Pivot // ARC8 // Focus // Mason // KMC // Yakima // Repente & more!

pivot switchblade v3 all mountain bike

This week we’ve got a few killer mountain bikes, some fancy road bikes, interesting wheels, and a rather random collection of accessories. Also, here’s a link to fill in a form if you’re interested in a Lunch Ride cycling cap or shirt. Here’s the best new stuff this week:

  • Pivot Switchblade
  • ARC8 EXTRA
  • Focus VAM2 SL eMTB
  • Trek Marlin+ eMTB
  • FORGE+BOND wheels
  • WTB’s new grips
  • Festka Spectre Fire
  • ENVE Melee Team Bike
  • Mason Definition 3.0
  • Repente eco-friendly saddle
  • Wolf Tooth drop bar dropper remote
  • KMC React cassettes
  • Yakima racks & drawers
  • Wahoo KICKR Core Zwift One

Pivot Switchblade gets rowdier w/ better kinematics

The new Pivot Switchblade V3 is designed to be the ultimate do-it-all mountain bike, with efficient climbing and bike park-capable descending. It gets revised kinematics for better small bump compliance and traction from its 142mm DW-Link rear travel. Up front are 160mm Fox 36 forks.

Reach & wheelbase are longer, headtube is slacker, and seat angle steeper with a straight tube for longer dropper post travel. Size specific chainstays dial handling for every rider, and a flip-chip lets you fine tune geometry or prep it for an MX wheel setup (it ships as a 29er).

Ten complete bikes from $6,399 to $11,599 in XS to XL. A Limited edition Switchblade Talon edition (shown in pink) celebrates founder Chris Cocalis’ 35 years of designing mountain bikes. (overview video and Talon Edition video)

ARC8 EXTRA enduro MTB replaces rocker arm w/ sliding link

The new ARC8 EXTRA enduro mountain bike introduces an entirely new way of driving the rear shock, replacing a rocker link with a “sliding linkage”. With a rocker, the leverage over the shock changes (often diminishing) as it gets deeper into the travel. For air shocks, this means it’s harder to compress them just as the shock itself is ramping up.

So, a longer rocker arm “lever” would help the suspension use that last bit of travel more effectively, and their new Sliding Linkage acts like an infinitely long lever. A grease port makes it easy to service and keeps it sliding smoothly.

The EXTRA reverts to standard internal routing (no longer going through the headset), and a flip-chip lets you run an MX setup. It’s compatible with air and coil shocks, with 160mm or 170mm travel. Kinematics change slightly to favor acceleration in the shorter travel and bump absorption in long travel. Bikes from €5,999.

Focus VAM2 SL ultralight eMTB is just 16.2kg

The new Focus VAM2 SL is incredibly light, under 32lbs for the top model, and looks very much like an analog bike. But it’s packing the Fazua Ride 60Nm motor with 450W output with a 430Wh battery (210Wh range extender available).

Rear travel is 125mm from a pivot-less rear triangle with flex seatstays, fork is 130mm with an adjustable head angle from 65.5º – 66.5º. Swap in a 140mm fork and it gets 0.5º slacker. The 9-series frames weigh just 2,172g (4.8lbs), and the top model is just 16.2kg (35.7 lbs). Prices from €5,799 to €10,999. (video here)

Trek Marlin+ hardtail is their most affordable eMTB

It’s also pretty versatile, with rack and fender mounts, so you can you use the new Trek Marlin+ e-mountain bike for ripping trails or running about town with panniers and a trunk bag. The alloy frame borrows geo from their popular Marlin hardtail MTB, with a 120mm suspension fork and massive 2.6″ tires (XS/S use 27.5″ wheels, M/L/XL are 29ers).

It uses the 50Nm Bosch Active Line motor with 400Wh battery that can be augmented with a 250Wh range extender. It’s Class 1, maxing out at 20mph (or 25km/h outside the US) of assist. Two builds from $2,699 to $3,499. (video here)

Forge+Bond Shift Series make thermoplastic wheels more attainable

FORGE+BOND’s fully recyclable thermoplastic carbon fiber Core wheels have been a bit pricy, but their new Shift Series trade the expensive Industry Nine or DT Swiss 240 hubs for their own hub co-produced with Bitex. This brings wheelsets down to $1,250 with the same rim tech, just lower spec hubs and spokes. They offer three versions, all with CX-Ray J-bend spokes:

  • 25 XC (1600g wheelset, 380g rim, 25mm internal)
  • 30 AM (1,832g wheelset, 480-530g rim, 30mm internal)
  • 30 EM (1,920g wheelset, 530g rim, 30mm internal)

The rims use long-chain nylon polymers in place of traditional resins, which makes them less brittle, able to flex just enough to handle big hits and provide a neutral ride quality. If damaged, the rim can be chopped up, melted, and re-formed into something else with zero waste.

New WTB grips

WTB’s all-new mountain bike grip lineup has four distinct versions for different types of riders. Left to right:

  • CZ Control: Ergo shape with pressure relief thumb area
  • Trace: 32mm, big cushion blocks w/ light knurling on the front
  • Burr: 30mm, minimalist feel with bi-directional “burr grinder” pattern
  • Wavelength: 30/32mm tapered, multi-angle fins balance grip & comfort

All of them use a soft anti-slip rubber, inboard lock-on clamp, and a tapered inner sleeve that eliminates twisting on the ends. MSRP $29.95 per pair.

Festka’s Spectre Fire is so hot right now

Just pure eye candy. This Festka Spectre road bike gets the Fire paint theme, the first of four element series that’ll include Water, Earth, and Air. Built to order with custom geometry, ENVE cockpit, wheels and fork, and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 for $16,440.

ENVE Melee adds new colors, team edition

The ENVE Melee road bike has three new colors for 2024 – Damascus, Aegean Blue, and the most ENVE color of all, ENVE Black, which is full matte black with just a few glossy hits here and there. More photos on their website.

Meanwhile, they’ve also entered the World Tour peloton under Team TotalEnergies with a gloss black and blue scheme. Check that bike out here, and promo video here.

Mason Definition 3.0 alloy all-road bike

The 3rd gen Mason Definition alloy road bike borrows the geometry of their steel Resolution all-road model, but with custom Dedacciai aluminum tubing. Custom-shaped stays and an oversized downtube aid ride quality, and it clears 700×35 tires (or 32s with fenders).

This 3.0 version gets updated cable and hose routing designed around modern drivetrains, dedicated dynamo wire routing for lighting systems, updated seat tube sizing, and improved tube treatments and accessory eyelets for better durability. Framesets £1,450, complete bikes from £2,900.

Lightweight Obermayer EVO Signature Gold Edition

With just 99 sets available world wide (33 each for Europe, Asia/Pacific, and Americas), these limited edition Lightweight Obermayer EVO wheels have 23-carat pure gold leaf graphics designed by Rie Sel Design.

The wheels are their tubeless-ready disc brake Meilenstein EVO model, which took gold at Tokyo 2020, and have a full carbon fiber construction (spokes, hubs, all of it) and CeramicSpeed bearings. Weight is 1,230g with a 100kg rider weight limit, 24mm internal rim width. You’ll have to reach out for pricing & availability, they’re unlisted.

Selle Repente Nova saddles are 100% recyclable

By using a single-material thermoplastic polyurethane upper, Selle Repente’s Nova saddle combines shell and padding in one. Called Soft Cell, it won’t feel soft to the touch, but your body weight causes a “controlled sinking of the padding”. It doesn’t need a protective cover, so just remove the steel rails and each part can be recycled.

The eco-friendly design uses no glues or solvents, either, so production is quite green. Weight is 285g, dimensions 260x142mm. Aimed at road, gravel & XC riders. MSRP is just $76.

Wolf Tooth ReMote Drop Bar gravel bike dropper seatpost lever

Wolf Tooth’s new ReMote Drop Bar dropper lever uses two 9mm Enduro bearings to give it smooth, sturdy action. The clamp bolt moves out and back, letting it sit closer to your bar for better ergonomics, too. The dual paddle can be pulled upward when riding on the hoods, or pushed down when riding in the drops.

The cable end tucks into the upper paddle for a very tidy look, and it’s completely rebuildable – they’re fan’s of Right to Repair. Black only, MSRP $64.95. They recommend adding an inline barrel adjuster, sold separately.

KMC React cassettes are an affordable replacement option

The new KMC React cassettes are, naturally, optimized for their chains, but the 10- and 11-speed options work with any drivetrain brand and chain. At just $65 each, they’re an affordable option for indoor trainers, upgrading kids’ bikes, spare wheelsets, or testing out different gear ratios.

10-speed versions come in 11-36 and 11-42 options, and the 11-speed comes in 11-42 and 11-50. All fit Shimano HG freehub bodies. Flow Control tooth profiles to smooth both up- and down-shifts. The only downside? They’re hee-eaa-vy. Weights from 659g to 973g.

Yakima adds ramped e-bike racks & MOD storage system

Yakima’s OnRamp LX is an extended version of their ramped e-bike hitch rack. Longer trays hold long wheelbase bikes (up to 54″), perfect for e-cargo bikes. The center frame hook holds them securely since wheel hooks won’t work well with cargo frames or fenders. It’s a two-bike rack, rated for 80lbs per bike for road & RV use, or 48lbs/bike for off-road use. Coming Q2 2024.

The new Yakima MOD System combines stackable full- and half-width drawer cabinets to add secure, stable storage to your SUV, van, or wagon. They’re intended for interior use, not truck beds, but will have a wide variety of internal organization options. They’ll also have a fridge slide and workspace options. Pricing from $600, available in March. More details on these and other new overland gear over on AWOL.

Wahoo KICKR Core Zwift One smart trainer

The new Wahoo KICKR Core Zwift One has just one cog that’s compatible with anything from 8- to 12-speed chains, with virtual gears controlled with a wireless handlebar-mounted clicker. This simplifies bike installation and, with adapters for 130/135 QR and 142/148 thru axles, makes it compatible with almost any bike.

It has +/- 2% power accuracy, measures speed, distance, power, and cadence, simulates up to 16% climbs (and -10% descents), and has 1800W max resistance. All this for $599 with one free year of Zwift included. Available from Wahoo and Zwift.

Small Bites

Hot Deals

Parting Thoughts

It’s supposed to rain this weekend, so probably hop on the trainer to get some intervals in.

Some friends were just laid off from Zwift, which I both understand and don’t. It seems everyone is using Zwift, except my one friend who’s tablet is too old and slow to run it.

I don’t even like riding the trainer and I have it, because it makes indoor riding bearable.

And they keep adding features, maps, and workouts.

But also, I wonder if they’re keeping up. There’s no real gamification of value.

My sweat drip points are meaningless IRL, which seems like a massively wasted opportunity that they’ve been deafeningly quiet on.

Steering and advanced features all require expensive equipment, which limits adoption, especially when there are limited ways to use it.

At least one friend started using MyWhoosh because it’s free. I bet others will follow.

When you’re leading the pack, there’s a target on your back.

And if you’ve used up all your energy pulling the peloton, it’s mighty hard to keep up once others attack.

Maybe they’re going to draft for a while, or maybe they’ve been holding back and are streamlining their team around new tactics.

I don’t really have a point, other than maybe none of us should rest on our laurels.

I’m curious to see what’s going on over there.

Here’s to keeping it fresh,

who is behind the lunch ride newsletter

PS – I’m considering a limited run of cycling caps to match our logo. And some cool T-shirts. Interested? Fill in this Google form and lemme know. No commitment, just gauging interest.

the lunch ride logo cycling cap

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