It's a high-flying world, this mountain bike business. Schmoozing with celebrities in the plushest venues, getting plied with the finest aperitifs and delicious hors d'ouvres, while getting to see the coolest new products long before the masses do. Well, okay, a couple of Stellas and as much Dominos as you can handle was what was actually on the gustatory menu, but the 2012 goodies from SRAM, RockShox, Truvativ and Zipp were certainly more mouth-watering and tasty than any canape. And who needs celebrities when you've got Worrall's luminaries Pete, James and Alex to provide all the info and entertainment? Here's some of the highlights they dished up for us.
RockShox have a couple of new shocks on the table, including this Monarch Plus which adds a remote damper, and also comes in a white can option. There's also a new budget coil shock, the Kage.
All Truvativ bars come with new names, graphics and wider options now, including the Stylo T40 riser bumped up to 700 mm.
Avid's brakes get the treatment, with the Elixir 9 standing out with new forged caliper, easier to use reach and pad contact adjusters, and a new Taper Bore assembly for hassle-free bleeding and smooth feel at the lever. A new cross-drilled rotor design dubbed HS means better heat dissipation and less squeal, and comes with all models except the Elixir 1.
The Elixir 7 gets a carbon lever, a cast caliper and the new reach adjuster, so it feels as good as the 9, but with a tad more weight and fewer dials. And less coin for you.
The X0 groupset was so killer last year that all that's needed is to bling it up with this chrome version. It looks even hotter in the flesh.
10 speed comes to the masses at the lowest price point in SRAM's line-up with the new X5 group. 2 x 10 and 3 x 10 options for peanuts.
The Reverb height-adjustable post now has a stronger alloy connector between the hose and head, new collar, and a 355mm long 100mm travel version for smaller frames and riders. Same cool hydraulic actuated remote lever. You can also fit the 'UpslideDown' clamp to limit how much movement you need for specific terrain.
Speaking of collabs, MRP and SRAM have dropped a few goodies for 2012 like this XO guide, there is also a 2X guide available as well (we did bring you the world exclusive on this a while back)
The new Sektor looks to be the killer fork in the RS line-up for 2012. At around $680 retail expect to see this feature-packed puppy up front of a lot of trail bikes. It shares the same chassis as its big bro Revelation, and Dual Position Coil technology means you can flick the lever once to change the travel by 30 mm... no more winding up the U-Turn like an old alarm clock. And if you forget to flick it back to full travel before bombing Ridgeline, it won't blow the spring out the top of the leg like days of old. Tapered steerer, 15 or 20 mm Maxle, Motion Control damping, 150 mm travel.
The SID BlackBox World Cup drops a further 100 grams and gets the new Motion Control DNA damper, hydraulic remote and new Dual Air top cap. And of course the 29er crowd gets in on the lightweight race fork act too.
The Revelation gets Dual Position Air, DNA damping and a carbon crown option. 29er? Yep...
Downhillers aren't left out, and the venerable Boxxer sheds some grams through the new Keronite treatment on the lower legs. It's not paint, it's not anodizing, but it's light and tough and gets the winningest DH fork well under the 3 kg mark.
So there you have it. All that was left to do was sink a few more beers, pack up the van and do some indoor stunt riding (or bike wrecking). The entourage was last seen disappearing into the Wellington night to sample all it has to offer late on a Tuesday. The high life indeed.