Intense Carbine 275 – 650b Round Up

Tout est dit. Pensez à prendre le vôtre.

Intense Carbine 275 – 650b Round Up

For 2013 Intense Cycles actually has two All Mountain 650b bikes. The Carbine 275 and Tracer 275 both have 5.5 or 6″ of travel (adjustable shock mount). The main difference between the two are that the Carbine 275 is made from carbon and the Tracer is aluminum. How was Intense Cycles able to create a carbon fiber 650b so quickly? Jeff Steber, founder of Intense Cycles, discovered that his current carbon model (the Carbine) could easily be upgraded to 650B wheels due to his use of the “G1″ interchangeable dropouts. But that was several months ago and the Carbine 275 shown here is fully optimized for 27.5 with proper travel and geometry. Utilizing the well known and well liked VPP suspension design, the Carbine is provides a familiar ride for many. In fact, this is a key point to remember, the 650b platform rides more like a 26er and requires little acclimation period (unlike most 29ers).

In this video, Francis gives us the low down on the Intense Cycles Carbine 275 and how it compares to it’s big brother, the Tracer 275.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The frame is made overseas with what Jeff calls, “American design with German engineering.” Intense uses the German firm, SEED Engineering to create his carbon frames. The Carbine 275 has the shortest wheelbase of all the bikes we tested, but oddly has the highest bottom bracket. However, we are quick to note that it did not feel overly tall or tippy. In fact, with it’s lighter weight over it’s brother, the Tracer 275, the Carbine 275 was the best climbing bike in our group.

However, that excellence at climbing did not come at the expense of it’s downhill handling or fun. In fact, even though the Carbine is shorter, taller and slacker than the Tracer they both handled very similar and the carbon frame provided a very similar ride quality as the aluminum Tracer. The VPP design allowed the Carbine to really corner well, especially when proper loaded. The Carbine is super stiff, agile and is confidence inspiring for those jumps and drops that you’ve been working up towards.


Intense Tracer 275 – 650b Round Up

Ou alors une option Alu?

Intense Tracer 275 – 650b Round Up

The Intense Cycles Tracer 275 is the natural progression of their popular Tracer VPP All Mountain bike. The Tracer 275 features 5.5 or 6″ of travel (adjustable shock mount) and is made right here in the USA at the Intense factory in Temecula, CA. In fact, that is a key factor that allows the ‘small’ guy, like Jeff Steber (founder of Intense Cycles) to be able to take a current design, adapt it and refine it for the new 27.5″ wheel platform and to be able to offer bikes available now, months before other manufacturers even have their prototypes ready.

Although very similar in design to the carbon-framed Carbine 275, there are a few differences aside from weight and price. The Tracer is longer, steeper and higher than the Carbine. The wheelbase is longer by almost an inch at at 45.4 inches. The head tube is a half a degree steeper at 67.5 and the bottom bracket is lower by .4 inches at 13.3 unsagged. We can’t really explain the logic behind these differences other than different design roots for each bike.

In this video, Francis gives us the low down on the Intense Cycles Tracer 275 and how it compares to its carbon brother, the Carbine 275.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Tracer 275 is very stable at speed and instills a sense of confidence that will have you going big. The VPP design is tried and true and is reason number one for the great climbing prowess of the Tracer 275. Even with the suspension fully open, it is still an efficient climber. As with the Carbine, the VPP design allows the Tracer to corner really well, especially when proper loaded. Possibly the only area that we felt could use a bit of improvement is in the bikes small bump compliance. It handles the medium to big stuff with ease but over some of the smaller bumps, we couldn’t quite get the same plushness we prefer. For jumps, drops and hucks the Tracer 275 is awesome as the whole frame is stout. The front triangle is beefy and it is complemented by huge chainstays that minimize any lateral flex. The machine will go where you point it and it will carve a line with minimal deflection

Workshop: How to clean and lube your bike

Utile vu les conditions, et on peut se dire que les anglais en connaisse un rayon sur ce type de problèmes…

Workshop: How to clean and lube your bike

If you’ve let the muck build up on your bike, here’s a step-by-step guide that will get it looking like new – and running much better – in less than an hour.

We think this is best avoided: a five-minute hosedown and application of lube straight after your ride will help keep your bike running smoothly, if not showroom shiny. But nobody’s perfect – least of all us – so here’s how to shift serious grime.

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Skill rating: Easy
  • Cost: Degreaser, grease, chainlube (approx. £15)

Tools you’ll need

Tools: tools

  1. Bucket
  2. Very hot water
  3. Washing-up liquid
  4. Brushes and sponges
  5. Old toothbrush
  6. Narrow flat-blade screwdriver
  7. Old spoke
  8. Degreaser
  9. Polish/detailer
  10. Grease
  11. Chain lube
  12. Rags

1] Scrub the chain

Scrub chain: scrub chain

The chain is the most important part of the transmission. The first step to cleaning it is to use hot water — wearing rubber gloves will help you use hotter, more effective, water. Add regular washing-up liquid to your bucket of water and allow it to foam up.

With the chain in the biggest gear, apply the mixture vigorously using a stiff bristle scrubbing brush. You’ll see a bright, shining chain emerge.

2] Degrease the chain

Degrease chain: degrease chain

With the chain free from dirt, apply a biodegradable degreaser to the chain and allow it to soak into all the links. This will remove any debris and sticky residues you can’t see, and make for a free-running chain.

Rotate the cranks backwards a few times to get the degreaser right into the links. Allow to drip-dry, or wash off with clean water.

3 Wipe the chain

Wipe chain: wipe chain

Use a soft rag to wipe the chain completely clean — you’ll be surprised what still comes off a clean-looking chain. You’re trying to massage the links, moving them through as wide a range of movement as possible — this helps expose the sections of link normally hidden from view.

4] Lube the chain

Lubrication: lubrication

Apply lube only when the chain is clean. We prefer to lube a chain as little as possible, with as light a lube as we can get away with. Use a dripper bottle, because it’s easier to apply accurately and with minimum wastage.

Coat the whole chain, spinning the cranks to force the lube into the links. That’s where lube is most useful — not coating the outside plates, as many believe. Wipe excess lube away with a rag.

5] Wipe cables

Wipe cables: wipe cables

Slide the outers to expose previously covered sections of inner cable. Give the entire inner cable a wipe-over with a section of rag soaked in degreaser. If you come across any sections that are rusty, replace with a new inner cable. Most dry cables can be reinvigorated with a little light grease.

6] Lube cables

Lube cables: lube cables

The best way to apply grease evenly to a cable is to first apply the grease to a clean (lint-free) rag. Holding the rag in one hand with the greased section between thumb and forefinger, gently pinch the section of inner cable in the rag and draw it through.

The idea is to allow the grease to get into the fine strands of the cable without creating any blobs of grease.

7] Scrub front mech

Scrub front mech: scrub front mech

Front mechs always suffers from neglect. They’re hard to access and are often jammed full of dry mud, and have pivots drier than a Jacob’s Cracker. The first thing you can do to get your front mech swinging happily again is to apply steaming soapy water. Use a small toothbrush to get right into the parallelogram and underneath the band.

8] Wipe front mech

Wipe front mech: wipe front mech

Give the mech a good going over with the rag. Use a thin strip of rag to thread though the body of the front mech — this allows you to floss the body. Don’t overlook the inside of the front mech cage, as these get pretty grubby from rubbing the chain all day. A couple of minutes and you should have a gleaming front mech.

9] Scrape out rear mech

Scrape out rear mech: scrape out rear mech

There’s no point having a free-running chain if the jockey wheels of your rear mech are bunged up. Use an old spoke or the blade of a thin, flat-bladed screwdriver to carefully hook out any old grass and oily gunge that’s trapped between the jockey wheels and the mech arm side plates.

10] Scrub Jockey Wheels

Scrub jockey wheels: scrub jockey wheels

With the serious grime gone, use a little degreaser and an old toothbrush to scrub the jockey wheels (not forgetting the insides of the mech arm). It’s possible to unscrew the jockey wheels from the mech arm, but we don’t recommend you do so unless you’ve got a thread lock to use when reinstalling the pivot bolts. Sadly, we’ve seen too many rides ended by bottom jockey wheels falling out.

11] Lube Jockey Wheels

Lube jockey wheels: lube jockey wheels

Re-lube the jockey wheels. They really only need the very lightest touch of lube, as they’ll pick up enough from the chain through use. Remember these little wheels attract a lot of dirt, and with lube being sticky, it doesn’t pay to make matters worse by overdoing it. Wipe the excess away with a rag. They should look dry.

12] Unclip cables

Unclip cables: unclip cables

Set the rear gears into the largest rear sprocket and then, without letting the rear wheel spin, shift into the smallest rear sprocket. This will free up a bunch of inner cable and allow you to pop the outers from the slotted cable stops on the frame. With the cables now fully unclipped from the frame you can inspect, clean, re-lube and reinstall everything.

13] Lube Front Mech

Lube front mech: lube front mech

Use the lube dropper bottle to apply drops of lube to all the pivots on the front mech. These take a lot of load, and can use all the help you can give them to remain mobile. Shift the mech into the smallest chainring and then work the parallelogram with your fingers to get the lube worked in.

14] De-Gunk Rear Sprockets

De-gunk rear sprockets: de-gunk rear sprockets

The rear sprockets are the final port of call on this bicycle maintenance mystery tour. They’re full of technology to help faster shifts, but also full of grease, mud and grass. Pick the worst lumps out with an old spoke or the blade of a thin, flat screwdriver. You’ll be surprised what hides in those tight spaces, even on expensive, open alloy carrier versions.

15] Scrub Rear Sprockets

Scrub rear sprockets: scrub rear sprockets

Get the hot soapy water on them and get scrubbing with a brush. Really stubborn grot can be shifted with a dose of degreaser and another hit with the scrubbing brush. Getting to the backs of the sprockets can be tricky, but it’s really worth persevering, as the cleaner you make it, the less easy it is for new mud to stick.

16] Wipe Rear Sprockets

Wipe sprockets: wipe sprockets

Give the sprockets some flossing with your strip of rag. This helps dry the sprockets, and also buffs away any outstanding marks. The cleaner you can keep your sprockets, the faster they’ll shift and the longer they’ll last. Dirt acts like a grinding paste when in contact with any part of your transmission, so get rid of it.

Tip: don’t forget the general clean-up

If you feel like treating your bike, then give it a good polish : if you feel like treating your bike, then give it a good polish

You can get away with just cleaning the important parts, but a full wash-down should be part of your regular post-ride plans. Take the wheels off the bike and wash everything, beginning with the underside of the saddle and working downwards.

Tip: lube the pivots

Tip - lube lever pivots: tip - lube lever pivots

Add a drop of lube to your brake lever pivots — they dry out too and work better with some liquid love. Ditto the shifters. For SRAM X.9/X.0 gears, simply unscrew the top caps and drop a few drops on the spring and cable nipple. With Shimano, undo the plastic grub screw and put a few drops inside before replacing the grub screw.

Tip: polish it off

If you love your bike, show it offby taking a soft duster and some nice polish and giving the paintwork a buffing it’ll never forget. Apart from making the bike look shiny, it also helps make it harder for dirt to stick to the frame the next time you’re out.

Tip: hot water and detergent FTW

The marketplace is rammed with bike cleaning fluids, and they’re mostly pretty good. Most are applied using a trigger bottle spray, requiring you to leave it on for 30 seconds and then wash off with a brush.

That’s all well and good, but we have just as much success with car shampoo and hot water. You can even use washing up liquid, but remember it contains salt so you want to be sure you get it all off. For all the marketing hype, the detergent and the grime-busting strength of steaming hot water are hard to beat. Have a good selection of sponges and brushes available to get into all the nooks and crannies.


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Abus Kranium AKS 1 cardboard helmet – Just in

Techniquement original et joli, mais encore un peu lourd…

Abus Kranium AKS 1 cardboard helmet – Just in

Late last year, BikeRadar reported on the Kranium carboard helmet concept, an innovative design in head protection that uses a corrugated cartilage in place of a traditional (EPS) expanded polystyrene layer.

The Kranium AKS 1 is the brain child of industrial design graduate Anirudha Surabhi and has been proven to offer more effective protection than a traditional EPS helmet during multiple, stringent tests.

The Kranium was soon licensed by German manufacturer Abus, who have now released a clear plastic shell version of the lid. We got our hands on a test sample, and here are our first impressions.

Removing the Kranium from its box, we were suprised with the aesthetics of the production model. The helmet now looks distant from its early prototypes, mostly due to the fact that Abus have decided to go for a black cardboard structure instead of raw brown. The clear plastic shell has two central vents front and rear, while the material itself has a brittle feel to it, similar to that of protective eyewear.

Through the transparent shell, the corrugated cardboard skeleton is clearly visible, and so is the layer of glue used to hold it to the outer shell. It doesn’t look great in places, but considering this is a first generation product it could be a lot worse. We liked the subtle white detailing and were glad that Abus have played it safe with the neutral colour scheme.

It’s important to point out that the Kranium uses an EPS inner liner and, as a result, could easily be mistaken for a normal helmet. The function of the EPS is mainly to prevent the waffle-like pattern of the cardboard impacting your head in a crash. The helmet also features fixed velcro padding and uses Abus’ excellent turn-wheel retention system.

Abus have fixed the straps of the Kranium using a nifty magnetic slider, rather than the usual buckle, and the chin area is nicely padded. The helmet does have a slight solvent smell about it at the moment – presumably from the manufacturing process.

Magnetic slide strap is a nice touch:

The magnetic slide strap is a nice touch

Balancing our scales at 535g, the Kranium isn’t the lightweight lid you might have been picturing when we first mentioned cardboard, but perhaps the technology will be used in lighter applications in future.

The helmet is claimed to be able stand up to the elements, as it’s been treated to be sweat- and rain-proof. But there’s only one way to prove that, so keep your eyes peeled for a full BikeRadar review in the near future.

Overall, the Kranium is a lid that holds a lot of potential. We like the idea but at the same time are very much aware this is a first generation product. With more development, this might just be the way forward in terms of safer and more eco-friendly protection.

The Abus Kranium AKS 1 is priced at £79.99 and is currently available at



Turner Burner ver 3.0 – First ride review

Un autre artisan US se lance…

Turner Burner ver 3.0 – First ride review

As the original bike in Dave Turner’s illustrious two-decade design history, the Burner has always been an iconic name in the Turner lineup. It’s been missing for a while, however – but now it’s back in suitably benchmark-setting new wheel size-style.

Ride & handling: Aggressive but confident 650b option

While the frame isn’t massively different, Dave has been through a whole host of prototypes to get the Burner handling exactly how he wants around the 650b wheels.

The compatible fork range extends to 160mm, but even with the 140mm Revelation it’s usefully slack for high-speed loose corner confidence. This shorter fork option also keeps the bottom bracket right down to underpin that relaxed-steering confidence with a low and super-surefooted centre of gravity.

Try as we did to remain cynical about the ‘Emperor’s new wheel size,’ there’s no doubt it cuts an immediately friendly balance between rapid acceleration/turning, and noticeably better speed sustain on rough terrain than a 26in wheel with the same tyre size.

The Burner certainly managed to turn a previously stumbling, swearing, fourth-day-of-nonstop-testing-hissy-fit photoshoot into something resembling competent riding straight away. The more we rode it and the more we relaxed into its capability, the more we realised just how capable it is, even on radical terrain.

This is particularly impressive given the cross-country-style dimensions of the carbon cockpit. We’d undoubtedly have thrown it about a lot more with a wider bar and shorter stem, but even so we spent a lot of time with the saddle slammed as low as possible to let the suspension and wheels breathe freely rather than ramming us up the arse.

While the Revelation forks revealed their usual tendency to dive when walloped or when braking hard, the Burner still feels impressively controlled over bigger hits. There’s less sense of the wheels slowing down rebound return from deeper in the stroke than on some longer travel 29ers. It also handled square edges well for a DW link bike.

With the increased rollover of those wheels, matched to custom tuned shocks that reflect the slightly increased stiction of bushings over bearings, the Burner is completely unbothered by small bump chatter. Even on relentlessly hard, rocky terrain like the demo trails at Bootleg Canyon in Nevada, comfort and traction were outstanding.

The carefully calculated DW link kinematics mean there’s no need for any feathering of power or pedal stroke to keep them that way either, and even when we were properly exhausted from several long days in the saddle, the Turner only got us emotional in a good way – even when faced with long techy climbs matched by a rising, incinerating sun.

The neutral pedalling action also meant fewer toe strikes and foot plants than we were expecting on rough terrain with such a low bottom bracket – we know from previous feedback, however, that some spin rather than stomp riders will still find it an issue.

Turner burner 3.0:

Frame & equipment: Well made and finely honed

At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking not much has changed, and in many ways you’d be right. But then Dave Turner is the king of long, slow and deeply thoughtful evolution, so we wouldn’t expect him to throw out what’s taken him so long to hone.

That means the tapered-fork compatible 44mm head tube and hydroformed main triangle construction introduced on other bikes last year are used again, albeit with different geometry, here.

The asymmetric square-section rear subframe and intricately machined keystone pieces around the bottom bracket/back end are proper alloy eye candy for those who get sweaty over the thought of swarf.

The short-machined Dave Weagle-designed linkage also carries an alloy clip mount for the rear brake hose on the offside, while the rear shift cable is routed through the driveside upright. Optional dropper post cable/hose guides can be bolted underneath the top tube.

The smoothly finished 142x12mm axle terminals are particularly neat, and the replaceable-thread cylinders for the post-mount brakes are a great long-term feature. Turner are sticking with solid state Journal bearings with Zerx grease injection ports rather than conventional cartridge bearings, which again have always tipped the longevity scales in their favour.

At 3.22kg (7.1lb) it’s definitely at the heavy end of the spectrum for a 26in-wheeled, 140mm alloy frame, but it would be okay for a 29er – so it’s not too bad for an inbetweener 650b (roughly 27in) design. The recent change from previous builder Sapa to Zen certainly hasn’t affected the superb weld quality throughout, anyway, and there are four hard-anodised colours to choose from.

As Turner proved with this build, if you’ve got the money to dress this frame up fancy then sub-27lb is certainly achievable. The ENVE wheels are a helping hand in keeping mass low where it matters without compromising stiffness, and the immediate pick-up of the Chris King hubs keeps them impressively responsive.

ENVE also supply the top drawer, top dollar bars, stem and seatpost to further decrease weight. The demo bike we rode was loaded with SRAM transmission and suspension, but complete bike packages are based around (far more affordable) Shimano and Fox rear shocks.

There’s no doubt that Turner’s insistence on hand-building his frames in the USA makes his frames expensive, but it also means superb build quality and the ability to tweak bikes to the nth degree. That’s very clear in the fantastically friendly all-round ride of the Burner.

While lack of chain guide mounts (a clutch mech can solve some of this) and the low bottom bracket mean it’s not perfect for everyone, The Burner is an excellent early benchmark for what inbetweener wheels are capable of in the hands of an expert builder.

Full spec for test frame:

  • Fork: RockShox Revelation Maxle 15mm thru-axle, 140mm travel
  • Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus
  • Wheels: ENVE AM 275 rims, Chris King Iso disc 15mm front, 142x12mm rear
  • Tyres: Kenda Nevegal DTC 2.35in
  • Cranks: SRAM X0, 28/40T
  • Gears: SRAM X0
  • Brakes: SRAM X0 180/160mm rotors
  • Handlebar: ENVE Composites carbon 700mm low riser bar
  • Stem: ENVE 90mm stem
  • Seatpost: ENVE
  • Saddle: WTB Volt saddle

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Harnais Epaule, Drift HD Ghost

Pour ceux qui ont une Drift…et avoir des POV comme une GoPro.

Harnais Epaule, Drift HD Ghost
Découvrez la nouvelle fixation pour les caméras Drift, le harnais qui permet de fixer la caméra sur l’épaule. Parfait pour le ski, le VTT ou la Moto.

Shooté 100% avec la Drift HD Ghost à Méribel (3 Vallées – France). Rider: PH Davoine Sponsors: Blizzard, Giro, Dakine

erwann et le brompton? et VTTNomade sont deux blogs très rafraîchissants, avec beaucoup d’humour et surtout du recul.
Voilà qui fait du bien.
Quelques lignes ci-dessous sur un petit phénomène grandissant dans le monde du deux roue: le vélo pliant…et dans le cas présent, il s’agit de la Rolls Royce, un Brompton.

erwann et le brompton

Aujourd’hui en parcourant le blog d’ j’ai vu que celui ci est intéressé par un brompton.

Alors ça me donne l’occasion de vous offrir un lien vers son chouette blog et de parler de brompton. Elle n’est pas belle la vie? :-)

Mon vélo de clown m’est devenu indispensable en presque deux ans! Il n’est pas à mes yeux comme mon vtt vecteur de passion et d’entrain, mais plutôt un formidable outil.

Lui et moi, c’est un peu comme un vieux couple.
On connait les défauts de l’autre et on fait avec. On ne prend plus tellement soin l’un de l’autre mais le train train (TER biquotidien) continue avec succès. Il me sert à aller bosser à moindre coût, tout en me détendant après une journée de labeur. Il me réveille sans ménagements le matin, une descente par -5° au saut du lit ça vous réveille aussi bien qu’une salade de phalanges dans le tarin, je vous l’assure! Moi je ne le gatte pas tellement, le laissant avec sa transmission pitoyablement usé (mais bon tant que ça ne saute pas…), lui infligeant le vent, la boue, la neige, les sauts de trottoirs.
Parfois nous allons faire des courses, chercher le pain. Le we quelques fois il m’épate d’aisance en balade.
Il a également souffert en balades familiale, tirant avec force et vigueur la remorque chargé de mes deux filles et de victuailles sans jamais faiblir. Un jour peut être nous partirons tout deux en mode BUL sur le canal du midi relier Toulouse à Sète.
Il m’arrive de le laver quand il fait peur aux usagés du ter, tel un vagabond des routes couvert de la saleté accumulé au long des km (enfin surtout au raz de la route avec ses roulettes de 16″).
Ensemble nous avons parcourus plus de 4000Km et économisé 22000Km de pollution et d’usure à ma voiture, qui soudainement à perdu de mon estime. Oui mon Brompton remplace ma voiture une grande partie du temps (je suis passé de 15000km/annuels à un petit 3000).
Rouler quotidiennement c’est parfois difficile et éprouvant, mais tellement moins que de rester bloqué une heure dans le bouchon lyonnais de Fourvière.

Alors Erwann si tu hésite, oui il est cher (+17% au 1er janvier il me semble) oui les composants sont cheap, il est un peu lourd mais il est génial! C’est le plus compact, rapide à plier et déplier, solide avec son cadre en acier. N’hésite pas en plus il à une côte élevé à la revente si vraiment tu te mettais à le détester.

Si tu as les moyens la version titane peut être une solution pour l’alléger.