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Ready to dance down whatever you put in front of it, the HDR 650B is quite the quiver killer. If you're riding a ton of park or hard DH, you may be more apt to stick with the 160mm travel/26" version, but I love the subtle improvements that the 27.5" wheels bring about, and haven't been feeling any lack of oomph for suspension.
Really, the only complaints you hear tend be be on internet forums (cough mtbr cough) are that 1) there isn't enough travel and 2) rear tire clearance. To that, I think a 140mm front fork (34mm ideally) mates really well with the 130mm rear, and while it's not ideal for hucking off your roof to flat, it is completely at home getting bashed down the gnar in your local (or EWS) race. The DW-Link pedals (and climbs) wonderfully while providing really active squish in the rough spots, and it ends up feeling like more than 130mm. (That's what she said...)
I'm running a Hans Dampf 2.25 rear and think it's a nice match for my "enduro" build, and haven't had any problems with tire clearance.
Consult the reviews here + the rest of the internet/magazines...but if you can, get out and demo an Ibis. You'll be psyched, and compared to similar products, your wallet will be pleased with your purchase.
I've been rocking the Pace shorts for the past couple years because of their breathability & stretchtasticness. They end up serving as my go-to hiking/trail running/workout shorts due to their light weight and range of motion. I really dig them while on the bike because they won't get caught on anything...but this does come with a compromise: the inseam is short enough (14") that my knees are exposed..so if you aren't confident enough to show your patellas off, you may prefer the 8Track or Descent shorts ;)
The lightweight material is also very quick to dry...bonus.
I took my first ride wearing the Smith Forefront last night. Basic adjustments were quick and easy (twist dial at the back, chin strap, ear triangle- to use technical terms) and I really didn't think about the helmet until towards the end of my 2 hour ride. The Forefront only came to mind several times as I pedaled towards the sun and thought about how my visor (neon orange) highlighted the colors and looked light something I should instagram, but I was having such a good time I forwent social media. Roughly an hour later as I slowly chugged up Hagen's Highway trail, I realized I could feel cooling air coming through the "straws" of the Forefront's core. Granted, I've got short hair, but I've never really noticed this before. I was impressed. I'll update this after a few more rides, but it's a solid start. I've got to get my hands on the GoPro mount to see how it compares to the stability of the "vented helmet strap" that I'd usually use.
I think that the Shimano XT line provides excellent bang for you buck. Strong, relatively light, and really solid performance. It's a great workhorse line, at a price you can generally stomach. I was only disappointed when I realized I couldn't adjust the tension on the clutch mechanism. (Edit- clutch is adjustable, see comments below). Even with the clutch engaged and proper chain length (on a 1x10 Ibis Mojo HD) I wanted to tighten things up to prevent chain slap that was still occurring over really rough descents. On my newest bike I threw down on the XTR Shadow Plus on which you can adjust the clutch.
Comfortable, roomy fit without being too baggy and getting caught on stuff. Quite durable and shrugs off branches and other trailside gnar. The hood is large and fits well over my open face helmets without problem. Breathes well, but most importantly keeps you dry. It packs down nice and small & I toss it inside my Dakine Nomad pack anytime there is a chance of rain. Zippered pockets are handy for light items but if you're riding aggressively heavier items (cell phone or multi tool) will bounce the jacket around because the shell is quite light.
The red looks great on a dreary day, too!
So light and packable that it's more or less a part of my first aid kit. Breathes really well while blocking the wind. Perfect for a chilly start to the ride or while waiting along a windy ridge line for your friends to catch up. Hiking, running, biking, and ski touring...times when your activity keeps your body warm, but you are want to avoid the bite of the wind. If you remove it to change layers in a windy place, make sure it doesn't blow away...because it's so light that it certainly could!
I often wear more casual sunglasses that are decent for athletic endeavors because, well, I think I look cooler. However, now when it comes time to go for a real ride, you can't deny the performance of some top of the line V2 shades. I really enjoy the orange lenses for busting in and out of shade and sun, but the simple clear lense absolutely kills it later in the evening or a stormy day.
Swapping lenses is very straightforward and quick. They're light, good coverage (no eye watering) and I forget that I have them on...until my sweaty head starts dripping onto them. They can't help with that! The adjustable nose piece also helps dial the fit to your face.
I use this pack for almost every ride. Adequate space for first aid kit, a rain layer, extra food, cameras, tools, tubes, pads, etc. I find the small base side pocket with a forward facing zipper is ideal for my multi tool, because you can access it without taking the pack off. The outermost portion is handy for stowing knee pads or your full face if you're on a long climb. I appreciate the full sized bladder. There are two fleece lined pockets- the internal one is handy for my cell phone or GoPro, and I save the larger glasses pocket for the...well, glasses.
I've got a lot of other packs, but I choose this one 98% of the time. (For serious adventures, the Apex may be more appropriate. For my road rides, I go with my Amp.)