The axle broke on my rear wheel. This wheel set came off LadyP’s Airborne Hobgoblin. But I’ve since sold the frame. However, I kept all the other parts to the bike. So when this happened I wasn’t quite sure where to go to find a replacement part. I didn’t see anything online that would render a place for me to buy a replacement axle.
So I did the only thing I could do, I contacted Airborne Bicycles and spoke with Eric McKenna. He’s been our long time friend of the industry. I told him what happened and asked if he knew where I could BUY a replacement axle. He simply asked for my shipping address so he could send me one, for free. Wow! Even though I sold the Hobgoblin months ago, he still provided me excellent customer service! How cool and rare is that? I mean, c’mon! How many companies would support a former customer who doesn’t even own the product any more…
About a week later I received a new axle and my bike is back on the trails!
Big thanks to Eric, you’re one class act. It’s customer service like this that gives a brand a great reputation in the business.
While at Sea Otter you will always see something new that will be coming out soon or will be for the next year.
We ran into Trevor Gay from Airborne Bicycles and he was rocking a new prototype 650b (27.5) that Airborne has been testing.
With the advent of so many bicycle companies going to either 650b or 29er I could say that 26″ wheel may disappear soon except on low end bikes.
Airborne sees this and has been working on there first 650b. It will be around 5″ travel in the rear although they spec the prototype with a 150mm fork, one would guess it will be close. When ask if this would be the bike’s group spec, the answer was no. This was all set up to race this weekend.
The bike (as you see the photos)looks very impressive. If you notice the head angle you, will see the it looks very slack. It is a 66 degree head angle. I would say slack for a bike like this, but I see this as a good thing, as this will give better stability at high speed or steep drop-in’s, also a tapered head tube for a stiff front end.
The rear wheel will be thru axle which will give great stiffness when on the pedals and when hammering during that Enduro race or shredding your favorite trail. You will see that it will be able to allow a front derailleur for 2x 10 drivetrain or as you see it here set up in a 1x.
Its always cool to see the word Prototype on anything and seeing what Airborne has accomplished in a short time I for one am very pleased to see them heading in a great path. Having been a part of Airborne with our DH Web Team was great. They are coming up fast and doing it right for the consumer with great pricing and a decent product.
No word on release date yet, but stay tuned if your an Airborne fan on there website and Facebook fan page.
While at Sea Otter we ran into Loaded Precision Inc. If you have never heard of them they are a precision bicycle component manufacturing company based out of San Diego California.
They make everything from handlebars, stems, headsets, seatpost, wheelsets, and hubs. This is a company that has a lot of really cool products. Their products stick out because of the beautiful anodizing and precision machining that is just a part of what and who they are and one of their products that caught my eye early on while at Interbike this last year was the AMXC grips No Slip Grips. It was this unique grip surface that was on them that made me stop and look at them. It looked like something that the military would use and I’m not just talking our ordinary military, but Special forces, namely our Navy Seals. Sure enough when talking with the guys at LOADED they did confirm this was a material used by them and in what way I can not say. The other part of the grips you have is the clean looking machining of their Lock-Rings & end caps.
GRIPS WITH GRIPSION OK I made that word up and what does gripsion mean, simple “Ultimate Grip”. I know looking at the LOADED grips one would think their just another pair of lock on grips, but I’m hear to tell you these things hook you up like a fly stuck on flypaper. LOADED was kind enough to give us a pair to test and seeing that I was racing the downhill at Sea Otter what better place to do a first test.
When you feel them for the first time bare handed you can tell off the bat that they do have a tacky surface on them, one I have never felt on a grip before. It almost feels gummy to the touch. With gloves on you get the same feel, so what is it with the surface that makes them unique. Well its the material of the grip, as I had mentioned earlier this grade of rubber is used by a part of our US military and what does the NoSlip Grip offer, no matter what the weather condition is, snow, rain, mud, dirt, or something like grease the LOADED NoSlip grip ensures rider hand contact to the grip. This is as important to the rider as it is to a soldier gripping his weapon or vital item he is using in the field.
ON THE RACE RUN Once I fit the grips on and tighten them they locked on like any other lock on, but they do have an extra ring that comes with the grips that give them better lock to the bars, end caps go in with no hassle. Now I’m use to a fatter grip, but I really didn’t mind the feel of the LOADED NoSlip grips, yes they were slimmer, but they felt really good in the hand and with my gloves on you had no slipping at all.
Now I didn’t have any practice to get a feel with the grips, so my race run was a cold one with these babies and the first thing I noticed out of the gate was my hands were stuck to the grip till I would release them. On my run moving the bike under me, pulling on the bars to jump or maneuver was like having clips on my hands. After my run I thought about it and I was truly impressed with these grips, they preformed as stated. Now I really like to pick apart a product before I will say this is the best thing next to ice cream or tacos, but I may have to lean this way.
I did want to give them one test while I was at Sea Otter, so I poured water on the grips and sure enough the water beaded right off the grip and when I poured the water over my hand and grip there was no slippage. again “Wow”! I’m sold and as time goes on I will be giving these grips an extreme mud, dirt, water (again), and grease (well maybe) test for a long term.
QUICK TECH Here’s the tech on the grips. Material: NoSlip rubber / Clamp: CNC 6061 Alloy Lock-Rings & End Caps / Weight: 118g / Clamp Diameter: 29.5mm / Length: 130mm / Colors: Black, Blue, Red, Gold, Green
WHAT’S THE PRICE FOR GRIPSION
To have ultimate grip from LOADED and their AMXC NoSlip grips the msrp is $29.99. Yes this may be a little on the high side for a set of grips, but well worth it if you ask me. They come in five colors, so I’m sure you can find a color to make you stead look cool.
You can go to the LOADED website to check out all their cool products at www.loadedusa.com.
We wish to thank LOADED PRECISION INC.
Art Aguilar and I had the pleasure in meeting with Brand Manager and ultimate cool guy, Jeremy Mudd. We talked shop about everything Airborne. But he made us pinky swear not to make some of the news public. Basically there’s some BIG changes in the line up that we’re super excited about. One of the things we look forward to is testing out the new Goblin. This came about because we mentioned that the our staff test rode 29ers during the Dirt Demo and we all had such great experiences with it. In fact it was Art’s first time on a 29er as well as Khoa and Lady P. With that in mind we’re hoping that we get the new Goblin in the next few weeks.
Jeremy also talked about the highly anticipated Toxin and the new Taka…yes I said new. Another bit of news that we heard that we aren’t allowed to divulge is this…ready? Airborne is coming out with…Doh! I can’t say! I made a promise. I’ve already said way too much. By the way, we wanted to congratulate Jeremy on his awesome weight loss. Did you know he dropped 40lbs!
Jeremy Mudd and Art Aguilar.
He started eating right and riding more and magically that worked! I was very inspired by his progress that I made a promise to him that once Interbike is over that I’d get on my weight loss regimen once again. It was great to see Jeremy, kinda bummed that Eric McKenna couldn’t make it out, but I guess someone had to run the Airborne World HQ during the week of Interbike.
A couple weeks ago, I got the opportunity to drop by the Paul’s Ride for Life event, which centers around a charity ride that raises money for life-saving organ transplants. While I found out about it too late to join in the ride (which seems like it might be a cool thing to do next year), there was also a Cyclefest event sponsored by a local shop, the Bike Lane. As part of that, there were not only tables and booths for cool local organizations like MORE and FABB (join one or both if you’re in the area!), but demo bikes on hand from Niner, Felt, and Trek. I got to try out the Trek Superfly Al (geared) and the Niner S.I.R. 9 (singlespeed) for a few minutes each.
I tried the Niner first, and man… it was a fun bike! You can probably trust the word of a man who owns one more than mine, but in the few minutes I got to tool around on it I was very impressed. The geometry felt really natural – the bike was responsive without being twitchy – and it didn’t feel too hefty despite the steel frame (853 Reynolds, for those who might be wondering!).
When I got on the Trek, I noticed immediately that it had a different approach than the playful Niner. The Superfly (in all editions) is billed as a race-oriented XC bike, and it shows in how it rides and handles. It was a nice bike, but I didn’t really get that grin on my face that I look for when testing a bike out. To be fair to Trek, part of this may have been because the brakes on my test bike were REALLY dirty and noisy, so I was distracted by that for much of my ride.
This was my first real experience testing out multiple bikes at a demo event (I was supposed to have a 2nd a couple days ago, but it got rained out), and it was a lot of fun! I’m sure many of you do this when you can, but I’d encourage everyone to attend demos when possible – it’s an easy way to check out one or several bikes fairly quickly, whether you’re looking for a new ride or not!
Our team sponsor, Airborne Bicycles is accepting applications for their Flight Crew. If chosen, you get free gear and a free bike! Heck if you get a Taka, then you might be as cool as us…not quite, but close enough.
” WELCOME 2012 !!!!!” Well the year is over and we got to test one of our last bikes of the year the AIRBORNE WINGMAN, so kick back grab your favorite drink and snack, and read on.
NEVER FLY WITHOUT YOUR WINGMAN Well AIRBORNE has done yet again by bringing out another super bike for the masses at a great cost and spec. We at MtnBikeRiders.com were fortunate enough to see this and two other new releases early this year, we were also able to do a little riding on the WINGMAN at this years Sea Otter on the pump track, and we were quit impressed with it.
GETTING THE CALL
One fine afternoon I got the call from RL that AIRBORNE wanted to send us a new WINGMAN to test, “OK but RL I’m not much of a Dirt Jumper.” “It’s OK Art you’ll do fine.” At this point I’m like OK what am I going to do to make this really cool bike look good under my care. I asked Corey Pond one of our team members if he would do some of the test jumping for me, but as luck would have it Corey had broken his foot at about the same time we received the bike for test. Great my number one test guy is out.
Well off to do some cool sexy bike pics and I’ll get to the test ride later.
PUTTING HER TOGETHER
As with all AIRBORNE’s the WINGMAN came to us well packed in it’s bike box as it would come to you. Now there is no real directions to do this, so make sure you have a friend or shop that knows what there doing if your not sure what to do.
The build is not to bad to do even though it looks like a lot to do. You will have to put together the basics you do to most bikes like the handle bar/stem, wheels, seat with seat post, and pedals. The one thing you don’t have to worry about is any cable routing for shifters or derailleurs. The WINGMAN is a single Speed freewheel.
A WINGMAN TO HAVE BY YOUR SIDE
After putting the WINGMAN together you will see many thing that make this a really cool Dirt jump/Street oriented bike. The frame is the first thing I liked when I seen it. I really like what a lot of companies are doing with tubing on bike frames.
The WINGMAN is a 6061 aluminum Hydro-formed tubing. The top tube has this nice aircraft kind of look to it with nice welded gussets on it. The rear triangle’s are just as nice with a set of lower chainstays that have a oval look to them that would cut the wind on your landing approach to the jump, the rear wheel drop outs are also artfully designed.
OK here’s where I see AIRBORNE Bicycle’s shine for all of us that only have a limited budget to work with. These guys will give you so much bang for you buck you must be just plain insane not to buy one.
The WINGMAN is spec out with a Marzocchi Bomber DJ-3 100mm fork that does a great job of handling the landing, you have Alex DP-17 double wall wheelset with Kenda Krad tires, Tectro Auriga comp hydraulic brake set with 160 mm rotor’s. Cranks are BFC-II cromoly tubular 175mm length.
Now as far as bottom bracket, hubs, and headset go these are of a basic kind. They work great for the job of dirt jumping (Besides who says you have to have the best.).
Now this is something to mention on the specs of the WINGMAN, this baby comes equipped with Funn components galore, Fatboy bars, Crossfire stem, Throne seat, Crossfire seat post, and Combat lock-on grips. Very cool.
TIME FOR THE RIDE
My first ride on the WINGMAN was at Sea Otter on there pump track. This was the first time on a pump track, RL also joined me and we had a great time. The WINGMAN ‘s short wheel base made it a very easy handling bike to ride around the pump track. I thought the layout put you right where you need to be on the bike while riding it.
My next stop for the ride test was the famous Sheep Hill in Costa Mesa. This is the perfect place to test a bike like this and with my one test rider Corey Pond out I enlisted the help of my buddy and coworker Gio Fogal from Italy, he had never rode the WINGMAN till that day and took right to it with little effort. “I like this bike, it feels light and has great handling.” stated Gio. OK he’s sold.
AS THE SUN SET’S
Well the new year is starting and its time to put this one to bed and so far when I’ve tested an AIRBORNE bike I always come back impressed, I like a company that can put the customer first when it comes to the pocket book and the package, and they did it again.
Now I can’t say everything was perfect on the WINGMAN, but what I did find wrong with it was so little it wasn’t that big a deal.
The first thing I noticed was how close the chain was to the chain stay. If your chain is loose just a little you will get chain slap and this bugs me to no end. OK what would be the fix, well how about a chain tensioner, OK,OK like I said this is a little thing. We did notice their is a small threaded hole on the right chain stay drop out. We weren’t sure if this was what it was meant for, but if it is cool.
OK that’s all I found wrong with the bike, I think that’s great if you ask me.
Two other things I like about the WINGMAN is, one the looks; The frame is just plane clean looking and eye catching. The grey aircraft type paint set up with the bright white parts makes it stand out. Two is well the price $669.95. AIRBORNE did a price drop on the WINGMAN , the original price was $799.95. WOW! you can’t beat that, while everyone else is raising prices AIRBORNE did the opposite. “Thank you AIRBORNE!” Job well done I can’t wait to see what you guys do next.
Well the year is at a close and our racing is also at a close, so I took the time to go on line and check out my fellow MtnBikeRiders.com teammate’s finishes on Southridgeusa.com and well I was quite amazed at our amount of top ten finishes. We also back those up with great overalls for the end of the year.
Now first and for most, I want to say thanks to AIRBORNE BICYCLES for sponsoring our team and thanks to RL Policar for getting this together for us earlier this year, also a shout out to the guys at Marzocchifor helping us set up our suspension. “Thanks Ronny!”
Our team did do some upgrades to our TAKA’S, but not much, if anything the main upgrade we did was the CaneCreek Angle headset which gave the TAKA way better handling, some did suspension while others kept it simple and all mods worked great. Something I plan on talking about on TAKA REVISITED later.
PODIUMS GALORE Our team has nine of us that raced for most of the season. The DH department has five racers consisting of yours truly, Art Aguilar, Corey Pond, RL Policar, Wes Castro, and Moe Ramirez.
In the XC/ Super- D department we have Dan Burdett, Nick Diblasi.Late in the season we pick up Stacey Stone for 4X and as you can see we have a well-rounded team that covers all disciplines.
Now looking at what we did as a team this year really amazed me I sat down on the SRC website and counted all our top ten finishes and found that I was VERY surprised, we landed 36 top ten finishes as a team and out of those 28 of them were top five podiums, 7 were series overalls, and 5 were SRC top year end season overalls with our own Wes Castro taking top honors with the number 1 plate in his class, “Way to go WES!!”
With Wes Castro taking the number one plate home in the beginner 35-42 DH class for the year, Art Aguilar took 5th overall in 43-50 expert Dh class. RL Policar took 3rd overall in the beginner 27-34 Dh class. Stacy Stone took 5th overall in 4X, and Dan Burdett took 2nd overall in single Speed 34 under.
All I could say is this was one kick butt year for us.
THINKING BACK FOR A YEAR Corey Pond had some injuries this year that kept him out on and off for the year, but he’s planning to have a great 2012 year.
As a whole we did quite a bit for our sponsors and I feel we succeeded. In a whole, we had a great time hanging out, talking bicycles and racing. We added some new faces to the team mid-year, Stacy Stone raced 4X and some Super-D, also we have Nick Diblasi who is racing Super-D. We added another rider to the DH roster, young gun Bryan Doney for 16-18 DH beginners. So next year will be fun to see what’s around the corner.
A SPECIAL THANKS TO AIRBORNE
AIRBORNE BICYCLE’swas our bike sponsored for our team. They provided TAKA DH and 29er GOBIiN bikes for us and I think I can speak for the team when I say that in a market saturated with $4000 race bikes, we proved you don’t need to have the most expensive bike out there to get the job done, so a big hats off to the AIRBORNE crew, Rick, Jeremy, Eric.
I look forward to a race filled season with a great team for 2012.