Renthal Apex 35 stem 5 months review

Pros:

  • So far I haven’t had a Stem that held on to the handlebar as well as the Apex35 stem, I went for many months from the middle of the winter to the spring without ever needing to do anything. It outperformed the Race Face Atlas Stem.
    It might be the smart clamp design, maybe the materials used helped too, The stem is made of 2014 & 7075 alloy.
  • The stem held the bars well, there were no issues with losing bolts or any other issues.
  • The rental stems have great design, which allows low weight, But I did not notice any difference in stiffness & ride feels, from the Race Face Atlas Stem, which is heavily overbuilt.
  • The stem is well machined, very smooth, no rough surfaces, but the edges are not rounded off to the section between steerer and handlebar are quite pointy, but this does not matter much, unless you slam your hand there, which is unlikely.

 

Cons:

  • The bolts showed signs of wear after the first installation, the tolerances between the tool and the bolts are quite loose, the diameter measurements are between 4.15 up to 4.24mm The park tools measurements are 3.99mm, the after few times of tightening the headset, I managed to damage the bolts, the bots became more damaged after tightening headset.

It might be that the bolts I got are just a manufacturing fluke for this batch, but there is no way for me to know for sure, but if all bolts are like this, this is a huge disappointment and should be addressed ASAP.

 

 

Verdict:

This stem seems like a great option if you want lightweight, durable, stiffness, This is one of the lightest stems the market now, and it’s robust, so it’s a no-brainer, Apex35 Will go on my next bike.

 

 

 

 

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TRP Spyke Dual piston mechanical caliper 7 months review

For maximum leverage mount the wire on the inside, as shown in this picture.

Assembly:

When attaching the housing to chainstay make sure to account for housing movement, when going through travel, I had to only use one zip hook, and use a zip tie halfway on the chainstay to avoid the linkage movement to case braking.

Pros:

  • Easy pad adjustment
  • The Spyke brakes offer one finger braking, as powerful as the Shimano m615 brake, but without the issues of leaks and impossible to get seals(without contacting Shimano).The Pad mud gives protection against stones and dirt, so stores can’t interfere the pad/piston movement, So this is a great feature.But like all brakes they only give protection for this, rotors and the inside caliper is exposed, so I still get sand &dirt in there in wet conditions, there is no way to protect the pad surface, things will get in the rotor and can get stuck and make noises, so to prevent crunchy brakes after ride, spray water on the in to the caliper, I do this in shower.
  • The pads are held in place by a threaded pin, with a clip, which makes maintenance easier.
  • Smart bolt  & pin hold the pads securely in place.

Cons:

  • With the Spyke caliper, the lever is noticeably harder to press than with hydraulics, than a hydraulic brake, due to the stiff return spring. I noticed I my fingers got fatigued from braking after an ca 4-hour ride, but I rode so hard that I could not even pull a manual. After 7 months in March 2018, I Noticed my fingers got very fatigued by braking, I think this was due to braking a lot when riding on grosery rounds between several shops, and to home, a lot of stopping for traffic and,  but I went back to hydraulic brake, and I was less fatigued.
    But I am pretty sure most people will get used to the heavier lever feel.

I found a video showing how to reduce the pull force:

I haven’t tried this, but it’s a pretty easy fix, but it will void the warranty.

  • can’t remove brake pads from the top or without removing the wheel.
  • The barrel adjuster snapped on one of the brakes, I touched accidentally hit my hand on the barrel adjuster and it just snapped off, none of the other snapped off yet. Good, I had spares brakes. but the barrel adjuster is clearly weak, it was quite soft, A crash could probably damage it snap it.

 

TRP Spyke Snapped Barrel adjuster_0001_DxO

The bolts rounded off, but the tolerances are not perfect, which is important, I used fresh park tool Allen keys, which also don’t have good tolerances, if the fit was tighter it would wear slower, but this might also be a material issue, I don’t know which alloy is used for the bolts. the bolt was loosened and tightened over 20+ times over from the end of summer of 2017 to March 2018.

 

 

Verdict:

If the spring is modified or a lighter spring is installed, but the way it comes stock, quite firm, for really long trips and causes fatigue, So I recommend these, if don’t have too weak fingers, But more you use them strong you will get, just don’t overdo it.

You really have to look after these brakes, you have to check if the pad adjustment is too loose, and add Loctite 243(or similar) if it is, which is easy to do, and does not take long to do, I check every single week, for some this might be too much hassle, for me it’s not a dealbreaker.

 

24.02.2018 Revised 3 Years Review: 2014 Trek Fuel EX7 29er

how the bike looked like may 2018

I  needed a full suspension bike, at minimum 120 mm travel, I got the best bike, I could as fast as I could.but I knew I might need to change few things, but I test rode the bike around the store, but that was not good enough test.

It was a lot better to ride than the 2010 Trek 6300.

This is my first full suspension bike, and my first 29er, I have never ridden other full suspension bikes, so can’t compare it to others.

Don’t let others decide for you if 29er is the right choice for you. The ride quality not only depends on the bike but the person sitting on it and the correct size.

The first rides:

I noticed the bike was also easier to ride, the steering was easier, I also noticed the bike is more stable than my 6300, pulling wheelies was easier to control,  the front was heavier so it helped to make wheelies more stable.

I think this bike is easy to ride, much better compared to my 6300(100mm stem & 720 bars) even its heavier it goes much faster, no matter if its downhill steep up hills, even doing a wheelie.

The bike does not accelerate as fast as a 26er would do, but it maintains the speed longer, but the bike is fast & stable in corners.

Technical climbs is not an issue with this bike, but with most trail bikes there is not.

 

Handling & geometry

The steering and handling was a huge improvement going from Trek 6300 with very steep headangle, but I want even more stable steering & handling bike.

The Fuel EX struggles at tight switchback climbs, the steering is not stable enough,  it’s easy to ”lock” the front wheel, it requires very precise mode movement, good balance to be able to tun and go up smoothly.
also at straight climbs the is a struggle, you have to shift the upper body position to get grip, it’s a balancing act,
I can climb most of the steep climbs on my local trails, but does not mean the bike is doing a great job, it could be better.
there are something about the geometry that are not to my liking: the reach is too short, the wheelbase short, the bike is very easy too wheelie, and manual, it’s very agile, and ”flickable” as reviewers wants to call it, but most bikes will be for me, unless they are a tandem.

The video below  by Pole, does a good job at explaining & showing the issue with the geometry old bikes have and even some current bikes, it’s the same issue I got, on the Trek 6300 the problem was very noticeable, and steering was unstable, but the Fuel ex, was much more stable, but on tight switchbacks and doing precise trails moves I really notice the flaw.

 

I got a Dropper post

the lack of dropper post hides the capabilities of this bike.

with a dropper post, I can get my body in the correct position for going downhill.

Even the dropper post adds more weight, it gets you in the correct pedalling position when its up, and for technical sections, you just lower it, and the capabilities of the bike increases, the dropper post made me alto faster in descents and on technical climbs.

The frame supports both internal and external dropper post routing.

The cable should go alongside the brake hose, For the Race Face Turbine 440mm 150mmdrop dropper post.

if you use 1x drivetrain, you can use the front dérailleur routing for the external dropper post.

My setup for susmmer 2018:

Worked ok, for me I am a bit more than I am somewhere close to 75 kg with gear on. So I ride with 210 in the shock and 110 psi in the fork, 5-6 clicks rebound both front and rear, which work pretty well for me, I am somewhere close to 75 kg with gear on.

I installed Cush Core which greatly improved the ride:
Installation of Cush Core tyre inserts greatly improved the ride comfort, the tyres where tracking well I noticed I was faster, I dropped the air pressure for suspension by 20psi, and 4psi tyre pressure.

The bike is 13,600 Grams(I did not measure it) in size 18,5 so it could be too heavy for you if you really need a light bike, but for me, it’s not that heavy I can ride pretty fast with it anyway, in fact, it’s a huge upgrade from my 26 inches 6300.

 

after 2 seasons the original bearing in the chainstay worn out,(by worn out I mean they did not turn smoothly and they made noise even when I repacked them with grease, but they had no noticeable play in them) so I had to change them,So I did,but even though I have had repacked them with grease once, I think I should have done it sooner, but I  replaced the original bearings with Enduro bearings, and I regularly maintained them so they lasted alto longer.I have been riding with the second bike in -11 degrees, and on wet rainy days, and all kinds of weather, I had to repack the bearings after few weeks of winter riding, but the bearings were running smooth, So I guess I will just have to check the bearings more often.

 

PROS:

  • handlebar got stripes to help you with brake and gear lever alignment.
  • Shimano Deore SL-M610 Shifter triggers give smooth and very easy to shift, a lot better than the 2010 Deore, more ergonomic than the past model like the 2010 from my 6300 bike.

 

 

  • holes for internal cable routing for a dropper post
  • external top tube routing support for shock remote or a mechanical dropper post.
  • the bike is stable in the descend and climb
  • the frame got SCG-05 chain guide mount
  • decent clearance for my feet and legs

 

CONS:

  • The Bontrager Duster 29 wheel set is way too flexible & get untrue way too fast, 
  • I experienced some knocking, clicking sound from the spokes grinding, in turns or when the temperature was way over 20 deg Celsius, but upgrading to a proper wheelset fixed the issue.
  • The headset bearings failed after few months:
  • Top bearings were the first to fail. This is from a bike rode few months. (bike Nr1) I was doing headset bearing service, and there was a lot of crushed metal in the grease, all over. the rest snapped when I touched it. Some bearing balls fell out when I took the bearings out of the cup, the other is crushed or they were never there in the first place, but I don’t know. The bearings on the other bike lasted for longer, but they wore out quite fast, But I switched to Cane Creek bearings, the type with the seal on top and bottom, they lasted for much longer.
    • the rims had alloy machining residue, on the inside of the rim, it came out of the spoke holes.
    • bad selection of components
    • front resin brake pads got worn out in ca. 2 months, I upgraded to Shimano J02A IceTech, but this worn out the Resing only rotors, which wore out the rotors in about 4 months, I had to upgrade, so I went for Hope Tech Floating rotors, which was a great improvement.
    • The suspension:

      do not have every adjustment there is, but the CTD (climb, trail, descend), But I need more adjustment.

    • Shock & fork compression goes out of adjustment, if you ride fast down a hill and over kerbs, down technical trails, or riding fast over technical trails, this has happened quite often, I had to use zip ties to lock the dial on the for and shock, this also happens on Fit grip dial, which I have on one of the bikes because it got replaced under warranty on service.

     

    • Saddle: Bontrager Evoke 2 choice is not no great.

    19697882404_e5dc9fd34c_b

    Pros:

    • The saddle grips well.
    • it flexes and got cushioning
    • I don’t feel the rail inserts
    • the foam cushioning does not work that well, my weight compress it all the way down(  I am somewhere between 170 and 180 KG + gear)
    • I can feel folded synthetic leather where the fabric and the synthetic leather is stitched
    • the saddle is not so comfortable as it should be, I can feel the sides of the saddle.(I notice it if I use the climb mode on the rear shock)

      26156162020_97a7da149b_h
      I can feel the bump where the fabric and pleather is, I can feel the side of the saddle
    • The screws on the seat post are too long for mounting lower saddles with shorter rails, the Bontrager saddle got the rails higher s other is more space between the saddle and the screws.if you are using a carbon saddle with higher rail profile, instead of round rails, it’s nice to have long screws, but not that if you plan to upgrade saddle to a lower profile saddle like I did, you might need to cut the screws. But I upgraded to Fabric Scoop Shallow Race, which is more comfortable for me, but the screws on the seat post hit the plastic underneath the saddle, so I had to replace them, but later I upgraded to dropper post so the issue was gone anyway.

 

Drivetrain

the 10 spd 11-36 x3: I don’t need the 42 tooth ring at the front where I live,  but if you have long roads or steep 40 degrees downhill(where you can run out of gears with 36T) its nice with a 42T ring. I have upgraded to 11-46T cassette and 36T Race Face Narrow Wide ring, I will test it out without chain-guide.

You can watch  Seth’s Bike Hacks review to see how the narrow wide chaining performs

  • The rear bolts on the Evo Link are getting loose very fast, it takes few weeks for them to get loose, but the other bolts stay tight, I think this is caused by the flex in the chain stay and down tube, which then flexes the chainstay so the bolts get loose.

The Shimano Deore BL-M615 brake is awful as they flex causing the threads for the Torx screws to fail. On one the main bike/the bike with hamburger bell) the threads on the rear/right master cylinder failed, so the brake was leaking fluid, and NO I did not over tighten the Torx screws, first I tough the brake just needed a bleed, so I bled them, so there was no air but the next day I lost a lot of braking powers, there was air in the master cylinder, and oil was leaning,I checked the screws they were just spinning endlessly, I opened up the master cylinder and I saw the threads were polished away, I don’t thin kit was caused by a crash, at least not this particular brake, because I have never hit the brakes in a crash with this master cylinder.

The brake felt nice and worked for a short while, but they are just too weak.

  • one of the frames had uneven welding for the zip ties the gap was too small for the big zip ties on the upper cable guide on the down tube,.I could use bit zip tie all over but the one spot.
  • The first months the bolts did not show any signs of wear, after a lot of maintenance work, but after that, they showed signs of wear and got very worn, the hex slot measured at 40.70mm.
  • The bolts:

    they have tight tolerances, so the park tool Allen/Hex bits & keys fit in tight, but of course, bolts wear out, but these bolts got worn out quite fast in my opinion, few bearing services and they were worn out.

    from the left, the original worn out bolt & to the right the replacement bolt, which does not have the Hex all the way through, but it starts from the middle.

    I replaced the bolts in the rear of the Evo link

     

     

     

    This bolt rounded off very easily, I barely turned the Allen key it just shredded the bolt.
    I had to make the hole a bit bigger to remove the already damaged material, then I hammered a bigger Torx bit into the bolt as hard as I could, until I felt it sat firmly in, I then carefully took it out and used Torx key to remove the bolt.

  • Noticeably flexible chain stays & seat stays fast wearing chainstay & rocker link Which are causing many issues:

I think the damage in the Evo link is caused by the flex in the frame, forcing the shock into the Evo link. the Evo link is also quite stiff, but not everything on the frame is so lack of stiffness in other palaces makes this frame horrible.I noticed the bike was frame & the wheels were too flexible the first months I rode the bike, but when leaning the bike against something with rear wheel only I could see it flex, I upgraded to stiffer wheels, which greatly improved the almost constant tyre rub, upgraded cranks which improved the ride greatly, but this also affected the flex in the frame, which already was horrible, but I needed stronger & stiffer cranks, so that’s where the Turbine & Atlas came in.

Frame flexing into the tyre is causing the inner tube I wrapped the chainstay to tear the rubber part sticks out and rubs against the tyre.

Mis-aligned/pushed out/dislocated bearings:

The issues were worse over time, so in October 2017 it got to the point where I had to press in the bearings in the Evo link after every ride, even riding on pavement without any aggressive moves, or hard technical trails,  what did it that day was just riding on a bike path, the rear end felt awkward, I could feel it happening, eventually I heard squeaking, which was the seat stay rubbing against the Evo Link.

This picture shows the bearings dislocated.
So I had to press the back in place, in this picture they’re pressed in.
This is due to the bearings moving due to too flexible 2014 Trek Fuel Ex 7 29er frame

damaged paint due to slipping bearing, the left bearings were almost ruined, it was quite rough, so I installed new bearings.
There you can see the bearing is so far out that the arms were girding.
  • Bent rear dérailleur hanger caused by flex in the bb area, causing the hanger to bend under load because the chain line changes too. Such extreme, and twisting the chain, this is why I am sure the time I bent a KMC x 11 silver, and crushed the threads in the axle on the Shimano m8000 rear dérailleur cage, was caused by the flex in the frame. I have had to true the hanger after almost every long ride the past months, this is getting very annoying.
  • The bent cassette cogs happen on several cassettes I had to use a flat head screwdriver to get the cogs straight.

A Xt m8000 cassette was also bent due to the flex in the frame, which happens very often in September & October 2017

In September-October 2017 the chain wear got significantly worse. This is basically a new chain which will soon wear out, I did not decrease it, I just rode few times in a week, and did few minutes of MTB, I was sick so I could not do much riding because I was sick, but this is a new record in chain wear, the hanger had a significant bend, at least between 10-20 degrees.
The bike was always flexible, I felt it was too flexible for the first months I rode it, I had to upgrade many components, stiffer wheels with proper spoke nipples & hubs, stiffer cranks, wider bars, better drivetrain, but the frame was too flexible but the summer of 2017 I had so many problems with the drivetrain & bearings, that its really annoying.

    You can see the tyre is pretty close to the chainstay.
  • I would not recommend using tyres wider than 2.3, the seat stay & chainstay are too close for bigger tyres.
  • SHIMANO RT56 RESIN ONLY rotors, After few months of use with Metal pads I wore out the rotors, the holes are rounded off, and I lost a lot of bite.

Noticeable flex in the Shimano Deore M552 crank arms, the cranks were way too flexible for me, the cranks failed on both of the bikes, without any abuse, so faulty crank arms, or they are just too weak for a track stand, flexy cranks like this should not be on a trail bike.

  • like any suspension bike, there is some pedal-bob, but it’s minimal, I get about 10% of the travel.
  • no chain guide, the chain fell off more than 10 times the 2015 season, when jumping and riding ruff places hard, I jumped from 3 steps of stairs and if fell off)
  • Awful housing routing, the housing gets kinked in a twisted S shape, causing premature wire coating wear & housing wear.
  • (as you can see the paint got stripped off by the chain)
  • one Allen bolt, on the EVO link, was overtightened from the factory, but I managed to unscrew it by using warm water and Allen key in the freezer for few minutes & the big bolt on the chain stay and seat tube fell off, but the bike shop replaced it.
  • chain fall off when jumping sometimes, my plan is to get 11 speed and get a chain guide.
  • Tyres: Bontrager XR3 Expert, is not a very lasting tyre, because of the soft rubber, l the rear tyre lasted me few weeks, so I upgraded the rear with SE4 Team Issue tyres, which has last me to the winter came.
  • the weight is 13,6 on 18,5(virtual)(real 17.5)
  • the Fox 32 has flex/twisting, from side to side, I am about 75 kg, There is noticeable twisting in the fork when riding over huge roots fast, or through potholes, or front wheel pivot, this is quite common for 32 mm stanchion forks, my Rock Shox Tora sl 2010, Marzocchi Corsa 2012, the flex is a lot less than these forks, but when the wheel is on it can be flexed to about the same, but when wheel is off the fox 32 Evo is clearly stiffer.
  • no dropper post.
  • Bontrager RL(Race Lite) lock on grips: got good grip, but they are too hard a or me and give no dampening.19525248243_5d21846fca_b
  • 3 chainrings for a trail bike is not optimal, the problem is over big roots or obstacles you can hit it some time times, and as bigger the chainring is as more chance there is for you to crash or damage the ring.
  • The chain-stay protector does not work well, the chain will hit the zip-ties, and they will snap so the protector will be loose and will scratch the paint,and because it does not cover the whole chain-stay the inside of the chainstay will get hit by the chain, I replaced the protector with an old inner-tube instead.
  • chain slap on the Front Dérailleur: which crapes of the pant and make visible scrapes on the puller arm.
  • 24391495434_71c35e73f8_b
    Chain slap scratches
  • 24726582220_68fffd2f17_b
    Chain slap scratches
  • Bike nr1 got a bend in the headtube wall:
  • I have not received any answer why this happens or what could cause it, I will update you on that since I do.
25185797391_0cfdb76e37_o
This is how the crank looked like before it eventually failed.
  • like any suspension bike, there is some pedal-bob, but it’s minimal, I get about 10% of the travel.
  • no chain guide, the chain fell off more than 10 times the 2015 season, when jumping and riding ruff places hard, I jumped from 3 steps of stairs and if fell off)
  • Awful housing routing, the housing gets kinked in a twisted S shape, causing premature wire coating wear & housing wear.
  • (as you can see the paint got stripped off by the chain)
  • one Allen bolt, on the EVO link, was overtightened from the factory, but I managed to unscrew it by using warm water and Allen key in the freezer for few minutes & the big bolt on the chain stay and seat tube fell off, but the bike shop replaced it.
  • chain fall off when jumping sometimes, my plan is to get 11 speed and get a chain guide.
  • Tyres: Bontrager XR3 Expert, is not a very lasting tyre, because of the soft rubber, l the rear tyre lasted me few weeks, so I upgraded the rear with SE4 Team Issue tyres, which has last me to the winter came.
  • the weight is 13,6 on 18,5(virtual)(real 17.5)
  • the Fox 32 has flex/twisting, from side to side, I am about 75 kg, There is noticeable twisting in the fork when riding over huge roots fast, or through potholes, or front wheel pivot, this is quite common for 32 mm stanchion forks, my Rock Shox Tora sl 2010, Marzocchi Corsa 2012, the flex is a lot less than these forks, but when the wheel is on it can be flexed to about the same, but when wheel is off the fox 32 Evo is clearly stiffer.
  • no dropper post.
  • Bontrager RL(Race Lite) lock on grips: they are way too hard for me, but got good grip, but they are too hard for me and give no dampening, so I replaced them with ESI Extra Chunky green grips in is a pretty good match.19525248243_5d21846fca_b
  • 3 chainrings for a trail bike is not optimal, the problem is over big roots or obstacles you can hit it some time times, and as bigger the chainring is as more chance there is for you to crash or damage the ring.
  • The chain-stay protector does not work well, the chain will hit the zip-ties, and they will snap so the protector will be loose and will scratch the paint,and because it does not cover the whole chain-stay the inside of the chainstay will get hit by the chain, I replaced the protector with a old inner-tube instead.
  • chain slap on the Front Dérailleur: which crapes of the pant and make visible scrapes on the puller arm.
  • 24391495434_71c35e73f8_b
    Chain slap scratches
  • 24726582220_68fffd2f17_b
    Chain slap scratches
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlMSxm1otmg
  • Bike nr1 got a bend in the headtube wall:
  • I have not received any answer why this happens or what could cause it, I will update you on that since I do.
  • Full Specs:http://www.vitalmtb.com/product/guide/Bikes,3/Trek/Fuel-EX-7-29,12595
  • Other reviews:
  • http://reviews.mtbr.com/review-trek-fuel-ex-7-29
  • http://www.bikerumor.com/2013/05/22/first-look-2014-trek-fuel-ex-29er-weights-details-ride-impressions/

While working on my bike  I noticed  the frame protection I put on a while back, looked awkward, it looked like there was a dent in the frame,  So I  I took a closer look and indeed there was a dent

When I took the fork off to send it for service, I took pictures of it. But there was never an impact on the frame, to make such dent in the frame by impacting it I would have to land on a sharp object,  in that exact spot, which I didn’t. I of course never rode with the bearing outside of the frame with loose fork.

After replaced Evo Link & chainstay:

The bearings in that came with the frame parts were crunchy, they had little grease, I had to grease them.

After I had replaced the chainstay and rocker link, the bearing dislocation issues were gone, for a while at least, but the bolts back in the rocker link kept loosening up, which I heard and read about, apparently loose bolts are still an issue on the newer bikes.
The bent cassette cogs were still happening, but the premature chain wear was gone, the chain wore at the normal rate.
The gear hanger was getting out of true, but nowhere near as bad as when the worn out chainstay was there.

December 2017 I noticed wear on the crown race on bike nr1:
Worn crownrace December 17, 2017https://flic.kr/s/aHsmaUB1Xb

(Click on image to see all pictures in The album)

I got the forks back fro service, but I put on the fork that the less worn crown race, but after few weeks it also showed signs of wear.

I also noticed the bearings sit skewed in the headtube

there was also very noticeable signs of wear on the bearings:

very noticeable scratches.
The forks have been serviced by Ccyklon and the CSU has been replaced to the 2018 model.

 

I have swapped the fork with the most wear on the crown race in March, so far no creaking, so it looks like it was steerer & crown issue.

 

 

February 2018 update on the frame issues:

The seat stay becomes twisted

Damage to the new chainstay:

Crushed alloy from bearing slot:

 

I had to install the seat stay from the other frame.

In this period did not do any technical trail riding, but I rode some skitracks and rodeo n pavement, rode some stairs few times, did some bunny hops some wheelies, but nothing out of the ordinary, a trail frame should take this, but this frame, can barely take any commuting.

 

 

 

 

Upgrades I did:

how the bike looked like may 2018

 

  • 24173105230_3bcbca165c_c
  • the pressfit Shimano BB, is hard to remove or service without destroying it, but I had  to switch to BB30 press-fit,  I could have chosen 24 cranks,  I But I wanted 30mm spindle, direct chainring, So I went for Race Face Turbine cranks, but by doing So I had to switch the Shimano BB with to 30mmPressfit BB, So I went with the Race Face BB30, but  unlike the Shimano bb the race face BB has the has the bearings pressed directly in the BB shell, and has no plastic insert on the inner ring in the on the bearing, so the Shimano BB will not wear the spindle, but as the RaceFace has not, there will eventually be wear on the axle, but So far I have not seen any visible wear, I like how Chris King does it, the bearing play can be fine-tuned, adapters are used, the adapters keep the spindles from wearing & easily switch to other spindles/cranksets, the bearings are better sealed from contaminants and is easy to repack/regrease with special tool.  So that is what I wish for my next trail bike. So this is why I went for Chris King Threadfit BB for the 6300, I have seen a lot about Praxis BB lately, which I will look into further.
  • After upgrading to the much stiffer Race Face Turbine Cranks, I felt more of the flex in that the frame is flexing on the right side in the chainstay when turning /leaning the bike to the left, and it hits the tyre 2.3 tyre, I have a tube wrapped around the chainstay, It’s  between 1-2 mm. So by upgrading to the stiffer cranks instead of the cranks flexing the chain stay is flexing, so the flex in the frame is more significantly more noticeable with a stiffer crank. But riding while seated on asphalt the flex is not as noticeable.
This is how the Race Face BB30 looks like inside the bike. But I wish it had better protection against wet weather.

Sometime in 2016 I uninstalled the bottom bracket, I was about to install the new BB when I noticed, there was crushed alloy there.

Verdict/Conclusion:

The bike is horrible.

  • has design flaws causing fast wearing chainstay and cracks in rocker link, which cause many other issues, so it’s not good enough for me.
  • I need a much stiffer & stronger frame & stiffer fork.
  • replacing the tyre is the first thing you have to do.
  • If you ride very steep downhills a, A dropper post will definitely be the next upgrade.
  • the bad choices of components, and chainstay& seat stay, is Disappointing, the must be some flex in a frame or it will snap, but this is too much in one place.
  • The bike rides well, very stable no matter how I rode it,but ,trek did not do a good job on selecting all the components, the drive train is outdated, The wheels are too flexible and get out of true way too easily, triple chainrings is outdated, and the crank arms have too much flex. In my opinion, most riders do not need triple chainring setup, wider range cassette just replaces the Front RD so there is no point in having a front Rd.
  • Bad selection of components and too flexible frame make this a bad choice.
  • A trail bike should handle major abuse, a proper bicycle should handle an average weight rider to a heavier muscular or slightly overweight rider,  this bike can clearly not,  I am 182 and weight weighed about 74kg with gear on last time I weigh my self, but I am sure I ma heavier due to more muscle mass & heavier gear.
  • a trail bike should handle a rider commuting or sprinting, which this bike does not, the increasing issues might be to fatigue, so basically, the frame wearing out, and becoming more & more flexible.
  • Trek has been contacted: I translated it to English: ”The bearing in the Closed Convert link at the rear wheel has moved out of the chainstay. This happens when the chain has expanded, so the bearing is no longer sit securely. This can also contribute to the wheel rubbing the frame.” Even If this is the case, there is downtube Flex so much it takes the chainstays with it, so it will still be too flexible, So I basically need the whole frame that is much stiffer & stronger, that can withstand my weight, but of course frames eventually wear out, but this bike is bout 3 years.

TRP ML800 Spyke mechanical brake levers – 4 months review

Marzocchi Remote  & TRP Spyke lever_0289

The Spyke logo on the lever blade actually gives more grip as it’s engraved.

The Spyke logo on the lever blade actually gives more grip as it’s engraved, but the painted on Spyke logo wears off after few rides.

The brake levers combined with the Spyke caliper results in a rougher lever feel than Any hydraulic brakes I have tried so far,
this is due to the return spring in the caliper, it can really be felt through the lever body & lever, the return spring in the lever can also get rough, so you need to lube the moving parts in the lever to avoid squeaking or other noises,

Pros:

  • Rech adjustment, the reach adjustment allows the lever to be adjusted to kids hands.
  • the reach adjustment is on the lever and not on the lever body as on Ml930&ML940 levers this means the reach adjustments much more reliable, the lever stays in the set adjustment, flex in the lever body won’t affect it, but on the ML930
  • ML930 lever

    & ML940 flex effects the adjustment, due to reach adjustment on lever body.

  • barrel adjuster it fits well into my fingers and makes it very easy to adjust the wire tension.

Cons:

  • up and down play in the lever blade
  • No hinged mount, so you have to remove the grips, but for me this is not a deal-breaker.
  • Flex in the lever body when braking hard, which also is present in the ML930 levers.
  • the use of rivet for wire puller was a bad choice, it causes fast wear, and more play, than when they were new, and it already had a lot of play, In my opinion, bearings or bushings would be a better solution. after some weeks of use the lever made some noises, due to the wear, I had to lube the moving parts, it kept getting worse, I continued to lube it regularly
  • flimsy barrel adjusters, they feel nice to grab and adjust but the play is huge.

Product page: https://www.trpcycling.com/product/spyke-lever-set/

https://www.trpcycling.com/shop/category/small-parts/

Verdict:

The reliable reach adjustment, means I will use the Spyke lever instead of ML930.

But it’s not perfect, it has flaws, the rivets in the lever pullers for example.

A mix of these two levers, with the best elements, plus bearing would make a pretty good lever, but nothing like that exist yet to my knowledge.

Race Face Turbine – I returned 4 dropper posts

Race Face Turbine & Easton Haven dropper posts use the internals from 9point8, the same as in the 9point8 FallLine dropper post So they will have the same issues.

Both of the replacement droppers had issues:

brake stopped working on the two replacement posts.

The bolts rounded off way too easy on all 4 of them.

 

 

a crunchy sound at end of bottom travel, on the two replacement droppers, I could also feel, it was rough, like there was crushed metal or sand in there, but the seal was intact.

long very noticeable scratch on the same place on the station.

Foam ring failed on one of the droppers, moved the foam ring to apply

Sram Butter/Slickoleum, but this is not a surprise, they eventually wear out they are not strong, but I was careful, but even so it snapped.

Frlickr album: https://flic.kr/s/aHskRPzcwh

The dropper has a side to side rotating play, which Is annoying, but not noticeable while riding, But the play is bad, play leads to premature wear, noises.

But the play in the station is considered normal, But my next dropper should not have this.

 

 

Verdict:

I need to try something different. I desidedon a refund.

There are many options, there is so much I am researching but now it’s the time for dropper posts.

I can’t recommend this dropper due to these issues, the issues came after only a few months, so This is unacceptable.

8 moths review: Race Face Sixc 35 800mm 20mm handlebars

I won’t go too deep with technical stuff and specs, which have already been mentioned in other reviews, here are my experiences with these bars so far.

The bar dampen vibrations well, the bar feels great, it was a huge improvement from 720 Bontrager race lite bar and stem.

Enough flex but not too flexible:

Some flex can be felt if you get some weight on the bar, for example with some front wheel trails moves, but nothing too crazy, but on the trial when shredding hard, there is no awkward feeling, these handlebars feel great, the defenitly dampend vibrations, but they won’t eliminate vibrations completely, that’s impossible, with narrow studded tyres, rough winter conditions can cause a lot of vibrations which will be felt even with silicone grips, I have not tried wider studded tyres yet, But I am quite sure it would improve degrease vibrations, but for summer riding, these bars have been greatm they dampened vibrations well, combined with silicone grips, they were a good combo, but harder you ride mroe dampenign you woudl want, So that’s why I have ordered Rev grips.

Survived several crashes:

The handlebars survived several crashes, I have jumped off these two skatepark ramps, and landed on the handlebar, no damage was done, I rode hard for several months later and no cracks.

I have also crashed while climbing a bike path, due to my joint slippage issues I accidentally did a brutal turn to the left and lost control of the bike, and the bike slammed hard down on the asphalt, there was no damage to the bars, but I bruised my shoulder.

I have noticed some white spots on the end of the bar, it’s probably just clear coat damage, it only happened on one of the two bars I got.

I have been riding through summer & winter, and the bars performed well, some say to avoid carbon in the cold, I have been riding in at least down to -10C, without any issues so far.

These bars are a great choice if you like colour matching bars for a custom build or improve the look of your current bike, but the white/silver look will fit any bike.

https://www.raceface.com/products/details/sixc-35-20mm-rise-bars

Some other reviews:

No need for me to mention everything every other review mentioned So you can read these reviews too.

http://enduro-mtb.com/en/team-tested-race-face-sixc-35-bar-and-atlas-stem-review/

https://www.pinkbike.com/news/race-face-sixc-35-bar-atlas-stem-review-2015.html

 

Shimano M475 hubs long term revised review

Issues with fast freehub wear:

 

Fast wearing freehubs:

this causes shifting issues, and noise while coign trough the cassette, it only takes few days for me with light xc/commuting/pavement riding to wear it to the point of play so the cassette is dancing. TThis is hub I had Rebuilt new balls, new cones, new axle, everything was of course done correctly, it was only used few days, but I had already gone through one wobbly freehub after just a few days of riding, so I replaced it with this one, the same issue major wobble after just a few rides. I have also noticed Shimano has changed the design, there was a rubber seal visible, on this one there is not. after few short asphalt rides, the axle bent on the drive side, the cones were loose, the rotor was rubbing, and the cassette was dancing horribly, due to play in the freehub, which reduced the shifting performance significantly. I am done with these freehubs, I will get a new wheel. These hubs just can’t take me using them, I got heavier and heavier, I am an adult now and destroy all cheapness. ‘ The lack of points of engagement is also unbearable and awkward. The bent axle was not caused by jumping or loose QR or anything wrongdoing on my part, this is a flawed outdated hub.

The freehub has about 1 mm play when it’s new.

I had these hubs on several bikes since I was a teen boy, I have been using these freehubs until failure, and the freehubs lastest about 1 season before they failed, so I couldn’t pedal, but now as I am an adult, I wear them in few days so the play will be significant, which reduces shifting performance, and I can move the freehub in all direction with knocking sound, I Won’t would not take the chance of being many tens of kilometers away from my home, and needing to call a taxi, So I had to swap the freehub,

any play in the freehub will cause wear in the cassette and chain, I think I should upgrade the hubs.

With proper hubs with proper freehubs you will get zero play no with a lot of use and abuse and crashing, for example, Hope pro 4, It has been problem free, and has not shown any signs of wear after a whole year of use.

 

Frequent Service interval king:

No proper seals, causing contaminants like water, cat hair, and to come inside the hub, so if riding in the winter you would have to service them every week to 2 weeks intervals.

This is now the hub will look like after a winter ride, the grease comes out and will attract dirt, cat hair.

The deore h bs have rubber seals, instead of steel covers, buttjey are compatible with the m475 hubs Shimano Bl-M525 L.H.Lid Unit – Y8S49801

http://forums.mtbr.com/shimano/worst-shimano-hubs-ever-shimano-hb-m475-viam-http://forums.mtbr.com/shimano/worst-shimano-hubs-ever-shimano-hb-m475-viam-370908.html

To service these freehand, you need a special tool, which is difficult to get, or you have to make one your self, This is not acceptable.

RJ The Bike Guy made a great video showing you how to service Shimano hubs:

Annoying low engagement:

The freehub has a horrible engagement, so you have a big dead zone before you actuate freehub, making technical climbs harder.

 

Verdict:

because of the outdated design, and reliability issues and the extreme service intervals, even if you swap to the seals for deore, as the freehubs wear out so fast, that it’s pointless to fix it.  I can’t recommend these hubs, these hubs are a nightmare.
There are far better options out there, I recommend getting Hubs with sealed cartridge bearings, and more bearings, and an easier more modern design, Hope and Industry nine, Chris king, are a perfect example of this, are more on that list of course.

 

 

Race Face Turbine X1 Dropper post remote Revised Long term review

The remote has a well-designed clamp, there are 2 threaded holes for inward-outward adjustment to get the lever positioned perfectly.

The lever is ergonomic feels great feels to use it. The lever diagonal groover, for improved grip, I have not experienced any issues with my finger slipping along the lever, but it can slip down or up the lever, so holes or multidirectional grooves would work better, But So far I have not experienced any issues with this, the grooves in the lever are helpful.

 

 

 

Taken apart:

here you can see the 2 bearings.

The barrel adjuster is very fragile, it can easily be bent or kinked, It’s likely this will happen in a crash if the housing forces it to bend, but it’s so weak you don’t need a crash for it to fail, I never crashed so badly that the barrel adjuster would bend.

Check out Peter Verdone’s post about remote:

the barrel adjuster on his remote snapped.

https://www.peterverdone.com/bullshit-engineering/

 

A closer look at the lever:

The bearing measurements:

Outer 10mm

Height 3mm

Inner6

Flickr album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm6h8Mih

So far I’ve not had a crash where there was an impact on hte lever, So I can’t comment on this at this point.

 

 

Shimano XT M8000 rear derailleur updated Longterm review

This part seems to be made of some sort of plastic composite.
The wire clamp is a weak point, not only because the plate bends, but if the threads fail, due to a hard impact or whatever reason, you need a new rear derailleur. The wire plate bent to the point of the wire slipping, but I managed to bend it back on a bike path, but I flipped it, and used it for several months without issues, But I ordered Spare anyway.

 

I replaced the seal, as it lost some of the elasticity & stiffness, the bolts holding the cover in place held up well.

I changed the whole clutch assembly, not only the axle, I noticed the original spring lost the stiffness, the new one was a lot stiffer.

THe scratches you see on pull arm is was caused by the chain grinding on it, it was when I had stock wheels on the bike, which was not good for 11 speed as the cassette was further in than the current wheelset that use Hope Pro 4 hubs with 11 speed compatible freehub,which places the cassette further outwards giving you better chain line & eliminating backpedalling chain drops. Even though there are some scrapes I have not had a hard crash with it yet. Time will tell how it will hold up, But I will not use it as much as it will go on the trek 6300, which I only use as a spare, But so far there has not been any significant damage from the small spills.

2014 Trek fuel ex 7 damaged the RD:

The axle failed & the chain got bent, So first I tried warranty, but that did not work, but later, I became quite sure it was my frame that caused it. The Rd still had some life in it, So I ordered spares from SJS Cycles, but Shimano Norway would not warranty it as there was another damage, which actually is just cosmetic damage.

I am quite sure now the reason cage axle failed, was due to major flex in the 2014 Fuel ex 7 frame under pedalling load.

 

Flickr album

Cons:

  • no use of bearings or bushings, causing shorter lifetime, which is a compromise.
  • not well optimized for wide range cassettes, So the use of goat link or similar is necessary, but if doing so, it performs very well.
  • plastic jockey wheels which wear a lot faster than metal
  • The clutch lever is plastic and is flimsy, it bends.

Pros:

  • good shifting performance, if the clutch is well adjusted, by having a hard clutch you get harder lever action, so optimising it for you is important, I can’t have it super hard, the shifting performance is good with the Xt m8000 cassette, but also with the Sunrace cassette, but the Sunrace cassette, has backpåedallign issues So I can’t recommend it.
  • Apart from paly do to lack of use of bearings or bushings, it performed well, without any major issues.
  • very easy to service the clutch

Verdict:

I can’t really recommend it, but I kind of do,my standards are very high, currently a complete perfect drivetrain solution does not exist.

 

Race Face Turbine VS Atlas cinch cranks

For me, the fastest & easiest solution when the awful Shimano M552 cranks failed, was to get turbine cranks. The cranks on my trek 6300 bike failed, so I de sided to switch to my trusted Turbine crank, plus crisp King bb, so I decided to try Atlas cranks, I thought I would notice the difference, and I did.

I am about 75kg, (but this number varies on how much stuff I got in my backpack, I have not weighed  in a long time, so I am probably heavier now.) with all the gear on

I have read reviews saying that there will not be noticeable differences, that was coming to a heavier reviewer, but pink bike review stated that there was a difference, their review is good so take a read d: https://pinkbike.com/news/race-face-atlas-cinch-crankset-review-2016.html

The crankset is quite similar looking, but there are several differences, the turbine cranks look pretty similar to the Atlas cranks, but the Turbine have a lot more material shaved off in arm where the bolt is & on the tip,  the is also a difference in how much material is shaved off behind the crank, the Atlas has more material near the pedal.

Turbine:

for commuting, or xc/light trail, these cranks were stiff enough, but on rougher trails, I could feel the difference in stiffness or another technical riding. I think turbine cranks have a good stiffness compromise & of lightweight.

The crank ground on a concrete wall, I was unharmed, it did not even hurt.
My right shoulder slipped turning the bars to the right, resulting front wheel dropping off a wall, and me falling down with the bike about 1 meter on concrete.
the reach dérailleur hit the top of the wall & grinding along it, the fork first went off the wall to the right but the rear was grinding it eventually fell down and the fork hit the wall and eventually, the whole bike went down with me.
16mm cap, self-extract bolt, washer
On the bike

 Atlas crankset:

First ride with Atlas cranks:

Even before riding the cranks on the trail I could feel the difference in stiffness, just by a quick test in being on the bike in the kitchen, I tested a lot of positions, but then I took it for a spin on the trails some days later.

The first ride on the trails, I felt the difference, even though my frame is quite flexible in the BB area.

I could feel that the Atlas cranks were stiffer while riding technical trials.

Both of the crankshaft a nylon preloading, which has a small Allen screw, which was easel rounded off even though I was very gentle.

 

Verdict:

I think turbine cranks have a good stiffness compromise & of lightweight, so perfect for a commuter bike or for lighter riders.

I am all for everything that gives me better control, and stability, which both Turbine and Atlas cranks gave me over the cheaper much more flexible Shimano cranks I have ridden in the past.

 

Pedaling Innovations Catalyst Pedals Short term Review

This is just a short-term review, so might update it later, if necessary.

The reasons I can’t ride with Clipless:

My feet misalign, and I have to get them back in place, so with flat pedals, this is easy to do.
my toes also get forced up which results in pain if I continue riding with it misaligned, so I have to put my other foot over it to get it back in.
a frame with a low standover height helps a lot with this too.

 

Initial use:

Some long time ago I found a review of the Catalyst Pedals on pinkbike, since then I wanted to buy them, but did not get around to doing it, But this year I did, actually wanted pedals with a long big platform like the Catalyst pedals for several years, but I could not find anything until I found that review on Pinkbike.

I felt at home straight away:

The first time I took my feet on the pedals I felt at home straight away, I did not even take them out for a ride yet, and I could feel the difference, but then I took them for a And they were what I expected, they gave me more control, I noticed my climbing was better, when doing manuals I was much more in control, No matter what I did on the bike It felt great, and more in control, I Rode up a wall in the city plaza and jumped off it, there was a definite difference when I landed, the drop off, my feet were much more stable, standard size pedals always it felt weird for me on landings, but with the Catalyst pedals, landing jumps and drop-offs hard feels a lot easier on my body.

Many benefits:

More precise pedal stroke, more stable climbing, I no longer spin the rear wheel while climbing Gravel roads while standing.

The pedals hold position when you spin the cranks with the foot off, which is great, but of course, at extreme speed, they will move slightly.

The bigger platform also makes it easier to place the feet on the pedal, in those situations when you can struggle to put your feet on the pedal properly.

These pedals have much less drag than the Straitline DeFacto pedals.

I installed the longer pins from the get-go, as I got issues with my joints, which mess up my riding from time to time, so the maximum of pins is the only choice for me.

 

Size comparison between Catalyst pedal and Straitline DeFacto pedal

After few weeks:

After weeks of use, I did not notice any creaking or noises from the pedals, unlike the Straitline pedals, which have issues with a O-ring, but the Catalyst pedals don’t have any flimsy O ring that could cause issues, instead, they use a bushing and bearings inside the pedal.

 

So far the cleanest & smoothest pedals I have used, which the Straitline Defacto struggled, they needed service more often and got dirtier, and washer got worn, the O ring stretched and disclosed, there are no so such issues with the catalyst pedals.

The black bushing has never dislocated.

 

The catalyst doesn’t attract as much dirt as the Straitline pedals, because they don’t as open design, with shims, and E pins.

The platform does not get as much dirt stuck in between the platform as the Straitline pedals do, but their pins will get dirt stuck in them.

easy to service:

What you need:

  • 8mm Allen bit or key for the cover
  • 9mm socket for punching out bearings
  • 8mm socket for the nut, you might need two 8mm nuts to fit inside the socket so the nut does not travel into the socket
  • extension bar
  • ratchet
you need an 8mm socket, a 6mm Allen key or a bit.

 

Using the long pins everywhere is a must for the winter, the longer pins will give you grip when the pedals get covered in snow.

Cons: No issues so far.

The pins are won’t be easy to remove when damaged, because of the female Allen design, the Straitline pins are easier to remove, but if you have can drill out the pins this won’t be an issue, not everyone has the tools for that job, I managed to smash some pins on my first rides.

Both sets I received came with missing long pins, also one pair had 1 more missing pin.

Verdict:

I absolutely recommend these to any rider, if you are using standard size pedals you are missing out, The catalyst pedals are the best pedals on the market In my opinion.

 

Flickr album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1e4gTm

 

Shimano Avilio FC-M410 review

I have only used this bike as spare bike in the summer, but I used the bike one and a half winters, the same thing happen as the Acera cranks, the square taper hole had damage, it did not show as much as this bike was not used as much,I noticed it before any huge play, as on the Acera crank there was damage to the corners, there were some scratches and small crushed metal,but I also noticed the UN26 bottom bracket was worn out, it was barely used, just used few days, they lasted quite long before, But I did not check the play for play in the bb.

These cranks are about as flexible as the Acera cranks.

these cranks don’t work well with 1x set up as the offset of the middle ring is too far outwards, so without spacers, the drivetrain will be very noisy.

So, of course, these cranks and BB were removed, I can’t have components like these on a bike I ride because I will destroy them, For me, it’s not saving money, but wasting money & time, Only High-end components for me!

These cranks came with triple rings.

 

Shimano Acera FC-M361 Long term review-Revised – Ridden to destruction

35395054834_c97965866b_o

4th August I posted the review, but Since Then the crank was completely useless.

Time of use:

I have ridden this crank at least one season, but after I got my new bikes in 2015, I only rode this crank few weeks and days each year.

Too Flexible

On my trail bikes, I have been using Race Face Turbine Cinch cranks, and they are very stiff, but the Acera cranks are not, it’s noticeable while track standing or on technical climbs.

When track standing I can feel the cranks flexing, which I have not experienced while riding on Hallow XT cranks.

So far no damage to the threads for the pedals, like on the M522 cranks.

But these cranks are clearly not good enough for me.

The cranks are quite flexible,

I destroyed the cranks.

 

Failed Shimano Acera FC-M361_0401
Picture showing the left crank arm with crushed metal, the damages on the corners is also quite visible.

 

A few Days ago the crank looked like it was in perfect order, but I took the bike for a short side-walk ride, and after doing a inspection on the bike  I noticed  I managed to bend the spider leg on the front/ to the right of the crank. after a closer look Isaw the square taper hole in the crank had tiny alloy ”spaghetti” & when sliding on the crank on the tapered square axle I noticed that there was a difference in resistance on each angle, might be due to wear caused by too flexible crank,I am about 75kg with all the gear on.

A few days later crank arm to loose after about 14 km ride, with some bike-path and some light xc trails, I torqued used Loctite 243 bolt thread, I torqued it to spec, and I left it to cure, the next day I checked the cranks as I was Already working on bike, I noticed creaking sound from the BB area, so I inspåected it, I cocked each crank arm in all directrions,I noticed the left was making the noise, I then removed the bolt, and inspected it further, by rocking the crank arm, doing this I managed to take it off using my bare hands

I abused them but not much:

I have jumped the bike with these cranks, dropped of concrete walls.

The hardest abuse these cranks got must be the time I landed on a stair step, with the pedals after jumping.

Slightly Revised Long term review: Straitline DeFacto pedals

I have revised this one before 14 june, But I added some info about issues with the O-rings. I have also ordered Catalyst pedals, SO I will see how much difference they will make.

Flickr album

Straightline Components flickr group

I was so impressed with grip of these pedals that I ordered more sets so now I got 4 in total.

I run these with all pins, and the grip can’t even compare to normal cheap pedals they are on a whole new level, But They are not perfect, the short standard size platform is rideable but it’s too short for me.

I have jumped and landed with the pedal on the end of a stair end and no damage not bend no play. but they are now on my fuel ex and the left crank arm failed and the left pedal fell off, the threads for the pin failed few days later, which is probably caused by loosened pin, and damage to threads was probably done wheel the pedal fell off,I have Used Loctite 243 all of my pedals,the thread locker on the pins are will no do the job properly, So you have to apply some more.

IMG_20150805_165018

 

No damage to the threads

 

IMG_20150805_165802 IMG_20150805_174302 IMG_20150805_165323

No I did not overtighten them, it as a bike mechanic in the store that switched the pedals from my trek 6300 to the fuel ex.good they had a spare crank.I have used the pedal with the xt crank arm I got and the pedal did not fall of, so I assume it was just a faulty crank arm that caused this.

After about 2 season of use the metal rings and the locking clips will show sings of wear, I had to bend the clips with pliers to make them tight again, the O rings stretch after few months or weeks, causing the pedal to move from side to side and making knocking & creaking sounds.

But straight line provides spare parts, which can be bought directly from their site, or from online shops.

Winter Use:

After riding few days in freezing conditions& rapid changing conditions, the service intervals changed to servicing them quite often.

I had to use grease instead of lube, and apply so much grease it hindered water from coming on the inside, but the harsh conditions I rode in, still required the pedals to be serviced often. To Prevent Rust This is necessary, This is normal you will have to service any component more often in the winter.

I  did go trough several bushings in a year,about 1- 2 depending on use , as In got got several bikes & ride a lot.

Cons:

  • The platform is too short, for my 44 size feet, a longer platform would be nice. But riding with the five ten impact shoes definitely help.
  • The o-rings were problematic,f ew times as they stretched in a short time, and in hot weather the stretched O ring slid up from the spindle to the pedal wrench slots,after changing the shims, few times the o-rings start to wear. my experience was that I had to change them after few months or weeks,they cracked and stretched way too much way too fast, So if you got these pedals, toy need to stock these Orings.After having these issues I found on MTBR.com forum that others have the same issues. http://forums.mtbr.com/all-mountain/straitline-all-mountain-amp-pedals-727035.html

Pros:

  • Very durable, can take some abuse.
  • excellent construction
  • excellent grip, the pins amount of pins & the sharp shape provide excellent grip, combined with Five Ten shoes it gives perfect grip.
  • easy to replace pins
  • easy to service, one of the easiest on the market right now
  • The pedal has plastic shim, which allows the pedal to stay in place in the same position when you remove your foot from the pedal.

Conclusion

If it was not for the ”standard” size platform I could recommend these pedals,But for smaller feet these will do the job. but as I have big feet, these feel too short.

IF you decide to get these, you will lave to get better O-rings

DeFfacto are not the lightest pedals with good grip on the market, but if you want to save weight go for the Syntace nine nine titan instead, but the Straightline de facto are much cheaper, But in my opinion a longer platform medal would be better, I don’t care about some tiny weight gains.

I have wanted a longer platform pedals for years, and I wanted to buy some buy never got around to do it, but I think my next pedals will be Pedal innovations catalyst,I think I will buy them to try them out for myself, The Straitline defacto and many other pedals are too short for me, but this does not stop me from using riding well, but I can definitely feel the disadvantages of the standard platform size.

http://www.straitlinecomponents.com/products/defacto-pedals

Kjøp Straightline komponenter i Norge/buying straightline components in Norway:

http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/no/en/straitline-defacto-platform-flat-pedal/rp-prod92591

eller: http://www.sykkelbutikken.no/komponenter/pedaler/mtb/straitline-defacto/

https://www.worldwidecyclery.com/pages/search-results?page_num=1&q=straightline

 

 

Shimano SLX M675 Shadow Plus – Used to the end – long term review

This rear derailleur has been on some long rides, and got some abuse.

Time used:

I have ridden this rear derailleur since 2015, some weeks in 2016 & the whole 2016/2017 winter plus one winter, and some weeks and days in the summer of 2017.

I ride a lot, I ride at least 5 days in a week, from 1 hour few hours, depending on how I ride up to 20 plus km, sometimes less, but my point is I ride a lot

 

I have mostly used this rear derailleur with 1x setup.

Sometimes I am unlucky and crash or mess up on a technical climb, and this is why the rear derailleur got some scratches, It had some scratches before the crash, for smaller impacts, but the last crash really shows damage, but it’s only cosmetic damage, so my conclusion is that this is a robust rear derailer able to take a lot of abuse, but the pins and swing arms are not replaceable, So when has play you have to get a new rear derailleur.

I crashed off a 1 m concrete wall, the cage was grinding against the wall, I had shifting issues, First I thought they might be the result of the crash, But later I found it not to be the case.

I  Did an inspection on the rear dérailleur,  I checked all the adjustment screws I took off the cage and did a service, the cage was bent, So I straightened it, but the shifting issues were still present. So I checked them, but then I checked for play, the rear dérailleur had huge play, so it was definitely the play. causing issues.

but I straightened it, but after few days of riding, I noticed shifting issues, So I checked the all the adjustment screws, but then I checked for play, the rear dérailleur had huge play, so it was definitely the play. causing issues.

after riding few weeks with, there was just too much play to do up-shifts, the play caused the Rd to hesitate on shifts.

The plastic cover took some abuse, but it held up well. This is the most abused rear derailleur so of mine so far.

 

 

Jockey wheels:

SLX M675 comes with bad jockey wheels, but you can upgrade to proper jockey wheels, the problem with the stock jockey wheels is that the that the jockey wheel and the metal ring grind against with other and cause damage to the jockey wheel which causes it to not spin smoothly.

Even upgrading to XT jockey wheels which work better, they are not that great, Hope has better spacers, they are Labyrinth style spacers, so the bearings are more protected against contaminants.

I recommend upgrading to Hope jockey wheels or similar, with proper bearings & proper cover.

Long term review on 3 bikes: Shimano Deore M615 I-Spec-B brake set

.I have used these brakes on 3 bikes, some more than others, until they failed.

Cons:

  • No banjo fitting
  • The brake lever body/Master cylinder flex when braking harder than 50%,which is why the plastic lid & the separator &  the Master piston unit to bend or get damaged, and cause leaks, so the lever will be soaked in oil, and oil will spit out through the middle where the plastic lid is.I compared the flexing in the levers on m396&m615 and there is significantly more flex in the m615, if you press the lever blade half way you wont see flex on the m396,but on the  m615 you will.
  • Leaking caused by plastic cover bending upwards, and front and the back is also being pushed upwards but sideways too, causing a leak.
    temperature changes, will cause changes to the materials, a minor hit can cause this. the design is clearly flawed.
  • I had to replace one master cylinder due to failed threads, and I had the leaking issues with the new one too.
The threads for the Torx screw failed, which is clamping the cover which clamps down the grommet, SO fluid leaked. but the Torx screw was not damaged. In my opinion these screws are way too small,the design is way too fragile.
  • Impossible so far to get placement seals/grommets/diaphragms, or just the master cylinder separately.


The cause of failure was certainly not over torquing  the screws, It certainly was not a crash that caused it,because I never crashed with this particular brake.

 

Pros.

  • Hinged clamp,no need to remove grips & shifter.
  • the levers are easy to bend back if you bent them,which I have done on 2 bikes so far.
  • good modulation
  • good braking power,at least if you use Metal pads
  • it’s not too  expensive
  • it’s not too heavy
  • no need to take off grips to take off the brake, because of the swing arm clamping mechanism.

The Brake Lever will bend if you crash into a tree(before I upgraded the handle bars i was used to ride on the fuel ex 7 with 720 bars),at low-speed,don’t just let the bike fall on the ground,it can bend the brake lever.

  • 23779701854_0a5eeb02bd_b

You can of course bend it back with proper tools and technique.

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The I spec B system, is flawed, it’s quite flimsy, the shifter will move if you did not use Threadlocker and torqued it properly,
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2016 Shimano Deore XT M8000 Ispec B shifter mounted to Deore M615, (there is no B on the brake but its compatible jsut look for the I spec B holes) i know  the brakes are bit steep in this picture but I have tweaked that later.
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The Deore M615 on a 2010 trek 6300

Extra Info

M615 Piston seals: the number written on pistons seals.

IUY 21.1 25  3.19 78 NOK

Verdict:

The Both brakes are too fragile.

Because the brake lever body/master cylinder is way too flexible and that there is a palstic lid,instead of metal lid,which causes the brake to leak.

I have seen a lot of reviews claiming these brakes are a good value at a low price point.

I agree with the braking power for the money is there, but not the reliability, these brakes are too fragile.

same goes for the other brakes with the similar design, for example, M396, M395, but at least it’s possible to get Reservoir Lid Unit for M396, M395.

Failed tHreads on M396 right lever/rear lever.

Flickr album

Shimano SLX M675 Shadow+ vs XT m8000 Shadow+

Using your 10 speed deore,slx,xt,xtr, rear dérailleur for 11 speed is possible, but it wont be as smooth.

but of course to compare this you have to have exact same setup, which I had here.

And of course The clutch tension must be properly adjusted & all other adjustments, I set mine up by decreasing tension until it the shifting performance was acceptable.

I recently rode the bike with SLX M675 few days and then the xt m8000 bike after wards and the performance is definitely noticeable.

Even on 11-42T cassettes with stock links/without goat link, the difference was noticeable.

the difference was most noticeable in the lower gears/bigger cogs.

If went up and down much faster, and made less noise.

I used KMC 11X SL Silver on both setups.

on my 2014 Fuel ex 7 29er I had to get a Goatlink to run 11-46T cassette possible. this picture shows the Rear dérailleur adjusted to the max,with a 1|1-46T XT m8000 cassette.

Is it absolutely necessary to upgrade? absolutely not,but on rougher trail  it’s nice to have better shifting.

Review: 26er Weinmann Zac 2000 36 spokes double wall rear wheel

22078437061_ffd550d39a_bI have been riding world cup level XC terrain to trail/enduro/downhill level terrain with this wheel, But have not done any crazy high jumps or crashed badly, abused the wheel.

But I would not big jumps or downhill rampage on this wheel.

the spoke tension has been regularly checked, and the wheel has been trued by the bike mechanic, punctured and lately by me.

I ran 40 psi in the rear tyres.

I punctured few times and hit edges of stair steps, but no harm was done.

I have used this wheel for few years, at least 3 years.

I have done alto of jumps ridden up stairs and puncturing and wheel was fine, and riding down stairs with loss of air, and eventually hitting the rear wheel to stair several stair steps, the wheel has not shown any signs of bends or flat spots.

Stays true for long time

I only broke one spoke, even when some of the spokes were bit too lose and after hard riding the wheel stayed true, it got trued, and of course I need to get the spokes tensioned, but I was just not checking the spoke tension how much I should have, but nowadays I do it regularly.

Shimano hub is easy to service

the spokes are pretty thick.

The hub is FH-M475 viam

which is not a great hub.

I have bent the axle on all of my  M475  hubs, which resulted in damaged cones, and sigly worn bearings, I don’t think I have ever ridden hard with too loose cones, but it noticed loose cones few times, but I checked for this often.

The dust seal/caps are horrible, a rubber seal is need, just a metal ring does not protect the bearings from hairs, dirt, water, and other things & the grease comes out which result in short maintenance intervals.

this dust cap lets dust in,
this is after one ride with fresh grease, riding in -2 Celsius in snowing weather. there must be a rubber dust cap if you have cone ba.ll bearing design, the dust cap on the M475 hubs will let dirt and hair and water and all other small stuff inside, so I have to take it apart a lot when I use it a lot. never take one the dust seal, If you have to don’t use a screwdriver to do so,it will damage it,I got a front wheel with similar seal it got lose, so if you a hub like this you have to check it a lot, and be sure every ting is right, and if you crash you should inspect it, the dust seals are fragile so if you get a stone or what ever hit the seal in a crash, check it!!!

worth riding   At least 5-7 days in a week, the free hub for me it got worn out after year season of use, it happen on several free hubs, on other wheels too.

wit this hub design, it’s important to check the bearings and cones,and do regular maintenance, if the bearings or the cones wear out, the wheel will have wobble and the cassette  & freehub will wear out faster.

the freehub got pretty low engagement,there is few degrees of pedalling movement until it engages,which is noticeable if you are a experienced rider.

At the time of writing this review I am using Hope Pro 4 hubs, on my fuel ex 7 29er, and I love’em. but there are more good options.

Verdict:

decent wheel for xc & trail riding, but the hubs have it’s flaws.

This wheel is noticeably heavier than the stock/original Bontrager Ranger rear wheel, the performance is definitely worth it.

36 spoke double wall 26er wheel is a very strong wheel.

but the hub

IF you want a wheel that you can swap between old school Vbrake bike and a disk brake bike, this rim is a good choice.

But as the hub is not user-friendly and not goo, I can’t recommend this as a package deal.

http://www.weinmanntek.com/Products/MTB/ZAC2000.htm

10.12.2016 Updated Review: 2015 Bontrager SE4 Team Issue 29×2.3

After few weeks of use of the XR3 Expert tyres, so I need new tyres so I purchased all the se4 tyres in stock. I did not abuse the tyres, I rode singletrack & some stairs.I do not mind the weight of these tyres because of the durability.

After using the 2015 Bontrager SE4 Team Issue 29×2.3 for the 2015 season, I tried Maxxis High roller 2 3C Maxx Terra EXO TR  2.3  the 2016 season, which are much better tyres in my opinion, so I needed to update you on this.

Pros

  • durable
  • No twisting when running 25 psi.
  • Takes rock gardens pretty well, no cuts yet.
  • the excellent pattern gives you good grip
  • I did not notice any difference in rolling resistance from the Xr3 expert to the Se4 team issue
  • puncture resistant.Never got a puncture no matter how hard I rode, which is partly good luck at the time, but these tyres won puncture by trail use. even if I rode on broken glass.( of course I if you  ride on a big and sharp thing you will puncture every tyre)
  • no problem to run 25 psi,no matter how hard I ridden,which I can’t do on the  Bontrager XR1 Team Issue 26″” x 2.20 or the Bontrager XR 3 expert
  • fast rolling & cornering, Compared to Maxxis HigRoller 2 23.3 Se4 corners better on asphalt.its the thread pattern & hardness of the tyre which does it.(but for grip Maxxis HighRoller 2 2.3 wins.)

    24361985621_db4f36398b_b
    As you can see the side knobs are pretty close, that’s why this tyre corners so fast.
iso103
these tyres are easy to put on and off the Bontrager Duster 29e rims

Cons:

  • heavy at 1010 grams for one tyre its quite heavy, but the higher weight is unavoidable with thicker s, stronger tyres.
  • The Se4 tyre is way too hard which result in the tyre washing out/sliding out on hard packed dirt or loose dirt, The tyre does not compress and form to the surface enough. I had these tyres on my spare bike, but iI swapped wheels from my spare bike over from my main bike and taken a ride the local trails with the Bontrager Se4 tyres the rear i crashed which I have never done on the trusty Maxxis High roller 2 3C Maxx Terra EXO TR  2.3.

Verdict

I can’t recommend these tyres because I have tried Maxxis HighRoller 2 3C ‘s

I have not had any issues when riding on the pavement or asphalt road, but I haven’t ridden down o’clock turn on asphalt, so I can’t Tell you about it.

Not so good on common variable trail conditions. mountain biking, I recommend getting a tyre with better cornering grip, and stickier rubber for better grip, I now use Maxxis HighRoller 2’s and I have never looked back.

Maxxis HighRoller 2 is as durable and got a much softer compound.

For me the Maxxis HighRoller 2, offer a better package, even it does not turn as fast, but for me it’s perfect, sacrifice, the result is an excellent overall experience.

I use Maxxis Minion 2.3 on my trek 6300 26er bikes, and they roll fast in corners, but they don’t slide/wash out on you when riding fast in corners, so for more technical trails I recommend Maxxis High Roller 2 2.3 or 2.4

for xc gravel, or not too rooty trails, for xc, gravel and asphalt Minion’s are perfect

6 months Review: Fabric Scoop Shallow Race

 

After 5 months the saddle tip showed signs of wear, probably caused by the saddle flexing and compressing and the material rubbing against the plastic.

some of the tip is got little bit loose.

Some words:

does not grip as well as Bontrager saddles,but it’s not very slippery neither.but if you use a the SSR seat post you should change to shorter screws, because of the flex and the low profile of the saddle,there is too little room, so the saddle will hit the screws.

This saddle is the most comfortable saddle i owned yet,but i gave not owned many.

25702034523_8a840d9d75_b
The screws were so long that the saddle flexing down and hit them.I need to use brake caliper screw spacers because of too of too long screws on the SSR seatpost.

Pros

  • The plastic fame will be lasting a long time because the rails are mounted to the plastic base using a machine instead of 2 or 1 small screw holding it together with a plastic plate.
  • Very comfy
  • perfect amount of flex for comfort.

Cons:

  • the cover wears out with too much friction/rubbing.
  • The white lines for the adjustment, are not equal on both sides on all of the saddles, I got.
  • saddle Vs asphalt,I crashed and the saddle this the asphalt,this is the result.

     

 

Verdict

The cover need improvement.

I do not regret buying this saddle, because of the comfort & the frame durability

Finally a saddle with a base made how I would have done it,simple no screws that pop out/jump out/fall out.

one of the most comfortable saddles, to a competitive price.

.Flickr album

Product page: http://fabric.cc/shop/saddles/scoop/

If you live in Norway you can order from these sites:

http://www.sykkelkomponenter.no/products/fabric-scoop-shallow-race-blackblack-sete

http://bikeshop.no/Sykkel/Komponenter/Sadler/Konkurranse/trening/Fabric/Fabric-Scoop-Shallow-Race-Sadel-Sort-142mm-Titan-Rails-254gSEFBSHARABBK-p0000080836

International shops:

https://www.bike24.com/p2117947.html

https://www.evanscycles.com/fabric-scoop-shallow-race-saddle-EV223759