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Shimano XT Disc Brake M785

“amazing brakes!”

C138_67208

The Good: price
quality
looks
power
modulation
ceramic pistons
lever feel

The Bad: cooling fins are useless 90% of the time

Overall Review: wow! very impressive braking system. really powerful even with 180mm rotors and they feel so good. factory bleed was great and is still lasting well. the modulation and overall feel is better than anything i've tried. they are sharp but you can still dab them and they don't lock up straigh away. you can always bleed them to your perferance. speaking of bleeding, this is very easily done as with any shimano brake and takes no time at all. problem i find with a lot of brakes is the pistons seize up. so shimano nw have ceramic pistons which means a reduced risk of seizing up and lighter action. all that Read More »

SDG Aliso Cro-Mo Saddle

“pretty good especially for the price”

C138_51930

The Good: price
durability

The Bad: rail popped out from a light crash
not that comfortable
bulky

Overall Review: for the price it's a decent saddle but i don't really like it. i had a crash and hit a tree quite lightly at a fairly low speed and one of the rails popped out. trying to get it back in was really difficult and now the saddle is not quite perfect. also, i don't find it that comfortable which may be due to the shape rather than the padding. however, the kevlar sides mean the saddle won't rip if you crash which i like as it's something that happens to most saddles. also it's a great price for a saddle from SDG

Chromag Fubar OSX Handlebar

“great handlebar”

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The Good: looks
weight
feel
shape
durability

The Bad: price - but you pay for what you get

Overall Review: had these for a while now and they are awesome! really suit me and got them because they felt nice on my friend's bike. they look amazing and come in various colours to suit any build. the finish is high quality and won't come off that easily compared to most bars. mine have a few marks from crashes as expected. they are also pretty light but are quite expensive, but in my opinion this is the bar to get if you want to ride anything from dirt jumps to DH

Troy Lee Designs Moto Shorts

“TLD moto shorts”

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The Good: Sizing, Adjustability, Pockets, Strength

The Bad: Maybe a bit heavy duty for more AM/XC type riding

Overall Review: I am very impressed with these shorts. They have survived multiple crashes into trees/rocks/roots/other riders with no sign of any wear or tear. In fact, they almost look new still after over a year of use! There are two things I love about these shorts. The pockets. Yeah, pretty simple but I am always surprised to see how many MTB shorts have pockets without zips! Zips are vital (no pun intended) if you are mountain biking in my opinion! Luckily the TLD ones have three such pockets, one on each leg and another (that I have never actually used) at the back. Each pocket also has a flap that is secured Read More »

Answer ProTaper 780 DH Handlebar

Featured Review

“Answer Pro taper”

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The Good: Weight, Strength, Stiffness, Feel

The Bad: Finish/anodizing

Overall Review: The bars I have on my current bike are 25mm rise. To mirror one of the comments below, the vast majority of bars of this price seem similar in build quality. No doubt there are a few manufactures that produce bars that are either exceptionally heavy or too weak, however, the answer pro tapers certainly do not fall into either category. In over a years use their performance has been flawless. They are very comfortable, with nice up and back sweep angles. The bars have markings/guidelines to enable the user to shorten the bars from their original 780mm length. I personally found this very useful, having now settled on Read More »

Renthal Strata Duo MTB Stem

Featured Review

“Renthal Stem Review”

C138_49156

The Good: Light; Looks great; Strength

The Bad: Pain to put on and take off; twists easily

Overall Review: I had quite high expectations of this stem before buying it. It looks great and the attention to detail in the machining is superb. However, it really is ahassleto attach to the bike and to the handlebars due to its two piece design. This would not be a problem if you never need to remove the stem, although packaging the bike for going on holiday in a bike bag highlights that a normal stem is infinitely easier to remove from the bike. The other downside to this stem is that it seems to twist on the steerer far too easily. Having tightened it to the suggested torque initially, I have since had to tighten it a Read More »

Morewood Bicycles Kalula Frame

Featured Review

“Morewood Kalula”

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The Good: Agility, Cornering, Jumping, Fun-factor, Suspension design, Stiffness and longevity

The Bad: Cable routing, Shock spring rub, Rear axle requires both 10mm and 12mm alan key

Overall Review: I have owned this bike for around a year now. It has been taken to the Alps, many local DH trails in my home country of Scotland and has been raced. In fact, I even took it on a number of xc rides before getting a dedicated XC/AM bike. Here are my thoughts of the kalula so far: Background: When I first bought this bike, I decided it was going to be with me for a long time and that I didn't really want to go changing parts often. So I built it up with a pretty dream spec and intend to leave it that way until parts wear out/break. Initially expensive but I hope it pays in the long run.To give you an idea of the build, it Read More »

Troy Lee Designs Skyline Short

“Best in class”

C138_sp267b07_black

The Good: light weight, great fit, no liner. Perfect is you wear a liner w padding (Fox launch/Titan)

The Bad: the Velcro fasteners all get unglued after 2 weeks--horrific QC. systemic problem on all shorts, each year--come on TLD...

Overall Review: Still my favorite shorts!

Specialized Demo 8 Frame

Featured Review

“The Shredtastic Shredder- Updated 10/31/12”

C138_specialized_demo_8_frame

The Good: Almost everything.

The Bad: Almost nothing.

Overall Review: The Specialized marketing team has declared the Demo 8 “the world’s fastest downhill machine,” that “oozes premium downhill performance,” and by watching the likes of Sam Hill and Troy Brosnan shred the bike to pieces, Specialized has attempted to force you to believe that this bike is totally mega sictor awesome, is mean looking, will impress all of your friends, and make hot naked chicks shuttle you all because you and your bike are so rad. Unfortunately for Specialized, they didn’t drop the ever growing Sam Hill and pay the big bucks to America’s rock Jesus, Aaron Gwinn, who has now shown that the Trek is the only bike Read More »

Specialized Enduro Expert Bike

Featured Review

“The Downhiller's One Bike”

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The Good: To put it simply, this bike rides like a DH bike but allows you to peddle to the top. The geometry, and suspension design allows you to throw your bike into the gnarliest of lines and come out clean. I've ridden this bike in every environment, from Northstar rocks to fast flowy single track and it's very difficult if not impossible to find a bike that excels as well as the Enduro in all conditions. If you are a rider that likes to haul the mail and can only afford one bike, this is without a doubt it.
Good:
1) Geometry
2)Ability to plow through anything like a DH bike
3)Built to last. I ride my bikes hard, and have trashed this bike and it's still going strong. After a year and a half of shuttling, lift riding, and local xc riding(which may as well be downhilling as well) the bike has no dents in the frame and only a few minor scratches. The frame bearings are all still good, and the frame has no noticeable flex when riding hard.

The Bad: There are 5 things that I don't really like about the Enduro. Some can be easily changed but some cannot.
1) The cable routing under the frame. This is not really a problem if you don't shuttle, or ever throw your bike over a tailgate, but I really wish bicycle companies would consider this when designing the cable routing.
2)The shock: I debated putting this in the bad category as it does do many things well, but if you are an aggressive/heavier rider, the shock has a tendency to blow through the travel on harder hits(G outs, small drops, big square edge bumps)
3)The offset specialized stem. Over time, the spacer for the stem will decide it's worn out and you will literally be able to flex your handlebars up and down a half inch. Ditch the specialized stem and buy a Thompson.
4)Not coming with a travel adjust fork. This bike will climb much better with a travel adjust fork(Specialized specced the 2012 enduro expert with a travel adjust fork). On steeper climb the bike makes you feel like your riding a wheelie. This is a give and take though. The geo of the bike yields amazing DH performance so it's understandable the way the bike climbs. From personal experience a travel adjust fork will make this thing a much more eager climbing machine.
5) The Specialized seat will eventually start to creak; get a new one. Also, if you are using a Specialized Command Post, crank the bolt that holds the seat in place five times harder than you would anything else, or your seat will self adjust.

Overall Review: Overall, you want this bike if you are a gravity focused rider that can only have one bike. If you have a DH bike and are looking for a trail bike, look for a smaller bike. The only reason I say that is because this bike climbs like a pig compared to other bikes in its class. The Nomad, Ibis Mojo, etc all pedal much better. The tradeoff is the Enduro rides down the trail better. Personally, I will be selling this bike to get a lighter, more XC friendly bike at the end of the year, but that is because I have a DH bike to ride, and this bike creates some overlap in the bike stable.But, in summary, this bike is rad. You will not be disappointed if you buy one.