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You’ll have seen or heard a lot about most of these new products before, but we’ve got updates on the latest developments from several British manufacturers and some imported gear. Unfortunately we had a camera cock up yesterday, but Cullen’s down there now so we should have full technicolour photo joy shortly.
Hope will be sending out the first batch of their new Mini caliper disc brake to shops this week. the new slimmed down set up is designed to be used through a full range of applications from race to short course DH.
The brake uses an all new ‘open’ system caliper, pad and lever to create a very lightweight (planned 350g) set up with none of the heat pump worries of previous ‘closed’ C2 and XC4 brakes. The caliper itself looks like a smaller, slimmer (so no spoke clearance problems) version of the C2 brake and uses a small threaded pad guide pin rather than the previous twin split pin design, so piers are no longer an essential part of your tool kit. The lever uses a small rectangular reservoir (as on Magura, Shimano and motorbike brakes) but the valve hole is located on a sloped face to practically eliminate the danger of air leaking into the sytem when inverted. The open system uses a rubber reservoir diaphragm to adjust for pad wear and heat build up and the only drawback is the lack of lever reach adjustability. Best news of all is the system should retail for £120 which will knock spots off the exsisting competition. Obviously we’ll bring you full test results as soon as we can.
Another product that’s been in the pipeline for an age is Hope’s headset. They had ‘finished’ versions of the cartridge bearing set up on their stand ready for thrashing round the penines, and they hould be in the shops in July for around £75. Not content with getting two major products out, Hope are also producing an expanding aheadset plug for those who hate star fangled nuts and anodised bar end plugs.
USE have also been busy with a revised version of their ultralight carbon Alien post which now features a security collar around the top of the carbon shaft and comes in shim assisted sizes only to avoid the crimping damage that was occuring on some posts. The Alien head is also being grafted onto a new range of titanium seatposts for those who fancy some spring under their tail. If you’re really into suspended saddle action then they were showing “nearly there” versions of their parallelogram post which is designed to offer 3-4 inches of travel in a very compact linkage set up. All they have to do now is get the right blend of elastomer to handle the shearing rather than compressive loads the posts delivers.
The biggest bit of billet on the USE stand was undoubtedly the latest incarnation of their ‘SUB’ anti-dive fork. It uses an Oleo strut linkage to stop steering rotation and extends the lower half of the strut onto the dropout to use the rotational forces of the disc brake to counter the natural tendency to dive under braking. Now they’re happy the linkage design works, they’re working on fully anodised versions with upgraded bushings and evolution versions of Englund air cartirdges to control the 100mm of travel. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to ride them as the tyres were muddy and it would have spoiled the nice NEC carpet. No prices on any of the new bits yet, but USE are hoping to have them ready by summer.
With Bontrager and Specialized still delaying the launch of their new tubeless tyre systems, Hutchinson and Michelin are still making most of the running with Schwalbe and IRC introducing new ranges of XC and DH tubeless tyres as well. Continental seem to be keeping quiet about their tubeless system, but they were very excited to tell us about their new “Supersonic” versions of the Twister and Explorer tyres which drop weight to aound 350g. We’ll be thrashing them through the local thorn beds and rockeries as soon as we get them to see if they really are a case of weight loss too far.
On the clothing front Endura had some cracking clobber we’ll be slipping into as soon as possible, including a whole new range of womens gear and a new semi armoured longsleeve jersey – the Amadillo. They’re also continuing to produce the old favourites like the indestructible MT500 shorts and 3/4 bib knickers.
Race Face were previewing some excellent vented and armoured jackets and “freeride” trews but they won’t be available till autumn. Hopefully we’ll have samples of their splined ISIS chainsets a whole lot sooner.
Karrimor are also following up on the massive success of their Rush Air riding rucksack with an expanded range of figure hugging back packs of which our favourite was the winged Rush Lite 15. Karrimor distributors, RAW, are also bringing in a new range of heavy duty ‘Source’ hydration systems which look set to go head to head with current Camelbak and Blackburn offerings thanks to some excellent features.
Well that’s the news from the movers and shakers so far, but as usual anymore we find out today, we make sure you’ll find out about it first – and this time with pictures too.

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