Pinkbike Awards - Best Value Product Nominees

Dec 29, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  
new MTB awards logo 2015
Best Value Product: Nominees


Emptying your piggybank to replace a trashed derailleur or toasted wheel can be a hard pill to swallow, and every so often the high cost of mountain biking makes less gear-intensive sports like running or Ultimate Frisbee seem pretty appealing. That is, until you have one of those rides where everything seems to go right - the trails are perfectly tacky, you finally clean that tricky rock garden or hit that stepdown that you've been obsessing over, and to cap it off you manage to beat your frustratingly-fit buddy in the final sprint back to the trailhead. Those rides erase any thoughts of trading in two wheels for runnning shoes, but they still don't make the sport any less expensive. For that reason, presented here are the nominees for the Best Value Product award, items that perform at a level well above their pricepoint.






Fabric Cageless 600ml water bottle

Fabric Water Bottle

Fabric's clever water bottle system isn't going to make you go faster, jump higher, or ride farther, but it is a guaranteed conversation starter, even among non-cyclists. By using two studs that slide into channels molded into the bottle, Fabric's cageless design makes it look as if the bottle is stuck directly to your bike's frame. It's not quite as quick to use as a traditional bottle and cage setup, but it's close, and unless you're doing laps on a downhill course it's unlikely that the bottle will fall off. The best part? $15 USD will get you a bottle and two sets of mounts, making this one of the least expensive ways to make your bike stand out from the crowd.




Praxis 10 speed wide range cassette review test

Praxis Wide-Range 10-Speed Cassette

Eleven-speed drivetrains may be all the rage these days, but even though prices are starting to drop it's still quite expensive to make the upgrade, and many riders are reluctant to buy a whole new drivetrain just to get a slightly wider gear range. To address that fact, last season a number of small companies started churning out wide-range conversion kits that allowed riders to reconfigure their current 10-speed cassette and derailleur in order to gain a 40 or 42 tooth climbing gear.

Those aftermarket kits proved to be wildly popular, but this year Praxis took things a step further and released an entire 11-40 tooth ten-speed cassette. With a retail price of $130 USD the cassette costs less than it would to buy a SRAM or Shimano cassette and a wide-range cog kit, making it one of the best values around for riders looking for an easy way to increase the gear spread of their current drivetrain. The shifting still isn't quite as perfect as it is on a standard 11-36 tooth cassette, but it's damn close, and the 40 tooth cog is a welcome addition to help tame those relentless climbs.




SR Suntour Aion Interbike 2014

SR Suntour Aion Fork

With 34mm stanchions, externally adjustable low speed compression and rebound, and a low maintenance sealed cartridge design, the only thing missing from SR Suntour's air-sprung Aion fork is an exorbitantly high price. Its overall performance isn't quite at the same level as the highest end offerings from Fox or RockShox, but it's remarkably close, especially considering that the Aion's $550 USD retail price is half as much as those top tier options. It's that blend of good trail manners and a budget-friendly pricing that earn the Aion a nomination for Best Value Product, and as Mike Levy wrote in his recent review, "Those that play the name game will be missing out if they only consider the more well-known competition at this price point."



Click here for information about the judging and selection criteria for Pinkbike's Year-End Awards.



112 Comments

  • + 223
 The best value product is that which keeps your wife occupied (happily) so you can go ride. In my case it was a kindle and 2nd dog. She barely has time to bitch at me anymore!
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  • + 92
 I've found an easier and more cost effective way to keep the wife from interfering with my rides:

i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--1RZP54dl--/pjw97dwfiln35wpi4max.jpg
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  • + 16
 You Sir, win the internet for today, browse at will !!!
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  • + 44
 I've found something nice to keep my wife occupied while I ride. A Giant Stance.
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  • - 8
 If you had taped her upside down.......you could really have kept her quiet, however it would have cut into your ride time. 3 mins.
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  • - 23
 SEX TOYS...
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  • - 23
 I give my wife sleeping pills in her morning coffee, once knocked out its time to ride.
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  • - 14
 Sex and the City and lots of chocolate... haha just kidding, I roofie her morning tea. HEY! It's OK because she's my wife. She agreed to this.
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  • + 7
 My wife takes me riding ,washes my bike,and lubes my chain.
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  • + 4
 Dear pinkbike, today you went to a rapey place. I am unsure what to feel.
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  • + 67
 Gotta be the Praxis Cassette. A massive middle finger to drivetrains that cost more than my car.
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  • + 19
 Just bought a much lighter 11-42 sunrace 10 spd cassette for less ... Dunno why praxis gets the nod. But I love wide range set ups.
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  • + 3
 I guess they released the first one but yeh, seen a couple of brands doing a smoother transition 11 to 42T 10 speed offering.
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  • + 11
 Praxis lands at 330-ish while Sunrace is 395g. Just in case you get on the "I could not care less about the weight game" consider that you are in a devastating minority - Kitchen scale steers the industry. 11sp XT is 400g. And costs 65 Euro...
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  • + 23
 Waki hath spoken. We are not worthy.
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  • + 1
 Can't find a praxis for sale in the US, its not 11-42, etc.
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  • + 1
 So 65g for the 42 over 40. Isnt that about the same as a 11-34 to 11-36?
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  • + 2
 M8000 should be on the list as well, 11 speed, wide range and you can get easily find casette+mech+shifter for less than 200€ here in EU.
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  • + 6
 Why would you need a cassette You don't need a chain
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  • + 2
 From what i have seen and working on both brands Praxis cassettes are higher quality than sun race. The sun race is lighter but the praxxis seems to last longer. So it just comes down to which you want.
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  • + 1
 why do people keep saying the sunrace is lighter? It's 60g heavier! Bikeradar has covered all this, XTR 11-40 is 331g and XT 11-40 is 411g. So with the praxis being 322g it's the lightest option unless going with a sram 11 spd with xd driver. 130 bucks retail for a cassette that's lighter than XTR is pretty fantastic
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  • + 1
 Looking at the Praxis, deduct the cash for the chain, shifter and rear mech when switching to 11sp just for the sake of getting the wider range. I just got my 11sp XT and it weighs a bloody ton (I got 11sp shifter and rear mech as a present) but there is no way in the world I'd buy XTR and defo none of the SRAM cassettes. Switching to 10sp was a no brainer to me after my 9sp cassette wore out and rear mech was almost dead. I paid no more than 100$ for the switch and saved weight. But going from 10 to 11 and keeping same weights gets you on a decent wheelset worth ride. Sorry industry, you fkd it.
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  • + 36
 but only the 2015 line, expect a price hike for next year
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  • + 8
 Seriously. Like the entire lineup should be on here!
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  • + 3
 best value PRODUCT
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  • + 5
 Are you kidding? 2016 line-up cost more than buying a bike in a LBS. At least in Canada.
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  • + 4
 and YT aren't the only brand with a direct to consumer model with good rides at great prices
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  • + 1
 Giant Reign, Giant Trance, and Devinci...
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  • - 6
 YT make cheap products, not necessarily good value products. i'd argue Kona over YT
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  • + 22
 My vote goes for the Aion
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  • + 1
 I like my epicons, so the fork gets my vote too. Praxis is close though!
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  • + 2
 that'd get my vote, just wish it was easier to find a suntour dealer.
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  • + 2
 Yo man, Nevis Cycles in the Highlands are! Its not on their website but phone up (01397 705555) ask for John or Miles. They will get you sorted and post them out to you!
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  • + 1
 Agree with you @ashyjay, you don't see anybody on the www. Selling then like rockshox, fox etc, but I can get parts/service and new forks from my lbs. But by time you have dealt with your lbs, you can get a fox or Rockshox for less on the www.
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  • + 18
 My best value nominee would be the 26" minions I got for $30 from CRC.
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  • + 1
 Yes I had a couple of them too mate
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  • + 2
 Schwalbe also has a bike park formula of magic marys that goes for that.
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  • + 12
 I remember riding with water bottles on the down tube 20years ago ,Problem was every time you wanted a drink the top was always covered in mud or even worse dog shit. Surely water bottles are a step backwards now we have quality back packs !
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  • + 14
 But you gotta keep hydrated when eating dog shit!
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  • + 14
 some people just dont like how wearing a backpack feels while on the bike. For rides under 2 hours, I would much rather have a bottle on the bike than a backpack.
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  • - 3
 For rides under 2 hours a human does just fine with no water.

People need to take Camelbak's slogan "Hydrate or die" with a grain a salt.
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  • + 1
 I just can't stop them from flying out of the cage at the first bit of air I catch. Maybe this one is better but I would rather take the weight than the bike.
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  • + 7
 I remember the first time I saw that water bottle...well actually all I saw was the the mounting pegs on buddies frame where the bottle used to be.

"You guys haven't seen a water bottle on the trails tonight have you!?"

Bwhahaha!!!
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  • + 16
 don't know about any of you guys but riding for 2 hours or so at 8 or 9,000 feet above sea level makes a dude thirsty...
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  • + 1
 m.pinkbike.com/news/phil-atwill-crushing-it.html

His doesn't on an hardtail and riding harder than any of us probably do. Bontrager your marketing department just got me if I buy one and the bottle stays in like this you got a lifetime customer.
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  • + 1
 When I was that age, we would've KILLED for a bike with suspension forks on it.
We rode steel-framed, 50lbs+ RIGID bikes with SPIKES for seats.
On top of that, bikes were geared for SPEED, thus you had to push your sled uphill through snow and ice, which since we couldn't afford shoes, we'd have to drive nails through our bare feet just to we'd get traction
You kids now days don't know how good you got it
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  • + 8
 Best bang for your buck will be the Aion fork. I wouldn't consider a water bottle a best value product or a plain jane cassette. If anything OneUp should have made one of these nominated positions!
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  • + 2
 Praxis? OneUp for sure. And they are CDN.
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  • + 9
 Praxis? More like the 11-42 10 speed SunRace CSMX3 cassette, which costs 70 bucks.
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  • + 1
 Exactly, if we are talking about "best value" products, and SunRace has 11-40 and 11-42 versions of both MX3 and the little heavier MS3.
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  • + 9
 who'd have thought we'd ever be saying Suntour did anything worth talking about... props to them for a quality product.
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  • + 4
 If you go back to last years nominations they actually won most improved company, or something like that. Plus their new range of forks are just as good as the bigger, more expensive "brands" offerings!
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  • + 8
 I don't know how much a water bottle counts as a 'value' product....
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  • + 8
 Bottle+holder is $15. Not bad but I dont think it belongs here just because it's cheap and different
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  • + 1
 Was thinking the same, as much as it's an interesting product, a water bottle and cage aren't generally so expensive in the first place. I suppose it's the novelty value they're taking into account as well?
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  • + 7
 Are you guys really that desperate to complain that you're bitching about a $15 water bottle and cage solution being considered "value"?
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  • + 8
 The Fabric water bottle is almost guaranteed to get more people looking at your bike than a set of fancy carbon wheels. Seems like a good value to me.
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  • + 1
 The Fabric bottle is awesome, i love mine, two sets of mounts too. Only gripe is that it's rather small, and bloody hard attatching in the dark (while riding)
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  • + 4
 I love my Fabric water bottle + mount. I usually ride with a pack but sometimes I'll go for a short ride and the bottle is sufficient so it's nice to have that option quickly and easily without having to toss on a cage. The mounting solution keeps the bike appearance looking clean when you go sans bottle.
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  • + 1
 I ordered a fabric water bottle in Sept. They've been delayed several times, currently hoping for 10th Jan I think but I'm not getting my hopes up. Anyone else waiting on them? I'd assumed it was a production issue but sounds like some of you managed to get one?
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  • + 1
 We've had them in stock at my lbs for about two months now, no availability issues at all
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  • + 19
 @Mikekazimer that says it all about what's wrong with mtb, who gives a flying fork about who looks at their bike!? Is that why people spend so much on carbon stuff? Not because of the 17gram weight saving, just because more people will 'look at your bike'? Just ride the damn thing!
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  • + 1
 @knightey in all colours? I've checked a few places and nowhere seems to have them...I've seen a few places with the yellow ones (I think) but none of the others. I bought mine from Evans which links directly from Fabrics own website. Be interested to hear if anyone knows what's up
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  • + 2
 @ThomDawson I ordered a black one from Evans back in September, last time I heard it was gonna be early February delivery. So I changed my order to the yellow I e which was delivered next day. Seems certain colours are seriously delayed, no idea why though?!
FWIW using the bottle on my full bouncer it seems fine but on my hardtail I've lost the bottle several times when riding over moderately rough terrain. Shame, I'll probably go back to using a proper bottle cage on my hardtail.
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  • + 0
 Not sure who paid the advertising... the bottle or canyon.. I'm confused
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  • + 2
 @kes2903 glad I'm not the only one. I haven't been too fussed tbh, as long as it turns up eventually I'm good but I've been a bit surprised not to come across anything about the delay while out and about on the web. Not too sure it can claim the prize here if they're not really available though?
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  • + 1
 That just tells you how many good "value" products are out there for bikes when they show you a cheesy waterbottle as one of the best deals of the year lol. Like really?? Cmon!!!
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  • + 1
 @mikekazimer

If i wanted attention i would have bought the baby blue and pink nomad.

Carbon wheels being intetesting is so 2010
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  • + 1
 @ThomDawson only blue and yellow colours that I've seen, maybe the colour is causing the delay
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  • + 1
 To each their own I just don't suck on the bottle any more. I'm grown put a nipple in my mouth to suck on.
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  • + 1
 @properp

Sucking on nipples was a hobby I picked up after growing up.
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  • + 2
 The disadvantage that I have witnessed occurred during an 26km, one lap XC race (bear with me....), when a rider lost his Fabric bottle on a decent. Nobody, I mean nobody was able to help him out with a loaner bottle
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  • + 3
 So why is that cassette better than spending LESS money on a 42/16t One Up etc kit-assUming you already own a 10spd cASS, which chances are you do-?
I don't have a problem with PB mentioning the thing, but seriously, naming it one of the TOP THREE 'best value' products of 2015? Hell, Shimano's 11spd XT cassette, which you can get in either a 40 or a 42, is almost $40 CHEAPER from Jenson.
So you spend another $80 on a derailleur, and $50 on a shifter. All told, you end up spending a lousy $90 more for the WHOLE SHIMANO XT 11-speed set up, than you would've JUST for this crappy-shifting 10-spd cassette.
Again, I'm sure space exists for this thing in the marketplace, but to possibly call it the "BEST VALUE PRODUCT' of the year is ridiculous.
Either someone at PB owns a piece of this company, has a tight friend or relative there, or someone at Praxis(Praxxis?) slapped a wad of FaZUles on the palm of someone who has weight at PB
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  • + 2
 Fabric Bottle is not the best idea. I can put a standard bottle back in a cage without glancing at it. Replaceable specialized bottles are five bucks so when you drop them on the valve and it breaks off you won't cry. Also the Fabric design looks like it would increase frame to bottle rubbing leading to paint damage. Basically a fix for the old faithful bottle and cage which ain't broke.
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  • + 5
 11sp XT cassette is only $71
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  • + 0
 Nice offset if you are planning to go for Di2 shifter and mech combo...
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  • + 1
 Another benefit of the Fabric water bottle mounts that I haven't heard mentioned before, if your bottle cage mounts are on the bottom of your down tube a regular cage can make hike a bike sections really annoying. I like to grab on to the fork and the crank arm and rest the down tube on the back of my neck for technical hiking sections.
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  • + 1
 On my last bike with ten speed, the praxis cassette was a huge step up. And with a cost of around a 100 bucks it's much more worth the money than one up components. Sure it only goes up to 40T but it's spins really smooth (smoother than my current XO1 cassette) and makes it feel effortless when granny gear climbing up steep stuff
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  • + 3
 speaking of value, thanks for reminding me that Canyon isnt sold in the USA...
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  • + 1
 Interesting selection. The praxis would get my vote but I'm curious why it was chosen over the XT 11 speed. I can think of a few other products I'd have on that list.
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  • + 2
 um. sram gx 11sp 10-42 cassette is $14 more. $110 on jensonusa.
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  • + 1
 I like SR Suntour and Praxis but I do believe that CST with Rock Hawk 2,4" should be among them.
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  • + 1
 I want that bottle....funny that it is listed @ $15 USD but I cannot find it in the USA Frown

after crying a bit I found it.
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  • + 1
 @meSSican Where did you find it?
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  • + 1
 Gregscycles.com had it but now they are out of stock.....shipping was almost as much as the bottle.
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  • + 2
 XT. That's it. Epic fail.
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  • + 1
 Overlooked THE Arcus helmet - at $ 40 for everything in looks, fit, style and protection - it's a hands down winner.
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  • + 3
 No XT 11 speed?!
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  • + 1
 Where can you buy the fabric water bottle in the us? I could not find anywhere to order it.
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  • + 1
 i have a auron and it shreds. the aion should win
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  • + 1
 Light bicycle rims
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  • + 1
 Even better are Atomik rims. Yeah, they're half the cost of ENVEs, but you don't deal direct with overseas. They have offices right in Florida
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  • + 1
 Well, "dealing with overseas" was a breeze with lb anyways. Never had to make a phone call but emails were always responded to within 24 hours. Great quality too.
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  • + 1
 Fabric Water Bottle
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  • + 0
 Who can pass up two studs sliding into channels.....
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  • - 1
 Aaron Gwins chain?.... Oh wait, that broke.
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