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shredlightly's Product Reviews

Added a product review for DT Swiss 240S Disc Hub 10/23/2012 11:55 AM
C138_hu267b06

The Standard By Which All Others Are Measured

Rating:

The Good: Featherweight Simple and serviceable Bombproof reliability That unmistakable Hugi sound Adaptability

The Bad: Slow engagement Price

Overall:

I have been on DT 240s for over 10 years. In those 10 years the only service that has been required is a simple regrease of the internals every year or so, depending on mileage, which requires no specialized tools. In my opinion, these hubs are the gold standard for reliability, serviceability, and weight. The new ones are especially great as the interchangeable end caps allow you to run 9/15/20mm in the front or 135x10 or 142x12 in the back. Gotta love that!

The engagement is a little slow by today's standards but I guess I don't mind it because I have never been left wanting for quicker engagement. Yes, they are spendy but if you want the best, it comes at a price.

Save your pennies, buy 240s and never buy another hubset again.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Chromag Moon DT Saddle 10/23/2012 11:42 AM
C138_60390

Good for Gravity/Freestyle, Not Good for Trail

Rating:

The Good: Graphics Burly Construction Secure feel when steering from the inner-thighs

The Bad: Wide profile, hard to get behind Heavy

Overall:

It didn't take me long to find that the Chromag Moon was not the saddle I was looking for. I put it on my trail bike and found the profile to be too wide for my liking. I kept rubbing my inner thighs on the edges as I was trying to get behind the saddle. I also found it uncomfortable to sit on for extended periods but that could've just been a disagreement with my arse and the Moon. Your arse may give you different feedback.

For standing riding (DH, etc) the Moon was great. The saddle felt secure between the legs and really let me put some english into the rear of the bike when needed.

If you are looking for a new saddle for your XC/Trail bike, you might wanna keep looking unless you like wide saddles. If you are looking for a steering wheel  for your legs, look no further.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV Mini Pump 10/23/2012 11:27 AM
C138_36291

A Floor Pump for the Trail

Rating:

The Good: Lightweight Easy to service Secure thread-on valve chuck for presta and schrader

The Bad: Threads for chuck on pump base can get easily damaged or filled with debris when in use Foot peg is small which sinks in soft soils and is unstable on rocky surfaces T-handle is small and leads to my knuckles contacting the top of the air chamber at full compression in certain grip positions.

Overall:

Flats suck. This pump doesn't change that fact but it does make the process of getting back on the trail much more enjoyable. Classic hand pumps require awkward bracing to keep the chuck attached to the valve. This pump does away with that by using a flexible hose and thread-on chuck so that you can inflate a tire without the risk of breaking/bending a valve or tearing a tube. Classic hand pumps also typically require so much shoulder and arm muscle to bring a large volume MTB tire to proper inflation that when the tire is finally aired up (after three rests to shake out the arms), you barely have the energy left to ride home. This isespecially the case with multiple flats. Not so with the Lezyne! This pump is basically a floor pump for the trail. The pumping action uses your whole body, not just your arms and shoulders to inflate the tire. This keeps more fuel in the tank for the ride and also makes for a quicker inflation time as you don't have to take breaks to let your arms recover.

When I first saw this pump in the showroom I thought it looked too big and heavy for trail use, and then I picked it up. It feels like a feather as it weighs only 150g! Once I felt the weight and was given a demonstration on how efficiently the pump worked, I was sold. While I haven't timed myself, I can say with confidence that this pump has cut down my inflation times substantially. It is especially noticeable when airing up a large volume 29er tire.

The Lezyne pump fits perfectly in the specified pump pocket in my Dakine pack and is barely noticeable. I have not used the water bottle mount so I cannot comment on it's functionality but I would reason to guess that it is not the best frame pump option as it's a bit bulky and the hose could come off if extra caution isn't taken to secure it.

There are a couple of things that I take issue with on the Lezyne. First, the threads at the base of the pump body that are used to secure the hose and chuck when not in use, get filled with small rocks and debris while pumping and have to be cleaned out before the pump can be stowed. Second, the foot peg is quite small which leads to instability on uneven or soft surfaces. Lastly, the T-handle is small which makes it a little uncomfortable to grip. I find myself switching hand positions frequently to avoid hitting my knuckles on the end of the air chamber.

In summary, if you dread having to air up a flat tire using a little dinky hand pump that wears you out and makes you look like a wanker, try the Lezyne. It's not perfect but it sure is a hell of an improvement over the alternatives.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for SRAM X.9 Rear Derailleur 9/26/2012 4:57 PM
C138_99210850_1265252797

I Miss the Old SRAM

Rating:

The Good: easy to tune, good value, nice color options

The Bad: flimsy cage, less than optimal shifting performance

Overall:

While there are certainly qualities to like about this new X.9 derailleur from SRAM, there are a few to gripe about too.

I have been running the 10sp X.9 for 3 months now. It replaced a 10sp X.7 when I bent that cage bent beyond repair. Looking to upgrade to a D that was more durable but wouldn't break the bank, I landed with the X.9 on my tool bench. Initial impressions were good, it installed with no drama, and was painless to dial into proper tension and alignment.

The shifting performance of the X.9 felt just about the same, maybe a touch quicker, as the X.7 it replaced, which was no slouch. I suppose my complaint stems from using 9sp SRAM drivetrains from the mid/late 2000's that had a snappy, secure feel. The old SRAM drivetrain feel has been lost in this new generation. The new stuff feels more like Shimano than SRAM. In fact, if it weren't for differences in shifters, I am not sure if you could tell a difference between the two nowadays.

I have also found that this D is not as stout or stable as I would have liked. It takes very little misguided force to through off the derailleur alignment. In the three short months I have been running the X.9 I have frequently had to stop mid ride to inspect and adjust the D because it started skipping or shifting poorly, sometimes without external force to the derailleur. One hill it's fine, the next it's skipping through gears 4-6. Kinda peculiar and quite annoying.

Overall, the X.9 gets the job done in a stylish, lightweight package that is easy to setup. Like most people, I prefer as little fuss out of my drivetrain as possible. The less your D is on your mind, the better it's working. With the X.9, I find myself thinking about it's unpredictable shifting performance a lot and find myself giving quick little turns of the barrel adjuster here and there to keep things running smoothly. Kinda fussy if you ask me.

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for Continental Trail King Tire 9/19/2012 10:45 AM
C138_826ba4c1_fe2a_4f1a_a69e_0a4bef8bd8f0

Awesome Grip, Awesome Price (29x2.4)

Rating:

The Good: Predictable always there grip, wide footprint, black chili rubber

The Bad: No UST or Protection casings in 29er sizes

Overall:

I am loving this tire right now. A bit on the heavy side but what 2.4" 29er tire with a descent sidewall isn't? The grip is always there, it leans very nicely, and works well in every condition I have tried it in (basically everything but deep mud). Continental's "black chili" rubber compound is great too! Sticky and durable. Can't ask for more than that.  All this in a tire that costs $30-40!!! I will be hard pressed to buy another $80 dollar tire again after riding Trail Kings.  Did I mention, the conventional tire sets up tubeless easily? Win win win for Conti and the new Trail King

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for MRP Mini G2 SL Chainguide 9/19/2012 10:08 AM
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Solid guide, Made in USA

Rating:

The Good: Set it and forget it reliability. Strong bash plate, Silent operation, Light

The Bad: Non-replaceable bash plate (addressed on new G3 that was just released)

Overall:

I am running this chainguide on a 1x10 drivetrain with an MRP Bling Ring (awesome spiderless conversion, BTW) and haveabsolutely no complaints. It was easy to set-up and I haven't dropped a chain since it went on. Outstanding product that is made and assembled in Colorado!

This product has 6 reviews.

Added a product review for X-Fusion 2011 Hilo Seatpost 9/19/2012 10:00 AM
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Buy a KS or Reverb. This is Crap

Rating:

The Good: Customer Service?

The Bad: Only lasts about 5 rides before it needs to be sent back to the factory for a rebuild

Overall:

I rode this post for a month and half. Within that month and a half I sent it back to be serviced because it was pucking oil a total of 3 times. Granted the boys at X-fusion were prompt with their service but the level of reliability is unacceptable, IMO.

Don't waste your time or money, buy a KS or Reverb. X-fusion may make some cool forks and shocks but their seatpost sucks.

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for FOX 34 Float 29 140 RLC Fit Fork 9/19/2012 9:53 AM
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Best Long Travel 29er Fork on the Market (Non-CTD)

Rating:

The Good: Great dampening, good adjustability, buttery smooooth action

The Bad: Could be stiffer, seals wear out quickly

Overall:

This fork is incredible! Very linear feel through the first 2/3 of travel with a nice progressive ramp at the end of the stroke. This makes for a very supple feel from small bumps up through bigger hits into the upper-mid stroke while retaining good bottom out resistance at the end. The same fork settings that feel supportive yet supple on an XC hammerfest maintains it's composure on 6' stepdowns and 4' hucks-to-flat. This is the first 29er fork that I have ridden that can claim those traits.

The fork is very easy to tune to your liking with a low speed compression adjustment to take out the out-of-saddle fork bobbing, and a fully adjustable lock-out (which I never use) and rebound. Initially I wasdisappointed at the lack of an adjustable high speed compression circuit on $900+ fork but after spending a full riding season with the fork I realized that I never once missed it. Fox nailed the HSC for my riding style and terrain. I wouldn't change it if I could.

The fork does have a bit of fore-aft flex but far less than the RS Revelation 140. I think that this is a product of producing a 140mm 29er fork and still trying to keep the weight respectable. Side to side, there is little to no noticeable movement.  The flex has also saved my ass on a few occasions. For example, when I slammed into the backside of a double on a DS course at race pace. Without the flex, I would have had a hell of a time staying on the bike and the fork might have snapped without a bit of give. Sometimes ultimate stiffness isn't always the best.

This fork likes attention. I am looking at about 2.5 month intervals for seal changes with riding 3 times a week, average. Pretty frequent but a relatively painless process and the fork feels sooo nice when it's fresh.

Summary- Damn expensive boinger but the only one I would use on a 5" 29er for aggressive trail riding and light AM use. Very, very impressed.

This product has 2 reviews.

Added a product review for Avid Elixir 9 Disc Brake 9/19/2012 9:23 AM
C138_92518c39_7993_484c_9eb6_e1fb45f65ffc

LOUD Comfortable Stoppers

Rating:

The Good: Easy reach and pad contact adjustment, lots of power modulation, 2012 model has better reliability than previous years

The Bad: Unstoppable squeal that gets almost unbearable when wet. Power modulation isn't for everyone

Overall:

I have really mixed feelings about these brakes.

On the one hand, the feel at the lever is awesome. The pull is buttery smooth and the pad contact and lever reach adjustments let you easily dial in your ideal setup. These brakes also hold up very well to sustained steep descents. I have discolored the rotors on a couple of occasions and felt very little fade in the process. The power is there with these stoppers but youdefinitely have to pull on the levers to feel it. Certainly not an on/off brake like the new Shimano offerings.

On the other hand, I have never owned a set of brakes that make as much noise as these do. Even after a deep clean with sand paper and brake cleaner, the brakes are howling again after a few rides. I have adjusted and readjusted the caliper alignment and couldn't get these stoppers to quiet down. I have heard that switching to an organic pad can help in this department so I will try a different pad compound next to see if I can finally silence these squeakers! Seriously, it's that distracting.

Summary- Powerful brake with excellent lever feel and adjustability and very little fade but noisy as sh!t!

This product has 1 review.

Added a product review for Deity Blacklabel Handlebar 9/19/2012 8:59 AM
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Bomber Bar from a Baller Brand

Rating:

The Good: Dialed bend and sweep. Good weight. Good strength

The Bad: Finish scratches easily

Overall:

This bar is tits! I put one on my TR Bandit 29 this spring as I wanted a Deity bar but also wanted a super low-rise to keep the front end of the wagon wheeler low. Debated for a while about going with a lesser bar for my trail bike but in the end, the weight is very respectable and this bar gives me the confidence to charge into the unknown without fear of breaking a bar and ending up in a broken heap of hurt. After a season of trying to find mine and the Bandit's limits, this bar has never once left me wanting for anything else.

Pros-

Support for the most rider focused and customer serviced focused brand in the business! This is huge to me. There are not many companies anymore where you can call the same employee, day in and day out, place an order and then get a personalized note written on your packing list thanking you for your business and asking you for feedback on their products. I have yet to have a warranty issue with Deity but if I ever do, I know that my request will be met with respect and open communication.

Oh ya, the bars!- Super sexy black ano/black polished finish and graphics. Super comfy and secure feel. Just enough give to dampen the buzz from high speed chatter. Strong. Light. Awesome width for aggressive riding. All positive.

Cons-

The finish scratches pretty easily out here in the rocky desert where I ride. Not many finishes don't though.

Summary-

Buy this bar (if you want a low, wide, light, and strong bar for just about any mtb application) and every other Deity product you can justify to put on your bike and ride away happy knowing you have top-notch components from a company that values their customers and is driven to constantly improve their products through rider feedback. Can't go wrong!

This product has 3 reviews.

Added a product review for 2012 Transition Bandit 29 Bike 9/18/2012 9:25 AM
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Total Mountain Tamer

Rating:

The Good: Burly and nimble 29er with a DH pedigree // Solid build // Respectable weight // Good climbing manners

The Bad: Stock saddle

Overall:

Whiskey Trail- Rossland, BC

After 5 months of riding at a variety of demanding zones (GJ, Moab, Sedona, Squamish, Nelson, Whistler, Bellingham) it is time for an official Bandit 29 (B29) review. Is this new wagon wheeler from Transition really all that and then some? Is it the game changer that it has been made out to be? Of course the wagon wheels are not for everyone and I am not going to try andconvince you to convert. I am just going to share my observations with this extraordinary mountain bike. NOTE: This is a review of the 2012 Bandit 29. With the recent release of the Covert 29 in 2013, Transition is making changes to the 2013 Bandit frame (slightly less travel, slightly steeper head angle, maybe others) which will change the characteristics of the bike.

My Biases

I am 5’10”, 170lbs and come from an AM/SS riding history (think enjoyingFree Lunch/Pucker Up on a rigid hardtail). This is my first FS 29er but I have been on 29ers since 2003. I ride for Grassroots Cycles and bought this bike from the shop in April of 2012. For my personal bike, I traded in the 2x10 drivetrain for a 1x10 with a spiderless 30t MRP Bling Ring and Micro G2SL chainguide, Added a KS dropper post, Deity Components Blacklabel bar and pedals, and a 40mm Truvativ stem. I have also been playing with different tire combos as my riding style isn't rewarded by the stock Maxxis Ardents.

Freshly built

Overview

One thing is for sure, at $3549 (US) complete the B29 is one of the best values in premium bikes today. For a little over double the cost of the frame alone ($1599 US), you get top of the line suspension from Fox Racing Shox, a no fuss X7, 2x10 grouppo from SRAM, and burly wheels from Transition weighing in complete (w/o pedals) at just under 31 pounds. Reasonable component upgrades can bring the weight under 30lbs with a dropper seatpost. Weight wennies are seeing 26-27lbs with unobtanium level builds.

For me, the only gripes with the stock build are the cranks and stock saddle. The cranks are flexy and the saddle is the most uncomfortable surface I have ever rested my arse on. The wheels are also quite heavy, but that is the price you pay for getting stiff and strong 29er wheels that can cope with the punishment the rest of the bike was built to handle.

I was most surprised by the level of quality in the finish. The welds and paint look like they belong on a one-off custom, not a $1600 Taiwan frame. All of the threads were clean as a whistle, requiring no facing, very good stuff.

Here are some of the key frame features:

  • Sizes- M/L/XL (18, 19.5, 21)
  • Colors- black, pewter, or bright green
  • Tapered headtube
  • Hydroformed tubes (toptube and downtube)
  • ISCG 05 chain guide tabs
  • Dropper post cable routing
  • 2 water bottle mounts
  • Ample frame clearance for the beefiest 29er tires on the market
  • Sealed cartridge bearings in all pivots
  • 12×142 dropouts with replaceable dropouts convertible to 10x135

The Bandit at rest- Sedona, AZ

Geometry

As for frame geometry Transition has focused on taking the compact, low, slack characteristics found on their more gravity oriented sleds, and marrying it with a pedal friendly linkage to create a confidence inspiring trail bike that laughs in the face of 29er stereotypes. The effective top tube length is short for typical industry sizing coming in almost a full inch shorter than other companies similarly sized offerings. The short top tube lengths are necessary to avoid a limo length wheelbase and consequent slow handling. The seat tube angle is fairly steep, which keeps more rider weight forward and the reach short allowing the bike to climb with good manners despite having a headtube angle on the slack side (68.5* for 2012). Looking for one ride to do it all, I choose a large Bandit 29 in pewter. I am 5'10" and could ride either a large or medium according to Transitions' sizing guidelines. I chose a large as the reach and top-tube numbers are similar to what I am used to riding and I wanted to run wide bars and a short stem while keeping a roomy cockpit. Sometimes I find myself wishing for the medium as the large is harder to manual and more difficult to work through the really tight sections than the medium for a person of my stature, but I still feel right at home on the large and really enjoy the spacious cockpit for a bike that has to do it all from all-day epics to laps on flow trails at the bike park.

Riding Traits

Who says 29ers can’t do tight and technical?

This is a bike that refuses to be categorized by the xc, trail, all-mountain nomenclatures that we have grown to accept in today’s mtb world. This is a mountain bike, pure and simple. The B29 feels at home from XC epics, to the steep and committing trails of BC, to the airy flow lines at Whistler and Crested Butte. There isn’t much this bike isn’t capable of.

All-day XC rides are a dream with 5" of uber-plush travel and the big wheels. This spring, I took the Bandit 29 on a 4 day, 150 mile ride of the Kokopelli Trail and I never wished I was on any other bike. It takes a very special bike to comfortably and confidently take you from the technical singletrack of Fruita, CO through the rolling sandy double track of the Colorado River bluff country, descend the infamous Rose Garden Hill, climb into the La Sal Mountains TWICE, and then descend UPS,LPS,Porc Rim to Moab,UT all without batting an eye.

The Bandit 29 is a capable climber that will go uphill efficiently but without a lot of snap. After riding a few of the “masterful climbing” dual link bikes, I was pleasantly surprised by the B29 as it climbs with little pedal induced bob like a dual link bike but displayed almost no pedal kickback unlike the dual link bikes. The B29 does ride lower in its travel than most bikes. Some like this trait, some don’t. I found it to aid my climbing by allowing for the rear wheel to track the ground better and give more traction for climbing over roots, rocks, and ledges.

Whiskey Trail- Rossland, BC

The suspension soaks up the trail with aplomb and a plush yet bottomless feel. Everything from small bumps over pebbles to serious air time jump lines, drops to flat, and high speed chatter are met with composure and buttery smoothness. The custom tuned Fox RP23 and Float 34 work great together creating a progressive feel that ramps up ever so slightly so that it is hard to feel the bottom yet never feels harsh. Genius suspension/linkage tuning by Fox and Transition on the B29 has created the finest riding suspension platform out of the box that I have pedaled to date.

Point it downhill and the Bandit 29 shows its true pedigree. While it may not be as playful as its 26” sibling, the Bandit 29 does a great job of making the big wheels feel nimble. It is easy to manual and willingly flies from lip to transition without drama. The short HT and low BB really help the bike corner with confidence that I have never felt on a 29er before riding the B29.

I just recently wrapped up a 3 week tour of British Columbia and the PNW testing the B29's mettle in legendary freeride locales like- Nelson, Squamish, Whistler, North Vancouver, and Bellingham. I may have been the only one on big wheels in most of these zones (and received my fair share of teasing for it) but the Bandit killed! The big wheeled Bandit showed no hesitation on the steep greasy roots and rocks of the North Shore. The bike went right where I pointed it and kept encouraging me to go faster and to fly farther than a trail-bike should. Sure, the steep, fall-line trails and vertical rock-slabs were a bit beyond the Bandit's comfort zone. But all that meant was stopping to scope the stunts before committing. All but the big mandatory gap stunts and steepest slabs were ridden aboard a 5" 29er while locales on DH bikes looked on, stunned. The only places I was left wishing for a 26" bike was on trails where the cornering was critical to find the flow and the air time was plentiful. These are more shortcomings of the wheel size than the bike.

Doz Slabz- Nelson, BC

Some attributes of the B29 that pins the fun meter are:

  • Short wheel base. A big contributor to the “playfulness” of the bike
  • Slack head tube angles. Confidence inspiring on the descents
  • Steep seat tube angle. Balanced on steep inclines
  • Short head tube. Keep the stack height low for a lower center of gravity
  • Low BB height. Low center of gravity, better cornering
  • Short chainstays. Keep it tight to keep it fun

This bike fits well in so many different scenarios that it really is a great all around mountain bike. Love long distance epics? Build it light and the bike will keep you fresh into the wee hours of the morning. Enduro/Super-D racing? Add a dropper seatpost and 1x10 w/chain guide and blow away the competition. Just want a bike that you can have fun on, day in, day out? Buy it stock, don’t change a thing and pedal away into the sunset knowing you are on one of the most thorough mountain bikes out there today.

Virgin Ride- Grand Junction, CO

This product has 1 review.