VIDEO | Nicolas Vouilloz Tests SRAM Enduro Wheels in Peillon

Nico Vouilloz counts 10 World Champion titles and five World Cup wins to his credit, making him one of the most decorated downhill mountain bikers in the world. He’s also a rally car champion, but now Nico has his sights on the inaugural Enduro World Series season. Rising to popularity due to embracing an all-mountain riding style, enduro racing requires equipment light enough for the ups but tough enough for the downs—a stark contrast to the extreme specialized setups of cross-country or downhill specific bikes and equipment. Here, Nico puts SRAM‘s new mountain wheels through the ringer in Peillon, France, as he gets them dialed for enduro in this, “The Relentless Pursuit of Balance.”

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VIDEO | Fabien Barel Presents: Season 2 Trailer

Mavic‘s own Fabien Barel is back for another season of “Fabien Barel Presents.” Debuting in June, Season 2 will follow Fabien as he delves tread first into the trails, culture and food of diverse destinations such as Scotland and Sicily alongside the likes of Jerome Clementz and Joe Barnes. Be jealous and enjoy the trailer.

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VIDEO | 2013 Fox Head Gear Tested by Kirt Voreis and Tyler McCaul in Bend, OR

Check out Fox Head athletes Kirt Voreis and Tyler McCaul ripping trail bikes on some sublime singletrack in Bend, OR as they put the 2013 Fox Head all-mountain and trail gear through its paces with some exhaustive R&D.

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ENTER TO WIN | ONE Industries Gamma Helmet and Autographed Atherton Racing Jersey

ENTER TO WIN | ONE Industries Gamma Helmet and Autographed Atherton Racing Jersey

To celebrate our Spring Apparel Sale and the all-new Price Point, we are giving away a Gamma TXT1 Helmet and autographed Atherton Racing Team jersey from ONE Industries.

 ENTER TO WIN

No purchase necessary. Full rules and regulations at PricePoint.com.

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GETTING SOME AIR | FOX Introduces Float 40 and Float X CTD, Revamps 34 Talas for 2014

Mick Hannah sends it aboard FOX RAD prototypes in Leogang, 2012. Photo by Thomas Dietze

Mick Hannah sends it aboard FOX RAD prototypes in Leogang, 2012. Photo by Thomas Dietze

FOX has unleashed a slew of new air shocks, fueled by the recent trend of enduro racing. Prototypes have spent considerable time under racers in enduro formats—a perfect testing ground for products aimed at everyday all-mountain riders as well as racers, FOX says. But perhaps more surprisingly, the mid-travel all-mountain market isn’t the only segment getting some air.

Float 40 FIT RC2

All tech aside, what really matters is that the graphics now wrap diagonally, just like the pros.

All tech aside, what really matters is that the graphics now wrap diagonally, just like the pros.                           Photo by Jon Ho

Gravity riders have long sung the praises of coil-sprung suspension—plush and active, weight be damned.

But FOX has unveiled a completely redesigned air-sprung version of its popular 8-inch dual-crown 40—which has gone largely unchanged since 2005—throwing convention out the window, along with the coils.

The general consensus from FOX racers seemed to be in favor of a more progressive fork. This, along with an eye on weight, tunability and stiffness, drove the development phase and several RAD (Racing Application Development) prototypes have been spotted over the past two years leading to quite a bit of speculation. FOX tried several new designs, including inverted forks with 36-millimeter stanchions and a pneumatic-assisted coil spring, which added a more progressive spring rate, but did nothing to shave weight. It also lacked the tunability racers wanted. They all wound up in the scrap heap.

FOX is building and stockpiling race-winning state-of-the-art air-sprung weaponry. Photo by Thomas Dietze

FOX is building and stockpiling race-winning Kashima-coated air-sprung weaponry. Photo by Thomas Dietze

As counter-intuitive as it may seem to most, FOX settled on an air spring for its new gravity fork. Spring rate is adjustable via shock pump from 45 to 80 psi, and is designed to be linear early the travel and ramp up toward the end, providing the progressive feel racers wanted. The RC2 damper is all-new with a Kashima-coated shaft—yes, on the inside where you’ll never get to oggle it—and lacks bottom out, thanks to the air spring. Compression ratio is internally adjustable via an allen key thanks to a new nine-position compression piston.

The lowers are entirely new as well, reshaped with materially used sparingly when possible and beefed up where necessary, like near the brake mounts.

The net result is that the Float 40 FIT RC2 is a full 1.15 pounds lighter—and intentionally less stiff—than its predecessor.

It is perhaps the latter that requires some explanation.

“When we did our chassis study, which included an inverted fork design, our athletes preferred a chassis with slightly less torsional stiffness than the previous 40,” Mark Jordan, FOX global marketing and communications manager, told The Link. “They liked how it tracked and how it felt at the handlebars.”

It turns out that having less torsional stiffness kept traction better in turns, but where test riders wanted to keep the ultra-stiff characteristics of the previous 40 was in fore-aft flex, or lack thereof.

Bleed ports allow equalization of internal pressure at altitude, and new arch design saves weight and adds torsional compliance. Photo by Thomas Dietze

Air-bleed ports allow equalization of internal pressure at altitude, and a new arch design saves weight and adds torsional compliance. Photo by Thomas Dietze

Other nifty features include the pinch bolts on the crown being moved to the front to reduce frame bump when the bars are turned and an air-bleed system to allow riders to painlessly equalize internal pressure at altitude; no more “burping” forks with zip-ties, potentially scratching stanchions and ruining seals in the process.

“Much like a moto fork, the large size of the 40 makes big elevation and temperature changes affect it more,” said Jordan. “Relieving the internal pressure in the lower legs helps lessen the seal pressure on the upper tube and it makes a big difference on the 40 due to its size and travel.”

Expect a mid-season release of a 27.5-inch version as well.

Float X CTD Rear Shock

The Float X CTD replaces the DHX Air in the FOX lineup. Photo by Jon Ho

The Float X CTD replaces the DHX Air in the FOX lineup. Photo by Jon Ho

As for the enduro/all-mountain goodies mentioned earlier, the Float X CTD rear shock seems to be stealing the show since a prototype was spotted back in January on FOX race program manager Mark Fitzsimmons’ bike and he confirmed it was aimed at the enduro segment.

The Float X CTD replaces the DHX Air in the FOX lineup, adopting the CTD technology in lieu of the Boost Valve and Pro Pedal, allowing for greater tunability. In addition to the Climb, Trail and Descend modes, Trail mode features three different low-speed compression adjustments. After taking notes from riders on 2013 product, FOX has stated that CTD across the board is retuned for 2014 for more midstroke damping and a firmer climb mode, and the Float X is no exception. Rebound adjustment remains unchanged.

Aaron Gwin won the Sea Otter Classic downhill aboard a Specialized Enduro 29 equipped with a FOX Float X CTD. Photo by Thomas Dietze

Aaron Gwin launches a Float X CTD-equipped Specialized Enduro 29 to victory in the Sea Otter Classic downhill. Photo by Thomas Dietze

“The Float X is a completely new shock and was designed to cater to modern trail, all-mountain and freeride bikes, so it’s a big update from the DHX Air,” said Jordan. “We wanted to produce a reservoir shock that could handle rugged terrain while offering the on-the-fly adjustments of the CTD system. So Float X offers easier tuning, great damping performance and the benefits of the CTD system.”

With enduro racing driving development, FOX knew a lighter, more pedal-friendly platform was desired that could still remain consistent on rough, extended downhills.

The latter is accomplished with the piggyback reservoir, much like the DHX Air, meaning increased oil and flow for a more consistent feel as the shock heats up during rough rides. But the Float X is an entirely new design that also sees trickle-down features from the new DHX RC4 coil shock, like better damping and lower internal pressures for better small-bump sensitivity.

The ups will be a little easier thanks to the aforementioned stiffer Climb mode and better midstroke damping in Trail mode. The fact that the Float X sheds 70 grams from the outgoing DHX Air doesn’t hurt either; an 8.5-inch by 2.5-inch Float X only weighs 365 grams.

The Float X is the only CTD rear shock that can be converted to accept a remote if it was not originally set up as such.

34 TALAS CTD

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The new TALAS features a drop-in cartridge that can be retrofitted to convert older FOX forks. Photo by Thomas Dietze

The TALAS forks also see a makeover, with the 34 160-millimeter model taking center stage. While the TALAS has been popular for some time due to its ability to reduce the travel—and front end height—for climbing, critics always pointed out that it never seemed quite as plush or stiction free as the FLOAT models. Internally, it had many more seals than the FLOAT. According to FOX, that’s all changed.

“The new TALAS system uses an air spring design that is similar to FLOAT with an inline hydraulic travel adjuster,” Jordan told us about the simplified internals. “When TALAS was first released, the system changed travel by transferring air between chambers. The 2014 TALAS system uses fewer seals in the air spring, so has less friction and a more precise travel adjuster with the hydraulic system.”

On paper, it has a suspension curve that looks extremely close to the FLOAT.

The new system is also now a self-contained cartridge system that can also be purchased separately and retrofitted to update compatible late-model FOX forks—both air and coil.

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The new TALAS uses a self-contained cartridge system that can also be purchased separately and retrofitted to update compatible late-model FOX forks—both air and coil. Photo by Thomas Dietze

The new TALAS—along with all other CTD forks for 2014—has received more supportive mid-stroke damping in all three modes to reduce brake dive and prematurely blowing through the travel. Travel is now reduced by 30 millimeters instead of 40. The 34 TALAS will be available to fit both 26 and 27.5 (650b) bikes.

by Don Stefanovich 

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ENTER TO WIN | Fully Loaded CamelBak M.U.L.E.

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To celebrate the all-new Price Point, we are giving away a CamelBak M.U.L.E. hydration pack loaded with everything you need for the trail.

 ENTER TO WIN

No purchase necessary. Full rules and regulations at PricePoint.com.

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INSIDE SEA OTTER 2013 | Part 2

The Link, Price Point’s finger on the pulse of the bike industry, delves deeper into the depths of Laguna Seca to continue bringing you coverage of the coolest new bikeswag from the Sea Otter Classic.

Giro Chamber

Served up hot ‘n’ fresh, the Chamber marks Giro‘s first entry into the downhill realm. Developed with none other than Aaron Gwin, the Chamber combines casual skate style with super-sticky vibram rubber soles. Flat and clipless-ready varieties are available, with the latter featuring a super-stiff sole. They’ve also lost considerable weight since debuting at Interbike in prototype form. An internal bootie,  EVA foam footbeds, impact-absorbing Poron XRD heel cups and velcro strap enhance comfort and fit.

 

Continental 27.5-inch Tires

Continental 27.5

Photo by Don Stefanovich

The German tiremaker introduced 27.5 (650b) versions of four of its most popular mountain treads. The Trail King (our personal favorite), Mountain King, X-King and Race King have all adapted to the tweener size. Currently only existing in 2.4 widths, Continental says most of the tires should be available in a full size run for 2014.

 

Troy Lee Designs Sam Hill D3 and Fresh A1 Colors

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Troy Lee Designs released much anticipated colorways of two of its most popular helmets, the D3 and the all-mountain A1. The D3 sees a fresh splash of color for the Sam Hill Signature edition while the A1 gets both a new metallic treatment and even a version with a matte finish.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The matte finish covers one of the original A1 paint schemes, but creates a stark yet welcome contrast to its metallic-flake siblings.

 

Optrix Barfly

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The new Barfly mount from Optrix makes mounting the XD5 to your handlebars a simple and versatile affair. It can be mounted for POV action, or flipped to lay the phone in a flat “landscape” mode if you’d rather use apps and training functions. 

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Optrix also made sure no one forgot its waterproof dunkability.

 

Marzocchi 380 C2R2 Titanium Fork and Moto C2R Shock

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Marzocchi is replacing the 888 with the new 380 C2R2 Ti fork. Compatible with 26 and 27.5-inch wheels, the 200-millimeter 380 is a complete redesign with 38-mil stanchions, titanium spring, new arch and lowers, titanium pinch bolts, a hollowed-out axle and new internals. It trades in the open-bath design in favor of a “Dynamic Bleed Cartridge” inspired by the Italian company’s motocross forks, which it says will provide the plush, smooth feel of open bath with the consistency of a cartridge.  The DBC cartridge employs a one-way seal to let oil in. A spring-loaded piston acts a compensator; the piston moves up to make room as the damper cartridge fills with oil, and then back down to take up excess volume as oil exits the cartridge. Impressive—and it all weighs in at a tidy 6 pounds, 2 ounces.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The ROCO isn’t going anywhere just yet, but the C2R will be the top-of-the-line DH shock going forward. With an eye on weight, the body is machined down to a minimalist design, and the 14-millimeter shaft and shock eyelet have been precision machined from a single piece of aluminum, decreasing weight and increasing strength.

Marzocchi doesn’t find the compression boost necessary, but offers the C2R both with and without for riders wanting increased tunability and bottom out. It all tips the scales at just 369 grams without the spring.

 

Bell Super

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Bell claims the Super splits the difference between heavy-duty downhill coverage and cross-country comfort and breathability. While that’s just another way of saying this is an all-mountain/enduro helmet, it seems to hit the mark in both form and function—not to mention style. The Super is also designed to readily accept goggles with an adjustable visor and guides.

 

Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40C

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Creating what it felt was the perfect carbon clincher wasn’t easy, but Mavic found a simple yet elegant solution.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The French wheelmaker used aluminum inserts for increased strength and stiffness, giving the spokes a strong anchor point while keeping weight respectable at approximately 1,545 grams per pair.

 

Sock Guy Rainbows and Unicorns

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We think these socks speak for themselves.

 by Don Stefanovich 

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INSIDE SEA OTTER 2013 | Part 1

The Link goes on location at the Sea Otter Classic in the pits of Laguna Seca for a sneak peek at all the new bikeswag being unveiled.

Answer Gentlemen’s Collection Bars

Photo by Don Stefanovich

Classy as always, Answer proudly displayed its Gentlemen’s Collection of bars with dignified designs such as paisley, plaid and houndstooth. The bars are a manly 780 millimeters wide with 4-degree upsweep and 8-degree backsweep. The graphics for each bar are hand-laid ensuring no two are alike. The Gentlemen’s Collection features a military-grade anodized finish to ensure the bars don’t fade or scratch.

Answer Gentleman's Collection

Photo by Don Stefanovich

Further adding to the allure, Answer says these are limited edition, so once they’re gone, they’re gone.

 

Sun Ringlé 27.5-inch Wheels

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Sun Ringlé expands its wheel line with 27.5-inch (650b) offerings in both the Charger Pro SL all-mountain and—adding to the signs of changing times—A.D.D. downhill wheels. Both feature Stan’s NoTubes BST Technology.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The anodized hubs of the A.D.D. downhill wheels look as good as they sound.

 

Manitou 27.5-inch Forks

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Manitou‘s trail forks gets all-new lowers, graphics and are now available in 27.5-inch (650b) sizes to fit the emerging crop of middle-wheeled bikes.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Minute Pro and Marvel Pro are available with up to 140 millimeters of travel. Expect a 160-millimeter all-mountain fork with 34 millimeter stanchions in the near future.

 

Fox Head Rampage Pro Carbon

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Rampage Pro Carbon tops Fox Head‘s helmet lineup with carbon-fiber construction, 17 vents and tips the scales at only 1,145 grams.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Colors range from subtle to not so much. We spotted a few of these on the race courses already on pros and amateurs alike.

 

Race Face Narrow-Wide

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Race Face designed its Narrow-Wide chainrings to be run as single-ring setups and eliminate dropped chains and the need for chainguides. The name refers to alternating-width teeth similar to SRAM’s XX1 X-Sync. Narrow Wide will play nicely with while adding a touch of color to XX1 setups.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Rather than the ramps of traditional two and three-ring setups designed to drop chains for smoother shifting, the Narrow-Wide design holds onto chains with a Kung-Fu grip.

 

Crankbrothers Mallet DH

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

When Crankbrothers redesigned its popular mallet to be lighter, it resulted in slightly less platform real estate. Gravity riders lamented, so Crankbrothers introduced the Mattlet DH, featuring the refined internals of the new Mallets with a larger platform resembling the original design. They still come in at a respectable 470 grams per pair.

 

Zipp Wheels 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher

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The 202 Carbon Clincher is the lightest wheel in the Zipp lineup at a scant 1,375 grams per pair. Designed to combine aerodynamics with low weight, the 202 combines the 32-millimeter rim depth of its predecessor with a more aerodynamic Firecrest profile and now has a wider 25.4-millimeter max rim width, resulting in an impressive all-around road wheel.

 

Kenda Turnbull Canyon and Honey Badger Tires

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Developed with cross-country legend Tinker Juarez, the Kenda Turnbull Canyon tire is named for the Southern California trail network where Tinker is notorious for the self-inflicted torture of his training sessions. The XC/marathon tire will be available in 2.0 width in 26, 27.5 and 29-inch incarnations.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Honey Badger is Kenda‘s new do-it-all trail tire designed to grip as well on slimy Northwest roots as in the dry and loose of the Southwest while retaining fast-rolling characteristics. Climb all day? Descend some serious chunder? Like its namesake, the Honey Badger don’t care—as the letters stamped in the tread will remind you. Currently available in 2.2 widths for 26, 27.5 and 29-inch wheels, look for a 2.4 downhill Honey Badger soon.

 

Fox 34 TALAS CTD, Float X Rear Shock and Float 40

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

FOX displayed its new 34 TALAS CTD and Float X rear shock on the wildly popular Santa Cruz Bronson C, further iterating their intended all-mountain/enduro purpose.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

The Float 40 RC2 announces FOX’s commitment to air springs taking center stage in its gravity forks going forward. Completely revised lowers feature air-bleed valves and shave 1.15 pounds from the previous 40, resulting in a sub-6 pound dual-crown gravity fork—impressive.

FOX stopped by Price Point headquarters to give us an in-depth look, so be sure to stay tuned for a full review.

 

Shimano XTR Revisions

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Shimano overhauled its XTR brakes with magnesium calipers and carbon levers, dropping 40 grams per wheel and resulting in the company’s lightest hydraulic brakeset to date. The rotors see finned Freeza technology trickle-down from the 203-millimeter gravity realm where it debuted, to a full range of cross-country sizes, improving cooling and shaving weight.

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Photo by Don Stefanovich

Get your glue, kids. A new carbon tubular XTR 29er wheel also saw daylight for the first time in Laguna Seca.

 

Five Ten Freerider VXI

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The redesigned Contact Outsole of the Freerider VXI allows full pin contact for maximum grip, but lacks tread on strategic areas of the sole to allow repositioning without lifting the foot.

 

To be continued…

Stay tuned for continuing Sea Otter Classic coverage.

by Don Stefanovich 

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SHIMANO UNZEN HYDRATION PACK | Winner Announced

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Congratulations to Christopher Faille, winner of our Shimano Unzen Hydration Pack Sweepstakes.

Christopher wins a Shimano Unzen Hydration Pack valued over $100.

Stay tuned for your chance to win more #bikeswag from Price Point.


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MANITOU TOWER PRO 100 | Winner announced

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Congratulations to Gerald Willits, winner of our Manitou Tower Pro 100 Sweepstakes.

Gerald wins a  Manitou Tower Pro 100 29er fork valued at $550.

Stay tuned for your chance to win more #bikeswag from Price Point.


read our Blog like us on Facebook follow us on Twitter follow us on Instagram subscribe to our Youtube Channel
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