On Show: Sea Otter Classic, April 21, 2008
RockShox expands range of 20mm thru-axle forks
RockShox has focused on its bread-and-butter Reba and Revelation for 2009 with new chassis designs, updated internals and new axle options that are designed to increase their versatility and also improve performance.
The Reba is the more heavily reworked of the two with an all-new chassis that includes a hollow-forged AL-66TV crown and a distinctly SID-like magnesium lower legs with its beefy squared-off arch, PowerBulge lower bushing reinforcements and post-mount disc brake tabs.
As previously reported, Reba will be offered in both standard quick-release and Maxle Lite 20mm thru-axle varieties, the latter of which sheds a significant 50g from the standard Maxle while giving up little in terms of strength or stiffness. Currently, RockShox has no plans to adopt the recently introduced 15mm thru-axle standard that has been embraced by Fox Racing Shox, Marzocchi and Shimano.
Maximum travel has been increased to 120mm (limited to 100mm on quick-release 29" models, though), thus making Reba more of a trail bike fork for this latest iteration. New air spring internals will incorporate a 'floating' negative air chamber and a foam ring-lubricated main piston o-ring to yield a more linear and suppler feel.
Motion Control dampers on the Reba SL and Race models get some minor internal tweaks while the top-end Reba World Cup is upgraded to the BlackBox version complete with its titanium spring tube and Dual Flow compression and rebound circuits. Finally, external adjustment knobs will be detected.
Weights for the new Reba remain inline with last year's figures for the 26" version but 29"-compatible forks drop about 115g relative to last year.
Revelation's update is slightly less dramatic. Maximum travel is increased to 140mm across the board and standard-axle versions receive a lighter hollow-forged crown. For the first time, Revelation will also be available with a 20mm thru-axle option featuring the new Maxle Lite.
Avid builds on Juicy technology with new Elixir line
The Juicy line of hydraulic brakes has undoubtedly been a resounding success but Avid brake designers still sought to make some improvements, namely in terms of power modulation. The new Elixir trades Juicy's straight-walled master cylinder bore and timing port internal architecture (the basic design shared by most hydraulic brakes currently on the market) for a novel new Taperbore setup.
When combined with the slightly revised pivot location, Elixir supposedly provides a less grabby initial bite combined with better deep stroke modulation. The arrangement also makes for a more cleanly integrated fluid reservoir.
The new two-piece caliper is fitted with larger grooved pistons (roughly between the sizes of Juicy and Code) and top-loaded pads that run cooler and offer more ultimate power than Juicy. A new G3 rotor design drops about 10g from G2 and is also said to run a bit quieter.
Avid announced just a single Elixir R model for now which will include a tool-free reach adjustment and an optional carbon lever blade that drops 10g per wheel. Target weight for the Elixir R is 375g for a 160mm rotor and post-mount caliper, making it about 20g less than a comparable Juicy.
Pad contact adjustment is notably absent on the Elixir R but we did catch a whisper of an additional CR model which we can only assume is coming sometime in the future. No one mentioned what the 'C' stood for in that nomenclature but it seems logical that that model would incorporate the pad contact setting.
In spite of the improvements, though, Elixir is currently intended as a supplement, not a replacement, for the Juicy line. However, Juicy Carbon has arguably always been a somewhat redundant model and will be eliminated for '09.
Truvativ dusts itself off
Truvativ has arguably been somewhat behind the curve in some segments lately but looks to bring itself back to the forefront with a number of fresh products.
A new Stylo OCT crankset gets the same hollow-forged aluminum arm technology as on the road-going SRAM Rival OCT version, dropping 80g in the process while also increasing stiffness and strength from the old solid-forged Stylo. Chainrings receive some additional milling for reduced weight and improved shift quality while aesthetics move upscale with the high-polished Super Aluminum and Mirror Black finishes. Singlespeeders will now get a 180mm option. The included GXP external bottom bracket remains unchanged.
Truvativ's heavier duty cranks have been the star of the brand in recent years and thus receive mostly cosmetic changes. However, all-new bashguards promise stronger and lighter performance courtesy of a new materials and a relieved design. Aluminum chainring bolt inserts prevent crushing during installation and three finishes will be available, including a cool-looking 'china plate' graphic.
Cockpit components are far and away the most heavily reworked with an army of 18 new bars and one new stem. At the top end, a new Noir line of carbon fiber cross-country bars will include two flat and three riser shapes along with a decidedly modern appearance. Flat bars range from 580-600mm and weigh as little as 120g while risers stretch up to a generous 680mm wide and 15, 20, 30 or 40mm rises depending on model. All Noir bars will be available only in 31.8mm clamp diameters.
Cross-country riders preferring aluminum bars will have seven models and three performance levels to choose from in the new Stylo range. The top-end Stylo World Cup flat and riser bars weigh as little as 145g and 235g, respectively, while the Stylo Race, Team and SL flat and riser bars will provide a broad choice of widths, bends, rise and clamp options depending on rider preferences and budget.
On the freeride and downhill side of things, an all-new BooBar (named after former BlackBox manager and now long-travel product manager Jeremiah Boobar) delivers a massive 780mm width for those looking for more of a motorcycle cockpit-like feel. The Holzfeller bar drops 30g while a new Holzfeller Flatty provides an additional fit option for those looking to decrease control height. Hussefelt bars are mostly unchanged but get a white powder coat finish option.
Truvativ stems are mostly carryover (although a similarly comprehensive overhaul is slated for next year) with the exception of a new 170g AKA all-mountain model. Holzfeller and Hussefelt stems and pedal get new finish options, including Sno White, Purpletrator Purple and Galvanized Silver.