Crankworx Product Unveilings

Words & Photos by Drew Rohde

2018 Specialized Enduro 29 and 27.5
The Update to the Update

Just one year after releasing an updated Enduro, Specialized took the feedback received and quickly turned that into an even more refined platform for 2018. Visually the bikes look nearly identical to their 2017 predecessors, however Specialized has made several key changes to the geometry of both bikes to better suit the demands of modern trail riders. Specialized also updated some of the SWAT features and spec on multiple models.

Along with key geometry changes to make the 27.5 frame feel almost identical to the 29er, Specialized also redesigned the shock extension (yoke) and link. The new extension is compatible with their new Flip Chip that alters the head tube angle and BB height in a matter of minutes. Specialized also moved the shock mount location on the 27.5 frame for a slightly more progressive wheel rate. Specialized will be selling the revised link and shock extension for 2017 Enduro models so that customers will have the ability to update their ride. Check with your local dealer on part availability.

Here is a graph to help you crunch numbers between Model Year 2017 and 2018.

Spec and SWAT Changes

You may have guessed that one of the easiest ways to modernize a bike would be to widen the bars and shorten the stem. Well, give yourself a pat on the back, because the new Enduros come with knuckle busting 800mm bars and shorter stems to compliment the revised geo.

One of the more unique changes to the Enduro is the Wu seat post. Specialized’s own dropper post sees a major design change that optimizes the angle of the saddle as it drops. Travel on the shaft is only 115mm but Specialized claims that the effective drop is closer to 150mm since the area of the saddle we sit on actually drops another 35mm as it tilts back. We’re a bit skeptical and couldn’t help but think more is better, but the stack height of the Wu design is a limiting factor. We look forward to trying the post out and applaud the ingenuity as it seems like a great idea.

The big S also debuted their new SWAT CC tool. The tool slots into the steerer tube and replaces your star nut thanks to a design that locks and compresses the headset from both sides of the headtube. This feature will come spec’d on S-Works, Pro and Coil models.

Specialized is expanding their partnership with Öhlins suspension as both the Pro and Elite models will now feature Öhlins dampers. Slightly simplified (non-twin tube design) STX suspension will come on the Pro and Elite models. Pro bikes will also come with carbon wheels and all Enduro models will now run the updated 2.6 Butcher Grid tires.

During the brand’s presentation we asked for rough percentages on sales between the Enduro 29 and 27.5 models. We were surprised to learn, as was Specialized, sales are nearly 50/50 between the two wheel sizes.

2018 Leatt Lineup

Leatt had a little pop-up presentation shop in a corner of Whistler Village where they quietly presented some of their new products for 2018. We were pretty stoked on lots of the products and hope to test more than a few of them in the future so we’ll just highlight a few products we really dug.

3DF 6.0 Knee Guards

Designed to feel like a soft guard with the benefit of a hard capped pad, the 6.0 pads blend modern tech with traditional, old-school protection. Behind the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) hard shell sits Leatt’s 3DF AirFit foam. CE tested and certified for mountain biking, these anti-slip pads have silicone and adjustable staps to stay put while anti-odor MoistureCool and AirMesh fabrics mean they’ll also get to stay in your gearbag instead of the bed of your truck.

DBX 2.0 Helmet

Leatt’s best looking helmet yet, the DBX 2.0 features their proprietary rotational force mitigation system, 360 Turbine Technology. The protection company also uses 3D in-molded impact foam and a breakaway visor to further increase the helmet’s ability to protect its owner.

DBX 3.5 Neckbrace

The 3.5 is designed to be a more affordable neck protection option from Leatt but still offers the same protection the brand was built on. A lightweight EPS base helps keep the brace light and affordable while EVA padding is injected to further improve comfort.

It’s been a while since we tried a Leatt neckbrace on and the newer style is an improvement from the last brace we tested. The CoreFlex split rear sit on the shoulders nicely and the split front design allow for easy on/off access.

The Fusion 2.0 Vest is a super neat grom protector. It has a removable number plate holder. We dig this thing.

Bontrager’s 2018 Offerings

Trek’s in-house component and soft good brand, Bontrager has once again stepped up the game for 2018. Over the last few years Bontrager’s stuff has only gotten better and we often find ourselves using tires, clothing or pumps designed by the Cheeseheads back East.

While some may be excited about the new offerings of Plus and Fat-sized tires, it’s their use of Vibram rubber that has us really excited. We love the SE4 and XR4 tires but our excitement for 2.6-, 2.8-, and 3-inch tires was overshadowed by the new flat-pedal shoes sitting on the rock wall behind Trek’s tent. Designed with heavy influence from Ryan (R-Dog) Howard, Bontrager’s Line Pro shoes will feature reinforced eyelets, thermowelded “gnar guard” toe and heel caps and a sticky Vibram sole. We instantly asked if a high top version was in the works and while Bontrager reps found our question interesting, they replied by saying most people have asked if a clipless version is coming next as that probably makes more sense (wink wink). We’d rather have a high top version, but it sounds like our wishes are a ways down on the priority list. Either way, we’ve got a pair of low tops coming our way to stay tuned for a review.

Bontrager was also showing off their new Rally MIPS helmet. The helmet falls somewhere between the current Rally and Lithos helmets. The incorporation of MIPS technology will help improve the helmet’s rotational impact safety. Also new on the Rally MIPS is Bontrager’s Blend’r accessory mount. Easily mounted or removed, the magnetized attachment will hold a GoPro or Bontrager Ion light and is designed to detach in the event of an impact.

Devinci Spartan

We recently published an interview with Devinci around the time they released the new Spartan, however this was our first time seeing the bike in person. We couldn’t resist getting it out from underneath that canopy and letting the sun shine down right on that pretty paint. Hot damn.

POC SPIN Technology

One of the brands responsible for making MIPS a recognized name in the mountain bike world has recently adapted to bring forth their own version of slip-plane technology. Where MIPS requires a separate layer to be built into a helmet, POC’s new SPIN technology helps keep shell size down while maintaining breathability, and protection. Shearing Pad Inside or SPIN, made total sense once POC’s Mallory Burda handed over a pad. Inside the pads of your helmet, a silicone bladder lets the padding move freely, allowing for that little bit of give that potentially lowers rotational forces from an oblique impact, a major cause of brain trauma.

The 2018 SPIN technology will show up in POC line aboard their Tectal Race (all-mountain) helmet, Coron Air full face, and Octal X cross country helmets.

Crankbrothers Stamp Pedals

Looking to expand on their sized pedal philosophy, Crankbros is now going to be offering their small and large pedals in several price points. They’re also going to be offering the legendary 50/50 pedals for $50.

Budget friendly Stamp 2 ($79.99) pedals will be made from die-cast aluminum.

The next step up, will be the Stamp 3 ($99.99) pedals, which will also be 16mm thick, but will be made from forged aluminum.

The Stamp 3’s are also Danny MacAskill’s signature pedal, and he intentionally chose this model so that more of his fans would be able to afford the pedal he runs most. We asked about his size preference and learned he runs the large pedals on his all-mountain bike and the small size on his trials bike.

For the ballers, Stamp 11 pedals will boast a titanium spindle, gold anodized pins and an MSRP of $300. That’s right.