Bikes & Tech
Campagnolo's new 12-speed levers come with...

Sea Otter tech: Magura; Campy 12-speed; Frank the Welder’s comeback

Lennard Zinn summarizes some of what he encountered during the recent Sea Otter Classic.

Magura celebrates 125th with MacAskill


Gustav Magenwirth founded Magura in 1893, thus making 2018 its 125th anniversary. The company is run by the fourth generation of his family, and, while making motorcycle brakes for brands like BMW is still key to Magura’s longevity, so is making hydraulic rim and disc bicycle brakes — which it has for the past 30 years. The power and modulation of the Magura HS rim brake made it the choice of trials riders in the 1990s. Danny MacAskill, the most famous trials rider today, uses Magura’s MT disc brakes when performing his death-defying stunts.

To celebrate building brakes for 125 years without stopping, Magura is offering the MT1893 limited-edition commemorative model for $599 per set (front and rear). The side of its polished chrome, 4-piston caliper is laser-etched with a large “1893,” and the lever body also sports the company’s establishment year.

The MT1893 comes with the aluminum, two-piece, articulated HC3 lever blade that was developed with MacAskill. Each brakeset in the series is individually numbered and comes in an exquisite wooden box worthy of displaying it in for any buyer who can stand to not have it on his or her bike.

Magura is also offering a new, shorter, one-finger carbon lever for its top-of-the-line MT8 cross-country brakes. The HC lever can be purchased separately to upgrade existing MT brakes through Magura’s #customizeyourbrake program.

Flat-mount calipers are now not only for road bikes; some cross-country hardtail frames also sport flat mounts, and Magura offers a two-piston caliper for them. The MT4 and MT8 SL flat-mount calipers will work on rotors up to 180mm in diameter and use the same pads as post-mount models.

Campagnolo ups adjustment options with 12-speed


Campagnolo’s 12-speed levers still offer the brake quick-release on the top of the lever blade, but now it has three positions instead of two. There is an additional indent in the notch on the inboard side of the lever body where the laterally movable adjustment shaft sits. When you push on the shaft, which is now hollow, you can set the lever further toward the bar for small hands, more open for standard reach, and fully open for getting the wheel out with a tire wider than the rim on it. Furthermore, the cable-release thumb button on the inboard side of the lever body is now longer than before to facilitate reaching it from the drops. The cable-pull shift lever is deeper (it extends further back) and the brake-lever blade is now wider at the tip and angles further to the outside to allow the shift lever to more easily clear the bar.

Campy’s new 12-speed rear derailleur adopts a similar rearward-offset design, which Shimano recently carried over from its Shadow mountain-bike derailleurs to its high-end road derailleurs. Like Shimano, Campy’s derailleur has an articulating link that can be removed for mounting to a dropout that has a rearward-extending direct-mount hanger. The design allows Campagnolo to encompass a wider gear range with a short jockey-wheel cage. It also makes for more chain wrap around each cog.

Parker taps Frank the Welder for Underground Bikes


John Parker, founder of Yeti back in mountain biking’s Pleistocene epoch, has rediscovered his bike-building mojo with his new venture, Underground Bikes. The Revival says it all in its model name, its welder, and its paint job.

For $6995 with SRAM XX1, you can get a Revival aluminum hardtail, welded in Vermont by Frank Wadelton (“Frank the Welder” is famous due to his work welding Yetis in the 1980s and 1990s). It will be painted like a WWII P51 Mustang fighter plane, including the white star on a blue field, a yellow nose, D-Day black and white wing stripes, and a brushed-aluminum finish under much of the clear coat. It will have the famous Yeti “loop stays” in back, but now they are no longer bent tubes but precision forged and pocketed-out, elegantly curved pieces with integrated thru-axle dropouts and disc-brake bosses. The signature Yeti gussets at the top tube/head tube/down tube and seat tube/top tube joints are also there, welded in Wadelton’s unmistakable style. Parker and Wadelton are making only 250 of the bikes, each numbered on a plaque on the frame with the JP welding mask on it. The components are also a nod to the past, being equipped with Hed wheels, a RockShox fork, and Magura brakes, just like Yetis were in the 1990s.

Pro Taper gets adventurous


The Pro Taper 2020 is a radically-angled carbon bar originally aimed at adventure riding that simply could not have been bent out of aluminum. It can be run right-side-up or upside-down, depending on the rider’s preferred arm and hand position.

Pro Taper also has a carbon bar in 35mm, which, like all new Pro Taper bars except for the 2020, comes in 810mm width.

Sun lightens up wider rims

Like many wheel companies, Sun is busy cranking out wider rims these days. Sun makes them shallower in depth to maintain similar weight to the narrower and deeper ones they replace. The new line of wide rims is called Düroc and comes in 50mm and 40mm widths (46 and 36mm internal widths). The SD37 and SD42 are heavier-wall rims for enduro bikes and e-bikes; they have the same internal rim widths as the lighter 35 and 40 Dürocs.

Sun’s older Black Flag 29er wheels now have new life as gravel-road wheels. The Mule Füt 80 fat-bike rim has lost 75 grams due to the large, triangular cutouts in it.