Clothing, cruisers and carbon dirt machines

Road and mountain developments from GT

GT's innovative carbon fibre Fury downhill bike is almost available to the public after a highly touted sneak peak last summer. According to GT, the full monocoque front and rear ends are crafted from carbon fibre not to reduce weight but to enhance strength.

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The 3.9kg (8.7lb) frame weight is actually comparable to the previous DHi, owing to the very thick tube walls but stiffness apparently jumps around 30 percent and fatigue and impact strength another 40 percent - far more than anything the company could have done in aluminum.

Additional impact resistance is provided by the 3K woven top sheet and a reinforced V-shaped down tube underside - similar in concept to what the US military does on its new MRAP vehicle. Rear wheel travel is pegged at 220mm (8.7") via GT's trademark I Link suspension design and RockShox Vivid coilover rear shock.

Stepping down in travel from the Fury is the new Sensor, which will replace the aluminum Marathon (the carbon Marathon carries on unchanged). Sensor will offer roughly 130mm of rear wheel travel (up from the Marathon's 100mm) and fork travel will also increase to match.

The hydroformed frame tubes sport GT's current hard-edge shaping and the pivot bearings on the I Link suspension linkage has been simplified for easier servicing. GT will also offer a women's Sensor with specific frame geometry and graphics.

US riders will also be happy to hear that the Zaskar 9r - launched last year but oddly not offered to the American market where 29ers are most popular - will finally be available stateside.

On the road side, GT has updated its top-end GTR Carbon with a Ritchey head for the integrated mast and substituted the original Mavic R-Sys wheel spec for faster (and apparently more reliable) Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR aero carbon-aluminum clinchers.

Mongoose continues to offer big value

The eye-catching red and white Mongoose Teocali Super one-off we showed you at last year's Interbike Outdoor Demo evidently received enough of a positive response that the company has decided to add it to the production lineup.

A few spec changes were needed to bring it down to a more realistic print point such as Shimano SLX cranks instead of FSA's K-Force Light but other changes maintain the show bike's performance level or even improve on it: the spendy Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels have been traded for a set of Stan's NoTubes ZTR Flow and a telescoping seatpost is heavier but more versatile than the FSA K-Force carbon post it replaces.

The more cross-country oriented Canaan Team gets upgraded to new EV6 aluminum tubing for a 100g+ weight savings but still retains its excellent value. At just US$3,999, the stock spec includes such high-zoot bits as Stan's NoTubes ZTR Olympic Disc rims and Sun-Ringlé Dirty Flea hubs, FSA carbon bits and a matching color-anodized SRAM X.0 rear derailleur.

Mongoose also has some keen upgrades planned for the next-generation Sabrosa urban commuter. A clever quick-release stem pivots 90 degrees to either side and both pedals detach via a simple pull of a knob for easier storage in tight hallways - or as a quick theft deterrent. The premium spec will include a Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal rear hub and external bearing cranks, Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes, and Continental CityContact tires. The stealthy black finish will come at no extra charge.

Schwinn updates cruiser lineup

Cycling icon Schwinn has given its cruiser lineup a major facelift for 2010. The swoopier styling is complemented by color-coordinated fenders and chain guards plus a neat integrated cupholder located right up front and center. Men's versions even include a built-in bottle opener just behind as well.

In addition to the relatively low-tech frames, steel cranks and coaster brake hubs don't exactly make the new Schwinn cruisers light but these things are all about getting to where you're going with as much leisure and enjoyment as possible. Drive slow, homey, drive slow.

Sugoi launches RSE premium line

Sugoi's long-running RS (Racing Series) line of clothing has now been topped by a new RSE range that features upgraded fabrics and inserts. According to Sugoi, the 'Ultra Profi' fabric used on the new bib shorts is smoother, stretchier and more compressive than those of the RS bibs while the waffled inner surface also wicks moisture more efficiently.

Inside, the thinner gender-specific chamois features a slightly thicker base layer to better distribute pressure plus mesh inserts front and rear for ventilation. Welded one-piece construction eliminates seams, too.

Up top, the matching RSE jersey is purpose-built for hot weather with ultra-lightweight 'Gobi' fabric and generous helpings of open mesh. When that isn't enough there's a full front zip as well while a standard complement of three rear pockets offers adequate storage room.

For more casual riders there's a new HOV line that aims to blend technical features with more laid-back styling. Available pieces include shorts, 'shmantz' (otherwise known as knickers), pants, a jacket and a 'utility shirt', nearly all of which use DWR-coated stretch Mobil Carbon fabrics with carbonized bamboo particles that supposedly keep odor at bay - a good thing if you commute to work in hot weather and would prefer not to make a scene at the office.

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