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Shimano Deore Disc Brake M596

“Best bang for the buck, bar none”

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The Good: Everything you need, short lever, very good modulation and power, if you shut your eyes you might not know the difference between SLX and XT.

The Bad: Cotter pin pad retention, lack of adjust-ability.

Overall Review: I once thought inexpensive hydraulic brakes were a lost cause compared with the adjust-ability, simplicity and user friendliness of Avid's fantastic BB7. The Malaysian made M596 is the first brake I can honestly say is a worthy contender as the best budget brake ever. It isn't quite as powerful as XT785, but for most riders it really is all you need.

Hayes Stroker Ryde Disc Brake

“Cheap brakes, not worth buying”

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The Good: Easy to bleed and change pads, OK when new.

The Bad: Don't last long, lever design worst I've seen, for 3 finger? Mediocre power and modulation.

Overall Review: These brakes worked quite well for about six months, but no better than good mechanical disk brakes like Avid BB7. After that I stripped out the 4mm lever housing bolts and the rear master cylinder developed hideous play. The brakes never had good modulation on 160mm rotors and were very on/off on 180mm, and the power was similar to Shimano M445 at best, but only when new.

Avid BB5 Disc Brake

“Acceptable, but pointless compared to BB7”

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The Good: CS2 rotor is quite good, pads and spares are easy to find. Pretty good power and modulation. Better than many other mechanical brakes at this price.

The Bad: Small pads. Why buy if you can get a BB7?

Overall Review: These brakes match up well when compared to low end mechanical brakes made by Clarks and Tektro, however they are less powerful, less reliable and do not last as well as Avid's BB7, which for a few dollars more is a much better brake. If these came on your bike upgrade these to BB7 when economical.

Truvativ Stylo 1.1 GXP Crankset W/BB

“Faultless crank for AM/trail.”

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The Good: Never miss a beat, reliable GXP BB, sometimes available discounted.

The Bad: Aluminum crank bolts and chain ring of medium quality, better changed to cro-mo bolts and CNC chain-ring after they wear.

Overall Review: My second set, although my first was a 3 ring version. Last for years, no maintenance ever needed. I would consider upgrading to a ceramic GXP BB, CNC chain ring and cro-mo chain ring bolts

Maxxis Minion DHF Tire

“No better tire on dry/damp dirt.”

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The Good: Braking traction, cornering traction, off-camber grip, fast rolling, great rock and thorn protection and great even for trail and enduro depending on tire type.

The Bad: Too heavy or aggressive for XC, light trail and DJ (but not designed for those), slow on the road and sometimes dangerous in severely wet weather and weird on some kinds of gravel (and not designed for those either).

Overall Review: These should be the default tire for anyone into any serious riding, especially on the front. On the rear you could go for a faster rolling tire if the conditions are dry, but you can't go wrong with it front and rear. You may find an equally good tire aggressive trail/DH tire, but it's probably is a copy of this tread.

Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake

“Cheaply made yet capable brake.”

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The Good: Power, split bar attachment, lever design good, universally available pads and brake fluid, easy to bleed.

The Bad: Modulation a little on/off, made of cheap aluminum housing and steel bolts, rear brake howl and suspicious of taper-bore.

Overall Review: These are cheaply made, 'Made in China' brakes with a fragile aluminum housing more at home of cheap window frames. Despite this these brakes really do have enough stopping power even compared with pretty good 2 caliper brakes, however it is very hard to find the point between on and off on the rear especially on 180mm and larger rotors, and the rear brake has a tendency to howl, but one day you change something and it goes away temporarily or permanently. In fact it might be a good idea to have one of these on the front for power and a BB7 on the back. The Taperbore technology whist weight saving seems Read More »

ODI Lock-On Grip - Rogue

“They are Rogue”

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The Good: They are the long lasting grips that are super tough.

The Bad: If you suffer from arm pump then they are NOT for you. They are big in diameter and meant for big hands.

Overall Review: Overall they look the part and if you wanted a grip that will last a long time then you need to get them. Do note they are thicker than normal grips and are not suitable for a person with small hands.

Nukeproof Neutron Pedal

“Perfect pedal, but is it original?”

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The Good: Size is perfect for 5-10s, shape just right, spin slow.

The Bad: Are the cheaper Superstars Nanotech (and some other brands) the same pedal with different decals? Longer pins make them better (supply them with them why not?) Heavy but only if you are weight conscious.

Overall Review: Ideal pedal for money ratio, I'll probably buy again, perfect for aggressive AM/FR/DH, although for some disciplines I think they are a bit heavy, but then there is the Titanium version if you have the money. You can spend less for pedals, but you lose the removal pins and the sealed bearings these have, making these much better value than cheaper options in the long run.

ODI Lock-On Grip - Rogue

“Might be your favorite, you need to try them”

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The Good: Width, grippiness, end clips.

The Bad: Heavy, wear quickly, small bolts rust-out very quickly.

Overall Review: If you prefer a Ruffian that is just personal taste, for some like me the Rogues are an ideal girth, the super slender Ruffians aren't as good for me, not to say they are bad, just like saddles, it's personal. If these grips could be a bit lighter, a bit longer 150mm instead of 130mm and the bolts didn't rust I think they could be perfect!

Intense Tazer HT Frame

“Light Fast Strong = FUN”

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The Good: Most fun DJ bike i have ever riden. Easy to jump and ride fast. STIFF.
Best single speed / geared drop out ever on a dirt jump bike.
very light frame

The Bad: on the black frame the "Ed Hardy" style TAZER logo that is not removable and its not a cheap bike

Overall Review: This bike came in at 4.65 pounds for the frame on the shop scale wich made it the one lightest DJ frame. the welds on this frame are beefy and long wich should mean that this thing should last forever. like the other Intense bikes i have riden this bike is super stiff. my old dirt jump frame was a norco 125 frame from 2009 and the Intense is significantly stiffer. The slack 68 degree head angle make this bike feel comfortable at speed. 1.5 head tube gives lots of fork options. also nice to see the dropouts provide an option for a 135 x 12 rear hub. if you are a park rat the chain stay is a bit long and the seat even when slamed Read More »