With several manuafacturers showing off new mountain bike products at Eurobike, it appears road and urban bikes aren't the only categories increasing in size or popularity. What Mountain Bike's editor Matt Skinner had a stroll around the halls in Friedrichshafen and here's what he found.
British brand Charges bikes had the most distinctive stand at the show: building on their domestic theme (every product is named after a domestic object – Stove, Spoon, Iron, Blender and so on) they literally built a faux laundrette frontage to display their growing range of stylish and thoroughly thought out road, urban, and mountain bikes.
Hidden behind the scenes was a prototype children’s bike: designed for 14in wheels it’s a lightweight aluminium offering complete with Charge’s distinctive graphics. Charge bikes’ owner Nick Larsen claims it to be around half as light as mainstream brands’ offerings and it was certainly impressively light although we can’t yet confirm the claim. However, with the attention to detail that will help children get into biking more easily with true light weight frames, narrower diameter bars and grips, adjustable reach and easy action brakes for smaller and weaker hands, amongst others, Larsen looks set to join Isla Rowntree of Isla Bikes as one of the very few brands offering a truly high quality choice for children’s bikes.
Following on from last year’s additions to the Trance and Reign lines with the X models, this year sees the turn of the Anthem race bike getting an extra travel option.
The Anthem X sees Giant boost the travel on its premier race bike platform from 3.5in to a full 4in to cater for the rider looking for fast and efficient XC/trail miles, but without the pure race focus of the 3.5in Anthem.
The increase on the Anthem X platform sees the Maestro suspension system being subtly rearranged to accommodate the necessary extra shock stroke: the shock now being mounted vertically into the downtube/bottom bracket area as it is on the Trance and Reign platforms. The 3.5in Anthem itself remains in the range.
The top model – the Anthem XO (pictured) – rounds out the new Anthem X line.
What Mountain Bike magazine will have a full and exclusive test of the new Anthem X in its forthcoming issue – WMB89, on-sale 15th October.
Exposure Lights – purveyors of cable-less, high performance Super LED lighting systems – have been busy with a few additions. Following closely on the launch of the new Maxx-D unit they have introduced a new single LED lamp to be used as a back up rear light. Named the ‘Red Eye’ it’s staggeringly bright and can be attached to the seatpost or to the rear of the helmet for greater visibility. It’s powered by plugging into the charging port of the main Exposure light (handlebar or helmet mounted) and feeding off the battery therein. By power sharinig in this way, running the Red Eye will affect the overall burn time of the main lamp. With the ever increasing efficiency of battery technology the idea of powering other lights or electronic devices – like a GPS unit or even a mobile phone – is intriguing. But this is still in the early days.
Exposure Lights were also showing a remote switch for the light units that again plugs into the charge socket of the lamp head. It mounts to the bar or stem and operates in the same way as the switch on the back of the lamp. Our only initial criticism is that it is not illuminated.
Helmet maker Giro has long been first choice of many XC riders with its top end E2 helmet. But now they’ve introduced a replacement in the form of the Athlon.
It takes the design cues of the E2 but morphs them into a slightly softer organic aesthetic – particularly noticeable at the rear of the helmet. The Athlon features Giro’s benchmark Roc-Loc 4 fit system for a secure fit over the rough; 23 massive vents together with internal channelling for greater cooling; POV adjustable visor, and comes in a slew of colour combinations.
The E2 was a hugely successful helmet and although Giro are replacing it with the Athlon, their want to continue that success is clear with the close familial resemblance the new helmet has to its predecessor.
Lezyne broke onto the scene last year to great reception – impressing hugely with their focused line of high quality tools, bag and pumps. For their second year they’ve expanded the range but continue with their distinctive design focus.
Top for this year is the introduction of floor pumps: the range consists of six models ranging from the top end CNC Floor Drive pump through to the Steel Floor Drive.
The top model – the CNC Floor Drive – is rated up to 220psi and features full CNC aluminium construction, oversized pressure dial, and 100 percent aluminium Flip Thread chuck heads. Designed by Lezyne, the Flip Thread chuck heads allow the pump to be screwed – not pressed – securely onto both a Presta and Schrader valves by just unscrewing and flipping the assembly around for the correct valve. It’s very solid, very well made and could very well be a pump for life. It will retail for £69.99 in the UK.
Marin impressed hugely in 2008 and their 5in travel Mount Vision trail bike won What Mountain Bike magazine’s prestigious Bike of the Year award. Historically, however, the Mount Vision, was a lightweight, 4in travel XC bike that could take on both the race course and the trail centre. With the shuffling up in travel and an increase in weight for increased trail bike strength this left a hole in Marin’s line for a 4in travel, more XC-focused bike. Enter for 2009 from stage left, the Alchemist.
Made from hydroformed 6066 aluminium, the Alchemist is that 4in XC/marathon bike that Marin claim is the lightest and stiffest they’ve ever made, and uses an evolution of Marin’s established Quad Link XC suspension system. The updated suspension system – Quad Link XC 2.0 – supports a shorter stroke shock and a radically designed frameset from previous Quad Link bikes. A descending top tube forms the top pivot and shock mount, whilst a seat mast forks off to join the seat tube to create a distinctive V top tube profile for massive standover. Forged pivot mounts increase weight and strength and the wide lower link is offset 4mm to the non-drive side for greater crank clearance. Geometry is also changed to suit its speedier credentials, with a steeper head angle and longer top than the Mount Vision. Marin claim the new bike weighs an on the money 9.9kg (21.8lbs).
Marin have also introduced a full carbon hardtail: the CXR Team. Designed as an out and out race bike, the CXR Team is a striking bike thanks to its curving lines, reinforced headtube and internal cable routing.