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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 BikeCo.com.

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

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 BikeCo.com.

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 BikeCo.com. 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.

BikeCo.com 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 BikeCo.com including Ibis, Mondraker and Yeti factory completes, customs, semi-customs and more!

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Comparing FOX GRIP2 and Ohlins RXF Forks

Comparing FOX GRIP2 and Ohlins RXF Forks Trail Test

It’s our goal to ensure we know what parts are right for what rider. Sometimes that means trying a new part, although mostly that’s left to our racers. Sometimes it means looking at a new tune option. This time, it meant finding the edge of the Ohlins suspension on my Mondraker Foxy Carbon. Let’s take a few minutes and compare the Ohlins RXF and the FOX GRIP2 platform.

Not currently shopping forks? Well, keep reading you might find some ways to improve your setup based on the notes on which fork did what on trail and how the fork’s controls affected that.

Take a look at some comparative footage and go through the details comparing the FOX GRIP2 and the Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 forks!

First, Mondraker spec’ing Ohlins on the FOXY is a good choice.

BikeCo owner Joe Binatena tested Ohlins forks as well as shocks, and it’s the first time I’ve seen him run stock suspension in, maybe ever. Joe ended up with Ohlins on his personal Crafty eMTB.

Our purchasing agent Mike has a FOXY Carbon with Ohlins RXF and TTX which he loves. Mike tends to prioritize compliance and traction to add to his riding confidence on bigger bikes. He’s told me that the RXF is notably more planted than this current Rock Shox fork on a similar sized bike.

Both Mike and Joe are on the slightly skinnier than average I would say. Between the two of them a good deal of trail disposition, ground speed and feel can be assessed.

I know both had the Ohlins suspension dialed in within a couple rides since I didn’t hear any behind the scenes chatter about it.

2022 Mondraker US Dealer BikeCo

BikeCo Owner Joe Binatena riding his Ohlins’ equipped Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR

First, Mondraker spec’ing Ohlins on the FOXY is a good choice.

BikeCo owner Joe Binatena tested Ohlins forks as well as shocks, and it’s the first time I’ve seen him run stock suspension in, maybe ever. Joe ended up with Ohlins on his personal Crafty eMTB.

Our purchasing agent Mike has a FOXY Carbon with Ohlins RXF and TTX which he loves. Mike tends to prioritize compliance and traction to add to his riding confidence on bigger bikes. He’s told me that the RXF is notably more planted than this current Rock Shox fork on a similar sized bike.

Both Mike and Joe are on the slightly skinnier than average I would say. Between the two of them a good deal of trail disposition, ground speed and feel can be assessed.

I know both had the Ohlins suspension dialed in within a couple rides since I didn’t hear any behind the scenes chatter about it.

Jumping ahead a couple months, I pulled the trigger on an Ohlin’s spec’d Mondraker.

Even has a heavier rider I didn’t have many reservations purchasing the FOXY with Ohlins suspension. After all, Joe’s riding an eMTB which carries additional mass, and he candidly speaks highly of the platforms.

I knew Ohlins design parameters and goals weren’t a mirror of my previous suspension: Ohlins was looking for a more plush and linear feel for ultimate traction.

Ohlins RXF Fork Main Air Spring Side

If you read my first ride thoughts on the Mondraker FOXY you’ll know I felt like I had the rear pretty close and the fork in a workable area, albeit I knew I could be looking a bit outside the box.

As I continued to ride I found the Ohlins, particularly the fork, lacked midstroke support at my weight and ground speed.

What it felt like and what it was doing on trail just wasn’t there for me. I felt some of it and put it in my notes. Some I spotted in footage. (BTW: the ride footage actually illustrated how well the HSC worked even as the rest of the fork was pushed past it’s limit for me)

Now, I’m not saying that the Ohlins RXF doesn’t work, I’m saying at 275 and looking for a punchy suspension it didn’t work for me. This review isn’t as fair as it could be since the RXF is pushed beyond its limits a bit. If you’re a lighter rider who wouldn’t have that issue keep reading to learn more about how a fork without enough mid-stroke support and too fast of a rebound setting will ride on trail – maybe you’ll unlock your existing or next fork with that knowledge!

Lack of Support: On Trail Symptoms & Adjustments

Here’s a look at the symptoms, why the RXF didn’t make the grade for me (and how the RXF does for both Joe and Mike) and a comparison to the FOX GRIP2 platform.

Early on I was looking for more mid-stroke support from the RXF. The front end would dive into the corners deeper than I expected. On lips or rocks it lacked a bit of the punch back that puts you up and over instead of driving you “backwards”.

I never quite found that in the fork settings.

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon RR Review

Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 Settings

I maxed the Ramp Up Chamber PSI. This would give the fork the maximum ramp rate like adding volume spacers. (make sure you fill the ramp up chamber prior to filling the main air spring – it makes a huge difference.)

I also maxed the main air spring. This put the sag into a fairly standard 15-20%, so I didn’t feel like oh no, I’m just plain too heavy for the RXF 36.

I began with Ohlins rebound and compression setup, but I steadily increased the low speed compression until it was maxed. I worked with the high speed compression as well (more on HSC later). I was running the rebound at max and it still was fast, working hard trying to compensate against the main chamber’s PSI.

After the early rides I chatted with our suspension tuners. We tore down the air shaft assembly (it is very very nicely made fyi) to get a better idea how the three chamber system was implemented.

Ohlins RXF Fork Air Spring Disassembled 1

Ohlins RXF Air Cartridge

At first glance the Ohlins system is reminiscent of an older design concept: adjust the main chamber PSI on top, adjust the negative chamber on bottom.
But, on the Ohlins’ lower port you’re not charging the negative chamber. As mentioned, the RXF uses a third chamber.

When setting up the Ohlins RXF you first charge the Ramp Up Chamber at the bottom of the fork. This controls how linear or progressive your fork will feel and there is a range of PSI suggestions assigned to your weight.

After setting the Ramp Up you set the main chamber PSI. As the fork cycles slightly the piston passes an equalization port and charges the negative air chamber.

In short:
Ramp Up = Ramp rate control. Adjustable. Set first during setup.
Main Chamber = Supports your weight. Adjustable.
Negative Chamber = Prevents top out and minimizes initial piston stiction. Fills based on main chamber PSI.

Early on the fork felt kinda close. But no matter what I did I couldn’t force it into a state of too much support, from which I would need to back down either Compression or Ramp Rate.

I didn’t even find a “this is the right amount of support but I have everything maxed” feel.

With more rides I noticed performance attributes I didn’t particularly like but hadn’t put my finger on the solution or given up on the product at that point. I spent some time looking at my notes and watching some footage.

Extended First Ride Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

My initial riding notes: Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 Fork

Felt too soft into corners, couldn’t counter steer into turns and drive off feet. It felt like to change direction requires a lot of steering input.
(Turning in with your hands increases the chance of folding the front end and going over the bars compared to counter steering and leaning, which tends to generate and outward slide when traction is lost and is easier to “catch”.)

Too soft landing and taking up bumps on takeoff. Lacked “punch back” in rocky or chunky sections and pop off lips.

High speed compression is works WELL! With the fork notably soft, I tried to compensate with the HSC.

I was hoping to “cheat” the HSC into activating lower in the travel.

But, the RXF High Speed Compression seems truly isolated to high shaft speeds (which is how it’s supposed to work). The fork didn’t bottom out when I had the HSC cranked way up (like just short of a pedal platform feel) it kept me out of the last 20-30mm of travel. (more on this in just a second)

I started to come to terms that the RXF wasn’t for me when I began to work with lower tire pressures. My first few rides had been on aggressive tire pressures. As I started down in pressure the lack of midstoke support was much more notable.

Also, in bigger terrain I couldn’t slow the rebound down quite enough to maintain traction. I hadn’t noticed in the flatter terrain as I was able to compensate with knees and elbows, and a bit of slide didn’t hurt. But at speed in bigger terrain the bike wasn’t quite as sure footed as I expected.

The final straw, trying to new content angles I mounted a GoPro on the front triangle with the fork stanchion in frame. The video is choppy as hell (I was trying to pull stills from it) so I doubt I’ll publish it – but it showed an interesting attribute.

Through a series of bermed corners I noticed when I jumped (or more like floated I suppose is a better word) but if I was in the air, landed and changed direction the fork was riding taller in the travel compared to corners I just “rode” into.

I attributed this to landing pushing the fork at speeds that engage the HSC, even lower in the travel. This improved mid stroke support, albeit not in a way that was useful consistently. It also gave me an idea why sometimes I felt the bike cornered better than others.

Well, that was enough for me to call it a game.

Mondraker FOXY FOX X2 Float 38 with Nate

So why didn’t the Ohlins fork work for me?

Well, Mike and Joe are both notably lighter, even with the extra mass of Joe’s Crafty eMTB.

Mike runs the ramp up chamber at a higher psi then listed for his weight to fine tune the ramp of the RXF. But running at the top end of the PSI charts I didn’t have that adjustment window.

It seemed like adding standard volume spacing to the main chamber would have pushed the fork into the realm for me, but, based on the way the air shaft is produced it would be a lot of machining bits and would be difficult to adjust.

In short, I was looking at a lot of work that wasn’t very consumer friendly to try to make the Ohlins ride punchier, like a FOX GRIP2, when, you know, there’s a FOX GRIP2 on the market…

FOX Factory 38 GRIP2 170mm

I’ve got a lot of years on the GRIP2 at this point. My previous bike had the 36 GRIP2 and I find it’s personality very parallel to the FOX 38 that I put on the Mondraker FOXY.

Why the 38 on the FOXY? I wanted the 170mm option – but I’ll have another writeup on my Extra FOX FOXY… haha..

So. Put the 38 GRIP2 on the FOXY. I decided to set it up the air spring similarly to the RXF – so I looked at the leg and found the highest number and set it to 123 PSI (which it stated was for 250lb riders). When I looked deeper at the FOX manuals I found that the fork has a max PSI of 140, however I had pretty good sag at 123 so I’d probably keep it in that range either way.

I increased the stock 2 volume spacers (20cc) with an additional 10cc. At 170mm the fork has a max capacity for 5 volume spacers.

Even in the parking lot the bike had a better disposition. On trail it unlocked the bike.

I could counter steer and lean deeper into corners. The bike punched over the rocks and chunk instead of stuttering into it.

With more support in the front end the bike felt dramatically more confident in steep chutes or rocks by taking advantage of the headtube angle instead of nosing in making the bike “steeper”.

Rear braking, which was already ridiculously good on the FOXY, improved notably as well without as much front brake dive.

When the front end dives in it will slightly unload the rear wheel. Re-weighting your feet can help to drive the wheel back down into the ground, but simply having less rake change under braking is an easy way to achieve the same thing.

In short, the bike did all the things my previous GRIP2 bike did that I loved so much…

Mondraker FOXY Carbon with FOX 38

But what definitely seals the deal on it the rebound and compression controls were both in an adjustable range, not fully max’d out. Even if my bike works at a max adjustment it still sits in my head like “hmm, I wish I had one more just in case” hahaha…

With the 38 GRIP2 on my FOXY I have tons of low speed compression still available – although – if you go too high into the low speed settings it tends to make a bike harsh and hard to hold onto in big, fast terrain.

So I would say I’m in the proper range on the LSC – I wouldn’t want to add more than a click or two without starting to wonder about it.

High speed compression on the 38 is in the right setup range as well. It didn’t require a very polarized setup to adjust the bottom out and high shaft speed control.

Both high and low speed rebound are set with some adjustability in either direction.

After my first two rides on the 38, the same rides as the RXF, I reviewed my notes. Maybe the 38 could use just a touch more to balance with the X2 rear shocks setup (I changed rear shocks too – more on that in other posts!).

I chatted with Joe and we decided that going to the 4th volume spacer would probably be the play. But while researching a couple things for this writeup (never want to give you guys bad info – we appreciate the reads!) I found that the max PSI for the FOX 38 air chamber is higher than the 123 I saw on the sticker. (when all else fails check out Manual right?)

According to page 3 of the manual the 38 has a max PSI of 140. So, There are two choices to increase the PSI or increase the volume spacers and thus increate the ramp..

The beauty of options right? Which is really what I’m going to conclude on here.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon with 170mm FOX GRIP2

UPDATE: Soft Support & Fast Rebound = Harsh Ride

OK a quick addition to this blog. Working on the video supporting this FOX GRIP2 versus Ohlins RXF comparison (above) I sent rough footage to a handful of riding buddies and reviewed it with Joe and our suspension team to better understand what story the footage told versus what I felt versus what we knew mechanically about the different forks.

I hadn’t laid up any graphics or anything, just two images next to each other timed at the beginning of each section. When I mentioned one was the FOX with much better support almost everyone initially thought the fork that visually was riding harsh had to be stiffer option. Maybe I confused them since I had the FOX on the left and they knew I rode the Ohlins first? I dunno. But no, the harsher looking fork was actually the setup that was too plush overall for me.

The combination of running through travel and rebound that couldn’t be slowed into an ideal range created a harsh ride visible on the video. The harshness is probably mostly attributed to the rebound speed, although the overwhelmed LSC and air system weren’t helping that.

In the video you can see a handful of turns that the RXF does well at when landing before the turn engaging the HSC (which worked really well even on a fork that I was pushing outside it’s performance window).

The lack of support is notable in the footage by the increase in “hand” steering. As the fork would sit in deeper it would require more input to change direction and MUCH more input to exit the corner. Compared to the more supportive fork which would turn in easily, allow the bike to lean in to take the rest of the turn “through” my feet before exiting the corner, usually with an increased exit speed compared to the softer fork.

Like I mention in the video, and above – this isn’t a truly fair “comparison test” between the GRIP2 and the RXF since the Ohlins was pushed beyond its capacity. But, you can look at this data comparing a better setup versus a setup that’s too fast and without enough support.

Mondraker FOXY Carbon with FOX 38 GRIP2

Am I saying the FOX 38 GRIP2 is better than the Ohlins RXF?

For me? 100%. Done and done. Heavier rider, prefers punchy suspension, decent ground speeds. Ideally (even if its just mental) want to have a bit of range on my setup to fine tune.

The RXF didn’t have it in the tank at my size. (also, full disclosure having the BikeCo Pro Tune options on the FOX 38 and X2 allows me to improve my adjustability range even a bit more)

For you?

Not going to tell you the GRIP2 is better or worse than the RXF without knowing more about your size, riding style and preferences!

Riders I know well, who know suspension well, who really enjoy the Ohlins product.

Are you in the 140-220 range? Looking for a slightly more linear, high traction, planted setup? Well then the Ohlins is 100% on your short list for review.

As a product review, without being in my shoes, or similar shoes I suppose it’s hard to look at the two top suspension options and say you should always do “X”. In fact, maybe you’re on the right product with the wrong setup? That’s one of the reasons we continue to work with our clients after bike or suspension delivery to help continue to dial in performance to unlock your rigs full potential.

Like we mentioned at the top, even if you’re not shopping forks right now some of the ride notes might resonate with you and you can improve your setup. We work hard with our clients to ensure initial setup as well as helping with developing setup as their riding speeds and skills increase.

Check out some pics of the 170mm “Extra FOXY” Mondraker FOXY Carbon with FOX 38 and Float X2 here.

 

Return to Top of Page

 

FOX 38 Manual & Details: Fox’s Site

Ohlins RXF 36 M.2 Manual & Details: Ohlins’ Site

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Spec Swaps Performance or Preference: Yeti SB130 TLR T1 Build

Performance of Preference? SB130 TLR T1 Kit Review

Here’s a look at the Yeti SB130 TLR T1 build spec. What stands out? What bits are commonly swapped? What would we swap out if we were building it ourselves? Let’s jump right in.

Yeti SB130 TLR T1 Build

Carbon frame, Turq series 29” Enduro bike that’s a fun all day trail ripper as well. The TURQ or T series from Yeti denotes their top tier carbon fiber layout. This produces a bike that’s more crisp and lively for a longer period of time compared to the standard carbon layout. This is particularly important for heavier or aggressive riders who look to maximize their product service life.

137mm of rear travel with a 160mm fork. With a bit more travel the Lunch Ride SB130 have a slightly more relaxed headtube angle and a tiny bit higher bottom bracket compared to their 130/150 siblings.

The TLR T1build is the Lunch Ride’s XT build currently with a $8,200 MSRP. (7/7/22)

Spec Swaps: Performance or Preference?

Let’s go through the spec part by part. We’ll highlight some of the real gems and suggest some areas where riders might commonly look to swap a part or two.

OK, so we’re going to keep it reasonable in the budget (like I’m not going to saw I’m swapping all the bits into a 12k bike – that’s unreasonable). But let’s figure I have a little bit of budget to dial in my bike and I can swap some of the parts back at time of purchase (we do it all the time here at BikeCo)

Float X Rear Shock: seldom swapped, but if swapped it’s for the Float X2
The Float X offers a lot of notable performance improvements to the prior generations Float DPX. Revisions to the architecture provide improved rebound and compression tuning ranges. Easily fine tuned with volume spacers this shock fits well in the trail to medium enduro terrain. If you’re pushing bigger than that you might consider the bigger Float X2 which provides you both High and Low speed rebound as well as High and Low speed compression settings. For even better performance chat with our team about our Pro Tune services to narrow the performance window based on your size, speed, riding style and terrain.

FOX 36 GRIP2 Fork: seldom swapped on this build.
Pro Tune service is often done on this build.

Wheels: Seldom swapped on this build
DT Swiss EX or XM 1700 wheels with 30mm internal rims. A solid wheelset. If it was swapped it would typically be for i9 or King hubs on a variety of rim options. More and more riders are going to carbon rims – and few if any seem to come back…

Tires: If swapped it’s typically a preference change.
Front: Minion DHF 2.5 EXO. Some riders will prefer a heavier sidewall option for protection and damping. EXO+ in the DHF or Assegai is probably the most popular. A DD Assegai 3C MaxxGrip is a burly option for riders looking for ALL the grip…

Rear: Aggressor 2.3 EXO. Fairly commonly swapped at this point. Often a DHR II in EXO + or even the Double Down (DD) Aggressor is added for more damping control from the tire.

Brakes: If swapped its a preference, and if riders don’t prefer Shimano they almost 100% go to Magura MT7 or MT7 HC3 on this bike.
Shimano XT M8120 4 piston. The Shimano XT brake is really a pretty good barometer in the industry. Riders who like the quick power application from the Shimano master cylinder and short throw lever could go to the XTR, but the price to performance window keeps nearly all Shimano brake riders in XT.  A common swap for the XT 4 piston brakes is to go to the Magura MT7. The Magura MT7 has a variety of lever options including the ultra adjustable HC3 lever to fine tune throw, reach and leverage ratio.

Brake Rotors: Seldom changed on this build.
SM-RT66. Believe it or not this is the preferred Shimano rotor at BikeCo. Less exotic than the Ice Tech in material and manufacturing it tends to be more robust and slower wearing.

Cranks: Seldom changed on this build.
XT 170mm with 30t. Clean looking and stiff riding cranks. Unless you want a fancier material its hard to find a nicer crank.

Drivetrain: Seldom changed on this build.
XT M8100 12sp Shimano with 51t cassette. Shimano’s drivetrains are the smoothest on the market. They shift gears nearly effortlessly with a very sophisticated feel. To keep your Shimano drivetrain performing at its best its important to regularly wipe the dirt and debris from the chain, pulley wheels, chain ring and cassette and keep it properly lubed.

Headset: Seldom changed on this build.
Cane Creek 40. The 40 is a classic on bikes from Deore all the way to X01 builds. Robust and easy to maintain a properly installed Cane Creek 40 will give you crisp, quiet performance for a long time. If it’s changed its for a Chris King color option to highlight the build.

Handlebar and Stem: Performance change.
Yeti carbon bar and Race Face Aeffect stem. The Yeti carbon bar is actually pretty popular. There’s a bit of a sweet spot in the medium and “smaller” large rider who likes the rise on these bars and can trim a little bit off without making them super stiff. As riders start to get onto the longer end of the size large and into extra large we typically see bars with taller rise utilized such as the TAG 40mm, OneUp 35mm rise bars, etc.

Grips: Preference swap if swapped
ODI Elite Pro. Grips are really personal. The ODI Elite Pro are a very good grip. But,  if you already know what you like though this is another common place for swaps.

Seatpost: Seldom changed on this build.
FOX Transfer.

Saddle: Preference swap if changed, but one of THE BEST stock saddle options on the market.
Silverado Custom. Like grips, saddle choice is really personal. The WTB Silverado is probably one of the most widely fitting saddles on the market. Ibis hasn’t picked a strange saddle to save a buck or two at the cost of you never wanting to really ride it… With the Silverado riders have a proper size and shape MTB saddle for the type of riding the Ripmo AF is designed for.


Other Performance or Preference Posts:

Ibis Ripmo AF Deore

Shop In-Stock SB130’s as well other Ibis, Mondraker and Yeti Completes at BikeCo.com!

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Extended First Ride: Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Extended First Ride Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

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

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

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

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon RR Review

What’s an Extended First Ride?

Sounds a corporate-ese right?

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

Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

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

FOXY, Before the Ride

Mondraker Fit: Forward Geometry

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

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

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

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

Ohlins Suspension Setup

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

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

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

2022 Mondraker FOXY First Ride Review

On Trail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extending the First Ride Review

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

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

22 Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Climbing the Mondraker FOXY

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

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

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

Switchbacks

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

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

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

Climbing Rocks and Baby Heads

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acceleration

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

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

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

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

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Mondraker FOXY Downhill Performance

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

The FOXY is a blast downhill.

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

Cornering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Improving the bike in the corners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chunky Terrain

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

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

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

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

Downhill Riding Position

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

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

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

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

Slacker Headtube and More Trail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2022 Mondraker FOXY Carbon Review

Wrapping Up the Mondraker FOXY Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

Update(s):
Video/blog: Compare the Ohlins RXF and FOX 38 on Mondraker FOXY Carbon
Images/blog: Extra FOXY, 170mm fork on Mondraker FOXY Carbon with Float X2

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Adding Volume Spacers to Ohlins TTX Air Shock

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Thoughts on the 2022 Mondraker FOXY First Ride

2022 Mondraker FOXY First Ride

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what did I find?

Mondraker ZERO Suspension

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOXY Forward Geometry

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

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

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

MTB Demo Bike Checklist: 3 Lists of 3

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

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

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

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

3 Things I Liked

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Things I Would Change

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

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

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

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

See you on the trails! Nate at BikeCo.com

 

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

 

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

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

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Increase Support & Improve MTB Small Bump Compliance

Products and Tips to Improve MTB Small Bump Compliance

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

 

Faster tends to be smoother

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

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

Increase Support and Improve MTB Small Bump Compliance Cornering

Why You Need More Support

How does your setup need to change with that speed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK, back to my point.

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

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

Rubber is a Damper

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

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

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

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

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

CushCore provide three unique modifications to a tires performance.

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

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

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

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

Magura MT7 HC MT7 and MT5 Levers Compared

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

Brakes, Braking and Slow is Fast

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

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

One, momentum is your friend like we mentioned earlier.

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

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

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

Handlebars, Grips, Gloves and Hands

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

Handlebars

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

OneUp Components Carbon Handlebar Shape

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

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

Handlebar Width = Leverage Rate

Handlebar width is important to how your bike rides.

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

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

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

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

Shop our favorite handlebars here!

Grips

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

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

Gripping

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

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

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

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

Wrapping It Up

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Pandemic changed things. True.

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

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

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

So Get A Grip?

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

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

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

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

Options and Choices

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

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

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

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

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

Other Options instead of a Rabbit Hole?

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

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

Ahead of Time is the new JIT

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

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

Few feet of derailleur housing. See above

Derailleur Hanger.

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

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

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

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

Learning the new Economy

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

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

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

See you on the trails – Nate@BikeCo.com

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POC Kortal Race MIPS Helmet First Rides Review

POC Kortal Race Helmet Profile

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

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

POC Kortal Race MIPS

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

Fit

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

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

POC Kortal Race Interior Retention

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

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

POC Kortal Race Sizing Tips

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

POC Kortal Race Helmet quarter view shape

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

MIPS

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

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

POC Kortal Race MIPS Integra

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

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

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

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

Weight

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

POC Kortal Race MIPS Weight Size Large

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

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

Ventilation

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

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

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

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

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

Recco

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

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

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

Ya. Guess I would.

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

POC NFC by twICEme and Recco

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

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

Also you’ll see the NFC Medical ID graphic.

Medical ID?

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

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

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

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

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

iPhone Medical ID Access 2

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

iPhone Medical ID Access

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

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

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

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

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

POC Aramid Bridges help miniimize penetration

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

Aramid Bridges

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

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

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

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

Overall Review of the Kortal Race MIPS Helmet

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

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

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

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Gimble on Chesty?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chesty with Gimble Mount Riding Shot 1

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

Chesty with Gimble Mount Riding Shot 2

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

Chesty Riding Shot with GoPro Hero 10

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

So – overall what are my thoughts?

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

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

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

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

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MTB Riding Tips: Sighting Down Trail

MTB Riding Tips Sighting Down Trail

We’re going to be adding more MTB Riding Tips here at BikeCo.com. Have an idea of what you want to see? Let us know by online chat or send us an email CustomerService@BikeCo.com!

MTB Riding Tips: Sighting Down Trail

We’re often asked for tips to help riders improve their skills. One of the most important ones is learn how to better sight a trail.

This video will highlight where to look to see other trail users sooner which gives you more time to react and options at your disposal.

Sighting other trail users down trail is a lot like sighting a riding line, which we will get into down the road.

Developing the ability to not stare down at your front tire is critical to advancing your riding. The more info you can quickly take in the better.

Riders learn to ride with “split vision” almost – allowing them to stay actively scanning down trail while “holding” the visual data as it gets closer to the wheels. If you’re having to look down right in front of the wheel you’re probably about to bury the front end into something or fold it over anyhow. Even XC level travel bikes are forgiving enough to ride “through” some pretty chunky stuff if you let them.

Learning to better sight other trail users improves everyone’s day. No one appreciates the adrenaline surge from almost being run over, or, from the ninja hiker who’s decided to hide behind a tree until the last possible second right?

Viewing down the trail when it’s relatively straight is pretty easy. When the trail has direction changes you can look up over small or medium vegetation. You’re looking for colors, shapes or movements that stick out. Your brain will do this pretty quick. You may just see a hat, or in one of my more memorable moments a large rack of deer antlers…

It’s a good habit to learn to take glances further down trail when segments come into view. Anytime you can take in data that lets you know “this is coming up” your riding will benefit.

Riding at about 70% of your skillset will also leave enough in the tank for the emergency, or surprise deer jumping right in front of you on trail – like right in front. Like when you’re sure they went partially over your bars hahaha…

We look forward to getting more video content and riding tips headed your way on BikeCo.com

Original Script from Video (some cut in video for social media time considerations):

Let’s take a quick look at techniques for sighting down trail.

We’re going to highlight the areas that riders can scan to better assess where other trail users are or might be.

It’s important to ride at a pace you can confidently control the bike for the unexpected hiker, horse, deer, snake, double wide stroller, whatever you might find on trail.

If you’re often checking down trail you can be more confident that you’re not going to have to launch yourself into the bushes to avoid another trail user.

Scan the trail ahead but also look “above” the trail as you’ll see heads, especially in low vegetation like most of SoCal.

You’re looking for colors or movement that seem out of place. You also want to acknowledge the areas you simply can’t see and assume you might have another user. Quick turns with vegation blocking your line of sight are places to be aware of. We’ve illustated those with question marks.

By sighting well down trail I was able to see this hiker and slow down with room to spare. Sighting this hiker also made it somewhat more likely that there would be a hiker in this questionable area. too so I wanted to start to slow down and quickly scan there as well.

Now, it wouldn’t have surprised me too much had this hiker chosen to hop across the trail to keep themselves off the exposed lip of the trail. It’s what I would have likely done hiking in case the rider was having control issues. they’re not going to knock me down trail.

Going back through the footage as a self evaluation I found it interesting in my minds eye I actually came very close to a track stand stop for this hiker, when in fact I acknowledged and rolled by.

Probably something like when you’ve been on the freeway a long time at speed and you “slow down” for the offramp only to realize that half your previous speed might still be more than the offramp really needs.

Admittedly I assess trail users and base whether I come to a full stop or simply yield them some space. This hiker was young and seemed confident. If it had been my mom I would have adapted as needed right?

 

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