Four Bar Linkage

January 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Frames

Four bar linkage suspension designs were developed to improve upon the downfalls of single pivot designs in terms of stiffness, as well as various other important factors. However these improvements often come with increased weight, and extra maintenance required due to the increased complexity.

‘Horst Link’ Design

The ‘Horst Link’ was developed by Horst Leitner and Karl Nicolai and first patented(a) in 1993. Several of the patented ideas were bought by one of the mountain biking industry giants, Specialized, between 1998-1999. The concept behind the ‘Horst Link’ was to reduce the change in effective chainstay length and hence chain growth. This is achieved by placing a pivot below and in front of the rear axle (as seen in Figure (a)). As a result of this pivot location, the rear axle is mounted on the effective seatstay of the linkage, and is no longer arcing around the mainframe pivot point like single pivot designs.

When calculated correctly this design can achieve a number of positive attributes, such as eliminating pedal kickback and any form of braking induced suspension reaction which are detrimental characteristics. However to achieve this, the axle path becomes less desirable, and so a compromise has to be made to get an optimal design.

‘Lawwill’ Design

A less commonly used four bar linkage design is the ‘Lawwill’ linkage developed by Mert Lawwill in Germany between 1992 and 1994 and patented in 1996(b). The concept of this design is the most advantageous of the basic four bar linkage designs in terms of axle path manipulation and brake isolation. Once again the axle is mounted on the second bar of the linkage; however that link is now much shorter and actuates the shock via a long seat stay mounted rocker as seen in Figure (b). The problem with this design is that, in order to achieve the desired strength, the linkage inherently uses a lot of material to get the desired stiffness characteristics from the extended rocker, and so the weight increases.

horst link design Four Bar Linkage

lawwill linkage Four Bar Linkage

faux bar suspension Four Bar Linkage

‘Faux Bar’ Design

The most basic four bar linkage design is the ‘Faux Bar’ design as seen in Figure (c) above. This is the suspension linkage design Banshee Bikes currently use for its large travel bikes. This linkage still has the axle mounted on a chainstay which is directly mounted to the mainframe via a pivot, exactly the same as a single pivot design, and so will have the same axle path characteristics. However the two extra links that act as an interface between the chainstay and the shock via the seat tube, in this example, make this design much more laterally stiff than a single pivot bike due to there being two frame mounted pivots as opposed to one. The rocker plates that actuate the suspension can be orientated in a variety of geometries and can actuate the shock in a number of different ways (as seen in Figure 3) and can offer more adjustability in terms of leverage ratios experienced by the shock.  Read more

Single Pivot Suspension Design

January 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Frames

A single pivot design is the simplest possible design for rear suspension system. Essentially this design consists of the rear axle being mounted into a swingarm which actuates a spring damper suspension unit (shock) via leverage on a single pivot. An example can be seen in the image below. This is the most basic and most commonly used suspension linkage available on the market and was directly modelled on the motorcycle industry’s standard design.

single pivot suspension design Single Pivot Suspension Design

Although the concept is essentially very simplistic, consideration must be given when deciding the location of the pivot and the shock mounting points. For example an apparently insignificant change in pivot position will alter the axle path, and therefore dramatically change how efficiently the bike pedals and reacts to bumps.

Mountain bikes will experience lateral forces on the wheels when cornering, landing slightly sideways, or going through very rough terrain. It is difficult to make single pivot bikes as laterally stiff as multi pivot bikes due to the moments all being transferred through just one pivot. As a result of these thrust loadings on the bearings they tend to wear out faster. However this is not a big problem due to the fact that the bearings used are normally standard sizes, hence affordable, and easily purchased when requiring replacement.

A Jacket for All Occasions

January 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Gear, Gear

sophia jacket 274x300 A Jacket for All Occasions The package came in a regular brown box, but once open it’s meticulous wrapping in red tissue paper made it seem like a Christmas present forgotten for weeks. At least, it even felt that way. The jacket was soft as I ran the soft baby blue fabric over my hands, wondering was this truly a bike jacket, or something I was expected to wear out next weekend with my friends? In lieu of a Christmas card, there came a letter direct from the owner or Harlot Clothing Company. In it she thanked me for this, the review, but went on to brilliantly explain to me the content of my “present”, The Sophia jacket. However, in only a few hours of wear it was evident that she didn’t need to convince me of this jacket.

I was somewhat familiar with Harlot clothing company as this past summer I was looking to eek out of my lycra riding shorts and in to something more mountainous and less road biker. The only bump in bike clothing shopping was finding women’s specific clothes that fit a womanly, sporty figure and not your “average woman.” Because at 5 foot nothing I am still in shape. I run marathons in the winter and race mountain bikes in the summer. I coach the girl’s tennis team and run circles around our boy’s baseball team in the winter. Athleticism is not a question in my life and there is no denying the genes of my family. Hips, thighs, curves, I am every “match.com’s” desire. Hence why I wanted away from the lycra and into something with a little more fabric. Here came Harlot.

I started with their shorts last summer. An elastic waist won me over coupled with padding that left you feeling as if your seat bones were bare as opposed to feeling as if an adult diaper was strapped to you. It’s not your ordinary biking short. They are fitting, yet stretchable, and hugging yet breathable. And again, as with the Sophia Jacket, you can wear them while you kick back with a beer after a satiating ride.
The Sophia Jacket offers all this and more. Immediately after opening, like a kid at Christmas, I threw it on over my sweaty running clothes and took the dog out for yet another run. It has all the additives of a biking jacket including being longer in the back to cover it all as you hunch over the bike as well as having longer sleeves. Yet, the look was blended into a checkered soft shell on the outside that could easily be worn out for happy hour on Friday. Add the cozy fleeced inside coupled with a higher collar and you have yourself a comfortable jacket for the biting winds of the changing seasons.

The jacket fit and it fit well. Versatile does not even begin to explain the first day (the earlier paragraph only described the evening I spent with it) I had with my Sophia. I wore it at 5 am for my run in 20 degrees with a thin wicking shirt underneath and managed to stay warm and dry. Surprisingly, after a quick whiff of it, I realized it still smelled new and I was able to wear it to work as an extra layer for when the heat shut off in my classroom (one must love public education). Coworkers complimented me before I even had a chance to brag about my new digs and by the afternoon I was wearing it to coach the tennis team all the while basking in compliments from high school girls and other coaches. Undoubtedly, it is one rugged, cozy, warm, yet sleek and stylish all at the same time.

The Sophia Jacket is not your average Christmas present, which makes it all the more exciting. There is no doubt that Harlot is coming up with innovative, comfortable, versatile outerwear for active, adventurous women that goes beyond what we have ever expected. It has taken into account the details that we forget including a longer backend, pocket on the sleeve, and fleece collar and of course their insignia red star that reminds you that this is one tough chick wearing it.

To view a 2009 Harlot catalog and order your own Sophia Jacket, visit www.harlotwear.com

Sacred Rides – Mountain Bike Tours

January 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

Do you ever get tired of riding your local single-track? If you are like me, then the answer is probably yes. We ride local trails because of their convenience and our familiarity with them. Trying to imagine leaving the state or country you live in order to try out a new bike trail is pretty hard to fathom. Why? The logistics in itself can be difficult. How will you, your bike, gear, and supplies get from point A to point B? Once you get there where will you stay? What will you do? Where will you ride? You get the idea.

I recently had the chance to talk with Sacred Rides founder Mike Brcic. Started in 1996, Sacred Rides has evolved from a summer trail guide service in British Columbia to providing mountain bike adventure trips around the world. For the year 2009, they have been rated as the “Best Adventures Company on Earth” by sacred rides new denver cable car crossing 300x201 Sacred Rides   Mountain Bike ToursNational Geographic Adventure. Mike doesn’t like to use the word “trip”, instead he refers to the trips as tours. Riders participating get much more than just a trip…they get a tour of the scenery and culture of another country. Each destination in their portfolio is selected because of the jaw-dropping scenery and amazing cultural experiences…not to mention, the chance of a lifetime, to ride the world’s most incredible mountain bike trails. For over 13 years, Sacred Rides has offered award-winning small-group adventures and skills camps: in British Columbia, Ontario, Croatia/Slovenia, Peru, Guatemala, Utah and Chile.

The tours are about so much more than riding your bike. Each tour is carefully designed to give participants a glimpse into local culture, a view into another way of life, all based on the notion that we are part of one “shared humanity” and that we need to look out for each other and our planet. Sacred Rides approaches mountain biking as just a super fun and convenient way to introduce people to that notion.

Sacred Rides was born in the changing of the seasons. Mike Brcic had been working at a ski lift and with the ending of the season, was soon to be without work. A friend suggested that he should start a trail guide service. He took out a business loan and bought some bikes. It wasn’t until Mike’s third year of business that overnight trips were introduced. Today the company provides skill camps as well as trips ranging from 7 days to 14 days in length.

sacred rides inca trail xc 300x224 Sacred Rides   Mountain Bike ToursInterested riders may view tours online, but it should be noted that these tours are not for beginner skill level riders. All tours are designed for experienced mountain bikers with at least 2 years of regular mountain biking experience. Each tour has a skill and fitness level rating that helps riders determine if the trip is well suited to them. If you are a beginner and want incentive to progress, check out these adventure journeys…talk about “pump you up”!

Every tour is led by a local expert who will serve as both trail guide and coach. Many skills are taught, perfected and mastered on these tours.

If you are interested and would like to sign-up, then you had better book it at least 3-6 months in advance…some people book trips 1 to 1-1/2 years in advance!

Over the past 13 years the company has provided about 150 tours with over 2,000 attendees with another 500 attending their skill camps. In 2008, twenty-five tours were conducted. For 2009, an additional five tours are being added for a grand total of 30 scheduled tours.

sacred rides veggie van 300x225 Sacred Rides   Mountain Bike ToursMike has very strict mandates for both his company as well as adventure seekers and they are summed up in his responsible riding mandate…a first in the industry. Interestingly, after some self examination Sacred Rides learned that during 2007 the company burned over $5,000 worth of fuel, equivalent to emitting about 11.5 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. In response, last year marked the introduction of a “veggie van” which uses waste vegetable oil instead of gasoline, thus reducing the impact on the environment. I found it very admirable that Mike would have such caution to the footprint his company leaves on the land. Mike is not about business…he is about purpose! For Mike it’s about valuing our world and our neighbors…to show beauty to others…to help others grow themselves through personal challenge…to help others appreciate our shared responsibility to care for the environment and make a positive impact on the communities that are visited…to enjoy this wonderful world through the fun of mountain biking.

I applaud Sacred Rides.

How the Wheel Was Re-Invented…Literally

January 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

klunkerz dvd a film about mountain bikes How the Wheel Was Re Invented...LiterallyA video entitled Klunkerz documents how in the late 1960′s a handful of hippie cyclists literally re-invented the wheel.  The film was written, produced and directed by William “Billy” Savage who I contacted in order to receive a copy of the DVD.  The film documents modified pre-war balloon tire bikes known as klunkerz, the precursor to the modern day mountain bike.

First off, the video is excellent! What surprised and captured my attention most is the use of actual photos and video from the late 60′s early 70′s depicting the Klunkerz in use.  It isn’t often that such events are documented providing witness to the birth of something so revolutionary.  I have often heard that the birth of mountain biking took place in California, but didn’t know much more beyond that.  The video provides a much more in depth look into how the sport came to be and the different groups involved and their relation to one another.  To say one person invented mountain biking would not be true, but rather it was a collaborative (and competitive) effort of different groups working together all wanting another way to enjoy the nature that surrounded them.

Klunkerz were created by taking old balloon tire bicycles (built before 1945), preferably those with high bottom brackets such as the Schwinn Excellsior and removing the fender, chainguard, kickstand and tank (if it had one) from the bicycle.

klunkerz dvd mount tamalpais marin county california 214x300 How the Wheel Was Re Invented...LiterallyIt began as a “party in the woods” on Mount Tamalpais, a mountain 2600 feet above sea level, known to the locals as Mt. Tam. Groups of adventure and thrill seekers would get together as a way to have fun and goof around.  The gatherings were usually organized by Fred Wolf who is well remembered for inviting riders with a simple, “wanna go out on a klunk?”.  From joy rides down Mt. Tam to the competitive races at Repack the spirit of mountain biking is captured in this documentary.

Really cool are the interviews with the  founders of mountain biking; Fred Wolf, Charlie Kelly, Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, Otis Guy, The Larkspur Canyon Gang, The Morrow Dirt Club and others.  It is easy to forget that mountain biking has really only been around for a little over 30 years. The interviews provide a unique look at the creation and history of the sport.

The film is well edited and entertaining providing and will provide a greater appreciation to the sport and its pioneers.  After watching the video I found myself somewhat embarassed at calling myself a mountain biker, not really knowing the details and individual contributions of how the sport came to be.  I would encourage any mountain biker to order a copy of the DVD, it costs just a little over $20.

Watch the movie trailer below.

The beauty of mountain biking is in its beginnings…groups of people looking to have a little fun and goof around.  Thankfully for those enthusiasts, not much has changed since those early days.

Formula The One Brakes Review

January 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Components

Today’s review is actually a re-post of one found at bikefix.net As MTOBikes.com turns more focus on product reviews we have tried to identify others in the industry that we can look to for guidance.  Charlie at bikefix provides us with just that.  In italics below is a blurb about “who, what and why” and below that is the review.  Thank you to Charlie and the rest of bikefix for not only allowing us to re-post their review on our site, but for the excellent ongoing reviews that they provide!

why does bikefix exist? it was born out of the complaints of a couple of guys with what probably amounts to an unhealthy amount of riding different kinds of bikes all over the place. from the daily commute to epic backcountry hike-a-bikes, these guys just weren’t getting the kind of information they needed from reviews found in print or online. needing a distraction from the grownup parts of the internet, they decided to put their musings and criticisms into (virtual) print. while they have extensive industry connections, the vast majority of the equipment tested is bought with money out of their own pockets (and they’ll let you know if not). as a result, they’re particularly aware of value and durability- and understandably upset when things don’t work the way they should.

bikefix aims to provide unbiased, complete reviews that come out of direct experience not only with a particular product but also with its competition. we care where and why things are made the way they are. while we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, everything can’t be the best part/bike/jersey ever,- something we see far too much of elsewhere. every product has its high points and lows. by communicating these to you, we hope that you will be able to make an educated decision and find gear that us ultimately transparent- after all, it’s really all about the ride.

formula the one disc brakes 300x225 Formula The One Brakes ReviewI have been riding Formula Oro series brakes for quite awhile and I think they’re some of the best brakes on the market. When the Ones came out this spring and were billed as a Freeride/Downhill brake but with only a slight weight penalty (37g/wheel) over the top of the line Oro Puro’s, I was extremely excited to try them.

The One shares many similar design characteristics with the Oro series: a 2-piece lever clamp assembly, flip-flop levers, adjustable bite and lever reach, internal reservoirs, and the use of DOT fluid. The big changes are a forged one-piece caliper that fits a single 24mm diameter piston (2mm larger than the Oro), and a master cylinder that is specifically designed for Downhill and all-mountain riding. They weigh a claimed 383 grams which is very light for a brake designed for bombing downhills.

formula the one mountain bike brake lever 300x199 Formula The One Brakes ReviewThe set-up is easy and the 2-piece lever clamps and they seem to fit well with most shifter types. Formula says that the caliper design allows for pad changes without removing the wheel and while it’s possible, it’s much easier to do it without the wheel in place- especially given that you often have to reset the pistons (push them back a bit) when new pads are installed, and this would be very difficult (if even possible) with the wheel/rotor in place.

All the tech in the world is great, but how did they feel on the trail? Fantastic. They modulate well and have loads of power available if you need it. They rarely fade and then only the slightest bit on the longest downhills (in the French Alps). The pads seem to last a fair amount of time and they are usually only noisy after getting wet. These are very competent brakes and for the weight they should be on anybody’s formula the one mountian bike disc brakes 300x225 Formula The One Brakes Reviewshort list. That said, they really don’t improve on the Oros by a noticeable amount. Downhillers have been using the company’s Oros since they were introduced (especially the DH-oriented Oro Biancos) and doing fine. I know that The Ones are designed to handle heat build-up better and they should be more powerful than the Oros, but if they are, it’s hard to tell. It could just be that my middle finger is less finely calibrated than others’. The Ones are less money than the Oro Puros and about the same as the Oro Bianco’s so they’re still a very good deal, but I thought I should mention it. The One brake sells for about $290.00 per wheel, though rotors and adapters are sold separately for about $30/wheel (good if you’ve already got ‘em). For the cost conscious, Formula also makes the Mega which is a cheaper version of the The One (coming in at $170 plus rotors), but I haven’t tried it yet.

Charlie

www.formulabrakeusa.com

The Ultimate Mountain Bike Tire Guide

January 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Tips

Anyone who has been involved with Mountain Bikes for some time knows that tires can be one of the most confusing and controversial topics.  Some say this tread is faster but others say that.   Some say a softer compound is better here but someone else disagrees.   I’ve talked to a lot of people, rode on a lot of tires and finally I am ready to write THE ULTIMATE TIRE GUIDE!

First I just want to get this out of the way.  The biggest compromise between different tires is that of traction/rolling resistance.  Greater traction generally means a slower but more controllable ride.  Less traction means you will fly off hard terrain but can easily loose control, slide out, or loose traction on loose terrain.

Kevlar or Wire Bead

kenda small block eight mountain bike tires 300x225 The Ultimate Mountain Bike Tire Guide First if you don’t already know there are two types of beads, Kevlar (also called folding) and Wire.  A wire bead means a heavier tire and in general a tire that is more difficult to install and remove.  The first time or two you have to install or remove your Kevlar beaded tire you may be in for a struggle.  They are sized small initially because the beads will stretch slightly over time.  This is by no means the rule as different manufacturers and models of tire will be larger or smaller bead diameters (slightly) but the general rule is Kevlar is lighter and eventually easier to manipulate.

Kevlar Belted Tires

Some MTB tires have Kevlar belts underneath the tread.  This means they have more resistance to thorns and other objects trying to penetrate the tire.  If you are having problems with punctures look for a Kevlar belted tire, it can help.

Tubeless Specific Tires

slime mountain bike tubeless tire sealant 300x300 The Ultimate Mountain Bike Tire Guide Tubeless tires are specifically made for tubeless setups, but you can run them with tubes if you want.  Many standard tires have small holes from manufacturing that will leak if they are ran tubeless (unless you use sealant).  Tubeless tires are made to eliminate these small leaks and usually feature thicker tread and sidewalls.  This is to decrease the chance of a puncture or tear since a tear in a tubeless tire can really screw up your day.  For those of you who do not know the benefits of tubeless, it offers slightly less rotating weight and better traction.  Tubeless tires really hook up with the trail!

Threads per Inch (TPI)

You may have noticed a measurement called TPI when you’re checking out tires at the shop.  The general rule is a greater TPI means a thinner walled tire that will be lighter and have less rolling resistance.  However, these tires will be easier to puncture or tear.

Tread Compound

There are soft compounds, medium compounds and hard compounds.  Kenda has their Stick-e compound that has made them famous.  There is no real measurement that manufacturers do to tell you how soft or hard their tire is.  The easiest way to check is to squeeze a knob between your fingernails and see how much give it has.  Or you can grab a knob and try to move it back and forth.  A softer compound will have more flex.  On the trail a harder compound translates to better energy transfer in optimum conditions.  Kenda has some of the softest compound tires on the market, and because of it, they can be a bit sluggish on hard pack.  But softer compound tires are great for rock, sand, mud, loose dirt and pretty muck everything else besides hard pack.  Choose a tire based on the terrain you will be riding on.  Another thing to note is the size of the knobs will affect their flexibility.  In other words a softer compound tire with big knobs will be stiffer and have better performance on hardpack while a tire with smaller knobs and the same compound will be slower on hard pack but perform better on rock and in the loose stuff.  Read more

Interview with Mountain Bike Photographer Seb Rogers

January 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

seb rogers mountain bike photographer 1 300x200 Interview with Mountain Bike Photographer Seb RogersSeb Rogers lives at the foot of the Mendip Hills in the United Kingdom with his partner and four year old daughter.  He has been shooting mountain bikes professionally for nearly 13 years. I came across his website randomly and after spending time browsing through his portfolio I thought it might make for a good interview.  Below are excerpts from my interview.

MTOBikes: How long have you been biking for and what got you started?

I’ve been riding for 18 years. I started riding in 1990 as a way of taking my mind off an upsetting end to a relationship and just kind of forgot to stop.

MTOBikes: What do you like most about biking?

Physical and mental freedom. Oh, and singletrack. The fast, twisty kind.

MTOBikes: What is your most favorite scenic trail?

That’d be the one a couple of miles from my house. Views for 50 miles in all directions and some of the best singletrack in the UK.

MTOBikes: How many bikes do you own?

Three.

MTOBikes: What are they?

A ’94 Fat Chance Yo Eddy!, a custom Independent Fabrications singlespeed and a Kona Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. I haven’t bought a bike since ’98 because my shed’s full of a constant rotation of magazine test bikes.

MTOBikes: When did you begin photographing bicycle related images? What motivated you to start?

I’ve actually been taking pictures longer than I’ve been riding, but it didn’t occur to me to put the two together until a friend of mine – who was a regular contributor to one of the UK’s mountain bike magazines – went to Greece with me in 1994. I took some shots of him riding, he wrote some words and we sold the feature as a package. It was way more fun than the bike shop job I had at the time…

seb rogers mountain bike photographer 2 300x199 Interview with Mountain Bike Photographer Seb RogersMTOBikes: What do you like most about photography?

Art and science rolled into one. What’s not to like?

MTOBikes: What camera do you use?

A Nikon D3, D300 or D40X.

MTOBikes: What lens?

Anything from a 10.5mm f/2.8 to a 200mm f/2.

MTOBikes: What are your favorite lenses?

The 14-24mm f/2.8 and 200mm f/2. They’re both big, heavy, expensive and impractical… but optically outrageously good.

MTOBikes: How do you choose your shots?

That’s a whole subject in itself. But mostly I’m looking for impact, relevance and originality.

MTOBikes: How do you setup for shots?

That’s another whole subject in itself. Spot a potentially nice bit of trail. Stop, check it out. Walk around a bit, get the camera out, figure out the angle. Try a couple of shots. If it’s working, stick around until I’ve got ‘the’ shot.

seb rogers mountain bike photographer 3 300x201 Interview with Mountain Bike Photographer Seb RogersMTOBikes: Mountain biking is such a hard subject to shoot, especially with the DOF you utilize, focusing on the biker would be so hard. Are you extremely fast/skilled or do you setup for shots and focus on an area and wait for the biker to enter the focused area?

Autofocus is much better than it used to be, but I still use manual pre-focus most of the time. It’s generally more consistent, and you don’t end up sticking the rider slap in the middle of every shot.

MTOBikes: What gear do you take with you when you go out? Assuming it is quite a bit of gear. Obviously you must pack light so what is your preferred equipment?

If I’m riding a fair bit I’ll take the D300 with 10.5mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8 and 50-150mm f/2.8 lenses, plus a flash and radio trigger. On shoots where I can work on foot I’ll pack the (larger, heavier) D3, 16mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 80-200mm f/2.8 and two flashes. It all goes in one of several Dakine or Fstop bags.

MTOBikes: What camera, lens, pack, etc. would you recommend to someone who is just starting off and would like a SLR camera.

Any of the current crop of dSLRS with a standard zoom will do the job fine if you’re just starting out, and there’s a good range of backpacks around too. The best way to choose is to spend some time at a good dealer trying out different cameras (and bags) until you find one that ‘fits’.

MTOBikes: Is it safe to mountain bike with a dSLR camera or can the rough ride cause damage?

Yes. And possibly. But in over a decade of riding with lots of expensive gear, the only breakages I’ve suffered have been when I’ve been off the bike and walking around on two feet. Go figure.

MTOBikes: Is there a good pack/case to use?

Tamrac, Kata, Lowepro, Fstop and Dakine (amongst others) all make good bags. Try a few out for size!

MTOBikes: Where do you see yourself/business and where would you like to be in five years?

Pro photography is tough right now (and that’s before you take into account the wider economic picture). Rates are down, competition is up and clients expect more for less. Just surviving is a challenge, but I’m proud to say that the past three years have been my best ever. I’d like to continue to set new standards over the next few years… and keep a roof over my head in the process!

MTOBikes: Ten years?

We’re going to see a lot of changes in the way that imagery – both still and moving – is used. There’s going to be a convergence of TV and web, and that’s going to change the way that media companies commission content. Where do photographers like me fit into this? That’s a good question…

France’s Julien Absalon’s Olympic Gold Mountain Bike

January 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

Last year, France’s Julien Absalon won his second Olympic gold medal in China.  The 28 year old Absalon is quite possibly the best cross country mountain bike rider in the world.

What bike does he ride?

julien absalon olympics beijing china 2008 Frances Julien Absalons Olympic Gold Mountain Bike

Absalon won gold with an Orbea mountain bike that weighed 18.5 pounds that has an estimated value of $12,000 and has several blackbox (prototype) components that are available to only a few select riders.  Below is what makes up his bike.

  • Orbea Alma SL2.5r carbon fiber frame
  • RockShox BlackBox SID World Cup fork, 3.5 inches travel
  • Orbea Zeus Carbon SL handlebars
  • SRAM BlackBox X.O Twist Shifters
  • Avid BlackBox Juicy Ultimate disc brakes, six inch rotors
  • Truvativ Noir carbon fiber crankset
  • Fulcrum Red carbon wheels with stock spokes and Tune Titanium Quick Lock hubs
  • Hutcchinson Piranha Tubless Ready tires, 26 x 2.0
  • Time ATAC XS Carbon pedals
  • Selle Italia SLR saddle with titanium rails and prototype shell
  • SRAM X.) rear derailleur
  • SRAM Red front derailleur
  • SRAM 11-32 BlackBox Ti cassette
  • Foam Ultralite grips
  • Zeus Carbon seatpost
  • Orbea carbon fiber seatpost collar
  • Time Tital Carbon AttacX stem
  • Truvativ BlackBox GXP ceramic bearing bottom bracket
  • FSA aluminum headset
  • SRAM 991 HollowPin chain
  • KCNC bar ends
  • Elite carbon water bottle cage

Dirt School DVD Teaches Mountain Bikers How to Improve Their Skills

January 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Tips

dirt school dvd cover the mountain bike technique film 210x300 Dirt School DVD Teaches Mountain Bikers How to Improve Their SkillsScottish national downhiller Chris Ball opened Dirt School in 2007 after realizing that there was no company currently offering mountain bikers coaching from someone who has been there, done that, and still racing.  The company holds classes aimed towards improving skills for downhill, xc, and freeride.  In addition, private classes are also offered.

Offering a fresh take on How-To films the DVD shows you the steps required to execute and master certain techniques.  Highlighted in the films are excerpts form the school’s lessons providing an easy way to “watch and learn”.  There are blue, red, and black level trails included for progression.  The DVD will help you ride with more confidence and attempt new feats.

Watch the trailer below.

Filming takes place at Glentress and Innerleithen trail centers located in Scotland.

Riders interested in purchasing the DVD can do so for £17.99 GBP by clicking here.


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