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Park Tool BB Install Spanner & Tool HollowTech II

“Too short for intended use”

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The Good: Bites well on Shimano and Truvativ external bottom brackets.

The Bad: Handle is too short for removing tight bottom brackets. The HollowTech installation tool on the end of the handle makes this problem worse.

Overall Review: I've used this wrench many times to install and remove bottom brackets, but every time I find myself reaching for a piece of pipe as an extension - the handle is just too short. The included HollowTech tool is great for Shimano Cranks, and works as intended, but it's right at the end of the handle. I removed it pretty quickly. This tool has the right fit and strength for its purpose, but it doesn't have the leverage needed for the job.

Panaracer Rampage Tire

“Panaracer Rampage 26x2.35”

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The Good: 1. Very little rolling resistance
2. Grippy shoulder knobs
3. Can be run at either end of the bike
4. Supportive sidewalls
5. No punctures
6. Wears slowly even on the road

The Bad: 1. Slightly heavy for its class

Overall Review: The Rampage resembles the Kenda Nevegals in many ways. This is a good thing because the tread design on the Nevegals is one of the best. However, unlike the Nevegals, the sidewalls are very supportive which allows you to run it at lower air pressures which is a true boon on hardtails. The supportive sidewalls have added a bit of weight to the equation. At 730 grams for the Rampage PR, it is in the ball park of the weight of the Nevegals. The PR (PunctureResistant), ASB (Anti Snakebite), and ZSG (Panaracers Natural Compound) all add up to a that has no flats. I have had these tires for almost 1.5 years and not a single flat Read More »

WTB Bronson Tire

“Awesome trail tire”

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The Good: Corners like it's on rails. Beefy knobs track well in the mud.

The Bad: Slightly high rolling resistance. Tubeless set-up can be troublesome.

Overall Review: This is my current favorite front tire. The side knobs hook up well in every corner, and the tread design works well on everything from hardpack to sticky mud. I don't like using this tire in the rear, because it's a little bit slow-rolling. I prefer to pair it with a faster tire in the rear, like the WTB Wolverine or something similar. That allows me to get up to speed more quickly, and then make use of this tire's excellent traction and cornering ability. If you're buying the TCS version for a tubeless set-up, your experience may be mixed. I mounted two of these tires tubeless on identical rims, and while one sealed up instantly with just a floor pump, the other forced me to drag out the compressor. Other than that, I love these tires.

WTB Wolverine Tire

Featured Review

“Fun tire for XC/trail riding”

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The Good: Corners well. When it does break loose, it's very predictable. Rolling resistance is decent - not on the level of a pure XC tire, but low enough that it won't feel like you're dragging bricks.

The Bad: Does not track well in muddy/wet conditions

Overall Review: This is one of my favorite tires for riding dry, relatively firm terrain. I've used this tire in both 26" and 29" versions and always been satisfied. I prefer to run this tire in the rear. The lower rolling resistance allows you to get up to speed, and it drifts predictably, so you can slide through corners without feeling out of control. One of my favorite pairings is a Wolverine rear with a WTB Bronson up front. I also used this tire for some XC racing. It's not as light or as quick as a true XC tire, but it can do the job if you want to race but don't want to ride semi-slick or super low-profile race tires. I rarely had any Read More »

2011 Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon

Featured Review

“Fantastic Plastic”

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The Good: Stiff // Light // Grease fittings for the lower pivot // Free pivot bearings for life // Drop dead sexy lines

The Bad: Price // Exposed lower link

Overall Review: When I first saw an ad for a Carbon Nomad, I thought to myself, "This must be a joke, carbon is for road bikes." Well, obviously carbon is not just for the lycra set anymore. Modern composite technology has come along way over the years, and the Carbon Nomad is a great example of this progression. Santa Cruz uses a one piece layup that they claim creates a stiffer and lighter frame. Stiff and light were the first two words that came to mind after throwing a leg over this composite creation. Stiffness is immediately noticeable over the alloy Nomad. There's just enough flex in the rear to avoid deflection, other than that, Read More »

Deity Dirty30 Handlebar

“Great handlebar at a good price”

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The Good: Quality finish. Familiar shape. Strong. Good weight for a dh/freeride bar.

The Bad: Not wide enough for some (760mm)

Overall Review: The Dirty 30 handlebar is damn good looking, strong and has a comfortable shape. The 25 mm rise is just spot on for most downhill setups.  If 30 inches is wide enough for your tastes, get this bar.  I think at $80 the Dirty 30 is a better choice than a lot of the after market competition.

Deity Decoy 2.5 Flat Pedal

Featured Review

“Excellent pedal. Amazing Value”

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The Good: Incredible grip, great concave shape, narrow profile, perfect size, rebuildable

The Bad: not easy to find at bike shops

Overall Review: If you are in the market for a flat pedal, the Deity Decoy should be on your short list. The Decoy has a great concave body that is a perfect size. Not too big and not too small for average feet. The 8 pins that are placed around the outer edge provides incredible traction even in wet conditions. In addition, the Decoy pedal has a narrow profile (17mm) and yet has a solid feel to it. It feels more beefy than its weight of 425 grams per pair. All pedals will eventually take a beating so it's great to know that the Decoy is rebuildable. This fact really sets this pedal apart from the competition. I have the confidence to Read More »

ODI Troy Lee Designs Lock On Grip

Featured Review

“ODI TLD Grips”

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The Good: 1. Very, very grippy
2. Comfortable
3. Stylish

The Bad: 1. Not the cheapest grips out there

Overall Review: I've been eyeing these grips for a while mainly because they look amazing. Leave it to Troy Lee Designs to create something stylish out of something not intended to be. However, when I finally shelled out the money, I entered a whole new world. These are much more than eye candy. The flanges provide a very comfortable feel and prevent slippage. I have larger than thou mitts but the fairly thin grip was just perfect. The ramped knobs provide incredible grip (when pointed in the right direction), so much in fact that I didn't find myself needing gloves when my hands got sweaty. However, when used with gloves, be Read More »

Answer Protaper 720 Am Riser Bar

“Answer Protaper 720 Riser Bar”

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The Good: 1. Incredible rise height, backs weep, width, and up sweep 2. Lightweight for an aluminum bar 3. Strong 4. Price

The Bad: Absolutely nothing

Overall Review: When I first saw the ProTapers, I loved the looks and all of the angles seemed to add up to a madcomfortablebar. The first thing that is noticeable is how strong the bars are. I've ridden off of large drops and over scaryrock gardens and there is no flex at all. The ProTaper technology really does make the bar stronger. The weight is respectable but if you are a weight weenie and you need under 250 grams, you might want to opp for the lighter but pricier carbon model (205-225 grams). All of the angles provide a comfortable and confidence inspiring bar. I have the 1" risers combined with a 60mm stem make for Read More »

Kenda Nevegal Tire

“Kenda Nevegal DTC 26x2.35”

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The Good: 1. Grippy knobs
2. Fast rolling
3. Durable middle knobs
4. Good protection from punctures

The Bad: 1. Somewhat unstable sidewalls
2. Slightly heavy for its class

Overall Review: I have had the Nevegal DTC for a few months now and I can say, it is one of the versatile tires I have ridden. I recently switched from a much lower profile tire and the larger blocks dig into the loose dirt very nicely. Despite having such good dirt penetrating abilities, the Nevegals roll very well on hard-pack dirt due to its L3R (Low Rolling Resistance Rubber) and tightly spaced center knobs. When that dirt becomes sticky mud, it clears it out just fine but not as well as purpose built wet tires. The Stick-E compound provides amazing grip which provides confidence in the corners. It is actually the best cornering grip I Read More »