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SaddleRags's Product Reviews

Added a product review for Kore Torsion Stem 2/26/2014 8:29 PM

Solid direct mount stem


The Good: great bang for the buck

The Bad: no adjustability in length or rise


Kore stems may not have the exotic looks or fancy name brand that will get kids drooling over it in the parking lot. The design of their Torsion Direct Mount stem is simple and the quality is apparent when you handle it and bolt it onto the upper crown of your fork. A good stem does its job dutifully and without a lot of attention. You could easily pay twice as much for another stem that does the same job.

Some direct mount stems allow for multiple lengths or the ability to flip flop for different rise options. Kore's torsion direct mount stem offers no adjustability and so you want to make sure that the length and rise are what you need.

The bottom line is that after 6 months of using this stem it still looks and feels as solid as day one. Consider it as a contender for your hard earned cash providing the size fits your needs.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Marzocchi 888 CR Fork 2/22/2014 9:29 PM

Good budget dual crown fork


The Good: low maintenance, smooth feel

The Bad: a bit heavy, few dials for fine tuning


Last summer I purchased a cheap dh bike for bike park days and it came with a single crown fork. I soon ditchedthe fork in favor for the Marzocchi 888 cr.  The relatively good price and my previous experience with Marzocchi forks sealed the deal. Once I had sold off the single crown fork I was looking at about a $350 upgrade which was staying true to the "budget" part of my new dh rig.

I was really hoping that the fork would be like a big brother to the bomber 66 single crown fork, which I have had a few times on different bikes over the years.  I was pleased to find out that was the case after getting it set-up and taking it out for a few laps. Knowing what to expect, I felt right at home with the (wait for it) "plush and buttery" feel I've come to know from their products. The fork will gobble up the smallest bumps and has a fairly even, though progressive, feel to its travel.

Marzocchi forks are know for coming from the factory too soft for many riders.  For me that isn't a big deal since I weight around 170 pounds and so it works for me out of the box, but others may need to upgrade springs or fiddle with the compression setting this fork has. Speaking of the dials available, you are looking at compression and rebound dials - that's it.  If you are hoping to separate the low and high speed compression then you might want to step up to 888 RC3 EVO which is only a few hundred bucks more but may certainly be worth the price since my one real knock against the fork is that the initial part of the stroke is either too soft and dives fairly easily or either feels good but then the end of the travel ramps up too hard. I have found a good balance for me but if brake dive drives you crazy be forewarned.

Overall I'm satisfied with the Marzocchi 888 CR, and appreciate the extra stiffness and confidence that it brings versus the single crown that was stock on the bike.  The good price and generally good feel of the fork make it a winner in my book.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Enve Composites Carbon Riser Bar 2/8/2014 9:38 PM

Excellent bar


The Good: strong and light, good/simple graphics

The Bad: a bit spendy, but not much more than similar options


About a year ago I gouged my Easton Havoc carbon bar in a crash at bootleg canyon and afterward I was a bit nervous riding it with such a deep scratch and so decided to get a new bar. I mixed it up and bought a buddy's nearly new ENVE DH bar to see what I thought.  In many regards it is similar to the Easton that I really like with very close rise and sweep numbers.  One of the touches that I like about the ENVE is that there is a rough section for where the stem clamps on to prevent slips I suppose. 

I did end up cutting down the 800mm bar to my preferred width of 760mm, but actually ended up taking too much off due to following the cutting marks printed on the bar.  I ended up chopping off an extra 5mm so not the end of the world but I was pretty ticked that I didn't double check that the marks were accurate.  Lesson learned.

Quality and performance otherwise has been excellent and so despite the high cost, which is not much more than other carbon bar options, this has been a terrific product.

This product has 4 reviews.

Added a product review for Hope Technology Seat Collar 2/6/2014 8:40 PM

Simple and solid


The Good: reliable, light

The Bad: nothing so far


Whether you're building up a bike from the frame or swapping out the standardquick release clamp that comes with most complete bikes, a nice seat tube collar is in order.  I went with this one based upon brand reputation, the simple design and the reasonable price. 

Nothing fancy here, the clamp just plain works. This is one of those components that you really don't want to think about too often. I have had two of these now, a blue on for my bottlerocket years ago and now a black one for the dh rig.  I have moved it to a few different frames depending on which one has the dropper post on it and have had no problems with it working as expected.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for SDG Ti-Fly Saddle 2/6/2014 4:42 PM

Nice saddle


The Good: Light, quality construction

The Bad: kinda pricey, but good deals can be found online


SDG's Ti Fly has titanium rails and thin padding to keep the weight to a minimum. I scored a good deal on one and put it on the dh bike where it works great.  It is small/thin enough to not be in the way when moving around yet it feels solid when you need it to give the bike a little input with your legs. The saddle has been through a few crashes and the sides have held up well considering I got version with the nylon weave sides that are a bit tougher than a regular fabric. 

I've used SDG saddles in the past and am a fan of the Bel-Air for trail riding where you spend a bit more time sitting down. Also the I beam is a really cool technology but I'm glad that SDG makes a railed version of their products.

Overall, the saddle is nice and great for something lightweight and minimal.  Not the most comfortable thing for me to sit on for an extended time but that's all personal preference anyway. Despite being more money than I normally spend on a seat, I'd get it again.

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for Intense Tire Systems MK2 Microknobby Tire 2/5/2014 7:51 PM

Great street tires


The Good: fast rolling, lightweight

The Bad: limited purpose


I was riding knobby tires on my hardtail that I use for commuting to work, riding with the kiddos,and kicking around town but decided to opt for these when I saw them on sale at Jensonusa.com.   I'm glad I went for them as they increase the fun factor for my pavement rides. These roll much quicker and accelerate much faster than what I am used to in a knobby (obviously) or semi-slick so I'm a fan. 

Overall these have held up well (no flats or slashes in the sidewall so far) and they have a really cool look to them as well, which has led to a number of comments about them by random strangers.  I keep my knobby for the dirt days but these are great for what I use them for. The price made them a no-brainer at $17 a piece. The version I have and am reviewing is the 2.25 size, though you can get them in a slimmer 2.1 as well.

This product has 5 reviews.

Added a product review for Deity Compound Flat Pedal 2/5/2014 3:41 PM

Underrated pedal, great bargain


The Good: Cheap, light, simple

The Bad: none so far


So what started out being a purchase to cheaply outfit my hardtail with some decent pedals, has led me to really like these pedals more and more. Soon these were on my main bike. My concern after moving these over to the full suspension bike, which sees more trail abuse, was that they pedals might not hold up due to the composite material versus a metal pedal. I actually like the way these will just slide off obstacles like rocks, where a metal pedal has the tendency to grip it and catch you (think tight, rocky tech sections). I've had no issues with the inner workings or the replaceable pins.

Style and fit are personal choices but I like the way they look and feel.  I went for the purple to mix it up a bit but if I could have a do-over I'd go for black.  No big deal, next time I will.

Basically, I think these pedals are way under-rated for their weight, quality and price. You could spend four times as much and still buy a heavier pedal! The Deity compound pedal has been a winner for me. 

This product has 4 reviews.

Added a product review for Race Face Ambush Knee Pad 2/5/2014 3:09 PM

Great knee pads


The Good: removable without taking shoes off, flexible d30 material makes pedaling better

The Bad: none found so far


So this is more of a comparison review from the knee pads I've been running for 3 years now (661 Strait knee pads).While I haven't tried every brand out there, the change to the Race Face Ambush has been pretty noticeable and I thought I mention how they've been for me.

The aforementioned knee pads that I had prior were ok, nothing amazing but these feel like the real deal. They don't get as hot or sweaty, they stay up on my legs and don't fall down as much, they are easier to pedal in, and they can be slapped on (or off) after you are all suited up without having to take off your shoes.  This last feature means that it's less of a hassle to take them on and off during a ride, which is what I thought I'd be doing more of since its so easy, but I found that pedaling in them is hardly noticeable and I just leave them on for all but the hottest days or slogging up a long fireroad.

I have come down on these pads during minor crashes a couple of times and the fancy d30 material is like magic in the way it firms up to take the abuse and spread out the force. If I could wish for anything better it would be maybe a bit more side padding.  Not that it's bad, I just tend to land more on the side of the leg during crashes than straight on so the side fabric tends to wear faster than the front. They are holding up fine though and the RF ambush pads should keep me happy for another season or two. For me the purchase to a nicer pair over my cheap 661s was a good call.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Troy Lee Designs Ruckus Riding Short 2/5/2014 2:35 PM

Lightweight mtb shorts


The Good: Fits great and looks good

The Bad: zipper pocket is pretty small and hard to get your hand in


These shorts look good, fit nicely, and have adjustable features like waist Velcro straps and a hem which can be shortened if you want (I left it as is). I wear my own padded shorts underneath so this review is only looking at the shorts, not the liner that comes included.

The shorts that I've used that I don'twear much anymore are either too heavy (meaning thick fabric which gets hot in the summer), or are overloaded with features. I carry a small pack and so having cargo pockets for hauling gear is not needed. Thinner fabric and lack of bulky fabric helps a lot on the hot summer days around here. Again, this is what I like so you may prefer pockets to stash stuff.

The only thing I haven't tested out is how well it handles a crash (thankfully). The fabric is relatively thin and could shred if you land on rocks but overall these hold up fine to the minor scrape against bushes and branches. You might want to check out TLDs ace or moto shorts if you want something to hold up to crazy abuse.

If you're into wearing your riding shorts all day around town and going to the grocery store then maybe these aren't the best either.  The loud color (I have the neon green) and lack of pockets to stash your wallet and phone make these best for on the bike.

While not perfect in every aspect and the styling may not be for everyone, they are exactly what I look for in a pair of shorts so I'm giving it a full 5 stars!

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Shimano XT Disc Brake M785 12/13/2012 1:15 PM

Dependable and strong brakes


The Good: this is what a brake should be like, reasonable price too

The Bad: these quiet brakes won't scare off wild animals or hikers


Brakes make a huge difference in both ride performance and confidence on the trail. These are at the top of the pile of brakes I've used in the past decade. Shorter levers allow for controlled one finger braking with plenty of power, and when paired with the cooling fined brake pads and ice-tech rotors, I have seen a noticeable difference in fading (or the lack thereof) from other brakes. Add to that some big rotors and it can even work for lighter DH riders.

As far as the XT level componentry goes, thankfully Shimano has created their brakes to work nearly identically as the higher end XTR, while being a mid-priced offering. The bling factor and a little bit of the feel of the lever are all that separates this from the XTR (which I have on another bike). When I add all the positives together, I can recommend the XT trail brakes without any reservation.

This product has 7 reviews.

Added a product review for Fox Racing Shox DHX RC4 Rear Shock 12/13/2012 12:56 PM

Solid performing shock


The Good: works great without complaints, easy to adjust

The Bad: almost as expensive as a top tier shock


Coming off some of the lesser fox offerings and previous model years, this shock is a real step up. All the adjustments are useful and straightforward and is a great match for the enthusiast who still wants a hand-full of settings to dial in the ride, yet doesn't want to shell out the cash for a super high end shock. After having ridden a CCDB, I can see that there is another level up in performance out there (compared to the RC4), however there are services that offer custom tunes for the Fox so that opens up options for future upgrades if desired.

As far as the performance goes, the reason I love coil suspension so much is that it eats up small chatter and yet doesn't blow through to the bottom on big hits. The times I've maxed out the travel haven't felt too rough - with a couple of notable exceptions:) The suspension seems to track rough terrain better than my DHX 5 from a few years ago, but they were different bikes too so that may be part of the difference I'm feeling.

The fact that Fox is so well represented in the mtb community means that just about any shop can help you out with questions or issues should they arise. For me, two years and no problems is a good sign... knock on wood.

This product has 5 reviews.

Added a product review for e*thirteen LG1+ Chainguide 12/3/2012 1:00 PM

Functions well


The Good: looks good, relatively easy to install

The Bad: seems pricey for what it is


The LG1+ provides both bash protection and chain retention for a single ring setup. It has worked without problems on my bike park rig for over a season.  Since I replaced the one that came with it (which was complete garbage), it really makes me appreciate a system that doesn't drop chains and that keeps your chain ring safe from the occasional rock bash.  I like the smooth plate facing the chain ring on this device as it doesn't collect mud and debris. Speaking of nasty conditions, if you ride in heavy mud, watch out for the pulley getting jammed up. I guess this is why many of the newer models are going to a skid plate rather than a pulley...

As far as the looks go, the angles on the e*13 product are nice and I like the lack of logos on it.  The one thing I wish was that they had a smaller version for those running a 32 tooth or smaller front ring. MRP has done this on their micro G2SL and it provides about a 1/3 of an inch better clearance for bash protection.  Not a big deal if you rock the smooth trails but with the chunky step ups/downs of the desert west, every bit counts - especially since bike manufacturers are lowering bottom bracket height to improve cornering, etc.

Maybe it's unfair for me to ding the rating of this for the price of these devices since most manufacturers are in the same ballpark, but I just don't get what makes these so expensive.  I have a rear derailleur and a crankset that cost less than the price of this item. Oh well, it does its job so I can't complain too much.

This product has 5 reviews.

Added a product review for Marzocchi 55 RC3 Ti Fork 12/3/2012 11:01 AM

Solid fork for your 6 inch bike


The Good: strong, Titanium coil spring!

The Bad: oil level was a little off from the factory


Let's be honest, price is a concern for most of us when making a bike purchase. The fact that this fork was much less than the competition when I bought it (online blowout a couple of years ago) was a big factor in me choosing it over other brands.  Having said that, I was really impressed with it once it was installed on the bike.  The strong 35mm stanctions were enough to keep things from being noodly in rough terrain and the feel of the coil spring was nice and buttery smooth.  The weight of a coil fork is usually a bit of a penalty, but in this case Marzocchi has done a good job of keeping it relatively close to other air forks with the same travel.

The only gripe I have is that it is hard to dial in air pressure. The fork can be aired up with a regular shock pump but it requires a special sensitive kind to be able to read the small pressures they recommend using to add to the coil spring.  Instead, I've found that you just have to memorize your preferred setting that goes something like this: from zero air in the fork, I will pump 7 strokes using my regular shock pump. Once you have it dialed then you're good.

BTW, I'm reviewing the 2011 model which is 160mm of travel and I believe the newest 55 RC3 has 170mm of travel.

For what I paid, this fork has been terrific and no major issues have come up.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for SixSixOne Sub Gear SS Shirt 11/29/2012 9:55 PM

Good idea that doesn't go far enough


The Good: not bulky or hot

The Bad: not that great of protection


This sub gear shirt does a good job of adding a little extra protection, mostly for the shoulders, without getting too hot or cumbersome.

Notes about the fit:while it does loosen up over time the fit out of the box is rather tight.  I guess that's just part of how compression gear works and how protection in general fits, but it takes a little getting used to if you are accustomed to riding in a loose t-shirt or jersey.

I really like the idea of having some protection for the chest and shoulders that fits nicely under a jersey and that doesn't restrict movement but I hope that future iterations of this product will take the next step and offer a bit more protection (slightly thicker padding) plus add sections for the lower chest and ribs while still keeping a slim package to tuck under your regular riding jersey.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Shimano XT PD-M785 Clipless Pedals 11/29/2012 4:15 PM

Great clipless pedal


The Good: tough, long lasting pedal at a reasonable price

The Bad: jams in heavy mud


If you ride clipless pedals and do the Shimano thing, these are where it's at! Like many Shimano products, nearly the same quality and durability found in the highest level pedals (XTR) is also incorporated here in a more economical version. Overall you get great function and years of solid use with the XT trail pedals.

From previous years, they haveadded a cage around the pedal to increase contact area with the shoe and allow for more security in times when you want to ride clipped-out. This also adds long-term durability, as the cage helps protect the pedals from smashing rocks, etc. I have found that this extra platform does indeed come in handy, despite my fears that it would be harder to clip in with a bulky cage.

Just don't be tempted to think that with the new platform you can ride this pedal with a flat soled shoe - it may work if you're riding around the block to get some groceries, but it will not give you much confidence on the trail.

The weakness of these pedals is found in muddy or really sandy conditions. Heavy mud will jam up the release and create a dangerous situation. Also note that if you do a ton of hiking in your cleated shoes, you may want to replace the cleats each season as a chewed up cleat will also bind a bit on the entry and release of the pedal. Replacement cleats are around $20 which seems a little high for such a simple piece of hardware.

Bonus: right now the XT version can be found at a good price from online vendors.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Cane Creek 40.ZS44.Short.Complete Headset 11/29/2012 2:42 PM

Good price and great quality to match


The Good: Does the job without complaining

The Bad: none found so far


Headsets don't normally get a lot of love since it's not a flashy item that everyonedrools over. No matter to the Cane Creek folks who are making some really good headsets these days and at reasonable prices.  I've had this headset twice now, one on a bike I had a year ago and sold and now on my do-it-all bike that sees everything from local trails to the bike parks in the summer. This one does the job and has given me no issues whatsoever on either bike. So I guess I could have bought a headset that cost three times as much... but what would I gave gained?

Another reason why I like CC headsets is that they have a handy guide on their website to help you make sure and get the right match with your bike frame and the fork you have.  With so many different headtube types, it's good to know they cut through the confusion and have you covered.

Barring some future issue with this headset, I'd have to say that the price and solid function merit a full star rating.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Lezyne CRV 12 Multi Tool 11/16/2012 3:23 PM

Great multi-tool to help save your ride


The Good: compact, strong

The Bad: some tools are tough to use


The first multi-tool I had growing up was twice as big and heavy as this and still only had half the tools the CRV-12 has. Thankfully tools like this have improved over time. This one functions fine and is easy to use with the exception of the size 2 and 8 allen keys. The 2 is just hard to twist around due to the crooked end of it and the 8 is hard to get enough torque on, but maybe that's my own weakness and not the tool's fault!

The thing I maybe like about the tool the most isn't so much the function, though it works well enough, but that it has a nice elastic band that fits around it and keeps the tool from opening up in your shorts pocket and poking around where it shouldn't. Or worse, leaving it's mark in your body like a set of keys do in a crash.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Sunline V1 All Mountain Stem 11/16/2012 3:10 PM

Strong stem for AM duty


The Good: simple design, inexpensive

The Bad: hard to find


This stem has a simple design that works great. My favorite thing about it was the clamp that fits up with the steerer tube is rounded in an effort to save your knees should you connect with it. Budget bike builders should consider this as an option since the price is good and the stem is strong enough that I wouldn't hesitate to own a used one. You may have a tough time finding one though.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evolution Tire 11/16/2012 2:57 PM

great all-round trail tire


The Good: rolls fast, light weight

The Bad: gets a bit overwhelmed on big features (2.25 size)


The spacing between the tread knobs helps this tire hook up well in loose conditions, yet it seems to roll quite well on hardpack too.
The rubber compound on this tire helps give you good grip but I did find the rear tire knobs were getting "raw" on the leading edge after a dozen rides or so. While the tire isn't exactly designed to run the tread the opposite way, I did flip it in the rear to extend the life a bit without any adverse effects. The variety of terrain that this tire works on is what makes this a keeper.

This product has 6 reviews.

Added a product review for Royal Rivet Gloves 11/16/2012 2:33 PM

Nice, thin, breathable glove


The Good: inexpensive, keep hands cool

The Bad: lifespan is less than others


For some reason I have a collection of gloves in my bike bag and these Rivet gloves by Royal Racing are some that are pulled out fairly regularly when I'm doing a trail ride. I like the white urban camo look and the thin fabric on top is actually quite tough. It's the material on the palms that get chewed up and tend to wear out faster than normal that is a bummer. Per usual these days, the added silicone grippers on the fingers help when grabbing brakes. Bonus: these slip on so there is no wriststrap to get in the way or Velcro to wear out. 

This product has 1 review.