Garson Fieldswrote a review of Salsa Lip Lock Seat Clamp on March 6, 2019
Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Simple, clean, and 100% effective.
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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.
Simple, clean, and 100% effective.
These narrow/wide E.Thirteen chainrings are a really solid replacement or upgrade option. Chain retention is about as good as anything else, and they seem to hold up longer than some of the alternatives. Plus, they're relatively affordable. An all around good choice.
Although the RT-86 Ice Tech rotor theoretically runs a bit cooler, these rotors do the trick quite nicely at a very reasonable price.
It's generally not a great idea to reuse 12 speed SRAM master links. Do yourself a favor and pick up a four pack and use fresh ones instead. Throw one in your riding tool kit, or borrow a trick out of your favorite racer's playbook and tape one to your derailleur housing so you always have a spare.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.