This year's Red Bull Rampage may have been overshadowed by Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking free fall, but the fact that it takes a 128,098-foot sky dive to upstage this event should tell you just how severe downhill mountain biking has become. This invitation-only event sees 25 of the world's top mountain bikers riding some unimaginably scary lines on a cliffside outside of Zion, Utah. Canadian Kurt Sorge, 23, took his first-ever title at this year's competition.
At first glance, the Santa Cruz TRc (as in Trail Carbon) seems to fit neatly between the California company's venerable Blur XC model, a nimble, fast race platform with four inches of travel, and its more enduro oriented 5.5-inch Blur LT. Indeed, looking at the TRc stats on paper (five inches front and rear), we almost wondered whether the bike wasn't an unnecesssary squeeze job—why not go with one of the exisiting Blurs? But from the very first ride, it became clear that this bike is more than just the sum of its numbers. For a five-inch 26er, the TRc is surprisingly slack and low-slung, which makes it agile and grounded and totally playful on all downhill terrain, yet it's nearly as light as a cross-country rig. That makes for one of the must fun yet idiosyncratic rides around (several testers called the geometry "odd"), a bike that can do almost anything in the right hands but isn't the one most people will want to ride all day, every day.
You’re late getting home from
work, and your buddy will be over in 10 to pick you up for the epic mountain
bike ride you’ve been scheming all summer. You still need to get dressed, but
you also need to find your wrenches, chain tool, patch kit, and all of the other
stuff you know you should bring along.
Get the Original Hero Kit,
and you’ll never scramble to pull together the right bike repair kit for your trail
A mountain bike repair kit small enough to fit in
your jersey pocket, the Original Hero Kit has everything you need to get you or
your riding partner out of the most common trail conundrums. Herokit.com
assembled essential tools in a durable waterproof Aloksac (a durable zip
closure bag big enough to keep your cell phone dry in an unexpected storm) that’s
packed flat so it sits comfortably against your back when it’s stuffed in your pocket.
The included tools are high quality and practical, from a sturdy multitool with
an easy to use chain breaker, to zip ties, cleat bolts, master link, patch kit
and other bits and parts that at some point every cyclist wishes he had along for the ride.
But the kit isn’t just tools. The Original Hero Kit includes survival
supplies, like water purification tablets, toilet paper, and duct tape. And, lest you
get stuck out in the wilds with no idea how your chain tool might fix your
breakdown, the Original includes basic instructions.
Urban bike commuters might want to study this graphic. It’s taken from a recent paper published in the American Journal of Public Health and it shows injury risk based on the type of urban bike route taken by commuters. The further to the left a given route type sits, the higher the risk for injury. The higher up a route type sits, the more bicyclists favor it. It's probably not shocking that the highest risk of injury in the study was associated with bike routes on busy streets with parked cars and no bike lanes, but the Canadian scientists conducting the study were surprised by how much less risk they saw in protected bike lanes, which they call "cycle tracks."
At the Tour de France route presentation in Paris yesterday, reigning champ Bradley Wiggins surprised the pundits when he said he would likely forgo his title defense at the Grand Boucle next year and instead aim his Pinarello at a Giro d'Italia title. Meanwhile, another famous British cyclist, trials specialist Martyn Ashton, has found an even less likely use for the 2012 Tour-winning bike.
In his latest trials video, Ashton takes on skate parks, scree fields, six-foot drops, and even an abandoned airplane aboard a Pinarello Dogma 2, the same bike that Wiggins used to capture his first Tour title. In and of themselves, the stunts aren't any more or less impressive than what we've come to expect from trials wunderkind Danny Macaskill. But the fact that Ashton pulls them all on 25mm tires impresses us almost as much as, well ... Wiggins' Tour victory.