“Hear ye, hear ye, Fresh Goods Friday is upon thee!
Although a weekend of riding awaits us, first there are goods that we’d like to discuss.
There are bikes, brakes, and gadgets galore, and by the time we’re done you’ll be screaming “PLEASE, PLEASE, NO MORE”
So let us dig in to the pile with posthaste, and then we can all enjoy the weekend without a moment to waste.”
With a weekend of riding ahead of us, we have many new goods – so it would seem churlish to not get the hell on with it, eh?
Canyon Neuron AL 7.9
- Price: £1949
- From: Canyon
We had Canyon pay us a visit at Singletrack Towers the other week, and we used our valuable time to go ride the Indoor BMX Track in Manchester. Before Canyon departed to return to the Deep South after slaying us on the BMX track, they kindly unloaded a couple of test bikes, including this shiny alloy full suspension Neuron.
Formally known as the ‘Nerve’, the Neuron is a full suspension XC/trail bike. Despite the name-change, the platform remains the same, with a four-bar suspension linkage built around a Fox Float DPS rear shock. The Neuron is available in 29in and 27.5in versions, with the 29er we have here featuring 120mm travel up front and 110mm travel on the rear.
We’ve tested and reviewed the 27.5in version of the Canyon Nerve, which bumps the travel up 10mm front and rear. As to how the big-wheel version handles? We shall be bringing you an in-depth review very soon, so stay tuned!
- Price: £199.95 per end, rotors £15.95 per end
- From: Windwave
Turning up just in time for our disc brake group test, here’s a set of Afterburner disc brakes from component giant, FSA. Coming in underneath the lightweight K-Force disc brakes, the Afterburner brakes aren’t quite as lightweight, but still pack in many similar features.
The callipers are dual-piston jobbers that come stock with semi-metallic brake pads inside. The Afterburner brakes run on FSA’s mineral oil, and the hoses are actually specific front and rear. Why? Because the rear brake hose is a whole lot longer, creating more opportunity for compression, resulting in a slightly different feel between the left and right brake levers. As such, FSA has given the rear brake a stiffer hose to ensure a more consistent feel between the front and rear brakes.
At the lever end, FSA claims the Quick-Draw design means there’s less dead-stroke in the levers compared to other brakes. The Afterburner brakes also come with tool-free adjustment for both lever reach and pad contact, and the lever bodies are ambidextrous, so you can flip them from left to right without hassle.
FSA Disc Brake Bleed Kit
- Price: £29.95
- From: Windwave
Neat little bleed kit to go along with our test brakes, consisting of a wee bottle of mineral oil, a couple of syringes, and some shiny bits.
TRP G-Spec Slate Disc Brakes
- Price: £124.99 per end
- From: Upgrade Bikes
It’s been a long time coming after TRP showed off its prototype ‘G-Spec’ brakes at Eurobike last year, but the new Slate and Quadiem G-Spec brakes are now finally available. Or at least, they have been as of a couple of months ago anyway. Also turning up for the disc brake group test, the G-Spec Slate brakes are pitched as TRP’s XC/trail brake.
The lever body itself remains very much the same as the regular Slate brakes, but adds in a lovely dimpled brake lever that offers a little more tactility for your digits. A tool-free reach adjuster sits on the inside of the lever blade, and underneath the hood you’ll (also) find mineral oil in these guys.
For ze power, a quad-piston calliper is paired up to the Slate brake levers. The pistons are made from steel and feature ceramic inserts to suck heat away from the fluid under prolonged heavy braking.
TRP 180mm Disc Brake Rotors
- Price: £36.99 per end
- From: Upgrade Bikes
Disc brakes are a little useless without rotors, so we got a set of those too. These are TRP stainless steel one-piece rotors (they also make two-piece rotors), and they’re for mounting on a 6-bolt hub. Available in 140/160/180/200mm diameters, and centrelock versions are also available.
More bleeding bleed kits, this time to plug into the TRP Slate brakes.
- Price: £134.99 per end
- From: Madison
It would appear there’s some kind of mineral oil theme going on this week. We’re not DOT-phobic, it just happens that these three brakes have turned up for the group test for Issue 115 of Singletrack Magazine. The group test is on powerful trail brakes, and Shimano has thrown its Zee hat into the ring.
Essentially sitting in the Shimano range as a cheaper alternative to the Saint disc brakes, the Zees are built tough to cope with the demands of heavy duty downhilling, while also being suited for power-hungry trail riders too. The lever is adjustable via a hex key, removing the little adjuster wheel that you’d find on the SLX or XT disc brakes. The levers are still textured with cute little dimples though.
Huge quad-piston callipers that are ribbed for your cooling pleasure. Like other Shimano disc brakes, the Zees feature ceramic pistons, chosen for their ability to insulate heat generated from friction between the pads and rotors, before it gets into the oil.
Jagwire Disc Brake Pads
- Price: £
- From: Moore Large
Jagwire, makers of all things cable-y and brake pad-y, has sent us in a few bits and pieces to try out, including a set of Shimano-compatible disc brake pads. The pads are the ‘Sport’ version, which uses an organic pad material designed for quiet and smooth braking in drier conditions. If we find these so-called ‘dry’ conditions, we’ll let everyone know.
Jagwire Pro Shift Lightweight Cable Kit
- Price: £39.99
- From: Moore Large
To help refreshen some test bikes, we’ve got the Pro Shift cable kit. The kit comes complete with Jagwire’s Slick-Lube liners that are designed to keep the inner wires sliding nice and smoothly, and the outer cable is braided, which apparently makes them lighter. Most importantly, the kit comes with those sweet little Reverb hose connectors, which are super useful.
The Brave Athlete: Calm The F*ck Down
- Price: $24.95 USD
- From: Velopress
Do you find yourself getting pre-race nerves? Start line jitters? Silly first lap crashes? Then this book might interest you. Called the Brave Athlete, it’s written by Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson, Paterson being a three-time world champion triathlete and coach. According to the authors, this book “is the first to solve 13 of the most common mental conundrums athletes face in everyday training and in races. Dr. Marshall is a sport psychology expert who trains the brains of elite professional athletes.”
The nerves we typically encounter are more to do with getting our pub order in before the kitchen closes, so we’re looking forward to finding some ways of dealing with that stress.
AlfaSilver Wound Spray
- Price: £9.90
- From: Alfasilver
Of the precious metals, Gold gets all the attention, but silver is pretty rad too. And it can do some cool things. Highlighting the true power of silver, Alfasilver has created this wound treatment spray. Chuck it in your riding pack, and if your mate rips their leg open, give the bloody hole a clean, and spray this stuff right on (just after telling them “this is probably going to sting a bit“). The idea is the antimicrobial silver ions speed up the healing process.
Can’t wait to try it out.
Orange x Magic Rock Shredder Beer
- Price: Priceless
- From: Magic Rock Brewery
Chipps paid a visit to the Orange factory this week to get the low-down on the incoming 2018 product range, as well as a secret new bike that you’ll hear about very soon. Although Chipps was gifted several test bikes to ride around on for the afternoon, somehow Orange decided to thank him (for his presence?) with a present made in collaboration with Magic Rock brewery. Tasty limited edition beer cans within.
Bulk Tubeless Tyre Plugs
- Price: £6 for 50pk
- From: eBay
Chipps has got another entry into this week’s Fresh Goods Friday, but this one HE PAID FOR WITH HIS OWN MONEY. I know, insane right? Mind you, he only paid £6.99 and got FIFTY tubeless tyre plugs, and extra long ones at that. If you’re looking to stock up on some spares, Chipps nabbed ’em on eBay.
Fox Transfer Performance Series Dropper Post
- Price: £319 (post) + £69 (1x lever)
- From: Mojo
The Fox Transfer dropper post is one of the best we’ve encountered over our many years of riding and testing various options on the market. In fact, the Factory Series Transfer dropper was awarded a Singletrack Recommended label by Chipps not long ago. This one here is the all-black Performance Series version, which possesses the same internals and construction as the Factory model, just without the gold Kashima coating, and at a £40 saving. We’re plonking this on the lightweight Canyon Exceed hardtail test bike, so stay tuned for the upcoming feature on that.
YT Industries Jeffsy AL One 29
- Price: £2199
- From: YT Industries
Ooh you thought you’d already seen this week’s Fresh Goods Friday test bike didn’t you? Well, you’ve been very good, so this week we have ANOTHER bike for your viewing pleasure!
This one is from another German bike brand that sells direct to consumer. It’s the Jeffsy 29er form YT Industries, and it’s turned up in time for a three-way group test for Issue 115 of Singletrack Magazine.
Like the carbon version, the alloy Jeffsy can be had in both 27.5in and 29in wheelsize options. We’ve got the alloy AL One for testing, which is the top-spec option with a metal frame. It’s got 140mm of travel front and rear, putting it into the aggro trail bike category.
The AL One comes spec’d with a full SRAM package, including RockShox suspension, Guide brakes and a 1×11 drivetrain. Also neat is the e*13 TRS dropper post, and the addition of a stubby little drink bottle that sits underneath the rear shock.
Lula Office Dog
- Price: Priceless
- From: A Maltese Shi Tzu and a Highland Terrier
We’re doing some dog-sitting this week (that sounds terrifying) for Chipps’ neighbour, though we’re not entirely convinced Lula is a dog. Other descriptions have been a mop with legs, a hybrid dog/Ewok, Gizmo the Mogwai, and Hannah thinks it is actually a hamster. Whatever she is, she’s pretty darn cute. Or at least was until she shat on the office carpet. Bad girl Lula, bad girl.
Work Experience Chum, Fin Tusting
- Price: Priceless
- From: Somewhere in the Midlands
And last but not certainly not least, we have the freshest good of this week, Mr Fin Tusting, also known as our new automated tea-making device. Fin has come all the way from somewhere that is between Singletrack Towers and London (honestly, I’m not the person to ask about directions in this country), and he’s here in his school holidays to help us out for a week to learn all about the professional work environment that is Singletrack. Fin may be looking at a career change when he gets back.
OK, that’s your fill for this week, because it’s now time for us to GTFO and blow this popsicle stand. Make sure you get out there this weekend and ride bikes, eat things, drink other things, high-five mates, and just generally rock the hell out.
Before we part ways, here’s a groovy little rework on a tune that you should all know and love, to help you slide into the weekend styles.