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HMBA106's Product Reviews

Added a product review for Fox Racing Shox DHX Air 5.0 Rear Shock 9/30/2012 7:44 PM
C138_rs259b04

Good Aggressive All-Mountain or Freeride shock

Rating:

The Good: Smooth feel, propedal switch, doesn't blow through travel, relatively lightweight.

The Bad: Not enough adjustments or adjustment indicators on the shock.

Overall:

To start off, I will say that this review is for the 2011 version of the shock. The only factor separating the 2012 and 2013 models from the 2011 version is kashima coat.  Basically, I'm just trying to say that I cannot attest to the performance of the gold stanchion coating.

Right out of the box, the DHX 5.0 has a nice feel and with its 50-300psi main chamber, it can accommodate a wide range of riders and riding styles, though I should say that it tends to need to be pumped to higher pressures than normal.  The rebound dial also has an impressive 22 clicks of adjustment, though depending on your frame, it can be difficult to access.  The propedal switch is a simple, effective way to stiffen up the shock to trail-bike efficiency.  Finally, the piggyback provides a bottom-out feature which can make a noticeable change in how the shock moves through its travel.

On the trail,  the 5.0 does a good job of absorbing both big, square-edged hits and smaller but consecutive compressions.  As with all air shocks, you can use different pressures to truly customize the shock.  The bottom-out adjustment works surprisingly well, and has a wide range of tuning.  On one end of the scale, I rode the Whistler bike park's tougher trails and never bottomed-out while maintaining a smooth ride, and on the other side, I can bottom out off of 4-foot drops.

The biggest area Fox could improve in is adjustability.  While the current adjustments work well, the addition of more dials and switches would elevate this shock to another level.  Replacing the current rebound dial with separate low and high speed rebound dials would be a nice touch.  Also, the introduction of low and high speed compression adjusters would make the shock even more versatile.  Adding indicators for the rebound dial would be beneficiary as well.  In summary, the host of features that the DHX 5.0 currently houses work great, but even more bells and whistles would earn this shock a 5-star rating.

If you're a rider who doesn't like tinkering with his/her components and wants a shock that will work well in whatever setting you run, go for the DHX 5.0. However, if you want to set up your shock perfectly to specialize in one type of terrain, perhaps go for something like the cane creek double barrel instead.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Urge Archi-Enduro Full Face Helmet 9/23/2012 7:58 PM
C138_92722500_1288291902

A good enduro or all-mountain helmet.

Rating:

The Good: Light, looks good, ventilates well, doesn't interfere with a backpack.

The Bad: Half-foam mouthpiece, doesn't look like it'd hold up in a really gnarly face-first crash.

Overall:

First off, I bought this helmet because I wanted a lightweight, breathable full-face that I could use as my one and only helmet. I ride mostly all-mountain and technical trails, but also do some dirt jumping and full-on downhill.  After a couple months of use, I have had no issues with the helmet.

Climbing - Though it is still a full face, the Urge breathes relatively well and it's light weight is noticeable.  It allows a decent amount of peripheral vision, and the highly adjustable visor can be slid up so that it doesn't limit vision.

Impact - I've only crashed a few times with this helmet, but so far it has held up nicely.  The flexible visor is plenty strong, and didn't snap even though I once landed directly on it.  My one worry is with the half-foam mouthpiece,  it doesn't seem like it would be able to handle a full-bore, face first crash.  But of course, what is gained in breathability is lost in protection.

Overall, the Archi-Enduro is a great helmet for a trail rider that is insecure with a open-face helmet, and doesn't mind giving up some breathability.  Though I wouldn't suggest it for regular downhill or freeride, the Urge is a versatile helmet that will benefit the shredding enduro rider.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for DMR V8 Grease Port Flat Pedal 9/23/2012 6:34 PM
C138_3177

Reasonable Value

Rating:

The Good: Strong, cheap, available in tons of colors, pretty grippy.

The Bad: Paint wore easily, some pins snapped off, heavy, slight play in the bearings.

Overall:

I'll start by saying that I used these pedals for three years, and only ended up replacing them to colour-code my bike. During those three years, they were a reliable and worry-free product.  I didn't really use the grease port feature, because being a dirt jumper I actually wanted to minimize pedal spin.  Though the pedals are certainly heavy, (523 grams I believe) they easily stood up to three seasons of abuse, which says a lot for a 40$ pedal.  The paint wore off somewhat quickly and the end caps fell off, but this had no effect on performance whatsoever.  After three seasons, a total of 7 pins fell off, but with 5.10 shoes they were still adequately grippy.  I was also impressed with the bearings, yes there was some play but not a distracting amount.

Overall, a good value pedal that is quite strong and certainly cheap.  A good candidate for a budget dirt jump or downhill bike.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for e*thirteen SS+ Chainguide 9/23/2012 6:13 PM
C138_50752

Great Deal

Rating:

The Good: Very good chain retention, looks good, durable, relatively cheap and light.

The Bad: Hardly Anything

Overall:

I've had this guide for 2.5 seasons now, and have nothing but good things to say about it. Not only is it cheap for a chainguide, it looks great and is still pretty light.  Not to mention, I have never, ever dropped a chain with this bad boy.  Having only one roller means it is low maintenance, and though the sealed-bearing roller did begin to squeak, it was only because I hadn't maintained it all season.  Spent two minutes cleaning it out, and BOOM! Works perfectly (and silently) once again.  It's also worth mentioning that it is compatible with a Gamut bash-guard, though the stock bash-guard works fine, and is damn light to boot.

This is a product that truly deserves its 5-star rating.  It's fairly light, strong, cheap, and durable.  If it ever does break, I will certainly be buying another one.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Fox Racing 360 Glove 9/4/2012 3:56 PM
C138_gl267a24

Comfy Glove

Rating:

The Good: Very comfortable, good balance between protection and breathability, thin palm.

The Bad: Not very durable, and no terry-cloth thumb.

Overall:

So this is how my experience with the 360 gloves started: I was at the bike shop, confronted by a large wall of gloves featuring at least 30 different MTB models. Being a very cautious spender, I tried on nearly every model until I finally arrived at the 360. Upon trying it on for the very first time, I noticed that it contoured the shape of my hand very nicely, didn't have any bunched-up folds of material, and was the perfect length,  even though it wasn't yet broken in.  Satisfied, I promptly grabbed the set and walked to the cashier, eager to put my fresh new gloves to the test.

Once on the trail, I noticed many other useful features; the grippy fingertips, stretchy fabric, and soft lining on the palm all made the gloves feel good on my bars.  One major design oversight that I noticed was the lack of terry-cloth fabric on the thumb,  which didn't make wiping sweat an easy affair.

But the biggest flaw in these gloves is their durability.  Though it's not so bad to the point that I wouldn't recommend these gloves, it is certainly a factor to consider.  After just a couple of months of use, the grippy material on the fingertips has completely worn off, and the rubbery plastic on the back of the hand is starting to peel off.

But all in all, the Fox 360 is a very comfortable freeride glove that will do the job excellently if you don't mind purchasing a new pair of gloves every year.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Banshee Bikes Wildcard Frame 8/26/2012 11:16 PM
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I am in love with this bike.

Rating:

The Good: Extremely versatile, relatively light, suspension is well-tuned, very stiff, did I mention versatile?

The Bad: In the short travel mode, the suspension isn't as lively as it could be. Also in the 5'' travel mode, the frame feels more slack, (harder to manual and bunnyhop,) which is kind of backwards.

Overall:

Where do I start? First of all, the Wildcard has two travel modes. (127 and 165mm) This feature is esstially what makes this bike so versatile.  The frame is built around anywhere from a 5 to a 7'' travel fork.  The frame also has ISCG 05 tabs, and 1.5'' headtube, and front derailleur routing.

My personal setup includes a Fox DHX air shock, Fox Talas 36 fork, Mavic Crossmax SX wheels, and a 1x8 drivetrain. The suspension, wheels, and drivetrain that you choose will have a higher-than-average influence on the bike.  Let's start with suspension:  I believe that an air shock is the best fit for this frame,  The versatility, light weight, and pedaling platform make me wonder why anybody would would run a coil shock on this bike.  For a fork, I'd highly suggest a travel-adjust fork to match the adjustability of the rear suspension.  Being able to lower the front end for trail rides and dirt jumping, then raise it to take advantage of the downhills,  is a huge factor in the versatility of this bike.  Next, the wheels: I won't go into detail, but a set of wheels that is relatively light, but bash-worthy will make your wildcard a much more efficient climber that won't feel under-gunned on the downhills.  Finally, the drivetrain. A 2x or 1x10 is a good choice for this frame.  I simply run a 1x8 drivetrain due to the lighter weight, tearrain where I live, and the added challenge haha.  Anyways, a versatile suspension kit, wheelset, and drivetrain  are essential in achieving the purpose of the Wildcard.

Riding:

On a recent trip to Whistler, I was lucky enough to ride three disciplines in three days.  Though three different bikes would be a perfect option for the situation, I found my Wildcard more than capable in each discipline. (DH at the Bike park, DJs at the airdome and river jumps, and a prolonged trail ride at the lost lake trail network.)

Downhill:  With the fork and frame at full travel and set to plusher-than-normal, the Wildcard felt capable on every trail, but was most at home on trails like A-line, Dirt merchant, and Freight train. In the 6.5'' travel mode, the suspension was lively and responded well to consecutive hits on the more technical trails.  On the aforementioned ''flow'' trails, the bike railed corners and jumped with both stability and liveliness.  It should be noted that I never bottomed out my suspension, but am only a skinny teenager at 145lbs.  I should mention that if lots of downhill and bike park riding is in the cards, this bike wouldn't be an ideal choice.

Dirt Jumping:  The wildcard feels the most comfortable in mid-air.  Of the three aforementioned disciplines,  the Wildcard is the best at dirt jumping.  (Though that's not to discount it's strength in the other two styles of riding.)  With the suspension slightly stiffened up, the fork lowered, and the frame in short travel mode,  the bike takes to the air with grace.  The suspension is well tuned and the bike doesn't feel too slack or spread out, as it boosts off of any lip with excellence.  The bikes relatively low weight and standover make it easy to trick, (for a longish-travel full suspension bike.)  The stiff frame is appreciated in speed conservation, and when trying to pump over rollers or a set-up jump.

Trail Riding:  Coming from a hardtail,  I must say that the Wildcard climbs surprisingly well.  With the fork lowered and the steep (68 degree) head-tube angle, the front wheel rarely wanders on steep climbs.  With the shock pumped up slightly higher than average and propedal engaged, (an important feature.) The suspension system doesn't bob during seated pedaling, and only bobs slightly during out-of-the-saddle climbs. In summary, my fairly light (33lbs) setup climbs certainly well enough so that you can access even the most remote of descents.

Like I've already mentioned, the Banshee Wildcard is a versatile frame that can be complimented even further by a lightweight but tough parts kit. It does the job of three bikes more than capably and is certainly cheaper. Rider knowledge is also necessary in order to make the most out of the bike, The right shock and tire pressures really help the Wildcard excel.  All of these factors make a truly unique, do-it-all bike for the downhill and jump lover that still has to pedal.

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for Kenda Blue Groove Tire 8/26/2012 4:08 PM
C138_ti509a02

Good All Around Tire

Rating:

The Good: Grips well on the descents and the ascents. (Though it's better on the descents.) Excellent transitional grip with no lapses in traction. Directional ramped pattern rolls reasonably fast for a bulky tire. Adequate on many types of terrain.

The Bad: Not an excellent mud shedder, Not a very fast roller.

Overall:

The blue groove is a unsung hero in Kenda's lineup. I haven't seen it on many bikes, which is odd considering the good performance it provides.  I've ridden it in bike parks, where it provides ample grip and no squirming or loss of traction.  I've also employed it on trail rides, where it dug into loose soil and never slipped on off-camber roots.  With that being said, I've also ridden it on hardpack, where it provided good traction whilst being leaned into berms.  However, the bulky tread pattern is noticabely slow on hardpack terrain.  This tire also excels in mostly dry or slightly wet conditions, as it doesn't shed mud as well as some other loosely spaced tires.  Another point is that, like most bulky tires, the blue groove absorbs bumps well, making it a good candidate for hardtails.

Overall, this tire performs the best on varying singletrack with a good mix of ups and downs.

This product has 2 reviews.