Wednesday, June 19, 2013

News Season

It seems to be a normal thing now.  Summertime is really "Mountain Bike News Time" anymore. While there will be things sprinkled throughout the warmer months for us dirt heads to chew on, I think it was rather odd and ironic that both Niner Bikes and Salsa Cycles released news of 2014 bikes yesterday. Let's see now....

Niner R.O.S.9
Niner actually announced two models, but the big news here is a AM hard tail called the "R.O.S.9" This burly steel hard tail follows in the vein of those that have come before it like the Kona Honzo, Canfield Nimble 9 and Yelli Screamy, and models from Singular, Diamondback and Cromag, not to mention some others.

Same story here- Short chain stays, (sub 17"), slack head angle, (68° with a 140mm fork), and a 142mm X 12mm through axle rear end for stiffness. Dropper post compatible, yadda, yadda, yadda....

While more choices in this category are fine with me, I find a couple of things jump to mind: First, is this kind of a fad? I remember 26"ers went through an "ultra-short" chain stay phase in the early 90's and there were several reasons that idea was abandoned. Are we going to see that happen again here with these crazy-short stayed 29"ers?  It makes you wonder if the Trek Stache isn't so crazy now with its 17.5" stays and slacker angles up front. It just seems strange that Trek is the "odd man out" in this area. They either got it right or are crazy.

Secondly- isn't it odd that, with a few exceptions, most of these bikes are steel? Makes me wonder if the designers like the failure mode better with steel considering the use group. Hmm...... I could be totally wrong there. It is also interesting to note that Niner's first proto of this bike they ever showed was aluminum.

Image courtesy of Dirt Rag
Salsa Cycles Redesigns Their FS Range: 

Well, this cat is outta the bag, so I can talk about this a bit. I signed a non disclosure agreement back in February when I actually saw these rigs in the flesh at Frostbike. I gotta tell ya- it has been hard not to talk about this! 

Basically, Salsa called in Dave Weagle of Split Pivot fame and consulted with him to integrate his design into a new range of Salsa full suspension 29"ers. Still dubbed Spearfish and  Horsethief, with the same user intentions intact, these new bikes are going to be pretty cool. Split Pivot is a concentric pivot at the rear axle which helps divide the braking forces from the suspension forces. That helps keep the suspension active during braking, and that means more traction and more control. DW Link designs also can have varying levels of "anti-squat" depending upon the finer details of the design for any particular client of Mr. Weagle. So that may mean the new Salsa rigs will have some cool traits during climbing. I'm sure all the fine details will hit when Saddledrive happens next month and some of the other dealers get schwing-dinged out there by QBP to try them. I'll be interested to hear what they think. Me? pfft! I can't afford to get out there, so I'll be lucky to get to a demo, like last year. We'll see.

Salsa has more up there sleeves for 2014, so this isn't all you'll be hearing from that camp. And there will be more from other companies soon as well. "Press Camp" is happening in Utah right now, and more private dealer shows will be coming which are sprinkled throughout these high Summer months. Stay tuned for more....



dicky said...

Was the proto ROS9 aluminum?

Was this it or is there an older image?

Guitar Ted said...

@dicky: Yep- 2010 Interbike:

jkeiffer said...

I like Salsa. I don't have much of their product offerings though. I would like a FS bike. Any chance they offer any 27.5 bikes? I'm not saying I would get one, but at 5'9" I don't really need a 29er FS. Plus everything gets so heavy... So I'm kind of in the market, kind of thinking 27.5. But that new Spearfish would probably be more than I need. Looks great.

Guitar Ted said...

@jkeiffer: I know of no plans for a 27.5"er from Salsa. Most FS 27.5"ers are "enduro" style rigs, which are waaaay more than a Spearfish, (150-160mm travel), and you are saying that a Spearfish may be too much. (100mm frt/80mm rear, by the way) Anyway, if Salsa does a 27.5"er, I would look for it to be a big travel bike, not an XC race FS rig.

I'm not going to say Salsa is making a light, low-20-ish pound FS 29"er, but many companies do, so if light weight in an FS 29"er is a desire, they are out there.....for a price. (Of course)

Jay Swan said...

The Surly Krampus is another example of a medium-CS, slack 29er. Obviously the marketing gig is the 29+ concept, but I've been riding mine for the last couple of weeks with standard 29er wheels and it's really pretty nice.

RGB Nameless said...

If you interested. British "Orange" made the crazy full suspension mid-travel 29er. It has strange complete setups, but the frame is interesing.

Very burly, super-strong looking single pivot design, with smart cable routing, and direct mount FD.
Also has a direct mount derailleur option.

What is most interesting, it has 66.5 head tube angle!

But pricey. You should try to get one for for tests.

jkeiffer said...

@Guitar Ted: I do NOT want or need a lot of travel. I actually think the Spearfish sounds great with this new design. I am actually very interested. My comment was only that I thought if I bought a FS it would be a 27.5. I'm not against 29er FS though. This will probably be priced better than the Turner FLux for example, which makes it very appealing. Hope you have more info to share soon.