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Added a comment about video Nate Hills & Jeff Brines - The Steepest Trail They've Ridden? 1/19/2018 1:04 PM
C138x104

The irony is he brought that one from the bottom to the top in the winter. He's a pro at smacking people in the shins with his giant sticks as he passes them going up...

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  • Vital MTB member Erik_The_Red
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Added a comment about video Nate Hills & Jeff Brines - The Steepest Trail They've Ridden? 1/19/2018 10:25 AM
C138x104

That was ridden during my Hightower LT test. AKA "not my brakes" (sorry Santa Cruz!)!! Seriously, for my 200lbs+ to use guides down this thing and keep ticking without a need for a bleed or anything else was a good tip of the hat to SRAM that they've made some pretty big leaps forward with respect to brake reliability.

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Added a comment about news blog GoPro Lays Off 250+ Employees, Will Exit the Drone Market 1/9/2018 11:15 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Eh. Its cool, but more of a gimmick than something real.

The deal with GoPro is this...

They are NOT a technology company. They own next to no intellectual property. They are basically repackaging hardware that other's manufacture.

Problem is they are getting dominated by all the knock offs. To add, editing is still hard, and most people have no real incentive to sit in front of a computer or phone to look rad when a quick photo to the 'gram may get them just as much "fame" or "attention".

I would not be surprised to see them get bought out. But sales are not going to keep going up. Most users bought one, and they sit on the shelf 99% of the time. Most users see no reason to replace them, especially as phones get better and better and POV more and more played out.

I have incentive to use my cameras. I live in a rad place. I can actually monetize what I shoot...and I still leave mine behind more times than not.

So yeah, in short, they are the modern Flip Cam. The modern Polaroid.

My $0.02.

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  • Vital MTB member Stiksandstones
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Added a comment about news blog GoPro Lays Off 250+ Employees, Will Exit the Drone Market 1/9/2018 8:55 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

FYI, Nick came out and said they are not shopping themselves.

Crazy company. And in my 7 years covering markets, I've never seen a CEO do what Nick did with respect to his own stock. Nose dive.

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Added a comment about product review Tested: 2017 YT Jeffsy CF Pro 27 12/1/2017 8:56 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Nice Kevin!

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Added a comment about product review Tested: SR Suntour Durolux 29 R2C2 PCS Fork 11/29/2017 8:14 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Hey man, be a critic! I don't mind whatsoever. Its how we get better eh!?

I don't disagree they are in the same category, I just think they are *all* in the same category. Metric, Lyrik, 36, Durolux, etc etc.

Where I disagree is that 1/2 of a pound of non-rotating weight is something to really care about in an enduro application. I have tested bike stuff for a long time, and I can tell the quality of my coffee far more than I can tell 1/2 pound (unless its rotating). Maybe that's because I'm 200 lbs. I don't know.

Either way, I'll do my best to get on a Metric soon. Considering my prior experience with X-Fusion, I'd wager they are very similar feeling forks.

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Added a comment about product review Tested: SR Suntour Durolux 29 R2C2 PCS Fork 11/29/2017 7:30 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

You do not drop weight with the softer, less adjustable RC2 damper. Weight listed by Zaf!

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Added a comment about product review Tested: SR Suntour Durolux 29 R2C2 PCS Fork 11/29/2017 7:29 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Thanks for chiming in dude! The only reason I swapped to a GRIP 36 is offset on my Slash. (doing some playing around)

Otherwise, I agree 100% with your observations.

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  • Vital MTB member Zaf
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Added a comment about product review Tested: SR Suntour Durolux 29 R2C2 PCS Fork 11/29/2017 7:28 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

According to SR Suntour, this fork was designed for any kind of aggressive mountain bike riding. To over-segment forks into more categories, seems futile to me, and more for the marketeers than the riders.

I haven't ridden X-Fusion stuff since their scraped launch of the upside-down fork but generally speaking, it too is good stuff. There are many similarities between the two brands, especially on the air spring side of things.

My goal was to articulate the updated Durolux's performance, not compare to *everything* on the market, which would take up the entire review.

That said, I did compare to the Lyrik and the 36, only because those two have market share...

Its a great fork, and as far as the weight thing is concerned, well, this isn't something I care too much about as it is pretty dang hard to "feel" fork weight, at least when its within 1/2-3/4 of a pound of what you are used to.

The only thing I'd like to see the competition do, is scrap the air spring all together and go coil. A number are doing this. When you consider what the competition ought to be going for, it makes a lot of sense. Workhorse reliability, supple feel, ease of service...

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/15/2017 11:44 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Two things...

1) Telemetry even at the top level still requires an expert to read the results. Otherwise its just a lot of meaningless information. (and if you read between the lines, it seems they even get it wrong a fair amount.

Shockwiz and the likes are cool for intermediate level tinkerers, but they are not sophisticated enough to do what we are asking such technology to do. Maybe in due time.

The hardware exists, but the software behind it would take a lot of time and money to do something with. Still, I'd even love to run something that analyzed the weight distribution between my front and rear wheel alone. That'd be a hell of a teaching tool! But I am digressing...


2) Mark my words, we will see an integrated wheel/insert system in the next 12-24 months (if not something even more comprehensive). The gains are all too real and keeping air in a tire all too obvious a problem. More refined solution will be coming down the pipe

(this is all pure speculation...)

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Added a comment about product review First Look: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/15/2017 7:56 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

For what its worth - I wasn't paid by SC. Yes, SC is an advertiser on the site but Vital goes to pretty crazy lengths to keep their reviews (and reviewers) objective. Separation of Church and State if you will.

I"m a "consultant" for the company. I have a job outside of Vital (where I spend majority of my time). This means I don't pay my mortgage (or really anything) based on what I write.

I also know I'm only as good as my reputation. If I start strongly sugegsting product that doesn't perform, I'll lose this awesome gig I have very quickly as nobody will trust me. I take it super seriously, to a fault at times, as I can be a bit nauseating to be around.

The fact is there is less and less "bad" product in the industry these days. And the bad product that does make it into my hands, usually doesn't end up getting released. Stand out products like this are hard to come by, but any company willing to do a lifetime warranty on *anything* in the bike industry is pretty wowing. Add to that great performance and you have an exceptional product.

Happy to answer any questions pertaining to the review and why you may feel I am somehow not being honest.

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  • Vital MTB member David.Max
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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/15/2017 7:40 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

You aren't wrong in your analogy, but maybe a bit overthought (and yes, I'm the king of overthinking)

In the vein you are talking, Cushcore does Two big things. First it adds sidewall support. Second, it takes up volume, much like volume spacers in a fork. The tire feels more "progressive" when you load it, if that makes any sense. So I suppose yeah, it kind of does let you tune your "small bump" feel. Anyone who has run them can attest its one of the best ways to reducing finger pain on rougher tracks as even the best riders (gwin) can take a few psi out, which really does translate to a better on the bike experience when going for it.

I suppose the wheel is akin to mid stroke in a way. If you've listened to all the Vital podcast stuff over the year you'll note a number of smart dudes (Giant team manager, Cesar and Greg) all comment how both the wheel and frame (or fork stiffness) can be used to "tune" how a bike interacts with the ground.

Front end pushing even though everything else is spot on? Maybe drop some spoke tension to get it to hook up a bit better (this from Giant).

We're getting really granular. To the point I think what we really need, even as consumer bike dorks, is real telemetry to isolate what is doing what.

Trying to use your tires to tune how your bike is hooking or spoke tension to get your bike to do something while your suspension is setup like shit is a surefire way to leave a lot of performance on the table.

If you read between the lines every frame, every rider, may want a different setup. For me, as a bigger guy on a stiffer frame, I found the SC wheels to be outstanding. I think lighter riders, down to even 150lbs, would agree. But hey, beyond that, maybe they too are too stiff? On the flip side, maybe a dude who is 240 would find them too soft. Or maybe you are running them on a frame more prone to flex? The mind reels and I can't quickly ditch 70 pounds to see what someone really light may think. Its one of the inherent problems with reviews that I'm willing to acknowledge, though again, I try my best to step out of my own biases - as hard as that may be!

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/15/2017 7:16 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

I'd say for that bike the SC wheels are an EXCELLENT fit. The SB55c is one of the stiffest rides I've ever been on (as far as an enduro bike goes).

Go for the wheels if you have the coin, then add cushcore later or perhaps to one of your other bikes that more often get "pushed hard" when descending.

Don't get me wrong, every bike can benefit from inserts, but if you aren't riding that edge of traction/no traction its not as big of a deal.

My $0.02.

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/14/2017 3:19 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Good questions

At risk of sounding redundant, the reason I'm a fan of the SC wheels (read, the whole wheel) is it rides in a very unique way when paired with a modern carbon enduro frame. Its something you have to try to understand. I also am not suggesting that there aren't other ways to accomplish a similar feel. Maybe a softer aluminum rim with a similar profile and a thicker gauge spoke might yield a similar feel? I don't know, but I'm not sure 'damp' or 'not damp' is really the best way to define this. More like "offers more traction" and "doesn't offer as much traction" (though that too is lacking)

As far as inserts go, let me put it this way. In a race situation, where cornering speed is everything and keeping air in your tires paramount, I'll take a 1900 gram wheelset that is far from perfect with CushCore (adding another 260 grams) WAY before I take the hottest wheelset on the market without Cushcore. I know, I sound like a walking talking advertisment for the company, but taking some pressure out of your tires and not having them squirm was a pretty awesome thing when it came to actually keeping me upright on the bike (when I otherwise wouldn't be) or finishing a run with good pace after loosing a massive amount of air (which happened).

Going to a lighter casing is possible for sure, but again, I'm coming into this as a racer, and am confident no insert is going to keep me from slicing a tire.

So why didn't I run them all the time? Well, most of my riding involves a lot of uphill and solo riding. This means I'm not riding the ragged edge like I am on a race course when I'm going downhill and am often climbing fast, trying to get to work on time or race the sunset. This made the inserts not as "worth it", in which case the superb feel of the SC wheel was more noticeable, as was their light weight.

Many in the comments have pointed out they aren't THAT light, and they are right. But I would like to point out they are measuring with valves and rim tape, something I am positive much of the competition isn't doing. To add, the 350 hubs aren't light, though this isn't felt all that much being its at the center of the rotating mass.

Now, to finally answer your question I need to ask a question...

What frame? How much do you weigh? Where do you ride (okay, that was three questions...)

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/14/2017 1:29 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

1) Wheel weights can be found on the SC page. We only included rim weight as that is the only part SC is actually manufacturing, though, to be fair you are right, we probably should have included full wheel weights. https://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/reserve-wheels

2) Frankly, I'm not sure why Cushcore was easier, but it was. Again, it took me a handful of minutes extra per wheel. This was using both double down and EXO casing (not DH). As far as which casing, well personally i don't think you can "go to a lighter casing" when running any insert, at least in a race situation. A cut casing is a cut casing after all.

3) I utilized Cushcore on other wheels throughout the year. Main reason I didn't keep them in the SC wheels is I felt it skewed the durability test too much as well as my non-racing riding consisting of a whole lot of climbing and descending by myself (where the risk taking isn't as high...)

4) I will keep an eye out for those wheels you speak of!

Cheers!

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/13/2017 7:50 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

If you have the money, I'd go for it, absolutely. Its not just light weight that is great here (and as others have pointed out, these aren't the absolute lightest wheels on the market), but rather the way the wheel interacts with the frame and ground.

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/10/2017 7:35 AM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

There will be a rim only option - timing TBT if I remember right (I think it's soon). Be aware however, if you were to go to a totally different spoke and hub flange it would greatly change my thoughts. For the right builder, however, you could make them stiffer for a softer frame (like the Niner RIP).

Anyway, thanks for the question and kind words.

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/9/2017 3:36 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

1) I encourage people to be critical. Its how we get better. Thank you for bringing this up.
2) I shouldn't have inferred they aren't high quality, they just have a different feel to them and for me, not as good of a feel (but yes, this is very subjective). As I also said, before inserts, I'd consciously chose aluminum over carbon just because it was better assurance I kept air in my tire on a race run...

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/9/2017 3:04 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

I don't disagree there. In fact, I've run many alloy wheelsets with awesome results, especially in racing prior to tire inserts where a dent could actually save your race run.

However, the Flow MK3 has a very different feel to it, some may like it, but I can tell you at my weight, the SC setup is notably better with respect to precision and durability...

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels 11/9/2017 2:54 PM
C50_149187_936024901533_10205078_50991835_3734911_n

Hey dirtworks, great question. Pinned on time so I can't go into too much depth but here is my short answer...

Here is what I have direct experience with...

Ibis 935, Ibis 928, Ibis 941
Specialized Roval Control 29 Carbon
A smattering of Enve wheels
LightBicycle
Bontrager Carbon (proto), but turned out to be their top end enduro offering (XXX?)

When compared to all the competition, SC wheels stand out in a few ways:

1) Feel. When paired with the modern (stiff) carbon frame, these wheels had just the right amount of flex to not over penalize a bad line choice and hold traction well while cornering (remember, your wheel flex is a tool, responsible for following the contour of the ground when your bike is tipped over). That said, these are not noodles, they have a great "snappy" feel to them. I know SC spent a lot of time "tuning" this, playing with width/height ratios, layups etc. It paid off massively.

2) Warranty. It's just plain silly.

With respect to width, tire profile, lightness, etc, the rest is at least on par.

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