Summer Gear Locker: 2016 Santa Cruz High Tower 27.5, Cervelo C3 road bike, Novik Gloves from Silverthorne and more | SummitDaily.com

Summer Gear Locker: 2016 Santa Cruz High Tower 27.5, Cervelo C3 road bike, Novik Gloves from Silverthorne and more

The cycling industry is so vast and varied these days it nearly feels overwhelming. There are fat bikes, road bikes with disc brakes, 29ers and, now, the latest trend: plus-sized mountain bike frames made to fit 27.5-inch tires with a 3-inch tread.

In some ways it feels like the modern ski industry, where a quiver of three to four skis is nearly the standard if you’re “serious” about the sport. And, just like a ski quiver, finding the perfect combination of mountain and road technology can be incredibly expensive.

But there’s no need to be intimidated. Before the cycling season kicks into high gear, we take a look at the latest mountain bikes, road bikes and components, from the trendiest (and priciest) new technology to standards made to handle just about anything.

Santa Cruz Hightower, $4,599

Santa Cruz is known for high-end enduro frames for uphill and downhill travel, and the revamped Hightower gives riders the best of both worlds. It’s a dual-purpose frame designed to fit 29-inch and 27.5-inch-plus tires, with a chip embedded in the suspension to easily switch back and forth between the two, minimal tools required. That said, you still need to spend the cash on two wheelsets to take full advantage — an extra set of wheels and tires can cost upwards of $350 — but the price is worth the joys of an all-in-one weapon. Well, if you can spare $6,000 for a full setup, that is.

“I don’t get into trends, but I really think this will be the answer to a lot of people’s problems,” says Scott Wescott, co-owner at Wilderness Sports, of the recent plus-sized trend.

If you can’t afford the Hightower upfront, Wilderness Sports in Dillon has a handful of bikes available for demo this season.

Find it: Wilderness Sports in Dillon, Avalanche Sports in Breckenridge or online at http://www.santacruzbicycles.com.

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie, $3,500

The Stumpjumper has been a staple of the Specialized mountain bike line since 1981 and the latest iteration, the Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie, does the name justice. The 2016 Stumpjumper lines comes in six varieties, including a 29-inch wheelbase, but the FSR 6Fattie is one of the most appealing for the price point. It also taps into the plus-sized trend with 3-inch wide front and rear tires, plus hydraulic Shimano Deore disc brakes, a Fox Float performance DPS rear shock, a 150mm travel front fork and SRAM shifters. The price point seems steep at $3,500, but the quality is comparable to $4,000-plus models from Yeti, Pivot and Santa Cruz, including the Hightower.

Find it: Wilderness Sports in Dillon, Alpine Sports in Breckenridge, Epic Mountain Sports in Frisco, Norski Sports in Keystone or online at http://www.specialized.com.Cervelo C3 road bike, $5,500

If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to jump headfirst into road cycling, the Cervelo C3 is as good as any. It’s a high-end, carbon-frame monster, made for daylong rides through the Rocky Mountains and just about anywhere else you want. Cervelo rethought the entire frame, including increased tire clearance, a lower bottom bracket and a longer chainstay, plus the latest trend in road cycling: disc brakes. When put together, it all makes for a better and more comfortable experience in the saddle. All you need to worry about is pumping your legs.

Find it: Wilderness Sports in Dillon, Pedal Power in EagleVail or online at http://www.cervelo.com.

Specialized Ruby Elite Disc, $2,500

Like the Cervelo C3, the Ruby Elite Disc is another experiment with disc brakes on a road frame, and like all frames in this family it’s pricey. But is it worth it? Clay Schwarck of Wilderness Sports thinks so, especially for local cyclists.

“Once they ride them, they realize that a little more stopping power in our environment is perfect,” says Schwarck, giving the example of a ride that passes from sun to rain to sun in just a few miles — typical for Summit County. “Coming down Vail Pass or somewhere else, where things can get steep and wet, you want that.”

The Ruby Elite comes with SRAM hydraulic disc brakes in the front and rear, plus a rigid front fork, SRAM Rival 22 derailleurs and SRAM rival 11-speed shift levers. It all adds up to a near-perfect frame for extended road rides, whether you’re cruising the recpath or huffing up Loveland Pass.

Find it: Wilderness Sports in Dillon, Alpine Sports in Breckenridge, Epic Mountain Sports in Frisco, Norski Sports in Keystone or online at http://www.specialized.com.

Rockshox Pike RCT3 fork, $1,000-$1,100

As the cycling industry has grown, front forks have become one of the hottest commodities around. There are a slew of models for a slew of riding styles — cross-country, enduro, downhill, even road cycling — and not all are created equal.

The Rockshox Pike RCT3 is about as close as you can get to an all-around mountain weapon. It’s technically an enduro fork, meaning the air-sprung coil can handle drops and berms like a dream with a travel range of 120-160mm in 26-inch, 27.5-inch and 29-inch sizes. But, don’t let the enduro selling point fool you. This fork works just as well on a cross-country cycle, giving you plenty of confidence on nasty downhills and hardly any recoil on sustained uphills. It’s the best of both worlds and comes standard on the majority of Santa Cruz models.

Find it: Avalanche Sports, Elevation Sports, Carver’s, Mountain Wave, Breck Bike Guides and Christy Sports in Breckenridge; Wilderness Sports in Dillon; Keystone Sports and Norski Sports in Keystone; or online at http://www.sram.com.

Rockshox Reverb post dropper, $400

A post dropper isn’t exactly a necessity for a mountain bike, but then again, neither is paying upwards of $3,000 for a frame attached to rubber. That said, if you’ve committed to a top-of-the-line machine, why not make everything the absolute best it can be?

The Rockshox Reverb is the industry standard for mountain bikes, with 100 or 125mm of travel on a hydraulic piston system controlled through a remote shifter. The concept is simple: When it’s time to charge downhill, flip the shifter like a derailleur to drop your seat for a preset height. When it’s time to grind back uphill, flip it again to return to pedal height. Sure, it might seem extraneous, but in the heat of a race (or even a wicked fast ride) it’s a godsend.

Find it: Avalanche Sports, Elevation Sports, Carver’s, Mountain Wave, Breck Bike Guides and Christy Sports in Breckenridge; Wilderness Sports in Dillon; Keystone Sports and Norski Sports in Keystone; or online at http://www.sram.com.


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