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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnson

Gearhead

Salt Lake City, Utah

Connor Johnson's Passions

Biking
Running
Skiing
Hiking & Camping

Connor Johnson's Bio

Howdy! I work as one of our Expert Gearheads - I specialize in skiing (resort & backcountry touring, I don't discriminate in my powder hounding), mountain biking, hiking & camping. I'm happily semi rad! When I'm not getting lost in the woods, you'll catch me tinkering with my bikes, snappin' photos, and eating burritos.

Some of my favorite trips I've done have been bikepacking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango, following the snow up & down the Powder Highway in Canada, and roadtripping with my brother to find the best trailheads & singletrack west of the Mississippi!

All of the photos in my reviews are either my own or one's that friends have shot of me enjoying the gear! Check out my latest adventures on my Instagram @connorjuliusjohnson

For any gear questions or adventure advice, give a shout to cojohnson@backcountry.com or call me at 801.204.4547

Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on October 13, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are my go to for touring with and commuting via my bike. They'd be great for any chilly weather activity though - running, snowshoeing, etc. My hand is 7 1/2" in length and just about 4" in width and I chose a large. I probably could have gotten away with a medium, but the large fit well.

Pros:
- Windproof. Its literally in the name and they do that exactly.
- Breath and wick moisture well. Not going to be a waterproof glove, but for activity in the snow, they do well.
- Palm is durable - I've had some gloves tear at the seam due to pole use when touring. These have held up well so far (1 year in)

Cons:
- Don't play well with touchscreens on phones.

All in all, these gloves rock if you' re looking for a cold weather glove that blocks wind and keeps the digits warm! Feel free to give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email cojohnson@backcountry.com if you have any questions or sizing or anything else or would like help putting in an order for a pair!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on October 4, 2017

Jack of All Trades, Master of Some
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I'm an advanced skier skiing mostly in Utah, but occasionally popping back up to the PNW. I am skiing the 182cm size. I mounted these up with Kingpin 13's at the recommended Factory Mount. I've previously skied the Atomic Automatic 109's and these are practically identical as best I can tell - though they do have the HRZN Tech ABS sidewall on the tips. Going into this year will be round two as these being my daily driver ski and haven't changed from 16/17 to 17/18 season. I've skied inbound mostly at Alta and then toured a handful of days on these.

Though these really shine when in fresh snow, but they really are fun to ski on just about everything. I've skied them on groomers, crud, the best of snow, and snow that is less than ideal. All in all, they're stiff enough to charge on, but not so much that you get worked when riding them. These are the middle brother of the Backland FR series and are going to handle a variety of snow conditions best.

As a touring set up, these aren't the lightest set up you can get (but also not the heaviest), but for the intent of skiing sidecountry and relatively quick approaches in the Wasatch primarily, they rock.

They're relatively affordable when comparison to skis in the same category and would say performance of them is going to be just as good as many of them. I want to emphasize this - many skis are 1.5x or more the cost, but these ski just as well.

If you're looking for a pair of skis that are fun on everything from crud to packed powder to a sleeper pow day, these are going to be your best bet. Feel free to call my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at cojohnson@backcountry.com if you have any questions on these skis or what to mount them with!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 26, 2017

Currently Wearing These & You Should Too
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: 32 x Reg

I typically wear a 32 x 32 and these are pretty much exactly that with the 32 x Reg, fitting spot on. They are a bit more slim fitting of a pant in general, but its more like a straight cut pant with the bit of stretch if anything. If you have pretty muscular thighs, definitely a touch tight, but I mean c'mon can't go wrong if they're stretchy.

The material is definitely a lighter feeling fabric and feels good. Its not thick, at all, definitely a thin material. I haven't really put them to the test in the outdoors as much, but wouldn't hesitate going camping in these any more than I would wearing them to the office.

If you have any questions on what size to go with or if these are right for you (quick answer, they are), feel free to give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or can email me at cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are a great bang for your buck. Raceface Aeffect R with Novatec hubs with Maxxis rubber, GX Eagle drivetrain, solid Fox suspension, and Guide R brakes. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are a great bang for your buck. Raceface Aeffect R with Novatec hubs with Maxxis rubber, GX Eagle drivetrain, solid Fox suspension, and Guide R brakes. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5010 Be Nimble, 5010 Be Quick!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are top notch. Raceface Arc 27 wheels (granted I rode it with the Enve m60's) with Maxxis rubber, X01 Eagle drivetrain, solid Fox Elite suspension, and Guide RSC brakes. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change, but let me know and we can get it exactly to what your dream build is!

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5010 Be Nimble, 5010 Be Quick!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change, but let me know and we can get it exactly to what your dream build is!

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps. I did ride the carbon version but can give some good perspective if you're considering the bike!

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are a great bang for your buck. WTB wheels with Novatec hubs and Maxxis rubber, a 1x11 drivetrain, Fox suspension, and even a dropper post on their R build. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change. The Level brakes are ok, if i were concerned on having a more aggressive bike I might consider bumping up to Guides or something heftier.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5010 be Nimble, 5010 be Quick!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are top notch. Santa Cruz Reserve wheels (granted I rode it with the Enve m60's) with Maxxis rubber, X01 Eagle drivetrain, solid Fox Elite suspension, and Guide RSC brakes. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

You'll Be Faster Than Ricky Bobby
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and have an 32" inseam. I'm often in between a large and a medium size, but usually opt for a large. I went with a large SB5.5 frame (though I did pair mine with a 35mm length Raceface Atlas stem with 10mm of a spacer under the stem) and it fits spot on. I built my SB5.5 from the frame up so my build differs slightly from this, but this is going to be a fantastic bang for your buck bike.

What I like about the bike:
- Fast is the name of the game. Not sure if its overall geometry of the bike, the 29" wheels, or just stoke level, this goes fast.
- Pedaling efficiency is top notch. I did throw an Fox X2 on my bike, but would like to try out the DPX2 shock, but I'll climb with it wide open and it does great. It seriously climbs great. I've been very impressed with it - have put in several 5000ft days of climbing and it does great.
- The bike is a monster truck. Eats up descents and floats over rock gardens.
- Though I did build my bike up from the frame, its not far from what this build is - an Eagle drivetrain, a Fox Float 36, Guide brakes, a Raceface cockpit. I have been thoroughly impressed with the Eagle 12sp drivetrain - I personally have a 34t up front and the 50t rear bailout cog lets me spin up just about anything while still being able to hammer descents. Guide brakes modulate great and have plenty of power behind them.

What I don't like about the bike:
- Not much. For people in areas that don't have as much chunder or don't need as much travel might not enjoy this bike as it can take a technical section, chew it up, and spit it out for breakfast without batting an eye.
- I had to get used to bigger wheels after coming off of 27.5" for my last two bikes, but after riding for a bit on it the 29" wheels don't feel big at all!

Overall, if you're looking for a wagon wheel bike that just smashes and tears it up on the trail and still feels relatively nimble, this would a great candidate. If you have any questions or would like help deciding if this is the bike for you, give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

You'll Be Faster Than Ricky Bobby
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and have an 32" inseam. I'm often in between a large and a medium size, but usually opt for a large. I went with a large SB5.5 frame (though I did pair mine with a 35mm length Raceface Atlas stem with 10mm of a spacer under the stem) and it fits spot on. I built my SB5.5 Turq from the frame up so my build differs slightly from this, but would be happy to help get you dialed!

What I like about the bike:
- Fast is the name of the game. Not sure if its overall geometry of the bike, the 29" wheels, or just stoke level, this goes fast.
- Pedaling efficiency is top notch. I did throw an Fox X2 on my bike, but would like to try out the DPX2 shock, but I'll climb with it wide open and it does great. It seriously climbs great. I've been very impressed with it - have put in several 5000ft days of climbing and it does great.
- The bike is a monster truck. Eats up descents and floats over rock gardens.
- Though I did build my bike up from the frame, its not far from what this build is - the specs on my bike are an Eagle X01 drivetrain, a Fox Float 36, Guide RS brakes, a Raceface cockpit, Turbine dropper post, and Raceface Aeffect-R Wheelset with a Minion DHF 2.5 / Minion SS 2.3 tires mounted on it! I have been thoroughly impressed with the Eagle 12sp drivetrain - I personally have a 34t up front and the 50t rear bailout cog lets me spin up just about anything while still being able to hammer descents. Guide brakes modulate great and have plenty of power behind them.

What I don't like about the bike:
- Not much. For people in areas that don't have as much chunder or don't need as much travel might not enjoy this bike as it can take a technical section, chew it up, and spit it out for breakfast without batting an eye.
- I had to get used to bigger wheels after coming off of 27.5" for my last two bikes, but after riding for a bit on it the 29" wheels don't feel big at all!

Overall, if you're looking for a wagon wheel bike that just smashes and tears it up on the trail and still feels relatively nimble, this would a great candidate. If you have any questions or would like help deciding if this is the bike for you, give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

You'll Be Faster Than Ricky Bobby
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and have an 32" inseam. I'm often in between a large and a medium size, but usually opt for a large. I went with a large SB5.5 frame (though I did pair mine with a 35mm length Raceface Atlas stem with 10mm of a spacer under the stem) and it fits spot on. I built my SB5.5 Turq from the frame up so my build differs slightly from this, but would be happy to help get you dialed!

What I like about the bike:
- Fast is the name of the game. Not sure if its overall geometry of the bike, the 29" wheels, or just stoke level, this goes fast.
- Pedaling efficiency is top notch. I did throw an Fox X2 on my bike, but would like to try out the DPX2 shock, but I'll climb with it wide open and it does great. It seriously climbs great. I've been very impressed with it - have put in several 5000ft days of climbing and it does great.
- The bike is a monster truck. Eats up descents and floats over rock gardens.
- Though I did build my bike up from the frame, its not far from what this build is - the specs on my bike are an Eagle X01 drivetrain, a Fox Float 36, Guide RS brakes, a Raceface cockpit, Turbine dropper post, and Raceface Aeffect-R Wheelset with a Minion DHF 2.5 / Minion SS 2.3 tires mounted on it! I have been thoroughly impressed with the Eagle 12sp drivetrain - I personally have a 34t up front and the 50t rear bailout cog lets me spin up just about anything while still being able to hammer descents. Guide brakes modulate great and have plenty of power behind them.

What I don't like about the bike:
- Not much. For people in areas that don't have as much chunder or don't need as much travel might not enjoy this bike as it can take a technical section, chew it up, and spit it out for breakfast without batting an eye.
- I had to get used to bigger wheels after coming off of 27.5" for my last two bikes, but after riding for a bit on it the 29" wheels don't feel big at all!

Overall, if you're looking for a wagon wheel bike that just smashes and tears it up on the trail and still feels relatively nimble, this would a great candidate. If you have any questions or would like help deciding if this is the bike for you, give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

You'll Be Faster Than Ricky Bobby
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and have an 32" inseam. I'm often in between a large and a medium size, but usually opt for a large. I went with a large SB5.5 frame (though I did pair mine with a 35mm length Raceface Atlas stem with 10mm of a spacer under the stem) and it fits spot on. I built my SB5.5
Turq from the frame up and would be happy to help with your dream build as well!

What I like about the bike:
- Fast is the name of the game. Not sure if its overall geometry of the bike, the 29" wheels, or just stoke level, this goes fast.
- Pedaling efficiency is top notch. I did throw an Fox X2 on my bike, but would like to try out the DPX2 shock, but I'll climb with it wide open and it does great.
- The bike is a monster truck. Eats up descents and floats over rock gardens.
- Though I did build my bike up from the frame, its not far from what this build is - the specs on my bike are an Eagle X01 drivetrain, a Fox Float 36, Guide RS brakes, a Raceface cockpit, Turbine dropper post, and Raceface Aeffect-R Wheelset with a Minion DHF 2.5 / Minion SS 2.3 tires mounted on it! I have been thoroughly impressed with the Eagle 12sp drivetrain - I personally have a 34t up front and the 50t rear bailout cog lets me spin up just about anything while still being able to hammer descents. Guide brakes modulate great and have plenty of power behind them.

What I don't like about the bike:
- Not much. For people in areas that don't have as much chunder or don't need as much travel might not enjoy this bike as it can take a technical section, chew it up, and spit it out for breakfast without batting an eye.
- I had to get used to bigger wheels after coming off of 27.5" for my last two bikes, but after riding for a bit on it the 29" wheels don't feel big at all!

Overall, if you're looking for a wagon wheel bike that just smashes and tears it up on the trail and still feels relatively nimble, this would a great candidate. If you have any questions or would like help deciding if this is the bike for you, give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on August 17, 2017

SO. DAMN. GOOD.
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

First off, I don't discriminate in my coffee drinking. I need some caffeine to get the day started right like the next guy and gal - but with that said I can absolutely appreciate good coffee. I don't mind drinking instant coffee (except for Columbian decaffeinated coffee crystals), but this is legitimately good coffee, not even a debate which I'd pick. I had the Basecamp Blend for a couple of days in a row and was definitely impressed. I'll have to give the other roasts a try, but the bar has been set high as is.

Especially before they're used, they're really not much bigger than a packet of tea and are idiot proof in terms of use. I do wish you could pour the full amount of hot water than letting it seep in a bit, but good things take time I suppose.

While I don't think I'd use these on a daily basis or at home, they excel at coffee on the go - backpacking, car camping, you name it. Feel free to give a shout if you have any other questions on Kuju Coffee or would like help putting an order in to try it out yourself - my email is cojohnson@backcountry.com or direct line 801.204.4547.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 18, 2017

Plus Size Trail Happiness
4 5

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

I'm 5'11" and about 175lbs. I chose to ride a large and it fit spot on! I rode this on mostly flow trails with some chunky sections. I would love to try out the 29'er version of the Hightower for a true comparison though, but overall really liked the bike.

What I liked about the bike:
- A friend mentioned to me that Hightower's look very similar to a Nomad's suspension design. That is very true as they both use the VPP 3 suspension. It climbs pretty well when the rear shock is left open and rips on down.
- I won't lie, I still have mixed feelings on plus size bikes, but they are seriously growing on me. The amount of traction you have is pretty spectacular and you don't lose too much in terms of speed of the bike. I ran these about 19psi in the front and 20ish in the rear. Some people brag about riding them in the low teens, but if you're riding more aggressively or faster, you'll want to bump that up a bit. This is also where personal preference comes into play, but what I found to work best for my riding style. With all of that said, these corner very well and descending was a blast. I also cleaned some rocky uphills easily with the plus version of the Hightower.
- Making another note on descending with the plus size tires on the Hightower, it feels incredibly stable and planted to the trail, but doesn't love to get airborne. You absolutely can jump, but feels like it takes a bit more effort than a non plus size bike.
- I felt that though the Hightower 27.5+ may not the the quickest to jump, it did feel like one of the faster bikes I've ridden in terms of descending capabilities. The 150mm/135mm is nothing to scoff at and I could rip into berms without any hesitation.
- I rode the CC X01 version, but this Carbon S would be very similar and would be the workhorse equivalent - same geo that hits a better pricepoint at only a touch heavier.
- I like the 150mm fork, makes the bike slack and fun and forgiving when you get into rowdy trail sections. I think if you could swing it, getting this and a pair of 29" hoops (I would run the 150mm fork on 29" wheels, it would slack it out by 0.4 degree and raise the BB by 3.4mm).

What I didn't like about the bike:
- Like said in the pro's for the bike, I'm still not 100% sold on plus tires, but am open to them. I think for myself personally, when psi is dropped to the low teens, you can get a rockcrawler feel, but thats also when the bike gets a touch sluggish in my opinion. I really liked these when bumping the psi up a bit. Tire pressure is something that can make or break (potentially literally for too aggressive of riding with too low of psi). Not trying to get too hung up on that, but something that can make a huge difference in how the bike handles. That said, I love the 2.4-2.6" tire range. I know that isn't a huge difference, but just seems to feel a touch better.

If you're looking for a trail bike that doesn't mind getting rowdy and can handle some big wheels, the Hightower would be a great option for you. Feel free to reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com if you have any other questions or are interested in doing a custom build!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 11, 2017

Grab These Grips
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I wish I had a better photo (I'll update it when I can), but I've had these grips for this season and have loved them. They're on my 780mm width bars on my SB5.5. I ride all sorts of styles of riding, but most often "all mountain" which is what they were intended for.

In terms of durability, they've held up well so far (only 400 miles in on them). I've taken a few diggers on them and no signs of damage, as well as general wear on the grips. The rubber is a pretty happy medium softness (really not that soft, but also not uncomfortably hard at all).

The "ergonomic" function of these isn't as exaggerated as grips like the GE1's, but they fit nicely on the hands. They're also a bit slimmer fitting, which I prefer.

I like the way the locking feature sticks out a bit - you can easily where the ends of the bars are and is nice for the pinky to rest on.

I'd pretty happily throw these on a future bike - if you have any questions on these and if they'd be a good choice for you & your bike, give a shout to my direct line 801.204.4547 or email cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 7, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great hat to sum it up. I've got a 23" head circumference and I've only moved the snapback one out, so it could fit a seriously large noggin' if need be!

Hats are one of those things that seem like someone shouldn't be picky about, but I totally am. Its got to have the right brim, the right colors, and the right fit. This nails it out of the park.

I typically prefer a trucker style mesh on the back, but don't mind the cotton canvas all the way around. It fits somewhat deep on the head, but in a good way - some fit deep and make my ears look weird, this doesn't do that. How the brim looks also plays into the fit - I like a semi curved bill, less curved than a "baseball hat" which is pretty much that exactly.

I've got the Radar Blue color, but all of them are lookers for sure, plus you have to love the classic Patagonia logo.

If you're looking for a fresh new summer cap for yourself or a gift for someone, this is a great way to go. Feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'd be happy to help!

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