Words by: Jared Erickson
You know what time it is! Another Trending MTB Products in the books with Jeff and Jared and this time we have a lot of fresh products. From Presta Valve Cores, to POC's incredible VPD Joint Air Knee pads, we have something for just about anyone in this episode. We also see the return of Ergon with their GA3 winged grips which have been out of stock for quite some time now. Tires are always an essential upgrade and this month we focus on the Maxxis Rekon tire, a fast rolling XC/trail tire that most of us ride ourselves! The notorious Fox Transfer Dropper post makes another appearance as one of the most reliable droppers on the market, and the guys also talk about Cane Creek's Hellbender Headset Bearings. Tying it all together, we have the Revel Ranger, one of the only bikes you can find in stock right now. Jeff also gives you some secret information on our deals section of the website for all you deal hunters. You are not going to want to miss this one!
Valve cores are one of those things that you don't realize you need until you go to put air in your tire and its completely clogged or so bent that you just might snap it off. Which is exactly why its a good idea to carry some of these bad boys in your toolbox. These valve cores come in a bag of 10 so you will have plenty for you and your riding buddies to ensure carefree inflation of your tires for some time to come. Make sure to get yourself a valve core removal tool if you don't already have one, and when you replace those old worn out valve cores you will experience a level of satisfaction that is similar to the feeling of peeling the protective plastic off of a new electronic device.
Elbow and knee pads are extremely useful when you are progressing your riding to the next level, and can help give you that extra confidence boost to help you send that feature you have been eyeing up. The main qualm people have with protective gear is that it tends to be bulky, uncomfortable and downright ugly. Enter the POC VPD Air Knee and Elbow pads - these pads are extremely lightweight, comfortable, protective, and don't make you look like you just pulled up from the skate park from 2005. They are also relatively slim and form fitting so you should be able to fit them underneath clothing as long as the pants and or jersey aren't super tight. I have been riding with these pads in questionable riding scenarios for several years now and can report that they do indeed perform as advertised. Thankfully I haven't had to test them too thoroughly, however, the VPD works really well upon impacts and the pads are some of the lightest that I have used. It makes sense that these are some of our best selling knee and elbow pads of all time!
Ergon's mission is to develop high quality components that also reduce pain for the rider with regards to bicycle contact points. Their grips and saddles are extensively tested and designed with this ethos in mind, and the result is a variety of products that keep riders smiling and pain free. A couple of years ago we even made a video where we dove deep into all the research and development that goes into Ergon's products and we also had some fun out on the trail with a couple of their pro riders, Rachel Strait and Luca Cometti. A product of that impressive R&D, these GA3 grips have a small "wing" near the bar ends that help distribute the pressure on your hands more evenly to help reduce hand and wrist pain. The GA3-S is the Small/Medium version although they seem to fit our size Large gloved hands as well. The pressure distribution concept performs great in the real world - we get an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from customers about these grips which is a true testament to how well they work. If you normally have hand or wrist pain while riding and are on the fence about these grips, give them a shot and you won't be disappointed.
There are few dropper seatposts that have the good looks or the reputation of the Fox Transfer. The Transfer is one of the most dependable and highest quality dropper posts that we have used, and is one of our best selling dropper posts of all time. It makes sense when you have a brand like Fox that is known for making seriously legit stuff, and that's backed up by the fact that you see some of the best riders in the world using their products so you know it will hold up to your own abuse. The Transfer is available in sizes ranging from 30.9/31.6 diameter x 100mm travel up to 200mm of travel in increments of 25mm. They also recently released their Transfer SL for the XC and gravel crowd which is their lightweight spring-actuated seat post available in 27.2mm, 30.9mm, and 31.6mm diameters with 50mm, 70mm (27.2 only), 75mm and 100mm travel. We usually like to pair the Transfer with Fox's own remote lever as well as Wolf Tooth's ReMote and PNW's Loam lever.
When looking at tires, there is always a compromise between weight, rolling speed and traction. For us and our XC and light duty trail riding, Maxxis' Rekon is the answer. Tightly spaced low profile knobs offer fast rolling speed and ample traction, and the dual compound rubber as well as the 3C MaxxTerra create a durable tire with good grip. Jeff, Liam and I normally run this tire on the rear with a DHRII up front for a trail/downcountry setup and really like the rolling speed and semi-slick feel that it provides while having some grip up front with the DHR. The traction while climbing is also sufficient, however if you are standing while climbing on loose terrain it may slip here and there depending on your body position. I recently tried this tire on both the front and rear of a Yeti SB100 in the 29x2.4 3C MaxxTerra EXO configuration and was really surprised by the amount of front end grip that it supplied (obviously not as grippy as a Minion, but still impressive nonetheless) and love the rolling speed. If you are looking for a fast rolling tire with good grip that isn't quite as aggressive as a Minion, check out the Rekon.
Bearings are an integral part of how your mountain bike functions, and they are often some of the most neglected. Solid, quality bearings that are well looked after can be the difference between a quiet and smooth riding bike versus one that goes down the trail as an orchestra of rattles and creaks. Cane Creek's Hellbender 70 bearings bridge the gap between the 40 series and the 110 series headsets, and offer an extremely solid bearing in a more economical package. These bearings are great for someone whose bearings are roasted but don't need the headset cups or cap, and want to upgrade their bearing quality.
Trying to find a bike that will tackle your all day adventures as well as your favorite technical descents and casual weekend rides can be a challenge, until you have met the Revel Ranger. This bike is extremely versatile as you can run it as a lightweight XC machine or a short travel trail ripper, just pick your parts and choose your weapon.
My own personal Ranger is currently built up with a 130mm Fox 36 and a Float X rear shock out back, so it punches way above its travel. Most people run it with a lightweight 120mm fork and shock combination so its set up to eat up the miles. Either way, this bike is seriously built for fun and the CBF suspension platform is extremely impressive. We have some Ranger demo bikes so if you would like to give one a try just reach out to one of our certified bike nerds.