Updated bike check awol12's Jamis 8/25/2015 4:45 PM
Added a product review for Shimano SLX Cassette 10 Speed HG81 7/31/2015 4:29 PM

SLX Cassette is a Smooth Operator


The Good: Fits 9 speed cassette body Smooth shifting Lighter weight

The Bad: only goes up to 36 teeth not as compatible with expander ring upgrades (Oneup Wolf Tooth)


Picked up this cassette as part of a 10 speed conversion and have been pleasantly surprised with it. Shimano's SLX group set has gotten great praise overall, but personally I wasn't in love with their 9 speed group set that I was upgrade from, but due to an ordering error on my part the SLX cassette is what I ended up getting.

One thing I love is the compatibility with 9 speed cassette bodies. While we would all love 11 speeds, the whole switching of cassette hubs or getting new wheels, or even a new bike is a bit unattainable for many of us. My original cassette was a 9 speed Sram Power Glide and the Shimano 10 speed SLX slid right on with no problems.

Once the cassette was on things started out good, but then got rough. I was running into issues in the middle gears with the chain missing cogs entirely or shifting up instead of staying in place. After a little trial and error it turned out to be a slight tweek in the derailluer hanger was needed. After getting that squared the cassette worked great! Going up or down everything moved smoothly, no skipping or misses.

Only down sided I can find on this cassette is that the highest cog is 36. Would definitely like to have a choice of at least 40. Also since the SLX is a lower tier of Shimano components it doesn't come apart like you would in an XT or XTR cassette. This means it is not as compatible with expander cogs like Oneup and Wolf Tooth. With the SLX cassette you will have to do some cutting to make an expander work, so if you're interested in doing that be aware.

Overall a great cassette and I have been happy so far. Only have had one for a couple of months so we will see what time will tell.

This product has no reviews yet

Added a product review for Shimano XT SL-M780 10-Speed Shifters 7/31/2015 3:52 PM

It's a Shifter and it shifts!


The Good: Ispec compatible 10 speed Multiple gear shifter - go through multiple gears with one push 2-way release on upper shifter trigger

The Bad: Ispec Doesn't come with ispec mount and handle bar mount


‚ÄčThe XT shifter is a great choice if you are switching to a 10 speed setup or upgrading a lower tier 10 speed drivetrain. I picked up this shifter as part of a 9 speed to 10 speed conversion and have been very happy with my purchase.

This XT shifter comes in a few different configurations; bar mount with gear indicator, just bar mount, and ispec mount. Unfortunately Shimano doesn't give you all these configurations when you purchase the shift, you have to pick one and if you want to change it later your gonna have to pay. It would be great if Shimano sold the shifter with all three configurations, even if the cost is a bit more. That being said I went with the ispec mount.

Ispec is nice and definitely helps to unclutter your bar. If you haven't heard of Ispec it's Shimano's version of Sram's Match Maker. Ispec lets you mount your shifter to your brake, but only if you have a Shimano brake and only if you're working with the right versions of Ispec. Ispec has two versions, Ispec A and Ispec B. While it took a little digging I was able to find the following compatibilities with Ispec:

  • Ispec A is the original and Ispec A shifters are compatible with Ispec A brakes only
  • Ispec B is the 2nd gen, and shifters are compatible with both Ipec A and Ispec B brakes
  • Both versions of Ispec use special hardware to connect to the brake
  • Ispec shifters are not compatible with any other brake maker
While this all seems simple enough I ran into some issues with this whole set up as I was fitting an Ispec B shifter to an Ispec A brake lever.

The XT shifter is supposed to come with hardware to connect the shifter to either a Ispec A or B brake lever, but I only got the hardware for the Ispec B setup. A call to the online retailer and my LBS ended with both saying Ispec A is only compatible with Ispec A and Ispec B is only compatible with Ispec B, but Shimano service documents say otherwise and show the hardware needed to connect an Ispec B shifter to an Ispec A brake. Unfortunately this hardware can only be found in the UK and costs as much as the shifter once you figure in price conversions and shifting. I went a different route and made my one bolt and nut connection for a couple of bucks and some eblow grease.

With the shifter fitter I have been very impressed with it. Shifting up and down is smooth and precise. The shifter does have 2 way release on the upper trigger, but I'll be honest I only shift down pulling back with my finger. The XT shifter also has multiple up-shifting. Again this is a feature that works and a little longer push of the trigger will up-shift through a few gears, it's a feature I haven't used while riding normally. I have tested the multishift just to see if it works, but haven't used it since.

Shimano has done a very good with the XT shifter and it's nice to see some of the XTR tech trickle down to the XT price point, but Shimano definitely needs to sort out Ispec. Ispec is good on paper, but a bit rough in the real world. I would recommend going with the bar mountable shifter unless you're 100% sure you have the same type of Ispec shifter and brake.

This product has no reviews yet

Added a product review for Race Face Charge Knee/Shin Pads 7/31/2015 3:03 PM

It's Like a Rashguard, for Your Knees and Without Water...


The Good: Spot on Fit Good Coverage Mutlitasking benefits Very little slip Breathable

The Bad: Not impact resistant


Just being from Race Face you know these are going to be spot on, does Race Face make anything bad? That said though, these are feeling good knee guards/cover and do a great job of adding a little bit of extra protection, but no over doing it.

If you ride XC, aggressive XC (is that just being mad that you don't have a more gravity focused trail) or trail riding the Charge guards will treat you well. Great cover and fit. The Charge, when fitted right, fits mid thigh and down to your upper shin. They don't give entire leg coverage, but do cover a good amout of meat. The elastic bands at the thigh and shin fit tight, but not too tight. In the 10 or so rides I have worn them on I have had little to no slippage on either leg and no uncomfortable over tightness from the elastic bands.

Make it known these are not DH guards in anyway (unless you never crash). However these do, do a great job of protecting your legs from getting scratched up on the trail or scraped from smaller recks.. The Charge are not really padded so really hard impacts will not be obsorbed by these.

An added benefit of the Charge is they also work like a minimul knee warmer. They are full coverage, front and back, so they do trap a little heat, but they do not overheart. Being mesh in the areas that aren't on the knee and shin allows them to breath and be comfortable. In all my rides I haven't felt the Charge guards make my legs overly warm. I have however felt less knee fatigue when wearing the Charge guards, not sure if this in my head or if the extra bit of heat from the guardes is giving the little bit of additional support.

Overall these are great and one of the few products I can without a doubt give a full five stars! Race Face did a great job with these and most riders will find them helpful addition to their riding gear.

This product has 2 reviews

Added a product review for The Sensus Swayze Lock-On Grip 7/29/2015 1:55 PM

Grips for Those That Like to Party!


The Good: ODI Rubber and lock rings Classic wavy grip style Long grip length Includes bar plugs

The Bad: Shifters hit grip flange Outer grip lip catches in lock on bolt Small lock on bolts


Picked these up for no other reason than I like to switch up my bikes look from time to time with grips and thought I would give The Sensus a try. Sensus is a rider owned company and I like to support those that ride.

The Swayze grips are designed by Sensus, but use rubber and lock-on rings from ODI. Working with ODI is great since they have an established and trusted design. However, using ODI is also a bit of a negative for me. I personally have never liked ODI's use of a very small lock-on bolts. I always feel like I am going to strip them out when tightening up.

I have been using these grips for just over a month and I am overall impressed with them. The Swayze's have a good feel. The wavey style design grips well and has a good fell. When you are just holding on they are softer and obsorb shock well, but when you really grip tight the rubber bends easily and gives good bar feel and control.

The Swayze's are the longest grip I have even ridden, which is good and bad. Good because you have more side to side positioning than average. Bad because the grips take more real estate on your bars which means brakes, shifters, etc are all gonna have to move a bit.

Along with the length being a little bit of an issue with shifters and breaks the inside flange on the Swayze is also larger then most and interferes with shifters. I run a 1 x 10 and had to do some trial and error to get my shifter and grip in a position that felt good and didn't cause a ton of interference. Currently it's a bit of a compramise and my shifter still does rub the flange a bit.

My last complaint isn't a big one, but is still there. The Swayze grips have a lip that slightly covers the lock ring on the outside. Sensus says this is so you don't feel the lock ring, but in reality creates issues with the lock ring bolt. Since the grip overlaps the lock ring it is also really easy to catch the grip in between the lock ring and the lock ring bolt. I did this a couple of times while adjusting my grips and this caused one lip to tear.

Good grip overall and would be great for dirt jumpers and bmx, but not the best choice if you are running a shifter on either side. Might not run into the shifter rub issue if you are running really wide bars.

This product has no reviews yet

Added a product review for Fly Racing Freestone Helmet 7/29/2015 12:22 PM

Smooth Looks and Great Function!


The Good: Lots of cooling vents Good colorways Light weight Rear head cover Adjustable visor

The Bad: dial retention system weak awkward visor adjustment matte finish scratches easily No camera mount


I have been looking for a helment with more back of the head coverage and picked this up from Jenson with a great price match, so the price was way cheaper then the average $109 retail.

First impression was right on on. The helmet has lots of vents (19) and is super light. The dial system retention and adjustable chin strap offer lots ofadjustability. I chose the Hi-Viz Blue in a size med/large. While I am not sure about the other colorway's finish, the Hi-Viz blue is more matte than glossy, which I personally really like.

Out of the box the fit was good. Didn't have to do any adjustment with the chin straps, but they were tight under my chin the way I like it. Using the dial to get the helmet snug seemed to take a lot of, 19 clicks to get it feeling good. I chose my helment size based on Fly's fitting chart, but you might want to go down a size. For reference I wear a fitted hat of 7 3/8 and my head circumference is 23", which puts me right at the start of large.

One complaint on the fit of the helmet is the related to the dial. As you dial in you start to get a bit of "float", the helmet lifts a bit as you tighten it up. Almost everytime I ride I find my self dial in and then pull the helmet down and then dialing a couple of more clicks to get it just right. Now a huge issues, but defitinately not perfect.

On the trail the helmet feels great! The vents keep your head super cool and I haven't gotten the sweat dripping down my face like I have with other helmets. The overall lightness also transfers well while riding, the helmet really has a "not really there" feeling to me. One surprise was that the helmet really says put while riding. I was worried with the floating when dial in that on the trail the helmet would slide up and move around, but it no such issue yet.

My complaints on this helmet are small and maybe even knit picky, but here they are.

Adjustment for the visor is really awkward. There is a dial right in the middle and under the front of the visor, but its a super tight fit. You can get at the dial with your fingers, so you need to jab at with a small tool or a finger nail (hope you don't find breaking a nail). The visor is a set and forget and not something that is trial adjustable.

The matte finish shows scuffs and scratches a bit easily. If you like a clean look this finish won't be your cup of tea. I have taken any spills in it, but it does show some marks just from transport.

And my finally little beef, no camera mount. Not a make or break, but would definitely be appreciated as a lot of helments in the this price range are starting to get them.

Overall this is a great helmet with a lot of good features at a good price. I imagine that Fly will keep working on this helmet and fix the rough edges and improving it. If you can get this at retail, or a little bit less, you will be happy with your purchase. I imagine I will be rocking this helmet for a few years to come.

This product has 1 review

Updated bike check awol12's Jamis 7/9/2015 9:19 AM
Updated bike check awol12's Jamis 6/26/2015 6:30 PM
Added a product review for SRAM PG-950 9-Speed Cassette 4/25/2015 7:12 PM

Smooth Shifting All Day


The Good: Smooth shifting Multiple gear ranges Inexpensive SRAM/Shimano compatible

The Bad: Heavy Steel


This came as an OEM cassette and has provided years of flawless shifting. This cassette comes in at a budget friendly price and offers great quality as well.Compatiblity with SRAM and Shimano makes changing/upgrading other components a simple task.

This cassette shifts very smoothly and any shifting issues I have encountered have come from the derailleur and not the cassette. The cassette stays super clean and sheds mud and other debris on its own.

The SRAM PG 950 is easy to find with many online retailers and offers multiple gear ratios to fit different styles.

Whether your are running this as a weekend warrior or a daily rider it will not disappoint.

This product has no reviews yet

Added a product review for Race Face Narrow/Wide Chainring 4/25/2015 6:36 PM

Narrow/Wide = Simply/Awesome!!!


The Good: Light and strong Variety of colors Variety of sizes DIY simple setup

The Bad: Color wears fast


Does Race Face do anything bad? Cause the Narrow/Wide ring is spot on and near perfect in every way. SRAM kicked off the whole 1X setup, but Race Face made it accessible for the masses by creating this bolt-on simple and inexpensive ring.

I have been riding a 104 32T for about a year and have been so happy with it. I bolted it up to a slightly heavy Gravity StepUp crank set and it really brought new life to these cranks. I was never using the big and spent most of my time in the middle, so it was a no brainer to get rid of all the extra pieces that weren't being used and just adding unneeded weight.

Set up was super simple and only required some smaller chainring bolts. I went with Race Face hardware and also their bolt shims, but you could use any type of chainring bolts and washers that fit.

Adding the narrow/wide also makes riding and maintance so much easier. Having the narrow/wide means no more thinking about what front ring I should be in, all I need to worry about is where I should be in the back. Going to one ring in front also means no more front mech to maintain or additional rings to check. This makes riding and the whole bike much more simple.

Only minor, and very minor, complaint is how quickly the color wears off. The color has only worn off the teeth so far, and since they are in constant contact with the chain that is no surprise, but I image that color will wear from the rest of the ring fairly quickly too.

Overall I am highly satisfied. Others have mentioned dropped chains, but I have not dropped one. For anyone that goes mostly downhill or spends their time on fairly flat trails will definitely love a 1X setup and you can't be the simplicity and price of the Race Face Narrow/Wide.

This product has 6 reviews

Added a product review for Syncros AM20 Handlebar 4/21/2015 6:09 PM

Just Not Enough


The Good: 31.8 Freeish

The Bad: Small Width Flexy Scratches easy


This was oem bar and came within a week. This bar really isnt' much more than an inexpensive filler for a complete bike. The bar is way to thin at only 670mm and felt super cramped when riding. This bar was also flexy for being thin. Any time going over anything bumpy or really pumping and this bar moved at the ends.

Only good part was that is a 31.8 so that leaves lots of options with the stem for another bar. This bar wouldn't be bad for a city/commuter bike were you want a mountain bike feel, but aren't going to be hit a lot of rough terrain.

This product has no reviews yet

Added a product review for Topeak Alien II Folding Tool 26 Function 4/20/2015 7:02 PM

Lots of Tools in a Small Package


The Good: Great variety of tools All metal tools Chain holder Break apart design

The Bad: Pocket heavy Not a shop tool replacement Plastic can flex


Topeak's Alien line of multitools has been progressing for sometime now and this version is top-notch. The Alien has a great variety of tools and the metal constuction feels solid, but the plastic frame can be flexly for certain jobs.

The break apart design is one that sets this tool apart and allows you to integrate the different sides. The chain breaker is a great example as it uses the hex wrench to turn the breaker pin in. The breaker works so well on this tool that I have never purchased a more shop specific one. Also love the included chain holder, fits perfect and means no more homemade ones from spokes or other wire.

Don't be fooled into thinking this is a pocket tool though, it's not that light. This is a pack tool and a very good one that doens't take up a ton of space. It's also not a replacement for decent shop tools. This is a great trail side, but not built for heavy wrenching. I have found that trying to remove items like cranch bolts or peddles aren't going to happen. This tool won't give you enough tork and it'll hurt your hand a bit.

Overall for the price and variety you can't do too wrong with this one and for the right price it's hard to beat.

This product has no reviews yet

Added a product review for Shimano Deore Disc Brake M596 4/20/2015 6:27 PM

Deore = Unbeatable Quality and Price


The Good: Solid build Split bar clamp Good modulation Comfortable lever

The Bad: Reach adjustment Sucks to bleed


Got these as a replacement for some Hayes and have always had good luck with Shimano and the Deore line. These brakes stay true to the Shimano way of Deore being a great price point match to great quality.

Feel of these are the bar is sport on. The angle of the master cyclinder puts the levers and a great spot. The levers themselves our a great feel and comfortable. Levers feel great whether you use two finger or one finger braking. Modulation is also smooth and realibable. Reach is adjustable, but would love to have a dial on these instead of the allen wrench adjustability they have.

Setting these up is great and the split clamp is awesome so you don't have to remove everything else on your bars. One complaint with setting these up however is the whole bleed/adding fluid process. Shimano's weird bucket system is way over complicated and should definitely be modified for their more simplistic style fo the past.

All and all another homeroom for Shimano and the Deore line of components.

This product has 2 reviews

Added a product review for Shimano LX Disc Brakes M585 4/20/2015 6:02 PM

Can't be Beat - If You Can Find Them


The Good: Solid lever Great modulation Easy to Bleed

The Bad: no lever adjustment (reach)


These are some of the best brakes I have ever used. Perfect example of set and forget. Had these for three years and never had a problem with them. These brakes are the perfect example of affortability and excellence that Shimano offers.

Bought these as aftermarket replacements for some mechanical disks and was greatly impressed with them being bleed and ready right from Shimano. Didn't even have to bleed them for entire year.

Brakes always had a solid feel and levers never felt flexy. Modulation is great on these and were the brakes that tought me harder isn't better.

Only thing that would make them better would be reach adjustment, as the levers feel a bit far out. Not gonna knock Shimano too heard on this because that's why they have XT and XTR.

If you can find these get them, great as a back up or regular use, you won't be disappointed.

This product has no reviews yet

Added a product review for Hayes Disc Rotor V-Cut 4/20/2015 5:23 PM

Too Much!!!


The Good: rotors stay clean includes mounting hardware

The Bad: Heavy draggy feeling


These came stock with Hayes brakes on a complete bike and came off quickly.

Even with all the cut-outs these are HEAVY rotors. From the start these brakes felt draggy and only really slowed when I was clamping down hard. Thought maybe is was just break in and gave them some time, but it never got any better. Switched out the Hayes Light Weights and finally got some good brake feeling.

Still have these rotors, but I think they become a clock or someover cool looking wall art.

This product has no reviews yet

Added a product review for Fox Racing Ranger Shorts 2011 4/20/2015 5:08 PM

Fox Got it Right On


The Good: Light weight True to size fit Adjustable waist Usable pockets Comfortable chamois

The Bad: Fabric snaggs easily


Great riding short from Fox! Super light weight and comfortable and with the chamois included makes them even better. Fit is spot on. I ordered a 32 and they fit perfect without having to adjust at all, but if needed they do have velcro adjustment in the waist. Length is also perfect; just over the knee when standing and right about it when seated. The length and weight make these shorts that don't get in your way at all. Having the Pro Form chamois is also a bonus. The chamois isn't over padded or under padded, it's just right. Wish more companies would include chamoises with their shorts, go Fox!

Since they are cargos, better talk about those. These are small pockets, but very useful on shorter rides. Perfect size for throw a set a keys on one side and a wallet in the other, but I wouldn't throw much more than that. Since the shorts are very light weight over filling the pockets definately gives a bit of a saggy filling and the shorts rock around a lot from the extra stuff.

Only real complaint on these shorts is the material. The polyester is soft and comfortable, but also snaggs easily. These are not DH shorts or even all mountain really. If Fox toughened up the fabric a bit they would be 5 stars for sure.

This product has no reviews yet

Added a product review for Troy Lee Designs Sprint Jersey 4/20/2015 1:44 PM

Great All-Around Jersey


The Good: Light weight Price Quality construction Elastic sleeve cuff

The Bad: Nothing so far!


This is my go to, ride anything, all-day jersey.Mesh like fabric keeps you cool and perfect over a base layer t-shirt or nothing at all. Long sleeves don't heat you up, even on hot days, and give that extra bit of protection.

I have been wearing this jersey for a couple of seasons and it has held up great. It's gone through washes and a few really good spills and is still going strong. Elastic sleeve cuffs are also great and stops your sleeves from flapping around when going fast.

For the price and quality you can't go wrong with this one.

This product has 2 reviews

Updated bike check awol12's Jamis 4/12/2015 1:41 PM
Updated bike check awol12's Jamis 4/12/2015 1:41 PM
Updated bike check awol12's Jamis 1/30/2015 7:31 PM