Wherever I may find mountains (though currently based in SoCal)
In theory the Dragon soles are supposed to be made of a harder compound to be more durable while sacrificing a bit of traction. The Spider soles are softer and wear faster but provide better grip. They both fit the same shoes.
In my experience, I've found the Dragon soles do not grip as well as the Spider soles, but they also have worn faster, lasting only 2/3 as long as my Spider soles. I've had two of each and both Dragon soles wore about 2mm down in about 600 miles whereas the two pair of Spider soles wore the same amount in about 1000 miles of off road. That's the complete opposite of what's supposed to happen and I'm still confused by it, but that's what happened to me.
Do these have a chamois?
There are two reasons to get an unpinned and unramped chainring: for singlespeed (SS) or single ring but multiple rear gears (1x). This is bar none the best chainring for the former, but not the best for the latter.
For SS, this ring is perfect. The tooth profile is perfect and high and keeps the chain. It comes in a ton of sizes and BCDs (so you can use it on your old 5-bolt cranks or on a CX bike as well) and it's just plain bomber. Steel is real in this case, it is hard and durable and just plain does not wear. There's a good chance it will outlive the rest of your bike. It's not coming off my SS, that's for sure.
For 1x it's not so good. While it's hard, it's not necessarily stiff. This is an issue because when you're in the largest or smallest cassette cog on your 1x your chainline is nowhere near straight and there's significant side load on your chainring. I found that when using it on my 1x9 bike in the extreme gears it would at best rub my chain retention device and at worst it would pull so far off to the side it's get stuck in the chain retention device and I'd have to stop and detangle it. I switched it out with a stiffer aluminum e13 Guidering and the rub was gone at either end. The aluminum is softer and wears faster, but it's stiffer than the thin steel of this ring.
Bottom line: if you're using it for SS, get it and you will not regret it. If you're doing 1x9 or 1x10, I'd instead recommend the Blackspire Mono Veloce, e13 Guidering, Salsa chainrings, or some other aluminum ring with a thicker body profile.
I've ridden two of these now on my 1x9 setup. The first wore out after about a year (~2000 miles; I ride and race a lot of dirt). It was still functional, it just had one tooth worn really far down. So durability is very good, but not fantastically unbelievable (unlike, say, the Blackspire Mono Veloce ring I've had on another bike for forever that the ano still hasn't even worn off).
Performance-wise it's a chainring, I mean what can I say? It's got a tall tooth profile for single ring use. I use it for 1x9 as I said and it works great for that. It still needs a chain retention device (I use a MRP 1.x), but it doesn't try to buck the chain under load at all, the chain retention device is mainly to keep the chain down while I'm bombing down really rough stuff as it's a hardtail and gets some bucking.
The reason I buy this and not just another Blackspire (which is functionally identical and has better durability) is the colors and tooth selection. Well, maybe not tooth selection personally (I use a 34T, but the Blackspire only comes in 32, 34, and 36 so you're out of luck for 33 or 35T), but the color aspect cannot be understated. I have a lot of red ano highlights on my race bike and the red ano chainring just looks so damn good, it's worth it to me to replace it once a year. Ok, so it's shallow, but if you look fabulous you ride faster. It's a fact.
For carbon shoes you absolutely have to have these, for CB, Look, and Time pedals (any style of pedal with narrow contact bars). I actually don't own any carbon shoes, but I still use these on all my shoes for two reasons:
1) Protect the shoe sole from wear due to a small contact point
2) Preserve free float
The second point is important to me; with the shoe shields the float is much freer on CB pedals than otherwise, as the wings can move smoothly on the steel plate and not rub on the sole (especially as grooves rub into the soul and restrict the float more). There really is a noticeable pedal difference and as I use CB for their free feel, having these to preserve that is important.
I give them 3/5 for two reasons: first, they do actually wear out (I pretty much replace them whenever I replace my cleats, about once a year or 4000 dirt miles), and second, these should be included with cleats or pedals because I really think they ought to be used with CB pedals for all shoes. They're cheap enough that it's not that big an issue, but I'd still like to see them bundled instead of those useless plastic shims CB puts in there now.
These stained my grips, they stained my kit, they just left black all over everything. They kept doing this for a couple months (through multiple washes) until I tossed them.
If they were super comfortable and grippy that's be one thing, but they weren't. The palm is kinda stiff and doesn't flex right and bunches, the fingers don't like to bend, and the grippy rubber came off the fingers after two rides and the material is not grippy without them.
After a nice crash really marred my hand a few years back despite wearing gloves, I don't wear half-finger gloves anymore, I only wear full-finger with decent protection even on road.
That said, these are perfect for it! They breath well and are grippy, but they've still got the back of my hand covered (and I've been in a couple crashes and tested it; much better than the thin spandex of road gloves).
What I like about these better than my other MTBing gloves is the gel palm; it's much more comfortable for road riding than the minimal XC gloves I use for MTBing. The gel is placed nicely and softens up riding on both the hoods and in the drops.
Unfortunately Fox has started going with glue for all their rubber attachment which prevents this from getting 5 stars, as it inevitably starts coming off. A couple minutes with a hot glue gun fixes it when it does, but it's an annoyance that wasn't there back when they stitched it.
They last a long time, I've had one pair go for nearly a year of almost-daily commuting (35 miles) and the detailing peeling up was the only issue. Palms are still bomber.
I wear XL in Fox and these fit. I wear L in most other brands though so you might want to size down.
These are very good thin-palm XC gloves. They breath well, they're grippy, and they still protect your hand in a crash. I bought three or four pair on sale for $15 and they're well worth that. Full price they're a little overpriced though.
I bought the white because though white MTB gloves are silly, I have colored ESI grips and I didn't want my gloves to stain the grips. So far so good, my pink and red grips have no trace on them. The white actually stays reasonably white too with semi-regular washing.
They last a good long time, probably a full season of riding or race. The velcro strap separated for me (velcro came off the rubber); I was disappointed to learn that it's not stitched at all, just glued. Two minutes with a hot glue gun totally fixed it though.
My biggest gripe is no soft patch on the thumb for nose wiping.
They fit the same as all the other Fox gloves I have; I wear XL in fox and these are true to that size. It's L for a lot of other brands though, so you might want to size up a little bit.
These seem to be perpetually on sale for $10 or so. They are well worth that price. Not sure I'd pay $30 for them though. Still, I bought three pair of these at the sale price and I'm happy with them. They're lasting longer than I expected, actually.
They're solid gloves, well made and comfortable. They have pretty much no palm padding, so you should like your grips. The backs of them are thick enough to protect your hand in a crash but still breath pretty well. The thumb wiper is always appreciated. The gray palms stain my red or pink ESIs much less than black palms do, though still a little bit.
While the forefinger grippies started coming off after about two rides, the clarino palm is grippy enough without them, I still have no brake lever slippage.
If you own other Fox gloves, these are true to that size. I wear an XL in Fox, and these fit just perfect. I'm a L in a lot of other gloves though.
This dress is super cute. It fits the waist and chest nicely but flares out at the hips, showing off the figure but still being really comfortable and moveable. The fabric is thick but soft, and doubled up at the chest so it's a little supportive and can be worn standalone if you're not very busty (which I am not).
It's machine wash and easy to take care of, and it's just really cute and comfortable and a wonderful go-to dress that's both casual and a little bit dressy..
These suffer from the same problem as most compression socks, and that's that they're sized for feet rather than calves. As someone with big feet (size 12 US/46 euro) and skinny little calves (14.5" diameter), that's usually problematic for me because I need large socks for my feet with provide pretty much zero compression for my calves.
I got around that with these by sizing way down, going with Medium. They actually fit my feet just fine (leading me to think their sizing chart is irrelevant) and provide a moderate amount of compression for my calves. They're not as good as my compression calf sleeves, but they're much better than other compression socks (Zoot and DeFeet) that I have.
They're stretchier than other compression socks, meaning they're easier to get on and off, but they still have managed to keep their compression and not stretch out after 6 months of hard use. Considering I got them for $10 on Chainlove, that's not bad at all (and I bought three more pair I have waiting for when these die).
So bottom line, size way down if you have skinny calves, and these are worth it if you can catch them on sale. Otherwise, it's better to go with either calf sleeves or one of the other compression socks out there that independently sizes calf and feet (or at least has a size chart for calf).
I don't use other grips anymore. I love these beyond belief. They're just so comfortable. I've used Ergons, just couldn't get them quite right (especially standing out of the saddle). ODIs just don't even come close. These are just the right amount of cush and grip. I haven't found better. I've got pretty big gorilla hands; if you have smaller hands the racer's edge 30mm ESI grips may work better; my friends with small hands have really liked them but thought my grips felt too big.
They're also apparently really lightweight. Like the lightest you can get. Personally, that doesn't matter to me because comfort is more important than any 100g, it will result in more speed at the end of a race.
These also look fab, I have them in different colors on each bike. They get dirty after a bit (especially if you wear black gloves), but a little bit of acetone cleans them right up (this was the recommendation from ESI itself).
They're reasonably durable, but a crash can ruin them. They're fairly cheap though; I usually have a spare set waiting in the wings anyway.
Not as convenient as lock-ons, but soooo much more comfortable. They go on surprisingly easily with rubbing alcohol (just wet the inside) and stick in place really well. Getting them off intact requires patience, but is doable.
For me, they're the perfect grips. I refuse to use anything else.
For what it's worth I've also met the owner (based in SoCal and goes to a bunch of the ProXCT races) and he's super cool and nice, willing to talk bike stuff for as long as you'll stand there and a knowledgeable and great guy.
If you have shoulders on the wide-ish side this dress really accentuates them. Also has a really straight, unfitted waistline ("empire" is a generous description). Just not flattering in the least.
The teal color is great and the fabric is soft and comfy, though.
This is one of the best SS cassette cogs on the market. It's tough and nicely machined. Weight is reasonable (though if you're that concerned then you're being silly). It's steel (as any SS cog should be) and wears almost negligibly.
What makes this better than most is the wide base (4mm) that does not chew up cassette freehub bodies, not even lightweight alu or Ti ones. If you have XTR hubs with the Ti freehub body, this is a must. There are others (Niner, CK) that have this as well, but they're much more expensive.
On top of all of that, it looks good. The larger cogs have nicely spaced drilled holes that probably shave negligible weight but just look cool. The blasted finish is nice and even and well done.
The weights (measured) of the cogs I have:
I bought this jacket because it was on sale and I wanted a shell to go over my puffy for really cold days. I'm happy with it for that use. I'm 6'2", 150lbs (tall and lean) and the medium is perfect; it goes great over my Marmot Ama Dablam jacket (also M), but it also works well over a softshell or fleece. Wearing it standalone is also fine, it's fitted well and not terribly floppy or baggy. It looks good, too; I have the blue with the bright yellow zippers and it's understated but still visible.
Waterproofing has been no problem, I've worn it in rainstorms and stayed completely dry. It's not particularly breathable (as it shouldn't be), but the ample pit zips kept me pretty sweat free too.
It's reasonably tough, I wear it skiing and have brushed more than a few trees and no problems at all.
The hood drawstring is a little crappy, I'd prefer one of the spring-loaded plastic buttons to these floppy foam things. In addition it only has the one pocket; it would be nice to have two on the side, but for the quality of jacket combined with the price I'm not complaining too much.
I got this handlebar for a rigid singlespeed. I was actually upgrading from a Easton EA70 flat bar so I knew I liked the width and sweep; it's really just right for XC duty (wide enough but not too wide). I've always had great experiences with Easton bars and this was no change.
It's as light as advertised and it's plenty strong, I do not fear breaking this thing. I've had an Easton carbon riser on another bike for three years and crashed a few times and nothing, so I have faith in that. This is no different, I have laid the bike down a couple times or clipped trees/rocks and no cracks or anything.
The thing is, unlike that carbon riser, this bar is a little flexy. Just holding the bar and trying to bend it with my hands I can get a couple millimeters of deflection. I'm not sure if it's a bug or a feature, though; I noticed that it smoothed out the ride a lot on my rigid bike, the ride is much more comfortable over the same terrain now. I don't notice the deflection while riding and standing out of the saddle and really cranking the bars as happens with singlespeeding. So if you want a super stiff bar this may not be for you, but for me it was perfect for my rigid SS because it's a little "soft" but not excessively so.
My friend has a Crankbrothers carbon flat bar and it flexes about the same amount, so maybe it's supposed to do that?
I've used these almost exclusively for three years now in the folding version (and have tried the TNT version). They're my favorite tires for dry conditions. They roll fast, they grip and corner well, and they wear slowly (usually takes me ~100 miles before I even see any wear, barring a sidewall slash they tend to last me ~1000 miles). They're reasonably lightweight though a wee bit on the porky side for racing (actual weight of the folding comes in ~690g). They are a true 2.2" tire though, they fill out that whole volume.
There are a few caveats here. First, they really have to be run tubeless. They have a perfect traction sweet spot at about 26psi. More pressure than that and they don't grip anywhere near as well. Above 30 they're actually kind of bad. Below that they grip but are a little bit slower.
I use the folding for tubeless; I tried TNT and the bead was way too tight and was horrendous to even get on the rim. I've mounted the plain folding to Stans and Bontrager tubeless rims and run them just fine, never a burp. I've also used these in ghetto tubeless conversions and again no problems. They do not leak Stans sealant, they're great for tubeless (and as I said, pretty much have to be run that way).
They are semi-directional, with a "fast" and "traction" direction (printed on sidewall). I run "traction" up front and "fast" in the rear and prefer this combo.
Also, these are definitely dry tires. The tread is not deep enough to dig into mud and they also shed mud pretty poorly. I live in the SW so I shouldn't be riding mud anyway, but if you're looking for something to ride in both the wet and dry I'd avoid this. They're called "Saguaros" for a reason.
I prefer foldable for tubeless, actually. For most rims (Stans, Bontrager so far...going to try some WTB TCS next week and I'll let you know) I found the TNT bead was just way too tight and was horrible to even get on the rim while the foldable popped on and seated easily (with a compressor). I've never had burping or other problems.
Actually, this makes a decent running hat, it's a light and very breathable material. Also, velco rear closure.
It's how much rise between the stem clamp and the end of the bars. Easton has 20mm for Lo-rise and 40mm for high-rise.
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