Pinkbike Product Picks

Jul 6, 2012
by Alasdair MacLennan  
Crankbrothers Iodine 3 Saddle

Crankbrothers recently sent us this Iodone 3 saddle, and with good timing, for our previous five-year-old perch was beginning to scream out its last. Aimed at the trail and all mountain market the 280 gram (claimed) saddle features a smooth shape which enables you to really move around when the trail gets steeper and more technical, yet it remains comfortable enough to be fine on five-hour-plus rides. The padding is firm which, combined with the cutouts in the hull, no doubt aid this. All too often saddles feature soft padding and a shapeless plastic hull which becomes uncomfortable within a short space of time once your pelvis starts resting on it. Crankbrothers make a big point of the replaceable 7mm hollow chromoly rails on this saddle which can easily be swapped out should you bend them. Whilst currently a bigger issue for the gravity market with the advent of more aggressive trail bikes and competitive gravity enduro racing we can see the prevalence of this increasing. It has of course been tried before but this is certainly one of the neater designs which features a removable chip at the nose which enables replacement to take place. The real as opposed to faux leather covering is unlikely to make friends with the vegans among us but should ensure that the saddle wears well. Cordura patches on each side cover the areas likely to be scraped along the ground but also provide additional grip along with the slightly ribbed nose when riding in wet conditions. MSRP: £72 ($110 USD)
Crankbrothers

Crankbrothers Iodine Saddle

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes In our time with theCrankbrothers Iodine 3, we've been left with an impression of solidity and robustness which offsets the high price and not particularly low weight. Which gives confidence that it will be long lasting. Crankbrothers have confidence too and offer a five year warranty although hopefully you won’t need it. Replaceable rails aren't new but they've not been too prevalent in previous all mountain or trail saddles and so it does bring something new to the game. It's not cheap but it is comfortable and appears well made whilst featuring some neat details and toughness. As far as trail saddles go, we think it's up there. - Alasdair MacLennan




Hope FR Stem

Hope have been making stems for years on their Lancashire based CNC machines and here we have their mid-weight offering called the FR which sits between, you guessed it, the XC and the DH. At 133g(claimed) the weight is pretty reasonable and it's been sat on the front of our trail bike for some time, doing its job without fuss or complaint. Machined from 2014 T6 aluminium, there is significant hollowing and scalloping to remove any unnecessary material and keep the weight reasonable. The opposing M5 steerer clamp bolts and four bolt front plate keep it all tight without resorting to gorilla strength with the tools. That front plate is also replaceable with one that features a mount to work with Hopes own lighting system. Having both the battery and light mounted up front keeps everything very neat without resorting to zipties and velcro straps. MSRP: £70 ($96 USD).
Hope Technology

Copyright Ian MacLennan

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes Hope have been on the scene for longer than most yet their products are still made in house, in the UK, to a high standard and feature both high performance and good looks. Their FR stem is essentially a short version of their XC model which sits that bit lighter on your steerer than the more heavily bolted, materially more solid DH stem. At just 50mm long you wouldn't expect flex to be noticeable, and it's not. As far as trail stems go this one's worked faultlessly for the past year and is still going strong without creaks or any other worrying sounds to dull our confidence. We spent our own money on it and suffice to say would have no qualms in doing so again. - Alasdair MacLennan




Continental Rubber Queen 2.2 UST Black Chili (Known as the TrailKing in North America)

And the prize for the longest tyre name goes to...
One of Continental's All-Mountain tyres, the Continental Rubber Queen seen here is a 2.2" and 820g UST offering that aims to be a true all-rounder. They feature a directional pattern which you run in reverse on the rear to gain maximum traction on the climbs while retaining maximum braking at the front. Unlike some directional tyres the ramping is minimal and the difference in traction is barely noticeable which was accidentally discovered when we mounted the rear the wrong way round after a spell of running cut spikes. In fact, it only once became noticeable on a particularly greasy climb. When it comes to sizing, Continental tyres tend to be realistic which means that they sometimes come up bigger than equivalent offerings from other brands. In this regard the Rubber Queen is no exception and we found it almost comparable to a 2.35" Maxxis. That said it's mainly in the volume for the tread is actually a hair's breadth narrower than the casing when fitted to a 23mm ID rim. What this means is that on rocky and rough, rooty trails you're able to gain maximum traction by running lower pressures. The downside though is that it can sometimes float a little on deeper mud (and by deep, we mean deep peaty trails). This trait’s perhaps more noticeable than with some tyres because it performs so impressively everywhere else. MSRP: £50 ($75 USD)
Conti Tyres

Continental Rubber Queen tire

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotes Continental has really hit the nail on the head with the Rubber Queen as an all-round tyre. Where normally all round means jack of all trades master of none, the Rubber Queen stands out as a really capable item. The biggest highlight of the Continental range has to be the Black Chili rubber compound, which seems to be the perfect marrying of grip, toughness and longevity. This is actually our second pair of Rubber Queens, the first set being non-UST and lasting nearly 1600km of rocky and tough riding, the sidewall of the front tyre being a bigger clue to its use than tread wear. The UST tubeless versions show no sign of being any different. Getting them seated on our Deemax wheels proved painless and the slightly toughened casing (over non-UST) has so far shrugged off any punctures, despite best efforts on rocky trails. Grip is high and predictable on a wide range of surfaces, yet the Rubber Queen also produces minimal drag, competing on an equal footing with the hard=compound Larssen on hard pack yet producing the grip of a far more aggressive tyre when the trail becomes tougher. Traction on slippery pine roots is hugely impressive, while wet rocks and off camber sections pose no problem. The edge blocks occasionally feel a little small, especially on greasy hardpack where they struggle to bite, but the breakaway is so progressive that the tyre literally begs you to rag it around on the edge. At £50 ($75 USD) an end, there is no way they can be considered a cheap tyre, but given the seriously impressive durability and performance on offer, Rubber Queen tyres certainly offer a very tantalising deal and should be high on your list if you're after a single set of tyres for all occasions. - Alasdair MacLennan




I think I would be most interested in...






101 Comments

  • + 51
 "confidence that it will be long lasting" on a Crankbros product? :O
  • + 138
 Bet the box is nice though...
  • + 41
 maybe it will come with 3 stickers, not 2
  • + 4
 it doesn't look like a particularly comfortable seat anyway, and at £70 there's a long list of stuff I'd buy first.
  • + 4
 Is it just me or is the nose pointing upwards?
  • + 1
 Lets hope it breaks as often as the joplin, if it does ill get a new seat every 2 months under warranty Smile
  • + 6
 I've had nothing but incredible experiences with Crankbrothers, except that the last half/quarter inch of my Joplin doesn't rise up snappy. That's not bad for over a year of riding with some harsh hits directly to the saddle. No wiggle either which is amazing.

I see so much Crankbrothers bashing going on that I had put in my good experiences with their gear Wink
  • + 12
 Good for you Scott. But for most of us...it sucks when you have to walk out of a trail because of a busted rear hub or ride up hill with a erectile dysfunction seatpost or your Eggbeater peddles snapping after hitting a rock. Sorry, fool me once shame on you, but fool me twice shame on me and fool me a third time.....
  • + 5
 Also, I thought these seats are made by Fizik?
  • + 2
 Jhou- Did the actual pedal snap off the arm or was it one of the spindles? Its not unheard of for one of those spindles to snap after taking a hard hit, especially smashing into a rock. If you want clipless pedals that aren't exposed like that then get some SPDs. There are trade offs to every product you buy so when you get something that's lighter and more cheap like the Eggbeaters, you're sacrificing something in return and in this case it was durability.
  • + 4
 110.00 for some pedals are not cheap. Maybe I like the float and have bad knees and prefer it over the SPD? But you're right, because of Crank Brothers I got smart and got myself a custom built CK wheelset, Thomson post and XTR pedals. Thank you CB!!!
  • + 8
 Crankbrothers??? More like Jankbrothers...Everything they make is a failure...however the stickers do seem to be of good quality!
  • + 0
 Well Jhou that was your choice to drop 110 on the beater 3s when the 1s cost less than half with not much of a difference between the two... at least not to justify the cost of 110 bucks for effing beaters.
  • + 3
 take the seat post out of the picture and crankbro's make nice stuff
  • + 2
 ^ how about their eggbeater pedals?
  • + 3
 WTB silverado>any other seat
  • + 2
 weird, a bunch of free-ride and dh people bagging on XC gear...I've never tried their telescoping seat-post, but the stuff they fab for xc riding seems decent. their carbon bars, stem and seat-post are all nice and light and quite....and seem to be fine on my bike, but i'm going up hills (mostly).
  • + 2
 sicsoma- maybe that's the problem. I ride mostly XC but race super-d/enduro and do a bit of DH and freeriding and the Crankbrothers parts holds up so nice. If I rode mainly DH and freeride then maybe my opinion would change. I think this is a case of people buying parts and expecting them to preform beyond their capabilities... or just not knowing what they bought. For example, I would never buy the beaters, especially the most expensive ones, for rides that put them at risk for being smashed against rocks, except if I bought them just for races. But then again this is all assumption under the conditions of how that dudes beaters broke, and how others have experienced their problems.

For all I know they're the worst company out there but for me their products have not failed me even after really good smashes. Hell people seem to agree with me so maybe not all Crankbrothers stuff is crap Wink
  • + 1
 saddle made by fizik?? I love the arione for my road bike so it could be good give it a shot before you knock it its just a saddle what could go wrong
  • + 1
 I used to be a huge Crank Bros fan until their gear started failing at an alarming rate: I broke the Candy's and Eggbeater's riding XC, and the final straw for me was when my Mallet C's axle busted on a small drop: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyOnkAun3rQ
I've been on Shimano DX's for four years now without any issues, and actually the same set until I smashed the resin cage on a rock in Moab, and now I'll just need to order a new cage. Crank Bros' gear looks cool, but they just don't hold up in the real world....wish they would.
  • + 1
 After the Joplin it's nay to crank brothers for me now,. Well I still love the old 50/50. but apart from that. No way I'm getting cb anymore.
  • + 1
 I had a Joplin that came on a Reign X0, it worked for about 45 minutes. I've been using the same pair of eggbeaters for 4 years.
  • + 1
 i have had 3 fail. I also had 2 Reverbs bite the dust. I am waiting for the dust to settle on the Fox and the new CB's Krono
  • + 10
 Crank bros better step up their game, or i don't think they are going to be around much longer.....BTW i have the new kronolog and its a failure already in my opinion, has wear issues on the quill already after 2 months.
  • + 9
 I wonder if Crankbrothers ever reads these comment sections
  • + 5
 The Joplin tested Crank Brothers and they lost. The 50/50 pedal is not ridden by riders cause the big platform clogs with mud and pins don't bite. The eggbeater is for road and mallet too easy exit for off road. Thing is that their stuff comes in immaculate artistic packaging, is marketed fantastically as the perfect balance of weight, durability and cost. What burns me is that their stiff looks so good. I've been deceived a few times and always disappointed. They are out there like a competitor but its just for looks. I don't know anybody that uses their stuff.
  • + 1
 I do. Wealthy noobs who don't know any better.
  • + 1
 need to up the seals on their pedals too. have had 50 50s and mallets seizing up.. never fun
  • + 1
 i agree with the seal issue on the pedals, i had the 5050xx (sealed bearing model) and after half a season the seals were toast, then one of the axles bent so i binned em'
  • + 1
 Bought some new candy 3's on ebay for cheap to put on my first XC bike- i'd never owned a crank bro's product before, much less been in the woods with any- and had never ridden clipless before. i beat the crap out of them, spent most of 3 weeks not even clipped in but with heels dug in on the gnarliest parts of some pretty technical single-track and they held up great. sure, the outer edges look dented in and crumpled like someone took a hammer to them but given the repeated bashings i've given them i couldn't care less how they look. I bought a pair of Shimano's as well but prefer the Candy's. I'll never have a use for any of their other products and agree that they're over-priced but I'll definitely buy another set of Candy's. BTW- doesn't Sam Hill use 50/50's ?
  • + 0
 Note to self... don't buy CB products.
  • + 2
 Conti. RQ's or TK's for me gave me confidence in cornering over the Maxxis HR's I used up until 2 months ago. I don't like the empty channel between the center tread and side lugs giving the HR's a dead spot with little traction. I run the 2.4 UST in back and front and they are HUGE high volume tires that dwarf the 2.5 HR I had. IMO I found they roll comparable to HR's, I haven't had any punctures (and my area is rocky), and they were ten times easier to mount on my Mavic EX823 wheels. I hated mounting the HR's on those wheels. I'm sold on Contis......for now.
  • + 1
 I wonder how's the 2.4 as a rear tire. I'm using a 2.2 at the rear and I always wondered if I shoud try a 2.4. I'm a bit afraid it might be too tough to pedal uphill with such a massive rear tire though.
  • + 1
 Although my 2.4's are huge I don't mind them in the back or the front as far as rolling resistance goes. I run these tires pretty low at about 25-27 psi in front and about 26-30 in the rear depending on the type of riding and terrain. They still roll pretty fast at these pressures and add a bit of cushion too since they are higher volume. They give me good confidence and look pretty sweet too. I highly recommend at least trying them for front or the rear.
  • + 2
 To chris-bl:

It seems a popular perception that Crankbrothers products place a much higher value on esthetics then durability. Their telescoping seatpost for example seems to have some very questionable material/design choices—a lot of users complain that the seatposts wear out or break after short periods of use. Those fancy Crankbrothers wheels are another item that users report have longevity issues, specifically the hubs and freehubs. Crankbrothers offerings are on the very high-end of the price scale, and users find it hard to swallow flimsy products at these price points. It is one thing to buy a $35 telescoping seatpost from the Ching-Fu-Shen manufacturing company and have it wear out in a month (hey, you bought a part from Wal Mart, what did you expect). It is entirely different to drop $350 on a telescoping seatpost from Crankbrothers have it wear out in a month (but hey, the seatpost sure did look sexy for that month).
  • + 2
 A store I know locally can't even sell their CB wheelsets at wholesale.
  • + 1
 Your adjustable seat post lasted a whole month! Consider yourself lucky. Mine started to fail within a weeks time. It summarily went back into that beautiful box and the store that sold it, gave me my money back. That store, by the way, will get more of my business!
  • + 2
 They are 820g because they are very large for a 2.2. Much more like a 2.35. And they are full UST, will hold air without sealant. And they are extremely durable both in tread wear and sidewall protection. Add great traction in a wide variety of conditions and very reasonable rolling resistance. But no, I wouldn't get them either...
  • + 1
 I've had the Rubber Queen's on my bike for almost four full seasons in Whistler. I bought an extra one this year, just in case mine die, because every distributor ran out last year. I can run them at 18psi in the wet mud and clean everything. I've tried everything from Michellin UST to Maxxis Lust. As for Crankbrothers, I feel like they are the Macs of biking. Pretty and expensive, but you can something that works 10 times better for cheaper. Bring on the Mac lovers with PC hate comments.
  • + 1
 BTW I can fit my 2.2 RQ to a UST rim (Stans Flow) using only a floor pump. I removed my rear tire today to clean it and add new sealant and it was a very easy task. The 2.4 RQ will require a compressor though. My floor pump couldn't do the job.
  • + 2
 Pump harder! I run RQ 2.4s front and rear and you have to pump like a mad man but it works for me.
  • + 1
 Maybe I wasn't using enough soapy water to help the tire slide, or my pump ain't that good. I'm thinking or running a 2.4 at the rear as well but I'm not sure if it would fit without touchint the chainguide back plate.
  • + 1
 I have had my Candy 3's for over two seasons and have never had an issue with them. I'm not the most graceful or the lightest rider and these pedals have held up to wrecks and several smacks off rocks and roots. I do take them apart every 6 months to clean and repack them which seems to have extended there life.
  • + 1
 I wouldn't buy ANYTHING that said Crankbrothers on it. Total rubbish. My buddy has a pair of their Iodine 2 wheels (ugly if you ask me). They came out of true rolling through a small drainage, now they can't be trued and the spokes come loose even with blue Locktite applied.
  • + 2
 I run rubber queen 2.4 tires an i can tell these tires are awesome as amajors said in serious mud these tires wheel spin an sometimes loose traction..... But all other terrain its great running tire.
  • + 1
 Got a set of the RQ a few months back and they are a solid tyre.
They aren´t as good as minions in the mud but comparable to High Rollers.
Much better as an all rounder for summer.

Only downside for me is that the sidewalls are very porous and took a plenty of sealant to keep pressure in them in the begining.
I doubt I could have run them without it.
That and I never realised that you run the rear tyre in reverse.
  • + 1
 anyone know if the running-reverse in the rear also applies to the mountain king (the new one from 2011)?
  • + 1
 I just had a look at my MK 2 and the rotaion arrow on the side only goes one direction. Some tyres have both, specifying front/rear.
The second row of studs in the middle have a horizontal stipe near the back of the stud. If you were to turn the tyre around this stipe would be at the front of the stud and the tread would proberly wear much quicker.
  • - 1
 forget the ust, get some decent tubes and the rubber queens are two for under £30 pretty much anywhere you look in the uk
  • + 3
 The extra money is for the compund not the UST. If you know of any BC rubber queens under £15 then let me know.
  • + 0
 That is actually pretty misleading. Wire bead is not Black chili.

www.conti-tyres.co.uk/conticycle/ti%20rubberqueen.shtml

If you click the folding ones, the price goes way up.
  • + 1
 contis rubber queen- have been shredding them for at least few months now- tried so many others yet still coming back to get another set on regular basis... such a good tyre- never missed a beat and I can't seem to see any alternative for it as for now... and you can get them for less than £50 from online retailers so a bonus indeed!
  • + 0
 Tried this tyre and hated it, rolling speed is terrible, even compaird with the dh dry tires I run from intense, the side tred I fined doesn't suit what I desire because its spred and not constant...were as the continental gravity tires I used to run were far better. I run a wide so the tire ends up spread to a point were the side wall sticks out further than edge tred...
  • + 0
 I'm not sold on the Hope stem. Seems to have too many machined pockets for dirt and grime to collect. Its a very difficult market for Hope where the Thomson X4 has pretty much been perfection for five years. Sorry Hope Thomson have this one sewn up.
  • + 1
 "impression of _solidarity_ " solidarity: unity or agreement of feeling or action, esp. among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.
I think you meant "durable".
  • + 2
 Was going to get a fr stem but went for a thomson x4 instead and haven't regretted it one bit
  • + 3
 absolutely love Hope for their awesome Pro II Evo hubs, Hope Hoops wheelsets and lighting systems, but not a huge fan of their finishing kit like stems or quick releases, or their disc brakes

also love Hope for their manufacturing prowess here in the UK (Yorkshire!) and company ethos, huge respect to Hope!

but would agree that Thomson have their X4 stem and Elite seatpost completed dialled (also their bolted seatclamp), they are both a thing of sublime beauty with insane "strength to weight ratio" compared to the Hope stem with its machined "pockets" and many seatposts from Easton, Race Face, etc.

Thomson is a former Boeing aerospace sub-contractor and does lot of contract work for aerospace, automotive, medical, you can see this in the design and sheer quality of their products and the number of patents they hold on their stems and seatposts for both design and manufacturing, and the in-house product testing where they buy their competitors products, destroy them in their testing machines and make sure the Thomson products outperform them
  • + 2
 Anyone else notice the Hope stem is mounted on a KTM bike?? Since when does KTM make bikes?
  • + 4
 It's called a KTM Bark.

Info here on their bikes here: ktm-bikes.at/mountain/tour/full-suspension-alu/Bark40.php?lang=PL
  • + 3
 Good god those bikes are nice!
  • - 1
 KTM has had MTBs for years now. But they're just KTM-branded, not made by KTM per se.
  • + 3
 dude where have you been more than 50 years seems like plenty of time ago!
www.ktm-bikes.eu/company/history/1964.php?lang=DE
  • + 3
 WHERE CAN I BUY ONE!?
  • + 1
 After the Joplin it's nay to crank brothers for me now,. Well I still love the old 50/50. but apart from that. No way I'm getting cb anymore.
  • + 1
 Does anyone know what the Rubber Queen is like in mud. Its july and, as its the UK, there is still plenty of the brown stuff!
  • + 1
 its not the best in the mud but not bad either, been running mine tubeless with no sealant on my fulcrum red zone wheels all "summer" the best tyre for uk conditions would be Der Baron , (intermediate) or Mud kings if its really just mud...
  • + 1
 As amajors said it's not a great mud tire but it can cope unless we're talking about so much mud that everybody's running Wet Screams.
  • + 1
 and when everyone is running the wet screams its time for the Mud-kings .. the 2.3 comes up as wide as the 2.5 wet screams but the black chilli grip is unbeatable.
  • + 1
 What kind of riding are we talking about?! Wet Scream and Mud king are DH only tyres, i haven't seen anyone doing trail riding on it. Rubber queen is an AM/trail tyre and it does very well in gloop for that purpose.
  • + 1
 @ WAKIdesigns: It was indeed a DH track... and I was on my hardcore hardtail (long story). It had been raining constantly for the last 2 days and there was LOTS of mud. I suspect that even at an AM trail the tires would strugle with that kind of mud. Other than that I use them all year round (2.2 rear, 2.4 front UST Black Chili) and I like them.
  • + 1
 I have the 2.2 and 2.4 TKs and they are pretty bad in the mud. They feel worse than my Maxxis CrossMarks in the mud. But they pretty much rock on everything else...even in the wet.
  • + 1
 you do get the Mud kings in 1.8 to so not just for DH
  • + 1
 Thanks for all the advice guys! Much appreciated!
  • + 0
 You guys compare apples to oranges. RQ/TK is a trail/am/fr tyre for mixed conditions dry/wet/mud, soft and hardpack. They have reinforced sidewalls and semi large knobbs for higher speeds (for lower you choose MKing 2) . But RQ will not perform well for DH in any conditions comparing to a DH tyre with larger knobs. Wet Scream is a full on DH mud tyre that does not work in any other conditions. Mud king or Maxxis medusa might be used for trails that you would usd RQ or MKing but! only in full gloop and if trail does not include lots of wet hardpack (rolling resistance) and if there are not many roots at lower speeds ( diagonal roots catch sparsely placed long knobs better than a slick tyre - think about especially it in autumn when leaves cover roots and you can't see what comes under your front tyre) Crossmark is a fullon XC dry tyre - good luck with this centerknobb rail providing no hooking on uphills on wet roots!
  • + 1
 i agree you have to use the tyre for its intended use , but i have run the 2.4 RQ on my DH bike before and it was awesome, but that was dusty dry African downhills
  • + 1
 Any chance on your product reviews you could give a score out of ten or five something like that? And good product picks this week.
  • + 3
 I agree, or even give a more simple answer on why it's a pick: e.g. "Best all mountain tire for wet conditions", or "Best Lightweight Flat Pedal". To me a "product pick" is when you are saying "we think this is the best product to do this job". I like this segment, but when I see multiple tires as a product pick, or multiple pedals, I get confused about what they are actually saying. I think they need to have a more simple classification system for what makes a best in class product pick.
  • + 2
 Rubber queen tires are fantastic , my tire of choice for the mega avalanche this year
  • + 1
 The Rubber Queen is a bit of a toucy lady. AWESOME in dry conditions, not so much on muddy pacific NW conditions about 8-9 months of the year.
  • + 1
 Don't know why, but I never get on with conti tyres. I use Nobby Nics all year round, for 4x racing and XC... really progressive and predictable tyre
  • + 1
 I know this is mostly a mountain bike site, but id like to see some bmx product picks
  • + 1
 I found that those continentals are unpredictable in the wet! i wouldnt buy them again!
  • + 0
 I've been riding the contis for a few months. Dont waste your money on the black chilli ones guys. Normal conti's work really well and are half the price here in the U.K
  • + 2
 Is that a KTM bike, or just a sticker sporting the hope stem?
  • + 3
 That's a KTM - they've been making sweet bikes for awhile now - a few decades - same Co as the MX , but different division. Unfortunately, they are not available in the US. Check out the web site;
www.ktm-bikes.co.za/index.php?option=com_zoo&view=category&Itemid=57
  • + 1
 For some reason I kept loosing my front while I was riding on them. Changed to minion dhf and problem solved
  • + 2
 I'm kind of amused that the saddle sit on the top of a RS Reverb.
  • + 1
 Is that a ktm bike? Since when did they make bikes too?
  • + 1
 I have those tyres on my nukeproof.They are excellent
  • + 1
 CONTI FTW
  • + 1
 moved
  • - 1
 an 820g 2.2 tire? no thank you
  • + 3
 UST beads will do that.
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