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Added a product review for Formula R1 Racing Disc Brake 11/13/2013 6:43 PM
C138_2014_r1_racing_disc_brake_pull_master_cylinder

Tested: Formula R1 Racing Disc Brakes

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Kevin Shiramizu

Formula has been in the brake game for a long time now. Worldwide, the brand might have struggled for a while to make an impact, whether that was due to distribution issues or just the feeling that this was one of those “other guy” brands. However in recent years, Formula brakes have become a more common sight on the trails everywhere and they have also been getting the thumbs up from people who have the option to ride other brands. With that in mind, we were quite interested to get our hands on Formula's all-new R1 Racing brakes to see how they would stack up.

R1 Racing Disc Brake Highlights

  • New pull style master cylinder for better ergonomics and improved durability
  • Enhanced Caliper Technology (ECT) for higher rollback and easy installation
  • Titanium hardware
  • Kevlar braided hose (100cm front / 165cm rear)
  • Composite reservoir cap
  • Super high polish finish with red anodized accents
  • Semi metallic compound pads with alloy back-plate
  • 6-inch post mount
  • Weight: 267 grams
  • MSRP $389.50 per brake
  • Options include:
    • One-piece CenterLock rotor measuring 160mm / 180mm / 203mm

    • Two-piece rotor in 6 bolt I.S. - Red or Black - 140mm / 160mm / 180mm / 203mm

    • FCS Feeling Control System - Available in red, black or gold

    • MixMaster - Custom shifter mounting perch

    • SpeedLock hose quick connect - Mounted at the caliper, master cylinder or inline in red, black or gold

Initial Impressions

During the unboxing process it seemed like a shipping error had been made. After removing the hefty 2014 product catalog from the box, it felt like there couldn’t be much left in there at all. Well no, it turns out that these brakes are just that light. Clean Ti hardware, aluminum spider rotors, and very trim design on the lever and caliper all add up to not much at all on the scales.

Another feature that jumped out at us straight away was the new pull-lever design. Most hydro brakes on the market action the master cylinder by pushing down on the piston, but the R1 Racing pulls on it instead. We discussed this aspect with Formula at Eurobike and they stated that this design allows for better transfer of power to the piston and creates less overall friction in the system as a whole.

We mounted up the brakes and got ready to hit the trails, eager to discover if the R1 Racings would deliver performance to match their looks, or whether they would turn out “too light” to do the job.

On The Trail

For such a light weight lever, the mount is surprisingly stiff, which I think has to do with the wide base of contact on the bars. You can detect some flex if you're staring at the lever in the parking lot while pumping the brakes, but on the trail this was not noticeable at all. In terms of set-up, this wide base may cause some issues with handlebar real estate depending on the controls you run, but there is a Matchmaker-style mounting perch available to tidy things up a bit if you need it.

Regarding adjustments, you can set the reach of the lever blade to fit your hand size and suit your preference, but there is no pad contact point point adjustment included as standard. As it is, if you are super-picky about your setup, you might find this lack of contact point adjustment a deal-breaker, but in truth, it was easy to adjust to the feeling of these brakes. Nevertheless, if you want it, Formula's "Feeling Control System" is available as an upgrade, for about $50 per side.

The break in period was on par with most other brakes out there today. 40-50 braking cycles per end brought them to life and the first major descent kicked them into gear. After that, the brakes certainly did their job of slowing me down in the parking lot. Now in theory, I like my brakes to be completely on/off and as touchy as an emotionally wrought teenager. However in reality, that kind of brake doesn't give you a lot of control once you hit the dirt. You just end up skidding onto your face. In the parking lot, I was not thrilled about the abundance of modulation in these brakes. Out on the trail though, I found them to be plenty strong for your average XC trail and still capable of keeping things in check on nastier trails that were asking a lot of my 5" trail bike to navigate.The lever pull action on these brakes is smooth as can be, which is great. No one likes gritty feeling levers. It's hard to tell if the pull-piston design is the only reason for that, but it certainly seems to contribute or at the very least not interfere with how the brakes work.

What I was worried about were longer downhill sections and how they would handle the heat. And yes, there is a difference in heat management if you compare these brakes to high-end DH brakes like Saints or similar, but then again, these aren’t being sold as the killer brake to have for Champery World Cup DH. If that is what you need, the Formula RO is your ticket. What did amaze me is how far “uber-light” brakes have come in recent years. It used to be that XC race brakes were just strong enough to keep a hardtail bike in check to tip toe down the 50 foot descent on the XC short track circuit and that’s about it. Now though, I could wail on these brakes for multi-minute descents knowing that there was still a brake I could count on as my arms pumped up. In the end, my forearms let me down before these brakes did and that’s been the case with every brake I’ve voluntarily mounted on my bike. The R1 Racing passed that test with flying colors.

I did experience some jivey turkey warble coming from the front brake, especially during the initial break in period and first ride, but that calmed down soon after. The brakes would chirp a bit when they got quite hot and that seemed reasonable. Compared to the set of brakes these replaced on my bike, the R1's were much more quiet indeed. To this point of the test I've only seen dry and dusty conditions so can't offer an observation on how they will handle once they get wet and muddy.

Things That Could Be Improved

The lever reservoir sits essentially on the bars and could cause clearance issues that may require you to juggle the shifter mounts and/or remote dropper actuator mount in order to put the brake lever where you want it to be. As previously mentioned, there is a Matchmaker-style mounting perch available that should help tidy things up on the handlebars. Out of the box, the adjustments on the brake itself are limited to reach only, and while I got used to how these brakes feel fairly easily, that may not be the case for everybody. We previously mentioned the FCS system which can be retrofitted to provide pad contact point adjustment functionality, but at about $50 per side that adds more cost to an already very expensive brake. At this price point, it would make sense to include this functionality as standard.

The brake lever blade is also a little too much “blade” for my taste. This is a subjective matter but I prefer a wider lever blade for index finger comfort.

Long Term Durability

Light, strong, cheap - pick two. Keith Bontrager's legendary observation still holds true today, for most mountain bike components. Well on the R1's, cheap went out the window several hundred dollars ago and they are about as light as they could possibly be. While I had no issues with the brakes during the test, I would be interested to see how they hold up in a crash. I’m not thrilled at the idea of finding that out and shockingly, the rubber side has stayed down for a while here. Anyway, the lever is held to the bars with a couple of 3mm Ti bolts and I wonder how those will do in a crash. Will the levers slide on the bars, will the blades shear off? At this point I don’t know. Light weight components are rarely made to survive impacts, and additionally, when we're talking racing it's checkers or wreckers so keep that in mind too. If you’re hard on your stuff, get the regular R1s. Pad and rotor wear were definitely in line with competitor’s brakes, so nothing out of the ordinary to report on that front.

What's The Bottom Line?

These brakes do their job. But what is that job? Be shockingly light weight would be the top item on the job description. Beyond that they are reliable and look trick. When it comes time to give these a rating though, I have to take price into consideration and with a tag like that hanging from it, a part has no excuse to be anything other than great. If you gave the R1 Racing and a brake half its cost the blind Pepsi challenge and had me slow down a bike with both, I’d be hard pressed to tell you which one was which. Also, there are a lot more effective ways to shave weight from your bike for the money like in your frame, fork, and wheels. But if you are after dropping as much weight as you can while still having a bike you can properly ride, these brakes will slow you down, make your bike (and wallet!) lighter, and look good while doing it.

For more details, check out www.formula-italy.com.


About The Reviewer

Kevin Shiramizu has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years. During that time he accumulated multiple state championships in Colorado for XC and trials riding, a junior national champ title in trials, and went to Worlds to get his ass kicked by euros in 2003. His riding favors flat corners and sneaky lines. After a doozy of a head injury, he hung up the downhill bike for good in early 2010 and now foolishly rides a very capable trail bike with less protection and crashes just as hard as ever. He likes rough, technical trails at high elevation, but usually settles for dry, dusty, and blown out. He spent five good years of his youth working in bike shops and pitched in efforts over the years with Decline, LitterMag, Dirt, and Vital MTB. He also helped develop frames and tires during his time as a guy who occasionally gets paid to ride his bike in a fancy way in front of big crowds of people.

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for Loaded Precision X-Lite Wheelset 9/14/2013 10:20 AM
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Tested: Loaded Precision X-Lite Wheelset

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Kevin Shiramizu

The Loaded Precision X-Lite wheels are something of a rarity these days. They do not employ a fancy lacing pattern, they use a normal number of conventional elbowed spokes, and the rims are made out of 6066 T6 aluminum. While other companies are out there clambering to reinvent the wheel, Loaded has gone the other direction, making refinements to their craft along the way.

X-Lite Wheelset Spec Highlights

  • 32 Hole X-LiteTrue Bead Technology (Tubeless Ready)Rims
  • 6066 T6 Aluminum Rim Material
  • Flash Welded Rim Joint
  • 21mm Inner Rim Width

  • Shot Peened Finish
  • Quad-Butted Seamlessly Drawn Spokes
  • X-Lite Aluminum Spoke Nipples
  • 15mm or Standard 9mm QR
 Front Hub Axle Configurations
  • 135mm Standard QR
 or 12x142mm Thru Axle Rear Hub Configurations
  • 3 Dual Action Pawls with 24 Engagement Points
  • 7 Different Hub and Nipple Colors
  • Available in 26, 27.5 and 29-Inch Sizes
  • 26-Inch Weight: 3.65-pounds (1656 grams)
  • MSRP $769.99

Looking at the specs and the rim profile, above, a few things jump out.First, Loaded uses a reinforced internal beam to reinforce vertical rigidity of the rim. Second is the use of 6066 aluminum combined with a T6 heat treatment process. Most manufacturers use 6061 or 7005 aluminum. Loaded says the use of a different alloy at the T6 temper, in combination with the internal beam, allows them to use thinner rim walls to reduce weight.

Initial Impressions

Without knowledge of the above, these hand built wheels appear to be no nonsense 32 spoke hubs laced to eyeleted rims using black quad-butted spokes. The rims can be set up semi-tubeless, and like just about anything these days can be run with the messy goo should you don't want to deal with tubes. Mounting a pair of 2.3-inch Specialized tires was painless and easy to do. The fact that these are 32 spoke wheels means that if you break a spoke out on a road trip, you will easily be able to find a suitable replacement at a local shop. A lot of shops don’t and can’t stock all the model and brand specific spokes for the exotic wheels available. Note that Loaded uses aluminum nipples with a 13 Gauge outside diameter and typical 14 Gauge inner diameter. This makes it easy to replace spokes while boosting the strength of the nipple, and the rim eyelets have been crafted accordingly. Out of the box, fit and finish on the wheels was great, with everything evenly tensioned and true/round as a hand built wheel should be. The included X-Lite Race Day titanium skewers were also noticeably light - maybe too light? I hit the trails to find out.

On The Trail

The weight of the wheels was immediately noticeable, and seemed to improve my acceleration. More spokes makes for a stiffer wheel, and the use of 32 of them shows through when slamming into berms and trying to stick high in off camber chatter. They also rolled nice and smooth with the freewheel showing no drag out of the box, which was nice. Having to deal with hub break-in time is always a hassle. The wheels rolled for about 10 hours of trail smashing before needing a quick re-tensioning, which fits right in line with my experience on most quality hand built wheels.

Things That Could Be Be Improved

With just 24 engagement points, the rear hub can be slow to engage, especially when compared to other options on the market. While this doesn’t matter much when the wheel is rolling fast, start/stop climbing and pedaling out of slower corners are times when more engagement points is a welcome treat.

At 21mm, the inner rim width is also a few millimeters narrow for a "trail" wheelset, which means modern high-volume tires behave erratically at times.

Long Term Durability

The included titanium skewers are incredibly lightweight, but that’s one part of my bike that I would rather take on an extra few grams to have a steel, closed cam skewer for safety. The rear skewer came loose every other ride or so, and while it only took a few seconds to pull over and snug up, that’s an issue that can be solved with an extra 30 grams of material.

The wiggles and hops in the rims that I was able to put into the wheels mostly came out with regular truing maintenance, but if you’re hard on your wheels and really get after it in the rough stuff, you may be better off with beefier offerings than the X-lites. Loaded also makes a wider, more heavy duty AmXc wheelset for those types of riders.

What's The Bottom Line?

You already have enough to worry about with pondering what size your wheels are supposed to be, and instead of cramming marketing lingo down your throat, Loaded's no-nonsense approach is refreshing when you could be out there riding mountains instead of sifting the mountains of hype. Overthinking the wheel is an easy thing to do these days, so I commend Loaded for doing something that works and is free of gimmicks. However, for the money, I think there are other very competitive and arguably better wheel options when it comes to hand built 32 hole wheels, especially given the way modern day trail bikes are spec'd and ridden. If the point is to customize and select color options, rim options (UST or width choice) and hub spacing/axle options, there are other routes to investigate within this same price range. That said, the X-Lite wheels are relatively lightweight, come at a reasonable price, and have proven to be reliable on the trail.

For more info on Loaded Precision's lineup, visit www.loadedusa.com.


About The Reviewer

Kevin Shiramizu has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years. During that time he accumulated multiple state championships in Colorado for XC and trials riding, a junior national champ title in trials, and went to Worlds to get his ass kicked by euros in 2003. His riding favors flat corners and sneaky lines. After a doozy of a head injury, he hung up the downhill bike for good in early 2010 and now foolishly rides a very capable trail bike with less protection and crashes just as hard as ever. He likes rough, technical trails at high elevation, but usually settles for dry, dusty, and blown out. He spent five good years of his youth working in bike shops and pitched in efforts over the years with Decline, LitterMag, Dirt, and VitalMTB. He also helped develop frames and tires during his time as a guy who occasionally gets paid to ride his bike in a fancy way in front of big crowds of people.

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for Sombrio N'Fluence Shorts 8/1/2013 9:33 PM
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Tested: Sombrio N'Fluence Shorts & Disciple Jersey

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Kevin Shiramizu

Sombrio has been around for a long time, so obviously they must be doing something right with their clothing. I've had a pair of shorts from them for several years now and they have lasted really well. They were hand-me-downs from a friend, and after my time in them, they got passed off to another friend and are probably still going out for rides. That said, bike clothing has changed a lot in the last decade, so how does the new stuff from Sombrio stand up?

N'Fluence Short HIghlights

  • Ultra durable custom printed 4-way stretch fabric with DWR and soft inner face
  • •Wicking hand pocket bags
  • Back zippered pocket
  • Innovative 2-way zipper mesh lined airflow core vent
  • Belt Loops
  • Seamless crotch panel
  • Fully lined with wicking mesh
  • Locking zip fly with snap and VELCRO back up
  • Sturdy seam construction and bar tack stitching throughout stress zones
  • XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL sizes
  • Blacktastic, Mineral Grey Fromme, and Raw Green Fromme graphics
  • MSRP $125.00

Disciple Jersey Highlights

  • Multi panel ¾ sleeve design
  • Cool Wik Material
  • Wicking & antibacterial treatment
  • Back ventilation yoke panel
  • XS, S, M, L, and XL sizes
  • Sublimated graphics
  • Mineral Grey Fromme and Raw Green Fromme graphics
  • MSRP $69.00

On The Trail

Johnny Cochran would agree, the most important element in bike clothing is fit. If it doesn’t fit, the rest is meaningless. Being the average sized human that I am, the size medium shorts and medium jersey were spot on. The ¾ sleeves on the Disciple Jersey only look long until you get into riding posture. Nothing was constrictive when trying to move around, while pedaling or turning, and nothing bound up when contorting around trying to save a crash. The Cool Wik material is pretty thick for a riding jersey, at least for warm weather use, but is smooth to the touch and vents pretty well. The material also tends to draw moisture away from your body, and dries quickly.

Construction quality on the shorts and jersey were great. There’s a big vent on the leg of the N'Fluence Shorts that you can zip open half way for ventilation, or all the way for pockets and even more ventilation. Max airflow also means the potential for pocket spills, so Sombrio wisely added a key-clip in the right pocket to keep those put and not leave you stranded back in the parking lot after a ride.

Things That Could Be Improved

The pockets on the shorts place anything you stow on top of your thighs, which is less than ideal for pedaling. Then again, you’re probably storing most of your stuff in a backpack anyway. The shorts also have belt loops around the waist. I’m not sure I know anyone who rides with a belt? This seems to be in place of cinch straps that most bike shorts have, but if you buy the right sized shorts, I don’t see why you would need a belt. That said, it’s not like un-used belt loops are much of a problem.

The jersey comes with a sticker advising you to keep it away from hard-side Velcro and it’s not joking. That material does hate Velcro, which is unfortunate given that most of your other articles of cycling clothing have that, including the N'Fluence Shorts, so close it all up before chucking it into a load of laundry lest you end up with a chewed up jersey.

What's The Bottom Line?

The Sombrio N'Fluence Shorts and Disciple Jersey are well made. Looks are subjective, so maybe this is your thing, and maybe it isn't. Those in search of something more subtle should check out the Mineral Grey Fromme print. The fabric is relatively heavy and hot for warm weather trail riding, but at higher altitudes or in cooler fall weather you’ll be comfortable. As for bike park cruising, it will do you just fine. This kit isn’t revolutionary by any means, but it does the job and has proven to be quite durable, which counts for a lot over flashy looking stuff that skimps on quality and busts seams after a few rides.

For more details, visit www.sombriocartel.com.


About The Reviewer

Kevin Shiramizu has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years. During that time he accumulated multiple state championships in Colorado for XC and trials riding, a junior national champ title in trials, and went to Worlds to get his ass kicked by euros in 2003. His riding favors flat corners and sneaky lines. After a doozy of a head injury, he hung up the downhill bike for good in early 2010 and now foolishly rides a very capable trail bike with less protection and crashes just as hard as ever. He likes rough, technical trails at high elevation, but usually settles for dry, dusty, and blown out. He spent 5 good years of his youth working in bike shops and pitched in efforts over the years with Decline, LitterMag, Dirt, and VitalMTB. He also helped develop frames and tires during his time as a guy who occasionally gets paid to ride his bike in a fancy way in front of big crowds of people.

This product has 2 reviews

Added a product review for Sombrio Disciple Jersey 8/1/2013 9:29 PM
C138_ss13_disciple_jersey_mineral_grey_front_main_grande

Tested: Sombrio N'Fluence Shorts & Disciple Jersey

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Kevin Shiramizu

Sombrio has been around for a long time, so obviously they must be doing something right with their clothing. I've had a pair of shorts from them for several years now and they have lasted really well. They were hand-me-downs from a friend, and after my time in them, they got passed off to another friend and are probably still going out for rides. That said, bike clothing has changed a lot in the last decade, so how does the new stuff from Sombrio stand up?

N'Fluence Short HIghlights

  • Ultra durable custom printed 4-way stretch fabric with DWR and soft inner face
  • •Wicking hand pocket bags
  • Back zippered pocket
  • Innovative 2-way zipper mesh lined airflow core vent
  • Belt Loops
  • Seamless crotch panel
  • Fully lined with wicking mesh
  • Locking zip fly with snap and VELCRO back up
  • Sturdy seam construction and bar tack stitching throughout stress zones
  • XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL sizes
  • Blacktastic, Mineral Grey Fromme, and Raw Green Fromme graphics
  • MSRP $125.00

Disciple Jersey Highlights

  • Multi panel ¾ sleeve design
  • Cool Wik Material
  • Wicking & antibacterial treatment
  • Back ventilation yoke panel
  • XS, S, M, L, and XL sizes
  • Sublimated graphics
  • Mineral Grey Fromme and Raw Green Fromme graphics
  • MSRP $69.00

On The Trail

Johnny Cochran would agree, the most important element in bike clothing is fit. If it doesn’t fit, the rest is meaningless. Being the average sized human that I am, the size medium shorts and medium jersey were spot on. The ¾ sleeves on the Disciple Jersey only look long until you get into riding posture. Nothing was constrictive when trying to move around, while pedaling or turning, and nothing bound up when contorting around trying to save a crash. The Cool Wik material is pretty thick for a riding jersey, at least for warm weather use, but is smooth to the touch and vents pretty well. The material also tends to draw moisture away from your body, and dries quickly.

Construction quality on the shorts and jersey were great. There’s a big vent on the leg of the N'Fluence Shorts that you can zip open half way for ventilation, or all the way for pockets and even more ventilation. Max airflow also means the potential for pocket spills, so Sombrio wisely added a key-clip in the right pocket to keep those put and not leave you stranded back in the parking lot after a ride.

Things That Could Be Improved

The pockets on the shorts place anything you stow on top of your thighs, which is less than ideal for pedaling. Then again, you’re probably storing most of your stuff in a backpack anyway. The shorts also have belt loops around the waist. I’m not sure I know anyone who rides with a belt? This seems to be in place of cinch straps that most bike shorts have, but if you buy the right sized shorts, I don’t see why you would need a belt. That said, it’s not like un-used belt loops are much of a problem.

The jersey comes with a sticker advising you to keep it away from hard-side Velcro and it’s not joking. That material does hate Velcro, which is unfortunate given that most of your other articles of cycling clothing have that, including the N'Fluence Shorts, so close it all up before chucking it into a load of laundry lest you end up with a chewed up jersey.

What's The Bottom Line?

The Sombrio N'Fluence Shorts and Disciple Jersey are well made. Looks are subjective, so maybe this is your thing, and maybe it isn't. Those in search of something more subtle should check out the Mineral Grey Fromme print. The fabric both items are made from is quite heavy and hot for warm weather trail riding, but at higher altitudes or cooler fall weather you’ll be comfortable. As for bike park cruising, it will do you just fine. This kit isn’t revolutionary by any means, but it does the job and has proven to be quite durable, which counts for a lot over flashy looking stuff that skimps on quality and busts seams after a few rides.

For more details, visit www.sombriocartel.com.


About The Reviewer

Kevin Shiramizu has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years. During that time he accumulated multiple state championships in Colorado for XC and trials riding, a junior national champ title in trials, and went to Worlds to get his ass kicked by euros in 2003. His riding favors flat corners and sneaky lines. After a doozy of a head injury, he hung up the downhill bike for good in early 2010 and now foolishly rides a very capable trail bike with less protection and crashes just as hard as ever. He likes rough, technical trails at high elevation, but usually settles for dry, dusty, and blown out. He spent 5 good years of his youth working in bike shops and pitched in efforts over the years with Decline, LitterMag, Dirt, and VitalMTB. He also helped develop frames and tires during his time as a guy who occasionally gets paid to ride his bike in a fancy way in front of big crowds of people.

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for Gamut P20s Chainguide 7/14/2013 10:24 PM
C138_gamut_p20s_chainguide

Tested: Gamut P20s Chainguide

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Kevin Shiramizu

Any product that can stick another nail in the coffin of the obsolete front derailleur is worth a look - it's the single worst part of any bike that has one. But now with XX1 and its slow trickle down the price range, are chainguides soon to be obsolete?

No. Don’t be crazy.

What Gamut has done for years now is make simple, light weight, and great working chainguides, and they will continue to do so well into the future despite whatever hot new jillion dollar integrated chain/chainring/16-speed system comes out down the road because mountain biking (at least the way I ride) is about smashing over bumps, rocks, and logs. Plus, I can’t be alone here in saying a bike without a chainguide doesn’t look finished. It looks like you’re still waiting for parts to finish your build, right? Enter the P20s, one of Gamut's latest creations.

P20s Chainguide Highlights

  • Redesigned 104-4 bolt pattern, 3/8" (9.5mm) Polycarbonate Bash Guard
  • Single Ring - 32, 33, or 34-teeth
  • ISCG, ISCG-05, BB Mount
  • Proprietary O-Ring Guide
  • Black, White, Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow Color Options
  • Weight: 162 to 177 grams
  • MSRP $139.99

Highlights of this Gamut guide include its light weight, quality construction, sharp looks, and the superb customer service you get from a passionate small business.

On The Trail

"Good design, when done well, becomes invisible."

The best part of running this guide is the fact that you are never going to notice it. When you’re done setting it up with the supplied spacers and bolting everything on, the guide just shuts up and does its job. When I say it shuts up, I mean it really doesn’t let out a peep. Gamut took their already simple design and removed the bottom roller, the one moving part, and replaced it with a static rubber o-ring that your chain silently glides over. There is no noise from this guide at all, so the only time you’re ever going to be aware of its presence is when you take a step back off your bike to admire how good it looks.

Actually that’s a lie. You’ll notice the guide when it’s protecting your really overpriced chain and chainring. Maybe it’s my Japanese genetics that come out to play, but I can’t resist the opportunity to karate-chop logs in half when they are laid out across the trail. I would show a photo of the bashring, but I don’t have a microscope hooked up to a camera to show you the tiny scuff taken on during what could have been a financially catastrophic crash in my latest attempt at lumberjacking.

Things That Could Be Improved

I’m not entirely sure how you could simplify this guide any further. If there’s an accurate earthly representation of the Platonic chainguide, this is it. The rubber o-ring is new and I’m not sure how long it will last, but considering the replacement cost is less than a slice of cheese on your burger and is just as easy to install, I’ll be quite happy to handle that periodic task.

What's The Bottom Line?

I’ve pedaled this guide around for hundreds of silent miles with no dropped chains, skipped links, or smashed drivetrain parts. The bottom line is that this thing works, and it does so at a fair price considering the years of service it will give you. Plus it will make your bike look better, and you’ll totally ride like Greg Minnaar, guaranteed.

Visit www.gamutusa.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Kevin Shiramizu has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years. During that time he accumulated multiple state championships in Colorado for XC and trials riding, a junior national champ title in trials, and went to Worlds to get his ass kicked by euros in 2003. His riding favors flat corners and sneaky lines. After a doozy of a head injury, he hung up the downhill bike for good in early 2010 and now foolishly rides a very capable trail bike with less protection and crashes just as hard as ever. He likes rough, technical trails at high elevation, but usually settles for dry, dusty, and blown out. He spent 5 good years of his youth working in bike shops and pitched in efforts over the years with Decline, LitterMag, Dirt, and VitalMTB. He also helped develop frames and tires during his time as a guy who occasionally gets paid to ride his bike in a fancy way in front of big crowds of people.

This product has 1 review

Added a new video Dominik Raab LA 2013 3/18/2013 8:24 AM
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Not shot on RED, sorry.

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Added a new video Shredding White Ranch With Momentum Trail Concepts 2/12/2013 10:06 AM
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Trails bikes and White Ranch near Golden, Colorado are a splendid combination. Enjoy some summertime shredding with Matt Thompson and Steve Wentz of Momentum Trail Concepts.

This video has 4 comments

Added a product review for Kore OCD Handlebar 2/10/2013 1:51 PM
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Tested: KORE OCD Bars, Repute Stem, and Rivera Lock-On Grips - Back in the Game

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Kevin Shiramizu

KORE has been around for a long time and to be honest, I haven’t given them much thought since I was last shopping for a 120mm cross-country stem and some kinked bar ends, which was like two years ago. No wait, 12 years ago. But then these spiffy new bars, stem, and grips showed up for review and I realized, I should pay more attention to KORE because someone woke up something good inside those company walls. KORE looks to be back in a big way for 2013.

OCD Handlebar Highlights

  • AL7050-T6 Triple Butted
  • 31.8mm Bar Clamp Diameter
  • 5 Degree Upsweep, 7 Degree Backsweep
  • Zero, 20mm, 35mm Rise Options
  • 800mm Wide
  • HRT graphics
  • Bead Blast Black, White Powder Coat, Polished Ano Red, Grey and Silver Color Options
  • Weight: 285g / 20mm Rise

Repute Stem Highlights

  • AL6061 T6 3D Forged with Post CNC
  • CNC Center Bore to Reduce Weight
  • Cross Clamp Steerer Bolts
  • Zero Degree Rise
  • 35mm and 50mm Extensions
  • 31.8mm Bar Bore, 1 1/8-inch Steerer Clamp, 35mm Stack Height
  • High Polish Black
  • Laser Logos
  • Weights: 126g / 35mm, 163g / 50mm

Rivera Lock-On Grip Highlights

  • Super-Soft Pruven Kraton Single Density Rubber
  • Alloy Lock-On Rings with 1-Piece Alloy End Caps
  • Angled Mushroom Design
  • Medium Profile
  • 130mm Length
  • Black with Choice of Red, Blue or Gold Ends
  • Weight: 112g (Pair)

Initial Impressions

My first look at the bars was, "Dang, this has a wide booty. I like." And the stem has smooth edges that don’t look like they want to slice your knees open. Both feel light and the finish quality is good. The graphics on the bar are classy and clean.

Initial negatives are minor. The stem specs are printed on the inside of the bar clamp which is better than not having them at all, but you’ll have to remove the bars all the way to get to the torque specs unless you have a fabulous memory (6nm by the way). Oh, and you’ll want to use a torque wrench on these shaved down bolts because they are not going to take your ham fisted, ogre mechanic-ing. The other worry was how are these graphics going to hold up to crusty old tie-down hooks?

Grips are so subjective and personal that it’s hard to review them. For me, I don’t really like metal end caps (which are integrated into the outboard clamp on these) because after the first crash, they'll likely scratch badly, whereas plastic caps have less of this and are cheap to replace. These grips also have two different bolt sizes (2.5mm and 3mm), which is a peeve of mine. For reference, they do have a fit and feel very similar to ODI Cross Trainers, which are my normal choice of grip.

On The Trail

WIDE LOAD. Remember a decade ago when trail bikes had like 26-inch bars? Those days are gone and not missed. At 31.5-inches wide (800mm), these bars are going to give some users trail clearance issues if run uncut, so watch your pinkies on trees if you’re coming from narrower bars. These bars are probably 10mm wider than your current set up on each end and guess how wide your pinkies are? Yeah, about 10mm. All that width also adds a mighty amount of leverage on the bars, so some flex is noticeable in the parking lot. Down the trail, you’re not really going to notice this in a bad way. A little deflection like this is going to help you from getting jack-hammer-hands, which I appreciate.

People question whether or not there is such a thing as "too wide" when it comes to bars. Well, yes. There is. And these probably are too wide for most people, so give them a try and then snip a little bit off the ends until you are happy. Not everyone is Steve Peat sized so you probably don’t need these to be full length. To aid the process, KORE has nifty little markings indicating where to cut the bar.

The stem has a pretty wide clamp area, which likely helps keep stuff strong and stiff. A skip in my chain proved that the softly rounded edges on the stem are about as knee friendly as smashing your patella into a chunk of metal are going to get.

The grips didn’t slip and I could see getting used to them, which is a high compliment from me about grips since one bad contact point on a bike can ruin the whole ride. Having the same size bolt on both clamps would assuage the nit picky though.

Long Term Durability

Use a torque wrench and re-plasti-dip your tie down hooks and you will absolutely be happy with these new goodies from KORE. They're solid.

What's The Bottom Line?

So this is just another pair of bars and a stem, who cares? Well, considering there is no good way to break a set of bars, you should care. There are a jillion choices out there for bars and stems, but once you rule out all the rebranded catalog junk, you don’t have that many options left. My policy on bars is the same as underpants: throw them out after you crash them or annually, whichever comes first. I cherish my face since it’s how I make my comically ample piles of money, so I’m not going to gamble on a bars and stem. With that being said, I have no reservations about the KORE OCD Bars, Repute Stem, and Rivera Lock-On Grips making up the cockpit on my bike.

For tech specs and more, visit www.kore-usa.com.

This product has 1 review

Tornado16 left a comment 11/29/2012 3:07 PM
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http://www.vitalmtb.com/videos/member/Morohai-Ilie-Street-Mtb-2012-edit-Romania-Fireeye-Bikes-Nike-6-0-BikeDistrict,16465/Tornado16,5713<br /> <img src='/assets/emoticons/smile.png' />
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