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The Küat Piston Pro X 2-Bike Tray Rack - Aug. 10, 2022, 6:55 p.m.

The killer feature of the standard 1Up is that you can run it as an extremely low-profile single. There's also a total absence of plastic and rubber, so the racks don't fade in sunlight or become brittle. I do think this Kuat has a more elegant loading process, but at the cost of parts (like that gas strut) that will eventually need replacement. I'd look hard at the Quikr Mach 2 in this price range.

Min-Max: Andrew's 2017 Giant Anthem Advanced SX - Aug. 2, 2022, 8:22 a.m.

Many tire brands straight-up lie about width. To me, 2.6 means your casing is 2.6 on the expected i35 rim at riding tire pressure. Bontrager tires all qualify; they're proper high-volume beefcakes. To Maxxis, 2.6 means the edge knobs might just make 2.55 inches at 40 PSI. There was at least one 2.6 I read about recently with a 2.4" casing. When there's no consistency in casing width or tread spacing, it's hard to generalize about rim width.

Min-Max: Andrew's 2017 Giant Anthem Advanced SX - Aug. 2, 2022, 8:17 a.m.

How interesting, thanks. I wonder if the curve and screw spacing matches OneUp. Need to do some Photoshop layering.

What's your take on a 2D angleset for a bike that already has a 66.5D head angle? Would the bike still turn at 64.5D?

Min-Max: Andrew's 2017 Giant Anthem Advanced SX - Aug. 1, 2022, 1:49 p.m.

Stem length is a work-in-progress. The stock 60mm felt long in the seated position with 3" of saddle-bar drop on my bike and a bit sluggish with 800mm bars. I downsized to 40mm for a few weeks. This improved the seated fit and steering response, but it's harder to keep the front wheel weighted in long, sweeping turns, and reach feels a bit short when I'm standing up. 

I just installed a 70/35D stem with a 60mm effective length and an extra inch of height relative to the original 60mm. Might also try a 50mm. Shorter riser stems don't really exist, so if the extra height helps, the long-term solve may be to swap the fork to get an uncut steer. 

The 9Point8 post with an offset is the R model limited to 150mm travel. The head and tube are one-piece, I don't even think it's cross-compatible with the non-R Fall Line. If OneUp had the same post with an offset head, I'd buy it tomorrow.  

On tires-- the Bontrager 2.6s weren't the best on the stock 30mm rims. Too much squirm in the back, almost the point of risking a burp, at the correct tire pressures for compliance. The 35s are a surprisingly noticeable improvement. When they start to wear out, I might try the SE-series if inserts don't tempt me before then.

Min-Max: Andrew's 2017 Giant Anthem Advanced SX - Aug. 1, 2022, 7:33 a.m.

This is very similar to what I'm currently riding ('20 Trance Advanced Pro 2). Good callout on the trunnion bearings, will have to keep an eye on that. 

Generally, the bike is awesome. My configuration is more XCish in some ways; it's running 2.6 XR4/XR2, XX1/11 (borrowing the DUB Eagle cranks though), the 210mm version of that OneUp post, and 35mm EIE wheels on 54 POE Bitex hubs. All that pushed the weight in XL down into the 25s, so it's not much slower on the uphills than the downcountry Scalpel I replaced, but far, far more confident on the downhills. The suspension is stock (Fox Rhythm and whatever the non-piggyback shock is) because I can't see a reason to upgrade it.   

The only real downside of the bike is the slack seat tube. I've got long legs, and even with the saddle mashed forward, I'm still a little too far back. That's why I haven't overforked it (despite that the low bottom bracket would probably benefit). Tentative plans for a 1D angleset for the stock 66.5 HTA. The new Trance already goes this way, so I'll probably just enjoy it for a few years and move on that one. Really impressed with the Maestro platform.

OneUp's New Dropper Post Remote? Way Better Than The Old One - July 25, 2022, 6:37 a.m.

I'd take the opposite stance on Triggy. The action isn't particularly light or smooth, the lever touchpoint feels cheap, and it frays cables something fierce because the bend radius is too small. I binned mine a few months in. Fox's Transfer lever and ZTTO's WT-knockoff are both better by some margin.

Introducing the 2023 Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS - July 13, 2022, 11:29 a.m.

I'm not on Strava. The feeling I conveyed is probably shared by most serious riders without ebikes. You can't just handwave away competitiveness.

Introducing the 2023 Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS - July 13, 2022, 9:10 a.m.

If I were in this cost-no-object price bracket, I'd find it difficult to justify the regular Fuel EX over this. And as this sort of kit trickles down to $5K bikes, I expect we'll start to see a majority opting for electric power. There's no question these bikes are more fun, especially if you're on the once-or-twice-a-week schedule that most of us can manage that doesn't allow for Nino levels of fitness. Why not spend a little more to feel like him?

It's sad, though. I feel I've earned the skill and fitness I do have and I resent getting dropped by people on bikes like this. It's like showing up to an MX5 track day in a Ferrari. We all have an internally ranking relative to everyone else, and when someone jumps the queue without putting in the saddle time, it feels like cheating.

I expect we'll hit an inflection point in six or seven years where most of the serious riders have ebikes, and not having one will mean you're poor or unserious, not that you're occupying a imaginary (but still shared) moral high ground. If you can keep up with legs alone, great. If not, you'll be dropped and will self-sort out of that riding group.

The Sad State Of The 'Because I Can' Mountain Bike - July 11, 2022, 9:03 a.m.

Overt bike bling repels me. It's like wearing a clown suit. I'm a lot more interested in the engineering and manufacturing quality of a part than the color. If I have to be two feet away to know why it's special, so be it; my bike is for me, not for anyone else.

That said: matte black is a hugely boring frame color. It's not so much a choice as a lack of one. I think if you're going to pay well into the four figures for something, it shouldn't look unfinished.

Have We Finally Run Out of Wheel Sizes to Try? - July 5, 2022, 7:50 p.m.

I'm assuming the same BB height for all wheel sizes, so essentially different bikes with size-specific geometry.

My trail bike is prone to pedal strikes with 170mm cranks and the original 29/2.3 tires. Mullets of any variety are out of the question.

Have We Finally Run Out of Wheel Sizes to Try? - July 5, 2022, 11:29 a.m.

I've always felt that wheel size should be proportional to the angle between your saddle and the front axle. The steeper that angle, the more likely you'll go over the bars when you hit something. With a 36" inseam, even a 29er setup feels like I'm above the bike rather than in it. To get anything like the stability of a shorter rider while keeping the reach in check (not everyone is torso-proportionate), the HA would have to be 40D or something. Droppers even the playing field quite a bit, but I'm reminded just how little margin I have when I'm caught on a sudden downhill with the post up. I'd definitely be in the market for a 32er.

That aside, I'm all-in on big tires. The 130/120 trail bike runs 29/2.6 on i35 rims. On an XC bike, I might drop to 2.4 on a bulldozed route, but there's so little weight difference in XR2/Ikon-class tires (~60g) that it doesn't seem worth the bother. You can make the bigger tire behave like the smaller one with a few more PSI, but you can't do the reverse for chunky terrain. My fastest times on my XC FS were with a 3.0/2.6 combination.

'Real' Mountain Bikes Don't Come With Pedals - June 20, 2022, 1:20 p.m.

Not everyone has a natural feel for cycling. Like not stopping, putting a foot down, then accidentally backpedaling the other foot and driving the pedal into your shin. I wouldn't do that. You wouldn't do that. But a lot of people would, and they rightfully fear the result from a bunch of sharp pins.

'Real' Mountain Bikes Don't Come With Pedals - June 20, 2022, 6:17 a.m.

It's not hard to find decent pedals for $10. CNC aluminum or nylon plastic body, screw-in metal spikes, steel spindle, sealed bearing and bushing configuration. Most of them come with excessively thick grease on spindle, but otherwise, they're a strong facsimile of the $60+ boutique models. At OEM pricing, I'd expect the molded plastic dreck to run about $5 less. Not worth the savings, I would think.

Garbaruk 11-Speed Wide Range Drivetrain - June 1, 2022, 9:48 a.m.

I don't see the proposed combination working out of the box. Shimano's 12S RD ratio is 1.1. For road 11S RDs, including GRX, it's 1.4. JTEK's Shiftmate 8 can pair them.

Garbaruk 11-Speed Wide Range Drivetrain - June 1, 2022, 9:40 a.m.

That cassette is artwork. There are a few other 11S options from Chinese vendors that might be worth a comparison: ZTTO's 11-50 (HG, 400g, $100) and SROAD's 9-43 (XD, 300g, $150). Both have the same CNC steel, 1 alloy sprocket construction. Garbaruk's own 10-46 is a little easier on the derailleur if XD/XDR is available.

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