Posts in the category Reviews

Unior Bike UniqueTools Test: P-handle Torxes, Cassette tools, and More – First Impressions


Chatting with the team mechanics from the Unior Tools Team at the first XC World cup this season, we found some interesting looking and unique tools on their work bench, and wanted to know more. When we got to talking tools, we found that they were in the process of finalizing an agreement to distribute their European-made tool range in the US, so we thought we should give some of them a try and report back since most of our readers should have access to them by the end of the year. We chose to start off with some solid basics that would work well either in the hands of a full-time mechanic or someone like us who works on bikes out of their home shop. That includes Unior’s take on P-handle wrenches, a rotor truing tool, chain tool, some interesting combination wrenches, an external bottom bracket wrench, and a cassette tool.

Jump past the break to get a closer look at a few of these tools, as we’ve started to put them to use…


First Rides & Actual Weights – Hutchinson’s highly anticipated Python 2 XC mountain bike tires

hutchinson python2 xc mountain bike tire review with actual weights and width measurements

If any tire has stood the test of time, it’s the Hutchinson Python. After a 20 year run, the French company reworked the tire with updated rubber compounds, casings and a familiar but improved tread pattern and showed it to the world at Eurobike last year.

Now, we’ve got our hands on a set, threw them on the scale, then hit the dirt. And sand. And some pouring rain. In the course of my first three rides, I experienced lightly moist dirt, bone dry dirt and water running down the trail after being caught in a thunderstorm wet. And with a couple caveats, those rides elicited all the gushing memories I had of my eager racing days aboard the original Pythons…


Rapha Summer Pro Team Kit Review: Climber’s Jersey and Lightweight Bibs, plus Trade Jersey


The last month in Europe has had a lot of super hot days, so we’ve been thinking a bunch about early morning rides and lightweight kit. At the end of the spring Rapha came out with a couple of new Pro Team level pieces that teased us with the idea or keeping cool as the mercury rose. We’ve since had a chance to take their new Pro Team Lightweight Bibs and Climber’s Jersey up (and down) a couple of alpine climbs and across a slew of European roads to see what they truly had to offer. We also spent some time with one of their special edition trade team jerseys to see if it was all show or could keep up.

Read on past the jump to see how this summertime Pro Team kit stacks up against other offerings, whether it’s worth its price, and to see the value of a Pro Team jersey current on sale…


Mini Review: Xpedo CXR Pedals


With cyclocross season just around the corner, our mini review of a not-so-well known pedal option, the Xpedo CXR, comes at a good time. Featuring compatibility with Shimano’s venerable MTB cleats, three cartridge bearings, chromoly spindle, five color options and a great price, the Xpedo CXR is worth investigating…


First Ride: Pikes Peak Prototype: Rose Adjustable Enduro Bike


photo by Irmo Keizer

Not long ago we found ourselves looking at another bare aluminum European trail bike, once again screaming prototype. This time though we had a chance not only to get full details on the bike and take some photos to share, but also to throw a leg over it and ride it hard down some familiar trails. The bike was at Rose Bike’s press launch in the Austrian Alps and is the final working prototype they have used to dial in the geometry of their upcoming carbon Pikes Peak. The standout of the bike is a unique trailside-adjustable suspension setup that lets you not only flip between two different geometries, but also independently swap between two different shock progression rates in about 20 seconds with a single wrench.

Drop in after the break to see how the ProGeo adjustment works, more details on the upcoming production model, and see how it does on the trail…


Long Term Review: Zipp SL Sprint & SL Aero handlebar, stem and seatpost

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

Over the past couple of years, Zipp has reworked their handlebar shapes to accommodate just about any preference you may have, and their stem and seatpost line runs the gamut from oversized carbon to minimalist alloy. If you’re the type that likes to match their wheels to the rest of the bits on their bike, there are few other brands that offer the complete assortment as Zipp. While I don’t have their wheels yet, I do like having a matched cockpit. I’ve also become a fan of aero parts, so I pieced together the Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar with their carbon SL Sprint stem and SL Speed seatpost.

Sure, the shape of a handlebar is a highly personal choice. But design quality, performance and easy of use are traits we can all appreciate. And once a properly stiff stem is in place, the weak spots in others becomes much more apparent. As for the seatpost, well, there were some limitations as to what I could feel with that one, but the technical pros and cons were readily apparent…


Review: Wholedration all-natural, high electrolyte coconut water based sports drink mix

Wholedration organic all natural non-GMO sports drink with coconut sugar review

Last winter, Kleen Nutrition launched their first product, an all-natural, organic, non-GMO sports drink called Wholedration. It’s based on coconut sugar and coconut water with a two flavor system tailored to sweat rates. Their December launch wasn’t exactly timed with the hot temps that make us sweat a ton, so we waited a while to put it through a proper test.

I used it as my sole hydration source during a solo effort at 6 Hours of Warrior Creek in April and throughout the summer on short, long, hot and normal rides and haven’t come close to cramping a single time. Equally as impressive is that even on four to six hour rides, I didn’t tire of the flavor and it never built up a sticky sweet tongue coating.

The carb count is low, just 7-9g per 8oz serving, which falls in line with modern thinking about using the drink to hydrate and food to fuel, so I did rely on nuts, bars and Clif’s surprisingly tasty organic food purée squeezes to keep me riding strong. The drink’s two flavors are mild, not too acidic, and they’re definitely not sweet, which is the right combo for long term use. Pour into the details below…


Trail Thrashing Review with Sweet Protection Bushwacker MIPS Helmet, Bearsuit Kneepads & more…


With a couple months of hot and dry weather across Europe, we’ve spent the better part of this summer getting as much trail riding in as we could. It was something of an idea to stay in the forests out of the sun a bit, but also a chance to get back to my personal technical mountain biking roots. With a few extended lift-assisted trips in some proper mountains, it also has been a chance to do some product testing on some more Enduro-leaning products. One kit we reached to a lot has been a 2016 preview that found its way to us from Norway by Sweet Protection. With a basic protection setup including a MIPS helmet, knee pads, and a pair of new lightweight gloves, I’ve done my best to put them to the test without going so far as to smacking my head on the ground or into any trees (at least not very hard, although it came close a few times.) Matched up with a lightweight long sleeve jersey and an over-the-knee pair of shorts the Sweet Protection gear has been a solid pick whenever the trail gets rough and the descents long.

Hop past the break for the low-down on each piece and our thoughts after a couple of months of riding up, over, and down a few mountains…


Trailcraft kids mountain bike – unboxed, weighed & first impressions


After experimenting with kids bikes from Specialized (20″) and Raleigh (24″) for my son, I wanted to get my daughter on something better and lighter. It’s not that those other bikes were bad, they certainly got him out on the trail and are worlds better than what’s sold at big box stores, but they’re heavy. And with retail pricing around $200 to $500, the component spec included a lot of imprecise stamped steel parts.

Then Trailcraft came on the scene and saved Cameron from another hand me down.

Built around a premium 7005-series alloy frame and custom 24″ Stan’s NoTubes Crest wheels and Schwalbe tires, Trailcraft’s Pineridge 24 starts off with a killer foundation for a legitimate mountain bike to get your kiddies off to a rippin’ good start…