|The good news is that you don't need to buy pedals with a larger platform in order to alleviate your foot pain. The bad news is that you might need some custom insoles, which is a last resort sort of route that I've had to recently take in order to keep my feet from killing me on long descents. Before doing that, though, start by taking the insoles out of your old Shimano shoes (you kept them, right?), slipping them into your new Hellcats and heading out for a lap to see if that helps - I suspect that it will make all the difference in the world. The other issue could be that your Hellcats feature a sole that's more flexible than what was used on your Shimano shoes, and the result is that they are flexing a bit more over the pedals. Try shifting the cleats back by a few millimeters to start with. If you've still had no luck, it might be worthwhile visiting a podiatrist to see if custom insoles could help. - Mike Levy|
|Trickstuff of Germany makes the Matshi adapter for both older type i-Spec A levers, and one that is designed to fit the 2014 i-Spec levers. The Matshi 14 adapter places the SRAM shifter exactly where it would sit if it were mounted to a standard SRAM lever with a Matchmaker clamp - which has been an issue with the alternative options. Trickstuff's Matshi adapters are sold in pairs for $45 USD or just the right-side unit for $29. You mentioned that you wanted to keep your handlebar tidy, so I assume that you are running a one-by drivetrain with a dropper-remote on the left side. - RC|
| If your heart is set on the GT Force, then I would suggest trying it in its stock form before making any changes. Getting one on a demo offer would be your best bet. Take it to your local trails and see how you like it. The 2014 GT may well have more contemporary geometry compared to your current bike. Things like bigger wheels, longer top tubes and lower bottom brackets mean that the new bike might not feel as steep as you think. PB's editors rode the Force, and reported that it was very capable for steep descending. If you feel you need to go slacker, remember that the longer travel fork alone will help with that (check the warranty, as fitting a longer fork could void it).|
The Works angled headset is a more affordable option than a Cane Creek AngleSet. The downside of the Works option is that you must order a specific headset for your head tube length and your desired angle, so if you aren't happy with the results, then you will have to buy another complete unit. At over twice the price, you could argue that the Cane Creek AngleSet is the better value, as it comes with different cups to offer angles from zero to two degrees in half-degree increments. Also, thanks to the clever design, the Cane Creek option is not specific to your frame's particular head tube length. When you are done with the GT, you can swap your AngleSet to your next bike, or sell it second-hand to get some paper back. - Paul Aston
Cane Creek's AngleSet is the best option for experimenters because it offers a wide range of head tube angles and adapts to any head tube length.
|The next step I'd recommend to improve your night riding experience would be purchasing another light to mount on your helmet. As you've noticed, running just a handlebar mounted light has its limitations, especially on more technical trails. Having the ability to see in whichever direction you turn your head will help make those night rides even more enjoyable, eliminating the giant blind spots that come with only running one light.|
As far as which light to buy, there are a host of excellent options out there with between 500-900 lumens of output that can be mounted on a helmet. Something along the lines of the Gloworm X1 pictured below would be a good choice, although if its $209 price tag is too steep, there are other slightly less bright choices in the $100 - $150 price range. And what about those eBay specials, the Chinese made lights that boast ridiculously high lumen numbers to go along with their ridiculously low prices? Well, some of them do work, but the key word there is 'some', and for every success story there seems to be an equal number of failures, so it's certainly more of a gamble than purchasing a light from a trusted manufacturer. Ideally, you should swing by your local bike shop and see what they have to offer. That way they can provide support and suggestions as you build your night riding set up, and they might even have a group night ride you can join in on. - Mike Kazimer
Lightweight and bright helmet mounted lights like the Gloworm X1 help make night riding more fun than frightening.
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