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Gamut P30 Chainguide

“Decent Guide...Sometimes”

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The Good: Super Light and easy to install

The Bad: Sometime Drops Chain

Overall Review: I had this chain guide on a 2008 Turner DHR, it was a lightweight option to the E.13, and looked sturdy out of the box. It ran flawlessly for a few months, then I had to adjust it a few times, because it would drop a chain especially when things got muddy. When back-pedaling in some trail sections that were muddy the chain could get stuck and cause a real issue. Luckily I've never used this guide in a race, but I have seen it fail under race conditions on friends bikes.... Also, on my particualr guide, other than dropping the chain a sometimes it was fine. The guide is a strong plastic, and the black color comes from Read More »

e*thirteen LG1+ Chainguide

“Solid Strong Guide”

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The Good: Never dropped a chain, easy to install

The Bad: The white color will turn brown/grey from the chain quick

Overall Review: I've used this guide on my 2009 specialized demo, and never had any issue dropping a chain riding in the northern California area including Northstar. The chain guide has great hardware included and you'll never have an issue with striping anything due to the production value.  The gold bits are a nice touch, but when I bought white, should of got black because the white will fade when your greasy chain runs thru the dirt and back thru the guide. I've never had a bammer product from e.13, and this latest guide is wayyyy ahead of the older style clunkier DRS that I ran on my AM bike a few years ago.  The new LG1+ is much smoother and quieter.

Easton Havoc Carbon Handlebar

“Strong and Style”

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The Good: Wide, Strong, Lightweight

The Bad: Expensive compared to Non-Carbon

Overall Review: When comparing the price of these bars to other companies carbon models, these are relatively good price. Also you can find great deals on these bars because the latest 35mm bar is Easton's new flagship handlebar.  I picked these up at Sea Otter in April of 2012, they've worked great on my XC bike.  Really strong and are very lightweight especially when combined with Easton Havoc stem. One thing to note, not sure if other carbon bars are this way.  But I've had trouble putting bar end plugs into the ends of the bars.  I'm currently using ODI Lock-ons to clamp the ends of the bars.  But ya, when I've tried to put in several models of ODI plugs they are too big, Easton must have their own brand or something.

Park Tool BB Install Spanner & Tool HollowTech II

“Solid Tool from ParkTools”

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The Good: Quality Made + Good Price

The Bad: Hollowtech at bottom sort of unnecessary

Overall Review: Must have tool for anyone with external bb. The hollowtech tool at the bottom end I've never needed, mainly because I haven't had shimano type hollowtech bottom brackets.  Also, most of the time, that hollowtech tool is included with Shimano Cranks anyways, kinda an extra not needed.  However gotta give credit to Park Tools for adding a combo to the end of the spanner.Quality Product and a must have if you ride near mud and water, helps uninstall the bb and clean out of your bottom bracket area to regrease.

Troy Lee Designs Air Gloves

“Awesome Gloves!”

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The Good: Durable, Great Fit, Velcro Lastssss

The Bad: Not sure I've found one

Overall Review: These gloves are awesome. I've had many pairs of gloves blow thru in the thumbs, index fingers, or palm area...Mostly due to crashing or extended use.  But I've had this same pair for 2 years now....The velcro still works fine, no holes are apparent anywhere, and the white lettering on the inside of the index and middle finger is still sticky!  That sticky index finger + middle finger grab brake levers primo. Like I said, I've blown thru a ton of gloves. After going bike shop one time and explaining how I've had many gloves tear the thumb and finger areas when I crash, the shop recommended these.  He even claimed I could keep my receipt and if they torn thru on me I could bring them back to get new ones.  I left thinking I would be back in 6 months or so, but not the case at all.  They last forever!

e*thirteen XCX Chainguide

“Low Mount Version”

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The Good: Light, Easy Intsall

The Bad: Moves Easy After Crash

Overall Review: I ran the low mount version on 1x9 gearing with my Trek Fuel EX 7. Worked great because with a press fit BB the low mount or high mount allow you to still use a chain guide.  Super LIGHT The chain guide was easy to install, however it is easy to move upon crashing.  The lower mount I had setup is similar to a derailuer clamp on your seat tube and it moved on me and needed readjusting several times after a bad crash.

Giro Phase Helmet

Featured Review

“Inexpensive, versatile helmet”

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The Good: "Neutral" styling blends in at races or on the trail. Comfortable and well-ventilated. Fit is easy to adjust with one hand.

The Bad: Chin strap seems to loosen over time.

Overall Review: I picked up the Giro Phase in black back in 2010 and it has served me well since then. It's not as expensive as a lighter or flashier lid, but it does the job just as well and still looks pretty good. The dial that adjusts the fit is quick and easy to use with gloves and while riding, and I can quickly snug it down with just one hand. I've used this helmet for cross-country riding and racing and trail riding, and I've even taken the visor off and used it for road racing. It has an unremarkable style which fits in anywhere. If you want your helmet to stand out in a crowd, look elsewhere, but otherwise this is a great choice Read More »

e*thirteen XCX Chainguide

Featured Review

“Works great, but check fit before committing”

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The Good: Easy to align. Captive hardware is a big plus. Chain rub is almost nonexistent. Works as advertised - no dropped chains yet.

The Bad: Some suspension linkages may cause compatibility issues - see below for more details.

Overall Review: (This review is for the seat tube mounted low-clamp version of this guide.) I was initially disappointed when I found that the lower linkage on my 2012 Giant Trance forced me to mount this chainguide so high that it looked like it might not work properly. So if you can, you should check the compatibility between this chainguide and your specific frame before you throw down your cash. I had doubts, especially since I was using a 32T ring, but since I started riding I have forgotten all about the installation issues. After a little bit of adjustment, there is very little chain rub. There's some slight noise Read More »

Topeak Pocket Shock DXG Pump

Featured Review

“Compact, simple shock pump for most home mechanics”

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The Good: Small enough to fit easily in a hydration pack. Will inflate a fork or shock from zero to fully aired up within a minute. Good for home use.

The Bad: Slightly difficult to grip comfortably. Bleed valve does not work well unless used in one specific way. Despite dual-stage chuck, still releases some air when removed.

Overall Review: This is a solid shock pump for occasional home or trail-side use. I wouldn't recommend it for a shop mechanic or somebody who tinkers with their suspension all the time, because it's tricky to get a comfortable grip on this pump due to its small size. On the plus side, that small size means that you can bring it along on a ride easily if you're still figuring out suspension settings. The rotating hose allows it to fit into most tight spaces without much trouble. The dual-stage chuck is more cumbersome and slow to use than the lever found on some other pumps, and it doesn't quite prevent that little bit of Read More »

FOX DHX RC4 Rear Shock

“Liven up your suspension with the RC4”

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The Good: Smooth, plush, easy to setup, lots of adjust-ability

The Bad: Can't think of any so far

Overall Review: It’s hard to write a thoughtful and technical review about such a complex piece of suspension when in the end all I really want to say how sweet, smooth and plush the RC4 is. Plus I don’t fully understand all the mechanical jargon and technology that goes behind making this shock work. Most recently I’ve been running the DHX 5.0 and then switched over to the RC4 at the begging of this summer and the change was quite dramatic between the two. The first thing I noticed when I upgraded to the RC4 was how much smoother the suspension ran, this was instantly noticed when just compressing the suspension in the parking lot Read More »