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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tam

North America

Stephen Tam's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Skiing
Running
Climbing

Stephen Tam's Bio

Daddy, Husband, Product Designer, Snapshooter.

Gave up a 12 year career in Physical Therapy to become an Industrial Designer. My family, friends, and the outdoors hold a special place in my heart. Attempting to fill my days with love, laughter, and a healthy dose of mountains.

Love to chase singletrack, ski where there are no lift lines, hike with the family, and swim in water that may or may not induce shrinkage.

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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tamwrote a review of on April 6, 2015

Good Fit, Great Looks
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This helmet fits fantastic for my head (roundish profile). It is comfortable and vents well. The strap system is easy to adjust and the chin strap is looped at the end so you don't have two tails dangling in the wind. The anodized visor bolts are a nice finishing touch. As a bonus Oakley Jawbone glasses fit in the vents so you can post up your glasses when climbing. One minor detail is that the white visor does not completely match the white on the helmet.

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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tamwrote a review of on April 6, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is one of my favorite helmets. It may not be super aero or what all the pros wear but it fits my head really well (round profile head). It also is difficult to find a plain white helmet these days but the white/silver is pretty close despite the funky graphics.

The ear strap adjustments are a little finicky and it takes some time to get them adjusted so the straps actually sit flat against your face. Once you get them adjusted to your fit, they stay put and I have not had any issues with them coming loose.

Bonus: Oakley Jawbone glasses fit nicely in the vents for those times you want to take your glasses off while climbing or changing a flat.

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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tamwrote a review of on April 4, 2015

Believe it or not!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

To start off, I have never been a fan of anything 29 wheeled. This is based solely on the 29ers I?ve owned and ridden from popular brands). At 5?7? I can fit on any of wheel size and feel comfortable but the handling characteristics always seem to put a damper on the known advantages of larger wheels.

That was until I got on the Ripley. It completely changed my mind about 29 wheels.

Bike Setup: XT groupo, Ibis 928 Wheelset, Fox 32 140mm

Climbing: One of the easiest ways to test if the suspension design works is to run the rear shock open or in descend mode (in this case with the Fox rear shock). All I have to say is the Ripley climbs like a hardtail even when the shock is in descend mode. There was not even the hint of rear wheel movement while climbing out of the saddle. This bike is quick and likes to go fast. Steep and tight switchbacks were no problem on this bike which surprised me. It handles like a smaller wheeled bike: Nimble with razor sharp handling.

Descending: The bike descends well and was impressed with how well is railed tight corners. On really steep downhills I found myself rubbing my rear end on the tire (I?m short so not a real surprise). While billed as a trail bike it would make a great endurance xc bike. I would like to try this bike with a 120mm fork just to see how different it would behave. Handling was still very agile with the 140mm fork.

Thoughts: This is a bike that you could pedal all day and cover a wide variety of trails. If you have a 29er that handles like a garbage can with flat tires this bike will spice up your riding life. Comparing the new HD3 to the Ripley? It?s a different animal than the HD3 so if you are thinking about one bike or the other have a good talk with yourself and figure out where and what you ride the most to help make your decision (Although most likely you?ll end up with both).

Who would like this bike: Endurance junkies, people that like xc riding, and anyone who likes a balanced dose of climbing and descending.

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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tamwrote a review of on April 4, 2015

Waited a Lifetime for this Bike
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Bike Setup:

HD3 frame with Fox rear shock, Shimano XTR groupo with Wolftooth 1 x10 conversion, Fox 36 RC2 160mm, Mavic Crossmax XL Wheelset.

Climbing:

Subjectively this is hands down the best climbing bike in this category of mountain bikes. In fact this bike climbs almost as well as the Ripley (which is mind blowing). It climbs very efficiently (even with the rear shock in descend mode). There is no hint of any loss of forward motion when pedaling. The DW Link works like magic allowing this bike to scoot up hills with less effort. My last bike was a Yeti SB-66c and it took significantly more effort to climb up steep hills and tight switchbacks. This bike climbs so well I find myself reaching for this bike more than my hardtail.

Descending:

The HD3 is well balanced at high speed and also in tight technical situations. Point the bike and it goes there without complaining. The HD3 is so well mannered it does not overwhelm but rather encourages the rider to improve and progress. If you are looking for a bike closer to a DH sled you may consider other options.

Favorite things about this bike: How well it climbs and descends. In fact this bike is fantastic everywhere. Another bonus is the ability to ride the bike without flipping any lockout levers, switches, and so forth?its nice to just go out and ride and only think about riding.

Thoughts:

If you are looking for a bike that is a complete joy to ride anywhere on any type of terrain don?t look anywhere else. The mixture or the HD3?s climbing prowess and descending capabilities are downright impressive. Back in the early 90?s, when full suspension was starting to evolve, we wished for a bike like this. I remember at Norba Nationals we all rode Amps (with different stickers) which looking back were more like pogo sticks with cantilevers. I?m glad a bike like this was created during my lifetime. Well done Ibis.

Who would like this bike:

Anyone who loves to mountain bike, road racers, and even equestrians. If the last two groups rode it they would convert to mountain biking.

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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tamwrote a review of on February 27, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

After being a huge fan of Schwable Nobby Nics I was a little hesitant to try these tires but they came with the Mavic Crossmax XL Wheelset so I gave them a try.

First off, they sealed up easily with a floor pump. The riding conditions have been abnormally dry and even dust due to the lack of precip in the West so I have not tried them in mud.

Running these tires with 22psi front and rear. Rolling resistance is low on these and it was nice not feeling a sluggish tire during climbing and on rolling terrain. I was impressed with how well these tires gripped in a variety of conditions...from semi-loose to rocky to hardpack. The more I ride these tires, the more I like them. The sidewalls feel durable and do not feel like they are folding over when cornering. I can't comment on sidewall durability since the once jagged, rocky, technical trails here are been smoothed out. Overall, very satisfied with these tires.

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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tamwrote a review of on February 27, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

In the age of carbon rims, it was refreshing that Mavic did not jump on the bandwagon but rather stuck with what they do best: Build a top notch set of wheels.

The XL's have a 23mm internal rim width (which is narrow by today's standards) but that does not stop them from being a wheelset that can do it all.

Handling is predictable and they are laterally stiff when out of the saddle chasing singletrack. They have a solid feel to them when descending and winding through tight turns. When climbing, they don't feel heavy and accelerate instantly.

As for the aluminum rims versus carbon....I raced for years on the old Crossmax SLs and even dented the rim during a race and was still able to finish without any issues or losing tire pressure. Afterwards, with a handy set of pliers it was fixed and they kept going. If you're a fan of the old Crossmax wheelsets, you'll be thrilled with these.

As a bonus, they come with tires. The wheels came with the tires installed with tubes. They also come with all sorts of adaptors so you can run them standard QR, 15QR front, 20mm front, and 142 rear. Since Mavic uses the UST standard their tires seal up easily with a floor pump.

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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tamwrote a review of on February 24, 2015

Maiden Voyage Initial Impression
5 5

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

Today I took the HD3 out on a shake down ride to iron out the final positioning and shock air pressure settings. The DW link on this bike is impressive. It climbs more like an XC bike and its pedaling efficiency is simply stunning. It handles well downhill, is finely balanced, and is an absolute joy to ride (I have yet to take it on anything super technical yet). A large bottle even fits on the size medium frame (using a standard cage) which is a bonus for those that dislike wearing a pack. More in depth review to come as I get more hours on this bike.

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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tamwrote a review of on February 17, 2015

Add to your Toolkit
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

If you build bikes or like to add tools to your home mechanic tool kit this tool is a great addition. If you don't build a lot of bikes you're better off taking your fork to your local shop to have a crown race installed. This tool will prevent mangling the crown race during installation. The photo below shows the Park CRS-15 in use installing a Chris King crown race (there is a Chris King crown race adaptor on there too which is not included with the Park tool).

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Stephen Tam

Stephen Tamwrote a review of on February 13, 2015

4 5

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

This molded guard will help protect your HD3 downtube. There is a thin layer of foam, on the side that contacts the frame, to help protect it. It is bolted on. It would have been nice if this downtube guard came with the frame purchase instead of as a separate item to purchase after. SM/MD fits small and medium frames and so forth.

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