Good morning! And welcome to this week’s edition of Fresh Goods Friday!
You know, things are feeling a little more downtempo in the office this week, what with deadline looming for Issue #116, and the fact that sunny Autumn days appear to be slipping right through our fingers. Despite the gloom though, I’m feeling upbeat. Because from where I’m from, this time of year is the absolute worst time of year for cyclists. Road, urban, mountain or otherwise.
That might seem counterintuitive, because spring time in Australia should be a time of vibrancy and energy. The days start are starting to get longer, the temperature is getting warmer, and the winter rains have laid a foundation for the new season, with bright colours exploding in the bush from the fresh bloom of native flowers and trees. Don’t get me wrong – it is a beautiful time of year, and there is a lot that I miss about it.
What I don’t miss however, are the magpies.
Brits might not fully comprehend the gravity of that word to cyclists in Australia. Say that word – magpies (you need to whisper it) – to any rider, and chances are you’ll be subject to a barrage of verbal vitriol and animated gestures of disdain, followed by anecdotes recounting THE MOST TERRIFYING experience of their life. You see, magpies are a different beast in Australia than they are here in the UK. They are not the lovely, docile and majestic creatures they are here. Instead they are horrible, vile and terrifying villains of the sky that choose to spend the entire spring season dive-bombing anything that comes remotely near their nesting spot. And for some strange reason, they absolutely love preying on cyclists.
Regardless of whether you’re wearing a helmet or not, a magpie is rarely deterred from a good swoop of your noggin. I’ve seen riders return home with blood trickling down their necks after having fallen victim to the slice of a sharp beak that’s either penetrated through a convenient helmet vent, or has clipped a wayward ear that was flapping about in the breeze. The attack normally happens when you’re least expecting it, and I’ve had so many near-crashes after being startled by the ‘SNAP! SNAP!’ noise of a magpie in hot pursuit that in springtime, I’ll just avoid riding during the day wherever possible.
So while there is plenty to miss about the Aussie spring season, and although it might be easy to lament the onset of the British winter, just be glad you don’t have to put up with being attacked by those jerks.
Now, with our mugs thoroughly half-filled, let us dive into the sack of Fresh Goods Friday!
2018 Trek Slash 9.7
- Price: £3800
- From: Trek Bikes
Here’s some rugged alpine-worthy hotness to get you kickstarted for the weekend. It’s the Trek Slash 9.7, which is a new model for 2018. Trek first introduced the Slash 29er last year, which features a 160mm travel fork, 150mm of rear travel, and a burly OCLV carbon frame that Trek claims is stiffer than the Session downhill bike. As interest has continued to grow for long-travel 29ers, the Slash range has expanded for 2018 with the 9.8 and the 9.7 models joining the top-end 9.9 Race Shop Limited. The 9.7 we have here is the entry point into the range, and in order to bring the price down, it’s got an alloy back end joined up to the OCLV carbon mainframe.
There’s new suspension technology on the 2018 Slash range, with RockShox delivering a custom Deluxe RT3 shock that features the RE:Aktiv damper inside, as well as the brand new Thru-Shaft design that sees the damping piston rod exiting out the bottom of the shock. This has been done to eliminate the traditional IFP from the shock, with Trek says makes it more sensitive. Just like a Singletrack editor a week out from deadline.
The Slash 9.7 comes with a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain, Bontrager Line Comp 30 wheels, 2.4in wide SE4 tyres, and Guide R hydraulic disc brakes. We’ll be bringing you a detailed first look of this slacked-out wagon wheeler in the near future, so stay tuned for that and the full review.
American Classic 3430 29er Wheels
- Price: £499
- From: Moore Large
You’ve technically already seen these hoops before, as we ran an exclusive first look on them when they arrived. But then we remembered that they hadn’t gone in Fresh Goods Friday, so here you go. You can get all the nitty gritty details (including weights) by clicking that link, but essentially these are new all mountain wheels from American Classic, with alloy rims, a 30mm internal rim width, and 32 x J-bend spokes per wheel. They come setup ready to go tubeless, and they can be had in 27.5in and 29in sizes.
Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 27.5×2.6in Tyres
- Price: £69.99
- From: Trek Bikes
Fresh rubber from Bontrager in the form of the popular XR4 tread pattern. However, these ones are extra wide – they’re 2.6in wide versions that are aiming to straddle the gap between regular 2.4-2.5in all mountain tyres, and 2.8-3.0in plus tyres. So, plus-minus if you will.
Claimed weight is 860g for each tyre, and they’re built with a supple 120tpi casing and reinforced ‘Inner Strength’ sidewalls to keep them stable at low pressures. For UK riders who have been turned off by the ‘floaty’ nature of 27.5+ tyres that are typically made with tread patterns designed for dusty Californian trails, these generously toothed XR4s could be an appealing option.
Bontrager TLR Tubeless Valves
- Price: £3.99 each
- From: Trek Bikes
The Slash test bike turned up with tubes inside, but the rims come from the factory with Bontrager’s excellent TLR rim strips inside, and the tyres are tubeless ready. So for £8 plus some sealant, you can get rid of those tubes and go full tubeless. Which we intend to do. Which is why we have the valves.
K-Edge Go Big Pro Saddle Rail Mount
- Price: £39.99
- From: Madison
Because we’re basically the Steven Spielberg’s of the mountain bike scene, we’ve been hooked up with some K-Edge camera brackets to log some sick footage for our next rad edit. Actually, this rearward-facing K-Edge Saddle Rail camera mount may just be the perfect device for capturing your mate’s hilarious crash to send you both to YouTube stardom. Not that we encourage that sort of thing…
The bracket comes in black and a blue anodized finish too, and they’re beautifully CNC machined from alloy. There’s a 3mm stainless steel bolt to attach your camera to the bracket, and the clamp is designed to fit to both round and oval-shaped saddle rails.
K-Edge Go Big Pro 35mm Handlebar Mount
- Price: £49.99
- From: Madison
More camera brackets, this time the latest 35mm diameter handlebar option from K-Edge. It’s also available in a different version that’ll hold a Garmin, and there’s even a bracket that will hold both a Garmin AND a camera for those who record everything in life.
K-Edge Go Big Pro On-Centre Handlebar Mount
- Price: £49.99
- From: Madison
This is a slightly different bar mount that’s designed to put the camera smack-bang in the middle of your handlebars. It’s got the same machined clamp that attaches to your handlebar with a single 3mm bolt, while the curvy alloy arm centres the camera mount in the middle of the stem. The extra length in the arm is designed to clear messy cables, so you don’t have that moment where you get back from your riding holiday and discover all five days of footage are filled with black noodles dancing in front of the camera. Not that we would know…
Rudy Project Sintryx Glasses
- Price: £105.99
- From: Rudy Project
These are new high-end shades from Italian glasses manufacturer, Rudy Project, and they’re called the Sintryx, which so far we’ve learnt to pronounce a bout six different ways. How many can you get?
In not a dissimilar fashion to Oakley’s Jawbreaker glasses, the Sintryx features fully enclosed lenses that can be removed by a quick release system that separates the upper and lower frame at the nose bridge. The orange Rudy Project logo at the top is actually the release button, which you press to pop the glasses open. Rudy Project offers a load of different frame and lens combinations, and to make the most of the pop ‘n’ lock lens design, they sent us some of these;
Rudy Project Sintryx Lenses
- Price: £29.99 to £114.99
- From: Rudy Project
You can choose between nine different lens options, including Photochromic and Polarised options. The upper lens in the photo above is the lightest Photochromic lens, which offers up to a 76% light transmission rate to go pretty darn close to clear. They’re also quoted as having a super fast transmission rate. The bottom lens is the fancy sounding ‘Polar 3FX HDR Multilaser Orange’, and those make you look like you have fire for eyes, so that’s pretty neat.
The Whisky Riders
- Price: £TBC
- From: Bruichladdich Distillery
We’ve also had a special delivery of very special whisky this week, which comes after a long 13 year wait by Mark, Chipps and a bunch of mates who went all-in to have their own unique batch of single malt whisky made with the help of Bruichladdich Distillery. 13 years ago, a dozen pals bought shares in a barrel of whisky from the newly un-mothballed Bruichladdich distillery. After a lot of patient waiting, the barrel has been bottled and the lucky dozen have their own collection of bottles to keep, treasure and sample. Mark is doing his best to work through each and every bottle, though the good news for any whisky-lovers out there is that there may be some bottles available for consumption for people other than Mark. Hold tight – more details to come soon…
And on that appropriately liquor-based note, herein concludes this week’s edition of Fresh Goods Friday. We hope you’ve all enjoyed the goodness, and we trust you all have spectacular plans to get out and explore singletrack this weekend, be it a solo head-clearing mission or a trail party with mates. Whatever you do, make it a good one, and get on your bike!
To cap off our week and to ease you into the weekend, here’s a slow little melodic burner from Boys Noize, who this year celebrates the 10th Birthday of his breakout album Oi Oi Oi. It’s a keeper this one.
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