Posted on Leave a comment

Extended First Ride: Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Extended First Ride Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Well, after about 4 years I changed bikes this week. I demo-ed the aluminum Mondraker FOXY and decided the carbon version, with suspension and brakes I liked would be a good fit. So far, I’ve been blown away with how right that is. Here we go with an Extended First Ride: Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review.

To start, if you want to learn a more about the spec of my build you can link over to a post which details some of the “whys” each part ended up on my personal bike.

As a note, I purchase all my product. You can see where I see value. Great performance on budget bits (like Magura MT5 brakes – love em, they work great and they save $) means I have more budget on parts I’m willing to go all in for performance (suspension for example).

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon RR Review

What’s an Extended First Ride?

Sounds a corporate-ese right?

This Mondraker FOXY review isn’t a two hour spin and then onto something else. Getting miles in different terrain over a few days allows minor adjustments and a much better understanding of the bikes finite details.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

I’ll go over quick pre-ride notes, thoughts on the trail performance as well as some product specific insight on bits that are new to me on a personal or extended test bike.

FOXY, Before the Ride

Mondraker Fit: Forward Geometry

I wanted to go a little longer than my previous SB130 (Large). Since the FOXY has a longer reach and slightly taller stack per size I stayed in the Large, but it hit my goal of being slightly longer.

Between the stem stack and 40mm bars I was able to get my hands up a bit more which I’m hoping will help my lower back on long or technical climbs.

I centered the saddle on the rails and haven’t changed it yet. It’s a comfortable position even with long legs for my height.

I don’t do a lot of cockpit fine tuning as I need my hands into a pretty specific area to help my lower back uphill. I’ll accommodate as needed downhill to make sure I feel as good as possible uphill… Like my grandma said, getting old isn’t for sissies.

Ohlins Suspension Setup

My  first ride was chasing the sun. Luckily, Ohlins has pretty good setup data available. I grabbed their settings and headed off.

The rear shock felt close. Maybe one click here and one click there on the first day to feel the difference.

In the front, the RXF M.2 fork is plush. It felt a bit linear as I prefer more ramp and support so I ended up cranking as much compression into it as possible on the first ride.

2022 Mondraker FOXY First Ride Review

On Trail

Riding within your limits is important. Even more on a bike that you are unfamiliar with. I kept the bike well within my ability since my first ride was at dusk and alone.

My first lap was an easy loop near work in Whiting Ranch. It’s a flowy, fun network, close enough to the shop I can ride before or after the day easily. Nothing burly. Prior to my earlier demo ride I was a little nervous that the FOXY would feel “big” or “numb” there. The aluminum demo bike felt OK there so I surmised that the carbon bike with better suspension would improve that. It did.

Since it’s a common lap it’s easy to look for a particular setup window: I want the bike to have traction into the corners and pop out. Rear suspension should be lively enough to pump the trail with notable effect, ie speed increase. Similarly, the fork should have enough support to keep the bike changing direction or floating over terrain and not “diving into” pockets on corners or when the trail comes back up from a hole.

The FOXY’s rear end felt close off the bat. It lacked a touch of support and sat a little deep into the direction changes, but, for a first ride it was well within an expected performance range. Where it gave up a little in support the traction was amazing.

The 36 RXF fork was more linear that I liked, kind of right on the edge of the range of ‘ya, I can get this fixed’. But I knew the Ohlins was going to have a more linear feel and it was a first drop. So, nothing to worry about just yet.

While the bike wasn’t quite as lively as I would consider perfect I wasn’t worried about getting it into the range. The combination of compression controls, ramp up chamber in the fork and volume spacers in the rear shock gave me options to fine tune the pop on the bike.

One thing I took clearly from the first ride on the FOXY: the extra grip was notable. This is one planted bike. More than once where the FOXY held a tighter line than I expected and I ended up handlebars, arms and one time maybe face into the bushes on the inside of a corner.

I was most pleased with how lively the 150mm travel Zero Suspension rides. I had some reservations that the RAZE was a bike I would like better with slightly less travel. Not all of my rides need the FOXY’s full travel, but it’s a lively bike and lets me keep something in the tank for bigger days.

When I demo’d the FOXY I found it climbed much better than I forecast. Even the aluminum demo felt good downhill. The carbon FOXY, with brakes that I had faith in and suspension with more compression support would take the ride to the next level. And it did.

Extending the First Ride Review

Writing on a single ride admittedly creates a situation where you have to extrapolate some data based on previous experience rather than actual product experience. To have a more substantial and credible post I wanted a few more rides on the FOXY.

My next ride was in Mission Trails in San Diego. This is a park not too far from my house. A little steeper and burlier terrain in parts than Whiting, but its still a fun ‘by yourself’ pedal. BTW, I don’t see a reason to test in conditions that push you to the point you can’t really understand what’s happening, like if my first ride was in the burliest terrain I can handle what am I going to write competently?

22 Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Climbing the Mondraker FOXY

As always, I have to disclaim this: I am not a good climber. Not my forte nor my priority. So, most of you can out climb me. I get uphill to ride down – and as long as I eventually get up there I’m quite pleased hahaha…

What am I looking for when climbing for a competent write-up? Traction and acceleration. Those two things I can feel and translate to other riders. As far as churning your legs faster and further? You got that I’m sure!

Mission Trails offers sections to feel how a bike tracks around switchbacks, handles loose rocks and gets over protruding rocks.

Switchbacks

The Mondraker tracked pretty well, around even tight switchbacks. I was intrigued to see how the slacker headtube angle compared to my previous SB130 TLR would behave. Pretty close, and without the four years of experience on the bike too…

On the tightest radius corners I found myself letting the front end get light and driving around off the back wheel. Concentrating and keeping the rear wheel under power when I get tired is difficult. I tend to just bash things and stay under power. A stronger rider likely would kind of half stand to pedal and push the front end down around the corner. The survival pedal-er, me, needs to keep the momentum going or the pedals stop and it’s foot down. This leads to staying in a more singular position and letting the front end go light and kind of body-englishing it around. Something I could work on for sure. Bike is more competent than me in this situation.

I’ll touch again on climbing switchbacks a bit later.

Climbing Rocks and Baby Heads

The FOXY climbed very sure footed in loose rocks. Zero Suspension didn’t suffer wheel spin even as the rocks moved under the power.

It behaved even better in the larger protruding rock sections. During a test ride I try to use a combination of lines that I know as well as off-line bizarre routes to see if the bike wants to behave or not. In both scenarios the FOXY was extremely competent and predictable.

One of the most notable things, the Mondraker, being so sure footed, keeps the rear tire in line very well. Compared to bikes that can lose the read end under power and kind of fish-tail around the Mondraker overall kept its heading well. This is beneficial as it requires less body-english to keep the bike moving forward.

My favorite aspect climbing was how the bike feels like it ‘crawls’ up rocks.

Previous bikes I’ve had seem to push ‘back’ when approaching some of the lines in Mission Trails. As an example, you’d almost have to pedal into the section, start up the rocks, the suspension would come back and as a rider you’d push the bike back forward to continue. It takes much more energy and thought (two things I might not have a lot of climbing admittedly).

The FOXY seems to ‘crawl’ up the rock rather than pushing back. Much more of the momentum is retained in a forward direction which is a confident feel. It’s notable how well a 150mm rear travel bike climbs these days – man it’s come a long way from when I started riding…

Acceleration

OK, while not a climber, I’m a strong enough to tell how a bike accelerates. I then extrapolate this into efficiency a bit.

The Mondraker accelerates really well whether pedaling seated or standing. When you increase the wattage to the cranks the bike quickly responds.

This compares favorably against bikes that feel like when you start putting a ton of power they take a second to load the suspension then start spinning the wheel a bit more. The FOXY rewards the effort quickly and crisply.

The bike accelerates quickly and it feels appropriate to the amount of increase of power to the increase of ground speed.

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Mondraker FOXY Downhill Performance

Well, here’s where it gets fun. Like real fun.

The FOXY is a blast downhill.

It corners well, it handles chunk, it has a personality that is snappy enough for me but isn’t so fast handling that it will give you issues if you push it a bit past your skill level.

Cornering

This is a very planted bike. As such braking performance is great.

Jump on the brakes hard and roll off them before a corner you’ll find the FOXY slows well and then resets to track excellent into the turn. It is quick to change direction and confident accepting lean angle both early and in the middle of the corner.

Four rides in and I found the limit of how much rear compression I like, where the bike starts to chatter just a bit in the mid corner at speed. Now I’m dialing back to get a bit more grip in the mid and corner exit.

I started with stock volume spacing and ran the suggested air pressure and close to the compression and rebound settings. Having found the limit with the compression and PSI my next step will be to go back with volume spacers and see if adding some support through air ramp allows me to back off the compression a bit.

Frankly, in a short time I’ve gotten very comfortable with the FOXY’s cornering.

At first the added grip even had me running too tight, into bushes on the inside of corners once or twice! After a couple instances I thought the bike might have pushed out of a corner – but going back and glancing at footage it might be that the additional grip has lead to an increase in cornering speed. (not even riding at full tilt! Impressive)

Finally on cornering: after each ride I note the bike’s condition with particular interest to travel used and whether the tires have any tell-tale markings on the sidewalls. I have yet to get any of the slashes on the sidewall, so I have a little more traction and compliance left in the tires if I want it as well.

Improving the bike in the corners

I’m still working to get a bit more support out of the front end which I believe will give the bike even a touch more speed out of corner pockets. A lot of this comes back to my riding size and ground speed combo.

While the Ohlins fork is a bit linear for me, a heavier rider on the max end of the air pressure, for the average 160-220lb rider I would say that the fork setup is much easier. The performance window allows for a more precise setup feel and wider range of options. Particularly using the ramp up chamber at a higher pressure per weight.

I’m working on some setup with it and it’s not so far out of the window that its unusable by any stretch. I suspect that I’ll find some magic in it. If I don’t I’ll go back to a FOX 36 or 38 GRIP2.

It’s the mid support that I’m working through at the minute.

The fork is plush, which I could give up some for more support, but I’m trying ride a normalized sag setting at the moment. I may increase the PSI and look for maybe 15-18% sag but I’m still playing with other options before I get too far away from the 20% sag.

The Ohlins high speed compression works well. I cranked it up a couple rides and it kept me out of the final bit of travel. I’ve backed it down a bit as it wasn’t adding as much to the mid stroke as I wanted and was costing me that last bit of travel in a couple situations that might have warranted it.

Personally I’m just looking for a little more right as the bike starts to set into the travel. I feel like its there and I feel like I’ll find it. Or I’ll keep pestering Joe until he goes into it and I get the first Ohlins Pro Tune…

Speaking of the fork let’s look at some terrain that needs more fork.

Chunky Terrain

The quick take: Mondraker’s FOXY is predictable and at home in chunky terrain.

The FOXY’s sure-footed personality glows when you point the bike downhill. Even running on the far end of ‘poppy’ compression the bike sticks to the ground. Since it’s hard to push the bike to a point of skipping across the trail both turning and braking capacity are excellent.

Looking at my notes, the only complaints have been based the feeling like I’ve run deeper into the front travel than I prefer, but the fork hits the HSC and hasn’t buried. I would just like a little less of that dive in feel.

I’ve bottomed the rear end of the bike a couple times but haven’t felt a hard bottom yet. It has a confident feel through the travel.

Downhill Riding Position

My opinion on the Mondraker’s riding position, given that my setup is a compromise for my back, should be taken with a little bit of a grain of salt.

However, my setup isn’t so far in the weeds that it needs to be disregarded (try to sneak a look at test bike setups sometimes, I don’t know how some of these reviewers even ride ‘em…)

I’ve found the FOXY feels like you’re ‘in’ not ‘on’, which is nice. Front and rear wheel are both relatively easy to control from a standard downhill position. The bike behaves as expected if you move weight fore and aft.

I find I’m riding slightly more nose heavy than my previous rig. This might be one of the reasons I keep coming back to a bit more mid support out of the fork. But there’s also a difference of 4 years versus 4 rides experience. Maybe I’m getting used to it. I’ll have to look at if I’ve raised my hands a notable amount as well.

Slacker Headtube and More Trail

Compared to the 130 LR the FOXY has a slacker headtube, and thus an increase in trail measurement. I was a little fearful that this would numb the front end of the bike on trail and light enduro terrain.

So far, I haven’t noticed that. My continued adjustments have all improved the cornering of the FOXY downhill but none of them are based on a numb feeling.

Uphill in tight switchbacks I think I feel it a little more.

I found two ways to make the FOXY get around the real tight stuff.

Steering with the bars and leaning ‘out’ of the turn to keep the bike standing as straight as possible kept the steering input from wanting to exacerbate the lean angle.

The second option is not steering much at all and really leaning into the uphill corners. This requires more power as it works better at speed.

Both of the above worked. What felt like it didn’t work as well was kind of half turn half lean options. We live in a polarized world – so what should I expect haha…

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Wrapping Up the Mondraker FOXY Review

I’m going to try to be concise as I’m edging into 3000 words and all the seo machines are going to hate me… Also I want to have a couple blurbs on some new parts I’m riding and what I think as well below.

The FOXY with a 160mm fork and 150mm of rear travel on paper probably doesn’t look as trail and light enduro friendly as it is. This is an efficient pedaling bike. Mondraker’s well-designed suspension, they’re not using quantity of travel to make up for poor quality of travel like some designs do, means the bike feels fun and poppy throughout the travel. I don’t notice the bike using more travel than it needs nor do I feel the bike being harsh or uncomfortable sitting in the middle of the travel. I suppose what that means, the ramp and compression pairing on the rear shock give a good feeling balance through the travel. Instead of feeling ultra linear even though maybe I’m using 135-140 of the rear travel the bike feels progressive and poppy without becoming teeth rattling harsh in the last bit of rear travel.

Downhill Mondraker’s years on the race course have produced a bike that’s competent and predictable in a wide range of terrain. I didn’t notice any harsh square edge hits and the bike ate up terrain even when I deliberately put it in abusive lines.
For the average rider the Mondraker FOXY’s handling is awesome. The bike’s braking capacity is tremendous allowing confidence at speed. The grip is top of class, again adding confidence. And the bike changes directions quickly and competently.

More to come on this I’m sure, but let me quickly touch on some opinions on new parts to my bike. Starting at the back and going to the front:

10-52t cassette. I’m not a good climber. But, if you are, that 52t is a big jump from the 42t. I think I will end up getting stronger as I find myself in the 42t more often because I’m tepid to shift hard into that big 52t. But, it is a great granny gear!

Small flange diameter DT Swiss 350 hubs. This will be interesting. I’ve run 28h DT Swiss before, but this smaller diameter hub with straight pull spokes will be intriguing. Upside potentially more damping during cornering. The DT internals are top notch – but will the longer spokes cause me any issues? (again, I’m bigger than you!)

AbsoluteBlack Oval Chainring. First thoughts, when you’re going so slow that everything hurts well it hurts the same. If you get up a bit past that pace I can see where the change in leverage does probably make it an easier pedaling system. Since this is the pace I tend to live in I think I will like it overall. If you really start cranking a huge cadence it feels a little strange – but – that’s not been my problem in years…

Ohlins Suspension. See above – more to come on that too.

Fidloc magnetic bottle cage. Interesting. Makes a different noise downhill than I’m used to, but seems to stay in place and has a low profile overall.

New FOX Transfer Seatpost. Love the saddle mounting hardware. Love it.

Tag T1 Carbon 40mm rise bars. Love them so far. I went with them for the height as well as I wanted to try their ovalized internal carbon design to see how that feels on trail.

Ergon GE1 grips. RIP to the WTB Padloc I loved for so many bikes. I picked the Ergon as they had a nice feel on the outside of the top surface where you’re looking offer a bit more squish.

 


Thanks for the read! Shopping for your dream Mondraker? Want to learn more about the bike or the Ohlins’ Suspension? Check out the links below

Check out our in-stock bikes

Adding Volume Spacers to Ohlins TTX Air Shock

Learn how to change an Ohlins TTX Volume Spacer

Posted on Leave a comment

Adding Volume Spacers to Ohlins TTX Air Shock

Adding Volume Spacers to Ohlins TTX Air Shock

Enjoy a quick video, blog and some detail photos which detail adding volume spacers to Ohlins TTX Air Shocks. Now, Ohlins has some great data on their site as well, we’ll provide a couple links below, but here’s a couple real world tips and tricks for the Ohlins TTX Air Shock spec’d on the 2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon RR.

Airing Down an Ohlins TTX: A Bit Different Than I’ve Been Used To

Let’s start with really the biggest difference I felt like I came across when changing volume spacers on the Ohlins TTX. When you release the air the shock compresses. With some force!

Ohlins TTX Air Shock Compressed with No Air in can

Aired down – and compressed! I took out the valve stem just to make sure I had all the main system open…

This created two interesting problems for me until I got it confirmed from our mechanics…

I watched the Ohlins video and saw the shock compress but didn’t think much of it (or didn’t think of what I was really seeing I guess!)

So, I went to air down the TTX like I had so many other shocks with a 3 way wrench. Except, when the TTX compressed the head of the shock grabbed the wrench and pinned it to the frame! Well, I thought, I’ll just air it up – oh wait, there’s a three way stuck in the way… It wasn’t too hard to get some leverage on the rear triangle to free the wrench but I did feel like a rookie for sure. I included the clip in the video since its kind of funny I suppose.

Now, the other issue, I immediately recalled other brands of suspension that if you aired the shock down and it went down (suck down as it’s called) it was going to be a somewhat sketchy problem to disassemble it. So I grabbed Tracy and made sure that 1 I hadn’t skipped any steps and 2 wasn’t going to have a shock detonating with a loaded negative air chamber damaging anyone in the work area…

Turns out this particular shock just needs to be unthreaded for a bit to come loose and allow for the volume spacers to be accessed.

If you watched the video the rest of this is just to help reinforce your understanding – and it’s great for SEO too right?

Loosen the Air Shaft

Loosen the air shaft which clamps down the outer sleeve. This is done with a bottom bracket tool. Be patient and get a good grip on it. After a couple turns you can easily turn it by hand and put the tool back on the table.

Once you’ve cleared the threads the shock will extend like the image below.

Ohlins TTX Air Shock Unscrewed and Extended

Ohlins TTX Volume Spacers

This TTX carries two different types of volume spacers, in two different places. When you open the shock you will see the two band volume spacers spec’d on the 2022 Mondraker Foxy’s shock.

Ohlins TTX Air Shock stock volume spacers

The other volume spacer, which gives you the most amount of ramp rate increase is located at the other end of the shock on the shaft.

It is a puck style volume spacer and 1 and only 1 spacer should be installed on the inner shaft.

First pull back the retainers.

Determine volume spacers in Ohlins TTX Air Shock

Carefully move the retainers out of the way and pull out the volume spacer.

In this case the was the Ohlins E volume spacer (the biggest available in the kit) and since I wanted to max the volume spacers I simply put it back in its place.

Determine volume spacers in Ohlins TTX Air Shocks

Maximum Volume Spacers for Ohlins TTX

At this point I needed to determine how many volume spacers I could add to the shock.

Using the Ohlins chart from the TTX owners manual, and a distributor to figure out the part number for the shock I determined I could run 20,000 cubic mm’s.

The stock puck was 12,000 and the 2 bands were 2,000 each – meaning I could add two additional band spacers.

Ohlins TTX Maximum Volume Spacers Installed

which I did.

Adding Volume Spacers to Ohlins TTX Air Shock

To finish adding volume spacers to Ohlins TTX Air Shock simply reassemble the shock in reverse order of disassembly.

One thing to make sure of – the outer air can has a locating tab, insure that it is fit into the proper slot during reassembly.

IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS OF YOUR MECHANICAL ABILITY, HAVE A PROFESSIONAL SERVICE OR CHECK YOUR WORK!

Ohlins TTX air can tab

Check out more on the Ohlins’ TTX on BikeCo.com:

Extended First Ride: A Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Ohlins TTX Owners Manual (page 11 illustrates volume spacer options)

(note – one of the manuals indicated a higher max PSI than was shown on my shock. I deferred to the detail ON MY SHOCK. If you have issues or questions with that contact your sales team or Ohlins for confirmation)

Ohlins Volume Spacer Video

Return to Top of Page

Posted on Leave a comment

Mondraker MIND Telemetry Unavailable in the US

Mondraker MIND Telemetry Unavailable in the US
(clip from) Mondraker FOXY Carbon First Ride Review: Extended

Mondraker MIND Telemetry Unavailable in the US

 

I DON’T MIND

 
A question my, rather small, set in our ways, group of riding friends asked was what I thought about the Mondraker MIND Telemetry.
 
Well, for whatever reason: App licensing? Patent limitations? Something else I don’t know about? I dunno. But, however you cut it: MIND telemetry is not available on the US bikes.
And it doesn’t bother me.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy data. It’s interesting and you can look at it a lot of ways. But, like an old boss of mine was apt to say: figures don’t lie, but liars can figure…

APP DRIVEN TELEMETRY

 
So, app driven suspension suggestions (turn this dial put in this PSI) even based on a good deal of telemetry input, well it’s just not 100% credible to me. (funniest one was a GPS setting that rated like smoothness – What? How? Why?)
 
Telemetry sheets are graphs with spurts of data points. Usually spikes or arcs and all kinds of shapes. Any app that’s telling you “twist this 2 clicks and that 1 click and do this with the PSI” is using an algorithm of what it sees to make those suggestions.
 
Does data help a pro racer with a competent suspension tech? Yup. But a large part of that relationship is talking about “this is what I felt when I was riding best”, “this might have led me to be in the wrong position during ‘x’” and “ya, I just fluffed the lines there and the data is outlier.”
 
Working with a person who can chat about all the minutia has huge dividends and that’s one of the focal points of our bike suspension setup, delivery, and follow up process here at BikeCo.com
(which is SUPER important on the heavier eMTB rigs – if your eMTB isn’t setup right, well, sorry. You’re gonna chase that for a while and it’s going to compromise your ride quality)

CAN YOU SEE THE INPUT?

 
Riding footage adds an interesting dynamic to fine tune setup (notice the racers tend to practice with them?).
 
Being able to watch and see: “ya, that’s a proper line within my skill set and I think the fork should have rode taller” versus, “whoops, ya, I smashed through the travel because of rider error there – glad the bike was there at all!”

MY EXAMPLE: DEMO RIDE QUESTION

 
On my Mondraker FOXY demo I came across an example I think would have confused an app and led down the wrong rabbit hole.
The demo (which lacked the low and high speed compression controls on the FOXY Carbon RR Ohlins or the RAZE Fox Factory suspension) was quick to turn down, or dive into corner entry.
 
However, it felt like it would “stall” for lack of a better term when I tried to drive it to full lean angle around the apex.
 
So what was going on? What were my options? And, getting to the point of this blurb – does an app have any chance at this or did I need a certain amount of data and review with a competent person? (bet you know which way I’m going)
 
Joe and I chatted about it over lunch after the ride. (I have access to Joe Binatena one of the most sought after suspension people in MTB – and you know, if you buy a bike, suspension or a Pro Tune from The Bike Company so do you through our team…)
 
Mid to fast Bermed corners. Suspension PSI setup properly. Tire pressure OK, possibly a little high (I hate flats, and I hate flats more on test rides…)
 
I generally don’t trail brake through corners (in fact the demo bike had brakes I hated so I was braking super early to insure it would slow down…) so the bike was sitting at a proper attitude going into the turns.
 
If you brake too late or into a corner it creates a “nose down” attitude. This creates issues as the bike runs deeper into travel giving up some traction and having a more “harsh” feel – maybe harsh isn’t the right word, but a faster or more aggressive push back since it’s running at a deeper PSI?
 
Not to toot my own horn, but it might take a bit of experience to feel the bike “hang” during the lean. Of course, now that you know it can be a thing you’re ahead of where I was then right??
It might be more likely that a rider would note the bike felt slow rotating around the corner and wanted to push (understeer) to the outside of the corner.
 
Those complaints are probably going to lead to softer tires and possibly a softer suspension right? Help keep more grip to get around the corner?
 
Except, in my case that’s not what was happening. Those changes would just make the bike squirmy (too low of tire pressure) and slow out of pocketed corners as the suspension would use too much travel compromising momentum and steer input.
 
Would it have killed me to go the wrong direction with those setup mods? Probably not.
 
BUT! If I came back after the ride with lower pressures and still had the complaint and went well, if SOME was a good idea MORE must be better… I’m quickly off into the weeds of suspension setup and probably frustrated with my purchase.
 
Here’s where a live, thinking person with access to a team (am I describing BikeCo? Of course I am) has a huge advantage. If I had lowered the pressure and spoke with my contact and was like “WHOA, didn’t help” we’re probably looking at other setup options.
Because what was the fix? More ramp, more compression. The bike wasn’t exactly “pushing” or over-steering as much as it was unable to maintain the tighter early apex cornering line which then set me wider at exit.
 
Going frame by frame with the riding footage it seemed like the fork was setting in a touch deep into the travel into the corner apex / pocket, but then kind of slowly settling down a touch deeper as well. Probably the split second of the bike compressing (and slowing) drove my body slightly ahead in the bike which then added to more of front end settling in.
 
Watching the video the trail showed the bike SHOULD have load through the suspension at that point, but it was setting in (as you would expect) then kind of slowly continuing to load.
 
It made sense to have the suspension loaded into the corners, so I wouldn’t want to increase rebound as that would decrease overall grip and ride quality bouncing me around.
 
Air pressure was an option – however the bike wasn’t sitting super deep on the first section of the lean or cornering. So again, increasing air pressure would decrease grip and could induce skip.
 
So where were the answers?
 
Increasing Ramp Rate: make each MM of the suspension past sag take a little bit more load to compress it.
 
Increasing Low Speed Compression: similar to the ramp rate adjustment increasing compression slows the forks progression through the travel giving it more support.
 
Perhaps a small increase to High Speed Compression: Adding high speed compression in small increments can be helpful too.
 
Back to my point on having my phone send me a post ride SMS (not sure if that’s a function any have but it seems funny to say) to make all those ideal changes?
 
Yaaaa, I don’t think that’s gonna happen? So, no telemetry? I don’t MIND.
 
 
Posted on Leave a comment

Thoughts on the 2022 Mondraker FOXY First Ride

2022 Mondraker FOXY First Ride

With the Mondraker Demo Fleet here at BikeCo.com for a week I had an opportunity to grab one of the 2022 Mondraker FOXY demos for a morning to help better define some of the details that set this bike apart. Here are my thoughts on the 2022 Mondraker FOXY First ride!

spoiler alert… pulled the trigger on a FOXY Carbon RR with some upgrades… Learn about how I spec’d My Bike for Me (link at bottom as well)

I hope you enjoy the video with both my real time thoughts on the 2022 Mondrakers as well as some concepts to review on demoing not only the Mondraker but really any MTB. (Click to see part 1, “What to Look for in a MTB Demo” video)

With the modern economy demo fleets aren’t necessarily full of each size and each model you’re looking for. So, its more important than ever to be able to work and define whether you’re noting the Frame / Suspension Design, the Spec (Components) or the Setup. All three are critical in dialing in YOUR dream bike, however, the reality on a quickly setup demo you’re going to have some accommodations to be aware of.

This Mondraker FOXY was a very poignant illustration of that. With all of the carbon bikes allocated to dealers (like BikeCo.com!) the demo fleet is made up of more entry level aluminum bikes.

This made it more important than ever to be able to understand what performance attributes would be due to Zero Suspension Design and Forward Geometry, which are shared with the FOXY Carbon R while being able to decipher what influence the aluminum construction and more cost-conscious spec had on my demo ride.

So what did I find?

Mondraker ZERO Suspension

My Mondraker FOXY First Ride made one thing really clear: Zero Suspension is notably compliant and competent. The Mondraker FOXY rides well planted and is confident in fast direction changes. The Mondraker suspension also is exceptional putting power to the rear tire. The planted feel minimizes rear wheel slip under power even in less than idea climbing conditions.

How was I able to determine this? Just beyond amazing demo? Ya, not exactly…

Well, it might seem somewhat counter intuitive to be really impressed with a design when the ride experience was kind of just above so/so right? Not when you can break apart the bike design, spec and setup.

The FOXY demo had FOX Performance DPS rear shock and FOX Performance GRIP 36 fork. Both of these are quality bits, but neither has the external compression controls of the FOX Factory or Ohlin’s products to help provide more rider support quickly. Also, demo bikes are done to accommodate the widest range of riders. Well, many riders, especially lighter ones or riders with slower ground speeds, prefer less ramp rate so the suspension tends to have fewer volume spacers than you may run.

In short, I knew the suspension dampers were going to be somewhat overwhelmed – I tried to make up for some of this with a bit more aggressive air pressure but the mid-stroke of both fork and rear shock were going to be slightly lacking. Now, if the bike was mine could I get that dialed in over a few rides? Ya, with volume spacers and PSI variants you could get it close. With Pro Tune suspension you could get it even closer with size and speed based tuning in the circuit. But back to the FOXY.

The Mondraker Zero Suspension was exceptionally confident even with dampers that I knew were being overworked. How did this manifest on trail? Well, the bike didn’t squat into corners. In fact, even with a relatively soft mid-stroke in the rear shock the bike felt like it stood tall heading into turns.

Now, a little bit of that would be because the fork was being overwhelmed and allowing the weight to shift forward, but not all of it.

The FOXY was sure-footed and competent even with my body weight being tossed around a bit to make up for the lack of front end support. Impressively the bike was quick to change directions in both high speed “S’s” as well as medium or lower speed bermed switchbacks.

The demo bike was setup at 160mm with a 66 degree headtube angle. Personally I would be setting it p with a 170mm fork, not so much for the additional travel but to slacken the headtube, increase the trail measurement and raise the front end up just a bit.

This combined with a personalized cockpit (the demo bike even with full spacers underneath the stem was still a bit low for me) would have dialed in the front end and allowed the rear end to perform even better.

FOXY Forward Geometry

The Forward Geometry is what we expect in modern MTB geo. The Large Mondraker fit very similar to my current Large Yeti SB130LR.

Climbing you’re placed in a comfortable, powerful position allowing you to attack technical ascents. In fact, for a 150mm rear bike I was blown away with how well it climbed. The energy you invest pedaling can be felt in the acceleration.

Descending riders find a confident position able to control the front and rear wheel in a position without extreme body English movements.

MTB Demo Bike Checklist: 3 Lists of 3

I often tell riders to try to avoid coming back from a demo with a “I loved it” or “I didn’t love it” attitude.

Its tough to have all the bits line up to totally fall in love with a bike on a short demo. It’s not too hard to decide you’re not into the right bike if you don’t break apart what was based on bike design, bike category, spec or setup.

Being able to work with a resource to help define this will go a long way to understanding if you’re on the right bike with the wrong bits, or if you’re in the wrong category of bike (honestly the FOXY is probably a little bigger than I would ride – I’d probably lean into a slightly burly built RAZE – or maybe a faster spec’d FOXY… hmmm now I’ll have to go back and look again!)

So here’s my 3 lists of 3. 3 things I liked, 3 things I was neutral about and 3 things I would change if it was mine:

3 Things I Liked

Suspension had very consistent, confident, planted feel yet with power the bike was incredibly efficient. Felt like it was shorter rear travel than it is while climbing, found traction even in challenging conditions. Felt appropriate acceleration for increases in energy output.

Bike stayed behaved even when pushed past fork’s ramp or compression – that’s to say when I got in some “oh boy” moments and undoubtably was throwing my body around the bike didn’t spit me out but stayed competent and neutral.

Bike had good support in rear into corners, which must have been mechanical design as the shock was under ramped and didn’t have finite low speed compression controls.

3 things I’m Neutral About (I only did 2)

Geometry felt right for pedaling. Felt like I expected that size bike to feel. Didn’t feel a way off from my Yeti’s fit. (check dimensions)

Wheel and tire spec was as expected on a bike of this category. Not my ideal but worked fine.

3 Things I Would Change

Brakes. Magura or Hope for improved modulation and confident power. I’ve run both over the years with excellent results.

Suspension. Performance Suspension on the demo Foxy lacked the compression controls for fine tuning the feel. Combined with a much more linear feel due to fewer volume spacers than I would run had the bike diving more than I would have liked to see, but it 100% felt like it could be tuned out with volume spacers in Performance Suspension and volume spacers and compression settings in Ohlins of FOX Factory Suspension. I would likely end up with the Ohlins’ spec’d on the FOXY Carbon R for this bike, or a Factory Float X and Factory 36 if I went with a Raze.

Cockpit: Hands were a bit low on test bike (bars sat taller than Yeti next to it, but BB difference probably made back up for that). Getting your hands in the right place is important for finite bike feel.

In the market for #thebestinMTB? Work with the experts at BikeCo.com to get dialed in on the best bikes, with the best suspension designs, spec for your budget and setup to your needs.

See you on the trails! Nate at BikeCo.com

 

Shop In-Stock Mondraker Bikes here at BikeCo.com!

 

Return to Top of Page

22 Mondraker FOXY First Ride Demo
6-17 2022 Mondraker Foxy Carbon RR with Upgrades Profile

Learned something about the 2022 Mondraker FOXY from this demo write up? Well see how I put together my personal FOXY Carbon after riding the aluminum demo…

Posted on Leave a comment

Increase Support & Improve MTB Small Bump Compliance

Products and Tips to Improve MTB Small Bump Compliance

As your riding progresses your settings and preferences are going to change. Faster, more aggressive riding puts different demands on your equipment and balancing your setup with these changes will help you improve your riding experience. You’re likely to find you need additional support from the suspension. This is typically done with increased compression or ramp rate which can compromise some of your small bump compliance. Let’s take a quick look at other components and techniques that can add some of your small bump compliance back as you ride faster.

 

Faster tends to be smoother

Imagine a boat going slowly riding up a series of waves. Up each face and down the back. Then the next. It has a certain “rock” to it right? Well if that boat is able to increase the speed it can decrease the vertical motion of “rock” by not dipping all the way down into each trough. Like “whoops” in moto – skipping across the top decreases the vertical motion. Same with your mountain bike.

Now, should you just skip out of control across everything? Nope. But momentum is often your friend.

Increase Support and Improve MTB Small Bump Compliance Cornering

Why You Need More Support

How does your setup need to change with that speed?

Well you’re going to need more support. If you’re running soft suspension it’s going to do a couple negative things.

First, it’s going to tend to “pack” and stay deeper in the travel then it needs to be. This will actually create a harsher ride as the PSI has increased while still being too soft for the next concern.

Burying the bike… Really a bummer and frankly can be kinda dangerous especially if the fork is too soft and buries itself into a hole or the front side of a rock you’re trying to roll past. Front end stuffs, bike slows way down or stops, your momentum keeps going and you’re a lawn dart. No fun.

So as your ground speed increases its important to give yourself that additional suspension support. While you might adjust sag a few percent most of this support is going to be through low and high speed compression as well as volume spacing to increase the air ramp rate and support.

Increase Support and Improve MTB Small Bump Compliance Support Image with proper compression

But, I Don’t Want A Bike That Chatters All The Time

No, you don’t want a bike that loses all of it’s small bump compliance.

And, sorry, but for just a second I’m getting on my soapbox: a lot of suspension talks about “small bump compliance” as the travel between full extension (you’re bike’s in the garage) and sag (with you sitting on it). This isn’t small bump compliance to me. This is droop. Sorry I’m a car guy and when the suspension goes away from me, or droops down – well that’s not what I consider absorbing a small bump. It’s falling away until the weight catches up. So, for this, Small Bump is referring to bumps that engage the suspension travel past the sag point in compression, ie you’re riding and hit a small bump and the suspension absorbs it…

OK, back to my point.

So you’ve had to make your suspension stiffer, or less compliant, in order to have it be able to “punch back” at the terrain without diving in and out of the travel. How do you keep your teeth from rattling out?

There’s a handful of places to look at that you can find small bump compliance outside of the suspension.

Rubber is a Damper

Many of the more “grippy” compounds actually are designed to incorporate additional damping. A lot of our racers will run the MaxxGrip front tire to get just even that bit more compliance since their suspension is so aggressive.

Tire sidewalls are playing a bigger and bigger role in fine tuning MTB riding compliance. Heavier sidewalls provide additional protection as well as damping through mass and material properties.

More aggressive sidewall technology provides additional mechanical support assisting the tire’s “air spring” to support your weight. This tends to allow riders to run a lower overall tire pressure providing better tire compliance and grip.

And yes, the air in your tire is a spring. And like your suspension it as it is compressed the pressures rise. The tire’s mass and sidewall properties effectively are the damper on this spring force. A heavier, stiffer sidewall is going to help slow the tire’s air spring better. This will help minimize harsh “run through” or even prevent or minimize rim strikes (which man, you can feel those in the hands!).

Another product that can help with compliance are CushCore tire inserts.

CushCore provide three unique modifications to a tires performance.

First, it’s a mechanical damper for the last bit of tire compression prior to the rim. Think of a jounce bumper in a shock: it’s a compressible item designed to absorb impact prior to it hitting a less compressible, and certainly less ideally compressible rim…

Second it works as a volume spacer in your tire. Similar to suspension adding volume spacers allows a lower starting PSI to more quickly ramp up to the proper supporting PSI.

Third and perhaps most notable and at the same time kind of the hardest to describe is how the CushCore’s contact point lowers the sidewalls leverage ratio in many conditions. That’s to say that by putting pressure on the sidewall, or maybe support is the better term, it shortens the available length of the sidewall which allows takes away some of the mechanical advantage the ground can apply to it. Think of waving a ruler holding onto the far edge, then holding in the middle. Lowering the leverage makes a big difference right?

Learn more about Maxxis tire compounds, sidewalls and tread patterns here

Magura MT7 HC MT7 and MT5 Levers Compared

Top to Bottom: Magura MT7 HC, Magura MT7 and Magura MT5 brake levers. Shop the Magura and Shimano brake lineup here.

Brakes, Braking and Slow is Fast

Stay with me on this one, it’ll make sense. Bigger brakes will help your small bump compliance. Well, bigger, more powerful brakes and a bit of technique.

You’ve probably seen it on trail – the rider heading into a chunky section who gets timid, grabs a handful of brakes, stuffs the suspension 1/3 down into the travel and then is, at best, jostled horribly across the terrain trying to regain control? So two things wrong there.

One, momentum is your friend like we mentioned earlier.

Two, especially with your fork, grabbing a bunch of brake OR staying on the brakes too late just stuffs the bike into it’s suspension. Instead of hitting the chunk at sag with say 80% of the travel left (and at the sag PSI) you’ve gone in at like half travel, cutting down both the amount of travel you have left as well as making the bike way more harsh as it enters chunk. No good!

Sort of like how when you corner there’s a point you need to be off the brakes and let the bike roll in (ya, you can trail brake to a point – but you’re not like smashing brakes while trail braking or braking through the corner) anyhow, so you ideally have a point that you need to get off the brakes and let the bike reset its rake and sag before you go blasting through chunk.

This allows you to take advantage of the more plush suspension further in the fork’s extension, have more travel left to absorb the terrain as well as resetting the headtube angle, and therefor trail measurements as well. All good stuff.

Handlebars, Grips, Gloves and Hands

So frankly, the two tips above are going to provide you the biggest jumps in small bump compliance as you up your compression settings. There are a few places that you can get a bit more feel, and every little bit does help.

Handlebars

Carbon fiber has a unique balance of stiffness while being able to slightly damp vibration input. Really that’s the beauty of carbon bars. Being a bit lighter is great too, particularly high up on a bike where center of gravity makes a big difference, but the real draw is the feel.

OneUp Components Carbon Handlebar Shape

Carbon also can be manufactured in a variety of shapes that would be really difficult in other materials. This allows two advantages. Weight saving and performance tuning. Removing material where it’s not needed such as the Tag T1 Carbon Bar with ovalized bar ends is an example of both.

The bar that probably takes the most advantage of this is the OneUp Components Carbon Handlebar. With it’s unique shape the OneUp bar is designed to improve small bump compliance by eliminating off-axis material in the rise transition.

Handlebar Width = Leverage Rate

Handlebar width is important to how your bike rides.

Obviously you need your hands in a comfortable position that allows you a power position to push the bar into corners and pull the bars over terrain. We’ve touched on that in other blogs over the years.

In regards of small bump compliance you’re looking at the leverage ratio of your bar’s design as well as your final bar width. As you narrow your bar you decrease the leverage ration which increases the bar’s stiffness.

We’ve actually seen handlebar manufacturers try to push a “one size fits all” on some stiffer bars because if you lower the leverage ratio they become like teeth rattling stiff. We don’t all need to run 800mm bars. (at 6’1” I run 785 as a point of reference)

If you’re trimming bars it’s worth a look how stiff the bars start out. If you’re trimming towards the minimum cut widths it might be worth looking at a less stiff bar to start.

Shop our favorite handlebars here!

Grips

Some riders are big fans of the grips with a slight rotation designed into them. We setup some clients on those if they want them – but – we don’t really ride those in the shop.

Personally, I don’t like the idea of the grip rotating and taking away some of the feel when I really clamp down on the handlebars. There’s also a part of me that doesn’t particularly like having more moving bits than needed on my setup.

Gripping

Now I’m not saying you death grip the bar. Far from it. Letting the bar slightly rattle in your hands helps minimize trail feedback. In fact one of the tips from my younger brother years ago on really long descents like San Juan Trail he would pick his spots and push his thumb into his middle finger and literally let the bar bounce in those circles. I never wrapped my head around that really – but he was doing 50 and 100 mile races and keeping your body feeling good was critical.

While we’re on how you grip the bar, it won’t change small bump compliance, but if your brakes or controls are out of position and require you to rock your hands “up” or “down” the trail feedback is much more likely to cause pain when you ride.

Similarly if you ride in gloves that are too big and “bunch” up in your grip position you can expect discomfort in your hands.

Gloves with large contact pads tend to create hand discomfort. Rather than minimizing trail feedback the extra movement thick contact pads either creates hot spots or perhaps has riders gripping a bit too much.

Wrapping It Up

Ok. Eighteen hundred words. That’s a bunch right? So to wrap it up in a quick paragraph:

Increase your compression and ramp as you ride faster to aid support at speed. Remember momentum is often your friend. Don’t slam on a handful of brakes into the terrain features and pack the suspension up. Run tires with appropriate support. Hold on right, not necessarily always tight. Should I have started with all of that and saved you the read? Hahaha… See you on the trails – Nate@BikeCo.com

 

Return to Top of Page

Posted on Leave a comment

Getting a Grip: Ahead of Time is the New Just in Time

Getting A Grip Ahead of Time is the new Just In Time

I need new grips. The grips I love are allegedly not available for a year.

But the economy is dead, never to work again, in anyway shape or form? If you read the headlines it’s shocking we’ve made it this far. Don’t worry, they’ll tell you where the cliff is. Right, right, right past that next automated ad they’ve put in front of you (ironically, selling you something right?)

Pandemic changed things. True.

So did the blue trucks blocking the streets in every neighborhood. (I don’t have an account and I don’t use it but that’s something for another channel.

So did some family in middle America that was busy pricing out the little guys so cliché Americans could go use free scooters to navigate a megastore with a jumbo ultra super barrel of sugar. Oh, and you can get greeted by someone who has a lifetime of stories and probably did some important stuff but needs whatever micro amount of money is available to say hi to some snot nosed gamer walking straight past them. But, at least we learned you can copyright bizarre taglines about mountain sports in areas notably devoid of mountains.

Point is: the economy is dynamic, constantly changing and involves navigation. It is affecting us that’s for sure. But is it destroying a way of life? That’s a stretch. If the previously mentioned general pains in the ass to commerce didn’t break it not being able to access every whim JIT probably isn’t gonna break the economy.

So Get A Grip?

Ya. I want to get some grips. Mine are worn out. I thought I had another set in my toolbox somewhere, but guess not after search.

I’m particular and I really do love the WTB Padloc grips, I’ve pushed them a bunch over the years and I might be one of the few who do love em (people are intimidated of chamfering their bars or whatever).

Well guess what: not the most popular item? Read another way, not the most profitable item? Production got backburned it looks like. Can’t blame WTB – consolidate SKUs and get the most sought after product in front of your users. Makes total sense. Good on them frankly.

But I’m glancing at my distributors and I’m seeing April 2023. And I would guess that’s a pretty soft date and could be pushed back, if they’re made again.

Options and Choices

Well, I’m not going to be able to nurse these grips for a year. So, guess I’m looking at other solutions eh?

I could go deep on the web search and locate them somewhere else. And I might. If I do I’ll be shopping product name and manufacturer part number.

The part number probably isn’t super super critical with these grips as they didn’t have multiple compounds or whatever – but on something like a specific tire you’re looking for? MAN, I would be damn sure it hit all the boxes. Cause ya, I love the Minion DHF 2.5 front tire. But I want it in the specific sidewall and TPI that I want. And some strange mega-store’s spec of it with the cheap sidewall or whatever is beyond unusable and a huge waste of my time and expectation.

I’m also going to be judging the credibility of the resource that lists product as “available” for the same reasons. I don’t feel like dealing with the wrong product, or a week later being told it’s not available (sometimes things aren’t available, but credible sites can tell you really quick, before you’re waiting thinking its’ on the way to then being told nope, no dice)

So, picking your retailer is getting to be as important as picking your product. Well that’s good for quality retailers! We’re stoked to work with you.

Other Options instead of a Rabbit Hole?

What if I don’t want to play chase the part number around? Well looks like I’m comparing other grips right?

Personally I’m looking at the larger diameter Ergon grips as well as a couple other options our guys have brought into the shop.

Ahead of Time is the new JIT

So what extras do I keep around the toolbox? Here’s a current look, fresh from looking for my grips I thought I had!

Extra derailleur cable. I keep these around more to save the drive if I need one (I don’t work on-site every day so if I need a cable I’m going to a local cruiser shop or whatever)

Few feet of derailleur housing. See above

Derailleur Hanger.

Brake Pads. 2 sets, so front and back if needed.

Brake Fluid. Not sure if this counts as an “extra” so much as a quick maintenance thing from lever bleeds.

Front tire (Minion DHF 2.5). I keep 1 tire around just in case too. If I lose a rear tire I tend to put my existing front tire to the rear and the fresh tire in the front.

Chain. I’m leaning into the idea of putting together a full drivetrain but have found other places to spend money lately and haven’t done it just yet. Reading that I know I’m going to regret it if I don’t put a cassette and ring in my toolbox. Wednesday I’m picking those up hahaha…

Learning the new Economy

You know, I try really hard not to be a typical consumer about everything – I work hard not to get into the “need it today” mode unless I really do (or I want to go on an errand or whatever and whoa, I’m at my favorite haunt and just happen to end up with some toy for myself hahaha).

But some bits, like parts to keep my bike on trail, that’s super important to me and that’s where Ahead of Time is the new plan – and you’ll find them in my toolbox. I’m not hording tons of em – just the one I need.

So I guess I’m getting a grip on the new economy. In fact, I’ll be getting a new grip on the modern times – gonna go with the Ergons this time.

See you on the trails – Nate@BikeCo.com

Posted on Leave a comment

POC Kortal Race MIPS Helmet First Rides Review

POC Kortal Race Helmet Profile

Those of you who’ve been around the site for a while know I’m big on retiring helmets, even if they haven’t taken a impact. They’re made of a foam, exposed to UV, sweat, heat in your car, etc. Point is: it’s time for a new helmet and here are my first rides review of the POC Kortal Race MIPS.

Let’s start with a quick video blast to make sure we get maximum SEO points right? haha… Somewhere you don’t have audio? Well you can check out the video’s captions or read on – the blog goes a little deeper than the quick video.

POC Kortal Race MIPS

I was drawn to the Kortal Race for a variety of reasons. One of the major reasons was a handful of people I know ride this helmet and really like it. Frankly it’s kind of unusual for anyone to “sell me” on MTB products at this point (between being in the loop and jaded right?). But the BikeCo staff and a couple riding buddies made some great points on this helmet.

Fit

The Kortal Race fits a variety of head shapes. Sounds like cliche marketing eh? Well hang tight for a second…

Currently both my brother and I are wearing the Kortal Race. My brother has an intermediate oval head shape while I have a long oval head. How do I know this? We both rode Arai motorcycle helmets for a while and his intermediate oval helmets made my head want to explode. I would get crazy hot spots on my forehead. When I went to the Arai Signet X series (same manufacturer but different internal shape) I was fine and have used those for years.

POC Kortal Race Interior Retention

The internal retention on the Kortal Race is mounted across the forward radius and then located with the rear “catch”.  This accommodates a range of head length versus width sizes.

One of the most underused sizing options on enduro helmets is adjusting the rear catch’s vertical placement.

POC Kortal Race Sizing Tips

Adjusting this rear catch up or down will provide a notable difference on how the helmet “loads” and sits on your head. I like to set this just below the where my skull dips back towards my neck. I feel like this gives the helmet the best “catch”. Too high and it feels like it might pop off or is just weird. Too low and it’s uncomfortable. Adjusting this position generally results in a clear “ah-ha, this is it” moment.

POC Kortal Race Helmet quarter view shape

Finally on fit: I want a helmet with the most coverage I can reasonably get. Enduro helmets generally have more protection in thickness, possibly a bit less ventilation and tend to sit down “lower” on the back of your head. Yes please to all of these. I recommend enduro level helmets to all of my family whether it’s my wife riding her beach cruiser or my dad and uncle cruising around on their street ebikes. If you’re going to wear a helmet wear a helmet that gives you the best chance if you need it right?

MIPS

For a while I was in the camp of “well I have hair, and hair rotates” and didn’t really gravitate to MIPS helmets. This was also about the time they first came out and the MIPS system was kind of slammed into standard helmet shells. And it tended to be uncomfortable for me.

The last three years or so I have only ridden MIPS helmets. First, I’ve gotten a little bit more aware of improving my odds wherever I can. But most importantly as MIPS progressed helmet manufacturers were designing helmets around the MIPS system which provided notable comfort improvements.

POC Kortal Race MIPS Integra

The MIPS system is designed to improve a helmet’s rotational performance in a crash, essentially providing a coordinated amount of “slip” so to speak to lessen the blow. I assume this is based on “extending” the time of the impact, ie decreasing your rate of deceleration which lowers the G forces involved.

Long and short – modern MIPS isn’t a sacrifice for comfort and doesn’t notably increase the helmet’s overall weight.

MIPS Integra is essentially two technologies in this helmet. First, the comfort pads have a technology which provides additional support when “rolled”. Second, the comfort pad sits on a specially deisgned slip plane to allow a touch more rotation than even the previous POC Spin design.

You can take a look at a comparison of the SPIN and MIPS Integra here (don’t worry we provide a link to get back to this read!)

Weight

Like I mentioned in the video I’m not counting ounces. Not on my riding kit (which includes at least a pocket camera for animal photography if not more for work content). Not on my bike (my opinion: enduro level bikes shouldn’t be dainty – I want to ride home not push). And not in my diet hahaha… Ok, self deprecation aside so if weight doesn’t matter most places why do I care with my helmet?

POC Kortal Race MIPS Weight Size Large

Well I’m shopping helmets based on protection. But, if I feel like a helmet has equal protection to a similar model I’m going to ride the lighter option. Reducing the weight sitting on my neck, or pulling my head through corners has notable comfort benefits.

The Kordal Race MIPS helmet came in at 479g, or just a bit heavier than published (9g).

Ventilation

The POC Kortal Race has an expected level of vents and internal channels to direct airflow. The rear of the helmet has a more solid design compared to the top or front as is expected.

I’ve worn the helmet on a couple warm days already and it’s appropriate for the level of protection provided. I’ve also worn it on a couple cold mornings and using that as a comparison it’s not “the most” ventilated helmet I’ve ever had. (Cold mornings are easy to judge when its kinda miserable across your head if you have short hair.)

I’m not sure why, but my last few helmets I have been really interested in the visor. Thinking about it it’s probably after I tried the Smith helmet years ago with the like no-visor visor.

The visor of a helmet needs to be able to block the sun at reasonable angles. Many of my rides are sneaking off at the end of the day chasing sunsets so this is key.

Also, particularly on hot days, it’s nice when the visor can go up a bit further. Some riders love this for keeping goggles close at hand. I’m using it as a air brake to drive more ventilation into the front of my helmet… older and wiser eh?

Recco

Recco is essentially a reflector technology to aide finding lost people. Well, I guess technically to aide finding lost gear. If you’re lost keep the helmet with you.

I’m not 100% sure how universally updated the Recco search system is, but to quote a wildernress first responder I spoke with about some of these technologies for this blog:

“if it gave you 5% better odds in a bad situation you’d take that right?”

Ya. Guess I would.

The additional technology on this helmet doesn’t move the price point out of what I expect to pay for protection at this level so the additional Recco reflector capability is a bonus.

POC NFC by twICEme and Recco

You’ll see a couple things in additional to the Recco logo on the image above.

First POC shows this as a Large helmet. I think the boxes were like LXL or something kind of confusing. Go with the 59/62 below – if you’ve got a smaller head to smaller, if you’ve got a larger head find the larger option.

Also you’ll see the NFC Medical ID graphic.

Medical ID?

According to the insert with the helmet the NFC Medical ID provided by twICEme “stores the user’s vital info and makes it accessible in seconds using a smartphone. The info is stored locally on your equipment. No cloud service involved.”

You’re provided a QR code or can visit twiceme.com/getstarted to look at the app and how to get started.

Now, I might sound like a bit of an alarmist, or a bit late to the old “what info is digitally available” game. But, the idea of another app with who knows what access to my phone, image, data, microphones, cameras or whatever – and BTW, I have NO REASON to think this app would be anything but totally legit and with good intention – but, the ads on my ESPN viewing have grown suspicious to me as after texting a friend that I wanted to giant windmill backup generator (which I also hoped would keep the helicopters away just a touch more over the property, beach life right?) anyhow – on the F1 page I’m now getting ads for guess what? Giant windmills. I don’t have facebook and only have insta for work so I know some of my data is being scraped but come on. (sidebar, I got the most AWESOME ad on ESPN the other day. It was for a rescue lift, both man or equipment, for a helicopter. So, somewhere along the lines I searched something that convinced an algorithm that one: I had a helicopter and two: it needed a recovery hoist. I clicked through and found the pricing and everything on the site just to mess with their analytics. Somewhere some “market-eer” is saying see I told you! We got a live one!)

Anyhow, I was kind of reticent to sign up on anything additional. So I thought, well let me reach out to my wilderness first responders and see how prevalent this is and if it would improve my chances in an emergency.

Four calls. Four “huh? What’s that?” hmmm. I told them it was kind of like the medical ID on my iPhone. Paraphrasing two of them: not iPhone person. wouldn’t know how to get to that either.

iPhone Medical ID Access 2

One way to access medical ID on some iPhones is to start the shut down procedure by holding the top button on either side. Don’t hold them too long or it dials 911 I think. My phone shown is a 12 or whatever the one before the 13 is called.

iPhone Medical ID Access

You can also access the medical ID from the lock screen. If the phone isn’t locked I think it’s harder and I would try the method above to short cut it.

While I had my first responder people chatting I was interested in what kind of info might be helpful on these. We spit balled some like allergies, pre-existing medical conditions, that sort of thing.

Only thing I could come up with for me is I’m O neg blood type so I can donate to anyone but can only accept the same. Once they were done laughing that I’d watched one too many dramatizations of a transfusion in a helicopter or a van they advised me they doubted that it would be taken at face value anyhow.

We kind of came to the conclusion that IF you had preexisting medical conditions and allergies you might see some benefit from this technology – but you should invest in one of the road-id type bracelets too. Something you’re less likely to be “borrowing” and might be seen more as an identification.

They also all individually kind of went through some of the concepts of wilderness first response which seems to be stabilize and arrange transport. With the exception of extreme blood loss they reiterated a common theme I had heard years ago: try to stay calm and work through it with minimal panic. seconds probably don’t matter (bleeding aside) and minutes rarely do…

POC Aramid Bridges help miniimize penetration

one last tech feature we get a lot of questions on that I didn’t work into the write-up earlier:

Aramid Bridges

You know, I had to get out the search engines for this one. I found some interesting data at britannica.com/science/aramid

Essentially it’s a product similar to Kevlar which adds strength and some resistance to materials.

Is your helmet fireproof? ah, it’s got vents. Is it considered ballistic rated? ah, nah. So be careful on your search of it!

POC utilizes Aramid to help minimize the chance of penetration to the helmet in a crash with small and stiff impacts.

Overall Review of the Kortal Race MIPS Helmet

These sections on protective gear are always short for me. I’ve got enough rides on the Kortal Race helmet to know that the fit is good, ventilation good, etc, etc. Really the best “review” I can give on quality protective gear (since I’m not gonna be the one sacrificing my body to try to tell you about the results! sorry, you’re my people but there’s a line right?) anyhow the best review I can give protective gear I know to work is “I didn’t notice or think about it on my ride”.

Perfect. Anytime you’re struggling with or paying too much attention to your riding gear and not the trail well, that’s not perfect. So a “didn’t notice it” is like a 5 star review for quality kit!

Want to see more of the POC Kortal Race or other helmets we believe in? Shop the best in MTB at BikeCo.com – helmet links below.

Posted on Leave a comment

Gimble on Chesty?

Disclaimer(?) – not sure that’s the “best” word but in the modern social world I guess you have to announce all this right??

We do not sell GoPro bits or accessories. None of the pictured or utilized bits were provided in exchange for content or whatever. I bought them. Cause, it’s easier to buy stuff than to try to “bro” things all the time or EVER schmooze to a social media product manager, aka “influencer wrangler”. OK, off my soap box and onto something we think is fun.

Also – we make no claims that any of these bits are used as described and in fact some of our usages may void warranties with usage outside design expectations.

BikeCo is working to create a variety of additional video content this year. From mechanical advice to riding tips and tricks we’re gathering and editing a variety of media and as always working to produce it in new and interesting ways to our clients.

We don’t sell action cameras or accessories, but a TON of our clients use them and we thought we’d occasionally post ideas we’re working with to get something different in pixel form.

GoPro Bits - Hero 10 with Max Lens Gimble Roll Bar Mount Chesty

The footage and stills in the post, with the exception of the image OF the bits, was shot with the above bits. Chesty mount, modified mount attached to Roll Cage clamp, Roll Cage clamp was mounted around the gimble handle using a Hero 10 with the Max lens.

I wanted to try to find a way to better show how steep some of the trails we ride are. You know what I mean, like when you watch POV of UCI DH tracks and it looks like a park path until you see the trees or people at these extreme angles on the side and think, hmmm, they’re standing straight up and down!

Anyhow – this is kind of a BikeCo “UnBoxing” video, except I think its idiotic to show you a video of me opening a box…

But I bought a gimble to test, put it on the charger and then went straight to the trails. Didn’t sync it to the app. Didn’t sync it to the GoPro either. Figured I could do that later and I would lose light otherwise.

Here’s a quick edit we posted to social, a Tips in 60 look at it:

Like I mentioned in the teaser above I’m not shooting video to really impress anyone with my riding skills. It’s super hard when there’s so much content out there of people absolutely shredding right? Also, you tend to get the two factions when you send it to friends and family who don’t ride: those who are impressed you can even balance a bike and are amazed and those who kind of “hmm, oh kay” the stuff right?

I had the gimble in a “vertical” position, camera on top for this video. I tried it this way as I wasn’t 100% comfortable that the roll cage mount would hold it and figured if it was in the vertical position the camera and gimble head would hit the mount if it came loose giving me a second to deal with it.

I think I’ll try it with the gimble “inverted” with the camera lower to see if I can get a better balance point. I’ll probably use the 1/4×20 threaded bung at the bottom to mount a retention strap in case the thing slips out. If I get a dialed in rig setup I’ll post some pics down the line.

We capture video for a range of content we use to highlight product or tips and tricks. For my personal use I like to pull stills from the footage, which the new GoPro is amazing for btw.

Below are a couple images pulled from the ride with the gimble as well as a shot from the standard Chesty setup.

Chesty with Gimble Mount Riding Shot 1

The gimble kind of holds a position, and then sort of swung back into the expected axis. This provided some fun shots that highlighted the front wheel and suspension.

Chesty with Gimble Mount Riding Shot 2

So your chesty mount typically won’t have such an exaggerated angle, btw you should be turning your bike more than your body but trust me, I wasn’t leaning the bike THAT much more than my body here!

Chesty Riding Shot with GoPro Hero 10

Screen grab from a ride prior to the gimble. Also, this image has the standard GoPro Hero 10 lens, the video and images above are using the Max lens which has some interesting advantages. More on that some other time perhaps.

So – overall what are my thoughts?

Well initially while riding I was a bit concerned with how the results would come out. The rig was bouncing around a decent amount (oh man, some footage of my climbing while the gimble is bouncing off my gut will make you seasick in about two seconds) but at least in the downhill the software was able to stabilize the footage pretty well.

A couple times the gimble seemed confused and rolled around, you can see it at the end of the video teaser. It was kind of a bummer / frustrating on trail. But, the reality is this setup was in its first test configuration and I had made ZERO attempt to fully setup the gimble interface as instructed.

Reviewing the footage and pulling some images I was overall pretty happy. I plan to invest some time and get the setup more dialed in: both the digital app setup as well as how I mount the gimble in the first place.

Hope you enjoyed this quick look at a gimble on a chesty mount and maybe it motivated you to try some different ideas to generate content.

Posted on Leave a comment

When You Slip Down the Rabbit Hole Writing a Social Post

3-22-22 Five-Ten Freerider PRO Canvas Parley Plastic
OK, nothing’s simple. Welcome to the 2020’s right?
What started as a “rah-rah” post quickly turned into questions, a bunch of searching around on the web, ordering a wack of washing bags, learning about external washing machine filters I need to research more tonight – buuuuut, we’re trying really hard not to green-wash posts right? That counts for something!
 
Back to our post shown in bold:
 
Five-Ten Freerider PRO Canvas feature uppers made from 50% recycled ocean bound plastic and 50% recycled polyester.
 
The Freerider PRO Canvas contains plastic that would have been destined for the oceans through a partnership with Parley Ocean.
 
Will this pair of shoes save your planet? Well, nah, but supporting products like these announce a clear intent and manufacturers listen to your dollars…
 
You know, even a small angle of change now will make a huge difference down the line (think of a triangle as the legs start to stretch from each other, or you’re walking through the woods and start off 5 degrees off target – doesn’t seem like much at first but by the end the distance can be quite big right?)
 
I support everyone who’s making a commitment to a little less plastic or finding uses to repurpose existing plastic!
Shop the Five-Ten Freerider Pro at BikeCo.com
 
 
now, down the rabbit hole… right click to open in a new tab (or hold your finger down on your iphone I think that opens a new tab option too)
 
learn more about Parley Ocean & Adidas here:
 
or learn about how Adidas is working to help close the loop (important when you think how many synthetic materials are in our current kits right?) including a program to easily donate out of use shoes and clothes to be re-purposed minimizing virgin material production as well as helping keep plastic out of the trash / ocean in the first place: https://www.adidas.com/us/sustainability
 
or read about some options available to minimize both virgin and “up-cycled” clothing from depositing microplastics into the water systems: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/reduce-laundry-microfiber-pollution/
All and all – we should keep educating ourselves and working to make the planet a little better than it was the day before.