Fresh Goods Friday 366

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Good morning my dear cherished reader of Singletrack! And welcome to the three hundred and sixty sixth edition of the Goods that are Fresh and hand delivered to you each Friday!

Today’s instalment is going to be a little more brief than usual, mostly because everyone here is still in recovery mode following the madness of the 2017 Singletrack Reader Awards ceremony that went down last week. If you haven’t checked out all the results from this year’s awards, then see who won each of the twelve categories here, and get a colourful behind the scenes look at what went on during the day and evening’s festivities here.

The other reason I’m keeping things brief is because we’re running on skeleton staffing in the editorial team this week, what with Hannah on a “work” assignment riding gravel bikes in Spain, and Chipps getting set for a riding holiday somewhere warmer and drier than Calderdale. Don’t get too jealous of him though – for some strange reason he chose to build an entirely new bike from the ground-up for his partner the day before they’re due to fly out. That doesn’t sound stressful at all. Not even the bit where after building up said frame (with internal cable routing no less), it then has to be disassembled, padded up and fitted into a box before it’s ready to go on a plane. By the looks of Chipps scurries around the office and from the panicked noises that have been coming from the workshop this morning, we’re starting to feel a little concerned for his mental wellbeing;

Building a complete mountain bike from scratch one day before flying on a plane with said bike makes Chipps go something something.

But, much like the weekend is due to arrive for all of us shortly (yay!), soon Chipps will be far away from the office drinking cold beer and soaking up the sunshine in someplace where mud dries out and turns into…well…whatever dried mud looks like.

We’ll Google it and get back to you.

2018 Specialized Epic Expert

specialized epic expert carbon brain
Bit of razzle dazzle for them Friday feels.
specialized epic expert carbon sid brain
100mm of travel front and rear, and a paint job that comes with some expectations of your riding speed and abilities.

It’s the all-new, all-singing, and all-dancing 2018 Epic from Specialized. To be more specific, it’s the mid-level Epic Expert, which sits between the £8500 Epic SWORKS, and the £3500 Epic Comp Carbon. For your monies, you’re getting a full carbon frame (FACT 11m carbon for those playing at home) along with custom RockShox suspension that features the clever Brain damper in both the fork and rear shock. SRAM delivers a 1×12 GX Eagle drivetrain, Level TL brakes, and Roval has ponied up some lightweight carbon Control rims for the Fast Trak tyres to wrap onto.

specialized epic expert carbon baaw
Opinion is 80/20 split in the Singletrack office on the paint job with this one – you like?

Build kit aside, it’s the all-new frame that is most exciting about the 2018 Epic. The rear suspension is now a single-pivot affair, and the rear dropouts have been splayed out to 148mm Boost proportions. Specialized reckons it’s dropped no fewer than 525 Earth grams from the Epic chassis, which is a helluva lot of mass when you’re talking about a sub-3kg object.

Keep your eyes peeled for a more detailed first look article going live on the website today to check out all of them deets.

PRO Volture Saddle

pro saddle
An e-MTB specific saddle? PRO makes one.

Shimano’s component arm, PRO, has got some new perches in mind for mountain bikers, so the crew from Madison sent out a selection for us to try out. First up, it’s the Volture saddle, which according to PRO is e-MTB specific. By that, PRO has built a saddle that provides a more stable platform for those e-MTB riders who remain seated for more of their pedalling. It’s got thicker padding, a wider nose, and this one features a carbon-reinforced base with stainless steel rails. There are two widths available (142mm and 152mm), and PRO provides a 30 day guarantee in case it doesn’t quite match your arse.

PRO Turnix Saddle

pro saddle
A curvaceous saddle designed for those with ‘flexible body geometry’.

Don’t ride E? Then this might be more your style – it’s the Turnix saddle from PRO, and it’s available in 132mm, 142mm and 152mm widths. Same specs with the carbon-reinforced base and stainless steel rails. The upper features a more curved profile that is apparently ‘best for flexible body geometry’. We’re holding a competition in the office to work out who here has the most flexible body geometry – any guesses as to the winner?

PRO Griffon Saddle

pro saddle
Harry Potter’s saddle.

Whoever loses the flexible body geometry competition gets this saddle; the PRO Griffon. Like the Turnix, you can get this one in 132mm, 142mm and 152mm widths to match up to your sit bone width. The hard carbon-reinforced base has a cutout through the middle to offer some flex, and the profile is pretty flat overall with a wide nose for seated climbing. One cool trick that’s found on the other two saddles is a direct mount to fit PRO’s camera bracket, so you can attach a Shimano Action Cam or a GoPro directly to the saddle.

pro saddles wil weird
And that my child, is where saddles come from.

Lezyne 31.8mm Alloy Handlebar Mount

lezyne light handlebar led
Alloy handlebar mount from Lezyne is designed for use with its bigger LED front lights.

We got the new Deca Drive handlebar light from Lezyne a few weeks ago, and now we’ve got an extra handlebar bracket to play with too. It’s an alloy split clamp bracket designed for 31.8mm diameter bars, and should offer a sturdier grip for mountain biking. It also sits the light further out ahead of the bars, so as to minimise glare from the LED.

Fabric Stratosphere Sport Floor Pump

fabric floor pump
Entry-level floor pump from the Fabric crew.

Until we had a look at the Fabric website, we didn’t realise this was meant to be Fabric’s entry-level floor pump. It’s nicely finished with skateboard grip tape on the sturdy nylon base, and it’s got a big analogue gauge for spotting pressures as you’re doing the thing.

fabric floor pump
Rev counter.

Syncros Fork Fender

shoulder pads syncros mudguard wil
Power fenders.
shoulder pads syncros mudguard
The Syncros fork fender is designed for Fox 34 and 36 forks. It’s also mounted the wrong way in this photo FYI.

Not quite shoulder pads of the future, these are actually bolt-on fenders from Syncros. They’re designed specifically to fit Fox 34 and Fox 36 forks, though apparently they’ll fit some 32 forks as well. Compared to the commonly spotted Marsh Guard, the Syncros Fork Fender only uses the rear portion of the guard, which will give it a cleaner look, but we’ll be interested to put it through some muddy Calderdale filth to see how it stacks up.

HT Components X2 Pedals

ht x2 pedal spd clip
Shiny blue pedals from HT Components.

Arriving in preparation for a platform SPD pedal group test, it’s the X2 pedals from HT Components. Using a 85x94mm platform that measures 14mm thick, these are the same large-bodied clip-in pedals that you’ll see regularly on the World Cup downhill race circuit under the likes of Aaron Gwin. Designed to offer snappy action with user-adjustable tension, the X2 pedals come with two sets of cleats that alter the release angle, and they’re also designed to be easily serviceable too.

ODI F-1 Series Float Grips

odi grip
New lightweight bubble-filled ODI grips.

Brand new grips from ODI, these are from the new superlight F-1 Series and they’re called the Float. Made from Air-Infused Reactive Elastomer (A.I.R.E for short), these measure about 31.5mm in diameter and use a micro-textured surface for traction. Available in four different colours and made in the Good ol’ USA.

ODI F-1 Series Float Grips

grips odi
Dimpled for your gripping pleasure.

The Vapor grips are from the same F-1 Series, so they’re also constructed from the bubbly elastomer compound. They feel a little bit like silicone grips, but with more stickiness overall. The Float grips also receive a scalloped surface that are designed to line up with your fingers to provide you with a bit more to grab onto.

Chamois Butt’r Assorted

  • Price: £15.50 – £17.50
  • From: 2pure
chamois cream butt'r
Which flavour will he pick?

With winter looming, the inevitability of wet and grimy riding conditions call for more reason to use chamois cream to keep your bits in tip-top condition. Chamois Butt’r is a non-greasy skin lubricant that is now available in several variants – Original, Her, and Eurostyle.

Stem CAPtain Assorted

stem captain compass watch clock bottle opener
Trinkets! Stem CAPtain delivering the goods.

We’d rather refrain from using the C-word in October (don’t worry, I’ve been informed that in the UK, the C-word means something else entirely), the arrival of this care package from Stem CAPtain has got ‘Christmas gift idea for family member who rides bike’ written all over it. Designed to replace your headset top cap, the Stem CAPtain is available in an array of different styles, from analogue clocks, to Garmin mounts, and there’s even a bottle opener in there too.

stem captain clock
Correct use of Stem CAPtain.
wil weird
Incorrect use of Stem CAPtain.
“But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see, how am i supposed to fight?”

Ritchey VentureMax Flare Handlebar

wil moustache handlebar drop
Moustache bars.

Destined for our sisters over at, these are some new flare-y bars from Ritchey. Likely inspired by the moustache on legs that is Tom Ritchey, the VentureMax hangers have some lovely curves all throughout, with Ritchey’s ‘Bio-Bend’ featured on the drops and a 24° flare to each side. They measure 46cm wide, and are apparently intended for singletrack as much as they’re billed for off-road touring.

Bamboo Bicycle Club T-Shirt

rob bamboo t-shirt
Bamboo Rob. So goddamn effortless.

I’m still building a frame out of bamboo, and it’s filled with as much anxiety and stress as you’re expecting. To help me through it, the Bamboo Bicycle Club sent us through some fresh threads to take my mind of things. It sort of worked. Briefly.

Righto, that’s your lot. Better get back to pretending to work for a few hours before it’s time to hit up the weekend. To help escape the harsh reality of winter (it’s meant to be Autumn, but it isn’t Autumn) that’s hit us all pretty hard this week, here’s an uplifting tune from Tim Engelhardt. It’s a bit dancier than usual, but this track is very fresh off the press, and I am very excited by that. So please enjoy!

ST Out.

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