Ask Pinkbike - Warm Gloves for Winter, One-By Chainrings for XTR, and Affordable XC/Trail Rims

Nov 25, 2014
by Pinkbike Staff  
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Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.



Warm Paws in Winter

Question: Pinkbike user SydBarrettsBike asked this question in the Bikes, Parts, and Gear forum: I'm hoping to get some recommendations for gloves to use during winter, both in cold weather and in the rain. Thanks!


bigquotesIt being cold, and it being cold and wet are two very different things. The former is pretty easy to deal with when talking about keeping your paws warm, which obviously makes riding in chilly conditions a whole lot more enjoyable. If it's dry but cold, forget about spending a load of money on a pair of winter-specific gloves and instead go down to your local supply store and pick up some inexpensive fleece gloves - they'll keep your hands toasty warm so long as the temps don't dip below freezing, and they're much thinner and more natural feeling than true waterproof winter gloves that seem closer to oven mitts than anything you'd want to wear mountain biking. It being really cold and wet is a different story altogether, though, and you're best off picking up something that will keep you both dry and warm. Dakine's White Knuckle gloves are one of our favourites, with a layer of Thinsulate insulation that can really makes the difference between being miserable and being happy. - Mike Levy

Dakine White Knuckle Gloves are perfect for when it gets just cold enough that you really really want something more than the Royal Mercury gloves. The key is the 100 grams of Thinsulate insulation.
Dakine's White Knuckle gloves are a staff favourite. Photo Colin Meagher.




One-by Chainring for XTR

Question: S77c asks in the All-Mountain and Cross-Country Forum: Does anyone make a 34 tooth to fit the Shimano XTR crankset? I'm now running a twin chainring set up 28 x 40 up front and want to ditch it for a single. I've been told only a company called Wolftooth makes one, but they cost $200 for a chainring.

bigquotesWolftooth and number of accessory brands produce single rings for late model XTR cranksets that use a 104-millimeter bolt circles. Average prices range from $50 to $90 USD. Depending upon the bolt kit you use, you can install the chainrings with Shimano XTR's sexy looking profiled aluminum backing plates, or ditch them and run standard hardware. Be sure to purchase a sprocket with a narrow-wide tooth profile, so you don't have to install a complicated chainguide. If you are riding 26-inch wheels, the 34-tooth will be OK, but most trail riders find that a 32-tooth ring paired with a standard, 11 x 36 cassette provides a better range for climbing. As a rule, gear down two teeth on the chainring to compensate for the next larger wheel diameter. - RC


XTR single-speed chainrings

The MRP chainring and guide on the left, and the Absolute Black chainring on the right are two of the many options available to fit the Shimano XTR 104-millimeter bolt circle. Be sure to specify whether you want to use Shimano's profiled chainring nuts (left) or aftermarket hardware when you order your bolt kit.





Burly XC Tubeless Rim?

Question: Pinkbike user woodybepierced asked this question in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I'm looking for middle-of-the-road 27.5” tubeless rims. I'll do rough terrain when I can find it, but the honest truth is I'll be riding XC in North Texas 90% of the time. I'm looking for a burly XC tubeless rim that I can lace up to my Hadley hubs. What is good these days? I'm thinking carbon is out of my price range.

bigquotesBased on your criteria, I'd steer you towards WTB's aluminum Frequency Team rims, either the i23 or the i25. They're light enough for trail riding, but still capable of handling any rugged terrain you come across, and at around $78 USD each the price is reasonable as well. As you may have guessed, the difference between the two rims is their inner widths - you can choose either 23 or 25mm. There's a 19mm version as well, but I'd leave that one for the XC racers. Going with the 25mm vs the 23mm version does add an additional 40 grams per wheel, but in my mind that tiny weight increase is worth it for the improved tire profile a wider rim provides. You will need to use rim tape of some kind (I recommend Gorilla Tape) to get them set up tubeless, but that shouldn't take long to get sorted out, and once all is said and done, the resulting wheelset should be able to take on whatever trails you feel like tackling. - Mike Kazimer


WTB i25

WTB's Frequency rims are an excellent choice for all-round usage.




Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


102 Comments

  • + 64
 I heard that they charge 200 dollars per chainring and it's way easier to ask than do literally any research on my own.
  • + 32
 Why is Google sooo haaaaaard!? Please, somebody help me!
  • + 26
 I think the man just wants to subtly brag about having an EX TEE ARR crankset
  • + 24
 i think if you are running xtr, then $200 for a chainring should probably sound pretty reasonable to you.
  • + 38
 When in doubt, Raceface it out.
  • + 6
 He does live in New Zealand. Everything is more expensive there.
  • + 12
 The bike shop I went to tried to fit a race face chain ring but couldn't get one that would fit, they found the wolftooth one quoted me $200 for the chain ring and said there were not any other options hence a simple question on a MTB forum, I did find them on line for a lot cheaper once I figured out the type of cranks and sizes etc. I bought the bike second hand and it just happened to have xtr cranks although I could afford to buy them and put a $200 chain ring on I would rather not, but cheers for the help.
  • + 2
 are we talking U.S. dollars here??
  • + 1
 If he's got a 28-40t XTR it's not a 104bcd, it would be m985 XTR Race with a narrower Q factor and a specific BCD, so you are pretty much stuck with XTR rings or wolf tooth sadly. I'd buy a new crank with a 104bcd and flog the m985's on.
  • + 1
 M985 is 88mm, Wolftooth makes an excellent ring specifically for this application. It matches the crank profile and is way less than $200.
  • + 1
 Yep have one ordered chainring + bolts $127nz 3-6 weeks, if you add on $30 for fast post and the stores mark up you can see where they got the $200 from!
  • + 14
 superstarcomponents england..narrow wide chainrings for shimano. race face chainrings 104mm bcd for shimano..hello RC !
  • + 8
 Aaand freaking great rims for the other question
  • + 3
 Don't forget the switch hubs
  • + 6
 Switch hubs are crap, everyone knows that there is no other way than Shimano to get a quality set of hubs under 150£
  • + 5
 So cup and cones your thing haha
  • + 3
 Yes, under 150 quid a set there is nothing reliable, only cup and cone so don't complain on Switch, yopu get what you pay for. Want better and no cup/ cone? 180, 200 quid please
  • + 1
 Cup & cone is cheaper to make, so more of the cost goes into better overall quality, especially at the quantities Shimano cranks hubs out at.

Sealed bearings are a part you have to buy from a supplier generally, rather than produce in house. That drives wholesale price up pretty quick. Heck, look at a set of sealed bearings for I9 hubs: $80. I recently got a pair of deore hubs for half that.
  • + 3
 groghunter - It just annoys me when someone pays 100 bucks for a set of new hubs or 150 for a complete wheelset, and complains about quality - hello! Then cup and cone isn't really that bad, I mean how hard is it to service a hub ONCE a year? I almost bought a second hand, unused DT 340 rear hub incl adaptors for 150 bucks, for my wives bike. I thought about eventual change in drop out in the future, standards and sht. But I went for 135x10 Shimano XT because... it costs 50 bucks... and is decent enough. Aaan if she ever gets a bike with 142x12 I will buy another XT and will still be 50$ ahead!
  • + 2
 yup. most of my revilement of cup & cone comes from riding in the 90s, when you had no other choices. Leaped at the chance to move up to sealed bearing, especially since there wasn't a huge price difference back then, because Shimano stuff wasn't priced as competitively, because, well they didn't have very strong competition. Enjoy the cheaper prices we get on Shimano stuff these days: It's directly the result of SRAM & their ilk actually forcing Shimano to compete.

I'm willing to deal with cup & cone to save a hundred or more, but back in the 90s, you might actually get a sealed bearing hub for cheaper, solely because it didn't say Shimano on it.
  • + 7
 I haven't tried wtb frequency rims, but I think spank rims are pretty much unbeatable in terms of bang for buck. Light, strong, cheap, tubeless compatible, tons of widths and colours to choose from and complete builds.
  • + 17
 shimano xtr only came in 40/28t on their race crankset which is an 88bcd pattern. so the whole article above is useless. it has only told the person asking the question to buy a trail chain set. www.wolftoothcycling.com/products/88-mm-bcd-for-shimano-m985 - that is the chainring in question, and it is only $79....
  • + 1
 Pretty nice looking too
  • + 2
 I guess Spank have proved Keith Bontrager wrong Wink
  • + 1
 In fact WTB KOM are a better choice than Frequencies for aggressive XC/AllM. And they are getting quite cheap, half price of ZTR or Spank equivalent.

Frequencies are better for enduro, i25 being close to ZTR flow EX, KOM are closer to ArchEX with wider width.
  • + 6
 Looks like RC completely missed the details of the chainring question. The OP is clearly looking for something for his XTR Race crankset which is the only one that come with a 28/40 chainring combo. This crankset does not gave a 104mm BCD so non-Shimano replacement chainrings are rare.
  • + 2
 North Shore Billett looks to be the best option with their 88mm BCD line.
  • + 1
 Wolftooth makes an excellent 88mm n/w ring specifically for the M985 crankset, it mounts on the outside, is profiled to match the cranks, and is offset for correct chainline. I have been running one for a few months and it works great.
  • + 6
 I agree with the glove reviewer to an extent, i.e. you need 2 types of glove depending on whether its raining or not. But cheap fleece gloves offer hardly any protection from cold wind. If it's cold and dry, you should still get something with some sort of wind block material, especially if you're going up on the hills where it's windy. Decent waterproof gloves are not always more bulky than fleece gloves. A Gore-Tex membrane is very thin. The problem with waterproof gloves is that your fingers always end up sweaty inside, and they often turn themselves inside out when you take them off which is a right pain, so that's why I wouldn't wear them when it's dry - not because they're bulky or expensive.
  • + 3
 for trail rims, i got a set of spank oozy 295 trail beadbites for my gt force. they are very light and very still and they hold tubelessness really well, however they are very soft, in only my second ride i had put a fairly decent dent in the side next to the s of spank. all in all, they are really nice, but i dont know how long they are going to last, maybe if you get them on a shorter travel more xc orientated bike they will last better, like a giant trance or spaz camber or something
  • + 1
 if i could do it again i wouldnt be such a weight weenie (the oozys are super light at 420g a piece) and would have just gotten wtb i-25s, ztr flow ex or my first choice would have been mavic en821s
  • + 2
 tubelessness__sseness etc etc
  • + 1
 e13 do 420g rims that seem to hold up decently... I'll get a set if my 721's ever go
  • + 1
 I am looking to get a thrasher wheelset for my trail bike and am between the Spank Oozy 295 and the Stans Flow Ex. Hard decision with sweet color options with Spank, and really positive reviews on the Flow's. Maybe ill just be a cowboy and get the Spank Stiffy's with a 40mm external width and flip the bird to all the XC haters.
  • + 2
 I know you're not serious, but I have a pair of stiffies, & they can be a little much for most tires. really squares things off, perhaps a bit too much. I wouldn't mind so much, except you're picking up almost 200g per rim, then having to throw 2.7 tires on, that are probably 300g heavier than what you could run with a rim that was in the 30mm internal range.

Of course, if anybody would start making tires specifically for wide rims, this wouldn't be a problem.
  • + 2
 I got the spank subrosa rims (26") and they do seem to dent a little easier than other options, but I think the alloy softness prevents it from cracking. I've been beating the shit out of them for the last two years and despite severals good dents, I've had no problems with them whatsoever. Anyway, for the price, you can't go wrong.
  • + 1
 lanka its nice to hear you have not had problems despite the dents, cause im pretty scared i made a big mistake with these oozys, the back one espically is denting really easy. light, stiff, cheap, durable pick 3, for my 295 beadbites i got the first 3, although i hope i got all 4, still yet to see
  • + 1
 I second the i25s. I had a set built up and have been rough on them and barely have scratches. They're stronger than Flow EX and relatively light for their bulk. I'm glad I got them as I would surely have dented Flows or Blunts. Plus, they set up beautifully with TCS and other tubeless ready tires.
  • + 1
 @groghunter - I was actually considering the Stiffy's for my DH bike but I think they might be a tad overkill as you are saying. I love the looks of Spank stuff but the Subrosa's I currently have on my DH rig are pretty dented in the rear. Last a long time nonetheless.
  • + 3
 100% Brisker winter gloves are the best glove out. Thick top side to kepp hand warm. Thin palm so still feels like a winter glove. I run them doing enduro, downhill on my road bike the lot. And only £20! Bargain.
  • + 1
 that seems a bit heavy
  • + 1
 @Thomas ... suck a sack of bals
  • + 1
 My flow non-ex are soft compared to my spank spike 28s and wtb dual duties. I wouldn't touch stan's again.
  • + 2
 Here you go, thanks Google!

www.wolftoothcycling.com/products/88-mm-bcd-for-shimano-m985

They mount on the outside on the double crankset, and as the spider meets the chainring at an angle, you need this specific chainring. That's if you have the m985 race cranks, of course.
  • + 1
 If I remember correctly the WTB i23 Frequency are the stock rims on the TBLT (and some other pretty good bikes). I'm looking at getting the i23 for a bike i'm building. Good value for money and good durability. Glad that it gets PinkBike's thumbs on here.
  • + 2
 Beware that there is also a WTB ST i23 which is not Frequency i23. This can be misleading if you read specs too fast.
  • + 1
 Yup - there's also the i23 KOM which is way lighter.
  • + 1
 Winter riding......bar-mitts for your bike, overished price but work great, can wear my regular riding gloves down to -18 deg Celsius with only minimal right pinky finger discomfort and my hands are pussies...best 100 buck ive spent on winter gear...http://barmitts.com/
  • + 1
 And broken bones for when you crash and can't dismount due to your hands being stuck. Barmitts might be OK for commuting or something but trail riding ... No thanks
  • + 1
 ive had no problem on my single speed and my fat bike, fall atleast 3 - 5 times a ride on the fat bike, hands come out really really easy. snow and slow slick trails, ...otherwise my hands get too cold to shift or even move my brake levers, but like i said, my hands are pussies Wink ....i have the xl bar mits, and like i said, 0 issues with lots of slips/falls on the fat bike
  • + 1
 Best gloves for activity in sub-zero temps are made by OR. There are lots of good gloves out there, but OR makes absolutely top drawer outdoor gear. My OR gloves are the best glove I've ever had and work well for biking, XC skiing, snowshoeing, boarding… heck, even stacking firewood.

A little pricey, but you get every bit of your money back in performance.
This model looks like a great cycling option, even has carbon guards on the knuckles: www.outdoorresearch.com/en/mens/gloves/piledriver-gloves-old-7112.html
  • + 1
 "...designed for warm-to-hot conditions..." I dunno dude.
  • + 1
 OK, maybe not those ones specifically - I was distracted by the shiny carbon bits and didn't read the description Smile - but they have other gloves that are perfect, specifically their XC Ski line, being made for outdoor activity
  • + 1
 I am gonna recommend these gloves again… www.mechanix.com/the-original-insulated
l wore these on a ride today in the pissing down rain in the PNW. they did get wet but because of the insulation my hands were warm. ongoing test. so far so good. cost $20 on sale
  • + 2
 I heard of a new wheel company in BC that has good carbon rims at a fairly decent price, I'm not sure if they have aluminum rims or not. Might be worth checking out. Blackhawk wheel Co.
  • + 1
 If it's wet it can't be that cold out. I'm still searching for a good lightweight glove to keep my hands warm for 2 hours when it's -5C. I had a good pair but they are worn out and I have yet to replace them with something equivalent.
  • + 1
 i can vouch for the I23s. Burly enough to handle a couple days at plattekill and mt creek DH'ing under a 260lb guy. light enough for trails, tough enough to DH. though i would like the i25 if i had the choice simply because wider tires look better on them.
  • + 1
 Does anyone make a waterproof glove that is not bulky? I have a pair of Endura's but they're still too bulky; I feel like my grips are oversized when I wear them which causes my hands to cramp up.

I've been looking for a waterproof non bulky glove for years and it seems odd that this is hard to find, given then the amount of PNW and coastal riders.
  • + 1
 I've had some success with an Endura neoprene glove - basically its a wetsuit material with a little grip. Its decent down to about 40 degrees (whatever that is in C...like 5C maybe). Very slim fitting.
  • + 1
 www.giro.com/ca_en/products/men/gloves/winter.html

The pivot or the ambient are good depending on climate.
  • + 2
 If you're in Canada...

www.mec.ca/product/5033-733/pearl-izumi-pro-barrier-wxb-gloves-unisex/?q=pearl%2Bizumi%2Bpro%2Bbarrier

I've used these for two winters of riding the shore and Squamish. Hands are dry from the rain and kept warm from the wind and cold temps. No problems with grip on the bars and I like long cuffs to under my jacket.
A colleague even uses these to commute on her scooter to work year-round and she hasn't once complained of wet hands. The price is up there ($125CDN) but IMHO, you pay for what you get.
  • + 4
 Trick from the moto world: Wear latex gloves underneath your everyday riding gloves for added warmth.
  • + 7
 Bad science there captain slimy palms. Smile
  • + 1
 Best glove I've ever owned for winter was the original SixSixOne Storm. It was fleece insulated, shaped like a riding glove, had rubber knuckle protection.

But the biggest, baddest thing about it was it had a windproof liner. After several years of my hands NEVER freezing and always having great grip and no mittens look, I caught a finger tip on a tree and ripped the one end.

They still work great, but I have one really cold finger tip. Smile
  • + 1
 ya might try a needle and some thread. perhaps some tape.
  • + 1
 Never thought of that....jk. Wink
  • + 3
 the more ghetto ya do it, the more street cred ya get out of it...imho. haha Cool
  • + 2
 Moove components make a tough wearing 7075-T6 aluminum, 104 bcd narrow wide for around £25

www.moovebikeco.com/narrow-wide-chainrings
  • + 5
 try ZTR flow ex
  • - 1
 kalo di Indonesia yang masukin mana sih Om? berapaan?
  • + 1
 Wow the flags of Indonesia and Poland are very similar
  • + 1
 Descente Wombat gloves work great. Waterproof finger cover for when it's raining that rolls up and out of the way when it's not. I usually leave it off the index finger though for better braking
  • + 0
 What about those of us who continue riding when temps are in the teens?

Gore Alp-X Gloves are the answer to keeping your hands dry and warm. Slide them on over a pair of thin fleece gloves and you're good to go well below freezing.

www.competitivecyclist.com/gore-bike-wear-alp-x-so-light-gloves-gbw3190?ti=UExQIENhdDpNZW5cJ3MgV2ludGVyIEJpa2UgR2xvdmVzOjI6MjM6Y2NDYXQxMDAxOTU&skidn=GBW3190-BK-S
  • + 1
 yeah...there's cold and then there's cold, I guess. We don't have enough snow yet to inhibit riding, but Wednesday morning it was -8 F (that's minus eight Fahrenheit), went up to about +6, wind chill somewhere down around -20 or so. Today was a much more reasonable +20, but still, my hands get cold too easily to ride in that. I don't have time right now anyway, but still, just need to get a good dump of snow so I can stop wishing I had the time and warm gloves to go for a ride (and start wishing I had the time, warm gloves, and a fatty).
  • + 1
 No-one are doing narrow-wide chainrings for £25 for the seriously budget conscious. Superstar also do one pretty cheaply and UK made too.
  • + 1
 I was under the impression that they imported all of their goods from Taiwan/China to keep cost down. I maybe wrong though, but I hear the quality is very good for the price.
  • + 0
 amazon have raceface NW chainrings for around $30usd and reasonable shipping. I've picked up a 32t, shipped, for the AUD equivalent of 25 pounds.
  • + 1
 Jhou their parts are manufacturer over there, but they're picked out or actually designed by superstar. Same as most other companies, superstar just don't bother with a distributor network to get their stuff into shops, THAT'S where they save the money, there are no middlemen.
  • + 2
 According to Superstar manufactured in the UK - www.superstarcomponents.com/en/i-o-chainring-narrow-wide-style.htm
  • + 1
 I got one and am very happy with it
  • + 1
 Some of their stuff is, some isn't iirc
  • + 1
 Yeah, I'd imagine bits with more complex manufacturing processes - like pedals etc, would be outsourced (or from a catalogue). I guess with simpler CNC stuff like chainrings, once you have a pattern you can just bang them out. However, I literally know nothing about it, so pure conjecture!
  • + 0
 I'm using a Race Face narrow wide in my 1x10 conversation from XT 3x10 crankset. 104BCD fits perfectly & are light, stiff and look cool. 30 & 32 tooth have a thread. CRC have them. Great value.
  • + 1
 you want some real warm gloves? try out the endura nemo glove. your hands will be sweating in 5 minutes and not getting colder
  • + 1
 I think there are XTR trail and XTR race cranksets, and that they use different BCD spacing for some reason. It would be a good idea for the OP to check what he has first.
  • + 2
 Here you go, thanks Google!

www.wolftoothcycling.com/products/88-mm-bcd-for-shimano-m985

They mount on the outside on the double crankset, and as the spider meets the chainring at an angle, you need this specific chainring. That's if you have the m985 race cranks, of course.
  • + 3
 *on-one fml
  • + 2
 i have a pair of fox dirtpaw gloves and they are nice and warm.
  • + 2
 Used them in the past, but in my opinion from living in the PNW they aren't the answer for cold AND wet conditions.
  • + 1
 Wouldn't the oval chain ring make you chain sit at different tensions on your chain guild every pedal stroke?
  • + 2
 Crosscountry ski gloves are the cat's ass for winter riding.
  • + 1
 Cheers for recommending a glove that is discontinued, really helpful.
  • + 1
 They're out of stock of everything but small, and it's not available anywhere on the net, indicating that they've been discontinued.
  • + 1
 Spank oozy rims are strong, light and cheap
  • + 0
 dumbest ask pinkbike yet...
  • - 1
 no, remember the one about what to wear for dh?
  • + 0
 umm, no, actually. but that one does sound pretty dumb...thanks buddy. Cool
  • - 1
 yeah about 3 months back. super dumb
  • + 1
 we should have a poll-what was the dumbest ask pinkbike question ever? i nominate single ring for xtr...

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