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Added a product review for Formula C1 Hydraulic Disc Brake 12/28/2013 7:45 AM
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Tested: Formula C1 Disc Brakes

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Andy Holloway

Looking for reliable brakes that won't vaporize your wallet? At $159, Formula's new C1 brakes may be your answer. Developed as the entry-level counterpart to the popular R1, the C1 is a bit heavier and lacks adjustments such as the "Feeling Control System" found in the more expensive big brother. We put the C1 to the test to see how much is left in the tank after this feature diet.

Formula C1 Brake Highlights

  • Master Cylinder Cartridge Technology
  • SpeedLock Hose Quick Connect Inline
  • One-piece caliper body
  • 140mm - 203mm depending on rotor mount (1-Piece Rotor 6 Bolt IS or Center Lock, 2-Piece Rotor 6 Bolt IS, and 2-Piece Rotor Center Lock)
  • Titanium caliper and rotor bolts
  • Sturdier rotors for 2014
  • Weight: 346 grams per side
  • MSRP: $159 USD per side

Initial Impressions

Right out of the box, this brakes is light and minimalist looking with a low profile and a slim look and feel. Despite the entry level pricing, the C1's build quality hasn't suffered and it looks just as polished as its higher-end counterpart. No cheap plastic or parts you immediately recognize will break after a few hard riding sessions here.

Mounting the C1's was a breeze with no shifter spacing incompatibilities. An added bonus for SRAM users, the C1's offer a custom mounting perch for shifters to help you clean up your handlebars.

The most notable design aspect of the C1 is the replaceable master cylinder. This makes servicing quick and easy without having to tear into the internals. I did remove and re-install the master cylinder to see if it was as easy as Formula claimed and it simply slides in and out in a couple minutes. Out on the road or in a hurry, this is a very nice feature, especially for those less mechanically inclined. In terms of ergonomics, I also noticed that the pivot pin of the brake lever has moved closer to the bars, making the brake feel very compact and low profile. And with these initial inspections out of the way, time to hit the trail to see what the C1's were really made of.

On The Trail

Break-in on the C1's only took one ride. After just a handful of descents they started delivering full power. The lever has a bit of a mushy feel to it when the pads initially begin to contact the rotor, which I personally didn't mind - but I can see this lack of a crisp contact moment feel being a disadvantage to some riders. However, in keeping with high build quality mentioned earlier, the perches of the C1 are very stiff and won't flex even with excessive force pulling on the lever.

While not the most powerful brake, in XC and All Mountain applications the C1 provides more than enough stopping power for most situations. The lever pull is also predictable and ramps up nicely, with confidence-inspiring modulation, making it easy to ride the brake on that fine line between maximum braking power and locking up.

The brake pads and rotors remained quiet in a variety of conditions from hot and dry to caked in mud. There was the occasional chirp when they were wet on long descents but nothing ear piercing nor sustained. The lever is comfortable on longer rides, and we should point out again that the main pivot point sits closer to the handlebars compared to some other brake designs - perhaps a contributing comfort factor.

Things That Could Be Improved

The C1's aren't very adjustable, so if you're one of those riders who prefer a very specific brake feel, these may not cut it. And while it wasn't an issue on my setup, there is no pivot on the caliper for the incoming hydraulic line. On bikes where the caliper is at a different angle relative to the cable mounting point on the stays, this may cause issues with line routing.

Long Term Durability

After a couple months out on the trail, the C1's have held up well without incident and haven't required any servicing. Reassuring for the more aggressive riders, the rotors have been made a little thicker and wider for more stopping power and an overall sturdier design. Even though these are entry-level brakes, durability hasn't been sacrificed. As with Formula's other brake models, you access the brake-pads from the top of the caliper, making them easy to replace with minimal tools (just a single retaining bolt to remove). We did not notice excessive pad wear during our test, but we would need a bit more time on them to fully evaluate this aspect.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you aren't looking to customize the feel of your brakes and just need something to slow you down on a budget, the C1's are a great choice. With a lot of research and development trickling down from Formula's R1 brakes you know that despite being entry-level, they perform and last like their more expensive counterparts. With the replaceable master cylinder and speed lock quick hose connectors, servicing is also kept quick and simple - and as you know, less wrenching means more riding!

For more details, visit www.formula-italy.com.


About The Reviewer

Andy Holloway has been riding bikes ever since seeing New World Disorder 3 back in 2003. Inspired, he immediately began sculpting dirt jumps and pump tracks that have a unique and technical style while keeping it flowy. After competing in a handful of professional level slopestyle events and a blown up knee in 2007, he decided to switch gears and focus on having fun while being the behind-the-scenes guy sculpting dirt and covering the Colorado scene over at 970Biking.com. Dirt sculpting highlights include the construction of Boulder's Valmont Bike Park, Rhyolite Bike Park and a host of private pump tracks. Recently, he has discovered the adventure and sense of accomplishment from trail riding and is one of those riders who will choose the jump-transfer over the faster line - after all, it's all about keeping it fun.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Race Face Flank Knee/Shin Guards 11/15/2013 3:05 PM
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Tested: Race Face Flank Knee/Shin Guard

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Andy Holloway

The Race Face Flank Leg Guards aren't new on the scene, they were first introduced back in 2010 and three years later the same basic design is still going strong. With a few years of feedback under their belt, the Race Face crew have made further improvements to material and construction for 2013. The core concept remains the same, with open-back construction for ease of removal and D3O pads for protection, in a full-length design that extends well down onto the shins. We were eager to get these on the trail to see what the improvements would bring to an already successful design.

Flank Leg Guard Highlights

  • D3O™ high performance shock absorbing foam
  • Additional foam extension saves shins from pedal bite
  • Open-back construction; no shoe removal necessary
  • Perforated Neoprene for enhanced venting and moisture control
  • Terry lined for wicking and comfort
  • Foam padded side walls offer additional coverage
  • Branded rubber grab tabs
  • MSRP: $115.99

Initial Impressions

Out of the box, the Flank guards appear very well put together, with a general impression of quality and attention to detail. First design point of note, before you ever get on the trail you'll be treated to a nice feature: the open-back construction makes putting these guards on a breeze. No more taking your shoes off and then stripping down to your skinnies in the parking lot! It was never really a feature that I considered a must have, but after having used them I don't think I'll ever want to switch back.

The second important point regarding the design is the choice of D3O material for the main kneepad. For those not familiar with D3O, it is a soft and malleable material featuring molecules that lock together to dissipate impact energy during hard hits. For the skeptics out there, we have tested this aspect on many occasions in different products, and apart from on very sharp objects, the ability of D3O pads to absorb impact are pretty much on par with hardshell guards.

The overall construction is sturdy, notably the heavy-duty nylon used on the front panels appears extremely strong (which we were to later prove in testing).

On The Trail

On the trail the Flanks have a barely-there feel and bend surprisingly easily - not once did I notice them hampering my range of motion or sliding into the wrong position. If you're a dirt jumper or just like getting loose on the bike, you'll appreciate the padded inner sides, which saved a number of inner leg slaps from tail whips gone wrong. Additionally, the straps used to close up the open-back construction aren't all horizontal - which pulls the pads in a more natural direction to fit your leg comfortably. The previous Flank designs didn't have this feature, which would cause the pads to slide around more often on your leg.

As previously mentioned, the open-back design is really convenient, not just for putting the pads on and taking them off at the end of the ride. If you like to remove your pads for climbing, you'll truly appreciate just how much easier that is to do when you no longer have to remove your shoes each time. Note that if you are after the same open-back design and features but don't want the full shin coverage, these exist in a shorter version called the Ambush.

Things That Could Be Improved

After a few months of use, the only real issue I have found is that while wearing the guards under jeans they do slide down your leg. While this isn't a deal breaker, you will have to re-adjust every now and then. With shorts this was never a problem and I suspect that the larger D30 pad over the knee gets pulled down by the jeans while pedaling and moving around on the bike.

Long Term Durability

Having a couple of friends of mine still riding the 2010 Flanks goes to show Race Face has had durability in mind for a while now. Out on the trail, I took a few forceful pedal slaps to the shin where the pedal also slid down my leg, and the stitching held up just fine with no ripping in the material either. Based on evidence from the testing period, these things could take years of abuse it seems.

What's The Bottom Line?

The Race Face Flank Leg Guards offer a good deal of protection without feeling burdensome. I honestly forgot about wearing them once I put them on and only had to re-adjust the pads a few times after an impact. Being able to put them on and remove them again without taking off my shoes proved to be way more valuable than I originally would have thought. If you enjoy throwing yourself legs first into razor-sharp rockgardens on a regular basis, you might want to consider a hardshell pad, but for all other use, between the cleverly placed straps and the D3O material, these guards are some of the most comfortable, functional, and durable I've ever used.

For more details, check out www.raceface.com.


About The Reviewer

Andy Holloway has been riding bikes ever since seeing New World Disorder 3 back in 2003. Inspired, he immediately began sculpting dirt jumps and pump tracks that have a unique and technical style while keeping it flowy. After competing in a handful of professional level slopestyle events and a blown up knee in 2007, he decided to switch gears and focus on having fun while being the behind-the-scenes guy sculpting dirt and covering the Colorado scene over at 970Biking.com. Dirt sculpting highlights include the construction of Boulder's Valmont Bike Park, Rhyolite Bike Park and a host of private pump tracks. Recently, he has discovered the adventure and sense of accomplishment from trail riding and is one of those riders who will choose the jump-transfer over the faster line - after all, it's all about keeping it fun.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for 2014 Haro Steel Reserve 1.3 Bike 10/18/2013 12:06 PM
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Tested: Haro Steel Reserve 1.3 - Shred Ready

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Andy Holloway

With a long history in the BMX scene, it came as no surprise that Haro created a BMX-style inspired dirt jumper for the big wheel market. But most noteworthy is the price tag - for around $1,300 you get a complete bike that doesn't really require upgrading for more progressive riders. Gone are the days when an entry level bike was just a jumping-off point on the way to a custom setup. Haro writes on their website, "The Steel Reserve 1.3 is a custom built bike without the custom built price tag…" and while that might sound like carefully worded marketing copy, I can honestly say that's the impression this bike gave after a couple months of shredding it.

Initial Impressions

Right out of the box it is apparent that this bike is built solid and ready for some abuse. Best of all, the components are a great mix of affordable yet reasonably durable. You can be hitting the jumps and parks a few minutes after un-boxing your new ride, without worrying about replacing parts straight from the get-go.

Haro Steel Reserve 1.3 Highlights

  • Frame: 4130 full CrMo with double butted DT; integrated HT and interchangeable dropouts
  • Fork: X Fusion Velvet R fork; 80mm travel with 15mm "Tool-less" thru axle
  • Cranks: 4130 3-piece tubular CrMo with Haro alloy 25 tooth sprocket
  • Tires: Kenda K-Rad 2.3-inch width
  • Brakes: Tektro Draco hydraulic with 6" wave rotor (rear only)
  • Handle Bar: Gravity Gap OS Riser Bar, 25mm Rise, 31.8mm Clamp Size
  • Stem: Gravity Gap Oversize Stem, 45mm Extension

On The Jumps & In The Skatepark

From the first ride, the most notable feature of the frame is the short chain stays, measuring in at 15.4-inches. Between this and a light front end, manuals to bunny hops feel very natural and do not require much effort. Additionally, the short rear end feels great in narrower transitions such as in skate parks, where smaller wheelbases usually have the upper hand. The downside to this aspect is that it does feel a bit loose and twitchy at higher speeds. While manageable on larger slope style features, it requires a bit more attention than a more traditional MTB style dirt jumper.

After numerous cases, over shoots and straight hucks, the X Fusion Velvet R 80mm fork shines through as probably the best reason to get the Steel Reserve 1.3 over the 1.2 or 1.1. At 80mm, 3.75-pounds and with a whole lot of air in the chamber, it works perfectly for dirt jump and skate park applications. Stiff enough not to suck power away from pumping off lips but responsive enough to take the edge off an overshoot or case. While the crown is machined down more than I'm personally used to seeing, it always felt stiff and confidence inspiring. The fork does make the front end noticeably lighter than the rear which took some getting used to early on. I wouldn't say the bike isn't balanced right, it's just different than what I and a few others were accustomed to from other companies. After a short session getting used to the geometry the balance feels great.

With a mellow rise and sweep on the Gravity Gap Bar/Stem combination, the cockpit feels very much like other BMX-inspired bikes out there. The bar/stem combo offers a nice middle ground, just enough rise to provide a good amount of leverage but not so much that the front end feels too tall. The 27.95-inch width was a bit narrow for my preference on higher speed dirt jumps but it certainly made the bike agile, with lots of clearance for barspins and unturns. The Tektro Draco brakes did their job and were surprisingly durable after tossing the bike multiple times, bars spinning wildly until there was no more brake line to wrap.

Things That Could Be Improved

While the complete bike is a bit on the heavy side overall, you can't complain for the price. As a hardcore single speed rider for dirt jumping, the 'Six Shooter' interchangeable drop out wasn't much of a highlight for me. Versatility is awesome but if I need gears, say for Four Cross, Slalom, or higher speeds, I'd also opt for a frame with a more traditional MTB feel with longer chainstays and wheelbase. That being said, the Steel Reserve really is at home in the skate park and at the dirt jumps. Higher speed slope style is certainly do-able too, although it gets a little twitchy. In the end, it boils down to personal preference and riding style, and whether you're comfortable with a smaller-feeling bike.

Long Term Durability

After a couple of months of abuse, the components are holding up better than expected. I was expecting to break a few parts along the way but it never came to that. The generic no name front hub did develop some play, but it wasn't enough to warrant a replacement. While the bike does feel like a custom-built rig, you should keep in mind that many of the components are mid- to entry-level and probably won't have the life span you'd expect from more expensive setups. But more importantly, the frame feels great and leaves little to be desired, so upgrading the stock components to your personal preference along the way can certainly make this bike a long term shred solution.

What's The Bottom Line?

When all is said and done, this bike really does have that custom feel to it, but at an entry level price. I'll admit, I was skeptical of riding hard on big name company complete builds, but this bike handled it no problem. For those looking for a great entry level priced bike that won't hold you back as you progress as a rider, this may very well be your bike. That being said, while it looks and feels custom, the components are still mid- to entry-level so you'll probably need to upgrade along the way, especially if you are a more aggressive rider looking to ride the bike long term. Personally, I did every jump, trick and huck that I would do on my usual hard tail without hesitation. Overall, a great bike at an affordable price that won't hold you back down the road.

For more details, visit www.harobikes.com.

Bonus Gallery: 15 photos of the 2014 Haro Steel Reserve 1.3


About The Reviewer

Andy Holloway has been riding bikes ever since seeing New World Disorder 3 back in 2003. Inspired, he immediately began sculpting dirt jumps and pump tracks that have a unique and technical style while keeping it flowy. After competing in a handful of professional level slopestyle events and a blown up knee in 2007, he decided to switch gears and focus on having fun while being the behind-the-scenes guy sculpting dirt and covering the Colorado scene over at 970Biking.com. Dirt sculpting highlights include the construction of Boulder's Valmont Bike Park, Rhyolite Bike Park and a host of private pump tracks. Recently, he has discovered the adventure and sense of accomplishment from trail riding and is one of those riders who will choose the jump-transfer over the faster line - after all, it's all about keeping it fun.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Spank Spike 777FR Bearclaw Signature Series Handlebar 5/8/2013 5:57 AM
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Tested: Spank Bearclaw Signature Series Bar & Stem

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

Reviewed by Andy Holloway

Where to begin with the Spank Bearclaw Signature Series? How about one word: precision. Spank took the popular Spike 777 EVO handlebars and Spike Race Stem and sprinkled some of the Claw's magic into his Signature Series of Spank components.

Bearclaw Signature Series 777FR Handlebar Highlights

  • 31.8mm diameter
  • 15 or 30mm rise
  • 777mm (30.6-inches) width, perfect for that aggressive stance and confidence inspiring at speed.
  • 8-degree backsweep and 4-degree upsweep, placing the bars pretty similar to other big brand’s dimensions.
  • Dual XGT (Extreme Gradual Taper) allows for more material around high stress points while keeping low stress areas thin and light.
  • Special proprietary CNC tooling and 3-axis CNC bending allows for extreme precision and consistency not previously achievable.
  • Building on insight from the 777EVO bars, the Bearclaw Edition incorporates all new MGR 2-Series Alloy material composition, reinforced clamping zones and butted 7 times – all without compromising weight.
  • Impact Ends reduce the chance of collapse in areas where the wall is thinner and in heavy impacts. Doubles as added support for bar ends.
  • Extra steps to ensure that the clamp area of the bar is uniformly cylindrical and as true as possible, improving bar-stem interface.
  • 310g weight which is almost hard to believe after you feel how stiff these bars are.
  • Colors: Black/Sky Blue or Black/White

Bearclaw Signature Series Spike Race Stem Highlights

  • Based off the already established Spike Race stem
  • 2D Forged~CNC Optimized Construction
  • 31.8mm bar diameter
  • 0-degree rise
  • 55mm wide chamfered bar clamp
  • 35mm stack height
  • "Snap fit" sealed top cap
  • 35mm/50mm lengths
  • Weight: 145g/160g
  • Color: Black/Sky Blue

On The Trail & In The Park

Right off the bat, the 4-degree upsweep and 8-degree backsweep felt very natural. This made for a super comfortable transition from my previous setup that hardly took anytime at all to get accustomed to.

Where the bars really shine is their amazing stiffness, especially at 777mm wide. That's a whole lot of leverage. Between bombing rock gardens and hard skatepark landings, I can honestly say that I didn't feel these bars flex. Really. And while I know they are to some minute degree, the perceived stiffness provides additional bike and terrain feedback, making you feel totally confident and in control. I hadn't realized how much my previous bars flexed until getting on the Bearclaw Signature Series 777FR bars, and I have to admit that I like the additional feedback through the grips.

The Bearclaw Signature Series Spike Race stem also follows in the steps of the 777FR bars - lighter than you'd expect with a solid feel. An added plus is that it comes with a nifty "snap fit" sealed top cap to keep the grime out. Plus, the stem just looks amazing. Between the shapely figure and touch of sky blue bling you're sure to get curious comments.

Things That Could Be Improved

The only complaint I could muster was with the stem. The Bearclaw Signature Series Stem is based off of their already popular Spike Race design, which includes the previously mentioned "snap fit" top cap. As I was installing these, I noticed that you couldn’t place any spacers above the stem because of a very slight concave curvature to the top face of the stem. Placing spacers on top of the stem creates a slight gap on the left and right side. Did I ride it anyhow with spacers on top? Yes, but I ended up cutting my steer tube to accommodate the snap fit cap. While I wouldn't deem it unsafe, if you're one of those riders who likes to keep your fork's steerer tube longer for eventual re-sale, this is certainly a factor to consider.

Update: Spank does have a custom ultralight 7-series spacer ring that will allow standard spacers to be used on top of the stem. It's normally included, but was missing from our test package. Problem solved!

Long Term Durability

I’ve already tumbled down the side of the mountain, doing my best to scrape the bars up in the process. They took it quite well, with very few visible scratches in the finish. Given their durability and incredible stiffness I’d have no concerns running these components long term.

What's The Bottom Line?

Overall, it's hard to believe components so light can perform so well, which is positive proof that Spank's investment in high-end manufacturing techniques really paid off. The Spank Bearclaw Signature Series Bar and Stem make an excellent addition to any aggressive rider's bike, especially those looking for some serious stiffness and a little blue bling without compromising weight. Coming in at $89 MSRP for the bars and $75 for the stem, you’re getting some advanced components at a competitive price.

As a side note, while the bars may be intended for downhill and aggressive freeride applications, they also felt great in a whole new realm - in the skatepark on a hardtail. If you're into wide, low-rise bars for your hardtail, Claw's line is certainly worth checking out.

For more info, cruise over to www.spank-ind.com.


About The Reviewer

Andy Holloway has been riding bikes ever since seeing New World Disorder 3 back in 2003. Inspired, he immediately began sculpting dirt jumps and pump tracks that have a unique and technical style while keeping it flowy. After competing in a handful of professional level slopestyle events and a blown up knee in 2007, he decided to switch gears and focus on having fun while being the behind-the-scenes guy sculpting dirt and covering the Colorado scene over at 970Biking.com. Dirt sculpting highlights include the construction of Boulder's Valmont Bike Park, Rhyolite Bike Park and a host of private pump tracks. Recently, he has discovered the adventure and sense of accomplishment from trail riding and is one of those riders who will choose the jump-transfer over the faster line - after all, it's all about keeping it fun. Nowadays he works as a contributor for Vital MTB and New Media Manager at Winter Park/Trestle Bike Park.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Spank Spoon One2One Frame 10/29/2012 11:15 AM
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Tested: Spank Spoon One2One - Downright Fun

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

Editor's Note: About a week ago we launched a contest to win this pimped-out Spank Spoon One2One complete. Truth be told, we were a little bit jealous that we don't get to keep it, so we had our resident dirt jump aficionado give it a good testing. You know, just to make sure you're in the running to win something awesome. If you haven't entered the contest yet, you'll want to do just that after reading this review…

Words and schralping by Andy Holloway // Photos by Seth Beckton

This bike is one heck of a creation. Forget the toxic green color, I'm talking geometry.

I've always been one of those people who can't ride other people's bikes. It just doesn't work out and it never has. Sure I can ride okay, but I can never get comfortably aggressive. Having said that, when I showed up at the local skate park with this Spoon One2One decked out with the entire Spank collection of components, I was a bit intimidated. Why? The super short chainstays and less than one-inch rise handlebars were new to me. I've ridden short bikes before and it was never my thing. However, when I started riding I was pleasantly surprised. It took no time at all to feel confident on the One2One. I believe the key was in the frame's overall geometry.

Spank Spoon One2One Highlights

Frame Spank Spoon One2One - 69-degree head angle, 575mm top tube, 1040mm wheelbase, and 73mm threaded BB
Frame Material 4130 double-butted chromoly steel
Fork *Manitou Circus - 100mm travel
Headset *Token Internal - 1-1/8-inch alloy
Handlebar Spank Spoon -20mm rise, 740mm width, 5-degrees up, 8.5-degrees back
Stem Spank Spoon -40mm long, zero rise
Grips Spank Tugg Job - 145mm long, 50mm flange, ultra thin
Brake *Hayes Stroker Trail - 6-inch
Crankset *AtomLab General Issue- 3-piece chromoly design
Chainring Spank Tweet Tweet Sprocket- 30 tooth
Pedals Spank Spike - just 12mm thick(!)
Chain Spank Tweet Tweet 1/2 Link - heat treated reinforced alloyed steel
Rims Spank Tweet-28 EVO - 26-inch, 32 hole
Front Hub Spank Spoon-20 - 20mm thru axle
Rear Hub Spank Spoon-135 - 27 engagement points, 3 pawl, 9-speed with single-speed adapter
Tires Schwalbe Table Top - 2.25-inch width
Saddle Spank Tweet Tweet - 8mm chromoly rails
Seat Clamp Spank Tweet Tweet

The 15.35-inch chainstays made small skatepark transitions feel good. They were no longer semi-awkward for big wheels, as is so often the case. An additional perk of the short chainstays was that it also made the bike feel amazingly flickable - yet controllable in the park.

The 22.6-inch actual top tube length added to the stable feel of the bike. It also provided just enough foot clearance for spinning the bars. After riding the bike for a short period of time, you can feel that a lot of thought has gone into this frame's numbers.

Taking It To Dirt

Having been immediately comfortable with the bike on concrete, it was time to check out the dirt jumps and slopestyle course at Valmont Bike Park. I was curious to see how the One2One would handle higher speeds and larger transitions. Turns out the dirt jumps went just like the skatepark - flickable yet stable, and all the while confidence inspiring. In fact, the local BMX riders all took some runs on it and agreed that it was the best feeling MTB they had ridden. It really does come surprisingly close to that BMX feel. While I was watching other riders take flight on the bike, I tired to put my finger on exactly what feels so good about this frame. I think it's the combination of a short rear end that is balanced out by a slightly stretched out front end. Whatever it is, the consensus was this bike is a blast to ride.

Solid Build

The Manitou Circus fork works perfectly for this style of setup, offering eight clicks of compression adjustment from soft to what felt almost locked out, which I prefer. At full lock out it manages to stay stiff on transitions so you don't lose pump, but thanks to a firm blow off valve, it gives some when you mess up and overshoot, for example. I had some Manitou issues back in the Gold Label days, but they seem to have come a long ways since then, all while keeping the fork surprisingly light. Between the fork and 5.5 pound frame, this bike feels and rides light.

Component wise, the bike came decked with the entire Spank line - all but cranks, brakes and tires. Everything was super solid, especially the Spank Tweet 28 EVO rims with Oohbah profile. What? Yeah, thats what I said too. According to Spank, "Our unique patented Oohbah™ profile with inverted tube well increases rigidity immensely compared with rims currently available." While I can't say I felt anything wild, it certainly felt solid after landing sideways and putting a fair amount of stress on the rims. The rim's shape is also supposed to cut back on pinch flats, which have left me walking home from the skate park on many occasions, so I'm stoked on that feature.

My biggest concern next to the frame's short end was the relatively short rise of the handlebars. See, I prefer somewhere around a 2-inch rise, and that's what I've ridden for several years. Coming in at just 20mm, these were the first low-rise bars that I've enjoyed. I felt like I could get that "pop" from the front of the bike when pulling up hard, and the 5-degree up-sweep and 8.5-degree back-sweep kept it feeling very similar to the bars I prefer most.

The Spank Spike pedals sure lived up to their name. The burly pins hold your shoe tight, but not so much that you can't readjust your position while riding. One thing I did notice was the cambered edges along the outsides of the pedal. A lot of companies seem to be jumping onboard with this idea. Spank claims it reduces impact forces as they are able to glance off of objects easier instead of getting hung up. That's hardly an issue when dirt jumping or at the skatepark. However, what I really noticed about the cambered edges was that it sheds dirt ridiculously well. On a somewhat muddy day, not once did I go searching for a flat shovel to scrape off my shoes. The pedals seemed to take care of that me.

Also, it should be mentioned that the lower half of me enjoyed the Spank Tweet Tweet saddle. It has a nice amount of padding for when you miss the pedals and come down hard on the seat. I don't know where this whole mini hard seat trend came from, but if you're learning tricks it and pushing your boundaries, it makes a world of difference to land on something with a little padding.

What's The Bottom Line?

Basically what it comes down to it that the Spank One2One is downright fun to ride. Not only is it fun, but it inspires confidence and just begs to be whipped around. You won't spend much time getting used to the bike - it's very predictable and more importantly, comfortable, right away. After having gone though some revisions over the years, the entire Spoon line now seems dialed and I can't complain about much - and I tried to find things to hate on. The only downside I could muster is that it does feel a little twitchy and small for bigger, burlier slopestyle features at high speed. However, plenty of the top riders have similar builds and shred it all the same. I think it comes down to rider preference - if you like the smaller frame feel then you can make it work for you. I'm accustomed to a little longer rear end and larger wheelbase, so I found myself wanting a bit more of a classic MTB feel, especially when I took some runs down the dual slalom course. But like I said, it comes down to personal preference and what works with your style of riding. The One2One was a blast on the tighter transitions in the park and the dirt jumps.

If you're considering a park and dirt jump shred machine that is super light and flickable, or if you just need some fresh eye candy components, I can confidently say that Spank is a great choice. Plus, the color scheme strikes up a conversation everywhere you go...

WIN This Bike!

Now that I've reviewed it, it's your chance to win it. Don't worry, she's still in great shape. Be sure to submit your entry to the "How I Spank'd My Summer Photo Contest" asap! The contest ends on November 5th.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Deity Topsoil 2010 Handlebar 5/19/2011 6:53 AM
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Great addition to the dirt jumper....

Rating:

The Good: I've always run Deity handlebars on my dirt jumper and these are my favorite iteration so far. Nice and wide at 29'' with the nice rise and sweep that I've come to love.

The Bad: Haven't had a complaint yet!

Overall: Great bars for your DJ! I have been abusing them at our local step up for the last few months and they seem super strong!

This product has 4 reviews.

Added a product review for Deity Dirty30 2010 Handlebar 5/19/2011 6:48 AM
C138_96399230_1278697546

These bars fundamentally changed me as a rider...

Rating:

The Good: After a few rides with the 30'' you'll never go back. Seriously. They made me such a more confident, controlled rider. Now when I hop on a friends bike, the typical 26-28'' bars feel like a wobbly unstable mess.

The Bad: Nothing! The older generation had powder coating that scuffed up quickly, but that was fixed with the new ones!

Overall: If there is any product I'm adamant about, these bars are it. Like I said, it changed me as a rider. If your running anything less than 30'' on your xc/trail/DH bike, do yourself a favor and try these out!

This product has 6 reviews.

Added a product review for Deity Decoy LT Flat Pedal 5/19/2011 6:37 AM
C138_100206520_1278698241

Amazingly grippy, Strong and Light!

Rating:

The Good: Very light, super low profile... yet very strong and grippy.

The Bad: I haven't had a single complaint yet!

Overall: Great pedals from a great company. I have these on my dirt jumper and trail bike... and I'll probably never run anything else ever again!

This product has 10 reviews.