The Mountain Bike Life

This is a live blogroll of coverage at Interbike 2013, the largest North American Bicycle Tradeshow. Our man on the street, Shawn McAfee from Texas Mountain Bike Trails, is covering some of the hottest new gear and bikes and giving us updates on what we will see coming our way soon!

Starting today at the IMBA breakfast, in the room with some big time dudes in the industry. So cool. I’m also sitting about 10 feet from Rebecca Rusch.
So this is wild, LG, Garneau the long time apparel, helmet, and footwear maker has busted out their own line of bikes. Currently have road, TT, Tri and Cross bikes. 



New from Serfas, the True 2500 light. 4 LED bulbs and an included rear blinky. As if the 1500 wasn’t bright enough, they just whipped it up another level! Being an owner of the true 1500 I can say without a doubt that this thing will blind you. It’s super bright!



New Norco bikes, Sight, Range, and the Bigfoot fat bike. Really cool lineup of bikes from these guys, their XC trail bikes are looking pretty gnarly too. 

They are also all over the 27.5 bandwagon.


Specialized says 27.5 is on their radar, they are definitely watching it closely and they have about 5 different prototypes currently. But before they force their dealers to stock another wheel, tire, fork and bike size they want to make sure it’s something that is going to stick. 

Rep I talked with is from Oklahoma and tells me he has personally seen 3 of the prototypes. And they have been tested by all of the top riders on their pro circuit. They are just waiting for the market to determine where it wants to go, just like they did with the 29er.

Stopped by SRAM to address the Turkey Warble on the avid brakes and the future of 1×11. 

Regarding the Turkey Warble, I talked with one of their technical engineers and he had several tips for eliminating it. First, he suggested making sure you follow the full bed-in procedure on the brakes. One brake at a time. Second, he shared a little known tip that you should change the angle of the hose to be perpendicular with the lower chain stay. Most of the time they are set up parallel instead of at a right angle. picture of the correct 90 degree angle below. Finally, if you still have that problem he suggested organic steel-backed pads which will reduce the vibrations that cause the noise. 



When I asked the question the two techs just looked away and laughed at first. I got the impression that it was most likely something they don’t have a solution for yet. 

As for 1×11, he feels pretty strongly that the technology behind it will continue o make its way down the line to the X9 and X7 models. A key insight he did share though is that the cost is largely due to the $400 cassette, which takes 35 hours per cassette for manufacturing. Crazy!



The X-Fusion Revel per request, and I’m glad it was requested. This fork is legit, the lightest weight fork they make, 34 mil stanchions, 6 inches of travel and inverted stanchions. Should be available in November for roughly $1700 and only in gold. Rep says if you don’t like the color or price get another fork.



Stopped by the Felt booth today to find out more about pricing on that excellent Edict Nine that I demoed yesterday. 

This bike starts at an unbelievably affordable $3600 for the base carbon model pictured below. That’s with rockshox suspension, x9 drivetrain and a set if Magura brakes. Ultra impressive!


This is mega cool. Photo 1 shows the difference between the Stan’s NoTubes Crest (top), Arch Ex (middle) and Flow (bottom). 


This second picture shows the new Valor wheel set. A carbon fiber hoop laced to titanium hubs. It is the stiffest wheel they have ever made. Expected to retail for $1900 for a full wheelset.

Check out loadedusa.com for an insane amount of bike bling! Tons of customized color options available.

The guys from ESI grips have new road bartape coming out, it has opposing beveled edges that makes it ultra easy to install and match up edges, plus it doesn’t need glue or adhesive like most standard bar tape. Really impressive stuff that will be on my road bike in the coming month!

Santa Cruz is making a big splash in the 27.5 market, they have 3 new models in the 27.5 size the Bantam, the Bronson, the 5010, and Heckler. Their rep tells me he sees 1×11 as the wave of the future. Tons of their bikes on XX1. Pictured is the Bronson Carbon 27.5.

XX1 and XO1 are everywhere. 
The new Pivot Les in 27.5, available in XTR, XX1, XO1, XT, X9 and SLX. The XX1 comes with a set of Magura MT8’s. killer XC setup!! 

Another new model from Intense, a rather impressive looking 27.5 downhill bike, just released 2 months ago. 8.5 inches of rear travel and 240 on the Fox front fork.

Intense Bicycles new Carbine 29 enduro machine, a 150 front travel and adjustable 5 or 5.5 travel rear. Available in three different build kits including the pictured build with XO1 drivetrain, rockdhox pike front fork and cane creek rear. Pictured bike retails around $6,700, but other models available as low as $3,200.

Giant bicycles confirms the phase out of the 26 inch bike. The 26 will now be a juniors bike option only. 
29 and 27.5 lines will be their two adult options. The 27.5 has been under development for the past 5 years.

Day 3 coverage on trades how floor.

Day 2 bike 7, Jamis XCT 27.5

Final bike of the demo, my legs are shot after about 45 miles of riding. 

Least favorite bike of the demo. It’s got 5 inches of super plush travel, way too much for XC purposes. They tried to tell me it was intended for XC and all mountain, definitely not, 100% all mountain. The “sway” or flex in the suspension with each pedal stroke was ridiculous. Like a pogo stick at times.

It’s saving grace was the lockout on the rear suspension. That made it tolerable, and yet awkward. It still had a really slack head tube angle which made it really weird to ride as an almost hardtail.

I also had the chain snap on me toward the end, and again a half mile later after I fixed the broken link.

Unfortunately just an overall bad experience with the bike. No photo as it wouldn’t stand up with no chain.


Day 2 bike 6, Yeti SB75

I give this a lot of credit, for 5 inches of travel it manages it really, really well. And that much travel makes the whoops and downhills super fun.

It is not an ideal XC bike in my opinion. As well as it managed all that travel it still had a ton of flex to it. 5 inches is just a lot. 

It was my favorite 27.5 that I’ve ridden and is the only one that I think I would ever consider purchasing.

If you make a lot of trips to more mountainous areas it would be an ideal bike. It also climbed really well and was the best climber I’ve been on over the rocky uphill section. On hardtack it wasn’t nearly as good.

Cool bike, really neat to ride.




Day 2 bike 5, Niner Jet 9 RDO, turkey warbler XO brakes and XO drivetrain.

This is a tie with the Felt for best ride so far. This thing is tons of fun. I got a size medium instead of a large, but aside from some wrist pain I got it to fit about right. 

The bike just kills it, by far the most fun in the whoops, and probably the easiest climber of the bunch. 

As I think out loud about it, it would probably be my favorite if it hasn’t been for the brakes. Those things screeched every time I touched them.

Had the CTD suspension on it which was nice, though I just left it in the trail (neutral) setting the whole time.

It had more flex in the suspension than I really care for , but that’s the only negative I had about the bike itself.




Here’s a big trend I’ve noticed. Avid brakes suck. Sorry SRAM, but it’s true. I’ve ridden XO and XX and all of them have too much dwell, are loose feeling, and turkey warble like crazy. 

On the opposite side I’ve ridden Shimano SLX, XT and XTR and every time they are perfect. I would much rather have a set of Shimano SLX or XT brakes vs a set of SRAM XX. Better performing and more cost effective.

But SRAM’s XX1 and XO1 are blowing everything Shimano has away. 

Perfect world, XX1 drivetrain and XTR brakes.


Day 2 bike 4, Fuji SLM carbon, full XTR

This has been the least impressive bike I’ve ridden. Still a good bike that will serve a rider well, but I think your better off spending money elsewhere. 

The bike had a lot of squeals and clunks coming from the head tube and bottom bracket. And I never felt like it climbed well and it didn’t really cut into the corners well. It always felt a bit off balance and sketch. Can’t really explain the feeling well enough. It just didn’t “hook up”.




Day 2 bike 3 Felt Edict nine carbon frame XT brakes and shimano components.

Most impressive bike I’ve ridden yet, the rear suspension was so killer. It had very little if any spongey feeling in it. Felt very solid, not squishy at all. 

When I first got on it I was pretty apprehensive about it because it felt a bit quirky, twitchy almost. On the road it felt pretty bad, but as soon as it hit dirt it took off. Railed corners, flew up climbs and hammered over the most rocky and technical sections. 

Really really impressed with this bike.



Day 2 bike 2, Marin team CXR pro 27.5 carbon frame with XX1 and XO brakes

Nathanael Goodell recommended i try this and i definitely liked it. Very similar to the Giant XTC carbon, very stiff, but I did feel cramped on the large same as I did with the giant Anthem 27.5. 

The bike loved hitting smooth open sections and flew up hard packed climbs. It felt a little squirrelly in loose dirt and downhill. Good race bike, definitely noticing the difference in weights riding throughout the day.

Still not really feeling the hype on 27.5, more tests of it to come. Missed the picture somehow… not sure what happened to the camera.


Day 2 bike 1 surly pugsley.

Back in the saddle!! The first fat bottom bike I’ve ridden. 

State the obvious, this isn’t a race bike and definitely is beefy uphill.

The pugsley is super fun. The big tires are so steady and secure on everything. Cornering is insane once you find the sweet spot. It eats up banked turns like donuts by a cop.

Super fun bike to cruise around on and just enjoy trail. It actually felt pretty nimble too.




Bike #6 giant anthem 27.5 level zero. Carbon frame, xx1 components.

Love xx1 soooooo much. Unfortunately some d-bag riding the trail backwards ran into me after half a mile into the trail. Broke a spoke and flatted the tire. Couldn’t really get a feel for the bike other than loving how light it was.


Oooooweee bike #5 for the day Specialized Epic 29er, can’t remember spec after phone died.

I’m not a Specialized fan, but this was my best ride of the day. I have been a BIG doubter of “the brain”, but no more. It works, and well.

This was the stiffest bike I took out aside from the Giant XTC hard tail. I don’t know how specialized does it with the brain but it is an insanely awesome ride. It felt like a hard tail the entire ride except for the bigger hits when it would compress. So impressed. 

This wasn’t even their carbon s-works model. Which really stunned me. Will test ride the giant anthem 0 tomorrow to compare.

Bike #4 specialized stump jumper 29

Here’s the interesting thing with the big S, they have zero 27.5 models. I really dig that from the marketing perspective. When the industry zigs, you zag, especially when an industry big shot like them do it. It sets them apart in a way.

Bike was great, felt very natural and it had sram xx1 on it. That I dug. 

It rode smooth and rolled really well through everything. It definitely felt the most natural to me because I’m so used to my 29er. Though it also felt kinda chunky going up hill. Needs a new owner diet.



Thank you @camelbak for a shaded place to sit and eat some lunch!



Bike #3 Pivot Mach 6, 

Wasn’t expecting to demo a 6 inch travel bike, but our local Pivot and Scratch Lab rep Robert Sneeden told me it was a must try. 

I must say, I was pretty impressed. It climbs like it weighs a hundred pounds but every time it points downhill you feel shockingly secure. It’s like the bike starts yelling back at you that your being too controlling and to let it do its thing. Then you relax and it rules every turn. 

Weird experience.

Bike #2 Giant XTC 27.5 level 0

This is probably the only time I will ride a carbon bike, so obligatory drool first off. 

This feels perfect, I actually think the 27.5 is perfect on this hardtack but it felt weird on the Full Suspension. That seems really weird I know. This bike wants to rip up trail at high speeds. Badly.

No picture, sorry about that.

Bike demo #1 @1:11pm anthem 27.5 level 3

Not overly impressed with 27.5, feels miniature, trail is badass, xmark tires,

Interesting to me that Giant has only one 29 model at the demo the trance. Full push ahead on 27.5


Check out the TXMTB facebook page for all the updates:
https://www.facebook.com/TexasMTBtrails

Media badge in hand and all aboard the shuttle. Demo time shortly!

On the ground in Vegas. Headed over to pick up Interbike credentials and get to the outdoor demo for some bike demos.

Anyone have requests for specific products or photos?? Leave it as a comment and ill try to make it happen.
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