Bang for Your Buck
While the economy has us all watching our pennies, we ponder what it is that makes a product a good value. What is it that gives us that warm and fuzzy feeling? While there are lots of good deals out there on the web, and we strive to offer plenty of our own, we know that value can be something different. We think a good value product is one that can deliver great performance, come at a reasonable cost, and last for a long time. We encourage everyone to seek value in our specials section, but here we’ve assembled some staff favorites that deliver maximum bang for your hard-earned buck -- all day, every day. For those of us whofound yesterday’s mud on our phones this morning, these are some of the products that we are using on a daily basis.
- Magura Louise BAT disc brakeset — These under-sung units can handle any stopping duties. We all know that braking fast means going fast, so why not dispense with the pomp and flash and install a brake that has enough power to stop a truck, yet can be finessed with one finger to control a sketchy arc through loose off-camber corners. The ’09 Louise makes use of Magura’s BAT and Easy Bleed, which simply means that the lever can be dialed to perfection and bleeding the brakeset is a cinch. For ultra lightweight, there’s the Marta SL. But if its great value you seek, there’s hardly a better choice than the Louise. Premium stoppers for your entire bike for about $330.
- King Cage Stainless Water Bottle Cage — At $15, it does exactly what a water bottle cage should do, and it does it with timeless style and class. The stainless construction means that it’ll last forever and won’t mark up your favorite bottle.
- Santa Cruz Superlight R XC Complete Bike — Here’s a trail/race ready bike that we sell complete and ready to rock.Santa Cruz picks the parts and we do the loving build. The Superlight has proven its worth as a long time staple in their lineup. A redesign for 2007 gave it fresh breath. The Superlight has a loyal following for good reason. It’s handsome, light, and idiot-proof. Ride in style with a Fox fork, XT, Race Face, and WTB parts for $2299.
- WTB Rocket V Pro Saddle — Our customers aren’t wrong very often and we sell a bunch of these saddles. This $90 workhorse is also the one we spec on our demo bikes. It’s racy, yet comfortable, and it is no brick. The Pro version gives up 30 grams to the top-of-the-line Rocket V SLT, but it’ll save you $60. Take the extra money, treat yourself and someone special to a nice dinner, and on the next ride, just leave behind that one extra 32 gram GU pack that never gets slurped down anyway.
- Chris King NoThreadset — Hardly anything we say could make a difference in the reputation that these icons have. If your bike frame takes standard press-in cups, then this is the headset to install. We often say, ‘The Chris King Headset will outlast the frame that it’s installed in.’ Often, the actual truth is that it will outlast one’s passion for the sport. Chris King set the industry benchmark for precision, function, and finish and we have yet to see something else erode our confidence in its superiority. It comes in enough colors to compliment any bike build and is lightweight at 125 grams. It’s not cheap at $129.99 but certainly worth every penny because of its unmatched quality.
- Mavic Crosstrail Disc Wheelset — Want to go tubeless? Why fumble with goofy rim strips and tape when you could take advantage of Mavic’s unparalleled rim design and just install the tire, air it up, and go ride. These are the wheels that we use on our demo bikes. Maintenance – truing, bearing replacement, freehub woes? We just don’t ever have any issues. Period. We install these wheels and forget ‘em. In our opinion, the Mavic UST compatible rim is the best on the market. Combine that with great bearings and an easily serviced freehub, and the Crosstrail Disc Wheelset becomes a great value under $475.
- SRAM PC-970 Chain — Ah, the lowly bike chain. Here’s the real unsung hero of our passion. Without it we’d still be riding boneshakers. The 970 is the least expensive chain that we sell, but it’s all you need to go hammer down. The fact is, for $28 you get a strong, smooth shifting 9-speed chain that comes with a quick-connect Powerlink, making chain cleaning a snap. Look no further for your transmission needs.
- TruVativ Stylo Crankset — $155. Need we say more? The Stylo 3.3 MTB crankset won’t set the industry on its collective ear. What it will do is be a damn good crank for your bike at a very reasonable cost. This is another great product that we spec on our demo fleet, because it functions very well and has shown great durability over the years. The SRAM engineers have done a remarkable job with revisions to the chainrings -- it shifts great. Ease of installation and maintenance only sweeten the pot. If you’ve got a forearm and an 8mm wrench, youcan work on this crank.
- Endura Hummvee Short — In a world ripe with adventure, go fearlessly and with great style. These shorts combine all the elements you’ll need– toughness, flexibility, and function. A plethora of pockets, selectable venting and a click-in contoured liner, create a short for all seasons that is ready for action. The Hummvee delivers bang, boom, and kapow under $80.
- Mavic Razor Shoe — Even teenagers can afford this shoe! At just $124.95, the Razor borrows styling and construction cues from its fancier big brothers in the Mavic lineup. It takes toe cleats and has a bombproof ratcheting buckle over the fore foot. It could be a first shoe that sees you through your rise from the beginner to the expert ranks, or it could be the best choice for someone wanting a great shoe and a new X-9 rear derailleur.