Box Bike Assembly from

Your new bike from is on the way, what should you expect? Here’s a video and quick write up on some of the step you’ll have to get your dream bike ready for its first ride.

When you work with The Bike Company we aren’t just putting a new shipping label on a box. Every bike, from full customs, semi-customs, box builds with upgrades to standard factory kits is built, setup and test ridden by our staff to ensure you get #thebestinMTB (and eMTB).

Box Bike Assembly

Let’s touch on some common questions that new riders might find getting the bike out of the box and assembled.

Unboxing a Shipped Bike

You’ll want to start with a clear work area. Ideally you’re going to want to keep everything within arms reach for an easy assembly.

Your bike has been packaged to minimize any risk of damage during shipping. If you note any issues with the box please take some pictures prior to opening the package.

Go slow and take your time to avoid damaging your new bike’s finish!

Box Bike Build Common Question: Hub Spacer Missing?

Common Questions During Unboxing

Wheel Spacers

Don’t misplace (or worse throw away) your hub spacers. Hub spacers often stay attached to their plastic protective discs. Few things are more annoying than having to go fish through a trashcan looking for these spacers while building your new rig.

Fork Spacers & Cockpit

We’ve shipped the bike with the cockpit setup based on your riding details as well as with the headset bits in the proper order. If you’re going to stack all the individual pieces out take a quick photo so you can reference the location of everything.

Box Bike Build Common Question cockpit setup

Hang the Fork

When you hang the fork assemble the headset, install the spacers that were below the stem, install the stem and then install the spacers that were above the stem and stem cap. This will be the setup our team has test ridden based on your height, wingspan, etc.

Box Bike Build Common Question Handlebar angle

Install the Handlebar and Controls

Your handlebar is shipped with the rear derailleur and rear brake (if setup standard) installed on the bar.

Hanging the front brake and adjustable seatpost on the bar is easiest before you mount the bar into the stem. Make sure you’ve got the cockpit setup so the brake, shifting and seatpost lines hang cleanly (the video has a good example of this).

Once you have the controls on the bar snug the bar and stem interface.

You’ll want to hang the bar in the stem ensuring it’s centered to the bike and set to an appropriate sweep angle.

Looking down the side of the bars you’ll want the angle of the bar’s initial rise, from the center section as it thins, to set parallel or very near parallel to the fork’s stanchions, maybe leaned a slight bit forward of the stanchions.

If your handlebar is rotated too far back it creates slow or sluggish performance. If you roll the bar too far forward you’ll find the bike is nervous or twitchy. It’s a small window of adjustment for this overall. If you have questions on this let us know!

When you have your bar and stem torqued align the front brake with the rear brake as well as the seatpost remote with the shifter angle. This will give you a nice ergonomic start.

Ensure that your controls are torqued and won’t rotate or spin, particularly the grips!

Hang the Derailleur (non-Transmission bikes)

Non-Transmission bikes are shipped with the derailleur loose to minimize shipping issues. You’ll need to mount the derailleur to the hanger.

This is a pretty simple process, however, for new riders there is a single detail that can cause problems.

You’ll need to ensure that the derailleur’s b-tension bolt contacts the derailleur’s rotating tab, which then contacts the tab on the hanger. It’s an easy step, but if you forget and the tab rotates too far forward when you mount the derailleur there won’t be any chain tension.

Box Bike Build Common Question hanging a derailleur
Box Bike Build Common Question how to hold a rotor

Install the Brake Rotors

Make sure your hands are clean and you only hold the rotor by the inner spider! Rotors and pads are very easy to contaminate and any level of grease or oil will create an awful lot of extra work or may even ruin new pads.

Holding the rotor by the inner spider mount the rotor with the text facing out. Tighten the rotor bolts to torque in a star pattern like mounting a car tire.

Inflate your Tires

Typically we ship the bikes with tubeless sealant installed (it would be rare, like air freight or another anomaly that would have us ship them dry). The tires have been inflated and the tires have mounted to the rims so you should be able to bring them up to pressure with a handpump or compressor without issue.

It’s probably a good practice to inflate the tires and “thump” them against the ground while rotating the wheel to splash tubeless sealant across the inside of the entire radius of the tire. When you do the rear wheel put a hand on the cassette to minimize the chance of knocking it free (DT Swiss hubs can have the cassette pulled off without tooling and occasionally will come off when setting a tire!).

Install the Wheels

Hang the front and rear wheel and torque the axles appropriately. It’s easiest to hang the rear wheel with the derailleur set to the smallest cog on the cassette. This gives you the most play with the chain and eases wheel installation.

SRAM derailleurs should be set in the “open” mode to ease this step. Shimano derailleurs should have the clutch disengaged.
Once the rear wheel is installed reset the SRAM derailleur to “ride” or engage the Shimano clutch.

Align the Brakes

You’ll probably need to make some minute adjustments to the caliper after unboxing a shipped bike.

An easy way to do this is to use the box, or another light-colored large material behind the caliper. This lets you more easily see the brake pad to rotor spacing to align the brakes. As I’ve aged I found this suggestion by Joe works much better than trying to use a flashlight “down” the caliper.

Box Bike Build Common Question Brake Alignment

Check the Shifting

Unlike the brakes it’s very rare for a derailleur to need any adjustment after shipping. We have other content available if you do need to make small adjustments – but it’s not a common issue. Your bike should shift easily out of the box – before you start making wholesale adjustments check the derailleur and wheel installation or give us a buzz!

Box Bike Build Common Question headset adjustment

Adjust the Headset

Keeping the headset adjusted is important to your bike’s performance and lifespan.

The easiest way to adjust an MTB headset is to apply the front brake with one hand and with the other slightly rock the bike fore and aft while slowly tightening the stem cap adjustment bolt.

When the headset no longer “clicks”, or you feel the headset moving stop tightening the adjustment bolt.

If you have questions about adjusting a headset we have a full video available as well.

Straighten your Handlebars

Standing over the bike with both eyes open straighten your handlebars. BikeCo owner Joe Binatena likes to slightly slap the grips to center the bar.

Once the bar is straight you’ll tighten the stem. Switch between the stem bolts slowly bringing each up to the proper manufacturer’s torque setting.

Check to ensure your cockpit doesn’t slide prior to test riding.


Your bike has been setup at BikeCo based on your riding specifics. We’ve included a suspension setup sheet to give you a reference point. We suggest test riding this setup and notating any small adjustments you may make. If you find yourself wanting to make wholesale adjustments contact us so we can help define what you might be feeling (our setups are typically very, very close!)

Bed In Your Brakes

We’ve done a handful of stops to start the brake bed in process. But you should do a dozen good power ups and stops to bring the brake system up to full power. You’ll be removing any manufacturing or shipping glaze on both the pads and the rotors.

Bolt Checks

New bikes need bolt checks. Period. Bring a multi-tool with you and check your cockpit and control bolts after your first test ride and keep an eye on them for the first few trail rides.

Hardware is designed to be as small and light as functionally possible so there is some settling to be expected.

Personally I find my bikes will loosen up the first couple rides then settle in where I can increase the service length (riding time) between full bolt checks.

At this point you should be ready to test ride your bike! If everything feels good at your house or the parking lot take it to your trails. The best trails are the ones you’re totally comfortable with for familiarizing yourself with a new bike.

Our team will be in touch several times with a set of loaded questions to help you fine tune your suspension, cockpit, tire pressures, etc over the first couple weeks you have your bike. Remember we’re only a phone call, email or web chat away for any questions you have on your new rig.

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MTB Helmets: Ride the Best & Replace them Yearly…

MTB Helmets Replace Them Yearly

Never a review we want to do – but, here’s a life example of why with MTB Helmets you ride the best quality and replace them yearly…

If you watched the video you know I had quite the week. Really feeling blessed and lucky that it wasn’t worse. It felt like a lot of things quickly were out of my hands in this incident.

That said, there were decisions made that helped edge that luck onto my side. Particularly helmet selection.

There are a handful of top tier MTB helmets out there. They tend to fit a bit different and it’s important to find the one that will work for you. We offer a variety of helmet models from different manufacturers. I’d ride any of the enduro level offerings we have if they fit my head well.

I’ve been riding the POC Kortal Race for about a year now and really like the fit, ventilation and light weight feel.

Since last Friday I have an even greater appreciation of the POC helmet performance.

While not the fastest or most ridiculous of crashes over the years I’ve been riding, headfirst into the side of the trail in a chute, along with the intense pain after was clearly the scariest.

Had the Kortal Race not been up to the task I’m 100% sure my injuries would be been much, much worse.

This crash wasn’t at the edge of control, it wasn’t having a fit of Canon Courage or anything along those lines – it was just an unfortunate series of events overall.

The raised edges of the chute, particularly with the outcropping, meant there wasn’t any sliding or tumbling to absorb the energy. Nearly all of my forward momentum is stopped in about a tenth of a second. The whole thing took less than a second from impact to being laid up on the trail.

At the time I had tremendous neck and shoulder pain. While I surmised I had hit my head based on seeing the visor down trail I had no idea how bad it was until I was released from the hospital that afternoon and took as selfie to send to my sister.

POC Kortal Race Helmet after crash forehead split

Once I saw my forehead and then the helmet I really had an appreciation for POC’s craft and commitment.

In my case the helmet took a huge amount of load by breaking the foam internals throughout the chassis. I have no idea how bad this could have been with an inferior design or an older helmet with aged foam.

It always perturbs me when we deliver absolute banger bikes and ask half jokingly whether I’m going to see you out there on a five year old helmet – to be told: Yes. I’ll replace it one of these days.

One of these days should be yearly to ensure the best performance when you need it. And as Friday re-illustrated you never know when you’re going to need it…

Overall it was a really scary day. I was laid out with neck and shoulder pain that really didn’t allow me to move (in fact finding out I hadn’t broken anything seemed to surprise not only me but most of the team involved!) With the level and location of the pain as well as the location on the trails it took a compliment of people to safely get me out. There was a battery of tests, IVs and such. I was essentially immobile for a couple days (although I’ve made awesome strides this week and am getting back to normal much quicker than I ever thought).

But you know what there wasn’t? I didn’t have a brain bleed in the CT. I didn’t have headaches. No nausea. Lights and sounds don’t bother me anymore than they did before (hey, I have a two year old and some of those toys are torture…)

None of this sport is designed to be scare-marketing to readers – but I had an experience that I know could have been much worse without knowing what I know. I wanted to share that with readers.

MANY many thanks are going out on this one BTW:

BikeCo Owner Joe Binatena for turning me onto the 1 helmet a year plan when I started riding about 17 years ago…

Everyone at POC – what a product keep doing what you do.

Leif, Mondo and Emilio – man it would have sucked riding alone that morning!

Thanks to all the first responders who hiked up or down to me from OCFA, Camp Pendleton Fire, State Parks, the OCFA Helicopter Team.

Thanks to the entire Trauma Team at Mission Hospital.

Everyone treated me with care and gave me confidence that my care was in the best hands possible. And actually it shocked me how many of them ride MTB!

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Tips & Tricks: 3 Tips to Mount MTB Tubeless Tires with a Handpump

Tips and Tricks Handpump Mounting MTB Tubeless Tires

Whether you’re on a trip, or helping someone out at the trailhead (or helping yourself occasionally…) some quick tips will help you successfully to Mount MTB Tubeless Tires with a Handpump. Check out this quick video from or glance through the short write up below.

Mount MTB Tubeless Tires with a Handpump

Tip One: How Much Air How Fast?

The first tip to mounting a tire easily, whether with a handpump or a compressor, is to ensure the most volume of air is pushed easily into the tire.

For this I love valve stems that have a removable core.

By removing the core I greatly increase the volume of air I can get quickly into the tire. This will notably help to bead the tire onto the rim.

Mount MTB Tubeless Tires with a Handpump First Tip Remove Valve Core

Tip Two: Grip.

The next step is to get a grip that allows you to easily hold the pump head onto the valve while having your hand wrapped around the tire.

Mount MTB Tubeless Tires with a Handpump Grip the Pump and Tire

Position your hand so two fingers can hold the pump head while you wrap your thumb onto the top of the tire. With this grip you’ll have a good grip for the next step.

Mount MTB Tubeless Tires with a Handpump Bounce and Squeeze

Tip Three: Bounce and Rotate.

While pumping bounce the tire and squeeze with your hand.

The bouncing and squeeze will help reduce the volume inside the tire. This also increases the PSI and to help bead the tire.

This method tends to work quickly. If you’re struggling take a look and make sure there’s nothing obviously wrong.

Quick list of things that are SUPER annoying if you’ve tried this for a while… Are both beads of the tire on the same side of the air valve (so your pumping goes straight into the atmosphere)? Is a bead sitting on the valve?

Depending on the tire it may help to rotate as you bounce it. This provides a bit more pressure in different spots of the tire.

Hopefully this quick video and writeup help you Mount MTB Tubeless Tires with a Handpump!

Stay on the site and shop #thebestinMTB (and eMTB) including our unbeatable selection of tires.

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Nukeproof Ride Review: Mega 290 & Reactor 290

Nukeproof Ride Review Mega 290 and Reactor 290. Reactor and Mega with Riders looking at bikes on fire road in cloud.

Mike, Tracy and I had a chance to take out two of the most popular bikes in the Nukeproof lineup.

While we didn’t have the most cooperative SoCal June weather we defined what we liked about the spec and how the Nukeproof Mega 290 and Reactor 290 ride on trail.

Mega 290 & Reactor 290: Nukeproof Ride Review

Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon bike Review on The Luge

In this Nukeproof review we’ll glance at the spec of both the Mega 290 Factory and the Reactor 290 Elite builds.

Where do the bikes stack up in the BikeCo lineup? What are some variants we’d see on our personal bikes?

Later we’ll get into HOW the bikes ride and the overall Nukeproof trail personality.

Nukeproof Build Kits

Learn more about the Nukeproof Factory and Elite Build Kits with these tabs or keep reading for more about the Reactor 290 and the Mega 290’s trail personality.

Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon Factory Spec Highlights

The Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon Factory build is essentially an XT bike with FOX Factory Suspension.

The Mega 290 has 160mm of rear travel paired to a 170mm fork and is a confident Enduro or All Mountain bike.

The FOX Factory fork and shock both provide adjustment through PSI, volume spacing, high and low speed rebound as well as high and low speed compression settings. This gives the bike a wide range of tuning options for any rider size.

Shimano’s XT drivetrain and brakes with 203mm rotors front and rear perform as you’d expect.

Spec’d with Double Down tires front and rear it’s set for aggressive riding from the get-go.

DT Swiss EX1700 wheels provide a great platform to mount an Enduro / All Mountain appropriate tire selection from around 2.3″ or 2.4″ to 2.5″ or 2.6″ if you prefer.

Nukeproof Mega Carbon 290 Factory build climbing trail in low cloud cover.

Mega 290 Factory Build Thoughts

While the three of us tend to build very different bikes for our personal quivers we actually had a lot of parallel thoughts on the Mega 290 Factory build.

This is a bike that’s spec’d nicely from the factory. We each had a short list of what we’d probably change if we were going to make this bike our own and really we only had a single build “issue”: the saddle. It’s slippery! Now, you can see in the images we were riding in a low cloud which probably made everything a little more slippery – but everyone noted that the saddle would be the first thing off the bike for any of us.

Mega 290 Factory Spec Upgrades

So what are some personal upgrade or swap ideas for the Nukeproof? Well take this with a grain of salt as the three of us have more years riding then we’d like to admit as well as enough gray hair to be really particular (note Mike’s jersey…), so our upgrades or swaps would all be pretty personal preference things.

Each of us have a preferred brake setup that would go on the bike but as far as spec brakes the Shimano XT are absolutely workable.

All of us have a go to cockpit. Most likely we’d all gravitate to higher rise carbon bars and I would have to have my preferred grip too.

Tracy likes the Double Down tires front and rear. I might go to my EXO+ setup or at least the EXO+ in the front with a DHF for maybe a touch faster rolling setup.

Mike’s finally entry on this was a GX AXS derailluer, he rides wireless drivetrains and was convincing us how lowering the work load on my thumbs would improve my climbing (not much could make my climbing too much worse compared to these guys haha)

If you want to go through the notes on a Nukeproof Elite build (basically an SLX bike) click over to the Reactor 290 tab for more details.

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Elite Spec Review. Reactor 290 climbing on trail in low cloud.

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Carbon Elite Build Highlights

The Reactor 290 Elite build features Shimano SLX drivetrain and brakes as well as FOX Performance Elite suspension giving it a very credible setup. The Reactor is a 130mm travel frame paired to a 150mm fork for a nice Trail and Light / Medium Terrain Enduro bike.

The Performance Elite suspension features the more advanced dampers with improved compression control similar to the FOX Factory options, just without the Kashima coating.

Shimano’s SLX bits feature excellent performance in a bit more cost-conscious at a small weight penalty compared to the XT spec of the Factory builds.

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Elite on trail surrounded by green bushes.

Reactor 290 Elite Spec Review

Our conversation on the Reactor 290 Elite spec had a handful of tangents.

Before we get too deep into what we would have done to “make it ours” so to speak let’s take a glance at the SLX buyer’s opinion.

This is a nice SLX spec. If you didn’t have an established go to for say, like almost every bit on your bike there’s little on this bike that really glares at you. Except the slippery seat. It’s slippery.

Beyond the tires, brakes, cockpit setup preference changes (like we touched on with the Mega 290 Factory build in the other tab) the only other bits that stand out for consideration of upgrade are the wheels and maybe the seatpost.

We started debating about if you were to throw a little bit more cash at this bike where would it go?

Wheels play a big part in a bikes personality so we tossed around ideas on well if we did this, or that to this bike but when we looked at the price consideration it put us into the neighborhood of the Factory build with improved wheels as well as the XT drivetrain and brakes.

And frankly – that’s how models should be spec’d. I like that Nukeproof has a relatively closely grouped build price point and that you can see the value in all of the available models.

Devil’s advocate though: how mean would the Elite look with some carbon hoops on it and new hubs?

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Elite Ride Review bike on trail going downhill

So how did each of the Nukeproof bikes ride on trail?

Well as you’d expect, even though the Mega is a 160/170 bike and the Reactor a 130/150, they had some brand personality similarities when we compared notes.

Nukeproof Trail Personality

Nukeproof Sizing

Mike, Tracy and I are sort of close in height. Well, close enough that I can’t really think of who’s the tallest or shortest.

Each of our current personal bikes is a Large, albeit mine is a Mondraker Foxy so it’s a LONG large.

I’ve always been kind of between sizes at 6’1″ with long legs and arms. Lately I’ve been riding longer bikes and think it has been helping my lower back some – so I went with the XL Nukeproof Mega for our test ride.

Mike tends to ride Large although some bikes he may adjust depending on top tube length to keep him in a better position for his neck and back.

Tracy and I have traded bikes a lot over the years and generally we’re super close in setup. I think most of his personal bikes have been Large lately.

Once I jumped on it I had no doubts it was the right size. I never felt “lost” in it at all. In fact I kind of struggled to see how a 20mm shorter reach would have worked either. So I started giving Tracy a hard time about his Large selection. By the end of the ride he agreed that the XL would have been a nicer fit.

Mike rode the L Reactor 290 and seemed like he enjoyed the fit as its closer to his current quiver of bikes although the reach is a little shorter on the Nukeproof compared to other brands.

With almost all size bikes having room for longer dropper posts these days fit has become height as well as leg length and determining where you are on the “average” comparison of that.

I come in on the X-Large for height and the XX-Large for leg length according to Nukeproof. The XXL was going to be much to long for me but the XL was a good fit.

For taller riders, it makes sense that Nukeproof offers an XXL if the XL is a comfortable fit for me.

Nukeproof Mega and Reactor Trail Review Bikes at the top of The Luge in the cloud

Nukeproof: On Trail

All of us enjoyed the miles on the Nukeproof Trail / Enduro models. Mike has actually ridden both of these bikes as well as the Giga and is a great resource for our team on the overall Nukeproof personality as well as the variations in their lineup.

Nukeproof Personality

As a disclaimer: we didn’t get the greatest conditions to really test these bikes.

But between the three of us, with a lot of years of doing this, there were a handful of things we agreed on about the Nukeproof trail performance.

Planted / Balanced Traction.

The bikes have a notable even balance on the front and rear wheels. In just about any reasonable riding position it was very easy to feel both wheels working together. You had to get way, way too far off the back to get the front end light. And I was uncomfortable getting far enough forward on the bars to have the rear wheel feel light (with one exception I’ll get into later hahaha…)

Along the same lines as being “planted” the bikes had an appropriate front to rear wheel feel climbing and descending.

I found the Mega 290 was a very forgiving bike to ride which became important on the descent as conditions turned more sloppy than any of us frequently ride.

Overall the Nukeproof rode most similarly to Ibis models we work with.

It might have had a little more “up and down” pedaling variation than my Yeti or Mondraker – but like the Ibis bike’s this motion directly equates to rear wheel traction so I didn’t find the bike sluggish to accelerate. It was well behaved even up some of the slippery climbing sections when the wheel was clawing up and over rocks or terrain shifts.

The Mega and Reactor had a little less “pop” than you might expect from a Yeti or Mondraker on trail. Some of that is from the suspension’s design but some of it is from the shock and fork setup as well.

I suspect with time I could have put more “pop” back into the Mega to have it ride closer to my preferred quicker out of corners, pumpy style bikes (but that style also tends to break free from traction faster too – so it’s really a personal setup preference at that point – read on for my detail notes and why understanding a review is helped by understanding the reviewer…)

Lively at Any Speed

Another aspect that’s important for bike performance, does the bike require a certain speed to come alive? Class leading bikes have good handling characteristics whether you’re riding at consumer, expert or even race paces.

The Nukeproof felt good in the range of speeds I was able to get it into. Some bikes struggle with sluggish handling at lower speeds or get nervous at high speeds. Bikes like Nukeproof, Ibis, Mondraker and Yeti put a lot of effort into their testing to ensure the bikes are playful and fun for the widest range of riders.

The Mega felt like it had more in the tank than I got close to giving it, but never felt like that school bus on a figure eight track that some “bigger” bikes parallel at lower speeds.

Nukeproof Reactor 290 Elite build review on trail downhill

Nukeproof Reactor 290: On Trail

Mike’s notes carry a lot of weight as he puts many miles on a variety of bikes. From Nukeproof, Ibis, Mondraker or Yeti he’s very familiar. So it was interesting to listen as he fit the Reactor 290 between other BikeCo models.

“The Reactor rides a like a little bigger than pretty burly built Ripley. You know the Ripley with the bigger fork and shock that we’ve done in the past.

I’d say maybe closer to the Ripmo even. Not quite as big as the Ripmo travel wise but the Reactor is closer to a ‘fast’ Ripmo setup more than a big ‘Ripley’ probably.

The Nukeproof suspension feels similar to the Ibis although it would take me a little bit to get the Nukeproof as precise as the bikes’ I’m comparing since I’ve had more time on them.

On the Reactor I felt confident that the bike would turn in and hold a line. It felt pretty good over the chunkier stuff but we were kind of going slower today because of conditions too.

For me, this is a very well equipped bike at the price.  The Elite build I rode had the Fox Grip 2 damper on it which is all you really need or want.
We see many “DTC” bikes come into the shop and the client needs to spend more money to get the bike in a rideable condition.  You could ride one of these off the floor and it is ready to go.  Comfortable and super competent for the price point”
Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon Factory Review dropping into the Luge

Nukeproof Mega 290: On Trail

Tracy and I have ridden a lot of bikes, in a lot of terrain over the years. Generally we both gravitate to a similar model capacity even if we ride different brands. So it made sense that both of us wanted to test the Mega 290 out of the Nukeproof lineup.

Overall we had pretty similar trail notes. I’m going to go deeper into my thoughts a little later as there’s A LOT of things that you feel and have to take into account on a demo ride and I think it’s important to be transparent and realistic – you can get an idea of how the Nukeproof bikes behave from this review but there is so much range of adjustment available as well. Anyway – back to the quick takes on the Mega 290 On Trail.

Tracy had some good insight

“The bike didn’t feel twitchy or nervous. Even as the trail got slick I felt like I could hold the lines I wanted.

It pedaled like I would expect for a 160/170mm bike. It wasn’t a slow pedaling bike at all. Could be tough to tell given how sticky the ground was too. But with the road ride before the dirt I felt like it compared well with other bikes its size.

I never felt the bike get nervous at speed. Couldn’t tell with today’s conditions but it might have that Yeti personality where it loves more and more speed.”

I agreed with all of his notes after the ride especially the speed capacity. I was able to get the bike up to a lively pace in a couple of the areas that weren’t as soupy and the bike never gave me any indication that it wouldn’t like a little more.

Both of us noted that the Mega was quite notable at holding lines in both the dry and wet conditions. You’d roll the Mega into a corner, get that lean angle going and that bike just carved in.

With the setup I noted the bike would take a lot of weight input from your feet while keeping the front end planted.

Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory Review Test Riding

Quick Conclusions: Nukeproof Riding Review

So what’s the quick take on the Nukeproof Mega 290 or the Nukeproof Reactor 290?

Well drawn from the combined notes we had really positive notes overall on both the bike’s spec and value as well as the on trail personalities.

Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon Factory Review. Bike turning on trail.

The Mega and Reactor both feel well planted, confident and forgiving on trail. These aren’t bikes with knife edge personalities and even a pretty basic setup provided a really enjoyable ride.

Nukeproof bikes overall feel like they have a bit of “monster truck” in them, similar to Ibis bikes, and ride comfortably feeling maybe slightly “bigger” than they are.

I know I put the Mega into situations that it was well behaved in without requiring over the top theatrics or heroics from me as a rider.

Wondering how the Nukeproof might fit into your personal riding? Chat with a member of our sales team. They’re all versed with the class leading brands BikeCo works with: Ibis, Mondraker, Nukeproof and Yeti. Our staff is trained on where these brand’s personality is as well as what tuning options are available to modify a bike to your desired requirements.

Remember: class leading bikes, ones with not only the “right” geo (which has converged somewhat over the years) but also the RIGHT suspension and balance have a setup range. And it can be hard to really understand it from a demo ride.

Since I’ve bitched for so long about those doing reviews being more transparent about “what” and “how” they ride you can keep reading for more details on my ride and how experience allows a better understanding of what a bike is about and where it fits.

But first enjoy some pics of Mike and Tracy from our Nukeproof Ride Review on the Luge!

Reviewing the Reviewer

I’ve been pushing for a long time that reviewers give more personal insight to their experiences that go into a published review. So to wrap up this Nukeproof Ride Review I’d like to provide insight to what I thought, what my exact notes were, what I ride and how I come up with some of my conclusions during a review.

There are a handful of things that experience will help you quickly define and if you know how those are about to effect your ride you can more accurately speak to a bike MODEL and not a SETUP so to speak.

What Did I Notice in Setup?

Some of my notes on while I setup the Mega 290 would help me better understand what the bike WAS doing on trail and what it COULD do as well.

Mega 290 Ride Review Notes on Setup

Factory Suspension

Both the fork and shock were low on volume spacers for my preference. This means I used the compression settings to increase support that would be more finely tuned by increasing the ramp rate.

It’s a demo bike – the odds it would have a perfect package are low. Knowing that I was running more compression meant that I would forgive a little bit of potential harsh small bump compliance in the rear as well as initial support into corners.


First, I have bad hands and hate grips with outboard collars. It hurts my hands, messes with my ulnar nerve and causes numbness and pain up my arms. This bike had grips I didn’t like but I would try to run my hands further inboard than I usually do.

Bars were aluminum and 25mm rise with not a lot of stem spacers. I generally like to have larger rise handlebars and carbon (it makes a big difference in my hand and arm condition to ride with carbon bars)


Double Down Assegai front and Double Down DHR rear. An aggressive setup but appropriate for the bike. I typically run EXO+ DHF / DHR pairing so I knew that tire package would be a bit heavier than I’m used to.

Setup Forgiveness Based on Spec

Will it ride Harsh?

So based on the volume spacers, compression settings, grips and bars I knew I would potentially have to forgive some front end “harshness”. In other words, it would not be a fair fork test for sure if that’s what we were testing!

Luckily the fork was freshly serviced and overall it felt good. I think the oil and seals being new helped this a lot (and actually made me think I really need to service my 38)

Can I Get It In Control?

Hand height is important to me for a couple reasons. First, I have back issues which mean I kind of need my bike setup in a certain way to minimize that. This is a personal issue and varies from rider to rider. If you’ve got enough gray hair you’ll probably understand and if you have the gray hair and don’t understand it I’m jealous for sure!

Second you gain or lose a lot of control by having hands in a position you can get power applied. This applies to both your hand height as well as width. Just like riding too wide of bars having your stack too high or low can numb the handling reducing your ability to have quick adjustments with minimal input.

I did notice that the Mega liked to be leaned in to corners more than my usual setups that I tend to understeer slightly and lean which snaps them into corners a touch faster. I’d still give the Mega passing grades on this because my hands were low combined with the fork setup not having the precise feel I’m used to after all the years of Pro Tune forks and a specific setup.


Some would say climbing. I don’t climb well enough to speak to it! So, for me to feel a bike’s efficiency I’m looking at how it handles burst acceleration. Heavier tires are going to change that around which I noticed on the road climb to the Luge but not as much once we got in the super tacky and then super slippery dirt…

Geo Differences

My personal bike is a Mondraker Foxy RR with a 170mm fork. So all and all most of the geo between what “I’m used to” and what I was testing was relatively close (especially when you factor the published Mondraker numbers are from a 160mm fork so mine has a slightly slacker headtube, higher bb and longer wheelbase).

The exception that I saw was on wheelbase. My Mondraker is setup with the shorter chainstay and shorter wheelbase. The published wheelbase is 1253mm – given the longer fork I’ve added a couple mm to that but I’ve never really bothered to calculate it out.

On the Mega XL the wheelbase is 1275mm which would give it a touch more planted feel and change a little bit of the direction change personality.

On the road when I put a twitch through the front end I could feel the front end was a bit more planted than my bike. I couldn’t decide if that was the MaxxGrip tire or the longer front center.

During the descent I could feel that the Mega XL was “longer” in the first few corners but that quickly went away once I had four or five turns down.

Finally – let’s take a quick look at the conditions we rode in.

Between some morning rain and being in the cloud the conditions were pretty variable. We got in some sections that were hero dirt levels of excellence – no brakes just ride in, lean as much as you want and rip through it.

Then, well, it got sloppy…

Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory Review by bikeco

Being SoCal locals none of the three of us really ride in sloppy stuff. So the details of the ride have to go back to the conditions were we have experience and kind of look the other way in conditions that are outside of the norm for us.

For instance some riders are always looking to fall in love with a demo or review bike. That’s not always going to happen (even for a bike you’ll love) and breaking down the experience can be important.

Here’s a good example of this for me:
First Ride Demo on the Mondraker FOXY
(didn’t love it but saw potential)
Extended “First” Ride when I bought one
(starting to love it – testing some stuff out, riding is ‘work’ you know!)
Extended Ride Review
(loved it by then)

Sorry for the sidebar, but the point is that you’re not always going to “love” a bike at this level at first sight. They’re technical pieces and you should treat it like that and go through what you’re really looking for out of the bike to make sure you get a bike that will get there with you. BikeCo’s staff is unbeatable at this…

Like overall – it was fun to get out with Mike and Tracy on the Nukeproof, but by the end of the ride I was kind of “blah” about having messy muddy everything to clean up, I was cold and I had a fall that dampened my spirits (and for a split second or two really scared me).

OK, not to dwell on crashes but this one was pretty funny and not that bad. If you’re familiar with the Luge picture the deep pocket turns before the trail “turns left” down the canyon with the right hand exposure. I think it’s three or five like left, right, left, right, left. Anyhow, I went in too hot as the flatter section of trail wasn’t too slippery, but as soon as it rolled into the steeper stuff it got sloppy. First corner I lost the bike, back end comes around and I’m sliding down, still up on the bike, but both wheels full drift. Into the next corner where the front end climbed up the rise and now the back wheel is in the trough, front wheel almost in the bushes still up. Still sliding. About then I see there’s really only one more turn before that left, which if I miss I’m going off the side, so my heart kinda thumps. Still at a full slide 90 degrees from the ideal direction I decide to smack my leg into the side of the trail to try to slow down and get off the back of the bike. Never fully fell just kinds slide all over and bury my leg in mud. Anyhow – I get down trail to take some more pics of Mike and Tracy and Mike’s like “ya, did you see those tracks through the corner? What a mess” or something along those lines. Then looks at me and puts together that those were all my “tracks” across the nearly the entire trail width…

When demo-ing or reviewing a bike you have to kind of put that aside to have a critical look at the bike, the setup and the spec to decide what you’re really feeling or not. I suggest that riders try to find 3 things they like, 3 things they didn’t really like and 3 things they’re neutral about to help your sales team understand if you’re on the right type / model of bike, size, spec and how the setup was.

Overall I can confidently say the Nukeproof Ride Review of the Mega 290: it’s a bike that rides planted, comfortable at speed, well behaved and consistent without knife edge performance. My experience says that for me, I would prefer ramping the suspension up to add some more “pop” to the bike to give it a little more when pumping the trail through terrain or in corners. The Mega rode “bigger” than either of my last two bikes the Mondraker or a Yeti SB130 Lunch Ride – but it should as it is a longer travel frame than either of those options.

I think it compares best to the Ibis Ripmo, maybe even a Ripmo with a 170mm fork.

Overall a fun Enduro bike comfortable and confident in terrain and speeds you’d expect!

Chat with our team today about the Nukeproof lineup or shop Nukeproof below:

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Will SRAM Transmission Fit on My Bike?

We’ve got a lot of questions on what bikes are compatible with the new T-Series SRAM Transmission Drivetrains.

So, Will SRAM Transmission Fit on My Bike?

It’s pretty easy to tell:

Does your bike have a UDH rear derailleur hanger and is it designed with a 55mm chainline?
(at this junction I havne’t seen a UDH bike, not 55mm – so basically – is your bike UDH?)

Here’s a quick look at the details that allow the SRAM Transmission to really stand out as the next generation in drivetrains, particularly with it’s automated setup.


Will SRAM Transmission Fit on my bike?

So when you heard SRAM was making derailleur hangers what was your thought?

Until I heard chatter about the Transmission system I was kind of like, great, another standard eh?

But as the advancements of the new SRAM Transmission and T-Series components came out it made a lot more sense.

Above on the Left is the hub mating surface of the new Derailleur and on the right is the surface of the UDH.

This is really the piece that allows the SRAM Transmission to take its performance to the next level: Bikes designed with the UDH provide SRAM a dedicated measurement and contact point with the hub, and therefor with the cassette.

SRAM Transmission UDH connects Derailleur directly with hub and cassette in contact

In this illustration you see how the SRAM Transmission Derailleur directly contacts the hub while also accepting the bike’s axle.

This is the importance of bikes being designed around the SRAM UDH in order for Transmission to function.

The 55mm Chainline

The latest in the ever evolving standards of MTB right? I know, part of me wants to make fun of it but the majority of me has a lot of appreciation that this sport values your dollars and continues to innovate – even if it means seemingly continual change! (I swear the next remade 1980s or early 90’s movie or TV commercial I see is gonna make me puke – at least in MTB its always doing something new…)

The wider chainline allows the Transmission system to work, provides a slightly stiffer and more robust rear triangle and requires specific cranks.

You can see the axle difference below between the SRAM GX DUB 52mm and 55mm DUB Wide cranks.

SRAM 55mm chainline versus 52mm chainline GX Cranks

So – what if your bike doesn’t have a UDH? Well non-UDH boost bikes can run the previous SRAM AXS technology available in GX, X01 and XX1 configurations.

In fact, the SRAM AXS system will still mount on a UDH bike as well if you want very specific cranks, chains, etc outside of the T-Series range.

Quick Differences between Transmission and AXS

Transmission provides automated setup and tuning as well as notable improvements to component strength and longevity.

SRAM AXS has an automatic trim tool but does require a bit of setup prior.

If you’re building a new bike most riders shopping wireless shifting will gravitate the new Transmission series as it is more robust and has some interesting design upgrades such as replaceable bash plates as well as other considerations to minimize potential damage in an extreme scenario.

If you’re updating or upgrading your current bike it tends to depend on budget (you’ll need new cranks with specific chain rings with the Transmission system), how important auto-setup is and whether your bike is UDH or not.

Whether you choose Transmission or the previous AXS you’re getting the best in wireless shifting available in MTB or eMTB.

Questions on wireless shifting options? Give us a call, email or use the chat and we’ll get you the right parts for your project.

Shop BikeCo’s favorite drivetrain kits below

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Compare eMTB & MTB FOX Coil Spring Rates eMTB & MTB Compare FOX Coil Spring Rates

note: calculator is easiest to use on a computer, laptop or tablet with landscape screen orientation

Click to select your Shock Size (Eye to Eye x Stroke) in B2 and the Spring Rates in B4 as well as B13 to compare.

[Since this is a google sheet I’m not sure how many users it can accommodate at a time – if it’s being strange you can select another “sheet” at the bottom (Coil_Compare_1 thru Coil_Compare_5) and that might correct it depending on users on the site]

Available Coil Springs with correct fitment for the Shock and Spring Rate are displayed to the right of the chart.
Scroll down for more explanation and details of this eMTB and MTB Coil Calculator’s function.

Find a coil you’re looking for? Or have more questions? Keep reading or use the contact form, chat, email or call 949-470-1099!

Calculator Details and Caveats!

This spring calculator is based around the actual support produced by the spring at full extension with Pre-Load, 30%, 60%, 90% and 100% of the available SHOCK STROKE.

The methodology is calculating the distance that the SPRING STROKE would be compressed in those various states of SHOCK STROKE, in inches, times the Spring Rate in LBs/IN.

Since variations in Pre-Load will create shifts in the total compression length of the SPRING STROKE that is factored into the results.

This calculator DOES NOT take into account bike specific details such as leverage ratios, rising / falling rates, etc. It is available to easily compare cross-over as well as spring specific output.

Quick Details on Rising / Falling Rate Suspension

How much of the spring’s power is actually applied into the linkage varies in part tied to the angle of the linkage compared to the spring’s “push”. As this angle is variable with suspension linkage the percentage of the springs actual output to the suspension system will vary.

eMTB and MTB Rising and Falling Rate Suspension Concept

Rising / Falling Rate Suspension Illustrated

Above you’ll see a basic illustration showing two rising then falling rate suspension linkages.

What makes this important – a coil spring (or air spring) is only 1 to 1 effective when the spring’s power is pushing at 90 degrees to the linkage arm. On the upper graphic this is shown in the Orange details.

Continuing to reference the upper graphic: at full extension the spring’s effectiveness will be slightly less than the spring’s power rating. As the linkage rotates (clockwise in this case) to the 90 degree angle (shown in orange) it is a Rising Rate suspension.

As the linkage passes the orange 90% point until full compression it is a Falling Rate suspension.

How does this matter or effect you?

Well if you’re read this far I hope you’re learning something and it’s interesting right?

Let’s compare the red details between the upper and lower illustrations now.

In the upper illustration the angle between the spring and linkage is more exaggerated than the lower illustration.

This means at full compression the upper spring is exerting a percentage LESS of it’s rated power compared to the lower red detail which is closer to the 90 degree position, thus it is exerting a HIGHER percentage of the spring’s rated power to the linkage.

If I was considering two spring rates I would likely consider using the HIGHER Spring Rate with less Pre-Load in the upper concept and the LOWER Spring Rate with more Pre-Load in the lower scenario.

Is this somewhat splitting hairs? Of course. But, the data is out there, the components are out there so what harm can the knowledge do? (and, I hope that a disclaimer like this eliminates the snarky comments, or at least some of them!)

Final Thoughts on the Above Calculator

So, the calculator won’t tell me what spring to use? Correct. There are too many individualized factors in each bikes’ design to make that really feasible. This calculator ideally gives you a comparison point if you’ve started with some understanding or data point on your setup.

Your bike dealer or manufacturer should be able to provide you with some basic setup concepts and the calculator would provide a reference to compare options around what they suggest.

eMTB and MTB FOX Coil Spring Fitment

Here are some physical dimensions to take into consideration when shopping for the right eMTB or MTB Coil Spring.

FOX Coil ID: Inner Diameter

Current FOX Coils are Inner Diameter: 1.385″

The correct inner diameter ensures proper clearance to the damper body and proper upper and lower “spring perch” sizing.

Coil Stroke versus Shock Stroke

We’ve listed the published stroke or coil travel for each part number.

The Coil Stroke should be greater than, at least slightly, than the Shock Stroke (taking into account that some coil stroke is used with the Pre-Load adjustment – more on that on the next tab).

If your Coil Stroke is equal or, much worse, LESS THAN the shock stroke you will have Coil Bind.

Coil Bind

Example of Coil Bind on MTB or eMTB suspension

Example of Coil Bind on MTB or eMTB suspension shown above.

Coil Bind is when a spring is compressed completely sitting each coil against its neighbors.

Coil Bind may cause damage to the damper body, suspension, bike and rider.

When a coil is completely compressed it is no longer a spring, so the spring rate goes to infinity (like a hard tail bike). This typically results in a bounce which then unloads the spring to “pogo” making the entire situation worse. Coil Bind should be avoided by ensuring that your spec’d Coil Stroke or Coil Travel is greater than the Shock Stroke.

Coil Total Length

The coil capable FOX dampers have an adjustable ring for Pre-Load as well as to accommodate various Total Length coil springs.

FOX DHX2 Coil Total Length Fitment Chart DHX
FOX DHX2 Min & Max Spring Total Length per Eye to Eye Measurement
Eye to Eye Min Spring Length Max Spring Length
7.5″ 4.32″ 4.38″
7.875″ 4.32″ 5.21″
8.5″ 4.82″ 5.83″
9.5″ 5.32″ 6.84″
10.5″ 5.82″ 7.83″
185mm Trunnion 4.48″ 5.30″
210mm 4.49″ 5.60″
205mm Trunnion 4.88″ 6.09″
230mm 4.88″ 6.39″
225mm Trunnion 5.27″ 6.88″
250mm 5.28″ 7.18″

Shop eMTB & MTB Fox Coil Springs

Contact Me Regarding This Product

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Night Riding: New Adventures on Familiar Trails!

MTB Night Riding New Adventures on Familiar Trails

With the upcoming time change and winter closing in the day light hours riders have a couple options for weekday rides. (or, if you’re like me and ah, socially challenged let’s say less busy riding windows!) One is to get up early, although sometimes that light window is short too. The other is to find trails that allow night riding and check out why so many of us credit night riding for improving our riding as well as being a great adventure.

First, let me admit, 10-12 years ago I really did “night” rides pretty frequently. Now, mid forties, my “night rides” tend to be “rides in the evening in the dark”, home and in bed at my normal time! But the adventure and riding is still great…

MTB Night Riding: What do I need?

One of the beauties of MTB night riding is it really doesn’t take much more than you probably have for adventure riding days anyhow.

What’s on my quick list? Well let’s take a quick look.

Night Riding Tips and Setup from BikeCo details in write up below

MTB Night Riding Lights

It had been several years since I’d been night riding a lot. Amazingly, or – rather not amazingly I suppose, lights have gotten less expensive, much lighter / smaller and WAY brighter.

I feel like the modern lights in “low” are brighter than my previous lights on “high”. It’s a much more confident feel both up and downhill with the greater lumens at your fingertips.

Two Lights: Helmet & Handlebar

You’re going to have a better experience with a pair of lights. There are a handful of reasons for this.

Top of the list: Riding with two lights at different heights and different angles provides more definition of the trail. With a single light shadows are cast that don’t always easily define what it is you’re looking at. Having a second point of light provides better definition of what’s in front of you – especially downhill.

Night Riding Tips and Setup from BikeCo Two Light Advantage

When descending I prefer a more powerful headlight and slightly less, or maybe equal handlebar light.

The brighter headlamp provides improved vision when you’re looking “down” trail. Your helmet’s light has a better angle for casting definition in most conditions as well.

Setting Up Lights for MTB Night Riding

Getting your lights “right” takes a little bit of trial and error.

Some things to consider include the angle, total light output, trail and speed.

You’ll need to be able to see far enough down trail to ride at a fun pace. Often, especially if you’re climbing first, you’ll find your lights are aimed a little “low”. This is why you see lights mounted further “back” on helmets than you might expect. In order to get the light cast far enough ahead most mounts require being towards the top of the helmet. This also helps with weight balance.

More is more, until it’s too much… You don’t want to “wash out” the trail too much. So you might not run at full power, or you might aim slightly “high” or “low” and maintain the ideal view area with slightly less powerful light.

I remove the visor on my helmets – you don’t have to do this, but, with the light mounted further back the visor can create an extra shadow to deal with. If the visor comes off easy I just pop it off for night rides.

Helmet Headlight

Generally I suggest this to be the more powerful light – but – if you have a really large light you probably don’t want that weight on your head. You can get a lot of lumens in a compact package these days so it isn’t typically an issue either way.

Climbing: When climbing I use the headlight in the low setting to provide enough light at climbing speeds while saving some battery.

Descending: I run the helmet light at or near full power. While you might find this can “wash” your vision if it crosses with a bright handlebar light but there are advantages of having the extra lumens when you’re looking downtrail before the handlebar has crossed into that direction.

Handlebar Light

My personal setup is currently “same-same” both in the 1200 or 1300 lumen range. Recently I rode with an old friend who showed up with a huge lamp with extra batteries mounted to his bar. Part of me was super jealous of ALL the light. But, given that we’re doing usually just quick loops on a trail we’re familiar with I still prefer the small package lights. Having “same-same”, or at least the same mounting technology also makes it easy if you need to swap them back and forth.

Climbing: I tend to climb without my handlebar light on. I figure this saves some power and gives you a bit more of the “I’m out here” feeling which I like.

Descending: like your helmet light it may take a bit to find a good setup. I’m messing with these new lights trying to balance power, cast and wash out. I don’t have a real “here’s where you should be” feel yet on it. With SO much more light than what I’d been familiar with I’ve been trying different things to see if using a brighter setting, aimed “lower” gives enough light cast while improving the definition. I think my next ride I’ll try mounting the light under the bar to see if I can get a “steeper” angle on it and see what that does to the cast effect.

The long and short of it – familiarize yourself with the lights and their capability. Then find what you feel works best for you!

Other Night Riding Go-Tos

MTB Night Riding Tips and Tricks Warm and Comfortable

Night riding can take a lot of different forms – and you’ll see many of them out on your local trails.

While there are the guys smashing out the full cardio attack it’s much more of an “event” ride for most riders.

So, how do you stay comfortable on these rides? Well, by staying comfortable…

MTB Night Riding Comfort Tips

Rider Type 1: (my brother) Don’t sweat, cause, sweat will make you cold. I can’t argue with the logic here at all. If you’re this rider it’s also likely you’re in the faster part of the group – which – means you’ll end up waiting more… So you need to have enough gear with you to ensure you’ll stay warm at the check in points.

Rider Type 2: (me) You’re going to sweat. Maybe a lot. Maybe even if it’s cold! I bring an extra jersey so at the top of the climb I can get out of the wet, gross, clingy thing before I descend and force a bunch of cold air through it onto my skin! Really makes a huge psychological difference and reset for me.

Extra Clothes? I’m somewhere in the middle of true minimalist and over packing survivalist. You really have to assess where you’re comfort level is. If it’s real cold I’ll pack an extra layer – and I’m happy to carry it even if I never use it because, knowing I had it in case of a mechanical or whatever brings me some peace.

Extra Tools? See above right? During the day I’ve gotten bad – I carry plenty of water and maybe a multi-tool. If I have to walk out I chalk it up to part of the adventure I suppose. At night I do bring more spares as I don’t like the idea of hiking if I can avoid it in the dark… (I’ve gone solo a couple miles up on the San Juan shuttle back in the day – and the lack of being able to get on the bike and “go” even if it was in the wrong direction wasn’t a great feeling I suppose)

Extra Protection? I seldom wear body armor these days. Most of my loops are on the mellow side and I ride solo a lot so I’m not typically pushing into a “yard-sale” level of get off. But, at night, the body armor definitely comes out.

Body Armor / Knee & Elbow Warmers!

While I’m not pushing night riding hard enough to have frequent crashes the element of surprise does come up more when you can’t clearly see everything. So a pair of compression fit knee and elbow pads puts just enough extra between me and the trail so I feel better.

Also – even if you don’t “crash” at night you have more moments where the bike might be tossing around under you. Knee guards with a bit of protection, especially on the insight of your knee, can take a big bike slap from a gnarly bruise you have to deal with to a simple “thud”.

Best of all at night, particularly this time of year, the modern “slim” body armor with compression fit provides a nice warm option. I figure why wear knee or arm “warmers” when I can get that as well as some additional protection with my G-Form Rugged 2 knee or Sam Hill Lite Elbow pads…

MTB Night Riding: It Makes You Better

There are a lot of reasons I get out to night ride. Adventure (bet most your co-worker’s don’t have a more fun story to tell about that night right?). Social (good to get out with the guys and blow off some steam after work). Cause it’s hard to schedule all the fun in so little daylight (enough said eh).

But night riding also will improve your MTB skills.

You’ll learn to let the bike “float”. At night you can’t see every single thing your bikes’ going to come across. So you learn to let the bike eat up the stuff you maybe didn’t see while you stay focused down trail to deal with the upcoming terrain. These are confident bikes these days – put your confidence in them a bit and your riding will improve.

Don’t fight for the “exact” line. Your lines are gonna change up at night. It will help you better deal with the unexpected. Example? Well, there’s a couple corners on our ride that tend to be dusted with a loose dirt / rock “crust”. During the day it’s not too hard to see and kind of change a tire width one way or the other to stay on the high grip area. At night? Well, you learn to let go of the brake and catch the bike when the traction comes back! Again, kind of goes back to learning to let the bike work and not being OCD in charge of every second of your ride.

When you take this confidence to your day riding you’ll find you’re more competent at higher speeds.

Night Riding with BikeCo on The Luge

Other Night Riding Tips (that I remember)

It’s been a few years so this list isn’t necessarily comprehensive – but I’m getting it back quick…

Want some tips to help you have more fun on your MTB night ride? Here are a few that I find make a big difference.

Don’t look people in the eye. With your light on at least… sucks to get blinded by your buddy!

Bike Setup:

Your bike is likely to “feel harsh”. You’re riding slower which usually requires less compression and slower rebound. If you’re like me, just remember that on your ride. I’m not going to adjust my bike for a “slower” ride because I have 100% faith that I will forget I did that and hate my next “fast” ride. I can deal with a bike feeling “harsh” better than I can deal with having a slow setup the next time I drop in fast and turn myself into a lawn dart or bury the bike in a big hole I usually blast over…

Can you adjust your suspension? Sure. If it’s really, really cold you might consider that too – but – for me personally, it’s going to be very unusual for me to make those adjustments.

Well I could lower my tire PSI right? In fact, good on you for reading so much about where a lot of compliance is on these modern bikes here on! But, I personally wouldn’t lower the PSI either. You’re likely to have some, ah, adventurous line choices at night. This stresses sidewalls, etc. Running a lower PSI to compensate for the suspension being a bit “fast” increases your likelihood of a pinch flat or cutting a tire on a bottom out. Which, we mentioned above – hiking at night isn’t as fun…

Wear Eye Protection

This is partly a reminder to myself. I’m pretty bad about this recently. At night though, whether it’s psychosomatic because you can “see” the dust in the air with the powerful riding lights or if its’ real – I feel like you get more stuff in your eyes at night. Also – with the occasional off-line adventure you don’t want to be in the bushes or whatever without protection on your eyes.

I’ve had a bit of an eye opening experience here recently – I got this far with only a couple cheap puns! I didn’t have any clear lens around before one of our recent rides. But, in my laptop bag I had a trusty pair of blue light glasses. Well – those became part of my night riding gear that night. And I really liked it. So, I reached out to my eye doctor to ask if it was just a reaction to my “new toy” or if it had some logic.

What I asked:

Quick question if you want to answer for a blog I’m throwing together (if you  want we will quote you and link your site – if you’re busy or have no interest or not sure absolutely no hard feelings either)

Would blue light glasses improve night riding?
I wore a pair of computer glasses a couple nights ago and I swear it cut a lot of the glare out of the lights we use – which are super high output LED , about 1500 lumens at full tilt boogie.

Is there any science you might know of that would make this more than in my head?

From Charles at Modern Eyewear Optometry:

“Blue blocker glasses are traditionally used for reducing strain and possible protection while on electronic devices.

I do prescribe them also for migraine  and light sensitive patients who wear them all day and do really well with them.

You may have just come up with another excellent use of them! Cycling night lights are bright! And LED! So for sure blue blockers could help cut out some of the high energy wavelengths of the spectrum that interfere with vision while riding. If you felt it helped you see better I would continue to use them. I would add that everyone has different prescription and what may work for you may not work for others.

Do some research on the visible spectrum of light and how different tints cut out reflections and glare.

I personally like light yellow tints for evening dusk riding and clear anti reflective for night rides. But again everyone is different.

I’m a big fan of Rudy Project, which is one brand we offer at the office. That’s what I wear for riding. I believe they also have some info in their sight on optics of tints etc.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions.

Here’s a good site from trustworthy docs:

Optics are rad!

One Last Note on LED and Blue Light

I started down this rabbit hole, but I’ve been swamped with a bunch of other things. BUT, I’m wondering if the blue light lens have something special because of how “white” light is actually produced from an LED. (and, I never liked yellow lens outdoors if makes all the bushes, etc feel off to me)

Anyhow – you can check out the Wikipedia LED entry if you wanna take over this rabbit hole on blue light riding glasses for these powerful modern LED lights!

Seeing what you see…

It’s different at night – enjoy the view!

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Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review: Extended Ride

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Extended Ride Review and Video

Well, I’ve put in some really enjoyable months and miles on my FOXY Carbon so, it’s time to put down my Mondraker FOXY carbon Review: Extended Ride.

The abridged version: I love this bike and build. Love it.

The FOXY Carbon is confident, predictable and it pedals amazingly well for what I would have considered a long travel 29er. Long travel compared to my previous SB130 Lunch Ride? Ya, I know we’re talking like 10mm in the fork and maybe 13mm in the rear – but we can get more into that down the trail.

For this review I think I’ll hit first on the “heart” of the FOXY – geo and suspension performance and then circle back onto the individual parts on my build as some of them are new to me on an extended review.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review Series!

This is the latest in a series of content focused on my Mondraker FOXY experience. You can learn more about how I’ve come to the conclusions here on the Mondraker FOXY Carbon review going through the timeline of posts here on

Mondraker FOXY “First Ride” Review
Walk through the original setup and thoughts on my build!

Comparing the FOX Grip and Ohlins RXF forks
What led me away from the Ohlins and back to FOX? Check it out

Extra FOXY Mondraker: Foxy with 170mm Fox 38 and Float X2
The real start of my love affair with this bike…


Keep reading / watching for the latest on the Mondraker FOXY below!

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review Forward Geometry La Costa NASCAR

The FOXY at home on a quick chunky loop in La Costa Preserve. Keeping your handlebar a bit taller will help provide a “power” position to push the bike through steep and chunky sections.

Mondraker Forward Geometry

This Mondraker Forward Geo branding launched several years ago. Mondraker was one of the first in the Longer, Slacker, Lower geometry that ended up taking the entire industry.

The longer bikes, shorter fork offsets, increased trail measurement all gave bikes notably more performance without ultra slack headtubes which compromise steering and direction changes.

In today’s marketplace the Mondraker geometry isn’t as “far forward” comparatively to competitive bikes but they are on the longer side of top tier manufacturers. For instance, I had been debating if my Large SB130 might be just a bit short and was debating about an XL. With the longer top tube on the FOXY I stayed in a Large but got the bit of extra length I was looking for.

As a sizing reference I’m 6’1” with long limbs about a 35” inseam and 76” fingertip to fingertip. This allows me to ride the Large using stems in my preferred range of 40/45mm. (you’ll note that’s right in the range of a modern 29 fork offset – I think there’s something to that but haven’t penciled out “why” to date)

Going back to the concern of a “bigger bike”: Was the slightly slacker headtube my FOXY had compared to the Lunch Ride going to create issues climbing or in less steep terrain?

Initially I rode the bike with the stock 160mm Ohlins fork which had its issues, but not in terms of geometry or headtube. The 160mm bike was well planted and didn’t wander even climbing in technical sections.

After moving away from the Ohlins I went slightly slacker with the 170mm FOX 38 fork. To date I haven’t noticed any issues even with the taller fork. The bike climbs well, tracks through steep switchbacks uphill and gets onto and over rocky sections well. Sliding a bit forward on some sections will help you stay in a position where you can easily add extra load through the grips if the front end feels a little light to you.

I left the flip chips in the stock position with the shorter chainstay measurements. The bike works so well I haven’t really felt like meddling with it – maybe one of these days, but I feel like the bike is slack enough especially with the longer fork which also raises the bottom bracket just slightly (similar to what the flip chips would do).

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review Zero Suspension Mission Trails San Diego

I love bikes with long, straight, mean lines. The FOXY’s front triangle features a unique thin but wide top tube to maximize strength and trail compliance.  It looks fast on trail or sitting in my office! Mission Trails in San Diego

Mondraker ZERO Suspension

Like the fork I ended up going back to FOX on the rear shock – I’ve got another write up on that (in short as a heavier rider the Ohlins was overwhelmed, but I know lighter riders who love it) – but after that switch what are my thoughts? ZERO complaints…

What’s so special about the Mondraker ZERO Suspension design?

Well, a lot of work goes into balancing MTB suspension. Over-simplified: You’ve got to take into account how the wheel arcs, what it does to the drivetrain, what’s the leverage ratio overall, how does the sine angle change the leverage input on the shock? Rising rate mechanical leverage? Falling rate? Mixed? How does that mesh with the shock you’ve spec’d ramp rate? Damping capacity?

A lot of designs “look” similar – but the details simply aren’t that easy to replicate, either from the physics and math or the patents.

Unlike Geo, which has converged into a pretty similar realm depending on what level of bike you’re shopping, ie enduro, trail/enduro, trail, endurance/XC – look alike suspension isn’t a thing you can simply look at what the industry leaders are doing and say ya, I’ll take some of that and slap it on your design…

I’ve been riding a lot of years at this point. I’ve ridden tons of designs. I’ve owned most of the best. (last two bikes were an Ibis HD with DW Suspension and the Yeti SB130 with Switch Infinity Suspension – DW is plush and planted, Switch is poppy and fun). That said, the FOXY is my first bike with floating suspension.

The Mondraker ZERO mounts each side of the rear shock onto pivot linkage creating a “floating” design. This has a couple interesting advantages for designers to work with. Particularly the angle of input into the shock (which changes the mechanical leverage ratio through the spring’s ramp rate to give a bike the designed balance).

What’s this mean? Floating suspensions are known for being compliant. Mondraker Zero suspension takes that compliance and adds an efficient pedaling platform able to keep the bike planted and efficient under power. The FOXY’s suspension suspends and the drivetrain drives without one interfering with the other. It’s designed to have ZERO “cross contamination” if you will.

What’s that mean on trail?

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Extended Ride Review San Juan Corner

One of the places I’ve been most impressed is how well the “longer” FOXY gets through the tight stuff both uphill and downhill. This bike is easy to maintain control of both the front and rear wheel in a “normal” range of riding positions.

ZERO Suspension Uphill

The FOXY is the first bike I’ve owned that I don’t use the shock’s climbing “lock-out”. That’s a really interesting fact. The Mondraker climbs well enough I don’t feel like I need that additional compression setting. It doesn’t suffer bob, it doesn’t feel like it’s sitting too deep when you get headed up the steeps and weight shifts backwards.

Keeping the shock “open” provides another advantage when climbing the Mondraker – it increases the bike’s available traction climbing technical sections.

My FOXY is the best climbing bike I’ve owned. It has incredible traction – it doesn’t spin wheels (which I HATE as it hurts my lower back when bikes have that power on, off, on kick), it’s efficient – add power and the bike accelerates, and likely because I’m able to climb it in the shock’s open position the bike doesn’t have the reverse “pop” or kick back that other bikes might have when climbing up and over chunky rocks, etc.

Previously I had to be ready to really attack a rock face, and as a less fit rider that’s not always as easy as it sounds!

Riding the FOXY, even at lower power input, the bike uses all that traction and churns up and over .  This eliminates the “popping” back and needing that extra momentum from explosive pedaling. Now, some of this might be from some the drivetrain setup as well and I’ll come back to that in the spec review.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Extended Ride Review San Juan Skyline

Leaning into the corner on San Juan Trail off Ortega. Since most of my riding isn’t in the gnarliest stuff it’s important to me a bike is fun on the flatter, faster stuff while having enough in the tank to tackle chunkier terrain too. The Mondraker FOXY checks that box – riding incredible for a 170mm front (modified from 160 stock) and 150mm rear Enduro bike.

Downhill – ZERO Complaints.

It’s interesting jumping on different bikes and feeling out how they want to behave and what they want from rider input.

I’m looking for a pretty specific feel downhill.

What does it take to control both wheels? I want a bike that in a range of normal riding positions I can get traction off both the front and rear wheel when I want it. Running VPP bikes it felt like you were hard pressed to control the front and rear wheel . Riding them fast particularly in fast corners it seemed like you had to choose whether to ride off the back and really drive through with your feet and hips or pushing the front end to hook up and almost “unicycling” through the corners. I think this hindered my riding for a long time until I got onto other suspension designs that allowed me to comfortably corner faster knowing I was basically doubling my traction…

I prefer bikes that “pop” when pumped on the trail. It’s a fun feel and gives you the ability to find “free” speed. The trick is finding suspension designs that offer that feel without compromising on the total traction and compliance. How much Pop versus Thump – like a bike with too much pop won’t allow you to power through terrain without feeling like you’re on a pogo stick. A bike with too much thump may feel numb until you get it up to speed (my last 26″ bike suffered terribly from that – it wasn’t fun until it was going soooo fast…)

My bikes need to balance compliance, support and ramp rate. I’m willing to trade some compliance (as I can find some in tires, etc) but the balance of support and ramp is important. Having a bike with enough support to corner fast or stay tall in the steep and chunky stuff is critical for a confident experience.

As another note on balance – and it’s not been a problem on any bike I’ve owned, but I’ve found it on some test bikes over the years: if the rear end can’t be balanced to the front it’s just not worth riding! Something else to think about when you see “look-alike” suspension…

Back to the FOXY Carbon Review: Mondraker Suspension has ZERO compromises and I have ZERO complaints (after setting it up with the dampers that accommodate my weight and ground speed)

The FOXY has a wide range of ground speed where its “lively”. I’ll use the word lively, I suppose I mean it changes direction with minimal input, kind of that floating or flying feel that I love in MTB.

It’s also a comfortable when you get going and start to find the limits. The bike is predictable and confident. The FOXY has a “soft” speed limit – meaning that it eases into the point of losing traction or being overwhelmed. It will give you some time to know, hmmm I need to get ready for a 2 wheel drift or the bike to start smashing travel. This is advantageous over bikes with a “hard” speed limit which hit the end of capacity quickly and don’t give riders as much time for correction.

I’ve had it in slower speed, chunky, consequence riding conditions and the FOXY is really sure footed. The suspension absorbs what it needs without jarring you back off the other end as the shock rebounds.

The FOXY is really good at holding a line at a wide range of speeds and terrain.

Where does the bike shine brightest? Well, push that bike into fast, burly stuff and it just begs for more. Makes sense for an EWS level Enduro bike right? Yup.

The FOXY manuals well, jumps better than I do and is easy to control both front and rear wheels.

With the taller front end, between both fork travel and cockpit setup, I can control the front end in steeps as I don’t have to ride way way off the back wheel.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon FOX 38 Magura Brakes

Modern MTB bike spec from industry leaders like Ibis, Mondraker and Yeti are great starting points. Want to take your performance a little further? Chat with our team about how a part here or there will fine tune your bike’s personality. Morning ride before work in Whiting Ranch.

Semi-Custom Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review: My Spec

So let’s get this on the table – I buy all my parts. So, if you see it on my bike, I believe in it and I want it on my bike.

BikeCo has a similar feeling as a business – we offer the best in MTB for a wide range of riders and a wide range of preferences. I’m not saying my spec is the absolute for everyone because a lot of preference goes into spec.

In the spec review I’m going to let you know if its new to me, some thoughts and opinions.


FOX 38 GRIP2 Fork, 170mm

I’ve run the GRIP2 as long as it’s been around, but in the 36 160mm fork. The 38 chassis is new to me. I wondered if I would notice the “heavier” front end but I haven’t. The 38 features bleed valves meaning I’ve lot one of my favorite tips and tricks of burping and lubing seals! I never noticed the 36 having any flex issues for me, but the 38 will have even less theoretically…

Float X2 Rear Shock

This is THE shock. It’s been several years since I’ve run the X2 and I did like the SB130’s DPX2 (probably would have loved an X2 on that bike BTW but never made it happen between pandemic availability, etc, etc). The X2 is literally the most special shock I’ve ridden. When setup correctly the high and low speed compression on the X2 provide unbeatable control. In my opinion better than even the computer controlled shocks. Splitting low speed and high speed compression means you can have a shock that offers a lot of pedaling support, but has the ability to instantly open from a small weight shift to prepare for your descent. The X2 is tuneable with air pressure, volume spacing, and both high and low speed compression and rebound.

Getting the suspension setup right allows your bike to float where it needs to float, support where it needs support. BikeCo Pro Tunes take the FOX performance window and narrow it to a particular rider’s weight, ground speed, terrain, and abilities.

Suspension support is important as your ground speed increases and you ride in bigger terrain. There are a lot of ways to work on this and compression setup or PSI (sag) are typically the first you’ll look at. But, no one wants a bike that rattles your teeth out right? So where do we find more small bump compliance to make up for the stiffer suspension? Tires.


2.5” Maxxis Minion DHF EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra front
2.4” DHR II EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra rear

Love the original Mondraker spec. I’ve run these tread patterns on a bunch of my bikes over the years. This is the first time I’ve run the EXO+ on the front. I was a little concerned about adding weight to the front of my bike and how much it would change the amount of input needed for turning or manualing the bike. Haven’t really noticed it.

The EXO+ gives good support allowing me to maximize, err, well I suppose minimize the air pressures I run. Getting your PSI right means balancing grip with support in high load corners or terrain.

The Mondraker name is building in the USA but it’s been a staple in World Class racing in Europe for ages now. More than a sexy euro trailer queen the Mondraker lineup has proven it can provide riders trail experiences parallel with the top tier expectations from any brand in MTB.

Wheels / Rims

DT Swiss 350 hubs, straight pull spokes on EX 1700 rims

I’ve run DT 350 stock builds before although this is the first time with straight pull spokes and the smaller diameter hubs.

I love the EX1700 rims 30mm internals. It’s my favorite inner dimension as it gives a great shape to the typical 2.4/2.5” tires that most enduro or trail/enduro riders enjoy. I tend to ride pretty hard particularly on the rear wheels. The EX1700 have stayed true and have taken a pretty good beating. I haven’t put any rim protection on these wheels either. Oh, and they mount tires easily – which – on your own bike isn’t necessarily that big of a deal but helping at the shop I mount a lot of tires on a lot of wheels. It’s always a little easier to see those rims in my pile of work to do!

This is my first go around with straight pull spokes. No real input on that yet. I prefer J-bend for a lot of reasons we’ll see if I find my reasons justified or not over some time I suppose.

DT Swiss 350 hubs. I’ve had good luck with my last set of DT hubs. This might be set 3 for me but I can’t remember for sure. What I’ve learned about DT Swiss 350 hubs over the years:

First, the driver isn’t “fixed” onto the hub. Makes it super easy to service or mod parts. BUT! When you mount tires and are thumping them to slosh the tire sealant around MAKE SURE you have the cassette up and have a hand on it. I make this mistake about once a year. Mount a tire, banging the wheel and cassette, ratchet system and springs are all over the floor!

I run the 36t ratchet. The 18t feels clunky and the 54t is delicate in my opinion, not something I need as a heavier rider with poor pedaling technique.

This is my first go at the smaller diameter and smaller spoke flange design. I do notice that in really hard corners I can hear the front rotor “tinging” suggesting that there’s some flex somewhere. But, as long as it’s not leading to premature wear or failure it’s not a big deal to me at the moment. Makes you feel kinda cool like ya, that’s a corner. Haha…

Mondraker FOXY Review Whiting Ranch

Another morning ride in Whiting Ranch before work. What other sport consistently gets the views we get in MTB??


I tend to run GX level drivetrains. I find the performance / value is hard to beat. I think that the XX1 and X01 likely has a slightly longer service life though. A well lubed SRAM drivetrain’s service interval overall is pretty much impossible to beat in my experience.

SRAM GX 10-52T Cassette (pinned)

This is my first 52t cassette. I find it’s a really notable bail out gear from the 48t – however – it does feel like a big shift so I don’t want to dump shift into it as I’m sure that’s hard on it. I could see a lot of riders preferring the 50t option if they’re strong climbers. I prefer the extra little bit available with the 52t so far.

KMC X-12ti Chain

While I run GX level bits I do spend a bit more on the chain. Typically I run XX1 chains as I feel like the surface conditioning as well as manufacturing techniques give better performance longer than the less expensive chains. On this bike I put the KMC X-12ti on as I wanted the gold highlights to remind me of my daughter’s cancer fight (gold is the universal kid cancer color fyi – we’ve got it removed and 6 months of clear scans so life’s good).

AbsoluteBlack Oval Chainring

The AbsoluteBlack Oval chainring is the first oval I’ve ridden more than say twice in a row. I’ve gotten used to it and really don’t feel it anymore. When I first rode it I felt like it was more notable as the leverage changed through the stroke. Since I’m kind of a churny climber I feel like the oval ring does give me some advantage. If you’re spinning high cadence it might feel a little funny. Setting up the Mondraker chainguide was a bit of a compromise but I haven’t had any issues dropping the chain thus far with the setup.

SRAM GX Alloy Cranks, 175mm

These new GX cranks are really, really nice in my opinion. They look good and are pretty light given their position in the SRAM Eagle lineup. I run 175mm cranks. I used to have a more distinct opinion on who should ride what – but then I measured 5mm. It’s like three quarters stacked on top of each other. Run what you want! I’m not sure that distance is causing or negating any pedal strikes for me…

RaceFace Atlas Pedals

The Atlas pedals have made it to either their third or fourth bike. Maybe this is the third. But, considering that they’ve been in service since Nov 2018 for a bigger rider without a rebuild – got my value out of those…


Ergon SM Enduro Men’s saddle

I can’t recall if I’ve run this exact Ergon saddle before. I ride Ergon saddles as they tend to have a comfortable balance between the seating area and the relief areas. I typically don’t notice them. Which is my goal with saddles.

175mm FOX Transfer post

Wondering if I want to go to the 200mm – not because I need any more drop when riding, but with the taller BB height compared to my last bike I can’t quite flat foot the bike getting on and off. Maybe I’m getting older and my leg doesn’t go as high when I kick over?

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review Magura MT5

One of the tricks to spec’ing your dream bike: knowing where you can find extra performance at a great value. Magura MT5 brakes work excellent balancing unbeatable modulation and power. With a proper first bleed these brakes will work amazing with just an occasional bubble bleed for years.


Wolf Tooth Light Action Remote

I’ve been running these for several years too. I prefer the longer lever Light Action since it requires less force, although it does need further throw, to activate. I have bad hands and every little bit helps.

Ergon GE1 Evo Grips, Regular Diameter

I’d run WTB padloc grips for years – but – they seem to be a casualty to covid. So, I went beack to the Ergon GE1 Evo. They have some of the additional padding at the edge which was my favorite aspect of my previous grips. The GE1 grips are left and right specific and have a designed shape for improved ergonomics. With a single inner clamp they don’t need the raised outer edge required for a second clamp, which I absolutely hate the feel of. I tend to run my hands slightly off the grips and that rise hurts. The one complaint on the Ergons is they are slippery when wet. I climb without gloves and I have to be aware on any quick descent or whatever to wipe them well or the sweat makes them really slick. Gloves solve this so they’ve stayed on the bike so far.

RaceFace Turbine-R Stem 40mm

I’ve been running this stem since it was labeled Easton before the buyout! It’s an elegant shape with a nice finish but most importantly it was one of the first stems to come out machined flat at the top, so you tighten the faces together there and then torque the bottom bolts. I love attention to detail.

Tag T1 Carbon Bars, 40mm rise stock 800mm width

I went with the Tag T1 Carbon Bars as I like the concept of the ovalized design to fine tune and help damp trail vibration. It’s not something that you’re going to be like oh, I feel it so much – but every little bit helps. Some bars speed handling, typically not what I’m looking for at speed while others can slow handling (didn’t need it on this bike). The Tag sits in the middle as a neutral option.

Magura MT5 Brakes, 180mm HC Rotors

Figured I’d close with these. If you’ve read much of our stuff you’ve come across my love for Magura brakes. Unbeatable power and modulation (although, I’m told the new Hope V4 have brought more power to the Hope options which also have great modulation). I love the stock lever on the MT5 which is slightly longer adding to the modulation feel (like the seatpost remote – longer lever = longer throw to full engagement which translates to more modulation on brakes). Even as a larger rider I run 180mm rotors unless its really a big day or trip. I find the balance is good although more and more riders are setting up in the 203/180 or 203/203 range.


Hope you learned something in this Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review! Geo, suspension on trail personality and a bit on the what’s and why’s of my spec!

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review: extended Trail Rides
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Understanding Maxxis MTB Tires

Understanding Maxxis Tire Technology: PSI, Sidewall, Compound & Tread

Want to learn more about the technical details of Maxxis MTB tires? explains tires including PSI, sidewalls, compounds and tread patterns to help you fine tune your bike’s performance.

Maxxis MTB Tires

One of the things you’ll take away from this video is how riders are using sidewall technology to fine tune PSI as well as small bump compliance allowing them to ride firmer suspension for better support in corners and steeps. How does that work? Check out the video and read more below!

With the available options of SIdewall, Compound and Tread patterns the Maxxis lineup offers a wide range of riders the perfect tire.

Check out the 29″ Maxxis Tire Matrix below and shop the best in MTB 29″ tires here or 27.5″ tires here!

Maxxis 29 Tire Matrix for MTB

More on Maxxis Tires:

BikeCo Tactile Scale Durometer Surface Tension Damping Measurements

BikeCo Tactile Scale: Durometer, Surface Tension and Damping

In order to help our clients better compare products we’ve developed a Tactile Scale for items like Tires, Grips, Shoes, etc. We measure the durometer, surface tension and rebound to provide points that can be more accurately reviewed.
The higher the durometer the “harder” the material.
The higher the Surface Tension the “stickier” or more tacky the material is.
The higher the Damping number the more energy is absorbed by the product during a drop test.

Maxxis 3C Compounds

A hard compound or base layer supports a medium compound center tread section as well as a softer outer tread section of the tire. The softer cornering lugs provide additional grip at lean angles. The harder center section is faster rolling and longer lasting for those climbs before your favorite descents. Each 3C layup has three different layers of rubber compound utilized in varying depths.

3C tires are available in three different layups.

MaxxSpeed: is the fastest rolling and longest lasting of the 3C lineup. It accomplishes this with slightly harder rubber giving up a bit of grip.
MaxxSpeed Tactile Scale – Center: 63-tbd-0.96, Edge: 55-tbd-1.28

MaxxTerra: the intermediate option designed to offer more grip than the MaxxSpeed but is longer lasting with less rolling resistance than MaxxGrip options.
MaxxTerra Tactile Scale – Center: 55-7.56-0.87, Edge: 48-11.2-2.19

MaxxGrip: this 3C option is the stickiest layup. Along with the additional grip the rubber utilized in MaxxGrip tires also has damping properties to help control tire rebound. This adds a bit more confidence to your setup.
MaxxGrip Tactile Scale – Center: 47-8.36-2.39, Edge: 48-11.8-2.6

Maxxis Dual Compound

Features a softer edge and harder center section. Tends to offer less damping and slightly harder durometer for more miles, but gives up some grip.
Dual Compound Tactile Scale – Center: 59-6.71-1.27, Edge: 49-11.2-1.61

Sidewall Technologies

Various reinforcement options are available on modern MTB tires. These help minimize pinch flats and sidewall tears. Depending on speed, terrain and level of aggression riders have a variety to choose from. Recently more and more riders gravitate to the more burly sidewall technology as provides additional damping to help control tire rebound.

Instead of Weight vs. Protection we now see riders looking at Weight vs. Protection, Support and Damping as we look to improve trail feel through the tires allowing the suspension to run more support for cornering, steeps and other terrain.


Maxxis Sidewall Definitions: EXO, EXO and DoubleDown

EXO Sidewall: these tires feature a cut resistant material from the bead up the sidewall just below the cornering knobs. This additional layer is designed to be lightweight and flexible giving the tires a bit of support without compromising performance.

EXO Sidewall: As the name suggests this is the EXO sidewall plus an additional Silkshield layer stretched from bead to bead. Without adding too much weight this additional layer does provide notable improvement to tire damping and cut protection.

DoubleDown (DD) Sidewall: Want even more protection and trail damping? Check out the DoubleDown option.  Build with two 120 TPI casing layers with a butyl insert these offer the support and protection of a downhill tire but save a bit of weight on the scales!

DH Sidewall: Double 60 TPI casings. More Damping than Double Down tires.

TPI: Threads Per Inch

60 and 120 TPI comparison Maxxis MTB Tires

60 TPI shown on the left, 120 TPI on the right.

120 TPI provides improved performance and protection but is a bit heavier.

Interested in more details on our tactile scale? Check out some review footage we put together to see some of the differences in compound rebound between 3C MaxxGrip, 3C MaxxTerra and Dual Compound Maxxis Tires.

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Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip

Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip

A lot of flat pedal riders ask about the difference between the Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip soles. Well let’s take a look at why we stock both the Five Ten and Ride Concepts shoes here at

So what’s similar? They both work well. Confident and predictable grip is critical to enjoying your ride. Both of these shoes offer that.

Both the Stealth and Max Grip utilize lugs flat with the shoe’s edge and a gap left between pads.

The Five Ten use a circle while the Ride Concepts design features hexagons. Pretty close size between them as well.

Differences Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip

At BikeCo we’ve been working to provide our online shoppers as close to an in-store experience as possible. To that end we’ve developed a series of tests that allow us to publish a scale to help with product comparison.

With experience on both of these platforms the Five Ten and Ride Concepts shoes were a big part in developing a system that provided numbers that passed the experience test.

Let’s look at the three numbers in the scale and how they apply to the Stealth and Max Grip soles.


Durometer is a basic “hardness” test – but if you really get researching it durometer is kind of vague on what it actual measures. In the world of MTB shoes it’s a decent barometer for wear as well as how easily pedal pins will “bite” into the shoe. When measuring durometer a series of readings are taken and averaged.

With our durometer scale Five Ten Stealth rubber measured 65 on average

Five Ten Stealth Rubber Durometer measurement

The Ride Concepts Max Grip sole on the TNT shoe measures a bit softer on the durometer scale coming in at 55.

Ride Concepts Max Grip Durometer measurement

Surface Tension, or Tack, or Grip, or Sticky…

So durometer doesn’t necessarily dictate how much “tack” there is on the sole of a shoe. A lot of variants go into that – but we wanted to have a repeatable test and developed this weighted drag reference.

Dragging this sled across the sole, averaging the results and taking into account the contact patch size we define a value (watch the video if you want to learn more about what we’re up to!)

Five Ten Stealth Rubber Surface Tension test

The Five Ten stealth rubber tested to 16.1 on the sled test.

As a reference, a standard pair of Puma casual shoes I had in my office tested to 5 and the Five Ten gum sole tested to 10.8…

Ride Concepts Max Grip Surface Tension

The Ride Concepts shoe came in with the highest surface tension of anything I’ve tested so far at 22.4.

This result compared to the Stealth rubber makes sense to the “finger test” when you have the shoes in your hand – which really was the goal of putting these metrics together. We want to have some tangible comparison for clients reviewing product here at

Finally we looked at the sole’s ability to damp impact.

Damping Test

Five Ten Stealth vs Ride Concepts Max Grip Damping

This is probably the most exciting test, with a drop rig, steel balls, electromagnets… And comparing shoes it’s probably pretty close overall since the shoes all went onto the same jig in about the same way.

We take an average of 3 to 5 drops, disregarding any way off the average since they might have hit funny or whatever. We divide the drop height by the average rebound distance (and move the decimal point) so that the higher the number the more damping it has (or the smaller rebound measurement on the bounce).

The Five Ten Stealth came in with the most damping of anything we’d tested so far, a 5.8.

The Ride Concepts also had good damping at 4.8.

Improved damping helps neutralize trail vibration back into the rider. As a reference the gum sole Five-Ten had much more rebound with a score of 3.2.

Riding the shoes I believe that the Ride Concepts insole actually provides a lot of additional damping as well, and I’m not sure how much of that is factored into this particular test.

The TNT is a slightly more “robust” or aggressive shoe and the insole feels slightly taller than the Freerider.

So, our final numbers came out as follows:

Five Ten Stealth: 65-16.1-5.8

Five Ten Stealth Rubber Sole design

The Ride Concepts Max Grip sole on the TNT model came out slightly softer and tackier.

Ride Concepts Max Grip: 55-22.4-4.8

Wrapping It Up…

My experience with the shoes, which I have to admit end up as both riding and work shoes – both at the shop and chores around the house, parallels what we’d expect to see from numbers like we calculated.

Both shoes are MUCH more tacky than others giving you great pedal feel and grip. Pedal pin penetration (how’s that for alliteration) is confident in both while you can still move your foot when you want.

It’s interesting that the Five Ten’s sole has more damping properties and that in general Ride Concepts uses a thicker, more aggressive in-sole. I imagine that’s how they end up with a similar trail feel between the two shoes.

If you’re using them solely (more shoe puns right?) as riding shoes both offer good wear intervals. Doing a bunch of walking and working in them? You’re going to notice the Ride Concepts will wear faster than the Five Ten. Both have good grip when hiking even in wet conditions (albeit I don’t get to test much in the wet here in SoCal…)

I would recommend either of these options – since we only offer the best in MTB it’s easy to get it right shopping at Other shoes may have one of these factors similar to the class leaders, but getting them all balanced and right is harder than it looks. The slight differences are really notable on trail.

For instance, the Five Ten gum soles I tested (my daily shoes since they’re non-marking) tested at 72-10.8-3.2. And those shoes are horrible to ride in frankly. Part of it is the model (which we don’t stock) is too soft and part of it is the sole is too slick.

Interested in learning more about this new scale?

Well we have you covered. Check out this quick video with more examples of how these tests will bring a better understanding to riders about the performance of grips, tires and shoes.

BTW, looking at Five Ten or Ride Concepts models that will be right for your riding? Shop them here!

BikeCo Tactile Scale

Over the years we’ve worked to provide online shoppers as close to an in-store experience as possible. One thing we felt could be expanded on was a scale to better define the feel, particularly of items like Tires, Shoes and Grips. wants shoppers to be able to have more than “it’s stickier, because that’s what they say” when picking #thebestinMTB

This video is a quick explanation of the system that you will see being applied across our site over the next few weeks and to new product offerings.

In short, we’re measuring the durometer (or surface “hardness”), the surface tension with a weighted drag test, and the damping with a drop test measuring rebound percentage. Our system will allow you to more easily compare apples to apples across a range of product manufacturers.

Shop the best in MTB at including Ibis, Mondraker and Yeti factory completes, customs, semi-customs and more!