by Marc Basiliere
October 2, 2013
One company, one brand.
At Interbike this year, the MRP booth was a more cohesive place than ever before. Given that few customers realized that chain device brand MRP and suspension fork maker White Brothers were built and engineered by the same people, under the same roof, the company decided to stop using the White Brothers name and bring their mountain offerings under the MRP name (Kreitler rollers, Power Grips, and Tamer suspension posts will continue to be separate from a marketing perspective). At the same time, the company announced their purchase of Canadian company Elka’s bicycle suspension line, which will now be built in Colorado and sold under the MRP name.
True to their chain-retaining roots, the first thing that MRP wanted to share was a carbon fibre version of their AMG chain guide. Targeted at single ring riders on 4-6in bikes, the AMG (All-Mountain Guide) provides excellent security with clutch-type rear mechs and adds a bit of bash protection- but allows for silent running thanks to its no-contact design. While the carbon version shaves a bit of weight and looks cool, its real benefit comes from the material’s flexibility: carbon versions will flex and snap back where aluminum would have bent (possibly into the chainring). With the added cabon, US pricing is expected to jump $50 to $157 for the setup.
Jumping into the bigger-travel world associated with the MRP name, the company’s new 34mm offering, the Stage, comes in both 27.5 and 29in models with up to 170mm travel for the former and 150mm travel for the latter. While the fork’s hydraulic compression and rebound damping are not terribly unusual, the Ramp Control system is. Sitting in the left (air) leg, Ramp Control is actually a second adjustable air damper that slows the fork on big and fast hits. This allows the rider to select anything from a supple fork that won’t bottom unnecessarily to a more linear feel that sits high in its travel. MSRP for this US-made fork is $970.
Going down a platform size, the new Loop TR takes last year’s White Brothers Loop and adds MRP branding and the Stage’s Ramp Control damper. Available in 26/27.5 (130-150mm travel) and 29er (120-140mm travel) castings, the Loop TR comes in at $850. The Loop SL shaves a bit of weight from last year’s Loop thanks to shorter stanchions (only 80mm and 100mm models will be offered) but otherwise carries over at $800.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Interbike 2013 without a fatbike offering, would it? The MRP Fat is a wide-stanced version of the Rock Solid and comes in 10x135mm spacing and either 450mm (26in) or 468mm (29er) axle-to-crown measurements. The not-so-fat Rock Solid now comes in four axle-to-crown measurements (from 425-290mm), and new tapered steerer models are available with a 15mm thru axle.
Intended to replace the spider and chainring on any number of SRAM cranksets (including X9 and X0), the Bling Ring makes for a clean and light single ring setup. Due to BB30 cranksets’ narrow spindles, MRP has released a new shallow-offset version of their popular Bling Ring (above left). Where the original “-6” was offset 6mm toward the centre of the bike, the new “+1” model pushes the chainline out 1mm. The +1 could also be the solution for those running unusually wide chainlines (DH or fatbike, perhaps?).
With the purchase of Elka’s bicycle suspension wing still fresh, their Stage 5 transplanted intact to become the MRP Raze 2CR (left). In parallel, MRP’s suspension wizzards have been cooking up some interesting internals for the unnamed prototype at right. In addition to the company’s slick magnetically-controlled threshold damper, the new air shock uses a version of the ramp control damper from the Stage and Loop TR above. A directional seal should reduce stiction on shock compression, too. Despite being one of the cleanest looking shocks around, the new shock has all of the usual piggyback bits tucked inside, easing fitment where space is limited.
And not visible on the MRP booth, but confirmed in its literature, was a new carbon 35mm handlebar and matching stem from MRP. Big deal, you say. But this is an 830mm wide handlebar! As if 800mm wasn’t wide enough for all but apes. We need to see this one for ourselves, so we’ll be trying to get one in as soon as we can. Time to start chopping trees down where you live, or you won’t fit through the gaps.
MRP is distributed in the UK by Ison Distribution.