Corin from Mtb-Bitz
kindly sent me some parts to review for all you riders on Pinkbike.com!
In this installment I will be reviewing Gusset’s Bastard Grip
and 4Cross bar
as well as DMR’s
often overshadowed Expert seat
. All of the products follow a trend of being more popular in the BSX race world, though they fit the bill for other similar styles of riding such as Dirt jumping and Street riding, as well as the “big hits and hard knocks” nature of all of the disciplines.First up on the review list are Gusset’s Bastard grips
in an extremely loud pink!
-Gusset has a lot of heritage in the BMX world where the brand first started out but they are also well established in the MTB world now, bringing a lot of designs that “just work” into a market that at times seems too overplayed on the “fashion” side of things.
The Bastard Grips get their name due to the similarity between the grip’s surface and that of a bastard file. They feature a single ply construction, krayton rubber surface with one "Gusset" logo on each grip, which can be positioned anywhere depending on rider preference! I’ve got mine set up under my palm and it works great for me but to be frank so did all the other positions! They also feature a small flange which still allows most STI levers to be run without a problem, showing that Gusset are more open minded about bike setup’s- I wish more brands would follow this trend at times! Grip length is average at 130mm length and along with the grips, plastic extending bar end plugs are also supplied, again showing that Gusset are being lateral thinkers, providing protection for your bars! The bar end plug’s have been a hit with myself especially as there plastic construction is more friendly to wrists and hands whilst learning bar spins and similar tricks, much better than getting hit with metal bar ends! Though it does have to be taken into consideration that as a result of the plastic construction the bar ends will obviously wear faster than metal counterparts, not to worry though, as this shows they're doing their job!
I first fitted the grips as I normally do with non lock on systems,(instructions on fitting are also printed on the packaging that comes with the grips). Making sure the bars were clean, as well as the inside of the grip then adding some hairspray to both and putting the grips on. However after letting it “set” overnight I was disappointed to find that the grips still span freely on the bar, though on hindsight I think I may have been a bit “trigger happy” with the hairspray. So after cleaning out the grips and giving the bars a wipe down, I was pleased to find that they fitted like a treat, it’s been 3 soaking wet day’s later and still no movement at all! The grip’s have also had fairly minimal wear, but again, the final review will give a better overview on things. In the meantime I can tell you they feel fine when ridden with gloves, they are ok without but I would prefer them to be a bit more spongy, but then they would wear down faster if made up of a softer construction, so it’s just weighing up which means more to you.
The Bastard grips are £6.99 MSRP (www.gussetbikes.com
) however you can pick up a pair from www.mtb-bitz.co.uk
for only £6.49!Gusset 4Cross bar
I have also been riding the Gusset 4Cross bars the last few day’s; they are marketed as “heavy duty” bars and with 50mm Rise and 680mm width. A back sweep of 9 degrees and up-sweep of 5 degrees and they feel perfect for the job! They feature double butted 6061 alloy 4.0/2.3mm construction with a 25.4/22.2 swaged diameter and are still a good way under 400g weighing in at only 375g, a good 125g less than my previous bars (Atomlab’s Aircorps) and come in the popular 2” rise found on most common bars. The swaged 25.4/22.2mm diameter of the bar makes sure that weight is lowered whilst still maintaining high levels of strength where it is needed resulting in a 25.4mm clamp area and 22.2mm “control area”. The bars do seem a bit on the long side though, but to be frank better that then short! You can always cut down a bar but adding length on isn’t exactly the easiest or cleverest thing to do! However the long width of the bar allows for more stability at higher speed which is what many look for in a bar that is aimed at DH/4X racing!
Although highly unlikely Gusset still offers a 2 year limited warranty on the bars if they are defective during normal use, this gives a great feeling of confidence in the bars knowing that the manufacturers are even willing to put down a warranty to show the work that has gone into this bar! The price still remains extremely affordable, coming in at a MSRP of £29.99 (£26.99 @ www.mtb-bitz.co.uk
!) which makes it ideal if you’re a DH/4X’er looking for a strong yet lightweight bar that won’t cost there earth!
The bar’s are only available in a “beed blast satin black” which has yet to show wear. At some point in the life of any mountain bike part some small aesthetic damages will occur although it is how good the part is at sustaining from damage that is important.
In conclusion I find the 4Cross bars a delightful addition to any racers rig at an affordable price! Check back in a few months for the final review!
Last but not least is DMR’s Expert seat
Over the last 10 years of trade DMR
have established themselves at the forefront of mountain biking hardtail disciplines: dirt jumping, street riding and 4Cross. They have done so by starting small and simple; their first product, the “chain tug”, simple, strong and didn’t break the bank! From that DMR has evolved to a product range that will cater to most rider's needs with around 80 current products. Though all still remain UK designed and tested, in DMR’s own words “They are built to take a pounding, not cost the earth and are relied upon by core riders across the world.”
DMR like Gusset remain one of those companies which remains dedicated to “riding and the riders” and this is certainly true, DMR have a full team of hardtail abusers constantly out riding their products to the limit to ensure the consumer gets the best! An example of this is DMR’s V8 and V12 pedals which have been constantly updated year by year to a point where they are seen as “the ultimate pedal” by many.
The Expert saddle is designed for BSX racing with a narrower profile than it’s sibling the dirt saddle, allowing for it to be easily tucked under when squashing the jumps, although it still retains the strength associated with the dirt saddle, featuring 8mm cromo. rails for optimal strength when landing hard. Kevlar corners, along with nylon bash guards and a tough vinyl top to take the abuse of racing and the crashes that come with it!
After riding the saddle for only a matter of minutes I quickly fell in love with it’s not to soft yet not to hard feel, allowing you not to get a numb rear from landing a bit off but still retaining stiffness to feel tough and strong. The nose is also bar-spin friendly on the knee’s and has minimal flex. After another day or so the seat took it’s first good beating as a result of myself thinking I could defy the law of physics and try and ride in strong winds without getting blown comically off course, I landed hard onto the seat, now normally this would bend the rails of my previous seats without a doubt, but to be honest they were hardly great, the expert seat stood up to it all and not a single change in seat position, great! Show’s that strength doesn’t seem to be an issue, however strength is often associated with weight, the expert seat defies this to an extent, weighing in at 365g by my measurements though DMR claims 360g. None the less it is still a good 100g+ less than the dirt saddle and only around 65g heavier than more expensive counterparts such as SDG’s bel-air range though still remaining less than half the price of that particular range. Although if money isn’t that much of an issue and you're more of an “all mountain” rider, it would be wise to check out the Longhaul saddle also from DMR.
The expert seat is available in a vast range of colour combinations, including black/black, black/blue, black/red and black/grey. Though I would have liked it if DMR included the expert seat in the 10 year celebrations by introducing a 10 year gold color scheme as they did with the dirt saddle, however on hindsight the expert hasn’t been a member of the family as long as the dirt saddle has so that is understandable.
My current “first impressions” view on the expert seat is that of it being a top saddle that can take the abuse of jumps but yet remains light and low profiled allowing it not to get in the way when really whacking down on the pedals and squashing bumps, a top seat not only for race enthusiasts but also for anyone who likes a more stiffer feel to their saddle!
*Thanks to Sharvan for helping out!