Posts in the category Reviews

Review: Xentis Squad 4.2 Disc Carbon Clincher Wheelset

Xentis Squad 4.2 disc clincher review (1)

Of all the high end carbon road wheels on the market, Xentis might be one of least known here in the States. Made with Austrian precision, that seems to be changing as Xentis expands their presence in North America and continues to introduce new models.

One of their latest models, the Squad 4.2 Disc Carbon Clincher was just introduced at Interbike a year ago. After breaking them down in our first look, it was time to see what the Squads were like to live with for a season. There was definitely a lot to love, but also room for improvement…

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Hands On: Wolf Tooth Components 16t Cassette Cog

Wolf Tooth 16t cog cassette adapter  (5)

Who ever thought we would need to review a single cog as part of a cassette, right? Thanks to the crazy world of 1x drive trains and drive train conversions as well as the lack of readily available 16t cogs, this is the reality. Fortunately, while also providing us with aluminum 40 and 42t cassette adapters, companies like Wolf Tooth Components have also provided us with steel cassette cog replacements to provide a better jump between gearing.

Whether you’re running Shimano or SRAM, the WTC 16t cog will provide a better experience along with your GC – just make sure to install it correctly…

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First Look: Spin Doctor’s MXV & RXP Mini Pumps Are Value-Oriented

Spin-Doctor-Frame-Pumps

Mini pumps are not the typical sexy item that people lust over, or spend lots of time obsessing about the best one. But when you are out in the woods with a flat tire, it had better be a product that works.

Spin Doctor is a brand name of mail-order house Performance Bike, and a good portion of their product are the stock offerings from the major foreign ODM factories. This means that the products are made in the same factories as big-name products, designed by the factory, and then private-labeled by Spin Doctor. This can mean these products have most of the technology and features of more expensive product, but save money on simple visual design and packaging. Stock product from ODM factories are really great options for people who want an affordable part that works well.

The MXV and RXP Mini pumps appear to be great values for the cost. Aluminum barrels and handles, switchable heads, and metal cam actuators are features typically reserved for pumps much more expensive. Click inside the post to see how these pumps stack up…

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First Look: Box Components 35mm MTB Cusp Stem and Carbon X Bar

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Box Components has been teasing us for a while with some great looking mountain bikes components that while very intriguing, weren’t yet available to the public. The fact that we have a set of the Box X Bars and Cusp stem in our possession is big news for the company as they expand from their roots in BMX to the world of mountain biking. Not that the company lacks mountain biking heritage – after all, it is founded by the Toby Henderson.

Borrowing from their line of award winning BMX bars and stems, the first Box mountain bike cockpit aims straight for the top with a 35mm carbon bar and matching 3D forged aluminum stem. On paper the combination should be competitive in both weight and price. Full details including actual weights next… READ MORE ->

Review: Birzman Maha Apogee MTB High Volume Floor Pump

Birzman maha apogee MTB pump review fat bike high volume (2)

Earlier this year we started hearing about fat bike specific pumps. On the surface that sounds ridiculous, until you consider the mechanics. Bicycle tires offer a crazy range of volumes and pressures from 200 psi track tires to 5 psi fat bike tires. Yes, there are pumps that will do both, but if you’re the kind of person who wants the right tool for the job there are better options.

The Birzman Maha Apogee MTB is a mountain bike specific pump. What does that mean? It means the pump is purposely designed to push a lot of air as quickly as possible. Placing the focus on high volume instead of high pressure, the Maha Apogee MTB and pumps like it becoming more and more useful as tires continue to trend larger.

After getting our hands on the Maha at Eurobike and proceeding to inflate fat bike tires on the show floor, and even a flat tire on Cory’s car, we’ve had the pump long enough to give it a thorough review….

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Hands On: SRAM Rival 22 Hydraulic Disc Brake Groupset

SRAM Rival 22 Hydro group reviewroad bike disc brake  (4) copy

This group was a long time coming. After having the wind swiftly removed from their sails after a complete and total recall of their previous road hydraulic rim and disc brake options, SRAM has come out on the other side and is ready to prove their worth. Nearly everyone involved should have their replacement parts by now, and SRAM is shipping new product to dealers.

With the rough patch behind them, SRAM has put forth an impressive looking group in both price and performance. Whether you’re looking for a group for your road, cyclocross, or gravel bike, the new Rival 22 group has you covered. Find actual weights, install notes, and initial impressions next….

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Review: Abbey Bike Tools’ Nearly Perfect Hanger Alignment Gauge

Abbey Bike Tools HAG hanger alignment gauge derailleur  (11)

The derailleur hanger is an interesting part of your bicycle that probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Originally one with the frame (still is on many bikes), the replaceable model was introduced so that if your derailleur was ripped off in a crash you could replace the hanger and save the bike. Many were made out of softer metal so that the hanger would break before the derailleur, which was fine until the number of gears in a cassette started creeping up, requiring more precision and a stiffer hanger.

No matter what the frame though, one thing is universal – for the best shifting, the hanger has to be precisely aligned. That presents its own set of challenges as well as a number of tools to go along with it. Actually, just a handful of tools as the relatively simple hanger alignment gauge hasn’t seen much improvement over the years. In typical Abbey Bike Tools fashion, Jason Quade thought it could be done better. When he was done the Abbey HAG or Hanger Alignment Gauge was born.

Part Pry Bar and part Precision Measuring Instrument in Jason’s own words, using the HAG will make you want to check your hanger alignment a lot more often…

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First Look: Lezyne’s Classic & Steel Floor Drive Pumps Are Budget-Minded and Built To Last

Lezyne-Floor-Drive-Pumps-2

Lezyne makes high quality, well built bike accessories, and mostly from metal. Metal tends to be more durable, and the heavier, solid weight in your hands makes you think high quality.

Lezyne’s products are aimed a bit more at the higher end, so their entry-level pumps are more in the middle price range of the whole market. We take a close look at the Classic Floor Drive and Steel Floor Drive, with their machined steel barrel, varnished wood handle and cast aluminum base. See our thoughts after the break…

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Trail LED Halo, DS, and XXX Light Systems Long Term Review – UPDATED

Trail LED Halo DS and XXX

From the left: the Trail LED Halo, DS, and XXX lights.

UPDATES: Mounting ring clarification, longer battery life, handlebar bracket included with XXX and DS

Night riding season is upon us and after ten weeks running the Halo, DS, and XXX light systems from Texas based Trail LED, we are very impressed with the industry leading light levels and quality craftsmanship. Set aside the wild looks for a minute and let’s just talk performance. The lights are incredibly bright – Trail LED claims 6,000 lumens for the 10 lamp Halo, 3,000 lumens for the five lamp DS , and 1,800 lumens for the three lamp XXX. While we don’t have the equipment to test those claims, our riding experience demonstrated that each system was significantly brighter than similarly priced systems with roughly the same claimed power. When there are lights with similar claimed outputs, that is – there aren’t too many 6,000 lumen bike lights out there. The single power/mode button is well placed, easy to use with gloves, and offers a satisfying click. The unique if inelegant mounting system -tan colored surgical tubing bands- combined with their helmet hugging shape, reduced neck fatigue and skull inertia compared to traditional coal miner style light mounts.  The surgical tube “mounting rings” hold the lamps infinitely better than the Velcro straps offered by most competitors, they do not snag your helmet pads the way Velcro does, and they will never require zip-tie reinforcement.  The optional bar mount included with the XXX and DS is simply brilliant. The batteries are compact, easy to carry, interchangeable with all three lamps, and spares are half the cost of their competitors. Criticisms, and specifics on each system, after the jump… READ MORE ->