Earlier this week, an American man by the name of Luke Aikins jumped out of a plane at 25,000 feet in the air without a parachute. For the brains out there configured to metric, that’s 7,620 metres high, which isn’t too far off the peak of Everest. Translation? It’s bloody high. Anywho, after racking up over 18,000 skydives throughout his 26-year career (we’d probably call it more of a hobby, but apparently falling out of a plane is classified as a ‘job’ now?), Aikins decided to step things up a bit and lose the parachute that had obviously been cramping his style up onto this point. So for the first time for a human being, Aikins lept from 25,000 feet, straight into an enormous net that was employed to carry out the slowing-down-so-you-don’t-splat job. During free-fall, Aikins reached a Terminal Velocity of 120mp/h (193km/h). That’s basically where you accelerate up to a point where you can’t possibly go any faster due to wind resistance. As he neared the earth’s surface, Aikins then flipped over so he was facing the sky in order to hit the net back-first. Because landing on your arms and legs at 120mp/h is unlikely to go well. Oh and if you haven’t watched the video yet *spoiler alert* he survived.
While it sounds all very impressive and like, unfortunately for Aikins, he couldn’t quite reach the 130mp/h (209km/h) top speed that Markus Stoeckl reached on his mountain bike while descending down La Parva ski resort in the Central Andes of Chile back in 2007. That’s right, Stoeckl rode faster than a human body plummeting from space, once again proving against all indications otherwise that mountain biking is superior to every other activity in every way.
So nice try Aikins, but you’ll need to do a bit more than that to impress us. Soz.
And so (insert cringeworthy segue here), like a man diving out of the sky into a net without a parachute, lets make our own free-fall into the net of Fresh Goods Friday!
Cotic Flare Max
- Price: £1499
- From: Cotic Bikes
Despite Wil’s best attempts to remain casually cool (we’re not convinced either), we’re just a little bit excited about a late delivery to the office this Friday afternoon. It’s the brand new Cotic Flare Max that was barely released weeks ago. This beautiful XL frame that you see here will serve as James’ new longterm test bike, so it’ll be looking a lot more bike-ish the next time you see it.
The Flare is the baby brother to the Cotic Rocket, a bike that is already highly regarded amongst British mountain bikers. The Flare shrinks the travel down to 120mm to create a fast and fun trail bike that should offer a little more zip than the bigger Rocket. Like the Rocket, the Flare is offered in two different versions, and this one is the MAX model that’ll take bigger wheels – you can fit regular 29in hoops or 27.5+ rubber depending on your orientation.
Like the Rocket, the Flare and Flare Max run the DropLink suspension design. This is a single pivot system with a small rocker link that helps to drive the end of the seatstays into the rear shock in a smooth and linear fashion.
X-Fusion are called on for their O2 rear shock, which offers adjustable spring pressure, rebound damping and compression damping via that little blue lever. Got more money burning a hole in your wallet? The Cane Creek DB Inline shock is available as shock upgrade if you want more adjustability.
The upper yoke for the rear shock is made from machined alloy, and it bolts directly onto the frames downtube.
While most of the Flare’s frame is made from Reynolds 853 steel tubing, Cotic have used an alloy chainstay to provide the necessary strength and stiffness through the main pivot and rear axle. Also of note is the ISCG tabs around the bottom bracket shell for mounting a chain device.
Nice chunky forged alloy dropouts make room for the 148x12mm Syntace thru-axle. Very tidy indeed!
The Syntace thru-axle is tapered at either end, and offers more resistance to twisting and flex than some other thru-axle systems.
Where alloy and steel colide. Shapely steel seat stay tubes flow down into the alloy dropouts. Note the DropLink on the inside of the stays towards the top.
Extra Large size frame for an Extra Large-sized man. What will James build his new longterm test bike up with? Do you think he’ll go with 29in wheels, or 27.5+ wheels? Will it make him faster and crash less? These are the burning questions!
Ortileb Light-Pack Pro 25
- Price: £75.00
- From: Lyon Outdoor
That small cylindrical tube you see on the bench there isn’t a stubby holder as our Aussie staff member initially suggested, it’s actually a backpack. Don’t know what a stubby is? We’ve been informed it’s what Australians call beer bottles. Mind you, given the way that those antipodean larrikins behave, we may have just referred to the Ortilieb Light-Pack Pro as some highly offensive sex-act. So apologies in advance to our German neighbours.
Back to what it really is: a very compact and lightweight backpack that like anything wearing the Ortilieb badge, is waterproof and made in Germany. Volume is 25 litres, and has very clever inflatable back padding for added comfort – that’s where the ‘Pro’ label comes from over the standard version. Claimed weight is just 385 grams, and given the size it packs down to, it makes for a superb minimalist backpack if you’re facing moist conditions.
Ortileb Cor 13 Rucksack
- Price: £110.00
- From: Lyon Outdoor
As more of a conventional backpack, the COR13 features a full harness and padded back panel to better support the pack weight. The padding uses built-in ventilation channels to stop you from getting clammy, and inside you’ve got 13 litres to stuff in all your gear. Consider this a daily driver for commuters, or a weekend adventure pack for those who want to ensure that they arrive at their destination with their gear dry.
Bontrager Ion 100 R/Flare R City
- Price: £59.99
- From: Trek Bikes
Dark times ahead? Bontrager have got some further lighting options to keep your spirits illuminated. Adding to the Ion range is this dinky little combo pack that combes a 100-Lumen front light with a 35-Lumen rear blinky light. Same style as the existing Ember lights, just way more POWAAR, and with nicely wide visibility for city slicking. Bontrager quote these are visible over 400m, which means if Luke Aiken is falling towards you out of the sky, he’ll be able to see you for about 7.46 seconds before he lands on your head.
Fatbar Lite 35
- Price: £69.99
- From: Renthal
Bigger is always better right? Well the jury might be out on that one when it comes to handlebar diameter, but there’s no denying the 35mm diameter is gaining momentum as more brands jump on the bandwagon. UK brand Renthal has come to the party in response to overwhelming demand from bike shops and riders who have been requesting a 35mm diameter version of their popular Fatbar series. So here you have it; the Fatbar Lite in alloy…
Fatbar Lite Carbon 35
- Price: £129.99
- From: Renthal
…and the Fatbar Lite in exotic carbon fibre too. Renthal claim that vibration damping is the same, and apparently the strength tests are coming out the same as their existing 31.8mm size. If you’ve got a bike with a 35mm diameter stem clamp, now you’ll have the option of bolting on a bit of Renthal up front. In other news, the new Fatbar Lite options grow 20mm in width to reach 760mm. Backsweep remains at 7-degrees, and upsweep sits at 5-degrees.
- Price: £89.95
- From: Renthal
But you might as well go the whole hog right? Complete the cockpit with a Renthal Apex stem in the 35mm diameter. Super trick CNC machining on these guys helps to delete weight where it’s not wanted, and available in crazy short lengths for the on-trend riders amongst us. Choose from 4 different lengths: 33mm, 40mm, 50mm and 60mm.
Renthal Traction Grips
- Price: £21.99
- From: Renthal
It feels like we lose grip on reality on a regular basis at Singletrack HQ, but thankfully the new Traction grips from Renthal should assist during those delusional slips into madness. Much of the same goodness you’d expect from Renthal Lock-On grips, including CNC machined alloy locking clamps, laser-etched end caps, and four different compound options. In this case, we’ve got the Ultra-Tacky compound, which is appropriate given they’re fitted to Chipps’ bike. Rather than the regular grip pattern, Renthal have added one-way traction grooves on the surface of these new grips. Stay tuned for our thoughts on whether the ‘mechanical’ traction on the grips works as advertised…
Did you catch our Facebook Live video with Ian from Renthal from this week? If you can’t see the above video, head here to watch and see what the fuss is about with this new 35 handlebar standard and Renthal’s super-sticky grips.
SRAM Guide RE Brakes
- Price: £125.00
- From: SRAM
SRAM’s Guide brakes have certainly been popular since they were first introduced, and for good reason. They’re powerful, but they have incredible modulation that makes them easy to feather when you’re balancing on the edge between control and chaos. In our experience, they’ve been reliable too. Compared to the existing Guide brakes (the R, RS and RSC), the RE version employs the same lever as a Guide R brake, but pairs it to a bigger calliper that borrows architecture from the Code brakes. Why? Because they’re apparently designed for slowing down heavier ebikes, hence the ‘E’ in the name. Rob’s got a set of Guide RE brakes to try out on his Nukeproof longtermer, so we’ll find out if the brakes blow up when they’re not bolted to an electrified bicycle.
Aaaaand that wraps up this weeks Fresh Goods Friday. To get your foot tapping for the impending weekend, have a listen of this groovy-as-all-get-out track from D.D Dumbo. Enjoy!