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Chris D.

Chris D.

Chris D.

Chris D.wrote a review of on May 21, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had a black version of this saddle on my MTB since 2014 and love it. I've ridden it on super long days, crashed a million times, you name it, like the review says, I've put it through the wringer and it's has never given me any issues. It was so good in fact, I switched out my road and gravel bikes to the road version of this saddle (at the time, also on sale) .

So when I saw this MTB version was on sale and the new version wasn't quite the same, I figured I would play it safe and pick one up for my next bike but this time I got the white.

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Chris D.

Chris D.wrote a review of on March 16, 2019

My second X-trail
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought a black Ridley X-Trail Force x1 a few years back and loved it, using it to ride the Nor Cal Grasshopper series (Old Caz, King Ridge Dirt Supreme, and most others), Bike Monkey's Livi's GF Panzer route and Fish Rock, and a bunch of other challenging things straddled what is possible on a road bike and mountain bike.

I had a bad crash and the handlebars put a crack in the top tube, so I looked around for a new frame and decided I liked the X-trail so much, I'd just buy it again, only this time in Blue-green/Orange because I'm so tired of black bikes (I don't know why it is called Blue Green, it looks like just blue to me and the color matches the pictures here well). My Gearhead Kyle helped my get it sorted out and it arrived in a few days. It is so gorgeous, I want to just hang it on the wall!

I'm super excited to build this one myself because I get to do things like shorten the brake and shifter hoses/cables (stock always come long to accommodate a range of fit but I run my stem slammed, so there's been extra). I'm adding a PNW dropper using the front derailleur cable routing to keep it internal, which will increase the weight a bit but make single track descents even better.

The only difference I can see so far is the older frame was a 15-100 front through axle and this new one is 12-100, so I had to get some DT Swiss end caps. If there are other differences, I can't tell, everything else looks the same.

If I had any complaints, it is that it won't fit as wide a tire as has become popular lately with 40mm front and 38mm rear being max. Also, it would be nice if it came with frame protectors where the tires come close to the frame at the chainstays because when the tires get packed up with mud, it wears the frame (on my old bike, I added thick vinyl stickers here, but they need to be watched and replaced on occasion).

UPDATE: She's all done! I never really knew how much better a "road" bike could be with a dropper. Being able to move around, have my legs do more of the shock absorption and stay low is amazing.

Another difference in the frame is the rear brake hose routing, it now comes out of the bottom of the chainstay instead of the top. I ended up replacing the brake hose front and back (bleeding SRAM is so much fun :( ) so I could get the length just so. You might be able to get by with the old if you disconnect/reconnect them but be prepared.

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Chris D.

Chris D.wrote a review of on March 6, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Previously I have used Ritchy SPDs, Eggbeaters, Time Attack and all of them drove me crazy for one reason or another. I love Speedplay Zeros and was hoping the hype surrounding these was justified. Even tried them at Sea Otter on the SpeedPlay stationary demo bike booth. (not exactly a realistic demo but they were easy to clip in and out of)
I have two sets of these, both set to all the way lose and minimal float and I have the same results on both bikes.
Once I got used to the "Don't point your toes down", and when they are clean, they work ok. Clip in / Out is easy and the float feels nice. It is a little unnerving how the float ends like an on off switch though, I normally point my feet in the direction I am going along with my body and these will float easy and suddenly I hear "click" and I am in the middle of a hard turn thinking "hey, my foot isn't even connected right now, sweet :(". So now I am keeping my feet flat, not pointing my toes while still facing my body the direction I am going... I can live with all of that though.
Then they get muddy (clay, sandstone, soily tree mulch). Once muddy, getting them to Clip in becomes far more difficult. Maybe the "funnel" is clogged, who knows, but it is a lot harder and if I do get clipped in, they may not release. I mean all of my strength, are you kidding me right now, COME ON! "BAM" just in time. It is unnerving to say the least. Not knowing if I can get out of my pedals makes it harder for me to tackle climbing singletrack with rocks and roots because I don't know what is going to happen if I have to bail. Will I Clip out or are the bike and I going end over teakettle down the side of the mountain?

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Chris D.

Chris D.wrote a review of on March 2, 2017

Mounted this chainring on XTR M980s
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I have a Stages PM and did not want to replace the cranks. This chainring mounted fine to my Shimano XTR M980 crankset using the existing bolts and nut-covers and it works like a charm. I've only done one hard, bumpy, muddy ride so far with the full Eagle setup and had no issues of any kind.

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Chris D.

Chris D.wrote a review of on January 30, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Sacrilege I know but this bike is pretty fast on the road while being capable on the trails. I ordered the Large, slammed the stem and it feels perfect for my 6'2" frame with 34 inseam.

The listed specs are incorrect, the chainring is a 44t and the cassette is an 11-36.

To make this work for me I swapped the cassette for a Shimano XT 11-42 11 speed and new sram red chain (needed more links), it shifts great and ended up only gained 11 grams.
Swapped the tires/tubes for some WTB Riddler 37c tubeless/Stan's 44mm valve stems, tape and latex.

Then I did something stupid, after only a 5 mile test ride, I took it to Old Caz, part of the Grasshopper Adventure Series in Santa Rosa, and did 54 miles/5k ft through mud and potholes etc. and it was a blast. What is notable about this ride is that there is a considerable amount of flat road in between the climbs, so the climbs are steeper than the overall elevation would normally account for. My swap of the cassette was perfect with just enough granny to never put a foot down. Given the number of flat tires I saw people fixing, the tubeless setup was the right choice as well.

I considered doing a dropper post but after riding it, I never once thought there was a time I wanted one (even though I use one on my MTB) so it's just not worth the weight/cost/complexity.

Last words: I would recommend it to a friend.

If you are curious, here is my Old Caz
https://www.relive.cc/view/847543580

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Chris D.

Chris D.wrote a review of on May 29, 2015

1 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I am a trainer junky. I ride my KK Rock&Roll at least three times a week and sometimes more if I can?t get out and was looking for a way to keep wear off my road bike. Having a dedicated stationary bike with resistance appealed to me because it would let me focus on my power goals and keep the miles off the bike.

The CycleOps Phantom 5 bike itself seems nice. It is built like a gym spin cycle, solid, good looking, and can probably last the 10 years of the frame warranty. I don't really have any issues with the bike itself. Keep in mind though, the electronics only have a 1 year warranty and the bike is a paperweight without electronics.

The problem is this bike is not based on the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro (or Cycleops 400, 410 or 420 models that preceded it) which are well supported by third party software. So if you use TrainerRoad, PerfProStudio or Zwift, you can get the power meter to connect but not the resistance, making it useless.

On the CycleOps Phantom 5, CycleOps decided to stop supporting other training software now that they have their own at $10 a month (or more). Before you buy this bike, go download virtualtraining.eu and try that out with your current trainer and see what you think. Can you live with this software and its cost for as long as you have the bike? Is it compelling enough to make you want to ride indoors? I didn't think so but everybody is different.

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Chris D.

Chris D.wrote a review of on December 7, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This apparatus is lovely, made from solid aluminum and plastic it seems built to last a lifetime.
It is not for backpacking or any activity where weight or space are a concern.
I've made lattes at home every day with a Bezzera BZ-07 HX machine going on 7 years. The thought of having good lattes while camping sounded nice. My goal was three to four lattes a per morning (me+3 friends).
I practiced at home using my stove to heat the water and my regular grinder and even then the process was slow and messy but I thought I could manage.
Once out at the campsite, everything just got harder and messier. Keeping the water hot enough was difficult because the aluminum is cold in the morning and short of soaking the top half in hot water before each cup, I don't know how to avoid it (maybe I need to keep this in my sleeping bag). The grind balance needs to be closer to Drip than Espresso if you want to push the water through it. The best results I could get were equivalent to a $20 steam pressure machine from Target (which I think are only sold to convince people they should stop trying to make their own and just go to Starbucks). By day three I was still hand grinding the beans but had resorted to the tried and true mocha pot.
This now sits on a shelf above my BZ-07 looking lovely, but that is about all it is good for as far as I am concerned.

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Chris D.

Chris D.wrote a review of on August 9, 2014

1 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

My KS Lev worked for about 250 miles then stopped holding the post up. Seems like the internal cable needs about 2mm of slack (because as soon as the hook is put on it (even with no cable), it sags). Sent emails and left messages but they have not returned them. Warranty is worth nothing if they wont pick up the phone.

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