PressCamp 2010 – WTB and Speedplay

July 7, 2010

There’s more stuff from PressCamp 2010 here as we get spare moments to write it in between writing issue 59 of the magazine. At least it means you’ll have lots of new tech stories to keep you busy for the next few weeks. It’s press-launch season, so keep coming back for new stuff.

First up we’ll look at Wilderness Trail Bikes – or WTB. One of the industry’s longest serving innovators, and it doesn’t seem to have slowed down since its start in the late ’70s.

WTB has redesigned a few of its tyres for this year, including the Weirwolf – but here’s a brand new one. The Bronson. It’s a ‘loose conditions’ tyre and comes in a chunky 2.3in or 2.1in with weights claimed around the 700g mark.

Loose conditions? Or for riders who ride loose? Probably both.
The 2.3 Bronson. It's big!

The big news from WTB however is the TCS system. It’s the Tubeless Compatible System, er, system. It aims to give the best of the tubeless world by offering UST compatible bead retainers, but intended to be run with sealant and sealing strips. You can use regular UST tyres if you want, but if you use the new range of WTB TCS tyres, they feature a UST bead, but a much thinner sidewall, to be run with sealant. There’ll be 26in and 29in wheels available.

Small wheel, big wheel. The new Stryker wheels from WTB
For racers that like to run sealant, but don't want the explosions and burping that you can get with non-UST tyres.
Not to be confused with Stryper, the '80s Christian Metal band.
Six bolt hubs, bladed spokes and a welded rim. Designed for Stan's-type tape.
The Stryker features an alloy freehub, but with three clever steel inserts to prevent your cassette (or SS sprocket) from munching on the cassette body.

Now on to Speedplay. Something like 15 years (or more!) since they came out with their original (and still in production) mountain bike pedal, the Frog, they’ve come out with one that they reckon will be a good competitor to the Shimano/Time/Crank Bros leaders. Called the Scissor (or Syzr if you want it properly), it initially looks like a sort of two-sided Eggbeater, but closer examination shows that there’s far more going on. The pedal itself it a pretty simple two-sided, sprung loaded trap. Like the Eggbeater, it has the advantage of the harder you pull up, the more it’ll grip your cleat. Unlike the ‘beater, it has adjustable spring tension. It also has float – but this is handled at the cleat…

The cleat is pretty low profile (for a Speedplay), but there’s still a lot going on here. The cleat pivots on its mounting plate, which allows you your pedal float. There are two stops that you set at either end of the desired float, giving a consistent feel every time. And because the cleat doesn’t pivot in the pedal jaws, it means that the cleat to pedal interface can be made super solid – with the other advantage being that the cleat won’t wear with float, as it only moves when it’s being disengaged.

We’re looking forward to getting hold of a set in time for winter time, where it’ll be tested on some Lakeland pushes, some muddy ‘cross and some day to day gritty Calderdale rides.

Cleat, pedal and natty toolbox
Weight is due to be 6g less than 2009 XTR
The design doesn't rely on the shoe lugs resting on the pedal - this will allow under-cleat wedges to be used and also means that as your shoes wear, your pedals won't get rattlier.

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