Tech Briefing: Tools, Green Initiatives, Inexpensive Bikes & More - June 2020

Jun 2, 2020 at 17:45
by Sarah Moore  

Tech Briefing is a feature for the new stuff that we spot every month, but haven't gotten our hands on yet. An eclectic serving of tech, from revolutionary products to novel traditional gear, with some wacky stuff thrown in for good measure.

GT Zaskar LT Trail Hardtail
£999/€1199 - £1,299 / €1,499

GT's iconic frame gets a more aggressive update. (Learn more.)

Sixpack Racing Millenium Stem

The CNC-machined stem is made from 6061-T6 aluminum, comes in two lengths – 35mm and 45mm – and with a freeride-friendly rise of 0°. (Learn more.)

Deity Deftrap Nylon Pedal
$49.99 USD

The Deftrap pedal is a fully sealed, rebuildable nylon pedal. (Learn more.)
DEITY Deftrap Pedal

Forbidden Bike Co.'s Ziggy Link
$179.99 CAD

The Ziggy Link recalibrates the Druid’s geometry for a smaller rear wheel. (Learn more.)

PNW Components Recycled Dropper Program

PNW Component's refurbished dropper posts can save riders some cash and come with a 1-year warranty. (Learn more.)

Ninja Mount Fox Helmet GoPro Mounts
29,90€ / 32,90€

Two new under visor mounts for the Proframe and Rampage. (Learn more.)

Cascade Components V2 Hightower LT Link
$249 USD

Cascade Components' new link increases the Hightower's rear travel to 150 millimeters. (Learn more.)

Shotgun 'Shred Til Bed' The MTB Alphabet Book For Kids
$29 USD

Shotgun launches an animal alphabet book with 52 pages of MTB stoke. (Learn more.)

Actofive's Steel & Aluminum High Pivot Trail Bike

Get ready to drool over this new German trail machine. (Learn more.)

Polygon 2020 Siskiu Series
$2999 USD

A new 160mm 29er from Polygon. (Learn more.)

SDG Bel-Air V3 Saddle
$59.99/€59.99 - $189.99/€189.99

SDG marks 25 years of the Bel-Air with the new V3 Saddle. (Learn more.)
The new SDG Bel-Air V3

Dirtlej Releases a Kids' Version of its Dirtsuit
199,00 €

A smaller version of the one-piece suit for younger riders. (Learn more.)

Bjorn Bikes Recycled Grips
$29.50 USD

Bjorn Bikes has partnered with ODI Grips to produce grips out of recycled leftover thermoplastic elastomers. (Learn more.)

Cotic BFeMAX Hardcore 29" Hardtail
£1,849 / EUR 2,125 / US $1,925 and up

Cotic adds to their BFe range of hardcore hardtails with the new 29" BFeMAX. (Learn more.)
2020 2021 Hardtail Check Out

Dynaplug Carbon Racer Tire Plugging Tool
$47.99 USD

At 14 grams, Dynaplug claims this is the lightest plugging tool on the market. (Learn more.)
Dynaplug Carbon Racer

Cane Creek Hellbender 70 Bottom Bracket & T47 Hellbender Neo Bottom Bracket
$99 USD / $150 USD

The Cane Creek Hellbender 70 bottom bracket starts at $99 and the Hellbender Neo T47 retails for $150. (Learn more.)

Wolf Tooth Performance Headsets With Black Oxide Bearings
$39.95 - $44.95 (uppers) & $19.95 - $34.95 (lowers)

Wolf Tooth has added a new, more affordable line of headsets to their catalog. (Learn more.)

Andreani Group PAC-1 Dual Compound SuperMousse Tire Insert
€ 38.00

A new option from the Andreani Group to help you prevent flat tires and ride flat tires out without damaging your rims. (Learn more.)

Chromag's Expanded 2020 Apparel Line

Chromag adds new options to its range of riding apparel. (Learn more.)

Rose 2021 Root Miller & Ground Control Trail Bikes
€1,699 / £1,541.96 and up

Rose Bikes has announced the details of the 150mm Root Miller and 120mm Ground Control. (Learn more.)

'Send It!' Online Version of Mountain Bike Board Game

You can now play the 'Send It!' Mountain Bike Board Game online for free. (Learn more.)

Automatic & Stepless Revonte ONE Drive eMTB System

The Revonte ONE Drive system replaces the need for the rear derailleur and cassette with an internal CVT transmission. (Learn more.)
Revonte ONE Drive Unit

3 New Abbey Bike Tools
$100 - $250 USD

Abbey Bike Tools have added a US-made hammer, pedal wrench, and dishing tool to their lineup. (Learn more.)
<Deleted photo>

Radon Swoop Enduro Bike
€2,999 - €4,499

The Swoop enduro bike now comes in carbon and features an adjustable headset on all models. (Learn more.)

Specialized's Rockhopper Hardtail
Starting at £379/ $500 / €500

Specialized's entry-level hardtail gets brought up to date. (Learn more.)
2020 2021 Hardtail Check Out


  • 41 2
 I heard a rumor that WTB is coming out with a refurbished bike saddle program to go with the PNW droppers....... Celebrity saddles will likely cost more and come unwashed.
  • 14 0
 That brings an idea to mind... Okay everyone. I do fetish request. Im a little pricey, but the results are superb. DM me and we can talk business.
  • 4 0
 How unwashed are we talking about? lol
  • 11 0
 @matadorCE: So unwashed the box has to say “Biohazard” on it.
  • 17 44
flag chasejj (Jun 3, 2020 at 14:47) (Below Threshold)
 BITD-mid 80's. Hot (relative term, they were bikers afterall) chicks would come into the bike shop and bring their rides in for service. Some of the more "daring" types would run over to get first sniff of their seat. Good times.
  • 36 1
 @chasejj: Ok, you just made it weird. LOL
  • 2 0
 @matadorCE: I was trying to stay clear of the "ex-significant others" bike seat joke but you brought us there!
  • 4 0
 @dldewar Who are you, Nostradamus?

Jared Graves just listed some WTB saddles on the MTB PARTS & APPAREL Buy & Sell Australia Facebook group!
  • 8 0
 @dsut4392: I would guess if that were the case he goes by Nose-tradamus and got that nickname while working in Belgium grading used CX racers' saddles for resale.
  • 3 4
 @matadorCE: Hilarious- My post gets hammered by the PC cancel culture on PB. I am a self admitted truth monger. How dare I?
  • 6 1

PC cancel culture is bullshit.

Sniffing people's bike seats is f*cking disgusting.

These two things can be true at the same time.
  • 1 4
 @Session603: I agree , some of those chicks seats were in fact disgusting!
  • 30 0
 The Cascade Components Hightower Link, for when you realize you should have just bought a Megatower!
  • 5 1
 I see your point but meh. I bought the link for my hightower and I have to say, it's pretty great. The performance all around is better, and it lets you run a coil shock if you want to. I'm still running the stock super deluxe mine came with, really liking it honestly. I plan to extend the fork to 160 as well.
  • 11 0
 @BrigadierBuege: Lol but everything you just said is literally the Megatower. Mega can run a coil already, and already has a 160 fork.

No hate, it's a great option if you do want something more Mega than High and already own the high, or for some reason are super deadset on 150mm of rear travel, but there is no difference in weight between the high and mega frames and the mega is much more versatile. I've just seen some people on various forums asking if they should buy a hightower and get the cascade link, in which you're simply spending an extra $250 when you can just buy a mega in the first place.
  • 14 1
 @BrigadierBuege: Is that the long version of "I should've bought a Megatower?"
  • 4 0
 Right, and spend all that money on a new bike just to lose the warranty. [I'm making an assumption the frame warranty would no longer be honored with this part]
  • 5 0
 @jpat22: Ya it's kind of funny, it definitely voids the warranty, but with everyone throwing these on their bikes, when anyone asks about warranty, the standard response is "just throw back on the stock link." Which is a shitty thing to do to a company that has one of the best warranties in the biz.

I just don't really get it because SC has most of these models covered, they sell the link for the bronson, nomad, hightower, and megatower. If you're buying them for the bronson or hightower you probably should have just got a nomad or megatower in the first place. It makes a bit more sense on the nomad and megatower if you want something with a crazy amount of travel.
  • 2 1
 @tgent: it's not just about the travel, it alters the feel of the bike. Love the link on the megatower but I've left original shock stroke. It's softer off the top and Ramos up nicely.
  • 4 0
 @Rig: It’d be kinda cool if they made a link to make the Megatower a 150mm hahah
  • 1 0
 @BrigadierBuege: put a 180 on it you won't
  • 12 2
 @filryan: everyone gets so fixated on the travel numbers and forgets there's a lot more to it than that. I guess that's what we get for not doing kashima and oil slick for colors...
  • 3 0
 @CascadeComponents: very true. Problem is it's all so complicated, travel numbers are an easy thing to understand. I've no idea what half the tech terms even mean. All I know is your link feels better that the stock one. Not just saying that because I've spent money on it either. I switched to carbon wheels which are meant to be stiffer and more precise, I can even tell the diff at all. They just look nice.
Hahahahaa I don't get people's obsession with kashima, black looks so much better. Plush I'm sure the performance diff is a marketing ploy to get people to spend money on it. I could never tell the diff between the plushness on the 2 finishes. More to do with set up I think.
Oil slick is a nice colour tho
  • 2 0
 How about a link to turn the Megatower into a viable mullet?
  • 4 3
 @herzalot: MAGATrumpTower
  • 1 2
 @CascadeComponents: Just FYI, I think your guys' links are great and love what you guys are doing. I just think it is a bit redundant, particularly on the Bronson and Hightower. You're correct that travel isn't the only component, but I just looked at your leverage ratio graphs, and the Hightower with the Cascade link nearly matches the Megatower with stock link graph, so really you are just turning your Hightower into a Megatower. That's a great option for people that did buy say a hightower and find that it's not progressive enough for their liking, and/or just want a bit more travel, but ideally you would figure that out before you drop $8k on a bike. So again, it can be a great option, but I stick by my joke that the people buying these should have bought the next bigger bike in the first place, particularly on the Bronson and Hightower.

All that said about links on Santa Cruzs, I'm absolutely stoked to see you made one for other bikes/brands, particularly the stumpjumper. That's a bike that IMO is not nearly progressive enough and if I were recommending the bike to any friend, I would say purchasing the cascade link the day you buy is mandatory and will take the bike from meh to awesome.
  • 6 1
 @tgent: despite some similarities on paper, the Megatower and Hightower are quite different bikes. Also, while then leverage curves have similar initial and final values, the shock strokes for the two bikes are very different. I started in on the Hightower because I wanted to build what I thought was the the perfect race bike for the Washington area. The Megatower is just too cumbersome pedaling for most enduro stages around here. As much as I wish I was racing courses that demand the Megatower that's not the case. The Hightower with the stock link pedals nicer, but tends to ping off things and still goes through its travel quite easily, which isn't conducive to racing. So I designed a link for the bike that kept it more planted and added mid-stroke support and bottom out resistance while not harming its pedaling. The mentality behind the design wasn't "I wish I had a Megatower now". It was "I don't want to race a Megatower. I want to race a Hightower. Now let's make the Hightower as good as it can be."
  • 1 0
 @tgent: No worries man, no hate taken. I see everyone's point, but you guys are brutal lol @Rig

My response is still meh, don't think about it too much. I bought the hightower because I felt it was the best bike for me and the riding I do. It's a very balanced bike stock, no complaints really. After owning for about a year riding 100% stock build pretty hard, I wanted to tinker a bit and had some extra cash, so I decided to give the link a shot. I personally think it's nice that something as niche as this is on the market. Why would I sell a bike I really like when this is lower risk and cost overall for what I wanted? It's a personal choice based on experience, if someone feels they would rather sell their hightower and get a megatower instead, go for it and please report back to us how that turns out and what the net result money wise is.
  • 9 1
 Thought for sure in the article preview that Radon Swoop was a Capra.
  • 4 1
 Not a Clash?
  • 4 0
 Radon killed it with the previous Swoop. Shame they've taken a step backwards, IMO
  • 2 0
 Got the Deity Deftraps this week and they are pretty fantastic. Coming from Chromag Scarabs that are a couple years old they are longer and support more of foot. I only wear size 10 so I don't have a huge foot but they sit nicely on the pedals
  • 1 0
 I got mine a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't be happier with them!
  • 3 1
 That Abbey hammer looks really good, but is there a point to making a hammer out of a material traditionally used for being lightweight? Sure they could have made a smaller steel hammer instead? Looks good tho..
  • 3 0
 It's about total toolbox weight for traveling mechanics who have to fly with their tools. It's a super niche product, but it's pretty cool for that niche.
  • 2 0
 This new one is stainless. Twice the weight of the ti. My ti one has worked fine for hammering out bottom brackets all over the world for a few years. I'm sure this one will be great also. Cheers.
  • 1 0
 @DavidSA: Huge fan of your work!
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: I work at a bike shop and have a toolbox like the ones on toolbox wars on instagram. I dont travel with this one.
My challenge is I also work for a car racing team. We race events like the Baja 1000. I do every thing I can to make or buy lightweight tools. Spent over $250 buying a Pelican air case this year. It weigh 6 pounds less than my old case with the same internal volume. It's hard to make you 85 pound case weigh 50 pounds to fly with. I have to pack tools in my suit case and then put excess clothes in a carry on. I rearrange when I get to the event.
Some of these guy have no idea the importance of lightweight tool when you travel with them
  • 3 0
 @sarahmoore how about the cascade components sentinel link? seems like a big change that almost matches the sentinel v2 kinematics
  • 1 0
 But that steps on the toes of the v2 sentinel that they are advertising.
  • 1 0
 @thegoodflow: and yet transition will still honor your warranty if you run the cascade link.
  • 1 0
 @getschwifty: that's cool, but what's your point?
  • 3 0
 Never ridden a hard tail, went from fully rigid to fully suspended, have to try it some time!
  • 8 0
 It's a ton of fun on certain trails! Slow speed technical janky trails are great as you can place the rear wheel exactly where you want it. Smooth fast trails are great because you can pump hard and jump really well. Higher speed choppy trails aren't so fun, I get pretty beat up on them too quickly. Fast braking bumps are the worst.
  • 2 0
 @pnwpedal: Ha thanks, I used to ride weekly with a buddy on a hard tail, kicked my ass on jumps and berms, I would return the favour on the bumpy stuff though!
  • 1 0
 That Revonte is pretty cool. Internal CVT transmission, but not a belt drive. It works the same as the Toyota Synergy drive, so its very efficient. Only negative is the limited gear range (for now) at 420%.
  • 2 0
 Glad to hear that you like our Drive System! The range is certainly one factor, but considering all aspects we are very confident about our competitiveness in the market.
  • 1 0
 It's funny that we now consider a 420% gear range "limited" - wasn't much more than 5 years ago that a 10-42 1x drivetrain (aka 420% gear range) was the gold standard.

Regardless, that's plenty for most ebike applications. Would make a phenomenal commuter bike drivetrain.
  • 1 0
 @ChristophColombo: Good observation. Progress is the sign of current times. Range is certainy one factor to consider and what is enough or even "optimal" is a good question.
  • 4 3
 I guess the e-bike filter isn't as bulletproof as it could be... Not that I hate them, but, uh, definitely not buying one and happy to click on the filter. Also like to be able filter road and gravel bikes, too.
  • 2 0
 would be crazy to go back in time and show zaskar and hard rock owners of 25 years ago how raked out the new frames are now.
  • 3 1
 Hmm, I miss the triple triangle on the GT.
  • 2 0
 Do love that Zaskar!
  • 1 0
 Me too, I don't wanna xc bike, but it looks so good
  • 1 0
 Radon Swoop is a good looking bike.
  • 1 0
 I don't need any of this crap.
  • 1 0
 always thought radon bikes look pretty nice
  • 1 0
 Who had a Swoop first? Radon or Starling?
  • 1 0
 That radon would be on it's way to me if it could hold a waterbottle.
  • 1 0
 The send it game is not free anymore.
  • 2 1
 No Donut?
  • 10 11
 Ebike crap does not belong on a mountain bike web site.
  • 3 1
 T R I G G E R E D
  • 1 2
 @JimmyWeir: F A K E mountain biker
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