Comfortable kit upgrades, many components and one VERY nice frame – It’s Fresh Goods Friday 402

by and 5

Did you know that in Idaho there is a button you can press that induces pancakes? Instant, fresh, warm pancakes! Hannah has been over there checking out that button, so expect a full write up soon. Rigorous testing has been done. In other news, we’ve been over encumbered with parcels at Singletrack Towers, so let’s take a look at what has been blocking the entrance to the workshop all week.

Santa Cruz Blur CC Frameset

santa cruz blur
A missed opportunity to draw the full bike on the box

Santa Cruz brought the Blur back earlier this year, and it slots into the lineup as a short travel 29er XC bike – lighter  and sharper than the Tallboy, but with more squish that the Highball hardtail. To follow up on his first ride review of this 100mm travel carbon fibre rocketship, Wil’s got a Blur CC frame to build up as a new longterm test bike. Who’s got some suggestions for the build kit? Any garish colour preferences?

Shimano Saint Flat Pedals

shimano saint flat pedals
We’ve finally got a set of production Saint pedals to play with!

Shimano clearly isn’t a brand to be rushed into things. Announced literally a year ago at the Fort William World Cup, we’ve only just gotten our hands on a set of fully fledged production pedals. These are new high-end downhill flatties that come with a tough chromoly axle, serviceable ball bearings, and a machined alloy platform. The stock pins are shown here, but a set of super vicious shin-diggers come in the box for those wanting more grip.

Shimano XTR Trail Pedals

Amanda mistakes a vice for a pedal spanner.

Then again, sometimes Shimano surprises us. While the rest of the new XTR M9100 12-speed groupset is still in production and is a couple of months away from being available to public, we’ve just received a set of each of the new pedals to suit the clip-in crowd. The Trail version gets an alloy platform around the SPD mechanism, and the latest iteration has more rearward support for the shoe with traction grooves machined in to increase grip.

Shimano XTR XC Race Pedals

Amanda continues to struggle in the workshop

The smaller XC Race version uses exactly the same SPD mechanism, which gets adjustable tension for altering how tightly they hold onto the cleat. We’re told these are very similar internally to the existing XTR pedals, though additional machining on the pedal body aims to increase contact with your shoe for a more rigid platform when you’re stomping down the trail.

Taya ONZE-115 & TOLV-121 Chains

Anti-rust or super light weight. Which would you choose?

Chains aren’t exactly a sexy upgrade, but they’re kind of important. Taya is a Taiwanese manufacturer has been specialising in producing chains for other brands for the past 50 years, but now it wants to step into the aftermarket with its own unique offerings.

On the left is the TOLV-121 chain (sexy name!), which is a 12-speed chain that features a DHT treatment to prevent it from rusting and to provide strength. On the right is the ONZE-115 Ultralight chain. It’s pricey at £49.99, but it is superlight – 205g is the claimed weight, which Taya states is due to a special alloy steel. It also gets the DHT treatment on the links and pins.

Burgtec Mk2 Stem 35mm Clamp

burgtec iron bro
Tasty “Iron Bro Orange” Burgtec stem.

Andi has just received a Burgtec Mk2 stem with 35mm clamp so he can finally get to testing those 820mm wide Spank Vibrocore bars we received a few weeks back. This particular stem comes in Burgtec’s latest “Iron Bro Orange” colour option and measures just 35mm long.

Bontrager SE4 Team Issue 29×2.6in Tyres

bontrager se4 tyres 2.6
Big and chunky

Semi-chubby, Plus-Minus, British Plus – whatever you want to call it, the new breed of 2.5-2.6in wide tyres that have steadily grown in popularity over the past year, and we’ve now got a lot more options to choose from. Bontrager is throwing its hat in the ring with the SE4 – a burly reinforced version of the XR4 that gets the Core Strength casing and a softer dual-compound rubber. You’ll note these are the 29er versions, though 27.5in is also available, and Bontrager even offers wider 2.8in sizes too.

Bontrager SE5 Team Issue 29×2.3in Tyres

bontrager se5 tyres 29
The diet version

Back to a less puffy width, these are the SE5 tyres in a 29×2.3in size. The SE part stands for ‘Super Enduro’, a humble label that adorns Bontrager’s tougher tyre options that use the Core Strength casing and a softer dual compound rubber. Compared to the SE4, the SE5 gets a blockier tread pattern that sees it better suited to loose, rocky and wet conditions.

Gusset S2 AM Saddle

gusset saddle flower
A wild saddle appeared amid the flowers. It’s amazing what can grow with enough sunlight

Coming from the same stable as Identiti Bikes and Halo Wheels, UK component brand Gusset has been working on a new range of cockpit items including the new S2 AM saddle. This has a distinctly flat profile with a slight concorde-esque nose and a wide, shallow channel running through the middle. The polyurethane cover gets a staple-less construction, not unlike a Fabric saddle, and rubber grip points are built into the upper to keep you from sliding about.

Gusset Seat Clamp

gusset seat clamp hand
Sorry ladies, Andi is taken!

Gusset has a thick bolt-up seat clamp to go with the rest of its cockpit line. Using Andi’s finger as a point of reference, this clamp looks like it should fit a steel frame with a 30.9mm diameter seatpost. That frame may be custom built here in the UK, and painted bright Kermit The Fog Green. We’ll let you work out the rest…

Gusset S2 AM Stem

gusset stem
Is that the UK in the background? How big is this stem?!

An itty-bitty 33mm long stem from Gusset, the S2 is CNC machined from high quality 7075 alloy and gets a big 4-bolt face plate. Bar diameter is 35mm on this one, though you can get 31.8mm stems and longer lengths too.

Gusset S2 Handlebar

gusset handlebar sky
Is it a bird, is it a-

To match, Gusset has these new 780mm wide riser bars called the S2. They’re drawn from 7075-T6 heat treated alloy, and you can get 0mm, 19mm and 38mm rise options. If you’re not a fan of that huge 35mm bar clamp size, there’s a 31.8mm option too.

Gusset S2 Lock-On Grips

gusset lock on grips
A variety of textures for maximum grip

Oh this colour is going to look fabulous on the bike these Gusset grips are destined for – just you wait! Using a single lock-on clamp, the Gusset S2 grips have asymmetric padding and textured zones that feel really nice in the hand. They’re wrapped all the way over the end, so no need for additional bar plugs. They come in eight colours too.

Renthal Fatbar 35 2

renthal handlebar
Complimentary colours. Is that Andi’s sweet new ride?

More bars! This time from Renthal in the form of the gold-coloured Fatbars. They’re also made out of alloy, but 7050 is the grade here, and the hard anodized finish gives it that classic gold colour and a really tough surface. 800mm wide no less, and blown up to a 35mm diameter in the middle.

Renthal Apex Stem

renthal apex stem
Is he about to make a custom grill?

Our hand model is showing off a machined alloy Apex stem that seems to have more negative space than positive. We’ve gone for a 31.8mm diameter, and a super-short 31mm stem length. You want options? There are a load of longer options and a 35mm clamp diameter as well.

Ergon IP3 Footbeds

ergon footbeds
Comfortable feet are under rated

These footbeds from Ergon went into Wil’s 5 Trail Essentials list not long ago, but he liked them so much he wanted another pair. Designed in conjunction with Solestar, the IP3 footbeds are designed to stabilise the foot inside the shoe. If you’re suffering any foot or knee problems, taking a closer look at what your footwear is contributing to the problem is worthwhile.

X-Fusion Manic Dropper Post

x-fusion dropper post manic
Not a selfie stick

It’s dropper post city here at Singletrack Towers this week! Population Andi. Here he’s showing the X-Fusion Manic dropper post, which offers internal cable routing only, and the option of 125mm or 150mm of travel in 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters.

x-fusion manic dropper post
Small detail, big results

The Manic post works on an air spring with a sealed hydraulic cartridge that’s designed to be reliable and easy to replace if something does go wrong. X-Fusion has also engineered a clever sprung linkage at the base of the post, which provides a smooth and light action at the lever end.

Race Face Turbine R Dropper Post

x-fusion manic dropper post
Not the entrance to Singletrack

Also all-black, and also with 150mm of travel, here’s the Turbine R from Race Face. With Race Face coming underneath the same metaphorical umbrella as Fox Racing Shox, the Canadian brand has made use of shared IP with the Turbine R – essentially a rebadged version of the Fox Transfer post. The difference? The Turbine R features its own unique remote and is a little better value to – £359 gets you the post and the remote, compared to £319 for a Performance Series Transfer post, which comes sans-remote.

Bell X Fasthouse Longsleeve Jersey

bell fasthouse jersey wil sixer
Wil takes up running

Don’t be fooled by Wil’s illusion – he may look fast, but he is in fact standing still against a wall. I know, the trickery of photography! He’s got a Bell x Fasthouse jersey on, which is made in the US with lightweight fabrics and breathable mesh panels that run underneath the arm all the way down each side.

Bell Sixer MIPS

bell sixer helmet mips
Monotone MIPS

While at Bike Connection in Les Gets, Wil caught up with the crew from Bell to talk about some of their current helmet designs, as well as some incoming product that we’ll be able to show you very soon. They also had a new black/white colour option in the Sixer MIPS helmet, which Wil is kindly modelling for us here.

bell mips sixer
Integrated MIPS reduces the volume taken up inside the helmet for a better fitting helmet.

The Sixer uses a unique MIPS system that integrates with the helmet harness, reducing the bulk and internal volume for a sleeker fit. If you want more info on the Sixer, check out Wil’s review right here.

Bell Super DH

bell super dh helmet wil full face convertible
Testing the strength of the magnets

Bell also got us one of the latest Super DH helmets – a convertible helmet that changes from an open-face trail helmet into a proper DH-certified full face helmet. There’s a magnetic buckle, a new MIPS Spherical system with two shells, and different sized cheekpads for adjusting your pout.

Bluegrass Eagle Magnete Gloves

bluegrass eagle magnetic gloves
Now you no longer need a piece of wool running up your sleeves to keep your gloves together. What a time to be alive!

Magnets! Need we say more? Probably, given there’s a glove attached to these magnets. The thin Magnete Lite gloves from Bluegrass eagle get a non-padded and flexible synthetic leather palm, a breathable mesh upper, and silicone detailing on the fingertips.

Bluegrass Eagle Skinny D3O Knee Pads

bluegrass eagle d3o knee pads
Slide on like socks, protect you from rocks

Wil already showed you these knee pads in his product wrap-up feature from Bike Connection in Les Gets, but here they are again in all of their Fresh Goods Friday glory. Bluegrass Eagle offers four different knee pad options; Solid D3O, Solid, Skinny D3O, and Skinny. These are the middle-of-the-road model, with a moulded D3O cap offering flexibility for pedalling, but the ability to harden up on impact to absorb the worst when you come a cropper.

MET Dualgel Helmet Padding

  • Price: €9
  • From: MET
met roam helmet gel pad
‘It’s so soft! Let me touch it again.’

To match the MET Roam helmet that Wil’s currently testing, he got this optional upgrade for the internal padding. It’s a weird squidgy gel thing that replaces the front strip of foam padding in any MET or Bluegrass Eagle helmet. It’s meant to be quite comfortable and cooling. Plus, it means you’ve then got….

wil moustache
More handlebars!

…a spare foam pad to do whatever you want!


  • Price: €29
  • From: MET
met helmet light led
So neat, you wont notice it’s there

Fitting perfectly to any MET helmet, this LED light allows you to adjust the helmet at the back whilst keeping you safe and seen. It clips quickly and neatly with no tools required, charges via USB and leaves the adjust dial accessible. Offering 25 lumens of visibility, it’s a great upgrade to any MET helmet.

Lazer Roller MIPS

lazer roller mips helmet wil
The yellow MIPS can be seen through the helmet. Let’s call it an accent colour on an otherwise solid black helmet

We’re probably going to give this helmet to Rachel Sokal, who recently destroyed two of them during her test. It’s the Roller MIPS – a killer value trail helmet that costs less than 100 quid, but still features MIPS technology.

Shimano S-Phyre X Glasses

shimano s-phyre glasses
That smile tells us he’s got a trick up his sleeve

These new shades are fresh off the boat from the XTR Media Camp. Well, plane actually. Shimano’s own Horada flew over from Japan with his suitcase full of glasses for all the journos, including our very own dingbat, Wil.

The new S-Phyre X glasses get a photochromatic lens for adjusting to different light conditions, and a superlight frame design that puts them at under 30g for the whole set of glasses.

shimano glasses eyewear wil s-phyre
Taadaa! Although they’re securely attached, the lowers are super easy to pop off

The neat party trick for the S-Phyre X glasses is the removable frame. This is mostly about adjusting the style of the glasses, though functionally you can turn them from a full-frame setup for mountain biking (where protecting the whole lens is more important), to a half-rim setup for road biking (where you want extra visibility).

Shimano Unzen U4E Hydration Pack

shimano unzen hydration pack
Considering the capacity of it, this is a very compact backpack. Lots of clips to stop things flapping around!

From Shimano’s softgoods department comes the Unzen U4E backpack. This is a heavier duty backpack from Shimano, with a reinforced harness for increased load bearing and stability. It’s got 4L of storage space, a unique X-Harness, and it comes with a bladder inside.

Pearl Izumi Thermal Arm Warmers

pearl izumi thermal arm warmers pink wil
Wil embraces the sunburn

Turns out Small Ladies arm warmers fit Wil incredibly well. The fluoro pink? That’s more Chipps, but Wil is doing his best. Really, he is. Being the ‘Thermal’ version, these get a fleece lining for warmth and a contoured fit for flexibility around the elbow. They’re warm, but according to our resident Australian, they’re ideal for a Calderdale summer. We don’t trust him either.

Pearl Izumi Launch Jersey & Elevate Shorts

  • Price: £49.99 (Jersey) & £99.99 (Shorts)
  • From: Madison
shimano xtr pearl izumi wil
The sun has gone to Disco Wil’s head.

Apologies in advance to Shimano and Pearl Izumi. Here Wil is *ahem* modelling an XTR-branded version of Pearl Izumi’s lightweight Launch jersey and Elevate baggy shorts. Green snake model’s own.

Solar Panels

Solar panels… in Todmorden. Optimism at it’s finest

So, the sun is out and Singletrack’s first steps towards taking our office off grid and becoming self sufficient energy wise have just arrived. We are being helped by a forward thinking solar company that is supplying us with some special northern hemisphere (read Yorkshire) optimised panels to suck all the light out of the sky over Todmorden. At least we’ll be able to power up all those e-MTB’s without feeling guilty. Oh, and Mark’s electric car.

XTR Branded Fleece & Cap

wil xtr hat

Wil returned from the XTR launch with some new threads, and an attitude. This cosy fleece will come in handy for him to climatise himself before returning to Oz!

So there you have it. Plenty of choice to treat yourself (or your bike) this summer! And so you don’t depart on that photo of Wil, here’s something to distract you from it. Leave Amanda to finish off Fresh Goods, receive Reggae.

Comments (5)

    Wow, that is a lot of fresh goods… Completely unrelated to them is something that’s been bugging me for a while. Why is the byline for articles a shade of dark blue that is very difficult to read because of the shading applied to the bottom of the headline picture? The rest of the text is white, but the author’s name is really low contrast and hard to make out.

    Very interested in the Blur frame Will has. I had a 1st gen Blur frame many years ago and it had the nicest suspension feel of any bike I’ve ever ridden. Just lacked travel at 100mm on 26″ wheels and the head angle was pretty steep back then.

    them gusset parts will look good on the steel frame! loved getting to have a chat and drool over the sparkly kermit green steel at Malvern! we need a write up on the better half! (miss piggy if you will) =D

    magnets in gloves.? is that some kind of chi-energy-balance-power thing.??

    if so, sign me up now….!!

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