NBD: Vitus goes Strait, new Capras, Merida EX entries…

by 0

… Saracen Ariel Es and Lewis Buchanan x OnlyFans. Yes, you read that correctly. Buchanan’s announcement arguably requires a story all of its own (watch this space).

Vitus has signed freeride legend Kyle Strait. Two-time winner of Red Bull Rampage. Also arguably the person who did the best trick at the best ever edition of Rampage (his jaw-dropping suicide drop in 2004). We have a lot of time for Mr Strait…

Vitus press release:

Kyle Strait Signs with Vitus Bikes

Fronted by Kyle Strait, the Vitus Bikes team of Real Riders is ready to ride anywhere, anytime, with anyone.

When Vitus looked to expand our brand across the globe, we sought riders across all cycling disciplines that aligned with our Real Riders mentality. To us, Real Riders are those people who find immense passion and joy on their bike. Whether competing at the highest level or leading a local ride, the riders we choose to represent Vitus love bikes as much as we do and are part of this wonderful, global community.

Kyle Strait embodies everything Vitus holds valuable. Kyle is friendly, approachable, and helpful toward other riders. His love for two wheels is palpable. His reputation is well-earned and legitimate. His accomplishments on the bike are far reaching and among the highest echelon.

As a two-time winner of Red Bull Rampage, World Cup Downhill racer, perennial podium threat in dual slalom, and accomplished slopestyle athlete – there isn’t much that Kyle hasn’t done. Ask anyone that knows Kyle though, and they’ll tell stories of a man that loves his family, friends, and the world of bikes. There simply was no better choice for Vitus.

New frame, same Kyle. From the Strait Acres Slalom Series, to a bike park tour and elite global competition, Kyle Strait will be flying the Vitus flag all around the world. Kyle will be riding an Escarpe 275 as his go-to slalom rig. Additionally, look for him on the Dominer, E-Sommet, and Sentier bikes this year. Kyle will also have his hand in designing several forthcoming models, injecting a bit of the Natty Daddy into the Vitus gravity line.


We reviewed the YT Capra Core 2 last spring and rated it very highly, and here’s some news of some new build options and price points…

YT press release:

YT Capra 29 AL Core 1

YT CAPRA Core 1 & 2: Fundamental to feeding your gravity greed

January 19, 2023 – Gravity is integral to YT Industries and a defining focus of the CAPRA. Central to the YT lineup, the CORE philosophy continues to expand the number of options available to riders. Now ranging from CORE 1 to 4, the CAPRA provides Good Times regardless of specification or frame material.

A standout feature of the latest CAPRA is the wheel-size-specific frame design. The MX edition features short, agile chainstays and a more progressive kinematic to soak up bike-park hits, while the 29″ ups the chainstay length for improved climbing performance and offers a more linear curve for all- out traction in the chunk. Larger frame sizes also receive an increased rear center length, ensuring balanced handling for riders of all heights.

CAPRA Core 1 – Defining bang for your buck

Ready to rip right from the get-go, the CORE 1 is the new gateway to the CAPRA MK3 platform. Available in five sizes with both MX and full 29″ configurations, this foundation features a Sludge Green hydroformed aluminum frame, complete with tool strap mounts and a water bottle. The RockShox ZEB Base commands 170mm of travel up front, controlled by the latest spring -backed IFP architecture Rush RC damper. Out back, the custom-tuned Super Deluxe Select R ensures rapid setup. For support, plug your numbers into the suspension guide on the YT website, apply the recommended settings, and hit the trails.

All good trails must come to an end, so having confidence in your brakes is a must. The four-piston SRAM DB8 brakes ensure reliable stopping power and use mineral oil for lasting reliability. 200mm SRAM Centerline rotors provide ample control, while the SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain features a 12-speed Eagle PG1210 11-50t cassette to climb your way back to the top. An E*thirteen TRS chain guide and Base cockpit add an aftermarket feel, and Sun Ringle Duroc Comp SD37 wheels take care of rolling duties. For enduro, grip is essential; this is why every model in the CAPRA CORE range features the tried and tested Maxxis Assegai & DHR II combo. The YT Postman dropper post has always got your back and is longer than ever – 200mm for size XXL, 170mm for XL/L, 150mm for M, and 125mm for a size S.

YT Capra 29 AL Core 2

CAPRA Core 2 GX – Shifting up a gear

The specification of the CORE 2 GX stays true to YT’s values, guaranteeing dependable performance when it’s time to press send. While the existing CORE 2 component list remains, there is a shift in the drivetrain department: A SRAM GX Eagle mech, shifter, chain, cranks, and 10-52T cassette provide crisp, reliable gear changes. Riders will also benefit from the increased drop on the YT Postman across all five sizes – 200mm for size XXL, 170mm for XL/L, 150mm for M and 125mm for a size S.

What goes up must come down, and it’s here the CAPRA shines. Suspension is handled by a FOX 38 Performance fork and Float X rear shock combination, both proven performers for when the trail bares its teeth. Tuned for front and rear use, the Crankbrothers Synthesis Enduro Alloy wheels offer bombproof durability, clad in Maxxis Assegai & DHR II tires to inspire confidence when the going gets tough. SRAM Code R brakes with matchmaker mounts deliver superb modulation and power for unrivaled confidence on steep terrain. The finishing kit is topped off by an E*thirteen cockpit, ODI grips, and the classic SDG Bel Air 3.0 saddle.


Details of one of the best enduro-flavoured weekends on the event calendar, the Merida EX Enduro…

Merida EX Enduro press release:

The Ex Enduro 12/09/21 (credit paulbox©)

THE MERIDA EX presented by Shimano 2023

After another great instalment of THE MERIDA EX in the late summer of 2022, the Exmoor-based 3-day enduro will return in 2023, once again, with the support of Shimano.

Going by the feedback from countless riders, the event partners and the press, the 2022 event was able to impress with great riding, perfect weather, lashings of delicious food and drink and a long list of unusual and exciting event details, creating a unique enduro experience for everybody.

The 2023 event will take place on the 15-17th of September 2023 and will be based in Allerford, a small village between Minehead and Porlock.

As in the years gone by, THE MERIDA EX will remain small, and just 80 riders will get the chance to challenge themselves over three unforgettable days of mountain biking.

More than just a race, THE MERIDA EX presented by Shimano, is an adventure filled with punishing climbs, beautiful singletrack and stunning descents on some of the least-ridden trails in the country. Over the three days, the riders will tackle more than 20 timed special stages spread over approx. 110 km of riding. 

All the event details can be found on the event details page.

Following the overwhelming feedback from the last two events, the Exposure Lights ‘Night Enduro’ stages have very much become part of the ‘furniture’ and will also return in 2023. So, riders should be prepared for some night racing action followed by scrumptious food just meters from the finish line of your final night riding stage.

Pre-register now:

As in previous years, riders will need to pre-register their interest in the event to receive the private entry link, which goes live on the 5th of March 2023 at 9 am. In the last few years, the event sold out in a matter of minutes, so pre-registration is strongly advised. To pre-register, please click here.

New Saracen Ariel 50E E-MTBs, which will be in stock imminently. So imminently, in fact, that pre-orders for the bikes will be live from 9am tomorrow with the bikes shipping from February 14…

Saracen press release:

The top-of-the-range Saracen Ariel 50E Elite

Saracen launches new Ariel 50E models

We are pleased to announce the new-look, three-strong range of Saracen e-MTBS for 2023.

Let’s cut to the chase; E-MTBs are awesome. A few years back people looked at pedal assist and saw it as cheating, but these days most riders have figured out that a bit of extra power means a lot more riding.

That’s one of the things that we love about E-Bikes: they’re the perfect way to turn a big day out into a bigger day out. If you want to cover more miles, get in more runs or just have more fun, a pedal assist bike just helps you get the most out of what you put in which is why all of the Saracen Ariel 50E models now come with the 720WH battery for a bigger range per charge than ever before.

The other notable change is to the Ariel 50E Pro which gets a set of Magura MT E-Stop brakes to add some heavy-duty stop to the EP8 motor’s go. There haven’t been any changes for the sake of change, these bikes still perform at a very high level and match that performance with slick looks. We’re not trying to fix what isn’t broken, or reinvent the wheel or any other related cliché, just build bikes that’ll make you want to get out the door and ride.

The Ariel 50E is available at three models, with UK RRP listed below:

Saracen Ariel 50E – £4,999.99
Saracen Ariel 50E Pro – £5,999.99
Saracen Ariel 50E Elite – £6,999.99


Just leaving this one here…

Lewis Buchanan press release:

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lewis Buchanan (@lewbuchanan)

LONDON. (18th JANUARY 2023) – Professional MTB rider Lewis Buchanan has today announced a partnership with digital media platform OnlyFans for the 2023 season.

The 29 year old Scottish mountain biker will wear OnlyFans branded race jersey, shorts and helmet when he competes in 2023 and will use the platform to connect with his fans. Buchanan will post on OnlyFans exclusive “How to” videos with tips and tricks on how to improve your riding, bike set up tips and behind the scenes footage at events across the globe.

Creator platform, OnlyFans is home to a growing number of athletes and sports stars who are using the site to connect with their fans – sharing training videos, fitness tips and behind the scenes competition footage.

Over the past year, OnlyFans has been cultivating multi-tiered sports collaborations of this kind, demonstrating the versatility of the platform for connecting athletes and sports professionals with their fan base by providing exclusive access to content not seen elsewhere.

Buchanan is one of many sports athletes to have joined OnlyFans in recent months across a range of sports including, boxing, surfing, rally driving and wrestling.

OnlyFans has over 3 million content creators and over 220 million fans, and has paid out over $10 billion to creators since being founded in 2016.

Lewis Buchanan said: “I am proud and very stoked to announce this partnership with OnlyFans for 2023. I have always wanted to partner with a company outside the MTB industry but who are keen to get stuck into something new. Onlyfans is a social media platform where anyone can be creative and showcase their talents. Sharing exclusive content or whatever you are passionate about and connecting with your fans.

“I will use my account to share my tips and tricks on bike setup, on track tips and behind the scenes footage at events across the world. It is cool to bring a brand this large into the MTB world. I look forward to working alongside the people behind the company and having their support and backing to create the coolest MTB content and visit the most insane locations around the world on two wheels.

“This job I do is a business more than it ever used to be and I am proud of myself for making moves outside of the industry and to see this come together.”

OnlyFans CEO, Ami Gan commented:

“We are happy to welcome Lewis to OnlyFans. He is a huge MTB talent with a very loyal fanbase who will be excited to get access to his exclusive content and access the athlete directly on the platform. Lewis is one of a growing number of athletes who are utilising OnlyFans to connect with their fans and build a real community on the platform.”

Since this edition of NBD was drafted, we’ve gone done published a story: Lewis Buchanan’s Only Fans Sponsorship Deal – what do you think?

Coming in your inbox once a week

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Just by signing up you are supporting Singletrack World

Join our mailing list to receive Singletrack editorial wisdom directly in your inbox.

Each newsletter is headed up by an exclusive editorial from our team and includes stories and news you don’t want to miss.

While you’re here…

Join Singletrack From Only £12.501/2 Price Singletrack Offer

Use code HELLO54 when you join us as a print or digital member and your membership will be half price for the first year.

The Print+ membership where Singletrack magazine drops through your door, plus full digital access, is normally £45, now only £22.50 with the code. And a digital membership where you can read all the digital magazines is normally £25, and now £12.50 with the code.

Simply use code HELLO54 at checkout.

(New annually renewing membership only. Excludes Gift Memberships, Discount applies to first year. Cannot be used in conjunction with other offers, or when switching memberships)

Cotic RocketMAXer. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. 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

Search the forum using the power of Google

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Search the forum using the power of Google