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e*thirteen The Extended Range (EX) 40/42t Cog

“There are better options”

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The Good: Let me think on that

The Bad: Does not hold chain, poor anodization

Overall Review: I purchased the e-13 42 tooth cog to complete the 1X conversion on my trail bike. I had been running a standard 11-36 cassette with a 32t chainring for a while and wanted a bit lower gear. I went with the e-13 because it was available through BTI and the One-Up was not. Instalation The cog installed well and the instructions were clear. I ordered a 16t cog (not included) to smooth out the transitions. It had a nice finished appearance. I used a Sram X9 type 2 rear der. and X9 shifter, a Sram cassette and sram chain. Operation Shifting in the stand was great, and the flat road test was good as Read More »

Crank Brothers Candy 2 Pedals

“Difficult Pedals to Use”

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The Good: Reasonable weight, Nice finish, Float is good and consistent

The Bad: Almost Impossible to get into.

Overall Review: First off let me say that I am a long time clipless pedal user. I cut my teeth using possibly the worst pedal ever made the Onza HX back in 94. I have used nearly every pedal design made from Shimano, Ritchey, welgo, and TIME. I have always liked the TIME pedal system as it is virtually unaffected by whatever weather or conditions are present. I had a pair of egg beaters that had been sitting on my road bike for a number of years and when my favorite pair of 15 year old TIME's met their death by being smashed on one rock too many, I decided to try them out on my MTB. I was surprised at how much I like the Read More »

SRAM BB30 PressFit 30 BB

“junk, don't even consider”

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The Good: it spins for a while

The Bad: cheap bearings, even cheaper plastic

Overall Review: This is a PF 30 BB that should not exist, its utter rubbish. The bearings are not held by the plastic well at all. You would never use this BB on a bike your going to ride, selling a bike and need a BB would be the only scenario anyone would use one of these. This is one of the most common BB's to ship in bikes. If it lasts 1000 km you are lucky. The bearings are not held by the plastic well at all, during assembly you will find that the bearings are almost an interference fit to the axle, but the bearings can be pushed in and out of the cups by hand. Instead of assembling with both bearings pressed into the Read More »

Manitou Dorado Expert Fork

Featured Review

“Optimal Shreddability”

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The Good: Brilliant damping // Stiffer than expected // Looks badass // Ultra sensitive and low friction // Excellent air spring

The Bad: Crown offset can create direct mount stem headaches // Long axle to crown height // Heavier than many modern DH forks

Overall Review: I picked this fork up as a replacement for a 2013 Boxxer World Cup that I just wasn't getting along with. The Boxxer felt notchy and generally quite bad, even after a rebuild. It simply didn't soak up a lot of smaller chatter, leaving my arms like jello at the end of a long day. After considering one of the newer Boxxers or a Marzocchi 380, I ended up deciding to go with the Dorado Expert. The price was right, the damping had an excellent reputation, and as a 170lb rider, I didn't think the stiffness concerns with an inverted fork would be a problem. I have now had the fork for about a month, just getting back from my Read More »

2014 Ibis Ripley 29 with Special Blend Build

“Best Carbon Trail Bike for the Money”

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The Good: Tubeless setup off the floor. Easy pedaling, easy climbing, easy turning. Silent running cables after putting a little effort towards it (foam in the top tube. Excellent Deore brakes, supple 120mm DW link suspension in the rear, really great underrated 140mm X-fusion fork, front and rear are supple at low speeds with no hard bottom outs at high speeds and jumps and good semi high riding support. I love the quiet free hub and quiet brakes. I opted for 140mm fork setup and feel comfortable with the geometry at speed. Great handling at both low and high speeds. Stable in the air and easy to jump and land. Easy to stay clipped in the pedals up or down tight switchbacks. Accelerates easily and carries momentum well through tight turns, up punchy climbs and over medium sized rocks-n-roots. Hands down the best price for a complete bike with full carbon frame and DW link. Cane Creek headset. Good quality rear shifter, derailleur and chain. Drivetrain runs SILENT.

The Bad: Flexy too narrow wheels, awkward saddle and bars. Poor front shifting race face 2x crank, no dropper stock. Skippy at high frequency rough downhills. Stock bars are too narrow for the big front wheel and 140mm fork. 90mm stem a little long for descending, 710mm wide riser bars almost cut it, but not quite.

Overall Review: I feel that this buid was meant to appeal more to XC race or road riders dipping their toes into trail/all mountain waters. I was an all mountain rider looking for something that climbed withless effort and maybe get further into the back country, while still being able to go fast when the conditions allow. My first upgrade was a dropper post. I then took my XO cranks and put a 26t direct mount narrow wide chainwheel on it. effectively running 1x10 and keeping 11-36 for climbing and leaving the high speed stuff in the hands of gravity. I upgraded to large platform clips pedals, 745 wide x 3/4" rise Read More »

SRAM PC-XX1 Chain

Featured Review

“Tough chain”

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The Good: low stretch, maintains shifting accuracy

The Bad: lateral stiffness might not be great

Overall Review: I've three xx1 chains I'm using on a full XX1 drive train, after about 2000km wear on all three is great, measuring 10 links while the chain is hanging off a hook they are all at about 25.48cm.I do clean the drivetrain after every ride. I'm using the SRAM master links and a chain tool, there is zero issue reusing the SRAM master link many times, in fact I only have one link in use, swapping it between chains. at 25.50cm I will replace all three chains. What I didn't do was measure the chains new, so I'm only assuming a brand new pc-xx1 really is 25.40cm for 10 links. These chains are hard to really clean well, I put them in a Read More »

Kali Protectives Maya Helmet

Vital Review

“Tested: Kali Protectives Maya Helmet”

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Review and photos by AJ Barlas Mountain bike helmets have evolved very quickly in recent years, with extended coverage and improved impact technologies at the forefront of the improvements. These updates have provided the all-around rider with helmets that not only do a great job of keeping us safe, but look good while doing it. Though their staff has loads of prior experience, Kali Protectives are still a relatively new brand within the bicycle industry. This youthfulness shines through in their products and the brand's ability to come forward with designs that think a little outside the box and a focus on Read More »

Giro Feature Helmet

“Excellent Trail/All Mountain Helmet”

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The Good: low weight In Mold construction, low profile fit, good lower head coverage, comfortable adjustment system, solid ventilation

The Bad: lack of strap adjustment could be an issue for some riders.

Overall Review: I've used the Feature for a couple of seasons with excellent results. The shape of the helmet is slightly more round than the Bell Super or POC Trabec.   The Feature has a low profile fit and offers good lower head protection.  The adjustable retention system helps you dial in the fit.  Goggles work great with this helmet.   The padding inside the helmet does a good job of wicking away sweat without the padding being too thick or uncomfortably thin.  If you are the type of rider that needs to make fore/aft strap adjustments, the minimalist straps on the Feature may be a deal breaker.  Otherwise, the Feature is an outstanding all mountain helmet with great coverage, low profile fit and good ventilation - at a price that is tough to beat.

Giro Rivet II Gloves

Vital Review

“Tested: Giro Rivet II Gloves”

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Review and photos by Joe Schneider Enter another player into the minimalist glove game, the Giro Rivet II. Starting at $30 these thoughtfully designed gloves give you a layer of protection and a confidence inspiring feel. They're ideal for riders who spend some time pedaling. I've been riding with them day in and day out for a few months, so let's take a look at how they performed. Highlights Moisture Wicking, Soft, Breathable Mesh Upper Three Panel, Micro Vented Palm Construction Touchscreen Technology Material Color Options: White, Black, Olive Sizes S-XXL MSRP $30 Initial Impressions When I held the gloves for the first time, Read More »

Pearl Izumi MTB WRX Jacket

Vital Review

“Tested: Pearl Izumi MTB WRX Jacket”

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Review and photos by Justin Schroth Pearl Izumi has long been in the cycling game creating clothing, shoes, and accessories for road, triathlon, and mountain bike athletes. Building on their experience and reputation for creating high quality apparel, Pearl Izumi has launched a new line of mountain bike apparel for 2015, including the new WRX jacket. While there are a huge range of options on the market for general outerwear that is lightweight, functional, and protects from the elements, Pearl Izumi adds their own touch with some cycling specific features. Read our review to find out how we got along. MTB WRX Jacket Read More »