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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

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CushCore XC Install & Ride Review

CushCore XC Install and Review with video

CushCore XC Install & Ride Review

CushCore XC Install and Review with video

I started thinking about rim protection a few rides ago. I managed to shove a branch through the center of a tire. Murphy’s law meant it went straight through a spoke hole puncturing the tubeless tape. No quick fix to that one on trail… Before we get into the CushCore XC Install & Ride Review here’s a quick bio and which aspects of my riding suggested rim protection because frankly, I didn’t see myself as a candidate for CushCore.

Riding Bio (R) / Purchasing Bio (P):

R: I’ve been riding long enough that I feel competent in most terrain. I have enough gray hair to know I don’t need to be pushing into the red zone risking crashes. Maximum performance isn’t necessarily my goal, but I don’t want to leave performance on the table either.

P: While traction is game changing for confidence, I’m confident in my particular terrain, and not really out searching for the biggest / burliest lines. I’m not sure I’d pencil in tire protection based on the bio above.

I knew I would be testing this product in a true sense – it might be right for me or it might not.

Balancing tire pressure, tire retention (ie not burping) and sidewall performance have a huge effect on your bike’s personality.


Rear Tire Compression and Deflection
I was shooting self-portraits for the Ride Concept shoe launch when I caught this image. I was going relatively slow and easy (about a bike length roll in) over this rock so the amount of tire deflection caught me off guard and made me think about rim protection more seriously.

R: As a heavier rider with decent cornering I run substantial PSI (around 32) to keep from burping tires. Currently I’ve been riding Maxxis EXO+ sidewalls for the additional support, protection and notably improved damping (another convo for another day).

P: Some of CushCore’s biggest draws are the lower PSI, additional sidewall support and to a lesser extent tire pressure ramp. CushCore PRO and XC both act as a volume spacer for your tire as well as contacting the tire’s sidewall, lowering the leverage and adding support.

Burping tires is a sign that you lack support for the conditions. But at over 30 PSI in most conditions I know I’m leaving traction on the table – but I like keeping both air and sealant in the tire. The options here would be going to a Double Down sidewall or looking at rim protection to get the pressures down a bit.


R: I don’t often flat, but, the last two flats I’ve had have been a pain to deal with on-trail.

P: CushCore will help minimize pinch flats providing material between your rim lip and tire. It will also help protect rim tape from deep punctures like mentioned above.

While it might not eliminate all sidewall cuts there are certainly conditions where a bit more sidewall support will get you rolling past the shark’s tooth trying to cut into your tire.

Another factor I considered was a CushCore would help me get out after a near flat and low PSI condition without too much stress on the wheels.


R: I ride aluminum rims. My front wheel tends to stay in good condition. The rear? Well, I’ve been known to be hard on those.

P: Protecting carbon rims from karate chop hits with at least a CushCore XC is a good idea.

Aluminum rims might cost less than carbon, but if you’re constantly bashing on aluminum the maintenance costs add up and the interval between service will continue to decrease. You’ve got to keep them true and tensioned, rim edges start taking a beating and might not seat tires as well. Etc, etc.

And when finish one off it’s still going to cost you spokes, nipples and labor to get back out on trail.


R: I’m not a great climber (I have no idea what this “pain cave” people talk about is in riding – I’m looking for the Fiesta Plateau hahaha) and everyone I ride with is faster than me uphill – so – compromising climbing performance isn’t big on my list of “to-dos”.

P: Well weight is weight. And rolling weight factors out even more. However, the weight can have benefits (I can’t even imagine riding skinwall tires these days) so it might be worth a chat.

I’ve added rolling weight going to the more substantial EXO+ tires without noting too much grief so I thought a CushCore XC would behave similarly.


R: While fairly adept mechanically I don’t need any additional work or pain in the ass processes in my life.

P: CushCore PRO requires more patience to mount. The CushCore XC is easier to mount as it’s less substantial. I figured if I could get the XC on without too much heartache it would hit my requirements.


You can see the purchasing bio weaves back and forth on whether rim protection was for me. I thought about whether I’d prefer rim protection or going from an EXO+ to a DD Double Down tire as well.

So what put me over? The last couple flats I’ve had have been a pain. The most recent would still have compromised a tire, but with a CushCore to protect the tape I could have used a Stan’s Dart or equivalent.

My previous flat to that was a slice in the sidewall that I believe a CushCore (or the DD) would have prevented.

Finally my rear rim is kind of at a point where if I slowed the wear and tear I’ll get a notably longer service interval out of it.

Not to mention I thought it would be interesting to work with tire pressure and check on gains from a bit more damping from the tire setup.

And, truth be told, I get to write articles about it to help clients and call it work! Sorry boys, gotta go test…

CushCore XC Install:

You can check out the video for the actual installation of my CushCore XC as well as some tips on taping a tubeless rim.

I found following the steps to install a CushCore Pro with the XC were problematic for me. As I worked the first tire bead the CushCore would fall out of the bottom of the wheel. After a couple tries I ventured off into my “I think this will work better” mode…

What I found was mounting one side of the tire bead, inserting the CushCore into the tire and then mounting the second bead worked well.

To stretch the new CushCore over the rim I found getting low gave me the best leverage. This meant I could push with my arms instead of just pulling with my hands. Also, for the last third or so rather than pushing in a thumb width at a time I would stretch the insert about a fist width then drive that into trough.

I managed to mount the insert and tire without levers. Which says a lot as I have bad hands and use levers nearly all the time!

Watching the video over my shoulder Joe pointed out he can do that with the CushCore Pro’s too. Not sure I want to try that – but its possible!

CushCore XC Ride Review

PSI Dial In

There’s a fun little test trail in San Diego called E-Ticket. Relatively short, not super burly and has some high G corners with a bit of rock to bang into if you choose.

Best part? SDMBA tool kit at the top complete with a pump! Put the digital gauge in the pocket and do a handful of drops at different pressures.

I typically run about 32 PSI in my rear tire. I decided to start at 28 and work my way down looking for tell-tale x’s or slashes in the tire sidewall.

At 28 I didn’t see any sidewall loading. After a couple drops I found around 23/24 PSI I had X’s in the sidewalls, typically a sign that you’re about a PSI or so too low.

Tire sidewall X'sJust a little low on the PSI for my taste. The X markings have me increase pressure about 2 PSI.

You’re looking for “/” marks showing some deformation but less than the “X”. The tires felt like they behaving, I didn’t notice squirm or roll, but sidewall marks have always been a good reference for me.

After another drop or two I settled in with a sweet spot around 26/27 psi. About 6 psi, or nearly 20% lower air pressure from my typical. This also let me keep the rear tire at the same PSI as the front. It seemed sacrilege to run less PSI in the rear…

CushCore XC On Trail

Deciding that 26.5 would be the test pressure I put a few test rides in.

Climbing

My biggest fear was getting so soft or heavy that climbing would be notably compromised.

As far as the weight – much like the jump to EXO+ from EXO tires – as long as I wasn’t in full “trudge” mode it wasn’t too bad. If I could keep some momentum on the wheel and a clean cadence through the pedals I was happy with it. If I was riding slow enough to “stall” the wheel or quit paying attention to spinning good circles with the pedals (which I’m notorious for) I could feel the added weight. But in most conditions it wasn’t a notable thing.

In fact climbing some of the chunkier trails in my networks I found the added traction was a nice feature. The mental “this should stick” versus “I’m probably going to spin it out and not make it up” made a difference.

Cornering

It’s certainly not a secret that traction is confidence in the corners. But if the sidewalls start rolling or squirming around you feel like the bike (and thus you, the rider) might fling themselves past the tire’s contact patch.

Without tire inserts I frequently burp tires in the 30 PSI range so heading into fast corners in the 26 PSI had me attentive the first few times. I heard the growl of the tire working into the corners but not the tell tale “hiss” when you slip a bead. No spray on the tire at the end of the rides either.

The bike felt like it was on rails rather than having a bit of skip and slide at the same speed and higher PSI.

What I Noticed Most

This sort of surprised me actually – but what I noticed most with the CushCore XC setup was when you float off a waterbar or whatever into a corner.

Without the insert I felt like my bike had two small wiggles, or spikes when it landed and you tried to instantly change direction. Not sure if it was bounce from the PSI or sidewall wiggle or whatever but it had a distinct extra motion side to side.

With the CushCore the bike just stuck. Instantly. Even if you started leaning the bike before you landed it was well behaved. This got me paying attention to other conditions that would really test initial or small bump compliance.

The setup’s additional small bump compliance is really notable. Similarly braking is improved as the tire is more apt to dig in then skip over.

What I Wonder About

The improved small bump compliance and damping does have another side to it. Pushing the bike hard the rear end is a bit more “numb” than before. I don’t notice it at slower speeds but as I creep into the faster stuff I think I loose a little bit of feel out of the rear end. Now whether that’s good or bad I’m not sure just yet. It’s just different.

I wonder how it would feel in really choppy terrain at speed. Will the bike react as I suspect? Will it kind of monster truck over without my input making as much of a difference? Not sure yet. I guess the other side to that is in a choppy, high speed, high stress situation is when you’re most likely to karate chop a rim or pinch flat a tire. So maybe it all would balance out? Definitely haven’t heard any rim “tings” with the insert.

Is a CushCore XC is for me long term or not? You know I haven’t made my mind up just yet. When I went to the more aggressive EXO+ sidewall instead of the lighter EXO option I wasn’t sure I’d stick with it either. With the sidewalls I decided they were for me when I quit thinking about it every ride. Will the CushCore get there? We’ll see – so far it’s passing the tests.

Wondering if a CushCore PRO or XC is for you? Or questions on sidewall technology? Reach out to our expert team today to discuss your riding bio, terrain and aspirations. Our staff will help you dial in the best setup.

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Ride Concepts Powerline – First Ride Review

Ride Concepts Shoe Review

Ride Concepts Powerline First Ride Review

The contact points on your bike make a huge difference in your riding. Have the right pedals with the wrong shoes? Well, it’s kind of like being “sort of” pregnant I guess. (it doesn’t work)

I was drawn to the Powerline for a couple of reasons. DST 4.0 Rubber & D3o inlays.

Continue reading Ride Concepts Powerline – First Ride Review

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Yeti SB165 Extended Review

12 22 19 Yeti SB165 Extended Review

Yeti SB165 Extended Review

BikeCo’s own Chris Fuller has happily owned a Yeti SB165 since their launch. I sat down with him to discuss the magic he’s found in a Yeti SB165 Extended Review.

 So we got the SB165 demos in and you took one out on trail and had to have it?

Ah, no. In fact the SB165 is the first bike I’ve purchased without a trail demo now that I think about it. I saw Yeti’s pre-release teasers on the bike and something about it caught my eye. BikeCo landed the bikes I ripped one around in the parking lot. And I was just blown away. It was absolutely insanely good. My expectations were on “big bike” feel – but this bike doesn’t feel “big”, it doesn’t feel like a park bike or anything. It accelerates. It changes direction. And the thing that’s really hardest to believe but true, the bike has great ‘pop’. It’s a coil bike that pops like an air bike. It feels so lively and that blew me away. Had to have one. Continue reading Yeti SB165 Extended Review

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CushCore PRO vs XC Comparison

CushCore XC vs PRO Comparison

CushCore PRO vs XC Comparison

CushCore products provide both rim protection as well as tire performance enhancement. With the new lighter CushCore XC release we wanted to drop a quick CushCore Pro vs XC Comparison review for you.

The original CushCore, or CushCore PRO changed rim protection. Designed to not only keep your rims off rocks they also work as both a volume spacer for your tire PSI as well as changing the leverage point on the sidewall of your tire. Didn’t realize it did all that? We’ll touch more on that later.

The knocks on the CushCore offering was it takes a different technique to change tires and it’s rotating weight.

The definite upsides from the competition? It doesn’t absorb tubeless sealant and provides much more than simple snake bite protection.

Well with the launch of the CushCore XC riders have an option that provides great rim and tire protection while weighing in notably lighter than the PRO option.

Let’s look at some of the differences. Continue reading CushCore PRO vs XC Comparison

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I Shift SRAM, GX Eagle Review

I Shift SRAM GX Eagle Review

I Shift SRAM, GX Eagle Review

SRAM’s GX Eagle drivetrain has been far and away the most popular option over the last couple seasons. Whether you’re looking at the value on a factory build or even spec’ing a full custom the SRAM GX option is worth a long look. After a few months running it on my personal bike here’s a GX Eagle review.

I’ve been running SRAM drivetrains, typically X01, for years now. There are a handful of reasons that I went that direction, all of which are still applicable with the GX options.

Building my last bike using the SRAM GX Eagle options allowed me to rearrange where I spent my budget. Like many of our clients I ended up with custom Chris King wheels, Magura Brakes with the GX Eagle drivetrain. Continue reading I Shift SRAM, GX Eagle Review

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30 vs 32t Comparison – Drivetrain Review

8-14-19 30 vs 32t Comparison

30 vs 32t Comparison – Drivetrain Review

30 vs 32t Comparison – from a slow climber…

We get a lot of questions on chain ring options. So when my old cranks finally gave up the ghost, press-fit eventually gets sloppy and the creak / get loose often, I decided to go to a bigger ring. So here’s a 30 vs 32t comparison – from someone who’s never, never been a climber.  Keep reading – it’s more than a saga of pain and suffering…

My last couple bikes were 27.5″ setups so I ran a 32t Eagle setup. This gave me a pretty solid balance.

When I went to my SB130 I decided to give myself a bit of an easier gear to compensate for the larger wheel uphill. Wait, 29s are faster rolling right so wouldn’t you go bigger? Not exactly. 29s roll faster and maintain more speed on flats and most climbs until you go anaerobic. Now that is a moving bar and varies both rider to rider but possibly even day to day. Point is – when you have power to hit the gas the bigger wheels are easier. When you’ve barely got power to spin the wheels? Longer leverage as well as added mass (more rubber) of the 29s isn’t as “fast”. This is a big reason you see even strong riders spec’ing smaller rings on the 29s so they can spin on climbs.

So did I decide I was giving up speed with the 30t? Not really. Did I decide I needed an ego boost? Far from it I’ll hike a bike if I think it’s faster or I’m blown out. I just wanted to see where the differences might lie for, well, probably a slightly below average climber. I hoped it wouldn’t be “well this is un-rideable” hahaha… Continue reading 30 vs 32t Comparison – Drivetrain Review

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Magura MT7 First Ride Review

Magura MT7 First Ride Review 1

Magura MT7 First Ride Review

If you’ve followed our blogs you’ve seen a handful of posts on how much I love my Magura MT5 brakes. And I do. But, I had a little extra scratch and wanted to upgrade something. So after living on 5 different bikes the MT5s came off and fresh Magura MT7s went on. Here are some details in a Magura MT7 First Ride Review. Continue reading Magura MT7 First Ride Review

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Alchemy Arktos 29 First Ride Impressions

4 8 19 Alchemy Arktos First Ride 1

Alchemy Arktos 29 First Ride Impressions

After the first two EWS rounds Joe came back to the shop with his fresh Alchemy. Which, of course, means I stole it from him for a couple days.  So here are my Alchemy Arktos 29 First Ride Impressions…

The Important Non-Trail Issues, ie First, First Impressions

Colors: Working with Cody Kelley we’ve had a ton of the Arktos 29’s in the shop since their launch. Still to this day, I’m not sure which color I would choose. Both the gray / red as well as the vanilla / brown / orange color combos look great. And like an adult designed them… Both colorways offer a variety of build options that would look good without dating your build.

Lines: The Arktos 29 balances hard edge lines with softer radius tubes. The low mount of the rear triangle creates a long, low look to the chassis. This is a bike that looks elegant. And fast. And that’s important.

(Bikes should pass the eye test… Just watch PinkBike or Vital for the “new” brands that simply do not pass the eye test hahaha…) Continue reading Alchemy Arktos 29 First Ride Impressions