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Mavic Ex 823 Disc Rim

“Strong as Hell”

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The Good: Strong
Durable
Tubeless
MAVIC

The Bad: They take a little longer to lace up

Overall Review: I worked at a bike shop for a few years and this was by far the best selling rim that I laced onto everyones hubs. We couldn't keep these in stock because they just fly off the shelves. I never had one person come back with any issues and after a couple of years these rims stay in great shape. I had to build myself a set and I have never even thought about changing rims since. I love that I get tubeless capability and the bead of any tire seats very well. This is why you see World Cup DH riders running these rims. Get yourself a set. You can't go wrong

Shimano XT Disc Brake M785

“A great brake, but a bit over-hyped.”

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The Good: Adjustment opportunities, power, modulation, single finger lever design, reasonable price and build quality.

The Bad: Not as fantastic as some reviews would have you believe, expensive gimmicky finned pads, need for Shimano's own hydraulic mineral oil, worry about brakes not heating up in cold weather, Shimano's (aftermarket) own rotors can be a bit sub-par .

Overall Review: Having used quite a few brakes I was drawn to the XT brakes due to a reasonable price and stellar reviews. Having used them for months I have to agree they are certainly a well made brake that is powerful and modulates very well. Props to Shimano for making such a good brake, but more than that such a great range of brakes. Honestly though I have a M596 paired up on the rear and another on the front of another bike and it really is 98% as good as the M785 (minus a bit of power and a few adjustments), perfectly adequate for most XC and trail riders. Also many reviews say that the XT is super powerful, but I find that unlikely compared to a four piston Saint brake for example. Also I have some worry that with all the ice-tec and finns in our -10 winters the brakes might take a bit long to warm up.

FOX Van RC Coil Rear Shock

“Reliable!!!”

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The Good: Reliable, reliable, reliable!!
Simple

The Bad: Not as much adjustment as higher end models

Overall Review: This shock is filled with nitrogen, which is why it is so reliable. It's a "mini" dirt bike shock basically. You don't have to check any air adjustments before you ride. Plus nitrogen doesn't heat up as fast so it maintains performance on long runs. And if it ever does fail on you, you can take it to a motorcycle suspension mechanic instead of having to ship it to Fox (this voids your warranty though). I'll take this over an overpriced "high end" shock any day when the money is coming out of my own wallet.

2013 Kona Supreme Operator Bike

“Great Bike”

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The Good: Shimano part spec
Handles great

The Bad: Cheap paint on frame
Downtube is very exposed

Overall Review: After riding a buddies 2011 Operator I immediately put my name on the list for a 2012. I ride a large frame and have been riding mine for a year now. I love the top tube length because I find that a lot of other bikes feel too jammed. The top tube length just feels very natural. I also like the longer wheelbase because it handles so well on fast and steep runs. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to turn the bike because of the long wheelbase, but I haven't had any issues making tight off cambers. The paint on the frame is really cheap and doesn't make the bike stand out. I also would have liked Kona to integrate a better Read More »

SixSixOne Rage Knee Guard

“A comfortable knee pad”

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The Good: Super confortable
Don't slip down

The Bad: Seem bulky at first

Overall Review: My initial thoughts when I first wore these knee guards were that they were really comfy (more so than the kyle straights). They seemed a little bulky at first but the more I wore then the more they seemed to fit more condense around my knee. One of the problems I was having with my old knee guards (kyle straits) were that the straps stretched out over time and my knee guards would fall down when riding. The Rage are built with better quality straps now and have not given me any issues of slipping down on my knee. I wear these now matter what kind of riding i'm doing there that comfortable. I would definitely purchase these again.

ODI Ruffian Lock-On Grips

“Your gonna get hooked on these!!”

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The Good: Consistent, not too expensive, great rider owned brand, the benchmark for grip design, durable rubber, etc.

The Bad: these may tear up your hands when you first ride them but then again most new grips do anyways, I always loose the end caps so make sure you keep those lock rings tight.

Overall Review: So ever since I rode Aaron Chase's hard tail one day while at a Mt. Snow race I noticed he had these grips on there and they really stuck out to me as a "universal pro grip" as almost ALL the pros there were using them (regardless if they were sponsored by them or not). If that wasn't enough of a reason to get them I don't know what is. I have these on all my bikes now and I will never use another grip again, I recommend black though, the white ones get pretty nasty looking after a few days of use but they still work fine. I am starting to like the ones with the checkers board pattern on the back too I think they are called the Ruffian MX or something.

Xpedo FACEOFF 17 (XMX17AC)

“Not bad for the light weight”

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The Good: The low weight, the grip when coasting, durable finish, warranty, and easy to service.

The Bad: After a year of use, both pedals have noticeable play between the body and the axle. This became very noticeable after my last Super D race. There were a lot of rock gardens hit with pretty good speed, and after that they started clicking and have play.

Overall Review: Overall, I think that these are good flats for the weight. Just keep them clean and they'll be quiet.  I think that it's due to the light weight construction that I have an issue with mine.  I am 5'11" and 168 lbs who rides a 6" travel all mountain bike pretty hard.  I've hit these on occasional rocks, and have made plenty of hard landings off of jumps with them, which is overall why I think that they've developed play and a click.  The finish on them has not suffered too badly though, just a few scrapes.

Shimano XTR Race BR-M985 Disc Brake

Featured Review

“Light, durable, and strong”

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The Good: Great lever feel.

The Bad: Expensive for recreational riding.

Overall Review: I have been riding these brakes for over a year now. I have since swapped bikes, and had to move these brakes to my new ride. Just need to replace the hose for the rear, quick bleed, and back out riding. I love the instant engagement of the race brake vs. the xtr trail brake. They are plenty strong for my type of riding, XC racing. Even so, I have taken them to North Carolina mountains and never felt brake fade on 4 mile descents. The new ICE Tech rotors are no joke. Lower running temperature means more stopping power/no fade. Best upgrade to any bike. One change I have made to the stock brakes Read More »

Mavic Ex 823 Disc Rim

“You will need more than rocks”

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The Good: -Light
-Durable
-Strong
-Look Good

The Bad: -Only fit french valves

Overall Review: The Mavic EX 823 Disc rim is one of the stongest rims out there and can really take a hit. I use it on a Santa Cruz V10 and have put it through the works and it has not even showed signs of damage. I have landed on flat on countless occasions and the rim is not even buckled. The spokes on the rim are strong and are held in place well and the tire fits into the rim well with no movement. Overall this rim is a more affordable version of the Mavic Deemax and a must buy for anyone looking for new rims on abudget.

Fox Racing Sidewinder Glove

“good glove - comfy”

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The Good: comfortable fit, durable (had to clear the chain when it went off the cog into the spokes), palm material grippy

The Bad: no thumb terry cloth

Overall Review: I've had my gloves for 9 months, riding Tues/Thurs/Sat. No wear showing on the palms or thumb (I've worn through the thumb area on other gloves). Comfy in the heat (Phx, AZ rider) the palm doesn't get all clammy when the sweat starts running. Excellent and would buy again.