I have a tendency to overly scrutinize a lot of my mountain bike gear. Maybe I read too many gear reviews, but I am always looking at stuff I use and trying to figure out how to make it better. I have a few things that have really impressed me recently that I would recommend to anyone. So here are a few things that I really like, December 2016 edition.
MRP 1x Chain Guide
I have not run a chain guide in several years. My experiences with several guides in the past have always left something to be desired, and with modern clutch style rear derailleurs I have not seen the point of running one. Recently though, I had been occasionally dumping chains in some chunky sections of trail causing me to lose confidence in the rough stuff. Cranking hard and finding no resistance on the pedals can be disastrous, especially when you’re riding aggressively. I even had the chain drop and get wedged between my tire and chainstay a couple of times, not good for rubber or carbon! Anyways, after a fresh chain and cassette, I was still occasionally having issues so I ordered up an MRP 1x guide. It was a super quick and easy installation and I haven’t had to think about it since! Guides have definitely come a long way in the past few years. No rubbing on either end of the cassette, it’s super quiet, and best of all I haven’t had to worry a bit when I stand up and mash the pedals through the Pisgah chunder. Set it and forget it. Big thumbs up from me MRP!
Maxxis Forekaster 29x2.35 Tire
Tires are always a fun discussion to me. I am admittedly a bit of a Maxxis fanboy. So when they came out with the new Forekaster it caught my attention. Their description is that it is an “aggressive XC tire” that is “optimized for loose & wet conditions”. I happen to buy this tire during the recent drought, so my first few weeks on it were mostly fast rolling hardpack trails and it excelled even in those conditions. It has a bit of squirm at high speed on the super firm trails, but nothing disconcerting. I replaced a 2.4 Ardent with this tire and have been super pleased. It’s lighter, faster rolling, offers extremely predictable grip, and climbs great. It weighed in really close to the claimed 735 g (29x2.35). It is a skinny tire. I haven’t taken the calipers to it, but it doesn’t have the volume of a lot of 2.35s out there. I’ll do a full review after I get some more miles on the tire, but so far so good!
PROBAR Meal Bar
Good healthy snacks that survive living in a pack for potentially weeks (or months if it winds up on the bottom) are hard to find. I don’t use energy gels very often outside of a race, but I do need something to keep myself fueled during long rides. Probar meal bars are my go to snack. I say snack, but at over 350 calories they are considered a “meal” bar. I won’t bore you with nutrition facts, but needless to say these things have it all, and they taste awesome. Everyone’s gut is a little different, but I haven’t ever had an issue after eating any flavor. I first discovered probars on our Bike & Build trip riding across the US. They were awesome to fill in between meals on those big days on the bike. Breakfast on the go? Big snack midway through an epic ride? Pick me up after Jenna drops me on a climb? Yeah, they are good for that. (Yes they are expensive, but you can find them on sale occasionally.)
After a lengthy drought complete with forest fires and tons of smoke, I never thought I’d be so happy to have rain. I have had to spend a few days just watching it rain out the window and let my bike sit in the garage. It even coaxed me into doing that suspension service that I’d been putting off for months now. But I’ll take it! Rainy days have never looked so good.