Added a comment about product review A solid sled 12/21/2014 9:26 PM

Maybe reviews should be left to those who actually own the product(or in the case with the shock, maybe just some common sense).
The upside-down shock is easily remedied by removing the two mounting bolts, shock, THEN MOUNTING IT RIGHTSIDE-UP.
The stem, yes, it's not a direct mount, the wheels ARE heavy Sun's(which CAN be mounted tubeless), and the brakes are of the shitty Code R type. The High Roller 2's are actually REALLY good tires, and are wider than 2.5" Minion DHFs. Being DOWNHILL TIRES, they do weigh a lot. Downhill tires have [to have] stronger casings.
I paid a WHOPPING $3500otd for my 2014 Carbon Operator, and that was primarily thanks to Kona saving on the non-direct-mount stem, Rock Shox suspension, and Sun rims/WTB hubs. I guess to get a good price on the other SRAM hardware, they needed to purchase SRAM brakes as well, and chose the Code Rs
What I DID get for my money, was one of the BEST frames in the category, and everything else can be swapped out.
I spent a WHOPPING $50 on an Answer direct-mount stem before the bike even left the dealer, and over the next month or so, I swapped out the shit SRAM suspension in favor of Manitou forks/Fox RC4 shock, junk SRAM Code R's, shifter and derailleur for those of the Saint variety, and swapped the Sun rims in favor of Spank Subrosas(bars too).
I now have a top-of-the-line DH bike that has more capability than I'll ever have, and still have $1000's less invested than had I purchased a DH bike with the same level of componentry from most [if not all] other manufacturers.
The icing on the cake is this thing is gonna last forEVER.

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Added a comment about product review Tested: 2015 FOX 36 FLOAT RC2 FIT Fork 7/10/2014 11:20 PM

I [pre] ordered a '15 Float 36 after experiencing problems with my Pike.
The Pike started delivering a really harsh ride, and was dropping in its stroke while sitting idle.
After I sent it back to SRAM, I contacted Avalanche and Push, and was told it's simply a bad design on the air-side check valve. Push won't even work on the Pike, and Avalanche is waiting to see what SRAM does with the check valve before they decide whether or not to come out with their own.
Needless to say, as soon as my Float showed up, I FINALLY got to experience what the hype(on both the Fox AND PIKE) is all about. The best thing I can say about it is, just a few seconds into your ride, you forget it's there.
I like rock-infested descents, and the Float sucks up the terrain better than any other fork I've ridden, while still managing to stay high in its stroke unless/until you need the travel.
While I can't compare it to the '14 Float, I can compare it to the '13(and I think the '13 and '14 are basically the same?).
I had a 180mm (26") on my '13 Slash, and while it was NIGHT and DAY better than the stock Talas(which would blow through its stroke if you looked at it funny), the '15 seems to do a better job of managing rapidly changing terrain, while still being able to stay up while pedaling. Initially I felt the Pike was easier to manage pedal bob with the separate pedal knob, but with a little time, I found that by simply adding 5 clicks of compression when I'm climbing, the fork doesn't react to pedaling, but still does a good job of following the terrain.

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Added a comment about video 2013 Bike of the Year, Vital MTB Shreddy Awards 6/23/2014 3:30 AM

I had a carbon-copy experience with the Enduro 29 as well.
I'm friggen old(46) and set in my ways- I HATED 29ers.
I was perfectly happy with my '13 26" Enduro Expert(Carbon). I put Saint brakes on it, Chris King-hub'ed wheels, KS Lev dropper, and carbon bars, and I rode it 4-5 times weekly, climbing ONLY to access my favorite descent(at my age, I've EARNED the right to ONLY climb when there's something FUN on the backside. I NO longer climb simply because there's a zillion hills on my ride.
So one day, I'm happily minding my own fricken business, riding my trusty Enduro over to my favorite descent, when I stop for a breather and some dude comes up to me and asks if I'd be willing to sell it.
EVERYTHING has its price(except my dogs, but including the little woman), so I said 'sure' and threw out a price that was roughly $2k more than I had into it, and to my COMPLETE disbelief, he countered with a price that was about $1600 more than what I paid for it, so I freaking TOOK IT!
I had been thinking (in the closet) about a 27.5", as with my LBS's BARELY stocking ANY 26" tires, and the ones they do typically being crappy XC baloney, and more and more companies abandoning the 26ers altogether, the thought of WHAT I'm gonna replace my trusty 26er with seems to always be on my mind. I'm sure I'm no different from others who are still riding their trust-dusty 26" bikes, so I asked my LBS if I could 'borrow' their '13 Intense Tracer 27.5" demo bike. Unfortunately, I doubt the bike has ever had any maintenance. So in addition to a rear hub that was so dry, it was a LOT noisier than even my CK, its suspension's damping 'fluid' was reduced to an extremely dirty light vinaigrette, so the thing acted like the front and rear were attached to two separate bikes. Oh, and it also shook its head when forced to ride through the rock-strewn trails that we have here in SoKal, thanks to an even DRIER winter than usual.
At this point the mgr of my LBS(a Specialized store obviously) told me he'd let me ride their 29" demo bike if I agreed to ride it for three days in a row before I brought it back. He told me this was because I was prolly gonna HATE the thing the first time I rode it, but by the third day I'd be singing a new tune.
It too was completely clapped out('14 Stumpy FSR) but regardless, the second I threw a leg over it, it was night and freaking DAY more efficient than my Enduro 26".
I have to ride at night during the week sometimes, so I took it on a mild loop that consisted of some sand, and some ups and downs. It rode through the sand like it was on freaking asphalt, compared to my 26er, which ALWAYS slid the front through it, and it motored the flats AND the hills like there was an electric motor on-board.
NOT trying, I took two minutes off my loop, AND I went two MPH faster down my favorite descent of the loop(not to be confused with my FAVORITE descent PERIOD-which is located in a different riding area, mmmmm-kay?)
So needless to say I became thoroughly confused. How could the DEVIL(29ers) BE so much BETTER than my Golden Chariot(s) of JOY-my tried and true 26ers?
So I talked with the mgr about which 29er would suit me best, and it was decided that low and behold, the ENDURO 29er would. I'm not into paying $6500 for a fricken bike(I bought my Carbon 26er at their end of the year sale for $4k), but they didn't have an Enduro carbon in stock anyway, so we decided to grab the 'Comp', slap some carbon fiber wheels on it, pitch the JUNK Fox Float Evolution shock in favor of the 'Performance' version, which includes their boost valve, but more importantly, also a rebound piston, and I had 'em replace the CRAP stock Formula brakes in favor of a set of XO Trails that I had laying around(which the day after I had them installed, they were replaced by a set of Saints-what can I say....once you ride with the Saints, nothing else is good enough), and finally, pitch the stock 2x drive-train favor of X01.
The bike weighed 32.xx lbs sitting on the showroom floor, with 'resin' pedals and tubes. The stock wheels weigh 2200 grams +, and the Roval carbon fiber wheels that replaced 'em weigh right around 1580gr's.
Despite adding a dropper post, now that it's all said and done, the bike weighs a smidge UNDER 29lbs(28lbs 14oz to be exact), WITH my XT Trail pedals.
[Really] long story short, my favorite descent I spoke about earlier.. The FIRST time down it on the Enduro 29er, I took TWO seconds off my previous best(as verified on Strava). The second time down it I took ANOTHER two seconds off-and lemme tell ya...these times have me sitting 18th out of prolly over a THOUSAND people that've recorded a time on Strava down that run, so it's not like the Enduro 29er is on a freaking Sunday drive going down that thing.
The biggest thing I notice(d) going down, was while I am [barely] in control of the general direction I'm traveling on the 26er on that run, on the 29er it's so SMOOOOOTHHHH running over all the exposed rock, and barreling through the rock garden, it feels like I'm going slower.
For those of us who'd never ridden a 29er, we'd always hear about how good they are at rolling over 'obstacles' that smaller wheels get bounced around on, and I'm now here to tell 'ya...it's the FREAKING TRUTH!
They're so fricken SMOOTH, it's cheating gawdamnit!
And the beauty of this thing is, it's JUST as 'light' and flickable as my 26" Enduro was.
Specialized REALLY did hit a home-run with the 29" Enduro. They attempted to mimic the 26er's geometry, and not only did they accomplish that HUGE feat, it WORKS!
Contrary to what your common sense tells you, I can throw this thing around JUST as easily as I could my 26er, I can change lines AND/ OR direction EASIER at speed on this thing, mainly because(IMO) the 26er is busy deflecting off all the baseball/softball sized rocks all over the place, while the 29er stays perfectly composed as it simply rolls over the top of 'em. It's also pretty easy to throw it around in the air as well.
So I did something I was SURE I'd never do. I freaking CONVERTED to a damn 29er rider, and it's because my Enduro 29er literally leaves my previous 26" Enduro(CARBON no less) in the DaMn weeDS!

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Added a comment about product review Tested: 2015 FOX 36 FLOAT RC2 FIT Fork 5/28/2014 2:03 AM

I'm seriously considering snagging this fork when it comes out, but solely based on my OWN experience with the 2013 version, and NOT because of this or any other review.
I unfortunately bought into all the hype on the new Pike, only to discover for myself what a gigantic PIECE OF CRAP the thing is because of the air check valve.
Push won't even touch the Pike, and Avalanche is waiting to see if SRAM comes out with a revised check valve before they come out with their own.
Until then, those of us with the Solo Air variant will just have to deal with the HORRID small bump action, and the sinking of the upper tubes into the lowers because the damn things can't equalize the pressure between the negative and positive air chambers.
If the rags(this one included) actually TESTED the things like the say they do, and/or were less concerned with pissing off potential advertisers, then we would have found out about this problem before we all spent $1000+/- on what was supposed to be the greatest fork ever made, but in actuality ended up being a $1000 paper weight.
Take this 'review' with a HUGE dash of salt if you have no prior experience with the Fox 36 yourself

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