the last few seasons and have to say that while their initial bite isn't quite as strong as some other options, they offer a useable feel on the trail that trumps the competition. The MT2's Carbotecture master cylinder body and trim caliper adds up to a 345 gram system weight, only 67 grams heavier than the $269 USD MT8 stoppers, and they should offer near identical stopping power. www.magura.com
Best in Show Award?
The GoPro booth can always be counted on to have some sort of amazing vehicle in it, which also means that we can count on losing about an hour's worth of time each day staring at it. Last year it was the GoPro Monster Sport SX4 that Japanese driver Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima took to the summit of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in record time, and this year it was this beautiful recreation of the Porsche 953 that was manufactured specifically for the Dakar Rally. The original version put out 300bhp, and featured a manually controlled 4x4 system that was used to take the car to victory in the 1984 edition of the rally by Rene Metge and Dominique Lemoyne, while the car above is an all-wheel-drive remake that is based off of a road going 1989 Porsche. We have to admit that this year's Interbike show seems a touch stale when it comes to interesting bikes and components, but this stunner certainly goes a long way to filling that void. gopro.com