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Liked a comment on the item 2014 MTB PRODUCT OF THE YEAR - Vital MTB Shreddy Awards 12/22/2014 1:49 AM

haha the 7 crusty guys in that forum still on 26 would still complain because your price is to high

Added a comment about feature 10 Instagrammers You Should Follow but Probably Don't - Vital Gram Central 12/13/2014 6:31 AM
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@enduromag

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This feature has 8 comments.

Added a comment about press release Altamont Capital Partners Leads Majority Recapitalization of Fox Head, Inc. 12/11/2014 8:33 AM
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hmmmmm, me thinks you're imagining things. Giant rides Rockshox, wears Fox; Devinci rides Rockshox, wears Fox; Commencal rides BOS, wears Fox; FMD rides Marzochi, wears fox... and so on.

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This press release has 9 comments.

Added a comment about news blog No More Beer in the Booth - Rob Warner on Becoming a Commentator 12/2/2014 7:17 PM
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This news blog has 29 comments.

Added a comment about video NS Bikes in the Lab of Destruction 10/18/2014 8:31 AM
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That machine can break anything, don't be fooled.

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This video has 6 comments.

Added a comment about slideshow WINNING BIKE: Fabien Barel's Canyon Strive CF 10/5/2014 11:01 PM
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This slideshow has 10 comments.

Added a comment about photo Nicolas Vouilloz's Lapierre Spicy Team 10/4/2014 1:39 AM
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Custom link?

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This photo has 3 comments.

Added reply in a thread 2015 Racing Rumours - MTB Musical Chairs 9/10/2014 4:48 AM

Seems Pinkbike is overflowing into Vital today...

Added reply in a thread 2015 Racing Rumours - MTB Musical Chairs 9/8/2014 9:05 PM

Rag doll = Fearon and Yeah boy = Blenki maybe? Also, Sambo seems to be the only guy without a line drawn to him....

Liked a comment on the item Vital RAW - Industry World Champs 9/4/2014 8:29 AM

maybe a discount drive-thru safari tiger that's been overfed.

Added a comment to titic999's bike check 8/22/2014 7:24 AM
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This brand is pretty popular among the locals here in Taiwan (one of the riding spots in Kaohsiung is in the background). May be mistaken but I believe it is the house-brand for A-Pro, one of the larger factories on the island who produce frames for several name-brands. What are often referred to as 'catalog frames' are often examples of a factory's engineering and manufacturing capabilities for the purpose of attracting
new clients.

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This setup has 5 comments.

Added a product review for Race Face SixC Cinch Crank 8/12/2014 7:40 AM
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Tested: Race Face SixC Cinch Crank

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Lee Trumpore

It wasn't long ago that carbon crank arms were only found on the bikes of the gram-counting XC crowd who had money to burn. But just as carbon frames are becoming commonplace under the world's most abusive DH racers, it's fast becoming the material of choice for the rest of their components as well. Race Face is the latest major brand to throw their hat into the DH/All Mountain/Enduro crank ring, and at 540 grams the redesigned SixC Cinch cranks are still light enough for the XC crowd, but now stiff and sturdy enough to put up with the abuse of DH racing.

Race Face SixC Cinch Crank Highlights

  • Completely redesigned for 2015.
  • The crank arms are completely hollow with all unnecessary material being removed from the centre core - no internal aluminum spine. Hand laid up and manufactured in Canada with US sourced carbon.
  • Industry standard 30mm spline interface CNC machined from a newly commercialized aluminum super alloy that is 20% stronger than 7050 alloy (the alloy commonly used in this application).
  • Removable spider option of the Cinch interface system offers the ability to convert between existing chainring standards while remaining flexible to future developments.
  • The interchangeable spindle option of the Cinch Interface system allows you to use the same crankset with 68/73mm and 83mm frames.
  • Intended use: AM/Enduro/DH
  • SIZE: 165, 170, 175mm
  • BB: BSA30 ( 68/73 & 83 ), BB92/BB107 press-fit, PF30/PF30-83
  • WEIGHT:
    • 540g ( 36T DM, 165mm, 83mm spindle, w/o BB )
    • 580g ( 36T on spider, 165mm, 83mm spindle, w/o BB )
    • 695g ( 24/36/Bash, 175mm, 68/73mm spindle, w/o BB )
  • RING CONFIGURATION:
    • Direct mount N/W Single Ring ( 26/28/30/32/34/36 )
    • 2x with Bash - 22/36/Bash, 24/36/bash
    • 2x no bash - 22/36, 24/36, 24/38
    • N/W Single Ring/Bash
    • N/W Single Ring
  • COLOR:Matte Carbon
  • MSRP:
    • Sixc Cinch Cranks with Direct Mount N/W Single ring ( no BB )  - $499.99
    • Sixc Cinch Crank 2x ( no BB ) - $599.99
    • Sixc Cinch Crankarms ( no rings/BB ) - $459.99
    • Cinch 30 BB - $59.99

Initial Impressions

At $500 my first impression is that these cranks certainly aren't cheap. But when you consider that they are made in Canada with US sourced carbon, and that the finish quality is simply outstanding, the high price tag comes a bit more into focus. Out of the box the SixC Cinch cranks look amazing with a clean, raw carbon layup and flawless aluminum machine work. The large diameter crank arms seem like they're just asking to be stomped on while the direct mount narrow-wide ring gives the whole package a nice minimalistic feel.

If it seems like I'm getting a bit carried away with aesthetics it's because these cranks simply look the business, and in a market saturated with expensive component choice that's no small detail. Beyond appearances what is immediately most apparent is the weight, specifically the lack of it. With a 30 tooth ring mine tipped the scales at a bit over 500 grams, or about 1/3 of a pound less than the high end aluminum cranks they replaced.

On the Trail

I had no issues with installation (aside from the BB sleeve which I'll touch on later) and had everything out of the box and onto the bike in under 15 minutes. The pre-greased bolt and spline interfaces and the thread lock on the BB threads were appreciated attention to detail, and really something that should be expected on any component at this price point.

Under foot the SixC cranks feel much like their appearance suggests. There is no perceptible flex, just stiff responsive power transfer through the pedals. Though it may be just in my head, I'm convinced that I can notice how worn my seasons old shoes have become far more on these cranks than when I get on my other trail bike.

Passing the parking lot sprint test is one thing, but the true measure of any crankset, especially a carbon one, is how well it performs out on the trail. After a month of regular riding I've not needed to adjust or service the SixC cranks once. A quick check before writing the review and the BB cups, crank bolt, and spider are as tight as they were on the first ride. I've had issues in the past with other cranks that use a similar threaded bearing preload design, specifically with it slowly rotating loose and allowing the crank arms to develop a bit of play. Race Face opted to machine their preload collar out of aluminum and use a pinch bolt to hold it in place (as opposed to the spring-loaded plastic of similar designs found elsewhere), and this has created a system much less prone to coming loose. Another small detail worth mentioning are the holes drilled into the collar that allow it to be rotated with the end of a small allen key. Anyone who's tried to rotate a preload collar after a few months of grime has built up on the tight threads will appreciate this addition.

I don't have any prior experience with the Race Face narrow-wide chainring so I can't offer any long-term assessment. However, I've yet to drop a chain and even after a few run-ins with rocks and one off trail excursion into a tree it's still running straight and true.

Things That Could Be Improved

The fit, finish, performance, and appearance of the Race Face SixC Cinch crankset have all been nothing short of fantastic. Tolerances are tight, small details are accounted for, and setup was a breeze.... well almost. It may have just been my frame, but the internal plastic sleeve/seal between the two BB cups put noticeable pressure on the spindle once everything was tightened down. Unthreading the cups a bit solved the problem, but I'm not sure running a slightly loosened BB is wise long term solution. I probably could have trimmed a few mm off the edges but instead I opted to remove the sleeve completely (which I usually do anyway, in this case for the sake of testing I installed everything according to the instructions). It's not something I consider to be a big deal, and I actually find it easier to clean and service my BB bearings without the plastic sleeves installed. It's something to take note of when installing these cranks on your own bike so you don't mistake the resistance for overly preloaded bearings or a misaligned spindle. There's also a very good chance this was an isolated issue.

Long Term Durability

Cranks are among the most abused components on our bikes, and often the only one to make direct contact with the ground on a regular basis. So far the included guards have done a nice job fending off blows from rocks and other trail obstacles leaving the crank arms themselves looking relatively unscathed. The not uncommon problems of bolts, spiders, and BB's coming loose over time have not presented themselves at all with the SixC and given the fairly exacting tolerances I don't foresee these being problematic in the future either. As for the carbon question, that comes down to your own comfort level with the material but given its current success in other DH applications I certainly don't have any concerns.

What's The Bottom Line?

Light, strong, stiff, and handmade in Canada the Race Face SixC cranks certainly lived up to expectations on my all-mountain bike. Though still not exactly cheap, with the quality finish, attention to detail, light weight and performance on offer here you can be sure you are getting what you pay for. Real long-term durability is the true test of any cranks, but so far the SixC's have been rock solid and free of any real issues. If tough carbon cranks are on your upgrade short-list, these surely need to be towards the top.

For more information, head on over to www.raceface.com.


About The Reviewer

Lee Trumpore has been riding bikes for more than 20 years on just about every material and technology the bike industry has come up with. In more than a decade of professional DH racing, Lee won a Collegiate National Championship and was a mainstay at major North American races as well as occasionally snagging a last page result in the World Cup series. Testing prototype components and suspension setups was common during his racing days. He has a smooth, light style on the bike even while holding it wide open. An East Coast native, his favorite trails are fast and flowing technical descents with as many corners as possible and just enough moisture to keep things interesting. Nowadays, rather than racing the clock, he'd rather enjoy a rad descent after a hard pedal to the top. A closet nerd with a Master's degree in education policy Lee currently lives in Taipei, Taiwan where he splits his time teaching mathematics to the next generation of computer geniuses and behind the lens as a photo mercenary for Vital MTB and other industry clients.

This product has 1 review

Added a comment about photo Contrail World Champs, Crankworx L2A 7/4/2014 5:18 AM
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Bernard Kerr

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Added a product review for Source Race 15L Hydration Pack 6/25/2014 10:15 AM
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Tested: Source Race 15L Hydration Pack

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Lee Trumpore

Hydration packs have come a long way in the past few years, with more and more features being added to what was once just a simple method of carrying extra water on a ride. With many riders (and an increasing number of bike designs) forgoing traditional water bottles the need for just the right pack has become more important than ever. The Source Race 15L is aimed at riders looking to maximize water capacity and accessory space in a minimalist design. We filled it up and hit the trails to see what it is really made of.

Source Race 15L Highlights

  • 15 liter storage capacity
  • Light weight, minimalist design
  • Expandable main compartment
  • Insulated hydration compartment
  • Covered tube with Helix bite-valve
  • Docking station
  • Padded shoulder straps and adjustable sternum belt
  • Essential accessory storage with internal organizers
  • Taste free, 3 liter hydration bladder
  • MSRP: $121 USD

Initial Impressions

It was immediately apparent how much smaller the Source Race 15L is than all the other packs I regularly ride with. But despite the small size it's certainly not lacking for space to store clothing, tools, keys, food or other essentials. Every internal compartment is subdivided into smaller pockets and pouches to keep the contents organized and separated. The light weight construction is top notch with attention to detail that the end user will appreciate.

On The Trail

This is not a pack for someone who wants to carry their whole shop and an extra wardrobe on their back. For an afternoon of riding in the hills around my house there was plenty of room for a spare tube and pump, essential tools, snacks, and a raincoat with the 3 liter hydration bladder filled up to the max. It was too small, however to pack my DSLR camera with anything more than the shortest lens I own. While this is not necessarily a bad thing at all, it speaks to the point of choosing the right pack for where you ride and what you need to carry.

Immediately obvious on the trail was how much more comfortable this pack was to ride with than some of the larger, bulkier bags in my collection. The narrow, slim design stays put without having to over-tighten the straps and the smaller footprint left my back a whole lot less sweaty. The carrying capacity of the Source Race 15L is impressive for a pack of any size. I didn't even come close to maximizing all the accessory pockets even with enough spare parts and tools for a worst-case mechanical scenario. Taipei is pretty warm so I never needed to carry much more than a thin raincoat, though with the option to expand the main compartment you should have no problem carrying extra gear should your own rides feature much more variable weather.

The hydration hose tucked nicely out of the way and attached to its own docking station, which in addition to keeping it from swinging around prevents the valve from getting covered in grime. Anyone who has spent any time riding in the Alps, or other trail systems that cross farmland will appreciate this feature tremendously. Nothing can ruin a clean, tasteless, odor free hydration bladder quicker than a field of cow paddies on a rainy day.

The taste-free bladder is made of a medium weight, fairly thick material that so far has shown no signs of cracking or leaking and its full-width opening allows for easy filling, drying and cleaning. After a few months of use in hot, humid Taipei there are no signs of foreign growth in either the bladder or the detachable hose. For more information on the bladder you can catch our full review of Source's hydration systems HERE.

Things That Could Be Improved

The fit of the Source Race 15L is fantastic, however I managed to max out the adjustability of the waist belt to get it snug. If I was any thinner this would have been a real problem. Having 2-sided, limitless adjustment would be an easy fix to this potential problem. If you're a 32-inch waist or above then you won't even notice.

The pack has an expandable compartment for carrying a helmet, however it's not really meant for a full-face. I was able to fit one with some creative strapping, but if you're someone who like to carry both (say for some enduro events) this this might be something to consider.

Long Term Durability

Good packs don't come cheap, and they certainly aren't an item you want to be replacing every year. A few months isn't much in the lifespan of mountain bike equipment, but so far there are no signs of abnormal wear. The bladder, hose, and valve can all be easily separated and purchased individually. The lifetime warranty gives added peace of mind.

What's The Bottom Line?

The Source Spinner Race 15L is a fantastic pack for those looking to carry their essentials (and a bit more) in a minimal, highly functional pack. If you're someone who avoids hydration packs at all cost due to their heft, then it might be worth giving this one a try. Aside from the times I want to take my full size camera with me I've never found myself wanting a bigger bag or more storage. With a place for everything, comfortable fit, and a contamination resistant and taste-free bladder system there aren't too many reasons not to choose the Spinner Race 15L. Unless of course you need something bigger, in which case Source also has you covered.

For more information, check out www.sourceoutdoor.com.


About The Reviewer

Lee Trumpore has been riding bikes for more than 20 years on just about every material and technology the bike industry has come up with. In more than a decade of professional DH racing, Lee won a Collegiate National Championship and was a mainstay at major North American races as well as occasionally snagging a last page result in the World Cup series. Testing prototype components and suspension setups was common during his racing days. He has a smooth, light style on the bike even while holding it wide open. An East Coast native, his favorite trails are fast and flowing technical descents with as many corners as possible and just enough moisture to keep things interesting. Nowadays, rather than racing the clock, he'd rather enjoy a rad descent after a hard pedal to the top. A closet nerd with a Master's degree in education policy Lee currently lives in Taipei, Taiwan where he splits his time teaching mathematics to the next generation of computer geniuses and behind the lens as a photo mercenary for Vital MTB and other industry clients.

This product has 1 review

Updated photo album misc 6/17/2014 12:26 PM
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Liked a comment on the item 7 Things the Leogang World Cup Taught Me 6/17/2014 6:57 AM

Just one comment about the tracks and those who think 'pros should stop whining':

It's not the World Cup Bike Park, is it? No? It's called the World Cup Downhill? By damn then, the tracks should be legit downhill tracks.