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Easton Haven Stem

“one stiff stem”

C138_haven

The Good: light enough, good looking, quality

The Bad: more color options needed

Overall Review: I bought this at the end of last season in the all black 55mm and it is a perfect size. This thing is stiff, hasnt moved yet, holds my carbon bars with carbon past crap with no movement and light weight enough. It comes in multiple sizes so you should be able to find the length you like. Easy to install as well.

RockShox Boxxer R2C2 Fork

“rock the shox with a boxxer r2c2”

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The Good: rockshox quality, easy maintenance, adjust-ability

The Bad: can chunder a little bit

Overall Review: This fork has been smooth from day 1. I got this used off of ebay and the lowers came bent (how the hell he bent those I dont know) so aside from putting new lowers on ...this thing has been awesome. After using some of rockshox starting points from their manual and adjusting a few clicks here and there this fork has been buttery smooth with minimal maintenance. It has the small bump sensitivity w/o the dive on the mid stroke. The way I have it set up currently with my demo it just eats up the terrain which includes some loose to hard pack dirt with some rock gardens. I like all the adjustments I can do to Read More »

Specialized Demo 8 Frame

“downhill demo-lition”

C138_yellow

The Good: price, durability, bb height, chainstay, geo

The Bad: so many working parts

Overall Review: Being this is my first and only dh bike im not going to try and compare it to others. I have had this frame for 2 seasons now and it is has held up to all the hype IMO. I do not have the carbon version for a good reason because I knew I would take a few spills and plus I knew i was going to ride it until the wheels fell off. I have ridden this bike through rain, chunder and sunshine and it has been flawless. The suspension set up makes it easy to pedal for a dh rig on some of the flat spots if your trying to crank and get that KOM. The rear end and geo of the bike make it easy to jump and keep speed. I did notice the Read More »

Shimano XTR Trail BR-M988 Disc Brake

“best brakes ever”

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The Good: power, 1 finger ease, lever feel, weight, look

The Bad: absolutely nothing

Overall Review: IMO the best brakes money can buy for your mountain/trail riding rig. Some people dont like how they feel on/off when you pull the lever but they are just used to not stopping. I have rode various types of brakes from X0's, Hopes, V-brakes (haha), X9's, etc and these are simply they most reliable, easy to service, and not to harsh on the wallet. I will be willing to try different brakes on other peoples bikes but on mine you will only find shimano. These are consistent through desert high heat, mtn snow low heat, rainy day mud rides you name it. Once you learn how to use these brakes with the Read More »

Shimano SLX SL-M660 Shifter Pod

“slx shifter”

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The Good: consistent, low maintenance

The Bad: no problems yet

Overall Review: I have had these for yrs and I have no problems they are awesome shifters for the price. They came stock on my bike and they never showed any wear. I really like how you can pull the trigger forward or backward. I have jumped ship solely for the 1x11 now and I wish my sram shifter would do what this one did.

Shimano SLX M666 Disc Brake

“great brake without a pocket break”

C138_br258c01

The Good: engagement, consistent, easy to bleed, cost

The Bad: there is no bad

Overall Review: What can I say they are shimano brakes and truly have held up. I ran these when I first got my bike and they work flawlessly, low maintenance but easy to service when needed, combine with icetec rotors and your a stopping machine. I have rode these in Moab, varous desert and mtn conditions and worked the same through out creating nothing but confidence. I now have upgraded to xtr for weight savings but the power on these is amazing.

Answer ProTaper 780 DH Handlebar

“Answer pro taper”

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The Good: various rise options, colors, width and stiffness

The Bad: none, i really like these

Overall Review: I run the aluminum bars on my demo uncut with a 1" riser and absolutely love them. I use the larger rise on the demo because I have a direct mount so with the rise it makes the perfect height for my liking. I am no expert in the air so I fortunately can say they have been abused and have no problems bending so far after a couple seasons, me well thats another story im surprised I haven't made the fails but its practice. I also have the carbon bars on my "enduro" machine with a low rise. I can say they are just as strong and true as ever. Best bars I have ridden and have used a majority from bontragers(stock), ODI's, carbon havocs, and a couple others I can not recall. I was a little concerned with a low rise but I have found my my perfect set ups on my bikes.

Lizard Skins Peatey Grips

“Lizard skin Peaty grips”

C138_gr299a06

The Good: rubber grip, longevity, lock on

The Bad: I can not think of anything

Overall Review: There is a reason why a legend would put his name on something because it is simply awesome. I have a few pair of these hell I even put some on my wife's beach cruiser, helps her so she doesnt fall down, and every pair has worn just fine. The way I use these is I start by putting them on my "enduro" bike and by the end of the season I could still use them but I just put them on my demo to give them a new fresh start so this means i usually get minimum 2 seasons riding them. I like the width of these and I do have gorilla hands, I run carbon bars and they lock on just fine with no spinning or special paste needed. You wont be disappointed in these.

DVO Emerald DH 203mm Inverted Suspension Fork

“Best fork on the Market!!”

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The Good: Amazing small bump performance, Does not dive, Handles big hits like a champ

The Bad: None so far

Overall Review: I have been riding an Emerald for 6 months and have yet to find a fault with it. If an air spring fork and a coil spring fork had a baby. it would be an Emerald. Every time I ride this fork I feel more and more confident in loose, off-camber, choppy sections, and I feel like I can push it faster and faster. I have been in several situations where I thought I was going to wash out or go over the bars, yet have stayed on 2 wheels every time. My experience with other forks made me think I was for sure going to eat some dirt. The OTT(Off-The-Top) adjuster makes trail side tuning a breeze. You can adjust how soft or Read More »

Enve Composites M70 Thirty Wheels

Vital Review

“Tested: ENVE M70 Thirty Wheels”

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Review by A.J. Barlas // Photography Jon Anthony & A.J. Barlas Technology in mountain biking has been progressing at an alarming rate the last 5 or so years. 10 years ago carbon on a mountain bike was often thought of as a scary, testing-fate kind of scenario to enter into, but now it's all over the place and if you aren't riding a plastic frame many won't even look twice at your rig. When carbon hoops first came to market, the one name that really caught many riders' attention was ENVE Composites. Under the Santa Cruz Syndicate's riders, on their downhill race bikes no less, we really began to take notice of the Read More »