Fresh Goods Friday 636: The OnlyFan Heaters Edition

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This is the vintro… a bit like Vimto but not quite as purple. After an unexpectedly hectic – and just plain odd – week of rolling news, it’s nice to finally kick back and unwind with a nice slice of FGF.

What has the frostbitten postperson brought to our front flaps this week? Scroll on, baby!

No, YOU’RE crying

Merlin Malt 725 Steel SLX

Merlin and steel hardtails go back, way back. Remember when they were place to get Rock Lobsters from? Anyway, this is the Chorley outfit’s new steel hardtail, the Malt 725. Made from, you guessed it, Reynold 725 tubing. 120mm travel fork up front. 67° head angle. 446mm reach on this 17in. 435mm chainstays. External cabling (but stealth dropper post). The build kit is a bit of a mix of mild and understandable cost-cutting (RockShox Judy Silver TK Forks etc) and ‘oh nice one’ bits (Magura MT Trail Sport brakes with proper Storm rotors etc). This test bike is destined for The Wishartster.

Crono CW1-E Gravel / Mountain Bike Boots

Whilst the Merlin Men we’re visiting our Todmorden HQ, they dropped of a pair of pair of cycling shoes for us to test. The first of which is this just-in-time-for-snow CW1-E boot. Made with Primaloft Insulation on the inside and DWR treatment on the outside. The closure system is super easy to use TX BOA® loops, adjustable with the BOA® Fit System, which guarantees a micrometric adjustment for a practical and fast closure. The reinforced toe and the heel in anti-abrasion material ensure maximum resistance and durability. The VIBRAM® WOLFTRAX sole is optimized for easy clipping / unclipping and features a flat area for grip and stability on the pedal Its profile is optimized for best traction and braking.

Crono CD1 Mountain Bike Flat Shoes

BOA system flat shoes have not been that common but we reckon there’s going to be a whole host of them appearing over the next season or so. Joining those of Specialized and Five Ten are these CD1 sneaks from Crono. Pull-on Lycra ‘sock’ liner design. Crono Shock Absorbing Insole. Form TX BOA loops, adjustable with the BOA Fit System L6. Reinforced toe and heel. Vibram multi-sport sole. Initial impressions are: typically Vibram sole (stiffer than most and not super sticky), very comfy uppers, I [Benji] already appreciate the ease and cleanliness(!) of BOA system instead of laces in the current weather conditions (getting a bit bored with frozen-solid-then-soggy-filthy laces).

Finish Line Speed Bicycle Chain Degreaser & Disc Brake Cleaner

  • Price: £13.49 degreaser, £9.99 brake cleaner
  • From: Freewheel

The unglamourous saviours of the workshop. The degreaser does a great “oh, my cassette is actually silver!” cleaning job. The disc brake cleaner, as well as being good at cleaning disc rotors, seems to be forever being pulled into random domestic duties (removing Sellotape sticky is a prime job).

Lezyne Shock Drive 400 PSI

Some of us [Benji] may love their digital shock pumps but some of [Hannah] prefers the battery-less reliability of an analogue pump. This Shock Drive 400 PSI from Lezyne is very much a premium – and reassuringly chunky – affair. Capable of going all the way up to 400psi (what suspension units need that much PSI these days?) but still with a faceplate that’s just about big and clear enough to be informative and consistent. Generous T-handle to make inflation just that little bit nicer.

Works Components 2.0 Degree EC44-EC44 Angle Headset

Works Components are now doing their headsets in multiple colour choices. Hurray! Okay, so this -2.0° silver one is not exactly the most exciting of these new colour options but it’s destined for Benji’s Stif ‘Silver Surfer’ Squatch build, so fair dos (once he’s had a another week or so on the stock headset/angle).

Reach-adjust as well as angle-adjust headsets or availabl ein multi colours now. Other colours include: black, blue, red, turquoise, purple, gold and orange.

Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS Helmet

Stuff: “In-mould polycarbonate shell with EPS liner. Extended Head Coverage. MIPS-C2 Brain Protection System. Safe-T Heta Fit System. 360° Head belt, Vertical adjustment. Gel padded head support. Fidlock magnetic buckle. Adjustable visor in flexible material. Air Lite straps with anchors embedded into liner. 16 Vents plus Internal Air Channeling.”

MET Parachute MCR MIPS helmet

MET’s premium pushbike hat. Stuff: “MCR = magnetic chinbar release. MIPS brain protection system. ASTM 1952-15/2032-15 certified (shell and chinbar). Flexible injected adjustable visor. BOA-FS1 Fit System. Fidlock magnetic buckle. 21 Vents plus Internal air channeling. Removable cheek-pads (2 sizes included). Helmet soft-bag included.” Lots of colourways. This one is called ‘Blue Indigo Matt’.

Osprey Escapist Backpack

  • Price: £120.00
  • From: Osprey

We can’t find much info about this Escapist 20(?) backpack from Osprey. Suffice to say, it’s looks typically well thought out and manufactured by the Osprey squad. Rain cover. WIng arm pockets. Great, simple helmet holder. Stretchy stow outer pocket. Adjustable in the all the usual places.

Singletrack Issue 147 Art Print – Rider Resilience

147 cover art print

An awesome shot by Nils Amellinckx that we are super pleased to have on the cover of Singletrack Issue 147. Nils is one of the jolliest and nicest people in the mountain bike world. However, he also has advanced bowel cancer, at stage four. It’s incurable.

Half the profits from the sale of this art print will go to Rider Resilience.

What’s more we have added a neat little feature called “name your price”. This allows you to increase the price you pay for the print, with all the additional money going to Rider Resilience. Use this if you want to make an additional donation to this good cause.

Powell Perelta Rat Bone Dragon Formula Skateboard Wheels

Charlie says: “Did you know around 20% of the Singletrack staff are active skateboarders, over 50 years old. You didn’t stop skateboarding cos you got old – you got old cos you stopped skateboarding.

“Not much really changes in skateboard wheels, however Powell Peralta have reissued their 80’s classic “Rat Bones” in a revolutionary new “Dragon formula” urethane that claims to slide like a hard wheel but also roll like a soft wheel. They claim 20% higher rebound than previous ‘thanes and that should equate to more speed, especially on less than perfect surfaces. Specs are 60mm, 93a hardness, and 44mm wide.

“There are a lot of claims and hype going on here. Now I just need to wait about four months for Hebden Bridge skatepark to dry out and I can then check if these wheels live up to the hype.”

Thread of the Week

A hearty well done and virtual pat on the back this week goes to bikesandboots for this all-too-familiar thread…

The winning TOTW in FGF gets a prize. And it’s the fabulous majestic Singletrack x Granite Designs RockBand Strap! Thus, booyakasha! to bikesnadboots. Please email Please include your postal address, as it really speeds up delivery logistics init.

Classified Ad of the Week

i_like_food: “Splitting my bike after buying a new one. Happy to combine postage. Pickup from Hereford or FoD is welcome and will do a discount for multiple items. Thanks. Banshee Spitfire 2014. Medium. 27.5″. Non-boost. 160mm travel. Includes Cane Creek DB shock, although this has a knock half way through the travel. Paint in the kind of condition you’d expect. Includes headset, rear axle, flip chip for rear wheel and rear brake mount. £300 posted. Fox Factory 36 FLOAT 27.5 160mm travel – Non Boost. 210mm steerer. They are used so have marks, especially on the legs where I had a mudguard fitted. The stanchions are good with only one tiny mark (see photo).  £250 posted. Zee brakeset. Used, need bleeding. £150 posted. Reverb. 30.9 diameter 380mm. Internal routing. Hose cut and included.  Remote included. £75 posted.”

Mew & Friends Catnip

This is what happens when you expose a canine to catnip. Catnip = dognap. Anyway, apparently catnip is meant to calm and soothe canines as well as felines. All I [Benji] know is, like new parents, you can get new dog owners to buy owt if it’s marketed well!

Stay Warm F2035WH Hot & Cool Fan Heater

Not-central heating.

This Week’s Nice Promo Vid

  • What: Fergus Ryan doing some schredz
  • Where: Fergus’ fresh tracks

Fergus Ryan is fully healed after an accident in Morzine left him with a broken ankle. Although off the bike for some time, in this video we see Ferg hasn’t lost any speed! “Recovering from my ankle was a long old journey so it felt amazing to be back up to speed and in-front of the lens again. Having built some fresh tracks at my locals there was no better time for Jacob Gibbins to offer to get some bangers! Fresh tracks and loose riding is what came out and I hope you guys like it! “ – Fergus Ryan, Privateer Bikes.

FYI we currently have a Privateer 161 on test for the next next issue of Singletrack World Magazine.

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Bye bye Beck

While you’re here…

Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • Fresh Goods Friday 636: The OnlyFan Heaters Edition
  • willard
    Full Member

    New Merlin hardtail? Excellent! I love my Malt 2 (it’s now my commuter) so it is good to see that the name lives on. Also looking forward to seeing the verdict on it.

    Full Member

    Good FGF title….

    Full Member

    A couple of comments on the photos:

    Standing the shock pump on a metal handrail makes it had to see whether the pump has some kind of plate at the bottom or if that’s just the way the rail is built.

    Can we get a pic of the front (the straps) of the backpack? Having the (not so rare in MTB circles) joy of lumpy clavicles, I’m always keen to see how the straps lie across the shoulders and fasten at the chest.

    Full Member

    New Merlin hardtail? Excellent! I love my Malt 2 (it’s now my commuter) so it is good to see that the name lives on. Also looking forward to seeing the verdict on it.


    Full Member

    Full Member

    I can’t help with the shock pump image I’m afraid – I think Benji made sure I didn’t get my hands on it after I told him I don’t like digital pumps. I would have ‘misplaced’ that Lezyne one…

    Free Member

    Has Jarvis Cocker spilt some gravy on his nice new jacket?

    Full Member

    Nice Rat Bones.
    My originals are a bit worn these days 😊

    Free Member

    New Merlin hardtail? Excellent! I love my Malt 2 (it’s now my commuter) so it is good to see that the name lives on. Also looking forward to seeing the verdict on it.

    I was intrigued, but a 67deg head angle and 482mm seat tube (on the large) make it look about five years out of date, sadly.


    Full Member

    Saw the Merlin frame in the shop the other day, it looks really nice in the flesh.

    Full Member


    Here’s the pump among the detritus of my coffee table.

    Full Member

    I was intrigued, but a 67deg head angle and 482mm seat tube (on the large) make it look about five years out of date, sadly.

    Totally depends on what you want to ride and if you are really bothered about the latest fad/trend with bikes. I suspect it will ride very well and work nicely for many people, but equally it won’t ride as well depending on the type of stuff being ridden.

    Unsure it is out of date, but it might not be on the latest trend…

    Full Member

    Really appreciate the extra pics – that’s the level of responsiveness that keeps me coming back to singletrackworld (and ensures my subscription continues) 🙂

    Full Member

    I can confirm the Merlin hardtail is a beautiful looking bike in the flesh – for the cash I’d buy one on looks alone if I was in the market for a hardtail

    Full Member

    The flat shoes…

    Crono CD1 Mountain Bike Flat Shoes

    How wide are they? My new vaudes cripple me despite having 2x pairs previously

    Free Member

    Unsure it is out of date, but it might not be on the latest trend…

    You can still ride out of date bikes, but they don’t really offer much advantage and geometry is free.

    My new vaudes cripple me despite having 2x pairs previously

    Have a look at the Ride Concepts flat shoes on offer various places, I got some Hellions and they are my new favourites. Go up at least one size BTW.

    Full Member

    The Malt 725 looks interesting, and it comes frame-only. It could be a great replacement for my Onza payoff, which is a great all-rounder, but let down by the lack of dropper posts for the 27.2 seat tube.

    Full Member

    The Malt looks nice but I don’t see any drawbacks from making its seat tube shorter (and having a 200mm+ dropper) on a hardtail. Personally I’d like a 65ish head angle (or slacker) but it would definitely be the seat post that rules that bike out for me.

    Looks lovely though.

Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)

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