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bhalpin47's Product Reviews

Added a product review for Maxxis Monorail Tire 11/9/2012 10:36 AM
C138_31264

Great, affordable all-around XC tire

Rating:

The Good: Fast rolling, predictable cornering in loose, dry and wet conditions, impressive life-span

The Bad: Not the greatest cornering on dry hard-pack.

Overall:

The Maxxis Monorail is a perfect multi-use XC tire. The "micro-ramped center knobs" definitely work as advertised in reducing rolling resistance. The side knobs are more aggressive and provide plenty of confidence in the corners. I've put 1700 miles on them over the last year on all sorts of terrain and conditions, and they still ride predictably. It is certainly time for a replacement but I think it says a lot that they are still riding well after that much use. They come tubeless ready, with sturdy sidewalls, they have withstood jagged loose rock sections on all day rides on multipleoccasions with little sign of damage to the sidewalls.

They are average weight at 535-700g each depending on the TPI and compound options. But at ~$40 a piece you can't go wrong. I'm planning on trying out a different tire when I buy my next set just to explore a few more options, but I will always keep a pair of these on hand as my go to tire.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Five Ten Maltese Falcon Freeride Shoes 11/9/2012 9:00 AM
C138_63972

Amazing multi-purpose shoe for flats, and clipless riding!

Rating:

The Good: Stiff sole, comfortable insole, sleek style, not too bulky, velcro lace strap, superior grip on and off the bike... Stealth rubber!

The Bad: The rubber that covers the cleat mounts has to be cut out, so it is not replaceable.

Overall:

First impression:

These shoes have a sleek style and do not look as bulky as many of the other casual styled clipless shoes. They have a leather/rubber upper that is durable and wear resistant. The insole is comfortable, and has decent arch support. I have wide feet, and while these are slightly narrower than a wide shoe they still work fine for me with no discomfort. The construction is very solid and sole is pretty stiff but still allows for a little flex in upward direction for while walking. The velcro top strap allows you to easily cinch them down with no worry of them coming loose. The stealth rubber sole is thick and tacky and grips the pins on my pedals like super glue.

Riding on flat pedals:

I bought these shoes when I was considering switching to clipless pedals and I wanted some purpose-built riding shoes over my old vans with the waffle soles. The first thing I noticed is a considerable amount of grip on the pins. wherever I put my foot on the pedal it stayed there, over all sorts of terrain, bumps, jumps, rocks, and roots. Also the stiff sole gave me a noticeable increase incontrol and power to the pedals while climbing. The middle of the platform has an inset portion where the cleats are to be mounted, but when you buy them it is covered by rubber sole that requires a sharp knife to remove. The inset portion didn't cause any issues with gripping the pedals on flats but if you do have pins near the center of your pedal body, they probably won't get any use, but, with these shoes, they won't be necessary either.

Switching to clipless:

In order to mount the cleats you have to remove a small piece of the sole that covers the mounting holes by slicing along the perimeter with a sharp blade and then peeling it off with some pliers, here is an image of the process (credit singletracks.com).

Removing the rubber panel reveals the hard plastic plate with two sets of threaded holes that is able to slide fore-aft for positioning adjustment. The cleats mount up easily and as long as you crank them down you don't have to worry about the plate moving once it is mounted, but I added a dab of loctite to the screws just-in-case. With the cleats mounted the shoes are still very easy to walk in and they don't give you the notorious roadie waddle! On hard surfaces you will hear an audible click when your toe hits the ground but the cleats on protrude slightly. I mounted the cleats in the furthest forward and inward position which place the mount right around the ball of my foot and found myself wishing they could go just a little further forward on my platform. I think I was just used to riding all the way on my toes and it didn't take long to get used to the change and I've grown to like it.

Riding clipless:

I have been using these shoes with a pair of Crankbrothers' Mallet 2 pedals and I haven't had any issues. Since it was my first time riding clipless, having the full pedal body was helpful when starting down a trail and failing to clip in quickly enough, but now it seems almost unnecessary. While the cleats inset into the sole there is no interference between the sole and the pedal body when clipping in. I was also easily able to set the clip in a position where the shoe was free from rubbing the crank arms throughout my pedal stroke. The stiff sole works wonders for increasing power transfer and I've never had to worry about losing my shoe on the upstroke thanks to the velcro top-strap.

Conclusion:

This shoe can be pretty expensive retailing at $130 but you can find them online around $90-$110. I got lucky with my size 13 foot and found a pair on clearance at Backcountry.com for $75. Either way these shoes are top quality, very durable, and well worth the money. I am extremely pleased with these shoes for all around mountain biking use.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Park Tool Home Mechanic PCS10 Repair Stand 11/8/2012 8:57 AM
C138_12702

Perfect stand for at home or in the hotel!

Rating:

The Good: Packs up easily, good grip, easy adjustments, stable

The Bad: The small lever for setting the tension of the jaws could be a little longer for easier adjustment.

Overall:

I've had this stand for almost a year now and it goes everywhere with me! I keep it set-up in my garage when I'm at home and when I go on trips I set it up in my hotel room for cleaning/repairs.

All of the adjustment are quick release and held pretty well, sometimes you have to crank them down pretty hard though.

The rubber jaws grip well without damaging the bike, and have cut-outs for cables if you have to grip the bike on a tube with cable routing.

My only gripe is that you can't just set the jaw tension and then clamp and un-clamp it because the lever doesn't have enough leverage for that. You typically have to loosen it in order to un-clamp, and tighten it up after clamping, which sometime proves difficult while trying to juggle the bike.

Overall a solid stand for the casual and home mechanic.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Giro Indicator 11/8/2012 8:45 AM
C138_giro_indicator_blacklime_09_m

Decent helmet for a decent price.

Rating:

The Good: It keeps your head safe

The Bad: I could never get it to fit quite right.

Overall:

This helmet is probably the lowest I am willing to go as far as price for protecting my dome, and it works! The accu-dial adjustment works well for getting the right fit on the rear of your head, but the straps ride at a weird angle around my ears and sometimes irritate me. I know how to adjust my helmet properly and have never had this issue with helmets before but the straps just seem to want to twist right before the front and rear straps converge under the earcausing it to be slightly uncomfortable. It's not enough to bother me on shorter rides but when I go on an all-day trail ride it can start to get annoying. Wearing my sunglasses(which I almost always do) helps this a lot but that shouldn't be necessary to get a proper fit.

This helmet serves it's purpose and doesn't look as bad as some of the other cheap options. If you don't have the money to get into the $50+ helmets this one will certainly get the job done. I think I'm just ready for an upgrade.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Royal Java Trail Riding Jersey 11/8/2012 8:35 AM
C138_127136620_1287692362

Sweet jersey, nice fit!

Rating:

The Good: Looks, comfort, pocket, glasses wipe, it's made from coffee!

The Bad: None so far!

Overall:

I bought this jersey in grey a couple of months ago for about $20 on theClymb.com and I love it. It has pre-curved sleeves, mesh side panels, and a long back that doesn't look goofy but keeps your back covered when you lean forward. The zip back pocket sits low enough to be usable with a small hydration pack. It has a patch of microfiber to wipe your glasses... and it's made of a sustainable fabric made from used coffee grounds!

I prefer loose fitting trail jerseys over spandex and was actually a little hesitant about the fit of this jersey, but I am stoked with the look and feel. It looks nice and isn't as tight around the neck as it looks in the pictures. There are also more color options than these shades of brown.

I'm no tree-hugger but this article goes into depth about the material which I think is pretty awesome!http://www.treehugger.com/style/from-coffee-grounds-to-fabric-fashion-that-gives-us-a-buzz.html

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Crank Brothers Mallet 2 Clipless Pedal 11/5/2012 10:18 AM
C138_99750260_1267167485

Quality pedal, flawed design.

Rating:

The Good: Good quality, Solid platform, grip pins, reliable clip-in/out great mud-shedding

The Bad: Platform is fairly pointless unless you have shoes with a hole in the sole so you don't ride on the retainer springs.

Overall:

I have been mountain biking for 6 years, riding mostly XC/Trail and had never second guessed my choice of platform pedals... until I took a vacation to Colorado, rented a Yeti 575, and got stuck on rental platforms for two days of epic Front Range, Rocky Mountain riding.

First off, the low rating is not for quality but purely for design issues.

I bought these pedals and a pair of 510 Maltese Falcons for two reasons:

1: I use my bike for many things and don't want to only be able to ride it with one pair of shoes.

2: When I use the clipless shoes I don't want to have difficulty walking when off the bike.

Unfortunately the springs on the pedals protrude from the platform too far to make riding the bike with other shoes much of an option. I also thought I might use the grip pins while clipped in as well but they grab my shoes making unclipping more difficult.

Overall these pedals perform well, and the combo platform/clipless is a good idea but I don't see a way that both types can perform well in a single pedal.

When these wear out I will likely switch to their candy pedals and save some weight.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Manitou Minute Expert Fork 11/1/2012 12:19 PM
C138_57827

Great affordable fork!

Rating:

The Good: Lock-out, rebound, reliability, price

The Bad: None, that I can find

Overall:

I've had this fork installed on my XC bike for over a year and I love it! The lockout dial is easy to turn on the fly. The rebound knob is on the lower of the right leg and is large enough to grip easily with gloves. The air pressure valve is well protected and they even have a suggested pressure sticker on the leg so you don't have to fumble around with the manual.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Race Face Turbine Handlebar 11/1/2012 11:55 AM
C138_hb267a04_black

Awesome, affordable XC bars.

Rating:

The Good: Price, looks, width, weight, durability.

The Bad: None, unless weight is an issue at this price point.

Overall:

These bars are a great option for someone who rides XC but can't afford to go carbon. They are wide and have a few different options for rise and sweep. When I installed these bars the wide stance gave a feeling of much greater control and responsiveness. These bars are very durable and have withstood a few crashes without any signs of wear or bending. I did eventually bend them, only slightly but I think my broken collar bone speaks to the fact that the bending was not unwarranted!

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Troy Lee Designs GP Gloves 11/1/2012 11:45 AM
C138_13tld_gp_glove_blk

Great, durable downhill glove!

Rating:

The Good: Finger and Backhand protection, super grippy

The Bad: Minimal padding

Overall: If you are more worried about grip and protection than long term comfort on the bars,these are definitely for you!The rubberized molding on the fingers and backhand provides excellent protection from crashes or if you tag a sneaky branch or tree. The palms have little padding but instead they have a rubbery checkerboard pattern that provides amazing friction on an grips you choose to run.I've owned these for over two years and only recently the rubber-checkerboard-palm-coating has started to peel off in some places. They have held up to numerous crashes and tons of abuse and hardly show any other wear.DH/FR riders that want a durable glove that will keep your fingers and hands safe will feel at home with these.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Lizard Skins G-LOVE Long Gloves 11/1/2012 11:32 AM
C138_39134

Great Summer Glove!

Rating:

The Good: Thin, breathable, good fit.

The Bad: Durability of backhand, odd placement of palm padding.

Overall:

Overall I really like these gloves! I bought them in April at Sea Otter for $10, and they have been very good to me. The back hand is very breathable and has suited well for the hot summer months and the terry cloth thumb is always a welcome feature. I own the white/green ones and they stay surprisingly clean with just a run through the wash, even after coating them in some real tacky red dirt. The grips on the finger tips have also stayed intact and don't seem to be wearing too quickly, in fact they grip so well they are rubbing the anodizing off of my Avid SD-7 brake levers!

I only have two gripes:

1. The palm padding seems to only contact the bars if you were to ride with your thumbs on top of the bars(which would just be silly), unless they were designed for crash protection, in which case they should have been a little thicker to do much good.

2. The price you pay for having a breathable back hand is a little less durability. I now have a small hole in the back of one of my gloves from a crash where my hand came in contact with a rock. They have however held up to getting snagged on blackberry vines.

I f you are just looking for a light summer glove for XC riding and don't plan on crashing too much this glove is perfect!

This product has 1 review.