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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNeal

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on September 25, 2019

DON'T LET THE PRICE FOOL YOU
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Alright, just to get this out of the way - I haven't always known much about Reynolds, let alone gave them much of a chance, compared to most of the traditional higher end wheelsets out there. On my radar was always ENVE, Industry Nine, Crank Brothers, etc. You know, the works. I didn't pay too much attention to Reynolds. Not sure why that is, probably for no specific reason, but there just isn't as much hype around them as there is around other brands. I think that should totally change. Reynolds hands down blows their price point competitors out of the water, while holding their own against the "best" wheels out on the market today.



After riding these wheels for over 100 miles on rough singletrack, I have found that these wheels are stiff and plenty wide. The build on them is fantastic. I found myself trusting these much more than my previous carbon wheel set (which blew up on me). They were stiffer for sure, but it didn't seem like they were overly stiff to the point that they were rough and uncomfortable to ride on. From riding other carbon wheelsets, I have found that that is a hard balance to find. Stiff enough to track well and be responsive, but also compliant enough to not feel extremely rough and overly responsive. These wheels do just that and I was thoroughly impressed.



When seeing a wheelset in this price range, I usually expect heavier carbon layups. For what they are (a trail wheelset at about 30mm inner rim width), along with the price range, weighing in at around 1700 grams isn't too shabby. Even better, the wheels have a lifetime warranty on them, meaning if you do manage to break a rim, then Reynolds will replace it for no extra cost. However, you would be hard pressed to actually break it. Coming off of that previous pair of carbon rims, I felt more confident and capable with these wheels compared to the others.



Overall, if you are in the market for a wheelset, you should seriously consider anything made by Reynolds. Their price point can't be beat, while matching the quality, weight, and performance of higher end wheelsets. Plus a Lifetime Warranty!? I'm totally sold on them.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on September 19, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

Usually when it comes to riding jerseys such as this one, I just assume its gonna be a t-shirt with different fabric, and that was that. No differences in design or anything like, just an over-glorified t-shirt. After riding in this Jersey for a while, I found out that this wasn't the case. Overall, the design of this jersey is fantastic. Starting off with the sleeves, they didn't run too long or too short. They give ample coverage without running too long and rubbing below your shoulder. They tailored this jersey to have a longer tail than front, which helps with less bunching up front, but keeping the back from riding up too high.

The collar on the jersey was designed well too. I like how it doesn't wrap all the way around the neck, but rather tapers towards the front of the neck, not leaving any extra or unnecessary material to get in the way. Lastly, the material is super solid. Its not too light, but not too heavy. Wicking moisture away is super important for me since I sweat a lot, and this jersey did the job without keeping too much heat in.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the jersey. I would definitely recommend it if you are in the market for one.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on September 19, 2019

Don't let the price fool you
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

***Note: I ran the 29 in version of these, but they are the same wheel, minus an inch and a half***

Alright, just to get this out of the way - I haven't always known much about Reynolds, let alone gave them much of a chance, compared to most of the traditional higher end wheelsets out there. On my radar was always ENVE, Industry Nine, Crank Brothers, etc. You know, the works. I didn't pay too much attention to Reynolds. Not sure why that is, probably for no specific reason, but there just isn't as much hype around them as there is around other brands. I think that should totally change. Reynolds hands down blows their price point competitors out of the water, while holding their own against the "best" wheels out on the market today.

After riding these wheels for over 100 miles on rough singletrack, I have found that these wheels are stiff and plenty wide. The build on them is fantastic. I found myself trusting these much more than my previous carbon wheel set (which blew up on me). They were stiffer for sure, but it didn't seem like they were overly stiff to the point that they were rough and uncomfortable to ride on. From riding other carbon wheelsets, I have found that that is a hard balance to find. Stiff enough to track well and be responsive, but also compliant enough to not feel extremely rough and overly responsive. These wheels do just that and I was thoroughly impressed.

When seeing a wheelset in this price range, I usually expect heavier carbon layups. For what they are (a trail wheelset at about 30mm inner rim width), along with the price range, weighing in at around 1700 grams isn't too shabby. Even better, the wheels have a lifetime warranty on them, meaning if you do manage to break a rim, then Reynolds will replace it for no extra cost. However, you would be hard pressed to actually break it. Coming off of that previous pair of carbon rims, I felt more confident and capable with these wheels compared to the others.

Overall, if you are in the market for a wheelset, you should seriously consider anything made by Reynolds. Their price point can't be beat, while matching the quality, weight, and performance of higher end wheelsets. Plus a Lifetime Warranty!? I'm totally sold on them.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on August 14, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This paddle is really solid! For how light it is, I expected it to be flimsy and not give as much push as it does. It definitely blew that out of the water, and works super well! It keeps you from getting tired too since it is so light, and the locking system is really neat! Overall a super solid paddle that won't disappoint, while looking good doing it.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on June 17, 2019

Solid, thoughtful design
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

This jersey is now part of my new favorite kit. As stated in my review of the Men's Pro Bib Shorts from Pearl Izumi, I have had a strong bias when it has come to biking bibs and jerseys. I've been biased to ride in other brands that I have always thought as superior to Pearl Izumi. Brands that have been in the business for longer, brands that are european, brands that are typically more expensive, etc. etc. The jersey, matched with the Pro Bibs, have torn that bias to shreds (and is probably starting to form a new bias)

I wouldn't necessarily say that the jersey is what makes the kit, but it definitely does its job. It looks good, matches the shorts well, and has a good design. The tail is longer than the front, the pocket size isn't too big but not too small, and the material is super breathable. I think thats the most important part for me, is how well the jersey breathes. Ive found that the mesh material along with the tight sleeves make it a super comfy jersey, that isn't outgunned in the technical run of things.

My one gripe with the jersey is the bottom part, with the elastic/rubber around to keep the jersey from bunching on your body. I have to go with a medium because of my height, but it turned out to be a little loose around the waist. I am a pretty skinny, lanky guy however, so I don't feel like it necessitates having a full star taken off for the overall review.

This jersey is a nice addition to the Pro Bibs and will get people turning heads to check out your sweet kit. It has happened to me plenty of times already and I don't see it changing. I will definitely be buying more kits from Pearl Izumi in the future.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on June 17, 2019

New Favorite Bibs
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 145 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I'll be honest, I've been biased to ride in other brands that I have always thought as superior to Pearl Izumi. Brands that have been in the business for longer, brands that are European, brands that are typically more expensive, etc. etc. I will say, however, that I am more than just pleasantly surprised with how awesome these bibs are. I have found that most bibs (at least on me) have tight spots that can be uncomfortable after about an hour and a half of riding. After doing about 3 and a half hours of riding the past weekend in these bibs, I was more than comfortable and didn't find any of those weird tight or hot spots.

The materials used and build quality are top notch. If I were to pin an adjective to these bibs in order to describe them, it would be "supple". The material is soft to the touch but will definitely hold up to thousands of miles of riding. That brings me to the build quality. I love the little details in these bibs. The bottom of the legs don't have the sewn in panels with the rubber grip to keep it on your leg, but rather is one panel all the way down the sides and front. This minimizes the amount of seams against your body leaving you with less "rubbage" all over. It still has the rubber on the end to keep it on your leg and keep it from riding up, but it isn't in the way or uncomfortable. I also really like the bib part of the shorts, the straps are the same soft material, stretch well, but have no real apparent seams so it sits really well against the skin.

Overall, Pearl Izumi killed it with the bib design and to top it all off, put a nice, comfortable chamois in it that isn't overly large, but has the right padding in the right places. I paired the blue shorts with their Pro Mesh yellow paisley jersey, and have gotten more compliments wearing it than with any of my other kits. Definitely going to be buying Pearl Izumi kits in the future.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on June 17, 2019

5 5

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

I don't know if its possible to beat Arcteryx in any category when it comes to outerwear, especially technical pieces such as this. The fit, style, and comfort that this piece brings is 100% worth the price tag in my opinion. If you take care of it, it will take care of you and probably last longer than most jackets out there.

As for size, I would recommend getting a smaller size if you are a pretty skinny person. I am 6'1" and tried the Small which fit me better than the medium. It was a good length, so I got the small to fit my skinny body. Definitely give it a whirl if you are having doubts about it!

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on June 7, 2019

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I wouldn't say that it is either of those, but it sure does climb like a billy goat and descends like... well... something that eats up the downhills as fast as the cookie monster himself devours those chocolate chip cookies. At first, I couldn't describe this bike. In fact, I am still having a hard time putting my finger on it. I'll throw in the pros and cons that I have found so far below.

Pros:

-Traditionally, this bike wouldn't climb super well due to the linkage set up, but with that switch infinity system thrown in, it does fantastic on the steep, punchy climbs. I havent found a climb that I couldn't take this bike up that my full on XC race hardtail could ride.
-The fit has been great, I haven't had any doubts on sizing. I am 6'1" and decided to stick with a Large. I haven't felt cramped, and haven't felt stretched out either. Its a pretty simple fix with stem length among a few other things, but I have been happy in that category.
-Descends like a monster. I've set new records on almost all of my previous descents. The amount of suspension is perfect for me, and I haven't felt outgunned yet even on steeper, rocky, more technical trails.
-The switch infinity system, although it may be a bit heavier, definitely helps with the climbing and makes it feel like there is more suspension in the back than there actually is.
-Fits a water bottle inside of the front triangle
-More of a boutique brand, meaning you won't see as many out on the trails as other popular bike brands

Cons:

-Black color is a bit tough to keep clean. If you want your bike to look pristine more often than not, the turquoise color doesn't show dust nearly as much.
-Cable routing goes outside of the bike underneath the bottom bracket to make room for travel. I haven't found that it has been a problem, as a lot of other companies do it as well, but I worry about it getting cut or damaged when rocks are kicked up onto the frame.

One real quick caveat. Although this thing descends fast and eats up most things that you throw at it, there are longer travel bikes out there that will handle stuff like that better. Granted, it is still considered an XC bike, but still performs on the downhills more similar to trail bikes which is spectacular. That being said, if you are looking for something that will handle better on the descents and you aren't as concerned about the uphill performance as I am, the SB 130 may be a better bet.

Overall however, this bike has been my favorite so far and is the perfect bike for my everyday rides. I am planning on riding it in some big endurance races, and I think its going to be the perfect bike for that. If you have any questions or concerns about picking this bike as your next rig, shoot me an email at jmcneal@backcountry.com and I will be happy to answer any of your questions about it.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on June 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

This jacket is awesome! I love the fit of all arcteryx jackets, I am pretty slim and the cut has always been great on their stuff. This jacket is warm, compressible, and is definitely one of my go to jackets for everyday outings to technical endeavors.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on June 6, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I asked my better half (who is Hawaiian) what everyone wears over there and what the best pair of sandals you can get is, and she pointed me towards these. So far, after 1 trip to Hawaii and numerous days around town, I can say that these are my favorite sandals to date. I can't see myself going back to any previously owned brands anytime soon. 13/10 would recommend

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on May 19, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love this lever. The action on it is smooth, and the grippy thumb pad makes it feel extra nice. The teal color looks super good with the yeti color so it adds a nice little touch to the bike. I replaced my fox lever with this and it is by far superior, and looks way better too. Definitely will be getting the same lever for my future bikes!

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on May 19, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

Got these for my girlfriend and she loves them. She is a beginner rider, and needed a pair of gloves. The half cut makes it a little more comfortable and easier to feel the brakes and shifters, plus the back of it is thinner so they breathe well. Overall a solid half glove, would definitely recommend them.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on May 19, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

You get exactly what is advertised. The chalk sock is basically an ankle gym sock with a cinch on top. It holds the chalk well, but like other reviews have said, maybe a little too well. I don't use a lot of chalk, so I thought it would be great for me, but the chalk output is pretty skimpy. It takes a couple pumps to get suficient chalk, which isn't a big deal, just a little inconvenient. Overall, good quality gym sock, but I'd probably poke some holes in it to get the chalk flow a little better.

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Jackson McNeal

Jackson McNealwrote a review of on May 19, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great quickdraws. The gate isn't too stiff. The biners clip smoothly and work well. I switched the biners before I started using them so that black would go toward the wall for personal preference. For those nervous about not using the "name brand" climbing gear like Black Diamond: these draws work great!

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