I agree! I usually carry a 20 year old Race Face jacket with me. It doesn’t pack down the smallest, but it has saved my hide countless times! I’m a NICA coach in Montana, and we require our student athletes to carry a jacket with them as part of their kit. An ESJ will save the day!
I like to think I ride "light" on my bike, but not always. I've never been hard on rims, only occasional dings.
I'm running Nox Composites Farlow carbon and Magic Mary DH on my Wreckoning with Huck Norris. I've had Huck in there for two years of Montana riding. I've had a one flat/broken rim from a rock strike running a DH course in Whitefish, but other than that, no flats or issues at all.
I mostly got Huck to help protect the rim. You should see that thing! There are cuts all the way through in multiple spots, so I know it's working. I just got new Hucks to put in. I figured the orginals have earned a rest. I don't run lower pressures, I mostly go by feel, but it's usually about 27 psi F/R. I don't like the sidewalls to squirm when cornering.
I started my son on a 24" hardtail when he was 8 or 9, and he did ok. I stepped up and got him the Transition Ripcord 24" dually, and wow! did his game step up too. He had the confidence and the fun factor went way up. He did extremely well with it. He rode it for a couple of years and then I sold it for only a few hundred bucks less than I bought it for. Kids bikes hold their value better than adult bikes. Just get a dually and prepare to be amazed. After all, you wouldn't ride anything less, why would you put your kid on something that you wouldn't ride? Get them 5.10 shoes too, same reason we wear them. They don't wear out in the time that they fit. I think I'd bought them on sale for $60 and sold them for $40 a year and a half later.
My son is 12 now and rides both uphill and downhill better than most of the adults we ride with. I put him on a closeout XS Rocky Mountain Altitude 730 carbon. He's not tall for his age or anything, but the 27.5" wheels fit him well and roll much better than 24s. He's had it for 3 years, and it happens to be the same frame size as mom's Thunderbolt, so we can recycle it through her too. I figure it's cheaper than hockey, and we all ride together. No more waiting for kids, he's going to be waiting for us soon.
My gauge on helmet replacement is - if I’ve hit hard enough to “feel it” on my head, and know that I hit significantly, I’ll replace it. I don’t crash very often, and I usually get as high end of a helmet as I can afford, so it isn’t an insignificant amount of money.
I figure that if I spend thousands on my bikes, why would I not spend a few hundred bucks on proper helmets? Insert your own vice that you spend a lot of money on (bikes, beer, weed, food, coffee, etc) and figure out if your head is worth getting the best that you can. I’ll cut out a few coffees or beers per month or week in order to get a good lid.
So many good, bad choices! This is like asking which of the Miss America contestants would I bang (like a screen door in a hurricane)!
2 Pack Rat is really ugly. #4 is pretty hideous too. I would vote for #6 only because I like the Megadeth reference (just got my tickets to see them and Scorpions) and mostly because I too, would love to see Cannondale get the trophy of ugliness and anything else that conveys my feelings for that company.
But, after careful consideration, #5 is the winner, I mean, loser and is most deserving of the Crown!
I put a Trek rubber downtube protector on my carbon Altitude, that works
perfectly. Actually their rubber chainstay protector works well too. I also
covered it in 3M clear mask tape for vehicles. I should have put more clear
mask material on my Maiden, I've got a few scratches and paint chips that
could have been avoided.