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Added reply in a thread FEST Series Santa Cruz Gnarliness 4/24/2015 2:53 PM
Added a news story Red Bull Berm Burners to Return to Dominion Riverrock Festival 4/24/2015 11:42 AM

Ready for some Pump Track racing? Red Bull announces Berm Burners return to VA so riders and spectators alike can get their fix. -Fred

Amateur and Professional Cyclists Take on Unique Challenge for Red Bull Berm Burners

WHAT:

The excitement of head-to-head Pump Track...more

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Added reply in a thread If you could do one thing on a bike REALLY well, what would it be? 4/24/2015 12:45 PM

Why no option for "Pedal like Lance Armstrong?" I'd give my left nut to be able to do that.

Added a news story Angel Fire Bike Park Continues Expansion to 100 Miles of Trails and Adds New Global Gravity Season Pass and Themed Weekends in May 4/24/2015 10:15 AM

Courtesy of Angel Fire Bike Park

Angel Fire Bike Park introduces new Global Gravity Season Pass, offering half-price lift tickets for season pass holders from any bike park in the world and ramps up trail-building efforts!...more

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Added a news story SRAM Athletes Shine at Sea Otter Classic 4/23/2015 6:10 PM

Photo by Adrian Marcoux

Schurter, Rissveds, Carlson, Beerten and Gwin take home multiple wins throughout an action packed weekend in Monterey, Ca.

Press Release

The annual Sea Otter Classic held at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California, is one of North America’s largest and most widely attended...more

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Added reply in a thread FEST Series Santa Cruz Gnarliness 4/24/2015 9:13 AM

Heard Semenuk showed up yesterday but for now it still looks like Lacondeguy is stealing the show! @andreulacondeguy has been doing his thing here at #CruzFest. Big props too all the @festseries boys for providing such a sick platform for these types of moves to be pulled. A video posted by Dylan Dunkerton (@dylandunkerton) on Apr 23, 2015 at 10:36pm PDT

Added a news story Enduro Mediterraneo is Growing Bigger for 2015 4/23/2015 2:42 PM

Enduro Mediterraneo adds 2 new rounds to their Enduro Race Series making it a 4 race series with a fun Mini Enduro Race open to ages 13 and up. Props for doing one for the kids! - Fred

The opening race will be held in Chalkida, Evia Island and start from the beautiful Chalkida...more

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Added a product review for Source Ultimate Hydration System 4/23/2015 5:41 PM
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Tested: Source Ultimate Hydration System

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

 Fred Robinson

Source has been in the hydration-game for over 25 years and is sold worldwide in more than 25 countries. Based in Israel, all of Source's products are made in-house by a team of over 200 workers with a percentage of their net-profit going towards local environmental activities. With their recent jump into the mountain bike specific line of products, we got a chance to check out their Ultimate Hydration System: a stand-alone reservoir with some unique accessories intended to fit in not only in Source's own packs, but any other hydration pack you may already own. Read on to see what sets this system apart from the others.

Source Ultimate Hydration System Highlights

  • Widepac™ 2L / 3L Reservoir
  • Helix™ Valve
  • Dirt Shield™
  • QMT Tube
  • UTA - Universal Tube Adapter
  • Magnetic Clip
  • Weave Covered Tube
  • Widepac™ closure
  • Glass Like™ Film Technology
  • Taste Free™ System
  • Grunge-Guard™ Technology
  • Easy Care & Low Maintenance

Initial impressions

A reservoir we can fill without having to remove it from the pack? Whaaat? Source figured out a way to eliminate one of the more annoying aspects of using a hydration pack, and if you've ever tried to fill your reservoir with the pack dangling by the floor, you know the struggle is real. The Universal Tube Adapter, or UTA, is what makes this possible. It's a pretty simple contraption that snaps-on to the end of the drinking-tube and allows you to fill the reservoir via the drinking-side from either a faucet or water bottle.

Should you want to pull the reservoir out of the pack, the drinking-tube easily detaches with a Quick Connect Adapter and the Widepac Closure System makes filling and adding ice easy. This is actually the easiest reservoir to fill that we've tested.

Besides the cool features, the Ultimate Hydration System looks to be constructed of quality materials with a thick-skinned well-sealed reservoir, a woven UV-protected tube cover and an ergonomic, easy to use bite-valve.

We tested the Ultimate Hydration System using Source's own Fuze Pack, but the reservoir will work in any comparably sized pack.

On the trail

As mentioned above, this is one of the easiest and fastest reservoirs to fill we've tested and the UTA system adds an extra convenience not found on any other system. Source includes a Magnetic Clip with the Ultimate Hydration System so you can mount the valve pretty much anywhere you want. from your own shirt to the shoulder-straps or the adjustable sternum strap. The magnet proved to be strong and kept the valve in place even over rough terrain while still being effortless to mount and unmount between drinks.

The Helix Valve is easy to use and has never leaked during a ride or in storage. The mouthpiece is a cylindrical style bite-valve with three positions: fully closed, half-open and full-open depending on how much liquid you want to flow through it. Simply bite down on the valve to open it up and when you release the valve automatically closes itself to prevent dripping.

Numero uno in a good hydration system is always taste. If your reservoir makes your water taste like plastic or anything funky, it's probably not a reservoir worth keeping. Source uses what they call Glass-Like Film and Grunge-Guard Technologies to keep your water tasting fresh and clean. We've had this reservoir for about two months now and have only cleaned it once, solely for the purpose of being able to talk about it. Before that, the pack pretty much stayed filled and in the back of our car between rides and never required cleaning. Probably not the safest practice but definitely a worst-case scenario test and the reservoir passed it with flying colors. No build-up, no fuzzy creatures growing inside or plastic tasting water at all, despite some 90-degree plus days spent in the trunk. When we finally did clean it, it was as simple as just rinsing-out the reservoir and hanging it upside-down to dry.

Another cool feature of the system is the Dirt Shield, which snaps over the Helix Valve to keep it free of dirt and other crud that can find it's way on the valve. This is especially useful when tossing your pack in the car or in the dirt during a trail-side breather or beer. Have you ever forgot to close the bite-valve on your reservoir and had it leak all over your car? We have too, and an unintended second function of the Dirt Shield has been to help keep that from happening, even when we piled our riding gear on top of the valve or sat on it by accident, no leakage: bonus points to Source!

Long Term Durability

So far all is good with the Ultimate Hydration System. No plastic flavor has started to develop due to materials braking-down and everything has held up well with no signs of leakage or anything. It's looking like we'll be able to hold on to this thing for a long time to come.

Things that could be improved

No real complaints here; the Ultimate Hydration System does it's job and does it well.

What's the bottom line?

It's clear Source went above and beyond when it comes to something as simple as a hydration reservoir and have made some unique features you didn't even know you wanted before Source came up with them. The UTA quick fill system turns out to be pretty handy in hurried situations. Enduro racers will find it especially useful when refuel stop times are limited. Combine that with a truly taste-free and practically zero-maintenance system and you have an excellent reservoir that will drop into pretty much any hydration-pack out there. Kudos to Source for innovating on an often over-looked part of hydration packs!

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Added a news story The Pump Battle Series is Back for 2015 4/21/2015 5:01 PM

The Pump Battle Series returns in 2015 with a Dual Straight Rhythm-style track on May 10th, 2015 in Papendal Arhnem, NL. With pre-fabbed course and a kids race too, the event is sure to be a blast for any level rider. - Fred

2015 Pump Battle Series #1

After the success of the Pump Battle...more

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Added reply in a thread FEST Series Santa Cruz Gnarliness 4/23/2015 8:10 AM
Added a news story Marin and Rabobank Welcome Brianne Spiersch and Evan Geankoplis to the Team 4/21/2015 4:23 PM

Marin // Rabobank add two new, young racers to the team who are set to focus on the California Enduro Series. - Fred

NOVATO, Calif. – April 21, 2015 – Marin Mountain Bikes Inc. and Rabobank N.A. today announced the co-sponsorship of professional racers...more

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Added a comment about video Vital RAW - CruzFest Day 1 4/22/2015 1:27 PM
C138x104

I believe the rider is Max Kauert with the nut-cracker. Report is he's okay.

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Added a news story 2015 Sea Otter Classic Race Results 4/21/2015 2:21 PM

The results are in as the dust settles from this year's Sea Otter Classic. One of the driest and hottest years in recent memory, Gwin took advantage of the SoCal-like conditions to take the win in Men's DH while Jill Kintner took the number one spot in both the Women's DH and Dual Slalom races. Topping...more

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Added a comment about photo Prototype Ellsworth Moment 27.5 4/19/2015 3:59 PM
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Those would be the Loaded X-40 carbon wheels.

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Added reply in a thread Devinci Troy Chain Slack Issue 4/13/2015 8:12 PM

Curious, how was your wifes shifting/drivetrain acting up due to the internal routing?

Added reply in a thread Devinci Troy Chain Slack Issue 4/13/2015 10:46 AM

Sounds like a bad freewheel to me but it's weird it's happening on multiple wheelsets. I'd look at the stays around your drive side drop-out to see if there's any marks from contact from the highest gear on the cassette or the chain, maybe something ... more »

Added reply in a thread Hydration Packs 4/13/2015 10:39 AM

+1 for the Source packs. Lots of cool extra features like the rapid refill adapter which is excellent for quick beer refills.

Added a product review for 2015 Santa Cruz V10 Carbon CC 3/18/2015 6:50 PM
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Tested: Santa Cruz V10CC

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

Review by Fred Robinson // Photos by Fred Robinson and Matt Puzel/Brandon Turman (action)

With the 2014 World Cup overall title in the bag and only half a second away from winning World Champs, had Josh Bryceland just SLOWED DOWN before that final jump, the new Santa Cruz V10 already has a reputation that speaks pretty loudly for itself. So what else could we find to say about it? Plenty. Check out how well, or sometimes maybe not so well, we got on with the brand new Santa Cruz V10CC.

For 2015 Santa Cruz introduces the 6th generation of it's highly successful V10 platform. While maintaining the look and lines of the previous year's V10, the new version is a further refinement of the bike and has seen a few big updates in regards to wheel-size, front-end length and rear travel. Based on feedback from the Santa Cruz Syndicate, the V10 lost the adjustable travel options in favor of a single, 8.5-inch setting and now offers adjustable geometry with high and low options. Between the two settings a few numbers change: at 63.5-degrees the head-angle is half a degree slacker in the low setting, the bottom bracket drops a quarter-inch from 14.17” to 13.92” and the reach sees about a fifth of an inch reduction in the low setting. Chain-stay length stays consistent regardless of which setting the rider chooses. Wheel size was also updated to 27.5-inch, which Santa Cruz had been testing on the bike since around early 2013 eventually leading to the new bike being unveiled partway through the 2014 World Cup season.

Also new for 2015 is the option of two different carbon V10 frames, the V10CC and the V10C. Santa Cruz uses two different types of carbon for these two different models. For the V10C, a less expensive carbon is employed to lower the overall cost of the bike. While stiffness and strength remain the same between the two frames, the benefit of the V10CC is a weight-savings of 280g, which is over half a pound for the non-metric minded.

Santa Cruz V10 CC Highlights

  • Full carbon frame and swingarm
  • Carbon C and Carbon CC frame options
  • 216mm (8.5") VPP suspension
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • Adjustable geometry with HIGH & LOW settings
  • Double-sealed pivots for long bearing life
  • Dual grease ports on lower link for easy maintenance
  • Integrated fork bumpers with cable guide
  • Molded clip-on chainstay and upright protector
  • Full carbon dropouts and disk mounts
  • Angular contact bearings maximize stiffness
  • Collet axle pivots lock in place without pinch bolts
  • Molded rubber swingarm and downtube protection
  • 157mm rear axle spacing
  • Threaded BB for creak-free riding and easy installation
  • ISCG-05 tabs for chainguide compatibility
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL (with rumors of a XXL in the works)

Initial Impressions

Santa Cruz put us on the V10CC X01 build, complete with ENVE wheels and a SRAM X01 DH 7-spd drive train. Santa Cruz really spared no expense when putting this bike together and everywhere you look is a high-end component. From the FOX suspension, ENVE hoops, Race Face SIXC carbon bars and cranks, DT 240 hubs... right down to the Thomson Elite seatpost, no corners were cut. But if you want a build of this caliber it doesn't come cheap. This beaut' goes for $10,799 and is one of the most expensive complete downhill bikes available.

When deciding on what size frame to go with, our decision was based mostly on reach. Although Santa Cruz lengthened the front-end for 2015, we still found ourselves favoring the reach numbers of the XL as opposed to a large (what we normally find suitable for this 6'1” tester) at 445.9mm in low and 450.8mm in high. While setting up the bike and getting all our contact points and controls where we like them, it was confirmed the cockpit length was what we expected and put us right where we like to be in terms of body position. Although the cockpit sizing was what we're used to, one thing that stood out immediately was how long the bike felt. This was confirmed when we checked the numbers. Sure enough, the reach of the XL V10 is comparable to the reach of some other size large frames on the market, while the wheel-base is in the range of some other XL bikes. This comes with a few handling characteristics that we'll get into later.

On The Trail

Right off the bat we noticed how well the V10CC reacts to rider input. Santa Cruz did a good job of picking parts that offer excellent stiffness with little weight penalty. The ENVE rims, FOX 40 Float, Race Face SIXC carbon bits and the V10CC frame itself all really help make this bike stiff, light and extremely responsive. That stiffness is really felt while all-out sprinting, in the rocks and in corners, contributing to a super responsive feeling in general.

Even though the bike rolls on bigger wheels, it's still quick to get up to speed. When pedaling out of corners or mashing across the flats no effort is wasted and the bike picks up very well. While we're on the topic of suspension, the combination of the 27.5 wheels with the VPP linkage makes for excellent small bump and chatter handling. Cornering traction was also great. The big wheels, Maxxis Minion DHRII tires, and the FOX suspension offer plenty of support and grip allowing the bike to really rail wide-open turns like no other bike we've ridden.

It should be noted we are running the bike slightly over-sprung with only 24% sag where as Santa Cruz recommends the bike be run between 28.6 and 35.8%. This is mostly down to rider preference.

Our FOX DHX RC4 settings from full closed:
Air Assist full open at 135PSI // Rebound 7-clicks // HCS 8-clicks // LSC 7-clicks

FOX 40 Float Fit settings from full closed:
Spring: 85PSI // Rebound 9-clicks // HSC 16-clicks // LSC 10-clicks

Accessing the shock, the adjustment knobs, and the mounting bolts on the V10 frame is easy.

The bike tracks exceedingly well in the rough. Despite the big wheels, quick line adjustments were easy and the bike responded quickly and predictably to rider input. The light weight of the bike undoubtedly played a role in this as well. While the bike never deflected nor displayed any weird behavior in the rough, we did notice when speeds picked up through extremely nasty sections that the bike was a bit harsh and although square-edge hits didn't feel like they really slowed the bike down, the roughness of the trail was definitely transmitted to the rider more than with some other bikes we've ridden. That said, the V10CC's excellent response to rider input and predictable handling makes the bike one of the fastest downhill bikes we've laid our hands on so far in terms of going all-out over abusive terrain.

We tested the V10CC mostly in the low setting for a couple of reasons. While the high setting should (at least on paper) make the bike feel a bit more playful with a steeper head-angle, there wasn't a huge difference on the purely DH oriented trails we mostly rode the bike on. The high setting would be ideal for a bike park but unfortunately we tested the V10 during winter. Where we did notice a difference between the two settings was in fast corners and mega-steep terrain, and in those situations we preferred the lower BB height and slacker HA of the lower setting.

Now there are a couple trade-off's in the low setting worth mentioning and this is where the wheel-base and the associated handling characteristics we alluded to earlier come in. The V10 is long, actually the longest DH bike we've ridden to date. In that low setting you only gain about 1-mm of wheel-base length, which isn't a big deal at all, but the one place this bike suffers in is through tight corners and when you slack the bike out another half a degree (low setting), tight corner handling suffers even more. Either way, in either high or low, the V10 takes some muscling around in the tighter corners due to the long wheel-base and this was really the only place we found the bike fighting against us a bit. On the flip side, the long wheel-base really works on your side when things get faster. In wide-open, high-speed sections of trail the V10 was one of the most balanced and stable bikes we've ever ridden, its rider-in-the-center feeling letting us open it up more than we were willing to with any other bike. Speed is clearly what the bike was built for. And when things got steep we were still able to push the bike plenty as we could get over the back of the bike while keeping enough weight on that front wheel to keep it pointed where we wanted.

Build Kit

  • Size: XL
  • Frame Material: Carbon CC
  • Fork: Fox 40 Float 27.5 FIT RC2 Kashima
  • Shock: Fox DHX RC4 Kashima
  • Chainguide: E13 LG1
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM X01 DH 7-speed
  • Shifter: SRAM X01 DH 7-speed
  • Crankset: Raceface SIXC Carbon 165mm 36t
  • Cassette: SRAM X01 DH 7-speed
  • Chain: SRAM XX1 11-speed
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC w/ Avid G2CS Rotors, 203mm front 200mm rear
  • Headset: Cane Creek 40
  • Bars: Raceface SIXC Carbon 35, 800mm wide
  • Stem: Easton Havoc 35 direct mount adjustable between 45 and 50mm
  • Grips: Santa Cruz Palmdale lock-on
  • Front Hub: DT Swiss 240 110x20
  • Rear Hub: DT Swiss 240 157x12
  • Rims: ENVE M90 Ten
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Competition 2.0
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion DHRII, DH casing, 27.5x2.4
  • Seatpost: Thomson Elite
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado
  • Weight: 33.49lbs w/o pedals (tested)

In terms of shifting, SRAM's X01 DH drivetrain always ran smooth and it works exactly like a proper drivetrain should. With usable steps between each gear, less shifts were needed to find the proper gear for whatever situation we were in. Even in rough bits, the shifting was always precise and never jumped gears nor did we ever drop a chain thanks to the E13 LG1 chainguide and Race Face 36t narrow-wide chainring.

As mentioned early the V10CC was very quick to get up to pace. Corner exit speed was good and changing direction was easy. A lot of this comes down to the ENVE M90 Ten rims, which weigh only 563g (rim only) each. Despite their light weight, the M90 Ten's are very stiff laterally and have held up extremely well for the duration of this test. They've taken a couple good hits that had us cringing and convinced we were going to find a crack, but when the time came to check them over we were surprised to find them tip-top; they held true and round even under our 235lbs tester.

“Slow down you must, go fast you will.” - Yoda or Sam Hill

In terms of braking, SRAM had us covered with the Guide RSC brakes providing plenty of stopping power that is easy to control. With the V10, you got to be smart with that power though and laying off the brakes did seem to free up that rear-end a bit when the bike was starting to feel harsh in those fast rough sections we mentioned earlier.

In the control department of the V10CC build we tested, Santa Cruz decided to go with the 800-mm Race Face SIXC 35 bars and Santa Cruz Palmdale lock-on grips. While bar-length, rise and sweep are highly personal preferences, our tester was happy with the overall feel of the setup and the added stiffness and vibration damping characteristics of a carbon bar are definitely a plus in our book.

Things That Could Be Improved

Our only geometry gripe with the V10 was that wheel-base to reach ratio. While the Syndicate guys will certainly benefit from such extreme numbers, it would be a huge plus for many average riders if Santa Cruz could develop some kind of adjustable length system similar to a couple other bikes on the market.

Price too will be a bit of an obstacle for Santa Cruz with their lowest offering, the V10C still costing buyers $5,699 while other manufacturers now offer similarly spec'd carbon bikes in the $4500 range.

Long Term Durability

With a bit over 2 months on the V10CC we've seen zero signs of weakness. Should the angular contact bearings Santa Cruz uses need attention they've included grease ports to keep you running smooth, but during the time we had the bike there was never a need. We periodically checked the frame for loose pivot hardware but we came up empty-handed each time, a testament to those Collet pivot locks. With a 5-year frame warranty, lifetime bearing warranty, and a lifetime crash replacement program, even if you do manage to break this bike, Santa Cruz has you covered.

What's The Bottom Line?

The Santa Cruz V10CC with the X01 DH build with ENVE wheels is truly one of the nicest spec'd and fastest bikes we've ever ridden, hands down. Confidence inspiring in pretty much every situation, the bike is a blast to ride and we don't want to give it back. Best suited for race-minded riders with an aggressive riding style, the V10 is a purebred race-bike through and through. With complete bikes ranging from $6,599 to the $10,799 package we tested, the V10 is definitely a bit more expensive than other bikes out there, but for that price you get an extremely refined ride with an undeniable pedigree that can't be ignored. Whether or not that's enough for you to pull the trigger is entirely personal, but we can say with confidence that the V10CC hauls the mail and delivers in record time.

For more information, head on over to www.santacruzbicycles.com.


About The Reviewer

Fred Robinson, a.k.a. "Derf," has been on two wheels since he was two years old. He picked up a mountain bike in 2004 and started racing downhill in 2006. He has seen moderate success racing CAT 1 but focuses his efforts on building, maintaining and riding his local trails. He's deceptively quick for a bigger guy and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. As a SoCal native he mostly rides trails covered with loose, traction-less turns and sharp, immovable rocks. Besides downhill, he rides trail bikes, road, and also enjoys the occasional dirt jump session. He is currently a student at UCSD and a wrench at a local bike shop.

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Added a product blog First Ride: 2015 Norco Aurum 650B 3/16/2015 3:03 AM

Killer B was all the buzz for the 2015 Norco Aurum launch. With big updates like a carbon front triangle and the Aurum now joining Norco's fleet of Killer B bikes (650, we had the opportunity to spend two days on the new steed to see what it's all about.

Norco's main goals in designing the 650B Aurum...more

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Added a blog post Tested: Scott Gambler 3/8/2015 4:27 PM

Review by Fred Robinson // Photos by Fred Robinson

****

When someone like Ben Walker (AKA: The Most Interesting Man in Mountain Biking) is involved in the design of a bike and riders like Brendan Fairclough are there to help test and further develop it, you can pretty much assume that the bike is going to...more

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