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2012 Kona Entourage Deluxe Bike

Featured Review

“Shred-sled”

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The Good: Solid and versatile with a good overall component spec. Easy to maintain. Predictable and flick-able.

The Bad: One of my best friends wants to beat me up and take mine from me. Otherwise, just little nit-picky things that are just my biased opinion.

Overall Review: I purchased mine a little over a couple of months ago, although I was originally planning on getting their Supreme Operator model. I had demoed their standard Operator and was impressed, but then I demoed/raced the Entourage and I had big decisions to make - as in, 8" big or 7" big. This guy, weighing in at a burly 145lbs soaking wet, didn't really need a FULL full-squish since I race an average of two races a year - nor am I an aspiring WCer. I do a ton of hike-a-bike, shuttle and even lift-access and tend to not shy away from too many jumps - I'm less concerned about my times than I am about styling the jumps. It just Read More »

ODI Troy Lee Designs Lock On Grip

“look great but too thick for my liking.”

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The Good: they look great

The Bad: too thick made my hands feel numb

Overall Review: I bought these grips for my new bike so everything would be shiny and new but I have quickly swapped back to my old ruffians. The grips look great and provide great grip but they just felt too thick in my hands.  IF you like thick grips then they might be great for you but for those who prefer thinner grips and love ruffians then stay away.

Avid Elixir 5 Disc Brake

“Plenty of power, but poor modulation”

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The Good: Raw stopping power is more than enough for trail riding. Split clamp makes installation easy (no need to remove grips or shifters).

The Bad: Modulation is lacking. Noisy.

Overall Review: These brakes certainly have the power for even the steepest trails. The drawback is that modulation is not on par with Shimano's current offerings. It took me quite a while to find the sweet spot in the lever stroke where I could avoid locking up the rear wheel on steep descents. Once you find it, the brakes work well enough, but they never modulate as well as the Shimano brakes I've ridden recently. If you rely on finessing the brakes delicately to get you through technical sections, you should try Avid's higher-end offerings, or switch to Shimano. That said, they've kept me in control through some gnarly trails, even though they can be a bit noisy under hard braking, and I have confidence in their ability to slow me down in a hurry.

ODI Ruffian Lock-On Grips

Featured Review

“My all-time favorite”

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The Good: Knurled pattern gives great traction in dry or wet conditions. Thin enough to provide a good feel for the bar. Sturdy lock-on collars.

The Bad: Wear quicker than some other options

Overall Review: The often-imitated ODI Ruffian is my favorite grip. The knurled pattern is simple and low-profile, and provides great grip without annoying logos or hard spots. They're thin enough to give you a good connection to the bar and bike, but still take some of the sting out of the ride. Whether the day is hot and dusty or chilly and wet, these grips will give you the traction you need. Many other brands have a similar pattern available, but ODI's lock collars are better than most.

SRAM Team GXP Bottom Bracket

“Easy to install, but wears out quickly”

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The Good: Installs with no hassles. Finish quality is excellent.

The Bad: Durability is not as good as expected.

Overall Review: Over two years, I went through a surprising number of these bottom brackets on my cross-country bike. The durability of the bearings was never quite satisfactory. I was running a Truvativ Stylo crankset, and these bottom brackets inevitably developed play after a few months of riding. They were also prone to creaking if not thoroughly greased and tightened. On the bright side, I never had an issue with installation or removal. The cups spun in without any problems, and whenever I needed to re-grease or replace the cups I could back them out without undue effort. However, this doesn't change the fact that these bottom brackets didn't hold up well on my bike. Every one I bought was disappointing.

Kenda Nevegal Tire

“Corners with confidence, but slow rolling”

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The Good: Cornering performance is awesome

The Bad: Rolls slower than comparable tires

Overall Review: I love the way this tire corners. I remember the first time I leaned it over, I couldn't believe how far it held. If that's important to you, then rest assured this tire will not let you down in the turns. However, if you're just riding along on hard-packed trails or on the road to the trailhead, you can feel how much resistance this tire creates when rolling. I've talked to some of my riding buddies, and they agree that this tire's strength is its cornering ability, not its speed. Pick your priority.

2012 Giant Trance X2 Bike

“Lively and capable trail bike - but ditch the triple!”

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The Good: A total blast to ride on tight, technical descents or fast, swooping singletrack. Pedals efficiently through rough or smooth trails. Reasonable weight for the price. Durable, solid parts kits. Inspires confidence on gnarly sections.

The Bad: Triple crankset is unnecessary - swap to a double or single for lower weight and better chain retention. Stock tires are thin - I pinch flatted on my first ride. Stock brakes aren't great.

Overall Review: Every time I ride this bike I enjoy it more. It pedals well enough to get you to the top of the hill without unnecessary gasping, although big standing efforts definitely work better with the ProPedal switch engaged. The Maestro suspension works well to keep the rear wheel tracking on technical climbs, making rooty or rocky sections easier. The fun really starts at the top of the hill - this bike comes alive on any descent. It accelerates quickly, and once you have the suspension dialed in, it floats through rock gardens with composure. It sucks up rocks and drops easily. I will say that the suspension can be a bit noisy, but I Read More »

Finish Line Cross Country Lube

“One and Done”

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The Good: Perfect for NorCal Conditions

The Bad: Too Small of Bottle

Overall Review: I'm on my second bottle of FinishLine Wet Lube for my chain. I've never tried anything else, so not much to compare it too, but FinishLine makes race worthy products, and when I ride in NorCal area especially in the winter, its great to know that my chain won't break / stick / make a shit load of noise.  Thanks to this lube

Hope Technology Seat Clamp & QR

“Simple Clamp Always Works”

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The Good: Simplicity N' Style

The Bad: too many logos everywhere

Overall Review: I can't afford a dropper post, so this is the next best thing. Add a tiny grease to your seat post and this clamp and you can change your seat post height quickly trail side.  The screw on the far side tightens to allow the clamp to hold your seatpost.  Never had any play.  I've got a black one and a blue one, both work as advertised and are simple to control.  Lightweight and its got a little bling factor

Oury Mountain Grip

“Great Company, Prime Grip”

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The Good: Thick N' Sticky

The Bad: Air Bubblez

Overall Review: These are tested-tried-n-true grips. Oury makes grips for all kinds of handlebars.  Their bike grip is dialed.  I picked up 2 sets of these at Sea Otter 2012, they had a tent their and were charging 5$ a set of grips.  No brainer!  I bought a set for my flat bar that is on my road bike, they are nice and sticky and thick.  The thickness really helps absorb some of the road harshness transferred from my stiff road bike.  I would recommend these especially if you have large hands.  Also they will never wear down because of how huge each section of the grip is. When you put the grip on it naturally traps air between the inside of your handlebar, so you have to stick a pin at the end of the grip or it will bubble up a bit.