Race Face Atlas 35 Ø 50 mm Stem Long-Term Review

https://live.staticflickr.com/4521/38544894011_d888c48580_b.jpg

Gemini Xera light_0609

The stem is quite big and probably is be quite strong.

Race Face Atlas zero rise 50mm_0031
RaceFace Atlas stem 35Ø 50mm zero rise_1596

Map of Whistler bike park on the sides.

Race Face atlas ø35 0rise _20170512_185939180

Cons:

  • I had issues with the bolts loosening, and the Loctite 243 disappearing, I’m not sure why, but maybe I am pushing the stem to extremes with the temperature changes, and the Loctite gets worn off, most of the traces were gone. I had to check before, during and after the ride to make sure it was secure, other wise I would risk the bars spinning, which happen several times, and when getting the bike out from room stem home to outdoors in -10C this was not the case with Renthal apex 35 stem as long as I used Loctite 243, the only times I made it loosen was without Loctite or not cured with big temperature change, I have tested this on the Apex stem I Intentionally Did not put Loctite 243 with the Apex them the stem spun on the steerer, at a day with rapid temp change, it got to 25C, but it did not other places where it had Loctite on. I also experienced this in the winter when I just installed it and Loctite did not cure. But with The Atlas Stem it would happen even with Loctite cured, It did not handle this well even with Loctite 243.

I can’t know if it’s a combination of the materials used in bolts,stem, or and the clamp design, but the difference was huge.

The Atlas Stem is made of 6061-T6 aluminum.

I haven’t tried changing the bolts yet, So I haven’t tried Titanium bolts, I don’t know how much it will effect the issues I experienced. I know many are satisfied with this stem, But they might not be using it to the extremes I am, with the temp changes.

  • The bolts don’t have good tolerances in the head, so there will be some play between the hex key, I had the same experience with all other Race Face Bolts, on Turbine Dropper, Atlas Cranks.
Race Face Atlas Stems_3641
Race Face Atlas zero rise Ø35 50mm_1117_DxO

Not for ”weight wienies”, 9 grams heavier than the Renthal Apex, it’s quite a noticeable difference, when I hold them, but not a a huge difference, but it all adds up.

weight-Race Face Atlas zero rise Ø35 50mm _1123
Cockpit_3603
Cockpit nr2 Kloppe Onstadkrysset 4 km_0574
Kloppe i Tårnet Åsermarka_1930

If any one has tested this stem with aftermarket bolts, Titanium bolts, or have any knownlage to share about it, feel free to comment on this.

I have of course not tested it in a lab, or special tools so can’t have precise findings.

https://www.raceface.com/products/details/atlas-35-stems

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5 Years Review: 2014 Trek Fuel EX7 29er

I revised it this review many times, so here it is 5 years review.

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, but at the time it was the best bike I could get fast & easy.

My Fuel EX at Askim Museum
bike march 2019
how the bike looked like may 2018

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 head angle, 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 for my 17.5/18.5 frame.

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

My setup for summer 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 between 70 & 80kg kg with gear on I guess.

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, but they don’t fit me well, and lack necessary adjustments to fit me.

  • 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:

  • 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 wheel set 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 Resin 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 got on both the bikes because it got replaced under warranty on service due to the stock damper failing, but what happen exactly I don’t know I did not even notice a difference.
    • 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 70 and 80 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)

I can feel the bump where the fabric and pleather is, I can feel the side of the saddle

Bontrager Evoke 2 Lime green

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 the rocker link (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 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.

<p>they have tight tolerances, so the park tool Allen/Hex bits & keys fit in tight, but of course, bolts wear out, but these bolts wore 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 tyre rub_3608

The flexes in the chain stay is causing the chain stay to rub into the tyre is causing the inner tube I wrapped the chain stay to tear the rubber part sticks out and rubs against the tyre. of course the wheel flexes some too, but both combined is not great, but The hope wheels are stiff, but will flex some when pushed hard, but in my case it’s mostly the frame, but with original wheels both the wheels and frame set were an issue.

  • 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.
  • I would not recommend using tyres wider than 2.3, the seat stay & chain stay are too close for bigger tyres.
Horrible Tyre clearance_3998
Non driveside clearance_4007

  • 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 fast wear of wire coating wear & housing.
77 Designz guide - Housing rubbing eliminated_5077
Internal cable rou_5082
  • (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 chain stay 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.
chain slap 2014 Shimano SLX FD-M671A
chain slap 2014 Shimano SLX FD-M671A --
Chain slap scratches

have not received any answer why this happens or what could cause it, I will update you on that since I do

2014 Trek fuel ex 7-upgraded to 1x11 11-42Tx36T Race Face Narrow Wide

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.
I have not received any answer why this happens or what could cause it, I will update you on that since I do

http://www.bikerumor.com/2013/05/22/first-look-2014-trek-fuel-ex-29er-weights-details-ride-impressions/

  • 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.

    Worn crownrace December 17, 2017

    December 2017 I noticed wear on the crown race on bike nr1:
    https://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 head tube, unless it’s the head tube that is skewed.

    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.

    February 2018 update on the frame issues:

    The seat stay becomes bent.

    Damage to the new chainstay:

    Just showing that there is a gap using a pick.

    I think this is caused by the axle unthreading and the bearing is getting pushed out as I ride.

    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.

    the issues with the hanger continued:

    some more recent content from 2018 & 2019

    The hanger that cracked:

    ABP hanger_4824edit
    ABP hanger_4807Edit

    I checked the cassette the cogs were twisted and bent as were the teeth, I swapped cassette, There was also significant play in the Box One RD which I noticed a while, but it was worse, it definitely messed up the shifting. I suspected that there was something wrong with the hanger, with the park tool hanger tool it looked to be straight but after several checks it was out of true, I eventually heard a cracking sound, I took the hanger off there was a long crack, no wonder the gearing was messed up, So I suspect it failed on the last ride to Skansehytta, and the truing did not work due to there already being a crack. the barely used RD worked fine with that cassette, but that cassette is showing wear on the smallest cog so I could not continue to use the smallest cog, but I am quite sure this will happen over again.

    After a while the bolt was wearing a lot.

    Really worn bolt_4041
    Too close_3926

    I have tools to do the job, so it’s easy to do, but annoying having to do this after several days of riding or for example a 4 hour ride up to Skansehytta and on the trails there and back.

    Removal of bearing, and then I clean the rocker link, so I don’t get creacking from debris.

    Bearing removal w/ RRP tool _0676

    These two pictures showing the tool are from April 2018

    and pressing the bearings in.

    Bearing install_1294edit


    Too close_3919
    Too close_3916

    This is not result of a impact or crash. My Rear dérailleur hanger bent on the ride, I noticed the shifting was messed up, I could left & heard it happen at the steep climb at Holterveien, horrible noise, the shifting was not working properly, and I had to stop and bend it back enough using my hands to get it to a point where I could continue riding it, and I continued riding, but when I riding back down at Holterveien. Ridelog: https://www.trailforks.com/ridelog/view/3184376/

    Bent hanger - Skansehytta ride_5332
    Bent hanger - Skansehytta ride_5335
    almost touching_5845
    almost touching_5849
    SunRace CS-MX8 & ABP_5065

    June 9, 2018 The bearings got pushed out at Skansehytta, here are the videos from this day:
    h

    Also here is the Ridelog:
    https://www.trailforks.com/ridelog/view/3184376/

    ABP_5070

    The hanger that racked:

    and I could easily snap off, so it could easily snap during a ride, or on a light impact, so I had to swap it.

    2014 Fuel EX Snapped Hange_20181205_115356Edit
    2014 Fuel EX Snapped Hanger_20181205_115342Edit

    this hanger had cracked, and I could move it, I was pretty sure it would fail, I used the DAG2 tool It snapped fast, it might have snapped on a ride, if it did that it could have resulted in a crash, but I installed my last spare hanger.

    hanger failure_20181205_094941Edit
    hanger failure_20181205_095028Edit
    hanger failure_20181205_094919edit
    hanger failure_20181205_094913edit
    hanger failure_20181205_093353Edit

    The last hanger I had for 12×142 bent horribly, it bent many times, but hte last time it bent a a lot more, and when trying to true it it snapped off easily.

    Bent ABP Rd hanger
    Bent ABP hanger 2014 Fuel EX 29er
    Bent Trek ABP 301805 142X12mm hanger _20190306_084828
    IMG_20190319_165435

    This is how the hanger looked like after snapping it with the DAG 2.2 tool.

    IMG_20190319_165505

    I suspected it would snap when I tried to true it, it was just too abused by the bike very bent the Rear dérailleur was pointing out to the front.

    I had hangers crack at the same spot there too, so this would eventually snap anyway. I installed the original think qr axle drop outs. only got one spare now.

    ABP Convert QR drop outs & Hope Pro4 QR adapters
    Frameset_2768c

    Upgrades I did:

    https://kit.com/mtbboy1993/2018-upgraded-2014-trek-fuel-ex-7-black-lime-green

    how the bike looked like may 2018
    • ESI Extra Chunky green grips
    • Fabric Scoop Shallow Race saddle
      26231866835_27c15ed217_b
    • 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
    • Hope bolt seat post clamp, as a quick release clamp just ads weight and is not necessary for me, it also looks great.
      I discovered the dropper post was horrible, But I need a dropper post, I eventually installed a E thirteen TRS Plus dropper post which was more reliable, but had its flaws.
    • Race Face Narrow Wide chainring 36T 104mm Later I switched to oval which was very beneficial to me.
    • BB:Race Face CINCH 41 x 92 x 30mm BB92 (PRESS FIT) which turned out to be junk.
    • Maxxis High Roller 2 2.3
    • Bottom bracket & Cranks:
    • Crank: Race Face Turbine Cinch 30mm axle 175mm, are noticeably stiffer, but on one of the bikes I switched to Atlas cranks, which were even stiffer.
    • 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.
    • with the flexy cranks, which felt horrible, the race face cranks were much more durable,stiffer, and I the flex in that the frame, is flexing on the right side in the chain stay when turning /leaning the bike to the left, and it hits the tyre 2.3 tyre, I have a tube wrapped around the chain stay, 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.

    https://static.bike24.com/i/p/5/1/154515_00_c.jpg
    Trek ABP Convert Dropout Set 12x142mm – 427343

    Renthal Apex 35 50mm stem

  • RevGrips

  • M6000 brakes which replaced the M615 under warranty, due to failure.
  • Verdict/Conclusion:

    The bike is horrible.

    • not good enough for me, due to the flaws.
    • I need a much stiffer & stronger frame & stiffer fork would be nice.
    • replacing the tyre is the one of the first things you have I had 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 down tube Flex so much it takes the chain stays 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.
    • Flickr album: 2014 Trek fuel ex 7- Issues

    https://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpecs.aspx?item=9258666

    Original Spec: http://www.vitalmtb.com/product/guide/Bikes,3/Trek/Fuel-EX-7-29,12595

    THe 2018 bikes look like this:

    they increased the travel by 10mm, so its 130mm.

    https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgAaHec

    2018 Trek Fuel Ex 5  EVO link_1732edit

    the newer bikes have beefier chain stays, seat stays, the shapes are mroe of a rectangle shape, not oval like on 2014

    2018 Trek Fuel Ex 5_1818edit
    also the cable routing at chain stay has improved, but they bikes come with Race Face bottom bracket so it won’t last long, they have a bad reputation, I have also experienced the horrendous performance from Race face BB.

    they changed the name of the wheels, but I don’t know if they are junk as the wheels on my bike, but it would not surprise me, if it’s just the same weak alloy spoke nipples.
    2018 Trek Fuel Ex 5 EvoLink_1813Edit
    The same seat post clamp, but you can clearly see they have stiffened up the swing arm and rocker link.

    straight down tube, so they have knock block which many hate, but for some it’s not a problem, but some people do more technical riding, and turn the bar a lot, I haven’t tried the newer bikes.

    2018 Trek Fuel Ex 5_1805Edit
    2018 Trek Fuel Ex 9_1869Edit

    e*thirteen TRS+ Seatpost Short-term review

    I have used this dropper post for few months, but I was feeling horrible most of January & February so did not put it to as much use as I hoped for, but also used it some in January, and trough march.

    IMG_20181121_094052Edit

    The remote version 17J V10SS :

    For better clearance for the cable for dropper post I flipped  Timber Bell.

    Some shots before installing housing and wire

    e thirteen TRS+ Seatpost_20181120_113253
    e thirteen TRS+ Seatpost_20181120_113300

    Here it is with the Grip Tape it comes with:

    e thirteen TRS+ Seatpost_20181120_113311

    The 17J V10SS remote on the bike

    e13 Dropper post remote 17J V10SS;
    With Tesa anti slip / grip tape installed.
    Timber Bell & Ethirteen Dropper post remove 17J V10SS
    Cockpit changes_20181121_094154Edit

    The remote came with grip tape already installed but I installed rougher grip tape, the grip tape that came with it showed slight signs of wear, but I prefer the rougher grip tape.
     

    E Thirteen dropepr post remote 17J V10SS
    e13 Dropper post remote 17J V10SS;
    IMG_20190219_142011crop


    e thirteen TRS+ Seatpost_20181120_113323
    The remote is fastened with a Torx bolt

    Cons:

    • After few weeks of riding the stanchion got a slight discolouration about a cm below the top it is where when the it’s fully down, it’s I side the collar, I am not sure why this happen, but it’s barely visible, and try to get it to show on photo.

    • You have to have weight on the middle to drop it, but not a problem, if done like that it drops smoothly, it’s faster than Turbine dropper, so light feel drop, this is not surprising at all nor is this a major flaw.
    • The slot for the brass key holding the head straight is too wide so the head rotates few degrees, this could be felt when riding, especially if doing wheelies There is also up & down play, forward backward rocking play, so a lot more play than the Turbine, which only had side to side rotational play.
    • The top of the stanchion gets very grease after a long ride with dropping the saddle a lot, a lot of up and down, combined with rocking play back and forth.
    Temperatures changes and bolts
    Feather on the 13 dropper post
    Feather on the 13 dropper post
    • Clamp head saddle rail bolts can get loose, and might undo enough for the saddle to slip back, I think it’s due to temperatures changes & the loads, this is what happens when you take the bike out from the warm home out and ride for few minutes in subzero temps, this has happen with the Bontrager rigid post too, also the Race Face Turbine post.

    When I got home I had to fix this, and yes I had on Loctite 243, but this eventually happens anyway, Loctite eventually needs reapplying.
    So a multi tool is a must, even if everything on the bike has been checked, i had to do this every time, but of course how much it loosened varied.

    But I haven’t had issues like this on the Renthal Apex stem, but with Atlas Stem I had to Check it before and after every ride, and during ride to be sure bolt’s did not get loose and the handle bar were spinning.
    also I got issue with Hope Tech Seat post clamp & Shimano brake levers too. the bolts might undo enough for the saddle to slip back, but these are side effects rapid temperature change, shrinking things slightly, of course different materials will be effected at different rates. You just have to expect this and tighten it down when you are out and check suspension too see if pressures are right, because it can drop a lot, so if this post was a air post it would need to to work with something like 10psi drop or increase, but as this is a mechanic dropper post you don’t have to worry about the pressure.

    Once when greasing the collar and screwing on the collar there was resistance, it turned out to be the dust wiper seal which has was skewed, and got worse when threading the collar on, so I had to take the collar off, and hammer it in using a bearing press block. I don’t know why this happen, but I suspect it might be the play in the post, the front to back rocking.

    Pros

    • The lever has nice ergonomics.
    • Easy to install.
    • The Torx bolts in the seat clamp have not worn out after several weeks of use, it looks promising.
    Torx bolt on E13 dropper post
    Torx bolt on E13 dropper post
    • The barrel adjuster on the lever for wire tension has not snapped or bent yet, so it looks promising.
    • The barrel adjuster has a ice wheel to turn, it makes it easy to adjust the tension even with one finger
    • the dropper is easy to service with common tools.
    IMG_20190305_140458
    IMG_20190305_140432
    Collar on E13 TRS Plus dropper post

    It has two springs and have plastic spacer holding them in together.

    I use Mudgugger Rear so the dropper post stanchion is a lot cleaner than without a mudguard, but some dirt will stil get there, fro mother directions.

    It uses a NAK WP35 25 dust wiper seal.

    E ThirteenTRS+ Dropper Post

    35 is probably 35mm 25 probably is 25mm which are the measurements of this seal.
    www.nak.com.tw/index.php/en/product/product_subcategory

    I know the first version had SKF wiper seal, but I don’t know why the switch or exact differences.

    which is mentioned & shown in this review, also showing the internals and closeup, no poin’t in me doing this when it has been done : https://nsmb.com/articles/ethirteen-trs-dropper-post-review/

    I wanted a fully rebuildable dropper post I could service at home fast & easy, which this dropper offers.

    service guide: https://service.bythehive.com/Guide/TRS+seatpost+service+-+disassembly/83

    Product page: https://bythehive.com/products/trs-seatpost

    Flickr Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmwhkt5H

    Renthal Apex 35 stem 5 months review

    Ren thal Apex 35 50mm_2478
    Renthal Apex35_1029edit

    Pros:

    • The stem held the bars well, there were no issues with losing bolts or any other issues.

    So far I haven’t had a Stem that held on to the handlebar as well as the Apex 35 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. it’s not only the bar that’s held on securely, but also the stem to the steerer-tube, so I have had I haven’t had issue with play in the headset, because the stem holds on so securely, the bolts don’t loosen fast like most stems I have used in the past, for example Race Face Atlas, I have experienced play in the headset & handle bars slipping, due to bolts getting loose, but never with Renthal Apex.

    I of course thread locker, I use Loctite 243, which I have used on all of the stems I used.

    The only times I made it loosen was without Loctite or not cured with big temperature change.

    Renthal Apex 35 stem
    • 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.
    Cockpit_2507Edit
    Exposure Lights Six Pack MK9

    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. The caliper might have not been very accurate, but I know the tool is not as snug fitting as I think they should be. I later used Teng tools bits, which fit better than Park Tool, but still there is a lot of play.
    Renthal Apex 35 bolts wear_0748

    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 disappointment and should be addressed ASAP, but the Hex key only slipped once, I haven’t had issue since then.

    Reflector_5283
    Side view_20190110_182855edit
    exposurelightsexposuresixpackmk9 _20190110_182900edit

    A rider had issue with two stems cracking, he did enduro riding, but I haven’t had this happen yet.

    read more about it here:

    ,https://www.vitalmtb.com/product/guide/Stems,39/Renthal/Apex,18140#product-reviews/3132/expand

    Verdict:

    I can recommend this stem, 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, Apex35 Will go on my next bike(s).

    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.

     

    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 licensed tech from 9point8, cut 9point8 claim the tech is the same but not the materials or tolerances, and not made by them. But I can’t know if these issues will happen with both or if it’s just bad tolerances from Race Face.

    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.

    Cockpit nr2 Kloppe Onstadkrysset 4 km_0574
    Gemini Xera light_0609

    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.

    Race Face Atlas zero rise 50mm_0031
    Exposure Lights Six Pack MK9
    Renthal Apex 35 bolts wear_0744
    E Thirteen dropepr post remote 17J V10SS

    Some other reviews:

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

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

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

    Flickr Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHskZz3qZS

    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 dérailleur updated Long-term review

    This post is in the process of being updated.

    Wet EXT RF Atlas Catalyst - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0404
    IMG_20161011_203005722
    With the original link & jockey wheels
    Rebuilt XT m8000 on Trek 6300_1595
    XT M8000 KMC x11 DLC - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29e_0329

    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 dérailleur. 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 Bontrager Duster 29 on the bike, which was not good for 11 speed as the cassette was further in than the Hope Pro 4 Enduro wheel, Hope Pro 4 hubs are 11 speed compatible freehub, which places the cassette further outwards giving you better chain line & eliminating back pedalling 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.

    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0405
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0413_DxO
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur _0314
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur _0306
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0308
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0358
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur _0343
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0363
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0601
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0633
    Shimano Xt M8000 Rear derailleur_0627
    rebuilt XT M8000 Speed rear deraileur _0443

    The clamping plate eventually bent after few months, eventually the wire slipped, and I I had get it straightened enough to be usable, and then I put it back with the wear to the top, eventually the plate was straighter, but I eventually installed new plate just in case, to me it seems like the wire is bending the plate after long little by little, it seems like a flawed design. also the nut bolt trough plate design is no longer in use as on previous XT so the threads are in swing arm not in a nut.

    Fully assembled, seal for cover for the clutch replaced, wire clamping plate, the seal hood for the clutch adjustment, which also eventually wore out like the original, hopeless, it wears out fast, and eventually falls off.

    here you can see the new plate installed

    XT wire bolt - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29e_0321
    Hope 11T- 2017 upgraded NR 1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0312

    Better jockey wheels installed..

    Hope 11T- 2017 upgraded NR 1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0307
    Hope  KMC - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0210
    XT Hope  KMC - 2017 upgraded Nr1 2014 Fuel EX 7 29er_0195

    Did the 2014 Trek fuel ex 7 damaged the RD? or was it faulty?

    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 it due to major flex in the 2014 Fuel ex 7 frame under pedalling load? or was it faulty cage axle? I Don’t know.

    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.
    • the bolts are quite fragile, the head damages easily, the tolerances between the tool and the bolt is not great, there is a wiggle room, causing the bolt to wear, even with most accurate tools out there it won’t solve the issue as the bolt head it self is the issue, but having it will definitely help, it’s the case for all of the bolts.
    • Plastic clutch switch is flexy and fragile it seems, I have seen pictures online of it snapped, impacting it might snap it, I haven’t done it, I don’t smash Rds often, if I do any damage it’s just scratching.
    XT RD m8000 Clutch lever _20170221_111429205

    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 back-pedalling issues So I can’t recommend it.
    • very easy to service the clutch.

    2019 update: the spring is not as strong as on Box One first gen, which was so strong it was fatiguing me even more than the XT M8000.

    Verdict:

    I will use the Xt Rd for a while, to not fatigue my thumb as much with Box One but I think I will switch from mechanical shifter to Archer D1X electronic system to get less fatigued, because even with the lighter spring on XT M8000 it still can be too much for longer rides.

    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 probably between 72-80kg, I ahven’t been on a scale in a long time (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.

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

    Chris King Threadfit 30 Rf Turbine oct 2017 Upgraded 2010 Trek 6300_0098
    RaceFace Atlas Crank_3942
    Bad seals_2072Edit

    So as soon as Cane Creek Preloader came on the market I ordered it for all the cranks.

    Here is a pictures of it installed.

    Cane Creek Preload collar on Race Face Atlast crank_5497
    On the Atlas Cranks
    Cane Creek Preload Collar on Race Face ccrank_5506

    And on Turbine:

    Crank arm_20180927_110352
    Chris King Thread fit 30_20180927_113708

    Turbine:

    Race Face Crank boot _0641
    Chris King Threadfit 30 Rf Turbine oct 2017 Upgraded 2010 Trek 6300_0086

    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.

    Chris King BB 30 & Race Face Turbine_0628
    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
    Rf Turbine Dirtyu _0320

     Atlas crankset:

    Bad seals_2068edit

    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.

    Race Face Alloy 30mm spindle_5494

    • The bolt has bad tolerances, causing wear, this is the case for both Turbine & Atlas the cranks of course
    Drivetrain_3908
    Race Face Atlas
    New bolt on Race Face Atlas crank
    New bolt installed 31 may 2019, tolerances are still not great.

    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.

    Turbine Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzamsxQ

    Pedaling Innovations Catalyst Pedals Short term Review

    Some more pictures added 2 May 2019

    James Did a nice job explaining the benefits of the Catalyst pedal, instead of me explain it all the out the videos.

    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.

    Race Face Crank boot green_5042

    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.

    Pedaling Innovations Catalyst pedals

    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 a 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.

    Check out BikesAreFun video showing how to service it:

    So there was no point in me doing a video on this.

    Catalyst pedal spindle_0611
    Catalyst pedal spindle_0604
    Catalyst pedal spindle_0606
    Catalyst pedal spindle_0609

    Cons: No issues so far.

    The pins are won’t be easy to remove when damaged, because of the female Hex 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

    Other reviews:

    here is a unboxing video too:

    As you can see the latest version has 8 more pins, 4 on each side.

    Here are some interviews with James:

    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 dérailleur has been on some long rides, and got some abuse, some of the abuse was from crashes, some of the abuse is from the 2014 fuel ex frame set, so I am sure it contributed to the rear dérailleur wearing out faster.

    Time used:

    I have ridden this rear dérailleur 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 (if I am well enough to),  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 dérailleur with 1x setup.

    Sometimes I am unlucky and crash or mess up on a technical climb, and this is why the rear dérailleur 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 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 dérailleur.

    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 dérailleur 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.

    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.

    21445634124_fcc18a2ed2_b
    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