Thursday, February 11, 2016

SRAM NX 1x drivetrain

PG-1130 Cassette

NX 1x drivetrain

SRAM just announced their new NX 1x drivetrain, which lowers the cost of switching to a 1x11 setup to a mere $310 for a complete group, including cassette, chain, cranks, shifter and derailleur. Last year SRAM rolled out the GX drivetrain group, which was their first attempt at a reasonably priced 11-speed set up with prices ranging from $511 for 2x10, $573-584 for 1x11 and $677-681 for 2x11.

The greatest highlight of the new NX group is that the 11-42 tooth cassette is compatible with non-XD driver body, meaning it will fit on a standard freehub body. It is heavy at 538 grams, but the 1x11 11-42T capabilities and the dirt cheap $79 price tag are real winners.

Everything else in the group looks the same as their regular 11-speed systems, albeit it's heavier and uses less expensive materials and construction. The NX drivetrain is going to be a real game changer for the SRAM 1x11 drivetrain, and you'll see a slew of bikes with the NX on them for the next season.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Kickstarter - GRAYL Ultralight: The World's Best Purifier [+Filter] Bottle

GRAYL Ultralight Purifier Bottle

GRAYL Ultralight – The World's Best Purifier [+Filter] Bottle

The GRAYL Ultralight Purifier Bottle system is the fruition of a four-year long design process. The system is fast and easy to use to produce clean and purified water from almost any water source. It provides full spectrum protection and removes Pathogens (virus, bacteria, and protozoa), many heavy metals and chemicals along with particulates, such as sediment and silt. It only takes three simple steps; fill, press and drink; and in less than 15 seconds it creates 16 oz of clean water for consumption or storage. 

GRAYL currently has a Kickstarter campaign running until Mar 5th, 2016 for the system; please refer to Kickstarter-Grayl-Ultralight.

The Ultralight Purifier Bottle system will come in Black or Orange colors and will retail for $60, and also will come as a kit with one replaceable filter for $85. Estimated availability is June 2016.

GRAYL also makes two other Purifier Bottle systems including the stainless steel Legend ($70-$90) and the plastic Quest ($50-$80). Pricing is dependent on the choice of their three different filters: the TAP Filter, the TRAIL Filter, and the TRAVEL Purifier. The new Ultralightis supposed to be 50% lighter than it's brethren. Refer to for additional information.

Grams Thoughts

The Ultralight Purifier Bottle seems like an incredibly innovative and functional water purification system, with a big highlight being it fits in a bikes water bottles cage. I have used chemical purification methods and many other filtering systems which tend to be cumbersome to use. The Ultralight is simple and easy to use with its three-step process. It will be extremely applicable to hiking, camping, multi-hour bike adventures and bikepacking. Also, when traveling to exotic places where the water sources are not the safest is will be an ideal companion. On uber long bike rides, you can use it to refill your hydration reservoir, or you can ditch the reservoir/bottle and just bring the Ultralight bottle. Another benefit to filtering on the trail is that the water supply in many locations can be at a cooler temperature, providing a refreshing and invigorating drink.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ryders Eyewear - 2016 Product Launch and Updated Website

Ryders Invert

Ryders Eyewear - Celebrating 3o Years

New collection. New technology. New website. 

Who wouldn’t love to focus purely on their passions? For RYDERS EYEWEAR, this has been their reality for the past 30 years, concentrating on the development of premium quality eyewear that delivers the best performance at a cost that ensures that athletes and outdoor enthusiasts won’t hesitate to truly use it. Of course, for this North Vancouver-based brand, a big part of the development process and their passion for it is testing their products in their own backyard: the notorious North Shore trails and the winding, grueling roads of the Pacific Northwest. They can often be heard saying if eyewear can perform in these environments, it’ll perform almost anywhere else."

The result of this focus was evident in 2015 with the resounding launch of their antiFOG lenses, a product introduction that was as equally surprising as it was innovative.

RYDERS just launched their 2016 collection, and their antiFOG offering has expanded considerably with 12 frames and a total of 36 options. Included in this is yet another ground-breaking lens innovation—veloPOLAR™—an antiFOG lens that’s fine-tuned for road cyclists, offering the benefits of a traditional polarized lens without the compromises.

Grams Thoughts 

Ryders makes some great sunglasses and goggles. Last season I tested their fantastic antiFOG lens, which I thought pretty highly of: "The Ryders Eyewear Caliper has superb anti-fog functions, excellent comfort, and clarity and photochromic characteristics, and the large suspended lenses offer a panoramic field of view and spaciousness." This year they're adding the antiFOG lens to additional models and have created the exciting veloPOLAR technology, which I am looking forward to testing, especially on the new Invert model shown above. Congrats on 30 years in the business!

Introducing the Santa Cruz Hightower

Photo by Gary Perkin

Santa Cruz has just released a new bike called the Hightower, which is a replacement for the discontinued Tallboy LT, but has more lineage to their All Mountain Bronson. Santa Cruz is calling it a big bike for big rides that is long, low and slack. The bike has 135mm of VPP rear travel, a 67° head angle, 17.1" chainstay and comes in either 29er or 27.5+ configurations and has an ability to change between the two wheel sizes with a few minor adjustments. The full carbon fiber frame weighs in at a respectable 5.88 lbs and will be available as a frameset and in several build kits. The bike is named after Eric Highlander (a.k.a. Hightower) whom is Santa Cruz's demo tour coordinator.

Hightower 29 vs 27.5+ - Toggle Chip

Switch - 29er or 27.5+

By altering a toggle chip on the rear shock and reconfiguring the forks travel (29er uses a 140mm fork and 27.5+ a 150mm) the geometry will not be overtly compromised when switching between the wheel sizes. The 27.5+ configuration was designed around a 2.8" tire since Santa Cruz felt that width is the sweet spot for traction, flotation, control, and precision. The 27.5 x 2.8 tire isn't as tall as a 29 x 2.3 so the toggle switches high position increases the BB height and is additionally aided by the use of a 150mm fork.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

SIA Show - Day 2 Slideshow

Here are some highlights from my Day 2 of the SnowSports Industries America show (SIA) that was being held in Denver Jan 28th - 31st.