16.10.2017 Revised 2 Years plus Review: 2014 Trek Fuel EX7 29er- too flexible frame causing many issues

I really needed a full suspension bike, at minimum 120 mm travel, I got the the best bike, I could as fast as I could.but I knew I might need to change few things, but I test ridden 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 depend on the bike, but the person sitting on it and the correct size, but for me it climbs well and turns well even in gnarly sections.

The ride:

I and I felt at home straight away, I noticed the smooth and easy controllable steering straight away, But 800mm handle bars would fit my arms better, but this is will depend on your body measurements.

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.

Get 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 corr ect position for going downhill.

Even the dropper post adds more weight, it get 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 pos.

 

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

The suspension:

do not have every adjustment there is, but the CTD (climb,trail,descend)

My setup:

work pretty well for me I am bit more than I am somewhere close to 75 kg with gear on.So I ride with 210 in the shock and 120 psi in the fork, 6 clicks rebound both front and rear, which work pretty well for me I am bit more than I am somewhere close to 75 kg with gear on.

I am ca 182 cm high,the 18,5 frame and the 29 wheel is perfect for me

The bike is 13,600 Grams 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 inch 6300.

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

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Saddle: Bontrager Evoke 2

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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

Cons:

  • the wheels: way too flexy,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.
  • Weight
  • the rims had alloy machining residue, on the inside of the rim, it came out of the spoke holes.
  • trek should have done a better job with selection of components.
  • front resin brake pads got worn out in ca. 2 months,I upgraded to Shimano J02A IceTech
  • 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,

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.

PROS:

  • Shimano Deore SL-M610 Shifter triggers gives 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.
  • handlebar got stripes to help you with brake and gear lever alignment.

    Enter a caption
  • handles well on the rough downhills
  • holes for internal cable routing  for dropper post
  • external toptube routing support for shock remote or a mechanical dropper post.
  • the bike is stable in the descend and climb
  • Shimano Deore brakes work well and are not expensive brakes.
  • the frame got SCG-05 chain guide mount
  • no tools need to take off the wheels
  • fork: work well, even its not the top of the line fork from Fox it’s good in my opinion, i don’t notice much flex when riding.
  • the rear suspension works very well.
  • The EVO link is stiff  & light
  • feet & legs do not hit the swing-arms

 Updated 16.10.2017:

CONS:

  • Shock & fork compression goes out of adjustment, if you ride fast down a hill and overkerbs, down technical trails,or riding fast over technical trails,this has happen 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.
  • 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 chain stay so the bolts get loose.

The Shimano Deore BL-M615 brake are 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.

  • one of the frames had uneven welding for the zipties the gap was too small for the big zipties on the upper cable guide on the down tube,.I could use bit zip tie all over but the one spot.
  • Noticeably Flexy down tube & chain stays, Which is causing many issues:

    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.

     

  • Misaligned/pushed out/dislocated bearings:

    here you can see there is a cap, the bearings on both sides are being pushed in wards, causing the chainstay & Evo link to touch/rub.

So I had to press the back in place,in this picture you the 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 derailleur hanger caused by flex in the bb area, causing the hanger to bend under load, because the chain line changes to. 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 derailleur 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.

A Xt m8000 cassette was also bent due to the flex in the frame.

After upgrading to the much stiffer Race Face Turbine Cranks, I noticed 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.

You can see the tyre is pretty close to the chainstay.

2014-trek-fuel-ex-76-29explain

  • I would not recommend using tyres wider than 2.3, the seat stay & chain stays 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 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)
  • 24173105230_3bcbca165c_c
    I will never use A plastic press fit Shimano BB’s I had to use pliers to remove stuck parts.
  • 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 over tightened 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
  • this bike really need a chain guide. If you ride hard or jump you will need a chain guide.
  • 3 chain rings 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.
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Chain slap scratches
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Chain slap scratches

 

 

 

Upgrades I did:

First I upgraded to StraightlineDeFacto pedals, But later I switched to Pedalling Catalyst pedals, which improved my riding greatly.

Shimano XT M8000 Shadow+ GS(medium cage) Rear Derailleur

Shimano XT M8000 11-46 cassette

I later Switched over the XT to the trek 6300 and upgraded to XTR M9000 shifter and Box One rear dérailleur, which greatly improved the shifting.

gallery of the upgraded bike upgraded-2016

TRP Spyke Dual piston mechanical brakes

  • Race Face Atlas Ø35 50mm & Race FaceSixc Ø35 800mm which are perfect fit for me,but switching to 50 mm stem made the steering roe aggressive/twitchy, not more than I can handle, but the fit was perfect.
  • Timber bell( or similar) is a must.

Flickr albums of the 2 bikes:

Upgraded 2014 Trek Fuel EX 7 29er nr2_0458_DxO
Upgraded 2014 Trek fuel ex 7 29er Skanshytta tur 15.08.2017_0414

The frame:

after 2 seasons the bearing in the chain stay 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 not 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.

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 tocheckk the bearings more often.

 

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/

http://www.pinkbike.com/v/embed/458872/?colors=c80000

Videos of me riding:

Some street/Urban mountain biking:

 

Verdict/Conclusion:

Bad selection of components and too flexible frame make this a bad choice.

I need stiffer 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 flexy frame, 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.

 

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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.

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:

 

you need an 8mm socket, a 6mm Allen key or a bit.

 

Cons: There are not many cons with these pedals.

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.

 

Shimano XT M8000 rear deraileur half season review

This part seems to be made of some sort of plastic composite.
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.

 

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 back pedaling 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, and will probably give to a family member some day,But so far there has not been any significant damage from the small spills I had, but I don’t know what caused the axle to fail, maybe faulty material.

Some how the axle failed & the chain got bent, but 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 have no idea when it happened or where it happened.I noticed it while lubing the chain.
Used just a few weeks, on fresh chainrings & cassettes.

Flickr album

 

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 M475 hubs long term review

Issues with fast freehub wear:

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.

 

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.

 

 

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

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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, some times less, but my point is I ride a lot

Durability:

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

Some times 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 the, 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

I recompared 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, the one That the threads for the Torx screws failed, was the one I used on my main bike.

Cons:

  • 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 this, 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,but with a set of pliers it was fixed, by pressing the cover into the master cylinder until it was straight/flat against the master cylinder,but this is pointless to do, you are better off buying a mechanical brake or a proper hydraulic brake.
The threads for the Torx screw failed, which is clamping the cover which clamps down the grommet, SO fluid leaked, But I don’t know if it just failed, of if it was due to a crash, 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.


I don’t know what caused the threads to fail, it was certainly not over torquing  the screws,I don’t know if its caused by fluid pushing the parts and girding the threads apart until they are so polished that they cant hold the cover, maybe I don’t know, I 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, ( if its wet or ride a lot)
  • 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.

26307676250_68f1a4b4fd_b
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,
25193088823_b2f5dda76f_b
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:

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 seals 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

http://sport.beach-mountain.no/Sykkeltilbehør/Cockpit/Seter/Sete-Fabric-Scoop-Shallow-Race-Blk-Blk-SEFBSHARABBK-p0000046806

2 season Review: Bontrager Duster 29 wheelset

This wheelset is a perfect example of why you should know or read long term reviews.

The Bontrager hubs using in this wheelset are manufactured by Formula Hubs.

the type of riding I have done is the most normal trail/enduro/singletrack

The highest I ever jumped with these wheels was 1 meter.

This is the stock wheelset on my 2014 trek fuel ex 29ers.

The front wheel wheels were fine, but the primary bike had a noisy front wheel, its most likely the spokes, or the rings in the rim, on the rear rims many of them were loose.

Brushed & black

Maxis high roller 2 are quite hard to take on and off on this rim, a good tyre lever is needed.

Tiny tent in the left sidewall, I think this if from hitting a stair step edge, I have punctured quite many times and lost air too much air when I was riding down stairs, but this dent can probably by fixed.

The wheels get out of true way too fast.
I managed to make it true sideways but not radially.
after few km on my spare bike, the rear tyre was hitting the inner tube wrapped on the chainstay, I took off the tyre and tried to true the wheel, it was impossible to radially true it.
even at max tension & loosening the and loosening the other spokes above to make it true)the spokes could not pull the rim inwards.
the primary bike had a flat spot, but it also was untrue very fast, and the tyre hit the frame on it too, but it was fixed with truing.
but the flat spot was impossible to fix, I managed to get it better but still was about half cm out of true radially.
this was after few months

the rim had drilling residue after spoke holes.The other had something black inside it, probably drilling residue with black paint-job.

Formula DC-51

The spoke nipples:

It’s Am not brutal or using the wrong tool for the job, I have never seen so soft spoke nipples, but some worked fine. so this might be faulty nipples, something wrong with the alloy on these spokes.

many of them were inaccurate so the spoke wrench did not fit properly unless forced,
almost half of the spoke nipples got rounded off,t he metal was like chocolate that began to melt, some nipples even cracked,t o take them off I need pliers, some nipples even snapped/cracked.
I used the correct size of a wrench, I will rebuild the wheels with new rims, spokes, and spoke nipples.

I have been puncturing a lot, even I go beefy tyres: Maxxis High roller 2 2.3, and I have been riding down stairs and rough terrain, and lost air pressure, and ridden down stairs until I hear a loud bang, But I did not get any big dents.
So upgrading to tubeless might be a good upgrade.

28 spokes are too few on a 29er trail/xc/enduro bike.these are the Moist flexible wheels I ever rode.

Bigger the wheel is more spokes it needs.

more spokes easier it is to true it, and longer they stay true.

The original rim tape, eventually will twist and bend, when you get punctures.

the freehub on the spare bike had no grease in the freehub bearings.
I had ridden the bike only 60km, at the time, but this resulted in play, and loud noises, I had to repack it with grease.
the front is almost idiot proof.
It’s so easy to service as long as you got the right tools for the job.

rear hub:

the rear bearings did not need any repacking, they have good, blue grease in them.

to take off the freehub you need an 11mm Allen/Umbraco key & an adjustable wrench, and use the long side of the Allen key.

because of the Park tool 11mm, Free-hub retrench is too short for this particular hub.

Verdict:

Horrible wheelset.

Way too flexy get untrue too fast, the only good thing is the easy to service hubs

It’s best to read a lot of reviews, and see what your friends or the rest of the community are riding and what they think is good, before you order a wheelset. that what I am gonna do.

Review: Shimano Deore XT M8000 with Race Face Narrow wide

On 10speed Formula/Bontrager Freehub:

If I use the 42T cog on the cassette the chain will fall off when back-pedalling, but when I shift up to 37T cog the chain stays in place no matter how hard I pack pedal.

On Hope Pro 4 freehub:

the Pro 4 free hub, is 11 speed compatible, which means it’s wider, and comes with a spacer,and with 11speed cassette, the  cassette is closer to the frame/more outwards to the right, which gives a better chain line, so the backpedalling issues is gone,Unless you backpedal at unrealistic speed,then it will fall off,but I have done 180 U turns in 1stgear(42T) and the chain never fell off.

So if your rear hub is compatible with a wider freehub,you should get one.

Huge noise reduction when riding:

The first thing I noticed after I upgraded to 1×11 is that all the slapping ,banging and scraping noises are gone from my bike.25185797391_0cfdb76e37_o

32577666342_3a846ef0f1_o
Enter a caption

The narrow wide chain-ring will make more sound than the triple chain-ring,  but when ring in rough terrain or jumping, the noise is a lot less than a conventional triple ring set-up would make.

With this set up i used uncut CN-HG701-11 chain.

Shimano Deore XT M8000 I-Spec B shifter:

26307676250_68f1a4b4fd_b25193088823_b2f5dda76f_b

There is big  difference in the force needed to press to press the small trigger(up shift),but I got used to it after days ,and it did not feel as hard to press, and I like the shifter feel,I get less accidental shifts this way.

The change in gear is instant like promised.

The possibility to shift by bending you finger and do a finger kick motion,which you can’t do with Sram shifters.

(like this(https://youtu.be/7HvJma35fZA) to push the lever/trigger is gone, as the Shimano Deore 10 Spd had.But for me this is a acceptable compromise.

But there will be no accidental shifts

Down shifting:

  • smooth lever-action.
  • There is huge difference in the force required to push the triggers between SL-M610 &  M8000 , so if you plan to upgrade a kids bike you might want to let the kid try it out first,but for the youngest I recommend getting SL-M610 or something similar.
  • you can shift down 4 gears

The I-Spec B shifter will have rotational play,because of the pin system, it’s not avoidable.

The screw came with a lot of  Blue thread-locker,so needed to try few times until I finally got it tight without loose shifter.

But the adjustment screws did not,so you have to buy thread locker for them, I used Loctite 243.

The rear Derailleur:

25023025415_969c733b3d_c

11-26T M8000 Cassette  & RD m8000 with original link & trek ABP hanger 

 

Pros:

  • A lot stiffer Clutch system, which is good.
  • Very smooth,fast shifting movement.
  • Esy to service, as long as you got magnetic bowl, and are careful with the round seal fo the spring assambly.

 

Enter a caption

 

 

Race Face Narrow wide:

The chain will not fall off no matter how hard I ride, if it falls off you must be crashing really hard.

There is some drag when pedalling but this is not noticeable when riding, the chain still wants to be on the ring for about a half of a second, but this is impossible to avoid with Narrow Wide.

If you want video proof that narrow wide works watch this video by Seth’s Bike Hacks

Me unboxing the 36T chainring

Down 50 degrees stairs test:

Steep stairs

set up used in test: 2010 trek 6300 1 x10 36-11T cassette Shimano SLX Shadow Plus, with 36T Race Face Narrow Wide chain ring.The chain dropped when it was in 24 Tooth cog, but when I tried in 21 cog it stayed on. Even on stairs that were not that steep probably 40 degrees,the chain fell off.

Pros of 1×11:

  • You get all the gears you need if you just select the right chairing for you.
  • a lot quieter drive train
  • dropping the chain is rare unless you ride in low gears down steep stairs.
  • No front chain rigns to deal with
  • easier to clean the drive train,less dirt & mud on the drive train
  • if you want to sue a chain guide, you can use a single ring chain guide which will be more secure,and look better
  • if you use a wide range cassette with a 9T cog you can get the a pretty high gear as you could with triple rings,but with 11-42 with 36T cassette I get a pretty good range,but once I get on the 1km flat straights I will run out of gears

Cons of 1×11: There are no real cons riding 1×11 it will have faster wearing cassette and chain of course,but that’s not a reason to not upgrade. the 37 and 42 cogs are the fastest wearing cogs, because of the bigger chain angle.

the cassette & chainring wore out at the end of the season like it did with 10×3, maybe few weeks sooner wear. I don’t have to shift as often and skip so many gear so often,so I get less side to side wear on the chain,by using 1×11,so the chain growth will be less.

If i changed the chain,a lot earlier, the cassette and ring would have lasted longer,but I had no spare chains,but I have a stock of chains now.

The Rear derailleur cage will have visible wear, with 1x  setup,because of the chain line the chain will hit the plates,but its not a big deal.

 

I absolutely recommend Both the Xt m8000 drivetrain and the Race Face Narrow Wide single chaining.

If you are not sure which gear ratio you need:http://gears.mtbcrosscountry.com/

Flickr Album: Shimano DeoreXT M8000

Flickr Album: Race Face

quick review Review: 2012 Marzocchi Corsa Superleggera(RL) RC 26er fork

I need a fork as fast as possible, this fork was the best I could get at the time straight away.the 2012 XCM v3 I had on the Trek 3900 worn out, so I had the local shop swap the 2010 Rockshox Tora SL fork over from the 6300 to the 3900, and get the Corsa on the 6300.The fork plus lighter handlebar & stem (race face turbine) made the front a lot lighter.the flex is about the same as on the Rock Shox Rora SL, bu the suitability is much better.

Winter riding:

The fork was making less noise, the knocking sound was almost gone or maybe gone, itsI had no issues riding in -6 degrees Celsius.I don’t know why the fork get silenced in below freezing, and the knocking is back with above freezing.

Flickr Album

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the lockout remote
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Sr Suntour VS Marzocchi

Pros:

  • a lot more stable/controllable ride than the Tora SL,because of the adjustments
  • remote lockout
  • lockout adjustment
  • much better adjustment than the 2010 RockShox Tora Sl

according to bike radar the corsa forks got noticeable flex, I have nto ridden that hard wit this fork yet, so I cant really say much about it.

http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/category/components/forks-suspension/product/review-marzocchi-corsa-sl-lr-12-46027/

Cons:

  • knocking sound on rebound,The knocking sound comes from the right leg, I can feel something move in there, when I press the brake and rock back and forth.
  • The red rebound adjuster have a very flimsy feel, it got huge flex when you turn the knob.

Soem Riding footage:

The pump:

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Pros:

  • the button to reduce air pressure  is more precise than the Beto/Trek/Bontrager bump

Cons:

  • the black peace screws off sometimes

https://www.marzocchi.com/support/forks/2012/2012-corsa-sl-lr.aspx?idC=62354&idM=19240-1433-1433&idMy=15637&idP=18780-560&idS=15793

4 weeks review: 2014 Bontrager XR3 Expert 2.30 tyres

They came stock on my 2014 Trek fuel ex 7 29er.

The rear tyre worn out(1 mm knobs and I changed them out) after about 4 weeks of normal trail riding & commute. (I did not do any skidding)

the sticky and soft rubber gives good with the knob pattern gives good grip,but the durability is awful,unless you want to use it for races,but for everyday use,these tyres are not durable enough.

I upgraded to Bontrager SE4 Team Issue

they lasted the rest of the season + some more weeks.

With these tyres you actually need to follow the pressure recommendations.

Pros:

  • good grip

Cons:

  • Awful durability, I upgraded to Se team issue tyres,but currently(2016) run Maxxis High Roller 2,they have better grip, and don’t wear out as fast as the XR3 Expert.
  • the tyre is squirm at lower pressures. So you can’t use lower pressure than 30 psi I’m somewhere between 170 and 180 Kg  and I need to keep the pressure at 40 psi,30 psi still makes the a unstable steering.
  • the grip is not as good as on Maxxis’s 3C Maxx Terra Compound.

 

Conclusion: NOT Recommended.

Awful durability

These tyres are waste of money.

Review:BBB BSD-04 Anatomic Race-Black saddle- Uncomfortable

ncathis saddle has more cons than pros, it’s basicly butt torture for me.

the plastic on the sides and the plastic part that hold the rails will be pushed into your buttcheaks and will hurt when sitting on it.

i felt the saddle right where my butt bones/ischial tuberosities.

its very unconfortable saddle, the onyl reason i fot the saddle is because hte bontrager ssr saddle on my 3900 broke.

i now sue a Bontrager race RL wich flexes more and is thinenr btu still cmfortable.

Pros:

  • pretty durable
  • the front plate under the saddle did not breake
  • no screws popped out.
  • the grip,but can’t say how long it lasts becuase i got a new saddle as soon as i could

 

Review: BBB ULTRABASE DTL Road & MTB saddle

the saddle is harder than the Bontrager race saddle on the 2010 trek 6300,saddles is a personal thing,not every one will find every saddle comfortable, this saddle was not the most comfortable one I had.

IMG_20150924_192543

Pros:

  • durability is acceptable, it did not wear out or bend og any screws that fell out, so this is good,i got few holes on the sides from few crashes.

cons:

  • becomes slippery after at  least 1 year of use
  • the black stripes that go on the sides ,top of the saddle wear out after much riding.
  • only 3 colour options
  • bit hard,not as flexy as I would like.

http://bbbcycling.com/