Ibex Maroc 26

This week MtnBikeRiders received a new carbon hardtail from Ibex Bikes, their Maroc 26, for testing and review. The frame is a stealth black/grey with the carbon weaving visibly bleeding through in a few places for a nice visual affect. Here is the build spec and geometry from Ibex.

Ibex Headbadge
Ibex Headbadge

2011 – Maroc 26 Specifications
Frame: Carbon Fiber 3K Internal Cabling for Shifters
Fork: Rock Shox Reba RLT Tapered 100mm Travel
Shifters: SRAM X-9
Front Derailleur: SRAM X-9
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X-9 Carbon
Crankset: SRAM X-9 2spd (28/42T) BB30 175mm
Cassette: SRAM 10-Speed (12-36T)
Chain: SRAM PC1051
Brakes: Avid Elixer CR Rotors F185/R160
Rims: WTB Speed Disc Cross Country
Hubs: WTB Laser Disc Lite
Tires: WTB Wolverine 2.1 Team, XC 120tpi
Headset: FSA #42/ACB
Cockpit Set: RaceFace
Saddle: WTB Rocket V
Pedals: None

Ibex Maroc 26
Ibex Maroc 26

2011 – Maroc 26 Geometry
Frame Size: 20.9″
Head Angle:69.5°
Seat-Tube Angle: 73°
Effective Top-Tube Length: 24.2″
Chain-Stay Length: 16.7″
BB Height: 11.73″
Offset (mm): 40mm
Wheelbase: 43.6″
Stand over: 30.9″
Crankarm Length: 175mm
Stem Size: 6°x110mm

Bottom bracket and clean carbon goodness.
Bottom bracket and clean carbon goodness.

I want to start by pointing out the things that Ibex does not list in their spec. It also include Raceface carbon bars (appox 670-680mm – a little narrow by my tastes, but still effective), Raceface carbon seatpost, and internal derailleur routing, which you can see in the first pic. Out of the box the bike weighted in at 23lb 5oz. I put on pedals, bottle cage, and Ergon grips which are in the photos.

Elixir Brakes
Elixir Brakes

The Maroc came with the Elixir brakes with dual mount for the brake levers and shifters. Also on the bars is a remote for the fork lock-out. This will be my first time with the shifter/brake lever dual mount system. It didn’t lend itself to my more esoteric positioning I normally run in my cockpit, but I don’t foresee it being a big problem either.

Full X-9 2x10 build on the drive train all around.
Full X-9 2x10 build on the drive train all around.

With SRAM X-9 drivetrain the Maroc won’t be a slacker with it comes to shifting on the trail. The all around component build is absolutely solid.

X-9 Cranks.  Love the 2x10.
X-9 Cranks. Love the 2x10.

A fork with a lockout is a must for me, and the Maroc also includes a fork remote on the bars.

Rebca RLT with Remote.
Rebca RLT with Remote.
WTB Wheels, Hubs & Rubber
WTB Wheels, Hubs & Rubber

There are a couple geometry things that caught my attention right away before looking at the specs. First the head angle is a bit slack for a hardtail at 69.5°. I’ll definitely make use of that on the downhill. And the second was that the top tube was on the shorter end from what I’m used to (ETT 24.2″). This just seems to tell me that this is a more all-a-round geometry rather than race oriented. The frame looks solid with a down-tube that is a nice thick, almost octagonal shape. I look forward to putting the it through its paces in the upcoming weeks.

Ibex Maroc 26
Ibex Maroc 26

If anyone has any questions about the Maroc, just leave a comment.

Sea Otter 2010: Titus Rockstar

Titus Rockstar on the XC loop

On Saturday afternoon Tim & I took out a couple of Titus’s on the XC loop (about 18 miles and almost 3k feet of climbing). I grabbed a Titus Rockstar. The Rockstar is Titus’s full suspension 29er with 100mm of travel. It comes equipped with all the new stuff including the tapered headtube, hydroformed front triangle along with a beefy carbon rear.

Aluminum front triangle with a nice low standover height and nice graphics/color

Our short ride netted me just a few thoughts on the bike: the suspension is very active. On climbs and on downhill sections the horst link was active even when locked out. I really enjoyed the plush sensation on the downhills and although plush, the carbon rear end still felt stiff and strong. The carbon rear is really quite thick which I am sure increases stiffness.

Carbon rear triangle was nice and stiff

The Rockstar climbed very well with the caveat that the suspension was moving even with propedal engaged. This could also be a matter of set up as the rider before me was “about” my weight so I didn’t touch the shock. The XC trail loop at Sea Otter does not have any particularly technical climbs but it did have some nice singletrack climbing which the Rockstar did great on. There was a little front lift on the climbs but not enough that better pedaling form couldn’t fix.

Nicely executed Horst link suspension and the white is HOT

And if you’re a fan of the old Racer-X geometry, the Rockstar can be setup to handle that way. For the Rockstar Titus slackened out the head angle for a more stable ride, but this Rockstar used a low handlebar setup which lent a “Racer-X”-ish feel. I had no quibbles with this either way as I enjoyed the snappy handling.

About the only negative with the bike is the choice of tires which did not work well for the trails around Sea Otter. The Mountain Kings hampered my confidence to rail the bike on turns and through the singletrack.

For more info on the Titus 2010 Rockstar, click here.

Sea Otter 2010: Santa Cruz Nomad

Santa Cruz has gone carbon with their new Nomad. With the success of their Blur & Tallboy models, it should be no surprise that the Nomad was next. Some pictures for you.

Sana Cruz Nomad Carbon

One current Nomad rider was oggling this beauty. I was too. Check out the compression molded carbon links.

upper link

lower link

Sea Otter 20 Ten: Titus Carbon X

Sea Otter Twenty Ten presented Jer and I with a world of carbon framed bikes. One striking design was the Titus Racer X Carbon with its “X” shaped frame and its modified four bar suspension design. Designed as a pure XC race bike designed for those racers not looking to get beat up by the common Scandium framed hard tail and still looking for a stiff, efficient frame that can take the edge off the rough stuff. Titus was represented in a big way with lots of demo bikes available to the public and media to ride on the buff trails of Monterey.

Playing in the grass of Sea Otter...

I demo’d the Carbon “X” with a mid level build kit. As with any bike, set up is quite a personalized thing. The cockpit was certainly not set up for me and the tire choice did not suit me at all. The demo bike came set up with a negative rise stem and a riser bar, weird. Tire choice on the demo were Continental Mountain King, I’ve ridden these tires before and do not like them. These are all personalized items and I will focus just on the frame and its qualities.

The bike was extremely light, no official figures were available but if I had to guess I would say it was around 24-25 lbs. First thing I noticed was how it accelerated. The bike would move forward with no hesitation with each pedal stroke. Climbing was easily accomplished with the rear suspension maintaining traction at all times even with the very worn Mountain Kings. While climbing I did notice the front wheel was very light and would easily lose contact with the ground. Could be the frame was slightly to small for me or just the overall set up. Descending scared me with the cockpit setup, negative rise stem and riser bar; I was too far over the front wheel. One section we took was a very sandy descent with many stair steps; Ya I took it slow.

The X from the X

Overall the bike was very stiff, light and efficient with very little bobing but it was there. The trails around Sea Otter are pretty smooth with very little rocks; unlike what I am use to with our very rocky San Gabriel / So Cal trails. I really need to get a long term demo and set it up for me and my riding preferences. I wouldn’t recommend running out and buying this bike w/o first demoing it and having it set up for you. This bike is race specific and shouldn’t be the only bike you own unless you are a racer only and have no need for a trail bike. In my opinion, there are bikes out there can hang with the “X” on the race course and be allot more versatile on the trails with your buddies.

Santa Cruz Has Realized their Shame…

… and will be offering a VPP 29er.

No worries. We forgive yah. Now, some clarification is in order with regards to this line:

It’ll weigh a whole lot less than some other bikes of similar configuration.

Should I be holding out hope for a carbon VPP 29er? Santa Cruz already has a beautiful carbon Blur XC & LT and there is word out a carbon Nomad is in the works. Could a carbon 29er be coming to the party as well? Do that and Santa Cruz will go from no entries into 29er land to starting a new category of 29ers, the Full Suspension Carbon 29er. Now that’d be a huge splash.

Click here to read the announcement from Santa Cruz. Props to Wey for the link.

Sea Otter 2009: Specialized S-Works Carbon HT 29er Quick Ride Review

Tim “Scissors” was able to get some ride time on the new S-Works Carbon 29er HT from Specialized. Here are his thoughts from the short loop we rode:

So here I am on an all new Specialized S-Works Hard tail 29er made from the fiber of the gods, heading to the trail head with Gary Fisher. Why would Gary Fisher be riding with little ol’ me you say? Well, we just happen to be riding at the same time and at the same place at the land of the Dirt Otter. Gary on his, well you know, and me on the badest Specy Hardtail ever made. Yup, that’s right, the not yet released frame rid’n on the not yet released Roval 29er wheel set.

Specialized S-Works Carbon HT 29 with singletrack ready to be ridden

One of my 2 current rides is a 29er hardtail that was geared and is now single speed. This demo is perfect for me since I rode my On-One Scandal geared for a lot longer than it has been a S.S. My Scandal is made from Scandium tubing and the Specy from carbon so an immediate difference in ride characteristics should be noticeable. The Specy was also outfitted with their Fast Track tires in size 29 x 2.0 set up tubeless and mounted on the new Roval 29er wheelset with straight lacing on one side and 2-cross lacing on the brake side. The front fork was a Rock Shox with custom Specialized carbon crown and steer tube. The crank set was a Specy unit with integrated BB; head tube was a 1.5” to 1 1/8”tapered variety, this all made for a very stiff frame laterally.

Integrated BB for stiffness and Specialized’s carbon cranks

Nic, global sales manager for Specialized, took care to make sure I was sized right on the bike adjusting the seat post height and fork air pressure. With everything dialed in, I hit the trail with Jer. We met up with Gary Fisher and Laura and proceeded to ride about 5/6 miles of almost all single track. First thing I notice of course was how compliant the frame is. It absorbed all the little nuances in the trail but remained laterally stiff at all times. This is definitely not a soft tail but this frame rode very well indeed. The bike was very predictable at speed and on rough trails as long as you were smart about how you rode it; ride it smartly and it rewards you with excellent acceleration, predictable handling and a compliant ride that won’t beat you up.

Roval 29er wheels, straight laced on one side, 2-cross on the other

This bike was set up tubeless with the fast rolling Fast Track tires. We got to take home some Fast Traks which will get a full test in the future. I typically prefer a little wider tire than the 2.0’s but I got to say, these tires got the job done without scaring me and the bike went every where I pointed it but remember you have to ride it smartly.

We came to a short but very steep climb. At this point, I was determined to ride it as a S.S. and just see how well it would perform. With Gary Fisher in front of me, I rose out of the saddle and started to hammer. Passing Laura, I continued up the hill where I finally caught Gary at the top resting. I made a comment to him about the bike weighing about 20 lbs and he says “ let me see”, he dismounts his ride and proceeds to pick the Specy up with both hands and says “it weighs a little over 20 lbs”. I guess this comes from years of picking up bikes by hand to determine the weight. Later that on the same ride, while riding next to each other, he looks over at me on the Specy and says “nice bike” with which I return, “ you wanna ride it” he says “no”. I’m not sure why he didn’t want to ride it but, I agree with him, this was a very nice bike indeed!

Sea Otter 2009: Lezyne

Lezyne was a must stop for me at Sea Otter 2009. I’ve got one of their saddle bags and it’s pretty cool. Very functional, great material and the zipper has never let me down. We got to meet some cool people from Lezyne and were shown some of their products.

First up is their floor pumps. The pumps actually have different colored handles including some made of wood.

colored multi tools

also comes in carbon, click to see the carbon weave!

saddlebags. I have the third one in from the left.

Handpumps. Some of the handpump’s hose fits inside the pump itself. This makes them less bulky. The hose also makes the connection to the valve more secure.

Handpump, hose has presta and schrader side, screw into pump and your all set. Hose stores inside pump.

Minipump attaches to bike water bottle cage. When needed, minipump opens up and becomes a very useful floor pump

Lezyne All Pack. Can fit a full face helmet

A place for everything and everything in its place. I really like this feature of Lezyne’s packs and my saddlebag.

I really like the pictures of the tools. Makes organization a breeze.

2 Carbon Frames from Pricepoint.com

I got an email from Tim Scissors bringing to my attention pricepoint.com’s two brand new carbon 26″ frames. I wanted to share them with you:

The Sette Impulse: a 26″ carbon mountain bike frame for $499.98 From pricepoint.com:

Impulse? Impulsive! Whip-crack fast, turn on a dime… and sprint? Sprint ALL the time!

Featuring a beautiful 1310g/2.9lbs 12K monocoque carbon frame with rear derailleur hanger and seat clamp, the Impulse is your entry into the hyper-driven world of XC racing. The choice of a 71 degree head tube angle keeps the Impulse super aggressive. Disk brake ready. V-brake ready (brake mounts included). Race ready.

The Sette Phantom carbon mountain bike 26″ frame for $599.98 From pricepoint.com:

Race the field. Race the clock. Race your personal best. So light weight, so fast, it will leave the competition chasing phantoms.

Featuring a state of the art 1100g/2.4 lbs 12K monocoque carbon frame, the Phantom captures that elusive sweet spot of pliant enough for epic racing comfort and yet incredibly strong and responsive. Guaranteed to rocket you down the trail with every pedal stroke, the frame features a replaceable rear derailleur dropout and the mounts for either IS disc brakes or v-brakes (mounting posts included).

Sette chose a 70.8 degree head tube angle so that the steering would be incredibly nimble without sacrificing stability and comfort when the trail starts to get challenging

Dominate the perfect line with the Sette Phantom Full Carbon Mountain Bike Frame.

For more info, check out the Sette Impulse here and the Sette Phantom here.

Purchasing Decisions

Goodie but oldie, should I get it used or brand new?

As I gather parts for my frame build up I continually have to address the question: should I buy used or should I buy new? Unless you have an unlimited budget I’m sure you’ve probably asked yourself the same question.

Much of this answer will be determined by how much your build budget will allow and what level, or weight, you’re hoping to achieve. In my situation the bike I’m building up is a full suspension 29er and my budget is “really small” while also shooting for durable, weight conscious (not weight weenie) bike.

Sounds like an oxymoron right? Finding parts that are durable and weight conscious but are light on the budget are typically not compatible features in bike parts. But, I think it can be done or maybe I just hope it can be done. To help along this process, I had to consider buying used equipment. But what should I buy used and what should I buy new?

Durable and weight conscious, too bad it’s not cheap

For some advice on this, I turned to a friend who enjoys shopping for bike parts and asked for his thoughts. His rule for his bikes, of which he has many, is that drivetrain stuff like cranks/cassette/chain should be purchased new as to avoid weird wear patterns from prior usage. Control stuff like handlebars, stems, saddle, seatpost, can be bought used as long as they’re not too used.

Practical advice. Another piece of advice that I’ve learned is to be patient. A major factor I have on my side is time. I am not in a rush to build this bike up because I have access to other bikes. This gives me the option to wait for great deals to come along or to search the classifieds.

Score! Time permitted me to wait and I was able to nab this for cheap!

Having time allowed me to score a great deal on some gently used Easton Monkey Lite XC bars. Initially I had set my sites on any brand’s high end aluminum handlebars as this fit my “durable and weight conscious but also wallet friendly” budget. I figured that a manufacturer’s top of the line aluminum bars would be light weight and durable but not as expensive as carbon fiber bars. However, since I had time I was also keeping my eyes peeled on the used market which turned out pretty well, if I say so myself.

In the case of these bars I was able to achieve all of the parameters previously outlined for the build. Will this happen for all the bike parts? Probably not. But a man can hope, right?

Felt’s Complete 29er HT Lineup

Felt’s 2009 website is showing off a complete 29er HT lineup including 3 new carbon hardtails. They are a must see, especially enlarged. These bikes don’t “say” fast, rather they SCREAM fast. The top of the line bike is the Felt Nine Team with black carbon underneath Red graphics. Remember “red” means fast. 😉

Felt Nine Team. Carbon frame, SRAM “components” including a matching 2009 Rock Shox Reba fork, 21.4 lbs

The new carbon 29ers are a great addition to the 29er world as they expand the carbon hardtail market from just 2 bikes, the Gary Fisher Superfly & Orbea Alma (which sadly comes in only one size!), to five manufactured carbon 29ers. Building carbon 29ers show that manufacturers understand that 29ers can be good bikes for racing and fast XC riding. Coming in at a mere 1300 grams claimed weight (2.86 lbs), these frames are definitely very competitive to the Superfly with a real world weight of 2.9 lbs and the Alma at 1305 grams.

What definitely surprised me the most was Felt’s commitment by adding not one but 3 carbon 29ers. With the different specs on each bike, Felt is believes that carbon 29ers should be available to not only the serious/deep pocketed racer but also to those who just want a sweet lightweight bike. Felt continues to sell their aluminum 29ers which are well spec’d and competitive in the 29er market.

For more info, click here.