First Impressions: 2022 Trek Top Fuel

Trek has just released the latest version of their popular Top Fuel bike, I’ve had it for a month already so these are our first impressions. Look out for the full review in the upcoming issues. With the release of the Supercaliber taking the place of the full-noise XC race bike, the Top Fuel had the opportunity to evolve out of that same XC space, and that’s exactly what it has done, moving firmly into the ‘trail’, or, - dare we say it - ‘downcountry’ segment.

 
 

For 2022 travel in the rear ups from 115mm to 120mm, and is matched by a 120mm fork. The model I have had on review is the 9.8, which means you get the full carbon frame along with Bontrager carbon wheels, and a full XT build kit from tip to tail. Out of the box, I personally liked the matte carbon look with holographic details around the edge of the logos, it’s subtle, smart and stealthy. But if you’re bolder than I am, it’s also available in a pretty striking Red/Purple/Yellow fade too. All the housing is internal, which completes the sleek look, and also internal is your tool kit! Or it can be if you want it to be with a handy tool storage compartment integrated under the bottle cage, sadly you have to provide your own tools, but it does come with a nice little pouch to wrap things in. I’m looking forward to seeing just how much stuff I can jam in there, it looks like an ideal shape for a long cream doughnut. At the bottom of the down tube, there is a plastic armouring to protect the carbon, and a chunky rubberised chainstay protector to keep things quiet. Interestingly for an XC-oriented bike, there is only one bottle cage mount, which seems strange as this kind of ride would seem to be perfect for longer stage or marathon racing. Our 9.8 model has the full XT mentioned kit, which includes the superb 4-pot XT calipers and a 10-51 tooth cassette.

 

With 120mm travel, 66.0-degree head angle, and 2.4” tyres, the Top Fuel is set, on paper at least, to be a pretty fun whip. The term ‘Top Fuel’ is a term associated with American drag racing, which is all about acceleration, and that is immediately noticeable, the Top Fuel draws on its XC roots and gets up to speed fast, but with modern geometry and tyres that give the confidence to push through the corners - it can stay there, where with a more traditional XC bike might ask you be tempted to pull back.

 
 

After a month of riding on the Top Fuel, I left thinking, ‘this is the kind of bike a lot of people should be riding’. My totally un-scientific belief is that thanks to effective marketing companies, more riders are riding longer-travelling, heavier, squishier (yes it’s a technical term), bikes than the terrain really requires. Part of that has been the evolution of geometry. It has only been longer travel bikes that have had the matching geometry that inspires confidence at speed, or over steep terrain. But with more modern geometry (read: longer, slacker) trickling into bikes like the Top Fuel, you have the choice of riding lighter, shorter travel bikes, with more confidence over technical terrain. What’s more, tyre choice can often be one of the most significant choices in what terrain a bike will excel on and with Trek speccing the new 2.4” XR4 tyres, they clearly had this same thinking in mind. They are noticeably chunkier tyres than you might think to find on a 120mm travel bike, and probably reflect the kind of personal changes most riders end up making to their bikes in time.

 

Anyway, all this theory aside, spending this month on the Top Fuel only confirmed my thinking - I felt I was undeniably faster over 90% of the terrain that I usually ride than I was on a longer travel bike. This was confirmed when finishing one descent, and waiting at the bottom for my regular riding partner to catch up, his immediate comment when he eventually arrived was “You were RAPID down there today!” The light wheels (and overall lightweight, 27.80 lbs / 12.61 kg) and fast engaging 108t freehub means it gets up and going very quickly.

 
 

On the suspension front, the SID Select+ does the job nicely, but I’m looking forward to spending some time fine-tuning this. I’m thinking that it might benefit from the addition of a bottom-less token. The frame is rated for a 130mm fork as well, so if you really wanted to take a step towards the down part of the down-country putting something like a Pike on here would really make it rip.

 
 

So far I have been really enjoying this bike, and I am really hoping the time I have it for isn’t going to be hampered by another lockdown because it really makes me want to get out and go for a good long ride each time I look at it. Look out for the full review coming soon.

Words & Images: Lance Pilbrow


Release: RockShox Flight Attendant

Flight Attendant removes suspension complexity to elevate your ride experience. Our relentless pursuit of simplicity is driven by one goal: to unlock your full riding potential.

 
 

FLIGHT ATTENDANT

The only automatic suspension system that listens to the rider and responds in real-time. Flight Attendant uses a suite of sensors to read rider and terrain inputs to anticipate the perfect suspension position—enabling you to ride faster, ride longer, and spend less energy adjusting your suspension and more time focusing on what matters most: the unbridled joy of riding.

 

SRAM AXS TECHNOLOGY

The unmatched interface you’ve come to expect. Crystal clear communication between components. Beautiful cable-free design, meticulously crafted to disappear.

 

SENSE IT FIRST

A suite of sensors onboard your fork, rear shock and crankset work in unison to detect every bump, pitch, and pedal stroke made. Flight Attendant is the only automatic suspension system that listens to the rider and paints a picture of the complete riding experience in real time.

 

FUELED BY SCIENCE. FEELS LIKE MAGIC.

Developed over thousands of trail miles around the world, Flight Attendant’s on board

algorithm is scientifically engineered to do the complex thinking for you. It analyzes the

constant flow of ever-changing data to anticipate the perfect suspension setting for the rider and what the trail demands.

 
 

FURTHER FASTER

Your burly Enduro bike becomes fit for longer climbs. Your trail bike becomes as efficient as a cross-country world cup steed. Get the most return on every pedal stroke, weight shift, and micro adjustment you make, there’s no energy wasted. Flight Attendant capitalizes on every ounce of effort you put in, optimizing your suspension and maximizing your bikes performance all while you ride. You’ll ride further, faster and with more energy gained.

 

EFFICIENCY ON DEMAND

Alt: In Auto Mode, Flight Attendant deciphers every input and sends its commands to the AXS-enabled fork and rear shock to instantly react. It does the critical thinking for you. Your suspension is always in the right position at exactly the right time, automatically shifting between Open, Pedal and Lock compression positions before the thought ever crosses your mind.

 

Life isn’t black and white, or as easy as on or off. Balance is often found somewhere in-between. A 3-position system provides more choice and efficiency gains in more situations for the rider. With Open, Pedal and Lock compressions positions, the Flight Attendant algorithm finds the best connection to the trail, providing the right level of support and comfort at the same time.

 

OPEN

The moment you point your bike downhill or your tires hit a big impact, Open position allows your suspension to utilize the full amount of available travel while feeling plush and ready to absorb the next big hit.

 

PEDAL

The sweet spot for efficiency. Pedal position stiffens your suspension just the right amount to maintain traction, reduce excessive suspension movement and deliver the most output from energy well spent.

 
 

LOCK

Power to the pedals. In Lock position, the suspension is at its firmest setting to maximize your effort as you put the power down on those long grinds.

 

FLIGHT ATTENDANT MANUAL MODE

On those rare occasions when you need to opt out of Flight Attendant’s Auto Mode, the control’s there if you need it. Disable Auto Mode and cycle between suspension positions on demand. Manual Mode can be accessed through either the Flight Attendant Control Module, or on-the-fly with a click of the assigned paddle on the RockShox AXS Left hand 2-Button Controller.

 

FLIGHT ATTENDANT OVERRIDE MODE

A shortcut to your desired suspension position. Press and hold the assigned paddle on your AXS controller, Override Mode turns off Auto Mode and shifts the system into your designated Override position: Open, Pedal or Lock. After that all-out sprint, or when ready, click the same paddle again to re-engage Auto Mode, and never miss a beat.

 

GET HOME SAFE

Built in peace of mind. If a system problem arises, like a critically low battery, Safe Mode automatically places the suspension system into the Open position so you can get home safe to recharge.

 

FLIGHT ATTENDANT BIAS ADJUST

Bias Adjust give you the power to fine tune how Flight Attendant reacts in Auto Mode to your personal ride style and preference. From the factory, the system is set right in the middle: Zero Bias, for an effective balance of all three suspension positions. Based on personal ride style, adjusting Bias instructs the Flight Attendant system to favor the Open or Lock suspension positions.

 

When you Bias the system towards Lock (+1 or +2) Flight Attendant maximizes rider efficiency and the return on every pedal stroke with the system favoring the firmer Lock position, as often as possible. When you Bias the system towards Open (-1 or -2) the system will favor the Open position more often, with less likelihood of Lock.

 

There’s no right or wrong, Bias Adjust is all about choice and fine tuning the feel of the system to better match your style. Adjust your Bias at any time through the Flight Attendant Control Module or a simple tap on the AXS mobile app.

 
 

FLIGHT ATTENDANT LOW SPEED COMPRESSION ADJUST

Dial in your ideal performance and feel on the fork and shock with 10 Low Speed Compression settings. Tunable at any point through the Flight Attendant Control Module or via the SRAM AXS App.

 

THE APP AT THE CENTER OF IT ALL

AXS-enabled and completely customizable. Flight Attendant is an integrated part of the AXS ecosystem. Use the SRAM AXS App to adjust settings for your entire AXS system, Flight Attendant included. Build a bike profile, customize your controls, check battery charge status, and update firmware as needed right from your phone.

 

GET RIGHT TO THE RIDE: INITIAL SET UP

Out of the box or fresh from your favorite retailer, set up is simple. Pair your AXS components, set up your front and rear suspension, calibrate the Flight Attendant system, and you’re done! Flight Attendant remembers everything. Next time, get right to the ride.

 

FLIGHT ATTENDANT CONTROL MODULE

This is the central hub. Flight Attendant’s Control Module lives aboard your fork, collecting data from sensors, analyzing trail and rider inputs, and orchestrating your Flight Attendant components. Located within reach, the Control Module makes it easy to adjust and fine-tune on the fly.

 

PIKE ULTIMATE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

Pike Ultimate was built for the all-day epic. Now featuring Flight Attendant, we’ll see how far that truly goes. Pike Ultimate Flight Attendant has a new look with an ultra-light build, optimized travel to stiffness ratio and plenty of drool worthy new features. Designed for trail riders not looking to compromise on features or performance.

 

LYRIK ULTIMATE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

Lyrik Ultimate Flight Attendant sets a new standard for power and efficiency in an all-mountain fork. Featuring a hyper-focused new chassis that’s lighter while still critically stiff for Lyrik’s legendary performance and versatility.

 
 

ZEB ULTIMATE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

With Flight Attendant, ZEB Ultimate redefines how far you can go on an enduro bike. Long on travel, short on excuses, ZEB Ultimate Flight Attendant has an updated chassis with more features than ever before.

 

INTRODUCING BUTTERCUPS

Low amplitude, vibration reducing material pucks... but we like to call them ButterCups. ButterCups block 20% of unwanted “trail chatter” before it reaches your hands. The gold housings on the end of the damper and air spring hold two rubber pucks that absorb the high frequency vibrations before they travel through the fork and into the handlebar. ButterCups reduce overall hand and arm fatigue and will leave you feeling fresh with more control over the trail.

 

FEATURED IN:

Pike Ultimate Flight Attendant

Lyrik Ultimate Flight Attendant

ZEB Ultimate Flight Attendant

 

INTRODUCING CHARGER FLIGHT ATTENDANT

Charger Flight Attendant electronic damper features an automatic 3-position compression adjustment (Open/Pedal/Lock) with 10 clicks of independent adjustable Low Speed Compression and 20 clicks of adjustable rebound.

 

FEATURED IN: Pike Ultimate Flight Attendant

Lyrik Ultimate Flight Attendant

ZEB Ultimate Flight Attendant

 
 

INTRODUCING DEBONAIR+

DebonAir+ is built to strike the perfect balance of what riders really want: butter-like small bump feel, increased support throughout the travel, and higher overall ride height for more confidence when things get steep.

 

FEATURED IN: Pike Ultimate Flight Attendant

Lyrik Ultimate Flight Attendant

ZEB Ultimate Flight Attendant

 

INTRODUCING PRESSURE RELIEF VALVES

Pressure Relief Valves eliminate unwanted air pressure build up in the lower leg caused by variations in altitude or temperature. With the press of a button or two, Pressure Relief Valves restore the lower leg balance for optimum sensitivity and a premium fork feel.

 

FEATURED IN: Pike Ultimate Flight Attendant

Lyrik Ultimate Flight Attendant

ZEB Ultimate Flight Attendant

 

STIFFNESS REDUCERS

Using torque caps add an additional 5% torsional stiffness to our forks. But if you aren’t interested in “free stiffness” all Flight Attendant forks will now feature the option to run a standard hubcap via a new bolt-in adapter. Hubcap adapters are easy to install for those who choose to wave the free stiffness.

 

FLIGHT ATTENDANT REAR SHOCK MOTOR MODULE

Measuring and reading real-time terrain inputs, the rear shock plays an important role in delivering the ultimate Flight Attendant ride experience.

 
 

SUPER DELUXE ULTIMATE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

Super Deluxe Ultimate Flight Attendant is built to balance uphill prowess with proven downhill performance. The new electronic 3-position RCT3 Flight Attendant damper gives you as much control while pedaling as on those hard-charging, wild descents.

 

FLIGHT ATTENDANT PEDAL SENSOR

The crankset’s built-in pedal sensor receives real-time pedaling inputs, notifying your Control Module the moment you start (or stop) pedaling.

 

SRAM XX1 / X01 FLIGHT ATTENDANT CRANKSET

New XX1 and XO1 Eagle Flight Attendant carbon tuned crankset is our lightest, stiffest and strongest to date. Enabled by SRAM AXS and equipped with a small pedaling sensor to read real-time rider inputs, notifying the Flight Attendant control module the moment you move.

 

ROCKSHOX LEFT HAND 2 BUTTON AXS CONTROLLER

Access the power of AXS with only the tip of your thumb. The new RockShox Left hand 2 Button Controller now elevates your ride with the powerful new tech of Flight Attendant. Cycle through suspension positions, turn on Override Mode, and activate the RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post all with two buttons.


Video: Love the Process - Max Langille

Love The Process, a tail of trusting yourself and what you’ll become. This film by Dylan Siggers gives a cinematic mix that’s meant to draw you into Max Langille’s process of completing a video part and dialing in tricks for competition.

 

Shift down, and enjoy a little peek into his process.

 

News: Exposure Lights now Available in New Zealand

FE Sports are proud to announce Exposure lights to its portfolio of premium cycling brands as part of our exclusive offering to the New Zealand market.

 

"We at Exposure Lights have been looking for the perfect partner to distribute Exposure in New Zealand for a while and holding off until we found that in FE Sports. Firstly, they are riders that ride and not just talk about riding. Secondly, they know what the bike shops need in the way of business and product support.” said Mark Swift Marketing and Brand Manager Exposure Lights.

 

General Manager at FE Sports, Darren Harper added “It was a simple decision when we were offered the opportunity to represent Exposure lights and see this as a perfect alignment for FE Sports and the New Zealand cyclist looking for the best lighting solution on the market”.

 

We will continue to review our product and brands portfolio to deliver unique retail opportunities that will assist our partners to increase sales and drive new growth within their businesses.

 

DIABLO MK12

Exposure's best selling light with a slick new finish. Aero grade 6063 Aluminum coated using Physical Vapor Deposition. Triple LED's created a wide beam, combined with fast mode charging TAP technology, the Diablo's 1800 lumen output will enable you to pin most trails that are in front of the wheel. With a lightweight, CNC engineered aluminum body the Diablo gives you license to raise hell on the trail!

 
 

SIX PACK MK11

The Six Pack's deep reaching and open beam is our brightest for intense shreds and the highest capacity battery stores enough power to last the duration of the longest endurance events. Just use the OMS (Optimised Mode Selector) to choose the runtime for your needs from 2 to 36 hours. Together with the Reflex++, the six pack will automatically give you the perfect lumen level no matter the ride. The Smart Port utilises the large battery as a power bank for your other devices for an overnight bike packing adventure; there aren't many off road riders who couldn't benefit from a Six Pack.

STRADA MK10 SB

The Strada SB, Super Bright, with our Road Specific Beam Pattern and at 1500 lumens remains the best road light; with the specific bevels to allow side illumination, and reversible graphics to remind you that the Strada can be mounted either way up. The included remote switch allows for ease of use, keeping you in total control without taking your hands off the bars and with fast charging to ensure the lights are ready for the ride quicker.

 
 
 

FE Sports already has a range of Exposure products in stock and ready for immediate delivery. Please call (09) 88 44 882,mail info@fesports.co.nz or click here for further information and product support.


News: Wairoa Gorge MTB Park is Open for Business

The Wairoa Gorge Mountain Bike Park riding season grand opening is the 18th of September 2021.

 
 

After a very wet winter and lockdown, roads into the park are open and thanks to a large army of Nelson Mountain Bike Club volunteers and Gorge crew who have groomed and cleared the 70km of single-track, the trails are in mint condition.

 
 

Excitement is building amongst the riding community for a great season at The Gorge with new options for the 2021/22 season.

  • First up is The Gorge express shuttle on our new Yamaha Viking 6-seater side x side that will be one of the hot tickets for the season - do as many shuttles as you can between 9am and 2pm.

  • For E-Bike fans, The Gorge offers a single shuttle up where the e-biker can access some of the best grade 3-4 single track climbing and riding in New Zealand.

  • Great new affordable pricing caters for non-NMTBC members and out of town visitors.

  • Great discounts for NMTBC club members.

  • New accommodation options at Barry’s Hut and Gibbs Lodge.

Booking is available via www.thegorge.nz


News: Crankworx South Island Summer Series

New Zealand, September 9, 2021: Crankworx has today announced the addition of a summer series festival in New Zealand. The multi-stop mountain biking festival will see international and local riders explore the varied terrain of Central Otago, Queenstown and Wānaka, known for epic vistas and world-class mountain biking tracks. The Crankworx Summer Series will see Crankworx-calibre racing come to local destinations outside the usual World Tour, giving up-and-coming riders and locals the chance to mix, mingle and drop in with some of the world’s best mountain bikers.

 
 

“I’m super stoked to be heading to these unique riding destinations,” said Keegan Wright who’s set to race alongside his international and local peers. “With each spot having totally different terrain to the other it’s gonna make for awesome racing. I’m looking forward to getting to share these times with all of the Crankworx family! Can’t wait to kick the New Zealand summer off in true style. STOKED.”

 

Riders and spectators alike will see the best of summer in one of the hottest parts of New Zealand this time of year. The Crankworx Summer Series makes for the ultimate roadie: sunshine, scenery, friends, bikes, and real fruit ice cream in the adventure capital of New Zealand. It’s an unfiltered, grassroots festival, with Crankworx-calibre racing, set to bring massive benefit for its destinations.

 

Crankworx Rotorua’s Event Director Ariki Tibble explains: “Crankworx has played a key role in raising the profile of Rotorua as a destination over the past 6 years. The mountain biking scene has taken off and seen us become a key destination on the list for riders, from families to avid riders and the world’s best. We know how powerful this has been for the region, and this is the first opportunity we’ve had to unlock some of these benefits for other regions in our country. The mountain biking in Central Otago, Queenstown and Wānaka region is out of this world, not to mention its world-renowned scenery and epic summers. It’s inspiring to see young people riding alongside their heroes and appreciating the trails we have in our own backyard. We can’t wait to bring a grassroots version of our Crankworx Festival to the South.”

 

“We are proud to have been able to support the Crankworx Summer Series, enabling it to take place in 4 locations throughout the region” adds Murray Strong, Southern Lakes Events Investment Panel Chair. “The region’s biking facilities have had significant investment put into them and the Crankworx Summer Series will be a fantastic way to showcase what the region truly has to offer for all levels of biking enthusiasts".

 

Darren Kinnaird, Managing Director of Crankworx, continues: “I’m thrilled to see how the Summer Series concept has taken flight in New Zealand. This idea of the ultimate mountain bike road trip was born in British Columbia last year. It created such a great opportunity to bring a taste of Crankworx to different locations and get athletes out racing in different places outside the Crankworx World Tour circuit. I can’t wait to hit the road after Rotorua and bring the action to these other iconic riding destinations and take the world along for the ride.”

 

The Crankworx Summer Series 2021 will kick off on November 27 and run through December 12.

 

Locations:

· November 27-28: Matangi Station Mountain Bike Park, Alexandra

· December 4: Skyline Queenstown

· December 4-5: Queenstown

· December 9: Cardrona Alpine Resort

· December 11-12: Bike Glendhu, Wānaka

 

Disciplines/events:

· Alexandra: Super D

· Queenstown: DH and Pump Track

· Cardrona: Air DH

· Wānaka: Dual Slalom

 

Two events (Queenstown Pump Track and Wānaka Dual Slalom) will be live broadcast on crankworx.com during the series, with photo and video highlights available of the other three events.

 

The all-stars on deck who’ll be all-in and ready throw down include:

· Georgia Astle (CAN)

· Danielle Beecroft (AUS)

· Casey Brown (CAN)

· Harriet Burbidge-Smith (AUS)

· Robin Goomes (NZL)

· Kialani Hines (USA)

· Bas van Steenbergen (CAN)

· Vaea Verbeeck (CAN)

· Keegan Wright (NZL)

More riders will be added to the roster in the coming weeks.

 

For those looking to get amongst, there will be race categories for Pros, Amateurs and CWNEXT racers. Details of registration will be released soon! Those keen should keep their eyes locked on @crankworxrotorua on Instagram or Facebook for details.

 

Prizing will be awarded for each event, with overall titles awarded at the end of the series.

For spectators who want to watch it all go down, the Crankworx Summer Series New Zealand will be free to attend.

 

Athletes can register from 20 September 2021.

For more information on the Crankworx Summer Series, visit www.crankworx.com.


Column: Mountain Biking is Dead

Mountain biking in 2020 certainly looks different to 30 years ago when I first started. What we were doing on our bicycles back then is now called gravel riding. Mountain biking today could be loosely defined more as downhill riding than the cross-country flavour it had when bikes were rigid and as difficult to ride on single-track as the bastard-child gravel bikes of today. Probably harder. No-one would dispute that mountain bikes bear more than a passing resemblance to motocross bikes than a bicycle in its traditional form - even more so now, with the emergence of the electric pedal-assist mountain bike. I can hear you shouting at the page already.

Back in 1990, combustion-powered dirt bikes were my ticket to high-speed, go-anywhere fun. Bicycles were what you rode to the pub, or school, or - if you were “into it” - jumping your BMX down at the local track was probably as far as you'd venture. Our two-wheeled crew were finding it hard to keep up with the increasingly advanced tech and cost of motos, and these mountain bikes were just big BMX bikes... right? That's what we thought - and every one of our moto crew soon realised that the places we rode under power were almost impossible to enjoy on these “all-terrain bicycles”. All but myself promptly moved back to 2-stroke power or gave the riding game away altogether. No-one wanted to pedal for two or three hours in the Aussie sun and not throw a roost or get even a modicum of air, but something about the athletic side struck me and I became an XC guy, aka a mountain biker, like the majority who weren't rich or fast enough to be a downhiller. It would take 15 years for me to even consider that rear suspension might actually make things better; closer to what my original vision of mountain biking was way back when.

 

As bikes got more suspension, bigger tyres and even more capable at climbing, they seemingly made us not want to actually ride them uphill anymore. After all, it is all about the downs, right? Why ride back up if someone has a bus, Ute or trailer? The bikes most of us ride now are closer to motos than they are to the original 'mountain bikes' from whence they came. But those same riders, most of them over 40 now, who sit in a shuttle bus lamenting to each other that “e-bikes suck” or they'd only consider one when they're “old”, seem to think that it's somehow cheating and/or an affront to their man/womanhood to add 250 watts to their life. For anyone who states they want to ride more often, for longer, on more trails, a staunch rebuttal of anything ‘E’ appears just a tad hypocritical.

Now, here's a big disclaimer: I haven't really ridden an E-MTB properly off-road. A couple of demo days here and there, and a lot of test rides up the street, as I also assemble and sell these (and 'proper' mountain bikes) a couple of days a week. Even with such limited time, actually using an E-MTB how it's intended, I'm convinced that in the not-too-distant future the majority of mountain bikers won't be stuffed into a smelly, dusty bus, but making their own way to the top and actually enjoying it. Heck, they might even look for more difficult and challenging ways to ascend, rather than the easiest - which is closer to the original concept of mountain biking than I think it has been for quite a while. Ride up, ride down.

The age old argument is also an annoyingly moot one, as I see it, although I'm pleased I can easily summon it if under fire when I go electric. Every mountain biker, and especially those at an advanced skill level, wants to ride more - surely? And when they do ride, do they not want to have fun? The whole time? If they have an hour to get a ride in, do they want to spend two-thirds of it grinding or pushing the bike up a hill? Maybe it's just me, but more/faster/longer seems to add up to funner.

And for Pete's sake, these aren't motorcycles! However, despite the motor, they are closer to one than the bicycle which spawned them. Mountain bikes have virtually been engineless motos for years now, and my moto genes are being freshly tickled by the tech side of the new genre, too. Enduro racing now seems like something I might want to do again, with e-bike categories cropping up at many events and a host of legends from all disciplines getting on board for the EWS E-series. It seems just about proven now that E-MTBs don't destroy trails any more than standard bikes, and they're not going to come screaming out of nowhere at 50kmh and wipe you out.

All this gushing praise and apparent attempt at validation may well be baseless without proper time and experience on an E-MTB. But, having witnessed dozens of trends and evolutions in the sport, I'm convinced pedal-assist mountain bikes will become the dominant vehicle of the bicycle industry, just as the human-assist MTB currently is. As with any technology from the last 20+ years, E-MTBs will get lighter, their batteries smaller and more powerful, and motors will shrink in size and grow in torque, until what we ride is even closer to what we're self-pedalling now. Only more often, faster, and for longer. Win/win/win.

Words: Brett Kennedy

Image: Cameron Mackenzie


Video: Back to School With Commencal

Back to school time has come for our teens!

 

Summer is coming to an end and what a summer it’s been for at least 3 of them. Till Alran, Max Alran and Sacha Brizin did bike park sessions, DH races and dirt jumps during all their holidays.

 

Fortunately, going back to school doesn't mean they'll have to put their bikes in the garage. They plan to go to school on their bikes and enjoy after school sessions on their ABSOLUT!

 
 

Riders:

Till Alran (@alran_till_mtb)

Max Alran (@max_alran_mtb)

Sacha Brizin (@sach.briz)

 

Film & Photography:

Nicolas brizin (@nicolasbrizin)

 


News: Trek Releases Sustainability Report

In 2020, Trek Bicycle partnered with WAP Sustainability Consulting to conduct their first emissions audit to better understand their environmental impact and build a plan to become a more conscious and sustainable global citizen. The data takes into account a single year of operation pre-2020 as a baseline metric to identify the company’s areas of greatest impact to better determine where to dedicate attention and resources to reduce the carbon required to operate.

 
 

As a result, Trek defined 10 areas of focus to reduce their footprint including:

 

10. Reduce use of air freight – Air freight has 84 times the footprint of transport by ocean. As a result, Trek is improving supply-chain processes to reduce air freight mileage by 75% by 2024.

 

9. Consolidate shipments to retailers – To address ground delivery emissions, Trek is working on a global consolidated shipping strategy by 2024. Mainland European retailers currently utilise a batched shipping strategy that drastically cut mileage required to move product.

 

8. Increase reliance on renewable energy – By 2023, all Trek-owned facilities globally will be entirely powered by renewable energy. Currently, global headquarters uses of mix of 60.6% wind, 33.3% biogas and 6.1% solar power. The California and New Jersey distribution facilities are 100% renewably sourced.

7. Reduce corporate travel – In 2021, travel has been reduced by 50% of pre-pandemic levels and Trek will continue to reduce plane travel moving forwards.

 

6. Increase reliance on alternative materials – Trek is committed to using recycled, recyclable or refurbished materials to build products. Today, 15 products are made entirely of reclaimed materials. For example, in partnership with Bureo, a group working to remove discarded fishing nets from the oceans, Trek is grinding down this ocean pollutant into reusable material that is used to create the water bottle Bat Cages present on Trek bikes. The material is present in several handle grips as well.

 

5. Create zero-landfill manufacturing facilities – Trek’s goal is to become landfill-free by 2024 with efforts already in place in the US manufacturing facility.

 

4. Establish and protect new trails – Established in 2021, The Trek Foundation provides support to develop bicycle trails and infrastructure for public use and to protect land from development.

 

3. Remove plastic waste from packaging – Trek is using new packaging for bikes and accessories in an effort to cut down on non-recyclable pieces, working towards a goal of plastic-free packaging by 2024. In one year alone, Trek was able to remove 196,678 kg of plastic from packaging.

 

2. Increase access to bike share – Since 2009, Trek-owned bike share system,

BCycle, has reduced congestion and transportation-based carbon emissions in 35 cities.

Trek is committed to accelerating that growth and expansion moving forward.

 

1. Get more people on bikes – In the US alone, a 1% shift from vehicle transport to

cycling would result in a carbon reduction that is around 17 times bigger than Trek’s total

global carbon footprint. Trek is supporting causes that lobby for bikes, provide economic

incentive to cities and individuals to choose sustainable transport and build better bike

infrastructure.

 

Trek is continuing to encourage people to #GoByBike. The campaign, launched in

2020, has encouraged hundreds of thousands of riders to opt for travel by bike instead of

by car. To help provide riders with a new milestone, Trek calculated the Rule of 430 –

giving cyclists the opportunity to reach carbon neutrality. When you replace a ride in

your car or an emissions-emitting vehicle for a bike trip, you are making a small

contribution towards the carbon neutrality of your bike. If you ride a collective 430 miles

– or a little over a mile a day for a year – that you would have otherwise used a vehicle

for, you have saved the carbon equivalent of what it took for Trek to make your bike.

Anything above 430 miles, and your bike is now carbon negative.

 

To learn more about Trek’s sustainability efforts and to download the full report, visit https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/sustainability/.


News: Pro Rider List Released for Crankworx Rotorua

Roturua, New Zealand, September 1, 2021: 19 months after it last wrapped, and 6 months after it was originally scheduled to run, the wait is nearly over. The Crankworx World Tour is set to make its triumphant return to its Southern Hemisphere home in Rotorua, November 1-7, 2021.

 

“I am frothing to be back in New Zealand!” said Vaea Verbeeck, the last woman to wear the Queen of Crankworx crown in 2019. “After being there in March 2020 last, the world turned into a much different place to navigate and Crankworx Rotorua was the last time we lived as per usual. I know it will still be different going back this time, but part of me feels like I’m going back to my happy place.”

 
 

"I'm super excited to head back to Rotorua, I always love being there and it somewhat feels like a home away from home for us,” said Bas van Steenbergen, who was in the lead for the King of Crankworx title coming out of the New Zealand festival in 2020. “I'm definitely feeling pretty confident having done well here in the past, so hopefully I can close out the King of Crankworx chase strong!"

 

“After some challenging times with travel I am really looking forward to getting back to NZ for Crankworx,” said Emil Johansson, who is currently in the points lead for the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship title after winning in Innsbruck in June. The Swedish all-star has never clinched the overall, despite having won every event there is to win at this level of Slopestyle, including the Rotorua event the last time it ran. “I am going to try to do a run that I am happy with and up the run I did 2020.”

 

Other athletes on deck to wrap their competition season in New Zealand include:

 

On the hunt for the King and Queen crowns:

· Tim Bringer (FRA)

· Tomas Lemoine (FRA)

· Ed Masters (NZL)

· Bas van Steenbergen (CAN)

· Keegan Wright (NZL)

· Georgia Astle (CAN)

· Casey Brown (CAN)

· Danielle Beecroft (AUS)

· Harriet Burbidge-Smith (AUS)

· Robin Goomes (NZL)

· Kialani Hines (USA)

· Vaea Verbeeck (CAN)

 

Slopestyle’s Elite:

· Emil Johansson (SWE)

· Nicholi Rogatkin (USA)

· Erik Fedko (GER)

· Tim Bringer (FRA)

· Tomas Lemoine (FRA)

· Torquato Testa (ITA)

· Paul Couderc (FRA)

· Lucas Huppert (SUI)

· Jakub Vencl (CZE)

· Max Fredriksson (SWE)

· Lukas Knopf (GER)

· Tom Isted (GBR)

· Marcel Hunt (GBR)

· Griffin Paulson (CAN)

· Bernd Winkler (AUT) (ALT1)

· Lukas Schäfer (GER) (ALT2)

 

Top riders, keen to disrupt:

· Tuhoto Ariki-Pene (NZL)

· George Brannigan (NZL)

· Caroline Buchanan (AUS)

· Martha Gill (GBR)

· Mikey Haderer (USA)

· Brett Rheeder (CAN) (racing DH only!)

· Katy Winton (GBR)

 

The festival will include Pro, Amateur and CWNEXT racing, Kidsworx competitions, and a ticketed venue with all the action Crankworx fans know and love, bringing together the best of MTB for all kiwis to enjoy.

 
 

As Crankworx is included on a list of Government-approved events, only those critical to the event, including competing athletes, have been granted entry to the country by Immigration NZ.

 

With the border still closed to recreational travel, Crankworx Rotorua 2021 will provide a unique opportunity for kiwi fans to get front-row seats to all the action and watch the world’s best face off against their local heroes. From newcomers to keen riders, the event welcomes a wide range of people to get amongst the action and this year kiwis can get closer than ever.

 

Registration for all Pro, Amateur and CWNEXT events at Crankworx Rotorua is now open, running through October 27 at 11:59 p.m. NZDT: https://www.crankworx.com/athletes/locations/rotorua/info/

 

The full festival schedule is also now available: https://www.crankworx.com/rotorua/schedule/

 

Fans from around the world will be able to tune into live coverage of Crankworx Rotorua 2021 on Red Bull TV, including:

 

- Specialized Dual Slalom Rotorua

- CLIF Speed & Style Rotorua presented by Mons Royale

- Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza

- RockShox Pump Track Rotorua presented by Torpedo7

- Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by Gull

 

Highlights and additional coverage will be available for:

 

- TREK Official Oceania Whip-Off Championships

- Crankworx Rotorua Air DH

 

The Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle will be the final event of the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship (SWC) season and will include the crowning of the Slopestyle World Champion. In addition, as the final event of the Crankworx World Tour season, Rotorua will be where the season’s overall King and Queen of Crankworx will be crowned.

 

With that, an additional piece of news was released today. Going forward, Crankworx Rotorua will shift permanently to the final stop of the Crankworx World Tour, closing out mountain bike competition season. The local Crankworx team are stoked to host the grand finale of the tour going forward and Rotorua makes the perfect hub for it.

 
 

Crankworx Rotorua Event Director Ariki Tibble explains: “While the Northern Hemisphere is wrapping competition season and gearing up for winter in late October and early November, New Zealand is in the thick of spring. The dirt is prime, the energy is high, and the appetite to get out and celebrate is on another level. To be able to bring all this together and share it with our international mountain bike family will be something special. While this year we can’t invite the world to celebrate with us in person to protect the health of New Zealanders, we are beyond thrilled to be able to host some of the world’s top athletes. We look forward to putting on a great show for our local crowds and for fans around the world on Red Bull TV in 2021, and to welcoming everyone back to New Zealand for Crankworx in 2022.”

 

“Coming back to Rotorua feels like we’re bookending a very strange chapter in our history,” said Crankworx Managing Director Darren Kinnaird. “Things were relatively normal the last time we were all together in New Zealand. The Crankworx World Tour was kicking off as usual in 2020. We had begun to hear whispers of COVID, but it wasn’t until the event wrapped and everyone got home that the world shut down. Since then, as event producers, we’ve had to draw on every ounce of creativity and tenacity that we have. While not always easy, it has paid off. Our athletes have been able to keep competing. The media are still out there shooting and sharing the stories of our sport – a sport that’s progressed at a rapid rate over the past year. And our fans have had something to look forward to and get excited about. Through it all, I am proud to say our team has never stopped pushing for what we believe in: creating opportunities, sharing our passion, celebrating the culture of mountain biking and the places steeped in the sport, and doing it all safely. I want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to all those who were pushing and cheering alongside us over the past year and a half. We are here, preparing to wrap the final event of a full Crankworx World Tour in 2021, because of you. We’ve got some big things coming, and we can’t wait to share them.”

 

Get all the details of the 2021 Crankworx Rotorua finale (November 1-7) at crankworx.com/rotorua

 

Tickets are now on sale at https://www.crankworx.com/rotorua/passes/.