Crankbrothers has an impressive collection of 26" and 29" mountain bike wheels these days.
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Revamped wheels, and lots of other all-new products for 2012
Just as we gathered during the sneak peek at NAHBS, Crankbrothers has infused its new Mallet and 5050 pedals with much of the same DNA as its revamped Candy and Eggbeater models. In particular, both ranges benefit from new slimmer, two-piece press-fit bodies and greatly improved sealing – in fact, Crankbrothers is so confident of the latter that the warranty period is now a generous five years on most models.
The top-end Mallet 3 gets a two-piece aluminum and polycarbonate body with adjustable 8mm traction pins, investment cast wings, forged chromoly spindles, and a combination of needle and cartridge bearings for a silky smooth spin. Claimed weight is a competitive 435g for the pair and pricing is very reasonable at US$120.
The US$90 Mallet 2 downgrades to stamped steel wings and an inboard bushing while the entry-level Mallet 1 uses a polycarbonate body for just US$60.
Differences between the US$100, 433g 5050 3 and US$80, 428g 5050 2 are similarly small. Both use two-piece aluminum and polycarbonate bodies, forged chromoly spindles, 10mm adjustable traction pins, and outboard cartridge bearings. The 5050 3 uses a smoother-spinning inboard needle bearing, though, while the 5050 2 makes do with a bushing.
New freehub bodies for all wheels plus all-new carbon-rimmed cross-country model
Crankbrothers' new Cobalt 11 flagship wheelset retains the unique paired spoking and rim attachment method as the company's other wheels but upgrades to 19mm-wide (internal width) tubeless-compatible carbon fiber rims that drop the complete claimed wheelset weight down to just 1,380g – assuming you can stomach the US$2,200 price tag (and the love-it-or-hate-it anodized black and gold finish).
Crankbrothers has also taken weight out of the second-tier US$950 Cobalt 3 thanks in part to more aggressive rim machining. 26" versions now weigh 1,550g (a loss of 40g from the 2011 model) while the 29" variant boasts a claimed weight of 1,670g (a drop of 89g). New for 2012 is the entry-level 1,690g Cobalt 2 (1,773g for the 29er version) with less rim machining and cheaper hubs for US$650.
The Iodine 3 all-mountain and Opium 3 downhill wheelsets have also been put on diets, dropping 138g and 127g of mass, respectively – claimed weights are now 1,765g and 1,935g.
All Crankbrothers wheels get much-needed freehub body changes, too, with all-new designs that are said to withstand over ten times the static load of previous models. Cobalt and Iodine models also feature convertible 9/15mm front hubs and 135/142mm rear hubs, though the latter comes with a caveat: only 142mm thru-axle wheels can be converted to quick-release as the 135mm models get extra internal machining that saves an extra 35g but then prevents the use of an oversized axle.
New saddles, multi-tools, and bags, too
Crankbrothers moves into yet another product category with the introduction of two new saddles for 2012: the Iodine 11 and Iodine 3, both made in Italy by fi'zi:k and featuring relatively flat upper profiles, genuine leather covers, and slight central channels to help alleviate pressure. The US$170, 239g 11 gets tough-and-light k:ium rails while the US$110, 283g 3 substitutes hollow chromoly rails instead.
Both sets of rails are uniquely replaceable, too, via clever aluminum wedges that are bolted into the front end of the saddle. According to Crankbrothers, this will make for easier (and cheaper) saddle repairs in the event of a bad crash – just unbolt the wedge, slide the damaged rails out, insert the new ones, and bolt the wedge back into the shell.
Crankbrothers also moves a bit further upscale in the tool department with the new Pica+, Pica, and Pixl, all with sleek 6061-T6 aluminum bodies, keen styling with rounded edges and sculpted lines, and detented investment cast stainless steel bits that conveniently hold their positions during use. Prices range from US$60-70.
Finally, Crankbrothers is even moving into the soft goods arena as well with two hydration packs, two messenger-style bags, a saddle pack, and even a big gear bag.
This article first appeared on Bikeradar. All CN's Sea Otter 2011 content can be found here.
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