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Garson Fields

Garson Fields

Park City

Garson Fields's Bio

Grew up in Western Mass, then spent a few years in Vermont before relocating to Utah. Between family, swimming holes, and the mountain biking, my heart will forever be in New England. I love to pedal, despite growing up racing Downhill. When I'm not writing copy for Competitive Cyclist, I'm usually riding bikes, snowboarding, drinking coffee, or some combination thereof.

Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on July 10, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Dropper posts have become as integral a component to the modern mountain bike as disc brakes and tubeless tires, but unlike the aforementioned, they still seem to cause riders tons of problems. In my case, it seems like the durable options are only available in short stroke configurations, and the popular longer stroke options tend to display reliability that is, well, spotty at best. I took a chance on a 185mm Revive based on a few personal recommendations, and I'm sold. The hardware is appropriately sized, the stroke is smooth, the main bushing seems to have a nice snug fit, and the actuation is consistent and predictable. It's a bit more expensive than some of the better known options, but from what I can tell, it's money well spent, especially for those of us who can put a longer stroke dropper to use.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on July 10, 2018

2 5

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

As far as I'm concerned, the XTR 9000/9020 crankset is the very best mountain bike crankset ever built. They're light, stiff, impact resistant, and absolutely reliable, which is a combination of factors that places them miles ahead of any carbon fiber crank arm, at least for those of us who are prone to crank arm strikes. Unlike the crank arms, this chainring is super flimsy. Mine bent almost immediately, and I still genuinely have no idea what I hit. That's not terribly surprising though, as I've had the same experience with these composite-reinforced Shimano 1x rings in the past. They just don't seem to hold up.

So for those of you running a 1x drivetrain, keep your superior Shimano crankset, but pass on this chainring and get a Wolf Tooth instead. You can thank me later.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on July 10, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These have been a bit of a departure from what I've historically run, but I've been really psyched on these. I typically run thiner grips (Sensus Lites have been my go to recently), but I was looking for something a bit larger to keep the hands feeling fresher. The Knuckledusters strike a nice balance of being a bit bigger OD than some others, without overdoing it. I'm also sold on the design, which is a well thought out hybrid of a mushroom pattern and an MX style half waffle. The rubber compound breaks in quickly, and thus far doesn't seem to be wearing appreciably. I've also had zero issues with the single clamp arrangement. Very happy with these.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on July 10, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

OE branded components typically get a bad reputation, which is a shame, because Santa Cruz's carbon bars are genuinely better than most aftermarket options. Unlike many (most?) 35mm carbon bars, they've got a finely tuned flex that's comfortable, without feeling noodley. The 800mm width and 20mm rise are both sensible figures that allow these bars to work for a fairly wide range of riders and bikes. After years of riding Renthals, I've grown accustomed to a bar with a bit less sweep (I prefer the shape of the ENVE M7 bar, all things being equal), but nevertheless I've been really happy with these.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on July 10, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is the best shoe that Five Ten makes, which arguably makes this the best shoe out for mountain biking on platform pedals. I've worn out plenty of pairs of Five Tens over the past decade, including a few pairs of Impacts and a pair of Impact VXI's. I've also racked up plenty of miles in Freeriders and Freerider Contacts. Thus far, the Freerider Pro is my hands down favorite by a significant margin.

They're sticky and supportive like the Impacts, but a bit softer in the midsole, which translates into better pedal feel. They're also dramatically lighter. They're stiffer than the Impact VXI, Freerider, and Freerider Contact, all of which cause my feet to cramp due to the lack of support. As compared to the rest of the Five Ten lineup, the upper has proven to be much more durable and more resistant to taking on moisture.

I've been wearing the same pair since February 2017, riding 2-3 times per week consistently and running a pretty aggressive pedal pin setup, and the sole is finally starting to tear under the ball of the foot. I highly doubt that any competing shoe would have held up this long.

At this point, I'd pay retail for these rather than accept anything else for free. Shoes are a crucial contact point when you're riding flats, and the Freerider Pros are really in a league of their own.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on February 1, 2018

1 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Plenty of individuals love Ergon grips-- I am not one of those individuals. I ride a lot, wear a size large glove (although I prefer to ride without them), and literally never have trouble with grips, but these things gave me hotspots at the transition between the firmer and softer rubber compounds at the heel of the hand almost immediately. It was not remedied by breaking them in or wearing gloves. I also really disliked the raised outer portion, as it adds to the effective sweep of the handlebars, and I make a point of running bars with a shape that works for me as-is. It was a truly joyous occasion when I removed them from my bike. Then, my roommate took them and loves them. So obviously, YMMV.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on February 1, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These things are a staple for a reason. They absorb chatter remarkably well, they last a long time, and they're way grippier than you'd expect. They're also prone to tearing, so a larger bar end plug is generally a good idea. Definitely worth a shot if you want something thin and super comfy.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on February 1, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Handlebars are a personal thing, and personally, I've yet to find anything I like better than Renthal's OG Fatbar. They have a touch less back sweep than some other bars, which helps to keep elbows in an aggressive position. They're available in plenty of sizes to help fine-tune your fit. They have a pleasant, if somewhat firm, flex to them, which lends a solid feel to the bike's front end. And they're immensely strong, which equates to peace of mind, the value of which can hardly be overstated. Of course, nothing is perfect. They are heavy, and only available in gold. Neither is a significant issue, ATMO. I've owned four sets to date, and that number will undoubtedly continue to grow.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on November 27, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Let's get this out of the way; if you think it's crazy to add a pound of rotating weight to your bike to mitigate flat tires and rim damage, Cushcore isn't for you. If you've had race weekends derailed by punctures, had to replace multiple rims per season due to impact damage, or have resigned yourself to running 30psi+ to fend off flats, this setup is worth a serious look.

The Good: First and foremost, Cushcore actually lives up to the marketing promises. It acts as a bumper between the rim and tire under full tire compression, making it extremely difficult to pinch flat the tire's casing. Because the insert is much wider than the tire, it applies pressure to the sidewall of the tire, reducing the chances of burping air, and supporting the sidewalls in corners at lower pressures. It noticeably reduces the "pinging" sensation that you'll experience as the tire deflects off rocks at speed. The sensation of riding Cushcore is similar to the damping provided by dual-ply DH tires, although it's even more pronounced. I was originally skeptical, but the improved tire feel has become one of my favorite features of the Cushcore system. In practice, it has effectively eliminated pinch flats, stopped rim damage, and has plainly allowed me to ride my trail bike faster, especially in rocky terrain.

The Bad: It's an absolute hassle to install. Following the instructions and using soapy water helps, but installing and changing tires is a bear. It's heavy, at roughly 200g/wheel. It's expensive for what amounts to a set of glorified (albeit carefully engineered) pool noodles. The included valve stems are not long enough to fit many modern carbon fiber rims. And one insert lasts through about two tires before the foam has broken down to a point where it looses its supportiveness and must be replaced.

The Noteworthy: Although plenty of folks have claimed that they've been able to run lighter weight tires and much less pressure with Cushcore, that's not been my experience. Tire pressures have been reduced slightly, with attendant improvements in grip and rider comfort (26f/28r, from 28f/30r with 2.3-2.4 tires @ 175lbs). After experimenting with EXO casing tires, I'm back to running Double Down casings to avoid cut sidewalls. YMMV.

Overall, I'm very impressed. It's not perfect, and it's obviously not for everyone, but for those of us who regularly exceed the air retention capabilities of reinforced tubeless tires, Cushcore is an effective solution to one of mountain biking's most persistent problems.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on October 2, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It's a useful tool, especially if you're dealing with a questionable tubeless setup. Seat your tire first, then add sealant, and pretty much eliminate the chance of making a pneumatically-powered mess. It's a staple of my travel tool kit.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on July 17, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is my go-to rear tire. The tread pattern rolls fairly fast and offers plenty of braking traction. As you lean over, the tire transitions smoothly to the side knobs, which bite hard and slide predictably. The rubber compound strikes a nice balance of being grippy without wearing at an excessive rate. The Double Down casing is significantly more supportive than the EXO casing, and it's far more tear and puncture-resistant as well. Well worth the weight penalty, ATMO.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on July 17, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Big fan of the material-- stretchy, stays dry, and has proven to be durable despite having a very lightweight feel. The shorter length is ideal if you're not wearing pads. Not sure if the buckle is necessary? The fit works well for me. Just enough room to move, without flapping. They haven't knocked the Livewire Pro shorts off the top of my list, but they're quite nice none the less.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on February 21, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Hydration bladders are pretty simple, which made this one a pleasant surprise. The wide mouth makes it easy to clean, and the high-flow hose is a noticeable improvement. It's not quite revolutionary, but it's a step better than most of the hydration bladders I've used in the past.

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Garson Fields

Garson Fieldswrote a review of on November 29, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These things are sweet. They're grippy on dirt, roll fairly fast on pavement, and they'll shrug off some serious hits without flatting. It was painless setting them up tubeless on WTB i19 Asym rims with one layer of Gorilla tape. They're not the longest lasting tire, and the 40mm size will be too big for most race-focused 'cross bikes, but they're absolutely worth running if they suit your intended use.

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