There were plenty of brand spanking new mountain bike components on show at the UK's Core Bike show including cranks from e*thirteen and Race Face, wheels from CrankBrothers, Syncros, FSA and Ritchey, and cockpit kit from the likes of Burgtec, Renthal, Niner and Hope. Here's a quick round-up.
E*thirteen made their name with chain guides and bashguards, so the logical next move was to develop their own crankset. Following their merger with The Hive last year, that's just what they've done. Two versions are available – a surprisingly light steel-axled DH crankset and an alloy-axled XC variant (available in triple and single chainring versions).
Both use the same polygon interface between the 30mm axle and non-drive crankarm, which is said to provide maximum surface contact between the two components, reducing wear compared to a splined or square taper setup and improving power transfer. They also both have forged and machined 7050 aluminium arms, and come in the same Blackout Black colourway.
The main difference between the two is weight – e*thirteen claim 870g for the DH and 821g for the XC triple (both including bottom bracket). Both are available with 170, 175 or 180mm arms. The new cranks are available in the UK via Silverfish. Pricing is £259 for the DH, £289 for the XC (44/32/22T) and £199 for the XC Singlespeed.
CrankBrothers' unique looking Cobalt cross-country and Iodine all-mountain wheels caused quite a stir when they were unveiled back in 2007 but recent price rises have put them out of reach of most riders. The new Cobalt 2 and Iodine 2 come in a fair bit cheaper, at US$650 instead of $950, but use much of the same technology, including the same rim shape and two-piece spokes.
Aside from being slightly heavier, the main difference is the hubs – instead of the own-brand units found on the original wheels (which will now be redesignated as the Cobalt 3 and Iodine 3 in line with CrankBros' new naming system), the level 2 hoops will come with Taiwanese-made Formula hubs with steel axles and freehub bodies.
Colours are also more toned down. The 19mm-wide Cobalt 2 pictured here comes in a choice of black or silver rims, with blue spoke 'plugs'. The 21mm Iodine 2 has a black rim and orange spoke 'plugs'. The new wheels will be available in the UK through 2pure for £500.
Turbine is Race Face's new 'performance' range of aluminium parts. The 7075 alloy stem looks promising, with an interlocking four-bolt faceplate design and a claimed weight of 135g. RRP is £79.95. It's available in 60/70/90/100/110mm lengths, with a +/-6° rise. There are matching bars in a plethora of colours (£69.95), plus some good-looking 10-speed alloy cranksets (2x10 or 3x10, £259-£269).
The real stars of Race Face's crank range are the Next SLs, though, with a titanium axle, hollow carbon arms (170 or 175mm) and CNC machined 7075 alloy Turbine chainrings. Claimed weight is 695g for the nine-speed version (a 10-speed option is also available). RRP is £595. Race Face kit is available in the UK via Silverfish.
Downhill specialists Burgtec helped start the wide handlebar craze with their Ride Wide bar but it seems 750mm is no longer enough – the new version adds an extra 30mm. It's available with a 15 or 30mm rise, in loads of colours, and will have different graphics to the prototypes shown here. Claimed weight is 310-320g, and RRP is £75.
The mk3 Penthouse Flats pedals have been out for a while but they're looking very nice too, with a lower profile, 1mm longer pins and more durable bushings. RRP is £150 (steel axles) or £185 (Ti axles). Burgtec are also working on a new direct mount stem which is expected to be one of the lightest out there – especially the top-end version with titanium bolts. It's still on the drawing board at the moment but expect it to cost under £100.
Sticking with the downhill theme, motocross legends Renthal have upped the width of their 2011 Fatbar handlebar to 780mm, and it's now available in a 10mm as well as 20mm rise. The shape is the same – 5° upsweep, 7° backsweep. RRP is £59.99. While the company's bicycle product range is still small, they're working on a direct mount stem and there's apparently "lots of stuff going on the background" – watch this space.
Niner now make a (nearly) flat and usefully wide handlebar to go with their big-wheeled bikes. The Flat Top comes with a minimal +/-5° rise, 9° sweep and 710mm width. An alloy version is available for £49, with a carbon option for £139. Both are black; the carbon bar comes with a choice of red, green or orange logos. Niner kit is also available via Jungle Products in the UK.
At around 125g, Syncros's new FRIC stem is light for a part designed for all-mountain, freeride and even downhill use. Moving the steerer clamp bolts to the front of the stem makes it friendlier on your knees, as well as giving it a cleaner look. It's available in a 45mm length, to fit 1-1/8in steerers only, in black or white. RRP is £69.99.
Also new from Syncros is a limited edition Chrome Grunge finish on their FR seatpost, bar and stem, plus a darker gunmetal version on their FL cross-country components. There's a new FL saddle with oval carbon rails that's said to weigh in at 183g, for £139. Finally, there's a new 29er cross-country rim, the DS25, which is available built up into a £520 wheelset. Syncros kit is available via Jungle Products in the UK.
Sticking with wheels, FSA have a new budget mountain bike wheelset, the XC105. The wheels are hand-built and have braking surfaces on the rim as well as disc-ready hubs, making them suitable for any brakes. At £159 for the pair they'd a sensibly-priced replacement for worn or damaged stock wheels on many bikes.
At the opposite end of the price scale is Ritchey's new Superlogic Carbon Disc wheelset, seen here in its ultra-exotic tubular form for those with expensive tastes in tyres. The tubular wheelset weighs a claimed 1,203g thanks to carbon fibre rims, 28 skinny DT Revolution spokes per wheel and Center Lock disc mounts. The clincher version weighs an extra 100g, and both can be had with 15mm through-axle front hubs as well as traditional 9mm quick-releases. RRP TBC. Ritchey kit is available in the UK via Paligap.