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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson

The Wasatch Mountains and Environs

Mike Nelson's Passions

Road Biking
Mountain Biking

Mike Nelson's Bio

I’ve been riding mountain bikes for 18 years, Road bikes for 10. I started out on steel, but things have gotten more elaborate since then. I’ll race when I have to, but for me bikes are for getting outside with friends, being healthy, and seeing new places.
Current rides – Niner Rip 9 RDO, Bianchi Infinito CV Disc, Niner ROS 9 Plus.
Competitive cylcist Brand Ambassador for Castelli, Niner Reynolds Smith.
I’d love to answer your Mountain and Road bike gear related questions. My email address is mnelson@backcountry.com, and my phone extension is 4076.
Backcountry.com’s Gearheads are your instant connection to gear knowledge. They’re passionate outdoor experts hell-bent on helping you find the right ski, saddle, or pro. Follow their adventures and exploits.

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on January 6, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

On its release, the original Pike Fork revolutionized Mountain Bike forks and opened a lot of eyes to how good a fork could be. Surprisingly, Rock Shox made a fork called the Revelation at the time, but that fork was merely good, not a revelation. Anyway, the Pike was the fork to have, and forced its competitors to improve their design and drop their prices. So the Pike went along for a few seasons and everyone liked it. I would have put the old Pike on my new trail hardtail, but this one had just come out, and I decided to give it a try, I can't say is makes they 140mm Pike I had on a previous bike seem terrible, but I can say that the Pike Debonair is an excellent fork. I was able to get dialed in easily, and can push it hard with confidence.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on January 6, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have used the HED Rim Tape for Ardennes Plus and other 22-23mm internal width rims. The tape is a little wider, but if you pull it tight as you apply it, it will conform to the rim bed and go up the sides. it works! Make sure to clean the rim with some alcohol so the tape will stick well,

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on January 6, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I can only view the wide availability of wide handlebars as a positive development in the world of mountain biking. But every rose has its thorns, and in this case too many riders have convinced themselves that if wider is better, then wider and fatter is better still. 35mm diameter handlebars might be right for big downhillers, but for most riders, including me, some compliance is a good thing. My hands and wrists feel better on long descents, and handling is uncompromised.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on December 28, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I just picked up a pair of Pearl Izumi Versa Pants and I'm beyond happy with them. Usually i'm a jeans traditionalist, favoring raw denim that is very uncomfortable for the first several months of wear at least. The experience of putting on the versa pants was the first time was very different in that they were soft, stretchy, and comfortable immediately. But for all that comfort, they pants are not baggy or sloppy, The fit is trim and neat and the pants would not be out of place in an office or at a casual restaurant. there is very little sag. Gripper in the waistband keeps things in place with or without a belt. All the pockets but the left hip pocket have zippers, so things will not fall out, and the phone pocket on the right thigh is a good touch. I expect to wear these a lot for riding and every day.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on June 2, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

The Giro Whynd shoes are perfect for indoor cycling classes. They are comfortable and understated enough to put on at home instead of changing shoes at the gym. They will even go for a little work in the wight room after class--carbon-soled cycling shoes won't do that! The Whynd shoes come with a good rubber cap that covers where the cleats bolt in, so they are also a good choice for casual cyclists using flat pedals or toe clips, but still want a stiff-soled shoe.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on December 14, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My ideal bar tape feels good with or without loves, and stays clean without developing any sticky residue. The Arundel Rubber Gecko tape fits the bill, and looks goood on the bars to boot. Some people have expressed concern that the diamond pattern on the tape could be to rough against the skin, but I have not found that to be the case. This tape is great for pulling on the bars, or riding rough dirt roads. Highly recommended.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on December 14, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I set up my multisurface road bike with a long-cage Force 1 derailleur, a 10/42 tooth XX1 Cassette, and a 38-tooth chainring. With that gearing, I can claw up some very nasty and loose dirt climbs, but still have gears for leisurely riding on pavement. The only thing I have sacrificed is the ability to mash a big gear on paved descents to get my speed above 40 mph, but I can live with 38! the Force 1 drivetrain is smoother and quieter than any drivetrain I've ridden, including top offerings from Japan. The Front derailleur is unlikely to go extinct, but for a lot of road riding, a 1x11 drivetrain is a fantastic choice.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on December 14, 2016

One Jacket, November-April
5 5

The Castelli Alpha Jacket is my favorite piece of clothing for Winter and Spring cycling. On the coldest winter days, I’ll pair it with a Castelli Flanders Base layer, heavy gloves and a neck gaiter. On wet days, with a mesh base layer, neoprene gloves and Nanoflex knickers. And on a sunny-but cold spring day, I can even wear it next to the skin with no base layer. When I wear the Alpha, I appreciate the flat cuffs, jersey-like fit, and the secure zippered pockets. Castelli made this jacket extremely useable for riding year-round.
I would note that the jacket can feel small when you put it on. I’m 5’10”, 200 pounds, with a 43 inch chest and a 36” waist. I wear the Alpha in XL, and when I put it on I pull the two sides together to zip it up. The fit is not relaxed, but once I’m on the bike with my hands on the handlebars, the arms are the right length and the fit across the chest is more relaxed. The trim fit means that the wind is sealed out and the jacket does not flap or make noise at speed. I encourage people to order according to Castelli’s size chart and wear the clothing tight.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on December 14, 2016

Affordable XC, Gravel, 'Cross Wheels
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Mercury handbuilds all of their wheels in Ogden Utah. I've ridden these wheels all through the fall and early winter on my 1x11 multisurface road bike. I've run 32mm tires at 65psi and 45mm tires a 35*-50 psi. I've been very happy with the tubeless performance of the wheels, Setup was a bit of a challenge, as they did not include tubeless valves or tape, and i needed a comperssor to seat the 32mm tires. The 45mm tires seated with a floor pump. ONt the road and dirt, the wheels ride well and hold up on rocky descents without the benefit of suspension. I would not pair these with a mountain tire larger than 2.2 inches.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on December 14, 2016

Fit is IT
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I have been on a quest for the perfect winter cycling gloves, and the Castelli Boa may be the best I have tried. Other waterproof/breathable gloves can be very difficult to put back on after taking them off, since the opening is small and the lining is separate from the waterproof/breathable membrane (looking at you, Gore-tex and Hipora) Castelli addresses this by using the excellent OutDry membrane, which is bonded to the shell an lining and feels like a single layer of material, and with the Boa closure. The wrist of these gloves opens wide, and then cinches down for a very trim fit.
I have worn them on a couple of rides now, both road and trail, in temperatures down to the low 30s. I have honestly not thought much about the comfort of my hands while I have been riding. They feel neither too warm or too cold. When it comes time to take off the gloves to take a photo or eat a snack, the ordeal I'€™ve experienced with other gloves is a distant memory.
I usually wear gloves in either large or XL, and I got these in XL, as I don't want winter gloves that are too tight. Thumb and middle fingers are perfect, other fingers are a tad long, but the function of the glove is unaffected. I expect I could fit a thin liner underneath for sub-freezing temps.
Castelli has a thin laser-cut cuff on most of their jackets, which slides under the long gauntlet of the Boa glove exceptionally well. Wrist gap is a thing of the past!

I'm the Castelli Brand Ambassador for Competitive Cyclist and Backcountry. If you have questions about Castelli or other winter cycling clothing, call me at 801-736-6396 x 4076 or email me at mnelson@backcountry.com

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on September 20, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

After being interested in oval chainrings for a long time, I decided to try this one on a cross/multisurface road build. I paired a 38-tooth oval ring with a Force 1 crankarm and an xx1 10-42 cassette. After a few rides I can say that the oval ring doesn't feel much different at higher cadences, but when things get steep and the spin tuns to a trudge, the oval ring works as billed and drives the back wheel more consistently than the conventional round-ring drivetrains I'm used to. installation is simple, and the bulky 2-peice spider and ring of the Force 1 drivetrain is replaced with a light and simple direct-mount chainring. the 1x11 drivetrian is exceptionally smooth and quiet. If you're swapping out rings on a SRAM 1x11, I can't see any reason not to try the Absolute Black RAM CX Oval Direct Mount Chainring.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on September 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

As far as I can tell, SRAM makes no claimabout the heat dissipation abilities of the Centerline X versus the all-steel Centerline rotor. but I have to think that the aluminum spider of the Centrline x would do a slightly better job of pulling thermal energy away from the braking surface. At any rate, these come in 6-bolt or Centerlock, and have done great for me on the trail! They're the preferred choice with SRAM Guide, Level, and road disc brakes.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on September 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Ergon GE1 grips may be the most comfortabe grips I have used on mountain bikes. They have a teardrp-shaped cross-section under the pointer and middle fingers, and flare out to a larger round diameter under the ring and pinky fingers. They put softer grip compounds in just the right places. the single alloy collar keeps them locked in place, without using any hard material outboard. thest grips are comfortable even if you ride at the very outside of the bar. the GE1 grips will be a great upgrade for any Mountain bike.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on September 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The leading tubeless sealant is latex-based with a little amonia mixed in to keep things flowing freely. As a result it smells something like housepaint mixed with glass cleaner, an aroma that no one would describe as pleasant. Continental Revo Sealant is synthetic, and has an inoffensive piney scent. It flows well through a valve with an injector tool, seals tires easily and persists for several months. As with all tubeless sealants, shake well before using.

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Mike Nelson

Mike Nelsonwrote a review of on September 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The FOX Racing Shox 36 Float 29 160 HSC/LSC FIT is:
- A life preserver.
- A get-out-of-jail free card.
- A jetpack.
- A hall pass.
- A lightsaber
Go into that rock garden carrying too much speed, or not enough. Choose that bad line. Land flat. This is the fork that will let you keep it together.

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