Smud-Carbon.eu

“What?” you say, “are you talking about”, Smud, what’s a Smud. Let me tell you. Being the semi weight weenie that I am, I have been looking for a lighter seatpost for my Trek fuel ex. Until now I have been unable to find one that satisfied my requirements, that being light weight and reasonably priced. My biggest problem was the size requirement, I needed a 40.0!

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While cruising my daily bike and auto forums, I came across a thread about something I don’t remember. It all ended good as Smud-Carbon, out of Poland, had posted and I reached out to them. Their website, www.smud-carbon.eu, does not have much but what it does has is tasty good. I e-mailed them about making me a carbon seatpost clamp with titanium bolt to my size requirements, they responded and a few weeks later, I had it. Fits perfectly and holds my post! Enjoy the pics.

Old versus New

Check out their website and shoot them an e-mail. Even though they are a half a world away, excellent customer service! I have e-mailed them about a couple of other items, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Interbike 2009 – Carbon Frames

At Interbike 2009, one thing definite that I noticed was the abundance of carbon frames. As I walked the convention, speaking to different manufacturers (big or small companies) it seemed that they all had at least one carbon frame – road or mountain. The monocoque frames were just beautiful to look at!

Below are just some of the bikes we saw the last three days:

2E8J9913 by bicyclebloggers.                            KHS XCT Carbon, w/tapered headtube
2E8J0218 by bicyclebloggers.SASO MB1

IMG_9907 by bicyclebloggers.LOOK

LaPierre Pro Race 900LaPierre ProRace 900

2E8J0135 by bicyclebloggers.Rocky Mtn/Maxxis Team Edition

2E8J0133 by bicyclebloggers.CarboTec

2E8J0039 by bicyclebloggers.Morpheus Oracle-4X

IMG_9923 by bicyclebloggers.Titus

IMG_9919 by bicyclebloggers.Ellsworth Enlightenment

2E8J0028 by bicyclebloggers.BOO Bamboo Bicycles, carbon-bamboo

2E8J0069 by bicyclebloggers.

2E8J0046 by bicyclebloggers.Ellsworth…

In addition to the frames, there were ample of carbon components to compliment them.   Below are just a few that caught my eye.

2E8J9969 by bicyclebloggers.RaceFace Carbon Next cranks

2E8J0177 by bicyclebloggers.Carbon Wheelset from Sun Ringle

 

Sea Otter 2009: Sette’s Carbon Frames!

Met up with Brian and Mylo of Sette at Sea Otter. They were displaying their two new 26″ carbon frames, the more XC oriented Impulse and the very racy Phantom. The Phantom comes as either frame only or fully built up. The fully built Phantom has an amazing spec sheet for the money, $2,699, a real value for an under 20lb rig.


“Phantom” written in on the top tube. Very subtle against the carbon


I’m a big fan of carbon weave, so I thought I’d throw this picture in


An interesting touch on the seat stays. Excuse the dust/sand.


Another low-key Sette graphic on the Phantom. Attention whore RL getting in on the photo shoot.


The Sette Phantom, fully built. An absolutely sick bike at under 20 lbs

The Sette Impulse was not built up, but the frame was on display:


Sette on the downtube in white against the carbon fiber weave


Sette Impulse, a more XC oriented bike with a frame weight of 2.9lbs

For more info on the Phantom, click here.

For more info on the Impulse, click here.

Review: Sette Vexx Raz

Product Tested:
Sette Vexx Raz, with Smoke Lens


Carbon fiber look makes these glasses stand out from the normal black and gray sunglasses

Website’s MSRP:
$ 15.98


More carbon fiber, along with an understated print “Sette”

Specs:
The Sette Raz Sunglasses features 100% UV Protection. From the blaring sun to moonlit nights, you’ll always have the perfect lens for whatever the light condition calls for. The Raz has integrated Decentered Focal Point Technology to aid in keeping your glasses distortion free and provide optimal visibility. The lightweight Polycarbonate lenses are highly impact resistant to keep rocks and other small debris from hindering your sight. They are constructed with a comfortable wrap around frame to help block wind and also provide peripheral protection from harmful UV rays. The ear and nose pieces provide additional comfort by using a slip resistant coating to ensure the sunglasses stay where they’re supposed to.
• 100% UV protection, Impact tested Polycarbonate Lenses
• Frame Color: Black, Carbon
• Includes a Rigid Durable Zip Case with padded extra lens storage sleeves


Worn at Whiting Ranch during Southern California’s harsh January

About Me:
6’1” 210lbs, 29 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys XC riding.

Testing Grounds:
Fullerton Loop, Whiting Ranch, Sycamore Canyon, commuting to/from work… bunch of other trails I don’t remember.


Soft rubber type compound helped to keep the sunglasses from slipping

First Impressions:
Nice looking pair of sunglasses. The faux carbon fiber look is pretty sweet. I even got a “Hey are those carbon fiber sunglasses?!?!?”

Strengths:
I am really enjoying these sunglasses. The carbon fiber definitely separates itself from many other normal looking black or dark grey sunglasses out there. Over the months of testing the glasses carbon fiber look has held on very well. In fact the product shots you see in this review were taken this week. The carbon fiber look holds up nicely to a lot of abuse.


Rubber piece still works perfectly after months of testing. Didn’t smooth out and start slipping like some other sunglasses I’ve worn

I like the way the lens gradually goes from dark up top to almost clear on the bottom. This gave it almost a polarized lens feel. Now, you might be thinking that I am full of it, but I assure you I am not. I’ve had the chance to wear some nice sunglasses: Maui Jims, Oakleys, Ray Bans… and many of those were polarized which has a distinct feel and look. The first time I put on the Vexx Raz I immediately thought that they were polarized lens even though I knew they weren’t. I was floored by how nice the blue sky looked and how comforted my eyes immediately felt when wearing the glasses. I still get that feeling even after having worn them for so many months.

The pads around the nose and ear areas are very comfortable and do a superb job of keeping the glasses from slipping around. Over time, I have found with cheaper sunglasses that the rubber pads around those areas tend to smooth out and become less grippy. I did not have this issue with the Settes.


Climbing on the singlespeed requires lots of upper body movement. The Sette Vexx Raz, however, did not move

Weakness:
I am really struggling here to find a weakness. I think the only thing I find annoying about the sunglasses is the case. The zipper on the case travels in the opposite to the direction I think a normal zipper would go. With most sunglass cases the zipper goes from left to right. On the Vexx Raz, the sunglass case goes the opposite way. This has thrown me a few times when I reach for the zipper and get nothing.

Summary:
In general we have found that Sette products are well thought out and well done. The Sette Vexx Raz is no exception. It is clearly a good looking pair of sunglasses with its faux carbon fiber look but it also stands out in the performance department with a set of lenses that makes you wonder if they’re actually polarized or not. Lastly, the pads stay grippy on the nose and behind the ears to keep the sunglasses in place on even the most technical of trails.

For more information on the Sette Vexx Rax, click here.

First Impression: Selle Success RTM

We recieved the Selle Success RTM saddle recently. The RTM is a sweet looking red saddle with titanium rails and a carbon fiber under. It weighs in at a pretty competitive 206 grams.


Selle Success RTM Red

Saddles are a very subjective piece of equipment. My background in saddles are all WTB. I started off riding a WTB Pure V and enjoyed that immensely. I then moved onto a more slimmed down WTB Rocket. That is the current saddle that sits on my bikes now. The Rocket, in comparison to the Selle Success, is almost portly! It has quite a bit more padding and has a whale-tail design while the Selle Success is reminds me more of a Fizik Arione with the wings.

Installation onto a Thomson Masterpiece Setback seatpost was pretty easy, but I did run across one issue: the titanium rails on the saddle were a little bit wider than the rail guides on the seatpost. That was a bit weird. So I also pulled out a Ritchey Pro post and sure enough, the titanium rails on the Selle Success were a little wide compared to the rail guides on the Ritchey post as well. I was still able to easily install the Selle Success RTM seat to the Thomson post but I’ll keep this in mind if I have any failures from the seat.


Titanium rails

This past weekend I put in an 18 mile ride on the saddle and things were good. It did have significantly less padding than my WTB Rocket and that did cause my sit-bones to get a little sore, but that will just have to be something my sit-bones get used to. I do have a rather large derriere and I am solidly in the clydesdale category so I expect that if there are any issues it will be revealed during testing.

I am impressed by the red cover and the beautiful craftsmanship of the carbon fiber weave. It is really pretty. I’m looking forward to putting the saddle through its paces over the next couple of months and will bring you a full review later on.


Carbon Fiber base

The Selle Success website, www.sellesuccess.com is currently “Under Construction” and I have not been able to find any more information regarding the saddle via google search.

eXotic Matrix Stem review

Mmm Carbon….What’s so sexy about Carbon Fiber? Is it the weave pattern? how light it is? its dampening properties? I don’t know but Carbon Fiber is one of my favorite bike materials. When RL showed me the eXotic Matrix stem, I knew that this stem BELONGED to my KHS Team Alite.

The installation was quick and easy, I just needed an extra spacer and I was ready to hit the trail. We opted for the 90mm stem, this was the right decision as the steering of my Alite Team became more nimble but still very responsive.

For those gram counters, the eXotic Matrix stem is 142 grams, 28 grams less than my Ritchey Comp stem and 18 grams less than a comparable Thomson Elite stem.

I was a little concerned about the rigidity of the stem, the stem showed no flex whatsoever. I was also concerned about the possibility of breaking it, but after reading the about the Matrix process:

MatriX is the manufacture process for melding aluminum or alloy with carbon fibre. It allows our components to take advantage of the strengths of both materials. Carbon fibre is light and strong and alloy is heavy but flexible, so in matriX we get the best of both material’s properties.

I was reassured that the stem would take the stress of riding off-road. So was I able to feel the dampening properties of Carbon Fiber? Well, not really… My SID Race fork does most of the dampening.

PROS:
Sexy looking stem
Lightweight
Not a bank breaker, the stem sells for $63.40 at www.discobrakes.com

CONS:
Limited degree angles.

Would I recommend the eXotic MatriX stem? If you are Carbon Fiber fixated or a weight weenie and don’t want to spend over one hundred bucks for a Carbon Fiber stem, this stem is for you.

“High-End Bicycle Like No Other”

We had a chance to hold this Arantix frame at Interbike. Incredibly light and strong! I think RL even stood on the frame to give it the mtnbikeriders stamp of approval. lol. They will only be producing 200 of these bikes worldwide in 2008 and it takes approx 300 hours to build one of these bad boys!

Check out the story on this 12k bike from the Salt Lake Tribune:

‘High-end’ bicycle like no other
$11,995 buys you the hand-woven Arantix

It isn’t just the $11,995 price that makes this mountain bike remarkable.
The Arantix, developed by Delta 7 Sports in Payson through a technology-transfer license with Brigham Young University, looks like it was spun by a spider on steroids and attracts long looks wherever it goes.
“It’s surprising that it rides as well as it looks. You wouldn’t think it could stand up to a [grueling] mountain bike ride. But once you get on it, all your doubts are washed away,” said Dan Weller, an expert racer who pedaled Arantix in Bountiful’s Mueller Park two months ago.
The unusual bike is believed to be the world’s first frame made from carbon fibers and Kevlar strings hand-woven into see-through lattice tubes that are billed as being lighter and stronger than any other bike on the market, said Lester Muranaka, Delta 7’s director of marketing and sales.
“As far as comparisons to other bikes, it’s going to be on the high end. I don’t believe there is a more expensive bike out there,” Muranaka said.
The frame tips the scales at 2.75 pounds, putting it into an elite class of bikes with featherweight frames. But there’s a difference. Frames under 3 pounds are typically pedaled by riders whose weight can be no more than about 150 pounds……

CONTINUE READING IT here.