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7iDP Control Knee Pad

“Top Notch Knee Pads”

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The Good: Great knee pads, very light weight, breathable, comfortable, and they offer better protection compared with soft pads

The Bad: They can rub on your shin if not positioned perfectly. Sizing is a touch big.

Overall Review: After crashing with these pads a couple times, I won't go back to a soft pad. The hard knee cup really offers superior protection and it keeps the pad from moving out of place during an impact. The are so light and comfortable that you really don't notice you are wearing them even when pedaling.

7iDP Transition SS Base Suit

“A Good Idea that Needs Some Work”

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The Good: Great concept. Multi piece spine protection and chest protection. Works with Leatt and Atlas braces.

The Bad: Sizing is way off. I normally wear a medium shirt. The SS Base Suit was way to big and bulky. I ended up selling it to a friend who is over 6 ft tall and it fits him much better.

Overall Review: The SS Base Suit is a great idea; however, 7iDP needs to work on sizing, ventilation, and reducing the bulk of this suit.

Shimano SLX Cassette 10 Speed HG81

“SLX Cassette is a Smooth Operator”

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The Good: Fits 9 speed cassette body
Smooth shifting
Lighter weight

The Bad: only goes up to 36 teeth
not as compatible with expander ring upgrades (Oneup Wolf Tooth)

Overall Review: Picked up this cassette as part of a 10 speed conversion and have been pleasantly surprised with it. Shimano's SLX group set has gotten great praise overall, but personally I wasn't in love with their 9 speed group set that I was upgrade from, but due to an ordering error on my part the SLX cassette is what I ended up getting. One thing I love is the compatibility with 9 speed cassette bodies. While we would all love 11 speeds, the whole switching of cassette hubs or getting new wheels, or even a new bike is a bit unattainable for many of us. My original cassette was a 9 speed Sram Power Glide and the Read More »

Shimano XT SL-M780 10-Speed Shifters

Featured Review

“It's a Shifter and it shifts!”

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The Good: Ispec compatible
10 speed
Multiple gear shifter - go through multiple gears with one push
2-way release on upper shifter trigger

The Bad: Ispec Doesn't come with ispec mount and handle bar mount

Overall Review: The XT shifter is a great choice if you are switching to a 10 speed setup or upgrading a lower tier 10 speed drivetrain. I picked up this shifter as part of a 9 speed to 10 speed conversion and have been very happy with my purchase. This XT shifter comes in a few different configurations; bar mount with gear indicator, just bar mount, and ispec mount. Unfortunately Shimano doesn't give you all these configurations when you purchase the shift, you have to pick one and if you want to change it later your gonna have to pay. It would be great if Shimano sold the shifter with all three configurations, even if Read More »

Race Face Charge Leg Guards

Featured Review

“It's Like a Rashguard, for Your Knees and Without Water...”

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The Good: Spot on Fit
Good Coverage
Mutlitasking benefits
Very little slip
Breathable

The Bad: Not impact resistant

Overall Review: Just being from Race Face you know these are going to be spot on, does Race Face make anything bad? That said though, these are feeling good knee guards/cover and do a great job of adding a little bit of extra protection, but no over doing it. If you ride XC, aggressive XC (is that just being mad that you don't have a more gravity focused trail) or trail riding the Charge guards will treat you well. Great cover and fit. The Charge, when fitted right, fits mid thigh and down to your upper shin. They don't give entire leg coverage, but do cover a good amout of meat. The elastic bands at the thigh and shin fit Read More »

Troy Lee Designs Ace Riding Jersey

Vital Review

“Tested: 2015 Troy Lee Designs Ace Short & Jersey”

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Review by Joel Harwood // Photos by Chris Christie Troy Lee Designs’ Ace kit caters to riders looking for a high performing, lightweight, more pedal-friendly option without having to rock a skin suit. Advertised as premium, high performance gear for gritty XC riders, the updated Ace series features lightweight, wicking materials and all of the technical features we’ve come to expect from TLD. Can the kit handle daily abuse and frequent mistreatment, or is it meant purely for dainty XC rides? We spent a few months doing our best to find out. Troy Lee Designs Ace Short Highlights 4-way stretch, highly durable 90% Read More »

Troy Lee Designs Ace Riding Short

Vital Review

“Tested: 2015 Troy Lee Designs Ace Short & Jersey”

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Review by Joel Harwood // Photos by Chris Christie Troy Lee Designs’ Ace kit caters to riders looking for a high performing, lightweight, more pedal-friendly option without having to rock a skin suit. Advertised as premium, high performance gear for gritty XC riders, the updated Ace series features lightweight, wicking materials and all of the technical features we’ve come to expect from TLD. Can the kit handle daily abuse and frequent mistreatment, or is it meant purely for dainty XC rides? We spent a few months doing our best to find out. Troy Lee Designs Ace Short Highlights 4-way stretch, highly durable 90% Read More »

The Sensus Swayze Lock-On Grip

Featured Review

“Grips for Those That Like to Party!”

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The Good: ODI Rubber and lock rings
Classic wavy grip style
Long grip length
Includes bar plugs

The Bad: Shifters hit grip flange
Outer grip lip catches in lock on bolt
Small lock on bolts

Overall Review: Picked these up for no other reason than I like to switch up my bikes look from time to time with grips and thought I would give The Sensus a try. Sensus is a rider owned company and I like to support those that ride. The Swayze grips are designed by Sensus, but use rubber and lock-on rings from ODI. Working with ODI is great since they have an established and trusted design. However, using ODI is also a bit of a negative for me. I personally have never liked ODI's use of a very small lock-on bolts. I always feel like I am going to strip them out when tightening up. I have been using these grips for just over a month Read More »

Fly Racing Freestone Helmet

Featured Review

“Smooth Looks and Great Function!”

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The Good: Lots of cooling vents
Good colorways
Light weight
Rear head cover
Adjustable visor

The Bad: dial retention system weak
awkward visor adjustment
matte finish scratches easily
No camera mount

Overall Review: I have been looking for a helment with more back of the head coverage and picked this up from Jenson with a great price match, so the price was way cheaper then the average $109 retail. First impression was right on on. The helmet has lots of vents (19) and is super light. The dial system retention and adjustable chin strap offer lots ofadjustability. I chose the Hi-Viz Blue in a size med/large. While I am not sure about the other colorway's finish, the Hi-Viz blue is more matte than glossy, which I personally really like. Out of the box the fit was good. Didn't have to do any adjustment with the chin straps, Read More »

Source D|Vide Hydration System

Featured Review

“A game changer!”

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The Good: Source D|vide delivers. It is easy to fill, easy to clean, the tubes are great and easy to connect disconnect from the reservoir (with a click system) and fits well on my Shimano U4E backpack. No odd plastic flavors after a while, nothing! I've read the secret lies on the glass like technology. The construction quality seems really good and you don't even feel that you have 2 L of liquid on your back. The huge opening is great to refill and you can even stick your hand fully to clean the isotonic reservoir. Source says that if you only use water and you just need to refill and go, no need for a throughout cleaning. Rides are now much more comfortable and you don't feel the urge of having big sips of each reservoir, it is so balanced!

The Bad: Not exactly bad, but I feel that the valve kit needs some time to get used to, and probably some work around. You bite and suck like in most of the systems, but then you have to twist (mouth or hand) to close it, as it might drip a little. Camebak big bite is still a winner, but, on the other hand, it has no mechanism (built in) to prevent from dripping (and it will happen eventually). I think the reservoir would be perfect with an extra hole on the bottom to help hanging it to dry upside down. Source still doesn't sell this as kit (with a backpack), so if you buy a Source backpack you will have an extra reservoir... The reservoir comes with no accessories in comparison with other reservoirs from the same brand ex: magnetic clip, dirt shield (to stop dirt from getting in contact with the valve), weave covered tube for insulation. Still nothing that affects performance. I love it.

Overall Review: I have used Camelbaks since the 90s and since followed the widespread of other brands and solutions. I went all these years on and off using water or isotonic but lately, because age and heat, I've been using isotonic drinks and water (two bottles) on my Zaskar (transformed to be some kinda of a road bike) and I feel much better having two drinks instead of just one kind. With that I thought the possibility on doing the same with my trail bike. The thing is I didn't want to use bottles or a bottle and hydration, and every time I used isotonic only on my Camelbak it was a pain to clean. I decided to search for a solution and I found it, Source D|vide is definitely a great buy but I wouldn't mind paying a little bit more if It came with other accessories.