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Is a MIPS Equipped Helmet Really Necessary? - March 13, 2019, 12:52 p.m.

While this is a good rule of thumb, accidents happen. Sometimes, even if you're riding within your limits, something happens and you want your helmet to be there for you.

Also, I firmly believe in progression. It's what I like most about mountain biking: trying things that are outside my comfort zone. that's why I have a dirt jumper and go the skate park. of course, you have to progress slowly, but that still requires an element of risk.

I've cracked a few helmets in the past couple of decades riding bikes. I'm happy I have them, and I'm always paying attention to new technological improvements. of course, I'd be happier knowing those improvements have a basis in science, but as long as they don't take away from the baseline safety of the helmet (i.e. meet the same basic safety requirements and pass the same tests), I'll gladly shell out for a helmet claiming to have even more safety built-in (though an independant test that proves these claims sure would be nice).

Early Rider Belter 16 Trail - March 4, 2019, 10:43 a.m.

Ooooh, thanks for the tips! I had forgotten about the Salsa and didn't know about the Scott.

I too am solidly in the rigid camp; at least until my kids graduate from "I like to go out riding with dad. sometimes", to "this is awesome and I want to spend all my time doing this". I think a fat (or semi-fat) rigid offers the greatest versatility in that it can be used to ride off-road in the summer, maybe in winter when conditions are good, and to get to school and muck around the hood the rest of the year.

I also wanted to mention that I didn't realize quality kids flat pedals were a thing. I'll have to look into that. He constantly loses his pedals while we're riding. I keep trying to teach technique (drop those heels, get up off the saddle, your elbows and knees are all the suspension you need!), but some good/better pedals would probably help a shit-ton too.

I love this site: you guys equally fire my "gnar" stoke, as well as my kid stoke! thanks!

Early Rider Belter 16 Trail - March 4, 2019, 8:17 a.m.

My 6 y.o. has been watching me head out on fatbike rides, and asking if he can come along. This weekend the snow was firm and not too icy, so I thought lets give it a go.

it was tough-going on the little wheels and slippery pedals, which led to this:

that said, he didn't give up, and still had fun. But it got me thinking... maybe one of those 20" "Plus" tire bikes would work well for him? Hmmmm...

Something like this:

it would likely do well in the summer too...

but... are there others?

WTB Vigilante & Trail Boss Tire Review - Jan. 4, 2019, 10:47 a.m.

Thoughts on using the Trail Boss front and rear? Any instance in which this would be an advantage over using a Vig front and Trail Boss rear? I'm looking for something to replace my 2.3 DD Agressor that is a little wider. The 2.4 TB seems like a good candidate. But then I'd also need a wider tire in the front (because who rides a wider tire in the rear!?!). Currently running a 2.3 Butcher in the front. I had a Vig on the front a few years ago, and seem to remember it rolled somewhat slowly. I like the DHF and DHF-clones and want something in the 2.4 range. so... I'm wondering what 2.4 Trail Boss front and rear combo would feel like...

Kali Interceptor Helmet Reviewed - Aug. 24, 2018, 7:33 a.m.

I now have another Interceptor, as well as a Leatt DBX 3.0 All-mountain, the only other helmet I find comes close to the impact absorption capabilities of the Kali.  I got the Leatt because of fit.  My head measures in at 58.5cm.  So pretty much too big for the S Kali, and right on the cusp of the M and L Leatt (I tried both on, and while the M fit, the L was a much better fit, with better coverage).  My observations on fit, comfort and ventilation are as follows:

Kali: more of a round shape.  I have more side to side play with it. front to back is ok. it feels like a larger shell, and a sloppier fit (for me). padding is minimal and those LDL knobs dig into my head a little bit, making it uncomfortable after about an hour of riding. IMO, ventilation is slightly better than the Leatt. sweat drips aren't too big of a problem, but when they drip, it's into my glasses, towards the outside corners of my eyes.

Leatt: more of an oval shape.  front to back is good (similar to Kali), but it's closer on the sides, leading to a more snug fit.  padding is thicker too, and so overall, the helmet is comfortable. actually, it's very comfortable. the front pad is thick, and comes down far on my forehead. this makes it feel hot when you're wearing it, but I find I don't notice it while riding. it's only bothersome when stopped. I think this is because you're concentrating on other things while riding.  Ventilation is good (except across the brow - but as I said you get used to that). Surprisingly, sweat drips weren't a big concern. I would have thought because the pad is so thick and comes down so far, it would dump the sweat right down my forehead, but nope. I've been riding with this thing in hot, humid, misty east coast weather, and I sweat a lot, so I am tempted to say sweat management is excellent on this one.

Last thing that really differentiates these two, and makes a difference in my book, is the clean implementation of the accessory mount on the Kali. Lights are a reality about 9 months out of 12 for me. that mount is super nice, and super clean. I really wish Leatt had done something better than resorting to glue-on mounts.

Overall, I highly recommend both helmets. IMO (and IME), the Kali is totally worth its price. Safety is second to none, comfort is average (but that's highly personal), ventilation is good, and the accessory mount is very well executed and useful.

Kali Interceptor Helmet Reviewed - Aug. 24, 2018, 7:32 a.m.

Unfortunately for me, I was able to crash test this helmet. And I can say with certainty that it saved my neck. I washed out towards the inside of a berm (I think I started to wash out and overcorrected which led to oversteer), and my front wheel caught on something, and I went otb, jack-hammering onto my head. The impact went straight through my head and neck into the thoracic spine. no concussion, no broken neck. Two months later, I still have soreness between my shoulder blades, but it's manageable, and I'm back riding. I'm feel very lucky and I think this helmet played a significant role in that luck. I'm no expert, but I think the combination of high- and low-density foam really played a role in absorbing the significant impact that went through my head and spine.

Pics of the broken helmet:

The Medium Is Dead, Long Live Independent Media - Aug. 22, 2018, 8:03 a.m.

3.5 years on, and I still feel this way.  I subscribe to Bike, but don't really enjoy it.  I feel like its the same stories in different locations every issue: "we travelled to a faraway place, we overcame hardships, and are writing about it.".  I find I get my gear info/fix from the on-line sites and forums, so I'm not sure why I'm tied to print.  I guess it's something to read that's not a screen, and I like that.  But I'd love an alternative.  Something that's more focused on the scene and the vibe, as Dirt was.  I miss Dirt.

Kona Wah Wah 2 Composite Pedals - July 11, 2018, 8:51 a.m.

where did you get those unicorn socks?!

Riding WTB's New 2019 Rims & Tires - July 5, 2018, 1:25 p.m.

Oh man, that Judge looks like exactly what I've been looking for in a front tire. Essentially, a 2.4 DHR2 (not wide-trail). Except I'd want it in the light casing... why do tire manufacturers keep making the "almost there, but not quite" tire?!?! grrr.  those "too tall knobs" would be a tiny bit farther down on my 26i rim, and therefore be "just right"...

Riding 2019 Shimano XTR 12spd in Crested Butte - June 27, 2018, 8:35 a.m.

I totally agree that the SRAM X-Dome cassettes are remarkable for their weight and durability, and work super-well with Shimano derailleurs and shifters.

I'm still running a King hub in 142x12. When the day comes that the hub cannot be transferred over to a new frame, I hope this Scylence system is broadly available. The main reason I moved to a King hub was to get away from pawls. I would blow up hubs with pawls on a regular basis, so wanted something more robust. King's quality is undeniable, but the value for money proposition has just changed (imo) with this design. 

I really prefer Shimano's silky action vs. SRAM's positive "clunk", so if this new gruppo improves on that, and addresses the pitfalls of pawls, then they've addressed two of my biggest concerns. As long as the weight of the system remains comparably low (it is unsprung weight after all), I'll be down with the blue.

When the time comes of course, since for now, my King hubs, XO cassette, XT derailleur, XTR shifter of my Transition Patrol are likely to carry me for another few years.  I hope.

STRAP IT ON! Gear to Help Ditch your Backpack (etc.) - June 11, 2018, 8:03 a.m.

I've been wanting to ditch the pack for years.  But if I have to wear a fanny pack, I just don't see the point.  I have three caveats that I'd need adressed before ditching the pack.  If anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears.  I have a Transition Patrol, so room for one water bottle.

1. need to be able to carry 1.25l of water.  It's what I go through on a typical ride.

2. need to be able to carry a proper pump (with a hose)

3. no fanny pack. 

I figure a tube strapped to the frame, a multi-tool and wolftooth pliers in a tiny saddle bag, a solid water bottle mount for the pump and bottle.  But I still can't figure out the 1.25l of water...  I'd need two water bottles...  are there any options out there I'm not seeing?

Bike Helmets Are Too Hard (with Kali's Brad Waldron) - May 31, 2018, 7:50 a.m.

wow!  I was not expecting that answer.  Sweet as! I'll have a look tonight.

re the other point about softer helmets not being a selling point: I guess I'm of two minds this.  Yeah, it sucks to replace your helmet, those things are ridiculously expensive (MEC sells the Interceptor for $250!).  But I've always replaced my helmet after a good ding, and never use them for more than two seasons anyways. 

On the other hand, I've always thought that piss-pot helmets for the skate park and such were more than single use.  I thought that outer shell protected the foam in the helmet making it last longer...  Is this misguided?

Bike Helmets Are Too Hard (with Kali's Brad Waldron) - May 30, 2018, 1:20 p.m.

I have one of those Interceptors.  I quite like it.  It's quite breezy.  My main complaint is that those green dimples start digging into my head after about an hour.  After 2 hours, I feel like I have a vise clamping down in two very precise spots on my head.  It's beyond uncomfortable, and pushes into painful territory.  When fall riding with a lamp on top, it's excruciating until I start riding with a tuque.  Maybe this is a design element to look into?  The Leatt version (blue dough) looks like it wouldn't do that... Something to think about?

One question for you : if the Kali uses softer foam, does that mean the "knock" that renders it useless would have less force?  I.e. We're told that a helmet is a single-use piece of equipment.  One blow to the head, and it should be replaced.  The question always is, how big of a blow does it have to be to count?  So my question is: if Kali uses softer foams, will the blow that tells me I should send it to the trash be softer? (e.g. I glanced my helmet off the tree trunk I was passing under because I misjudged how low it was vs. I high-sided and whiplashed my head onto concrete with great force) 

Also, does that soft foam make it more or less susceptible to those small dings and dents from putting your helmet in your gear bag, or hanging in from the bars while pushing up the hill, or having it roll around the trunk when driving to and from the trail?

Mountainsmith Cycle Cube Gear Bag - May 17, 2018, 1:32 p.m.

I use a DH ski boot bag.  serves double duty, is rugged, and has shoulder straps.

e*thirteen TRS+ 9-46t Cassette - May 4, 2018, 11:20 a.m.

My experience with the SunRace cassette (11-36 10sp I think.  May have been 11-40) was that I bent a few of the cogs within 3 weeks of installing it.  The lockring had backed out on a particularly rocky trail and I hadn't noticed.  This meant the cassette has some lateral play.  I went to throw in a couple of pedal strokes and the chain had bounced out of its correct position, and when it tried to pull the cogs, it bent three of them. 

I hadn't done this to a cassette since my days running 9-sp SRAM (pre x-dome cassettes).  I used to do that at least once a year before that.  Never had a problem with Shimano cassettes.

Given what you say in your article about damaging cassettes, I'll be very interested in reading about your experience on this one.  My bike came with an XO1 cassette that is proving to be very durable.  When the time comes to replace it, this TRS+ cassette will be at the top of my list.

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