Category: Product News

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Wolf Tooth Morse Cage: Adjustable and Light

A perfect collaboration

Titanium King Cages need no introduction: they're just the most durable, simple, and lightweight bottle cages on the market.  It's little wonder, then, that Wolf Tooth wanted to collaborate with Ron and company to make their adjustable Morse Cage.  The Morse Cage is essentially a standard bottle cage with the ability to move it up or down by up to 1.25", and while that may not sound all that groundbreaking, it can be incredibly useful.  The adjustment can make all of the difference on a frame with limited bottle clearance (such as a small frame or many full-suspension bikes), and it also just gives you the ability to fine-tune where exactly your water bottles sit on the frame.  The latter point can determine whether you're able to run a large water bottle on a frame with bosses that aren't positioned in the ideal location.

Wolf Tooth Titanium Morse Cage from the highest position (far left), to the lowest (far right).

The Morse Titanium Cages are a great example of a small, but important improvement on a part that we already love.  You may not need them, and in that case, the standard Titanium King Cage is still a great way to go (it's 4g lighter-weight, and $10 less-expensive after all); but if a little bit of adjustability would improve your riding experience, the Morse Cage is well worth it.  We think it's a really useful and thoughtful part that makes a big difference where it's needed, so we're glad that it exists.

Morse cage in lowest position (left), and highest (right)

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White Industries T11 Hubs and Boyd Altamont Ceramic-Coated Rims: A Sensible Choice for Rim Brakes

With all of the focus on disc brakes these days, you might think that no one was still riding rim brakes, but that's just not the case.  In many cases, rim brakes have advantages (light weight, and compatibility with older frames among them), and there are actually a lot of great hubs and rims available.  One of our favorite combinations is the Boyd Altamont Ceramic coated or Altamont Lite Ceramic coated rim and the White Industries T11 hub

Boyd Altamont Lite Ceramic coated rims and White Industries T11 hubs make for sweet rim-brake wheelset.

The Altamont and Altamont Lite are both available in a disc or rim brake version, and the rim brake version of each is available with a standard machined brake track with a black anodized finish or a special ceramic coating that covers the entire rim.  Not only does the ceramic coating look like some kind of stealth technology, but it improves braking performance in wet weather and makes the whole rim more durable.  Like the ceramic-coating that Mavic used beginning in the 90's and continued to include on their high-end wheels well into the 2000's, these rims need to be used with special pads (which are included with the rims), and really do give impressive all-weather braking and more durable brake tracks.  On top of great braking and durability, the rims are tubeless-ready, have a welded seam, and a nice modern aero profile and width.  

White Industries' T11 hubs are lightweight, easy to service, their titanium freehub drivers are available in every major standard.

And so you can run whatever drivetrain you like, the White Industries T11 hub is a great option.  Its titanium freehub driver is extremely durable, so it's unlikely that you'll ever need to replace it unless you decide to change drivetrains.  If you do decide to make the switch though, it's available in Shimano HG-11, Campagnolo, and Sram XDR designs and it's easy to swap, so changing it to a new system is a cinch.

We've got these rims as options in our AVT Works Road Wheelset, and as individual rims, but of course, if you would like us to build you a wheelset that you don't see available, just get in touch!  We love building custom wheels that get you just the configuration that you're looking for.

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Silca Seatpacks: low-profile storage

From left to right: Silca Seat Capsule Premio, Seat Roll Grande Americano, and Seat Roll Premio

We stock three different seat packs from Silca because they're just great designs that we feel each serve a different bike.  All three use a Boa closure, which means that there's no velcro anywhere to catch on the legs of your shorts, and it also makes adjusting the packs incredibly easy and secure.  With a roll-type seat pack, the Boa closure also ensures that the roll won't rattle loose because each time you turn the dial, the adjustment stays put.  But how do you decide which one will work best for you?  We thought we'd go through the main points of each to help clarify the strengths of each one.

The Seat Roll Grande Americano has a relatively large volume, but still cinches down for a very low-profile.

Seat Roll Premio

The Seat Roll Premio is the smallest of the three, and is designed with the needs of road riders in mind.  The canvas fabric is waxed to keep water from soaking in, and then quilted with reflective thread to add a bit of visibility without disrupting the understated look of the pack.  This is the smallest pack of the line, and its three pockets are sized to fit a tube up to 700x45c, a mini tool, and two CO2 cartridges with a regulator, or a similar assortment of items.  Having a pack with only as much room as you need ensures that everything stays as secure as possible, and also just makes for a small, out-of-the-way package that's there when you need it, but easy to forget about the rest of the time.

The Seat Roll Premio all closed up as it looks from below when attached to your bike.
The Seat Roll Premio off the bike, and partly unfolded.
Seat Roll Premio fully opened.

Seat Roll Grande Americano

The Seat Roll Grande Americano uses the same basic three-pocket design as the Seat Roll Premio, but expands it to accommodate a tube up to 29x2.5".  The fabric is 1000D ballistic Nylon with a water repellent finish to keep the contents dry and gives the pack a long life.  Compared to the Seat Roll Premio, pretty much everything on this pack has been updated slightly to make it able to handle its larger load with ease: a lower pleat allows the bag to expand when loaded, a slightly lower Boa position helps tuck the pack up into the saddle for the most security, and a more robust vertical strap is there to keep the pack's contents secure in even the roughest terrain.  This is a great pack for your mountain bike, or for carrying a little bit more than the bare-minimum on your road bike, and to make the whole thing even sweeter, the Seat Roll Grande Americano is made in the USA!

The Seat Pack Grande Americano fully closed, as it looks from underneath when attached to your saddle.

Seat Capsule Premio

The Seat Capsule Premio holds a similar amount to the Seat Roll Grande Americano, but does so in a zippered capsule that stays attached to your saddle.  Internal pockets keep your tube (or tubes if you're carrying multiple smaller ones) apart from tools (which have their own pocket).  Because the carrying compartment of the Seat Capsule Premio doesn't cinch down, it can't get quite the low-profile of the other two, but for those riders who like to keep their seat pack attached to their bike at all times, this one is hard to beat.

The Seat Capsule Premio as it looks from below when attached to your saddle.

So which one is best for you? 

In our estimation, the Seat Roll Grande Americano is a great choice for most riders: it's got enough room to be able to handle either a couple of road tubes, or a single mountain bike tube, so you can use it on various bikes, and we really like that it's hand-sewn in the USA.  If you're just going to use the pack on your road bike, and have your repair kit down to a minimal size, the Seat Roll Premio is a great option.  The reflective quilting is a really nice touch, and the size is about as small as you can get.  And for those who just want a more traditional seat pack design, the Seat Capsule Premio has features that make it very attractive.

In any case, we think you can't go wrong with Silca seat packs.  Having used a lot of seat packs over the years, we can vouch for the difference the Boa attachment makes, and having developed a fondness for the tucked-away design and classic look of seat rolls, we are happy to find some that really stay put, and hold their contents securely.  

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A new frame, fork, or drivetrain is only a part-swap away.

With the whirlwind of new standards, both from the frame and fork side of things and from the drivetrain side, it can seem like no part can be of use for very long, but that's not the case with the likes of Chris King, White Industries, and the other brands we carry.  Each brand varies with the options, but pretty much all of our brands allow you to easily swap axles, and drivers (or driveshells as Chris King calls them) to accommodate different dropout and cassette standards.

Chris King ISO 100x9mm Quick-Release hub with the 100x12mm and 100x15mm thru-axles that could replace the stock axle.

For example, if you have a White Industries CLD hub with an HG driver and a thru-axle style axle, but you want to convert it to a campy or XD/XDR driver (White Industries uses the same driver for both), or maybe a quick-release style axle, all you have to do is get the appropriate axle and driver, remove the old ones (an easy task), and install the new ones.  It's really as simple as that!  The same rules that apply to any hub, like not being able to convert a non-boost hub to boost, still apply, but within the standard confines, your options are pretty extensive.

White Industries CLD hub, thru-type axle with Micro Spline-compatible freehub, and quick release style axle.

For Chris King, you have two styles of freehubs based on hub models: Classic and R45.  The latter is smaller, lighter, and has fewer points of engagement, and uses a different driveshell and axle.  If you have a Chris King ISO rear hub with a 135x10mm quick-release style axle, and you want to change the axle to a 142x12mm Thru-axle, all you need to do is get that new axle, and swap it out.  By the same token, if you want to change the driveshell on that hub from an HG to an XD, all you need to do is get that new driveshell

Chris King ISO hub with some of the axle/driveshell options: XD Driveshell, Stainless Steel HG Driveshell, Black Alloy Driveshell, and Black Thru-type Axle with Black Alloy Driveshell.
Chris King R45 driveshell on the left, Classic driveshell (in stainless steel) on the right.

If you have an R45 hub, it's a bit more complicated because the most driveshells use their own specific axle, so they have to be swapped out together.  But you still have lots of options.  We recommend getting in touch with us before you order in order to ensure that you get the parts you'll need for your hub.

Chris King R45 hub with XDR driveshell and 130x12mm thru-type axle ready for a swap.

With Industry Nine hubs, each hub type has its own driver, axle, and endcap design (some encaps cover more than one hub type, but not all), and within each type, you can get all relevant driver types and axle standards (so no XDR or Campagnolo on Hydra hubs, for instance).  Essentially, you can get any option you want, and it's easy to change things later if you want to!  We don't currently list all of the small part options online, so if you're looking for a part, just contact us, and we'll get you what you need!

One of the many endcap/driver combinations that's available with Industry Nine hubs

Phil Wood is a lot like White Industries in that as long as the hubshell is the correct width, you get to choose whether you want a steel or alloy axle, thru or QR-type axle, and XD (no XDR available yet), HG-11, or Campagnolo freehub because for the most part they're interchangeable.  There are a few limitations within this (such as there being no Pro axle available for Touring hubs), but overall the system is very modular.  Get in touch with us for details on what the options are with any given hub. 

Phil Wood Classic hubs with HG freehub (red), and Campagnolo freehub (blue)

With Onyx Racing Products hubs, there are axle and freehub options for just about every standard, but there are variations in axle and freehub, so you just need to make sure you get the one that will work with your hub.   If you would like to change your axle or driver type on your Onyx hub, just get in touch, and we'll help you figure out what your options are!

Onyx has a very wide variety of axles and drivers.

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Chris King Has The Right Tools For The Job

Chris King Threadfit 24 with grease injector and installation tools

When you get a Chris King bottom bracket, you are buying a product that's designed and built to last a long time, and part of the design is serviceability.  In keeping with the precision of the parts themselves, Chris King has made tools that are built to the same exacting standards as the products they're made to service.  From grease injectors that allow you to flush the old grease out and replace it with new, to installation tools for all variations of threaded bottom brackets, these tools make it easy to ensure that your bottom bracket will last as long as it can.

No matter which Chris King bottom bracket you have, there's a tool that's built to the same tolerances to remove and install it.

We love Chris King's grease injector tools because they make servicing a bearing incredibly quick and easy.  The process is as simple as removing your cranks, pulling the plastic spacers out of the bottom bracket, pressing the grease tool in until it bottoms out, pressing your grease gun onto the zerk fitting, and pushing grease into the bottom bracket while rotating it to spread the grease evenly through the bearing. Once you see clean grease coming out, you know you're good to go, and you can reinstall the plastic spacers in the bottom bracket, reinstall your cranks, and go ride!

If you're curious to see the greasing process, here's a video that shows the process pretty clearly.

No matter which Chris King bottom bracket you have, there's a grease fitting that will work with it.

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Stelbel Build Part 1; Frame Design & Geometry

Since we added Stelbel frames to our site a few months back we've been working on a staff frame order to document and showcase the process when you order one of these frames. 

Step 1. Decide which model to go for.

As we described in a previous post, Stelbel offers what we consider to be a perfect mix of custom geometry combined with a range of specific frame models each with their own ride characteristics and intended use. 

My plan for this frame is for it to be a true all-year-round road bike ideally suited to the riding here in Southern Oregon. That means full length fenders for winter road miles, and clearance for a wider, gripper tire in the summer without fenders. Not a gravel bike per-se, more a versatile road machine that can handle the many miles of gravel / fire roads here without compromising on a roadie position. A roadie's gravel bike if you like...

So that means a disc build which narrows down the options to 3; SB/03, Rodano and Antenore. Of the 3 it was a pretty easy decision, I ruled out the SB/03 as it's a little racy, so that left the Rodano & Antenore. Similar in riding style, but what sealed the deal for me is the stainless construction and raw back end on the Antenore Disc.

Step 2. Frame Geometry.

Stelbel can work with a variety of different ways to size up your frame and get the ideal geometry, but normally the best place to start is with a full bike fit (by Retul or similar). I ride a custom steel frame most of the time and had been fitted on this last summer by Bike Effect in Santa Monica so with my position pretty dialed I used this a starting point.

Taking precise measurements from the Palmer frame, these were sent over to Stelbel with some explanatory notes. In particular regarding the seat angle on my Palmer frame which is pretty steep, combined with a 25mm set back post. I left it to Stelbel to figure out what to do with this; either reduce the seat angle and go with a zero set back post, or stick with something similar. Turns out they are used to building frames with steeper seat angles and are not fans of the zero set back post, so they recommended a 25mm set back combined with a 75 degree seat angle.

Chainstay length is TBC, based on whatever they need to accommodate a fender and 28c tire, i'm expecting it to be a little longer than normal which is fine for this type of bike in order to give the fender / tire clearance it needs.

Lastly, I decided to reduce stem length from 130mm to 120mm to provide a bit more stability in handling, with keeping the rider position as close as possible to my current ride.

Within a day or so, Andrea at Stelbel crunched the numbers and sent me back this frame design to check over:

Step 3. Frame Design & Features.

For the last step in the process I had some specific asks for Stelbel to make this a true year round frame rather than a pure road disc frame. I went with the Columbus Futura Gravel fork, which is a little longer axle to crown than what's normally spec'd on this frame. It provides the all important fender mounts and extra clearance to run at least 28c tires with fenders in the winter, then wider gravel tires in the summer without fenders.

I also asked for a pump peg on the inside of the headtube to run a Silca Impero frame pump. Fender mounts will be of the bottle cage bolt variety at the foot of the seat-stay so as to not stand out too much without fenders attached. Having used eTap for the past few years I decided to stick with this groupset option, especially as it builds such a clean frame without cable guides.

Step 4.  Final Review.

Once I had checked and double checked Antonio's design it was time to sign-off the design and let Stelbel get to work. Now the really hard tasks start... waiting until the fall for the frame to be finished and deciding on the paint color!

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Phil Wood Bottom Brackets for every era....

The current batch of bottom bracket standards can seem pretty out of control, but for better or worse, that's not a new phenomenon.  It seems that manufacturers—bike and component—have been coming up with great new ways to do the bottom bracket since it was invented.  That means that when you go to replace the bottom bracket in your older frame, instead of having to worry about whether your frame uses a PF30 or a BB30, you have to know whether it uses a French or Swiss, Chater Lea or Raleigh Super-Corsa, or maybe just a standard BSA. 

In addition to just making exceptionally durable, beautiful parts, Phil Wood produces bottom brackets for these older standards, which means that you can keep that classic bike going when its bottom bracket gives out.  It also means that there's probably a good option for whatever your next #retrorebuild happens to be! 

The Phil Wood Stainless Steel Outboard bottom bracket and Stainless Steel Square Taper bottom bracket with its interchangeable Cartridge Cups

Phil Wood offers both square taper and outboard bearing versions of their bottom brackets in a range of standards that will keep everything from classic road bikes to early Ritchey and Klein mountain bikes rolling, and all of them use Phil Wood's famously durable bearings, so you know they'll hold up.  

One of the things we love about Phil Wood's Square Taper bottom brackets is that the rings that thread it into the shell are completely separate and easily swap-able!
Stainless Steel Press-in 35mm Outboard Bearing bottom bracket

The current fitment list for Phil Wood bottom brackets is as follows:

Stainless Steel Outboard Bearing Bottom Bracket is available in:
  • British (BSA)
  • British (BSA) E-Type
  • French
  • Italian
  • Swiss
  • Chater Lea
  • Raleigh Super Corsa
  • 35mm Press-in
Interchangeable Cartridge Cups for Stainless Steel Square Taper Bottom Brackets are available in:
  • British (BSA)
  • British (BSA) E-Type
  • French
  • Italian
  • Swiss
  • Chater Lea
  • Raleigh Super Corsa

And remember: because Phil Wood's Square Taper bottom brackets all use the same interchangeable Cartridge cups, if you have an older bottom bracket that you want to move to a different frame, you can simple get a new set of cups, and be good to go!

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about fitment.  We work with these parts every day, and are happy to help you get the right ones!

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Campagnolo Disc Hubs: you've got options

If you want to run Campagnolo's disc brake system on your thru-axle frameset, but don't want to use one of their wheelsets, you've probably already found that your options are pretty limited.  Fortunately, there might be more than you realize!  

Because White Industries, Phil Wood, and Industry Nine all have very modular freehub designs, with any of these brands, getting a campagnolo freehub on your thru-axle hub is no problem.  Currently Onyx Racing Products and Chris King don't currently offer a thru-axle, centerlock disc hub that is compatible with a Campagnolo freehub, but both have plans to offer that configuration in the not-too-distant future.

So currently the list of thru-axle, centerlock hubs that are available with a Campagnolo freehub is as follows:

Industry Nine CL Classic Road Disc hub

Phil Wood Centerlock hub

White Industries CLD hub

And if you already have one of the hubs listed above, and you want to convert it to a Campagnolo driver, just get in touch, and we'll make sure you get the parts you need to convert your hub!

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