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Up Close: Merritt Non-Stop Hubs

Seeing as we’re giving away one of Merritt’s Non-Stop Cassette hubs today, I figured it would be as good a time as ever to take a closer look at both the Non-Stop Cassette and the Non-Stop front hub.

With the Non-Stop front hub, Merritt set out to create a simple, strong and fast rolling hub. The understated CNC machined 6061 aluminum hub shell rolls on a hollow chromoly female axle with precision Japanese bearings between. In keeping with simplicity as the design criteria, the hub’s cones simply press on. Rubber o-rings in the cones ensure a tight fit and prevent them from sliding off when your wheel isn’t in the forks. Chromoly 3/8″ x 24 tpi bolts with 17mm heads that are also broached for a 6mm hex wrench are what hold the hub in the fork, and aluminum spacers keep them from marring up the dropouts. Weight-wise the hub comes in at just 7.4 ounces without bolts and spacers, and 10.5 ounces with (according to my scale).

The Non-Stop cassette hub features a CNC machined 6061 shell with the same understated aesthetically qualities as the front hub. Also like the front, it rolls on precision Japanese bearings and a hollow chromoly axle. Angled asymmetrical flanges provide the foundation for a strong wheel build, and the same chromoly bolts and aluminum spacers that are found on the front hub are also found on the cassette. Things get a little more interesting when you get into the hub’s internals. The Non-Stop cassette features a full bushing one-piece driver with three multi-tooth pawls that create a 120 tooth micro engagement system. It gives the hub lightening quick engagement but without the drag that is commonly associated with other micro engagement hubs. It also gives the hub a unique sound that if I were to try to describe, I’d say is something like if a Profile Elite and a Chris King hub had a baby. For now the hub is only available with a 9 tooth driver, but I have no plans of stopping my campaign to convince them to offer some toothier sizes. They do give you the option of LHD for you weirdos out there who want to run your sprocket on the wrong side. Also worth mentioning is that the hub’s 14mm hollow chromoly axle extends out past the cone nuts so that it fits perfectly in dropouts with 14mm slots. While that’s fine and dandy if you have a frame with 14mm dropout slots, it’s not so great if you have one with 3/”8″. Personally, I’d just break out the ol’ trusty Dremel and trim the axle down so that it’s flush with the cone nuts, but you may not be as adventurous as me! As far as weight goes, the Non-Stop cassette tips the scale at 12.5 ounces without bolts and spacers, and 15.6 ounces with.

Both the Non-Stop front hub and Non-Stop cassette hub are available in your choice of either black or polished, though Merritt has been known to do some limited edition colors from time to time. The front hub will set you back in the neighborhood of $80, and you’ll need to add another $100 to that for the cassette. Both are available right now through Merritt’s extensive dealer network, which you can conveniently check out right HERE.

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bmx trails dirt jumping
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Up Close: Cult TRF Frame

“A Cult trails frame eh?” That’s what I thought to myself when the first CAD drawing of what would eventually be dubbed the Cult TRF (Trail/Race Frame) showed up on Instagram. While a trails frame is a pretty radical departure from the direction Cult has been on since its inception, it does make sense if you stop to consider who the two main driving forces behind the brand are, Robbie Morales and product designer Neal Wood. Both of their roots lie deep in the 90’s trails and racing scenes, so there was never a doubt in my mind as to whether or not a man once know as the “Trail Boss” and another man who led the “clips are for kooks” movement on the track could come up with a well thought out and designed trails frame. How well the present day trails scene would receive a trails frame from a company who’s product line up until this point has primarily been targeted towards street riders is the only real question that I had.

To be perfectly honest with you, opinions were mixed. While Robbie’s former position of the “Trail Boss” still held weight with some, other’s felt that he had long since abandoned the scene that once held him in such high regards. Having been friends with Robbie for 15+ years, I fall into that first category, and I was actually pretty interested to see just what he and Neal would cook up. I mean he was instrumental in the creation of two of my favorite frames of all time, the Standard Trail Boss and the Terrible One Progression!

The TRF is exactly what you would expect a modern day trails frame to be. The geometry is pretty standard with a 74.5° head tube, 71° seat tube, 11.65″ bottom bracket height, 13.85″ rear end length and 8.75″ standover. The slimmed down 100% Cult Classic tubing, tapered seatstays and tiny dropouts give the frame a svelte look, while the gussets on both the top and down tubes reassure you that it’s not going to blow apart if you come up short on something. Cult also made sure that the rear end has plenty of room to accommodate tires up to 2.4″ wide. Two things that immediately caught my eye when I first pulled the frame out of the box were the welds and the frame’s finishing details. The ED black coating Cult used on the TRF doesn’t hide anything, and you can see that the welds are consistent with even beads around every tube junction. The subtle Cult logos embossed on the top tube gusset, integrated seat clamp and the seatstay bridge, and the nicely machined bottom bracket and head tube give the frame a very finished and polished look. While Cult is pretty infamous for their wild graphics, they kept things toned down with the clean gray and white ones they chose for the TRF.

One thing that I know is going to be a sticking point for some people out there is the removable seatstay brake mounts and cable stop. I’ve only owned one frame with removable mounts, and though I never had any issues with them, I still prefer the mounts and cable stop to be welded on. I also prefer the mounts to be on the chainstays, but all of that is just a matter of personal preference.

I think Cult’s first foray into producing a trails frame is a damn good one! It ticks the boxes both geometry-wise and looks-wise, and it comes from the minds of two guys who left lasting impressions on both the trails and race scenes. Now if we can only get them back out into the woods aboard their own personal TRFs!

Cult’s TRF frame is available now from your favorite shop or mail order and will set you back right around $330.

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bmx trails dirt jumping
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bmx trails dirt jumping
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bmx trails dirt jumping
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bmx trails dirt jumping
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bmx trails dirt jumping
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bmx trails dirt jumping
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Specs

Top Tube Lengths: – 20″, 20.5″, 20.75″, 21″, 21.25″
Chainstay Length: – 13.85″
Head Tube Angle: – 74.5°
Seat Tube Angle: – 71°
Standover Height: – 8.75″
BB Height: – 11.65″
BB Type: – Mid
Dropouts: – 14mm
Brake Mounts: – Removable on Seatstays
Weight: – 5lbs 2oz (21″tt on my scale)
Colors: – ED Black
Country of Origin: – Taiwan
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TRF Frame Promo featuring Steven Mack

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Up Close: Deluxe PA Model Frame

Deluxe has always been known for producing clean and simple frames geared towards riding trails. Their latest frame, The PA Model continues those traditions and also builds upon them. The result is a frame that is totally Deluxe but with just the right touch of modern features and details.

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Up Close: S&M Trackmark Tire

A couple of weeks ago we looked at S&M’s Mainline tire. Today we’re going to get a gander what S&M says is the perfect rear tire to compliment it in the woods, the Trackmark. S&M bills the Trackmark as their race tire but don’t go thinking that this is anything like the overly knobby motocross-esque race tires of old. The Trackmark was designed for modern day racing applications, aka well groomed and packed tracks. Sounds similar to the way trails are these days doesn’t it?

In order to make the Trackmark appeal to the weight weenie racers out there, S&M kept the weight down by going with a folding kevlar bead and a high TPI race casing that’s rated up to 110 PSI. The center tread consist of micro-knurled ultra low profile blocks that keep the rolling resistance down while also providing plenty of traction during acceleration and braking. The micro-knurling continues on over to the angled directional side treads. The side treads also feature strategically placed grooves to ensure that they have plenty of grip when you’re railing a berm.

S&M offers the Trackmark in 1.75″, 1.95″, and 2.1″ sizes for 20″ wheels, and 1.75″ and 2.1″ sizes for 24″ wheels. Sorry, nothing for you guys rocking the 22s just yet. I’d say that the 2.1″ size is the most appealing size for us trail riders. I’ve actually heard a lot of people complain that with bigger tires gaining more and more popularity, it’s getting harder to find tire options in that 2.1″ size. Well here you go! As far as weight goes, S&M list the 2.1″ size at 19 ounces. The one they sent me actually weighed in at just 18.3 ounces according to my scale.

I threw on a 2.1″ Trackmark in order to check it out, and though I didn’t get enough time on it to really give it a proper review, I will say that it felt both fast and grippy during the lap I got in before I had to tarp up for the evening. I definitely think that S&M was spot on in calling the Trackmark a perfect rear tire to compliment to their front specific Mainline!

The Trackmark will set you back right around thirty bucks, and like the Mainline, it’s available everywhere that sells S&M’s goods. You can find a full list of dealers HERE.

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Up Close: S&M Mainline 2.425″ Tire

The 2.425″ S&M Mainline tire has been gathering quite a following in the woods lately. Though it’s touted as being front specific, I’ve seen plenty of people running them both front and rear. I wanted to get a closer look to check out just what S&M’s trail tire was all about, so I hit them up and they were kind enough to send one over for us to inspect.

S&M says that the 2.425″ size Mainline “is a nod to the old 2.125 Comp III we grew up riding in the front.” After mounting the tire up and taking a look down at it, I can see what they mean. Though the tires share absolutely nothing as far as tread pattern goes, they do have a similar fork filling look. With an inflated width of 60.7mm and a diameter of 532mm, the 2.425″ Mainline is one of the largest dirt tires on the market. Most modern forks will have plenty of clearance for this beast, but you may want want to break out a measuring device if you’re running and older set of forks to make sure that they’ll have room to accommodate the large girth of this tire.

Like I said earlier, I’ve also seen people running these in the rear. The same as with forks, most modern frames have been designed with room for larger tires, but you may want to double check first to make sure that your particular frame will have enough room to accommodate this one if you do choose to run it in the rear. Also make sure that there’s a little bit of room for some side to side action if your wheel gets knocked out of whack!

Now that we’ve gotten all of the sizing stuff out of the way, lets talk about the tread. Since the 2.425″ Mainline tire was originally designed to be a front specific trail tire, S&M put a lot of thought into how it would perform while railing around corners. They went with a raised micro-knurled tread pattern that features additional smooth raised angular lugs on the center and side treads to give you a little extra bite when you’re ripping through some berms. The tread pattern is aggressive enough to make you feel confident that you can push it and you’re not going to wash out, but without being overly knobby so that it feels you’re monster trucking.

S&M’s 2.425″ Mainline tire comes in both 20″ and 22″ sizes and weighs in at 26 and 29 ounces respectively. It’s rated up to 110 psi and is available with a traditional wire bead only. You can pick one up now from your favorite shop or mail order that carries S&M products! Click HERE if you need help locating one of those.
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Up Close: Deluxe V4 Hubs

We’re changing things up with how we do product post. From here on out we are getting hands on with the products we take a look at. No more just regurgitating the specs and pics from manufacture’s sites. We want to be able to give you a real and genuine impression of the products we showcase, one that can only come from actually handling and looking at them with our own eyes. That said, here’s the first of our new hands-on product post, featuring Deluxe’s V4 hubs. Hit the jump button and dig on in!