trp-tr12-drivetrain-review-070421-ajbarlas-03780.jpg
EDITORIAL

Five Things I Wish We Saw At Crankworx 2022

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (Unless Noted)
Date Aug 18, 2022
Reading time

Trade Showed

I won't claim to have read every piece of copy written about the gear side of Crankworx '22, but as an avowed bike nerd I've skimmed, browsed, and burrowed into a fair bit of material. I've also messaged with some brands and other folks who were there, but I'll note right up front that I was not.

Out of the gate, I don't think anyone summarized the bits-and-bikes side of Crankworx better than Pinkbike's Alicia Leggett when she wrote "This year, Crankworx Whistler feels even more like a trade show than usual." Now, to be fair, she ended the sentence "with brands showing up with full displays" but I don't think the extra qualifier is necessary. Crankworx was just like an old school trade show, it might as well have been Interbike in its heyday, in the way that information was tiered.

*Cover photo: AJ Barlas

Chromag Clip In Pedal NSMB Pinkbike

The worst kept gear secret around other than Chromag's adult-sized full suspension bikes? Photo: Pinkbike

HT X2 Pedal NSMB Andrew Major

The Chromag pedals remind me a lot of the HT X2. But with the cleat only spring-captured at one end instead of both.

I understand that there was a significant amount of new product at Crankworx that we haven't seen yet. Yes, there were extensive booths full of the same stuff we saw at the last 'worx showing in 2019. Yes, there was a constant drip of the Sea-To-Sky's worst kept secrets like the fact that Chromag is making full suspension bikes for adults, and clip-in pedals. But whether it be bikes, components, or soft goods, the real story is the stuff behind the curtains that we haven't seen yet. So for the most part fresh gear at Crankworx was a super snoozer on the new and interesting front - publicly - but that doesn't mean that 'I first saw it at Crankworx' content won't be streaming out for months to come.

My five products that I wished we had seen at Crankworx 2022 are not of that ilk. Quite the contrary these are things that I understand do not exist, are not currently in a pipeline, and may never exist but which I think would be well received enough to make them worthwhile additions to the litany of component options.

trp-tr12-drivetrain-review-070421-ajbarlas-03780.jpg

Nothing new for the riding public from TRP on the drivetrain front but there was news if you knew the secret handshake. I'm antsy for some Tektro (as in Tektro Racing Products) trickle down to compete with MicroShift in the good enough clutched drivetrain category. Min-Max is where the customers are hiding TRP. Photo: AJ Barlas

MaxxGrip 24" DHF Tires

Don't call me ungrateful. I was stoked when Maxxis released folding bead versions of their DHF tires in 20" and 24" sizes. It's just that when the company is adding stacks of SKUs every year it doesn't seem like that big an ask that they do a MaxxGrip version of their 24" 3CT/EXO/TR tire so my kid can get a bit more traction up front in the winter months. Come on Maxxis, it's one f***ing SKU! You probably added more tires to your lineup than that in the time it took me to write this paragraph. The number of mountain biker parents I meet who are stoked to learn Maxxis even makes the DHF in 20" and 24" is awesome, and even with the Maxxis-Taxes I haven't met anyone whose kid is riding aggressive terrain who wouldn't like a MaxxGrip version up front to pair with the MaxxTerra in back.

Why hold Maxxis' feet to the fire when there are a plethora of other tire manufacturers who have good rubber and tire designs? I mean, doesn't it make sense to try to differentiate yourself early with great products like Manitou is doing with kids' suspension forks? Folks would simply like to bet on a sure thing when they're dropping a pile of cash on tires - especially tires for their grom. Sure, we can split hairs on what tire is best for what conditions, but at the end of the day you cannot go wrong with a MaxxGrip/MaxxTerra 2.4" DHF combo. It's a safe upgrade, if Maxxis will just make it.

Maxxis 24 DHF NSMB Andrew Major

I don't think you'll come across a better all around 24" trail tire than the 2.4" Maxxis DHF in MaxxTerra. It's an easy recommend. But, I'm far from the only person who'd love to have a MaxxGrip option for the front.

OneUp Composite Kid Pedals

I'm working on an article about how pedaling has changed for me in the last six months, and how my preference for pedal shape has changed at the same time. It's been an interesting journey in understanding why different riders prefer a concave, convex, or flat shape and how, aside from personal pedal preference always prevailing, those choices make sense to me now.

In the meantime, kids' shoes are stiff. Relative to their length and weight they're much stiffer than any flat pedal shoe adults are riding. When watching my daughter ride, and her foot position relative to the axle, it makes me think there's an argument to be made that flexing the shoe from a center point, like the concave OneUp pedals or possibly a true-flat body is ideal. At the very least, the preeminence of concavity for kids is worth questioning.

But the number of Chromag Radar pedals you see any time a kids' riding camp rolls by and on every level of kids' bike, from basic v-brake setups to full suspension bikes nicer than many adults ride, is completely justified. They're the best kids' pedal currently available and the price - 125 CAD - is an up front buy for a lot of value in my experience as I'm going to get 6+ years of use out of them just with one grom. I like OneUp's composite pedals better than their aluminum ones, and not just for the lower price, and they're ground zero for little kids ripping great technical terrain so I'd love to see them producing a convex kids' alternative.

NSBillet NW Ring SRAM NSMB AndrewM

Classic Chromag Radar, well abused. They're not inexpensive but you'll be able to amortize years of use out of them. The 70x93mm platform is currently the best kids' pedal on the market hands down.

OneUp Composite Pedals NSMB Andrew Major

I'd love to see OneUp bringing a much smaller version of their composite pedals to the grom market. I think the shape would work really well with the current selection of kid shoes.

Setback Dropper Posts

Yeah, I know, I just won't shut up about this. What I have heard for '23 and onward is that a lot of brands are going to a 77°+ effective seat tube angle (STA) on their full mountain bike lineup. That's from budget hardtails to the most expensive non XC Race* full suspension bikes. I don't have a problem with a true-effective 77° STA on an XL frame with that number coming down a degree per size smaller and up a degree per size larger but most brands have zero interest in size-specific seat tube angles so here we sit.

The obvious answer, like varying stem lengths and handlebar widths, is to have options for saddle offset - back or forward - for folks who aren't fully served by the adjustment range of their saddle rails. In the case of Femurs-McGee over here, there are a number of frames I'm interested in that I'd love to test with a 25mm+ setback. In fact looking at my saddle rail range a 35mm offset head probably makes the most sense in terms of just adding one SKU. Brands don't even have to sell the posts with the offset heads as stock. Just sell me the clamps separately for a reasonable amount of money. Bonus points if you license OneUp's drop-clamp design at the same time.

*XC Race rigs will stay slacker for the added power creation factor.

Manitou Jack Dropper Post NSMB Andrew Major (2)

Come on BikeYoke, you make aftermarket linkages for umpteen Specialized rigs, how about one set of aftermarket offset clamps for your seat posts? Let's keep the price under 30 CAD like your current clampset.

Crankbrothers Highline 7 NSMB AndrewM.JPG

Come on Crankbrothers, all your employees everywhere are stoked on ever-steepening seat tube angles? Surely some of them must prefer a more XC pedaling position on their longer travel rigs?

Shimano Alivio Clutch Drivetrain

Shimano's Deore 12-speed eats everyone's lunch at its price point, but the more time I spend on a MicroShift clutched derailleur setup the more I think it's probably the min-max winner for most riders out there trying to balance brakes, suspension, and shifting within a tight budget. It's much clunkier than Deore, even the 11-speed version of Deore, and that's before learning to love the bigger jumps in MicroShift's 9-speed system. The drivetrain absolutely requires a light foot when pushing a shift and the clutch does a great job of keeping my chain on but the whole setup is noisier than the Shimano systems I've mentioned.

I get dragged sometimes as being anti-Shimano because I hate 'Resin Only' rotors, don't care for ServoWave or Centerlock, and so on, but the multi-billion-dollar component manufacturer does make the best drivetrains and brakes for the least amount of money hands down. It's ridiculous how long basic 8-speed and 9-speed Shimano drivetrains will last and what a beating they'll take out in the world for comparatively little money. Their 9-speed M4000 Alivio groupset is only missing two features to drop the hammer on what everyone else is doing with basic mountain bike components. First, add a clutch to the excellent Alivio Shadow derailleur (with barrel adjuster!). Then, make a shifter without a gear indicator. No one is nostalgic for mountain bikes with smashed plastic shifters with the little orange indicator sticking up in the air.

Marin SQ1 Budget Build NSMB Andrew Major 20

I'm sorry MicroShift 9-speed clutched drivetrain. I'm fickle. You're my min-max winner today but if Shimano announces a clutch version of Alivio M4000 you'll be dead to me tomorrow.

Marin SQ1 Budget Build NSMB Andrew Major 13

I do like that your shifter doesn't have a gear indicator though, and the ergonomics aren't bad at all. It's just that the clutch is the only place you're beating Shimano at the 9-speed game.

Race Face Aeffect Short Arms

Insert most any brand with a good quality, light enough, 1x friendly crankset here, but I'm specifically targeting Race Face because their marketing copy bugs me. They say: "3 crank lengths. This crank will fit just about anything on two wheels", but anyone who's even looked at a kids' bike knows that's bullshit. I'm also apparently the only person under 6'6" tall that still prefers to ride 175mm cranks with an increasing number of my friends trying shorter options. I know multiple folks over 6' tall riding 165mm cranks on their trail bikes.

Canfield makes a good crankset in shorter lengths - 150mm, 155mm, and 160mm. It's called the AM/DH crank and I have no complaints about the set of 150mm arms we have on The Clairebarian's bike. From installation to the SRAM 3-Bolt ring interface, it's a winning product. They're significantly better than any of the kids' cranks on the market I've dealt with - even if Canfield isn't marketing them that way. But they're much more of a niche item from a niche brand than buying a set of arms from a big player like Race Face.

I also really like Race Face's Aeffect and Aeffect R crank sets, and their Cinch interface, and I can't help but thinking that instead of another model, or colour, of cranks it would be neat if they'd add prequel sizing. They're a big enough company to make a go of shorter crank sets as OE and in the aftermarket. Grab the adults who want to try their proportional equivalent to Andre The Giant on 165mm arms. Capture some high-end kids' bike OE sales. And complete some frame-up kids bike builds where folks have a box full of old parts but need cranks, rims, and tires to make it complete.

RaceFace Aeffect 3 Crank Lengths NSMB Race Face

As long as you're not a kid, short adult, or interested in trying a shorter crank length than has historically been assigned to your height range.

Race Face Aeffect Wheelset AndrewM

I have had great experiences with Race Face Aeffect cranksets and I'd love to see them making more sizes.

I'm not sure if this is more of a "don't worry gear nerd, there's some cool stuff coming down the pipe" or a bit of a downer in that Crankworx has historically been a great opportunity to see a pile of interesting new stuff in one place. Either way, my key point is that for all the different colourways and sub-atomically similar components on the market, there really are some single or fewer options for cyclists. From top tires for tykes to awesome less expensive drivetrains from Shimano, and more fit options like shorter cranks and offset posts, these are all potentially profitable products.

As with more options of handlebar back sweep, frame size specific seat tube angles and chainstay lengths, and any number of other things that seem like obvious winners to me, there may be a good reason that industry players aren't pursuing them. But I remain suspicious that it's always easier to just R&D (rip-off and duplicate) what other folks are doing rather than try to invent and invest in new options.

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Comments

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+10 kcy4130 Cydwhit Pete Roggeman NewGuy DanL Zero-cool Mammal Garrett Thibault hardtailhersh Tremeer023

Silly me - I assumed Item Number One on this list was going to be "Lemoine wins Joyride and receives the Spirit of Timo Pritzel Trophy", but apparently I'm a fool.

Reply

AndyJK
Andy Krull
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+3 kcy4130 Cooper Quinn Tremeer023

Yes, Lemoine wins all of Mountain Biking for that one massive jump!  I immediately thought of Timo as well.  Impressive riding.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

I’m old and don’t follow professional riding anymore, is this a Norbs-Got-Robbed type thing?

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+4 Lacy Kemp Mark Andrew Major Tim Coleman

he didn't get robbed....  judging was on point.  Bearclaw was robbed in 2006 (guess) for spinning the road gap and not winning.

Reply

lacykemp
Lacy Kemp
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yes. This. Claw's run in whatever year that was blew minds.
This year I think the right winner was selected, but Lemonie definitely won the people's choice for his huck.

Reply

Cheez1ts
Garrett Thibault
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Tremeer023 ohio
syncro
Mark
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

lol - I remember doing that the first year they had the box. I boosted it a bit too much and accidentally gapped it. Didn't land it but didn't break my ankles either. Good times. I was riding with Zed that day old skool nsmb

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+7 pedalhound amsfante Metacomet yardrec Velocipedestrian DadStillRides Glenn Bergevin

If I can put in my own Maxxis tire request I'd like to see a 29 x 2.6" DHF MaxxGrip Exo tire.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Get in line! Hahahaha

Reply

gibspaulding
gibspaulding
1 month, 1 week ago
0

I was pretty stoked to be able to find they do make some maxxgrip exo+ tires.  I just got an assegai to pair with a dual compound double down aggressor.  We'll see how the balance works out, but I'm hoping it's a good mix of traction and longevity for me.  The aggressor gets some hate, but my last dc/dd aggressor was on it's third rim when it finally died, so I'll forgive it's failings.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+5 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major mnihiser Zero-cool Stephen Hawkes

It's funny how most of these "wants" are for your kid, although it makes perfect sense.

I'm also keen on more min/max-able drive trains, specifically derailleur/shifter combos. I recently pulled the trigger on "downgrading" my 12spd to 11, because I find the finer index a little finicky when things get a bit bent out of shape. Also not a huge fan of monstrous 50/52t rings if I can avoid them. Found Deore 11spd derailleurs for $69 (bought 2), and matched that with an XT shifter and Sunrace 11-46 steel cassette. It'll all work fine with my 11/12spd Sram steel ring (now 30t from 32t) and existing cranks. Was quite pleased with myself.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mammal

Good move. 11 speed is my go to and I've got some even cheaper 10 speed drivetrain bits to try next. If you aren't super picky there are a lot of great options waiting for you away from the bleeding edge of drivetrains.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

The 12spd NX group on the bike I bought in 2020 is the closest I've gotten to the "bleeding edge of drivetrains" since 9spd. Even then, the derailleur/shifter got switched to Shimano. 

Aside from that new bike, I was happily plugging along with 10spd for a decade for the suspension bike. The 2018 hardtail got an11spd SLX group, which is equally as durable and reliable as the 10spd stuff was.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mammal

To be fair, only the tire is a want for my kid. She’s got great pedals, Canfield cranks, and mid-‘00s SRAM X0 shifting. 

And, how sweet would clutched-Alivio be? With a Aeffect crank with Cinch rings down to, I think, 24t for max options.

And, Canfield cranks are technically for adults who want a shortened stance. 

And, the setback post head is for me if I want to keep reviewing bikes.

But okay, other kids would be winning if this stuff actually existed. Adults have it pretty great already.

Reply

danithemechanic
danithemechanic
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+2 GB Velocipedestrian

So Andrew, why do you think this industry always goes for "the absolute best" rather than a wide array of options? 

I came to the conclusion the "performance" mtb side of the industry isn't big enough to keep on offering all the options through time, but then why not supporting older technologies to keep those options alive without producing them?

In my quest for a new bike after my Carve i've bought two really different bikes, checked countless online, from all the most obscure brands, and only a one digit percent would offer me something i would be happy to pay full retail on.

I mean it's 2022 and i struggle to buy a 27 wheeled, non carbon, under 450 reach, under 1200 wb, 65ish hta, size M bike.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

I truly believe in a sea of ‘the same’ there’s great potential in owning a niche. Maybe I have to as I continue to beat the drum for 27+/29+ tire and rim options? And alt-sweep bar options… or maybe I’d run any component company I could take the reins of into the ground making different bar sweeps no one wants? And boxes of offset saddle clamps… 

The clear secret for those who want to ride dual 27” wheels is to buy a mullet and either over-fork it or add an extended lower headset cup, or run it as a mullet (mullets are rad).

Reply

stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 danithemechanic

Or just buy a Ragley or Nukeproof (assuming you meant hardtail)

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Steven Hambleton

I’m assuming Dan is talking full suspension bikes to replace his MDE Carve.

Reply

danithemechanic
danithemechanic
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Wich i already did (Ragley Piglet) and i do find amazing the number of hardtails that still offer a "classic" geo and external cables routing.

Unfortunately the hardtail doesn't cut it for me here in the alps.

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Andy Eunson

I’ve been riding a Kona honzo esd around with a trailer for my kid during the week and smashing trails with it on the weekend, and I have been thinking the exact same thing about a setback seatpost. The saddle position is pretty good for winching up the hill, but a slight setback would make it so much more comfortable on the flats. I’d even pay a bit more for an anomoly switch grade-like design that changes the setback with a locking switch.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+2 AndrewR Andrew Major

9point8 does sell a dropper with a 1" setback head option. I would love for there to be more options like that. I'm always worried 9point8 will stop making it.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+3 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major taprider

I was going to offer the 9point8 option also. I don't think they'll stop making it and 9point8 has to appeal to the AM min-max full service at home in less than 45 minutes and for under $60 mind set.

It is the best non AXS dropper I have ever used (and to be fair it has a less abrupt action, which is tuneable with air pressure, than the AXS Reverb but I just cannot say no to no cable/ hose and ease of removal to let the frame dry out internally properly after wet rides).

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Andy Eunson yardrec

I think you underestimate the power of Saint Murphy. It seems anytime I find something really great it soon gets discontinued or "new & improved" in such a ways as to render it useless to me. It's almost like it's a law of nature! ;-)

Reply

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+2 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major

Well let's hope that is not the case for 9point8. I think they do enough volume to stay profitable with no desire to dominate market share. 

I have had one clamp failure (weakness in the aluminium) across seven years of using up to three posts. I will always keep one on hand as a spare as despite my Reverbs being trouble free there is something inherently untrustworthy about something that relies on electronics to work.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

I think my best example of this is the Sombrio shorts every female rider I know had at least two pairs of. It would have been maybe even 15 years ago for peak ownership. Turns out they should have all bought a lifetime supply? Because so many still talk about them as the pinnacle of fit/comfort/style.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I was smart enough to buy several pairs of the RF Stage shorts when they had the longer inseam. They of course had to "improve" them by making the inseam shorter. **sigh** Given how many months of the year I am riding in MTB pants now I probably have a lifetime supply of these shorts so I can rest easy. ;-)

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Especially it seems with footwear. If you find something you really like do as Steven He’s father says, get 5.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

I love that it’s fully serviceable and you can buy all the pats. 

It does have a lot going on and take more effort to rebuild compared to the BikeYoke Revive / Manitou Jack, which is my winner for best overall post (though I do love my Wintek/cartridge min-max setups as noted).

I’m biased because I can’t un-see that 9point8 went through a period where the posts had issues and customers were not stoked about it. But I’d give them another chance is a review opportunity came along.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

They do, absolutely, it’s apparently not reversible and apparently only fits their post (things I haven’t confirmed) and their most is a niche-product but I still probably should have mentioned it. 

My context is things we would have seen in a booth in Crankworx. As with the sweet SLACK-R headset system, I’d love to see them bring offset clamps that fit other posts to market. Clearly they’re currently the only brand seeing the demand.

I keep thinking we’ll see it on the gravel/ road side first where fit is much more exact.

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

These folks seem to have the right idea, but it’s reverb only. (For now?) https://www.fairbicycle.com/product-page/drop-best

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Cool; thanks for sharing. Next time I have a Reverb apart I'll see if any of the other clamps I have around fit.

Reply

alexdi
Alex D
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andy Eunson Andrew Major

I'd love to see interchangeable setback/forward dropper heads. Setback for the new crop of trail bikes that assume you're never pedaling on flat terrain, and set-forward for giraffes on older platforms with slack seat tubes. I'm literally shopping for a replacement saddle now not based on how it'll fit, but on the length of the saddle rails.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Exactly. And the mor me folks I talk to the more I think this is a simple product that would sell. Especially if your Groad and mountain dropper models share a clamp system.

Reply

AndyJK
Andy Krull
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I thought the same thing about kids cranks as I walked past the RF booth in Whistler.  How are short cranks not sold by them?  I mean, even 24mm axle is fine!  Make it 150mm/155mm & cinch. 

My son bent a 155mm GX crank this summer and the replacement options were few!  Canfield was one option, but I bought the Spawn 24mm 160mm set with a 32T ring; longer than I wanted as he's only 1.45M tall.  Trailcraft is another option, but they are very light wieght; I'd rather not subject them to too much Whitler jumping.

Reply

AndyJK
Andy Krull
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Also, Schwalbe offers some nice 24" options too.  My kids have used them through the wet winter just fine (both rocket rons for light wieght pedalling trails & Hans Dampf for park and wet).

Wait till you move up to 26" options. Things are hard to find; mail order FTW...  Consider XS 27.5?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 GB

26” is going to be even tougher for me because I’m very insistent I want to run a Plus setup. Might start with 27+ front with 26x2.4” rear? Schwalbe has a good range of 26” rubber and 27+ rubber still. 

I’m impressed you managed to find the 24” Big Betty. I understood it to be vapourware. That tire in Addix Soft would be interesting. Still not MaxxGrip though for the truly ‘Shore’ months.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

I got my hands on a 26x2.4 Betty for this coming winter, should be a good rear tire but I won't know til the rain falls.

There is (or was?) a 26x2.6 Magic Mary in ultra soft. That might be the most grippy+voluminous 26er there is right now. It's real heavy though - DH casing.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Alright, so the Butcher 27x2.6 is especially not a Plus, but I'll be running that up front with the 26x2.4 Betty rear. Should be able to roughly extrapolate how 27+/26 goes.

The opinion I'm developing is that an appropriately similar level of grip is much more important than matching volumes or diameters. And, a 26" rear wheel is pretty fun if it works with the frame geo.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

2.6" is not Plus, but if there was a 26x2.6" Betty that would be a winner. There's a 26x3" Surly Dirt Wizard. It's not lightweight either and rims are a challenge.

Thankfully, these are all just academic experiments for at least another season and probably two.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

No, it's not Plus but it's really close to Maxxis' idea of a 2.8... 27+ will certainly be the way to go for a tire that's lighter than the DW

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt

Yeah, I don’t want to spoil the potential project as it’s not go ahead. My concern is 27+ is just quite a bit larger than 26 but 26+ is closer to 27 if that makes sense. Trying for the next logical size from 24”. Maybe 27+ front / 27 rear for a sort of mullet.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Looking at all those options I thought/think the Canfield was the best bet. Aeffect / R are 24mm as well. Where I think they’d win is greater/easier availability. I also like Cinch.

Reply

UFO
UFO
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Kids cranks should be even shorter IMO. I moved a set of OE 135mm gxp cranks that use a 104 bcd that came with my younger kid's 20" Norco to my older kids 24" hardtail and it's about right; I fitted some 115mm square taper cranks onto the 20" bike instead. Previously, she was using 152mm Suntour cranks with their own proprietary ring mounting standard which worked ok for us. But the 135mm cranks certainly look like the better fit vs. the 152mm. The 152 cranks have moved over to her FS bike which she isn't full grown into yet, and I've got a set of those same Suntour cranks in 160 as well when she's ready.

Reply

Kelownakona
Kelownakona
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 DancingWithMyself

You prefer the composite One Ups to alu? 

Wow. I found the the comps uncomfortable with the massive axle bulge and also lacking in grip in comparison to the originals.

If they were doing a kids pedal they would also need to shave about 3 metres off the pin lengths!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

“massive axle bulge” had me chuckling. That might be the most mountain-biker thing I’ve read in a while. Even before pedaling changed for me I didn’t notice the little bump underfoot. Definitely do note the convex shape though.

I know heaps of folks who ride these pedals and prefer the composite over the aluminum and specifically note mor grip thanks to the pins. I’ve never heard anyone complain about the bump on OneUps before now. But yeah, it’s a good thing there are so many pedal shape options for adults.

Why would they need shorter pins for kids? It’s not like kids have proportionally thinner and more flexible shoe soles.

Reply

zombo
Zombo
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Kelownakona

Could be a personal technique thing but the composite one ups had dangerously low levels of grip in the rough stuff for me.  My foot would get bounced off in fast, rooty sections.  I've never had that issue with any other pedals.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
-1 finbarr Kelownakona bananowy

May I ask what shoe(s) you were using? Would I be correct that you pedal very much with the ball of your foot over the axle and your usual favourite pedals are the opposite shape (concave not convex)?

Do you have friends who use the OneUp and like it? 

I’ve never had notable grip issues (they’re sharp pins) but they were far from my favourite shape (see NSB Daemon) until coming back from my injury.

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zombo
Zombo
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major bananowy

I use freerider pros and I would say the axle is a little behind the ball of my foot.  I was using an old busted up pair of nukeproof horizons with missing pins and as soon as I switched to the oneup composites i started getting bounced.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks! It’s very helpful as I’m always trying to understand different riders different preferences.

mrkdwrds
mrkdwrds
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Kelownakona

I have composite OneUp pedals on my hardtail and aluminum OneUp pedals on my G1 and definitely find that the aluminum ones have more grip, although I like the way that the composite pedals make rock strikes much less jarring.

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doodersonmcbroseph
doodersonmcbroseph
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

If you are looking for this kind of data: I also traded off my composite oneups for concave pedals.

I tried a friends aluminum one ups too which felt better but not great.

I ride ball of the foot and wear regular non-bike specific etnies. I prefer to keep the shoe/pedal feel consitent with how my bmx feels.

note: My bmx also has concave pedals and they are composite. 

Also I really liked the Chromag Synths although I removed the washers from the front and rear rows of pins to make them sit up higher for maximum concavity :)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Cheers, this was exactly me before my injury. I love the NSB Daemon (buy silver, amortize over forever?) but the Synth is a clear min-max winner.

Since my injury, my foot sits significantly further forward on the pedals and the convex or flat shape works better for me. Some folks have pointed out that as my strength improves I may end up back where I've pedaled for the past two decades so it will be interesting to see if this is a moment in time thing.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

Out of curiosity, what shoes do you run? Some folks I’ve talked to who ride/rode BMX seem to prefer something softer-soled and less grippy to the mountain bike standard kit Freerider Pro or equivalent.

Kelownakona
Kelownakona
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 bananowy

Having gashed my shin on them pretty badly  it was merely a joke from a safety point of view as comparitively they have pretty aggressive pins. Probably due to the lack of grip from the design they need longer pins.

Each to their own but there's also a stack of people who wouldnt touch the composites over the alu

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
-2 Kelownakona bananowy

Working in shops, there are a lot of folks who won’t buy composite pedals because they’re plastic. Moving away from OneUp, a better example is probably the WahWah2 since the shapes are the same. 

The pins are certainly sharper on the composite simply down to the pin & nut design v. threading an aluminum body, so if max grip is the order of the day (not necessarily everyone’s preference) the composite would be the winning product. 

Most people I know who use them choose aluminum because it’s metal.

———

Anyway, it’s a curiosity for me - hence my interest in shoes and foot position - because there are very few products I can think of where the manufacturer isn’t a factor (both OneUp - so brand loyalty isn’t an issue) and the shapes of the product are roughly the same (not about concave vs flat vs convex or platform size) and people feel strongly that one option is better than the other for the same reason.

Clearly some folks think the resin option offers better shoe retention and some folks vote aluminum and they’ve tried both. It’s interesting.

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Kelownakona
Kelownakona
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 bananowy

Fair enough but just talking 'composite' I've used DMR (V11 & V6) , Nukeproof [Horizon and Electron] , HT , One Up, Race Face ...

One Up Alu are among the best I've used. Their composite among the worst.

I get everyone has preferences but your tone is a bit preachy.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

"your tone is a bit preachy."

That's certainly never my intention. I only speak and write from my experience and perspective and I'm genuinely curious about other folks' experiences and perspectives.

Cheers,

DogVet
Hugo Williamson
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Try some Burgtec composites, I have ridden them for about 4 years now, with 5/10 rubber, seem to work well.

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Bikeryder85
Bikeryder85
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Maxxgrip 20" tires...one can dream! By the time something like that is out my grom will probably be on 24" (or 26"...kids grow like weeds!). I appreciate this bringing it to light tho...good tires are very important and companies don't seem to think kids need them.

I don't know about you Andrew....but my kid scares me sometimes with how she rides...very fast and skilled compared to where my friends and I were in our early teens (granted, that was the 90's).

As for the *ahem* "niche" for companies to own...one can always dream! We are riding adult LEGO after all...don't give up the fight! Hahaha

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Certainly I occasionally have to remind myself that my kid is a person and in the best time of her life (made of rubber) to learn to make her own risk assessments.

She has WAY better equipment and opportunities to ride than I did until I was at least mid-twenties so I’ve always accepted she would be way better than me (just maybe not how soon that would happen).

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tdmsurfguy
tdmsurfguy
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Andrew, my 11 year old has liked her Ride Concepts Vice DJ shoes. Grippy soles but enough flex too. She’s a hell of a skater and has been using them for skateboarding as well. I wish RC made a smaller version of the Vice for my six year old.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
0

The Ride Concepts kids' shoes look great. They would have been on my list if they made smaller sizes. Cheers!

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DanL
DanL
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

What surprised me out of all the coverage on the Crankworx trade fair was everyone missing the FSA cranks. There was a lot of "ooh aaah" on that rainbow crossover stem they had, but I was impressed with their modular crankset that allowed for swappable chainline/q-factor setups.
So it would be possible to move between 142, 148 and 157 chainlines through swapping around spacers. Time will tell if the setup will be hard wearing but I thought that at least a company thinking about that kind of thing was forward thinking that I didn't really see anywhere else.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 DanL

I'm certain they were showing that same system at Crankworx in 2019. With most 1x cranksets you can buy rings with different offsets and chainrings are a wear item. If clearance is an issue (it is with some Super Boost setups) you can swap the axles on some cranksets (Race Face) to change Q-factor. 

I guess it does lower the SKU count for FSA stocking cranks and potentially could as well for manufacturers like Devinci who make Super Boost and Boost bikes.

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DanL
DanL
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Ah, the rep introduced it as their new tech. There was no axle swapping at all with this system, it was all based on moving spacers back and forth so no new parts needed (bar things wearing out). To me, it was more interesting than an anodised rainbow stem.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 DanL

The system they're currently selling was launched in 2016 and just involved swapping a spacer to either side of a chainring (instead of swapping chainrings) to change offset. Then they added an axle swap in order to get to the Super Boost chainline. 

But I'm positive that at Crankworx in 2019 they were showing a system that just used spacer swaps to do the same. I didn't keep any photos or put it in my sweating the small stuff pieces though so we're just going on my memory.

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DanL
DanL
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

brilliant, thank you for your en-cyclo-peadic knowledge

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 DanL

Ha. More like a bicycling gear fever-dream most of the time.

jt
JT
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

I can understand the req's for all the kids' sized products, but the cranks had me going YUP! Decided to go 160 on my new bike since rock strikes were happening with alarming (and a couple times pedal killing) frequency. After hunting for 165s (Covid supply issues being what they are) I decided to take it shorter and picked up the Canfields. That lead to another issue, finding a reasonably priced 30t 0 offset chainring. Ended up going with an oval ring as that's what I could find sub $60 (glad I did though. I'm officially an oval convert nerd). All that's to say a 160 or shorter crank from a larger player using a more standard offset would make life a heckuvalot easier. I do recognize that many 'adult sized' people won't share the want for shorties, but for those of us that do we would be hella stoked. I'd love to switch the Turbine arms on my hardtail with its 83mm shell without having to replace the crank & BB.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Do you ride flat pedals? I'm an oval convert nerd on my single speed. Less so on a multi-speed bike. Less so on a full suspension bike, and even less so clipped in, so I'm always curious.

I think the NSBillet rings are a solid value, but no oval option. 

And yeah, I think you could have two separate marketing campaigns - Aeffect R cranks for riders looking to try shorter arms | Aeffect R cranks for kids. Same setups just different chainrings most likely.

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lacykemp
Lacy Kemp
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Weird. Crankworx felt so untradeshow like to me, and that's a good thing. Maybe no one looked past what SRAM's booth had... it was a tradeshow in and of itself. But otherwise, it felt like a social gathering of old friends. I was there every day for 5 straight days and never got dulled by a tradeshow vibe. Instead, it was like a rebirth into fun bike events: lots of great people watching, lots of riding, lots of hiding open containers, and lots of catching up with life that we've been numb to the past 3 years.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

This is strictly intended as a piece about gear, as was the trade show reference. As noted at the top, I wasn’t there in terms commenting on any vibe.

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stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Did anyone ask SRAM if they're looking to update their joke of a groupset, 12sp SX, or the joke fork, the 35?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

SX was significantly and quietly improved when they ditched the plastic derailleur construction. As long as you get a setup with a DUB BB it’s even rideable. Still not recommended when there are much better choices like Deore or MicroShift that hit at lower prices but at least it’s not complete trash.

I think the 35 is okay decent for the price point. I have quite a few hours on one. What do you prefer in the price territory?

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stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I'm riding a Zeron fork which amazingly cropped up on Facebook Marketplace not long after it was reviewed here! It's amazingly plush but Suntour doesn't come with the brand cachet that Rockshox does so manufacturers go with the 35. I'd probably prefer an Aion or Auron over the 35 in that price bracket, maybe even a Marzocchi Z2?

Also I wonder if it's really that much more expensive to spec a Yari or Revelation at the OEM level?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
+1 mnihiser

Yeah, there are fantastic deals to be had on take-off SR forks. Any of the models you’ve listed I’ve seen cheap-as and they’re good.

OE it’s not as easy math wise. Especially because RockShox has brand cachet when folks walk in (no education needed), as you noted.

I’m a big fan of SR forks.

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eh-steve
Stephen Hawkes
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

So if the sx derailleur is no longer plastic what's the difference between it and the nx mech?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Noting that NX isn’t my first choice on any budget and until GX I’m always two thumbs up in for a Shimano or MS rig, it’s still the same SX derailleur just with the plastic knuckle that broke if you stared at it replaced with an aluminum knuckle that breaks far less frequently and only if you stare at it really hard.

The shifting is still totally ‘meh’ although the 1-2 up shift is more consistent thanks to the stiffer package. 

The real problem I think - now that the plastic derailleur is semi-sorted - with SX is asking it to precisely shift 12 gears. In my experience even NX is much better as an 8 or 9 speed platform.

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eh-steve
Stephen Hawkes
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

I've never ridden sx, was curious if they were just badge engineering sx since it's OEM "only" (depending if you are willing to buy a mediocre drivetrain with no warranty and the serial numbers scratched off).

I've also only experienced full nx as 11 speed and it seemed fine one the demo (similar to Shimano 11 speed, though lighter shifter feel).

Next drivetrain is likely going to be slx with an xt shifter. Hopefully it's lower maintenance than gx eagle. Gx has never failed me but only seems to want to shift perfectly for a couple rides before it demands more attention.

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alexdi
Alex D
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

The most recent NX 12 isn't bad in shifting performance (at least within the 300 miles of use my group had), but the cassette is a boat anchor. You can feel the windup whenever you stop pedaling. On my bike, the turbulence would cause the chain to jump the smallest sprocket and wedge against the chainstay, damaging the frame and locking the pedals. This happened at least once per ride regardless of how I adjusted the RD's high limit. Swapped in XX1/11 and this problem disappeared.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

@AlexD, so same cassette/hub (same ind up) but a higher end derailleur solved the issue? Very interesting.

Massive cassette with low-engagement hub always bugs me with the thunk as the system locks into gear. It’s really obvious with heavy/budget 12-spd cassettes.

alexdi
Alex D
4 weeks, 1 day ago
0

> so same cassette/hub (same ind up) but a higher end derailleur solved the issue? 

This swap included the 265g XX1/11 cassette and a new wheelset based on Bitex 211 (54 POE, relative to 20-odd on the three-pawl DT Giant hub on the other wheelset). I don't think the hub was a factor in the chain issue, but the cassette weight definitely was.

TDD
TDD
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

Hi Andrew,

re: obtaining more setback, have you considered using a Selle SMP saddle?

The way that many are designed, there are two features that result in having much more effective set-back relative to a normal saddle.
1. The widest point of the saddles are positioned such that if the tip of the saddle is positioned the same distance behind the BB as a typical saddle, one will sit ~10-15mm further back (the linked article from Steve Hogg describes this well)
2. AND
3. The saddles have LONG rails, which go a LONG way forward, so one can position the saddle even further back

Here are the links to tell you everything you need to know:

Regarding which model might suit you: these will help, as well as the Hogg and Pearce articles

Their saddles are not cheap, but are build to last, using real leather...which smells magnificent!!

…and here’s one review which hits of all the high points.
https://bikerumor.com/review-selle-smp-avant-saddle-is-odd-on-looks-big-on-comfort/

...and demo saddles should be available in a big city like Van

Hope this helps, Richard.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 2 weeks ago
0

I have not considered a Selle SMP. I don’t personally consider the shape body-English friendly for technical mountain bike trails and in a road/commuter application there are a lot of saddles that work much better for me, so it’s not something that would generally come to mind.

That said, I’ve sold a fair few SMP saddles working in shops - often as a saddle of last resort after customers tried everything we had on hand - and I understand why some folks are evangelical about them. If a product ‘saves’ cycling for you that’s a great product, for you.

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