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ZMC888's Product Reviews

Added a product review for Schwalbe Albert Tire 7/6/2014 7:42 AM
C138_24572

Rear Fat Albert 2.40 Pacestar Review

Rating:

The Good: Climbing grip and reasonable rolling resistance, can be picked up cheaply online, big volume, easy setup tubeless and matches up with Hans Dampf.

The Bad: Hideous cornering feel, wobble central on road or hardpack or even anything remotely not soft, even if soft very average. 'It's more expensive therefore it's better' marketing.

Overall:

Seems like Schwalbe Albert is a prototype for Fat Albert, and Fat Albert front and rear are simply the prototype for Hans Dampf. I have a Hans Dampf Pacestar on the front and had a Rock Razor on the rear. The Razor and Hans Dampf are great tires but the side knobs ripped off the Pacestar version of the IMHO too weak Rock Razor sadly, the Hans Dampf had plenty of life left in it, and I wasn't ready to quit on Schwalbe (for a 2nd time) yet so I picked up the Fat Albert rear specific tire online for a nice little discount ($30). Wish I hadn't and I'd waited for a 'performance' single ply HD. Put simply, although there are many of the redeeming features offered by Schwalbe off-road tires, such as easy tubeless setup and high volume, this tire fails on corners and is a hideous bag of jello on any kind of corner remotely not soft, scary and confidence damaging. Hans Dampf is a great tire, for trail riding even aggressively and I'd much rather have it on the back than this mediocre thing.

When you physically manipulate the side knobs on the Fat Albert they seem like some kind of gummi candy, and it's not a surprise that they handle the same way!

Avoid this tire, stay with Hans Dampf, Rock Razor (if you can stomach the short lifespan or wait for a 'performance' version) or run Maxxis, or Continental.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Schwalbe Table Top Tire 5/15/2014 10:20 AM
C138_24636

Nice tire, but not much better than its competitors

Rating:

The Good: Cornering traction, weight, hold air well tubeless

The Bad: Nothing much

Overall:

I bought this for my city ride/street/park/x4 Nukeproof Snap with Fulcrum Red Zone wheels. Set up tight and true tubeless with no issues.

Hardpack you can really push hard without much slip on the corners, but maybe it's a tad slower than some of its rivals. The Maxxis Holy Roller seems to roll a tad quicker and be a tad more stable, the Kenda K-Rad seems to roll a bit faster and have a slightly higher volume with better cushioning. In the end it's a good tire, no better than its competitors, but no worse.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Schwalbe Hans Dampf Tire 5/15/2014 9:53 AM
C138_schwalbe_hans_dampf_tire

Hans Dampf vs Minion

Rating:

The Good: Braking traction, high volume, weight, cornering grip

The Bad: Not much wrong to be honest

Overall:

I've done about 1,000 kms on this tire, all in the dry and with it on the front only, enduro style and set up tubeless with Stans (Evo Pacestar 2.35x26). Personally I rate Maxxis Minion as a benchmark and I think the comparison will helpful guide for other riders, I usually use a Minion FR 2.35 EXO maxxpro for reference (old style, pre TR).

HD vs Minion

  • Rolling resistance - Similar
  • Braking traction - HD superior
  • Off-camber grip - Minion Superior
  • Fist sized rocks on trail composure - HD superior
  • Light over cornering/carving - Minion Superior
  • Dry ruts - HD Superior
  • Weight for size - HD Superior (700g is sweet) (single ply pretty narrow older Minion 2.35 also 700g, HD physically much larger)
  • Carcass/volume - HD Superior (it's massive like a balloon)
  • Higher pressure traction (32psi and over) - similar

If someone could genetically clone the HD carcass but put a Minion tread pattern it with whatever makes the HD stop, it would be a real winner. Also Maxxis need a talking to, their new TR Minion FR 2.35 is too heavy for real trail work, mostly suitable for freeride/DH, handing the market to Schwalbe. Dear Schwalbe have our goose that lays our golden eggs, love Maxxis. All being said if you carve hard the Minion slips less and bites harder, however the braking grip of the HD can save your neck. Both are great tires with no clear winner. On trails and running tubeless I prefer the HD, if was doing a day with an uplift service then Minion.

This product has 4 reviews.

Added a product review for Nukeproof Snap Frame 2/21/2014 3:50 AM
C138_frame_nukeproof_snap

A thoroughbred for 4X

Rating:

The Good: Excellent paint, graphics, strength, minimal flex, light weight and stable. Replaceable rear dropouts.

The Bad: Not ideal for DJ, park or trail. Not a very forgiving or compliant frame.

Overall:

The Nukeproof Snap frame is very strong and flex-free making it great for 4X. Fast acceleration and cornering stability are its bread and butter. Those strengths however are it's downfalls, for example the chain stays are fairly long (XC length at 420mm) for a bike like this meaning that manuals can be annoyingly hard to perform. Also the frame is extremely rigid, making it very fast accelerating on hard-pack or on pavement, but mistiming jumps and riding on trails can be a painful filling loosing affair. A 67 degree HA  might make you think that the bike could descend quite well and whilst it is capable of descending slopes that would make you fear for your life on an XC race bike the frame's lack of compliance means it's just too painful on all but the smoothest hard-pack to have any real enjoyment.

Some other great things about this frame are the replaceable rear dropouts allowing you to go single speed if you want to, with easy availability of spares though chain reaction, ISCG tabs and some very tasteful paint and graphics, with a high enough seat-post collar to allow for a medium height seat to be able to pedal around sat down at a reasonable speed around town. With the medium length chain-stays, a low top tube and a rigid rear triangle the bike is perfect for wheelies and can wheelie all day long, also the head tube is a nice big 44m allowing for any fork within reason.

Nukeproof do not claim the bike is for anything other than 4X, many people though seeing the frame think DJ or maybe DJ and 4X  and maybe park or urban, this is not really right, the bike is just not quite for those as reasons previously stated. IMHO for a do it all trail, DJ, Urban or Park frame a steel frame with shorter chain-stays is a better choice of frame. Even alu Giant STPs or GT Chuckers are a bit more fun than a Snap around town.

Summary: 4X - 5 stars, Trail - 3 stars, Urban - 4 stars, DJ - 4 stars

5 star review as bike is advertised as a 4X bike.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Shimano Deore M590 Crankset With BB 2/12/2014 2:08 PM
C138_cr266j00

A solid and reliable but slightly heavy and ugly crankset

Rating:

The Good: Reliable, inexpensive, strong

The Bad: Slightly heavy and ugly

Overall:

I've used this crank for over a year and I've had zero issues. Still spins reliably in mostly dry dusty conditions. I've used Many SRAM/truvativ offerings that are pretty much as good, and I marginally prefer the GXP system, but it's close.

Actually I wanted a more bling crank, but I was running out of cash near the end of a build and went for something reasonably priced and well proven, and haven't been disappointed. Originally I set up the crank single speed with a guide, and now with a race face narrow/wide single chain ring, with absolutely no compatibility issues, and a nice weight saving.

Ideally I'd use something like a race face Next, lighter and all bling, but really you only shave at most 200 grams and that 's not a great deal, but it does add up over the build, but cranks are maybe not that critical a component to lighten compared to wheels or forks, but if money is no object, then maybe not the 590s.

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for Hope Technology Seat Collar 2/8/2014 12:56 AM
C138_qr703b01_black

Get the QR version

Rating:

The Good: Works well and well finished

The Bad: A child could strip out the extremely weak alloy bolt and even snap it

Overall:

In my opinion an aluminium alloy is just the wrong material to use for a bolt in this application, the weight savings are just minuscule, it's just too weak, I stripped out the bolt with very minimal force, which is pretty disappointing from a manufacturer like Hope.

However the collar part of the product is well finished and nicely anodised and has lasted for years, after I switched out the bolt for a steel version. I also use the QR collar and have never had a problem, so I'd recommend buying that instead.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Maxxis High Roller II Tire 2/6/2014 9:31 AM
C138_70747

Worthy, but Minion beats it

Rating:

The Good: Mud shedding ability, and downhill bite

The Bad: Weight, climbing slip, and cornering sketch unless ruthlessly thrown at the corner

Overall: Not a bad DH tire, if I got a bike with them I'd use them, but replace them with something else. They look like the offspring of the original HRs mixed with a Minion DHR. I was never a fan of the old High Roller, and much prefer the Minion DHF. The HR2 is better than the old tire IMO but still has some of the old annoyances, personally a think it just handles a bit worse than a DHF, but braking traction is good as is mud shedding. Climbing as HR is worse than a semi-slick

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for 2014 Kona Operator Bike 2/4/2014 1:25 PM
C138_operator

A solid sled

Rating:

The Good: Great frame and suspension, bike soaks up the terrain with ease.

The Bad: No direct mount stem, would prefer Minion DHF tires and Zee brakes, USD shock annoying to adjust, wheels are super heavy.

Overall:

I demoed this bike, I was pretty impressed with the frame, great geometry and graphics, Kona have come a long way even in the last 2-3 years. Other components slightly less impressed, upside down shock was annoying to adjust as as I couldn't see the compression knob properly. The normal stem looked like an ugly cheap option, when there should really be a direct mount stem. I also hate the High Roller 2 tires, seem just far too heavy and squirm around too much. I can't complain about the Code brakes, they work well, but I think they could have matched the Zee cranks with Zee brakes as surely the reliability and maintenance would benefit most riders.

If it was my bike I'd run tubeless rims and tires to really get the bike to fly by getting rid of 1-2kg of unsprung weight and maybe a regular rear cassette and rear derailleur as uplift days are so rare in my local area. Loved the stability of the bike, but I'll be sticking with my 160mm travel AM bike unless I move somewhere with a chairlift or cable car!

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for X-Fusion Slant RL2 Suspension Fork 12/22/2013 5:50 PM
C138_mt13slant_rl_b_gold

Will fail quickly but perform well. Syntace 15mm skewer is fantastic

Rating:

The Good: Excellent on the trail, buttery smooth, superbly damped

The Bad: Will break or fail somehow within a month. X-Fusion will then take like 2 months to repair it because this way they can 'sit out' out their 2 year warranty period. Please test your products before you bring them to market, we are not idiots.

Overall:

I tried this fork, borrowed from a friend for a few weeks. I have a Velvet, he has a Slant. We both found the same thing, the fork is quite excellent on the trail but doesn't last we've had countless warranty issues. Somehow X-Fusion rushed their R&D or something and made a bunch of hideously unreliable extremely excellent performing forks.

If you ride everyday, it's 1 star. If you have a specific race rig, then these will match up well with your Schwalbe Nobby Nic 5 ride racing tires and Crank Bros pedals. If you only have the time to ride once a week you might be OK too.

5 stars of racing provided they survive the race. 3 stars for a once a week rider and 1 star for everyday riders.

'X-Fusion the Crank Bros of Suspension minus the customer service'.

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for Avid HSX Heat-Shedding Rotor 12/17/2013 9:23 PM
C138_br255c00

Much better than other Avid rotors

Rating:

The Good: Light, stays true

The Bad: None found

Overall:

I first used these rotors with my old Elixir 5 brakes about three years ago. I changed over from the regular Avid rotors you get for free with the brakes, to try to help eliminate that hideous 'turkey warble'. These rotors are infinitely better and went some way to eliminate the problems with the old Avid rotors. Since then I have moved these on to the back of two different bikes where they perform flawlessly with Shimano SLX 666 brakes. Three years, no pitting and still completely true, very impressed. I'll probably never buy Avid brakes again, but don't overlook these rotors foe AM, trail and XC duties, they seem better than the Shimano rotors.

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for Race Face Narrow/Wide Chainring 11/4/2013 8:49 PM
C138_wide_black

The days of hanging junk off your crank are over!

Rating:

The Good: Nicely machined, great color and size choices, even works with 9 speed. A stupidly cost effective way to lighten your ride.

The Bad: You might still need a lightweight guide for piece of mind if riding downhill and free-ride. Marginally noisier than a regular chain ring.

Overall:

I have a full suspension 150mm travel trail/AM bike running 9 speed with a SRAM X7 short cage derailleur. Been running the Raceface Narrow/wide for a few thousand miles on without issue, no chain drops at all. I was worried that I would need a clutch type derailleur, luckily with a short cage regular derailleur this has been fine, but my X7 does have quite a strong spring. I think the chain ring has slightly more rub than my nicely machined Renthal regular ring, but dumping a 250 gram guide has actually made the whole bike a bit lighter and easier to pedal.

This product has 6 reviews.

Added a product review for Maxxis Monorail Tire 8/22/2013 5:26 AM
C138_31264

A fast, light, hard wearing rear tire

Rating:

The Good: Fast rolling, hard wearing, comes TR and LUST

The Bad: Descending and braking traction at 35psi plus, would prefer a bit more volume and a tad more width

Overall:

I bought this tire because I need to ride road and climb before I can open up and have real fun and descend.I teamed this up with a Maxxis Minion single ply 2.35 EXO on the front because they are both ERTO 52. It went on easy on my TR rim tubeless with a floor pump first try, no soap, removing the valve or Stans on the sidewall.

The Monorail climbs really well. The only fault I found was braking traction especially on loose over, that is if you stick to the recommended 35psi or more. However if you drop the pressure to 25-30 range there is much more bite. I'd certainly consider buying again although I probably try something else as I love experimenting with tires.

I'd never dream of putting it on the front for anything other than XC, but on the back it helps you fly along the road and turns my trail/AM rig that can keep up with XC bikes. Purely off road I would prefer something with more bite, however for a road/trail mix this is certainly a top performer.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Race Face Indy Shorts 2012 8/5/2013 8:16 AM
C138_69737

2012 shorts were excellent

Rating:

The Good: Light, comfortable, long lasting, zippered front pocket, look good

The Bad: 2013 shorts not as good

Overall:

2012 Indy shorts were excellent, have easily done a year and are still going strong.

Tried the 2013's I didn't like the fabric, the size was very much on the smaller size and there is no zippered front pocket essential for keeping valuables safe.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for 2013 Kona Process 7/21/2013 8:59 AM
C138_2013_kona_process

Solid fun descender, but weight and component choices questionable.

Rating:

The Good: Tapered head tube, nice geometry, 142 x12

The Bad: Heavy wheels and tires, 2x10 and bash, Elixir brakes

Overall:

At first look at the stats the bike seems too heavy to be a contender, espcially when there are way lighter 160mm travel machines on the market, but somehow you just don't notice the weight until you pick it up. It climbs OK, but it could climb so much better, on the descents it is fun, but this is mostly due to the tire width and slack HT angle becuase the RS suspension is adequate, but not great, but could have been tuned by Kona or RS to be really good.

I feel the process could be a little better with some smarter component choices. If the bike had lighter tubeless tires like Hans Dampf 2.35 heck of a lot of weight could be saved as the High Roller 2s are heavy thick DH tires that suck and spin out uphill. Some lighter wheels would be a killer upgrade too. Also I can't figure out the need for a dorky 2x10 setup on this bike, it would be much sweeter running a guide and 32-34 tooth sprocket and maybe a Zee out the back. Avid Elixir 5s have never been great, I really think Shimano Zee would be better suited to this bike than the noisy mediocre Elixirs.

Personally I think this bike might be a sweet choice for a self build medium travel FR frameset, but the component choices are so dumb possibly by being tied into Avid that you could easily end up spending another thousand dollars to get the bike set up how you want it. Seems a typical Kona bike, killer marketing, good design and then ruined by poor component choices by the accounting department with little attention to weight.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Maxxis Larsen TT Tire 7/15/2013 2:16 AM
C138_17334

Fast and fun tire for rear

Rating:

The Good: Fast, inexpensive, fun, matches up well with other narrower than measured Maxxis tires

The Bad: Not tubeless ready enough, puncture protection can be poor depending on version used

Overall:

I used this tire years ago, I found it was very fast on dry trails, the only complaint I had was that it was punctured too easily (with middle weight tubes) and unsurprisingly not super confidence inspiring on the front, compared with more aggressive tires.

Inspired by seeing what the pros run in the enduro championships I'd love to get this tire again in about a 2.35 to match up with a Minion in dry conditions, but I'm too concerned that it's not tubeless ready enough and might be a PITA to run tubeless. I hope Maxxis get their tubeless ready technology sorted like Schwalbe have so I can run this as my 'go to' enduro/AM/trail dry condition rear tire in the future, the sooner the better!

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for fi'zi:k Aliante Saddle 2011 7/15/2013 1:26 AM
C138_46946

Good, but 'good' is highly subjective with saddles

Rating:

The Good: Fairly comfortable, rails don't bend.

The Bad: This saddle might not suit you if you are moderately or very flexible. Regular retail prices are expensive.

Overall:

Fizik have a guide, this saddle is for 'Bulls'. That doesn't mean you should only buy if you are overweight, it's an indication of your flexibility. If you can't touch your toes than this is the saddle is for you, one of my friends isn't very flexible and he loves this saddle. I bought it and for me it's solid and alright, but I also have a Tundra 2 and I find that more comfortable, as I'm somewhere between snake and chameleon, which means somewhere between very and quite flexible.

As the underside of the saddles are fairly similar, are Fizik saddles worth it? IMHO, yes, if you can get one cheaply, the full retail prices are nuts, as the material cost seems pretty minimal, and it should always be possible to find a saddle you really like for half the retail of a Fizik, if that's a Fizik on offer, great. Just be careful you buy the right one for you.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for 2012 Mongoose Fireball 26" Bike 7/4/2013 12:11 AM
C138_m_12_fir26_cyn_2

Good Value, some great budget components, some junk

Rating:

The Good: Chain guide, tires, frame geometry

The Bad: seat, brakes

Overall:

I bought this because it's my third bike and I ride in two countries and needed one to use for about a month each year.

The good:

  • MRP chain guide works pretty flawlessly
  • Kenda K-rads are great tires
  • Frame geometry is great but chainstays could be shorter

The OK:

  • SRAM rear derailleur OK, but better if short cage
  • Crank works fine, square taper is reliable
  • Fork is bouncy and fun but has no adjust and bottoms and tops out really easily
  • Wheels are heavy and don't have sealed bearings, but are reliable
  • 710mm steel bar and short stem

The Bad:

  • Tektro brakes overheat on the slightest hill
  • Seat rails bend easily, seat is garbage
  • Frame cracked on seat post

Bargain basement bike, not bad for the money, can do it all. Don't expect much as this price point would suit a kid aged 14-16 really well.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Spank Oozy 26AL EVO Complete Wheels 6/21/2013 9:43 AM
C138_oozy_wheelset_front_silver

Good wheels, although made by a budget manufacturer and don't have complete 'out of the box' compatibility for every rider

Rating:

The Good: Light, strong, tubeless ready, not prone to burping when set up tubeless, many axle sizes (as long as you spend extra)

The Bad: Not fully compatible with many axle sizes or tubeless out of the box

Overall:

I feel these wheels are an opportunity lost. They come in 15mm front axle and 12mm x 142mm rear with regular rim tape. Cool if that's what you are running, but if you want to run tubeless or another axle size, it's back to the web to order if you can find the extra parts. This is kind of sad because, yes these wheels are truly very responsive, light and fast on the trail but because they are made in Taiwan by the same company that make the usually acceptable/mediocre offerings that are Joyech/Novatech they couldn't afford to include 100% compatibility of all adapters for their customers and a roll of Fratelli rim tape, a tubeless Presta valve and some Stans, which would only cost a few more dollars. Especially a shame when you consider that they are only slightly cheaper than Italian made Fulcrum Red Zone for example. I feel that they could be true market leader with complete compatibility, being that's the option every rider wants and deserves.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Easton Havoc 35 Aluminum Bars 6/21/2013 9:13 AM
C138_ea_35_orange

Perfect bar, for me at least

Rating:

The Good: Reasonably light, no flex

The Bad: None found

Overall:

I've used these bars for at least three years with no complaints. These were my first bars over 710mm, so I can't compare them to much other than the rise sweep and flex are perfect for me. Recently I tried some Spank bars that were 40mm rise and 10mm wider and after many attempts at trying to like them went back to my trusty old Eastons. I'm not saying they are better than market leaders like Renthal Fatbars as I haven't used them, but the Eastons with between 10-20mm stack height are ideal for me..

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Truvativ Hussefelt Stem 5/30/2013 6:07 AM
C138_st259a05_black

As strong as heck, in a jail they'd put it in a sock and use it as a weapon!

Rating:

The Good: Strong with strong bolts

The Bad: Heavy, limited color choices, painted and not anodized

Overall:

To be honest if I was going to upgrade anything I'd plumb for a stem under 180 grams. At 220 grams on my scale it's a tad on the heavy side, OK so not by much, but consider you can get a really strong attractive anodized CNC machined stem in a choice of colors at 160 grams, and those grams here and there add up into kilos by the end of your build. So I'd only buy this for a budget freeride or DH build, maybe spend extra and go lighter for AM and trail bikes. However it is a serious stem that gives you piece of mind with no doubts to its strength.

This product has 2 reviews.