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Connor Johnson

Salt Lake City, Utah

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on January 16, 2020

Super Fun, Directional Ski
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and 185lbs - a relatively aggressive skier who spends most winters at Alta. I bought the 186 and think it is the perfect size. I enjoy skiing Atomics and for reference, I have owned and skied the Atomic Bentchetler 120s in 185cm (2018 version though), and also have the Backland 107 in 182cm as a touring ski. I absolutely love the Backland 117 and here is why.

These are definitely more directional than the Bentchetler - they do have a twin tip tail, but the actual recommended mount is considerably further back than the Benchetler 120. They're stiffer as a whole and ski like it - just more of a ski that you feel that you can charge on. They still can make some big smearing pow turns and absolutely rip when it gets deep, pretty much to be expected on that. They still ski really well even a few inches and bounce around, just are super fun to ski. They don't have quite the same pop as Bentchetlers do, but hold their particularly line and can put in some high speed turns and not worry about any chatter. With the recommended mounting position, there is considerably more ski in front of you (and less tail behind) and gives a fun, predictable stability to the ski. With that said, its still a playful ski - no dead or too damp feeling. The shorter tail makes it feel quicker turning in deep snow - it would be interesting to mount up Bents in a less of a freestyle mount and move it more into a freeride mount and see how they square up next to each other.

What they don't do well is ski on hardpack. My Bentchetlers skied on hardpacked runs surprisingly well, but the Backland does take a bit more effort to get on edge. This point is almost moot as we are comparing powder skis on hardpack, but they don't feel quite as snappy or fun as the Bents, especially when lacing up some turns on groomers.

I know they market this as a touring ski... I cannot imagine they excel touring. They aren't exactly light at 9lbs, unlike the revised & lightweight Backland 107, which I do use as my daily driver of a touring ski. I mounted mine up with Atomic Wardens. They feel rock solid and are a great combo of ski & binding. I'd take a solid look at the Backland 117 if you're looking for a super fun and playful ski that gives a sense of stability skiing on any sort of soft snow,!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on October 9, 2019

Planet Juniper! She loves it
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I say Planet Juniper because our doggo Juniper will pick it up and it wraps around her head. Its hilarious. Space dog to to max. She loves all things frisbees, but this is her favorite.
- Its is a bit heavier, I apparently need to hit the gym so I can throw it further
- it is very durable. She isn't a big chewer but dog toys get beat up and this has been great so far.
- Its starting to get colder, but will be nice to have for the summer to throw it in water and have it float.
If you need any other toys and your dog is a fan of frisbees, this is a must have!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 22, 2019

Light & Unique Integrated Bar/.Stem
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Being that I was among three employees to buy the exact same SB150 (color, build, & size), I figured I'd give my new bike a bit of unique bling and drop some weight in the process. These were the solution and they really are pretty neat. I've only got about 7 rides in on them, but have survived a week of desert riding and here are my initial thoughts.

- They are pretty dang light. With a claimed weight of 290g (for the 50mm version), the 40mm clocked in at 271 grams. What I figured is the best comparison is to look at this vs an Enve M6 Bar /Stem combo as they offer it in a 40mm stem length and 780mm width bars also. They clock in at 85g and 190g respectively, for a total of 275g. For a 271g actual vs 275 claimed weight, the difference of 4g is nothing to me.
- If they weigh roughly the same, it brings about the question of price - the Hixon costs $329 vs the Enve bar/stem combo being a stout $450, Though the Hixon bar is not a cheap options, it is a clear winner in terms of price when looking at a comparable alternative.
- There is a downside of not being able to adjust the roll to your liking. It worked out that they fit me great and are close to what the original bar/stem came with the Yeti. Not a downside for me, but could be for some folks. I'll post a photo of what it looks like with a "normal bar/stem combo" put on top of it for reference.
- I feel like I shouldn't have to say this, but use a torque wrench, for your own good. Only two bolts on the entire thing, make sure they're clamped securely and to the proper torque spec.
- Stiffness of the bar feels pretty on par with other carbon bars and all mountain stems (ie a bit wider of a face plate). 780mm width is ideal for an all mountain bike and the 40mm is pretty short, but feels great on the longer reach of the SB150.

Its not a total game changer and it is expensive, but its also pretty dang cool. Sort of makes it seem like a hammerhead shark is riding around on the front of the bike. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a way to drop a touch of weight and have people ask you why your bars look the way they do while out riding.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 9, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

So, there hasn't been a review on these in over 2 years, but gonna jump back into the fray - these brakes are awesome. If you're building up a new bike or giving a current bike an upgrade, these are an awesome option to give plenty of stopping power. I threw them on my All-City Gorilla Monsoon after finding a deal on cable actuated Rival shifters.

I've only had them for several hundred miles, so can't give a full review on long term durability or long term issues, but they've been consistent, powerful, and easy to get dialed in. Like someone noted below, make sure you are getting the correct size and that they will fit on your frame. Pre-bled to perfection, I have not needed to bleed them yet, hoping that its as straight forward as it seems! Modulation seems decent and power when needing to grab brakes, even just with one finger.

If you're needing an upgrade from mechanical disk, but dont want to upgrade the shifter either, they'd be a great option for your commuter, cyclocross, gravel, even road bike!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 8, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I threw these on my Gorilla Monsoon for grinding some gravel up (its all sand thanks to my gravel grinding) and these bars specifically helped in that. I wanted a wide bar that flaired slightly and felt that the Cowchipper was sort of like Brian from Office Space, just too much flair. The Cowbells have been perfect so far and didn't have to pay an arm & a leg either.

They aren't the lightest option out there, but I am throwing them on a steel gravel grinder/monstercross bike with 2.2" tires on them, not exactly concerned about weight.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 8, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

There's a few things that I'm generally looking for in a dropper post lever: ergonomically feels right, has a nice swing action to it, and is relatively easy to set up. Nails all three pretty spot on with this!

It works with pretty much all cable actuated droppers (whether dropper has cable head at bottom of post or at lever), though you should review the chart that John posted below to see whether going "Light Action" or "Regular" is the best option for you.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 8, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I put this on my gravel/monstercross bike and its been pretty decent. Here's what I've noticed about them so far.

Pros:
- Has a great feel to them. They are grippy to hold onto and so far haven't gotten gross with dust/dirt. I plan on riding it in all conditions and want to be able to hold on when its wet or muddy out. They seem like they are able to be cleaned easily if need be.
- Look very impressive. I went with the black/oil slick bar ends and they do look pretty awesome on the bike. There are a lot of other color options if you do want some colorful pop to the bike.
- The tape really does stretch nicely and looks great. Funny to include that as a pro, but really is nice.

Cons:
- Price, without a doubt. There are some very nice alternatives for half the price, but the included aluminum bar ends are a nice touch (though I will note, the "oil slick" is more of a purple)
- Wouldn't mind it being a slightly thicker bar wrap.
- Don't include a precut piece of wrap for under the brifter. There should be plenty to be able to cut a piece off, but for the way that many people wrap bars, would be nice to be included.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 3, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Not really much more to say here, folks! When I wrote this review, there were 128 other Reviews that have given this a five star review, it's great. I've also used the Stans Race Sealant, but honestly this does the job great. Never had any really issues - anything that the normal Stans couldn't seal wouldn't be able to be sealed by the Race option either.

Do yourself a favor and grab a bottle to have around, never hurts to have some spare sealant. Would recommend also grabbing a Stans Sealant injector (SNT0016) and a Park Tool Valve Core Remover (PAR0273) to make it easier.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 3, 2019

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I tried both the 32 and the 34 and both fit pretty odd to be honest. I initially bought the 32 as I normally do wear a 32. Pretty tight in the waist, no big deal, I'll size up. Bought the 34, fits in the waist, but still pretty snug feeling in the crotch. I felt like an 80's rock star who's wearing some tight leather pants when I put these on.

I really did want to like them. The material is great and would be awesome for bike park laps - would probably be able to fit kneepads under nicely and are moderately slim around the ankles.

If you had a shorter inseam, you likely would be able to pull these off. But for most people, do think that the smaller inseam is not going to make for a comfortably fitting DH pant.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on March 25, 2019

Seem Legit So Far
4 5

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

I haven't actually pedaled in these (have to love a long winter) so take this with a grain of salt. They seem like the real deal though. I threw these on and they fit great - the actual fit feels nice, but also seem like they will pedal well. Probably will feel pretty warm, but feel very protective without overly bulky.

The straps seem secure and the protection seems like it should protect my knees great from general trail riding. Not sure if Fox does this with all of their knee pads, but it comes with a mud guard/fender included in the packaging, nice touch. I'll update with a real review once I've been able to actually ride in them for a bit.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on March 21, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried on this shirt. Stoic can occasionally be off on sizing or fit, not in the slightest here. I often am in between a medium and large, depending on the company's fit, though usually decide on a medium. It fits great.

A few things I'm stoked on it - shirt fits great, no weird sizing here. It has a stretch material, allows for greatmobility and it has a nice, next to skin feel to it. The southwest print has a great look, but is still pretty low key and not obnoxious like how some printed shirts are. This will be a go to shirt for me for summer BBQ's and daily wear.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on March 18, 2019

Welcome to the Cabana!
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Are you car camping in a tent that you can't stand up in? Stop it. This tent is your next purchase. Its not light, but its not designed to be. Its meant to be big and have plenty of room. I'd recommend grabbing some camp lights/lanterns and hanging them up in the tent and welcome yourself to the tent cabin life.

Pros:
- Its huge. Seriously huge. I'm 5'11" and there's plenty of room to stand up & change. Usually its just my girlfriend and I in there, but you could have a 4 adults no problem or a family with 2-4 kids.
- Its affordable. That's always a perk in this day & age.
- Pretty easy to set up. The design isn't fantastic, but its pretty simple and can we can set it up in the dark in 5 minutes or so. Nothing really to write home about, but its at least easy enough to get put together.
- Lots of pockets to put small items.

Cons:
- Not the greatest tent design. Its an 'x' design on the top roof poles and then 4 individual poles connect vertically in the corners. It means needs to be staked down or it will sway and move a bit with any sort of wind. Not the end of the world, just make sure to stake it down and you'll be fine.
- Its heavy and bulky, but this is not surprising. It is a car camping tent that is affordable.
- Doesn't insulate super well.

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