It's been yet another busy week at off.road.cc HQ as we've kept pumping out the reviews while keeping you updated with the most important dirt-specific news. As always, fresh test kit has been flowing in and this week, and there's some very exciting stuff in the mix.
Last weekend was all about the 2022 Red Bull Rampage and what an event it was. Brett Rheeder took the win with Brandon Semenuk and Szymon Godziek not too far behind before high winds forced the event to close, stopping the riders from taking their second runs. And on the subject of competition, Lance covered everything you need to know about gravel bike racing.
As for features, Lance also uncovered the secret behind singletrack, answering the question, what is singletrack?
Moving onto some of the best reviews of the week, the Privateer 141 GX Pike got a glowing 4.5 star review for its well-roundedness, excellent spec, and stunning ride character. It just lost out on that final star due to its weight. Our torque wrench testing has begun with the Lifeline Torque Wrench Set review and Suvi gave PNW Components' Saddle Bag a 4.5 star write up, so be sure to check those out.
Öhlins TTX22 M.2 coil shock
Let's start this week's Five Cool Things off with something pretty exciting... Or well I'm excited at least. We've got the TTX22 M.2 coil shock from the Swedish company, Öhlins. This shock has been designed especially for trail and downhill use and its stroke can be adjusted tool-free using 2.5mm spacers.
This shock then boasts a wider adjustment range than previous models with three high speed compression settings, 16 clicks of low-speed compression, and seven clicks of rebound. There are two cylinder head options available, this 'side-by-side' model and one with a piggyback reservoir. This helps the shock fit into a wider range of frames, as does Trunnion and eyelet mounting options.
Gelu Creation K-1 saddle
Gelu Creation K-1 saddle front, by Aaron Borrill
Some of you may remember reading about the Gelu Dracon cross-country mountain bike - a lightweight, 7.2kg hardtail. The Portuguese brand, however, also produces a compendium of other parts and accessories and, if like me, you're a sucker for lightweight carbon exotica, the saddle pictured here (the same model as featured on the Dracon) will likely sate your thirst for feathery goods.
It's called the Gelu K-1 saddle and it's been designed specifically for off-road use - mountain bike and gravel riding. While it follows a very similar design blueprint to the road-specific K-3 saddle, it lacks the drilled holes meaning it's marginally heavier and better suited to the high- and low-frequency bumps that come with riding on rougher terrain. In terms of weight, the saddle still tips the scales at a ridiculously light 55g!
Gelu Creation K-1 saddle rear, by Aaron Borrill
Hold on, I hear you. How can this wafer-thin, featherweight saddle provide any sense of comfort and support, let alone cope with the rigours of off-road riding? Well, as a matter of fact, I've spent the better part of the past year using the 38g Gelu K-3 on my road bike and have nothing negative to report when it comes to comfort and don't foresee the K-1 performing any differently in an off-road scenario, especially when it comes to gravel terrain.
As for mountain biking? Well, that all depends on the technical nature and terrain type. Having sampled the K-1 briefly on the gravel tracks and rather-tame singletrack that comprise my local testing route, the K-1 will undoubtedly be better suited to mild off-road use than bona fide cross-country mountain biking or marathon racing. Full review and test report coming soon. - Aaron Borrill
Merida ONE-FORTY 6000
After riding the Merida One-Forty 10K in the first ride review, I was incredibly curious to see how Merida's new platform would stack up if the spec wasn't so beautifully pricy. To do so, I've managed to get my mitts on the One-Forty 6000.
This bike gets a more realistic and approachable spec with a Marzocchi Bomber Z1 handling 150mm of front suspension which is complemented by 140mm at the rear. This bike runs Maxxis tyres with a DHF at the front and a Dissector at the rear and there's Shimano SLX shifting. Though what's special about this bike is its geometry as it gets a 509mm reach on a size 'long' frame and a very steep 80-degree seat tube angle. That in itself is pretty progressive.
Each frame size also gets the very same but very interesting dropper post offering up to 230mm of drop. This dropper is infinitely adjustable so whatever your height, you'll get the ideal saddle height but this also allows for easy sizing up, or down.
This is e*thirteens gen 2 All-Terrain tyre that's designed to be a true do-it-all bit of rubber. The brand says that it provides capability over mixed terrain with minimal rolling resistance but maximum cornering traction.
The All-Terrain's side knobs have been built to offer a consistent feel as the tyre is leant over while their accordion sipes help these knobs deform at extreme angles.
We've got this tyre on test with E13's softest Mopo rubber compound.
Juice Lubes bike care
Next to come into the office is a big ol' care package from Juice Lubes. In the box we've got the brand's tyre sealant, chain cleaner, bike cleaner and Fork Juice, all of which are incredibly handy for all of our bike care needs. The brand even sent us a box of brushes and a handy chain-cleaning tool and a set of tubeless valves.