Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - Reviews And Previews

Welcome to the summary of reviews and previews of 2012, by All Mountain Next.
For easy and quick access to the reviews and previews, knock yourself out:

661 Evo Knee
Continental Mountain King II Racesport
Fox Launch Pad Pro
Mavic Crossmax SX 2012/13
Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro 2011-12 (UPDATE 2)
Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO 2.25" Pacestar 2012
Specialized Clutch SX 2.3"
Troy Lee Designs CP 5955

Continental Mountain King II 2012 (Racesport)
Twenty6 Predator Ti Pedal

Coming soon (Reviews and Previews):

POC VPD Bone LEG (review)
FiveTen Freerider VXI (preview)
SCOTT Grenade Pro II Knee (review)
Twenty6 Predator Ti Pedal (review)
BOS suspension "Fork" (review)
BOS suspension "Rear Shock" (preview)
E13 LG1+ Wheelset (preview)
Cane Creek Double Barrel AIR shock (preview)
..and then some.

2013 is going to be fahking sick. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Best and Worst of 2012

Thought i'd do a roundup of whats good and bad from 2012. I did it last year, so its time for a new list. So, whats the WORST and BEST stuff of 2012 - lets take a look:

The Best (in random order):

Willingen Bikepark (Germany)
It might just have 3 real lines, and the Freeride line doesn't actually have much to do with freeride. Hell, even the lift is a bit awkward. But boy is this place fun to ride. This bikepark hosts lines that are very conscious about the fun-factor vs tech factor, this is particular true when you see the DH line; Its rough, but full of tables and jumps as well. And if the name "Willingen" sounds familiar, well that's perhaps because its actually been host to the DH Worldcup. The 4X line is beautifully sculpted, almost engineered,  and as mentioned before, the Freeride line is fast, and buckets of fun to ride. Highly recommended place to visit.
(click to enlarge)

Mavic Crossmax SX
Strong, lightweight, reliable - pick 3. Yup, the Mavic Crossmax SX has you covered. There is no way that you are going to destroy this wheelset, or mess up its reliability. I have put alot of riding into these hoops, without a single issue. The fact that it comes in at just 1763g only adds to the praise. This wheelset is  my best gear of 2012, highly recommended.
 (click to enlarge)

Aggressive snow-riding
Riding in snow. What used to be a chore, got turned around 180deg into something that's actually FUN. What it took was a different approach to it. I used to ride established trails, and just plow through it. In the beginning of this year I ditched that, and began to go rogue. I found an awesome area with sweepy banks and hills and began to "carve" my lines. Although a bit rough, before I knew it, I was jumping, dropping, and downright shredding in the snow. It takes alot of energy, some trailspotting, and time, but the reward is that its loads of FUN.
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The Worst (in random order):

The 27.5" standard, and the All Mountain segment.

"I would have cleared that climb - ÍF my tires where 1.5" bigger."

"I would have been way faster on that descend - ÍF my tires where 1.5" bigger."

"I would have cleared that gap - ÍF my tires where 1.5" bigger."

Ever heard anyone say that? Well neither have I. But for 2013 and 2014, that extra 1,5" in wheel size is apparently a MUST have for any AM biker according to the bike industry. I am of course talking about the 650b or 27,5" standard. Pretty much every major player in the bike industry will focus on 27,5" bikes for their AM segment, and its kinda funny that they all get that idea at the same time...that must be coincidence right? *WINK WINK* 

Don't get me wrong, 29" tires makes a lot of sense for something like XC and trail riding, and I guess that 27,5" could find a spot somewhere between XC and AM, but to suddenly declare 26" to be obsolete and impotent, is making me think that somethings fishy in the bike industry.

I am asking you this; whats wrong with 26" for AM? Aren't we solving a problem that doesn't exist?


Trail design
Copy & and paste from last year:
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:
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Short term reviews
A trend I see at established and commercial mtb websites, is the trend of short term reviews. Well I guess that makes sense for some products, like energy bars, or perhaps a cycling computer. But to short term review a knee protector, or an adjustable seatpost (a segment that's notoriously known to fail after LONG term use) just does not make sense to me at all. Bodyarmor, adjustable seatpost, wheels, frames, suspension products, all deserve LONG term testing. I know the end consumer expects to know how a product performs even after 2 weeks of use as well. Luckily, All Mountain Next got you covered ; )

I'm not mentioning anyone particular *wink*, but boy does one site come to mind. Superficial reviews? Poor journalism? gotcha!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Stupid Injury

Disclaimer: I am not fishing for pity, compassion, or anything else, I am simply DOCUMENTING a stupid injury. With that out of the way, lets move on:

Im not quite sure how it happened, but during my ride, I suddenly felt a sting on my ankle. Not giving it any real attention, I carried on with my riding. After a few hours I felt my ankle getting all warm, and moisty, so I took a look and discovered that I had a cut, and that it was still actively bleeding. I began to wonder if I've had hit a small artery.

A few more hours went by, and my shoe was now soaking wet in blood, I took of my sock to further investigate, and sure enough, the bleeding was pulsating, confirming my suspicion  I tried to compress it, and elevate my foot, but it still bled. The cut itself was actually pretty small.

Oh the drama!

8 hours went by, and the bleeding didn't have any plans to stop just yet from the look of it, so I decided to go to the emergency room right before getting to bed (didn't want to mess up my bed with red stuff).

The doc confirmed that it was indeed an artery, and despite me sitting there with a facepalm, she also confirmed that I did the right thing by giving the ER a visit. Stupid injury, what a waste of time. I didn't even get a lollipop.

Watch in HD HERE

I hope you get it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Some December riding

As predicted, the snow arrived. Been busy on and off the trails anyway, shot a few pics along the way:

Back on the spike tires. Be sure to check my review here.
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An important thing I learned during the last few winters, is that 5.10 shoes are no good for sessioning in the snow. Good for trail riding, but not for sessioning in hard or compressed snow. Ice? - you might just as well jump infront of a truck. Yea, I'm talking about the lack of traction in the snow with 5.10. So to remedy that, I put on my most spiky trail-shoes the Salomon SpeedCross 3 CS. The 7mm rubber spikes makes almost vertical snow climbing  possible - perfect for those snow sessions. The grip on the pedals isn't impressive tho'.
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Go ahead and climb this hill with 5.10 shoes, it will be your demise. Oh btw, guess where my line of choice  was? ; )
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And down we go. I actually switched back to my Vivid R2C Coil rear shock, makes for a more fun ride in the snow.
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I'm in the process of testing the POC Bone VPD Leg, so far I'm positive. I'm hyper sensitive about good knee coverage, and the POC Bone VPD Leg delivers. Now for the long term testing. Stick around for a review.
(click to enlarge)
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

All Mountain Next turns 3 year old!

What a fun year it was, I got the chance to visit 2 new bikeparks, more than a handful of new trails in my own country, and earlier this year, I found out that snow-riding can be genuinely fun AND technical. On top of all that, my favorite local trails has just seen so much great progress, makes me very excited for the year to come.
Gear-wise 2012 hasn't been particular interesting; that tells me that I'm generally satisfied with the setup Ive got. 2013 will most likely be way more focused on new gear, and while I'm still keeping my cards close to my chest, I can tell you that I'm already getting excited. And that naturally brings me to my decision to continue the All Mountain Next blog for 2013. One more year with previews, reviews, vid's, pics, opinions, and a general tribute to mountain biking. Thanks for all of those who supported me, thanks for all the visits (another record breaking year, with 43000+ visitors), and thanks for all the comments as well, it makes the site that more enjoyable to run. Thanks guys.

Oh, btw, some time ago, I wrote a little background story about this place, read about it here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oldie but Goldie #2

"Oldie but Goldie" series will be my tribute to the "old days". When 640mm bars where considered wide, carbon was fragile, and adjustable seatposts didn't exist. And I'm doing it, for the fun of it.

My first frame-crack. (Trek Fuel EX)

A year later I cracked a carbon Specialized Enduro SL, after that I went on and cracked a S-WORKS Enduro as well. Those where the days.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Recent Riding

Mr frost is on its way, and im trying to ride my bike as much as possible before the forrest gets painted all white.  Here are some recent pics of us enjoying the lines while they are still rideable.

New jump at the Middle-Meat section. Its so fun to hit, and we actually ended up sessioning it for an entire hour. Good times.

I don't know why it took me so long, but ive finally installed a short cage derailleur. The old one was a medium and it flexed so much during whips that it occasionally slammed into my spokes. I haven't had this issue since I got the short cage installed. Time will tell tho'. 
(click to enlarge)

Henning is in an upgrade frenzy, He got rid of the skinny bars and installed some 780mm bars, from what ive heard he's loving it. I think the bike is getting pretty damn dialed.

And here we go, in the classic cat and mouse run. Its not only fun, it pushes your skill level as well.

I stumbled upon this flowy field a few days ago, man do I see lines everywhere.
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(Click to enlarge)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Mavic Crossmax SX 2012/13

13 months of testing is finally done, and I can finally conclude my time on these hoops with a review. 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 strength albeit some hub issues, but ill get back to that in a moment. Lets start of with an overview:

The strongest and the best Mavic has to offer for AM riding. Front has a 20mm axle, rear is compatible with pretty much everything right out of the box.
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The ITS-4 hub has proven to be reliable and trouble-free. Mavic got it right this time.
(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 strength  The rims are even used for pro-level slopestyle, probably some of the most stressful 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 strength 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 didn't 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.
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Front wheel, 826g.
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Rear Wheel, 937g
That makes for an actual total weight of: 1763g - pretty damn close to the claimed 1755g.
(click to enlarge)

Ive been testing the Crossmax SX for DH og FR usage as well. They are more than capable.
(click to enlarge)

But the primary use has been AM and trail. Alot of stress was put on the wheels via jumps and drops, and not all my landings are clean - if I may add.
(click to enlarge)

So after 13 months of testing my conclusion is clear; This is the best wheelset Ive been on. Its solid, strong, lightweight, and has a attention to detail. Í have been riding this wheelset extensively for more than a year, but it has been a completely flawless experience regarding reliability. Coming from a 2100g+ wheelset, there are definitely noticeable acceleration benefits, and the bike just feels more responsive overall.
If you are into a lightweight AM wheelset that can take some heat, then the Mavic Crossmax SX 2012 might just be your best bet. Highly recommended.

The Good:
-Decals are painted, not just stickers.
-Oozes quality

The Bad:
-The instructions manual is poor and lacking.

Score: 6/6

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Discarded Footage

Not all high-speed footage made it into my short vid "Slow". Some of it (alot actually), was cut out, and before I send it into the eternal doom of the trash bin, I though that some of you may actually enjoy watching it. I know I did. So here it is; the Discarded footage:

Quick edit. 2m20s. Remember to active the 480p.

Now how about that catastrophic nosedive at 1.48? ; )

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oldie but Goldie #1

"Oldie but Goldie" series will be my tribute to the "old days". When 640mm bars where considered wide, carbon was fragile, and adjustable seatposts didn't exist. And I'm doing it, for the fun of it.
So let me start it all with this;

Apparently, back in the day, we where doing it wrong.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Got contacted by Canfield Brothers yesterday, that they put my vid "SLOW" up on their Facebook frontpage. If you haven't seen the vid yet, then check it out in the post below.

Monday, November 5, 2012

New vid: SLOW

I have been recording for this 2 minute video all year with my high speed camera, from a lot of different places. And now its finally compiled into a short vid. I hope you guys enjoy it.

2m 12sec, go for the 480p version:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Recent pics + "my jump is smaller than your jump"

Some recent pics, and a small vid for the fun of it.

Henning having a good time on his new bike, tackling a small steep drop here.
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How the hell did that happen??
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It has begun..
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I bet the butler did it.
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Making the most out of the smallest jump in the world (tm). :  ) No seriously, check it out, tire is never more than a few inches above the ground. And its actually fun to hit.
14sec. No sound. Raw edit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2 Bikeparks 1 cup

I thought my bikepark season was over, but nevertheless I ended up visiting 2 more. Winterberg has been one of my favorite places to ride, but this time around I had a chance to ride in Willingen as well. And im glad I did.

I could talk alot about Winterberg, and I did, Here and Here and even here. But this time around im doing a shout out to Willingen. Willingen only has 3 real lines, but what a fun place to ride. I shot some footage on the Freeride line (an A-Line inspired line), and compiled it into a short vid. The Freeride line doesn't have much to do with "freeride", its easy to ride, and there are no really big stuff to hit. It IS fast, and it IS fun - ill give them that. I had a really good time there.

So this is 99% of the Freeride line in Willingen, somehow 1% Winterberg snuck itself into this vid. I have no idea how. I deny everything!

Watch in HD HERE

Or crappy embedded version here:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

661 Evo Knee VS Fox Launch Pad Pro

You will have a hard time finding an All Mountain biker without a helmet and some sort of knee protection to go along with it. And who can blame the him/her? This segment is generally speaking, more aggressive and high-risk than the XC and trail segment. Luckily for us, companies are standing on top of each other to offer us the best and most advanced knee protection money can buy.

I have been using the 661 Evo Knee for more than 7 months now, and feel that its time to pass the verdict. The Evo knee is actually the second version of 661 d30 knee pad, that 611 introduced some years ago. The mission was to improve everything, while staying in the same price range.

The Fox Launch Pad Pro has been out for a few years now. Fox is a well established brand, and they have a tendency to do things right, but getting into the knee protection segment, where the 611 Kyle Strait knee pad was dominating, is definitely not an easy task. I have an impression that Fox took a really long, and hard look at the Kyle Strait pad, and began improving upon it.

Let me say this right away; Both pads are very good. There is a difference however, that I with showcase in this comparison-review.
(click to enlarge)

661: 6/6
Fox: 5/6
The 661 Evo Knee is a game changer; its the most comfortable knee protection I have used. The bed-in time is at just a few hours (!). Ill forgive its bulkyness, because these really are pads you forget that you wear after 30 minutes of riding. You see, The Evo knee needs to get warm, to be comfortable, but when it does, it really outperforms the Fox. Cloth chafting? NONE with the 661 Evo. Whereas the 661 is a bit more prone to cloth chafting, the Fox sits a bit better on the leg. The Fox pad is also very resistant to unwanted movement because of a silicone strap. The Fox Pad is also some 25% lighter, this adds to comfort. Note that the Fox Launch Pad Pro takes considerable more time to "bed in" - expect 5-8 rides.

Long term testing notes regarding comfort:
661: 7 months into the testing, the elastic back sleeve is getting a bit loose, making the pads more prone to sliding down the knee.
Fox: After a year of use, the pad began to irritate my upper knee. That was after a year of intense use. In addition to that, I will add that the silicon strap doesn't do well after washing, it disintegrates.

661: 3/6
Fox: 6/6
Fox has a superior protection in the upper and lower front, the padding on the sides is a bit more thick as well. The 661 Evo knee has its D3o material, and while it does cover a alot of the knee, even down the shin a bit, its just scary thin, and I don't see it absorbing impact from sharper objects like rocks and so on. Blunt force is where this pad is doing its job best. If you ride in very rocky conditions, then stay away from the 661 Evo Knee.

661: 4/6
Fox: 4/6
I don't feel any difference between the two. I do however think that there is room for improvement, for both brands. They do get hot in the summer.

661: 6/6
Fox: 5/6
Both are pretty tough, I do however see that the 661 holds up a bit better. Its completely unscratched even after months of hard use, 661 really stepped up their game compared to their old Kyle Strait knee pads. The Evo pads are tough and durable, partly due to the kevlar used up front on the knee pad. 

Value for money:
661: 4/6
Fox: 6/6
The fox is half price, and wins big time in this department. The 661 Evo knee is one of the most expensive knee pads on the market, only beaten by POC to my knowledge. On the other hand; The Evo Knee is really tough and durable, these pads wont die on you.

I had an entire year with the Fox Launch Pad Pro. Solid stuff.
(click to enlarge)

The 661 Evo Knee has been an interesting experience. Both regarding the good stuff, and the bad stuff.
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387g.  Less weight, more protection, a win-win situation?
(Click to enlarge)

526g. More weight, less protection, but more comfortable.
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The additional protection the Fox Launch pad offers is mostly in the upper and lower section of the pad. Pads in the sides are a bit more fat as well.
(Click to enlarge)

Final conclusion:
The 661 Evo Knee is very comfortable to wear, cloth chafting is non existent, and you are most likely to forget that you are even wearing them, well unless its very hot outside. The blunt-force protections is there, albeit inferior to the FOX. The lover strap is loosing up a bit too much now after 7 months of testing, so keep that in mind. Also, be aware that this is not a knee pad for sharp object like rocks.

The Fox Launch Pad Pro is more prone to cloth chafting, particular the first few months. But after that, they fit like a glove, and stay where you put them, partly because of the silicon strap. Protection is far superior, and its more lightweight.

Should I choose between the Fox Launch Pad Pro and the 661 Evo Knee, then I would have gone with the FOX offering. Its half the price, has more protection, more lightweight, all this makes it a better choice, even tho its more prone to clotch chafting. Fox has really made a good product.

Next up in testing is either POC VPD2 Knee, or Scott Grenade Pro 2. Or should it be something completely different? Well don't be shy, write in the comments section, it doesn't require a sign in.