Pinkbike Product Picks

Mar 15, 2013 at 0:07
Mar 15, 2013
by Mike Levy  
 
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Mavic Notch helmet

Mavic's new Notch lineup, which includes the helmet tested here, as well as a new jersey and short, heads in the opposite direction of the Euro-tech flavour that one might traditionally think of when they hear the French brand's name. The Notch helmet has more of an all-mountain slant to it, with added protection out back when compared to your average cross-country lid, as well as a larger and much sturdier visor and eighteen good-sized vents. Mavic employs their proven Ergo Hold SL adjustable retention band that allows riders to tune the fit on-the-go with one hand via a knurled dial, and the entire system features a three-position height setting that makes for even more fitment options. It all adds up to a 365 gram helmet on our scale. Small, medium, and large sizes are available, and color options include yellow, white, and the black version shown here. MSRP $109.99 USD. www.mavic.com

Mavic Notch helmet
Mavic offers another option for those who are looking for a helmet that provides more protection than your run of the mill cross-country lid.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesLike a lot of trail/enduro/all-mountain influenced lids, the Notch's burly appearance will appeal to a lot of riders who don't want to look like they're lining up for a World Cup cross-country race while heading out for a Sunday lap. Our understated matte black Notch has a stealthy "I'm here to enjoy myself" look to it, and despite the slightly increased rear protection it still weighs in at a competitive 365 grams on the Pinkbike scale. Coverage is on par with other trail-oriented helmets on the market, with it having a very similar footprint to Giro's Xar, and lower reaching protection than a lighter helmet. It is the front of the Notch that gives it its brawny appearance, with a visor that protrudes more than what you'll see on most other designs. The visor also attaches to the helmet via a dual push-pin system on each side and center section that is shaped to clip into the center vent. The setup doesn't allow for any adjustment, but it is so sturdy that it makes other designs look like rickety afterthoughts, although there were a few times when we found ourselves wishing it was just a touch higher so as to be out of our sightline. As far as fit is concerned, our medium Notch fit bigger than other mediums we've worn, but the helmet's adjustable retention band allows for quick fine-tuning that resulted in a comfortable feel on our heads without any issues. As always, fit is such a personal thing that we highly recommend purchasing the Notch from a local shop rather than an online retailer in order to do a test fitting, but we would say that the Mavic has a neutral shape that should work for a lot of riders. Air flow seemed on par with similar designs, although our chilly winter riding conditions are not the best for evaluating venting. The Notch's Ergo Hold SL Retention System does a good job of holding the helmet steady, and it also has a large adjustment range that can be dialled in with one hand while on the go, but it doesn't seem to distribute the pressure as evenly as some other designs. While some other helmets have retention systems that can be cranked down far too tight without any causing any hot spots, we found that there was a very fine line regarding how snug you can do the adjustment band before it made for some discomfort at the sides of our head. Thankfully, it didn't need to be overly tight to hold the helmet steady, but we did find ourselves adjusting its tension at least a few times every ride due to this fact. Is the Notch better than other trail-oriented helmets on the market? That will come down to how well it fits your head, but it is safe to say that the Notch is certainly a contender in our books. - Mike Levy





North Shore Billet Overlord stem

North Shore Billet's CNC machined Overlord stem is manufactured in their Whister, B.C., shop that also produces their trick looking brake adapters, hose guide clamps, and new direct-mount crank spiders and rings, making them one of the few outfits who produce their entire lineup in British Columbia. This is certainly a more expensive approach than ordering 10,000 stems from a Taiwanese catalog, but it also means they control every aspect of the process, from raw materials to packaging. Fitting of where it is manufactured, NSB puts sturdiness and quality above ultimate weight on the Overlord's priority list, with a relatively substantial cross-section and bar clamp profile compared to some other stems out there. The result is a 189 gram weight - not light but certainly not portly either. Grade 8.8 gold zinc plated M6 bolts are used for the opposing steerer tube clamp bolts and the four face plate bolts, meaning that rust shouldn't ever be an issue. Riders can choose from 40, 50, 60 (shown here), and 70mm length options, all with 0° rise. Colour options include black, pewter, red, gold, blue, and a purple tint that will add a touch of mid-nineties flare to your bike. MSRP $110 USD www.northshorebillet.com

NSB stem
North Shore Billet's Overlord stem might very well be the last stem you buy.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThere must be at least a few hundred stems out there for riders to pick from, the very large majority of which hold your bar and steerer tube just fine, don't creak, and will last for many seasons of riding. All that is left to do is pick one with the rise, length, weight, and aesthetics that you are looking for. And besides, when was the last time a you used a short stem that wasn't stiff enough? Dig a little deeper, though, and you'll find that a some of those options are better than others... Are there any sharp, knee-slicing edges at the steerer clamp? Tiny and soft 4mm-head bolts that you will be wary of in a year's time? Will it sport a finish that looks as if the stem spent a year at the bottom of the ocean after only a few months of use? The Overlord can answer no, no, and no to all three of those questions. The sturdy-looking, zinc-plated M6 bolts should shrug off any attempt at rusting, an especially nice point for those who do a lot of wet-weather riding, and the 5mm hex heads resist deformation far better than 4mm, lower-grade fasteners. As for the finish, our black anodized Overlord looks as good as the day it arrived. Some riders will likely balk at the 60mm stem's 189 gram weight - there are options out there that come in 40+ grams lighter - but NSB isn't trying to win over the shameless weight weenies out there. The Overlord is for those who can appreciate a made-in-B.C. product, someone who might want a stem they move from bike to bike as their tastes change over the years. And while it certainly isn't inexpensive, there are also far pricier stems to choose from that don't compare to this beauty. - Mike Levy





Kore Durox Ti seat

Kore's growing lineup now includes eight different saddles, with the Durox Ti tested here being being a slimmer and firmer choice compared to the seats that come stock on many bikes. A ''microfiber cover with under stitched K22 carbon weave corners'' has been employed up top, while titanium rails make for a respectable 255 gram weight. Total length measures 272mm, with a 132mm width that makes for a slightly racier appearance. A split shell that Kore calls the ''EA Pressure Release System Base'' allows for more flex and foam displacement, while a relief channel that runs down the saddle's center should help alleviate any of that dreaded numbing. Riders can choose from either black or white color options, both of which carry an MSRP of $88.00 USD. www.kore-usa.com

Kore seat
It may look skinny and hard, but the Durox Ti feels forgiving and comfortable to our behinds. Looks can be deceiving.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWhile the seat on a downhill or dirt jump bike isn't required to do much more than serve as a place to sit when not in motion, those who plan on pedalling for more than an hour per ride will benefit greatly from finding a seat that works for them. Yes, there may be far more comfortable seats than the one that came stock on your bike, and many bike shops will offer to fit different ones to your bike so you can figure out what it is you need. Length, width, general shape, and firmness all come into play, with a lot of riders assuming that a seat with soft padding is one that will feel good in the long-run. This isn't true, though, as it is the shape that counts the most: where and how the seat widens out, and the amount of convex to the saddle top. Kore's Durox Ti employs relatively firm padding that may put some riders off if they only do the finger push test, but the slim shape did well to direct pressure to our sit bones without any painful load points. We used the Durox Ti on quite a few days with four and five hours of saddle time, all of which had us completely forgetting about the seat under us, which is the best compliment that a seat can receive. Obviously, this might not be the case for everyone, but the firm padding and slim shape certainly belies the Durox Ti's forgiving feel. The microfiber cover and reinforced corners show no signs of wear at this point, and the titanium rails are still straight, although we did get some creaking from the rail/saddle base interface that was quickly remedied with some spray lube. The only change we might make is a slight softer foam material on the nose: it felt a touch invasive when we needed to slide forward on the saddle for a steep climb. - Mike Levy




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87 Comments

  • + 18
 The mavic helmet is awesome, the comfiest helmet I have ever worn! Nice to see pinkbike promoting going to your LBS and not online purchase.
  • + 22
 There is nothing wrong with buying online.
  • + 143
 I turn into a teenage girl in a shoe shop when I'm buying bike stuff online
  • + 1
 I'll probably buy one when I'll finish my giro hex. Plus, it seems that you can easily fix a gopro on it.
  • + 13
 I have an abnormally large head, like a cow or something. I wear a large giro Zen as giro is the only brand that seems to cater for my special needs. My question is - is the mavic sizing similarly generous?
  • - 22
 There is SO much wrong with buying online... But then again, there is so much wrong with our marketeers too. I don't blame anyone going on an online shopping spree! Lock and load.
  • + 4
 Comes down to a lot of stuff. I can't get out of the house as much, my bike shops here are xc oriented, i have a connection through my school that gets me parts at cost, and much of the time i buy used. I might buy tubes in the shop, and maybe a multitool, but that's about it.
  • + 4
 As long as I am not a milionaire, i keep buying stuff online. It just doesn't make sense to buy stuff at a lbs for 20-30% higher prices then online, sure, then i get to support my local lbs, but they don't pay me to ride bikes, so i better save the money to buy more bike stuff then buy a few overpriced items at my lbs. My 2 cents.
  • + 7
 Completely agree taletotell, my lbs is full of road and xc bikes, they actually yelled at me once for touching some wheels :/
  • - 8
 Don't hate on my comment, accept that we are selfish greedy bastards. Smile
  • + 6
 No...I prefer that "we're not as stupid as some think we are" bastards.

Don't get me wrong. Supporting the LBS is all good and all, but if you know what you're looking for...why pay 10 to 30 percent more for the same thing? It means I get to buy more things with the money I save.
  • + 10
 For your own interest it is cheaper (that explains "greedy bastards")... But for the economy you live in it is bad. Is it so hard to understand that local business lives because local people buy stuff there? Ofcrouse you don't care, because if your LBS closes its doors, you can still buy online. But that's not the issue. Why would you want more more more? Why not buy less things and have more experience with those? Use those things more? Neg prop the hell out of me, but yes, you are as stupid as I think.
  • + 2
 I got some Mavic shoes and their sizing comes up short, im usually a 7.5-8 and I had to get a 9, I wonder if the helmets are the same, cause if they are the geezer with the massive head may have problems.
And I dont know about any one else but I only ever buy helmets that have that "Im here to enjoy myself" look about them. Some helmets seem to say "Im here to have a mediocre time" or "Im not even here pretend you didnt see me" look about them. I tend to stay clear of helmets like that. I saw a helmet from Giro before that screamed "Lets have a really nice time and then later we can have a cake and a coffee at the local cake and coffee shop and talk about fair trade coffee beans and meat flavoured tofu products". F#ck that, who wants a helmet that like that. Not me thats for sure.
  • + 2
 @ Robby, some of us don't have the resource to pay retail for everything. Things might be great where you are. But where I live, the lbs mostly carry road bike parts. I remember ordering a Conti TK for my bike and they wanted me to pay retail, shipping fee, surcharge for ordering the tire and taxes. It all came up a little above 85.00 US. Hhhmmm, I think I can order the same tire from a online retailer 55.00 shipped to my house. I guess I was pretty dumb going to the LBS when I could of got the tire for 30.00 less and delivered to my door step in a shorter amount of time.
  • + 1
 I think most low budget riders are not the demographic the shops are after. After all, they don't get much money from guys who fix their own bikes. They may sell us some tires, or maybe a mech after a disaster, but they won't be putting it on. They want the new rider who has money, or the rich guy who doesn't want to get his hands dirty. Still, Robby makes a good point. If every FRider bought his parts from the local shop there would be more fr focused shops. I am poor, but I still manage to put a lot of money into my bike every year. Maybe I should buy a little more at the shop. I will try, but keep in mind I wouldn't have full suspension, let alone a lyrik and a dhx air if I shopped retail.
  • + 3
 There are plenty of other ways to support mtn biking without shelling out your hard earned cash at an overpriced LBS. If you are on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum (and a lot of us are these days) consider volunteering and building trails or get involved with an organization like we have here CO, Community Cycles, communitycycles.org. If your LBS does offer you a great service that you can't get otherwise then go ahead and support them. I have one that i go to when i have something that is truly out of my depth to handle and they are pro at getting what i need or fixing that problem that truly has me stumped, but for the most part there is no value to me going into a bike shop and getting what i need for 20-30% more.
  • + 3
 Alot of local bike shops sponser local races and racers, trail work days, organizer group rides and generally promote the sport more than anyone else in the community. That's worth the extra cost of mail order. supporting the lbs also supports your community by keeping your money in it versus sending it somewhere else.
  • + 0
 Local shops are useless. I would rather spend saved money to buy a second bike and support manufacturer and their research and development, instead of wasting it on middleman.
  • - 1
 three X's in my books sorry NSB but your derailleur hangers are rockin
  • + 2
 The problem with the LBS (and this comes from watching it happen as I worked in one) is that when they lose out on customers to online competition, or where ever, one of the only ways they have to compensate for it (or so they think) is by raising their rental/repair rates. Its unfortunate because this just drives away more and more customers and makes the problem worse. Just as an example, I watched the price for a simple tube change rise from $5 to $10, which is just ridiculous for the most basic two minute task. Who is going to pay that? By the time you factor in tubes, it costs $32 just to put air in your tires.
  • + 2
 " There is SO much wrong with buying online"

No. No there isn't. There is nothing wrong at all with buying online. The world has changed and is going to keep changing, this includes retail. You can support small shops that have online stores if you really think bigger online retailers are so "bad". Eventually something will replace our current way of shopping online and everyone will cry "EVIL DEVIL!" once again. Just like people do ANYTIME ANYTHING changes.
  • + 1
 True, cyrix. Local bmx shop does a ton of online sales.
  • + 5
 get with the times, Dunbar is, i live in north bc and if i want a sram 991 chain from OUR "LBS" it's 70 bucks canadian!! or order it online for forty shipped it'll be here in three days HMMMMM? Know when I live down south in victoria or abbotsford the "LBS" guys are usually easy to befriend and doing so usually get 10 to 20 % off the label. Thats good business and I'll be back for more, besides that guys in the bike shops are great to talk to get tips from. My tip is find out what beer they drink, show up 1/2 hr b4 close with the 6 pack and your busted shock or bike or whatever and he/she probably will fix and show you how to do it and!! get get a discount off the parts.
  • + 3
 Retail pricing is not over paying, it's called retail for a reason. That is the price were the manufacture, supplier and lbs can all make money working together. When you have a problem installing said part, it breaks, it's not compatible, etc good luck calling your online retailer and having them put hands on your bike to fix it.
When you go on a trip and break a part who is going to fix your bike that day (or maybe that night) so you can keep riding? Your online store? No your lbs
Who do donates money and time to your local trails? Online? Nope , how about tax dollars for your community? Online? Nope, your lbs is a local business contributing to your town in many ways.
You going to call up or email your online place for advice on where to ride? What tires or parts to run? What events are I. Town? No you aren't! Go into your lbs ask a few questions, talk to the guys there get a feel for them and their riding. Give them a chance, don't tell them how cheap you can get it online, start a relationship face to face you will be amazed how far it will go.
Sorry just can't take all this bashing of lbs, without them we would all be very lost.
  • + 1
 You must have a sweet lbs bikephilski. We have some good ones here too. If all we had were good ones I'd be all about it, but we have some with smug SOB's and prices that would have me rocking a walmart MTB if I couldn't buy used. Sorry bro. The internet helps keep the prices down. The LBS can be a great place to connect the community, and be a general resource, and some really are, but not enough and close enough to justify giving them my hard earned cash most of the time. My favorite shop does get more of my money than the other shops locally, but even he buys his toys online most of the time. Or he did until he got the catalogs from BTI.
[Reply]
  • + 11
 The Mavis looks like a POC trabec on acid especially in the back
  • + 2
 I thought the same thing
  • + 44
 I thought it looked like a session
  • - 2
 I swear I'll never get tired of the trek session meme
  • - 3
 @turbokicks9250

definitely looks like a Trek
[Reply]
  • + 5
 The author and I must have different definitions of what constitutes a sharp stem. That one looks sharp on the knees. For one thing, I prefer stems with either rounded head bolts or recessed bolts. Also, the edges of the stem are only minimally rounded. It's not a bad stem but it still what I would call sharp.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Hope FR stem 133grams and I'm pretty sure it will outlast the rest of your bike and can be found for same price or cheaper and IMO looks way radder. Having said that I am always stoked to see new stuff hit the market from companies that actually produce and make their stuff on home soil. Just like Hope does.
  • + 1
 Hope has been around way longer and have made a great name for themselves which has equaled great business, more production, and therefore lower costs. NSB is relatively new and afaik have only been making small adapter-type parts like stem risers and brake mounts. Stems are a stepping stone to start getting into a wider array of parts. More power to them.
  • + 1
 NSB goes back a bit - used to make a sweet ISIS crank set in the past, but then ISIS went away. They make chain rings and adaptors for SRAM carbon cranks and you may see some stems from other popular Canadian companies coming out of the NSB warehouse if you happen to be there on the right days.
  • + 1
 they do but... over a 130 with taxes for a stem!! how many Canadians can afford this in reality, these my fellow pinkbiker will end up in the bargain bin @ dunbar's for $69.95
  • + 1
 Agreed with Brule; there's a lot more to NSB than meets the eye. They do a ton of machining for other people, and always have really cool one-off and prototype stuff floating around the Sea to Sky.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 I can imagine someone getting laughed at by his friends after he buys a Durox saddle and only because of the name resemblance to Durex.
  • + 2
 Odd name, but awesome looking seat.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 looks like 'norbs got robbed' and 'looks like a trek session' comments have been deleted.
  • + 4
 looks like a trek session
[Reply]
  • + 3
 The mavic helmet is such a POC rip off its hilarious.I also love how pinkbike thinks a 189 gram stem is heavy, They would sure hate my 34lb carbon nomad lol
  • + 2
 It is definitely sending mixed messages to ride a 34lb CARBON nomad. Mine is 27 and I definitely didn't count grams. To each his own...
  • + 4
 34. Wow that's heavy for a nomad c...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hmmm stems........you can buy lots of them with 30, 40, 50, 60mm lenght and 0° rise, but try to find 45mm with 0° rise and you have to choice from 3 or 4

funn strippa for life!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Need a tick box that says "Equally interested in all products reviewed in this article" Wink

Also, can we have a shot of inside the Mavic helmet?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 always impressed by mikes reviews, yes not all the stuff is to my taste but def shows that he knows his stuff
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Actually really impressed with Kore for releasing an affordable Ti rail saddle. I need a new one this season, and I think I found a winner!
  • + 1
 I'm running Ragley ti railed saddles on both of my bikes. 45 bucks a piece from CRC and not a single complaint.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 That saddle is almost a direct rip of the shape of the WTB Volt saddle.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I don't get it. How can one be judged by the helmet he's wearing ? How does a WC XC helmet look like?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Looks like a poc but with a weird peak
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I only go to LBS for tubes and stuff to maintain my bike or to get parts put on I don't wanna mess with other then that online.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Got the spank spoon stem. Not sure about the finish on the bolts, but it meets the rest of the criteria here for $45.
  • + 1
 I'm right there with you, except: I think it looks stupid. Literally the only Spank product I don't like.
  • + 1
 Agreed that there are prettier stems, but I liked the demensions and the color matches the bell crank on my bike.
  • + 2
 I feel ya man, and the price ain't stupid either. I fully acknowledge that my dislike is irrational, but... I just don't like it. I think it's too round, maybe.
  • + 1
 I feel ya. I think it'd look better on a dj honestly.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 4mm Ti bolts will resist rust even better. My stem is 70g lighter and 50% cheaper, easy choice.
  • + 3
 Yes but is it sexy?
  • + 1
 This one has a big hole in the front, whats sexy in that Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Does PB ever do product picks for BMX stuff?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i answered none of the above...LIKE A BO$$
[Reply]
  • + 0
 On the Overlord stem, what's the stack height ? Can't find it on their website :/
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Who makes those carbon spacers?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 btw north shore billet makes gangster parts that are bombproof
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Why is that Ti railed saddle so heavy?
  • + 1
 Because its cheap.
  • + 2
 Cheap as steel. Heavier too...We have Test Ride Saddles at the shop from WTB that weigh less!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Kore shoulda just named it the Rocket V...
[Reply]
  • - 1
 looks like a session
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