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Added a product review for X-Fusion Hilo SL Seatpost 5/14/2014 2:36 PM
C138_hilo_sl_125

Another Dropper Post

Rating:

The Good: The spirit of enduro likes this post.

The Bad: Leaky oil kills plants and makes hippies angry.

Overall:

Over the past few years, X-Fusion has made quite a stir in the MTB suspension industry. These days, when one considers a new fork or shock, the name X-Fusion usually comes up in a conversation along with the major players like Fox Racing Shox, and Rock Shox when discussing suspension options. Given my friend’s raving reviews about X-Fusion’s forks, and the usual customer service benefit of dealing with a smaller company, I figured I would give their new dropper post, the HILO SL 125mm, a try on my trail bike.

The Hilo SL has a claimed weight of 450g without the cable, making it lighter than the gold standard of travel adjust seat posts, the Rock Shox Reverb (520g). The HILO SL is available with a seat post diameter of 30.9mm and 31.6 mm, and is infinitely adjustable (ie- you can adjust the post to any height you want while riding). The post also has a traditional seat mounting apparatus, so your seat does not fold back on you when you land on it hard.

Setup:

Setting up the HILO is basically the same as setting up the Specialized Command Post or FOX DOSS seat posts. The hardest part is figuring out exactly how long to make the cable, because the cable is attached to the seat head. Therefore, you have to have certain amount of ‘free play’ in the cable so that the post can actually go up and down in an unrestricted fashion. Anyone with half a brain can do it. X-Fusion provides directions with the post, and has a set of awesome online service videos that will answer any questions you may have. Also, the pinch bolt that holds the cable in place on the post does not need to be torqued very tight. Be careful, as the head of the bolt is very easy to strip.

Riding the Post:

The post goes up and down, just as advertised. I personally like the infinite adjustability provided by the post. On the Command Post, for example, I sometimes find the trail mode to be too low but the climb mode to be too high for a certain trail grade. The HILO does not have this problem. Another thing to consider with this post is that the post doesn’t bottom out like most other travel adjust seat posts. So, someone trying to get his or her seat post as low as possible in the down position could have trouble with this post. I have attached an image below showing the low position on the post. Also, the lever actuator isn’t the most refined when compared to options from other companies. But, it does work.

Down Position of the X-Fusion Hilo SL

Reliability/Ease of Service:

Unfortunately, I have not had the best luck with this post. From day 1 the post has leaked oil. Granted, the post still works, but it is very annoying to have to wipe dirt and oil off your seat tube after every ride. Over time, it predictably developed some sag under the load of you sitting on the seat. Despite leaking oil out, the post worked for over six months, and then crapped out randomly.

I attempted to service the post myself at this point, but I ran into trouble trying to get the seal head of the post loose. In order to do this, you will need a very good strap wrench. I broke two of these trying to get the seal head off, only to give up and have X-Fusion service the post at Sea Otter.

At Sea Otter, I gave the mechanic a rebuild kit for the post and tried to bribe him with a bottle of Pliny the Elder (but he did not drink). Regardless, he rebuilt it within the hour. But, when I re-installed the post again, it immediately leaked oil.

From other people I have talked to that own the post, about 50% of them have a leaky post, and the other half does not (Sample size=4). Maybe I got one out of a bad batch; who knows.

Overall, I would rate the post very highly if I could just figure out how to get the post to not leak oil. However, when you factor in the leaky seal head, and difficulty to service, I can’t recommend that anyone buy the HILO over a Reverb or KS Lev. The post goes up and down, has a normal seat clamp mechanism, and has been seemingly reliable despite leaking oil for 6 months and 300 miles of riding. But, you have to like having oil spew out all the time. If you are cool with the possibility of this happening to you, the X-Fusion HILO SL is your golden dropper post.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Banshee Bikes Spitfire V2 Frame 5/13/2014 11:15 PM
C138_2013_banshee_spitfire_frame

The Affordable, Downhiller's Trail Bike

Rating:

The Good: Shreds the gnar.

The Bad: Enduro will eat your soul.

Overall:

In a day and age dominated by $10,000 luxury trail bikes like the Santa Cruz Bronson and Nomad, or the S-Works Specialized Enduro and Stumpy Evo, the all mighty spirit of enduro has led us to believe that the only way we can ever hope to be STRAVA KOM is to empty our life savings. Luckily, for us non-industry, normal people, there are still a few semi-affordable, durable trail bikes with real geometry and the latest bike industry marketing tools (aka 650b), that can keep our hopes alive. Yes bike industry pawns, it is still possible to not spend a fortune and get an absolute ripper of a bike. The Banshee Spitfire is one of these bikes. It is not the lightest all mountain frame, nor the best in it’s class at climbing or descending, but it does everything well, and you’d be a fool to not put this bike on your short list of viable ‘downhill-able trail bikes’.

The V2 Spitfire is Banshee’s latest attempt at creating the downhiller’s trail bike at an affordable price point. It has adjustable geometry, 12x142 rear dropouts, adjustable dropouts for 26” or 27.5” rims, a tapered head tube, a paint job that actually stays on the frame, a full-length seat tube, and 140mm of travel. That is a lot of what I want in an all mountain, or to be politically correct, ‘enduro specific’ bike. The head tube is slack, the BB is low, the wheelbase feels just right, and you can always adjust the geo if you want something different for varying terrain. Further, if you don’t have the coin for 650B wheels at this time, you can use the 26” dropouts and upgrade when your budget allows, with little affect on the geometry of the frame. To top it off, you can buy one of these frames online today for less than $1700 bucks.

I should point out at the start that Banshee has already revised the V2 Spitty for 2014 by making it .5lbs lighter, including stealth dropper cable routing, and including water bottle cage mounts. Those are my main issues with my 2013 frame, and they are fixed for anyone shopping for a new 2014.

So let’s get onto the fun stuff- how does this bike work on the trail?

Climbing:

To start, this bike does not climb like a SC Bronson, Giant Trance SX Advanced, or the older SC Blur LTC. It is heavier than all of these frames, and a bit sluggish on the climbs in comparison. To add to the issue, most people running the Spitfire the way it is intended will run bigger, slower rolling tires, and that will not help anyone get up the hill quick.

That said, the bike does not climb badly; it’s just not a carbon XC bike. I do NOT notice any suspension bob while climbing, and with my Pike lowered to 130mm, I have to try to get the front end to come up, even on extremely steep stuff. That really means a lot to me, as Marin County (where I live and ride), has many extremely steep fire-road climbs. For someone with average legs, this bike is perfectly fine for 20ish mile/4K vert rides- anything more than that and I would look for a different bike.

Descending:

This winter, my DH bike was out of commission, and the Spitfire became my quiver of one- from DH shuttles to massive, pain inducing XC rides, it handled it all. My thoughts below are biased toward the negative, because I mostly compare this bike to my downhill bike. I have to remind myself that the Spitfire is a trail bike. I’ve been mind fucked- it’s that good.

Anyway, after 100K vert of treating the Spitty like a DH bike, I have picked up on what it likes and what it doesn’t. Anyone using this bike like a normal trail bike will be absolutely thrilled with its descending capabilities. It is only when you treat the Spitfire like a DH bike that you will get a reality check thrown at you. For normal, flowy, Santa Cruz-esque single track, the Spitfire is spot on. The bike is stable at speed and in the steeps, corners well, handles moderate rock gardens at will and accelerates on a dime- it is confidence inspiring and I really can’t ask for anything more on these types of trails. The geometry (I have my bike set up in the low position with 650B wheels) is simply spot-on, and let’s you pretend that you are on a bigger bike.

However, once you start to hit bigger doubles, drops, and high-speed rock gardens, you will notice the limitations of the 140mm shredder. I think most of my criticism of the frames’ descending abilities could be fixed by having a better shock on the frame (ie- Float X). On drops, jumps, and harder hits in general, I don’t feel like the Float CTD shock has the mid stroke or ending stroke support that it should, and I believe it holds the bike back. The bike has a tendency to plow through the travel, even with the most progressive volume adjust spacer installed on the Float CTD. This can get annoying for an aggressive rider. If anything, I just don’t hold the belief that the rear end of the bike will bail me out if I case a bigger jump or drop. In order to compensate, I have increased the shock pressure so that I get roughly 10% sag. This changes the way the bike handles through loose sections, high-speed sections, and rocky sections. Overall, the rear end is not as supple, and I feel like I have less traction and control of the rear end. But, this is a compromise in order to have a little more support on a bigger hit. I would love to see what a better, more ‘enduro specific’ shock would do on this frame. Keep in mind, I notice these limitations on trails that most people ride DH bikes on, so some of what I have said should be expected on a 140mm trail bike.

Random Stuff:

The Banshee build quality is second to none. The welds are nice looking, the paint is still on the frame (no paint chips), and the frame has not dented after being essentially raped to death. The bearings have held up so far, and I’ve had a pivot bolt come loose once, but that was my fault. That said, I am bummed my bike does not have a water bottle cage, and it would be oh so nice if it was lighter (or carbon). This is fixed for 2014. Also, it would be nice to have the cable routing points on the down tube a bit higher up toward the head tube to make the cables not stick out as much.

Other Notes:

*Leaving the fork in 130mm mode while descending turns the bike into a slalom machine. It’s ridiculous how well it corners.

*My bike sits at 32lbs with a semi respectable build. *If you are going to run a chain guide, you will most likely have to do some modifying in order to get the guide to clear the swing arm. *I am drunk. Please disregard spelling, grammar, and any references to enduro actually being cool.

In summary, the Spitfire is rad. If you are a downhiller on a budget, you should absolutely consider it as your next trail bike.

This product has 4 reviews.

Added a product review for e*thirteen E.13 Dh/Am Crankset W/ BB 9/27/2012 3:29 PM
C138_cr261a01

The Alternative Crank

Rating:

The Good: 1)They are stiff, and the tabs don't bend. 2)They are quiet 3)They look cool 4)Reasonable weight

The Bad: The crank arm comes loose and the finish on the cranks fades over time.

Overall:

I said in my review of the Shimano Saint Cranks that they were the only cranks I would ever buy. Well, I lied, and I blame Specialized. Thanks to the super, mega sector awesome new industry standard dubbed pf30 on my Demo 8 frame, I was forced to buy a new set of cranks to rid the annoying, creaking, horrible plastic pf30 to 83mm BB adapter that came with my frame. The adapter would self extract, and leave me hating my life.

Being the semi-smart guy I am, I listened to what e-nerds on Ridemonkey were saying and I learned that e13 was making a press fit BB for their new LG1 crank. I immediately bought it, and it was expensive.

The cranks/bb came in a fancy box with some directions and such. Nothing special there. The cranks also had a mass and they needz moar carbonz bro. Again, nothing special there. The cranks also did not say Shimano on them. That’s an auto –50 gnar points right there.

The cranks did look cool however, and the crank spindle was much bigger than my old Saint spindle due to the PF30 BB. Bigger is always better. Ask the bro’s with those 15 inch lifted trucks how bad ass they are… In reality there is no difference in the stiffness of the Saint cranks with 83mm BB and the oversize spindle pf30 BB E13 cranks. Seriously mtb industry, fuck you. Seriously. Stop introducing worthless standards.

Anyway, now is where the actual review starts :p.

I put these cranks/bb on my Demo frame and I no longer have any creaking noises coming from my bottom bracket. I thrashed these guys this summer with 23 Northstar days, 6 days at Mammoth, 4 days at Whistler, and shuttle days everyday that I wasn’t working or riding lifts. The crank arms and tabs are still straight as new, which is the most important factor to me in a crank.

This is what the cranks look like today.

However, I’d give the E13 cranks a C in the second most important factor of a solid crank, which is that once you install it you never have to look at it again. The E13 cranks have a tendency to come loose when you ride them a lot and it is a pain in the ass to always be thinking about your cranks coming loose. I carry an 8mm allen around now just in case.

That said, the E13 cranks are the best current alternative to the almighty Saint Crank. I don’t know which is heavier and frankly I don’t care. There is no difference to me in stiffness between the Saint and the E13 crank. To me, the main difference is that the Saint is set and forget and the E13 is never set, it’s just constantly loosening.

They’re still great cranks, but I’ll take my Saint’s back thanks. If E13 can get my cranks to stay on my bike for me I would rate these just as highly as my old Saint cranks, which are now still chugging along underneath another dude that still shreds the crap out of them daily.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Shimano Saint Crankset M815 Crank 8/1/2012 10:40 PM
C138_cr292j01_165_83

The Best DH Crank. Period.

Rating:

The Good: 1)Extremely reliable 2)Extremely durable 3)It says Shimano on it. It must be good.

The Bad: 1)Could be lighter(lol) 2)Graphics will wear off eventually(also lol)

Overall:

The Good:

These cranks are extremely reliable/durable. You install the BB and cranks and you basically have to do nothing ever again(except grease the BB occasionally). You could literally throw your bike of the empire state building and the cranks will still be in perfect working order. There aren't too many products I would say this about. In all seriousness, I have bashed my set of Saint Cranks on hundreds of rocks, bottom bracket cased big jumps and drops, and the Saint's never let me down. After three years of hard riding my cranks have a bunch of scratches, but are perfectly straight(the tabs too). I did go through one bottom bracket in November of last year after a ton of mud somehow got in there and seized the bearing after the Angel Fire Collegiate Nationals disaster, but other than that, I've never had an issue with this set up. I can't put into words how great these things are.

The cranks are also very stiff. I don't notice any flex, or play in the crank/bb set up, which is big plus. Also, once set up properly there is no creaking of any sort. And they say Shimano on them.

The Bad:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with these cranks. Sure, weight weenies on Ridemonkey will say that they could be lighter, but I don't want these cranks to be(unless they will still survive the apocalypse). I like buying one set of cranks every 3-4 years and not going thru multiple crank arms per season. The graphics do wear off, but that means that you that you actually ride your bike, and don't sit behind a laptop wasting your life away. You should be proud the graphics on your crank have worn down.

Summary: Do you need cranks?

A - Yes--> Buy these!

B - No-->Buy these anyway.

One last thing. Chainreaction usually has these for a very good price. I've always ordered stuff from them because it's literally like stealing Saint stuff depending on the currency conversion at the time.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for RockShox Boxxer R2C2 Fork 7/25/2012 10:22 PM
C138_fk268a47_black

The Official "Budget" DH Fork

Rating:

The Good: 1)Smooth with fresh grease/oil 2)Adjustable- High/low speed compression and beginning/ending stroke rebound 3)Relatively Cheap 4)Easy to rebuild 5)Relatively light

The Bad: 1)Needs to be rebuilt all of the time for best performance 2) It's flexy 3)Doesn't come with the correct amount of oil

Overall:

The Good:

1)With fresh oil in the lowers, a rebuilt damper, and a ton of slick honey on the seals the fork feels really good. The problem is that the feel doesn't last. I went threw countless sets of seals/dust wipers on this fork.

2)The fork is quite adjustable for the price. You get three springs which can easily be swapped out if you do not fit the stock spring rate, and a multitude of adjustments(Bottom out, high and low speed compression, and beginning/end of stroke rebound)

3)The $850 price point puts this fork in a price range that your typical downhill rider might actually be able to afford.

4)The fork is relatively light for a coil fork.

5)The fork is simple to rebuild. Anyone with some directions, a few special tools and a few minutes to spare can do it.

The Bad:

Before I start, I just want to say that it may seem like I am being negative about this fork. That's because I kind of am, but I am just trying to be completely honest. I really feel you can get a better fork for the money.

1) As I said above, the fork needs to be rebuilt(oil in lowers and slick honey on seals) after almost every weekend of riding in order for it to actually feel good. After a normal weekend of riding, the suppleness in the initial part of the travel tends to dissipate, which yields arm pump to the rider and kind of takes away a rider confidence coming into anything rough. This could be isolated to certain riding environments like Northstar(where I usually ride), which is especially dusty.

This might not be a deal breaker for some but for me I had this fork apart way to much. Also, when you throw copious amounts of slick honey on the seals, the stanchion of the fork usually retains some of the grease, so you end up getting more dirt on your stanchions, which ends up in your seals and lowers of the fork. You are trying to fix the problem, but by fixing the problem you are just recreating the problem, and creating a need to buy new seals. This is the reason Fox tells you to not grease the seals when rebuilding your fork.

2)The fork is more flexy than its counterparts(Fox 40, Manitou Dorado, 888). This could actually be a benefit to you if your a lighter rider, or prefer a more flexy fork, but I feel like I am more in control and more confident in my riding with a different fork up front. The flex is especially evident to me in corners and in rock gardens where the front tire can be deflected from side to side. However, this fork(flex wise) is a major improvement upon the previous generation of the fork.

3)It is a well known that Rock Shock's quality control isn't the best. My fork came with hardly any oil in it which was very disappointing to me after paying my hard earned money. It's an easy fix, but for those who are clueless on how to work on a fork this could present a problem.

In conclusion, the Boxxer R2C2 is a good fork when you put in the work to keep it maintained. It did not mesh well with me, but it may work well for you. It obviously must mesh well with somebody because this is probably one of the most popular forks you will see at any bike park. However, personally, I would buy the 888 Rc3 or even the 888 CR for the same price if I was to buy a fork in under $900 price range again. The 888, to me, is a far superior fork in ride quality and reliability to the Boxxer.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Shimano Saint Hydraulic Disc Brake 7/25/2012 9:38 PM
C138_96637030_1266948702

The Only Brake I Will Ever Buy

Rating:

The Good: 1)Reliability 2)Power/Modulation 3)Easy to Bleed 4)Lack of brake fade

The Bad: 1)The metallic replacement brake pads tend to squeal like a pig.

Overall:

Good:

1)I've been using the same set of Saint brakes since June of 2009 and only a month ago did I have to bleed the brakes. I probably ride roughly 30-35 bike park days per year and shuttle at least once per week. I've never experienced another brake that I've never had an issue with. Just replace the pads as you ware them down and you are good to go. If you do run into issues, I've found there is usually a Shimano tech at most West Coast races and they will not hesitate to get you sorted out. SRAM may lead in the warranty replacement department, but that doesn't help you if they aren't at the race.

2)The Saint brakes are the most powerful brake I've ridden. There is no fade as you go down the hill. OK, maybe there is a little, but compared to other brakes(Avid Code, Elixr, older Hayes offerings, etc) there isn't any fade. Most of the trails I ride are 15+ minutes of DH, so this makes a big difference to me. The power allows you to easily and consistently one finger brake which reduces arm pump and stress on the rider. I also can lock the brake out when I want to or just slow down without skidding. It's like the jack of all trades.

3)These brakes are extremely easy to bleed. If you can't figure it out, you have no business owning a mountain bike. All you do is put new mineral oil in at the top and old fluid flows out at the caliper. There is no fancy bleed kit or special tools necessary. It's just plain easy.

Bad:

1)As said above, the metallic replacement brake pads from Shimano tend to squeal like a pig. I've fixed this by using the organic pads. A con of the organic pads is that they deliver a bit less braking power according to forum nerds and ware out a bit faster than their metallic counterparts.

2)This isn't really a negative, but the rear brake cable is very long. If you are lazy like me and never cut your brake cables people will look at you funny.

In summary, these brakes have made me a Shimano fan boy for life. The Saints are everything one could possibly want in a brake and more. 5/5 stars

This product has 6 reviews.

Added a product review for FOX 40 FIT RC2 Fork 7/15/2012 9:59 PM
C138_31ypohcqunl._ss500

The Staple DH Fork

Rating:

The Good: 1)Stiffness 2)Highly Adjustable 3)Reliability 4)Race Support

The Bad: 1)Spring rattle 2)You will cry when you scratch your Kashima coated stanchion.

Overall:


Good:

1)The 40 is the stiffest of the DH forks available. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your weight, riding style, etc. Personally, I find this as an advantage. You can throw this fork where you want it in rocks. There is no noticeable flex. The fork does not wallow from side to side thru "gnar rox" like a Boxxer does. The stiffness can create a disadvantage in corners where you would want a little bit of flex to stop the front wheel from sliding out, but I don't notice it. I have heard some of my friends comment on this, however.

2)The 40 is extremely adjustable. I think a lot of people that rate this fork poorly have no idea how to set up a fork. Start at close to full open and go in from there until you find your happy place. Also, I highly recommend throwing on a pair of SKF seals. These made a huge difference in the suppleness of the fork on my 2011 40. Although it is not the most supple fork on the market, it should be smooth enough to please anyone.

3)I've found the 40 to be a very reliable fork. After 25+ days of Northstar, riding thru the winter, and the start of this bike park season, I have yet to blow a seal, damper, etc. I change the oil every 20 or so rides and that seems to keep the fork working well. It is also relatively easy to work on. There are no stupid pins/clips holding adjusters on the lowers that you need to pry off in order to change the fork oil(aka boxxer). It is no 888, but when compared to a Boxxer this fork is like a marathon runner instead of the slow fat kid trying to run a quarter mile(reliability wise).

4)Fox has amazing customer service at races. Want your fork rebuilt? Want 2012 dampers in your 2008 40? Go talk to them. You'll be amazed at what they will help you with.

Bad:

1)Spring rattle. On every 40 I've ridden the spring rattles around. The easy fix is to throw a second elastic spring cover thingy on your fork spring.

2)I fell off a cliff at Whistler and put a dent in my left upper stanchion. I cried inside when I had to sell out 250 bucks for a new stanchion to preserve my Whistler trip. That's all I can come up with for negatives.

Overall, I give it 4.5 stars. Just because of the spring rattle issue.

This product has 7 reviews.

Added a product review for Specialized Demo 8 Frame 6/26/2012 1:48 PM
C138_specialized_demo_8_frame

The Shredtastic Shredder- Updated 10/31/12

Rating:

The Good: Almost everything.

The Bad: Almost nothing.

Overall:

The Specialized marketing team has declared the Demo 8 “the world’s fastest downhill machine,” that “oozes premium downhill performance,” and by watching the likes of Sam Hill and Troy Brosnan shred the bike to pieces, Specialized has attempted to force you to believe that this bike is totally mega sictor awesome, is mean looking, will impress all of your friends, and make hot naked chicks shuttle you all because you and your bike are so rad. Unfortunately for Specialized, they didn’t drop the ever growing Sam Hill and pay the big bucks to America’s rock Jesus, Aaron Gwinn, who has now shown that the Trek is the only bike worth a damn.

To be put simply, this bike is almost what the Specialized marketing task force has spent so much money trying to make you believe. Will hot naked chicks shuttle you? No, the Ronald McDonald paint scheme drives them away because they think they will get fat (Possible connection to Sam Hill’s weight gain last season? It’s ironic at least). Will the bike make you finish races with the power and force that Viagra wishes they could achieve? Maybe. All in all, the bike does shred the crap out of almost anything, and it may even make you a faster rider. It is, in my opinion, one of the top DH frames for the money that you can buy.

Let’s start with the things that don’t suck about this bike. I will periodically compare the Demo to the current model Turner DHR, as both the bikes aren’t plow bikes and are highly regarded by downhill riders.

1) Cost: For $2650 you get a Demo 8 frame with a Double Barrel, FSA headset, and Thompson post. That is a darn good deal compared to offerings from other companies.

2) The ride. This should really take up number’s 2-X in the things that don’t suck category, but my college writing professor told me I suck at organizing things so I’m going to throw it all in here. Let’s start with the geometry. The Demo 8 boasts a 64-degree head angle (low setting), 13.5-inch bottom bracket (low setting), 16.57-inch chain stay, and 46. 89inch wheelbase (for a medium frame).

This combination equates to a very low, fast, playful, and light feeling bike that emits confidence to its rider. Coming off of a DW Turner DHR, to me, this bike feels lower. You will bash rocks with your pedals until you get used to it. This was surprising to me as I am used to riding very low bikes and I was still clipping pedals left and right.

This does, however, create an awesome cornering machine. Combined with the 64-degree head angle, the short chain stay, and the low BB height, you can really lay this bike over in a corner. The shortish chain stay also adds an element of flickability to the bike. The Demo is a fun bike to ride, whether you are railing corners and scrubbing jumps or mashing gnar east coast roxs.

As far as shock set up with the double barrel, I found Specialized’s base settings a very good starting point. I only changed the rebound settings from what they had to 1 click faster on low speed rebound. For those that don’t have them, the settings are HSC=2.75 revs, LSC=10 clicks, HSR=3 revs, LSR=9 clicks. All of these numbers are from full open (no clicks), meaning that the adjuster is turned as far counter clockwise as possible.

Once I got the shock dialed on the Demo (didn’t take long) I started to mash the bike as hard as I could down Tunnel in SB. Granted, I would not call the Demo a plow bike as per the v10, but it can definitely handle mashing over whatever is in front of you if you take a less than ideal line choice. The faster you go, the smoother the bike seemed to get. For a comparison, the Demo is noticeably smoother in the rough stuff than the DW DHR (in my opinion).

The Demo also has an ideal wheelbase at 46.89 inches (medium). It’s long enough that you can haul the mail down the wide open trails yet still get through tight corner’s with ease. The wheelbase is a safe middle ground between the two extremes.

The Demo also is able to pump and jump with ease, but this is one of the areas where I feel the DW DHR outperforms the Demo. I don’t think there is any bike out there that will accelerate faster out of corners, and pump better than the DHR, but the Demo is quite close to the performance of the DHR. If all you do is jump, pump and scrub your way down A-Line and Dirt Merchant, the DHR might be a good weapon of choice. But if you ride rocks, and some rougher trails, the Demo is the way to go.

The last thing to talk about is pedaling, the downhill bikes arch enemy. The Demo pedals very, very well. In fact, the Demo pedals better than probably 90 percent of all other downhill bikes. However, the DW DHR pedals better. This is just an observation from my time on the two bikes.

3) The black and red paint scheme looks sick, and the paint has yet to start chipping off. Specialized also puts clear bra on the down tube of the Demo from the factory so you don’t have to. But don’t get the Ronald McDonald version. You will auto-gain 15 pounds and ride like crap.

4) The Demo also comes with a bunch of neat features. The derailleur hanger protector is a nice added touch, and the adjustable geometry by flipping the shock bushing is so simple a hipster could not screw it up.

Now we can talk about the things that totally suck about the Demo 8:

In reality, nothing about this bike totally sucks, but I do have some pet peeves about the bike that make me want to start calling Specialized special-ED again. I really have nothing negative to say about how the bike rides. The only faults I could come up with I listed as a comparison to the DHR above.

1) The stupid BB30 crap. Kill it now. It’s stupid and is a pain in the butt. I had to waste money and buy new cranks. The plastic BB30 adapter that comes with the frame is self-extracting and creaks. My best advice if you get the frame is to get the e13 pf30 BB/crank combo. Then you will not hate your new bike.

2) The cable routing. Again, Specialized cannot make a simple cable routing system. They tried at least this time, but it’s such a tight fit to bolt the cable into the frame, that most allen keys won’t be able to do the job.

3) Fox 40 incompatibility. Yes, I used the spacer under the crown race, and put the “special” bumpers on the fork so I don’t crack my head tube, but you will still have about 3/4ths the turn radius of any other DH fork/frame combo on the market. It’s annoying, but I’m not buying a new fork.

4) The double barrel spring rubs on the shock body making a pleasant noise. Nothing you can do about this except to cut the black plastic protector off the double barrel shock body, or just ride the crap out of the bike until the spring rubs down the plastic protector.

That’s all I got. If you take any of my sarcastic jokes seriously I failed. The Demo is an awesome bike, and I’m going to be riding it until it breaks.

5/5

BTW, I am 5’11 and ride a medium. I could have gone either way between a medium and a large and would have been happy with either.

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for Specialized Enduro Expert Bike 6/26/2012 9:33 AM
C138_enduro_expert

The Downhiller's One Bike

Rating:

The Good: To put it simply, this bike rides like a DH bike but allows you to peddle to the top. The geometry, and suspension design allows you to throw your bike into the gnarliest of lines and come out clean. I've ridden this bike in every environment, from Northstar rocks to fast flowy single track and it's very difficult if not impossible to find a bike that excels as well as the Enduro in all conditions. If you are a rider that likes to haul the mail and can only afford one bike, this is without a doubt it. Good: 1) Geometry 2)Ability to plow through anything like a DH bike 3)Built to last. I ride my bikes hard, and have trashed this bike and it's still going strong. After a year and a half of shuttling, lift riding, and local xc riding(which may as well be downhilling as well) the bike has no dents in the frame and only a few minor scratches. The frame bearings are all still good, and the frame has no noticeable flex when riding hard.

The Bad: There are 5 things that I don't really like about the Enduro. Some can be easily changed but some cannot. 1) The cable routing under the frame. This is not really a problem if you don't shuttle, or ever throw your bike over a tailgate, but I really wish bicycle companies would consider this when designing the cable routing. 2)The shock: I debated putting this in the bad category as it does do many things well, but if you are an aggressive/heavier rider, the shock has a tendency to blow through the travel on harder hits(G outs, small drops, big square edge bumps) 3)The offset specialized stem. Over time, the spacer for the stem will decide it's worn out and you will literally be able to flex your handlebars up and down a half inch. Ditch the specialized stem and buy a Thompson. 4)Not coming with a travel adjust fork. This bike will climb much better with a travel adjust fork(Specialized specced the 2012 enduro expert with a travel adjust fork). On steeper climb the bike makes you feel like your riding a wheelie. This is a give and take though. The geo of the bike yields amazing DH performance so it's understandable the way the bike climbs. From personal experience a travel adjust fork will make this thing a much more eager climbing machine. 5) The Specialized seat will eventually start to creak; get a new one. Also, if you are using a Specialized Command Post, crank the bolt that holds the seat in place five times harder than you would anything else, or your seat will self adjust.

Overall:

Overall, you want this bike if you are a gravity focused rider that can only have one bike. If you have a DH bike and are looking for a trail bike, look for a smaller bike. The only reason I say that is because this bike climbs like a pig compared to other bikes in its class. The Nomad, Ibis Mojo, etc all pedal much better. The tradeoff is the Enduro rides down the trail better. Personally, I will be selling this bike to get a lighter, more XC friendly bike at the end of the year, but that is because I have a DH bike to ride, and this bike creates some overlap in the bike stable.But, in summary, this bike is rad. You will not be disappointed if you buy one.

This product has 6 reviews.

Added a product review for Turner DHR Frame 12/21/2011 9:45 PM
C138_turner_dhr

Turner DHR

Rating:

The Good: This is the best pedaling DH bike there is. The bike corners like it's on rails and and jumps and pumps off of small features like no other DH bike I have ridden.

The Bad: I think the RC4 is poor match for the progressive linkage design of the DHR. Although the bike was smooth overall, I had an issue with the rear shock spiking when going over small hits at higher speeds. I also wasn't too fond of the stiff feeling the shock provided when going through "nastier" rock gardens. I really would have liked to ride the frame with a Double Barrel or Vivid Air to see how this would have changed, but seeing as the DHR is specced with an RC4 I think what I said above is fair to point out. Turner's quality straight up sucks. I really can't word that any nicer. My ISCG tabs were out of spec, the bb threads needed to be chased, the head tube needed to be reamed, and there was burn through in the bb and the headset. The frame I got should not have made it through a quality control check. The best part was Turner's response was to file down a chain guide. The legendary Turner customer service was nonexistent in my experience.

Overall: Overall, the DHR is a great DH bike, but after my experience with this frame I will never buy another Turner. Turner wouldn't return calls or emails and that is not okay in my book. The bike is not a plow bike. If you ride smoother trails with lots of jumps and berms you'd be hard pressed to find a better performing bike. If you like to plow through rocks, look elsewhere.

This product has 3 reviews.