Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 - Reviews And Previews

Welcome to the summary of reviews and previews of 2011, by All Mountain Next.
For easy and quick access to the reviews and previews, knock yourself out:

Canfield Brothers ONE 2011
E-Thirteen LG1+ Chain Guide
Kenda Excavator 2.35"
Manitou ISX-6
Michelin Wild Rock'R 2.25"
Point One Racing Podium Pedals
Rock Shox Monarch RT3 2011 (2012)
Rock Shox Vivid R2C 2011
Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro 2011 (UPDATED)
Shelter Frame Protection

E-Thirteen LG1+ Chain Guide
Mavic Crossmax SX 2012
Rock Shox Monarch RT3 2011
Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO 2.25" 2012
SuperStar Components CNC Nano Tech pedals 2011
Troy Lee Designs CP 5955

661 Kyle Strait vs Fox Launch Pad Pro

Coming soon (Reviews and Previews):
Continental Mountain King 2 (preview)
Mavic Crossmax SX 2012 (review)
Race Face - SIXC crankset (review)
Schwalbe Dirty Dan 2011 2.3" (review)
Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO 2.25" 2012 (review)
Specialized Clutch SX 2.3" (review)
Troy Lee Designs CP 5955 (review)
Air Rearshock- Unknown as of yet
AM Fork- Unknown as of yet

Be sure to check out the reviews and previews of last year, do it here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best and Worst of 2011

Thought idd do a roundup of whats good and bad from 2011. I did it last year, so its time for a new list. So, whats the WORST and BEST stuff of 2011 - lets take a look:

The Best (in random order):

Not really a surprise huh? Note that its not just Whistler Bikepark, but the Whistler area itself. This area has the best crafted trails I have ever ridden. The amount of work, passion, and design that went into these trails is just amazing. From A-Line in the Bikepark, to River runs through it in the Whistler mountains I need to get back to this place.
(click to enlarge)

Single Front-Ring setup
Someone out there might say; "Single ring wont work on my trails because that would make them unridable" I though that as well, but after a few months, I was riding trails that I never though was possible without a small ring in the front. It makes you a stronger rider, and simplifies a few things in the process as well.
(click to enlarge)

RockShox Boxxer R2C2 2011
Amazing performance, and a true joy to use. This fork really surprised me. When I did the classic parking lot test, I thought to myself; it feels stiff, and it wont work for my riding. Out on the trails, in the bikeparks, it came to life and put my parking-lot-test-doubt to shame, it was like cutting a warm knife through butter, when it came to the trails. And there I was, thinking my Fox Float 36 was plush..
(click to enlarge)

Honorable Mention: Life Cycles movie - (the Seasons chapter). Besides hosting sick riding, it features some of the most beautiful motion picture I have ever seen, combine that with a custom score just for this 5 minute chapter, and you have some of the best mtb footage ever created. Its downright emotional. 
I hate to link to this, because this chapter needs to be seen on a big tv, in a high quality -anyway, watch the chapter  here.

The Worst (in random order):

Poor carbon design
While im definitely a believer in its strength to weight ratio, it has to be coupled with a very important factor; Good design. It was a lack of good design that lead to 2 carbon frame failures in a short period of time. Last time I broke a carbon frame was the S-Works Enduro, had it had a different design, that could cope with the rigors of AM, then I would propably still be riding that bike. Dear industry, make use of carbon, but do so wisely.
(click to enlarge)

Poor trail design
I don't know where you ride, perhaps you are lucky, and have some sweet trails to ride, designed by some  passionate mountain bikers. I'm afraid that I'm not in such situation. I continue to see poor use of terrain, features that are badly executed, a lack of continuity, and overall ill design. The quality of the official trails in the country I live in, is mind bugling poor, and there are no excuses for it to be this way. A thick fog of conservatism has corrupted the official trail building scene, and pretty much nobody does anything about it - because nobody really questions it. This picture wraps it up nicely:
(click to enlarge)

The 26" vs 29" debate
Its getting old, and it no longer brings anything new to the table, and I noted that the debate most often is spoken and fueled by 29" purists or 26" purists - and that doesn't do the debate any good. Let it be, lets move on, its about wheel size, now get over it.
(click to enlarge)

(Dis)honorable Mention - The long winter of 2011 - I dont know how the winter was where you where, but it sure was long and snowy over here. It was a big kick in the nuts, the best trails where unridable, and I was getting insane due to the lack of riding. Suddenly I was forced to look my girlfriend in the eyes and actually speak to her. Lets hope this comming  winter will be more calm.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

All Mountain Next turns 2 year old!

Thanks for a great year! The support has been massive, and ive actually doubled my visit count since last year. Glad to see all those comments as well, I appreciate the involvement. Hope you guys enjoy this blog as much as I do writing it. I hope to continue All Mountain Next through 2012.

I did a small summary last year, about what this blog is about, and how it came to be, be sure to check it out here.

Got any comments or suggestions, well then feel free to submit your thoughts. Comments does not require a sign in.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Preview: Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO 2.25" 2012

Introduced in 2005 Nobby Nic has since won the heart of many mountainbikers, especially in Europe. Since its introduction its gone through several changes, knobs have gotten longer, and their direction has been altered among other things. In 2010 it got the AM-label as well - it was no longer just a xc tire - and that puts it in the spotlight here on All Mountain Next.

I have have a mixed experience when it comes to Schwalbe tires, I really like my Ice Spiker Pro tires, but dread the Fat Albert. My initial impressions of the Nobby Nic however, are positive, this tire feels like an all rounder, and im abit surprised as to how easy they actually roll, didn't expect that. The tire itself is a bit small for a 2.25", looks more like a 2.1" imo. The tire does have good grip so far, I have been riding it in alot of wet terrain, and untill now cannot really complain about anything. But will it hold up during winter time? Or will it fail to perform. Find out in the up coming review, right here at All Mountain Next.

Very light considering its AM label. Claimed weight is 545g.
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Friday, December 9, 2011

December riding

No snow as of yet, contrary to last year at this time. That makes room for riding, the somewhat varm temperatures makes it even more enjoyable. We shot a few pics worth posting;

(click to enlarge)

Christian working it
(click to enlarge)

Some more volume lighting, I think I got really lucky with this shot 
(click to enlarge)

Gotta love techy sections with off camber roots.
(click to enlarge)

Im back on my Vivid coil, I got fed up with my underachiving Monarch RT3, so Ive sent it in to TF Tuned. Hopefully they'll do their magic on it. 
(click to enlarge)

Drop in.
(click to enlarge)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gittin mah wheeep on

Raw edit.No sound. 17 sec:

Sure its not perfect, but keep in mind that im still learning - and im having alot of fun in the process : )

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preview: Mavic Crossmax SX 2012

After more than 2 years of use/abuse of my Sun Ringle Equalizer-29 rims, coupled with Hope Pro 2 hubs, I finally got some new wheels for my AM riding.
I decided to go for the Mavic Crossmax SX 2012, for several reasons; I have never been on straight-pull spokes before, and secondly I knew that Mavic has its AM line dialed when it comes to strengh.
Mavic has revised the Crossmax SX for 2012. Its gotten stronger by the use of a new rim extrusion, a new graphics package is in place as well. Other than that its known for its stiffness and strengh, albeit some hub issues, but ill get back to that in a moment.

The strongest and the best Mavic has to offer for AM riding.
(click to enlarge)

ITS-4 hub, loved and hated. Some people run these hubs without ever running into issues, other riders report of reliability issues. I hope that I fall into the first group of people.
(click to enlarge)

The Crossmax SX has a Maxtal rim, its 30% stronger than 6106 alloy, and tests has continuously shown that these rims has an immense strengh. The rims are even used for pro-level slopestyle, propably some of the most stressfull challenge you can pose a mtb rim.
(click to enlarge)

The spokes use a Zicral Alloy, its a very strong alloy of the 7075 series, with a strengh comparable to steel - just without the weight penalty. One interesting use for 7075 alloy is in the manufacture of M16 rifles for the military. Ok back on topic, so, im not a big fan of proprietary stuff, I actually often advocate against it, but the Zicral spokes didnt scare me away because of two things; they have a good rep for not breaking, and despite what some might say, replacement spokes are actually easy to get hold of, well for me anyway, as my LBS carries them.
(click to enlarge)

Front wheel, 826g.
(click to enlarge)

Rear Wheel, 937g
That makes for an actual total weight of: 1763g - pretty damn close to the claimed 1755g.
(click to enlarge)

So I allready had my first 11 hours of actual trail time on these hoops. My initial impressions are very positive. By switching to this wheelset I dropped a whopping 680 grams of the wheels (!). The wheels are stiff and responsive, In fact, im abit surprised as to how much more easy its actually become to roll my bike after the switch (well maybe all that talk about rotational weight was correct after all, heh)

The wheelset came standard with a 9x135 axle setup, so I had to convert it to a 12x135 to make it compatible with my bike. The problem was however that Mavic has done a really poor job of telling how to do that, I just knew it was possible. The included manual mentions nothing, and the online manual was very poor, so I had to google a bit, and after a little guessing and trial and error, I succeeded, its actually pretty simple, and I reckon I could do any conversion within 2-3 minutes.  A x12 convertion kit was included as well btw.

Will these rims, spokes and hubs take the beating of my countless sideways landings, and general riding, or will they fail big time with a bang coupled with a furious fireball.. Well time will tell, stick around as I do a complete review, right here, on All Mountain Next. (thanks to Drea for hooking me up with these wheels)
(click to enlarge)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November Sun 2

Awesome november weather has allowed for even more sunny riding, im excited about that, as It really comes unexpected - great stuff.

Awesome shot, including some volume lighting, early morning. I got lucky.
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

The new booster-drop makes you litterly go from 10kph, to about 40 kph in a single second.
(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Another lucky shot, this time around I captured it in the evening.
(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November Sun

Its actually been quite sunny recently, cold, but sunny. Grabbed my camera (adjusted it this time around), and shot some pics. What a great day af riding.

These trails where covered with snow last year at this time, happy to see its not like that this time around. Yet.
(click to enlarge)

Its not a foot-tap, if you don't touch the ground ; )
(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Playing with the camera.
(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Toying with a new small stepdown, on a longer descend section
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November air Part 2/2

Second part of our air corrupted session.

Peter test riding the newly-angled stepup, landing is to the upper far left corner. He almost made it. If Peter cant, then I guess nobody can. Damn pesky step-ups.
(click to enlarge)

 Madsen going full throttle
(click to enlarge)

Plain vanilla style
(click to enlarge)

Peter litterly drops in the background.
(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November air Part 1/2

Met up with some old mountain bike buddies recently, and we got ourself a whole day of riding. Spirits where high, wheather was cold, but we all managed to get by this day without any crashes or mechanical faults - kinda unusual when I ride with these guys - im not complaining tho' : ) Shot some pics with my new cam, but didnt notice that it was set at "auto-white-adjust" so the colors got a bit one-dimensional, well, lesson learned. Anyway, here are some of the riding we did:

First up is Peter.
(click to enlarge)

Kedde toying with a small, but fast section.
(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Madsen (re)analysing this drop at the natural kicker. Landing is somewhere at the bottom of this pic.
(click to enlarge)

A bit camera shy, you have to be quick to catch whatever Peter does next. Riding a tree? Sure.
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Video: Whistler Trail Riding

Finally had some time to edit some of the footage I shot in Whistler. I have loads of footage from Whistler Bikepark, but as of yet, I dont have an idea of what direction I want that video to go. So for now, I made this rather basic edit for the trail riding I did in the Whistler area. Btw, I wrote abit about Whistler trail riding, check it out here.

Be sure to check out the vid at youtube at 480p. For the embedded version:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Camera

I got fed up with my sluggish Olympus Tough 3000 camera, so I got myself a Casio EX-ZR10 - the big brother to my former Casio FC100 camera. The best thing about it? High-Speed.

It might look simple, put its crazy powerful for its size and price.

Tiny stepup. Raw edit. No sound. 240 FPS:

Expect to see some nice pics in the future, as well as more High Speed footage.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bad leg protection

I just recently did a knee pad comparision, and concluded that there are some pretty neat options out there. I cant say the same however for full knee-shin protectors. Ive had 4 as of yet, and none of them have been particularly good. Infact, im utterly disappointed. Take a look at some of those knee-shin protectors ive been using so far:

The problem with the 661 Comp Knee is a lack of knee protection, the front has good cover, but the sides are exposed, definitely a no-go when riding DH or FR. I also noticed that they would slide in different
 directions, everytime I had a crash.

Granted the RaceFace Rally FR is best of the 3 mentioned in this post. But this RaceFace product fails on the comfort. Lower leg, and upper knee are badly irritated after some hours (4+) of use. The Rally FR rubs your skin, making it red and sore. And its not just me, other riders with this product are reporting similar problems.

The problem with the FOX Launch Pro Knee/Shin guard is lack of side protection at the knee. Its basically non existent. This really comes as a surprise, as the Fox Launch Pad Pro had left me with such a positive impression. What where they thinking?

All I want is a good knee-shin protector for bikeparks. Im looking for something comfortable, as well as something that covers a good deal of the knee, and stays in place. Am I really asking for too much? Im currently considering the 2012 POC VPD 2.0 Knee/Shin guard, or the more burly FOX Titan Knee Guard. Got a suggestion for me to try out? Or something to stay away from? Write me a comment, and I might just check it out (or keep away from). Comments does not require a sign-in.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Rock Shox Monarch RT3 2011 (2012)

My initial expectations for the Monarch RT3 shock where very high. Rock Shox promised a revised 2011 monarch, that had a competent midstroke, and factory set high speed rebound. This combined with a 3 way compression setting, sounded like just the right shock for me and my AM riding.

The first version I got was faulty, the shock had issues with compression and rebound, had to send it back in, and got a new version - faulty as well. You can imagine my frustration at this point. So had to send it back in, again, and I finally got a working version, and after 7 months of testing I can finally pin a review.

RockShox has stated that there is no difference between the 2011 and 2012 version.
(click to enlarge)

The RT3 has a 3 way compression tune, a low-speed rebound, and an internal pre-set highspeed rebound. I went for the high volume canister.
(click to enlarge)

Black and Pink line shows the official Rockshox spring curves. Green, Blue, and Red shows my impressions of the spring curve of a given compression setting.
So what you are looking at here, is a shock that takes a while to activate, as well as having a persistent tendency to stabilise on the hard-feeling sag. Small bump sensitivity is poor - I don't mind that actually, as my trails are very forgiving to such behavior. After the sag, the shock actually has a very good mid-stroke support, and ramps up nicely, but refuses to use all travel, as illustrated on the grapf.
All this is coupled with the fact that the 3 diffrent compression setting are actually giving 3 different shock behaviors, and for once ive actually been using the different compression settings - whereas I usually just set it in one place, and forget about it.

Blue: High compression setting
Green: Medium compression setting
Red: Low compression setting
(Grapf is simplified to better illustrate behavior.)
(click to enlarge)

Weight resembles a FOX RP23, size shown is a 216x63mm, with bushings:
(click to enlarge)

Set the compression to high, and enjoy a "firm" setting that makes you propel faster on pedally sections, but still allows the wheel to tracks the ground. Don't expect great small bump sensitivity tho'
 (click to enlarge)

The Monarch RT3 does a great job sucking in well transitioned hits, small and big. Square-bump hits is another story, it feels inconsistent, and will sometimes give a kickback. Makes me wonder why the high-speed rebound doesn't kick in.
(click to enlarge)

The Good:
-Very competent platform settings, it really has 3 settings.
-Great mid stroke
-Handles big hits very well
-Different tune options
-You can get racy xc performance, whilst still being able to take hard hits

The Bad:
-High speed rebound feels inconsistent
-Does not use full travel
-Negative air spring problems in the High-Compression setting when riding flat sections.

Score: 3/6

As I stated before, I had somewhat high expectations for this shock, and it just didnt deliver what I expected. Its not a bad shock, it definately has its moments, but overall its nothing special. So once again I end up with a shock, that doesnt live up to my idea of a good AM shock. Funny thing is, that the best air shock I have been on so far, was a 2009 Fox Float R. Cheap, consistent, and just felt damn good. So, where do I go from here shock wise?