Welcome fellow Mountain Biker to a Bristol and South West based blog containing local routes, rides and reviews. Brought to you by locals to the area with additional publishings from further afoot. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Product reveiws (Fox 36 Van, Aireal switch 2, mavic 729, Raceface Impact, Shimano Saint Crankset, Hope Mono 6 Ti)



Fox 36 Vanilla RC2 2006

Right lets talk forks.
These are my first fox's ever and from being a RockShox and Marzocchi pilot previously I have to say that I'm impressed, very impressed. I have just changed from some Z1 Freedride 04 Bombers which were awesome themselves. But I required some more travel up front. After scouting round and comparing specs. and all that I had my heart set on the 36's. And I opted to go for the RC2's instead of the R's cos I wanted the high and low speed compression dials so I wouldn't have to mess with the oil weight. Let me at this point inform you that I don't know too much about suspension forks and all of their jargon. Check out the Fox fork website for the spec. http://www.foxracingshox.com/fox_bicycle/bike_index.htm

Blimey. I just wrote one stonker of a long, amusing informational review about these forks and my computer effing lost it. Rounded up. Fox's 36 Vanilla rc2's allow the rider to not worry about what his/her front wheel is upto as the forks read and position the wheel exactly where it needs to be. This boosts a riders confidence extremely. They just wont let the wheel off of the ground. Unless you want them to. Uphill is a breeze as they hardly move and because they are light you wont feel them. And oh boy are they strong. With their easy to use and stiff 20mm bolt-thru they would make any Toff's upper lip quiver and flap. A fantastic fork for all round use, which are a delight to use, maintain (spring weight change can be done in around 2 minutes), and look at. Pricey but genius. They retail at £649.00.
Any questions relating, post a comment.
























Aireal switch 2 20mm front hub on Mavic 729 disc rim


The Aireal Australia hub is an interesting one. It is produced in a small machine shop in the depths of Australia by some dude called Mick. I first heard word of their quality on the MBUK website pages and after doing some research I decided that I wanted one to grace my nex Fox forks. The hub is machined from 7075 T651 which is used to make gun parts and some car bodies don't you know. For starters the bearing quality is fantastic. The hub runs smoothly and quietly for ages. It comes as a 20mm hub with a Q/R convertor which can be changed from one to the other in seconds. Quality wise they are sexy as. They way the flange slopes into the hub body is smooth, finished off with smart cnc engraving for the logo.

Weight isn't too bad either at an estimated 346 grams (with Q/R convertor I believe) and the anodising finish is spot on (available in Black, Blue, Gold, Orange and Silver). Been running this hub for a month or so now with no problems apart from the fact that I want one for the rear cos their so good. They have lots of nice components and widgets at
http://www.airealindustries.com. Cheers to Mick, a fine CNC craftsman . And all the peeps down under at Aireal.










It together or intertwined with the Mavic 729 disc rim is a superb combo.
As the rim is DH/FR specific you can throw it at anything and it will stay true and round. Given a qualified and skilled wheelbuilder built it well. It comes in glossy black or grey (CD) with the option of 32/36 holes as does the hub. For more info look at http://www.topshelfcomponents.com which is where I ordered mine from. The guys there are very friendly and helpful. Or http://www.mavic.com. The pictures of the hubs are from Topshelf.

Raceface impact gloves


With the freerider or downhiller in mind Raceface has developed these new embosed carbon knuckled mittens. Which enable you to knock the tree down when you run into it on those tight tree sections, instead of snagging yourself and breaking your momentum. Firstly, they are extremely well made using a mixture of neoprene a 3D mesh, rubber for the vents and synthetic leather for the palm protection. Along with silicon patches for you peace sign fingers, to help traction on your levers and switches/devices. The moment I tried them on I fell in love with them. I felt as hard as. I felt like looking for a fight, as I knew I'd win with these suckers on my paws. Honestly these are great gloves whatever your flavor of riding may be, because they are comfortable and protecting. Although I will have to say due to the vast amount of ventilation they have they are more suited to the warmer seasons. That said I've been wearing them instead of my 661's (J Taylor model) for a few months now and not been cold in them. They come in black only in X-small to X-large. The finish is topped of with a nice Raceface logo. Nice work Raceface. Snap em' up from your LBS for around £45-50.




Shimano Saint Crankset 22-32t w/bashguard

Now after being out of the game for a few years, upon arriving back I notice a few changes. Like ISIS bottom brackets have pretty much replaced the square taper axle design. Great I thought. The square tapered version always had a habbit to eventualy be less square through wear. So when my new bike turned up with it's ISIS b/b and crankset installed I was presuming that it would be bombproof, with it's sealed bearings and star like axle flanging providing spot on crank placement. Oh how wrong was I. Don't be fooled they are ok, so long as you enjoy disappointment, play in the b/b area and buying a new one every 4-6 months or so. Not being a fool I went the same way as a friend of mine (the Sandman) who upgraded to a new X-type b/b. It was light and ever so smooth. So I ditched the supplied Raceface set and invested in a new Shimano Saint crankset. Which for the price is unbeliveable.

It features Hollowtech 2 crank arms forged from aluminium. The drivechain side is attached to a hollow axle, this is guided through the b/b cartridges and the non-drive crank is slotted on to it. The bearings are preloaded with a special end cap. And last but not least the cranks arm is tightened onto the axle with opposite facing allen key bolts. There's a four arm spider for the chainrings, which keeps the weight down. Aluminium chainrings and ali and steel chainring bolts. The overall weight is just over a kg for the 175mm set, and the b/b impressively weighs about as much as maybe four sheets of A4 paper, consisting of two sealed bearing alloy cartridges which screw into the thread on the b/b shell and a plastic shim.

Upon the set arriving I was couldn't wait to fit them. But with the X-Type b/b Shimano recommend that the b/b shell in the frame is faced. This is to guarantee that the bearings run symetrically to each other, it also prolongs their life. For this as I didn't have any facing tools, my bike experienced it's second ever trip to the bike shop (Mud Dock Cycleworks). After half an hour of helping the mechanic face the frame and install the chainset costing 10 quid, it was ready to test. Mmmmmnnnnnnnnnn. Smooth and stiff. I was instantly impressed with my decision.
My opinion of this crankset is this, chuck away your ISIS and get X-Type for starters. The Saint chainset itself is a very pretty thing. So much so that it is mountain biking art. As with a lot of specialist products these days. The crank arms are amazingly profiled. Looking more like a concept carved from wood and painted to look like metal. With their bad ass raven feather black look and cool curves, they are becoming a popular choice with many bikers as they can of course be used for all diciplines of riding with their chainring variations. But with all art that you thrash around the countryside you have to be aware that someday you will scratch it. Mine have a few scratches already after a couple of months. And the finish tends to rub off where your shoe rubs against the middle of the crank faces.
So their look is flawless and the overall fit and forget design and quality this chainset offers feels like tranquility. Even in the thick of it (mud/grit) it will keep on spinning. Yes the finish rubs off the more you use them, but strangely I like that. Every rose had it's thorn my friends. And if that's it's thorn, so be it. This chainset smells great.

Light stiff, sexy and easy to install (with appropriate tools) the Saint chainset is a wise investment. Oh, before I forget. The chainrings provide smooth effortless shifting and the polycarbonate bashguard will fend off the rocks and roots and cover the rings when things get jagged and edgy.
Crank lenghts in 165mm/170/175 and 180mm. For 68/73mm shell widths. Supplied in either single 34/38/42 or 46T chainring (FC-M800-1), double chainring 22-32t with bash (FC-M800-2) and triple 22/32 and 44t chainrings (FC-M800-3). The b/b needs to be installed properly as do the cranks, so taking it to you LBS in advised.































22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love these forks

Wednesday, 15 February, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the hub

Why you say

Because I bloody made it.

And its Aireal Australia Now.

Bathurst NSW Australia

Saturday, 25 February, 2006

 
Blogger Hayden Davis said...

Thanks for the feedback mate. Love the work.
Shall correct the mistake as and when.
What's with the attitude.

Sunday, 26 February, 2006

 
Anonymous mick said...

Hi Hayden sorry mate just really happy to

see such a great review on somthing I designed and made.

Reagards

Mick

Sunday, 26 February, 2006

 
Blogger Hayden Davis said...

For real.
Again love your work man. Tell me about yourself as I'm interested.
Also I bet you have some sick riding spots over there eh Mick. How big is the workforce at Aireal Australia? And say great work and cheers to the crew for me. Like I say I will be forking out for a rear switch two soon as I'm stoked with the front hub. Haydz

Sunday, 26 February, 2006

 
Anonymous mick said...

Well Haden

We took Aireal Industries over about 7 mounths ago.

I have been 27 years as a machinist here in oz.

Yes we do have some nice tracks out here.

News on Aireal We will be making the rear switch with a Stainless Steel casette carrier just waiting on machine now.

Cheers

Mick

Monday, 27 February, 2006

 
Blogger Hayden Davis said...

So in your personal opinion is it best to wait for the stainless steel version of get the existing alloy version? What is the advantage? I'm a engineer/fabricator/welder but I haven't too much experience with stainless or alloys.

Monday, 27 February, 2006

 
Anonymous mick said...

Depending on what type of riding you do.

The Stainless is for the riders like DJ and DH riders who take big hits all day long so if you fit this area well you may want to weight or if you are getting the switch hub just for the versatility we go the aluminium and if you decide you would like the ss body no problems as it will interchange any way.

Thanks

Mick

Monday, 27 February, 2006

 
Blogger Hayden Davis said...

Cheers for the info good buddy. Look forward to seeing further developments. You don't need a test rider in the U.K do you?

Monday, 27 February, 2006

 
Anonymous mick said...

What rear hub set up do you run?

135mm x 12mm boltin or skewer style or possibly 150mm x 12mm boltin

Cheers

Mick

Tuesday, 28 February, 2006

 
Blogger Hayden Davis said...

The good old skewer stylee. Gonna be retro in a few years eh with all this bolt thru wizardry going on.

Tuesday, 28 February, 2006

 
Blogger Hayden Davis said...

But your switch 2 for the rear is ideal cos if I were to upgrade my frame at any time and needed a 135x12. I won't have to part with my lovely hub/wheel because it would be compatible. There should be more products with this versatility.

Wednesday, 01 March, 2006

 
Anonymous mick said...

Hayden thats exactly the idea behind the switch rear hub is just that you can invest in a good wheel set and take it with you to your new bike.

cheers

Mick

Wednesday, 01 March, 2006

 
Blogger Hayden Davis said...

Cheers for the chat Mick. All the best to you and the guys at Aireal Australia. Any free swag is always welcome and reviewed. Keep up the amazing work.
Haydz.

Thursday, 02 March, 2006

 
Anonymous mick said...

Hi Hayden

I do have somthing I will be sending to kevin at topshelf soon and I will get him to build it up to your requirments if you would be kind enough to test it for us.

It is a new design of 135mm rear hub.

If you are interested e-mail me at

mick@machining.com.au

Cheers

Mick

Saturday, 04 March, 2006

 
Blogger Hayden Davis said...

I love you Mick. I'm lost for words. Yes I'm interested. And I will do my very best to test it for you and form my opinions of it for you guys. Again. Thankyou. Off now to do some downhilling with a big FO smile on my face. The sun is out, what a beautiful day.

Saturday, 04 March, 2006

 
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Monday, 02 February, 2009

 
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