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REVIEW | EDITORIAL

Getting On Gift Giving Early

Words Andrew Major
Photos Deniz Merdano (And Noted)
Date Oct 20, 2021
Reading time

Short Circuits

It's mentioned on the radio every morning in the car while I take my grom to her learning institution. It's graced the front page of every news source I read. It's on every other piece of SPAM that manages to escape getting flash-fried by my filter. Apparently, the supply chain issues that the bicycle industry - and most every industry - has been experiencing are only going to get worse. Much worse.

I won't claim to be much good at shopping for the few folks I give gifts to, but I'm thoughtful about the process and this year, that's only as good as inventory and shipping allow. And so, as the person who dislikes even thinking about the next holiday season before November 12th has struck, I find myself already pondering what to wrap up. I am, of course, open to all your abuse about already starting this conversation for the year 2021. But I'm hoping for some good ideas, in return for my ideas, as I plan ahead for my wife and my wee one.

NSB Overlord NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I just recently bought something new for myself. Who doesn't love the functional jewelry factor of a thoughtfully machined stem? Plus, purple Ti bolts make a lovely complement to a silver NSB Overlord. (Photo: AM)

OneUp EDC Lite NSMB AndrewM.JPG

It seems that OneUp's EDC Lite tool flows in and out of stock like the tides but as I type this all seven colours are available. It's a great gift for that friend who always borrows your hex keys and for your kid who's learning that mountain biking is a self-supported activity. (Photo: AM)

Photography Shred Sessions

Maybe this sounds narcissistic, but seeing professional photos of myself, mediocre mountain bicycle ability and all, riding in my favourite forests is the best bit about being a bike reviewer. If I didn't write about mountain biking as a gig, it's the thing I'd miss the most. Since, in that case, I'd only be riding hardtails, I could absolutely justify taking the few hundred dollars a year I'd be spending on rear shock services and frame bearings for a few photographs that I'll always look back on, like this beauty Deniz took last year.

I think of some of the folks I pedaled with regularly over the years, many of whom I seldom see these days, and I wish I had photos of us riding together. I have the odd snap I took on a crappy camera or my phone, but nothing I'm printing out for the wall in my bike room. And the more I think about it, the more I think that unwrapping a framed memory of me and someone who matters to me, in the woods doing what we love, is exactly the kind of gift I'd like to receive myself.

If you go anywhere with great mountain biking you'll find great action photographers, and just because someone doesn't specifically offer this service doesn't mean they wouldn't react positively to an inquiry.

Sessions with Deniz Merdano include trail time and access to high-res files with the additional option to purchase framed ready-to-hang high-quality prints. Two hours runs less than the price of a pair of Maxxis tires ($200), three hours is about the price of a GX cassette ($300), and four hours of photos will be paid for by staying with your trusty aluminum cranks instead of 'upgrading' to carbon ($400). You can check out Deniz'sShred Session Photo Outings on his website.

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My first choice would be rolling through a low cloud on a misty grey day with a soft rain, but Deniz will tailor the shoot to get the best results for any day's conditions - in this case, a sunny fall afternoon.

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It's awesome to have high-quality photos of my child and of the two of us riding together. We're going to get a couple of prints for grandparents and maybe frame a few for our little bike room.

Domestically Machined Goodies

I've always had a soft spot for the littler folks when it comes to investing in my mountain bicycles and my personal ride is more domestically adorned than most. The frame was welded in Park City, UT, and the all-important swinging dropouts come from Paragon Machine Works, who have been making frame parts in California since 1983. The Kick-Ass Cog comes from kick-ass company Endless Bike Co, the oval ring from Wolf Tooth components, the stem and pedals are from NSBillet, and there's a trusty Chromag QR.

My point is that there are a lot of different price points covered without having to factor in large batch manufacturing and the process of overseas shipping. Looking for something beautiful and practical - like a rideable Swiss watch - then how about a pair of Industry Nine Hydra hubs? Want to troll a regular riding friend, and help them at the same time? There are a number of smaller companies making chainrings for any of the crank interface standards.

My personal weakness is for really nicely made stems. From a riding position, the stem is the part that is going to catch my eye the most often. I like riding nice bikes and if that stem's bold, beautiful, strong, and silent, with just the right curves, that makes even basic bikes seem a bit sexier.

I'm not here to dictate your taste in a boutique handlebar holder. There are numerous options from Chromag, Renthal, Hope, Industry Nine, Burgtec, Straitline, North Shore Billet, Industry Nine, now Tenet, now Farside, and I'm sure I haven't even dented the litany of options.

A forged stem with fresh hardware is perfectly functional and a really nice machined stem is not inexpensive, so I'm not saying a rational argument exists for one of these products but to me, they're one of life's worthwhile little luxuries.

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Industry Nine's 31.8mm and 35mm stems are beautiful American made components. (Photo: AM)

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The Fasst Flexx bar is much less pretty, but the comfort makes a great gift too. (Photo: AM)

Fresh Lube

The number of rusted chains I see out in the world? Wow. There are two ways to avoid the issue; buy a SRAM XX1 copper-coloured chain so folks have to look really close to notice your abusive relationship with your drivetrain or, lube the f***ing thing. I feel like I've done my part for 2021 in terms of encouraging a proper chain lubing routine and now, whether you use the Drew-Bob or the Toucan lubing method, it's your turn to bring the gospel into the world.

This is a bit like buying a bottle of wine for a dear friend in that it's a powerful example of mutual judgment. You know what the wine cost, they can easily look up what the wine cost, and there's a whole gambit of unspoken cues to be read from the situation. For example, if you know they're a bit tight and they get you the best-rated wine for a given investment, well, that's very thoughtful. But, if you've been married to them for twenty years, they just bought a rooftop tent for their rooftop tent, and they spell your name wrong on the card attached to a 3/4 full box of wine... Um, Sorry‽

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For any mechanical enthusiast, there are a couple of sweet upgrade options for their chain lubing routine. For every other mountain bicyclist you know there's Boeshield T-9. (Photo: AM)

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If your friend or partner is more comfortable with the tools, the right choice of Dumonde Tech freehub lube or oil, or a slurry of both, will make their hub smooth. (Photo: AM)

The 3/4 full box does, of course, have a chain lube equivalent and that's the partially used bottle of TriFlow that you're never going to touch again because it's crap for anything other than lubing cable and housing and there's better stuff for that too. Phew. And, breathe, Andrew.

Actually, buying chain lube for someone is a lot like buying wine. You can just go to the store and ask for advice and then you'll always have "this was recommended by the person at the store" to shield your selection. I've been bitten once or twice by the salesperson who was obviously trying to clear up the purchaser's screw-up of ordering 10,000 bottles of something instead of ten but hey, I can totally see the same thing happening in a bike shop.

For your average friend, without a fully developed palate for bicycle maintenance, it's impossible to go wrong with a bottle of Boeshield T-9. It pairs well with any drivetrain and over-application isn't going to result in jockey wheels that are more grime than plastic. It's absurdly clean for something that doesn't need to be constantly reapplied and it's a relative value by both purchase volume and volume required. For the more considerate connoisseur, a whole range of lubes exists from the truly solid values to the profanely expensive.

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I'm a lube nerd so if my stocking has a bottle of Wolf Tooth WT-1 (SCC Slick) or Dumonde Tech Regular I'll be a happy little wrench. (Photo: AM)

I'll issue another round of apologies now for harassing your sovereign shores so soon with the commercialized Christmas aircraft carrier, but the way I see it, it's always better to be prepare in advance than to be left searching for a thoughtful gesture at the last minute. Especially if your partner is particular about a colour - green in my case - or you're thinking the grandparents would love a photo of you and your wee ripper shredding the local trails. You can criticize my timing in the comments below, but then you'd best not show up in the comments or forums complaining that nothing is in stock.

Unseason's greetings and happy premature holiday giving guide irritation!

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Comments

zigak
+4 Andrew Major Briain Sean Chee DanL
ZigaK  - Oct. 19, 2021, 10:54 p.m.

wax starting kit - ultrasonic cleaner, wax, a pot, masterlink pliers, instructions

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 19, 2021, 11:03 p.m.

Ooooo... ultrasonic cleaner would be sweet.

Reply

khai
+1 Andrew Major
khai  - Oct. 20, 2021, 3:03 p.m.

I've moved ultrasonic cleaners between my Amazon cart and "save for later" more times than I care to count.  But one of these days/years...

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 21, 2021, 7:17 a.m.

Same here! Jeff Bryson had one and I meant to play with it before he moved shop to Kaslo. Maybe I’ll reward myself for getting my shop in order (whenever that happens)

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Oct. 20, 2021, 2:33 a.m.

I agree. A wax setup is a very wise  investment. Micro sonic cleaners cost next to nothing these days and is useful in a multitude of ways around the house. The gunk that comes off my glasses and watches during their sonic bath each week is truly terrifying.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9 a.m.

So very curious, do you have to be super cautious how long you put stuff in for or is it fairly idiot proof? I’ve know a couple folks who’ve owned one and raved - but they were significantly bigger persnickety nerds than me (said with love) and I’ve never played with one myself.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9:10 a.m.

In theory you can damage stuff with ultrasonic cleaning, but the reality is no cleaning machine is anywhere close to being powerful enough to do any damage. Even industrial machines are many orders of magnitude below the energy required to do any damage. 

These days you can get effective machines for less than $50cad, they pay for themselves pretty quickly.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 2:42 p.m.

Cool! Really appreciate sharing your experience.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Oct. 21, 2021, 6:08 a.m.

My pleasure. We use them all the time at work to clean circuit boards after they’ve been soldered and basically every part on our robots/UAV’s when we overhaul them. I can’t tell the difference in performance between our silly expensive one for serial production and the $25usd one we bought from AliExpress in my prototype lab. Warm water and a splash of dish soap cleans everything beautifully.

I really like cleaning bearings with them. Pop the seals off, into the bath, pack with grease, seals on again, and your bearings will last a lot longer. It’s really addictive to use and will save you money in the long term on stuff like chains and bearings.

YDiv
+2 twk Andrew Major
YDiv  - Oct. 20, 2021, 12:18 a.m.

Haha, still remember the time a salesperson told me Finish Line Wet was his favorite. 

Yeah, maybe for copying the look of a black XX1 chain with all the dirt you'll be attracting!

(Applied correctly, Dumonde Tech lasts much much longer)

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9:03 a.m.

Hahahahaha. It’s amazing how stuff like that sticks with us. I mean a <$10 bottle of lube and some time cleaning a chain and you’ll remember the experience forever.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+4 Andrew Major Andy Eunson Jonas Dodd YDiv
Sean Chee  - Oct. 20, 2021, 2:59 a.m.

This is for all the significant others looking for the perfect gift or just a treat yo self gift. This motion pro T bar is the most used tool in my house. In fact I own four of them.

Motion Pro T handle spinner

It uses standard 1/4” magnetic bits, but also comes in 1/4” and 3/8” square drive (which I also use a lot) that are larger for more torque. The bearing in the handle makes it really easy to spin screws on and off. Size wise, it’s big enough to put lots of torque through it but not big enough to be heavy or awkward in use. It is cheap enough ($32usd) that you could buy it for riding buddies, or yourself without killing the household budget.

I really can not evangelise it enough. If you work on bikes, motorcycles, cars, or just DIY repair stuff around the house, your life will be significantly better if you have one of these. It is the best tool I own, by a significant margin. This says a lot considering my tool chests are filled with PB Swiss, Wera, Facom, etc. I use it everyday at work assembling unmanned/robotic systems, and almost everyone else at work has bought one too. My one wish is that they would make a version for 1/2” sockets so I could use some of my other sockets (external torx in particular) without needing an adapter.

https://www.motionpro.com/product/08-0556

Reply

Bad-Sean
0
Sean Chee  - Oct. 20, 2021, 3:02 a.m.

My other very niche desire would be for a VDE version, but I know the odds of that happening are worse than winning the lottery.

Reply

Bikeryder85
+2 Sean Chee Andrew Major
Bikeryder85  - Oct. 20, 2021, 3:34 a.m.

Thanks for that! Always looking for a new tool! In other non-bike specific tools...I have a wright tool 3425 ratchet that is my go-to for seized bottom brackets, as well as other things. The long handle is great (no cheater pipe needed!), it's got a high quality finish, strong pawl system, and they are still made in Ohio!

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Oct. 20, 2021, 3:57 a.m.

That’s awesome! One of my buddies who helps me with my four wheel vehicle stuff, has a really old but still operating perfectly, Wright ratchet handle. I bet they’re hard to come by in Australia. I have a few big Sid chrome and snap on ratchets that I got second hand at auction (with a load of sockets too). More recently I got a couple of wera handles. 

Most of these don’t get much use these days as the T bars do the high frequency stuff and impact wrenches do the high torque stuff. I’m going to replace my cranks and BB soon so might need them for that. I can’t remember if I have BB sockets or just spanners, haha. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had to pull a BB off, but the oem dub on my bike is dead and I have an XT set to go on.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Oct. 20, 2021, 3:36 a.m.

A couple of other really handy tools they have are the brake bleeder wrench for brakes that have an 8mm external hex bleed port like hope.

Their blind bearing puller kit is also excellent. I have used it successfully on my frame bearings and on my dirt bike, but also use it regularly at work on the landing gear and aileron bearings of our large UAV’s. 

https://www.motionpro.com/product/08-0292

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9:04 a.m.

Tres sweet. Thanks for sharing that! Little gift for myself maybe.

Reply

khai
+2 Andrew Major Sean Chee
khai  - Oct. 20, 2021, 3:14 p.m.

I caught hell for buying myself something and ruining my wife's gift to me last year.  Trying really hard for a moratorium on any purchases she might even consider, or have the slightest awareness of between eoSept & Jan.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Sean Chee
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 20, 2021, 4:14 p.m.

That is a hell of an endorsement and it looks sweet. Will check it out.

Reply

Bad-Sean
0
Sean Chee  - Oct. 21, 2021, 12:28 a.m.

It was an impulse purchase when I dropped into a mx store for tubes and fork oil. It’s absolutely perfect and I don’t know how I can live without one now. Every bike owner should have one.

Reply

YDiv
+1 Andrew Major
YDiv  - Oct. 21, 2021, 11:45 p.m.

Such a sick tool, and it's pretty affordable too!

I have a smaller ergonomic version from Wera, and I leave the T25 bit in there because it's so useful for rotor bolts and mmx clamps.

Looks like it spins pretty easily, although the size of the tool is a slight concern. Might just be me, but it seems kind of big.

Curious to hear where you would typically use this on your bike?

Reply

craw
+2 Andrew Major kcy4130
Cr4w  - Oct. 20, 2021, 8:53 a.m.

I LOVE these bondhus head hex drivers with screwdriver handle. Perfect for quickly dialling in/out setting hardware in particular stems, brake calipers/adapters and seatposts (yes there are torx versions too). $54CAD for the set.

https://www.grainger.ca/en/product/HEXDRIVER-SET-1-5-10MM-9PCE/p/BHS10699

bondhus

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9:05 a.m.

Yep! Screw driver style t-25 is a favourite.

Reply

cooperquinn
+3 Vik Banerjee Pete Roggeman JVP
Cooper Quinn  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9:35 a.m.

I put off buying a Klein t-handle T-25 for far, far too long. 

(honestly, can we all just agree torx is better, and finally stop this mix/match of Allen and torx, and 2022 bikes just come with all torx fasteners?!)

Reply

craw
+1 Andrew Major
Cr4w  - Oct. 20, 2021, 10:19 a.m.

Yes, let's just pick one.
That being said, the screwdriver handle ones serve a need not met by the t-handle. Ideally I'd have both.

Reply

Zero-cool
+1 Andrew Major
Zero-cool  - Oct. 20, 2021, 1:43 p.m.

I wholeheartedly agree with ditching hex bolts for torx

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 21, 2021, 7:22 a.m.

I’d prefer Torx, and I use T30 bolts in the place of 5mm on one of my bikes from when I really got on to wanting a bike that was Torx only… the problem is/was companies trying to make it all T25 rather than all Torx.

At this point I think if you really want one interface for most the common stuff it’s still easier to Hex… even SRAM derailleurs that were T25 are back to 5mm (where they should have gone T30).

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Oct. 21, 2021, 12:23 a.m.

Considering the number of aluminium bolts and screws on a bike, torx is a no brainer. I tend to swap out the fasteners I can with stainless, just to stop potential damage when I undertake panic mechanic work.

Reply

kcy4130
+2 Andrew Major Ask Petersen
kcy4130  - Oct. 20, 2021, 10:37 a.m.

Those are nice. I also very much like my bondhus folding hex and torx tools. Gorilla grip,  they're called. They sell stubby hex key sets too. Way better than cutting down a regular L shaped hex key. Bondhus tools in general I've found to be good, about the same quality as park tools (for example) but less expensive. Dammit now I've gone down a rabbit hole of looking at tools that I used to have at my old work, but don't have in my own tool box. 

http://intl.bondhus.com/pages/hex-end1

http://intl.bondhus.com/pages/stubby-ball-end

Reply

mhaager2
+1 Andrew Major
Moritz Haager  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9:56 a.m.

Andrew, 

Regarding hubs, what's would be your personal choice these days?  Seems like Hydras get all the press currently, but I'm more sold (in theory as I've ridden none of them) on project 321 or Chris King. Every hub I've ever had a problem with (or seen a problem with) has been a pawl mechanism so I'm a big fan of DT swiss ratchet mechanism and in theory the Chris King ring drive is an upgrade on that idea.  As far as Pawls go I like the magnetic pawls in the P321s more than a spring loaded mechanism.  Yet it seems like since Hydras came out that's all anyone ever talks about. Thoughts?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Cr4w YDiv
Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 10:15 a.m.

That used to be a hard choice between my literal two decades of great Chris King hub experiences and the much easier user-service of a pawl system. I have a King hub tool so it was hard to vote against them since service costs aren’t really a question.

Hydra v. P321 the difference in engagement is really theoretical between .52 and 1.66 degrees. I like a fast engaging hub for techy riding but King’s 5-degrees is even perfect really.

Where the math changed for me is when King dropped IS rotor mounting. I’d prefer to never drop another dime of my own money on a Centerlock hub so as long as quality 6-bolt systems exist that’s where I’ll be.

Hydra v. P321. Do you want idiot proof (Hydra) or independent bearing adjustment (P321). I can argue for either and have had great results with both on my single-speed and geared bikes. 

Hope that’s helpful.

Reply

mhaager2
+1 Andrew Major
Moritz Haager  - Oct. 20, 2021, 2:12 p.m.

Interesting. I was really leaning towards the CKs. Why the dislike for centerlock? I've only ever owned 6 bolts. Is it just the lack of compatibility with existing rotors or is there something fundamentally inferior with the CL system? Thanks.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 2:52 p.m.

Working in a shop I’ve never been a fan of Centerlock. I’ve experienced multiple hubs where the CL interface was worn - yes, from the rotors not being tight enough - which is an issue I’ve never seen with 6-bolt where the bolts hold the rotor in a friction interface. 

What are the advantages of CL? Cleaner looks and faster rotor changes - who gives a crap?

———

I have also myself experienced a horrendous CL brake mount failure, in traffic, on my commuter bike, with my grom onboard, that thankfully I managed to control with the front brake. 

It was using an Alfine hub, and it doesn’t stop me from using my older I9 Torch CL hubs, but the experience just stacks on to my powerful dislike for the system. 

———

I wouldn’t not buy a mountain bike I really wanted because it came (good quality) CL hubs but building a wheelset it’s only 6-bolt for me. It’s really too bad, in my book, that given the choice between the two systems King picked CL. I assume it’s in response to demand on the road & gravel side and wanting to streamline product.

Reply

YDiv
+1 Andrew Major
YDiv  - Oct. 20, 2021, 11:48 p.m.

Just have to find an old set of Boost wheels on PB with King hubs and 6 bolt. Can't be that hard, right? 

Right.....?

:(

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 21, 2021, 7:25 a.m.

Getting pretty rare… but sure. I’ve never seen one - even a roached/neglected one - that wasn’t good-as-new rebuildable.

tdmsurfguy
+1 Andrew Major
tdmsurfguy  - Oct. 22, 2021, 8:14 a.m.

For what it’s worth I would strongly consider I9 and I live in Oregon and love shopping local. I accidentally put one pawls in backwards  when I was doing routine maintenance on my hydra (Tired, in a hurry, but actually Sober). The the backwards pawl then started shaving metal pieces off my ring drive.  Completely my fault. I called I9 and owned up to my mistake told them I was an idiot and needed some parts to fix my ring drive that was now jacked up. The customer service rep  was awesome and sent me the parts, no charge. Not saying they do this every time but I loved how down to earth, friendly, and helpful they were. I’m a convert for life. When my wife gets a bike here next year I’m definitely ordering her a set of the 1/1 XC hoops. I9 is also huge in the trail access and advocacy side of the bike industry which I really appreciate too. Hope this helps.  Also the wheelsets are bomber and look amazing!!!

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 22, 2021, 9:07 a.m.

That's a heck of a customer service story! In addition to trail advocacy, they are also a brand that's been thinking a lot about packaging for a while now. Lots of great things going on an I9.

YDiv
+1 Andrew Major
YDiv  - Oct. 21, 2021, 12:11 a.m.

Having ridden all 3 hubs for a decent amount of time, i9 looks great on the spec sheet, but the on-trail performance difference doesn't make up for the downsides (IMO).

Main complaint: Eats through bearings faster than CK and P321.

Other minor issues: have seen one Hydra hub where there were tiny metal chips floating about, but that was most likely due to a severe lack of maintenance. My other Hydra hub has been fine for the past 2 years, occasional maintenance when it gets too loud. Speaking of that, when your excitement wears off, the buzz can be really annoying. But a good dab of Dumonde Freehub Grease fixes that easily.

Having said all that, I still ride my i9 hubs the most. So maybe that says something? Probably just means I'm a fool haha.

Reply

Bad-Sean
0
Sean Chee  - Oct. 21, 2021, 3:59 a.m.

Thanks for that rundown. I had planned on using i9 hydra or 1/1 for the next wheels I build up, just to see if they live up to the hype.  Recently I have been leaning towards Hope or even DT240, boring I know haha.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 YDiv Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Oct. 21, 2021, 7:34 a.m.

My experiences with I9 have been much better than Hope. Plus, can’t get over the plastic “seal” on the Hope drive system.

DT Star Rachet is always solid but, as you note, completely uninspiring. For money money it’s 5-degrees of engagement or faster.

Reply

IslandLife
+2 Sean Chee Andrew Major
IslandLife  - Oct. 21, 2021, 9:24 a.m.

There's also a fantastic local option - Tairin Wheels - makes their own hubs.  Jose from Tairin has actually helped design a lot of the other popular hubs out there (wouldn't tell me which).  

I've been running their "Shogun" hubs for 3 years and they've been wonderful.  96 POE (3.75 degrees), 6 pawl design... bomb proof.

If you follow his instagram you'll also see he's about to release his own silent hub... which has it's own interesting history as well.  Spent a couple years designing one with a very similar engagement design as Onyx only to find out that, with time, that clutch mechanism  wears out... it's inevitable and depending on how much you ride will determine how long they take to wear out.  Heavy frequent riders destroy them  Supposedly that's why the Shimano Scylence silent hub was dropped at the last second as long term testing was coming back with worn out hubs.  Anyway, he spent another year going in a different direction and has come up with a design that doesn't wear out and has come up with what looks like an amazing hub that you can run silent or noisy!  Anyway, I've been running his wheels as well (which I love), but check them out.

https://www.tairinwheels.ca/product-page/sh%C5%8Dgun-boost-rear-hub

https://www.instagram.com/tairinwheels/

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 23, 2021, 8:33 a.m.

Thanks for the mention of Tairin. One of those companies I’m aware of but I’ve never actually dig into or looked at one of their hubs in person.

Reply

YDiv
+1 Sean Chee
YDiv  - Oct. 21, 2021, 2:56 p.m.

I'd agree with Andrew. Give i9 a shot, it's pretty much plug and play. I think i9 is fine in terms of bearing life when you look across the market, but it's just that the exceptional experience with CK and P321 has skewed my perception.

DT240 isn't worth it to me if you're buying new. Big price jump for minimal weight savings and a lame POE. It's reliable, but some heavier / stronger riders have reported that the 54t starts slipping.

Also they put out a statement back in the summer that their EXP hubs were having premature wear issues, so take that as you will.

Reply

Andeh
+2 Sean Chee YDiv
Andeh  - Oct. 22, 2021, 8:49 a.m.

I've been very pleased with my Hydras, having previously owned DT 240s & 350s.  I love how easy it is to service the Hydras, and how they don't require a ton of expensive special tools (like DT).  The bearing life does seem to be only on par with frame bearings, but they're super easy to replace.  I also wash my bike too much, which kills bearings.

I don't care about the extra engagement for riding tech, I just like it because there's not a bit of slack followed by a hard thunk when riding chunky sections (like DT, even with 54t).  I rode my buddy's bike which had new DT 240 EXP hubs back to back with my bike with Hydras, and the kickback from the DT hub was really unpleasant.

I thought about silent hubs like P321 or Onyx, but passed due to weight and the fact that I ride on a lot of multi-use trails, so having a noisy hub is a benefit.

Reply

Bad-Sean
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Sean Chee  - Oct. 25, 2021, 6:31 a.m.

Thanks for the insight guys. You’ve all given me a lot to think about. I guess the decision will really come down to what my LBS can get their hands on for me. They managed to get me a deal on four FR560’s. I’m really in no rush to build them up but it’s been a while since I’ve built some wheels, so I am looking forward to doing it.

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AndrewMajor
+2 YDiv Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Oct. 21, 2021, 7:32 a.m.

Hydra does go through bearings faster - specifically the single drive side hubshell bearings but it’s faster to change than it is to remove the axle from a King or P321 hub with zero special tools. 

Also, the Hydra system is epically ingenious in terms of the KISS principle. I can’t believe how well it’s survived on my one speed.

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Andeh
+1 mrbrett
Andeh  - Oct. 20, 2021, 10:11 a.m.

I surprised my 5yo with a set of those Chromag Radar pedals in his favorite color (red) for his birthday, in addition to the requested Legos.  He actually really liked them, and had fun installing them on his bike with me.  Yeah they're pricy, but they'll be good for at least another 5 years until he starts wearing adult sized shoes.

I'd also recommend a Towhee pulling strap for any little bikers if you don't already have one.  Think how much you'd like having someone pull YOU up the hills!  My kid loves that.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 4:18 p.m.

Can’t get behind the tow roping personally. It’s been my experience that when someone (kid or adult) is ready for a trail they’ll be able to get themselves to it… but certainly to each their own.

Stopped in to say that working on bikes with kids - installing pedals, etc - is the best. My grom’s favourite is installing headsets. It involves a big cool tool, muscle, and lots of concentration. Cranks/BB’s are fun too. Having a grom ripper is a great excuse to buy tools.

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Andeh
+1 Andrew Major
Andeh  - Oct. 20, 2021, 5:01 p.m.

I don't even use it for trails.  Where we live is so hilly that just riding to the park involves hills so steep that he can barely walk up them, let alone pedal a single speed up them.  My wife can't make it up them on her 7 speed townie either.  I was having a hard time motivating him to get him to ride his bike at all, so a tow rope is a small price to pay for getting him out on the bike and slowly working on basics.  When he's big enough for a bike with gears, then we can start having conversations about "building character" (earning your turns).

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 5:16 p.m.

Absolutely. I apologize for that part of my comment completely. Really stoked you’re getting out riding with your grom however you’re making it work for you!

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zigak
+1 Andrew Major
ZigaK  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9:43 p.m.

My 2 sons both got a geared bike at age 6. When you put him on a geared bike, don't tell your son to which gear to shift, let him figure out himself. I made that mistake with the older son, he still can't really understand to which gear he should shift and just waits for me to tell him. With the youngest I just told him how to shift and he figured it out himself.

yrmv

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danimaniac
+1 Andrew Major
danimaniac  - Oct. 21, 2021, 3:40 a.m.

huh.. that's what I've been doing with my daughter... 

Like: Just shift to 5 or you won't make it up that slope or similar.

Now you made me think.

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velocipedestrian
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Velocipedestrian  - Oct. 21, 2021, 2:05 p.m.

Good tip, thanks. I'm starting to investigate geared options for the offspring.

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zigak
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ZigaK  - Oct. 20, 2021, 9:43 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

IslandLife
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IslandLife  - Oct. 21, 2021, 10:30 a.m.

Have to disagree about towing... If I didn't pull one of my kids sometimes... he'd never get to ride any trails.  It's really dependent on your network/climb... my local networks have some steep AF climbs just to get to trails they can ride.  Also depends on the kid and other factors.

Pulling them up allows them to have the energy to descend longer and we as a family can ride more, longer and have more fun.

You can also regulate how much work your kid is doing.  While pulling, I'm always "feeling" how much he is working and ensuring it's not just a "free ride".

You also may not understand someone's individual situation.  I have twin 10 year old boys... one does all the climbing under his own power.  The other suffers from DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder)... basically it means that his brain-body connection isn't as solid as someone without DCD and it takes him 10x as long to learn skills, he has far less coordination and gets tired very quickly and easily.  However, sports like mountain biking are fantastic therapy and training allowing him to battle against his DCD.  So pulling him up helps overcome his issues with fatigue so that he can ride fun trails and gain the needed therapy and practice to help him battle the evils of his DCD, make it more than worthwhile.

On the other hand, my other 10 year old is a strong, athletic kid... no way he's getting pulled up.  He fully has the ability and equipment to haul his own ass up... I know it, and he knows it.  On the other, other hand... a friend's kid loved descending but stubbornly hated climbing.  He started pulling him to keep the stoke alive and keep him interested... once he got over the fact that climbs were a necessary evil in order to access all the good time DH fun, he transitioned to hauling himself up the mountain.

So, end of the day, lots of situations where pulling can be beneficial.

Also, the Clairebarian is still young and little, considering where you ride there may be no benefit to pulling her higher.  But, I could see a point where you both get bored of the trails she can get to under her own power... she may be ready for more, but not able to get there with the energy necessary to ride the trail safely or in the time available (big one for 9 to 5 people).  there may be a crossover point where towing her a little might be a good thing.  Again every kid and situation is different.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Oct. 21, 2021, 12:24 p.m.

If you look above you’ll see I apologized already for my comment regarding tow ropes: Oct. 20, 2021, 5:16 p.m.

Every parent/family needs to figure out the best situation for their kid(s). Obviously, as with e~bikes, there are arguments for accessibility that couldn’t exist on a regular bicycles and what heartfelt person would deny that a tow rope is a universally great object in those situations.

Just as it pains me to see all the companies pushing e~bikes in kids sizes now, I don’t agree with what I see as a hyper doing it for our kids culture. I love the DIY nature of mountain biking and have always endeavoured to present the activity to my daughter as I found it.

At the end of the day, does it really matter what I believe? No. And, if an assist is getting them in the woods, and it’s not hurting anyone else (affecting access, etc), I’ll try to keep my opinions to myself.

——

That’s not going to be an issue for our family. There are a plethora of trails my kid can already get to that she won’t be riding for years. At seven, she’s regularly climbing Penny Lane / GSM / BP to the power lines on Seymour which opens us to a lot of terrain. Similarly we’ve accessed a lot of area in the couple other places we’ve visited (Squamish, Cumberland).

That’s certainly not because she’s been endowed with tons of natural athletic ability, or that she’s uncharacteristically tenacious, or etc. It’s about patience, fun, patience, support, patience, and repetition. She loves experiencing improvement, and doing things for herself, and puts in the effort. I don’t think that’s unique in anyway, that’s always been my experience working with kids with a whole range of abilities.

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IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major
IslandLife  - Oct. 21, 2021, 4:53 p.m.

Awesome, didn't see that, thanks... agree, take care and most of all, enjoy the crazy fun good times riding with little ones is!

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FthisNewForumIsAnnoying
+1 Andrew Major
Connor Gillan  - Oct. 20, 2021, 11:44 a.m.

I still remember when DW argued with me that Blackspire stuff was all made in Taiwan. what a muppet.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Oct. 20, 2021, 4:13 p.m.

Weird. Their stuff isn’t all made here, but the chainrings certainly are. They’re solid value still too and they make some BCD options no one supports anymore.

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cheapondirt
+1 Andrew Major
cheapondirt  - Oct. 21, 2021, 5:14 p.m.

Man, nothing's in stock. My son's diapers* are out of stock, I shit you not... I hope he shits me not.

*Have to use unscented ones due to a chemical sensitivity, cloth ones are off the list for the same reason (bleach), and the other brand that's commonly available is very leak-prone.

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AndrewMajor
+1 cheapondirt
Andrew Major  - Oct. 22, 2021, 9:05 a.m.

Ugh. We were in the same boat and the locals ran out of the unscented ones occasionally as it was. I empathize endlessly.

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Shortyesquire
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Andrew Collins  - Oct. 21, 2021, 5:31 p.m.

No mention of Thomson stems? You monster!

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AndrewMajor
+1 gman3000
Andrew Major  - Oct. 22, 2021, 9:04 a.m.

Really? What's your favourite aspect? The 3mm hex-head bolts instead of a minor redesign to keep faceplates from cracking?

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Shortyesquire
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Andrew Collins  - Oct. 22, 2021, 2:21 p.m.

I've had 10+ Thomson's over the years, as well as Chromag's, Hopes, Renthals, Funn, Ragley, FSA etc etc etc.

I like that Thomsons are stiff, silent and have never marred a bar or steerer. The Renthal in particular didn't meet any of those criteria. I broke one Thomson faceplate under warranty back in the 25.4mm bar days on a Titec Hellbent (?) before I had a torque wrench and used carbon paste. The M3 heads can be swapped out for M4s but with good hex tools (Bondhus or Wera) I've never needed to.

Syntace and I9 are probably the gold standards for stems, but my Funn stems have performed admirably especially considering the price from Aliexpress. They also have a good low stack height (30mm) option in the Funndruro. Not as pretty as a Deity but about a 1/3 the price.

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