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Damon Salter

Damon Salter

Midwestern Corn Country

Damon Salter's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking

Damon Salter's Bio

An open letter to backcountry.com eCommerce management team.

This message is in regards to the breakout of bike products to the new RealCyclist.com domain. I have been a Backcountry customer for some time and I have grown to love your store. I enjoy the selection of product, advice of gear experts, and excellent post-sale service. As an avid mountain biker being new road bike racing I was thrilled to see the bike gear on backcountry. If only my wife knew how much new gear I needed. I have also grown to love the new features you added for customer review, photos and Q&A. In fact, looks like I am still a Top 20 gear guru today.
So proving my reputability let’s cut to the chase. Shopping on the site yesterday I got to pick up a few camping supplies, a HRM Watch, first-aid supplies, and bike lube… Bike Lube! What the heck; I can’t put the bike stuff in the same cart as my backpacking, trail-running, and camping gear? I contacted customer service through Chat and they mentioned the site will operate independent but he could combine the carts if I was ready to order.
I can understand having a cycling specific marketing face to attract new customers, but in the end they should operate under seamlessly as possible under the same cart, shipping, and service. Just like the Amazon model. Why must the bikers be pigeonholed and separated from the rest of the shoppers.
In summary, I am not a realcyclist customer, not a dogfunk or huck and roll customer and probably will never if they are operated independently. I am a Backcoutry.com customer and would like to keep it that way; whether I am buying bike parts, snowboard and ski stuff, or backcountry gear.
Please reassess your marketing plan because you are alienating good existing customers.
Sincerely,
Damon Salter

Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on April 23, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have been running the Schwalbe One Tubeless for two seasons now. I have five tires in a combination of 23mm and 25mm sizes. I prefer the 25mm now because the ride is unbelievably good.

The good:
1. Great ride on both 23mm and 25mm tires. The 23mm rides better than any other 22mm tire I have owned (Conti,, Michelin) except my Mavic GripLink/Powerlink combo. The 25mm is at a level on its own.

2. Low rolling resistance: Check this out http://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/road-bike-reviews/schwalbe-one-tubeless-2014

3. Easier to mount compared to other tubeless tires I used Maxxis and Bontrager R3.

4. True to size, my 25mm measures at 26mm.

5. Schwalbe stands behind the product.

The not so good:
1. Wear: These wear pretty fast and don't have deep tread. I wouldn't want to compromise the ride though.

2. Reliability: I have ruined two of these. One had the bead rip back in less than two weeks of use, I contacted Schwalbe and they shipped me a replacement really quick. Another tire was damage when I cased the wheel and bent the rim. This put alot of stress on the tire and destroyed the bead.

3. Weight is a bit high compared to a clincher, but in line with other Tubeless offerings. With sealant you are looking at about a 80 gram penalty for rolling tubeless. The Specialized s-work turbo tubeless look light but expensive.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on April 8, 2015

5 5

I wear this hoodie primarily as a casual shirt layered over a t-shirt. It is slim fit yet long enough in the arms and body to hit the right spots when on bike. The zipper on the the front comes up high so when zipped up you have a built in neck gaitter. Very high quality materials that hold up to washings better than other gear, I am impressed.

Updated in 2015. I continue to wear this as a jacket, shirt, etc all the time. I have bought a couple colors. I think this is the best casual sweatshirt I have evern

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on April 7, 2015

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I have been using look pedals for about 10 years. I have always been very happy with the product design, weight, quality, and longevity.

Then I bought the Keo Blade 2 pedals and that all changed. I honestly believe this pedal went straight to production from the CAD design because no way a cyclist would actually say yeah these are good.

Read on if you want but I would not recommend these, try Dura-Ace, Keo or Keo Max (I heard new model Keo Max may have condition #1 below too.

I like that the pedals have a wide platform and feel good and secure under your feet. I like the low stack even though the extra 1-2mm reduced stack over the Keo Max wasn't necessary.

When compared with other Look pedals I don't like most everything else.

1. First off the pedal doesn't hang in a default position after un-clipping because the back half of the pedal is too light and new seals/bearings too stiff. So after un-clipping you have to position the cleat with your foot before clipping back in. I have added less that five grams of tungsen putty to back of the pedal to correct this, so obviously that is all it would have taken to fix this issue at the factory.

2. The back of the pedal where you cleat slide to engage/dis-engage seems to be wearing quite quickly. After a few dozen rides it already has a deeper grove then my 2007 Keo Carbon pedals.

3. The wing on the side of the pedal is very sharp. You have to be careful to not let it touch up against your calf while chatting pre-ride because it hurts you. I have scratched my leg good on it once already.

4. The float on this pedal is sorta sloppy because there is no spring tension on the cleats. It just moves around free and pops out when you hit the limit as opposed to an increase in tension as you move away from center. This is really okay but not what you may expect compared to about every other pedal on the market.

I will update this review with a pictures.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on February 26, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Great shorts if you are built more like Frank Schelk and less like Fabian Cancellera.

I only have initial impressions of these shorts as you will see why later. let's just say the materials and construction of these shorts was some of the best I have seen especially for the price they sell. The stitching and finish was better that some much higher-priced brands.

I wish I could have made these work though. The cut of the short was too slim for me. I am 6 foot,, 190 lbs, 35 inch waist, and bought a Large. The waist was accurate to sizing, the bib straps were a little short for my build, but the shorts themselves were way to tight on the thighs. If you have track cyclist butt there isn't much room left upfront.

This is pretty typical of cycling shorts and I understand why, but these shorts were even tighter than others. I can't say they run small just slim.

If you have a muscular build you might want to look elsewhere.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on November 25, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am a tape snob. I have removed several brands of tape after a day or two use as there is so much junk out there. No longer will I waste my time. The Performance tape is all I will consider using. Specifically the tacky black tape is my go to.

Why I love it.
1. Stretches evenly and installs nice.
2. Has the perfect amount of grip and is secure to use without gloves even with sweaty hands.
3. Lasts for a full year of heavy use. Years of moderate use. To bad it outlasts my cables or I wouldn't ever have to change it.
4. Perfect amount of padding for comfort. If you are a minimalist use the super-light tape.
5. Looks timeless with the black on black combination.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on December 31, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

If you don't want to read any futher I would suggest the Yokozuna Reaction shift cables but not the brake cables. I had two sets on these cables one set was professionally installed one installed by myself.

(Shift Cables)
Pros:
1. Cables fit well with my SRAM Red and Rival drive trains.
2. Noticeable improvement in shifting over old or cheap cables.
3. The system stayed lubricated and efficient the entire time I used the cables.
4. Very minimal cable stretch. These are not like the shop cables which stretch out some much after the first week you need to re-adjust your derailleurs.

Cons:
1. I didn't like the looks of the smoke. Can I get black please.
2. The cable a bit stiffer and you need to leave a little extra cable in our rear loop.
3. The plastic ferules wore through on the rear derailleur because the cable is a bit stiffer that most.

(Brake Cables)
Pros:
1. The inner cable is super strong, increases brake power a bit and doesn't stretch.

Cons:
1. This things are stiff as hell and are difficult to cut and size properly. They don't bend around anything.
2. If was almost impossible to use these with my SRAM Red Aerolink brakes because they use a self centering floating spring alignment rather than fixing the brake position with a bolt. For this reason the cable length is very important, but these cable are so stiff there is no room for error. And forgot trying to change the brake position for a wider we of wheels. I assume this would affect all brakes with the same design.
3. The cable is so stiff I couldn't get it to work in the rear without binding up the brakes. This could be the angle the cable takes our of my Look frame.
4. The ferules for the brakes didn't fit in my SRAM shifters easily. I have to force then in to the shifter.
5. Even with professional cable cutters the housing crushed and but be rounded back out with a pick.
6. The stiff cable will rub the finish right off the bike

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on December 7, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have been using various crank brothers pedals for 10 years on my mountain, cross bikes, and commuter. It most conditions I love the pedals. Easy in and out and if you don't power wash directly in the pedal the bearing will last a really long time. I am still using my original pair. I have been using the candy 2 on my cross bike for that last two seasons. I am fairly satisfied but two things bother me.
1. Sometime the disengagement seems inconsistent meaning coming into the barriers with any speed is unnerving. "Am I going to get uncliped or not?!!!! Okay, it working this time". I have followed advice to use the stainless carbon sole protectors and change shoes to sidi and still have the problem.
2. While the pedal is known to shed mud well the cleat to pedal interface doesn't seem to work well when muddy. After a muddy runup a few weeks back I seemed to have far more trouble clipping in for the descent than other riders.

Judges Decision: I am going to try the new Shimano SPD next season for cyclocross.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on December 5, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have carbon Sidi and Mavic shoes. These fit, look, and perform better that all of them. They are not for casual use as the little rubber bits of skimpy and can wear out quick.

The one piece upper just is a good idea for cycling shoes as you avoid seems on the side and top of your foot that cause discomfort.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on December 5, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I used the Conti GP4000s for years. I probably had three to four sets on a couple different sets of wheels. I loved the ride and the handling and have no complaints about the performance of the tire. They did seem to wear out rather quickly and I had one developed a bulge and another two started unraveling at the bead. I also had a flat once a month or so during the hard training months. I thought this was normal. I found myself with a set of Vitoria EVOs and later Mavic Grip Link/Powerlink combo. I found both these tires had a noticeably nicer ride and were just as fast. All three brands wear out just as fast but the what I cannot explain is that I don't have flats any longer. I am still using the same tubes I stocked up on when I rode the GP4000s and the same pressure on the same wheels. All I can blame is the tire.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on August 8, 2013

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I have had good luck with the Sugoi RS so why not buy the RSE... right?
Well, a lot of reasons it turns out.
1. Fit: The waist fit is the same as the RS but the legs and the cuff are so tight the my leg looks like an anaconda is wrapped around it. This will not affect everyone equally. I have a track cyclist build, 6'0", 180 lbs. If you have thin legs you will be fine.
2. Chamois burn: Really. Chamois burn, I have never ever came back from a 2.5 hour ride and had to stand on the pedals the final 5 miles in. I have used dozens of chamois in shorts ranging from $50 - $250 and never had anything rub me that raw. The chamois should form to the behind, not vice versa.
3. Colors bleed labels gone: The black material on the cuff stained the white and labels are kind of hanging off after a couple rides.

So what is right about the shorts? The material which I don't know the make of is awesome. It had good compression and kept me cool and dry on hot steamy days.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on June 7, 2013

4 5

The material and construction of this shoe were top notch. The sole was vary nice and the overall shoe was very light. They looked great and I was confident the shoe would have lasted many years.

The problem for me was two-fold. First I ordered several sizes and couldn't find the size that would fit my volume that wasn't too long in the toe box. Here is the thing, the Shimano shoes fit narrower than other shoes I have tried (Northwave, Mavic, Specialized, even Sidi) and lower volume than all but Giro. The tow box is relatively long for the width. Once I found the right size for my foot the toe box had way too much extra room. This caused my little to to rub o the shoe right were the mesh meets the stiffer material from the strap. It created a bunch of friction on the top of my little toe that made these a no go.

If you have a lower volume foot or longer toes I think the Shimano or Giro are the best match. I eventually found the Northwave Extreme with the high volume insole (they come with a slim fit insole as well) were the best match for me.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on April 11, 2013

5 5

It a fact fact once you use a repair stand it is hard to use the old flip the bike over method to clean and work on your bikes. After borrowing my brothers Park PRS-25 stand over the winter I knew I needed one of my own.

I really liked the Park stand and had no complaints about it except the $300 price tag and the fact that I blew the stand over when power washing my cross bike more that once.

When I saw the Feedback Sports Pro Classic the features and the price looked competitive so I gambled and bought it. Was I in for a treat. The Pro Classic stand is super light, 11 pounds on my scale. It folds down way smaller than the park too.

One thing I love about the stand is that it is solid as hell. The three legs are ideal compared to two because I provides a huge surface that stays upright and handles uneven surfaces well. The legs can be folder out all the way for a wide base for bottom bracket of heavy bikes our can be left only partially open if you need the space to maneuver around, like in a cyclocross pit.

The method jaws are convenient and secure, but work best on seatpost and round tubes. Aero posts and frame tubes are a bit funky to work with. THis is one place the PRS-25 has an advantage. The jaws on the park are super quick to engage and disengage on various tube shapes. Taking the bike off the stand is a little slower on this stand also. The step up feedback pro elite stand has a push button release which would be nice if you are constantly taking bikes on and off the stand.

Overall I am happy I tried the Feedback Pro Classic stand and I am super impressed on the quality and functionality. It look pretty sweet as well.

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on February 14, 2013

4 5

I hate buying shifters because they are priced outrageously considering there isn't much to them and they are the most likely thing to break on the bike.
Even though my old SRAM shifters worked with the amazing SRAM Yaw front derailleur the new SRAM Red removed the trim position and shifts seem snappier both front and rear. +1 star there.
I do applaud the new ergonomics as I have way better brake control riding on the hoods, less shifting/braking interference, and the longer levers naturally fit you hand in the drops. +1 star there
They are also super easy to adjust to hand size and include a gel piece to transition between the bar and shifter that works real nice. +1 star
The shifters come with a set of Gore ride-on professional cables are the best available in my opinion. +1 star there
They are scary light, so light I assume if one of my kids knocks over the bike the shifter is toast. It is also concerning that the lever stick out past the bar so it would be the first thing to hit the ground. +1 star here maybe
Then there is cost; buying these Taiwan shifters at over $600 is silly high when you think you can buy a American Made Fender guitar for $900. But the price is in line with Shimano and Campy and apparently we suckers pay for it. -1 star

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on February 11, 2013

5 5

I am not blowing smoke with that statement. This finally puts an end to "Chain Gate" forever. My front shifts are faster and cleaner than electronic shifting. The only drawback is that this thing allows you to cross-chain so well you might break a chain if you are not paying attention cause you won't be reminded by the grinding of your front derailleur.

Don't know "Chain-Gate"? copy url: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/chain-gate-voted-cyclingnews-biggest-moment-of-the-year

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on February 11, 2013

4 5

I was skeptical that these would be any better than the brakes I already had but bought them to complete my SRAM Red group.

There are some nice features that put these one step ahead of most brakesets and certainly any produced by SRAM.

1. The brakes are spring centered like a good canti-brake, which means they can't get knocked out of center and always stay centered. (See notes on cables below)
2. They are tiny
3. They have huge stopping power, but not too much.
4.Intimidates the competition because they look fast even if you are not

Notes on setup: The length of cable is super important as the brake is spring centered a too long or short of a cable will cause the brake to push one way or another. I had to start long and trim until the spring centering worked properly and perfectly. This took some time. Also, I couldn't get yokozuna reaction brake cables to work because the cable are too stiff. I wouldn't run yokozuna brake cables on anything anyways if you have the choice.

Price, I dock this one star for the silly high price. Not even the extra engineering on these can explain why they cost as much as three sets of normal calipers (SRAM Rival).

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Damon Salter

Damon Salterwrote a review of on February 11, 2013

4 5

First off setting this derailleur up was a snap.
1. Set the high and low stops
2. Pull cable pretty tight and cinch the bolt
3. Dial out the barrel adjuster until shifts are snappy.
4. Go on a ride confident your shifting will be awesome.

For some reason the SRAM Red was a lot less finicky to setup than my other non-Red derailleurs. Maybe it’s the engineering but it might be worth spending the extra $ if you maintain your own bikes, cause working on the good stuff is easy.

Other than that this thing is light, sculpted, elegant, and my drivetrain is quieter now (must be the jockey wheels)

Minus one star for the silly price tags on this stuff, if it breaks I will have to sell my son's braces.

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