Giant Contact Switch Dropper Seatpost
Pinkbike introduced Giant’s house-brand Contact Switch dropper post back in June 2011
.The internals of Giant’s dropper differ from the norm because Giant uses a separate gas-charged cartridge to operate the post, which frees up the post’s telescopic tubes to support the rider’s weight. The Contact Switch uses triangular track, like precision machining tools do, to prevent rotational play at the saddle. The cartridge is not serviceable, so its return force and hydraulic rebound damping are preset at the factory. The one-bolt, radial-type seat rail clamp is graduated in degrees, so one can precisely reset the saddle angle after a fore/aft adjustment or seat switch. The post’s actuation mech is hidden inside the clamp forging, which looks svelte, but requires some fussing to initially set up the cable. Contact Switch’s clean-looking remote lever takes up about 10-millimeters of handlebar real estate, which enables users to place the remote either inboard or outboard of the brake levers. The Control Switch is cable actuated and an external in-line barrel adjuster near the remote facilitates on-the-fly tuning if required. Giant’s Contact Switch only comes in a 30.9 millimeter diameter, and is a full 400-millimeters long with a 100-millimeter stroke. Weight is close to 540 grams depending upon cable and housing lengths. Expect to pay around $250 USD. Giant USA
(Clockwise) Giant's Control Switch hydraulic dropper seatpost uses a self-contained cartridge inside the post to actuate the mechanism. The radial saddle clamp can slip in extreme conditions. Clean looking cable routing operates the mech inside of the seatpost head. The narrow remote lever can be placed almost anywhere on the control deck without cramping shifting and braking actions.
|Pinkbike mentioned in our 'first look' feature that the greatest asset of the Giant Control Switch dropper post may be its $250 MSRP. That is about 100 bucks less than the leading dropper posts, and good news for any rider in the market for one. We tested Giant's dropper in both wet and dry conditions on trail, and in dry conditions on downhill sessions. The telescoping mechanism proved itself well, with only a slight amount of play appearing over time and we had no issues with extension or retraction on command. The post was delivered with a Giant test bike, uninstalled in a box, so we had the opportunity to set up the system. The actuator cable must be threaded into a tiny barrel and lever - both hidden inside the cylindrical opening of the seatpost head where the seat clamping bits are also housed. The process is not all that difficult with the aid of needle-nose pliers and small fingers, but we shudder to think how we'd retighten a loose cable out in the woods. Our post's fixed rebound damping was slow enough to mete out saddle height reliably in half-inch increments (13mm), but too quick to make much finer adjustments. In layman's terms; the Control Switch's modulation feels on par with top hydraulic posts like the almighty RockShox Reverb. Our only problem with the Control Switch post was a slight slip of the rotary head when we banged the saddle hard during downhill testing. In its defense, the rotary head-clamp offers an unparalleled range of angular adjustment over the more-secure, two-bolt head configuration, so consider your frame's seat tube angle and your needs before passing judgment on the design. Bottom line is that Giant offers a darn good dropper post that functions refreshingly well and at a reasonable price. - RC|
Delta/DT Swiss Spokey Spoke Wrench
Wheel builders spend a lot of time twisting a spoke wrench, so they become fond of a particular model. I started building wheels in the late 70s with a Park Tool spoke wrench (by far, the industry standard) and thought I would die with a plastic coated loop of heat-treated wire in my right hand – that was until I picked up a circular piece of red plastic that a pro shop mechanic discarded on the workbench next to the truing stand. It was a Delta Spokey spoke wrench and I have been using one ever since. I presently use the DT Swiss version (made by Delta), which fits almost all square nipples that appear on top quality wheels. Spokeys use a molded-in hardened steel insert that catches all four sides of the nipple driver and lasts nearly forever. Delta sells the original Spokey in a red version and like the red DT Swiss Spokey, it fits the most popular 80-gauge square nipples. Delta also sells a yellow Spokey that fits odd-size 80-gauge nipples one runs across from time to time, but I’ve rarely had to use mine. The original Delta Spokey can be found for under ten bucks, while the DT Swiss version costs about $18 USD at better bike shops. Find one here.
The DT Swiss version of the Delta Spokey Spoke wrench is a deceptively effective tool. The flip side shows the hardened steel insert and a groove to align the spoke shaft to the working head.
|Don't let the Spokey's plastic construction turn you away. The Spokey's round profile does not fatigue the hand as much as the wire-loop Park Tool knock-offs often do, and when you do drop it (everyone drops a spoke wrench now and then), its bright color makes it easy to locate under the workbench. The four-surface wrench interface rarely disfigures a nipple and it keeps anodized aluminum looking sharp after repeated truing sessions. As a plus, when you are touching up rim while the wheel is on the bike, you can run the plastic edge on the rim without marring the finsh. Every wheelbuilder has a preferred spoke wrench, and while I have tried most of the shapes available, the DT Swiss Spokey tool is my go-to. If you carry a spoke wrench in your hydration pack as I do, the Spokey weighs next to nothing and its rounded shape won't puncture tubes and wrappers. - RC|
Sugoi Viper Baggy
With warm weather right around the corner, riders seeking a lightweight trail riding baggy might consider Sugoi’s Viper short. The outer is a tightly woven moisture resistant polyester fabric that feels light against the body. Two front and two rear pockets are featured. The rear pockets are zippered while the fronts are open. Techical fabric hook-and-loop strips at the waistband ensure a good fit, while an internal, reinforcement tape around the waistband helps to keep the short from riding low on pedal sections. Sugoi’s liner is sewn permanently onto the baggy with a couple of lanyard straps. The liner has generous strips of tacky silicone rubber on the legs to keep it from riding up, but no such tackiness on its elastic waistband. The very techy S1 chamois pad is produced with a double wicking layer to remain cool, dry and comfy over the distance. Sugoi’s Viper short sells for about $80 USD in X-small, Small, Medium, Large, X-large, XX and XXX-large. Color is black only. Sugoi
(Clockwise) Light and cool, Sugoi's Viper Baggy is well suited for XC/AM trail riding and will become your go-to short for Summer months. The hook-and-loop waist adjustment, and a look at the zippered rear and open front pockets. Sugoi's liner is attached to the short with two fixed lanyards. Sugoi's S1 pad is quite comfy.
|Sugoi's Viper baggy is not the first pick for park and downhill riders, it's probably not tough enough for the knee-sliding crowd, but it could be the front-row ticket for trail riding, where comfort and ventilation are of paramount importance. The Viper's internal waistband is a good call. Where shorts with elastic waistbands are usually one shuttle away from plummer's crack, the fixed waistband keeps the butt crack hidden and the short in place. The liner is one of the more comfortable we've ridden - especially with the S1 padding - but over time, it begins to feel like the wearer lost a bet and had to spend a day in 'Depends.' That said, Sugoi's liner could be the least-worse of the genre, especially when one considers that the lion's share of padded short liners feel like saggy disposable diapers after only a few hours. Pinkbike's only negative comments about the Viper short are about the pockets. The open front pockets could be a security risk should one forget to stow loose items elsewhere, and while the zippered rear pockets are OK for flat items, they are situated well outside of the comfort zone for irregular-shaped items like car keys and such. Good XC/trail baggies from a well-respected clothing maker. - RC|