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Dainese Performance Knee Guard

“Skip these expensive pads”

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The Good: they look cool and the have the name "dianese" on them....

The Bad: too small with not enough coverage, the straps are small, skinny and ineffective, the cost about $75 retail, they move and fall down while riding and crashing, they only come in black so they get really hot in the summer time.

Overall Review: I have always wanted to love dianese products because I have seen soo many pros use them and to be honest; they look really cool lol. But after buying these pads I realized that not only do they not cover much when you crash but they move around pretty easily when you pedal. To try and remedy this I got a knee sock and guess what they STILL move around on you. I crashed on a gravel 4 track road with them on and I still scratched up my knee pretty bad. The one good thing about them is that they are durable and well made but sadly the design just isn't up to date with the current DH offerings. Dianese is old school stuff and now I can see why, everything is outdated. If you really want some good DH knee/shin pads I would look elsewhere like: TLD, Fox, 661, etc.

DMR LOCDD Grip

“Soft, cheap and fairly light”

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The Good: Easy to install and remove, very grippy and 150mm

The Bad: Wear very quickly especially on the DMR logo, and for some are a little too soft.

Overall Review: These grips perfectly OK, and come in both the BMX and non-BMX style. They are grippy and light so ideal for dirt jumping. Even though they are not terrible I would never buy again just because I think ODI grips are preferable for the trails despite the marginal extra weight.

Kenda Nevegal Tire

“In desperate need of a redesign”

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The Good: Not dangerous, OK in the wet but not on wet rock.

The Bad: Super-uber slow rolling, puncture prone, so many better tires out there why bother?

Overall Review: If you compare this tire to a Maxxis Minion it really is a fail. The Minion is better in every other way, better braking action, cornering grip, off camber grip and much faster rolling. Also there are a host of other tires that are in this class that have a better reputation such as Schwalbe Hans Damf, High Roller 2 and Specialized Butcher etc, so why use this slow tire?

Sun Ringle MTX Rim

“Cheap Option”

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The Good: Convert to tubeless easily
Fairly light
Low price point
Deep sidewalls keep tubeless tires on and don't burp off the rim

The Bad: Hard to get tires on and off (dual ply) because of the deep sidewalls

Overall Review: These originally came on one of my bikes and I immediately converted them to tubeless with stans tubeless strips. I seated a dual ply 3C non-tubeless tire first try and didn't need to add anymore stans in the tire for a year. The deep rim walls are great at keeping the tire from burping off of the rim. I had 4 really bad flat spots on my rim and it still held tubeless with no issues. If you do end up bottoming out the tire to the rim you will most likely get a flat spot so I wish they were a little stronger. But for the price I'm not complaining. Great choice for a Fr/Dh rider on a budget or even a great spare rim to keep around.

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 »