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Added a product review for VP Components VP-Harrier Flat Pedal 6/4/2014 8:38 PM
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Tested: VP Harrier Flat Pedal

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

Review by Ian Collins // Photos by Ian Collins and Fred Robinson (action)

VP has been quietly cranking away in the pedal market with various designs at every price point for quite some time now. Despite their efforts, it's fair to say that they have yet to carve out a niche for themselves in the race to deliver a truly iconic place to rest your feet. Recently, they released the Harrier – a fully redesigned flat pedal that contrasts dramatically in both aesthetics and mechanical execution with past offerings from VP. A few months ago, I got my feet on a set and I went about giving them a proper flogging to see what they were made of.

VP Harrier Flat Pedal Highlights

  • Cold-forged one-piece CNC aluminum body
  • Double LSL bearings
  • Forged Cromoly axle, heat treated
  • Forged steel pins, heat treated and replaceable
  • Colors: Black, Red, Silver
  • Size: 120 x 109 x 18 mm
  • Weight: 0 lb 12.8 oz (362 g)
  • MSRP: $120.00 USD

Initial Impressions

When I first pulled the Harriers out of the box I was beyond floored by how big they are, but I was also quite impressed by their nice low profile at only 12mm thin. Three massive cut outs indicate that mud clearance will be a non issue, and 10 well spaced-out, rather tall pins garnish each pedal in logical areas. 6 of the 10 pins thread in from the underside, which should make them easy/possible to replace even if they end up bent out of shape.

The hardware and axle are all nicely finished and the pedals are quite light, especially considering how massive they are. 362 grams is quite light for a pair of pedals this big that don't rely on a plastic frame or titanium spindles to get the weight down. The only feature that caught my eye as potentially problematic was how short the spindle is relative to the width of the pedal – with all the leverage the pedal has on the axle, that spindle better be well engineered.

Heat treated and forged Cro-Moly is a solid, dependable choice for the spindle though, and all in all the initial inspection of the Harriers revealed a pretty sweet looking pair of pedals both on paper and in the flesh. Let's see how they fared on the trail.

On The Trail

As expected the Harriers were super grippy right out of the gate. I had no issues with any of the pins getting bashed apart or snapping off too easily. That's a good start, and even if some pins went south, it would be easy to change them as noted previously.

Now for a couple of unique and notable aspects of the pedal: the lack of an inboard bulge near the crank was warmly welcomed. I have owned a few pairs of flat pedals that “featured” this bulge to house a larger bearing, and while we can argue whether or not it adds to a pedal's durability, it has a rather annoying feel when your shoe is resting on it. Instead, VP chose to utilize a teflon thrust bearing in lieu of a sealed cartridge bearing on the Harrier. This allows them to not only avoid the nuisance of having a bulge on the pedal, but also because a teflon bearing is lower in profile, they were able to make the axle larger and stronger as well...all while maintaining a low profile. One thing worth noting is that there is a normal, very small amount of play that comes along with this type of setup. After a ride or two this play became apparent, but throughout our testing it did not further worsen nor become problematic. When we asked VP about this, they suggested it's best to replace most of the wearable parts after a year of heavy riding, and they offer a $24 rebuild kit to keep the pedals running smooth. My experience with other premium pedals has often involved yearly rebuilds so I can't knock VP for suggesting that.

In terms of how the Harriers feel, aside from the pure traction standpoint, the biggest factor was size. I can't emphasize it enough. At size 11, I don't have huge feet, but I do feel that most flat pedals out there are undersized. When I initially saw how far these stuck out on my bike, I was concerned that clearance would be an issue, but once I rode them a few times, the fretting was put to rest. As someone who always feels like every flat pedal I've used was too small these were a welcome change. Many offerings I've used in the past have been solid, but often after blasting through mid sized chatter, my feet would shift to unfavorable positions. However, when this happened with the VP's I still felt the support from the body of the pedal, likely because there is just more material under my feet.

Lastly, the pedal profile was strictly middle of the road. Neither concave nor convex, the Harriers are dead flat but still feel great underfoot. Some manufacturers claim that the balls of your feet will settle into a concave pedal nicely, and while that may be true, it's not something that stood out as highly beneficial in my experience with other pedals in the past.

Things That Could Be Improved

To be quite frank the most important part of a pedal is feel, and the Harriers check out. If I had to quip about something it would be the slight amount of play, although there is one important distinction that needs to be made when mentioning this: there is no lateral play and the integrity of the pedal isn't compromised. It moves ever so slightly axially, which is not even detectable when riding. Aside from this issue, these are a perfect set of pedals.

Long Term Durability

When it comes to rock strikes and resisting abuse to pins, the Harriers are tough as nails. Their chamfered outer edges encourage rocks and other trailside obstacles to graze past the pedals without causing too much damage or even having the opportunity to grab ahold of something.

As far as the axle and bits the cage rotates on, we're a bit on the fence. In theory VP's execution makes sense, and in practice we've experienced no negative attributes thus far. The fact that the Harriers are fully rebuildable for a mere $24 plus some household tools and a brief gander at a web tutorial on the process instills further confidence and have us feeling like these pedals are in it for the long haul.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you're a size 8, this may not be the pedal for you. If you're someone like Mick Pascal and you have size 13+ clodhoppers, look no further - your prayers have absolutely been answered. If you're somewhere in the middle, you will dig these pedals and they will likely treat you well for a few seasons of proper use. In terms of price, the Harriers strike a solid balance between the average, budget flat pedal, and the top of the line sometimes wildly overpriced offerings out there. In terms of feel, I've owned and ridden dozens of flat pedals ranging from utilitarian to boutique, and these are hands down the best pair I have rested my feet on so far. The price to weight to feel ratio is tough to beat.

Visit www.vp-usa.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Ian Collins grew up racing mountain bikes on the East Coast before moving to California in search of the never ending riding season. Although he's generally a fan of slick and steep riding conditions, Ian has gotten acclimated out west and loves its speed. Also an avid surfer, what's most important to him in a trail is flow. Known for being meticulous and borderline obsessive about bike setup, he aids in product development for local frame builder Turner Bikes when he's not out on a photo mission.

This product has 1 review

Added a comment about slideshow Finding the Flow - Enduro World Series Tweedlove, Scotland Day 2 Slideshow 5/31/2014 11:12 PM
C138_day2a

Anneke's gopro is recording....the red light says so...sick

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This slideshow has 9 comments.

Added a comment about slideshow Unexpected Gnar - Enduro World Series Tweedlove Recon Slideshow 5/29/2014 9:58 PM
C138_day1a

killing it! so much grain! #darkdarkdark

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This slideshow has 14 comments.

Added a comment about video BLAST OFF! - Aggy's Reunion Highlight Video 5/22/2014 12:23 PM
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So heavy!!

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This video has 8 comments.

Added a comment about photo Battling the Sun, Fort William British Downhill Series 2014 5/13/2014 3:43 PM
C138_bds_fortwilliam_1799

Hopefully all 6 of those flashes are linked to his camera.

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This photo has 2 comments.

Added a product review for Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon Full Face Helmet 5/8/2014 10:32 PM
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Tested: Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon Full Face Helmet

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

Review by Ian Collins // Photos by Ian Collins and Fred Robinson

The Troy Lee Designs Daytona series of helmets (that’s the "D" in D3) was originally developed back when mountain bikers wore skin suits and obsessed over ensuring that their 150mm 30-degree rise Ringle stem had the exact same color purple anodizing as their Cook Bros Racing cranks. The Daytona, D2, and D3 have had a few things in common - carbon shells, nicely sculpted vents, badass clean lines, and rad visors. Looks and functionality aside, TLD has also strived to be a class leader in safety over the years.

It almost goes without saying that the D3 helmet is the gold standard in gravity riding and racing - perhaps that’s what makes it the most popular gravity helmet. Since its inception it has been used by several racers and teams that aren't even affiliated with TLD, and in many cases are endorsed by other helmet manufacturers. These demanding athletes don't settle, so they repaint or cover up graphics with their own stickers and ride what keeps them safe and comfortable. We can't be fooled though, we know what they’re are actually wearing.

So what it is about the D3 that draws almost everyone to it? Let’s take an in-depth look at the features and on trail performance.

D3 Carbon Helmet Highlights

  • Aerospace carbon/composite shell construction
  • Dual density shock pad system
  • Exceeds bicycle and snow safety certifications: CPSC 1203, CE EN1077, CE EN1078, ASTM F1952, ASTM F2032, ASTM F2040
  • 20 high-flow intake and exhaust ports with injection-molded intake system and EPS channeling
  • Removable/replaceable/washable CoolMax and Dri-Lex padding
  • Adjustable visor with machined titanium hardware
  • Titanium D-ring chin strap
  • Quick-release cheek pads
  • Includes two visors
  • Includes helmet bag
  • Colors: Speed CF Orange, Finish Line CF Yellow, Gwin Replica CF Black, and Pinstripe II CF Black
  • Six sizes ranging from XS-XXL
  • MSRP $450

Initial Impressions

When you first pull the D3 out of its nice, softly lined travel bag, you'll definitely notice its weight - or rather the lack of it. At around 1,100 grams it's pretty light for the level of protection it offers. Aside from the obvious bold graphics and pops of color, your eyes will be drawn to the little things that speak volumes about TLD’s attention to detail. Finely machined screws that mount the visor and D-ring chin strap closures are both made of titanium.

As one takes a pulled back glance at the helmet, its aerodynamic-looking design and the overall intention it has for moving air become very apparent. This lid is designed to move fast and breathe well. It features a total of 20 vents – 14 up front and 6 out back - most of which are covered in a metal screening that prevents mud from entering the helmet. The sleek rubber molding nicely caps off the carbon shell and assimilates with the graphics all while protecting parts of the helmet that would typically be prone to getting banged up. The sum of these parts all lead up to a very nice package.

On The Trail

After putting the D3 on, the first thing a rider will notice is the plush padding and secure fit. Offered in six sizes from XS-XXL, it fits any head from 20.5 to 25.6-inches in circumference. The helmet fits comfortably, feels solid, and really hugs your head nicely – not to the point that you feel like you're in a sensory deprivation chamber though. It still lets in noises so you can hear your buddies telling you how slow you are, or more importantly, in the event of something catastrophic you won't be unaware because you're deafened by layers of padding and bulk. It's just right with no excessive movement yet it's not overly restrictive either.

As you move around in the D3, those with neck braces will notice and appreciate that the back of the lid is dramatically sculpted to work with all manufacturers offerings without limiting how much you can tilt your head up to look down the trail. The previous TLD D2 helmet wasn't particularly stellar in this department, and was a bit restrictive when worn with a neck brace. You will also love how well the D3 accepts just about every pair of goggles known to man and fits quite nicely with them. The plastic molding that accepts the goggles is tailor-made to ensure that they nestle nicely into place.

Once moving down the trail, as expected the helmet does exactly what it's supposed to. It breathes and ventilates well, doesn't move around under medium successive hits, or even big jarring ones such as fast G-outs. The nicely sized and shaped visor keeps the sun and elements out of your eyes and eyewear, the chin strap doesn't chafe, and the pads feel great. No strange howling noises come from the vents. To top things off, it looks cool and makes even gapers look as "factory" as can be.

Most importantly, it does a great job of protecting the most vital part of your body. In both small and large get-offs, the dual density shock pad system helps protect and absorb impact while transferring minimal shock to the rider's head. As a person who quite often finds himself off the bike unexpectedly, I can say the D3 does an excellent job of protecting and preventing trauma in a variety of unfortunate situations.

Things That Could Be Improved

While this helmet is virtually devoid of flaws, there is one small quip worth mentioning. In the picture below you can see the helmet's pad liner in two different states.

Attached to one liner there is a not-so-plush strip of black plastic that rests on the rider's forehead, and on the other it has been removed. Many users of the D3 complained that the helmet had a tendency to pinch the forehead in two different places just above the eyebrows. After snipping the plastic strip off and re-installing the liner the problem was gone. I was initially concerned that removal of this strip may cause the liner to unravel, but worry not, it's attached by its own independent set of threads. Some will prefer to have the strip installed as it feels more secure. As we all know, heads come in all shapes and sizes, so the fact that it’s easily removable is a nice customization option.

Long Term Durability

This happens to be my second D3 helmet. I spent two plus years on the last one, and the only difference is that this one has a louder set of graphics reminiscent of a custom lid Chris Kovarik had mocked up back in the day. In terms of durability and ease of use this helmet is top notch. TLD has all the bases covered. The pads are easily removable and washable, yet don't breakdown after repeated washings. The helmet cleans up nicely even after being ridden in adverse conditions, and as I stated before, the rubber moldings help protect the lid from getting banged up after being tossed around during day-to-day use. After multiple slide-outs and silly inconsequential crashes the surface coating remained tough and continued to shine. While the visor did crack after a handful of small falls, TLD thought ahead by including a spare visor that perfectly matches the helmet. In the event of a big crash, TLD offers a solid crash replacement policy that will save you a few bucks.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you're in the market for a new helmet and accept nothing but the best to protect your brilliant brain, then look no further. If you want the looks, ventilation, and protection but want to save a few bucks and don't mind an extra few grams, consider one of the composite models for about $75 less. Regardless of which D3 model you choose to ride, you won't be disappointed by it in any way. The smooth lines, killer style, and thoughtful consideration for safety make the D3 one of the best mountain bike helmets your money can buy.

Visit www.troyleedesigns.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Ian Collins grew up racing mountain bikes on the East Coast before moving to California in search of the never ending riding season. Although he's generally a fan of slick and steep riding conditions, Ian has gotten acclimated out west and loves its speed. Also an avid surfer, what's most important to him in a trail is flow. Known for being meticulous and borderline obsessive about bike setup, he aids in product development for local frame builder Turner Bikes when he's not out on a photo mission.

This product has 9 reviews

Added a comment about photo They'd Have to Say it was a Good Day 5/5/2014 12:51 PM
C138_dsc3235

I could probably mock one up for a vital desktop if Spomer wanted to throw a graphic on a full sized pic...

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This photo has 2 comments.

Added a comment about feature The Man Behind BOS - Interview with BOS Suspension Founder, Olivier Bossard 5/2/2014 1:33 PM
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I have no idea. Hopefully pretty soon.

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This feature has 10 comments.

Added a comment about feature The Man Behind BOS - Interview with BOS Suspension Founder, Olivier Bossard 5/2/2014 12:23 PM
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You will dig it. I'm about to make the switch on my trailbike. Well at least on the front end.... Out back when I get a different frame

This feature has 10 comments.

Added a comment about feature The Man Behind BOS - Interview with BOS Suspension Founder, Olivier Bossard 5/2/2014 10:35 AM
C50_92535430_1249143201

nice writeup...I recently jumped on board and slapped a Idylle Rare and Void on my DH bike and am floored by the performance....I have always been a big fan of BOS, but stayed away from air springs until now....I have to say, front and rear it's better than any of the coil setups I've tried in the past...Additionally - as stated, open bath really is the way to go...MOAR oil...the sensitivity on these dampers is unreal...

This feature has 10 comments.

Liked a comment on the item OHLINS ON MY MIND - Riding the Ohlins TTX-Equipped Specialized Demo 8 with Mitch Ropelato and Brad Benedict 4/30/2014 9:50 AM

The TLD gear looks tight but that shock has the wrong fluid inside it.

Added a product review for Galfer Disc Brake Pads 4/24/2014 11:20 PM
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Tested: Galfer Disc Brake Pads and Wave Rotor

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Ian Collins

Galfer has been making high quality brake rotors for motorsports since the 1990's, specializing in making some really high end brake components for superbikes. By really high end we're talking about $1,000 for a pair of brake rotors. That'll put things in perspective for us mountain bikers whining about spending $50 on an average rotor. Anyhow, for whatever reason, they've decided to enter the mountain bike market and to bring their expertise with them. On paper, this is exciting news, given how much effort they've put into designing and developing brake rotors and pads that offer real performance benefits.

I received three different brake pad compounds to test for my brakes – Standard, Pro and Advanced. In addition, I got to test out one set of rotors (160mm/180mm). I use Avid X0 Trail brakes on both my DH bike and my trail bike, so I was able to try out the Galfer pads on both bikes, while the rotors went on my trail bike. It's worth mentioning ahead of time that on all of my Avid brakes I take the stock organic compound pads out and replace them with the much stronger and much more durable metallic compound pads.

Galfer Disc Brake Rotor Highlights

  • Made of Galfer’s proprietary High Carbon 420 SS / 8 composite
  • Laser cut (not stamped like most others)
  • Double disc ground – parallel grinding to assure perfect parallel flatness
  • Patented inner and outer Wave® design minimizes heat transfer, equalizes dissipation and evens out pad wear
  • Heat-treated to each specific application (to assure warp resistance)
  • Each Galfer design is CAD-CAM and tested with a stress analysis program, as well as dyno/real life tested.
  • KBA and TUV approved
  • Compatible brakes: all
  • Mounting style: 6-bolt only (no Centerlock option at present)
  • Available sizes: 140, 160, 180, 203-mm
  • Weights: 100 grams (160mm), 120 grams (180mm)
  • MSRP: $32.25 (160/180mm)

Galfer Disc Brake Pad Highlights

  • Intended use: Standard (1053) for everyday riding // Pro (1554) for racing and/or more aggressive riding
  • Pad compound/material: Standard (1053): Carbon composite with Semi-metallic fibers // Pro (1554): Carbon Kevlar composite with semi-metallic fibers
  • Compatible brakes: all
  • MSRP: Standard (1053): $13.00, Pro (1554): $25.00

Initial Impressions

The rotors are clean and at 12 grams lighter (for the pair) they are about on par weight wise with the stock Avid rotors. They seem logical and well made. The wavy rotor isn't too wild looking and the laser cut-outs look nicely shaped and well placed. Overall, nothing overly "special" to note here.

As for the pads, they are also pretty straight forward. They are nicely packaged, and each compound is color coded with paint on the back of the pad itself. There is a guide on the cardstock in the packaging which indicates strong/weak points for each individual compound based on a rating system that includes four variables : Braking Power, Mud and Dirt Performance, Fade Resistance, and Durability.

Since I sometimes find myself wanting a bit more power on my DH bike, I put the “Pro” pads on my DH bike. These are rated to offer the most bite, at the expense of not lasting quite as long. My trail bike sees pretty standard riding, so I opted to run the “Standard” pads on that bike initially. Let's see how we all got along.

On The Trail

On the trail, the Galfer rotors and pads performed well. The break in time was on par with standard Avid offerings. The Standard and Advanced pads took one to two runs to bed in properly, and they were a bit noisy until they did, while the Pro pads needed only about half a run before they were fully operational. The Pro pads were also quiet from the get go.

In terms of performance, overall there wasn't a huge amount of discerning characteristics between any of the three compounds on offer. They perform as well as or ever so slightly better than a stock Avid rotor paired with standard metallic pads. They are quiet and consistent in all conditions, including the wet. In a sense, this was almost a disappointment, given all the research and experience that went into the development, manufacturing process, and materials of these Galfer pads and rotors. On the other hand, it's also easy to get it wrong, and Avid's XO Trail brake is a good standard to measure up to.

On my DH bike with the “Pro” pads I did notice a slight improvement in power over the metallic sintered Avid pads, and as expected they did wear a bit on the fast side, but certainly not at a rate that would bar them from being a viable contender.

Things That Could Be Improved

There are no major shortcomings to report, and the Galfer pads and rotors are a great alternative to your stock brake parts.

Long Term Durability

Braking parts are expected to just shut up and do their thankless job. These held up great and wore at a totally normal rate. None of the three compounds seemed to wear down exceptionally slowly, or unacceptably fast. I also had a few little rock pings with the rotors and they didn't indicate any particular weaknesses nor did the rotors seem overly susceptible to getting bent out of line too easily. They held their own just fine and stayed as straight as any other rotor I've used in the past.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you're in the market for new brake pads and/or rotors and want to experiment with something a little off the beaten path from a reputable high performance company, then give Galfer a shot. In my opinion they are better than your run of the mill organic pad and on par or slightly better than your average metallic pad. Same with the rotors, no huge performance gain, but just a good solid product. And since they are competitively priced as well, why not give them a try?

Visit www.galferusa.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Ian Collins grew up racing mountain bikes on the East Coast before moving to California in search of the never ending riding season. Although he's generally a fan of slick and steep riding conditions, Ian has gotten acclimated out west and loves its speed. Also an avid surfer, what's most important to him in a trail is flow. Known for being meticulous and borderline obsessive about bike setup, he aids in product development for local frame builder Turner Bikes when he's not out on a photo mission.

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for Galfer Bicycle Wave Brake Rotor 4/24/2014 11:20 PM
C138_galfer_bicycle_wave_brake_rotor

Tested: Galfer Disc Brake Pads and Wave Rotor

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Ian Collins

Galfer has been making high quality brake rotors for motorsports since the 1990's, specializing in making some really high end brake components for superbikes. By really high end we're talking about $1,000 for a pair of brake rotors. That'll put things in perspective for us mountain bikers whining about spending $50 on an average rotor. Anyhow, for whatever reason, they've decided to enter the mountain bike market and to bring their expertise with them. On paper, this is exciting news, given how much effort they've put into designing and developing brake rotors and pads that offer real performance benefits.

I received 3 different brake pad compounds to test for my brakes – Standard, Pro and Advanced. In addition, I got to test out one set of rotors (160mm/180mm). I use Avid X0 Trail brakes on both my DH bike and my trail bike, so I was able to try out the Galfer pads on both bikes, while the rotors went on my trail bike. It's worth mentioning ahead of time that on all of my Avid brakes I take the stock organic compound pads out and replace them with the much stronger and much more durable metallic compound pads.

Galfer Disc Brake Pads and Rotor Highlights

Galfer Rotor:

  • Made of Galfer’s proprietary High Carbon 420 SS / 8 composite
  • Laser cut (not stamped like most others)
  • Double disc ground – parallel grinding to assure perfect parallel flatness
  • Patented inner and outer Wave® design minimizes heat transfer, equalizes dissipation and evens out pad wear
  • Heat-treated to each specific application (to assure warp resistance)
  • Each Galfer design is CAD-CAM and tested with a stress analysis program, as well as dyno / real life tested prior to being offered on the market.
  • KBA and TUV approved
  • Compatible brakes: all
  • Mounting style: 6-bolt only (no Centerlock option at present)
  • Available sizes: 140, 160, 180, 203-mm
  • Weights: 100 grams (160mm), 120 grams (180mm)
  • MSRP: $32.25 (160/180mm)

Galfer Brake Pads:

  • Intended use: Standard (1053) for everyday riding, Pro (1554) for racing and/or more aggressive riding
  • Pad compound/material: Standard (1053): Carbon composite with Semi-metallic fibers, Pro (1554): Carbon Kevlar composite with semi-metallic fibers
  • Compatible brakes: all
  • MSRP: Standard (1053): $13.00, Pro (1554): $25.00

Initial Impressions

The rotors are clean and at 12 grams lighter (for the pair) they are about on par weight wise with the stock Avid rotors. They seem logical and well made. The wavy rotor isn't too wild looking and the laser cut-outs look nicely shaped and well placed. Overall, nothing overly "special" to note here.

As for the pads, they are also pretty straight forward. They are nicely packaged, and each compound is color coded with paint on the back of the pad itself. There is a guide on the cardstock in the packaging which indicates strong/weak points for each individual compound based on a rating system that includes four variables : Braking Power, Mud and Dirt Performance, Fade Resistance, and Durability.

Since I sometimes find myself wanting a bit more power on my DH bike, I put the “Advanced” pads on my DH bike. These are rated to offer the most bite, at the expense of not lasting quite as long. My trail bike sees pretty standard riding, so I opted to run the “Standard” pads on that bike initially. Let's see how we all got along.

On The Trail

On the trail, the Galfer rotors and pads performed well. The break in time was on par with standard Avid offerings. The Standard and Pro pads took 1-2 runs to bed in properly, and they were a bit noisy until they did, while the Advanced pads needed only about half a run before they were fully operational. The Advanced pads were also quiet from the get go. In terms of performance, overall there wasn't a huge amount of discerning characteristics between any of the 3 compounds on offer. They perform as well as or ever so slightly better than a stock Avid rotor paired with standard metallic pads. They are quiet and consistent in all conditions, including the wet. In a sense, this was almost a disappointment, given all the research and experience that went into the development, manufacturing process, and materials of these Galfer pads and rotors. On the other hand, it's also easy to get it wrong, and Avid's XO Trail brake is a good standard to measure up to.

On my DH bike with the “Advanced” pads I did notice a slight improvement in power over the metallic sintered Avid pads, and as expected they did wear a bit on the fast side, but certainly not at a rate that would bar them from being a viable contender (note however that the Advanced compound is not available in the US).

Things That Could Be Improved

There are no major shortcomings to report, the Galfer pads and rotors are a great alternative to your stock brake parts.

Long Term Durability

Braking parts are expected to just shut up and do their thankless job. These held up great and wore at a totally normal rate. None of the 3 compounds seemed to wear down exceptionally slowly, or unacceptably fast. I also had a few little rock pings with the rotors and they didn't indicate any particular weaknesses nor did the rotors seem overly susceptible to getting bent out of line too easily. They held their own just fine and stayed as straight as any other rotor I've used in the past.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you're in the market for new brake pads and/or rotors and want to experiment with something a little off the beaten path from a reputable high performance company, then give Galfer a shot. In my opinion they are better than your run of the mill organic pad and on par or slightly better than your average metallic pad. Same with the rotors, no huge performance gain, but just a good solid product. And since they are competitively priced as well, why not give them a try?

Visit www.galferusa.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Ian Collins grew up racing mountain bikes on the East Coast before moving to California in search of the never ending riding season. Although he's generally a fan of slick and steep riding conditions, Ian has gotten acclimated out west and loves its speed. Also an avid surfer, what's most important to him in a trail is flow. Known for being meticulous and borderline obsessive about bike setup, he aids in product development for local frame builder Turner Bikes when he's not out on a photo mission.

This product has 1 review

Added a comment about slideshow Race Action from Stages 4-6 of the Enduro World Series, Chile 4/22/2014 11:14 PM
C138_day4a

sitting here in blown out socal on my stupid computer and watching these sublime, surreal images on a screen is blowing my mind but also making me hate life...hats off, you guys killed it...I'm beyond envious of you all...holy hell

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This slideshow has 9 comments.

Liked a comment on the item Vital Power Rankings - Cairns, Australia World Cup - The 15 Fastest Racers Going In 4/22/2014 10:44 PM

we can. 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Added a comment about product review Tested: Troy Lee Designs A1 Helmet 4/22/2014 2:46 PM
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30% off MSRP...

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This product_review has 3 comments.

Added a product review for Troy Lee Designs A1 Helmet 4/21/2014 2:36 PM
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Tested: Troy Lee Designs A1 Helmet

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

Review by Ian Collins // Action photos by Fred Robinson

Troy Lee Designs entered the MTB helmet game back in 1993 with an all-mountain helmet made by Shoei featuring a removable chin guard. After some time they quickly became the go to manufacturer for full face gravity helmets. With sculpted shapes and strikingly clean lines, the TLD D2 and D3 were far and away the most popular helmets of their time. Aesthetically speaking TLD lids have always had people talking. Bold and brash paint schemes typically made for some mixed feelings... consumers either loved or hated the style. Be that as it may, they looked fast, felt great and protected riders well, and in turn TLD helmets quickly became a mainstay amongst the gravity crowd.

For whatever reason, aside from a D2 with the jaw protection sawed off, Troy Lee didn't jump into the high performance half lid market until last year. But with Enduro on the rise and trail bikes becoming evermore capable of pushing the limits, inevitably TLD saw a market, and after three years of development, the A1 was born. It became wildly popular immediately after its launch, but in typical TLD fashion everyone was “talking” about its bold styling and slightly steep price tag. The first iteration featured the cyclops graphic, eyeballs and lightning bolts marking a brash entrance into a new category for TLD.

After some demand for a more low key offering, the boys in Corona aptly responded with the "A1 Drone"- a matte gray version with subdued graphics and a very competitive $139 price tag. This year the A1 is back with even more offerings in terms of colorways. Let's see how the latest one treated my dome.

A1 Helmet Highlights

  • Reinforced polycarbonate shell in-molded with the EPS liner extends down the sides and back of the head for maximum protection and durability
  • 8 pressurized intake passages draw in cool air for maximum ventilation
  • 8 rear vacuum vortex outlets help exhaust and draw heat from head
  • Triple position adjustable retention system allows customized fit for various eyewear, head shape and riding styles
  • Single piece, ultra plush, removable and washable comfort liner made of anti-microbial moisture wicking material for a dry, comfortable feel
  • Full spectrum adjustable moto inspired visor with anodized aluminum hardware
  • Race inspired styling
  • MSRP $139, $165 and $185

Initial Impressions

When you first pull the A1 out of the box you'll notice the little things. Before even revealing the helmet, the sticker kit and the helmet bag are a nice touch. While most typically wouldn't think it's even a factor, even the helmet bag was well thought out. The underside is mesh so you can bag the helmet and it'll still air out pretty well. Sounds like it's silly to even mention, but it's a nice touch and keeps your helmet from getting banged up in the back of your car or truck on the ride home while it dries.

Getting down to the nitty gritty, the vents are good-sized and well positioned to ensure that air flows front to back as you ride. The hardware that mounts the visor is machined aluminum, making it easy to tighten and loosen without having to use a screwdriver. Fit is top notch, this thing really cradles your head and feels secure. The adjustable rear harness has a circular dial that's easy to tighten and loosen even with sweaty gloves on, and the precise clicks are a nice touch. The A1 also has three different sets of vertical attachment points for the harness so it fits all sorts of oddly shaped domes like the one I've been cursed with. Other nice touches are how securely the visor sits, and the girthy rubber bands that hold the larger sized flat straps in place.

This lid offers a bit more coverage all around than the average light duty trail helmet, yet isn't quite as bulky and cumbersome as some of the other "enduro specific" offerings out there – a nice happy medium for the average trail ride. When I first put it on I immediately felt the extra material towards the back of my head, and that's a good thing. Overall no complaints on the design side so far.

On The Trail

I got my first A1 at TLD's media launch in Laguna last year so I've already had quite a bit of time in it. Aside from graphics, this year's models are no different.

On long climbs it manages sweat quite well and I've noticed that it never ends up dripping in my eyes unlike my last lid. This might not seem like a big deal, but those little details are refreshing. Maybe it's the way the pads are shaped or designed but the moisture seems to run towards my temples and down the back of my head. The last helmet I had always seemed to funnel the sweat right into my eyes and/or all over my glasses.

On descents the air flow I felt was refreshing. It may sound like I'm drinking the Kool-Aid, but at really high speeds you can feel air pulling up on the top of your head. This is partially due to the large deep internal channels that are carved out on the inside of the helmet to keep air moving through it. Some riders have had mixed feelings about the lack of a major front vent around the forehead, insinuating that the helmet runs a little warm. While the A1 could maybe stand to gain a bit from adding a vent there, personally I found the helmet to run pretty cool, especially given how much protection it offers.

Because I flew off of a cliff in Laguna Beach with a 30-pound camera bag on my back and landed on my head, I can personally vouch for how well the helmet holds up to crashing. It certainly won't collapse or come apart under a serious hit. I was glad it did its job.

While I realize that every head is different and helmets are a very personal piece of equipment, the fit was excellent for me. The straps and retention system hug your head without making it feel constricted even in the roughest terrain when your head is slapping around. The red rubber pad on the inside of the retention system plays a key roll in preventing any excess movement just by adding an extra element of grip and padding.

With overall superb construction and all of the details covered I have a hard time finding any major flaws in this lid.

Things That Could Be Improved

If I had to really dig and find something to complain about I can say that the retention system can get in the way of the arms of glasses a bit. Part of this is because it wraps nicely around the ear area giving it a secure fit. I've found with my personal glasses (SPY Screws) the arms are a bit pinched under the retention system, but when I place them outside of it the glasses seem a bit unsettled. After some fussing around I loosened the adjustment at the back of my head and wore the plastic cradle on the loose-ish side. To my surprise the helmet still felt secure, yet the arms of the glasses no longer dug in. Depending on the glasses you choose to run this could be an issue. A small matter in the grand scheme of things. Especially when you consider that this is one of a few half lids on the market that works with goggles in case you want to really get Enduro.

Lastly, the dork in me would love to see some sort of GoPro mount, but the wannabe-cool-guy in me is glad it isn't there to upset all the smooth clean lines.

Long Term Durability

Like any helmet, the A1 will develop some small surface scratches here and there with use, but nothing beyond cosmetic nicks and dings. The pads are easy to take out and wash but don't deteriorate after a few washes, so overall this thing is in it for the long haul. Personally, I've never met anyone who wouldn't replace their helmet every other year or so anyway.

Last year I had a pretty huge crash on my first A1 and sent it in for inspection and a replacement. If you also happen to clap your dome, TLD offers a great crash replacement program to ensure riders aren't putting themselves at risk by riding with compromised helmets just to save a few bucks. Overall the A1 is a worthy investment that will treat you well for the duration of its lifespan.

What's The Bottom Line?

From the good looks to the thoughtful design considerations and beyond, it's clear that Troy Lee Designs took their time in perfecting the A1. Some may quip about the price being a bit steep, or maybe the looks being a bit loud, but TLD now offers the A1 helmet at various price points with all sorts of paint schemes to fit every wallet and taste. The previously mentioned Drone model features toned down graphics and comes in at $139, which I think is a very reasonable price for such an exceptionally well-made, comfortable, and safe helmet.

Visit www.troyleedesigns.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Ian Collins grew up racing mountain bikes on the East Coast before moving to California in search of the never ending riding season. Although he's generally a fan of slick and steep riding conditions, Ian has gotten acclimated out west and loves its speed. Also an avid surfer, what's most important to him in a trail is flow. Known for being meticulous and borderline obsessive about bike setup, he aids in product development for local frame builder Turner Bikes when he's not out on a photo mission.

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Added a comment about slideshow The 2014 Enduro World Series Kicks Off in Chile 4/19/2014 9:59 PM
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holy shit...finally got a chance to watch this....absolutely bonkers...god damn! you two absolutely CRUSHED it....well done....

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Added a comment about video Josh Carlson's High-Speed, Race-Ending Crash at Enduro World Series, Chile 4/19/2014 9:04 PM
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So gnarly! Josh is a savage...hope he recovers quickly

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