While teams were setting up before the opening round of the EWS in Scotland, we took a lap of the pits to see which new products or interesting setups caught our eye.
Fresh colours for the Forbidden team only.
We saw a few sets of these LoamLab Counterpunch pinky protectors for the tight Tweed Valley trails.
Rhys Verner was running a Ziggy Link (meant for use with a 27.5" rear wheel) with a full 29er setup and a 160 mm fork to achieve a steeper head angle.
Katy Winton's GT Force (pictured) was running a mullet setup with a custom rocker link (the production bike is 29er only). She's running a Fox 36 fork and the short chainstay setting, as is teammate Noga Korem.
A proper look inside the new Buttercup system from RockShox. The rubber pucks are sandwiched above and below the silver disc with slight preload, which is connected to the spring and damper shafts. The idea is to allow a little movement between the lowers and the upper tubes before the static friction in the internals has to be overcome.
Another custom link, this time on Mitch Ropelato's Cannondale Jekyll. The Jekyll is also a full 29er in stock configuration, but Mitch appears to be riding mullet. I'm not sure what the tabs on the back of the link are for. A suspension data sensor maybe?
A SRAM Eagle-compatible derailleur cage from Fast-Light is designed to be more durable than the stock cage, with larger pulley wheels too.
A matching Fast Light stem in the Cannondale pits.
Privateer had their E-161, which is ready for production when they can get hold of parts. We've seen prototype versions before but the design is now more-or-less finalised, with mullet wheels in all sizes to keep the chainstay length in check. The wheels are e-bike specific from Hunt, with a stronger, low-engagement freehub and 36 spokes at the rear.
They also had this dirt jumper project, which they hope they'll be able to sell for £300-£350 for the frame, and under £1,000 for a full build next year.
Commencal are racing three of their prototype four-bar enduro bikes here. With paint on, it looks a bit less prototype-y than what we've seen so far, but it's still a development project for now.
The bolt-on bridge can be changed out to alter the stiffness.
A closer look at the unusual forward-facing lower link
The forward shock mount look to be interchangeable to tweak the leverage curve. The development team are using air and coil shocks.
Specialized's Charlie Murray was one of the few riders I saw running RockShox Flight Attendant, in this case with a coil shock.
Hup Bikes had their kids bikes on display, which are designed for people from 120 cm (3' 11"), but can still accommodate 27.5" or 29" wheels. The idea is to make for a smoother ride on proper trails without the complexity and weight of suspension. Plus, all the parts are compatible with full-sized frames as the rider grows up. Importantly for riders who might weigh only 30 Kg, the full bike is claimed to be lighter than most top-level XC race bikes.