Today we begin Fresh Goods Friday with a heavy feeling in our hearts. And it’s not just because of all the jam roly poly that was devoured last night at Rob’s farewell party. Well, it was mostly that, but it’s also because we’re sad today. As some of you may already know, our esteemed Art Director is hanging up the crayons and today marks his last day as the main man behind the design of the last fifteen issues of Singletrack Magazine.
Don’t feel too bad though, because Rob’s heading off to the French Alps in a couple of weeks to start a new life as a chalet host. There he’ll be cooking, cleaning and hosting up a storm for his guests, while spending all of his free time carving up the mountain. Bastard.
Rob will be handing the metaphorical baton over to our new Art Director, Amanda Wishart. Hailing from Preston though soon to join us Valley People, Amanda has been seamlessly blending into the last two editions of Fresh Goods Friday as she learns the ways of the Singletrack Supermodel Society. A proud owner of a Yeti SB-75, Amanda has dove head-first into the world of mountain biking, having ticked off events like the Megavalanche and the Red Bull Foxhunt, so she’s already raised the collective rad factor of the editorial team by several notches.
While Amanda’s main role will be designing each issue of Singletrack Magazine, she’ll be getting stuck into a load of other things like bike testing, shooting photos and video. And with a decade’s worth of experience in the magazine publishing world, you can be rest assured that Singletrack will be in very safe hands.
Right, so now you’re up to date with the staff happenings, we can get stuck into Fresh Goods Friday – enjoy!
Surly ECR 29+
- Price: £2100 complete bike, £800 frameset
- From: ISON Distribution
Time to pack your bags, quit the day job and go on an adventure? This could be your ticket to two-wheeled freedom, particularly if that freedom involves riding singletrack and camping in the woods. It’s the latest ECR from lovers of all things steel and hip, Surly Bikes. It’s made from 4130 cromoly steel, and is equipped with huge 29+ tyres. Smaller sizes feature a 27.5+ setup, though if you’re a medium, you can choose between the two.
The ECR comes with Surly’s own Moloko handlebar, which measures in at 735mm wide with a huge 34° back sweep. Like the frame, it’s also made of steel, and uses an extra tube to facilitate all the lights, handlebar bags, GPS computers and bells you can shake a stick at.
If it’s all looking a bit odd to you, well, that’s kind of the point. It’s a bit of an oddball bike that isn’t quite as trail-oriented as the Krampus 29+ bike, but is more capable than the Ogre. It’s got mounts and bosses for all sorts of bikepacking paraphernalia, and features horizontal sliding dropouts to take a multitude of different wheel setups. To explore the bike’s capabilities, Chipps has a few special rides lined up for the Surly ECR test bike, which he’ll be reviewing alongside two other bikes as part of an upcoming magazine group test. Got any suggestions for rides that he should do aboard the ECR?
Hope Press-Fit PF46 Bottom Bracket
- Price: £90
- From: Hope Technology
Sarah’s in the process of building up a second hand mountain bike to be able to ride off-road to and from the office, and one of the final pieces of the puzzle is this Hope bottom bracket. It’s designed to fit a PF30 bottom bracket shell, but features alloy cups that thread together in the middle to keep everything snug and aligned correctly, with the goal of minimising any creaks and groans. It’s got high quality sealed cartridge bearings that are designed to house a standard 24mm spindle, and of course, it’s made in Hope’s Barnoldswick factory.
Surly Tuggnut Chain Tensioner
- Price: £32.99
- From: ISON Distribution
Likewise, the excellent Tuggnut chain tensioner from Surly Bikes isn’t in for testing, but is rather destined for my personal commuter bike. Still one of the best out there, this steel tensioner is designed for use with horizontal sliding dropouts to keep your quick release or bolt-up rear hub from slipping in the frame. You know, with all that monster torque my legs lay down…
Halo Anti-Theft Skewers
- Price: £14.99 per wheel
- From: ISON Distribution
And to match, I’ve got some fresh slow-release skewers for the front and rear wheels. From Halo, and equipped with a special key for installation and removal. Not exactly mountain bike specific (actually, the rear is MTB specific for 135mm dropouts…), but a useful piece of kit for those of us who commute by bike.
- Price: $185 USD
- From: BLS VeloRacing
Sent all the way over from Cape Town in South Africa, this VeloRacing kit bag from BLS is designed to swallow all your riding gear for an event or a weekend away riding and racing. It’s got 56 litres of volume, along with a clever internal storage to help separate your stinky shoes from your stinky helmet from your stinky socks. There’s also a separate little soft box for keeping spare tubes and tools in.
Bontrager SE Elite Grips
- Price: £22.99
- From: Trek Bikes
New sticky lock-on grips from Bontrager, these are the SE Elite grips. They’ve got a single lock-on clamp to keep them tight on the bars, and they feature a thick-ish 32mm diameter along with a specific tread pattern that’s smoother and softer on your palms, and more grippy on the other side where your fingers wrap around. Available in Black, Blue and Red.
How To Build A Bike: A Simple Guide to Making Your Own Ride
- Price: £14.99
- From: Funn Components
Authored by Jenni Gwiazdowski of the London Bike Kitchen, this book has been created as a guide to building your own bike from scratch. It’s mostly aimed at the commuter market, with the book following the process of restoring an old road racer and turning it into a new singlespeed urban bike. However, there’s loads of other good stuff in here including what to look for with maintenance and when to replace worn-out parts, what tools you should have, and how to differentiate certain standards like chainring bolt patterns and bottom bracket sizes. Put together with loads of lovely detailed photos too.
Funn Ripper Pedals
- Price: £115
- From: Funn Components
Spotted in prototype form at Eurobike, the new Ripper pedals from Funn Components are due to be available very soon. We’ve just received a set for testing, so we’ll be putting them through some awful Yorkshire conditions over the coming winter to see how they fare. Using a Shimano SPD-compatible clip system, the Ripper pedals use a thick anodized alloy platform and a spring-loaded pedal mechanism that puts the front hook of the clip up above the platform for easier entry. There are four removable pins per side, and inside you’ll find a DU and cartridge bearing combo for each steel axle.
TORQ Spiced Mince Pie Energy Bar
- Price: £1.85 each
- From: ZyroFisher
We’re not going to use the C-word, but we will describe these new energy bars from TORQ as being ‘festive’. They’re a limited edition Spiced Mince Pie flavour, which actually sounds damn tasty. They’re made with oats, raisins and rice crisps, though the ingredients list informs us there is also coriander seed, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and lemon peel – zesty!
Aaaand time’s up! There concludes another instalment of Fresh Goods Friday, and there also concludes the last time you’ll have to put up with Rob’s modelling poses. Perhaps we’ll see him modelling one-piece snowsuits in some kind of snow-equivalent magazine? We can only dream. Speaking of dreaming and snow, I’m going to round out this week’s FGF by leaving you with one of the best skiing videos ever produced, as inspired by Rob’s transformation into being the alps latest snowbunny. Oh and if you’re digging the music in this one and want a little more, check out the full track from LCD Soundsystem below it.
Got a goodbye message for Rob Crayons? Put it in the comments section below and let him know how you really feel.