Swedish brand Thule is expanding its range of hydration backpacks for mountain biking, and chose Eurobike to debut its new Rail series. Available in 8L, 12L and a 12L Pro version, the Rail backpack builds on the existing Vital backpack, but uses a sturdier harness, stiffer padding and a few new stowage features to provide a more suitable backpack for trail riders and enduro racers.
The packs still come with the same 2.5L Hydrapak reservoir inside, though they’re all designed to be compatible with a back protector. The 12L Pro model comes with a Koroyd back protector as standard, which is both insanely light and well ventilated.
The waist harness has been beefed up to provide more load-bearing support. The shoulder straps now anchor further down the pack, which not only helps with stability, it also has the effect of securing the contents of the side pockets, which Thule leaves open to provide easier access to things like nutrition and a camera/mobile phone.
Crank Brothers had a few new things to show at Eurobike, including a complete overhaul of its cleat range. Designed for use with pedals such as the Eggbeater, Candy and Mallet, the new cleats are now colour coded to help distinguish their release angle and float. Up top are the two ‘Standard Release’ options, which both feature a 15° release angle. The Gold cleats provide 6° of float, while the Silver cleats provide 0° of float.
Down below you’ve got the ‘Easy Release’ cleats, which are better suited to beginners and those who are taking the leap into the clip-in pedal world. Both of these come with a shorter 10° release angle, which means they’re faster to unclip. The Rose coloured cleats give you a 6° float, while the Bronze cleats have 0° float. Crank Brothers will offer all cleats separately aftermarket for £24.99.
Orange has been teasing its 329 29er downhill bike for a year now, and we got a much closer look at the most recent version during Fort William a few weeks ago. This one at Eurobike was a little different though…
Feedback to Orange was that its gravity bikes were getting too light – riders including Rowan Sorrell of Bikepark Wales have been experimenting with strapping on lead weights onto the frames of the bikes they’re riding, in order to increase stability and weight centralisation. The theory goes that more mass on the frame helps it to stick to the terrain better, while changing the sprung/unsprung mass ratio to improve suspension performance. Ever ridden an e-MTB and noticed the suspension worked better compared to the regular version? The theory here is the same, but Orange is just doing it in a neater way rather than having to physically strap things onto the bike.
The 329 prototype uses two bolts underneath the downtube, which are spaced the same distance as bottle cage bolts. Three steel weights can then bolted onto the downtube. On the note of those bolts, Orange is considering adding them to other frames in its lineup, which would mean – for the first time – owners of bikes like the Orange Five and Stage 6 – could fit a water bottle onto their bikes. We think that is absolutely brilliant – what do you guys reckon?