Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sea Otter '17 News

The Manitou Mastodon Fat Bike Fork
Manitou Mastodon:

Sea Otter is starting today and so you will be seeing a bunch of news that will be pretty cool for us cyclists out here. One of the new things that hasn't been so secret, but which I've known about in detail for a few months, is the Manitou Mastodon fat bike fork. This fork will be a game changer in the fat biking segment.

Announcement details will verify whether I am correct here, but this fork was developed with Trek for their Farley fat bikes for 2018. It is my understanding that will be the only avenue that the Mastodon will be available through for the 2018 model year.

Trek will spec one aluminum Farley, a carbon Farley, and the full suspension fat bike they make with this fork. Availability is slated for this Fall.  Trek fat bikes will also all be 27.5 based only, so you know this fork will clear their tires. I've also heard that this fork clears a massive Vee Tire Snowshoe 2XL with room to spare on a 110mm wide carbon rim. So, it can handle any fat bike tire made today.

The Mastodon will also be the fork that makes the Bluto obsolete. Not only frm a standpoint of clearance, but also from a standpoint of performance. The fork is said to be not only better in terms of damping, rebound, and ride feel, but also in terms of stiffness. Trek has a long history of working with suspension makers to provide riders with highly tuned, high performing shocks, and it sounds like they have pulled it off again with Manitou.

If, as I suspect, Trek is the only avenue for this fork for 2018, you may have to wait until mid-year next year to get one aftermarket. Stay tuned on that one though.......

Get ready for a ton of "mid-plus" 29"er tires to hit the news
Terrene Teases A New 29"er Tire:

Sea Otter should be rife with tire news and especially in a "new" category of tires which will fill in the gap between 2.5" and 3.0"tires. The complaint many "plus" bike riders have had is that the tires available now have side walls which are too flexy and that leads to a vagueness in corners which is not desirable for trail bike handling. Trouble is that to make 3.0 inch tires stiff enough to withstand cornering forces, the tires would have to gain weight, (more material = more weight), and that would not work out for trail riders either.

The answer is to down size the tire, beef up the sidewalls, and provide puncture protection and/or sidewall protection. This as yet unnamed Terrene teaser in a 29 X 2.8 is such a tire. Look for tires like these to be getting spec on the longer travel 29" trail bikes we are sure to be seeing out there as well at Sea Otter. I showed you all the new Rock Shox Lyric fork news last week and keeping in mind that the Lyric will be available in a 29'er form with up to 180mm travel, I would think this tire, or tires like it, were what was in mind for that fork.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of this puzzle..... The pieces are coming together.

That's the new WTB Byway on my Twin Six Standard Rando
WTB Announces Another Road Plus Tire- The Byway:

And finally- In news that I have been a part of in a small way for several weeks, WTB will announce another 650B X 47mm tire, the Byway, and it will be available immediately to purchase from dealers.

This is a real similar casing, if not exactly the same, as the previous Horizon Road Plus tire but the Byway has actual tread. That means it has far better grip on dirt and mud than the smooth Horizon does.

I have already been riding the Byway for several weeks and it does very well on dirt and it even powered me through some mud/sand pretty easily that I came across on Petrie Road here a while back. So, it is pretty impressive in that respect. The combination of the minimalist tread design and width give this tire a flotation characteristic instead of the "pizza cutter" effect many 700c based tires have in similar situations.

I am reviewing this tire for, but there is more- This is the tire which is one of the options for Trans Iowa finishers to choose from. WTB is giving away one free set of tires to any official finisher of T.I.v13. They will get to pick from the 700 X 37mm Riddler, 700 X 45mm Riddler, or the Byway.


jkruse said...

Your Standard Rando is such a good looking ride. The majority of my current riding terrain demands plus sized tires, but if ever end up somewhere with miles of smoother dirt and gravel again, that bike could be a serious contender. Just love the classic stance and the 650b conversion seems to really suit it.

Smithhammer said...

The Rando is looking way stiley, for sure.

Guitar Ted said...

Thanks guys! Twin Six does a great job with their bikes. And they ride well too.