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Brand-X Ascend Dropper Seatpost Review

Brand-X Ascend Dropper Seatpost Review

Brand X Ascend Dropper Post – £89.99 (with 35% off)
After installation the morning it arrived I then went for an epic trail ride, climbing and descending in the muddy trails of derbyshire dales. Now this is the thing and the revelation, I wasnt expecting much from this budget dropper post but having previously used a Reverb for some time I am astounded that Brand X can produce a better product and retail it at less than half the price! I

Installing everything is easy peasy and quick, maybe a bit fiddly with the internal cable routing but as long as you follow the instructions included its no problem at all. You will need to cut the excess bit of inner cable or possibly outer too depending on bike size. There are no instructions included with the lever kit but installation is pretty much the same.

Triggering feels lighter than that of the reverb, but not too light that you don’t feel it. No annoying noises when the seat is actuated. That slight side to side saddle movement that seems inherent to dropper posts is present but is far less than on the reverb and the least I have ever come across. Seat offset is the same as on reverb so I didn’t feel to far forward or back. Feels much more solid and reassuring yet weighs much less and looks more subtle and stylish than the big money brands.

All in all an amazing product at an astounding price point. I feel this dropper is a real game changer in the market and has really raffled the feathers of the big names. About time too. The 1.5m cable was perfect for my Medium sized Sommet.

  • Pros:
  • low cost
  • solid quality materials yet light weight
  • easy to instal and maintain
  • hardly any saddle swivel inherent to droppers
  • insert measurement markings
  • easy operation
  • optional 2x and 3x kit
  • contemporary subtle stylingCons:
  • need more drop options for taller riders
  • need for longer cable
    Lever could be improved.

 

Wellgo V8 Copy Pedals Review (£5.99)

Wellgo V8 Copy Pedals Review (£5.99)

wellgo pedals

Wellgo V8 Copy Pedals (Long Term Test)

I have used these on my ‘do it all’ trail bike for over 18 months, it gets ridden at least once a week throughout the year. These pedals have never let me down. They offer good grip, good durability and look decent! They are £5.99, yes bloody £5.99!!!!!! So cheap you can buy load of them and fix them to random objects around the home.
Like many people, i loved the shape of the old DMR v8 & v12, these pedals are a direct copy of them. (The new shape DMR v8 & v12 are completely horrendous – so thin that your foot rests on the axle and provides absolutely no grip even with the long pins!)
They have outlived my old Shimano GR500 Saint Pedals by over a year. They have outlived my old DMR v12 pedals by 6 months. They are proper quality and get jet washed all the time (with zero shits given). The pins are nice and long and work well with waffle sole shoes or Adidas. They feel bombproof and reassuringly heavy. Don’t be put off by the reflectors shown in the stock photos, they come off easily with an allen key!
The shape is suitable for a shoe size 11, loads of grip and easy to find the pedal after a dab. Bearings run nicely with a mid pace so wont be spinning around looking to catch a shin. These are really very good and for £6 they are an absolute bargain!!

I have absolutely no idea why anyone would spend £120ish on pedals, an expensive pedal will not make you faster!

Buy Wellgo’s, be happy, save money and spend the money you have saved on something that actually will improve your riding like better tyres, cockpit setup or suspension tuneup!

Wellgo V8 Copy Pedals only £5.99 From CRC

Vitus Dominer – DH for under 2k? Review

Vitus Dominer – DH for under 2k? Review

The Vitus Dominer is a more than capable DH MTB with a great spec for £1999

Vitus Dominer1

Vitus is a brand we know a lot about (have a couple in the shed) and write a lot about.

Vitus bikes are generally well designed, look good and offer great value. This DH machine is no different! The question everyone will be asking is, is the Dominer worth the £2k and what are the alternatives at this price point.

First off lets look at the Dominer’s frame and spec.
We have 200mm travel front and back with Rockshox Boxxer Team up front and a Rockshox Vivid R2C on the back. Absolutely no complaints on either of these, both complete performers and retail at around £1100for the pair alone!
The Dominer Frame is T6 6061 Aluminium and looks great. In Vitus’ own words the suspension platform ‘features a floating horizontal shock mount (FHSM) and actual main pivot location (AMPL) designed to provide the most efficient pedalling and suspension action’.

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Drivetrain is Shimano Zee with nice little points like a KMC chain (wouldn’t ride anything else) and every dependable E.Thirteen device. Brakes are also Shimano Zee, in my experience no one but the most burley of racers will notice the difference between the more expensive Saints and the cheaper Shimano Zee’s, especially if you opt to upgrade the Zee’s to the vented pads. We have 203mm rotors front and back and the Zee model is BR-M640.
Wheels duties are provided by Novatech hubs (Vitus own brand) laced onto WTB rims which are tubeless ready. The tyres are Maxxis High Roller 2.4″, some people love them some hate them with a passion, give them a try and see if you get on with them, otherwise flog them off on Ebay and upgrade to Schwalbe or Continental.
Nukeproof 760mm bar with stem and FSA headset – No complaints, maybe worth an upgrade to a wider bar if you are a gorilla or like to pretend to be Greg Minnaar.
Stated weight is just under 17kg, not light but not too bad at all, certainly not in the realms of DH bikes a few years past which weighed in at a hefty 21kg +.

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The Ride.
The Vitus is somewhat surprisingly pretty easy to ride considering it is a 200m travel DH machine. Its not toooooo slack but not at all outdated geo wise (63deg head angle). The Vitus has a pretty neutral riding position and you feel very stable even at lower speeds. Its easy to chuck the bike about and the frame offers a good degree of pop especially when you get the shock dialed in to your weight. It seems like the kind of bike you want to take out in your local woods and piss about on. Remember when you were 14 and would just twat about – this bike makes you want to do that again – but faster.
Its not the lightest bike, you are not going to want to do any enduro loops on it, but if you don’t mind pushing up the steep slopes then this could be the one!
The entire bike is very neutral and considered. Nothing requires an upgrade straight away, nothing will annoy you. The ride is neutral and the tyres are forgiving, the bars are average width and the groupset is dependable. That last coupkle of sentances make the Vitus seem a little boring, its not at all, its massive fun, its just not a thoroughbred race machine and you wouldn’t expect that at this price!

The Vitus Dominer – Available direct at CRC for only £1999

 

 

Alternatives at under £2k

Actually quite a few strong ones!

Norco Aurum offer options: between £1599 and £1885 the more expensive Aurum coming with a Carbon Frame and similar kit to the Dominer with RC Kage rear shock and Boxxer fork, Zee group and maxxis tyres. See the Norco Aurum c7.3 here….

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Another option is the GT Fury Elite with its expensive Fox rear shock and cheaper RockShox Domain R Forks. It is a proven racing frame and offers an unrivaled racing poise and geometry.
You can find the GT Fury here for £1999…

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Rocky Mountain Slayer SS // Frame Deal of the Month!

Rocky Mountain Slayer SS // Frame Deal of the Month!

The Rocky Mountain Slayer SS is a lovely looking yellow beast, an All Mountain work horse that’s at home on Freeride, Weekend uplift and mini DH duties as well as getting stuck in on XC thrashes. A more than capable 152mm of travel from the Fox DHX 5.0 Shock and solid proven geometry from those Canadian pros over at Rocky Mountain! Slayer SS Riders say that the stated “infinite travel” feel really does exist and this frame takes bike park DH riding in its stride.
Build her up with a mid travel fork and enjoy the ups with the downs or slam on some long travel forks and a chain guide for some hard hitting freeride and (as the SS suggests) slopestyle!
With the frame currently on sale at half price (£899) it definitely worth a look if your in the market for an All Mountain frame that’s up for anything. More stats and info over at CRC…


Chain Reaction Cycles Biggest Deals – Winter 2010

Chain Reaction Cycles Biggest Deals – Winter 2010

Chain Reaction always have some awesome component and kit bargains – here are a few bits of tried and tested kit we found with some great discounts!

Fox Suspension 32 Float RL Forks – Was £719 Now £300! Save £419

RaceFace Diabolus DH Riser – Limited Edition 2009 – Was £49.99 NOW £20!!! Save £30

Truvativ Holzfeller Chainset DH Double & Bash – Was £170 NOW £81! Save £89

Iron Horse Sunday Elite Bike – Was £3000 NOW £1750 Save £1250!!

Sombrio Forensic Cuffless Glove 2008 – Was £25 NOW £11 Save £14!

FSA Sky Pilot Headset – Was £42 NOW £14 Save £28