3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018
FIRST LOOK

3 Even Fresher Products For Spring 2018

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date May 28, 2018

As I've noted a couple times in the past #testwriterproblems are real. It often proves a challenge to balance a sufficient review period with my excitement to share products that are delivering awesome first impressions. In April I introduced Race Face Vault J-Bend hubs, the new SQLab 610 Ergolux saddle, and the Speciale pedal from Time. Please check them out here.

In round 2 I'm looking at the new Wolf Tooth Precision Headset program, the Crankbrothers Klic Floor Pump with their Burst Tank feature, and the Comp version of the Scott MTB Lace shoe. 

Scott MTB Comp Lace

Laces are my preferred way to snug up a pair of cycling shoes, with a double BOA system being a close second. I love a diverse range of lace-up shoes from the Mavic Deemax to my original pair of Giro Empire's but by the features the more budget-friendly Comp model of Scott's MTB Lace lineup has become a new personal favourite. 

First and foremost, the cleat pocket is oriented generously rearward of most 'XC shoes' to the point that I actually don't need to run the cleats rammed to the back to find my happy space. Great news for riders that prefer the cut, feel, and weight of a short track slipper but the pedaling ergonomics of an Enduro boot. 

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

If Scott's injected composite sole isn't stiff enough there is also a carbon soled RC version of the lace up shoe. 

Also hitting on some E-word influence is the Scott Sticki race rubber sole. This is not Five Ten Stealth Rubber by any stretch but, thus far, finding walking traction on greasy half-collapsed old-school ladder bridges is surprisingly good. In general, I like the ratio of stiffness to walkability which reminds me of the Deemax. Scott calls these shoes an 'Index 6' on their stiffness scale. By comparison the RC version of this shoe with a carbon sole is an 'Index 9'. 

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

The rearward orientation of the cleat pocket relative to most XC-style shoes is a delightful feature. 

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

It ain't Five Ten Stealth rubber, but the walking traction relative to most XC-style shoes is excellent. 

There are a handful of other neat features I will get into once I have enough miles to properly discuss the shoes. One more thing I'd like to note now is sizing. These shoes are available in whole sizes only but they feel about a half size bigger than most shoes on the market. 

My guess from years fitting shoes is that anyone who wears a half size in most brands will be okay to go down to the nearest whole size in the Scott Comp Lace. For example, if you prefer a 43.5 in most Shimano shoes then a 43 is likely a great fit. 

These sell for about 120 USD. For more information check back after I've thrashed them or see Scott Sports here

Crankbrothers Klic Floor Pump with Burst Tank

My solid experiences with the Highline dropper post and Mallet DH pedals, which are still both operating famously, opened my mind about trying other  Crankbrothers' products, regardless of my past experiences. The company has a whole range of new floor pump models and this is by far the most interesting and the most expensive. It combines the Crankbrothers Klic floor pump, the removable Burst Tank, an easily replaceable digital gauge, and a five-year warranty for 225 USD. 

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

The top end Crankbrothers Klic Floor Pumps include a five year warranty. 

The pump itself is rebuildable, ergonomic to use, and damn sexy to look at if you're into tools. The Burst Tank is awesome for entertaining your three-year-old and really helpful for airing up tubeless tires. Fill the tank, flip the switch, and start pumping. 

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

The pump is fully rebuildable and all the other features (tank, hose, gauge) are modular and easily replaced. 

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

When the Klic arrived I spent two hours filling the Burst Tank so my daughter could inflate, and re-inflate tubeless tires. It’s that fun!

Now, to be frank, I've had good long-term experiences with basic 30 USD floor pumps from Beto for home use. There are lots of good pumps on the market. Personally, I'm very intrigued by the 100 USD Crankbrothers Klic Analog, which is in my budget for a shop-quality pump. 

I also have an apartment-quiet air compressor which negates the need for the Burst Tank to some extent. For a road trip or living situation where an air compressor, even a really really quiet one, isn't a feasible option my first impressions are very good. Compared to stand alone inflators, I love being able to jump right on the pump and assist the tank in banging on my tubeless tires. 

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

I really like that the gauge is modular and easily replaced. This is always the first part that dies on my floor pumps. 

So far I haven't aired up any really challenging tires so in addition to general wear and tear my full review will also include putting some Plus tires on fat rims and other tire jobs where I'd normally start by setting up my compressor. I'm also going to try and use it to install and remove grips.

More information pending the beating I'm going to put on this thing and also here on Crankbrothers site. 

Wolf Tooth Precision Headset

I wrote the preamble for the NSMB post of Wolf Tooth's new headsets so for the technical details on their 'Headsets In Halves' I'm just going to post a link here. As I noted there are amazing options for high-end headsets on the market already from Chris King, Hope, White Industries, and I previously failed to mention Cane Creek's excellent 110 model. So, what sets Wolf Tooth apart?

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

The aluminum crown race is hugged by a quad seal that should keep water and crap out of the lower headset cup and grease in the full stainless bearing. 

The feature I find most interesting is the aluminum crown race. Wolf Tooth used aluminum for in this application for two reasons. For one, it allowed them to easily machine a groove to support the massive double lip seal that keeps grease in and grit out. It also will not corrode steer tubes. 

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

The bearings are easily removed to press in the cups. I always do one at a time with a healthy coating of copper anti-seize. 

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

Laser etched centering marks seem persnickety since the orientation of the cups makes no difference to function or appearance once installed. Reach or angle adjusting headsets in the future maybe?

There are two types of riders in the world; those that have never seen a badly corroded aluminum steerer tube flaking apart at the interface of the crown, steerer, and crown race, and those that have the occasional sleepless night pondering when they last inspected and re-greased their steerer tube (I know what I'm doing tomorrow). 

What I'm saying is the Wolf Tooth unicorn-race should keep water out, grease in, prevent steerer tubes from corroding, stop delicious luncheon meat from going bad, prevent beer from getting warm, and give me a foot massage. The split ring is also aluminum so everything contacting the steerer tube is aluminum.

Downsides? As part of the test period, I'll be sure to install it on a few different forks to see how it keeps its shape. For those that use a punch, screwdriver, or Park steel DH tire lever* to install their stainless steel crown races I'd recommend following best practice for all crown race installations and use a proper tool.  

*Incriminatingly suspicious?

3 Fresh Products For Spring 2018

The bearing cap is sealed against the steerer tube with an o-ring and against the upper cup with a custom-molded lip seal. 

The schtick here is to have the best-sealed headsets on the market in a range of colours, with stainless steel Enduro bearings Wolf Tooth also sells them in halves so I can mix-and-match tops and bottoms. 

The pricing is very reasonable for the level of product Wolf Tooth purports this to be, and I have no reason to doubt this based on my experiences with their dropper ReMotes and stainless steel chainrings. Lower headset assemblies are 55 USD and upper headset assemblies are 65 USD. 

I'll write a full review once I've installed the headset and have a good number of hard hours on it. I also plan to do small future updates as I think product success for a high-end headset needs to be measured in years. 

To mix up your own headset cups, stack heights, and colors please click here

Comments

shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - May 28, 2018, 8:41 a.m.

No 49mm top or 62mm bottom cup for my new bike?  Sad face.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 28, 2018, 9:27 a.m.

I’m laughing because I almost pulled a rookie mistake and asked “what’s wrong with 44/56?” when the benefits of 49/62 should have been immediately apparent to me.

More frame stiffness!

(more stiffness always more better!)

Bigger bearings!!

(because there are headset bearing durability issues that aren’t related to seals/elements?)

The same max 1.5° HTA angle change as Cane Creek sells for 44/56 for the <1% of riders who want to play with frame geo!!!

Pray tell, other than Turner, what frame manufacturer is pushing this revolutionary bigger tapered headtube?!

Reply

shoreboy
+1 Andrew Major
Shoreboy  - May 28, 2018, 9:35 a.m.

As far as I know right now, only Evil (44/62).  Im not saying 49/62 is better, but it is what I have on my bike!  Any other new bike would immediately get a CK headset, and Id be done with it for the life of the bike.  Alas CK does not offer this monster size either.  The FSA bearings are still new, but prone to failure (esp the bottom one), so I am on the lookout for replacements.  Works components does a -1 degree that I might go to when the FSA dies.  Moar Slacker is better no?? :)

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 28, 2018, 9:46 a.m.

The issue with ”Moar Slacker” from an angleset is the noticeable decrease in Reach. So it depends on how your Evil fits now and what Stem length you run/want to run. Could be a benefit. 

Does Enduro do a full stainless replacement bearing for your headset? If not I’d pop the seals on those FSA units and pack them full of heavy trailer bearing grease. Unless if it’s changed recently the bearings will be packed with a little bit of snot that will wash away if look at it funny.

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shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - May 28, 2018, 9:50 a.m.

I dont own an Evil, I own an RFX.  Would a 1 degree really make that much reach difference?  I never really thought about that aspect.  Currently on a large with 60mm stem, so I dont want to reduce the reach if possible.

I think Cane Creek might make some replacement bearings that are higher quality, but I am still hunting around.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 28, 2018, 9:57 a.m.

Sorry - misread. 

Re. the difference I guess it depends on the rider/bike/fit but the couple frames I’ve put anglesets in I’ve definitely needed to go longer with the stem. 

Unless if the lower cup has a larger extension than stock or you up from travel at the same time - I’ve also needed to raise my bar 5-10mm.

ac
0
Ac  - May 29, 2018, 12:02 p.m.

Your reach would be reduced about 2mm.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 29, 2018, 12:10 p.m.

How are you measuring that AC? 

In order to achieve the slacker HTA the reach adjusting headsets I’ve used offset the upper headset bearing rearwards (lower headset bearing forwards)quite a bit. 

Then there’s also the fact the steerer tube is now at a slacker angle so effective Reach is getting progressively shorter as headset spacers are added.

I don’t know what the total number works out to be I doubt I would notice 2mm and the difference in Reach has been noticeable on the bikes I installed anglesetson. 

I’ve only used the Cane Creek anglesets.

ac
0
Ac  - May 29, 2018, 12:34 p.m.

Andrew,

cad software and math.

https://nsmb.com/photos/view/19592/

Assumptions are, 2" from top of head tube to center of stem and that the angleset pivots the steerer tube from the center of the head tube.

AndrewMajor
+1 Ac
Andrew Major  - May 29, 2018, 12:58 p.m.

Thanks AC! Very interesting. Another reinforcement (like the Satori) of the danger of relying on the Reach number too much in guesstimating fit. 

I’ve talked to two riders I know who run anglesets currently and both said they went with longer stems to maintain fit. That must be related to effective stack height.

shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - May 29, 2018, 1:03 p.m.

This is interesting indeed.  I might take the plunge on a Works -1 degree when the time comes to change it.  They do ask for HT length, so they must fabricate the cups differently for different lengths of HT (which makes sense).  Given my limited choices, its probably worth a shot.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 28, 2018, 9:28 a.m.

Ummm... I mean, I’m certain that if sufficient consumer demand exists that Wolf Tooth will manufacture this option.

I’m a bit surprised there is not a ZS49 upper option as there are quite a few MTB frames around using 49/49 still - though as a % if bikes/ framesets sold it is a very small number.

Reply

shoreboy
+1 Andrew Major
Shoreboy  - May 28, 2018, 10:04 a.m.

I have the flexibility to do a all of those adjustments if I need to.  Can change my Helm from 160mm to 170mm if needed and left space on my steer tube to add or subtract a few spacers as well. Ill do as you suggested and repack that bearing with some more grease, and see how long it lasts.  I imagine it will be mostly ok during the drier months.  Thanks again for the insight!

Reply

Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - May 28, 2018, 12:15 p.m.

WTC makes solid components imo.  I'd say their dropper lever is the best I've used.  Hopefully they're getting to angle or reach adjusting headsets as the market for high end headsets has to be largely dominated by CK and to a lesser CC110. 

Once I learnt how to NOT use Gorilla Tape for tubeless; I've been seating tubeless tyres with a normal Lenyze floor pump and boyish good looks.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Andy Eunson
Andrew Major  - May 28, 2018, 2:24 p.m.

A regular floor pump works for seating tubeless until it doesn’t. 

Plus tires are an easy example of where the Boost Tank (or a compressor) can make all the difference in the world but I know lots of very competent wrenches who occasionally have a rim/tire combo or just a single asshole tire that won’t seat with a regular pump for all the soap bubbles and pre-inflating with a tube in the world.

Reply

andy-eunson
+1 Andrew Major
Andy Eunson  - May 28, 2018, 6:43 p.m.

You got that right. My last new Maxxis 2.4 WT on a Nobl 27 mm inner wide rim was most uncooperative with my Bontrager charge or whatever they call it pump. It wasn’t until I fired up my noisy compressor that the Bonty pump worked.

Reply

Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - May 29, 2018, 4:48 p.m.

I haven't installed an industrial amount of tubeless to need the special floor pumps.  IME tubeless success rate went to 100% by adjusting my prep methods.  FYI all installs have been on hookless carb0n rims now.

Reply

hugh_mayer
0
hugh_mayer  - May 29, 2018, 4:42 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

tdmsurfguy
+1 Andrew Major
tdmsurfguy  - May 29, 2018, 5:30 a.m.

Why copper anti-seize for the headset instead of the standard grey?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 29, 2018, 7:28 a.m.

It doesn’t matter for aluminum headsets going into aluminum frames - pick your poison.

I use the copper for lubricating titanium bolts and when threading or pressing anything into a Ti frame so that’s what I keep around.

It makes sense to just have one product in my little shop and I find it works better than grease. I know a few automotive wrenches who use the aluminum blend on their bikes but all the shops I’ve worked at have used copper, or grease, for headsets because the copper works with everything but the aluminum is no good for Ti frames or products. 

Cheers!

Reply

NForrest
0
Nathan Forrest  - May 29, 2018, 1:23 p.m.

$225 for a floor pump? A quick search of the Home Depot website says they sell 92 different air compressors that cost less than this.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Nathan Forrest
Andrew Major  - May 29, 2018, 1:37 p.m.

Hi Nathan, I think I covered that fairly in the article.

I have a really quiet (read expensive) air compressor and even that would be much too loud for a lot of my friends’ urban living situations.

I also think this pump will be awesome on the road and working on bikes outside (so I don’t have to lug the compressor around).

For my living situation with owning a compressor the shop level Klic Analog pump at 100 USD would be my ideal but I do think this pump is relevant to a number of riders I know.

Reply

NForrest
+1 Andrew Major
Nathan Forrest  - May 29, 2018, 1:48 p.m.

You did and I missed it - too much skimming, not enough paying attention.

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