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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson

The Wasatch Mountains and Environs

Mike Nelson's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Snowshoeing
Skiing

Mike Nelson's Bio

I’ve been riding mountain bikes for 15 years, Road bikes for 7. I started out on steel, but things have gotten more elaborate since then. I’ll race when I have to, but for me bikes are for getting outside with friends, being healthy, and seeing new places.
Current rides – Ibis Ripley, Bianchi Infinito, Niner Ros 9 Plus.
Brands I’m passionate about – Niner, Ibis, Orbea, Storck, Wilier, Castelli, Giordana, DeMarchi, Assos, Sidi, Catlike, Fizik, Selle Italia, HED, Vittoria.
I’d love to answer your Mountain and Road bike gear related questions. My email address is mnelson@backcountry.com. and my phone extension is 4076.
Backcountry.com’s Gearheads are your instant connection to gear knowledge. They’re passionate outdoor experts hell-bent on helping you find the right bike, ski, saddle, or pro. Follow their adventures and exploits.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on November 17, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large

Nicely made and finished, Great color and better quality leather than most wallets. The wallet is bigger than most bifolds, and has plenty of card slots. I expect to have it for a long time. My only complaint is the huge stitched-in tags in the the cash compartment.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on November 17, 2014

5 5

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

Lots of the current super-wide rims (think Enve M60, Ibis 941, and Industry Nine Torch) are also pretty deep. Most people riding them are running sealant rather than tubes, but these are the ticket for spares since they have 45mm valve stems. Tubes with shorter 35mm valve stems don't leave enough valve to get a pump or co2 inflator on.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on November 7, 2014

5 5

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

I am of the opinion that 1200 for a light to be considered bright, it need to be able to pump out 1200 lumens. For 2015, Exposure has increased the output of all their lights. Their Biggest light, the Six Pack Mk5 puts out an astonishing 3200 lumen. The Race Mk9 light sees a big increase from last year's 800 lumens. This year it is in the big kids' club. We have been testing the full exposure line for the last few weeks, and while the monster lights are amazing, I find I like the smaller models nearly as well.
I rode last night under a full moon with the Race Mk 9 on the bar and the Joystick Mk 9 on the helmet. I kept the Race light in reflex mode and didn't touch it, and toggled between the medium and bright settings on the Joystick. While I didn't get the amazing saturation that the bigger lights provide. I was able to get good flow down the trail. The only time I felt like i was riding beyond the avialable light was on a very fast descent down a loose and rocky fire road. The Garmin says I was going just under 28 mph. The Race Mk9 is ideal for the weight-obsessed, or for trail riders who keep their speeds moderate.

Beyond the quality of the illumination, the Race Mk 9 has some features that set it apart from the top-level lights from other manufacturers. It is self-contained in a CNC-machined aluminum housing with lots of cooling fins, so the whole light body acts as a heat sink, providing an important temperature management for the LEDs. The level of finish is beautiful, on par with Thomson seatposts and Chris King Headsets.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson posted an image about on November 7, 2014

 <br/> Exposure Demo Box.

This photo shows the full line of Exposure lights for 2015, all in one place. The Toro is the third form the left, top row. It is quite a bit slimmer than the Six Pack and Maxx-d, but the same level of technological sophistication.
I've had this box for a few weeks, and its a good excuse to go night riding every other night.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on November 7, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Exposure Toro Mk6 sits in the third spot in Exposures lineup of handlebar lights. The Six Pack and Maxx D put out crazy lumens and cost more, but at 1800 the Toro puts out enough illumination to ride at daylight speeds. Having had a chance to test the full Exposure lineup over the course of a few weeks, I’ve found I like the small and medium-size handlebar lights nearly as much as the big guys. The Toro is the Exposure light I plan to buy. It has all the amazing features of the bigger lights, with a smaller size and great light output for road or trail.

Beyond the quality of the illumination, the Toro has some features that set it apart from the top-level lights from other manufacturers. It is self-contained in a CNC-machined aluminum housing with lots of cooling fins, so the whole light body acts as a heat sink, providing an important temperature management for the LEDs. The level of finish is beautiful, on par with Thomson seatposts and Chris King Headsets.
The Toro’s weight is lower and battery life is longer than comparable lights from other manufacturers that have cords and external batteries. There are 10 different programs (details are helpfully engraved on the side of the housing) to fine-tune output and battery life, and it is easy to toggle between modes with the single-button control. . Three of those modes incorporate Exposure’s Reflex Technology, which uses an array of sensors (thermometer, inclinometer, and accelerometer) along with a digital algorithm to estimate how fast the bike is going, and adjust the light’s output accordingly. The light dims when the bike is moving slowly or uphill, then brightens automatically when the trail points down and speeds increase. This seems like the stuff of science fiction, but it works on the trail. The rider can turn on the light at the beginning of the ride and not touch it until the end.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on November 7, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

With a maximum output of 3200 lumens (up from 2000 in the Six pack Mk4) the Exposure Six Pack Mk5 gives more light than most riders need. Reasonably, 12-1800 lumens is more than adequate for nighttime trail riding at speed. That said, the more light is better, and the Six Pack Mk5 puts out a lot. The beam is wide and even, with no noticeable hot spots or gradient. Close details and small obstacles are highly visible, as well as more of the trail ahead, meaning the even on fast straight descents, it is hard to ride beyond what the light can illuminate.
Beyond the quality of the illumination, the Six Pack has some features that set it apart from the top-level lights from other manufacturers. It is self-contained in a CNC-machined aluminum housing with lots of cooling fins, so the whole light body acts as a heat sink, providing an important temperature management for the LEDs. The level of finish is beautiful, on par with Thomson seatposts and Chris King Headsets.
The Six Pack’s weight is lower and battery life is longer than comparable lights from other manufacturers that have cords and external batteries. There are 10 different programs (details are helpfully engraved on the side of the housing) to fine-tune output and battery life, and it is esy to toggle between modes with the single-button control. . Three of those modes incorporate Exposure’s Reflex Technology, which uses an array of sensors (thermometer, inclinometer, and accelerometer) along with a digital algorithm to estimate how fast the bike is going, and adjust the light’s output accordingly. The light dims when the bike is moving slowly or uphill, then brightens automatically when the trail points down and speeds increase. This seems like the stuff of science fiction, but it works on the trail. The rider can turn on the light at the beginning of the ride and not touch it until the end.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on November 7, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

With a maximum output of 3200 lumens (up from 2000 in the Six pack Mk4) the Exposure Six Pack Mk5 gives more light than most riders need. Reasonably, 12-1800 lumens is more than adequate for nighttime trail riding at speed. That said, the more light is better, and the Six Pack Mk5 put out a lot. The beam is wide and even, with no noticeable hot spots or gradient. Close details and small obstacles are highly visible, as well as more of the trail ahead, meaning the even on fast straight descents, it is hard to ride beyond what the light can illuminate.
Beyond the quality of the illumination, the Six Pack has some features that set it apart from the top-level lights from other manufacturers. It is self-contained in a CNC-machined aluminum housing with lots of cooling fins, so the whole light body acts as a heat sink, providing an important temperature management for the LEDs. The level of finish is beautiful, on par with Thomson seatposts and Chris King Headsets.
The Six Pack’s weight is lower and battery life is longer than comparable lights from other manufacturers that have cords and external batteries. There are 10 different programs (details are helpfully engraved on the side of the housing) to fine-tune output and battery life, and it is esy to toggle between modes with the single-button control. . Three of those modes incorporate Exposure’s Reflex Technology, which uses an array of sensors (thermometer, inclinometer, and accelerometer) along with a digital algorithm to estimate how fast the bike is going, and adjust the light’s output accordingly. The light dims when the bike is moving slowly or uphill, then brightens automatically when the trail points down and speeds increase. This seems like the stuff of science fiction, but it works on the trail. The rider can turn on the light at the beginning of the ride and not touch it until the end.
Exposure’s handlebar lights are the only bike lights to use a digital readout instead of a fuel-gauge-s

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on October 9, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm riding these wheels on an Ibis Ripley with a RockShox Pike, and have been very happy with them so far. My previous 29er Trail bike had Stan's Flow EX wheels, which I was pretty happy with, but the Ibis 941 wheels are noticably lighter and stiffer. The rims are really monstrously wide, At 200 pounds, I'm running 19 psi on buff trails, and 23 psi on trails with sharper rocks. ON the trail, Traction is ample, and handling predictable. The 3-pawl hub does not engage quite as fast as chi-chi offerings from Industry Nine, King, or DT Swiss, but hubs like those laced to a rim of this quality would come at a much higher price. Ibis nailed a great balance of performance, quiality, and price with these wheels. They kept the graphics understated, so the wheels won't clash with other brands of bike.

One caveat: At 35mm, these rims are deep enough that they won't play nicely the 32mmmm stems on a lot of mountain bike tubes. Run the wheels tubeless with the included valves, , but seek out long stems or get valve extenders for your spare tubes. Otherwise you'll risk having a tough time fixing that unsealable flat out on the trail!

If you have any questions about these or other mountain bike wheels, Please call me directly at 801-736-6396 or email me at mnelson@backcountry.com

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on October 6, 2014

Small Refinements, Big Improvement.
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

I've worn and enjoyed the Smith Pivlock V2 Max for about 3 years. When I bought them in 2011, they were by far the best cycling-specific glasses I had ever used. The rimless lenses provide an unlimited field of vision, and the adjustable nose piece allows the user to fine-tune the fit and ventilation. 3 lenses are include so they can be used in all conditions. The Arena Max is has all these features. In fact, it is almost identical to the Pivlock v2. But after a big weekend of riding both road and mountain bikes in the new Arena Max, I notice a few things that make it better on the bike.

The Arena Max offers full coverage, but a revised shape and nose piece means it sits off the face better than the Pivlock v2. For me that means less sweat on the lenses and better visibility. For me this is the biggest improvement. No more crusty glasses after a long ride!

The ear pieces are slightly shorter, so they don't overlap with the rear straps of the bike helmet.

The glasses seem to have a slightly stiffer flex. They stay in place better when the going gets rough, and can be worn over bike helmet straps.

With the Arena Max, Smith has kept everything I loved about my previous Smith glasses, and improved what minor complaints I had. I look forward to using them for many seasons of riding!

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on June 30, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Cyclists, particularly those in the dirt disciplines, are fortuante to be riding right now. though the dollar amounts have gotten higher, mid-priced bikes in 2014 are far superior to the best bikes on the market from just a few years ago. For instance I have spent the last year riding and loving my aluminum-framed Niner RIP 9. I think it is a near-perfect 29er trailbike for under $5k. So I was intrigued with the opportunity to test the Niner R.I.P. 9 RDO Featured Mountain Bike, which sports the same frame geometry, suspension design, and drivetrain, but substitutes a carbon frame for aluminum, and Enve M60 Forty wheels for the Stan's Flow EXs.

Not surprisingly, the higher dollar bike as the better of the two rides. the Carbon frame and wheels are lighter, quieter, and stiffer. The featured bike required less body english around corners, and held a line more steadily. The stiffness of the Enve wheels improves ride quality the same way thru-axles and tapered steerers do: more of the forces on the bike are channelled into the the suspension instead of into uncontrolled flex.

So, if this one is out of reach, don't despair. The mid-level equivalent is very, very good. But the RIP9 RDO with ENVE is even better.

If you have questions about this or any of our other bikes, you can reach me directly at 801-736-6396 ext 4076, or email me at mnelson@backcountry.com

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on June 30, 2014

5 5

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

I had not ridden the SB-95 since last year, but got out on it today for a bout 18 miles and 2500 feet of vertical. My impressions remain the same. The SB-95 is a great modern trailbike 29er chassis, with a real talent for descending at speed. Let go of the brakes, and this bike will run, confidently. The Featured Bike build leaves nothing to be desired. The Industry Nine Trail Carbon wheels were a particular standout. I was aware of them tracking better than most on the downhill, where smooth bearings and stiff rims made the bike easy to control at speed. On the climbs and technical sections, the hub's quick engagement and the wheels' light weight reduced helped the Yeti clear downed logs and and loose rocky creekbeds.

I have owned, and rode today with a friend who was on a Niner RIP 9. The two bikes are very similar with maybe a 5% difference between the two in the balance between climbing and descending. The NIner gets up a little easier, and the Yeti goes down a little faster.

If you have questions about the SB-95 featured bike or anything else, call me at 801-76-6396 ext. 4076 or email me at mnelson@backcountry.com

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on June 12, 2014

5 5

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

I had half a day on the WFO in Moab last fall, and was very impressed. The rear suspension is a perfect complement to the Pike fork. It rides high and is sensitive to small bumps when climbing and pedaling, and them when speeds go up and the trail gets rougher, it settles in to a really bottomless feel.

The stock build includes the same long stem and 710 mm handlebar as Niner's other bikes, and really need to be switched out for a 50 mm stem and wide bar. The addition of a dropper seatpost will also help the WFO ride to its full potential.

Give me a call at 801-736-6396 est 4076 or email me at mnelson@backcountry.com to get the bike with the best parts setup.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson wrote a review of on June 9, 2014

Making a better helmet is a "POC"
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Piece of Cake! As others have said, fit, coverage, and ventilation are outstanding. What I really love about the Octal, though is the straps. Virtually every other bike helmet on the market uses the same strap system. on thickish strap that is complicated to adjust and meets in a "V" under the ear. The Octal uses thin straps and a piece under the ear so the straps clear the ear, and are much easier to adjust. The straps contribute to the cap virtually disappearing on the head. The only thing that reminds me I'm wearing it is all the compliments I get!

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