Pinkbike Product Picks

Dec 2, 2011
by Mike Levy  
Twenty6 f1.2 stem

The f1.2 stem is machined in Twenty6's Montana factory, making them one of only a handful of companies who are manufacturing their mountain bike components on U.S. shores. While not the only stem to make use of an internal wedge to clamp the steerer tube, the f1.2's is executed nicely with a twin bolt design, each tightening from the opposite side. The opposing M5 bolts should mean that each one will require less torque to attain the proper clamping force than a single, larger diameter bolt would need. The use of a wedge design makes for a smooth backside to the f1.2, a feature that will stand out to those who know the pain of catching a bare knee on a steerer clamp bolt. Four M5 bolts are used for the 31.8mm bar clamp, and the faceplate features quite a bit of unneeded material removed to shave grams. There are many different color options available - we think that our anodized urban camo looks great - and the unique look is topped off with some interesting laser etched, organic looking graphics. The f1.2 is available in a single length and rise, 50mm x 0°, that will put the stem firmly in the sights of downhillers and aggressive trail riders (there is also a version to fit 1.5'' steerer tubes, called the f1.5) . The finished product weighs in at 185 grams on our scale, and retails for $122.99 - $135.99 USD. www.twenty6products.com


Twenty6's f1.2 stem uses an internal wedge to clamp the steerer tube, making for a round backside that is less likely to tear open unprotected knees.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesA stem is a stem is a stem, right? Pretty much, but there is no denying that the f1.2 looks like a runway model next to most of the usual boring options out there. Installation is a touch more involved due to the wedge being free to flop about until the stem has been slid down onto the steerer, and the clamping bolt's positioning at the front of the steerer tube also means that you'll be far better off using a single hex key instead of a multi-tool to tighten them, but we wouldn't call it tricky by any means. We've used the f1.2 on a number of different bikes within the last few months and it has proven to be creak free during that time, not making a single peep or groan despite dusty conditions and many hosings. One very awkward crash managed to rotate the stem slightly, but it should be said that a number of harder impacts failed to make the stem slip at all. There is also a good argument for having the stem rotate slightly so as not to damage the bar or other components. The f1.2 isn't inexpensive, but it does stand out from the crowd, and we admire Twenty6's attention to detail. - Mike Levy




Bontrager G4 tire

Bontrager didn't set out to turn tire design on its ear with their new aggressive tire option - the G4 is about as far from a paradigm shift as you can get - but rather improve upon a layout that has been shown to work well. The new G4 has been designed with dry riding mind, using ramped leading edges to its crown knobs that should have it rolling well when conditions are dusty. The tire's shoulder knobs use an alternating pattern that does vary slightly from the tire that it closely resembles, with siping done to allow the lugs to flex and conform better. Bontrager has built the G4 out of a soft and sticky compound that places outright traction ahead of longterm use, and although we've been told that it is very similar to other soft compounds out there, it feels remarkably pliable to us. Interestingly, the G4 is covered under Bontrager's 'Unconditional Performance Guarantee' that allows you to return the tire within thirty days of purchase if you're not a fan of it, taking the risk out of trying new rubber. As of right now the G4 is only available in a single 2.35" width that uses a DH worthy dual ply casing. Total weight on our scale is 1209 grams per tire. The G4 retails for $64.99 USD. www.bontrager.com


Bontrager G4 Team tires
The G4 may not be as large as some other downhill tires, but performance was impressive.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWe've been spending a lot of time aboard Trek's new Session 9.9 downhill race bike that the G4 tires come as stock equipment on, and it was a bit of a surprise to see that the stock front tire is 2.35'' wide (the only width that the G4's come in at this point), smaller than what most riders would choose to go with. The G4's performed quite well, proving in our mind that a tire's compound, tread pattern and casing properties prevail over outright width. Cornering hookup was impressive, with bite that resulted in predictable traction, and the tires performed well at a number of different pressures. Although they bear an uncanny resemblance to the Minion, we felt like there was a more predictable feel to the Bontrager offering that does away with the on/off feel that the Maxxis tires can be prone to. Where they are similar, though, is the lack of sheer braking bite - they roll quickly, but the downside is less stopping power. They do receive top marks in reliability, with not a single pinch flat or failure during our time on the tires. We liked the G4's, but there are two points of contention that may deter some riders from picking them up. First, as well as they performed, many will want a wider tire for use on the front - one rider did cite a lack of confidence that could be put down to the smaller than average width. Second, the tradeoff of the G4's soft and sticky rubber that keeps it glued to the ground is its meteoric wear rate. In fact, the G4 shows wear quicker than any other soft compound tire that we've ever used. This fact likely won't matter for racers who put a priority on traction, but casual riders could be disappointed with the fast wearing compound. - Mike Levy




O'Neal Pin-It clothing

The Pin-It kit from O'Neal is designed for all-mountain riding, but thanks to the use of tough, yet lightweight materials is capable of being used across a broad spread of riding styles. The shorts feature dual zippered vents to allow air to flow though on those hot days, as well as two zippered pockets and reinforced areas where it's needed most. A burly waist ratchet allows you to adjust the fit in incremental steps. Available colours include cyan and black, and they retail for EUR 79.90. The matching Pin-It jersey is made from a lightweight and breathable polyester, and features elbow length sleeves that are slightly longer than a standard short sleeve cut. The Pin-It jersey is available in cyan, black and a black/white combo. It retails for EUR 49.90. www.oneal-europe.com


Photo by Ian MacLennan
O'Neal's Pin-It gear can do duty as a downhill or trail riding kit.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWe've raced enduro in it, we've raced downhill in it and we've done plenty of all mountain/cross country style riding in it as well. The Pin-It kit works effectively across all situations, although we would suggest that for pure downhill the shorts perhaps lack the ultimate length and protection. However, if like us you want them as an all around gear, they are a great offering as they adapt well to being used in almost all situations. Zippered pockets are well placed and mean you can carry your phone/car keys without them driving you nuts while riding. An additional zipper on each leg opens up mesh vents to get a bit more fresh air through when the going gets really hot. As for durability, there is cordura on all the high wear areas which, despite our best to abuse them, are still looking fresh. The jersey has the stretchy overtones of a surfer's rash vest and as a result isn't quite as breathable as some tops, but the stretchy fabric proves comfortable and as with all things, this is the downside to it being that bit tougher than some other trail oriented offerings. Whilst the cyan version here is all a little 'seventies pornstar', more subtle black and white schemes are also available. A lightweight, versatile short sleeve jersey and short combo which are as comfortable on long days in the saddle as they are for hot days on the chairlift. The pockets in the shorts are welcome and well sited so that you don't notice things in there when riding, although those on the back of the jersey are a bit unnecessary and probably pander more towards true cross country riders than your typical Pinkbike reader. Look past that and these are a great set of versatile, yet tough products that prove suitable for a wide spectrum of riding styles. - Alasdair MacLennan





88 Comments

  • 232 1
 the G4 looks exactly like the minion F, Everyone wants to be like the best.
  • 41 1
 I've noticed that, and other companies *cough* Specialzied *Cough* have copied it too.
  • 6 1
 i was thinking the same
  • 10 1
 agreed, it looked so much like minion
  • 7 35
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 2, 2011 at 0:22) (Below Threshold)
 That's strange as Minion F doesn't seem to be the most favourite tyre. It's not as hyped as HR
  • 44 2
 wouldnt be suprised if all the "copies" were in fact made by maxxis.....
  • 20 1
 usualy thay're like 60% similar, the G4 is like 99% similar, id rather go with the brand i know is good and get a minion.
  • 3 0
 i got Specialzied butcher we can say it s a minion and now the g4
  • 6 1
 My first thought too, wonder if there will ever be a 'better' tyre than the minion....
  • 21 1
 Uncut wet screams all year round, ye-harrr, wild and dialed!
  • 5 4
 I have heard that Maxxis does indeed make tires for Specialized. Not totally sure on that but I wouldn't be shocked.
  • 7 0
 Well i've been told that specialized hired one of the maxxis "designer" to make their clutch tire. I bought one of these in a sale and was very surprised...The clutch works better than a minion front in my opinion anyway that's a personnal choice Wink
  • 5 0
 I'm not usually one to sympathize with multinational corporations, but this Minion F copying is well outta control. Unless the other brand's offerings were also made in the same Cheng-Shin Rubber Ind. Co.,Ltd. Yuanlin, Taiwan factory, then fair play. Also why would you ever prefer 'Bontrager' to 'Maxxis' written on your tire?
  • 3 1
 Unless the tread design is trademarked it is fair play. If it is.......which it might be, then other designs may acually pay some fees to Maxxis to use their tread pattern. Which would be in Maxxis best intrest since these tires will appear on many stock units of Specialized and Treak bicycles. Maxxis will always sell well in spite of clone designs. Of course it is possible that Maxxis does indeed make these tires. Bicycle companies do not typically make their rubber in house. They will always be made by a tire company and stamped with the company logo.
  • 13 0
 Ya know Maxxis is simply a brand name created by Cheng-Shin to get people like pinkbike's ME TOO users (who didn't want to ride tires labeled Cheng-Shin) to start using their manufactured tires instead of ones labeled Tioga or Specialized or Ritchey or Michelin or whoever else they were brand-loyal to at the time. As such, I don't put a lot of stock into this whole "oh such and such copied Maxxis" crap.

I was buying Maxxis tires when they launched the brandname nearly 20 years ago and their initial offerings were basically copies of proven Panaracer designs (like the Smoke II and Dart II). So if a specialized tire ends up looking like a maxxis tire, I say what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
  • 1 0
 i can say 1 thing there run great and they are cheaper than maxxis ``my butcher`` i wont pay 80$ for a tire wen i can get then for 50$ ,but i did know that specialized didnt do there tires and i can understand why but i didnt know who did them ,thx for the info its always good to know ,
  • 1 0
 "it was a bit of a surprise to see that the stock front tire is 2.35'' wide"

Aren't 2.5 minions pretty much 2.35 anything else? Knowing that minions is what most people ride, if the g4 are true to their size it should be pretty much the same...
  • 1 0
 its true. go hold a tape on a maxxis minion "2.5."

its 2.25 inches from outside to outside of tread blocks. we've all been riding 2.25 for years. and loving it. i tried a kenda 2.5 and it felt way too big and sluggish, like a moto tire, but it was simply true to size.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, that's why quite a few people put 2.5" on their AM rigs since the minion 2.35 is closer to a 2.1 apparently. The nevegals 2.5 are known to be good all arounders but they don't grip quite as well as minions on the dry despite being smaller so rubber/tread pattern does go a long way. That's why I was saying that if those 2.35 are true to size, it shouldn't weird out people too much.

Are they just as good though? That's another question...
  • 1 0
 stick to what works best. minions MmMmmm =)
  • 3 0
 for the 2012 trek sessions, bontrager hooked up with maxxis to do this line of tires for the sessions and for anyone else who wants to buy them. I work at a lbs, im not making this up.
  • 1 0
 Maxxis does even specialized tyres, the only thing that changes are the compound of the tyre, specialized ordered from maxxis supper soft and tacky comp. another difference is that specialized tyres are better protected from snake-bytes.
  • 1 0
 so am ok ,snakes here dont bite
  • 1 1
 Another highly over priced twenty6 product...they are posing like a high end component company, like Chris King, but they are not,,you have to earn that title....just because its expensive doesn't mean its better....they might want to work on their marketing strategy.
  • 58 0
 That Bontrager tire looks like a Trek. Oh wait.
  • 5 3
 ^^Best thing i have seen all week!
  • 2 0
 LMAO! Big Grin
  • 12 1
 hooly you must have exciting weeks
  • 3 1
 bubba, you spelt Maxxis wrong...
  • 3 0
 I have had the week from hell.
  • 15 0
 It's a fact that Cheng Shin (Maxxis) make tyres for Specialized and by the looks of it, Bontrager too. It's also a fact that Merida's parent company makes Specialized and Trek bikes at the same factory as Merida bikes are made at. As far as Maxxis are concerned, good. They sell their own and get paid. They sell their tyres to other companies and get paid. What's not to like? I remember having Cheng Shin tyres on my first MTB in 1990 and they were as far from cool as you could get. Everyone wanted Ritchey megabytes or Tioga Hond Dawgs. Then Panaracer came out with the Smoke and Dart and killed it. Now look at the scene - Cheng Shin rebranded as Maxxis are the coolest shit on the block, no one wants Ritcheys any more and Panaracer and Tioga are as good as dead.

I bet you, if Cheng Shin didn't rebrand they wouldn't have had anywhere near as much success. I mean, Cheng Shin sounds shit doesn't it. Who cares how good they are with a name like that?
  • 1 0
 No way! I wouldn't have ever guessed that CST made Maxxis, but I guess it's not all that surprising.
  • 1 0
 It's about a lot more than a name change and 'rebrand', actually.
  • 1 0
 now i know. thanks jaame!
  • 3 0
 As far as I'm concerned, Trek (aluminium) frames are made by Giant
  • 15 0
 Might as well be the Bontrager Minion. Might be a cheaper alternative for Minions.
  • 13 0
 the stem seems far too expensive for the ammount of holes it has...
  • 2 0
 i have one and it's an awesome stem..! Super solid... of course the only reason i have it is cuz my buddy gave it to me for crazy cheap... you're right they're not cheap, but if you wanna spend that much on a stem or come across a used one it is a really good option...
  • 3 0
 Would it seem like a good value if they dropped off the raw billet sans holes?
  • 5 0
 On the subject of Specialized, I'd be surprised if they actually manufacture any of their own stuff. I'm not saying that in a bad way, just saying it. I know Merida make their frames, and X-Fusion made their shocks until recently when Fox got the contract. DT make their rims, Cheng Shin make their tyres. I think it's a fair bet that Taiwanese manufacturing companies make everything else with Specialized on it - pedals I'm guessing HT or Wellgo. Saddles probably Velo. It absolutely makes sense from a business point of view. Minimise manufacturing costs and risk. Outsource to whoever gives you the best deal. Just like McDonald's with their beef supply!
  • 3 1
 Specialized has NEVER made any of their own stuff. They're a design brand. That's it. Kona and Norco and a host of others operate the same way. Rocky Mountain started out as a cookie-cutter design brand but then setup their own framebuilding and then went back to overseas ordering/production of their frames. People who angst over who/what/where their stuff was actually made really need to get a life.
  • 2 0
 Not really. I mean, if you knew your brand name components that you paid $100 for were actually identical to a catalogue part you could have got without the name for $50, wouldn't it annoy you? It would annoy me that's for sure! I think that trying to be informed about the origin of parts is good practice. Getting the same performance for less money is the name of the game for me. I don't earn enough to pay someone else's wages because they own a "cool" brand. Tyres are a great example - I can buy Butchers for fifty quid a tyre or Minions for 28, knowing they've come out of the same mould (not literally I know) makes the decision for me. I'm not bothered that most of my parts are made in Taiwan, but I am bothered that some brands that are owned in Europe or America, but having everything made here, are double the price for the same stuff. It's not that I need to get a life, it's that I have a mortgage to pay and two kids to feed and educate. Being intelligent with your spending is not loserish, it's common sense!
  • 3 0
 I had Treks lead tire designer in the shop the other day, and I picked his brain real good. In his words, they listed a benchmark tire in each category, and set out to beat it. Obviously, a few of their tires look similar to other stuff out there. He said that they looked at the modifications that the DH team was doing to the Minions they were using, and tried to mimic a cut tire out of the box. Stop getting hung up on width. These tires measure to the size listed on the sidewall. Maxxis is notoriously optimistic with their measurements, and their 2.5 measure out much closer to 2.35, which is why Bonty chose 2.35 actual as their first size.
  • 1 0
 Yes, they look like a cut minion.
  • 2 0
 I figured out that the ETRTO number is the one you want to be looking at anyway, that's the true width in millimetres. For example, A Minion 2.35 is 52-559, and mine actually measures 52mm at the widest point on a 28mm rim. My wicked Will 2.35s are 60-559 and actually measure 60mm on the same 28mm rim. Now I'm looking at buying Wetscreams for the winter and the 2.35 is 54-559. Obviously Maxxis have different true widths from one tyre to the next, so that's the number you need to be looking at. It could be that the Bontrager Minion copy is a true 60mm or wider. The 2.35 means next to nothing.
  • 1 0
 The center knobs and outer knobs is closer on the minion. The G4 has more of a channel between the center knobs and the side knobs. But if you cut a Minion it's a G4. I personally like a cut minion better than a non-cut minion. Check it out here www.leelikesbikes.com/cutting-maxxis-minions-for-wetloose.html
  • 1 0
 Maxxis dont care, no one is gettin those bontragers because the walls on a maxxis are the walls, bontrager is an OEM tyre that copyed made for that use it when the bike is new the not getting it never again but it sucks they copyed the pattern,....
  • 1 0
 Hey that g4 is a copy of the butcher.....hey I didn't see it posted that's a copy of a minion f. Did anyone else see the likeness, if you don't squint or look directly at the sun and go blind you can see it. Lol
  • 1 0
 don't get yur panties in a knot, its licensed... and why you get to see a new minion dhf soon.
coincidence that no one did it till now? not. But speci and bontrager added their little "flavour" to the pattern.

ride on!
  • 1 0
 if it is a minion why didn't they make their 2.35 wider??? which is the biggest issue with the minion.

I really noticed the narrowness of the minion when I first put it on. But if does perform well.
  • 1 0
 same factory, so its the same mould in principle, so same size...
  • 1 0
 That stem is nice but as usual with twentysix it way too expensive. Those bont tires same as minion front. The oneal clothing look like something don johnson wore on miami vice.
  • 1 0
 The maxis minion was a rip off of the Michelin comp tyres from back in 2002 anyways so I guess specialized are only doing what Maxxis did, just there a bit late in to the game.
  • 1 2
 There is nobody who can convince me on using stems with wedge clamp mounting. It is pretty impossible to torque both bolts with the same force if you have no torque key. That is the weak point of this type of design IMO. And with time it will eventually fail.
  • 1 0
 the wedge is actually a very strong and effective clamping design. i have been using the crankbrothers iodine stems on all my xc and all mtn bikes.
  • 1 0
 Internal wedge stems have been around a couple decades now. They work. They rarely ever slip and they're generally better for the steerer tubes (depending of course on how big the wedge is though. Biggest problem I have with them actually is when you need to loosen the wedge to remove the stem, they don't want to actually let go.
  • 2 0
 I have a Straitline internal clamp wedge stem and I can take the clamping bolts out after I torque them down and the stem will not come loose. To remove it you have to take the preload bolt out and thread it into a different hole to force the clamp loose. Very good design IMO
  • 1 0
 It is not necessarily better to have a wide tire. Since the G4 is very thin, it will do a cutting effect in the dirt and actually grip better.
  • 1 0
 +1

Having ridden 2.5's for 5 years then switched to 2.35's for the past season or two - The only places I've found 2.5's to be necessary over 2.35's are bike-park style trails with high traffic and hard, loose surfaces or sand. 2.35's are AWESOME on natural surfaces and they just feel a lot more responsive.
  • 1 0
 I agree with you. Unless it's bone dry and rocky, I think a 2.35 Minion is very capable. Grip like hell on softish surfaces and accelerate quickly. Trying to get my 60mm wide Wicked Wills up to speed on the flat is an exercise in futility.
  • 2 0
 and the best tires are still maxxis wetscream for wet, and continental baron for all other stuff
  • 1 0
 The reason I checked out the top picks is because I wanted read about the minion. Imagine my surprise when I saw Bontrager written on the side.
  • 2 0
 how long has the minions been ripping off these tires? bout time bontrager got some credit here.
  • 3 0
 Why is there never an option in these polls to vote:
"none of the above"
?
  • 2 0
 That Bontrager looks alot like minion fronts. Smile
  • 2 0
 if that bonty is cheaper than a maxxis dhf id buy it!
  • 1 0
 The G4 tyre won't be made by Maxxis. CST kicked everyone else out of their factory.
  • 1 0
 wow man, that is almost exactly the minion DHF, I bet there would be not a difference in the riding on it
  • 1 0
 The best part about it being a copy is the price. I like bontrager/hutchinson rubber. I love the prices.
  • 1 0
 that G4 is an identical copy to the minion, what the hell.. throw a little effort into it, botrager
  • 1 0
 Is this a joke G4 tire yeah right those are bad minion rip off .come on stop thinking we stupid ...
  • 1 0
 The Bontrager G4 tire is a minion. Genius. At least we know it will work
  • 1 0
 Didn't the Maxxis designer go to Bontrager?
  • 1 0
 Looks like Maxxis moves further and sells older design to everyone interested.
  • 1 0
 that g4 tire looks like a minion
  • 1 0
 Bontrager G4 tire = Maxxis Minion DH Front ! -.-
  • 1 0
 CST - Cheng Shing Tyre Corportation..
  • 1 0
 I say maxxis have to sue them for bitting there famous tread
  • 1 0
 Ummmm..... Like it or not, that is just a soft Minion......
  • 1 0
 What about the f1? Who cares about the minion's sister?
  • 1 0
 I say it's time to bring back the Smoke and Dart combo!!!
  • 1 0
 O´neal did what tld never could... include pockets jajaja
  • 1 0
 MINION
  • 1 0
 minion much??
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.032790
Mobile Version of Website