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James Robbins

James Robbins

James Robbins

James Robbinswrote a review of on August 24, 2015

Excellent Mountain Pedal Cycle
4 5

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

Bought this frame to build up a bike for the wife. At this price how could I afford not to? It is basically a santa cruz tallboy with some different colors and graphics. Built it up with a wide range 1x10 and she loves it. The VPP suspension climbs amazing and soaks up the bumps on the down hill. She is 5'4" and the small frame fits her great. The one issue is that due to the geometry of the small frame and the 29" tires there seems to be some toe overlap. Shorter cranks may need to be used to remedy this problem. I guess it should be expected with a small frame and the big wheels, but this is the 21st century, can't we have it all.

The frame built up great without any issues. It also came with a fox shock pump and a grease gun for the pivots. Also came with a little Santa Cruz bag. The custom fit chain stay protector is also a nice touch.

The wife likes it. I like my wife and I like bikes, so I like it.

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James Robbins

James Robbinswrote a review of on August 23, 2015

InVest in Warmth
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This vest is great. Slim fit. Reversible. Classy quilted black side. Bright orange safety side. Black side has two hand pockets. Orange side has a big zippered pocket across the back. Both sides have reflective features on the back. The collar does extend quite high, which I like. The vest adds warmth, but it isn't excessively puffy.

I usually wear it on the black side, but it is nice to be able to flip it around for a late night ride home. Provides safety and warmth. A great combo.

The vest can be packed into the back pocket for storage. The packed vest makes a great little pillow when bikepacking.

This is a great vest for casual wear, but it also is very versatile and effective to ride it. Great cycling clothing that doesn't obviously identify you as a cyclist.

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James Robbins

James Robbinswrote a review of on August 23, 2015

A bottle for water and other liquids.
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great water bottle. Also can be used to hold other liquids if you are feeling a little adventurous. Love the locking feature. The bottle has a valve to prevent liquid from spilling even if the locking feature is open. The valve makes it so when you squeeze the water bottle the contents come squirting out with incredibly refreshing velocity. It must be experienced to truly appreciate.

If you are going to use the water bottle on the bottom side of the downtube of your bike I would recommend investing in the camelbak podium mud cap. Just trust me on this.

The one problem is that the amount of refreshment is dependent on what you put in the bottle. Cold Water = Refreshing. Ice Water = Very Refreshing. Cold sports drink = refreshing. Cold chocolate milk = Heaven. Warm curdled milk = Not refreshing. See what I mean. Other than that it is great.

*Note. The water bottle pictured is an older version of the bottle. I can only assume the newer version sold here is better than the old one. If anyone disagrees, please send me a new water bottle so I can verify the your claim.

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James Robbins

James Robbinswrote a review of on July 28, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Buy this. It is great. If you would like to know more read on.
No need to get some fancy 11 speed. Use the derailleur, shifter, freehub, chain, and cassette you already have. Just slap this Giant Cog on and you be partaking of that sweet wide range nectar.

Easy to install. As long as you have a cassette lockring tool and a chain whip. If not take this and your bike/rear wheel to your local bike shop and they will be able to install it. Make sure your rear derailleur will accommodate the tooth change from your smallest cog to your biggest cog. You may also need to lengthen your chain after installing.

To install the WTC Giant Cog you have to remove either the 15T or 17T cogs from your cassette. I would recommend you remove both and replace them with the 16T cog from Wolf Tooth components. It is pretty cheap and will give you a much more consistent jump between gears. Make sure your cassette is compatible with the Giant Cog. Also, make sure you buy the correct Giant Cog for your cassette brand.

The cog functions great. Shifts smooth and feels like a normal gear, just much lower. I got the 42T. I would recommend this size. If you are looking for the lowest gear possible, go with the 42T. You won't regret it. I used mine with a Shimano 11-36 XT Cassette. The XT and XTR cassettes are compatible without modifications. I think you can also use it with the SLX cassette with a slight modification. Check out wolftoothcomponents.com for more information.

If using a Shimano Shadow + derailleur like I did (I used an SLX derailleur but it works with other Shimano derailleurs), I would recommend getting the GoatLink by Wolf Tooth Components and Lindarets. See their website for compatibility. Google can help you get there. It replaces the little link on the derailleur that attaches the derailleur to the hanger. It improves the position of the derailleur improving shifting. With the GoatLink shifting into the 42T cog felt just like shifting into any other cog. I have heard that Sram derailleurs work without any fancy links, but I have not tested one to know for sure.

I used this with a 1x10 set up with a narrow wide 30T front chainring. With the giant cog I was able to climb anything on Slickrock. It also made my local trails in Upstate Utah much more rideable. This single product significantly cut down on the number of hike a bikes and make my legs last much longer. I'm being serious.

With the price of the Giant Cog, the 16T cog, and the GoatLink things start to add up, but it is still much cheaper than converting to a 1x11 setup. Much much cheaper and easier. I am a converted to the wide range 1x10 gospel and I want to spread the joy I have found with others. Get your range back while still living the simple 1 by life!

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James Robbins

James Robbinsposted an image about on July 27, 2015

Van's Best Friend

Note 1: The middle row seats are only folded down for photo purposes. We were able to fit the two bikes (29" wheels, size small and medium) in with the middle row seats up and usable. This makes it perfect for taking a couple ladies along. Or just picking up random hitchhikers to get some karma.
Note 2: This is possible in the Dodge Grand Caravan as it is longer than the normal Caravan. Results may very on different models. Hopefully future testing will determine compatibility with other vans.

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James Robbins

James Robbinswrote a review of on July 27, 2015

For Your Dirtbag Lifestyle
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Kuat Dirtbag is a straight forward way to mount your bike. With a little creativity you could probably mount it to almost anything. The hardest part will be figuring out what size of axle you have. There are a lot of "standards" these days, but it seems like there is a dirtbag for almost all of them.

Pros:
-Cheap. Leaving you more money for Ramen.
-Bomber. This thing is built to last. Super solid construction. It will last longer than my bike does. The biggest concern is the axle standard will become "outdated" and the mount will be functioning perfectly.
-Simple and easy to use. Get a couple screws or bolts and maybe some washers and you are in business. Mount it wherever you please,
-Keeps your bike super stable. As long as you mounted the Dirtbag correctly and inserted your axle properly, you bike isn't going anywhere. Take the corners at whatever speed you like. Rattle out your fillings on the washboard road, the Dirtbag won't let you down.
-It's black. Black goes with everything.

Cons:
-You have to remove the front tire. What did you expect? It's a fork mount. As my mother always said, "dirtbags can't be choosers." Just find a place to put your front wheel and avoid squeezing your front hydraulic brake and you won't have any issues.
-You need a specific mount for each axle size. No adapters available.

Love these things. I bought a couple of them just for a specific trip and the price and functionality made it totally worth it. Get some. Unleash your inner Dirtbag.

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