Five Bikes This Downhiller Owns

August 31, 2008 by  
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I call my self a downhiller because it is the type of riding that I most identify with. However, I am a lover of all bikes and riding. I will never participate in the argument of which type of rider is better, (except maybe the fixie, indie rock, mustache clad hipsters; but they are an easy target). We riders on a fundamental level are all the same. We love to get out with our two wheels on the ground, and enjoy the world around us.

dan tisser downhill 198x300 Five Bikes This Downhiller OwnsMy Downhill Rig- It is the most ridiculous bike I own. It is the most expensive, time consuming and has an incredible appetite for parts and tires. This type of bike has put me on the operating table and has knocked me out twice. It has 9 inches suspension of travel in the rear and 8 in the front. This is my baby that I only get to ride maybe 20 times during the course of the year. Every day on this bike feels like a vacation (if there are no major crashes). It is a 2006 Foes Racing Fly with a Marzocchi 888 RC2X.

Cross Country Mountain Bike- I use the term cross country loosely. I don’t care how long it takes me to get to the top just as long as I get to ride down. My XC bike is heavy, with 2.35 wide tires, short stem and wide riser bar identical to my DH bike. It has six inches of travel front and rear. Despite the weight this bike is the one that I ride most. Trails are dry almost year round here, and Moab is a short drive away. The more time that I spend on this bike, the better off I am when the mountains dry out and I can take out my rig. It is a 2006 Trek Remedy 6.

Urban Hard Tail- As the name suggests, this bike never leaves the city. It is mandatory to own because it becomes the dumping ground for all the parts that I go through on my XC and DH bike. It started out as a cheap bike but has slowly accumulated some top shelf parts that have a little life left in them. The bike technically is two sizes too small for me, it feels like a grown up’s version of a BMX. This is also the bike that I practice the minimal trials skills that I have. This is also the closest thing that I have to a “townie” bike. It is the only one that I will lock up outside a bar, restaurant, or grocery store. Despite all of the nice parts on it, it is the cheapest bike I own. It is a 2005 Specialized Hard Rock, with nothing stock including the paint job.  Read more

Mountain Bike Frame Materials

August 29, 2008 by  
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Steel is Real, But Titanium is Shiny: Ti, Carbon Fiber, Steel, Aluminum… What’s the Deal?

I’m sure you seen them; the highly polished Titanium Frames gleaming in the sun, or the retro small-tube steel frames. Maybe you’ve had the pleasure of riding on the plush where-you-want-it yet firm where-you-need-it carbon fiber, or have simply settled for aluminum. Each has a purpose and an advantage.

Steel – The Old Standardsurly steel mountain bike frame 300x222 Mountain Bike Frame Materials
Steel, also called cromoly, is what started it all. Back in the beginnings of mountain biking, and biking in general, steel was real and the only option when it came to frame materials. Today steel is a retro material in the biking community, but it is still often utilized in everything from Wal-Mart specials to thousand dollar and up frames. The reason why steel holds popularity is its’ flex: Steel can provide solid traction and tight handling, yet take the edge off of rock gardens and other nasty stuff. It is especially popular with hardtail mountain bikes as an alternative to aluminum, because aluminum is pretty stiff. Steel also means heavier frames and susceptibility to rust. If you get a scratch or chip through the paint it is a good idea to cover it up with some touch-up paint or even nail polish. If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive and tough alternative to aluminum, that’ll give you a little bit more relief, steel is the way to go!

bmc aluminum mountain bike frame 300x200 Mountain Bike Frame MaterialsAluminum – The Newish Standard
Aluminum is today’s standard frame material, although carbon fiber is quickly changing that. Aluminum is stiff; much more so than any other frame material actively in use. Because it is stiff it is great for ultimate power transfer. On the flipside sometimes the ride can be a bit harsh. Aluminum is also pretty cheap, durable and light. It has a high strength to weight ratio and can handle scratches and dents without immediate failure or rust. It is an exceptional all-around performer, but the lack of flex is leading people to pursue the next generation of frame materials…  Read more

Riding Green – 10 Tips for Riding Responsibly

August 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips

As mountain bikers, we often pride ourselves as being ‘green’ outdoors-folks; individuals who would rather spend a day outside sweating and grunting up a mountain, than sitting inside and watching the PGA Tour. We tend to be more of the trash-recycling, organic Whole-Foods eating, micro-brew drinking, free-trade coffee sipping and earth-loving crowd. Yet do we practice our progressive “green” habits on the trail as well? As we mount our aluminum, carbon fiber and titanium beasts of speed, we often forget that the trails we ride on are actually fragile living beings. They’re comprised of roots that grow, layers of rock and mud that constantly shift, and living plants and organisms that anchor their sides. A trail left unridden will actually grow-over and disappear given enough time. But abusing a trail will actually destroy its somewhat fragile structure and ‘kill’ it even faster.

So with that being said, when you’re out ripping-it-up on your favorite trail, please keep these ‘green’ riding tips in mind.

1) Stay on the trail.

Sure, that tree stump or natural rock ramp a couple feet off the trail might be all too tempting for a quick jump or bunny-hop, but the fact is that it is not part of your trail. Where one goes, others are sure to follow… As your tread marks are much more visible on the softer off-trail, other riders are going to follow your fresh path to that ‘hidden’ jump… Before you know it, your ‘little secret’ is now everyone’s favorite hop-spot and the once narrow groomed trail is now a sprawling free-for-all playground.

2) Ride through puddles, not around them! ride puddle 300x214 Riding Green   10 Tips for Riding Responsibly

Riding around a puddle only compacts the ground surrounding the puddle, leveling it lower and allowing the puddle to grow. I’m sure we’ve all seen it, trails that pinch and bloat where wet-sections are prominent. Seems like nobody wants to ride their $2000 mountain bike through a little mud… c’mon folks, it’s a knobby bike, not a road bike! Trust me – your bike’s bearings and seals can take much more grit than a few calm puddles can dish out.

Fact is, the center of the puddle has the most compacted base. That is why the puddle is not being absorbed by the trail. By riding around the circumference, you are actually compressing the softer, more fragile edge of the puddle, which will inevitably either compact, allowing the puddle to grow and the trail to bloat, or it will contribute to overall trail erosion. The best thing you can do for the trail is ride right smack-dab through the center. Eventually the puddle will dry up, but the damage to trails from poor puddle-riding is irreversible.

So when you see that puddle up ahead, get some speed, coast through the center and don’t forget to keep your mouth shut. Or if you simply don’t want to get a little dirty… God forbid… dismount your bike and walk across.

3) Stay in-line, No Shortcuts.

Shortcutting causes erosion. Trails are built and designed to take a beating – either by foot, hoof or tire. Everything else should be considered fragile ecosystem. 2 feet off the trail is still off-the-trail. If a log, tree, boulder or other obstacle blocks your trail, your only options should be to bunny-hop over or pause your ride, dismount your bike, and carry your bike over the obstacle before continuing. Just like puddles, a trail will grow and bloat when riders take short cuts.

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Nike Dunk Gyrizo Men’s BMX Shoe Review

August 27, 2008 by  
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MTB technology and BMX technology have begun to merge over the years. Some of the biggest mountain bike companies got their start in BMX (i.e. GT) and others have always had their hand in BMX (Specialized, Schwinn, Trek, etc.). With the increase of freeriding, downhilling and dirt jumping, we’re seeing a lot of cross pollination between mountain biking and BMX. If you look closely, a lot of BMXers are using Selle Italia Flites or SLRs on their bikes and Crank Brothers Mallets or Shimano PD-545s.

“Looks like a Dunk, but acts like Lance’s cleat.”

nike dunk gyrizo 300x167 Nike Dunk Gyrizo Mens BMX Shoe ReviewThis strange yet eye-catching statement immediately drew me to the shoes like a moth to a flame on the Nike Media website. You’re telling me: I can pedal like Lance but not look like a roadie dweeb on my downhill bike? My eyes next gravitated towards the amazing graphics of the shoe. The shoe is made specifically for Olympic BMX athletes. With input from past, current and future BMX legends, Nike put out all the stops for this shoe. The shoe was designed with the input of Donny Robinson, Mike Day and Kyle Bennett. The pattern hints to BMX’s heyday in the 80s with nods to Vans and Haro. The full carbon sole takes the technology from Lance’s winning Nike road bike shoe and the uppers are all SB Dunk. Hey if it’s good enough for Lance Armstrong and Paul Rodriguez

For security and durability, the shoe features Kevlar lace and metal grommets plus lace pockets to keep your laces out of your spokes (very important at 40MPH). The shoes are SPD-compatible, but you can run them on flats as well with the supplied covers. To add functionality over style, they added an upper Velcro strap that helps keep your heel in the pocket.

I’ve only had one day of downhilling on them, but so far they work great (I was using a pair of Crank Bros Mallet C’s that day). With minimal adjustment, I was able to mount my cleats and go riding. With some shoes, you have to clear extra space between the cleat and the sole, and I thought I might with these, but they were fine. They worked great on the hill. Pedaling was almost Lance-like, and I envisioned freaking out my roadie friends, wearing these as we raced around the South Shore. My heel didn’t fly out of the shoe, and the uppers are coated so they seem to repel dirt and mud (they’re way too nice to get dirty). I experimented using them with flats. They worked fine, but the 5-10s are still the gold standard if you are going with flats. Best of all, I didn’t get any funny looks from the kids in the lodge. Mission accomplished.  Read more

RockShox Revelation 426 Air U-Turn Mountain Bike Suspension Fork Review

August 26, 2008 by  
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Today’s review is actually a re-post of one found at As turns more focus on product reviews we have tried to identify others in the industry that we can look to for guidance.  Marc at bikefix provides us with just that.  In italics below is a blurb about “who, what and why” and below that is the review.  Thank you to Marc and the rest of bikefix for not only allowing us to re-post their review on our site, but for the excellent ongoing reviews that they provide!

why does bikefix exist? it was born out of the complaints of a couple of guys with what probably amounts to an unhealthy amount of riding different kinds of bikes all over the place. from the daily commute to epic backcountry hike-a-bikes, these guys just weren’t getting the kind of information they needed from reviews found in print or online. needing a distraction from the grownup parts of the internet, they decided to put their musings and criticisms into (virtual) print. while they have extensive industry connections, the vast majority of the equipment tested is bought with money out of their own pockets (and they’ll let you know if not). as a result, they’re particularly aware of value and durability- and understandably upset when things don’t work the way they should.

bikefix aims to provide unbiased, complete reviews that come out of direct experience not only with a particular product but also with its competition. we care where and why things are made the way they are. while we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, everything can’t be the best part/bike/jersey ever,- something we see far too much of elsewhere. every product has its high points and lows. by communicating these to you, we hope that you will be able to make an educated decision and find gear that us ultimately transparent- after all, it’s really all about the ride.

rockshox revelation 426 air u turn 225x300 RockShox Revelation 426 Air U Turn Mountain Bike Suspension Fork ReviewIs exactly what it says on the tin.” Sure, calling your suspension fork a “Revelation” requires a fair bit of hubris, but it seems that SRAM’s Rock Shox is pretty darn close to the mark on this one. Released a few years back, the Revelation is Rock Shox’s entry in the increasingly competitive ‘trail’ fork category. What this translates to in numbers is a 4lb, 100-130mm travel fork with stiff 32mm stantions. Up against forks from Fox (TALAS, Float, 32 VAN), Marzocchi (XC 700, 44), Magura (Laurin, Menja) and Manitou (Minute), it would seem that Rock Shox doesn’t have much of a chance. This is a shame, because of the 5 or 6 forks in this category that I’ve owned, the Revelation certainly has the best mix of ride and features.

When I ordered the Revelation last October, I was replacing a temperamental Marzocchi XC700sl (which undergoing rehab at the company’s warranty department). That had replaced a pimp, (self-adjusting) Pace RC40 Fighter which had in turn replaced the popular (but hardly excellent) Fox 32 TALAS. Before that? I’m not sure, but a Maverick DUC 32 and 2004 Fox TALAS are back there somewhere. Why so many forks? Well, there are a number of reasons. First, I’m a light guy. At 145lb, a fork has to have exceptional small-bump sensitivity to work for me. Otherwise, seal and damper stiction can make a fork feel very harsh on the small stuff. Because I’m not in the middle of most forks’ adjustment ranges, their air springs aren’t at pressures where they ramp up (become progressive), so bottoming out can be a problem. My Maverick, which works extremely well on both small and large bumps tends to highlight forks’ small-bump harshness and the bike’s somewhat rearward weight bias certainly doesn’t help either. So, what is it about the Revelation that has kept it on my bike for 8 months (with no plans of my part for a change)? Read more

Giro Xen Mountain Bike Helmet Review

August 25, 2008 by  
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giro xen Giro Xen Mountain Bike Helmet ReviewSelecting a helmet was simple…try everything on and base a decision on how well it fits and well…how good it looks on my melon.  The Giro Xen passed both tests, it was the best fitting helmet I tried on and its low profile provides a great look.

The Giro Xen is an all-mountain bicycle helmet with a low profile style and coverage found in a skate helmet with the lighter weight and ventilation of a XC helmet.

The rounded back of the helmet is key to safety as it is less likely to snag during a fall which could result in an injury as serious as a borken neck.  So not only does it look cool, but it is actually safer than most helmets as well!

The padding inside of the helmet is all one piece allowing it to be removed easily so that it can be washed.  This is a feature that many other helmets do not provide.  Having one piece promotes a longer lifespan of the insert.

giro xen rocloc 300x178 Giro Xen Mountain Bike Helmet ReviewThe helmet features the RocLoc system which makes for easy adjustment to obtain that “perfect” fit.  The RocLoc system is simple to adjust and does not require engagement/disengagement when taking the helmet on and off.

The Point of View (P.O.V.) visor is anchored by an internal clutch mechanism that allows for 15 degrees of vertical adjustment and prevents the visor from rattling or coming lose over rough terrain.

Perhaps best of all, the helmet is backed by Giro who as a company has one of the best customer service departments in the industry…no questions asked, if something breaks for falters a replacement will be sent immediately.

The downside (if there is one) of this helmet would have to be the price…roughly about $120.00 MSRP.  However, if you are like me and have a longer watermelon shaped head vs. a roundhead you know that it is hard-to-find a great fitting helmet and as such the price shouldn’t really be an issue.

France Takes Gold and Silver in Men’s Mountain Biking at 2008 Olympic Games

August 23, 2008 by  
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julien absalon 300x220 France Takes Gold and Silver in Mens Mountain Biking at 2008 Olympic GamesFrance finished one-two in the men’s mountain biking event at the Beijing Olympic games at Laoshan Mountain.

Julien Absalon claimed his second straigh Gold medal with a time of 1:55:59, just over a minute ahead of his compatriot Jean-Christophe Peraud who finsihed second. Julien is a four-time world champion and became the first man with two Olympic mountain biking titles with his win today.

The bronze medal was won by Nino Schurter of Switzerland. He beat out countryman Christoph Sauser who was the 2000 Olympic Bronze medalist by just two seconds!

“I realized that I was better going uphill than he was,” Schurter said afterwards.

“I was able to hold him off on the straights, and the last 15 seconds I definitely had the better of him.adam craig 300x200 France Takes Gold and Silver in Mens Mountain Biking at 2008 Olympic Games

“I really wanted a medal and I am more than happy.”

He added that he would do everything possible to become the favourite to win gold in the 2012 Games in London.

The United States, Adam Craig finished 29th and Todd Wells finished 43rd.

Today’s event was the final cycling competition of the Beijing Games.

Germany’s Sabine Spitz Claims Gold at Beijing Olympics

August 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Industry News

womens olympic mountain biking podium 300x183 Germanys Sabine Spitz Claims Gold at Beijing OlympicsVeteran racer Sabine Spitz of Germany dominated Laoshan Mountain at the Olympic women’s mountain bike race Saturday, winning the gold medal by 41 seconds over Poland’s Maja Wloszezowska. Spitz becomes Germany’s first gold medalist in Mountain Biking since it became an Olympic sport in 1996.

A world champion in 2003 and bronze medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the 36-year-old stopped pedaling just before the finish line and walked over holding her bike over her head crossing the line in 1:45.11.

With Spitz facing nothing but an open trail for gold, the battle for the remaining medals was intense.

Maja Wloszczowska chugged away from a chase group in the second lap and settled into Poland’s first Mountain Bike Olympic medal, taking silver at 41 seconds off the pace in 1:45.52.

Russia’s Irina Kalentyeva battled against Catharine Pendrel of Canada in the final lap for third, with the Russian edging her Canadian rival by just nine seconds to claim bronze in 1:46.28.rosara joseph 194x300 Germanys Sabine Spitz Claims Gold at Beijing Olympics

The 30-rider Women’s field struggled against the heat and the challenging course that caused scores of riders to crash. Only 18 riders of 30 starters finished; eight riders were lapped and four did not finish.

Three pre-race favorites struggled early on.

Marie-Helene Premont of Canada, silver medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, defending Olympic champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa of Norway and Margarita Fullana of Spain, three-time world champion and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games bronze medalist, all did not finish.

View video footage of the course.

Girls – Seven Reasons You Should Start Mountain Biking

August 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips

female mountain bikers 199x300 Girls   Seven Reasons You Should Start Mountain BikingLadies. Recently I’ve been writing about how men can get their women into mountain biking, but ultimately the decision on whether or not to ride is up to you. Thirteen years ago I had a disastrous start into the sport of mountain biking, but I kept at it because I knew it was fun and would keep me in shape. Below are the top seven reasons you should at least consider getting into the saddle. Trust me, the benefits extend beyond mountain biking.

Reason 1 You’ll get fit.
Mountain biking is sustained aerobic exercise, akin to cross-country skiing. You’ll slim down, harden up, and glow. I never look better than in summer, when I tend to ride a few times a week. Friends usually remark, “You look great.” Wouldn’t it be nice to hear that? A lot?

Reason 2 You’ll build confidence.
The learning curve can be steep, but once you start clearing obstacles that used to scare you, you’ll have a renewed sense of accomplishment. These obstacles can include clearing a section of trail, conquering a long climb, or mastering a series of switchbacks. The first time you conquer a climb that used to take two or three rest stops, you’ll start to see tangible results of your hard work. This sense of accomplishment will easily translate into other areas of your life. Obstacles become something to overcome, not shy away from.

Reason 3 It’s a social thing.
After years of riding with males and a short stint as a racer, I have come to love and appreciate my female riding partners. Book groups, happy hours, and girls’ nights out fulfill our need to interact with our own kind, but there’s no reason you can’t catch up on the gossip or share feelings on a ride. Girl rides are social outings—lots of picture-taking, chatting, and munching on goodies, and recovering. There’s no pressure. Having fun takes precedence over performing.

Reason 4 Mountain biking vacations are awesome.
Mountain biking naturally lends itself to beautiful scenery. Mountain panoramas, ancient trees, and striking rock formations are the daily norm. You’ll see more animals in a day than Disney can cram into its summer blockbuster. Work in a hot tub or soak in a hot spring for post-ride recovery and you’ll feel rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready for the next day’s ride. Upon your return to life, others will remark, “You must have had a great vacation. You look great. And relaxed.” (See Reason 1.)

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“Gearing Up” For Our Wheelset Reviews

August 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Components

We thought it might be fun to build some excitement for our upcoming series of posts which will review these high-zoot wheelsets.

Subscribe to our site so you’ll be sure not to miss out on the reviews of the wheelsets!

Industry Nine:ss cassette 600 300x199 Gearing Up For Our Wheelset Reviews

Industry Nine (I9) has been all-the-talk the past year or so. The guys who ride them swear by them. 3 month wait for a custom set – what?! Super stiff alloy spokes, 120 points of engagement, proprietary spoke and hub design, any anodize color you can image, tubeless or tubed…they sound too good to be true. Promises to be lighter, stiffer, faster, stronger than anything out there…


Ok, so not necessarily a wheel, but more a hub/transmission system the Rohloff speedhub gives you 14 speeds, the equivalent gear ratio of a 3×9 drive-train, but without the mess of derailleurs, dual shifters, extra cables, triple rings, and cogsets. You use only 1 ring up-front, so clearance on your bike is improved while maintenance is reduced. This is not the funky Toy’s-R-Us transmission system of old – this is a hardcore part that takes all-mountain rides and gobbles them up and spits them out… There’s two guys who ride Ellsworth Truths on the same trails I do. I run into them now and then. They both have Rohloff hubs and they swear by them – almost cult-like. With a Rohloff hub you can shift at a standstill, and even better, shift under load. The whole system is sealed (from shifter through hub), so there’s next to no maintenance for your ride. You can run a disc or rim-brake setup (who does rim brakes?!) and you can chose the rim and spokes for your personal set up.

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