Everyday MTB https://everydaymtb.com Product reviews for every day mountain bike riders. Fri, 11 Dec 2020 05:25:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6 https://i2.wp.com/everydaymtb.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/new-logo.png?fit=32%2C27&ssl=1 Everyday MTB https://everydaymtb.com 32 32 130162954 5 MTB Christmas Stocking Stuffers In Stock https://everydaymtb.com/5-mtb-christmas-stocking-stuffers-in-stock/ https://everydaymtb.com/5-mtb-christmas-stocking-stuffers-in-stock/#respond Fri, 11 Dec 2020 05:23:09 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=2146 Finding MTB gear in stock this year can be a challenge. We’ve found 5 great stocking stuffers for less than $20 that are in stock now! PNW Loam Grips – $19 I’ve been riding with these grips for the last...

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Finding MTB gear in stock this year can be a challenge. We’ve found 5 great stocking stuffers for less than $20 that are in stock now!

PNW Loam Grips – $19

I’ve been riding with these grips for the last few months and I have been really liking them. They are durable, with just the right amount of padding to prevent hand fatigue. Plus, they come in an assortment of rad colors.

Sport Drive HV Hand Pump – $19.99

The Lezyne Sport Drive HV is a reliable and compact pump with enough volume to inflate mountain bike tires. The filler hose cleverly stows in the body of the pump to make for a compact package that is easy to use. You can check out our full review here.

Sock Guy Socks – $10.95

Sock guy makes some of the most distinctive socks for mountain bikers. There are a ton of designs to choose from. You’re almost guaranteed to find something that fits your recipients’ personality. Plus they’re super comfy!

Cliff Bar Minis – 10.99

Cliff bars are probably a familiar site to almost any mountain biker. But these bars have a twist. They’re smaller. I’ve found these cliff bar minis are easier to eat while riding or a taking a quick break. And because the portions are smaller you’re less likely to upset your stomach if you are putting in some hard efforts.

Park Tool 3-Way Hex Wrench

The Park Tool 3 way hex wrench is an extremely handy tool to have around the shop / garage / bedroom/ deck or wherever the mountain biker in your life works on their bike. With refined touches like ball heads for getting in at odd angles, this wrench with the 3 most common hex sizes is a versatile tool.

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Garmin inReach SE+ MTB Review https://everydaymtb.com/garmin-inreach-se-mtb-review/ https://everydaymtb.com/garmin-inreach-se-mtb-review/#respond Mon, 07 Dec 2020 23:44:56 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=2122 Even before the pandemic mountain biking has often taken me on solo trips far into uninhabited areas. There is an inherent amount of risk with this type of travel and the Garmin inReach SE+ has become part of my risk...

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Even before the pandemic mountain biking has often taken me on solo trips far into uninhabited areas. There is an inherent amount of risk with this type of travel and the Garmin inReach SE+ has become part of my risk management strategy. I’ve found over time though that it is more than just an SOS button.

The Garmin inReach SE+ is a GPS / Satellite Communicator. This is a very different device than a hand-held GPS or a cell phone. The inReach uses the global Iridium® satellite network to allow users to send and receive messages from almost anywhere in the world. The global coverage is achieved with 66 low earth orbiting, cross-linked satellites that allow for two way communication.

Device Physical Features

The inReach SE+ is physically about the same size as a standard hand held GPS measuring 2.7″ x 6.5″ x 1.5″. Compared to a cell phone or most cameras this piece of electronics feels like a tank. It has a rugged, rubberized exterior. It’s also water-rated to IPX7.

The front has a dpad and 6 function buttons. There’s no touch screen here. Instead there is a 200 x 265 TFT display. The entire device is super robust and designed for rugged usage. The choice of buttons means that this device can be used with gloves or when wet. I’ve you’ve ever tried to use a cell phone during a rain storm you’ll know it’s an exercise in futility.

The software interface while not a touch screen is easy to understand and quick to navigate. It’s also very snappy and responsive. In general you won’t find yourself waiting for screens to load on this device.

The side of the device features the cover for the SOS button. This SOS button is what a lot of people buy the inReach device for. When pressed the SOS button initiates a conversation/action with a search and rescue dispatch that will work to get you help in a life-threatening situation.

Battery Life

The battery is a rechargeable internal lithium-ion. In most cases, you shouldn’t need to worry about recharging during a trip. The stated battery stats by Garmin have been accurate.

  • Up to 100 hours at 10-minute tracking mode (default)
  • Up to 75 hours at 10-minute tracking with 1-second logging
  • Up to 30 days at the 30-minute interval power save mode
  • Up to 3 years when powered off

This is something that I think Garmin has really nailed on many of their devices and the inReach SE+ is no exception. Not having to think about battery life for a survival device is really awesome. Wilderness rescue teams often say that the last thing they hear from a person needing help is “my battery is dying on my cell phone.” Garmin has been building rugged electronic devices for commercial, military and private applications for a long time, and I really think they understand what serious adventurers need.

Messaging

The inReach SE+ software is operated by the button-based user interface. You can track your progress, set waypoints, send messages, get the forecast, and more all using the built-in controls.

The device also features bluetooth to allow you to connect to a smartphone to control the device from there. The idea is that you then have a higher resolution touch screen that people are more used to interacting with and typing on.

In my use I almost never pair the inReach with my phone. Typing on the device is done via the dpad and Garmin has included on device intelligent word completion. This makes typing short messages rather fast and then my cell phone battery can be reserved for maps and taking pictures.

An example of typing on the inReach SE+

Messages can be sent to phone numbers and email addresses and each message can have multiple recipients. There are also 3 “preset messages”. These messages are preset during device configuration and can be sent for free on any of the inReach plans. I use these extensively for letting my wife know that I’m ok or that I’ve made it back to my vehicle after an adventure. Every message will also include your location and link to an online map of your location. This is great if you need to have someone pick you up at a remote location.

All of these messages are sent via satellite, not cell phone towers. This means that they will send almost anywhere outdoors. The device does need a clear view of the sky to send and receive messages. Areas where you may run into trouble are very narrow canyons or areas of dense tree coverage. In actuality, I’ve never had an issue sending a message. The device usually takes 30 seconds to 2 minutes to sync up to the satellite network and send messages.

The inReach SE+ syncs every so often with the satellite network to pull down new messages. This is a configurable setting to allow for greater battery life. You can also trigger and manual retrieval of new messages in the user interface.

In addition to standard messaging you can share your track online publicly or with select contacts. The inReach device will send waypoints at preselected time intervals, so people back home can track your progress online. This is an area that I haven’t used extensively. My main use of this device is as a safety and messaging device.

Navigation

The SE+ in comparison to the Explorer®+ does not include topographic maps and they cannot be loaded later. I chose to go with the SE+ to save 50 dollars and use specialized mapping tools on my cell phone.

As far as navigation on the device goes, you’ll get a basic breadcrumb and waypoint functionality along with basic latitude, longitude, altitude, and heading displays. The compass is a GPS compass so it will only work while moving. This is another reason some people might want to upgrade to the Explore+ as it includes a true compass. You can preload a track onto the device but you won’t have any surrounding topography or map lines for reference.

Weather

For longer expeditions, the inReach SE+ can retrieve NOAA weather forecast for your current location or waypoint. This is most helpful for things like bikepacking trips or if you are camping in a remote location. I’ve used the forecasts on a few occasions when the weather has been iffy in the mountains and cell signal is far away.

An example forecast

Subscription

The Garmin inReach Explore+ retails for $399, which is a fair amount of money upfront. However, the device will be pretty useless without being attached to the Garmin inReach subscription service. This is basically like a cell phone plan but for satellites. Here is a breakdown of the current pricing:

SafetyRecreationExpedition
SOSUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Text Messages1040Unlimited
Preset MessagesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Tracking Intervals10 min+10 min+2 min+
Send/Track Points$0.10 eaUnlimitedUnlimited
Location Requests$0.10 eaUnlimitedUnlimited
Basic Weather1 text message ea1 text message eaUnlimited
Premium Weather$1.00 ea$1.00 ea$1.00 ea
Premium Marine Weather$1.00 ea$1.00 ea$1.00 ea
Monthly Charges (annual plan)$11.95/mo$24.95/mo$49.95/mo
Overage Charge for Messages$0.50$0.50N/A

You’ll notice that even on the basic “Safety” plan you get unlimited preset messages and 10 text messages every month. This is the plan I use and I rarely go over my allotted amount. Most of the time I just use the preset messages to check in and let people know I’m ok. If I need to communicated details those ten messages usually do the trick

The Garmin inReach SE+ has proven itself as a very robust and reliable device. If your adventures regularly take you to unpopulated areas I would recommend getting one if it fits in your budget. Even if you aren’t riding solo, being able to assist an injured partner and get them help without leaving them can be invaluable in an emergency. If you are willing to stretch your budget slightly, the Explore+ adds some really great navigation features.

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Teravail Kennebec 29 X 2.6 Review https://everydaymtb.com/teravail-kennebec-29-x-2-6-review/ https://everydaymtb.com/teravail-kennebec-29-x-2-6-review/#respond Thu, 03 Dec 2020 11:32:00 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=2105 It seems like the last 5 years has seen an explosion of tire options available to us as Mountain Bikers. Teravail, is one of those brands that I hadn’t even heard of a few years ago. I got a chance...

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It seems like the last 5 years has seen an explosion of tire options available to us as Mountain Bikers. Teravail, is one of those brands that I hadn’t even heard of a few years ago. I got a chance to do a long term test of their Teravail Kennebec 29×2.6 tire this past year. I put it through the paces in a myriad of conditions. Today we’ll dive into how it held up.

Mounting and Tire Construction

The Teravail Kennebec 29×2.6 tire comes in two constructions. The “Light & Supple” option offers decreased weight and a comfortable, more supple ride quality with a 60tpi casing. The “Durable Sidewall” option consists of a woven nylon composite reinforcement between the outer rubber and the inner casing within the tire’s sidewalls to further prevent tearing and abrasions. The trade-off is a bit of a weight penalty. I opted for the “Light & Supple” option. My copy of this tire weighed in at 1040g.

The Kennebec is a big beefy looking tire with tall lugs. The center lugs feature a squared off design with perpendicular siping for added traction under breaking.

Outside of the center lugs there are transition lugs that are much more widely spaced while keeping the same general shape and siping. This extra space is designed to allow the tire to shed mud more easily.

The side lugs have parallel siping to help with traction when the tire is leaned over in corners. The side lugs are larger and feature extra bracing to prevent them from folder over when in turns.

6 rows of lugs on the Kennebec each with unique siping and spacing.

The Kennebec is not designated as a front only tire per say, but it seems that in most applications this tire would be used in the front. You also, may run into clearance issues depending on your bike if you try to mount this tire in the rear. I tried to pair this with a Teravail Cumberland 2.6 in the rear on my Kona Process 153. The rear tire which is almost exactly the same width would not clear.

Teravail recommends mounting these tires on 29 internal width rims. I had this tire mounted up on both a WTB 29mm internal width rim and on a I9 27mm internal width rim. Mounting in both cases was painless and the bead engaged well with both rims.

Ride Quality

After mounting the Kennebec up I took them for their inaugural neighborhood pavement ride. On the pavement I could definitely sense the beefy lugs. However, those lugs seemed to still roll reasonably well. This tire won’t win any weight competitions but accelerating did not feel overly sluggish.

Out on the dirt the tire impressed immediately. Pushing into corners felt predictable and steady. It took quite a lot to get the tire to even start to break traction. And when it did start to break traction I could sense exactly what it was doing.

Railing flat turns with confidence feels natural on the Kennebec

The transition from the center lugs to the side lugs was very smooth. The shape of the tire on my testing rims yielded a very consistent feel as the bike leaned over.

I tested the Kennebec on everything from snow to slickrock to loamy mountain trails. Honestly, I never found a surface where I felt like this tire was putting my at a major disadvantage.

Definitely not it’s intended use, but I even took the Kennebec out to play in the snow.

On very hard packed surfaces this tire is maybe a little less than ideal. But, even with that being said it holds up well, just with a little more rolling resistance. When it came to shedding mud the Kennebec performed about equally well as other tires I’ve used that are suited to muddy conditions. In the states that I tested this tire in, mud riding is not advisable, so my experience was a bit limited.

The added width over what many bikes are going to have stock (a 2.3″ or 2.4″ tire) may take a little getting used to. Overall, I’d say I don’t notice the added volume very much, though I might be able to run a little bit lower pressure that I would otherwise be able to.

Durability

This is what really impressed me about this tire. Remember I used the lighter of the two casing options and after 13 months of hard riding this tire is still performing well. It’s been plugged once and that plug has held for months.

The Colorado high deserts where I ride most frequently usually eat through tires in 6-10 months. This tire is still going strong. I’ve had no sidewall cuts and all the knobs are still in tact and performing well. I’m pretty amazed. In the same time that this one front tire has been on my bike I’ve gone through 3 rear tires from different brands.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a meaty, durable tire and aren’t one to count every single gram the Teravail Kennebec is a tire to consider. It performs well on a variety of surfaces and has stood up to some major abuse.

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Opinion: Geometry is “Free” https://everydaymtb.com/opinion-geometry-is-free/ https://everydaymtb.com/opinion-geometry-is-free/#respond Thu, 26 Nov 2020 03:44:10 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=2088 Here at EverydayMTB we tend to focus on getting the most bang for your buck out of your riding equipment. What might be counter-intuitive to some then, is that this makes me even more critical of bike geometry. Why? I’ll...

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Here at EverydayMTB we tend to focus on getting the most bang for your buck out of your riding equipment. What might be counter-intuitive to some then, is that this makes me even more critical of bike geometry. Why? I’ll explain below.

The concept of a “Mountain Bike Maker” is largely a misnomer. Even the largest players in the market, Specialized, Trek, Giant etc don’t make many of the key components on their bikes. Shocks, brakes and drivetrains all are sourced from other manufacturers even if in house touch points, wheels and tires are used. And for most smaller brands almost everything except for the frame is sourced from other manufacturers.

So what really is the difference between buying a Specialized, a Diamondback, a Transition or a Santa Cruz? Here are the main things I think you’re paying for:

  • Warranty and Customer Service
  • Suspension Linkage Engineering
  • Materials Technology
  • Frame Geometry

Each of these items are a way bike brands can differentiate their brands. SRAM GX Eagle is going to shift the same on every bike but a suspension linkage will make the bike climb in that massive Eagle gear significantly differently.

That last item on that list is what this article is all about. Bike brands do get to determine the geometry of their bikes. That geometry is one of the few ways that brands get to set themselves apart. For this reason, we’ll always call out a bike with geometry that is not well sorted out and on the flip side, we’ll get excited about any bike that is doing good things with the geometry of their frameset.

The interesting thing to me when reviewing bikes is that geometry is relatively “free”. It does take engineering work, but making a 69 degree head tube does not cost less than a 65 degree head tube angle. This is why it always gives us pause when a bike has geometry that doesn’t seem to make sense or degrades the ride characteristics of the bike.

A recent example of this, and what I suspect sometimes happens with bike brands, was our review of the Diamondback Release 29 2. This bike I suspect was a repurposed design from a 27.5 plus bike that has been in Diamondback’s lineup for a while, The Catch.

The result is that it appears that Diamondback didn’t put in the work to get the geo right on this new bike. What does this mean in practice? Here are a few comparisons with the YT Jeffsey, Kona Process 134 and StumpJumper Alloy. All of these bikes are representative of the burlier end of trail bikes just like the Release 29.

Diamondback Release 29YT JeffseyKona Process 134StumpJumper Alloy
Reach427450450450
Head Tube Angle67.7666665
Seat Tube Angle737776.577.9
*All measurements are size medium bikes

It’s pretty easy to see that the engineers at YT, Kona and Specialized are all on a different path than Diamondback here. From riding both types of bikes I’ll tell you that the YT, Kona and Specialized bikes make more sense to me out on the trail.

Also, it’s important note that all three of those other bikes come in at similar price-points to the Diamondback. This is, the point I want to get home. Geometry is free. You shouldn’t have to compromise on good geometry to hit a price-point and I wouldn’t trust any brand that says that you do.

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Pedaling Innovations Catalyst Evo Review https://everydaymtb.com/pedaling-innovations-catalyst-evo-review/ https://everydaymtb.com/pedaling-innovations-catalyst-evo-review/#respond Mon, 16 Nov 2020 06:00:00 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=1840 If you are a diehard flat pedal user like me, you have may have seen Pedaling Innovations Catalyst pedals. Even if you didn’t know what they were you would have said, “Wow, those are big pedals.” Pedaling Innovations now has...

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If you are a diehard flat pedal user like me, you have may have seen Pedaling Innovations Catalyst pedals. Even if you didn’t know what they were you would have said, “Wow, those are big pedals.” Pedaling Innovations now has a new version of their distinctive pedals, the Catalyst Evo. We’ll take a look at these new pedals today and look at what Pedaling Innovations is all about.

The concept behind Pedaling Innovations pedals is more than just making a larger target for your foot to hit. The Catalyst pedals feature an elongated design that supports both ends of your foot. Instead of riding with the axle under the ball of your foot, you ride with the axle under your arch and a larger platform supporting your foot.

The argument is that just like a wrestler, snowboarder, or football player having your full foot planted on the ground provides you with a better platform than balancing on the balls of your feet. If you want to hear the full argument this video is worth a listen.

At $125 for the standard pedaling innovations pedal, the price of entry is not cheap. The Evo version that I am reviewing here bumps that price up to $149. For that extra $20 you get more refined IGUS bushings and rear entry pins in a slightly different layout than the base model.

Design

When I installed the Evo pedals I was coming from a pair of Crankbrothers Stamp 3 pedals. The Stamp 3 pedals are some of the larger pedals out there other than Pedaling Innovations offerings. As you can see in the photo below the Crank Brothers pedals are actually wider but a bit shorter when compared toe Evos.

Size comparison of the Catalyst Evo and Stamp 3

The Evo is not a super light pedal. Weighing in on our scales at 265g per pedal. This is 30 grams heaver than the 235g stamp pedal we used for comparison purposes.

Setup

The Catalyst Evo pedals come with the pins not installed so the rider can choose the pin layout. There are 10 pins per side and as mentioned before the pins are rear entry on the Evo model. This is significantly fewer pins than the base model pedal that has 18 pins but are front-entry design. The rear entry pins are more aggressive for sure and won’t get clogged up with dirt as easily. However, I think the base model pin layout may give more adjustability in grip by adding and removing pins.

Comparison of the Evo pedals on the left and base model pedals on the right

The pins do need to be installed when you receive the pedals so riders can expect to be applying lock tight to each pin and attaching them individually.

The instructions provide recommend lowering your seatpost by 2-3 cm and also possibly moving your seat forward as well. This is due to the fact that positioning your foot in the middle of your foot extends the distance your leg needs to reach from the saddle to the pedal. I found that in my case I was already riding with a pretty middle of the foot biased position so I only slightly slid my seat forward to compensate.

Riding

So what does mid-foot riding feel like. Great! In all seriousness after a few rides adjusting to a fully midfoot position I felt right a at home with the foot position. This experience will of course vary based on how far forward you biased you foot previously and how adaptable you are in your riding habits.

I will say that personally I didn’t feel any huge benefits from the movement in foot position. This could be because I was already on this path of foot positioning more to the middle with my previous pedals or it could also be that some people will just feel more benefits than others.

The more subtle benefits that I felt included feeling a bit more balanced on my pedals with less ankle fatigue. I also found that mechanically the pins did a very good job of retaining my feet on my pedals. I’m a big believer in riding your bike and turning your bike through your feet and the Catalyst Evo pedals definitely do a good job of facilitating that.

My only complaint while riding these pedals was that they are bit narrower than some other pedals. I found that with my large feet (Size 12 US) I would sometimes position my feet outside of the inner most pins. This could lead to a bit less stable feeling until I re-positioned my feet.

Conclusion

So, are they worth the $149.00 price tag? For most riders, probably not. If you like the concept of mid-foot riding, the cheaper regular model Catalyst pedal is probably a better bet. The standard bearings will last for a long long time and you can get service kits for them if needed. If you don’t even want to lay out that much money you could even experiment with another large composite-based pedal on the market like the Crank Brother Stamp 1 that can be obtained for under $50.

That being said, for some the Pedaling Innovations benefits are more pronounced for some riders. For example my wife had trouble with knee pain while riding. Switching to the Catalyst pedals solved this problem for her and was totally worth the money. If you have a specific problem you’re trying solve or technique you’re trying to improve the Catalyst and Catalyst Evo pedals are worth a look.

Pedaling Innovations provided the pedals for this review.

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Best 2021 Full Suspension Trail Bikes For $2000 https://everydaymtb.com/best-2021-full-suspension-trail-bikes-for-2000/ https://everydaymtb.com/best-2021-full-suspension-trail-bikes-for-2000/#respond Tue, 10 Nov 2020 03:54:47 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=2035 This by far has been one of the weirdest years to try to buy a new bike. Stock shortages however are only part of the changing landscape of buying a new bike. Prices of base models have also been trending...

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This by far has been one of the weirdest years to try to buy a new bike. Stock shortages however are only part of the changing landscape of buying a new bike. Prices of base models have also been trending up. For example, a couple of years ago an entry-level StumpJumper ST cost $1,850 now the entry-level StumpJumper is $2,200. These are arguably different bikes but there is no denying that sub $2000 trail bikes are becoming fewer and farther between. In this roundup we’ll take a look at the best options we’ve found for 2021. Keep in mind, stock may be limited so you may need to hunt around to find one of these options.

Best Platform to Upgrade

Marin Rift Zone 29 1 – $1,679.00

We reviewed the previous version of this bike when it was rocking 120mm of front and rear travel. Marin has now bumped the front travel up to 130mm as we suggested in our review. The rear suspension layout on the Rift zone is a simple and proven single pivot design. The suspension on this base model is driven by the X-Fusion O2 Pro R.

The front suspension is handled by a RockShox Recon Silver with 32mm Stanchions. At 130mm of travel, we’d like to see a 35m or 34mm fork to stiffen up the front end but this is a budget build.

As far as the geo of the frame goes this bike has the most modern numbers of any bike in this round-up. There is a tendency for entry-level bikes to lag behind in geometry, but not so here.

This base model also retains the 11-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain but with a large range cassette and an updated derailer. This build overall does cut some corners to hit the price point. One of the biggest being that it has an upgradable 141 QR rear end. However, the frame and geometry are solid and parts can be upgraded over time. This build does not come with a dropper so that will be many buyers’ first upgrade.

Geo Chart

SizeSMLXL
Wheels29″29″29″29″
Stack603607612616
Reach430455480505
Stack/Reach Ratio1.401.331.271.22
Top Tube Length580606633659
Seat Tube Length390400425430
Seat Tube Angle76.076.076.076.0
Head Tube Length100105110115
Head Tube Angle65.565.565.565.5
BB Drop34343434
BB Height344344344344
Front Center736763790817
Chainstay Length425425425425
Wheelbase1,1591,1861,2131,240
Rake42424242
Trail125125125125
Standover Height692697718722

Most Canadian Bike

Norco Fluid FS 3 – $1,799.00

Who doesn’t love Canada? When speccing Fluid FS 3, Norco chose to go with X-Fusion suspension on the front and rear. You’ll also get a SRAM SX 12 speed drivetrain and Tectro brakes. Norco uses a sliding wheel size system that fits an XS and S bike with 27.5 wheels. Mediums get the option of 27.5 or 29 and the LG and XL sizes are dedicated 29ers.

We reviewed the Norco Fluid FS previously and found that the suspension was a bit finicky but overall we really liked how the bike climbed. For an all-rounder trail bike the Norco Fluid could serve nicely.

SizeXSSMDMDLXL
Wheels27.5″27.5″27.5″29″29″29″
Stack 568577587603612621
Reach 380410440440470500
Stack/Reach Ratio1.491.411.331.371.31.24
Top Tube Length 522554586590623655
Seat Tube Length 370390420420450490
Seat Tube Angle767676767676
Head Tube Length 100110120100110120
Head Tube Angle66666666.566.566.5
BB Drop 181818363636
BB Height 342342342342342342
Front Center 671705739742777810
Chainstay Length 431431431429429429
Wheelbase 1,1011,1351,1691,1691,2041,237
Rake 424242515151
Trail 114114114109109109
Standover Height 640654664682694704

Most Complete Build

Canyon Neuron 5 – $1,899.00

Canyon is one of the juggernaut direct to consumer brands in the bike maker landscape today. And they bring that buying power and savings to their Canyon Neuron 5. Unlike most other brands Canyon was able to skirt under the 2k mark while still equipping the front and rear suspension with RockShox components. You also get a 12 speed SRAM SX drivetrain, a dropper post, and Shimano brakes.

The geometry on the other hand of the Neuron is starting to look a bit dated. With the steepest headtube angle in the this round-up and the shortest reach, riders who are not into “new school” geometry are going to feel the most at home here. On the Neuron you’ll find 130mm of front and rear suspension. The wheel size moves from 27.5 to 29 depending on size.

SizeXSSMDLXL
Wheels27.5″27.5″29″29″29″
Stack579589612623651
Reach398418433453473
Stack/Reach Ratio1.461.411.411.381.38
Top Tube Length559581603626654
Seat Tube Length400400445480520
Seat Tube Angle74.574.574.574.574.5
Head Tube Length90100100112143
Head Tube Angle67.067.067.567.567.5
BB Drop1818383838
BB Height337337336336336
Front Center693717729753785
Chainstay Length430430440440440
Wheelbase1,1221,1461,1661,1901,222
Rake5252535252
Trail9494989999
Standover Height751755774780800

Best XC Racer

SCOTT SPARK 970 – $1,999

If you want a trail bike you can also race the Scott Spark 970 may be your ticket. Scott has a reputation for building fast XC bikes. The 970 retains race feature from more expensive models like their unique twin-lock lockout system that locks out the rear and front shock. Whereas most systems only increase low-speed compression in an effort to gain pedaling efficiency, TwinLoc allows Scott to change compression damping, and the spring curve, dynamically altering the geometry of the bike. The X-Fusion rear shock has a special travel / geo adjust system that give you 3 modes: Lockout, Traction Control and Descend.

You will find pretty standard XC geo on this bike with 130mm of front suspension and 120mm in the rear. A 12 speed SRAM SX drivetrain and Shimano MT201 brakes make this a bike your can roll out of the shop and race if needed.

SizeSMMDLGXL
Wheels29″29″29″29″
Stack593593602612
Reach403433460477
Stack/Reach Ratio1.471.371.311.28
Top Tube Length575605635655
Seat Tube Length410440490540
Seat Tube Angle73.873.873.873.8
Head Tube Length9595105115
Head Tube Angle67.267.267.267.2
BB Drop43434343
BB Height327327327327
Front Center687717748769
Chainstay Length438438438438
Wheelbase1,1221,1521,1831,204
Rake48484848
Trail100100100100
Standover Height738746760778

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Michelin Force AM 2.35 Tire Review https://everydaymtb.com/michelin-force-am-2-35-tire-review/ https://everydaymtb.com/michelin-force-am-2-35-tire-review/#respond Tue, 20 Oct 2020 04:07:17 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=2012 We recently did a long term test of the Michelin Force AM 2.35 tire. Here’s what we found. The AM in the tire name stand for “All Mountain. “All Mountain” is a term not used as often in the states....

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We recently did a long term test of the Michelin Force AM 2.35 tire. Here’s what we found.

The AM in the tire name stand for “All Mountain. “All Mountain” is a term not used as often in the states. Looking at Michelin’s lineup it appears that AM tires slot in between their enduro and cross country tires. So for our U.S. centric purposes I would refer to this a trail tire.

Upon receiving this tire though, I was immediately struck by how low profile it was. The center knobs barely leave the surface of the tire. The side knobs are not a ton larger. Even though Michelin says this tire can be used front or rear I would consider it suicide using this tire as anything but a rear semi-slick. I’ll get more into that here in just a moment.

For my use, I purchased a 29x.2.35 version of the tire. This tire weighs in at a very respectable 790 grams on my scale. This makes this tire a little bit lighter than something like a Maxxis Ardent.

Riding

After mounting up any tire my first experience with it is always riding it on some level pavement. This gives me an initial first impression of the rolling resistance and sidewall feel of the tire. The Michelin Force AM felt good after mounting but not amazing. The overall lightness of the tire was very apparent but the rolling feel did not reflect how short the knobs on the tire were.

The real test though is applying any tire to dirt. I’ve been able to ride this tire in loose desert sand, sedona slickrock, high alpine trails, aspen and pine forests and bike parks. My impression across all conditions was basically the same. The perks of lightness and decent rolling resistance were far outweighed by the downsides.

The perks of lightness and decent rolling resistance were far outweighed by the downsides.

The Force AM tire on my back wheel in just about any condition was pretty inconsistent on descents. Even after riding it for multiple months, I was never sure how well it would hook or when traction would break. This resulted in skidding during braking, less aggressive cornering, and more difficulty with line choice.

Unlike other semi-slick rear tires I have ridden, when leaning the bike over the side knobs did not seem to engage well or be aggressive enough. Overall descending on the Force AM felt like descending on a purpose-built XC tire.

We didn’t hold back while descending on the Force AM

While climbing the tire did not fair much better. On steeper climbs wheel spin was common and I felt that I needed to baby the tire to get it to crawl up technical terrain.

The tire did do ok on relatively flat sections of trail. But any time the trail got steep or curvy things did not go well.

Durability

During my testing I did not slice or flat this tire. It did hold up admirably for having a relatively light casing. Whether this was luck or not is hard to tell.

The tread itself however did not fair so well. After a month or so on my primary bike I could already see the the knobs were beginning to break free of the tire. A couple more months in and the tire was basically shot and needed to be replaced in order for me to be able to stop with any semblance of control. Of all the tires I have tested long-term, the Michelin Force AM tire lasted the shortest period of time. I can usually ride a tire for a full season before I begin thinking about a replacement. Not so here.

Knobs tear off and disintegrating

Conclusion

Overall, I think this is a mislabeled tire. It really didn’t seem to have any place on my Kona Process 153. On a sporty hardtail? Maybe. For the average rider though, this is not the right tire. There are simply too many compromises and too many other great tires on the market to choose from.

Pros:

  • Low Weight
  • Relatively Fast Rolling

Cons:

  • Inconstant Traction
  • Poor Climbing and Cornering Traction
  • Short Life and Lack of Durability

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Cotapaxi Teca Windbreaker Review https://everydaymtb.com/cotapaxi-teca-windbreaker-review/ https://everydaymtb.com/cotapaxi-teca-windbreaker-review/#respond Tue, 08 Sep 2020 22:29:17 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=1949 “Mountain” is in the name of our sport. If there’s one thing the mountains can guarantee, it’s that the weather will be unpredictable. Riding in the ever-changing weather of Colorado, I was in need of an outer layer that could...

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“Mountain” is in the name of our sport. If there’s one thing the mountains can guarantee, it’s that the weather will be unpredictable. Riding in the ever-changing weather of Colorado, I was in need of an outer layer that could pack away into almost nothing but provide me the protection I needed for the unexpected. Let’s see if the Cotapaxi Teca Windbreaker fits the bill.

Design

The Teca windbreaker is constructed from repurposed polyester taffeta with DWR finish. A unique part of Cotapaxi’s ethos is trying to build technical clothing more sustainably. By using remnant fabric they can save fabric that might otherwise be discarded. This also means that the color combinations are limited edition and will eventually sell out.

The windbreaker features elastic bindings at the hood, cuff, and hem which help the coat have a tighter fit, great for active use such as mountain biking. The hood rotates very well when placed over a helmet.

There are two external pockets. These pockets don’t have any zippers or other methods of closure though, so their utility is limited. There is also an inner pocket that doubles as a stuff sack for packing the coat down.

The full-length zipper is not externally baffled which makes it somewhat less waterproof, but on the balance, very easy to zip and unzip. Cotapaxi advertises this as a windbreaker, not a raincoat, so the weatherproofing is lighter weight.

In Use

That lightweight though is an advantage in many other ways. The Teca is extremely packable and weighs only 4.5oz. This is comparable to something like the Patagonia Houdini that clocks in just under 3oz.

When stuffed into the corner of a pack the jacket is smaller than a fist. This means that I am able to carry this jacket with me on almost every ride weather I am carry a full pack or going with a lighter weight hip pack or feed bag type setup.

This is a key advantage of this jacket. Even if it provides a little less protection than a full rain jacket, compared to a rain jacket left at home it provides much more protection.

In terms of ventilation the Teca jacket has a back vent and is constructed from somewhat breathable fabric. You won’t find zippered vents or hidden vents in the pockets. I suspect this was done to save on weight and size. Which means, if you are getting hot and sweaty just take it off and stuff it in a pocket.

The fit for active use of this jacket is just about perfect. This jacket has the best rotating hood I have used. The body and arms have just enough room for layer but don’t flap in the wind when you’re hauling downhill. The fabric is also pretty quiet so you don’t get that annoying crinkle sound of some jackets.

A Real World Storm

I got the chance recently to test out the Teca in some severe weather while on a ~20 mile shuttled descent. While I and a friend were in a canyon with exits only at each end, we encountered a fierce store complete with heavy rain and hail. The trail turned to a complete muddy soup with clay that stuck to everything. We were left to drag bikes with wheels that would not turn for several miles.

A little bit after this photo, as the rain kept pouring I started to shiver and knew that I needed to warm up. We started with a trailhead temperature of 70 degrees and expected 80s at the bottom. Thankfully though I had my Teca jacket along and I was impressed how quickly it allowed me to get to a comfortable temperature in the rain.

Overall, the Cotapaxi Teca Windbreaker has proven to be an extremely useful piece of kit that lives in my pack on every ride. I haven’t ever been sorry for bringing it along.

Pros:

  • Packable and Light
  • Great Fit
  • Well Design Hood
  • Unique Colors

Cons:

  • Not a Full Rain Jacket
  • No Closure on Pockets
  • Minimal Venting
Buy Now

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Trailforks Locks Down Access To User Generated Content https://everydaymtb.com/trailforks-locks-down-access-to-user-generated-content/ https://everydaymtb.com/trailforks-locks-down-access-to-user-generated-content/#respond Tue, 01 Sep 2020 04:10:43 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=1953 The popular trail mapping app, Trailforks, announced today that it taking it’s formerly free trail mapping app and severely limiting its use for non-paying users. Here are the things users will be losing in the app unless they pay for...

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The popular trail mapping app, Trailforks, announced today that it taking it’s formerly free trail mapping app and severely limiting its use for non-paying users. Here are the things users will be losing in the app unless they pay for a subscription:

  • Access to maps in app, except for a 38×38 mile home area.
  • Heat maps
  • GPX file downloads
  • Unlimited wishlist items

You’ll notice that I specifically say losing. None of these are new features to Trailforks. Trailforks is simply taking user-contributed data and putting it behind a paywall. It’s pretty audacious and pretty amazing that Trailforks expects users to pony up to access the data they contributed without any additional features being added on day one.

The economics of the interaction with the user are all wrong here. Users submit trails, ride reports, updates etc. Without those submissions Trailforks is nothing. However, Trailforks has decided to double-dip by making users work to maintain and contribute new trail data and also pay to access that data that they submit.

The 38×38 mile limit for free users is laughable as well. I regularly ride Telluride, Rico, Fruita, Grand Junction, Gunnison, Crested Butte, and Moab. All of these zones are further than the limited area in different directions. Heck many mountain bike rides are further than 38 miles.

Trailforks plans to charge $1.49 per month for early adopters this month and then raise the price to $2.99 after that. Overall I don’t feel like this was the way to roll out a “pro” option for Trailforks. Giving no consideration to the fact that all the data they are now selling is user-generated seems rather capricious.

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Diamondback Release 29 2 Ride Review https://everydaymtb.com/diamondback-release-29-2-ride-review/ https://everydaymtb.com/diamondback-release-29-2-ride-review/#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2020 02:21:20 +0000 https://everydaymtb.com/?p=1882 Diamondback has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. Their level link suspension system made them again a legitimate player in the trail bike category with their 27.5 Release bikes. Diamondback however has been noticeably missing a 29er equivalent. The Release...

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Diamondback has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. Their level link suspension system made them again a legitimate player in the trail bike category with their 27.5 Release bikes. Diamondback however has been noticeably missing a 29er equivalent. The Release 29 is their answer, but how does it perform?

The Release 29 is actually based around the same frameset as the 27.5+ Diamondback catch. I believe Eric Porter was riding one of those frames with 29er wheels before the Release 29 was announced. Diamondback wouldn’t give me a straight answer on if the frameset was exactly the same front and back or if anything was re-engineered. The exact same 200×57 size shock is used on both bikes, so the linkage I can assume is pretty close to identical. The geo chart suggests that the bikes are VERY similar.

Geometry and Frame Design

This is unfortunately, in my estimation not a great thing. Looking at the bike on paper the geometry looks pretty dated. The reach on the medium I tested is only 427mm. Seat tube angle leans back at 73 degrees trying to compensate for that short reach.

The problems with the seat tube don’t end with the angles. The design of the level-link suspension means that there is a kink in the middle of the seat tube. As I tested the size medium bike the problems with this kink were immediately apparent.

The first bike I got on, the dropper post wouldn’t even function because the actuation cable was jammed against that kink. The second bike I swapped to I found that even with the dropper inserted as far as I could without damaging the post I was still left with several inches of post above the collar. This resulted in me not being able to get the dropper inserted far enough for my 5’10” frame to fit on the size medium bike.

I am not afflicted with dwarf legs and have never encountered this issue on other size medium bikes. The lack of flexibility of this frame was disappointing. I ended up riding the bike for the day constantly babying the dropper into a comfortable position.

My overly long dropper that I fought all day

Diamondback bills themselves as a value based brand, but speccing a bike with a dropper that won’t fit an average rider is a big miss. Most people purchasing this bike will not want to have to go out and replace their dropper out of the box just to fit on the bike.

The build of the bike has some other odd decisions. The Shimano SLX 11 speed drivetrain was decidedly mediocre and shouldn’t be found on a $2,800 bike. The fox suspension setup was a great choice but, the wheels, frame and other components mean that the entire package feels heavy and sluggish on the trail.

Ride Quality

Some bike feel so amazing on the way down that the weight going up is worth it. Unfortunately, the Release 29 didn’t fit this bill. Undergunned in the suspension and geometry departments for true big mountain enduro riding and way to heavy to be considered a good budget trail machine the Release 29 felt like it was decidedly mediocre everywhere. There are a plethera of purpose build 29ers on the market at competitive prices

The level link suspension was fine but didn’t have any special magic. I think in this case the suspension platform was held back by so many other compromises in this bike.

The short reach could have made a different bike feel snappy and maneuverable. Unfortunately, in this case it mainly felt short.

I really wanted to like the Release 29. I came into riding the bike with high hopes that this would be a great trail 29er. At every turn through, I was left disappointing. I would recommend waiting on the Release 29 till Diamondback reconfigures the frameset with a purpose build 29er design.

Pros:

  • Good suspension spec
  • Competative Price

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Seat tube does not allow full insertion of dropper
  • Poorly specced drivetrain
  • Unsorted geometry with slack seat tube

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