SaddleRags's Product Reviews

Added a product review for Troy Lee Designs SE Jersey 1/28/2015 10:26 PM

well designed jersey that ticks all the boxes


The Good: great styling, breathable back and arm panels

The Bad: nothing so far


I've had this jersey for one season's use  and recently decided to get another one since I liked it so much.

First of all the fit is nice, it is not overly baggy or too tight.  Size medium fits me well. (I'm 5'10" and 170 pounds). The collar and cuffs are not too tight or loose, both of which are deal-breakers for me in a jersey. The quality of the fabric is excellent - lightweight yet tough like a jersey should be, not prone to snags like some fabrics out there. Maybe the best thing about this jersey is the mesh fabric on the back and under half of the sleeves. The extra breathability comes in handy on hot days.

A couple of small details might go unnoticed at first glance. On the drop tail of the jersey there is a rubber TLD logo attached in case you are a shirt tucker and don't want it slipping out.  Also, on the elbows there is a stitched area that has an extra layer of fabric.  It will do nothing as far as protection to your body goes, but it may keep the jersey from tearing a huge hole if you land on that area. Other than that the TLD SE jersey is pretty straightforward - no pockets, no hidden wipe cloth for goggles, which is fine by me. 

Over the years, TLD jerseys have been known to be a bit bold in the colors and graphics department. The more subdued styles as of late are nice if you're not into having a purple cyclops shooting neon laser beams on your shirt.

Just a head's up if you ride frequently in mud - the perforated back panel of some of the color options of the jersey is white. There are other versions of the SE jersey that don't have the white back panel and will hide stains better.

Overall the jersey keeps you well ventilated and it looks good. I really can't think of anything that would make it better so my vote is 5 stars.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for 2015 Specialized Enduro Comp 650b Bike 1/11/2015 11:18 PM

Specialized Enduro 650b Comp


The Good: good geo for aggressive riding, wide rims, good value

The Bad: no XL size, no dropper post


Afterridingthe enduro 29er for about a year, I decided to swap it out for the newer, slightly smaller wheel-sized iteration of the bike in the middle of summer last year.  Although I was content with my current rig, I saw that the numbers on the bike were a little bit closer to what I was looking for so I took the plunge. I opted for the lowest level model and have found it to be a great all around ripper.  Simply put, this bike is a lot of fun to ride. 

Compared to the 29er, the 650b version doesn't quite have that monster-truck-over-the-rough feel to it, yet for me it surpasses the 29er on the techy maneuvers and on jumps.  The chain stay length and the wheelbase of the bike is shorter than many other like-minded bikes.  For me that is a positive attribute as it allows for quick line changes and makes me seek out places to catch air on the trail.  Gravity junkies will also enjoy the fact that the head angle was slackened to 65.5 degrees and the rear travel is 165mm.  It's probably obvious that it's not the best climber in the world but it gets you to the tops without complaints, especially if you throw on a 42 tooth cog!

Here's what I noticed for improvements over the previous year's specification for the enduro and other aspects about the bike that stand out...

Suspension: This is my second Rock Shox Pike and it is a great fork, even the RC version.  The shock is more of the weak link here.  It hasn't been that bad, but I've found that I'm either putting too much air pressure in it to handle the big hits or, in search of better small bump eating, I am blowing through the travel on the bigger hits. I'll admit that I'm not one for fiddle with switches much and the few times I've flipped the CTD to climb a long grind better, I've gotten down to the parking lot and realized I was still in climb mode.  I would be tempted to sell it and buy something better if it wasn't a proprietary item. Part of the appeal of an upgrade (if Specialized even makes a shock mount for the one I'm interested in buying) is that you can offset part of the cost of the new item from the sale of the current. Yet the best case scenario here would be to keep it as a backup since resale is essentially zero.  I'm sure my plea will fall on deaf ears but if you are going to spec proprietary parts like this, then at least have an upgrade option at the time of purchase.

Wheels: Specialized should be commended for the goldilocks rims on this bike.  No, I'm not talking about the 27.5 inch diameter wheels but rather the rim width of the alloy Roval Fatties that come stock.  The internal width measures 29mm and was a noticeable enhancement over 23mm. Think of how many bikes these days come straight from the manufacturer with wide rims. The answer is not many.  So if you want to go that way, you're looking at a pricey upgrade. Very wide rims (35-40mm) may or may not be the future but right now I like how the butchers fill out yet keep a good corner on the medium width rim. The strength and weight are reasonable and the wheels have held true for me so far.

Brakes:  The Formula brakes that were on the last year's rig worked well enough but would slowly get spongy and needed a bleed every couple of months.  Going to Shimano's brakes was a good call as they are widely regarded as the best out there.  Having been on various Shimano brakes over the past few years I can say that the lower spec'd Deore feel no different to me than the XTs.

Drivetrain: All of the higher models of this bike come with some version of Sram's 1x11 drivetrain including a 10-42 cassette.  The comp comes with a 1x drivetrain but it's the 10 speed clutch derailleur paired to a 11-36 cassette.  I already had owned a larger, 42 tooth aftermarket cog so adding it in helped widen the gear range a bit. It is a compromise in shifting performance but worth it in my opinion.  One nice touch was the inclusion of a upper-only chainguide. This minimal guide attaches via the ISCG tabs and offers additional peace of mind through the rough stuff.  When paired with the narrow-wide ring, I've not dropped a chain.

Misc notes: Thankfully Specialized updated the seatpost collar from a poor quality quick release to a functional binder bolt. The seat tube is almost an inch shorter than it was on the 29er and this also means that the stand over is a little better too. That was good news for me as I like lowering my seat as much out of the way as possible on steeps and jumps.  My size medium bike weighs a smidge over 30 pounds with pedals, a reverb dropper, and butcher "grid" casing tires which have a tougher (and heavier) sidewall than stock.  After owning black colored bikes for a few years in a row, I was glad to mix it up with the white, red and black combo.  I think this color looks really sharp and it's too bad Specialized doesn't have it, or the electric blue color, as an option on the other aluminum model known as the elite.  The paint itself has held up fairly well to the usual scrapes and rocks chipping away on it and I did add a number of the included clear protective stickers to the frame to guard against cable rub.

Overall, the enduro 650b is a great do-it-all bike with an emphasis on descending and being able to tackle the technical and bigger hits out there.  Attention to detail on the small things has led to improvements over the previous years specifications and result in a bike with few flaws.  Though the comp model may not be blingy enough for many riders out there, I think the components are solid enough. I've come to terms with my few complaints and have found a happy medium for the shock performance. A couple of tweaks including the mandatory dropper post and a better shock would take this bike to the next level.  All summed up, and rating it on the stock set up, I'll give the enduro 650b 4 stars.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Troy Lee Designs Air Gloves 1/8/2015 10:52 PM

My go-to gloves


The Good: no bulky padding or seams in the wrong place, has the motto "pop wheelies" on it

The Bad: tight wrist enclosure, grippers came off too soon


I've been through a bunch of gloves over the years and so far theserise to the top as my favorites.  I am now on my second set of these gloves, after recently picking up a new pair when looking to bump up my online shopping cart to free shipping status.

Many gloves have rubber grippers on the fingers but the TLD air gloves have expanded that concept and have added some to the palm area as well.  This makes your hands feel like they are glued to the bar, especially if you have a fresh set of grips.  A downside is that the rubber grippers on fingers started to come off sooner than I had hoped (after about 6 rides they began peeling off slowly).

I have found the minimalist style of glove fits my preference and the shape of these gloves fits my hands.  The fabric itself is thin, yet the weave on it make it tough enough to handle the occasional dab with the earth.  There is one thing about the fit that I'd prefer to be changed and that is the velcro wrist enclosure which is tight in my opinion.  A longer strap would be better as currently only a small section of the end of the strap is able to "catch" and keep it together, but I haven't had it come apart when riding so no major issue here.

Despite a couple of minor complaints, these remain my go-to gloves.

This product has 4 reviews.

Added a product review for Spank Spike Race28 Wheelset 7/14/2014 3:43 PM

Excellent all-around wheelset


The Good: tough and relatively light at a good price

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


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

Jett Hornet jersey


The Good: solid construction

The Bad: thicker fabric can get a bit hot


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

Slick Honey


The Good: works well and lasts a long time

The Bad: the tub is overkill size wise


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.

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

Light it up


The Good: Easy install and battery swap.

The Bad: nothing so far.


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 a product review for SixSixOne Raji Glove 6/24/2014 2:44 PM

Thin to win


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

Great set of inexpensive goggles


The Good: venting, comfortable

The Bad: more colors please


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

Jack of all trades, master of fun


The Good: Fast, gobs of traction, good value

The Bad: nothing major at this point


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 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 Fiber Mountain Sweep 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   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.