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anotherbikerguy's Product Reviews

Added a product review for Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evolution Tire 6/11/2013 9:38 AM
C138_19166

Fast-rolling, fast-wearing

Rating:

The Good: Rolls quickly in the 2.25 size. Provides enough traction for most hardpack/loose-over-hard riding conditions.

The Bad: Center knobs wear out quickly. Does not have the cornering grip to really push the bike.

Overall:

Schwalbe's Nobby Nic tires came stock on my Giant Trance, and I decided to try them out before going back to my preferred brand of tires (WTB, for reference). Although the Nobby Nic rolled surprisingly well and made my trailbike feel lighter than its true weight, the rear started to wear out sooner than I would have expected. When I rotated the front tire to the back and put on a WTB Bronson in front, I realized what I'd been missing in cornering traction. The Nobby Nics are fine for trail riding that leans more toward the cross-country end of the spectrum, but for more aggressive trails I'll be sticking with a tire that can hook up more confidently in the turns.

This product has 6 reviews.

Added a product review for Panaracer Fire Pro Tire 8/24/2012 2:30 PM
C138_ti707a08

Surprisingly useful for the price

Rating:

The Good: Usable traction combined with good rolling speed and durability, and less than half the cost of most other tires

The Bad: Doesn't have the cornering ability to be used as a dependable front tire

Overall:

If you're on a budget and you need to keep your bike rolling, the Panaracer Fire tire is a surprisingly decent option as a rear tire. No, it won't work quite as well as more expensive, refined tires, but if you're not racing and you just need to hit the trails without breaking the bank, it will do the job.

While it doesn't have the cornering blocks necessary to hold its own as a front tire, it's fine when used in the back. It's a little narrow for aggressive all-mountain riding, but for riders who frequent fast singletrack more than big drops and rocky chutes, it works okay. Not spectacular, but well enough that you won't have to think about it. It rolls fairly well, has enough bite for braking, and isn't prone to flats. It sheds mud pretty well, too.

If you're strapped for cash, the Fire is a useful tire that can keep you out on the trails instead of sitting at home waiting for your next paycheck. Riders on a tight budget shouldn't overlook this tire.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake 8/22/2012 1:57 PM
C138_br261c00

Plenty of power, but poor modulation

Rating:

The Good: Raw stopping power is more than enough for trail riding. Split clamp makes installation easy (no need to remove grips or shifters).

The Bad: Modulation is lacking. Noisy.

Overall:

These brakes certainly have the power for even the steepest trails. The drawback is that modulation is not on par with Shimano's current offerings. It took me quite a while to find the sweet spot in the lever stroke where I could avoid locking up the rear wheel on steep descents. Once you find it, the brakes work well enough, but they never modulate as well as the Shimano brakes I've ridden recently. If you rely on finessing the brakes delicately to get you through technical sections, you should try Avid's higher-end offerings, or switch to Shimano. That said, they've kept me in control through some gnarly trails, even though they can be a bit noisy under hard braking, and I have confidence in their ability to slow me down in a hurry.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for ODI Ruffian Lock-On Grips 8/22/2012 1:49 PM
C138_97908500_1265402651

My all-time favorite

Rating:

The Good: Knurled pattern gives great traction in dry or wet conditions. Thin enough to provide a good feel for the bar. Sturdy lock-on collars.

The Bad: Wear quicker than some other options

Overall:

The often-imitated ODI Ruffian is my favorite grip. The knurled pattern is simple and low-profile, and provides great grip without annoying logos or hard spots. They're thin enough to give you a good connection to the bar and bike, but still take some of the sting out of the ride. Whether the day is hot and dusty or chilly and wet, these grips will give you the traction you need. Many other brands have a similar pattern available, but ODI's lock collars are better than most.

This product has 11 reviews.

Added a product review for SRAM Team GXP Bottom Bracket 8/22/2012 1:38 PM
C138_bb268d00

Easy to install, but wears out quickly

Rating:

The Good: Installs with no hassles. Finish quality is excellent.

The Bad: Durability is not as good as expected.

Overall:

Over two years, I went through a surprising number of these bottom brackets on my cross-country bike. The durability of the bearings was never quite satisfactory. I was running a Truvativ Stylo crankset, and these bottom brackets inevitably developed play after a few months of riding. They were also prone to creaking if not thoroughly greased and tightened. On the bright side, I never had an issue with installation or removal. The cups spun in without any problems, and whenever I needed to re-grease or replace the cups I could back them out without undue effort. However, this doesn't change the fact that these bottom brackets didn't hold up well on my bike. Every one I bought was disappointing.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Kenda Nevegal Tire 8/21/2012 11:23 PM
C138_ti509a01_2.5_fold

Corners with confidence, but slow rolling

Rating:

The Good: Cornering performance is awesome

The Bad: Rolls slower than comparable tires

Overall:

I love the way this tire corners. I remember the first time I leaned it over, I couldn't believe how far it held. If that's important to you, then rest assured this tire will not let you down in the turns. However, if you're just riding along on hard-packed trails or on the road to the trailhead, you can feel how much resistance this tire creates when rolling. I've talked to some of my riding buddies, and they agree that this tire's strength is its cornering ability, not its speed. Pick your priority.

This product has 10 reviews.

Added a product review for 2012 Giant Trance X2 Bike 8/21/2012 11:16 PM
C138_trance_x_2

Lively and capable trail bike - but ditch the triple!

Rating:

The Good: A total blast to ride on tight, technical descents or fast, swooping singletrack. Pedals efficiently through rough or smooth trails. Reasonable weight for the price. Durable, solid parts kits. Inspires confidence on gnarly sections.

The Bad: Triple crankset is unnecessary - swap to a double or single for lower weight and better chain retention. Stock tires are thin - I pinch flatted on my first ride. Stock brakes aren't great.

Overall:

Every time I ride this bike I enjoy it more. It pedals well enough to get you to the top of the hill without unnecessary gasping, although big standing efforts definitely work better with the ProPedal switch engaged. The Maestro suspension works well to keep the rear wheel tracking on technical climbs, making rooty or rocky sections easier.

The fun really starts at the top of the hill - this bike comes alive on any descent. It accelerates quickly, and once you have the suspension dialed in, it floats through rock gardens with composure. It sucks up rocks and drops easily. I will say that the suspension can be a bit noisy, but I hardly notice it once I get going. The head angle looks steep on paper compared to some other trail bikes, but I've found that it gives the bike a nimble feel more than a nervous feel. The bike rails through corners better than any I've ridden.

It's not perfect. The triple crankset is overkill for most trail riding. I switched to a single 32T ring with an e.13 guide. On that note, this bike does not have ISCG mounts, and it has a press-fit BB, so the only chain guides that will fit are the top-guide only options from e.13, MRP, and some other companies. If you need a full guide with a lower roller, this is probably not the bike for you. The stock tires are thin, easy to pinch flat, and wear quickly on rocky trails. The Avid Elixir 5 brakes are noisy on long descents. Some riders may find the stock stem too long or the stock bar too narrow, but that's a matter of personal preference.

The rest of the stock parts are reliable performers. The Shimano drivetrain is bombproof, and the Giant brand wheels are a respectable offering. The Fox suspension is top-notch as always.

On the whole, I'm stoked on this bike. I'd like to add a dropper post to increase its versatility, but even in mostly-stock form it's a ripper of a ride.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Giro Phase Helmet 8/20/2012 11:49 PM
C138_32ac2961_2280_4110_8902_16ad99f18e3d

Inexpensive, versatile helmet

Rating:

The Good: "Neutral" styling blends in at races or on the trail. Comfortable and well-ventilated. Fit is easy to adjust with one hand.

The Bad: Chin strap seems to loosen over time.

Overall:

I picked up the Giro Phase in black back in 2010 and it has served me well since then. It's not as expensive as a lighter or flashier lid, but it does the job just as well and still looks pretty good. The dial that adjusts the fit is quick and easy to use with gloves and while riding, and I can quickly snug it down with just one hand. I've used this helmet for cross-country riding and racing and trail riding, and I've even taken the visor off and used it for road racing. It has an unremarkable style which fits in anywhere. If you want your helmet to stand out in a crowd, look elsewhere, but otherwise this is a great choice for the trail/XC segment. The one complaint I have is that the chin strap seems to slowly work itself loose over time. I've noticed this happening consistently since I've had the helmet, but it's so gradual that it's never been a serious issue. When it eventually comes time to replace my current helmet, the Phase will be my first choice.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for e*thirteen XCX Chainguide 8/20/2012 11:31 PM
C138_47875

Works great, but check fit before committing

Rating:

The Good: Easy to align. Captive hardware is a big plus. Chain rub is almost nonexistent. Works as advertised - no dropped chains yet.

The Bad: Some suspension linkages may cause compatibility issues - see below for more details.

Overall:

(This review is for the seat tube mounted low-clamp version of this guide.) I was initially disappointed when I found that the lower linkage on my 2012 Giant Trance forced me to mount this chainguide so high that it looked like it might not work properly. So if you can, you should check the compatibility between this chainguide and your specific frame before you throw down your cash. I had doubts, especially since I was using a 32T ring, but since I started riding I have forgotten all about the installation issues. After a little bit of adjustment, there is very little chain rub. There's some slight noise when I use the lowest or highest cogs, but nothing that I can feel through the pedals. My first ride with this chainguide was down a steep, rocky trail with about six or seven miles of continuous descent. The guide worked perfectly - not one dropped chain. And that's the way it's been ever since. As long as you can get the guide to fit on your frame, the performance is great. Yes, it's a little pricey, but it's a high-quality item.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Topeak Pocket Shock DXG Pump 8/20/2012 11:20 PM
C138_474075

Compact, simple shock pump for most home mechanics

Rating:

The Good: Small enough to fit easily in a hydration pack. Will inflate a fork or shock from zero to fully aired up within a minute. Good for home use.

The Bad: Slightly difficult to grip comfortably. Bleed valve does not work well unless used in one specific way. Despite dual-stage chuck, still releases some air when removed.

Overall:

This is a solid shock pump for occasional home or trail-side use. I wouldn't recommend it for a shop mechanic or somebody who tinkers with their suspension all the time, because it's tricky to get a comfortable grip on this pump due to its small size. On the plus side, that small size means that you can bring it along on a ride easily if you're still figuring out suspension settings. The rotating hose allows it to fit into most tight spaces without much trouble. The dual-stage chuck is more cumbersome and slow to use than the lever found on some other pumps, and it doesn't quite prevent that little bit of air loss when the pump is unscrewed. Another reason to avoid this pump if you're constantly adjusting your suspension. I found that the bleed valve only works when the pump handle is completely compressed, and when I press the bleed valve in just slightly. It was frustrating at first when I couldn't get the air out of my shock due to this odd sensitivity of the valve. On the whole, this is a useful and well-made shock pump for occasional use and travel.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Troy Lee Designs Air Gloves 8/15/2012 11:30 PM
C138_13tld_air_glove_black

Excellent minimalist glove

Rating:

The Good: Thin without being flimsy, breathable, comfortable. Great for cross-country or trail riding if you don't like thick, bulky gloves.

The Bad: Wrist closure is a bit large

Overall:

I've always preferred thinner gloves because they provide a better feel for the bar. My favorite pair of Fox Digits wore out after three seasons and I picked up these TLDs as a replacement. I've been stoked on them ever since. They're thin enough to give me a good grip on the bar, but tough enough to keep my hands from getting torn up when I hit the ground. I've crashed in them, and they've saved me from any major scrapes or cuts. They allow enough air in to keep my hands relatively cool even on hot climbs. After months of racing, riding, and crashing, I have yet to see a loose stitch. The wrist closure is larger than I'd like, but that's probably only an issue for me. These are solid gloves, and I'll get another pair if I manage to wear these out.

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for Park Tool GP-2C Glueless Patch Kit 8/14/2012 11:14 AM
C138_tl707i01

The best self-adhesive patch on the market

Rating:

The Good: Sticks well, doesn't slide or leak. Lasts as long as a traditional patch. Fast and easy to apply.

The Bad: Only one size available (as far as I'm aware)

Overall:

Everybody should have a package of these in their saddlebag or backpack. They're far faster than a traditional vulcanizing patch, and they last just as long. I have tried other brands of glueless patches with poor results (one brand almost left me stranded) but Park Tool's patches have never failed me. The box is tiny, and if you suffer multiple flats on the same ride, it could get you home. This patch kit is one of my essential items for any ride.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Park Tool BB Install Spanner & Tool HollowTech II 8/14/2012 11:08 AM
C138_4062

Too short for intended use

Rating:

The Good: Bites well on Shimano and Truvativ external bottom brackets.

The Bad: Handle is too short for removing tight bottom brackets. The HollowTech installation tool on the end of the handle makes this problem worse.

Overall:

I've used this wrench many times to install and remove bottom brackets, but every time I find myself reaching for a piece of pipe as an extension - the handle is just too short. The included HollowTech tool is great for Shimano Cranks, and works as intended, but it's right at the end of the handle. I removed it pretty quickly. This tool has the right fit and strength for its purpose, but it doesn't have the leverage needed for the job.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for WTB Bronson Tire 8/13/2012 9:38 PM
C138_ti265a04

Awesome trail tire

Rating:

The Good: Corners like it's on rails. Beefy knobs track well in the mud.

The Bad: Slightly high rolling resistance. Tubeless set-up can be troublesome.

Overall:

This is my current favorite front tire. The side knobs hook up well in every corner, and the tread design works well on everything from hardpack to sticky mud. I don't like using this tire in the rear, because it's a little bit slow-rolling. I prefer to pair it with a faster tire in the rear, like the WTB Wolverine or something similar. That allows me to get up to speed more quickly, and then make use of this tire's excellent traction and cornering ability. If you're buying the TCS version for a tubeless set-up, your experience may be mixed. I mounted two of these tires tubeless on identical rims, and while one sealed up instantly with just a floor pump, the other forced me to drag out the compressor. Other than that, I love these tires.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for WTB Wolverine Tire 8/13/2012 9:32 PM
C138_88502880_1284656584

Fun tire for XC/trail riding

Rating:

The Good: Corners well. When it does break loose, it's very predictable. Rolling resistance is decent - not on the level of a pure XC tire, but low enough that it won't feel like you're dragging bricks.

The Bad: Does not track well in muddy/wet conditions

Overall:

This is one of my favorite tires for riding dry, relatively firm terrain. I've used this tire in both 26" and 29" versions and always been satisfied. I prefer to run this tire in the rear. The lower rolling resistance allows you to get up to speed, and it drifts predictably, so you can slide through corners without feeling out of control. One of my favorite pairings is a Wolverine rear with a WTB Bronson up front. I also used this tire for some XC racing. It's not as light or as quick as a true XC tire, but it can do the job if you want to race but don't want to ride semi-slick or super low-profile race tires. I rarely had any issues with flats, even when I hit rocks hard enough to make me sure I would pinch the tube. But be warned: This is not a good tire for wet conditions. On wet roots, it slides all over the place. However, if your local trails are dry, rocky, and generally hard-packed, this is a great tire.

This product has 6 reviews.

Added a product review for Crank Brothers Multi 17 Tool 8/13/2012 2:18 PM
C138_tl265j04

Reliable trail-side tool

Rating:

The Good: Slim and compact, reliable, contains all essential tools.

The Bad: Chain tool is uncomfortably small. Prone to rusting. 8mm hex key is not very useful.

Overall:

I've been using this tool for trail repairs and even occasional garage work for four years without any serious problems. It fits easily in a jersey pocket or saddlebag. It includes various sizes of hex keys, a T25 torx key, flat and Philips screwdrivers, a chain tool, and spoke wrenches.I haven't had a problem with any of the bits rounding.The hex keys are great, although the 8mm seems unnecessary because the tool is too short to provide the kind of leverage needed with most 8mm hex bolts. The flat screwdriver could probably be eliminated too. The chain tool is short, so it's difficult to grip, but it does work and has saved multiple rides from turning into hikes. The tool has picked up some spots of surface rust over the years, but it's still working just fine. I never go on a ride without it.

This product has 4 reviews.

Added a product review for Park Tool Gear Clean Brush 8/13/2012 10:54 AM
C138_7212

Perfect for intended use

Rating:

The Good: It's cheap, it lasts for years, and it's the quickest way to clean cassettes, chainrings, and derailleur pulleys.

The Bad: Nothing, really.

Overall:

This brush is the best at what it does. It's shaped perfectly to reach into the nooks and crannies of cassettes. It's durable - I haven't worn one out yet at home. The scraping end fits in between the cogs of a cassette and is great at busting up thick, caked-on grime, and the brush gets everything sparkling clean again. What more could you want from a five-dollar tool? Whether in the shop or at home, this is my go-to tool for a dirty cassette.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Park Tool YZ125 8/13/2012 10:47 AM
C138_parktool_cg_2_08_m

Simple, functional, dependable.

Rating:

The Good: The "Cyclone" chain cleaner is easy to use and it does an acceptable job cleaning off old lube and dirt from my chain. The drivetrain brush is great for cleaning cassettes and chainrings. I can always get my chain looking clean again in under five minutes.

The Bad: The wheels with the brushes spin on plastic stubs sitting in plastic slots, and after a while I've found that the brushes don't spin very well. The chain still gets scrubbed, but not as thoroughly. It would be better if there were a metal insert or something similar to prevent this.

Overall:

I've been using this kit for years now with great results. I don't usually use Park Tool's chain cleaning fluid; normal dish soap is less expensive and works fine. I've found that doing one cycle with soap and two with plain water will get almost any chain looking shiny again in under five minutes. The only problem I've had is what I mentioned above: the wheels with the brushes don't spin very well in their plastic slots. It's not a major issue, but it's annoying. Also, if you're rough on tools, watch out - I cracked one of these chain cleaners when I accidentally dropped it.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Shimano XT Disc Brake M785 8/6/2012 4:24 PM
C138_67208

Excellent all-around brake

Rating:

The Good: Impressive stopping power. Modulation is simply the best available. Easily adjustable.

The Bad: The finned heat-sink pads are expensive.

Overall:

I ran these brakes on a cross-country race bike for five months this year and came away thoroughly impressed. I had been using previous-generation Shimano SLX brakes, but these brakes blew those older models out of the water. The reach adjust is simple and doesn't migrate or wiggle. The increase in stopping power was immediately evident. After a few rides I also noticed that the modulation was superb. I never locked up a wheel unless I was trying to. I wouldn't hesitate to run these brakes on a trail bike, or even on a gravity bike with some larger rotors installed. They're the best brakes I've ridden. I didn't have to bleed the brakes during the time I owned them, so I can't comment on the ease of bleeding. The only downside I can think of is that the finned pads are very expensive. However, I ran my brakes with the standard pads and never had any issues with overheating or brake fade, so if you're on a budget you could skip the fancy pads and still enjoy the great feel and power of these brakes.

This product has 7 reviews.

Added a product review for Shimano M520 Clipless Pedals 1/5/2012 10:27 PM
C138_l13659

Good for beginners, but heavy and bearings aren't the best.

Rating:

The Good: The adjustable tension is great for beginning riders. The pedals perform well in all conditions, only clogging in the worst peanut-buttery mud. They've survived rock strikes and dropped bikes and still engage and release reliably every time.

The Bad: After three seasons, the bearings have worn enough that there's significant play between the pedal body and the axle. The bearings can't be accessed without a proprietary tool. They're also on the heavy side.

Overall: Solid, reliable pedals for beginners. They're somewhat heavy and the bearings won't last as long as more expensive models, but they should serve well for riders looking for a first pair of pedals.

This product has 2 reviews.