Crankworx Colorado: tech from the pits

New gear from rack to flat, to foot

While Crankworx Colorado is much like Kokanee Crankworx in BC, Canada in the sense that the riders and riding take precedence, the events still sport vibrant product expos.

The biggest manufacturers were relatively quiet in Winter Park, Colorado, having already launched their 2012 product or saving it for the tradeshows, but there was plenty of new gear to see, nonetheless. We caught new gear from Rocky Mounts, NovaTec, Thomson, Teva, Jett MTB and Kali Protectives in our Sunday morning spin through the pits.

RockyMounts

RockyMounts showed a new line of thru-axle fork mount rack adaptors called, DriveShaft, which come in standard, HM and SD configurations. The standard DriveShaft fits both 15mm and 20mm axles, retrofitting the through-axles to a standard 9mm quick-release bike tray. The mount steps a 20mm alloy compatible clamp down to 15mm with snap-in plastic shims.

The DriveShaft relies on a plastic reducer to fit both 20mm and 15mm through-axles

The DriveShaft is a modular unit, in which the HM and SD versions build off the standard adaptor with extra features. The HM (hard mount) version adds a hard mount bracket, where the axle adaptor can be mounted directly via drilled holes or to a track system.

Dan Windham from RockyMounts says that many of teams are using the adaptors with the track system in their vehicles; Sprinter vans and box trailers. He called the DriveShaft a, “Swiss army style adaptor” that’s able to fit just about any type of tray, rack or vehicle.

The SD version adds a plate adaptor system that fits tracks found on most Nissan and Toyota pickups. The standard DriveShaft costs US$69.95, the HM model costs $5 more and the SD version costs $89.95, but also comes with a dummy axle so that it can fit a standard 9mm quick-release as well.

RockyMounts also showed their newest bike tray, which is a stand-up model called the Jaw Bridge. The $119.95 rack fixes the bike to a roof with both wheels on via its down tube, and fits Thule, Yakima and almost all factory installed rooftop crossbars.

The new Jaw Bridge down tube mount rack

Windham says the Jaw Bridge has a 35lb bike rating, fits up to 2.7in downhill tires, not to mention has an arm with enough reach for a 29er. He says the rack is for trail riders who don’t want to remove their front wheel, for whatever reason, whether they have enough room for it or just don’t want to put a grimy wheel inside.

New from NovaTec

NovaTec, the brand under which notable Taiwanese hub manufacturer, JoyTech, produces complete wheelsets, was on hand at Crankworx Colorado with its new FlowTrail wheelset, a 1,688g, US$600 trail wheelset and the Diablo freeride wheelset (1883g, $640), which uses the same rim, but beefier hubs and spokes.

The new wheels are tied together via a new 6061-alloy rim with a 20mm inner width and welded joint, while the wheels aren’t offered tubeless from NovaTec, Henry Hinojosa, NovaTec’s US operations manager, says they can easily be converted with NoTubes.com tape.

Diablo and FlowTrail wheels from NovaTec

The FlowTrail wheelset is built with JoyTech’s 3-in-1 front hub, which offers 9mm quick-release, and 9mm through-bolt options as well as 15mm through axle compatibility. The rear hub comes with a standard 9mm quick-release, but can be adapted 135mm and 142mm through-axle standards via an aftermarket axle kit. The rear hub also sports JoyTech’s ABG (Anti Bite Guard) freehub body, which adds a chromoly jacket to one of the cassette spines to keep the cassette from bedding into the 7075-series alloy body.

The hubs are laced cross-three with 32 Sapim Laser spokes to complete the FlowTrail package. The Diablo freeride wheels use the same rim, but with Sapim Race spokes and JoyTech’s 4-in-1 hubs, which accept all through axle standards.

HT AE01 pedals

HT was sharing space with NovaTec at Crankworx and showing their new AE01 flat pedals, which are now available with a chromoly axle and alloy body, but will also be available in a Ti version with a titanium axle and a Mag-Ti version with a magnesium body and titanium axle for 2012.

HT's AE01 flat pedal

The pedals use dual DU bushings and a single patented bearing. The alloy bodies are only 11mm thick and offer a large 10.2x9.6cm platform with 10 replaceable pins per side. They weigh a claimed 358g per set and cost US$130.

The titanium model is said to drop the weight to 300g, while the Mag-Ti version has a target weight of 220g.

Teva Links and Pinner

Cam McCaul (Trek C3) took home the top spot of the slopestyle event at Crankworx Colorado in Teva’s new Links shoe, which they launched at the Teva Mountain Games just down the road in Vail, Colorado this spring.

Teva's Links flat-pedal shoe

The top-of-the-line shoe is co-designed by Jeff Lenosky and features Teva’s Spider Rubber sole, which is the same compound Teva uses for its water shoes and is said to be super grippy even in the wet. The $100 Links’ upper incorporates a plastic heel stabilizer, but the bigger feature, according to Molly Clark, one of Teva’s brand ambassadors, is the Ion-Mask upper, which is a hydrophilic coating she described as ‘Rain-X for your shoes.’ The coating is said to make the upper easily washable and also keep it from getting water logged on a rainy day.

The Pinner is the Links’ little brother, and sports the same sole, but without the heel stabilizer or Ion-Mask features of the upper. It costs $80.

Thomson direct mount stems shipping

While it’s not a new sight, Thomson’s direct mount stems are finally shipping, according to David Parrett, Thomson’s product and marketing manager.

The stems cost $99 and come in 40mm flat and 50mm drop (with -10mm drop) models. The direct mount stems will be available in black and silver, but Thomson also showed orange, red and blue at Crankworx. Parrett said that Thomson is “experimenting with colors, but we can’t wash them across our entire line.”

Thomson's 50, -10mm direct mount stem

Thomson will also offer a ‘Dress Up’ kit for their X4 stems. The $30 kit includes a faceplate, and steerer tube compression cap in red, blue, gold or silver, with both black and silver bolts. As a running change Thomson’s 10˚ X4 stems will get the flip-flop logo in light of their use in the negative position on 29ers.

Finally, Thomson is playing around with manufacturing a 730mm flat titanium handlebar with a target weight of 185g. The project should be further along come 2011 tradeshow season in a month or so.

Feral Motion

Never heard of Feral Motion? Well, you’re not alone we hadn’t either. The start up company is shopping around their remote cameras and triggers to bike parks (and ski area terrain parks). While not a permanent fixture at Winter Park, Feral Motion had their cameras set up for four days in the mountain’s Trestle Bike Park.

Feral Motion gives you off the bike footage without making your buddy hold the camera, all you have to do is carry the card with the fm on it (left)

How it works: riders (both snow and bike) buy an electronic tag that triggers a camera as the rider approaches a section of trail or a feature and subsequently captures a short clip from the 3rd person perspective of the rider. The footage is then automatically uploaded to the rider’s account from there it can be shared to facebook or spliced with POV footage the rider has gathered.

The electronic tags are refillable/rechargeable and cost $100 for a 10-day pass or $50 for 3 days.

Kali Protectives

Kali Protectives is a four year-old helmet manufacturer based in Morgan Hill, California who currently claim they're the only manufacturer in-molding full face helmets; right now the manufacturer offer both in-molded downhill mountain bike and DOT motorcycle helmets. Kali says using the in-mold technology allows them to use a lower density EPS foam, which is lighter, but also does a better job of managing energy in a crash.

The manufacture is also working with a technology called, Composite Fusion Plus, in which lower density EPS is molded in a conical fashion and then higher density EPS is molded on top. The cones collapse upon impact, which Kali says, betters energy absorption by 30-percent over a traditional in-molded EPS design. Right now the technology is found in Kali’s DOT motorcycle helmets, but is being adapted to the bicycle line for 2012.

Composite Fusion Plus pairs a lower density conical molded EPS against a rider's head with a higher density EPS foam against the shell

As for open models, Kali showed their US$99 Amara Cam, which sports an integrated camera mount and comes in two shell sizes and the new Chakra Plus that costs just $50 but sports many features including in-molded design, retention chassis, three shell sizes and visor.

The $129 Samra Carbon

Kali’s Samra line is possibility the most advanced, and expensive, bucket-style line in the industry. At the entry point the Samra Starter offers an in-molded design, with carbon reinforcements and anti-microbial pads for $60. The Samra Composite jumps up to $100 with a composite shell that further drops weight, while the Samra Carbon costs $129 with a carbon fiber shell.

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