Too often the standout components get lost in the shuffle during an MBA bike test. That’s why FSA offered to lend us one of their rolling test labs. These are bikes that FSA uses to evaluate their components in the real world.
Component: XC-150 Disk Wheelset QR15
Data: 26-inch diameter. QR15mm system, nine- or 10-cog-cassette compatible. 6061AL rims. Direct-pull stainless DB 14-gauge spokes; front 24 spokes, rear 28. Rim width is 25mm. Disc only.
Weight: 4.8 pounds for the set
Ride: While we all loved playing with the two-ring crankset, the wheels stole the show. These attractively priced wheels proved to be strong, reasonably light and stayed true during our testing. In most cases, replacing a set of tired or dinged wheels with these would be an instantly noticeable and financially justifiable upgrade.
Component: SL-K Carbon SP – SB0 Seatpost
Data: UD carbon shaft with bonded alloy head, MTC lightweight clamp, zero offset in 31.6x350mm, 30.9x350mm, 27.2x350mm or 20mm set back in 31.6x350mm, 30.9x350mm, 27.2x350mm
Weight: 7.8 ounces
Ride: Simple and secure saddle-clamping mechanism. Firm seat-tube interface. Another product that takes a year to find any flaws.
Component: SLK Stem
Data: 3D forged, CNC finish AL2014 with carbon UD. Clamp’s a 31.8mm diameter bar with a
+/-6 degree angle. Six lengths (80/90/100/110/120/130mm). Clamp stack is 40mm with
opposing hardware clamping.
Weight: 5.7 ounces (110mm length)
Price: $90 (black), $99.99 (white).
Ride: We expected a little flex from a stem this light, but found it to be stiff even when using wider handlebars. The clamping mechanism was excellent, and we never experienced creaking.
Component: SLK ATB Riser Handlebar
Data: CSI (carbon structural integration), UD carbon finish,
31.8mm bar clamp. Width 27 inches (26 available). 9ø back sweep x 4ø upsweep. Flat-bar version available.
Weight: 7.8 ounces
Ride: A very stiff handlebar. Absolutely no flex under hard efforts, but very little forgiveness to trail chatter. Big riders will like this bar.
Component: Orbit 1.5 ZS Internal Tapered Steer Headset
Data: 1-1/8-inch ACB top cup (upper HT ID: 44mm)/1.5-inch ACB lower cup (lower HT ID: 55.95mm). Fits tapered head tubes with a 50mm/62mm outer diameter. Bearing type is ACB 36ø/45ø and stack height is 16.9mm (upper), plus 2.9mm (lower) for 19.8mm.
Weight: 4.4 ounces
Ride: A headset proves its worth after a year or two of abuse. We can say the system installs easily and delivers silky smooth performance.
Component: SLK ATB BB30 386 Crankset
Data: UD carbon with alloy spline core, three-bolt x 86 BCD, 175mm length (170mm option), 39/27 tooth (42/27 option). Q-factor 168mm. Chain line 49.5mm. Double-ring options SRAM 10s (X10), Shimano 10s (M10). Available in 9s, 10s, double (386), triple, MegaExo BB, BB30, Shimano BB92 and PF30.
Price: $539.99 (386 x BB30)
Ride: Mated to a SRAM 10-cog cassette, we found the shifting performance to match the SRAM and Shimano systems for upshifting, but it felt slightly slower on the downshifts. We are splitting hairs, for sure. We found it to be bulletproof for our months of riding it.