Radsport USA, is the North American home of the premium German brands of Syntace, Liteville, SQlab and Haberland and 66Sick.
They have expanded their Vector carbon handlebar lineup, which comes with 8 or 12 of backsweep. They have an entire selection of versions including 5, 10, 20 or 35mm of rise or 5 and 10mm of drop. The default width for the Vector bars was bumped up to 760mm, while the taller 20 and 35mm versions get a 780mm width. They’re continuing along with their innovative FlatForce stem, which has a negative 6 degree rise (-12mm), and comes in 44mm, 55mm, 66mm and 77mm lengths, and includes titanium hardware. It has the same rectangular shape and wide bar clamp as their MegaForce stem, which offers increased torsional rigidity, and for weight savings, it utilizes extensive internal sculpturing. The sweet aluminum wheelsets, which come in 25mm, 30mm, 35mm and an ultra wide 40mm widths, and spur gear drive hub, gets a road bike version this year.
SQlab produces ergonomic bike products, including saddles, grips, pedals and handlebars. They calculate the width of the user’s seat bones using a simple piece of corrugated cardboard, in which you scrunch your butt into the cardboard making an impression for a subsequent measurement. Once the width is determined, you add another zero through four to come up with the saddle size, which are 12, 13, 14, and 15 cm. The zero is for an aero position, one is for x-country, two and three for a slight bend for All Mountain use, and finally four is for casual cruiser positioning. This sizing maximizes pedaling efficiency and comfort, by getting the weight off the soft tissue and transmitted to the seat bones. This matching of the pelvis to the saddle works on conjunction with their Step saddle design which has a kick up towards the rear of the saddle and the MaxContact technology, which keep a flatter nose section for optimal support and footprint contact.
The upgraded 611 Active MTB gets a dash of abrasion resistant Kevlar fabric on the sides of the noses and around the outside of the rear for added protection and durability. They increased the length of the nose for better control and power management, while the rear gets a squarer shape for more room, comfort and derriere footprint. Like their other saddles it uses the Level Plus stepped padding design, which pushes the riders weight to the sit bones rather than sensitive soft tissue. The Active damping system uses three different density Elastomer’s, which are swappable (plug-n-play) depending on the riders desired amount of lateral movement of the hips. The front of the saddle gets a nice cradle for the hand, to make it easier to lift the bike up, whether that’s for hike-a-bike or general carrying. The 611 Active MTB comes in three different sit-bone widths 13, 14, and 15cm.
The Super6 uses a carbon fiber shell, braided carbon fiber rails and interchangeable padding, and you can add rear and nose pads as desired. The pads come in three thicknesses, super lightweight, road and mountain. It uses the same sort of central slot the rest of their lineup uses, with the slight kick up at the end. The saddle is part of their Active series, but instead of the using Elastomer damper to let the riders hips naturally rock, it does that through the design of the rails, which allow some undulation to occur. At 85g, the saddle would make any weight weenie covet this interesting beauty, but it would certainly hit the wallet extremely hard with a retail price of around $400. Ouch!
66sick is a German bicycle component company that makes ergonomic All-Mountain specific grips and saddles. They utilize technology from SQlab but apply their own wildness and flavor to their own product lineup of saddles, grips and accessories. The result is the aggressive oriented Espacio Libre (276g), and the lighter race oriented El Flaco saddles. The 66Sick Espacio Libre saddle comes in 129mm and 144mm widths (seat bone width specific), with good support surface contact for maximum pedaling performance and riding position, and it’s thickly padded for aggressive and rough usage on the trail. 66Sick uses SQlabs Level Plus stepped padding design, which pushes the riders weight to the sit bones rather than sensitive soft tissue. The saddles feature a Carbon fiber reinforced shell, and Kevlar edges, a central ergonomic trough, a long padded nose and chromoly rails.
Lucha libre (“free wrestling”) is Mexican wrestling which is characterized by colorful masks, rapid sequences of holds and maneuvers, as well as “high-flying” maneuvers, some of which have been adopted in the United States.
The Liteville 601 Mk3 utilizes the four-bar linkage and has 190mm of rear travel and is usual equipped with a 180mm fork, and the frame alone retails for $2,999. It has a slew of the typical Liteville high tech features, including an integrated derailleur hanger bash guard and chain tensioner, a derailleur with a shear bolt design and the Syntace X-12 thru-axle. This year they integrated the front suspension pivot within the frame to save weight, and flattened out the pivot profile to give a more neutral ride. The upper shock mount has several positions that allows up to a 2° head angle adjustment along with its corresponding BB height alteration. The frame weighs 6.2 lbs (w/o shock), and a fully kitted one can come in between 28-29 lbs. I rode the 601 at the Interbike Outdoor Demo and it was my favorite bike of the show, and it simply floated over any chunder on the trail (which Bootleg Canyon has plenty of), but would still spin decently for a gravity oriented bike.
Liteville uses their ‘Scaled Sizing’ theory on their bikes, and that entails having different sized wheels for the front and back depending on frame size. So the XS frame would use a 24″/26″ rear and front wheel combination, the S/M/L a 26″/27.5″ and the XL-XXL a 27.5″/29″. Needless to say, you can still use a standard 26″ set up on the S/M/M/XL, or full 27.5″ on the M/L/XL, or full 29″ on the XXL. Each frame size gets its own rear triangle or specific chainstay (except M/L which shares one) instead of the typical design where the rear triangle is the same for all sizes, while the front gets a different geometry. The thought process behind the wheel sizes is that a taller rider has a higher Vector angle and center of gravity, and a bigger wheel rolls better for them over objects, while the rear wheel gets pulled along, and doesn’t have that same requirement. So big front wheel where it’s needed, and faster rolling rear wheel.