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XDR is here, so what do you need to know?

With Sram's introduction of their new Red Etap AXS group, they also announced their new XDR freehub body.  XDR isn't actually new though: the first place we remember seeing it was on Sram's 900 series of hubs, which came out back in 2016.  When asked about the new driver body, which a the time had no apparent use, we were told that it would allow for the development of a 12 speed road drivetrain at some point, and now that has arrived!

Chris King's teaser of their new XDR driveshell for their R45 and R45D hubs.  Photo courtesy of Chris King

So what's the actual difference between an XD and an XDR driver?  The latter has splines that are 1.85mm longer, making the driver body that carries the cassette effectively longer (the same as an 11-speed road Shimano-style driver, but more on that in a moment).  If you want to run an 11 or 12 speed mountain cassette, you just need a 1.85mm spacer behind it on the XDR driver, and you're good to go.  It's worth emphasizing, however, that while the freehub is very similar, it is longer, so it needs a hubshell that's designed for it.  This is one reason that it Chris King is offering it only on their road hubs, which are built for a longer 11-speed road Shimano style freehub body to begin with.  Since White Industries makes all of their hubshells slightly narrower to fit an 11-speed road freehub, the XDR freehub will work on all of them. 

White Industries current crop of titanium driver bodies: Campagnolo, Shimano 8-11 speed, Shimano Micro Spline, Sram XDR.  Photo courtesy of White Industries

Because all hub brands have approached freehub and hub design in general in their own way, it's hard to make any blanket statements about compatibility across multiple brands, but here's what we can say about the brands we carry:

  • Chris King R45, R45D Gen. 2, and R45D Centerlock hubs will be compatible with Chris King's new XDR driveshell, and conversion kits, as well as complete hubs should be shipping around the middle of March, 2019.  Currently there is no word on possible compatibility with other Chris King hubs.
  • White Industries has an XDR driver that is compatible with all of their recent hubs.
  • Onyx Racing Products is working on an XDR driver, and while we expect that it will definitely compatible with their road hubs, we don't have any word on compatibility with mountain hubs.  We'll keep you updated as new developments arrive on that front.
  • Phil Wood currently doesn't have plans to make an XDR driver.

Beyond this basic run-down, we're sure there will be questions, and we'll be here to answer them!  

 

 

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Making it all match with White Industries

It's no secret that we get a kick out of color matching parts.  Whether the color scheme is a subdued mix of blacks or silvers, or something a bit more exotic, we take pride in our ability to track-down the parts that will work well together across multiple manufacturers.  When we can match parts from just one manufacturer though, we're even happier!

We've gotten some really beautiful red White Industries parts in recently and since we know that not everyone gets to see just how these parts look together, we wanted to show a couple of combinations.


With the new Shimano XTR 9100 becoming more readily-available, we also wanted to remind everyone that White Industries has a driver that's compatible with Shimano's new Micro Spline cassettes, so you don't have to choose between color and the new XTR because you can get both!

Polished White Industries M30 Crankset with red extractor caps and Black TSR chainring, BSA Bottom bracket, and CLD hub with the new Micro Spline-compatible freehub body.

We really like the way White Industries cranksets tie in with other parts in a very subdued way with their colored extractor caps.  The addition of a colored bottom bracket is a great way to add just a bit more color to the center of the bike, but we've seen some great builds that used the bottom bracket to tie into the more subdued crank arm color, so there are lots of ways to get a great look.  Keep in mind that you could use a black crankarm and silver TSR chainring to completely change the way this combo looks too!  

White Industries' polished crank arms are mirrors, so they pick up the colors around them beautifully!

We're big fans of the centerlock rotor-mounting standard, and the low-flange hubs (such as the CLD) that it encourages, but for some bikes, the high flange XMR hubs are just such a perfect fit! 

White Industries XMR hubs with BSA bottom bracket.
XMR hubs, M30 crankset, and BSA bottom bracket.

Next time you're looking for a way to pull your bike together with color, let us know what you're looking for because chances are that we'll be able to help you get the look you want!


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Onyx Racing Hubs Are Here!

Today we're really excited to announce that we're adding Onyx Racing Products' hubs to our catalogue! 

And for a limited time you can get 15% off any pair purchased using code "ONYX_PAIR" until FEB 28th.

Minnesota based Onyx has been around for many years, having started out making hubs for BMX racing, and has slowly been gaining a following in large part because of their unique Sprag Clutch freehub, which gives virtually instant engagement (technically there's a tiny amount of rotation needed to engage the clutch, but take it from us: it's imperceptible) and infinite engagement points.  

After the instant engagement of the freehub, the next thing that jumps out about these hubs is what happens when you stop pedaling: silence!  In a world where loud freehubs are synonymous with high-quality and fast-engagement, Onyx hubs are a total anomaly because of their silent freewheeling.  And there's more to that silence than quiet: because when you coast, the sprags disengage, there is almost no drag caused by the freehub mechanism.  This is a big departure from traditional pawl-based freehubs, which generally employ some combination of more pawls and stronger pawl-springs to ensure quick engagement, which translates to more surfaces dragging across more teeth with greater friction, and therefore more drag. 

Onyx's road hubs are heavily relieved to shed weight, and like all of their hubs, are available in a huge range of colors!

To complement the low-drag freehub mechanism, Onyx hubs come stock with Enduro hybrid ceramic bearings to lower drag even more!  Hybrid ceramic bearings have lower drag than their steel counterparts, and are an upgrade that few hubs come with out of the box.  The fact that Onyx hubs come with them stock just shows that racing is more than just part of their name: it's part of their entire design ethic.  These bearings are protected from the elements with extremely tight tolerances in the bearing covers, and a labyrinth seal between the freehub driver body and hubshell.  And for those who want either full ceramic or full steel bearings, they are replaceable when and if they wear out.  

Onyx offers the Helix hubshell option on many of their hubs to save even more weight and give a truly unique look


Beyond the bearings themselves, Onyx hubs have an easy to use, and very solid bearing preload adjuster mechanism (with titanium bolts), which can really help get the most life out of a set of bearings, and which we feel is a great feature on any hub.  It makes adjusting the bearings possible (which a good thing to be able to do even with cartridge bearings), and also makes disassembling the hub much easier.

So can you get one to fit your bike?  The answer is almost undoubtedly "yes"!  From fatbike to road, BMX to boost singlespeed disc hubs, there is an Onyx for just about any spacing and configuration! 

If there's a downside to the design of these hubs it's that the sprag clutch is relatively heavy.  There is simply a bit more steel in the freehub than is necessary in most other designs.  Whether this is a big deal to you, is a decision you'll have to make, but we tend to feel that the benefits are worth the bit of extra weight for most riders.  For reference, a standard rear ISO disc mount Onyx hub weighs about 100 grams more than a comparable hub from Chris King.  It's something; but it's not unreasonable by any means, and we feel that the silent, low-drag design makes a small weight trade-off acceptable for most uses.  If you're trying to build an ultralight project bike, you might be better-off going with something from White Industries, but for most other uses, these hubs will be hard to beat.

Bikepacking.com had two different engravings on their set of hubs!  Photo courtesy of bikepacking.com.

One final, and very important note about these hubs is that you can get custom laser engraving at no extra charge!  When you consider the almost encyclopedic range of color options that the hubs have, and the fact that you can mix and match end cap and axle colors, this means that you can customize them more than just about any other hub on the market!  There are a few limitations on what you can have etched onto a hub, but within reason (think single color mainly), the options are endless!  The photo above from Bikepacking.com shows that intricate patterns are no problem, so as long as the design is single color and not copyrighted, you should be good to go!

These technically superb hubs are backed by a 5 year warranty, and we're really stoked to have them.  We're excited to be able to offer something that offers riders a unique product that has proven extremely durable and functional, and are happy to answer any questions about them so let us know if you've got any!  Also note that if you don't see a configuration on our site, just get in touch because it may take us some time to get everything up! 

In the meantime, head on over to the product page to take a look at the options!

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Get Your Bling Here: Phil Wood Skewer Promo

From now through the end of January we're offering a special on Phil Wood skewers!

Right now, through the end of January, we're offering a set of Phil Wood Skewers for just $99 (they're regularly $130!) when you buy a hubset or wheelset (of any brand)!

We love Phil Wood Skewers partly because they're just well designed: they have long, comfortable levers than allow you to easily get plenty of clamping force to hold your wheels securely in place; but with function in the bag, they go to the next level by coming in the same wide range of colors that Phil Wood's hubs do!  This means that if you want to get some sweet purple hubs, you can actually get skewers to match! 

Of course, you don't have to get wild with the colors!  Phil Wood makes some of the best polished and black finishes in the business, so we understand if that's the direction you want to go.

Whatever color you want to get, get it now, because this deal is only good through the end of January!

With the muted tones of winter all around us, we thought it would be a perfect time to get some more color in the world, so we're having a promo on some of our favorite skewers! 

The fine print: just purchase a wheelset or hubset between now and 11:59PM Pacific Time on January 31st, and we'll credit you back the difference

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Chris King Titanium Headsets are Back in Stock!

Chris King titanium headsets are in a category of their own.  Given Chris King's already legendary durability, these might not be absolutely necessary for most riders, but they are beautiful, and even more durable that the standard aluminum NoThreadsets, so for those who want the best of the best, this is your headset! 

Sometimes a bike simply demands something really special in a headset.  The Chris King NoThreadset Ti headset is the one for those. 

  When you see a Chris King ti headset on a bike, it's hard if not impossible to just glance at it: they require a second, closer look.  Whether it's to see the intricate pattern of the laser engraving, or just look at your reflection in the mirror polish that won't tarnish under harsh conditions, it's hard to tear yourself away from one of these beauties.

  Chris King NoThreadset Ti headsets are always limited edition parts.  When Chris King makes these headsets, that's all they make.  They have to change their tooling, and that new tooling gets worn out more quickly than usual because of how much harder the material is, which means that they don't produce them very often and there are often very long gaps between production runs. After each run there's also the question of whether they'll make them again.

We were able to buy a small stock of them recently from the last production run of the year (and maybe longer), so now's the perfect time to get one of these rare gems. 

Check out our webstore for current availability!

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A custom wheelset for when you need a trio of wheels....

Sometimes you need a custom wheelset because your current wheelset is worn out, and sometimes you need one because you're building your dream bike and there isn't a stock wheelset that will do the trick!

That was certainly the case with this trio of AVT Works Custom Wheels that we recently built for a customer's new bike!  This rider wanted two front wheel options for his new bike, and they needed to match, so he had us build two front wheels-one with the tougher Enve M930 laced to 20mm thru-axle Chris King ISO AB hub, and one M630 laced to a 15mm thru axle Chris King ISO AB hub–and one rear wheel built around a Chris King ISO-B hub.  He has two different forks for this bike, and needed a wheel for each, hence the different spec.  All three wheels were laced with Sapim CX Ray spokes which are the strongest as well as one of the lightest spokes on the market today.  If you've been checking our posts recently, you'll remember that we posted some photos of this wheelset in process as we got the parts and again once we'd finished the wheels.  We did that not only because it's a trio of wheels that uses rad parts, but because this rider wanted silver accents! 

The stock hub on the left, and the finished product on the right

We love black parts, but sometimes it's really refreshing to see something that's really different, and this wheelset is nothing if not different!  We started out by switching the hardware on the hubs out to silver.  Chris King had just recently changed all of their hubs (apart from silver) to being supplied with black hardware, so we had to swap the axles and adjuster caps out.  

All of the parts set out and ready to build

Once we got the hubs prepared, we built the wheels.

The finished wheels are gorgeous.  The silver Sapim CX Ray spokes give the wheelset give the wheels a completely different appearance than the black spokes we're used to seeing laced to carbon rims, and we think it's a rad way to pull together  a classic look with modern parts to create something truly unique!

Built, but with the original decals

The resulting bike is an impressive combination of the latest tech and a very thorough matching color scheme!  Notice that the final touch on the wheels was to swap out the stock decals to matching matte punch ones.  This is a detail that we like about Enve rims, and it's certainly used to full advantage here!

The wheels with their new decals on the bike

There are many ways in which a wheelset can be custom for its rider, and this one is a perfect example of someone making use of just about all of them: the rider needed a wheelset that would match the quality and color scheme of his bike, that would be able to accommodate his two different forks and their intended use, and finally, he needed a wheelset that would handle the kind of riding for which his bike was designed! 


Admittedly, this set might not be in everyone's budget, but whether you are looking for one where money is no object or one on more of a budget, there's no reason to think a custom wheelset is out of reach!  We have a whole host of options to help you get the best wheelset for your riding style, bike, and budget; and with 34 years of experience, our wheelbuilder will build you the best wheelset around, and we think you'll be happy you took the leap!


For more info, head over to our AVT Works Custom Wheels page!

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What's so special about custom wheels?

Most of our customers have probably been riding custom wheels for years, but even some of them may not have really thought a lot about what makes those wheels so worthwhile, so whether your bikes still have their stock wheels or not, read on to learn a bit more about what makes a set of custom wheels so good!

When thinking about custom wheels, the most basic question to ask might be “why?”.  It’s not a bad question either: most of us have at least one bike that has a stock wheelset on it, so why should anyone want to replace it, and supposing it does need to be replaced, why not try to get the exact same one that you already have?

First, it’s important to understand the difference between a stock bicycle and something like a car, for instance.  The latter has parts that are very specific to it, and which are usually of good quality and so a good choice when something needs replacement.  With a complete bike, in many cases the wheelset that comes with it has been machine-built, and isn’t of the best quality. This is because wheelsets are made of many parts that don’t look that sexy on a spec sheet, making them an easy, and definitely a go-to place to save some money when spec’ing a complete bike.

Of course this isn’t true on all bikes, and some come with really high-quality wheelsets, but in general even on higher-end bikes the wheelsets aren’t built to the same quality standards, and with the same quality materials as an aftermarket wheelset would be.  The result is that many of the wheelsets that come with complete bikes have inbuilt stresses that mean broken spokes, broken nipples, and the need for frequent truing.

Those issues are rare on a custom wheelset, and for riders who haven’t experienced one, it can be hard to believe that the difference could be so pronounced, but those who have been riding a top-quality, custom wheelset for any length of time, know that replacing spokes and nipples, and even truing wheels are things that hardly ever need to be done!  While the cost of a custom wheelset is seldom small at the outset, the long term cost can be really low when you consider the reliability and durability.  The fact that you also get a wheelset that is lighter, stiffer, smoother rolling, and more beautiful can actually start to seem like a bonus!

Beyond all of these very utilitarian differences are a whole host of aesthetic ones, because once you open the door to a custom wheelset, the options for how that wheelset looks are pretty much limitless!  That's where we really start having fun too, but we'll leave that to another day....

If you're ready to get started on your new wheelset, head over to our Wheels and Rims page!  And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!

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12 Bling Builds of Xmas - Mike Desalvo's Builder's Choice

Even though we already did a post about this bike not too long ago, we just couldn't leave it off our 12 Bling Builds of Xmas list because it's simply a beautiful, well-executed bike!

Like many of the other bikes we've featured in this series, this one would be perfect for the terrain around our home base of Ashland, Oregon, and we feel like that also means that it would be great in most other places as well!  The titanium frame, clearances for larger tires, and durable, beautiful, and mechanically great parts kit would be able deliver great performance nomatter where a ride might take you!

And it should come as no surprise that we like a bike that doesn't forget how it looks, and this one is one of the most beautiful bikes we've seen this year!  Painting titanium isn't necessary for the frame's durability, and that fact opens up more options in terms of how much of the bike gets painted.  This one makes perfect use of that!  Finally, the Matte Turquoise Parts from Chris King get integrated into the whole bike so well, that they really work well as accents that tie the bike together rather than just screaming over the rest of it.

This year's order window for these bikes has closed, but we're sure Mike can still build you something similar: it'll just have to be your choice this time!


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12 Bling Builds of Xmas - Kellan's Landshark MTB

If you checked out our post of Kellan's Chris Cross from last week, you already know that he has some impressive bikes!  This one is solidly in the one-off category, and was the first 27.5" bike that John at Landshark had built!  Kellan explains the build:

Since I could not find exactly what I wanted out of a stock bike I knew I wanted to go the custom route.  Since I wanted a fast handling bike to handle the tight singletrack I normally ride on I opted for steeper angles than what’s popular at the moment.  Once the frame was designed the next step is coming up with a paint scheme. Since I went through this with a previous Land Shark I had some ideas but wasn’t complete sure.  The original idea was to copy the Alexander Calder BMW art car from 1975 but when looking at similar cars I stumbled upon this photo of the Hamann McLaren and decided to show John the picture.

Since I wasn’t completely sure what the paint would look like I ordered a black Chris King InSet 7 and a black PressFit 30.  For the rest of the build I wanted to go with parts I knew would last: I did a Shimano 2x11 XT build, rounding it out with a Thomson post, Ritchey bullmoose bar, and a wheelset using White Industries CLD hubs laced to Velocity Blunt SS rims.

The paint is different on each side:

Of course you need your name painted on the bike so you can recognize it is yours:

My friends at ESI sent me some custom grips to add a bit more color:

The bike spends 90% off its time with a rigid Enve MTN fork but occasionally I put a 100mm fork to change it up a little:

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12 Bling Builds Of Xmas - Argonaut GR2

I once made the mistake of dropping on to say hi to Ben at Argonaut and going for a ride around Bend with him... he absolutely ripped my legs off!! Thankfully the by-product of all that fast riding are some truly amazing bikes that come out of the Argonaut workshop. 

Unlike many builders, Argonaut waited a long time to release their first gravel bike...and for good reasons since technical standards like flat mount brakes and thru axle sizes had yet to settle down somewhat and reach an industry consensus.

The result is the stunning looking GR2 launched earlier this year.

What I love most about this bike is that it approaches the gravel bike design from the angle of a pure roadie. This is a slammed, aggressive machine that wouldn't look out of place in a road race peloton with some deep section road wheels on it. But with clearance for 37c WTB Riddler tires this thing is ideally suited to ripping up the fire roads of Oregon. 

Back in the day we'd just ride gravel on a road bike with no need for a specific bike... do we really need specific bikes for gravel? Maybe, or maybe not.. but if you have the luxury of having a bike like this in your stable you're certainly going to going a lot faster.

Frame Specs:
Full carbon bladder molded frame construction
Rider specific layup pattern
142 x 12 rear spacing
Speed Release front and rear thru-axle
ENVE GRD Fork
Chris King i8 Headset
Chris King T47 bottom bracket
Chris King R45D hubs on Enve rims
Clearance for 700x38c tire.
As pictured: 16lbs

Photo Credit: Argonaut Cycles.

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