Roval’s Control SL Team LTD Wheels Are Everything You’ve Asked For

At 1,248 grams complete with tape and valves, Roval’s new Control SL LTD 29er hoops are obviously light but they’re actually lighter than most road wheels.

But being light can only get you so far. Durability and ride quality are just as important. This is especially so for mountain bikes where components are consistently, well, abused.

Starting at the 358-gram asymmetric hookless rim with a 29mm internal and a 4mm flat top at the top of the rim wall that is said to reduce pinch-flats by as much as 22% while the generous internal width increases tire volume and control, plus 29% more impact strength. The rims are then laced with 24 DT Swiss Competition Race spokes accompanied with Pro Lock alloy nipples and equally light Roval hubs running on the ever-dependable DT EXP internals with a 54T star ratchet for a snappy 6.67 degree engagament. It also rolls on sealed ceramic bearings.

What about durability? The prototype wheels have been thoroughly field tested in the grueling World Cups. Also included is Roval’s lifetime warranty and two years of no fault crash replacement policy free of charge. How’s that for an extra peace of mind?

The Return Of The Razor-Sharp Cannondale Scalpel

The Cannondale Scalpel is one of those bikes I remember well. I was a junior in high school when the first gen came out. Tinker was racing one and the bike was, for better or worse, ahead of its time: A then radical EPO carbon flex stay, a carbon lefty fork with an ELO electric lock out, and a remote cable lockout for the rear shock.

The 1st Gen, 2002 Cannondale Scalpel 2000.

It was badass. The team replica in baby blue/lightning white fade was sweet, but I wanted the Scalpel 2000 in ball-burnished aluminum pretty badly. My local shop took pity on me and lent me one (and a Jekyll) for a handful of extended test rides.

I was hooked. My parents had other ideas so I ended up with a Specialized FSR Stumpjumper FSR XC Pro. I loved the Stumpy but the Scalpel left a lasting batshit fast impression on this kid.

Now, 20 years is a long time. 29in wheels are now totally in, components are more closely integrated than they ever were down to including tools, a whole new school of thought of geometries, and the return of the (even thinner) carbon flex pivot.

Yes, the new carbon flex pivot is that thin

It’s great to see Cannondale raise the bar on the Scalpel once again. I might need to do something about that nostalgia.

Sleek integrated tools and storage

Ripmo Metal, Seriously

Ibis Ripmo AF

Carbon fiber might be the it material at the moment but if the latest crop of aluminum bikes are any indication, then you can say aluminum is so not dead. 

Ibis Ripmo AF

In fact, with standouts such as the Specialized Allez and the Cannondale Topstone, I would argue there’s no better time to get an aluminum-framed bike than now from a best bang for your buck point of view. And now Ibis is joining in with the all-new Ripmo AF. AF for Aluminum Frame, not the standard AF abbreviation.

Ibis Ripmo AF

Though Ibis is no stranger to aluminum, the Ripmo AF is the company’s first aluminum frame since its 2001 Ripley softail, and first since Ibis came back to life as a company in 2005.

Ibis Ripmo AF

So what is the Ripmo AF? You can think of it as a more affordable version of the popular Ripmo plus a few minor updates. And how affordable is the Ripmo AF? The complete bike starts at $2,999, which is the same price as the Ripmo carbon frameset…

Ibis Ripmo AF

The Ripmo features:

  • 160mm front travel
  • 147mm dw-link rear travel (2mm more than the carbon version)
  • 8.25lb for size medium with DVO Topaz (6.1lb for medium carbon with Fox DPX2)
  • Clearance for 2.6″ tires
  • Four sizes (S-XL) that fit riders between 5′ and 6’6”
  • Compatibility with select coil shocks, DVO JADE X coil shock available as an upgrade option
  • Slack 64.9 head angle (compared to 65.9 on the carbon version)
  • Same 44mm fork offset
  • Steep 76 degree seat tube angle
  • Threaded BB (73mm BSA)
  • ISCG 05 compatible with removable adapter
  • Port style internal cable routing
  • 22oz bottles fit inside front triangle
  • Size M-XL compatible with 170mm+ droppers, 125-150mm for smalls
  • Molded rubber swing arm protectors
  • IGUS bushings in lower link, bearings in upper link
  • 203mm max rotor size
  • 1x specific design
  • Boost spacing
  • Tapered headtube: ZS44 upper, ZS56 lower
  • $1,799 for the frame with DVO Topaz Inline shock, or $1,899 with DVO Jade X coil shock. 
Ibis Ripmo AF

The Ripmo AF is backed with a seven year frame warranty and lifetime replacement on bushings. It is available worldwide starting today. More about it here, plus of course, a fun launch video.

Ibis Ripmo AF

Photos: Ian Collins/ Ibis

Chameleon Goes Carbon

Santa Cruz’s Chameleon has been a fun, versatile hardtail within the firm’s lineup for as long as I can remember. While multiple iterations have been made to the frame over the years, Santa Cruz is (finally) giving the Chameleon a full blown makeover. 

Yes, the Chameleon has gone carbon. It’s compatible with 29″ and 27.5+ hoops with clearance up to 3.0″ in 27.5+ or 2.5 in 29er, a swappable dedicated dropout for single speeders, a threaded bottom bracket, internally-routed cables and dual bottle cage mounts, with one being a heavy duty triple bolt mount on the downtube.


The carbon Chameleon is available now starting at $1,599 frame only plus four build kits in both wheel sizes ranging from $3,799 to $5,699. The higher-end SE build will be kitted out with matching Hope hubs and headsets as well. Furthermore, the pre-existing aluminum Chameleon will continue to stay in the lineup for the time being. 

But enough about the bike. I absolute LOVE the accompanying launch video. It doesn’t feature Christopher Walkens, or crazy ride footage from Whistler, but it’s got the whole office involved. Can I just work there now?

Here Comes The Ibis DV9

Ibis DV9 29er hardtail

It doesn’t seem that long ago when Ibis stopped selling their sole hardtail, the Tranny 29.

Ibis DV9 29er hardtail

I mean, who can blame them. The Mojos and Ripleys were making a killing and the Tranny was as brilliant as ever with its removable rear triangle that enabled a full size bike to be packed into a suitcase, its convertibility into a single speed and it’s ability to run a Gates belt drive. The writing was on the wall.

Ibis DV9 29er hardtail

And just when some think Ibis is ditching hardtails for good, Ibis drops a new 29er hardtail, the DV9. “DV” stands for development and “9” for 29er. It was inspired by Ibis’ CEO and co-owner Hans Helm’s high school XC racing daughter, Lili. The DV9 is a versatile bike that is meant for racing/shredding and is perfect to grow up with at a reasonable $999 frame-only price tag – so Lili can do all of the above and also be able to pay it off with her summer job.

Ibis DV9 29er hardtail

Painted in either a Bone White / Teal or Black / Orange, the DV9 shares similar facades with the Tranny. The similarity ends there, however. The DV9 features slightly longer reach and slacker head tube angle (68.5° with a 100mm fork or 67.4° with a 120mm fork). It is 1X specific with a threaded bottom bracket (as opposed to BB92), and its rear spacing has been updated to 148 Boost from 142 Maxle along with 2.6″ maximum tire clearance. The DV9 has also undergone a serious diet compared to its predecessor, with the frame weighing in at 1,204 grams for a large.


DV9 in shred mode with 120mm Fox Float 34 fork and 2.6" tires.


Room for 2.6" tire in the back.


1X-specific frame design


Internal cable ports for the dropper post... and standard bottom bracket.


DV9 in XC mode with 100mm Fox Float 32 step-cast fork and 2.25" tires.


Boost 148 thru axle and a post-mount rear brake mount, compatible up to 180mm rotor.


Even more clearance with 2.25" tires.

The DV9 will come with a seven year warranty and is available worldwide today. Six complete build kits will also be offered starting at $2,199 with SRAM NX, to the top-flight XTR build for $7,299, including options such as a dropper post and wheel upgrades available for further customization.

Ibis DV9 29er hardtail

10 Notable Steeds Of Interbike

Favorit F3 Adventure Interbike 2018

I, too, just got back from Interbike and it was undoubtedly smaller, as you have probably already heard. But there was still plenty of gear at the show to drool over. There were bikes that have already been announced, and then there were steeds that were totally new. In either case, it’s always better to see them in person than just reading up marketing copies. Here are ten bikes, well, not counting the Merlin Newsboy we highlighted in another post, that caught my attention.

Basso Palta

Basso Palta Interbike 2018

I ran into the Basso folks during media review on the eve of the show and on the table was the company’s new Diamante road bike with this hot electric sky paint. Beneath the booth was the company’s 2019 catalog, flipped to the page of an even more interesting bike. Palta, a local Italian dialect for “dirt, mud or similar,” is Basso’s gravel bike. I visited the Basso booth the next morning and my, it looked even better in person. The term “made in Italy” is often a marketing catch phrase, but Basso products are still proudly produced at their own factory in Northern Italy. The company is quite open about its manufacturing process, down to their specific layups for each frame. Besides the radically shaped Palta fork, the 1x specific, full thru-axled frame can be fitted with up to 42mm tires, a removable chainguide, as well as mounts for three bottles with three mount holes on top of the downtube for more available position. The Palta uses a proprietary-shaped seatpost secured with a triple bolt hidden clamp and a vibration-reducing rubber gusset sandwiched in between. Four sizes will be available and the bike can also be purchased with two add-on kits: An “endurance pack” with the addition of a 20mm vibration-reducing spacer, or the “mudfest pack” that includes removable front and rear fenders.

Dean El Diente Super Lite

Dean El Diente Super Lite Interbike 2018

Dean showed off a 13.14lb El Diente Super Lite complete with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and über bits such as Lightweight Meilenstein carbon clinchers, THM Clavicula SE carbon cranks, a semi-integrated Chris King headset on a 44mm straight tapered-headtube, a carbon-railed Selle San Marco Aspide saddle, an ENVE fork and Schmolke seatpost. It’s a fully ridable machine owned by one of its employees. Dean is happy to custom build one of these 3/2.5 titanium rider-specific tubbed frame for $3,200 including customization such as choice of bottom bracket, brake, cable routing, dropout, geometry, and seatpost sizing. How much does the pictured super bike cost? Well, enough to purchase a number of wickedly fast motorcycles.

Ritchey Ultra

Ritchey Ultra Interbike 2018

Tom Ritchey sold his first Ultra mountain bike frame 30 years ago and the American innovator who forever changed the landscape of mountain biking with the first production mountain bike is back with a new iteration of the Ultra. No, the frame is not carbon, it’s still being built with tried-and-trued Ritchey Logic steel tubing but with a modernized geometry to accommodate both 27.5”x2.8” or 29”x2.4” wheel sizes depending on the terrain or the rider’s preference. The update didn’t stop there though. It’s got a boost 148×12 rear end, an internal dropper post routing, and a forged and machine tapered headtube. The new multipurpose Ultra comes in three frame sizes and is designed around a 120mm suspension fork. It is also competitively priced at $999. It’s been a while since we got excited over a steel mountain bike and we can’t wait to get our hands on one of these.

Donnelly C//C

Donnelly C//C Cyclocross Interbike 2018

Better known for its tires, Donnelly announced their foray into frames at Dirty Kanza this past May and the cyclocross-oriented C//C and the gravel-specific G//C frames are finally shipping. The C//C, shorthand for Cross Carbon also just won the inaugural RenoCross by factory rider Lance Haidet so rest assured, this bike is no fluke. Besides it’s race-specific geometry, clearance for up to a 700x40c tire with thru-axles front and rear, and flat mount disc brake mounts, the C//C looked very clean with its integrated cable routes and sharp limited edition Amy D Blue. The C//C will retail for $1,999 as a frame set in five sizes, with complete build starting at $2,999.

Cannondale SystemSix

Cannondale SystemSix Interbike 2018

The wait is over. Cannondale finally made an aero bike with a rather familiar name: SystemSix. First introduced in 2007 as an aluminum and carbon venture, the SystemSix takes Cannondale’s integration philosophy to heart where frame, fork, handlebar, seatpost, stem and wheels, basically all major components were designed together as a system. Highlights on this disc-only bike include the 64mm deep KNØT64 carbon clincher wheels plus a massive KNØT bar-stem combo to which all cables stay hidden to reduce drag. The Inclusion of Speed Release thru axle should also boost stiffness and make wheel change a breeze. The higher end models such as this $7,500 SystemSix Hi-Mod Ultegra Di2 will be pre-installed with a Power2Max powermeter that can be activated by Power2Max for $490.

Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – Urban Gravel

Van Dessel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Urban Gravel WTF Interbike 2018

Van Dessel has been expanding their lineup of gravel bikes and the Urban Gravel build is an interesting one. While it uses the same 4130 Double-butted Cro-Moly frame as the drop-bar and 700c wheels equipped, do-it-all Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (WTF, get it?), the WTF-Urban Gravel edition is spec’d with a 1x Shimano SLX drivetrain, 650b wheels and riser bar for more upright riding. It can do a bit of cross, gravel, commuting, and grocery runs and it’s $1,799. The Indigo Candy Blue fade shown here, however, is limited only to 50 units. Further, if you’d like a higher-end frame, Van Dessel can also apply the same Urban Gravel treatment to its A.D.D and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 853ltd frames.

Riese & Müller Multicharger

Riese & Müller Multicharger Interbike 2018

I was bombarded with emails about eBikes weeks before the show even started so I was pretty turned off by them by the time the showed started. I didn’t spend a ton of time at the e-Bikes section but the Rise Müller Multicharger reminded me a lot of the Tern GSD I recently reviewed, yet it was so different at the same time. It’s got 26″ wheels, a Gates belt drive, a Bosch drivetrain with dual battery option, Magura disc brakes, Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost, suspension fork, and cargo racks that can be added with two custom 33-liter bags and a passenger kit rated to carry up to 132lbs/60kg. The Multicharger will be available in 5 trim options starting at $4,989. A cargo-capable eBike that can pull double-duty on the dirt? Yes please.

Favorit F1 Classic

Favorit F1 Classic Interbike 2018

I must admit I didn’t notice the 92-year old Czech company until the Basso guys stopped by to borrow a pump while we were off shooting the Palta. It was a bright booth with a ton of good looking bikes like the gravel oriented F3 (Top) with a Lauf Grit suspension fork in matching paint, but the most unique one has to be the F1 classic. It looks as if the bike is made out of steel with what appears to be an old-school flattopsteel fork and its seatpost/seatstay junction. Not so. The F1 Classic just happens to be a classy-looking carbon steed. The 7.7kg/16.9lb bike shown comes with a tan leather saddle, tan bar tape, a silver cockpit and Campagnolo Potenza silver 11-speed mechanical grouppo with rim brakes.

A Pair of Custom Painted Felt Bicycles

Custom painted Felt Interbike 2018

I am a sucker for a good paint job and these two at the SmartWasher booth sure got a lot of buzz. First, a wood-themed Felt TK2 track bike with matching saddle bag, helmet, crank arms and pedals. Second, a Wonder Woman-themed Felt TT bike. Enough said.

Custom painted Felt Interbike 2018


Merlin Brings Back The Newsboy

If you missed the original Merlin Newsboy release decades ago, here’s your second chance.

Now owned by Janus Cycle Group which also owns the like of Dean and Rossin, Merlin is ready to re-release a limited run of one of the metalwork’s most iconic designs.

The curvy, cruiser-esque frame and standard dropout design remains, but the new Newsboy is now disc-brake and 29er wheels only.

Besides the hand-curved curvy tubes, the 3/2.5 titanium frame also features plenty of bits, such as this oversized headtube sourced from Paragon Machine Works.

The show bike was built with this one-piece titanium bar/stem combo. No price (read: expensive) on the bar/stem combo yet but it’s so. darn. clean.

The Newsboy is available with custom sizing for $5,000 frame only. But don’t wait, only eight of these will be made this time around.

Shred With Ripmo

Robin Wallner Ibis Ripmo
Photo: Niklas Wallner/ Ibis Cycles

Ibis launched this sweet long-travel 29er, the Ripmo, merely two weeks ago that got much of the mountain bike world going all oh and ah. Dw-linked frame with 145mm of rear travel, 160mm of front travel, a threaded bottom bracket and room for 2.6″ tire. What’s not to like?

And now Ibis just dropped this sweet riding video. I guess its time to post my steed on Craigslist.

It’s not piloted by some random Joe Blow, but by Ibis Cycles Enduro Team member Robin Wallner, who just so happens to be sitting in second overall at the Enduro World Series. A vignette of what this big-wheel machine is capable of doing.