Check Out: A Gearbox Bike, Cold-Weather Kit, Accessory Mounts & More

Dec 16, 2021 at 10:08
by Seb Stott  



A lot of gear comes across our desks here at Pinkbike. Check Out is an occasional round up of everything our tech editors have gotten their hands on. Sometimes it's products we're doing long-term tests on, other times it's stuff we're stoked on but don't have time to fully review. And, sometimes it's crazy shit someone sent us unsolicited and we're having a laugh.



Laylo Accessory mount




Features

• Secures 22.2 mm bar clamp accessories to the steerer
• Tucks e-bike displays, lockout remotes, etc. out the way
• Said to make using walk mode easier
• Replaces one 5 mm headset spacer
• Shipping worldwide
• MSRP: £20
www.laylo.tech

bigquotesThe initial idea behind the Laylo mount was to remove the bulky Bosch Purion e-bike remote/display from the end of the handlebar beside the grip and place it beside the stem, tucked out of harm's way. I've broken one of these units myself in a crash, which made it impossible to change the assistance modes, and placing the bike upside-down can damage the display too.

The mount also works with other bar-mounted accessories, so it could be handy for anyone who wants to de-clutter the handlebar beside the grips and avoid pressing the wrong button at critical moments. For example, it might be possible to move Scott's Twinlock remote or Canyon's Shapeshifter lever further out of reach as they're used far less frequently than dropper remotes and compete awkwardly for the same space.

It's basically a CNC-machined 5mm headset spacer with a horizontal bar for the mount, plus a nylon sleeve to bring the diameter up to 22.2mm (the width of the end part of a handlebar). Both parts are designed and manufactured in Scotland.

The clamping force of the headset top cap is said to be enough to hold the mount in place, yet the accessories are free to move in multiple axes under impact. It can be positioned on the left or right, below or above the stem. Although the controls are obviously further from the grips and so harder to use while riding, it's apparently easier to use walk mode on steep terrain or with one hand because the remote is in the middle of the bike.




Wizard Works Go-Go Top Tube Bag




Features

• Designed for bikepacking
• 1 or 1.5-litre options
• 21w x 7d x 11h cm (one-liter)
• 125-grams
• Snacks on the go
• MSRP: £60
www.wizard.works

bigquotesAs the name suggests, the Go-Go top-tube bag is for grabbing snacks on the move. It's designed to be mounted on the top tube behind the steerer, using two velcro straps around the top tube and a further one lashing the steerer tube to one of the stiff fabric "daisy chain" loops along the vertical edge of the bag. There's also the option to use a "DeWidget" stabiliser which fits under the top cap and holds the top of the bag in place.

I found this position worked for gravel or XC riding (which is what it's intended for) but was a bit too unstable for gnarly riding and occasionally got in the way, not to mention putting a brake on my barspins. I've had it fitted to my enduro bike for the last few months but I've been using the seat tube to provide the vertical mount instead of the steerer tube, with a zip-tie in addition to the velcro strap. This will only work for bikes with a lot of seat tube or seat post above the top tube, but the bag remains upright even on the roughest terrain. Its stiff sides no doubt help with this.

I have the smaller one-litre version (there's a 1.5-litre one too) which holds a few snack bars plus a tube and a tool. Having these items permanently on the bike and in easy reach while riding is very handy especially when grabbing a bite without stopping. I sometimes store my phone in it too because I think it's less likely to get damaged in a crash than when it's in my pocket (I've broken two phones like this).

It may look a bit dorky but it ensures I always have what I need and it reduces the number of stops when I'm out riding. There are definitely cheaper alternatives but Wizard Works offers something unique with loads of colour choices plus custom options for a small surcharge.



Endura MT500 Freezing Point Jacket 2




Features

• Designed for sub-zero temperatures
• PrimaLoft gold insulation with Softshell outer
• Re-designed men's jacket & all-new women's jacket and gillet
• Jacket: £160, Trousers: £150, Gloves: £60
www.endurasport.com

bigquotesJust in time for winter, Endura updated their freezing-point jacket and added a Gillet and a women's version to the range, which shares the same updates with a "slim feminine cut".

It's a softshell jacket so don't expect it to keep you dry in a downpour, but it does use a water repellent finish which is PFC-Free and non-toxic, in line with Endura's environmental goals. The jacket features PrimaLoft Gold insulation to keep you warm while riding in freezing temperatures but also has massive double-zip armpit and pocket vents to allow you to dump excess heat when you inevitably get too hot on a punchy climb.

The matching Freezing Point trousers also use PrimaLoft insulation on the front of the thighs, with waterproof panels on the rear to keep your crack dry, while there's a DWR coating on the rest. The trousers also offer large vents on the outer thigh to help you cool off. The Freezing Point gloves are designed for similar conditions and use PrimaLoft insulation, but they retain a thin palm and silicone palm print for grip and control on the bike.

I've already worn the jacket and trousers on a windy, snowy ride that was hovering around freezing. They definitely keep you cosy when exposed to the wind, and when I got too warm on a sheltered climb the vents did help cool down. The sleeves of the jacket got wet through on another occasion in heavy rain, but the trousers keep out the rain and splashes pretty well.

The Men’s jacket is available in electric blue and in black, and the women’s jacket in paprika and in black, both come in sizes XS-XXL.



Starling Spur


A brace of Starlings
The pivot wraps around the gearbox's output. The cable on the LHS connects to a spring under the downtube to manage the upshifts.


Features

• Designed for descending
• Effigear 9spd drivetrain, 440% range
• Hand-built in Bristol, UK
• 170 mm travel
• 29" wheels
• 18 kg / 40 lbs
• MSRP:£3330 (frame only)
www.starlingcycles.com

bigquotesWe don't normally do bikes in Check Out articles, but this just arrived for testing and I wanted to show it off.

Starling are known for their handmade, steel, single-pivot frames, but the Spur takes the unique-ness one step further. It's built around Effigear's 9-speed gearbox which offers a 440% range (similar to a 11-speed cassette). The pivot is concentric with the drive sprocket, so there's zero chain growth and very little anti-squat. I've only ridden it around the car park so far but there is a fair bit of pedal bob.

Climbing was never going to be this bikes forte anyway - as shown in XL it weighs 18kg, or 40lb without pedals. It does come with CushCore inserts and e-bike tires plus coil springs at each end, so some of that heft is to be expected, but no matter how you slice it this is a heavy bike. Also, gearboxes generally have a fair bit more drag than derailleur drivetrains.

One cool feature is the use of a spring cartridge on the down tube to help actuate the gearbox. This allows it to use a conventional trigger shifter rather than a grip shift with two cables to shift gears in both directions.

Starling describe the Spur as "the best descender we've ever made," and with 170 mm of coil-sprung suspension at each end, plus the advantage of having less weight on the rear axle numbing the suspension response, it promises to track the ground pretty well. Look out for a full review after I've booked onto a few uplifts.





54 Comments

  • 44 1
 That Spur looks like its powered by a steam engine.
  • 5 0
 for all the folks too hipster for a regular e-bike, steam powered steel bikes is where it's at
  • 32 12
 If @mikekazimer had concerns about muck and trail debris collecting on the Scor....WTF would happen with that Straling?

Also, how do I unsee that BB area?
  • 22 5
 that BB area looks like a work of industrial art to me.

Reminds me of the bridges in Chicago
c8.alamy.com/comp/C8E6R5/wells-street-bridge-chicago-illinois-C8E6R5.jpg

Unified finishes (between gearbox and frame)
as well as more refined cable routing would definitely improve it's overall appearance though.
  • 14 5
 It is totally clear from the picture that hosing down the BB area would be a quick and easy job. Don't know what you're on about.
  • 7 1
 Perhaps they should call it the Starling Rube. Or maybe the Goldberg. Lots of stuff there that needs a bit more design polish. I get the love for a steel bike but if there were made of any other material all the comments would be about killing it with fire before it breeds.
  • 4 0
 @gaberoc: Rube Goldberg is probably unfamiliar to Starling as a UK company. They'd be more likely to name it after William Heath Robinson, Goldberg's English contemporary (whom I hadn't heard of until Henry recently made reference to him in an article).
  • 1 2
 Starling
  • 4 1
 Looks like someone started to make a Steampunk bike then decided to make something that works.
  • 5 1
 @barp: The rest of the world knows a lot more about US culture than the US knows about the rest of the world, thanks primarily to Hollywood.

Props to you for knowing about Heath Robinson though.
  • 2 0
 @blcpdx: It has a bit of a cyberpunk vibe that I find quite appealling... but 18Kg, OMG.
  • 2 0
 @barp: Learn something new everyday. Cheers!
  • 13 1
 No pedal bob in this footage www.gmbn.com/video/mtb-gearbox-vs-regular-derailleur-which-is-better I'd say there is something wrong with your car park...
  • 6 1
 Best descender they’ve ever made? And I was all amped up and saving for the jackshaft single speeder.
  • 1 0
 The Spur came out before the Sturm V2, so maybe that description is already outdated. My understanding is that the Sturm is a pure DH Racer, Spur is more of a freeride/park bike.
  • 6 0
 endura stuff looks good, and not $500 a jacket which is nice to see
  • 5 3
 Starling welds that same chainstay onto its hardtail frame it looks like………
And what the hell is up with that cable guiding around the headtube…?? “Oh yeah I buy a new Hope bottom cup every season because my cables rub through it”……..
  • 2 0
 All high pivot bikes, spur, druid, maelstrom, and the like with the chain routed around the pivoting point will inherently have a fair bit of pedal bob unless there is an overly stiff spring, pedal platform, or hydraulic lock-out in the shock.
  • 4 3
 I like the idea of the Laylo mount, whenever I’ve ridden an ebike (all have been Bosch) I’ve thought that it could do with the screen tucked out the way better. And it’s not like I ever bother changing the modes that often (if it’s a short day it’s turbo all the way)
  • 8 3
 Starling head tube gussets don't fit
  • 5 4
 Well spotted.
I want to like them but there’s something not right on every one.
I drew up and made a bike similar to starlings years ago in the shop after work and it still looks better.
I’d love to help him out.
  • 5 3
 Yup, sad, completely wrong.
  • 2 0
 The gearbox Starling looks interesting, I bet it descends great. But as an owner of a Norco Range that weighs a similar amount, I would not want to pedal that thing up a hill with only 440% range.
  • 2 0
 How often do you use your highest gear? Usable range is more important than absolute range. I rarely use my highest gear on trail.

I'm not on a Range but do ride a heavy enduro bike and have been tempted to swap in a 10 or 11 speed for lower unsprung weight when my cassette needs replacing. I would just compensate for the shorter range with a smaller chainring.
  • 1 0
 @haen: Good point, I wonder what the equivalent easiest gear is. As for your quest about the highest gear - it depends on what you mean by “highest”. I use the 52 tooth all the time (my local trails have really steep and technical climbs). The 10 tooth, very rarely on trail. It’s useful if you need to ride on the road at times, but it gets much less use.
  • 1 0
 @eblackwell: by highest, I was referring to the highest speed gear aka the 10 tooth.

I don't think carrying a heavy 50+ tooth gear is worth it in order to accommodate a gear I don't use, the 10 tooth.

I definitely put my shortest gear to work on the climbs. Not suggesting to get rid of that gear ratio but it can be achieved via a smaller chainring when paired with a smaller low gear in the cassette.
  • 1 0
 I love it! A 40lb. steel 170mm gearbox beast for those who don’t mind a bit of a grind to get to the goods, and a new adapter to move your ebike screen so it’s easier for your bike to push itself uphill, while you walk alongside, for those that do.
  • 1 0
 May I present: The State of the Mountain Bike Scene 2021/2022
  • 1 0
 Don’t get it why designers make cold weather bike jackets without hoods. I am often commuting with my bikes. Min. temperatur -10°C. I tried several setups over the years. Nothing is easier than a helmet compatible hood. No headband, no buff, no strange helmet caps and so on. Just a hood. It‘s that simple. Make it maybe detachable for those roadies or freaking cool gravel dudes.
  • 6 5
 Good.on folks thinking outside the box and all, but I just have never been able to get the whole 'steel is real' thing. Steel bikes tend to be the fugliest things I've ever laid eyes on.
  • 2 0
 My 53 cwc frame is steel, brazed in spots, I think it's prettier than me, but I am pretty fugly... Smile
  • 4 1
 The Starling couldn’t get much uglier, i think they brought it to perfection.
  • 2 0
 nice and simple frame design, pretty cool. dam! 20 week lead time, so simple, should make one?
  • 3 0
 How many gears are needed for a bike designed for the descend?
  • 4 1
 I wish Starling made a 27.5" gearbox bike. I'd buy it today.
  • 5 0
 They do a custom geometry option. If you change a few of the dimensions it could be a 27.5" bike.
  • 6 4
 That Starling looks like a 5yr old welded it in the dark with a welder from Aldi...
  • 3 1
 Endura - spot on that properly priced
  • 2 1
 @generictrailrider: I missed the word : jacket
  • 3 0
 Moar gearbox bikes plox
  • 2 0
 LHS = Left Hand Side ?
  • 5 3
 That Starling is one heavy ugly bird !
  • 2 0
 Think they would have called it something else besides Spur.....
  • 3 2
 Rear derailleurs are finally starting the process of becoming obsolete on mountain bikes
  • 3 1
 With looks like that ,it should be called Startling
  • 1 3
 Laylo mounts-for gapers who never get their bits off the seat and move around on their bike. I see a lot of banged up knees and damaged ebike controllers and bike computers because of this POS.
  • 1 0
 Bollocks. The likelihood of wrecking a Purion mounted conventionally is far higher.
  • 2 0
 WTH is a gillet?
  • 2 0
 comes with shavers in the pockets.
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