Just in: PRO Koryak kit and WTB Frequency rims
By James Costley-White in Bath, UK | Saturday, March 24, 2012 8.00am
Shimano's component branch, PRO, have refreshed their Koryak all-mountain range for 2012 James Costley-White/BikeRadar
Koryak is PRO's alloy trail/all-mountain component line, named after a Siberian mountain range. We've been impressed by its mix of value and performance in the past, and it's had a facelift for 2012, with new monotone graphics.
The riser bar is 710mm wide, which is a little narrow for aggressive all-mountain riding, but otherwise hits the mark, with a 25mm rise, 9° of backsweep and 5° of upsweep. It's now made from 7050-T6 aluminium, rather than the cheaper 2014 alloy used on last year's version. This has brought weight down to 263g (actual) but has pushed the price up by a fiver to £45.
The matching oversize (31.8mm) stem is made from 6061-T6 alloy and comes in 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110 and 120mm lengths, with a +/-10 rise. The 70mm version seen here weighs 139g on our scales. The medium thickness Koryak grips use a single inboard locking collar and are available in white/black, black/black, black/magnesium or magnesium/black, for £15.
The Koryak post did well in our last group test and apart from the graphics, appears unchanged for 2012. There's a choice of three diameters (27.2, 30.9 and 31.6mm) and inline or 15mm layback versions. All use the same, fiddly one-bolt clamp and are 400mm long. Weight of our 30.9mm layback post is 293g. PRO kit is distributed by Madison in the UK.
WTB Frequency rims & Moto tyre
WTB's Stryker wheels cost £700 a set so their new Frequency rims look like a bit of a bargain, offering similar performance and features for just £50-£53. They use the same TCS technology, so they're tubeless compatible (when used with WTB's rim tape) despite being drilled for standard spokes. But cheaper materials (7000 series rather than proprietary alloy) and construction (sleeved rather than welded) mean they're a lot more affordable.
They're only available as rims, not as complete wheels (although the hope is that custom builders will soon offer these) so UK distributors Hotlines have built up two test wheelsets for us – a 29er set based on the race-orientated Frequency Team i19 rim and a 26in set that uses the more trail bike friendly Frequency Team i23 rim (the suffix indicates the internal rim width).
Both have been built with WTB's own LaserDisc Lite hubs (through-axle front, quick-release rear) and 32 spokes, front and rear. WTB say they can be used with up to 2.4in tyres. The i19s weigh1,750g on our scales (820g rear, 930g front, without QR), while the i23s are 1,773g (828g front, 945g rear). For comparison, our 26in Strykers were 1,700g.
The i19 rim costs £49.99/US$75 in both 26in and 29in sizes, while the i23 is £52.99/$80. Look out for reviews in Mountain Biking UK and on BikeRadar soon. You can read more about the Frequency rims in our launch article.
Also new in from WTB is the Moto 2.3 AM TCS. Described as a "go-anywhere, do-anything all-mountain tyre", this square-lugged successor to the Moto Raptor uses the company's new Dual DNA compound, which combines a harder 60a durometer rubber core with a grippier 50a tread.
The UST certified bead means it should be simple to set up tubeless, and WTB's Inner Peace sidewall protection provides extra peace of mind. The 2.3in AM version uses a durable 60tpi casing and costs £36.99 ($US TBC). A 1.9in 29er version and 2.1inx26in race version are also available, both of which use lighter casings to cut weight.
100% The Racecraft goggles
There's a new option for anyone looking for a set of downhill goggles – 100%. The brand made their name in the 1980s motocross scene and now they're back. Seen here are their new The Racecraft goggles.
They have all the features you'd expect of premium goggles, including strap outriggers, triple-layer foam, an anti-fog and scratch-resistant Lexan lens, and silicone gripper on the strap. They come with a detachable nose guard, set of tear-offs and soft bag, for £49.99, from Decade Europe.
DHB M1.0 shoes
We were impressed by DHB's M1 mountain bike shoes when we first tested them back in 2008, saying that they performed like shoes costing twice as much, so it'll be interesting to see how we get on with the latest version.
The M1.0s pack in a lot of features for £60/$102, including a three-strap closure, an internal plastic heel counter, a glass reinforced nylon sole and deep-lugged tread, plus plenty of ventilation and reflective detailing. Weight on our scales is 788g a pair (UK size 43). They're available from Wiggle.
The North Face pack and clothing
We've been highly impressed by some of the latest cycling gear from outdoors brand The North Face – the Xenon and Dirt Track jackets in particular have won over our testers. This month we've received one of their latest backpacks, along with a load of women's clothing.
The Litho 18 is a lightweight pack with 18 litres of storage courtesy of a good sized main compartment. There's a sleeve for a water bladder, though none is included, along with stretchy side pouches for a water bottle or windshell, a fleece lined eyewear pocket and a hidden rain cover. The straps and back panel are vented to help keep sweat at bay. RRP is £75.
We liked the men's Muddy Tracks Jacket when we tested it last year. Seen here is the 'Baja Blue' women's version (£120), which is again made from waterproof and breathable HyVent fabric, with a dropped tail, fleecy collar and cord-adjustable waist.
The matching short-sleeve Muddy Tracks 1/2 Zip Tee (£45) is a midweight jersey made from TNF's proprietary VaporWick fabric, with a mesh lining, flatlock seams, silicone gripper logo on the hem and a single rear pocket with side zip. It's available without sleeves as the Muddy Tracks Tank (£40).
The 'Magic Magenta' VTT 3/4 Zip Tee (£40) is again made from VaporWick and has silicone gripper on the rear hem, three rear pockets (one large and zipped) plus reflective logos and details on the chest, back, shoulders and sides.
The Thrill Hill Zip Jacket (£85), available in 'Magic Magenta' or 'Baja Blue', is actually more of a winter jersey, made from a soft fabric with a Roubaix-like fleecy lining. It has a single rear pocket with zipped side access.
The North Face's women's Storm Track Soft Shell Hoodie is just that – a hooded softshell top with full-length zip, handwarmer pockets, underarm vents, dropped back and reflective detailing. New for 2012, it's made from TNF Apex Aerobic – a double-weave elastane fabric with water repellent DWR finish. RRP is £100.
Finally, the Storm Track Shorts (£80) are made from a polyester/elastane mix and come with a detachable mesh liner with a Bi-Elastico Coolmax pad. Features include a high back, Velcro waist tabs and five pockets, two of them zipped.
Fox Aircool Race jersey
We took a look at some of Fox's 2012 ride wear back in January but here's one item that escaped our notice – their latest Aircool Race cross-country jersey. This classic looking, airy summer top is made from 100 percent polyester, with a full-length zip, silicone gripper to stop the hem riding up, and four rear pockets, including one with a zip. RRP is £42/$55, via Fox Europe in the UK.
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