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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingston

ketchum, idaho

Kyle Livingston's Passions

Snow Skiing
Mountain Biking

Kyle Livingston's Bio

After my college experience on the East Coast I ended up in the backwoods of Idaho, enticed by a craving for mountains and snow. During my six years in Sun Valley I was able to develop my passions for telemark skiing, mountain biking, fly fishing, backpacking, hiking, camping and mountain climbing.

My time in Idaho was not forever and I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to use my experience in customer service to support my travels from Alaska to New Zealand and throughout Southeast Asia over the course of the last two years. Most recently I have settled in Salt Lake City, drawn by its proximity to the best mountains, deserts, and rivers of Utah.

Contact me anytime with questions about my reviews or if you are interested in me being your personal Expert Gearhead.
Phone: 801-736-4337
Email: klivingston@backcountry.com
Instagram: kandkoffroad

My Measurements
Height: 6' 1.5"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Inseam: 34 in.
Waist: 34 in.
Chest: 39 in.
Shoulders: 18 in.
Thigh Circumference: 24 in.

Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on November 8, 2017

Tips For Assembly
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This Feedback Sports Scorpion MTB Stand is low profile, easy to travel with and great for small work spaces but it can be tricky to set up. It will come with two spacers, an eyebolt and the crank adaptor. It is very important to flare out the ends of the eyebolt in order to get enough friction to hold the adaptor together with your cranks (see picture below). Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about this Scorpion Stand.

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on November 8, 2017

Tips For Assembly
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This Feedback Sports Scorpion MTB Stand is low profile, easy to travel with and great for small work spaces but it can be tricky to set up. It will come with two spacers, an eyebolt and the crank adaptor. It is very important to flare out the ends of the eyebolt in order to get enough friction to hold the adaptor together with your cranks (see picture below). Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about this Scorpion Stand.

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on October 23, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Carbon is amazingly strong, but there is a reason that Santa Cruz offers a lifetime warranty on these new Reserve Wheels. They don't want you to miss a ride and will do their best to get you back on your bike within 24 hours if anything ever happens to your Reserve rims. Just ask MacAskill.

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on October 23, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Carbon is amazingly strong, but there is a reason that Santa Cruz offers a lifetime warranty on these new Reserve Wheels. They don't want you to miss a ride and will do their best to get you back on your bike within 24 hours if anything ever happens to your Reserve rims. Just ask MacAskill.

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on October 19, 2017

Appears When You Need it Most
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

To say that the Houdini Jacket is lightweight is an understatement. At sub 4 oz. it is definitely one of the lightest emergency shells out there. I keep it in the bottom of my mountain bike pack on every ride, which happens to be the DAKINE Low Rider Hip Pack. That's right, it easily fits in a fanny pack. It has saved me a couple times already from some inclement fall weather, both in Colorado and Zion National Park. I cannot foresee a future ride, hike, or any adventure where I don't take the Houdini with me. I am 6'1", 190 lbs. and the large fits me perfectly. I would highly recommend this to any one, it will magically appear from the bottom of your pack when you need it most.
Feel free to contact me directly with any additional questions on the Houdini, mountain bike gear, or any Patagonia products.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead - klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on October 4, 2017

5 5

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

I contacted Teravail to find the specific weight. The Light & Supple Rampart Tires have an average weight of 583g per tire with little variance. This is a great tire for bikepacking and adventure riding and taking your road rig far off the beaten path. Feel free to contact me directly with any specific questions.

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on August 29, 2017

Plowability Factor Is Through The Roof
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Yeti continues to adapt along with the rest of the mountain bike industry to the Boost hub revolution and the SB5.5 is the crown jewel in my opinion. I first had a chance to ride this bike at a Yeti demo last summer and was extremely skeptical going in. The Santa Cruz Hightower had been my favorite bike of 2017/18 but let's just say that was before ripping on the SB5.5. I have now been on this bike a handful of times, both in the mountains of Park City and the desert of Moab, and it continues to impress me for a variety of reasons. The only comparable bike out there is the new Hightower LT.

Quick note: This is the Turq -Series frame that is slightly lighter compared to Carbon series frame from Yeti (only available on complete bikes). I have ridden both frames and can't tell the difference. Also, the key upgrade on the SB5.5 for 2018 is the FOX Float X Factory.

There are a couple key differences between the Hightower and SB5.5. The SB5.5 has a slightly steeper head tube angle (66.5 degrees), slightly higher BB height and longer wheel base. But truth be told the key for me is that a Large Yeti just fits me better than a Large Santa Cruz. I am 6'1" with pretty long arms and for whatever reason I have always felt that Large Santa Cruz bikes are too small (and XL too big). But the Yeti SB5.5 in a Large was built just for me.

I was most impressed with how easily it plowed over everything put in front of it. If there was a plowability rating I would give it 6 stars out of 5. It handled steep, technical terrain with ease and cornered surprisingly well for a 29er considering the added lateral stiffness from the wider Boost hubs. This bike had solid pop off of jumps and was smooth in the air which I did not expect but should not be surprising considering the tech behind the Switch Infinity Link.

If you are looking for a new super bike and are considering the Yeti SB5.5 do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. I would be glad to help you build this bike from the frame up.

Kyle Livingston - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on June 24, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My wife has tried a couple of the flavors of these and the Bison Bacon Cranberry is her favorite. She prefers these bars for protein because they are real food and aren't packed with sugar. The venison flavor, which we do not carry, is also pretty edible.

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on May 25, 2017

Slay the Sand & Stone
5 5

I had a chance to ride the Yeti SB6 in Moab, Utah at the biannual bike extravaganza known as Outerbike. Everyone there wanted to test the new SB5+ so the SB6 was easier to get my hands on. I have tested older models of this bike but with the updated Boost hub spacing, Eagle 1x12 drivetrain and forever evolving Switch Infinity pedaling platform this is by far the best iteration to date. This particular model is a Package Build put together by our Bike Shop and we can easily swap components to customize it just for you.
I rode Magnificent 7 on the SB6 which has a little of everything that Moab has to offer: smooth/buff berms, drops, slickrock, technical climbs and rocky, loose descents. I have been working on a modified rating system for all the bikes I have tested and here is my breakdown for the SB6:
Plowability - 9
Climbability - 7.5
Maneuverability - 8.5
Wheelie Rating - 7.5
Closest Competitors: Santa Cruz Bronson, Pivot Mach 6
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the SB6 or any other Yeti bikes. If you are interested, I would be glad to help you build your next dream bike from the frame up. Also check out my article on "How to Choose a Mountain Bike" for additional info.
https://www.backcountry.com/explore/how-to-choose-a-mountain-bike
See you out on the dirt.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on May 21, 2017

Slay the Sand & Stone
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I had a chance to ride the Yeti SB6 Turq in Moab, Utah at the biannual bike extravaganza known as Outerbike. Everyone there wanted to test the new SB5+ so the SB6 was easier to get my hands on. I have tested older models of this bike but with the updated Boost hub spacing, Eagle 1x12 drivetrain and forever evolving Switch Infinity pedaling platform this is by far the best iteration to date. And this particular XX1 Model comes with all the bells and whistles imaginable including some super stiff ENVE M70 carbon wheels. We rode Magnificent 7 which has a little of everything that Moab has to offer: smooth/buff berms, drops, slickrock, technical climbs and rocky, loose descents. I have been working on a modified rating system for all the bikes I have tested and here is my breakdown for the SB6:
Plowability - 9
Climbability - 7.5
Maneuverability - 8.5
Wheelie Rating - 7.5
Closest Competitors: Santa Cruz Bronson, Pivot Mach 6
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the SB6, Turq frames or any other Yeti bikes. If you are interested, I would be glad to help you build your next dream bike from the frame up. Also check out my article on "How to Choose a Mountain Bike" for additional info.
https://www.backcountry.com/explore/how-to-choose-a-mountain-bike
See you out on the dirt.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on May 21, 2017

Slay the Sand & Stone
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I had a chance to ride the Yeti SB6 in Moab, Utah at the biannual bike extravaganza known as Outerbike. Everyone there wanted to test the new SB5+ so the SB6 was easier to get my hands on. I have tested older models of this bike but with the updated Boost hub spacing, Eagle 1x12 drivetrain and forever evolving Switch Infinity pedaling platform this is by far the best iteration to date. The only thing you lose with this particular model is the Carbon frame is about 265g heavier than the Turq version. We rode Magnificent 7 which has a little of everything that Moab has to offer: smooth/buff berms, drops, slickrock, technical climbs and rocky, loose descents. I have been working on a modified rating system for all the bikes I have tested and here is my breakdown for the SB6:
Plowability - 9
Climbability - 7.5
Maneuverability - 8.5
Wheelie Rating - 7.5
Closest Competitors: Santa Cruz Bronson, Pivot Mach 6
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the SB6, Turq frames or any other Yeti bikes. If you are interested, I would be glad to help you build your next dream bike from the frame up. Also check out my article on "How to Choose a Mountain Bike" for additional info.
https://www.backcountry.com/explore/how-to-choose-a-mountain-bike
See you out on the dirt.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on May 21, 2017

Slay the Sand & Stone
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I had a chance to ride the Yeti SB6 Turq in Moab, Utah at the biannual bike extravaganza known as Outerbike. Everyone there wanted to test the new SB5+ so the SB6 was easier to get my hands on. I have tested older models of this bike but with the updated Boost hub spacing, Eagle 1x12 drivetrain and forever evolving Switch Infinity pedaling platform this is by far the best iteration to date. We rode Magnificent 7 which has a little of everything that Moab has to offer: smooth/buff berms, drops, slickrock, technical climbs and rocky, loose descents. I have been working on a modified rating system for all the bikes I have tested and here is my breakdown for the SB6:
Plowability - 9
Climbability - 7.5
Maneuverability - 8.5
Wheelie Rating - 7.5
Closest Competitors: Santa Cruz Bronson, Pivot Mach 6
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the SB6, Turq frames or any other Yeti bikes. If you are interested, I would be glad to help you build your next dream bike from the frame up. Also check out my article on "How to Choose a Mountain Bike" for additional info.
https://www.backcountry.com/explore/how-to-choose-a-mountain-bike
See you out on the dirt.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on May 21, 2017

Slay the Sand & Stone
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I had a chance to ride the Yeti SB6 Turq in Moab, Utah at the biannual bike extravaganza known as Outerbike. Everyone there wanted to test the new SB5+ so the SB6 was easier to get my hands on. I have tested older models of this bike but with the updated Boost hub spacing, Eagle 1x12 drivetrain and forever evolving Switch Infinity pedaling platform this is by far the best iteration to date. We rode Magnificent 7 which has a little of everything that Moab has to offer: smooth/buff berms, drops, slickrock, technical climbs and rocky, loose descents. I have been working on a modified rating system for all the bikes I have tested and here is my breakdown for the SB6:
Plowability - 9
Climbability - 7.5
Maneuverability - 8.5
Wheelie Rating - 7.5
Closest Competitors: Santa Cruz Bronson, Pivot Mach 6
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the SB6, Turq frames or any other Yeti bikes. If you are interested, I would be glad to help you build your next dream bike from the frame up. Also check out my article on "How to Choose a Mountain Bike" for additional info.
https://www.backcountry.com/explore/how-to-choose-a-mountain-bike
See you out on the dirt.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on May 21, 2017

Plowability Plus + Crushability
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

There is so much to consider when buying a new mountain bike but 2017 is the year of Plus + tires. Out here in Utah, plus tires make a lot of sense considering the variety of our terrain between Moab, Park City, St. George and beyond. After demoing a lot of different bikes I landed on the Hightower 27.5+. My pup Jasper (pic below) and I could not be happier with the choice.
Long before I bought this bike, I demoed the Carbon S build highlighted here. I ended up getting the higher end Carbon CC frame, X01 Eagle components and ENVE M60 forty carbon wheels. I love the balance of the super stiff ENVE M60's and the low air pressure (~18 PSI) in the 27.5+ Maxxis tires. I feel like I can plow over anything and still have precise control around corners and berms. I will probably end up adding a Maxxis DHF on the front for the larger knobs on the outside of the tread. I have been working on a modified rating system for all the bikes I have tested and here is my breakdown for the Hightower:
Plowability - 9.5
Climbability - 8.5
Maneuverability - 8
Wheelie Rating - 8
Closest Competitors: Yeti SB5.5, Niner RIP 9
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the Hightower or any other Santa Cruz bikes. If you are interested, I would be glad to help you build your next dream bike from the frame up. Also check out my article on "How to Choose a Mountain Bike" for additional info.
https://www.backcountry.com/explore/how-to-choose-a-mountain-bike
See you out on the dirt.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on May 21, 2017

Watch Out For Poison Oak & Gorillas
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I recently had the opportunity to help organize a trip to Santa Cruz headquarters highlighted by a factory tour and group ride with some of my best customers in Northern California. We had access to the whole Santa Cruz demo fleet and I decided to try out the Bronson. I recently bought a Hightower 27.5+ and wanted to have a nostalgic ride on some traditional 27.5" tires (somehow 2.3" is now considered skinny! Haha). I rode the Bronson a couple of times out in Utah last year but after riding the forest trails of UCSC with the Santa Cruz crew I totally understand why this bike shines as arguably the best all-mountain whip on the market. The revamped VPP pedaling platform cruises uphill and the 150 mm of cush upfront crushes everything in your path on the decent. The Santa Cruz trails were a bit overgrown with poison oak and I even had a run in with the endangered NorCal Gorilla (pretty funny story!) but the Bronson lived up to its "Dream Bike" reputation.
I have been working on a modified rating system for all the bikes I have tested and here is my breakdown for the Bronson:
Plowability - 8.5
Climbability - 7.5
Maneuverability - 8.5
Wheelie Rating - 9
Closest Competitors: Yeti SB6, Ibis Mojo HD3
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the Bronson or any other Santa Cruz bikes. I would be glad to help you build your next dream bike from the frame up. Also check out my article on "How to Choose a Mountain Bike" for additional info.
https://www.backcountry.com/explore/how-to-choose-a-mountain-bike
See you out on the dirt and watch out for poison oak!
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on May 21, 2017

Watch Out For Poison Oak & Gorillas
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I recently had the opportunity to help organize a trip to Santa Cruz headquarters highlighted by a factory tour and group ride with some of my best customers in Northern California. We had access to the whole Santa Cruz demo fleet and I decided to try out the Bronson (I did get the added benefit of the lightweight Carbon CC frame, ENVE M60 carbon wheels and Eagle 1x12 drivetrain). I recently bought a Hightower 27.5+ and wanted to have a nostalgic ride on some traditional 27.5" tires (somehow 2.3" is now considered skinny! Haha). I rode the Bronson a couple of times out in Utah last year but after riding the forest trails of UCSC with the Santa Cruz crew I totally understand why this bike shines as arguably the best all-mountain whip on the market. The revamped VPP pedaling platform cruises uphill and the 150 mm of cush upfront crushes everything in your path on the decent. The Santa Cruz trails were a bit overgrown with poison oak and I even had a run in with the endangered NorCal Gorilla (pretty funny story!) but the Bronson lived up to its "Dream Bike" reputation.
I have been working on a modified rating system for all the bikes I have tested and here is my breakdown for the Bronson:
Plowability - 8.5
Climbability - 7.5
Maneuverability - 8.5
Wheelie Rating - 9
Closest Competitors: Yeti SB6, Ibis Mojo HD3
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the Bronson or any other Santa Cruz bikes. It is pretty amazing that you can get a full suspension, carbon bike for this $3600 price! If you are interested, I would be glad to help you build your next dream bike from the frame up. Also check out my article on "How to Choose a Mountain Bike" for additional info.
https://www.backcountry.com/explore/how-to-choose-a-mountain-bike
See you out on the dirt and watch out for poison oak!
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on May 21, 2017

Watch Out For Poison Oak & Gorillas
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I recently had the opportunity to help organize a trip to Santa Cruz headquarters highlighted by a factory tour and group ride with some of my best customers in Northern California. We had access to the whole Santa Cruz demo fleet and I decided to try out the Bronson (I did get the added benefit of the lightweight Carbon CC frame, ENVE M60 carbon wheels and Eagle 1x12 drivetrain). I recently bought a Hightower 27.5+ and wanted to have a nostalgic ride on some traditional 27.5" tires (somehow 2.3" is now considered skinny! Haha). I rode the Bronson a couple of times out in Utah last year but after riding the forest trails of UCSC with the Santa Cruz crew I totally understand why this bike shines as arguably the best all-mountain whip on the market. The revamped VPP pedaling platform cruises uphill and the 150 mm of cush upfront crushes everything in your path on the decent. The Santa Cruz trails were a bit overgrown with poison oak and I even had a run in with the endangered NorCal Gorilla (pretty funny story!) but the Bronson lived up to its "Dream Bike" reputation.
I have been working on a modified rating system for all the bikes I have tested and here is my breakdown for the Bronson:
Plowability - 8.5
Climbability - 7.5
Maneuverability - 8.5
Wheelie Rating - 9
Closest Competitors: Yeti SB6, Ibis Mojo HD3
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the Bronson or any other Santa Cruz bikes. I would argue that this Carbon S build is the best value out there or I would be glad to help you build your next dream bike from the frame up. Also check out my article on "How to Choose a Mountain Bike" for additional info.
https://www.backcountry.com/explore/how-to-choose-a-mountain-bike
See you out on the dirt and watch out for poison oak!
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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