Hayes Bicycle Group – Hayes, Manitou and Answer

29er Forks Sea Otter Classic

Hayes released the MAG disc brake back in 1997, and they haven’t sat on the laurels, and their new Crosshair Alignment Technology is an excellent adjustment feature for brakes. The Crosshairs allows adjustment for aligning the calipers to the rotors, in a simple and easy manner, using screws that are integrated on the caliper feet. The Crosshairs will be on their Prime and Dyno brake product line, and should be available in the July time frame. It’s a pretty ingenious idea, which takes care of the usual trial and error of proper alignment, and one of those “why didn’t I think of that?”

The alignment is supposed to take less than a minute to accomplish:

  • Back out the Crosshair screws on the caliper feet.
  • Place caliper on the fork/bike mount, loosely tightened.
  • Squeeze brake lever to seat pistons.
  • Adjust the caliper so outer pad (closest to you) is contacting disc.
  • Snug mount bolts keeping outer pad against the disc.
  • Tighten Crosshair screws until they contact the mount bolts.
  • Turn each screw 1/4 turn and rotate the wheel, listening for padding rubbing, repeat until the pads clear disc.
  • Torque lower mount bolts and then upper to 9 Nm.

They are releasing a lower priced member of the Prime family, named the Prime Comp, which will have many of the same features of its brethren, in a more compact design. The Prime Comp is meant for XC and Trail use, and will have reach adjustment, a flip-flop master cylinder, Crosshair alignment and weigh in at 385 grams.

The new Tower Pro is their 29er fork, which has a casting design for optimized strength, their trick QR15 HexLock QR axle and comes in 80, 100, 120 and 140mm travel lengths. I am happy that they came out with the 140mm size, as much of their competition stops short at 120mm? The QR15 is an interesting QR, and after getting the hang of its idiosyncrasies, it only took an easy quarter turn to release the axle. They hinted that a 20mm version is in development?

Tower Pro Specs:

  • Weight 3.74lbs/1697 grams (100mm)
  • Travel – 80, 100, 120, 140mm
  • Spring – MARS AIR
  • Steerer – 1.5 tapered, 1 1/8 straight
  • Offset – 48mm
  • Crown – Forged Deep Bore Hollow crown
  • Damping – TPC Technology
  • Adjustments – air, rebound, compression to lockout
  • Legs – 32mm using 7050 butted aluminum
  • Size – 29er
  • Axle – QR15 Hexlock or 9mm
  • Crown to Axle – 490/510/530
  • Options- MILO Lock-out

There wasn’t much going on with their wheels, but I suppose a 650B is in the works?

Answer had several new handlebars being released this season, including the trick carbon 20/20 Marathon Bar, which has a 20º back sweep and 20º rise and 780mm width, for reduced strain and increased comfort during ultra long rides. It was created in collaboration with Single Speed champion Evan Plews, which was part of their Hayes Test Program (HTP), and was meant for epic endurance racers and those who spend long days in the saddle, and it weighs in at 220 grams and should retail for around $180.

The new ProTaper 780 Carbon Bar, are 780mm wide (duh), with an 8º rearward bend, and 4º upward sweep, a 31.8mm clamping diameter, with options for rises of 1/2″ and 1″. I have used the narrower 720mm version of these bars and was highly impressed, so these DH width bars should be durable, light and stiff.

ProTaper 780 Carbon Bar Specs:

  • Width – 780mm
  • Weight – 250 grams
  • Rise – 12.7mm, 25.4mm
  • Up Sweep – 4º
  • Back Sweep – 8º
  • Material – UD Carbon Fiber
  • Graphics – White/Red, White/Silver

The new Answer WON gloves are light, breathable with great tactile feel, and use their “Answer-it” technology index finger, which allows the user to manipulate smart phone screens (not tested). The Smartphone usability should be excellent to answer a call without fumbling to remove your gloves, and if you use your phone for a GPS. The WON is a lighter version of their Rove XC glove, and was also part of their close work with HTP riders. It has a light nylon upper with pre-curved fingers and Amara perforated palms, and should be ideal for warm weather riding.

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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