Whether riding by yourself or in a group it is really important to be self sustaining. This means that you should be able to get yourself out of most common situations. What you should bring really depends on where you are riding and who you are riding with.
Where You Are Riding?
Are you riding in the back country or on trails that only a few people ride every day (or week). If this is the case, then you should be riding a little heavier, bringing more gear and supplies than probably necessary. While riding less popular trails can be really fun, it can be really dangerous if you get hurt. If you are riding around a well traveled park, you could get away with bringing a tube and water – ideally, you would bring more than this.
Who Are You Riding With?
If you are riding by yourself, you are going to end up stuffing more gear into your backpack. When you ride with friends you can split some of the gear between the two of you to lighten your load. You should always ride with a friend – especially if you are going on less traveled roads. Riding with other people is really important as they can help you if (when) you get hurt.
The following is a list of mountain biking equipment that usually take with me. While I usually don’t take everything listed here every time I go out, I do go through these items when I am prepping for a ride.
Spare tube – having spare tubes is always a good idea, bringing multiple tubes is generally a better idea when you are riding rocky terrain or you are riding in a group. There is always the one dude that shows up and he can barely find his helmet and gloves let alone tubes and something to carry them in. If you’re the guy that doesn’t bring his own tubes, don’t be that guy. Nobody likes you. Really.
Patch kit – Ever pop a tire and bust out your spare tube to realize that you forgot to swap out your popped tube for a new one? Or you didn’t swing by the bike shop in between your last ride and just popping a tire? It happens, that’s why it’s really handy to carry a patch kit. Get one of the ones where you apply glue, these work better than the ones that you apply straight on. They are small and light so you can stash a kit pretty much anywhere in your backpack.
Bonus reason to carry a patch kit: Remember that guy who doesn’t bring his own tubes and mooches off of everyone else? Want to give him the $10 downhill tube in your backpack? No, give him a patch.
Pump – You’re not going to get far if you have a tube and no pump. Unless you’ve got cash to burn and picked up a CO2 inflator and several refills. Then you probably don’t need a pump.
Tire irons – While you don’t always *need* tire irons to get your tire changed, it makes life a lot nicer. And they are cheap.
Multi-tool – There are a lot of variations of multi-tools out there. You can find one as simple as allen wrenches and tire irons or you can go all out and get the deluxe version. Getting the nicer version reduces the amount of other tools you need to carry.
Quick Link – Break your chain? You’re in a world of hurt without a quick link.
Water – duh. At least two liters.
ICE Card – In Case of Emergency – This has your name and important information such as any important medical information as well as people to call if you are incapacitated.
Ace bandage – these can be really helpful when you’re hurt as they are great for binding yourself back together. You can use the ace bandage with things like sticks to make a splint to get you down the mountain.
Butterfly bandages – While ace bandages are great for creating a splint or helping with a twisted ankle, they aren’t going to help you if you get a nice gash. I like to carry butterflies because, unfortunately, it isn’t that uncommon for me to find myself laying in a pile of rocks – Butterflies will get you down the mountain where you can properly take care of a wound.
Shock pump – Do you ride air suspension? Then you should carry a shock pump.
Zip ties – These are one of my favorites. They are really good for Macgyvering things like shifters back on to your bars or re-ataching a light to your bike.
Food – If you are going on a longer ride or you are going to be going through less traveled trails, it is a good idea to carry a bit of food with you. Clif bars and granola bars are great because they can be kept for long periods of time in your backpack. Having a little food to snack on can be a life saver if you suddenly find yourself light headed (unless you are light headed from hitting your head on a rock, then it probably won’t help much).
Red Bull – Getting in over your head is no fun. If you go on an epic ride and find yourself dead tired well away from the end, Red Bull might be your best friend. While I prefer a Monster Assault, the Red Bull is smaller and fits well in a backpack.
GPS – There are a couple really good uses for a GPS. First, they are a great way to track your ride, not only how far, but how many vertical feet you climbed and how fast you went. If you are riding a new trail, a GPS can be really helpful as you can often find a route to load onto your GPS
Phone – Your buddy crashes and needs help; your phone is your friend. Bonus: If you have a smart phone, you can load apps on that will act as a GPS and track your ride for you.
Camera – Mountain biking will give you the opportunity to see things most people don’t have the opportunity to see. Take pictures, make them with they rode. Or take a video of yourself dropping off a rock and send it to your buddies.
This is a guest post by Brian of San Luis Obispo Web Design.
Update: This deal is over and the Nema Digi is no where to be found. Still need a jersey, check out Amazon’s Nema jerseys here.
Want to grab a free mountain bike jersey? You should keep reading because we are giving one away.
How to Enter
So here’s the deal, we are going to give away a Nema Digi jersey. The catch is that you have to write a blog post to enter. You can write about anything related to mountain biking. We came up with a few topics to help get you started:
- Favorite Trail
- Why your LBS is awesome
- A new mtb product that you want to get
- How to do a trick
- Your favorite mtb site
- What you would like to see change in mountain biking
- A review of your bike or gear
When you’ve written the post, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include “Nema Jersey Contest” as the email subject.
We will accept entries until midnight February 28th 2011. Our judges will review the entries and we will announce the winner!
- Blog post entries must be at least 300 words
- All entries must be in the form of a blog post and hosted on your blog/site
- Submit your post via our blogging contest entry form
- You have to be 18 years of age or older and live in the United States
- We will only ship to the continental US
Pretty simple right? If you have questions, shoot us an email at email@example.com.
Yesterday we kicked off the Best of Mountain Biking 2010 Awards, If you missed the announcement you can read it here. Transition Bikes has taken an overwhelming lead in the Downhill and All Mountain categories. Here is the quick and dirty overview:
Best DH Bike
- Transition TR450 (77%)
- Intense 951 (7%)
- Trek Session 88 (3%)
- Specialized Demo 8 II
- Giant Glory 0 (2%)
Best AM Bike
- Transition Covert (77%)
- Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon (8%)
- Specialized S Works Enduro Carbon (4%)
- Intense Tracer 2 (3%)
- Giant Reign X (3%)
Best XC Bike
- Specialized S Works Epic Carbon Disc (27%)
- Intense Spider 2 (19%)
- Giant Anthem X Advanced SL 0 (15%)
- Trek Fuel EX 9.9 (12%)
- Rocky Mountain Element Team RSL (10%)
Best Online Bike Shop
- Jenson USA (33%)
- Price Point (16%)
- Cambria Bike (14%)
- Universal Cycles (14%)
- Huck N Roll (7%)
* Votes for “I buy everything at my local bike shop” were not included in the results
If you haven’t voted yet, cruise over to the nominations page and Cast Your Vote
As 2010 is coming to a close, we were thinking about how great of a year it was. Out of this conversation we began talking about our favorite (and least favorite) bike shops are and what we thought the best bikes of 2010 were. We want to know what you think. Who is the best bike shop online? What is the best DH bike? What about All Mountain and Cross Country? Let us know.
Vote or this is what your car will look like:
Recently I was able to sit down and interview John Hauer of X Fusion Shox. John’s been at X Fusion since 2007 and is currently focusing on their North American marketing efforts.
How did you get involved in MTB and X Fusion?
I grew up heavily involved in my local BMX scene but as I entered high school and began working in bike shops my focused turned to MTB. I began racing and was completely dedicated to the sport. After a very fun junior race career on the national and international race circuit I met Alex Wheeler. Alex was running the US division of X-Fusion and decided to sponsor myself along with 2 other pro riders (Ryan Condrashoff, Evan Turpen) to race domestically for X-Fusion.
That season on the road was one of the best times of my life, but as the season ended and I needed something to generate some income. Alex was kind enough to hire me on at X-Fusion to handle sponsorship and other miscellaneous marketing tasks. From that point on I began to grow within the company.
What bike set up are you and your team running right now?
I have a bunch of different bikes that I am constantly riding to test products, but the bike that I have been racing our local Super D series on is a KHS Velvet. It’s outfitted with a 2012 Vengeance HLR prototype and a 2011 O2 RCX AV.
The team for 2012 is going to be slightly different than years past. We have merged resources with DRD to create an even better program but all the details have not been released yet. They will however be on Intense Cycles for the 3rd year running.
What has your role been in growing X fusion?
X-Fusion has grown significantly since I joined in 2007 simply due to the passion our small staff has for riding and creating suspension. I have been lucky enough to work with great people and our combined efforts have really positioned X-Fusion in the right direction. My roll personally has always been marketing related but since we are a smaller company everybody assists and shares tasks. A lot of the daily work I perform for X-Fusion includes, Print and Viral Marketing, Producing Literature, Event Coordination, Athlete Management and of course Budgeting for it all.
What separates you from the other suspension companies out there?
I would say attention to detail and attention to our customers. We pride ourselves on the connection we have with our customers and always try our best to offer amazing pre and post purchase service. The attention to detail we have when manufacturing shows externally and internally with all our products. When taken apart you will not find cheap plastic parts or see that we have cut any corners. You will find high-end CNC’d parts engineered to provide the best performance possible. We keep true to our values while offering the products at a very competitive rate. We know what kind of suspension products consumers deserve and that is what we set out to produce.
Can you tell us anything about the future of X Fusion? What new products or product lines do you have upcoming?
We sure have a lot of projects in progress but not too many we can talk about just yet. You can expect to see more of our tool-less axle system across the fork lines. We also have a few other bigger products brewing that you can expect to hear more about as the 2012 line is released.
What can you tell us about the X-Series tool-less axle system that is on the Velvet?
The X-Series quick release system was developed by Syntace; a leading German company specializing in engineering precision cycling components. The X-Series tool-less axle system technology is licensed to X-Fusion from Syntace. The X-Series axle system is light, stiffer then standard 9mm QR and provides a more accurate alignment system for taking wheels on and off. Once the axle’s lever direction is set it will always go back to the same spot. No matter how many times the user removes the wheel, they will always get the same accuracy and precision when reinstalling.
The Vector HLR looks really cool, what can you tell us about that shock?
I agree that these shocks do look really cool, but the looks are not what make these shocks so rad.
First off for 2011 we reduced the knob height for extra frame clearance and switched to an aluminum shaft to save weight. On top of that we improved the low speed compression circuit for an even better damping range. This shock is loaded with all the adjustments you could possibly need to tackle the roughest tracks and trails. You have the ability to control high and low speed compression, rebound damping, bottom out and air pressure. Other than the air pressure all these adjustments are tool-less and can be adjusted by the rider’s fingers. More information can be found on our website about the Vector HLR.
Are there any X Fusion riders that we should be following?
X-Fusion sponsors a bunch of great riders but I would definitely keep an eye out for Jack Fogelquist. We picked him up mid last season and the rate that this kid progresses is amazing. Jack killed it at Crankworx Colorado and even put down some good runs at Crankworx in Whistler, BC. He is just starting to become noticed at the international level but I believe there is much more to come from Jack.
Where can our readers pick up some X Fusion suspension?
X-Fusion products are distributed in the United States by QBP, BTI and Hawley. These key distributors allow most bike shops to carry and sell X-Fusion products. Consumers can also purchase X-Fusion products direct at firstname.lastname@example.org or (831)221-5047
We know it can be hard to come up with a list of everything you want for Christmas – telling people what gifts you want can just be so challenging. With Christmas fast approaching, we thought we would help out. We have made a list of bikes that we (and possibly you) would like to see under that Christmas tree on December 25th. We think Christmas should look kinda like this:
Except for awesome. And I would be getting the bikes, not some goofy looking kid. Enough rambling, here are the bikes:
We would be super stoked to get one of the Banshee Amps, known for being a killer dirt jumping bike. The Amp comes fully loaded with a 100mm Rock Shox Argyle 302 in the front, super strong Alex 32h DM22 rims, and a Funn F2 160 rear disc brake. Get the full overview from the Banshee Website.
The Specialized Epic S Works is a killer cross country bike and while we really enjoy chairlifts and shuttles, we also like to hit the trail and get our pedal on. This is a CARBON 100mm awesome bike that can climb like a mountain goat. Quick rundown of the Epic: Specialized E100 front fork and 100mm Fox/Specialized Flow Mini Control rear shock, Avid XX World Cup R front and rear brakes, and SRAM XX derailleurs – Need we continue? Get more info on the Specialized site.
We have been itching to get our hands on the Santa Cruz Nickel for sometime now (more specifically since April 12th). The Nickel features Santa Cruz’s new “APP Suspension” and if it continues in the tradition of the other Santa Cruz bikes, it will be nothing short of awesome. Our build kit would feature the Fox Float 130mm RLC, XO SL components, the Fox RP23, and did we mention that the Nickel looks awesome in green? Oh and it’s a 25 pound bike. Build your own version at the Santa Cruz Website.
For our AM bike, we would really like to put the Intense Uzzi to the test. The Uzzi has a great reputation for being able to climb as well as any AM bike around, but absolutely destroy the downhill, making the reward so much sweeter. Intense has put a solid build kit on this bike: Fox 36 Van Fit RC2 180mm in the front and the Fox DHX RC4 , and XT brakes and shifters. Want more? Check out the Intense website.
We got to ride the Giant Faith when we went mountain biking at NorthStar last summer and we really liked it. The Giant Faith is a killer freeride bike that can take just about anything you throw at it. Super beefy, super awesome. Giant has put together a solid bike for 2011 including: the Rock Shox Totem Solo Air fork, Rock Shox Vivid Coil RC2, Avid Elixir CR Brakes, X9 rear derailleur, and Sun Ringle MTX31 rims. Rock solid. Get full spec’s at Giant’s Website.
For our downhill Christmas bike, we chose the Rocky Mountain Flatline World Cup. This bike is gnarly. Drops, jumps, nasty rocky sections, The RM Flatline can destroy it. Built with a 200mm travel Fox 40 RC2, 213mm of travel with a Fox DXH RC4 coil suspension, and Shimano Saint brakes, rear derailleur, cranks, chainring, bottom bracket and hubs. This bike is a downhill champion that we would love to get for Christmas. More goodness on the RM site.
That’s our list, what’s yours? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know which bike you want for Christmas.
The 2010 Specialized Enduro had some major modifications to the frame from last year’s model which have carried through into 2011. The most obvious change to the Enduro frame is the new X frame, which Specialized claims makes the frame significantly stronger. Other updates to the frame include a slightly slacker head angle and Specialized has gotten rid of the vertical rear shock in favor of a horizontal position.
The Enduro is Specialized’s All Mountain bike boasting 6.3 inches of travel with air suspension in the back and the front. While the Specialized Enduro Pro Carbine weighs in at just less than 30 pounds, the Enduro Expert, which we rode, weighs just over 30 pounds. To thoroughly test this bike to see if it is really the All Mountain bike Specialized Claims, we have ridden it everywhere from the 17 glorious miles of the Downieville Downhill to flowy Pacific Northwest. From this extensive field-testing, we can say that we really like this bike.
Overall, the Enduro is a decent climber; for an All Mountain bike, we think the Enduro climbs very well. The two chain rings with the Gamut chain guide work very well together, giving you the ability to grind up the steep stuff and keeping your chain on your bike when you are blasting down the trail.
The Rock Shox Lyrik 2 step has two travel settings – Full length with comes in at 160mm and the less travel setting takes 45mm off of the travel putting the travel at 115mm. This change in travel has a huge effect on the geometry and makes climbing significantly easier. While the Fox RP2bv does have a lock out setting, our experience was that it did not entirely lock out and the suspension did feel somewhat active.
When pedaling up very steep terrain, even when sitting with the seat raised and fork set to only 115mm of travel, we felt that the front wheel had a tendency to pop up. We only experienced this on very steep terrain; during most climbing, this was not an issue.
While we weren’t especially fond of pedaling the Enduro up super steep hills, The Enduro more than made up for any climbing deficiencies when we started down the hill. The Enduro has been able to handle anything we have thrown at it with ease. It handled extremely well in the fast and flowy single track; the Enduro felt very light maneuverable on the single track. It is really easy to throw around when you are going into a corner or avoiding terrain.
Going down rocky terrain was a very different story, the Enduro again performed very well but felt very stable and forgiving. Whether riding the sharp rocks at Downieville or blasting down rocky single track filled with baby heads on the California Central Coast, the Enduro handled exceptionally well. The Enduro had no issues dropping six feet on a trail and was forgiving when I didn’t have enough speed and slowly rolled off of a 3 foot ledge.
We really liked Specialized’s Command Post. When the command post is combined with the Lyrik’s travel adjust – which can be easily adjusted while riding, the Enduro truly becomes an all mountain machine. You can grind up and hill and proceed to change your geometry and seat post height and rip down the mountain all with out stopping. Initially, we didn’t think the Command Post would be used much, but it quickly became one of our favorite features. The command post can really change how you ride, making it easier to climb and then quickly change riding styles to bomb down a short descent, then go back to climbing. While we have had some minor stiction issues with the Command Post, which are fairly easily resolved, we cannot say enough good things about the Command Post.
The custom DT Swiss E440S 32 hole rims look great and hold up well in most conditions, but we have broken a significant amount of spokes riding rocky terrain. While some of this may be us needing to pick better lines, we feel that putting a stronger rim on the back would be a smart upgrade if you ride a lot of rocky terrain.
The Enduro is a really fun bike to take off jumps. It has a really poppy feel to it and tended to just launch off jumps. As it is so light, the Enduro is really easy to throw around making this a really fun bike to ride off of small to mid size jumps.
As the bike industry is continuing to evolve, a move towards building bikes around common standards is critical. If all major bike companies build bikes around common standards, making upgrades to a bike would be much simpler and less complicated. Historically, Specialized has really liked using proprietary systems and non-standardized parts. While this makes sense for Specialized as it forces users to buy certain products and it eliminates many options, this is really bad for riders as it makes upgrades significantly harder. While the Enduro has sported it’s fair share of non standardized parts such as a 25mm through axle (really, is this needed?), we are happy to see the elimination of most of pretty much all non-standardized parts on the Enduro and hope that Specialized continues to eradicate non standard and proprietary components from it’s bikes.
The Bottom Line
The Specialized Enduro is a great All Mountain bike that really enables you to go just about any where on the mountain. While it definitely isn’t an XC bike and doesn’t conquer the uphill like a light XC bike, it will tear up the downhill. Overall, it handled everything we threw at it and did so easily. The Enduro is a dependable all around bike that you can depend on to get you up and down just about anything. We highly recommend the Specialized Enduro and are glad to have it in our arsenal.
We have stalked pro mountain bikers across twitter to bring you the list of top pro mountain bikers on twitter. This list is largely based on the UCI top 40 mountain bikers in the cross country and downhill classes. Follow these riders to stay on top of what is going on in the mountain biking world.
If you can think of someone we left off, drop us a comment and we’ll be sure to add them.
Cross Country – Mens
Jose A. Hermida
Fontana Marco A.
Rudi van Houts
Cross Country – Womens
Downhill – Mens
Downhill – Womens
The holidays are coming near,
I’ve started work and now need some cheer
So please deliver to the foot of my bed,
Something I’ll have fun with right out of your sled
Attached you’ll find a wonderful suggestion,
Whose price tag may cause some indigestion
But I have no doubt that you, Santa, can find
A price smashing deal that’ll blow anyone’s mind
So rush to me, this gift of choice
So I can take an adventure that’ll bring me great joy
Where I pedal, fly, and frolick through hills
and wear a full face helmet to protect my grill
PS: You can deliver early
If you would like to hook Garrett up, contact us and we will put you in touch.
The Specialized Chunder is a downhill tire designed to be able to ride just about anything you put in front of it. From Loamy conditions to loose and rocky conditions, the Chunder does an excellent job of maintaining traction. Going through corners, this tire transitions very well from riding on the tread in the center of the tire to riding on the outside tread. We didn’t experience that traction-less hang time that often accompanies transferring from the center tread to the outside tread.
There are three different versions of the Chunder, the DH, SX, and 2Bliss (though this last model has been discontinued as of the 2011 line). The Chunder DH is a no holds barred un-apologetic dowhnill tire where the SX version is the all mountain and freeride light version of the Chunder. The 2Bliss version features the traction of the Chunder and gives it the benefits of a tubeless tire.
When you get a Specialized Chunder 2.3”, you are truly getting a 2.3” tire. Unlike some other companies, these tires run true to their size. All models of the Specialized Chunder come in 2.3” and 2.5” models and feature a multi compound adding to the longevity of the tire. The center tread compound, which takes the most abuse is tougher than the outside treads, which provider greater traction in corners. The Specialized Chunder DH comes with a 42a center compound and a 40a outer tread compound. The SX version of the tire comes with a 50a compound for the center tread and the tread on the side uses a 45a compound.
The Specialized Chunder DH has a 2 ply casing and Butyl stiffened sidewalls making them super stiff. Adding to the impenetrability of the tire is the 60 TPI casing. All of this makes the downhill version of the Chunder extremely tough; it is near impossible for thorns to go through and pop your tube. I have been riding this tire for years and never gotten a flat from a thorn – not to say I haven’t gotten my share of pinch flats. The Chunder DH wears very well too; even when riding on very rocky terrain these tires lasted a long time before needing to be replaced.
- Casing: 60 TPI
- Center Compound: 42a / Shoulder Compound: 40a
- Dual ply casing
- Butyl stiffened sidewalls
- 26″ x 2.3 approx. weight 1350g, PSI: 25-50
- 26″ x 2.5 approx. weight 1360g, PSI: 25-50
The Specialized Chunder SX shaves off about 350 grams per tire from the Chunder DH making it a suitable All Mountain tire even though it still about 1,000 grams for the 2.3” version. With the decrease in weight comes an increase in vulnerability to thorns and rocks but it still features the 60 TPI casing to help protect the tube. Specialized also made this tire with stronger center and side compounds giving the Chunder SX more durability than the DH version which is really soft. Despite being not as soft as the DH version, the SX still does a great job of holding traction.
- Casing: 60 TPI + cap ply
- Bead: Aramid
- Center Compound: 50a / Shoulder Compound: 45a
- 26″ x 2.3 approx. weight 1000g, PSI: 25-50
- 26″ x 2.5 approx. weight 1070g, PSI: 25-50
The Specialized Chunder 2Bliss is my tubeless tire of choice. Dear Specialized, why did you get rid of this tire for 2011? I put this on my Enduro after I had worn through my 2Bliss Eskars in three months and my friend sliced his Eskars on a rock. The 2Bliss Chunders have performed great, I put them on 6 months ago and they are still in great shape. I nor anyone else at CheapMTB has had any performance issues with the tubeless version of the Chunder and this version packs all of grip and control of the DH and SX versions.
As with all things, there are a few downsides to this tire. Due to the massive volume and true sizing of the Chunder, tire clearance may be an issue with some frames. If you are riding a Freeride or Dowhnill bike, you should be fine though. The other downside of this tire is that the Chunder is a heavy tire – there is no way around that. You are getting a lot of great features such as consistency, traction, and durability but it is a trade off.
The bottom line is that the Specialized Chunder is a tire that won’t let you down regardless of the trail you are riding. It consistently delivers top of the line traction in every condition we tested it in.