Core Bike 2005 - Bike Magic

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Core Bike 2005

Most bike shows contain a fairly high proportion of, well, choss. Not necessarily rubbish, but things that, as mountain bikers, we’re not particularly interested in. Baskets, handlebar ornaments, patterned tyres, that sort of thing. Corebike, though, is different. It’s a new mini-trade show put on by eight of the UK’s leading importers and distributors of high-end tackle, which means that pretty much everything there is interesting. 2005 was the first year of the show, but everyone we spoke to seemed more than happy with how it went so we expect it to carry on in the future. But enough of this idle conjecture, let’s look at bike parts…

Cane Creek’s wheels use its patented nipples-at-the-hub, straight spoke construction with all the usual stiffness and light weight promises that are associated with funky hoops. They certainly look tidy, and the MTB versions are available in two versions according to the thickness of your wallet – the top-end ones will set you back five hundred quid a pair.

Topeak is well known for its multitools, but its latest offering is somewhat more single-minded. The Droid is “just” a chain tool (even though it looks like it might be a corkscrew as well) but it’s one of that very rare breed of tools with character.

As if its carbon bars and seatposts weren’t strong and light enough, Easton has introduced its new carbon nanotube technology across the range. The magic fibres give the components even more strength, allowing Easton to shave off some mass and still have sturdiness to spare.

Formula never seems to have been at the top of UK riders’ brake wishlist, but the new Oro brake has some very desirable features. The caliper is very compact in classic Formula style, while the all-new lever has a tucked-away reservoir, reversible design to go on either end of your bars, a great-feeling two-finger blade and the Feeling Control System – a little nubbin inside the lever lets you dial in a firm or soft feel, a little like the adjuster on Avid’s Juicy 7s but without sticking out so much. Various rotor sizes are available to suit your style and/or weight.

Hope’s stem is now in production in about 64 different flavours (including all the colours) from 50mm to 110mm, with higher rises on the short ones. The two shortest lengths come with oversized 31.8mm bar clamps only, the rest you have a choice. And why is Hope making a stem…?

…because its new HID light attaches to it. Or rather, to a special faceplate that replaces the regular one. This is a close-to-production version of the light that we first saw at Interbike last year. It’s styled up to match the stem, has an adjustable angle, tidy under-stem battery and will cost £350. The Hope guys are currently saying “May” and there’s a possibility of a Thomson-compatible faceplate too.

Also new from Hope are the Pro 2 hubs. The rear has a new freehub mechanism with a pawl retainer that threads in to the hub shell – no more pawls and springs falling out at inconvenient moments. There’ll be a four-pawl mechanism available with rapid take-up for trials guys, and the modular hub design means that the rear can be run with a regular 10mm quick-release axle, a 10mm Saint/Hone style axle or a 12mm through-axle. Similarly, the front hub will be convertible between 9mm QR and 20mm through-axle modes like the existing Bulb but lighter.

Manitou importers Raw Experience had nabbed this pre-production 2006 R7 fork from Manitou’s recent launch. It’s an all-new XC/marathon fork to replace the aging Skareb – the redesigned lowers have less material in them but more appropriately distributed, so they’re lighter and stiffer. They’ll be available in 80 or 100mm travel variants and contain a new take on the SPV platform damping system that does away with an air valve in favour of a mechanical adjuster, so you won’t have to get your pump out to make platform tweaks and it’ll be impossible to run it with no air in and make the valve rattle itself to death.

Fi:zi’k’s Wing-Flex technology will shortly be seen in this sleekly redesigned Nisene saddle. We like the look of this a lot – it manages to be clearly a Nisene but also clearly new. And if it’s anything like as comfortable as the existing (but pricey) Gobi Wing-Flex we’ll be very happy indeed.

We’re not sure how big a market there is in the UK for Surly’s Pugsley snow bike, but it’s in production and available. So if you feel the need for a bike with clearance for 4in tyres, you know where to go. Super-wide Large Marge rims and suitable tyres are also available to go with it.

Race Face’s X-Type outboard-bearing cranks are now available at lower price points thanks to the launch of the new Evolve cranks. This is the XC version, there’s also a DH one that can be had in single, double-and-bash or triple ring variants.

As well as a smart-looking range of frames with lots of Scandium and carbon fibre in evidence, Salsa has a load of nice components including an ultralight Scandium stem and these 26in flat carbon fibre bars.

SDG’s new I-Beam saddle/seatpost standard is getting a decent amount of OE spec, and it’s about to become even lighter with the introduction of a new carbon fibre post and saddles. The carbon I-Fly pictured weighs, roughly, nothing at all.

Cane Creek’s Thudbuster suspension seatpost now has a shorter-travel brother. The 1.5in travel parallelogram post is aimed mainly at less-rugged applications (touring and the like) but should find favour with people who like the idea but find the long-travel original a bit too freaky.

Topeak’s Panoram bike computers make a selling point of being among the biggest computers out there, displaying all those critical ride stats in super-wide-screen-cinemascope. The new V12 model, though, is very very small but still packs in the functions.

Tubus rear racks have a great reputation for light weight and strength, being made of steel tubing rather than aluminium rod. They’ve also got a load of neat mounting options including rear axle mounts for frames without frame bosses. What’s really impressive, though, is the warranty. You get a ten-year guarantee against breakage, and for the first three of those if you bust a rack Tubus’ll FedEx you a new one anywhere in the world. So if something comes adrift in Nepal you’re not totally stuck.

Ultimate workstands are appropriately named. The top of the range model shown here is super-light and folds away to almost nothing yet will happily hold the heaviest bike you can possibly imagine six feet off the ground. Even the more consumer-oriented models are light, robust and have secure yet frame-friendly clamps. And they’re red.


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