SixSixOne Raji Glove
Raji gloves are designed for hard-charging riders who want a glove that feels as soft as women's underwear and can survive some beating out on the trail. Raji gloves feel impossibly lightweight and ventilate so well that my hands feel cold when the temps are in the low 70s. The Raji is well made, with stretchable mesh fabric covers most of the uppers, including the fingers, and the synthetic leather palms are perforated. The two nose-picker fingertips on each hand are reinforced with a rubberized coating on the outer part and with tacky gripper strips on the inside for braking and for secure in-flight adjustments. There is no padding in the palm area except for synthetic leather panels, which are sewn into the inside of the thumb and forefinger and across the sensitive pads where the palm meets the fingers. Silicone gripper material is printed in key areas and a terrycloth 'sweat-wiper' panel is discreetly sewn into the back of the thumb. The elastic pull-on glove has no cuff or closure. Raji gloves come in white blue or black with garish graphics in six sizes from XS to XXL. MSRP is $24 USD. SixSixOne
SixSixOne Raji Gloves are not going to keep you warm, nor will they mute contact with snow-fences and trees, but if you want maximum comfort with a minimum level of protection, this is the glove you seek.
|When I slipped on the Raji gloves, I thought, 'no way are these things going to last more than a day.' Well, they did a lot better than that, and they feel a lot more substantial in action than their minimal construction and invisible feel suggest. I used to wear Mechanix gloves during hot Summer months for maximum comfort, but the palms wore out too quickly. I always wished for a similar fit in a more capable cycling-specific glove and this is exactly what the Raji is - dexterous enough to manipulate my camera and just tough enough to keep my hands from tearing up when I crash. Do I expect them to last a season? HA! I'd have better luck finding a pro bass fisherman without a pot belly - but at 24 bucks a pair, I won't shed tears if my Raji's self-destruct in a few months and I have to buy a new pair. - RC|
DT Swiss AM 10 wheelset
You probably won't find DT Swiss AM 10 wheels at your local bike shop. It's an OEM wheelset that will be appearing on select Scott all-mountain models this season. The AM 10 is roughly a cross between DT Swiss' EX 2000 and the EX 1750 wheelsets. The AM 10 has the star-ratchet rear hub, alloy nipples and stainless steel bearings of the EX 1750 with round triple-butted Supercomp stainless steel spokes instead of bladed ones. Both are 32-spoke, three-cross laced and both use a 21-millimeter ID rim profile with stainless steel reinforced eyelets. The AM 10 uses the sleeve-joint rim like the less expensive EX 2000 wheel instead of the 1750's welded joint. DT Swiss is proud of that welded joint, although even they will admit that the sleeved version is probably its equal. We put the AM 10 in Product Picks because it has been pounding downhills all winter without a wiggle or serious dent and it rides beautifully. So, if you like what you read, consider upgrading to its closest sibling in the DT Swiss lineup, the EX 1750 wheelset. Weights for the 1750 in the 20mm front and 142/12mm rear hub configurations are 832 grams and 930 grams respectively. Hub options are: 110 x 20mm or 100mm x 15QR through-axle up front and rear hubs in 10mm x 135 QR, or 12mm through-axle rear in 135, 142 or 150mm axle widths (hubs are convertible to each axle option). A set of 1750s will cost you about $1100 USD. DT Swiss
The DT Swiss AM 10 wheelset is an OEM option featured on Scott all-mountain bikes based around their EX 1750/2000 All-mountain/Enduro wheels. The 21-millimeter ID medium-width rim is a winner, but its 'Tubeless Ready' designation is a bit of a stretch - it refers to a molded rim strip that fortunately, seals quite well when used with truly tubeless tires.
|DT Swiss has the history and breadth of knowledge to make the hub, spoke and rim designs of a wheel work in perfect harmony. This is the magic of the AM 10 wheelset - a wheel that feels lightweight, laterally stable and stays in tune month after month. What we most liked about the AM 10 hoops was that they accomplish such excellent performance with a straight-forward - we'd even go as far as to say 'old school' - build. Anyone can work on a wheel like this, and replacement spokes can be found in bike shops around the world. Molded rim strips are usually hell to mount tires to, but in this case, we never had to struggle. Every tire went on with a hand pump. The negative of the DT Swiss rim strip, however, was that it can be displaced with a misplaced tire tool or a shoddy tire mount. One must inspect and adjust the rim strip each time the tire is mounted. If you liked the AM 10 review, consider a set of DT Swiss EX 1750 wheels in the future. They are pretty pricey, but top-performing wheels that you can maintain with standard tools and parts? Sweet. - RC|
Specialized Purgatory Control 2.2-inch Tire
My riding friends had been prodding me to try Specialized's tubeless-ready Purgatory tire for six months. I procured a few and was a little worried to discover that I received the 2.2-inch size. The smallest tire on my bikes up to that point was a 2.35. A dry spell, flanked by a couple of rainy weekends gave me the perfect opportunity to put the All-Mountain-rated Purgatory tires to test. More about that later. The Purgatory comes in a number of widths and a casing types. The Purgatory Control is the mid-priced version (You can buy the S-Works model for about 10 bucks more), with all the good features like a folding bead, two-compound tread and a tougher-than-wussy-S-Works casing that is reportedly 15-percent more resistant to cuts. The inside buzz is that the Purgatory Control tire is the choice of the top trail riders who work at Specialized. Cornering is this tire's forte' and the magic of the Purgatory tread is that its cornering blocks are elongated and aggressively placed, then backed up by a firm row of transition blocks. The center tread is sparse, but with enough rubber, properly placed, to afford strong braking. Purgatory Control tires come in 2.0, 2.2 and 2.4 inch casing for 26-inch wheels and 2.2 or 2.4 inch casings for 29ers. Weights range from 610 grams to 800 with our 2.2-inch test tires at 670 grams. MSRP is $50 USD. Specialized
Widely spaced tread blocks with an emphasis on cornering is the key to the Purgatory Control's success. The Softer 55a-hardness edging blocks wear quickly, but they stick like a baby monkey to its mother. The center tread is a slightly tougher, 65a rubber compound.
|Two words describe the Specialized Purgatory Control tire: 'Way Fun.' We set the tires up tubeless and let them fly. The casing is wider than its 2.2 designation would suggest and the oddly-shaped and spaced tread blocks can find grip almost anywhere. When the Purgatory breaks loose, it scrubs rather than drifts, still searching for bits of traction here and there where most tires would have given up. The sweetest surprise though, was while the 2.2 Purgatory had the grip of a larger, more aggressive looking tire, it still rolled like a narrow XC-based design. It's a fast moving tire that is easy to love. As far as durability goes, with slightly less than a hundred miles on the Purgatory tires, the tread is showing a lot of wear. Note that we run in the rocks and gravel a lot in the Southern US, and braking takes its toll on rubber. In any case, the Purgatory will not set any records for durability. We were asked about running it front or rear and the consensus was that it didn't matter. I'm running the same tire on the front and rear and having a blast. - RC|