Varaxis's Product Reviews

Added a product review for Maxxis Ikon Tire 5/10/2013 3:26 PM

Long lasting XC tire with excellent traction


The Good: Long wearing Excellent traction and durability for its weight Surprisingly good in various conditions

The Bad: A little heavy for competitive XC racing Limited width options Price shock Not officially tubeless ready


The Ikon (29x2.2) is my favorite tire for SoCal riding. It's what you need when your trail's surface is more like concrete, with a dusting of kitty litter, in which the loose dusting acts like mini ball bearings between the flat tops of your tire's knobs and the super hard and dry hardpack. The knobs have just enough depth to pierce through the loose, allowing the numerous working edges bite into the hardpack, while the ramps allow it to roll quietly and smoothly. This is a tire you pick when you want to go fast, with the least amount effort, but still want traction to be able to maintain control when going fast. Compared to other XC tires that I've tried in its weight range, such as the Racing Ralph, Small Block Eight, XR1 Team, X-King, Captain, etc. I find the Ikon offers a balance of speed, toughness, tread life, sidewall cut resistance, rim fit, casing stiffness/resilience, rolling resistance, cornering, braking, and climbing traction that is, overall, well above average. It even punches a bit above its class, with me preferring it over an Ardent 2.4 up front for overall performance.

The high volume casing seems to help it keep its momentum when going through deep loose stuff and muck, while offering great suspension characteristics when run at a low pressure that's just high enough to prevent pinch flats and rim strikes. It's great for those times that you run into an unexpected deep pocket of sand, which might cause other tires to sink and bog down to the point that you lose speed and find your body being hurled forward. It doesn't seem undersized, despite people speaking poorly of Maxxis's sizing standards. I've found that it fits on a variety of rims easily, such as Stan's Flows, Easton UST, and DT rims, converting to tubeless with sealant reliably and popping onto the bead shelf with a snug fit. It also works adequately well with tubes, without frequent puncture and pinch flats being a problem. I haven't run into a case where the bead was blown off of the rim yet, in about 2 years of riding these tires.

Its durability has impressed me greatly, for such a lightweight and high performing tire. I've slashed lighter tires, such as Racing Ralphs and Small Block Eights, on the trails around me and I've heard stories of others slashing Ikon non-EXO sidewall in places like Sedona, so I have always opted for the model with the EXO option, which gives me peace of mind that's well worth the extra weight and cash. I haven't had any casing tears either, and the tire seems to spin straight and true without any wobbles. The few tires I weighed all seemed to be within claimed range, from 580g up to about 605g. These tires last me over 1000 trail miles on the rear, which is far more than I can say for other tires like Schwalbes, Kendas, and High Rollers, which might get 500 miles or so. It doesn't lose much of its performance when it wears either. I usually have Stans boogers bouncing around by the time I'm even a third of the way done wearing through its tread.

The tire does have its limits. I've tried it in Big Bear, where the dirt is dry and powdery and gets ripped up to the point that it's a sort of sand bog with rocks for land mines. For that, I prefer a tire with a bit more tread depth and bigger shoulder knobs. It's not designed for the wet, but does surprisingly well. It won't offer grip on slimy greasy muck covered roots and rocks, but I don't think anything does. What it does does do is do better in all these condition than any other XC tire I've tried, so good that I typically install it and never take it off, living with its limitations happily.

I never thought I'd use the word, "love", to describe my feeling for a tire, seriously, but this one earns it. I love this tire! Chances are good that I would even choose to buy them if I had a supply of *free* tires from some competing brand. I have about half a dozen of these in service in my garage, because I like them so much. I never thought I'd be happy to pay more than a Benjamin for a pair of tires, but I vehemently believe that these are worth it. Very highly recommended!

Props to the guys at Maxxis who were behind this tire, who wracked their minds over the smallest details of this tire's design in a comprehensive manner, producing the finest XC tire I have ever ridden. Not sure how they got all this grip without using a soft compound nor knob flex, nor am I sure how they seemingly got the casing resilience just right, with everything else, such as tire weight, volume, etc. in consideration; this tire seems to do the impossible, offering almost everything I realistically wanted in a tire in a fine balance. They really outdone themselves with this. I don't miss the days of tire selection angst, asking other riders which are the "best" tires for this and that.


54mm casing width, 35 psi tube, 19mm rim, new tire

Tire after about 500 miles (not mounted)

580g for 29x2.2 3C (triple compound) EXc (120 tpi casing) EXO (reinforced sidewall)

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for Jett Ride Jersey 8/2/2012 7:07 AM

Stylish, but could use more secure buttons


The Good: Stylish Looks Comfortable Roomy cut

The Bad: Expensive Buttons snaps are weak Fabric prone to abrasion damage


I love how this jersey looks. it has a slightly distressed finish with pin stripes. The breast pocket is really small and hard to utilize. Not sure of what would fit in there well.

The biggest fault is the buttons coming loose really easily. The material looks like it'd get torn up by body armor and backpack shoulder straps too.

4.5 stars since there's nothing really quite like it, but it's not perfect. Would really like to see more jerseys like this.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for SixSixOne Sub Gear SS Shirt 1/2/2012 11:55 PM

Mostly useless armor, only good for some shoulder abrasion resistance


The Good: Highly breathable, lightweight

The Bad: Poor protection, hard to take off, sizing a bit off, chest compression kind of makes cardio harder by restricting heavy breathing

Overall: Seems like something you wear under a jersey, rather than alone. When alone, the wind hits the sweat and makes it extra chilly, which is annoying if you stop at all and it's windy, especially past sunset. It doesn't look all that good anyways. What I wanted was some chest protection for insurance on over the bar crashes and some shoulder protection to take some sting out of shoulder rolls. It does the shoulder roll decently, but the chest protection is mostly useless and placed too high. I recommend something like the TLD 7850 instead.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Jett Raptor Short 10/7/2010 12:00 PM

Pure awesome


The Good: Zip vents, lots of pockets (some zipped), soft fabric on the front/top of the quad area and waist without stitching to prevent chafing, secure double snap fly, waist cinch, well contoured cut around waist, awesome construction quality

The Bad: Chamois fits a bit odd. Short fly. Pockets are a bit shallow. Inseam doesn't quite reach the knee.

Overall: This model is their XC offering. Not perfect, but significantly better than any other short in this general price range that I've tried. The first pair I grab for going on rides with lots of pedaling. Unbelievably comfy and relatively good looking. It has a supple shell, with a soft hand and a high TPI like weave that feels softer than the Jett Hornet (AM model; ) and the Lightning (DH model). The inseam comes down to about 3" above the knee in 28" and leaves that large amount of skin, in the area between my knee/shin pads and the bottom of the short legs, that typically gets covered by other brands like Dakine, Sombrio, etc. They're sufficiently cool in the summer and don't feel like they're all soaked with sweat or stinky after a ride. Guys who have tried shorts that have a waist that comes up a bit high, fairly close to their belly button and have moments where their bellies are a bit bigger and have had button snaps come undone from leaning forward/tucking, will appreciate the dual snaps and the lower cut in the front. I personally always look for dual snaps; it happens to me (ex. older Sombrio Wildcard and Oakley shorts) even though I'm super skinny. It's just bad short design. The pockets are cut with a wide opening that allows easy gloved access. I haven't yet had any tears, but I haven't ripped any bike specific shorts except for a pair of Dakine 8-Track shorts. The Dakine ripped in a superman like crash where I got thrown off balance by smacking into a tree while trying to turn right. I had a digicam in my pocket and it ripped in that area, through both the shell and the pocket material. Cheap materials in that Dakine, but I appreciate the fit and style. I won't be buying Dakine again with Jett and Royal being on top of the game. Royal seems to have styles I don't like and inseams that are too short. They also have a short fly and shallow pockets. Instead of zips, they use vent panels. For the money, Jett seems to beat them. The chamois fits a bit forward than I'm used to. The rear barely reaches my sit bones and the front covers as much as an athletic cup. I guess Jett wants to protect the jewels and not make it like a maxi pad like every other brand. I have the liner permanently removed. Overall, this is totally one of the first pairs of shorts that I'd look to buy if I needed another pair of shorts. They seem to be improving on them each year. Their older model had white liners which looked like underwear when viewed through the vent zips. They were also an ugly brown color, which seemed to be the only color. Due to the comfy fit, they're still one of my favorites. I almost have a mtn bike short for each day of the week, but I could be coerced into buying another if it pops up for sale to retire a short that doesn't get much use.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Royal Rivet Riding Short 10/7/2010 11:49 AM

Bombproof shorts


The Good: Thick, super tough, nylon shell with a water resist PU coating. Double button fly. Roomy cut. Good amount of usable pockets. Waist cinches.

The Bad: XS/Sm fits a bit large. No zip vents. Gets a bit warm if you're pedaling at all. Relatively short inseam. Short fly.

Overall: These have no chamois/removable liner. They fit a bit loose, but I suspect they were meant to be worn with padded shorts like the Fox Launch or 661 Bomber undershort. The waist cinches sufficient to keep 'em from falling down. I usually dislike brown, but liked the brown color from last year; this black is rather bland looking. These are meant for bombing DH, saving your skin on falls; these will be too warm if you're riding AM and riding up. The inseam isn't long enough to cover all the skin between the short and knee/shin guards and the fly is a bit shorter than I'm used to.

This product has 1 review.