NewsSRAM XX1

Published on August 13th, 2013 | by James Tennant

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What’s going to be big in 2014?

It’s only just August, but the cycle industry is already churning out spy shots and product releases of what’s going to be big in 2014. Here’s a few things you might notice:

650b/27.5”

If 2013 was the year of the 29er, 2014 will be the year of the 27.5… er. Most 2014 mountain bikes that have been released (Orange and Kona) have adopted the new wheel size. Giant have gone completely 650b crazy – the entire range, and I mean everything, has the same wheel size. This is actually a great idea. Giant haven’t messed around with having two ‘standards’ but taken it back to the days when we only had the option of one wheelsize. Simple and effective.

Specialized are sticking with 29ers, stating they’re the best size. We trail centre riding Europeans might disagree, as does the Gravity Enduro racing community. Specialized argue that the 27.5 wheel size doesn’t work for them and that they don’t have it tested enough. Only time will tell if they’ll change their mind on that.

Less is more

Larger wheels mean bikes roll over rough terrain better – this means you don’t need as much suspension travel. 140-150mm is now common on ‘all-mountain’ bikes rather than 160mm; having ridden one you notice the larger wheel size really does take the sting out of sharp edges, and less travel means a far better pedal platform – so no sucking up your efforts.

The Fox 34 fork is a prime example of this: shorter travel, thinner than the 36 as well as lighter. The perfect fork for an all-mountain or trail bike.

XX1/X01

Not sure if SRAM are giving away their 11-speed groupsets to bike manufacturers at the moment,  but it does seem that everything emerging comes with at least one ‘1×11’ option. XX1 is not only 11-speed, but it uses extended teeth that alleviate the need for a front chain device… and (front) mech. It’s not cheap though, you’re looking at more than £1000 for XX1, but the new X01 should be more like £800 when it’s unleashed at Eurobike towards the end of August.

1×9, 1×10, 1×11

Front derailleurs are my pet hate. Thankfully road bikes have the ability to bolt them to the frame, but on a mountain bike, the added cable and shifter on the left of the bars just isn’t what I want – infact, if someone could make an electronic, wireless rear shifter then I’m game.

Thankfully the industry is feeling the same… with above XX1/X01 you, like me, will have a free left thumb to shift your remote seat post up and down to your heart’s content. And no more fiddly adjustments when you have to fit a new one (that’s if you fix your own bike).

Where we ride

In the next two months, Wales’ first privately owned trail centre BikePark Wales will open in Gethin Country Park in Merthyr Tydfil. It’s great that it’s on our doorstep, and from all accounts will be one of the best in the UK, but the main factor is the privatisation.

To many, privatisation is a bad word, evoking memories of the 80s and a certain female prime minister, but take my word for it, privately owned trail centres will become the way forward. The bad news is, it’s going to cost you to park and possibly ride too. Will the masses swallow the pill? They’ll moan, that’s for sure… then they’ll ride it.

Being private, they have to make money to survive. This means the facilities will have to be A1 for them to keep pulling in the punters. In turn, they’ll keep the trails beautifully maintained and there’ll be a constant drive to build new ones. The Forestry Commission better be awake – this is the future of mountain biking.

Disc brakes… on a road bike?

Yes, you heard that correctly, road bikes are now available with disc brakes. The Specialized Secteur is a prime example, but with Shimano releasing pictures of an Ultegra disc brake, there’s a good chance your 2014 sportive/cyclocross bike will come fitted with discs rather than conventional rim brakes. 


About the Author

has been a cyclist for over fifteen years and in that time he's raced off road in both the UK and Europe. He's a Cytech level 2 mechanic, qualified cycle coach, guide and has extensive cycle industry experience. JT rides both road and mountain although refuses to commute by bike because he lives so close to work. You'll also see his mug on most of our Tredz TV productions.



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