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Added a comment about photo Jared Graves' Prototype Long-Travel Yeti SB6C with Switch Infinity 7/24/2014 10:58 AM
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I think I read that the pivot only goes a few millimeters up and down so maybe a plastic (or carbon) plate could snap over and act as a mud guard. Fox might insist on making it see-through to show off all that kashima?

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Liked a comment on the item Excellent all-around wheelset 7/15/2014 8:50 PM

Solid review! Picked up on many finer details. Well done.

Added a comment about product review Tested: Royal Racing Quantum Glove 7/14/2014 4:16 PM
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Test these out if possible ahead of time. I picked up a pair and the size felt too large than what a normal medium should.

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Added a product review for Spank Spike Race28 Wheelset 7/14/2014 3:43 PM
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Excellent all-around wheelset

Rating:

The Good: tough and relatively light at a good price

The Bad: hub adapters for 142mm or 157mm axles cost extra

Overall:

Earlier this spring I decided to pick up a set of these wheels to help drop some weight on my DH bike and to add a little bling to the bike. The somewhat heavy stock wheels were the obvious choice for me to shed some weight and after calculating what the swap would do, I estimated that I would save a pound from going to the Spank Race 28 wheels and another pound by going to slightly lighter tires (Schwalbe Magic Mary super gravity casing) set up tubeless. The change was noticeable right away.  After three months of riding them on shuttled trails and bike park tracks, I am glad to have gone this direction and have seen no drawbacks to the way they perform on the trail.

These wheels are a winner in the weight, strength and price categories. I also like that these wheels do not have proprietary parts.  I have spent a number of years on other wheels that used special spokes and truing wrenches. Getting replacement parts meant waiting for the shop to do the repair or order in parts as they didn't have them in stock. 

As far as the tire installation goes, the way the rim is designed rims can make things tougher than normal.  There is not a deep groove to drop the tire bead in when mounting it up.  Add that to the fact that it is recommended to not use tire levers on tubeless tires, setting these puppies up tubeless was quite a chore.  I have done enough tubeless set-ups to know that the whole process is a combination of more than just a tire or a rim so I don't want to over-emphasize the difficulty here but it seems pretty obvious that the reason is the rim profile. In the end I finally got them on and was ready to roll.  Another issue with having the rim higher than normal is that the valve stem sticks through the rim a bit less.  This can make it harder to get certain pumps on the stem when inflating it.  My floor pump seems to grab it just fine but the hand pump I take on the trail is hit and miss.  I would suggest getting the lesser common 48mm valve stem length if you do tubes.

A couple of things to keep in mind is that if a high number of engagement points is your thing then the Spoon hubs, at 27, may disappoint. Also, while the cost of these wheels is good, they come in either the 135mm or 150mm rear axle size.  If your bike is set for 142mm or 157mm, plan on spending another $50 to get the right axle insert. I noticed that Spank does offer the 142mm axle on their spike race28 enduro wheels and the 135 axle is included at no charge. To be fair those "enduro" wheels are more expensive than the regular race 28 reviewed here but it would be a nice option to order whichever size you actually need.

On a tangent, the spike 35 rims offered by Spank look to be a super-sized version of the rims offered on this wheelset and would be a good alternate for those who want a wider rim (29.5mm vs 23mm internal rim width). It's too bad Spank offers them only as a rim and not a wheelset like this one.

Taking into account that this is more of an initial review (3 months of riding) and the fact that I'm relatively light at 170 pounds, I can't speak to the long-term durability or heavy abuse of this product but so far these have been fantastic. I have been hanging on to the old stock wheels as a back-up plan for rougher tracks or as a spare. The Spank spike race28 wheels have yet to show any signs of abuse and are still running true. I am thinking of selling my old ones as they wont be needed anymore. Time to look for my next upgrade.

This product has 2 reviews

Added a comment about feature Now in 650b: Introducing the 2015 Specialized Enduro 7/14/2014 10:05 AM
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Yes to both would be my guess. I'm interested to see what fork will match the 170 or 180mm rear travel.

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This feature has 11 comments.

Added reply in a thread Best Colorado Bike Parks 7/13/2014 4:00 PM

Your plan sounds fun. Part of what comes into play is which day of the week you are starting. Steamboat closes down at 4pm Sat-Tues and 7pm on Wed-Fri so your idea of starting early is good. The day at steamboat might be short but that's fine as there ... more »

Added a product review for Jett Hornet Jersey 7/11/2014 3:10 PM
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Jett Hornet jersey

Rating:

The Good: solid construction

The Bad: thicker fabric can get a bit hot

Overall:

I've been using Jett's Hornet jersey on and off for the past two years and have found it to be a keeper. Each piece of clothing has it's own characteristics, not that they are good or bad in and of themselves.  This jersey is made of a somewhat thicker fabric with perforated mesh holes to aid in breathability. The fabric is stitched well and has survived a couple of my minor tumbles and shown only minor damage.  A couple of snags have appeared over the years and this could be due to scraping rocks or even a dreaded velcro scrape. 

Since it is a little heavier duty than many of the other jerseys I have, I often wear it on cooler days in the early spring and late fall with a layer underneath to add warmth.  In the summer I have worn it a couple of times while riding the resorts (higher elevation and cooler temperatures) and since the fit is comfortably but not overly baggy, I can sneak some protective pads underneath.

The hornet jersey is devoid of fancy features with the exception of some small side pockets that zip close and can hold keys, some cash or maybe a small snack.  Personally I have never used them and the thought of landing on keys right under the ribs doesn't sound too appealing to me. Jett has made this in short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve lengths. Styling is personal but I like the look of it fairly well.

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for Buzzy's Slick Honey All Purpose Grease 7/8/2014 10:24 PM
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Slick Honey

Rating:

The Good: works well and lasts a long time

The Bad: the tub is overkill size wise

Overall:

Sometimesthe small changes you make to your bike are the ones you end up noticing the most. After years of forgetting about that slick honey stuff I used a while ago, I recently picked up a tub of this stuff.  After washing the bike (every couple of rides or so) I will apply it to the suspension and dropper post and the result is a smoother feel as they cycle through their travel.  It's a simple and cheap thing to do and has helped the performance of those parts.

Unless you are servicing a rental fleet, go ahead and pick up the 2 ounce tube as a little goes a long way and the 16 ounce tub is really way too much.

Slick Honey has been around for a while now and there's a reason why it's still popular - it works!

This product has 1 review

Liked a comment on the item Giant Glory DH Massive Bottom Out 7/8/2014 8:55 PM

..Chicken dinner

Added reply in a thread Overpriced MTB products? 7/7/2014 1:43 PM

One that hasn't been mentioned, but comes to mind is mtb specific clothing. $100+ for a pair of shorts? $75 for a jersey. I'll pass. Thankfully deals can be had on clothes. I agree with Bigburd on chain guides being a bit steep for what it is.

Added a product review for Niterider TL5.0 Rear Light 7/5/2014 9:38 AM
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Light it up

Rating:

The Good: Easy install and battery swap.

The Bad: nothing so far.

Overall:

If you cruise around town or commute to work via bike, you probably already have lights sorted out for your bike. If not, the Niterider TL5.0 is a good inexpensive option to alert those behind you that you exist. Some of the nice features about this Niterider is that it is easy to install, comes with a rubber shim that should help fit any size post, it uses a common battery size (AAA), and it has a number of different flashing modes that you can cycle through.

It's probably not the fanciest or toughest rear light out there, but at under $10, this has been a good purchase and adds a little peace of mind when sharing the road.

This product has 1 review

Added reply in a thread List off the mountain bikes you've had 6/29/2014 3:32 PM

starting somewhere around 1993... Scott fully rigid (thanks Dad) Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail Lenz Revelation Maverick Durance Maverick ML8 Commencal Supreme 6 Transition Bottlerocket Yeti SB66 Specialized SX trail Knolly Chilcotin currently riding: ... more »

Added a comment about feature Schwalbe Introduces Procore - The End of Flats? 6/28/2014 8:29 PM
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Is there a reason the valves are next to each other? Seems that it would balance out better on opposite sides of the rim.

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Liked a comment on the item Schwalbe Introduces Procore - The End of Flats? 6/28/2014 8:24 PM

This could be revolutionary.

But my biggest issue with tubeless is sidewall cuts. And a lighter tire will only encourage more cuts.

Looking forward to the reviews.

P

Added a product review for SixSixOne Raji Glove 6/24/2014 2:44 PM
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Thin to win

Rating:

The Good: feel great

The Bad: won't last long

Overall: I picked up a pair of these gloves for about $8 recently. Somewhere in the first few minutes of riding with them they became my favorites as they felt like I was wearing nothing on my hands, yet provided a barrier from sweat making the grips or brakes slippery.  After that first trail ride, these quickly took their place in the middle of the pack since they looked like I had been through a war. The palms were pretty chewed up and I wondered how long they would hold up to my abuse.  I have probably had a dozen rides with them and feel like they are getting close to glove heaven but will continue to rock them as long as I can.

As a plus these breathe well, have no velcro straps to get in the way, and have a terry cloth back of thumb which should be a mandatory glove feature. 

If you are especially hard on your gear or are looking for gloves with any kind of built-in protection then move along, these are not the gloves you are looking for.

This product has 3 reviews

Added a product review for Spy Optic Targa Goggles 6/24/2014 2:14 PM
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Great set of inexpensive goggles

Rating:

The Good: venting, comfortable

The Bad: more colors please

Overall:

If you are in the market for a new set of goggles and don't want to spend a chunk, check out the Targa goggles from SPY. Breathability is good and the strap stays put on the helmet. While fit and looks may be subjective, I think they score highly in those categories. Once I strapped these on I didn't even think about them on the trail and that is a good thing. My only wish is that there were more color choices. I got the blue and the blue is bit darker than I was expecting. Mine came with clear lenses (which is what I prefer) but you can swap the lenses out for varying light conditions if you desire.

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for 2014 Specialized Enduro Comp 29 Bike 6/24/2014 1:52 PM
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Jack of all trades, master of fun

Rating:

The Good: Fast, gobs of traction, good value

The Bad: nothing major at this point

Overall:

At a demo day last fall, I took an Enduro 29 (s-works model)on the familiar trails of western CO I was amazed at how well it handled the chunky desert terrain. The Enduro 29 gets touted for being a bike that shines once the trail points downhill.  It not only did that, but I noticed a greater improvement in the way it climbed technical terrain over my previous aggressive all mountain bikes. I'm not really interested in timing my runs but there was no denying the fun when I was flying up, down and over the same terrain at a noticeably faster speed.

I decided to sell my do-it-all trusty steed and get a new Enduro 29 and my budget lined up best with the Comp model.  I couldn't help but wonder if there would be a huge step down in ride quality and fun from the s-works or if I would be kicking myself for going with budget parts found on the Comp.

The trouble with the lowest build level of a certain bike is that you often end up changing a lot of parts out. In this case it wasn't too bad.  I moved over a carbon handlebar from my previous bike, shortened the stem from 60 to 50mm, moved over my dropper post, and converted the tires to tubeless.  Specialized gets bonus points for making the tubeless conversion super easy since the tires are tubeless ready, the rims strips are airtight, and the tubeless valves are included at purchase.  After a month of riding, I ended up swapping out the 2x10 in favor of a budget 1x10 drivetrain (wolftooth GC and ring paired to a Sram X9 spiderless 170mm crankarm). Though the 2x10 worked fine, the change was mostly since I was used to a 1x drivetrain. As a perk, the swap dropped roughly 1.5 pounds off the bike.

Air suspension is getting better each year and the Pike is pretty nice, definitely the best air fork that I've ridden. The Fox CTD in the rear is fine but tends to go through the travel pretty quickly on medium hits.  A more progressive tune would be preferred to prevent bottoming out as much. As far as the switch goes, I toggle between the trail and descend modes but will often forget to keep it current to what I'm riding.

I'm a pretty die-hard Shimano guy when it comes to brakes so I figured I'd be ditching the stock Formula ones. I've stuck with them as they function well enough despite having to bleed them a little more than what I'm used to with Shimano.

At 5'10" the size medium is perfect for me.  I like frames generally a smidge on the small side.  I did try the size large and the bike felt way too big for my liking. 

The Enduro felt very comfortable from the start except in steep and slow speed handling (mostly going down) which I attribute to having a head angle that is a bit steeper than any bike that I've ridden in the past 4+ years. With speed, this bike will fly over just about anything but the awkward techy maneuvers for me were something I had to get used to.  I have gotten used to it now, one solution for me was to keep the fork a bit stiffer through the initial travel by using a couple of clicks on the compression dial.

So what do I think could be improved?

#1 Since the bottom bracket is fairly low, I wish the bike would have come with 170mm length crank arms instead of 175mm. With an aggressive bike like this, having a little extra clearance is nice when mashing the pedals through the rough.

#2 The Fox CTD shock is noticeably weaker than the Pike up front. Upgrading to a nicer shock should be something to look into if you're riding more aggressively.

#3 The seatpost quick release clamp on the bike is junk. The brass washer in the clamping mechanism ended up carving a groove in the qr lever, rendering it ineffective. Mine wasn't just a fluke, the LBS said it happens all the time. Ask your shop to change it out for you or just plan on spending a few bucks sooner or later for something decent.

Other than those things, I'm down to aesthetic quibbles and personal preferences. With dropper posts now in the 6" range, I'd like to see a shorter seat tube by just an inch. Also, I'd rather have a straight down tube with the water bottle mount on the underside and have all the cables routed on the top of the downtube for a cleaner look and peace of mind of not having rocks flip up and chip away at the brake line.

Overall the bike is a blast to ride. With over half a season under it's belt, the reliability of the Enduro has been good. So far I've had no problems besides bleeding the brakes a little more than normal. For me, this bike has added a dimension of fun to climbing without a sacrifice to the fun of the descent.  As far as the value goes, the comp model is a good value in my opinion. With a few simple and relatively inexpensive changes, the weight and functionality can approach the $6600 expert model (basically just the difference in the carbon vs aluminum frame weights) at a much better price. I'd give the stock build 4 stars. After a few personalized tweaks it's pretty much perfect for my riding style.

This product has 1 review

Added a comment about feature Win a SRAM X01 DH Drivetrain - Vital OTB Leogang, Austria World Cup 6/14/2014 9:33 AM
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Gwin 3:17.781
Carpenter 3:42.406

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Liked a comment on the item WINNING BIKE - Troy Brosnan's Specialized Demo 8 6/8/2014 8:21 PM

Lookit that cable!