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First Look: 2013 Avid, SRAM & RockShox

New bargain brakes, tweaked suspension, Monarch RT3, 650B…

There’s perhaps not anything to set the world alight in this latest release of 2013 products from the SRAM empire, but there’s still a few interesting new products and tweaks.

First up is the new Avid Elixir 5 brake which is essentially the bargain version of their all singing and dancing Elixir brakes. From a reliability point of view the best bit of news is that these benefit from the updated TaperBore technology which helps put a stop to unwanted air bubbles entering the system. You don’t get any form of bite point adjustment but you do get reach adjustment. This might not be tool free, but to be honest that’s no major issue because most of the time you just set it and leave it, plus this design is probably lighter. It’s good to see that despite this being at the bottom end of the Elixir ladder it is still MatchMaker X compatible. Pricing is yet to be announced but we’d expect these to be an absolute steal. Oh, and you even get a choice of white or black finish, plus for those of you who can’t decide between a 180 or 160mm rotor there’s now a 170mm option. Anyway, here’s the lever…

And here’s the two-piece calliper.

Next up is the move away from Dual Air in SID, Reba and Revelation forks, and instead we’ll be getting the well proven, and very simple Solo Air system that automatically balances the positive and negative air chambers. This will be the only spring type available on SID and Reba forks, and then on Revelation, Boxxer, Lyrik, Argyle, Totem, Sektor, Recon and XC 32 forks it will be an option alongside a coil spring. There will probably be a few riders who really like to tinker with their suspension who might not like this move, but in general it’s probably a good idea because more often than not the way riders had their Dual Air set up left a lot to be desired.

Here’s the new look Revelation sporting the Solo Air.

Sticking with the fork theme we also now get an improved PushLoc remote fork switch which will be available as an option on SID, Reba, Revelation, Sektor and Recon Gold forks. With its ‘push-push’ design it operates very similarly to the hydraulic ‘XLoc’ remote, and it will be available in both left or right hand versions. Weight is 48g without the cable, but by the sounds of it I wouldn’t expect this to be a cheap add on. Do you really need one anyway?

Moving to the rear suspension and RockShox have introduced a new RT3 version of the Monarch shock, with the simple idea that three rider settings are better than two. With a flick of the blue lever you now get ‘open’, ‘pedal’ and ‘lock’. The open setting is apparently now more open for even better descending performance, and that respect is said to be further improved with the new ‘Rapid Recovery’ damping circuit which allows the shock to return faster during successive hits, stopping it from packing down. It’ll be interesting to try this out and see if it works, and see how it’s any different from just running faster rebound. I guess the ‘successive hits’ part is the key bit. The lock position is also now more locked, and there’s more than five times the amount of damping adjustment to play with. The middle pedal setting can only be adjusted internally. Overall we’re pretty excited about getting to try this shock out because we already rate the Monarch as an extremely good trail air shock, and that’s without these new additions.

Finally we have the news that SRAM will be offering their Rise 40 XC wheels in a 650B size. Now as far as we know they haven’t yet officially confirmed that RockShox will be making 650B forks, but it would seem very strange if they’re going to make the wheels but not the forks. Basically it really does look like next year we’ll see a considerable number of 650B bikes appearing. Are they the perfect compromise? Or are they just neither one thing nor the other? Only time will tell…

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