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White Industries Cranksets: Get The Gearing You Want

There are lots of things to like about White Industries line of cranksets: they're made in the US; available in various lengths, colors, and bottom bracket standards; and maybe best of all, they give you amazing flexibility when it comes to chainring types and sizes!

White Industries Polished M30 Crankset with BSA bottom bracket and CLD hub.

Whether you want a square taper crankset (with models for singlespeed MTB, or road) because it allows you to adjust the bottom bracket width and chainline to your hearts content, and use an incredibly-durable, low-maintenance bottom bracket like one of Phil Wood's square taper models, or you want a quality, Made in USA, 30mm spindle crankset that gives you the color options to match your headset, bottom bracket, or hubset, there is a White Industries crankset that will fit the bill.

G30 Crankset with TSR Chainring

If you want to run a 2x system, White Industries' Variable Bolt Circle (VBC) system is hugely flexible in its chainring options, with big rings from 52 down to 38 tooth, and small rings from 38 down to 24 tooth.  And if 1x is more your style, White Industries' TSR chainrings use a narrow-wide tooth profile to keep the chain in place and running quietly.

The same G30 crankset as above, but this time with a 46/30 VBC chainring combo.

Whichever type of chainring you start with, you can always swap it out because they're all attached with an easy-to-use lockring.

 

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Threaded Headset Options: Chris King GripNut and 2Nut Headsets

Some might not know that Chris King offers two options for threaded headsets: the 2Nut and the GripNut.

Our Gios build is coming along, and it's got a Chris King GripNut headset.

 

We'll give you a quick run-down of what the differences are, and why you might want one over the other.  

Chris King 1 1/8" 2Nut on the left, with a spacer in between the adjusting nut and locknut, and the 1" GripNut headset on the right.

 
The Chris King 2Nut is basically Chris King's high-precision take on the classic threaded headset.  The bearing cap is threaded, and then there's a lock nut on top of that.  The headset allows you to leave your steerer long by using spacers, a cable hanger, or just about anything else you can find to attach to a spacer (like a bell, for instance), and mechanically, it works exactly the way just about every other standard threaded headset does.  If you have a threaded steerer that extends at least 5 full threads above the top of the adjusting (lower) cup, you can use the 2Nut, and depending on how much more than 5 full threads your steerer has, you can fill the space above the adjusting cup with spacers to take up the extra room underneath the lock nut. 

Notice how the 2Nut on the left looks just like a standard threaded headset, but the GripNut on the right looks different because the locknut (called a lock ring) actually threads into the adjusting ring.

Here you can see the GripNut adjusting cap assembly taken fully apart. The three parts are: the adjusting ring, the thread collet (the split part which is actually the part that threads onto the steerer tube), and the upper lock ring.

If you have very little steerer tube extending above the upper bearing cup, or if you want to cut your steerer tube as short as possible for the lowest stack height, the GripNut is the best option because it uses a special expanding collet to clamp the steerer tube, which requires fewer threads. 

So while it looks a lot like the 2Nut, it is functionally very different.  The design is also more secure and resistant to going out of adjustment over time than a standard threaded headset design.  The main downside of this design is that you have to cut your steerer tube to the correct length (between 11 and 14mm above the top of the bearing cup, not the adjuster cap).  This obviously limits your ability to add anything like a cable hanger down the road, but on many bikes–especially classic racing bikes–this just isn't an issue, and keeping the headset's stack height low is a bigger priority.

Both headsets are available in 1", 1 1/8", and 1 1/4" sizes for straight steerer tubes, so you really can get whichever style works best for your bike and your intended use.  If you've got any questions about these, or anything else we sell, don't hesitate to get in touch.  We have experience with these on our bikes, and are always happy to help you decide which type will work best for you!

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White Industries has your bottom bracket

With all of the bottom bracket standards these days, it can be hard to figure out what will work with your bike and crankset, and once you do figure it out, you don't always have a lot of options.  This is where White Industries comes in: with their BSA and T47 bottom brackets, there are options for 24mm (Shimano Hollowtech 2), 28.99mm (Sram DUB), and 30mm spindles, so if you have one of these two common threaded standards, you'll have no trouble getting a quality bottom bracket to fit whatever cranks you have.  On top of that, all of White Industries' BSA bottom brackets are available in their full range of colors! 

From left to right: BSA 24mm, BSA DUB, BSA 30

All White Industries bottom brackets us replaceable Enduro sealed cartridge bearings, complete with an extra seal on the outside (in these photos, that's the orange or blue part, depending on the bearing).  This seal is easy to remove, clean, and lubricate, which means that keeping your bearings in great shape is a cinch.  On top of that, all of the bottom brackets use precisely-sized bearings that match the diameter of the spindle for which they're designed.  Many other manufacturers tend to use bearings that have a plastic inner sleeve where they contact the spindle, and while that seems to work fine, we like the solidity of a metal-on-metal contact that these have.

Here you can see the metal inner race of each bearing.

If you have any questions about compatibility with your frame or crankset, feel free to get in touch

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Introducing STELBEL Frames.

If you're a regular reader of our blog or follow us on social media you'll know that we're big fans of steel frames here at AVT. So you can imagine that when Chris King ceased production of their house-brand Cielo frames back in 2017 we were naturally disappointed. Since then we've been looking hard for a comparable replacement, something that matches the exceptionally high standards of engineering, product design combined with custom geometry to create a truly world-class frame.

We think we've found the answer to that in Italy, with STELBEL frames and I'm pleased we're now able to offer them on AVT.bike as the perfect canvas for the high end parts we know and love from Chris King and others. A worthy successor to Cielo, I'm sure you'll agree!

Who are STELBEL?

Certainly not as well known as many Italian builders, STELBEL fly under the radar, and not just for their understated paint designs. I first came across them during a discussion with a colleague a few years back about whether TIG welding high end steel frames was something that was first done in the USA. Turns out it wasn't... that honor goes to Stelio Beletti in Italy back in 1973 (which he went on to patent in 1975). Back then this was cutting edge stuff! Remember pretty much everything was lugged or filet brazed at that time, both heavier forms of construction, and limiting in terms of tubing profiles and frame design.

1977 Stelbel Integrale. 

So why STELBEL?

With so many high end steel frames to choose from today, both off the peg and custom why choose STELBEL? Given the competition in the steel frame category I guess it comes down to details that really make a frame stand out in a crowded market. For me there are a few things that jump right out with STELBEL:

- Frame Design Details. I think it was the dropouts that first caught my eye a few years ago and they still look sharper than anything out there today. Classic Italian design & engineering that creates something so visually compelling and functional at the same time, combined with the chunky chainstays they contribute to a stiffer frame ensuring all the power goes to the rear wheel. This thinking carries over into all the other frame components such as Headtube and BB Shell which are both engraved with the STELBEL logo.

- A full range combining specific models with custom geometry. Yes custom geometry is great, but there are also some benefits to a frame designer spending the time to create a range of bikes for specific purposes. It means as a customer we're not starting 100% from scratch each time and we can pick the frame best suited to the type of riding we're going to do. This means that certain elements of the frame design like tubing selection, frame components such as the type of BB shell and fork have all been carefully designed for the intended usage. 

Having this, combined with custom geometry gives a perfect combination of made to measure plus a frame that's designed by an engineer who's carefully considered the intended use and has gone through many prototypes to refine the frame design. Within each model design there are still plenty of options to customize the frame for whichever electronic shifting system you use, plus options like extra bottle cages, fender mounts and more.

- Just enough customization but not too much.... In the same vein as the frame design, STELBEL's approach to paint is a combination of leaning on their in house design expertise combined with a high level of customer customization. What this means is that the paint design schema (ie the patterns, logos, panels etc) is fixed for each model, but then the actual choice of the color used is totally open to whatever the customer wishes. 

Given the current trend towards rattle-can finishes (personally I'm not a fan, they look great from a far, but up close terrible) I'd rather let a professional designer handle the paint design in a way that really showcases the amazing craftsmanship that goes into producing the frame. Paint color can also be carried over to matching bars, stem and seatpost to complete the matchy, matchy look we strive so hard to help you achieve here with components from Chris King, White Industries, Phil Wood and more.

Right now we have our first frame on order, a staff build perfectly suited to the Pacific North West comprising an Antenore Disc stainless steel frame with matching fenders, practical in winter, fast in summer. Stay tuned as we take you through the build and design process and give us a shout if you have any questions on ordering a STELBEL for yourself.

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White Industries announces the G25A rim

Here at AVT, we're big fans of White Industries.  Not only do they make really high-quality and beautiful products, but they're constantly working to keep up with standards, and are doing so in ways that don't render their older designs obsolete.  This has led to their hubs being up-gradable to keep pace with current freehub standards, among other things.  

Today White Industries made a big announcement: a new gravel and lightweight mountain bike rim called the G25A. 

Like the rest of their parts, this rim is made in their facility in Petaluma, CA, and that just makes its specs all the more impressive:

  • 25mm internal / 29mm external width with a 20mm depth
  • Tubeless compatible with a hookless bead
  • Welded joint with full post-weld heat-treatment to restore the metal's full strength
  • Matte black anodized finish
  • Asymmetric rim profile for more even spoke tension
  • 24, 28, 32, and 36 hole drilling available
  • Disc only
  • Recommended tire widths of 40-54mm
  • Available in 700c and 650B sizes

Where to start with these? 

How about a welded seam, for one?  This is an area that is uncommon among US-Made rims, and while you can find arguments in favor of pinned seams as well, there are good ones to be made for a welded one–especially if the rim gets post-weld heat-treatment–so this strikes us as a big deal.  Welded rims tend to be straighter at the seam, lighter, and have slightly easier tubeless setup, so we're happy to see White Industries taking this approach with their rim.

Another feature that we really appreciate in these disc-specific rims is their asymmetric drilling.  Asymmetric, or off-center spoke hole drilling helps even-out spoke tension both on the front wheel's disc-side and the rear wheel's drive-side, resulting in a stronger wheelset.

The width is also great for gravel and all-road bikes, and the wide range of available spoke counts will help more riders get the right wheelbuilds for their riding, so you can bet we'll be keeping a close eye on the development of this rim.

Current ETA is August, so stay tuned for updates here, and follow and like our Instagram and Facebook feeds, because we'll let you know the moment we can get these for you!  

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Industry Nine Hubs: Tech That Works.

A little background for those who might not know, Industry Nine got its name because it's the 9th business to come out of one machine shop in Ashville, N.C.  The owner, Clint Spiegel, started out in his dad's machine shop in his teens, and it's the evolution of that same shop that now produces Industry Nine products.  If you're interested in fancy machines, machining techniques, and just high-precision manufacturing, you'll get a kick out of this company, and we highly recommend reading up on them more!

Over the years, the company has moved through three distinct freehub design-eras: the first, what they call their Legacy Freehub, from 2006 to 2012; the second, their Torch Freehub, until this year (though it continues on road hubs); and finally the new Hydra and 101 freehubs, which just launched.

Torch Road disc and Road rim hubs. Photos courtesy of Industry Nine

The original freehub was a marvel of machining, with six pawls, engaging in two phases on a 60 tooth drive ring to give 120 points of engagement.  At the time, this was pretty much unheard-of, and the hubs immediately gained a following.  Their combination of fast-engagement, beautiful construction and colors, and their unique aluminum spokes made them really stand out.  We've heard people talk about the problems they had with those early freehubs, which just makes it clear how high I9 set their own bar, and it highlights one of the things we like about the company: constant improvement without forgetting about what they've done in the past.

Torch Road Centerlock Disc hub. Photo courtesy of Industry Nine

Industry Nine was working on improving their hubs during the six years of their legacy freehub, and when they released their Torch design, they ushered in a new era of reliability.  With their Torch Mountain freehub, they maintained the same 120 points of engagement, but modified just about everything else about the way freehub worked.  In essence, they refined the original Legacy freehub, fixing the issues it had, and building something that was really reliable and easier to work on.  I9 also launched their Torch Road freehub, which has 3 pawls, and 90 points of engagement for lower drag where high-engagement isn't important.  This family of hubs has proven itself to have some of the best hubs that use a traditional pawl-driven design.  With the Torch hubs, I9 also began making the hubs to work with a traditional j-bend spoke, which opened them up to many more applications.

Four of the 11 colors in which the new Hydra hubs are available. Photo courtesy of Industry Nine

Now Hydra takes freehub design to a place where it's never gone before.  The hydra freehub has a ridiculous 690 points of engagement, which means it engages every 0.52 degrees!  If you've ever ridden I9's Torch Mountain freehub, you know that its 3 degree engagement feels nearly instantaneous, but this is almost 6 times faster!  That's huge! 

The new design accomplishes this feat by putting the 6 pawls into 6 phases on a new 115 tooth drive ring.  That means that each pawl engages on its own, which might sound like it would make the mechanism weaker, but Industry Nine has clearly been taking a deep dive into how a freehub works because this one actually takes material flex into account to get those high-engagement numbers.  As you put pedaling force into it, first one, then more pawls engage as the system flexes ever so minutely.  The result, says Industry Nine, is a system that's stronger because it significantly reduces the possibility that only one pawl will be engaged under hard load, which would unevenly load both the freehub mechanism and the bearings.  So you get a hub that not only has insanely fast engagement, but it's also more durable, and because of the smaller teeth, lower drag.   

The new 6-bolt 101 hubset. Photo Courtesy of Industry Nine

As if this weren't enough, I9 also released their new 101 hubs at the same time as the Hydra.  101 hubs are currently only available in Boost spacing, black, 28 or 32 hole, with a centerlock or 6-bolt rotor configuration for j-bend spokes.  Basically, they're a great option for your modern mountain bike at the moment. 

The big news with 101 is that they're one of the most affordable hubs that's entirely designed, machined, anodized, and assembled in the US!  They use a new freehub design with 90 points of engagement using 6 pawls in 2 phases on a 45 tooth drive ring to deliver an engagement point every 4 degrees.  The use of larger teeth on the drive ring means they don't have to use their extremely expensive and slow EDM cutting process, which reduces cost significantly.  Beyond that, continual streamlining of their production process, a slightly simplified hub design, fewer options, and more automation in the machining process, results in a hub that's a really impressive value.  This hub allows us to offer custom wheelsets, built with the best parts on the market, for well under $800!

Both Hydra and 101 hubs are available with Sram XD, Shimano Micro Spline, and traditional Shimano HG freehub bodies.  Torch road hubs are available with Shimano HG 11-speed road, Sram XDR, and Campy freehub bodies, so you can rest-assured that your new hubs will be compatible with whatever system you have or want to have.

The new Industry Hydra freehub and 6-bolt mountain hub. Photo Courtesy of Industry Nine

We feel that these hubs offer a great value for riders who are looking for a truly exceptional hub, and we're really excited to be able to offer them!  With a every freehub covered, a wide range of bearing options, and just about every spacing available (road, fatbike, boost singlespeed, along with the various standard mountain spacings), these hubs have most uses covered.  The Hydra and Torch hubs are available in a huge range of colors, and as anyone who's seen it knows, Industry Nine's anodizing is second to none.  They brought their anodizing in-house early-on because they wanted to be able to control the quality and colors as precisely as the rest of their products, and it really shows.  Their colors are many, beautiful, and consistent. 

The new Hydra hub offers almost silly engagement numbers, and actually promises to bring a new level of function, durability, serviceability, and just quality to an already exceptional hub, while their 101 hubs make a very slightly pared-down version of their hubs available to a much wider range of riders with very little loss of performance.  We've got complete wheels built around these hubs available at a wide range of price points, so if you're interested in those, just check out our wheels page to get started.

From what we've seen the people behind Industry Nine know their stuff when it comes to designing and manufacturing a quality product, but beyond that they're also just great folks: their customer support is top-notch, and you can rest-assured that even as their hubs continue to evolve in the years to come, they will continue to support all of their products with friendly, helpful service, and in our book that's saying a lot.


Got questions?  We're here to help.  Check out our contact page to find the best way to get in touch!

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Bling Builds: Getting a Yeti Ultimate up and running again

The Yeti Ultimate started out as Mountain Bike Action's attempt to build what they thought was the ultimate mountain bike, and that meant tackling the common shortcomings of contemporary bikes.  The year was 1988, and some of the big issues at that time were chainsuck, poor tire clearance, and long chainstays, so MBA set out to solve all by using elevated chainstays.  After Yeti put the frame together for MBA, they made it a stock model, which went on to become their most popular frame by 1990.  And while it looks a bit unusual now, anyone who can remember the time around 1988-91 or so will recall that it was in good company: the Nishiki Alien, Mantis Valkyrie, and Trimble Carbon Cross among the most memorable of the bikes with elevated chainstays; but still, this bike was one of the first, and it had its own special little tidbits that set it apart.

  1. One of these innovative details was the 1.25" Fisher Evolution threaded headset, which was a standard that never really gained widespread traction.  These days, if you need to swap your fork and you have one of these headsets, your options are pretty much limited to finding an old fork...unless you get a Chris King Devolution headset!  This is a headset that is designed for cases where you have a headtube that's designed for a larger steerer, and you want to go down a size.  In this case, the rider used the 1.25" Devolution headset to put a fork with a standard 125" threadless steerer tube on his bike. 

Beyond the headset, this bike is a rad mix of older parts, and some that are still around today like the Paul Motolite brakes and Love Levers.  It's a perfect example of one of the reasons that we like working with companies like Chris King, Phil Wood, White Industries, and Paul: without a product like the Devolution headset, this bike might not still be rolling.  The fact is that Chris King can't expect to sell very many of those headsets in a given year, but because they do make them, rad bikes like this can still get their tires dirty! 

We love helping customers keep their classic bikes riding great, and we've got a lot of parts that can help with just that type of thing: from bottom brackets for very unusual thread pitches, to headsets to fit just about every standard, chances are that if you've got an old bike that needs odd parts, we can get it rolling! 

And remember that whether your bike is old or new, we want to see how you're using the parts you get from us!  We spend a lot of time working on our own bikes, and we want to see what you're working on too!

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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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