Gear review TSG Trailfox Mips helmet

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Seaotter was pretty fun this year, I changed it up and rode the MTB tour. The helmet i was using was a middle/lower range giro XC helmet that i got on sale on line. The padding on the inside wasn’t the best but since i dont ride my mtb all the time i just lived with it. You can always tell the difference between the price of a 40$ piece of kit and a 140$ piece of kit and the trailfox it a fine example of that.

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This helmet was just better than any trail/xc helmet I’ve worn, everything was just nicer and more comfortable and well built. The padding is nice and thick and comes with replacement pieces, it fit snug with a adjustment dial on back to get that custom fit locked in. The matte black color goes with any bike. The chin strap was easily adjustable and comfortable and the removable visor was and and big but not too big…

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This is TSG’s top of the line enduro/trial helmet, its equipped with a MIPS liner. The MIPS liner is designed to reduce the amount of rotational force that may be transferred to the rider’s brain in certain oblique impacts. Which is quite helpful in MTB riding. The Large vents make this a very cool helmet to ride in too.

If your in the market for a really nice well fitting enduro helmet put the TSG Trailfox on your list. Check out TSG’s site for a full spec sheet. Thanks again to Buddy from TSG for sending me out this rad helmet and also some knee and elbow pads that ill be reviewing in a different post. I’ve been logging some miles in this kit and i can’t seem to find and complaints its a pretty sweet helmet. I beat the brakes off the a santa cruz hightower during demo day wearing a this gear and it all worked great! Look for a long term review on the helmet and a first review on the elbow and knee pads

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Seaotter 2016 recap part 1

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Well the seaotter has come and gone, this has become one of my favorite weekends of the year. I was camping out at Laguna Seca with my buddy Noah and a few other dudes that have been coming up year after year also. This being my fourth year i knew exactly what to expect, this year was a little different i had a bit more spending money in my pocket due to the chain reaction/ bicycle times contest that i won and received a weekend festival pass and entry fee which i used for the 20 mile MTB tour ride.

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I had a blast riding with my buddy Noah even though i held him back on most of the climbs. W ended up splitting up after a long technical climb which he zipped right up. The ride was pretty fun it was a little bottlenecked at a few points in the beginning then the riders spread out. Their was a total of 3000′ of climbing over 20 miles and most of it single track technical climbs. Their was a nice rest stop/refueling station at about mile 11. I tend to cram up quite a bit but i was taking s-caps electrolyte pills every 30-40 min which actually worked great.

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I finished the ride in just over 3 hours which was about middle of the pack, i did have to get off and walk a few times but i want alone. All in all it was a fun ride and id probably do it again. this was the first time i rode with a buddy the 2 times I did the grand fondo i rode solo, it was a great ride can’t wait till next year

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Now to the good stuff! There was so much cool stuff this year i didn’t know where to start. So heres a chris king 40th anniversary santa cruz 5010, limited to only 40 bikes this had a custom chris king headset bottom bracket and hub set in a limited color, if you got an extra  $9k this bike can have a spot in your garage.

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Keeping with the Santa Cruz theme this 1×11 Stigmata, shown here with color matching Slica frame and floor pump was a bargain at $6500. I was drooling over it the entire weekend…

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One of the most versatile bikes Santa Cruz introduced a new model this year the High tower, capable of running either 29″ or 27.5+” wheels you can pretty much have two bike all you have to do is buy another set of rims, At $7700 you can justify it by making the argument that its technically 2 bikes, (cyclist logic)

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Adventure/ gravel bikes were all the rage this year hers one that really caught my eye. The raleigh Stuntman is a tribute to the The 80’s tv show the Fall Guy. Starring Lee Majors as Colt Severs. This bike is the same color as his his 82′ GMC. With huge 29×2.1 meats this bike is built to shred, add a dropper post disc brakes and all the rack mount points you can think of and this bike is ready out of the box to do some damage.

Kona always come to party and this year was no different, i stopped by their tent to see what they had brought with them and low and behold kona had a couple carbon bikes with them. Known for aluminum and titanium and steel this is a big deal for them. Not only were they speced nice they also had a nice price tag a well. Per usually i had to take a shot of tequila and have a beer with them and talk bikes, they really now how to threaten me with a good time. The one bike that kinda stole the show was their steel road/cross like with exposed fillet brasing it looked rather nice.

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I was pretty excited to see this bike in person , this is the open cycles UP (unbeaten path) with the option of running a 700×40 cx tire a 700×28 road tire or a 650×2.1 mtb tire this bike can go pretty much anywhere. They say the amount of bikes a cyclist wants is N+1, N being the amount you have and always wanting another, well i think open cycles may have just solved that equation or at least shortened it. If you have a chance to demo this bike In person don’t bring you wallet because you won’t leave with out it.

Ill be posting a few more of these seaotter recaps in the next couple weeks, for a 4 day event they pack a bunch of stuff in to it, f you have never been or never heard of it you should defiantly put it on your to do list

 

Shoes to fit my weird feet, Pre-review of the Lake cx237

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So I finally pulled the trigger on the best fitting shoes I’ve ever tried on. Ive been in the hunt for a properly fitting pair of shoes since i started seriously cycling. A couple years ago i tried on a pair of lake cx237’s and fell in love with how well they fit, what i didn’t fall in love with was the $300 price tag. Before that i had tried a few pair of shoes. My fist pair were a pair of entry level pearl izumi that took both MTB and road cleats with 3 velcro straps, pretty basic but they did the job i was running the shimano A530 platform/spd pedals. Then i went to a pair of northwave’s which were to big and didn’t fit properly but it still wore anyway, then i went with the pair of bontrager rxl they fit the best and I’ve been wearing for a a couple years now, but i still couldn’t get the Lake’s out of my head.

After years of looking on eBay and scouring the internet for a sale i finally found them on sale on a website i go to often and is based in the town where i live, they post daily sales and always send out discounts emails to members, so last week the planets aligned and they had them for half off ($149.99) and i had a %20 off promo code which brought down the final price to $121.43, I was stoked behind belief that i finally had my “perfect fitting” shoes. Due to my weirdly odd shaped foot i can’t wear most narrow shoes like sidi’s and fizik’s, the lakes hit it on the head with there wider toe box and fits my flat no arch foot great. Im really stoked to put some miles on these shoes. Im runnng speedplay zero pedals they don’t have the traditional 3 hole boy pattern they have a 4 bolt pattern but they provide a adapter plate to mount to 3 hole shoesLake-CX237

If you have zero arch like me i highly recommend lake shoes by far the best fitting shoe I’ve found. They have a full grain leather upper and a carbon sole and are pretty light to top to off. I hope after all these years i haven’t built up these to be more than they are, but I’m super excited to put some miles on these very sleek and stylish shoes. Check out lakes site for their full line of road, tri, MTB and cold weather shoes.

FBTC’s holiday gift guide, part 2

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Continuing on with my holiday gift guide i have a great pair of shoes at a great price. The Bont riot are a great pair of shoes that pack a lot of high end features on a budget price. Ive been wearing bontrager RXL shoes for a while now these have been the best fitting shoes I’ve found till  saw the Bont’s. Bont are unique in the fact that all of their shoes are anatomical with a wide toe box and the carbon composite sole is easily heat moldable for a truly custom fit, all at a MSRP of $149.99 but easily found on the good old inter webs for around $90-$120, i found mine new eBay for  a steal $70 shipped. Bout also has a fancy system of tracing your foot and measuring the widest and longest part and telling what size and width to get, I’ve been wearing a 46 in most cycling shoes the Bont fitting system suggested a 45 regular width, the fit well and with a heat molding will make them fit perfect. If looking for a good light shoe at a great price give the Bont riot a chance. Only negative review i have is that where the upper meets the sole it loos unfinished needing a rubber strip for a more finished look, which Bont sells separate”bumper” for $10, why they don’t just add them on i have no clue

 

 

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Next up on the list is a second Silca product that has quite a buzz about it. The Slica Impero Ultimate frame pump is just that, the ultimate frame pump. I have an old 80’s Slica floor pump i inherited from a relative when i started to get in cycling, this thing is built to last, I’ve been using it for years with no issues they make absolutely great products that are not only built for years of use but look great too. Silca claims that the impero can inflate a 23c tire to 90psi in 100 strokes, which is either great or horrible i have to clue, i use a co2 inflater in my flat kit, but if your looking for a top of the line frame pump check out the impero!

 

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Another must have for any cyclist is a work stand. It literally makes working on your bike 1000% easier. The park pcs-9 is a great work stand for the home mechanic, at  price of $139.99 it a good deal on a park stand, it folds up for easy transportation for taking to the races or cleaning and lubing your bike after a ride. if you don’t have a work stand i highly recommend getting one, i use mine all the time weather I’m cleaning and lubing the drivetrain or giving my bike a bath. Its also great for bike storage i always have one of my 4 bikes in the stand. Do your self a favor and grab a park stand and you won’t look back.

 

Michelin Pro4 Endurance tyres (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Michelin Pro4 Endurance tyres 

 

 

What cyclist doesn’t like to ride new tires, nothing better than unfolding a new tires and putting it on a rim. Ive been running the Michelin pro 4 endurance for a few years now, and over that time  I’ve had about 1 flat. Im currently running a 25c tire on a hed beligum + rim and i absolutely love them. The pro 4 endurance has a a nice kevlar side wall to help with puncture protection, and it works really well for me i rarely get flats (knock on wood). The pro4 has a great rubber compound with excellent grip and also come in a in a few different colors to match whatever color your bike is. At a price of $44.99 its as good as tires the cost %50 more. If your in the market for a light, grippy and tough tire give the Michelin pro 4 endurance a try

 

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As a cyclist i can never have enough lights, i have lights for all my bikes along with flat kit with co2 set ups and tire levers. Im always stoked wen some one gives me a light as a present i always end up using them. The Lezyne zecto drive pro is a great all purpose light, it functions as a front a rear light and has 3 different colored aluminum bezels if thats something you’re in to. The red LEDs range between 10-40 lumens and the white LED’s go from 40-160 lumens. USB rechargeable and a fairly quick recharge time of 2.5 hours and a cool red green and blue led inside the power button to tell what the battery level is. Lezyne always makes really rice products and the zecto drive is no different its made well and looks cool and it water resistant, this thing can take pretty much any riding condition, if your like me and like to have light for all your bike pick up one of these cool. At $49.99 its a tad on the pricy but you really get what you pay for.

 

FBTC’s holiday gift guide, part 1

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The holidays are upon us and anyone who knows a cyclist knows how hard it can be to shop for them for presents. This holiday gift guide is going to showcase 10 awesome products any cyclist would love to have all under $150.

 

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First up on the list are the Tifosi escalate pro. At a retail price of $149.99  you get 6 pairs of glasses. Tifosi has a great system of where the ear pieces clip on to the frame giving you 3 different frame options with 2 set of lenses for each frame style. I’ve been using these the past couple months and  i really like them, my favorite style are the shields where the ear pieces clip directly to the lenses giving a super sleek look. The lenses pop out really easy in the full frame and half frame. Tifosi has 2 different options of the escalate with either a clarion blue or a clarion red, and each have a clear smoke and ac red lenses. These are great glasses and have an option for any weather condition. Tifosi really hit the nail on the head with these glasses and I’m looking forward to what they have to offer in 2016! Go check out Tifosis web site for all their new products

 

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Next on the list is a $125 set of hex wrenches from italian pump maker slica. Silca’s new HX-ONE hex wrenches are the hot must have holiday gift for cyclists. This is what slice has to say about their new HX-ONE, “For the HX-One we had to start with the finest S-2 Tool Steel, a shock resistant steel which has been refined by Swiss and German toolmakers for the optimal balance of strength, hardness, shock resistance and dimensional control. S-2 yields stronger tools with much harder surfaces for prolonged tool AND fastener life. The keys are then coated with thin-dense Chrome, a process generally reserved for mold tool components or optical grade surfaces inside molding tools. This coating provides the hardest, most dimensionally stable finish possible on each hex key. Finally, each tool is spray coated with a high-grip, high-visibility textured polymer finish for maximum grip and control. No more dropping your tools with greasy fingers or losing them on your workbench!” Go check out silcas site for more info

 

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If your looking for a great stocking stuffer you can’t beat the Pig pen from Pedros. The Pig pen includes the pig chain cleaning unit cleverly designed to look like a pig! it also comes with a bottle of pig juice degreaser fluid and chain j lube. At a price of $39.99 its an awesome way to keep your drivetrain clean and lubed. I love Pedros products a lot I’m always stoked when they come out with something new because i know its going to be rad. Do you self a favor and buy all of pedros products!

 

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Next up is the Lezyne mini GPS should be on every cyclists wishlist this year. Its compact design and reasonable price makes this gps. At $139.99 its significantly less than their competitors, and you still get a ton of great features including Optimized GPS recording, stores up to 100 hours of data, Scrolling data ticker and auto start/stop functions
Custom alerts,Up to 10 hours of runtime and weighs only 29 Grams. The main display includes Moving time, ride time, elapsed time,Distance: Current, Trip Total, Trip Odometer
Speed: Current, Average, Max. Elevation: Ascent, Descent, Current Laps
Temperature Time: ride time, clock,GPS signal strength, Battery life indicator
Semi-customizable display: 2, 3 or 4 fields, Manually choose bottom field, or set to auto scroll. The bigger brothers also include text message display, Heart rate monitor compatibility bigger battery and display for only about $60 more, Lezyne really did their R&D when they made their new GPS line and is guaranteed to take a bite out of the garmin market go check out lezyne for all their fine cycling products

 

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Next up is my one MTB item on my list, the praxis wide range 11-40 10sp cassette. I actually really want this for my stock 14′ giant trance sx 27.5, its currently set up with 1×10  34t front chainring and 36t cassette, which makes climbing some what of a hellish experience. With the help of this cassette and the matching 32t praxis chainring its going to revive my now “outdated” drivetrain, Praxis really hit the nail on the head with this cassette, you can now breath life in to that 10 speed that you thought was dead. Praxis markets this cassette as a direct swap, you do not need to even shorten the chain. At a price of $130 its an inexpensive way to get up  the mtn, go check out praxis for their full line chain rings cassettes and bb for road and MTB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review! Origin 8 x bar lights

 

I’ve been using these rad Origin8 lights for a few months now, and i have to say I’m pleasantly surprised on how cool these are. If you are not familiar with the brand Origin8 has been around for a while. They started out in accessories and spread out to a full line of road,mountain, CX, and fixed gear.

Having used their single speed hubs for a while now i was stoked to get ahold of these lights. The x bar have a very easy mounting bracket, basically a rubber band with a hook and a notches, it can attach to just about any set of bars or seat posts.

 

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I use the rear light on just about every ride day or night, its small compact and bright and uses a rechargeable micro usb battery witch lasts close to the 5 hours on strobe mode. The light is has 3 brightness setting and 3 strobe settings, its one of the brightest and compact lights I’ve used. The light can be mounted horizontally or vertically to accommodate other accessories or bar positions. I have mine mounted to my seat post horizontally under my seat bag.

 

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The Front X bar is pretty much the same exact light just with a different lens. They did bump up the lumens from 25 to 50, its a super bright compact light. I have used this on many night rides on my single speed and it lights up the road nicely. In a day where LED bike lights are cheap and everywhere the x bar really sets it self apart with its unique design and quality construction. With a price point of about $35 these are not the cheapest lights but they are worth the money. Go check out orgin8 full line of bike products, they have just about whatever you need!

Review! Pedros chain pig

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This cute little guy was sent to me from the good people over at Pedros tools, his name is the chain pig and he keeps your chain sparkling clean. I have done reviews on Pedros products before, they make some of the best tools and bike maintenance products on the market. Ive been using their apprentice tool kit for a while now and I love it. The tools are top notch, i found out about Pedros products from the guys at my local bike shop. After breaking a ton of tire levers they recommended the Pedros levers, and i was instantly sold! I have 2 levers in every underseat bag on all my bikes. So when i  found out they had a new line of chain cleaners bike wash and chain lube i was stoked to try them out.

 

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I was pretty stoked to get some samples of their new wet chain lube called “Go juice”, and their dry lube “ice wax”, their biodegradable “pig juice” for cleaning and degreasing the chain, a general biodegradable degreaser for other parts and their bike wash “green fiz”. I was really impressed with the design of the chain pig, it not only looks like an actual pig it functions great too, getting my chain sparkling clean. I used it on a bike i was working on that had been sitting for a long time and breathed life back in to a greasy crusty chain.

 

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The go juice is a great all around lube, i made sure to evenly coat the chain in the go juice and cycle through the gears to get the cassette nice and lube up to, after letting it sit for about 15 min i took a shop rag and wiped off the excess, after a couple rides the chain is still shifting smooth as silk. the Go juice is a biodegradable non toxic synthetic designed for dry to mixed conditions . Go juice does a great job of attracting less dirt than a conventional lube. Living in  California the go juice is perfect for the weather conditions up here, mostly dry with occasional rain, they also make “chain j” for light wet conditions and the “syn lube” for extreme wet conditions

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The green fizz bike wash made even the matte finish on my scott addict sparkle like a new penny. it has a 16:1 concentration ratio, meaning about  10-15 drops to a gallon of warm water will give you some good suds for washing off road grime and also degreasing the drivetrain. the green fizz is also biodegradable plant derived perfect for use on carbon, aluminum, steel and plastic, i even used it on my wheel and tires.

 

I was really happy with how well the cleaners and lubes preformed. my drivetrain is squeaky clean and shifting smooth as silk. Do your self a favor and buy anything with a pedros logo, you won’t be disappointed, I’m happy to add the go juice, green fizz and pig juice to my tool box! Go check out all of pedros products from mechanics tool and multi tools for you daily ride to cleaners and lubes, and my personal favorite their tire levers