This week we’re talking big wheels, racing, downhill, Yorkshire bikes, Ripley and a new battery from Shimano that could reshape e-Bike design.
Mullet Bikes take 1 and 2 at Maribor
If you followed our coverage of the first round of the UCI DH WC then you may have spotted that 1st and 2nd place in the men’s elite was won on bikes with mismatched wheels. Both Danny Hart and Loic Bruni raced on bikes with a 29er up front and 27.5in on the rear. This has led to a lot of speculation that mismatched wheels are the future of the sport, especially when riders such as Aaron Gwin finished further down the field than expected with big wheels front and rear.
We think it is far too early to make that call. It’s only the first round and anything can happen over the coming season, but one thing is for sure, more riders are going to be seen testing a bigger front wheel to see if it suits them.
Jan Karpiel is back to building downhill bikes and has a new prototype currently in testing. The prototype is named the Kapriel Armageddon, after the original, but this time around rides on 29in wheels and has a more up to date geometry.
We’ve spoken with Jan who admits that while the prototype is longer than the past it’s still not quite as extreme as some bikes. That said the XL bike being tested has a wheelbase of 1291mm, a reach of 470mm and chin stays that measure in at 460mm. Travel can be adjusted between 205-230mm by switching shocks and if all goes to plan the bike could go into production by early 2020. More details here.
New Bikes From On-One
Yorkshire On-One bikes have revealed that it is working on a lot of new bikes. There’s a full list of bikes here, but the models that have piqued our interest are the Big Dog, a slack, steel hardtail running 26in wheels. A reissue of the original Jumping Jack Flash frame complete with canti mounts, and updates to the Scandal and Inbred. We’ve no firm release dates for any of the bikes yet, but we do know that the steel Big Dog is in production so likely to go on sale pretty soon.
Ibis has made a major design change to the Ripley for Mk4 which now looks a lot more like a baby Ripmo. The bike still runs 120mm of rear wheel travel, has 29in wheels and a swoopy carbon frame, but this update is all new. The Ripley V4 is designed around a 44mm offset fork (learn about offset here), and those funky eccentric pivots have been replaced with standard compact ones.
The geometry has undergone a major overhaul too making this short travel trail ripper, longer, lower and slacker than ever before. Chipps was at the launch of the 2020 Ripley and has written all about the bike here.
New Shimano BT-E8035 internal battery
Ok, this might not sound like headline news on the surface of it but a new internal battery from Shimano means big changes in the e-Bike market. Currently, most brands that use a Shimano STEPS drive system either mount the battery externally or have had to develop their own compact internal batteries as Norco and YT have. There are exceptions. Orange has used Shimano’s original internal battery and Intense has hidden the external battery internally. This really isn’t ideal for designers, buyers or Shimano, so this new 8035 internal battery means big changes are ahead.
Imagine all those current alloy e-MTB’s tweaked slightly to accept this more compact internal Shimano BT-E8035 battery. Imagine the Orange e-Bike with a slimmer downtube, a Vitus E-Sommet with an integrated battery, or a new Intense Tazer with a proper internal battery. We have a feeling there will be a lot of e-Bike launches over the next few months.