Crankworx 2019 Title 2.JPG

Sweating The Small Stuff At Crankworx 2019: Part 2

Photos Andrew Major

Micro Spline This.

This is unapologetically deep-nerd, but the beautiful people behind Onyx instant clutch hubs made my Crankworx by updating their hubs to hack the massive worldwide small parts support, and Micro Spline license, of top OE wheel provisioner DT Swiss. There's been a lot said about Shimano's 10t & e~bike friendly re-imagining of one of the oldest commonly used bicycle standards and, disregarding whether it is even necessary, the biggest cloud over the system has been the slow roll-out of manufacturing licenses.

That's not all that's new in the land of Micro Spline. There's a few wheels rolling around Crankworx running Shimano 12spd drivetrains from companies that don't currently list a Micro Spline option for their wheels.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (30).JPG

All you have to do is count to twelve...

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (29).JPG

...or, you know, read, to know at least one more Micro Spline licence is coming.

Speaking of Shimano 12-speed, as has been true for decades, any time Shimano launches a new standard, there's a scramble for the aftermarket to jump onboard with spare parts. Sometimes it's a case of simply supporting aftermarket replacement and other times it's ensuring compatibility with existing aftermarket parts. At Crankworx, Race Face joined Wolf Tooth in manufacturing 12-speed chainrings that are compatible with Shimano's new 12-speed chains so you can run your preferred Race Face cranks and get all the advantages of Shimano's new shifting system.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (32).JPG

Compatible only with Shimano's new 12-speed chains. Other 12-speed setups can use the existing Cinch rings.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (31).JPG

The rings are available in 30t, 32t, and 34t configurations. With the plethora of big travel 29'ers popping up don't be surprised to see them add a 28t.

Giant Tools

Paul from Giant Canada was on hand at the, actually, quite giant booth showcasing the brands new tool-storage solutions. This collection of tools is not Giant-specific and riders with any brand of bike could benefit from the magic of magnets.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (34).JPG

If you're going to put your friendly local Irishman out in the sun for days on end to talk about bike tools you'd better give him a Yuge Hat!

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (35).JPG

Giant is taking advantage of all the un-used orifices to stash tools on bikes. We'll test the various pieces over the winter and report back.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (33).JPG

The prong goes in one barend cap and the bacon-plugs go in the other. Both caps also have a small container for first-aid supplies.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (39).JPG

A combination multi-tool and chain breaker inside the crankarm spindle by a magnetic insert.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (40).JPG

Despite the dictated dimensions, the tools and chainbreaker all look to be good quality and very usable.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (37).JPG

No fork modifications required. This little doodad pops into the 1.5" bottom of a steerer tube and then holds the CO2 kit in place via magnets.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (38).JPG

Easy to remove when needed but guaranteed not to rattle free when pounding down aggressive DH trails.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (36).JPG

Versions are available with 25g and 16g CO2 cartridges. If in doubt then be sure to grab the 25g version.

Stashed tools will continue to be a growing market segment as most new bikes are able to carry at least one water bottle in an intelligent position and riders choose to just take along a small hip bag or go pack-less.

Game of Fenders

Scott Bikes has been doing some nifty bolt-on fenders for Fox single crown forks for a while now, and they've added a full length version for the Fox 40 as well. It's one of the clean pieces that makes me wonder A) why Fox doesn't sell their own fenders that screw into the fender holes on their lowers, and B) why every fork company doesn't have an equally clean looking fender. Kudos to SR Suntour for being an exception here and Manitou has recently joined on with a great looking full-fender for the Dorado. I've confirm that it is not structural and that no amount of begging will score a regular joey like myself an anodized blue upside down fork.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (41).JPG

This fender is for anyone who owns a Fox 40 and wants to keep mud out of their face.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (42).JPG

Quality looks great and feedback from the shorter single crown version is excellent.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (43).JPG

Manitou's new fork guard and fender combo looks tidy.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (44).JPG

Zac of SmithTech, who does work locally for Manitou/Hayes etc. has been testing the prototype and says it is dead silent. No release date yet.

I may not be able to get my hands on an anodized blue Dorado, but I do have new Mezzer in for testing. Look for a teardown wth Zac soon.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (45).JPG

Don't Panic. The new Mezzer fork still has my favourite Manitou feature - the hydraulic bottom out system. It's just set internally now.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (46).JPG

I'll have lots more information soon but for now I'll mention the new cable routing up the front of the fork those who don't want to purchase a new brake line to install the Mezzer.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (47).JPG

The arch routing is still an option for longtime Manitou fans who prefer to run their cables up the back and around.

One more quick hit on the subject of fenders. I'm curious why more companies aren't flairing out their downtube protectors like Commencal. I think it looks good and anything to keep the crud off that expensive rear shock is lovely.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (48).JPG

Replaceable down tube guard/linkage fender from Commencal. I haven't seen it in action but I suspect it helps.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (49).JPG

Fender from another angle. They almost get there with this info chart: bearing sizes too please!

Get Your Bearings

From watching the booth I'd say Scott's one-piece DH bar and stem is the main curiosity this year. They also have a pretty damn clean cable system that comes stock with every bike, and leaning against the wall was a road bike with no external cables. It's strangely attractive for a bike that has multiple gears and a drop bars. But, the real story, throughout the mountain bike lineup, isn't visible with a cursory inspection.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (53).JPG

AXS wireless shifting and fully internal brake lines make for an ultra clean look. Is this where boutique mountain bikes are headed?

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (54).JPG

This is the 'what about' bar. What about the ability to roll your bar to your preferred angle? What about replacing it after a crash? It does look nifty however.

The real news at Scott is that all their full suspension bikes are now using cartridge bearings at the pivot points. Just like when Rocky moved from bushings to pivots, this instantly makes the bikes more compelling. Their rigs are consistently among the lightest bikes in any category and the spec vs. tech vs. price is decent value so I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of these in the years to come.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (55).JPG

There are cartridge bearings in there...

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (56).JPG

and in there...

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (57).JPG

and in there!

Bonus Bits

Here are a few more thoughts before the third installment.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (50).JPG

I love seeing tire spec that reflects the intended use of the bike . Thank you Rocky Mountain.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (51).JPG

Who's having more fun? My tiny human is right at the weight/age limit so I may have to borrow a kid to try one of these.

Crankworx 2019 NSMB AndrewM (52).JPG

It's not the answer to all life's problems but a quick beer is a great excuse to take a load off.

Please don't forget to check out Part 1 live on Thanks!

Trending on NSMB


+8 Jason West mike Andrew Major Cr4w grambo JVP Mammal AlanB

Enjoying this series. Thanks!


+2 Mammal Dan

Cheers! One more piece to go.


+4 Andrew Major Timer Ben Mammal

Giant owe me money for the steerer tube stash. 

I've been running this ghetto for years.

Just get an old 35mm film cannister and tap it up the steerer tube upside down (bit of teflon tape helps seal it in) and the lid pops on and off nicely giving you a little pocket of storage for links/patch kit/ zip ties etc.


+4 Ben Cr4w AlanB Timer

You wouldn't believe how many times I've heard something to that effect this morning! Watch out everyone, the folks at Giant know where you stash your stuff. 


I'm genuinely shocked that no company has introduced a new 40mm front hub standard, 30-to-12mm step down rear axle standard, 50mm crank spindle standard, or straight 2" headtube standard in the name of increased on bike storage!



those are some slick tool integration solutions. pack eschewing me approves.


+2 Pete Roggeman aShogunNamedMarcus

Seriously? All my bikes (and two of the kids bikes) currently have 148/110 hubs and tapered steerers. Most of them have the same seat tubes. If I could sort out the BBs, it'd be the late 90's all over again (everything fits on everything). Don't let them take that away from me. 

Buying awesome forks and then giving them to my kid and buying another awesome fork is currently one of my favorite things to do.



Hmmm... thought I had sufficiently exaggerated that it would be obvious I was goofin'. Obviously, in this case, my retro-curmudgeon reputation does not precede me.


+2 Andrew Major ZigaK

Someone please hide this comment from the engineers at Cannondale...



C’mon I was joking! We don’t seriously think new component standards would be created just to stash more sh*t on our bikes...

...uhhhh, do we?!


+3 Andrew Major twk Pete Roggeman

If you don't nerd deep by bother to nerd at all? - Sir Isaac Newton I think



But can that Fox 40 mud guard fit a North Shore Rack?



I can't see why it wouldn't fit fine. I've had no issues running the long Mucky Nutz and SKS zip-on fenders with NSRs.



I'm really looking forward to the teardown and a review of the new Manitou Mezzer Pro fork.  What I'd like to know:

  1. Does it live up to it's marketing as the stiffest long travel single crown fork on market?
  2. How does the damper compare to the Fox 36 Grip 2, possibly the best damper (at least for big, aggressive riders) on the market?

I really love the control my Fox 36 Grip 2 provides, which is second to none of the other single crown forks I have ridden so far (although it is possibly a little harder on the hands and wrists than some other options when dialed in for this level of control).  What I do not love is the flex in the Fox 36 fork for a big guy like me. 

The Mezzer's marketing includes a graph of fork flex verses force (both torsional and fore-aft) that rings true for me at least as far as the Fox 36 and RS Lyrik are concerned.  It shows the Fox 36 being significantly more 'noodle-y' than the Lyrik (which is my experience as well) with the Mezzer being just a tiny bit stiffer than the Lyrik.  If this is true and the fork performance checks out, this could be my next fork.  (It would also be interesting to compare it to the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 since this seems to be another fairly strong / stiff option - which is not on Manitou's nice little graph).



Beyond saying it looks great and it's surprisingly lightweight I don't have any feedback on the Mezzer yet. Tearing it down the middle of next week and then onto the bike. The Mattoc Pro is one of my best damper experiences to date (particularly, I'd love to see every fork come equipped with a hydraulic bottom out) and I think Manitou's Dorado air system is fantastic so I have very high expectations. 

The Bomber Z1 is the Fox 36 e~bike chassis so it'll be notably stiffer than your 36.


+1 Andrew Major

My interweb research has recently revealed that Marzocchi Z1 uses the Fox Rhythm uppers, 6000 series aluminum and marginally smaller ID vs. the higher end 7000 series aluminum of the Performance and Factory lines. Fox ebike forks are supposedly 7000 series and significantly smaller ID vs. the non-ebike forks



Interesting. I haven’t opened either myself - just going off what I’ve been told. I’ll look into it further - Cheers!


Please log in to leave a comment.