Category Archives: carbon
Gettin’ Dirty with the New Ibis Hakka MX

Is it one’s riding that evolves first? Or is it the bike that is the catalyst for evolution? Bicycle design, much like one’s riding style, evolves over time, triggered by a series of environmental or equipment changes. Perhaps your everyday singletrack just gets tiresome and you’re looking for a way to change it up, or maybe your road bike gathers dust during ‘cross season. At some point, riders look for excuses to shake things up, as a break from the painful monotony of riding bikes by the rules and luckily for us, the offerings from companies follow suit, evolving their lineup in the same sequence.

A number of brands have taken a look at their ‘cross bikes and asked what the next step in evolution would be, or perhaps, what it should be. What seems like ages ago, we were all riding singletrack and fire roads on 32mm tires, burnin’ brake pads as our cantilever or v-brakes smoked our sidewalls. Then came disc brakes, which offered more control, options for larger tires and other benefits. All the while, frame builders were experimenting with multiple wheel size options, brought along by the popularity of disc brakes. Soon 27.5″ (650b) wheels began popping up on drop bar ‘cross bikes, yet these weren’t really “cross” bikes anymore. They had evolved past that.

Ibis recently took a long hard look at their classic ‘cross frame, the Hakkalügi. These frames started out as steel, cantilever bikes, marked by classic Ibis stylings and most notably, the Mike Cherney fabricated “hand job” cable hanger. Like Ibis’ mountain bikes, once carbon fiber became the preferred material, the Hakkalügi went through the motions, too. Carbon canti, then carbon disc but the whole time, these bikes stayed true to classic ‘cross frame tire clearances and geometries, always feeling like outliers in the brand’s catalog. Ibis knew it was time for a change. (more…)

Nov 13, 2017 91 comments
ENVE’s New Ultralight Made in the USA Carbon Road Hubs

Coming in at 232g Hub Set (74g Front Hub + 158g Rear Hub), ENVE‘s new made / assembled in the USA 20/24 hubset caused quite the stir at Eurobike, winning a Eurobike Award and grabbing the attention of weight weenies everywhere. Even if shaving grams isn’t your thing (it’s not mine, personally), you can still appreciate these hubs’ beauty.

As with all lightweight, USA-made products, they’re not cheap, coming in at $1350 for a hubset. They are however one of the sleekest looking designs I’ve seen in the road hub market. Interested in a set? ENVE is taking orders now and will be shipping mid to late October.

For those wanting to know more, check out the full specs below.

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Sep 8, 2015 19 comments
Velo News: Not All Frames are Created Equal

No, that $700 S-Works frame is not from the same overseas factory as the $3,500 original. Not even close. To partially prove a point and also educate internet consumers, Velo News took a look at a bootleg frame by comparing it to an actual frame in their laboratory. The results are interesting to say the least. Head over to Velo News to check it out…

Jul 1, 2015 23 comments
2015 NAHBS: Alchemy Oros Carbon 29’r Hardtail

For Alchemy Bicycles developing a new frame takes time. With a busy production schedule, an in-house paint department and juggling the day to day operations, there isn’t much time for R&D. So you can imagine how long this bike has been in the works. As their first carbon MTB frame, the Oros translates to mountain in Greek. Naming it was easy, developing it was not. The Denver based brand had to completely rethink construction.

Because Alchemy is using a unique tube-to-tube technique, they’re able to visualize the frame as a whole, while engineering and developing each section of the frame individually. The stays are shaped and continue to flow with the top tube, ending in a beefy head tube. While I can’t go into to much detail about their technology, I am eager to take it for a spin. Moves like this aren’t easy for small frame builders, but it’s evident this bike has a promising future ahead of it.

Fit with Shimano’s Di2 XTR, Fox suspension, ENVE carbon and Maxxis tires, this bike is a trail ready machine. While I don’t have a scale, the Oros feels well balanced and yeah, pretty damn light. The geometry is still in the prototyping phase, so we’ll omit those details. Once the Oros is ready for production, I’ll post updates. For now, see it in person at NAHBS, booth 501.

Mar 7, 2015 3 comments
Long Term Review: SRAM Roam 60 29r Wheels

I’m pretty adamant in believing that out of any bike you own, your MTB deserves carbon wheels more than the rest. Now, my point that I’m trying to make – without getting too far off-topic – is out of all your bikes, your MTB gets abused the most and is required to do the most. With road and even cross wheels, you’re rarely taking big hits off-axis and you’re certainly not charging rock gardens. Regardless of tire size, a MTB benefits from a carbon wheel, both in durability and performance. Just ride a set and you’ll see what I mean.

That said, I’ve never been convinced that a set of proprietary wheels is a worth while investment, when compared to a set of hand laced wheels. The problem is, those hand-built wheels get expensive when you’re talking carbon fiber rims, laced to a DT, King, White Industries or the like hubset.

If you do decide to pull the trigger on a set of carbon hoops, there are so many options out there. Do you want XC race-light or “trail” wheels? Well, SRAM made it easy with the Roam 60. They’re nearing the weight of an XC wheelset (1650 grams for a 29r) with the durability of a legit trail wheel. I tend to over compensate my inability to connect what I see myself doing in my head, to what actually happens on the bike, with products that are engineered for even gnarlier undertakings. In short: I like riding beefy products on my XC rig, because it’s not just a XC rig.

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Nov 19, 2014 19 comments
Eurobike 2013: Argonaut Cycles Road

It’s been a long two years for Ben from Argonaut Cycles but if he’s learned anything along the way it’s this: hard work and dedication pay off. In a lot of ways, the Argonaut Cycles road bike embodies the height of carbon fiber manufacturing. While this bike in particular might look like others that have been on the site, countless, minute changes have gone into making it unique. The design process and the final product are always improving.

Manufacturing in the USA allows Ben to tweak the layup process and continuously offer his clients the best carbon fiber road frame. Ben’s a good friend and personally, I’m very partial to Argonaut, so I took this bike out of the Eurobike tradeshow to photograph it. See more in the Gallery!

Aug 30, 2013 13 comments
James’ Ibis Hakkalügi Disc Cross

James Adamson from Adventure Refugee has a long-time relationship with Ibis Cycles, so when the time came to prep for the Mission Workshop trip to China, he contacted them about a bike. Their Hakkalügi Disc Cross made the most sense for this tour.

Shown here, completely stock with cross tires or as it appeared in my post photos with Fyxation tires. The Hakkalügi retails with an Ultegra kit for $3699. Unfortunately, these are the last photos this bike will ever have taken of it because China Airlines crushed it in transport. Bummer! Check out more in the Gallery.

Apr 10, 2013 4 comments
Firefly Detail Photos by Heather McGrath


Photo by Heather McGrath

For Firefly’s latest build, they had Boston photographer Heather McGrath come in for some detail photos. I’ve been following this bike’s process over on their Tumblr and the end product is quite nice. Check out more detail photos from the Firefly titanium and carbon road at their Flickr and see the full build right here.

Mar 6, 2013 5 comments