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Crank Brothers Multi 17 Tool

Featured Review

“Reliable trail-side tool”

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The Good: Slim and compact, reliable, contains all essential tools.

The Bad: Chain tool is uncomfortably small. Prone to rusting. 8mm hex key is not very useful.

Overall Review: I've been using this tool for trail repairs and even occasional garage work for four years without any serious problems. It fits easily in a jersey pocket or saddlebag. It includes various sizes of hex keys, a T25 torx key, flat and Philips screwdrivers, a chain tool, and spoke wrenches.I haven't had a problem with any of the bits rounding.The hex keys are great, although the 8mm seems unnecessary because the tool is too short to provide the kind of leverage needed with most 8mm hex bolts. The flat screwdriver could probably be eliminated too. The chain tool is short, so it's difficult to grip, but it does work and has saved multiple rides from turning into hikes. The tool has picked up some spots of surface rust over the years, but it's still working just fine. I never go on a ride without it.

2012 Specialized Status II Bike

“Ballin' on a budget”

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The Good: Great starter bike with a great price point, super grippy Specialized Butcher DH tires

The Bad: Bike is heavy, with a low end fork

Overall Review: If you are looking for a first DH bike like myself, this is the bike for you. This bike bombs down DH runs, and is perfect on the jump trails such as Livewire at Northstar Bike Park. The only problem is that the bike is rather heavy. This is because of the Budget fork and Possibly the rims. The Fork is a RockShox Domain Dual Crown. The fork is heavy and has few adjustments. This bike is great for me but you might want to upgrade certain parts like the fork.

Park Tool Gear Clean Brush

Featured Review

“Perfect for intended use”

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The Good: It's cheap, it lasts for years, and it's the quickest way to clean cassettes, chainrings, and derailleur pulleys.

The Bad: Nothing, really.

Overall Review: This brush is the best at what it does. It's shaped perfectly to reach into the nooks and crannies of cassettes. It's durable - I haven't worn one out yet at home. The scraping end fits in between the cogs of a cassette and is great at busting up thick, caked-on grime, and the brush gets everything sparkling clean again. What more could you want from a five-dollar tool? Whether in the shop or at home, this is my go-to tool for a dirty cassette.

Park Tool YZ125

Featured Review

“Simple, functional, dependable.”

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The Good: The "Cyclone" chain cleaner is easy to use and it does an acceptable job cleaning off old lube and dirt from my chain. The drivetrain brush is great for cleaning cassettes and chainrings. I can always get my chain looking clean again in under five minutes.

The Bad: The wheels with the brushes spin on plastic stubs sitting in plastic slots, and after a while I've found that the brushes don't spin very well. The chain still gets scrubbed, but not as thoroughly. It would be better if there were a metal insert or something similar to prevent this.

Overall Review: I've been using this kit for years now with great results. I don't usually use Park Tool's chain cleaning fluid; normal dish soap is less expensive and works fine. I've found that doing one cycle with soap and two with plain water will get almost any chain looking shiny again in under five minutes. The only problem I've had is what I mentioned above: the wheels with the brushes don't spin very well in their plastic slots. It's not a major issue, but it's annoying. Also, if you're rough on tools, watch out - I cracked one of these chain cleaners when I accidentally dropped it.

Royal 2013 SP-247 Shorts

Featured Review

“The long and short of it”

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The Good: Great cut
Lightweight
Durable
Comfortable
Subtle design

The Bad: The design may be too subtle for some

Overall Review: I have used many versions of Royal's shorts over the years, and always been impressed with the overall quality and fit. Some years/models were better than others, but on the whole, I keep coming back to the brand because of the consistent good performance of their product (including jerseys, BTW). The SP-247 is the workhorse of the DH/FR range. It's been a staple of the catalogue for many years, as a low-key alternative to the main racing line (called the Blast range, these days). It has many of the features of the racing line, just with much more subdued styling. For 2012, there was a significant overhaul of the shorts, Read More »

2012 Trek Session 9.9

“Race Weapon (Frame Only Review)”

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The Good: Weight, geometry and almost endless geometry options, strength, carbon fiber, stiff, options for wheel spacing, comes with standard headset installed and a Cane Creek Angleset in the box! Internal cable routing option, built in fork bumpers, carbon frame protection.

The Bad: Price, shock.

Overall Review: This is for frame review only so cannot comment on the stock spec list. This frame is the best I have ridden to date. I upgraded from the Aluminum Session 88 DH and yes there was a very noticeable difference due to the instant 2lb drop and carbon fiber's reaction to rough terrain. I had to change all my compression and rebound settings. I have a fully custom build that I swapped straight over from the aluminum. The frame is not a plower like others I have ridden in the past. The weight allows it to be light and nimble so that can sometimes lead to quick line changes without expecting them. I run mine rather high in compression Read More »

Straitline Silent Guide Chainguide

“Best Chain Guide Ever!”

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The Good: Super quite clean awesome look no problems in any weather!

The Bad: the setup guide it comes with is not the proper way to set it up, make sure when you install it both top and bottom sliders touch the chain to ensure the silent effect and runs as smooth as possible

Overall Review: Best guide ever silent, andreliable tired many guides and this one works the best I love it you need it!

RockShox Totem RC2 DH Coil Fork

Featured Review

“Burly single crown fork”

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The Good: Bombproof, solid, durable and big fan of the maxle

The Bad: Seals blew in less than a month (perhaps I got a bad batch of seals)

Overall Review: This was the first fork from Rock Shox that I have ridden, in the past I have only used Marzocchi, Manitou and Fox. This single crown fork is a great freeride fork for riders looking for burlyperformancewithout a triple crown. Adjustability: The fork offers rebound and low/high speedcompression adjustments, the dials are easy to use and within a couple of clicks you can feel a significant change in the forkperformance. The lockout: Iinitiallythought the lockout feature would be something I would use especially when pedaling up the shuttle roads but in reality I have not made use of this at all. There just Read More »

FOX 40 FIT RC2 Fork

“Squishy Goodness - Fox 40 RC2 Review”

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The Good: Durable, stiff, plush and friction free feeling fork

The Bad: After 2 years of riding I can't find any flaws

Overall Review: Review is about the 2009 RC2 Fox 40, not the Kashima FIT version. Overall I think it’s fair to say that the Fox 40s have been getting pretty great reviews both on this site and most others. There is just something about this fork that gives it that buttery endless feel along with unbeatable stiffness and quality. The other really great thing about this particular fork is the adjustability, and how users can really create a custom feel to the fork depending on their weight, riding style and terrain. I actually haven’t take too much advantage of the easy adjustability I’m more of a set and forget type but it’s Read More »

Kali Protectives Amara Helmet

Featured Review

“Nice XC lid at a reasonable price point”

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The Good: Has a quality feel to it, lots of vents, something a bit different than the regular Giro and Bell

The Bad: Little bit heavier than some other helmets, the fit dial is not as user friendly as some of the other one hand dial systems

Overall Review: I purchased this helmet a couple of weeks ago at a great deal. For the past several years I’ve been sticking primarily to Bell open face helmets but the deal was too good to pass up so I ordered the Amara helmet. The helmet is built really well, has a solid feel to it and in terms of quality it looks and feels comparable to Giro/Bell helmets. In terms of venting the helmet has 17 vents and breathability is great on hot days or on those extra sweaty rides. All the straps and adjustments work well I did notice however that the rear dial that allows for the customized fit it not as user friendly as the one hand Read More »