Ask Pinkbike: Used Carbon, Shoe Advice, Replacement Cranks and Super Gravity Tires

May 12, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

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.



Clipless Shoes and Platform Pedals

Question: Pinkbike user Twice asked this question in the Downhill forum: I'm wondering if I could use a pair of Five Ten clipless shoes with platform pedals. Would this combo work well?

bigquotesThe bottoms of Five Ten's Kestrel, Hellcat and Maltese shoes are relatively flat, so they'd actually work much better with platform pedals than a set of running shoes or hiking boots ever would. Plus, the soles of both employ the company's sticky Stealth rubber that's only going to help matters. Having said that, I'd argue that the more flexible shank of a shoe designed for use with platform pedals plays a role in keeping your feet planted, and that the stiffer bottoms of the Kestrel, Hellcat and Maltese won't allow the shoe to arch over the pedal in the same way. So yes, you'll probably get along just fine, but it won't be ideal. - Mike Levy

510 clipless shoe

The Hellcats will work with platform pedals, but their stiffer shanks don't make them as ideal for the job as a shoe designed with platform pedals in mind.






Should I Buy a Used Carbon Bike?

Question: Cambercanuck asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: In my search for a new bike I came across a two year old carbon bike. The owner says it was hardly used and never crashed. He must be a better rider than myself! I would like some advice: is anything other than obvious marks that I should look for?

bigquotes I would rather buy a reputable used carbon frame than an aluminum one in every case. Carbo-phobia is probably unjustified in the context of the present manufacturing standards, but your question is still a very valid one. The nature of carbon composite construction makes the frame very resistant to localized damage, because the fibers carry the loads, not the resin matrix. When a ding or other damaging impact destroys the matrix in a small area of the frame, the fact that the carbon is laid up in a number of directions allows fibers that are intact to carry the stress and "reroute" those forces around the damaged area.

Paradoxically, evidence supporting the urban legend that a damaged carbon frame will self-destruct without warning is quite rare, while aluminum frames are famous for separating at the head tube junction or otherwise snapping tubes mid ride. Hairline cracks in a carbon chassis may not become an issue for the life of the bike, but any evidence of such on a metal chassis should be considered, "game over." Like carbon composites, metal alloys have a matrix that is created by mixing various elements into the base metal. It is most often called the metal's "grain structure," and it serves the same purpose: to create a zigzag pathway for stress to follow, so that microscopic cracks cannot easily grow larger. But, the grain structures of most metal alloys are of little help if you can see evidence of a crack. However tiny it may be, once a crack grows to visible dimensions, your metal frame is doomed. It is not a matter of if - it is when.

Inspect the any used frames for potential damage. Pay close attention to the upper and lower welds near the head tube, the lower seat tube/bottom bracket junction, and the drive-side chainstay where chain gouges and off-angle compression loads often cause failures. Cracks in the paint are always cracks in the metal. Carbon frames fail most often at the bottom bracket/seat tube junction, where most makes hide a glued joint, and at the drive-side chainstays where abrasion and impact damages are aggravated by off-angle compression stress. I wouldn't sweat minor nicks or dings, but check the down tube and rear stays for major impact zones. Pay close attention to where the brake levers strike the top tube - that is where the walls are thinnest. Give each suspect area a firm push (use a rubber-coated screwdriver handle so you can push firmly without damaging the paint). If it feels soft, or it gives in more easily than surrounding areas, the carbon matrix has been damaged and you should run away.

You should never buy nor ride a cracked frame made from any material (except for bamboo, which is always cracked somewhere). Check PB forums for major issues on any used bike, and search Bicycle Retailer's website for product recalls. The advantage of buying a used carbon chassis in good shape, is that it is molded, not welded, so it should ride like as-new condition - properly aligned, with no bent tubes; without an ovalized head tube or bottom bracket; and without a hint of corrosion. A used carbon chassis from a reputable maker is a good investment. - RC

Yeti SB6c review test Photo by Paris Gore
It's hard to tell from this photo, but we bashed the left-side dropout of our Yeti SB6c test bike in Sedona and permanently compromised the carbon matrix - to the point where it was soft to the touch. We continued to pound it daily on the red rock and, while the rear end was noticeably more flexible, it held up without further damage. Production swingarms have subsequently been beefed up.
Read the complete Yeti SB6c test.
Search for recalls at Bicycle Retailer's website




Replacement Cranks?

Question: flymcg asks in the Mechanic's Lounge forum: So, I went out today for the first ride on my Commencal Meta AM V4 and managed to spank the left hand pedal against a tree and bend the crank ever so slightly (just so you can feel it). The BB is a Race Face pressfit BB92 with Race Face Evolve cranks, what cranks can I replace them with? I'm thinking Shimano Zee. Any hints?

bigquotesBefore rushing off to buy a new crankset, I'd recommend making sure it really is the cranks that are bent, and not your pedal spindle. Grab another set of pedals (ones that you know aren't damaged) and install them, and then see if the sensation persists. It'll only take a few minutes, but it's worth taking the time to make sure you're not spending money in the wrong place. If the cranks really are damaged, almost every company offers BB92 compatible cranks, so you have a wide range of options. The Shimano Zee crankset you mentioned is an excellent choice - they're reasonably priced, and have a good strength to weight ratio. Capable of handling everything from trail riding to downhill, they fall right in line with your Meta V4's intentions. Just watch out for those trees the next time you ride - components can easily be replaced, but it takes longer and is far more expensive to fix body parts. - Mike Kazimer

Shimano Zee crankset review test
Shimano's Zee crankset offers a good value and can handle a wide range of riding styles.




Super Gravity?


Question: Pinkbike user iketaxi asked this question in the Downhill: Are Schwalbes' new "Super Gravity" tyres, basically the same as dual ply tyres from other companies? Looking at getting a Magic Mary for the front and a Hans Dampf for the rear of my bike to use while doing the Megavalanche.
Cheers for any help.



bigquotesThe main differences are weight and suppleness between 'Super Gravity' and 'Downhill' tires. In terms of weight, a 27.5" x 2.35" Magic Mary with a downhill casing is 1250 grams, a 2.4" Maxxis High Roller II tips the scales at 1305 grams. Compare this to a SG Magic Mary at 1100 grams. Most DH tires use a 2-ply construction, which when folded in to shape give an overlap of 6 layers under the tread, making them the toughest and heaviest rubber you can buy, but also the least flexible. SG tires use a different construction method to a classic DH tire, under the tread there are two thick layers, the sidewalls are the same as downhill tires with 4 layers. Schwalbe say that using less layers under the tread allows the tire to be more supple and conform to the terrain better as well as decreasing rolling resistance. A layer of 'Snakeskin' across the whole tire aids with snake bite and cut resistance. For the Megavalanche the SG's are a good compromise of protection for the relentless rock at the top, rolling resistance for the 25k distance, and weight because there's plenty of pedalling to finish you off towards the bottom. - Paul Aston

Carcass options
Left: A single ply tire 'Evo Snakeskin', which has two layers of carcass. Middle: A Super Gravity tire with four layers on the sidewall but two under the tread. Right:A DH tire which has four on the sidewall and six under the tread.




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


159 Comments

  • 161 3
 Lightly used/never crashed synonymous for I threw it off the top of Mt. Everest yesterday.
  • 43 2
 Beer out the nose
  • 9 16
flag Ronworth (May 12, 2015 at 19:29) (Below Threshold)
 Sif you could ride up Everest.
  • 62 0
 Literally was a bike on sale here at Pinkbike ridden only one weekend: at Rampage.
  • 50 0
 Selling my used bike, only used once.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/11457759
  • 36 0
 Wheels need to be trued
  • 18 0
 brake pads at 60% though
  • 74 16
 i love their faith in carbon bikes........and then they show the picture of the infamous yeti.
  • 40 6
 The picture only helps their case.
  • 19 16
 Because it's one of the best performing bikes out there regardless of carbon issues. The problem has been brought to the surface and solved. Simple as that...
  • 19 8
 How does the picture help their case? The performance/structure of the frame was compromised ( e.g. "noticeably more flexible" ) but the only way one can tell is by checking all over for "soft" spots? Sounds like a ticking time bomb to me.
  • 30 5
 No, what they're trying to say is that even though there is so much damage to their carbon frame that it is soft to the touch, it is still rideable. They're saying that a metal frame with similar damage (like a crack) would inevitably break to the point of being unrideable. So in conclusion, carbon can, in a way, sustain significant damage and still remain strong, unlike metal.
  • 11 4
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/12226588
www.pinkbike.com/photo/12226587

so is pinkbike telling me that this is rideable? id be careful on the wording on that because some dumb people might blame pinkbike for their injuries from a snapped frame.
  • 1 0
 My HD cracked in exactly the same place and way.
  • 1 0
 Thank you joecrosby
  • 9 2
 people may disagree completely and may call me crazy for what im going to say but my (bought used c) frame right now have hairline stress cracks near the BB. Its out of warranty and I just dont have the cash for a replacement. so i had it inspected instead. they told me that its the paint that has cracked and not the carbon. in terms of sound testing which i know is not reliable, everything else is consistent. Of course as precaution I made a marker on the hairline cracks to see if they'd grow, they never did for the last year even when I increased the intensity of my riding and would have logically increased the sizes of the cracks I also contacted the manufacturer and was told that the batch of frames mine came frp, had the bad BB paint quality, which explains thecracking around the bb area.

and it never did creak too. And I always take good care of my bike. cleaned them regularly, lube what needs to be lubed,etc. I also crashed on it several times hehe but that was after those developed.

I would never advice buying a cracked frame though even if its has stressed cracks in it. but if your developed those then observe it and watch it if it grows or have it inspected instead.the carbon may be. of course if its under warranty then have it replaced.

If it grows, stop using it because it may be compromised. in my case, all is well for the last year those developed.

so... dont judge carbon just because it developed hairline cracks teehee.
  • 5 1
 I got that Joe, I just think it's goofy logic. Saying something is 'rideable' and 'strong', while at the same time developing a noticeable increase in flex is contradictory. I've seen cracked Alu frames last months with no further cracking or change in ride quality at all. It all depends on the location and type of damage, but if the stiffness of the Yeti instantly changed by such a noticeable degree, it is definitely not safe to ride in the manner that is was designed.
  • 4 2
 I have to say I have cracked 5 carbon frames and never had a problem with alloy ones. With regards to the yeti mentioned if it had been alloy and the damage had been a dent in the middle of a tube then you could probably ride on it for the foreseeable future whereas with carbon I would be scared to ride another second.

If the damage is a warranty claim it doesn't matter as such so long as the company in question will honour this (and so long as you are the original buyer), crash damage is more of the issue in my opinion as it can leave you without a frame and hugely out of pocket, from my experience carbon is much more likely to suffer from spontaneous breaks as well.
  • 4 1
 On the other hand, a dent in an alloy frame cannot be fixed (I believe), whereas a damaged carbon frame can be repaired. In fact, if the damage is no too extensive, a repaired frame will be indistinguishable from its pre-damage self (except for a small weight increase)
  • 9 0
 a dent on an alloy frame isnt really too much to be concerned about unlike a "dent" in a carbon frame.
  • 2 1
 Sure thing, but the point I was trying to make is that a "small dent" in a carbon frame can be fixed to the point that the frame is, structurally, as good as it was before. On the other hand, a dent in an alloy frame will always be there...specially when you want to sell it!
  • 1 0
 I bought a 2012 Scott Spark 29 Team on ebay that was advertised as "Well Maintained"... NOT.

Wheels were way out of true, cables/housing needed replaced, and most of all there was a crack in the chainstay bridge cuz dude rode it with loose main pivot! I was super bummed as I thought the frame was toast. I took it to the Scott LBS and they were like meh. They tightened the main pivot which took all the loose play out and said to keep an eye on the chainstay bridge crack (or is it a paint crack?). ...wut? That's all ya gotta do to tighten the main pivot? Why couldn't retard previous owner do that???

1074.5 hard miles later and a new CTD Shock and fork rebuild the crack hasn't budged and the frame still rides great.
  • 6 0
 Cracked my kona a few years back and they sent me a new frame, even though mine was bought second hand! My model was discontinued so they sent me a newer, better one!
  • 2 1
 carbon indeed can be repaired, when I saw te hairline cracks in mine, I immediately started looking for the nearest place i can get help with (which was in singapore). $400 to have it fixed. good thing I asked several carbon expert repair shops and they told me the same thing, that it was likely just the paint and I to keep an eye on it. So i did, it never grew amidst the increase in use.

was told that carbon underneath the layer coat of paint flexes it resists it but nevertheless it flexes. i saw the same in a manufacturing demo video for envee handlebars and the bars did flex on their test so i guess the same thing happened in mine. the thing is, the paint did not flex when the carbon did which caused the creaking or cracking of the paint. or something like that. dunno im no expertbut i that's what i was told.
  • 3 0
 Calfee in California does carbon repair. Had a carbon road frame repaired and have ridden it extra hard for years with no issues.
  • 2 0
 I had dumb crash with my Norco sight carbon last year and the downtube landed right on some rocks. They put 2 small gouges in it. Local shop said it will be fine because the carbon is still hard and doesn't smoosh or bend when pressed on. It's always in the back of my mind that something could happen.
  • 2 3
 The only things to fail on my carbon bikes have been things made out of aluminum.
  • 2 0
 I contacted calfee too when the cracks developed on my frame and they told me the same thing. My frame also have those gouges you mentioned in the top tube on mine. carbon is still intact. I also have seen one locally a carbon session with gouges on the frame, still rides as solid as it is new.
  • 17 0
 RCs comment about the fibres taking the load, therefore a damaged matrix not being an issue isn't true. The matrix actually supports the fibres so they don't locally buckle. In addition, the matrix transfers the shear from bending between the layers of fibres. So if the matrix is damaged, or has become detached from the fibres, you have lost all bending strength in that local part of the wall. And the fibre will be much more susceptible to local buckling under compression load. So if the damage is in a part that takes in-plane tensile load, no worries. If it's in a part that takes in-plane compressive load, e.g. the bottom of the downtube in a head on crash, it might lead to a more overall failure. Tubes are generally designed to take load in-plane, so the lack of bending strength probably isn't an issue. The other issue with carbon is something called BVID in the aerospace industry. Barely Visible Impact Damage. A knock on the outside does very little visible damage, but inside the lamina of carbon have separated, giving the damaged matrix I talk about above. But admittedly, in aerospace the matrix materials are much less damage tolerant and ductile than those I expect are used in the bike industry. But, real world experience is much more valuable than hypothesising. From the comments above, it seems to be an equal mix of those happy with carbon from experience, those not happy with carbon from experience and those nervous without any experience. Remember, steel is the only true answer.
  • 4 3
 Steel it is. Next best is large volume hydroformed frames. Carbon is not a safe material for dirt bikes where impact resistance is a key demand. Carbon is an upmarketing strategy but not viable frame-engineering.
  • 10 0
 This guy is 100% on point. I was pretty appalled by him saying that just because the matrix is compromised its ok. It is absolutely not ok. The matrix is what transfers the load to the fibers! The matrix is half of the equation when it comes to carbon. It's what makes it a composite. Without the matrix carbon is a floppy fiber.

I am ok with giving plenty of leeway in these articles as far as engineering points go, but to see something so blatantly false and potentially dangerous on the front page of PB is scary. Please get your articles double checked by a qualified engineer if you're going to try to make statements like this.
  • 18 2
 Both carbon and aluminum bikes will have their pros and cons when buying used. If buying just the frame, inspect it fully with no parts installed. Remember carbon doesn't bend or warp, it cracks and shatters so it should be easy to find with the feel of your fingers. I've bought many a used carbon bikes right here off PB and have not once had an issue. The seller's mentality, accessibility, responses, etc tell me just as much about the quality of the bike as the bike does.
  • 4 0
 also if you tap your fingernails against the tubing and hear any abrupt differences in sound it can be a indicator of damaged laminat. freind said a carbon frame he broke sounded "dull" in the cracked place.
  • 14 0
 Exactly. Examine the seller and you have essentially examined the bike.
  • 2 0
 @Luneec

the "tap" test does not provide any useful information because carbon composites have multiple pieces across the frameset

for example the top tube where it nears the head tube junction will often have extra ply reinforcement which will change the sound of a "tap" when you tap your fingers along that tube. Or where a frame junction is glued together and then wrapped.

What you often hear is a different ply or change in thickness due to extra material, rather than a change in sound because of failure.
  • 1 0
 yes you will hear a difference from carbon laminat thicknesses but also cracks. it is easy to tap along all tubes and listen for changes. if you find sudden changes you can furtehr inspect that area look for abnomal paint chips. i know that the only absolut answer to internal damage can be given by a CT scaner which might be a tad expensive to a used frame.
  • 11 1
 I bet Yeti is loving that free publicity....
  • 11 14
 I've ridden one. Buying an SB6c soon and seriously found the PB article a good reason to get one. Strangely cracked carbon swing arms scare people yet you can find the same with alloy frames. Perfect example, Kona...
  • 18 1
 I dont know why kona has a bad rap for broken frames, The new generation konas have some of the beefiest rear triangles I have ever seen on a bike.
  • 5 4
 The new Konas do but the old ones don't. Why is Yeti getting such a bad rep for only 20 frames that were sent out with improperly built swing arms even though the reviewers all love the way the bike rides and the issue was in fact taken care of? Also why does no one seem to want to admit to all of the dented/broken alloy frames and most of their issues with carbon frames were 10 years in the past? Carbon breaks but not nearly as much as it used to...
  • 5 1
 If you never crash carbon is great, but I have seen a few too many non warrantable crash damaged frames to ever want to buy a carbon frame again.
  • 3 0
 spot on and I usually see / have seen loads of people over my local trails checking their downtubes after every run. I'd rather do without the hassle and ride my beefed up alu box section monster any day
  • 4 0
 A little late to the party, but when I first got in to MTB I was told not to buy a Cracknfail due to the snappiness of the Cannondale frames at the time....... (this was 15 years ago now). I think these things just seem to do the rounds every now and again.
  • 3 1
 @alexarmanetti- Where did you get the "only 20" number from? That's very far from the truth. Sick bikes, but good luck getting a sb6c right now. They are redesigning them because of how many rear triangles are bad. Essentially all of them sold up to this point are vulnerable. You'll see a different rear triangle next season to remedy the issue.
  • 1 0
 Listen, I'm not trying to sound like an ass when I ask this but did you read the letter Yeti sent to all the bike testers? It was a pre-production batch of 20 frames that had issues with the carbon lay up of the rear triangle. I recently demoed a Yeti SB5 for 3-days but I asked the shop why they didn't have any 6s in. Their words were that they were having issues getting anything from Yeti. Now, my guess is that some of what you're saying about a redesign is true but that redesign has already occurred. If anything all they're doing now is overseeing what the hell the manufacturer is doing and being sure they do the right thing to every bike. Also, I'd rather break a chainstay then anything else. Mainly because its an EXTREMELY vulnerable part of the bike at any speed and it's less expensive to replace than a front trinagle...
For tl;dr, Yeti's press release mentioned 20 preproduction frames were compromised. Oversight of manufacturer is in effect...
  • 1 0
 That's what most manufacturers say when their bicycle products fail during testing by a media outlet. This is common knowledge in the industry. Many individuals that purchased them have broken them, and if you do a quick search, you'll see that. Not to mention the multiple rear triangles broken during one test by another media outlet. A really good friend of mine rides for Yeti. He has a sb5c, and also ordered a sb6c in January. He was told that they were starting fresh with them, and he may or may not receive his sb6c at the end of June because of it.
  • 1 0
 I have heard about delays in the production frames and there is in fact a delay. From what most people are saying online they're being told 1-2months so your friend will "probably" have his frame by June. Anyways, yes Bike mag broke 2, pinkbike broke one and where are the others? I did a quick google search for broken Yeti SB6 and cannot find anything beyond those 2. All that I'm saying is that the issue is being resolved and considering the performance that people are reporting (and that I have been able to experience) the SB6 is certainly worth the issues they had with the earlier version...
  • 8 0
 I like how they suggest checking the welds on the used carbon bike. (I know I know, it's meant to be a guide for buying used frames in general)
  • 3 0
 i noticed that too. lol was surprised how welds could come up o na carbon frame.
  • 7 0
 I added the aluminum information to address the enevitable comparisons between aluminum and carbon frames that would come up in the comment section, and also because the information is relevent to anyone who is in the market for a used bike.
  • 1 0
 My brother had a dimondback welded carbon fibre (WCR) bike back in the day (three main tubes in carbon with the rest steel), so techiquely they are right but just worded wrongly lol
  • 4 0
 I've grown to trust carbon over the years after beeing sceptical for a long time. Although I still agree that it is a huge difference between cheap and proper carbon from a reputable manufacturer. I've experienced a couple of carbon failures over the years and none of them catastrophic.

First let me tell you about an old Gary Fisher Superfly carbon frame which had an issue with the bottom bracket area and was given a new frame on warranty. The old frame was to be destructed and I decided to test the infamous carbon explotion theory. I went loose on the frame with a big workshop hammer on the top tube and downtube, hammering away all around the construction to weaken the frame as much as possible. Than standing it up to a wall, got some running speed and jumped on the damaged area as hard as I could (I weigh 70kg). Dissapointed and somewhat pleasantly suprised, I bounced right off. After a couple of tries and rounds with the hammer again, I gave up and fond the saw to finish the job. Trust gained.

So after my experience with the GFSF, I decided to try some carbon hoops for my DH bike last year. As I couldn't afford hoops of the Enve variety, I decided to go with some cheap China manufactured ones from Light Bicycle. Long story short, I rode my first ride for the season in Nesbyen, infamous for being a rocky rim killer. On my second run of the first day of the season, my rear rim cracked, which resulted in a puncture. The rim still felt stiff and the crack was in the first outer half of the layers and went half way down towards the spoke holes. I decided to continue running the rim, and on the next run, I got a similar crack on the opposite side of the rim. Still feeling stiff and rigid, I decided to see how long I could ride before it turned soft. It lasted the whole season. I usually go through a couple of rims a season then riding a DT FR600 og Mavic EX521/321.
  • 1 0
 I use to be afraid of carbon until I rode with my my good friend that owns an Ibis SL. Money is no issue for him, so he rides his bikes like they were stolen. Man did he beat that thing up! Launched off things I wouldn't do, wreck really good a few times, and throws it on the ground when he celebrates after doing a big drop. Hardly a scratch on that thing. After seeing how resilient his Ibis was, I ended up buying an Ibis HD and riding hard ever since. I've cracked 3 allow frames in the past so saying carbon is weaker is not true for me. Everyone has their personal experience and mine has been positive with carbon and not so much aluminum.
  • 3 0
 Another thing to consider when buying a used frame is there is generally no transferable warranty if there is an issue. In my experience there will be issues, I've had multiple carbon and aluminum frames crack on me, and not frame crashing...
  • 3 2
 Never seen or heard of issues with carbon frames from multiple frames that I have owned and many that friends have had.
  • 4 0
 That's an issue with buying used anything - not specific to carbon fibré.
  • 2 1
 Unless it's a Devinci.
  • 3 0
 Devinci is first owner LIFETIME warranty. I love my 2011 Wilson and the warranty was a big part of the purchase.
  • 2 0
 @nomadrider10
@NMK187

I used to work at a Specialized concept store in Central London as workshop manager and handled a large number of warranty and crash damage claims for Specialized clients. I've seen a lot of broken carbon fibre, both from genuine warranty (typically manufacturing QC issues, design defects or environmental exposure), and more commonly frames broken from "JRA.." crash damage. Which often turns out to be the parked motor vehicle the guy rode into whilst checking his Garmin!

I have also owned a number of carbon fibre frames; both my road bike and mountain bike are carbon fibre, and both bikes run carbon bars and carbon seat posts.

However, my mountain bike (big brand 29'er) has changed 4 times since new in 2012, all warranty claims, the last 3 for carbon fibre failure (cracks propagating in bonded junctions); never crashed as I just ride some XC on that bike!

Does not put me off at all, the brand has my back every time I've raised a warranty with them, normally a new frame in 48 hours which means I get a fresh ride every season Wink
  • 3 1
 Glad I've never owned a Specialized carbon bike then.
  • 2 0
 @NMK187

its not just Specialized - I've worked in a number of multi-brand stores and handled warranty on all brands, big and small. Some were endemic with cracks developing leading to warranty claims like Cervelo, others like Kona and Norco were built piss-poor out of the factory and would turn up in a box with a wonky frame
  • 5 0
 "components can easily be replaced, but it takes longer and is far more expensive to fix body parts"

In the UK its cheaper to break yourself than the bike.
  • 4 0
 use a supergravity for the mega (at least on the rear)... the hans dampf in trailstar doesn't like rocks.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/12133580
  • 3 4
 The Hans Dampf is a horrible, unpredictable tire. I gashed a hole through the tread on the first run after mounting and had to save it with a tube. I really wanted to believe in the mojo that Schwalbe is selling with their SG setup, but it's just not there. The Magic Mary get's maybe a 3/5 for grip and performance, but it's for sure a "race day tire" with their super soft compounds. If you like buying new tires for every 2-3 full days of riding, these are the ticket for you!
  • 1 1
 I run a nobby nic and hans dampf setup both PACESTAR and I rate them highly. Trailstar are very very soft, probably not even warranted for competition.
  • 2 0
 I have 600-700 miles on a hans dampf trailstar 29er (normal version, not supergravity). It is wearing very similarly to other tires. I'm surprised by the bad experiences - I love mine.
  • 1 0
 If you're gonna buy a HD, just get the "performance" one honestly. Cheap, last well, good tread, and while not technically tubeless, they work readily.
  • 1 0
 @Spykr - HD Performance giving me snakebites (-> flats) all the time (with tubes), their sidewalls are just too wobbly and thin (for riding in rocky terrain and higher speeds)

They´re fine though for trailriding on smooth surfaces and/or lower speeds.
  • 2 0
 The performance rubber compound is terrible in the wet though...
  • 1 0
 I have a HD SG pacestar on the rear wheel. I ride on rock most of the time and it is holding up really well. However the HD's on wet are sliding more than my old high rollers. The trail star I have on the front is wearing really fast. The side knobs started to come loose after 3, 4 rides. What I like on them is that they make my bike feel more confortable than the high rollers.
  • 2 0
 Personally I swear by Schwalbe tires! Been running Super gravity tires front and back for almost 2 years now and I don't see myself going back to full on DH tires. The magic mary is an amazing all around tire and the dirty dan is great in softer conditions. Vertstar compound on the front and trailstar rear. The vertstar is super grippy and wears evenly (and decently) whereas the trailstar rolls better but the knobs tear of easily. The Hans Damf I find to be a decent rolling rear tire but the side knobs are too small for front use.
Ofcourse, I ride mainly DH in the alpes, so can't really speak for general trail riding.
  • 1 0
 The super gravity is definitely a good tire. There is a place on my local trails where I was slicing the rear tire all the time. Still to happen with the super gravity.
  • 1 0
 Magic Mary's have to be the best all around tire for aggressive riding whether its DH or trail bike. Front and rear for the DH bike, wouldn't stick one on the rear of my trail bike. I'll sacrifice rolling speed for the extra grip and reassurance on the descents. I Tried Maxxis DHF when I first got into mtb, they had good reviews and worked well, then I bought my Wilson that came with a Muddy Mary on the front and I've never looked back. Personal preference, still a good rear. I was getting flats all the time, almost every 3rd or 4th ride out on standard casings. Now I run the DH casings and its been over 6 months without a flat. The Super Gravity casing compared to a standard casing hold their sidewall posture much better instead of rolling from the force of cornering, therefore driving the side knobs into the ground resulting in increased traction.
  • 2 0
 Schwalbes are great, I love them. But... Hans Dampf is one crap of a tyre, especially now with the new Nobby Nic around. I can imagine it being ok for deserty, slippery, loose places like Canary Islands (I guess Sedona) as there is simply nothing to bite into, but regular mixed conditions it sucks. Schwalbes biggest problem is the durability of their lightweight casings and incredibly fast wearing of soft compounds, losing knobs and stuff. For big mountain riding I'd go Minions DHF anytime. I actually ride XC/trail on Minion Exo DHF front and Schwalbe RockRazor Evo SS back. But If I'd go to Alps I would never ever dare to ride Schwalbes with single ply casings as they are too easy to puncture and it's always around the bead hook so it is damn hard to fix it. Super gravity? yes. Can't wait for procore!
  • 1 0
 Mixed feelings on schwalbe. I ran their Fat Albert on my bike for the better part of a season and they performed really well, but the casing straight up split on me on a gravelly climb. I'm talking like a 1.5-2 cm long crack across middle of the knobby section. Had to use the old dollar bill trick and a tube to get back to the trailhead, and I still flatted 2 more times in that spot. Also had a set of their semi-slick cyclocross tires for commuting and trail riding. When I set them up tubeless the damn things wept sealant and air for 3 days straight. This wasn't an issue of thin, light sidewalls weeping here and there, these were a heavy ass set of tires with hefty sidewalls. There was a distinct line of evenly spaced perforations all the way around the tire on both sides. Almost like they put holes there to make people buy the tubeless version.

Frankly, considering the price of Schwalbe I don't really get the hype. I've been just as happy with Maxxis Ardents and High Roller 2s (and conti tires for CX), and got them all for significantly cheaper.

Procore looks sick though. I'd be tempted to try it on my cross bike because I love riding rocky trails on those skinny tires, but tubeless is just not as robust for cx tires. I'd take the massive weight penalty just to be able to shred rock gardens confidently.
  • 1 0
 @feeblesmith As a so-cal native, what the hell is this "Wet" thing you speak of? Is it magic?
  • 2 0
 @twice I have hellcats and although I dont ride with them on flat pedals, I have tried them on friends bikes and have notice that they are exceptionally grippy as long as the Flat pedals middle pins are removed so they don't hit the cleat.
  • 2 0
 I find it strange that it is thought that a stiffer shoe is not ideal to pedal with flats. I Have been using the malatese Falcons for some time with flats and absolutely love them. I love how stiff they are. I get tons of grip as well.
  • 1 0
 My five tens are my first clipless shoes (so maybe it's just the way they all are), and sure they are flat, but with the cleat in they are terrible for steep rocky trails and jumping on a friend's bike with flats. The cleat is lower than the flat so even though there is some grip from the flat's spikes, it is like balancing on a a small metal object that cause your ankle to tilt.
  • 3 0
 No mention of well and easily carbon frames can be repaired by a specialist? Most failures around tubes can be fixed to better than the original strength, not so sure about things like the broken pivot above mind....?
  • 2 0
 Strongly disagree with the "used carbon frame is good" sentiment. CF is a great material, but you are giving a prime example of why not to buy it used. Small crash and it left you with a broken frame. Yes, you could still ride it, but it was severely compromised. Aluminium frames, on the other hand, get a small dent in such an accident. "Cosmetic damage", if you will.
CF hast this nasty property of suddenly giving in. Where Al absorbs hard hits with minimal damage, CF shatters. Even worse, if the Matrix breaks, it is beyond repair - fixing a ripped frame is one thing, but delamination is virtually impossible to fix properly. And the horror stoy about it all: It tends to hide damage. Where Al has a clearly visible dent, CF looks "like new" when in reality, it is broken beyond repair.
Breaking Al frames usually stem from bad design, whereas CF frames break from impacts - which you cannot fix in design.
  • 7 2
 if its in your budget,go carbon...you won't want to go back
  • 1 1
 I had 2 cuts/flats on a super gravity rock razor in very little time, which is unusual for me.
  • 1 0
 The Rock Razor was an experiment for me as I had never ran a semi-slick. It wore decently considering I put 150 miles on it and the amount of meat that came on the tire. It was good for the climbs, but I had to change my whole riding style on the descents due to almost no rear traction, had to use twice the amount of front brake. I have it as a back up still in the garage for a long day out or some trip to a smooth flow trail with a mellow grade, but I ended up just putting a DHF on the rear that came with my bike. Much more enjoyable.
  • 1 0
 @somismtb All these "new" semi-slicks are just a rehash from the 90's when Ritchey and Specialized(and others) had them. Granted, they finally realized they need actual side knobs this time around but your reason for having no traction is the reason I won't do it again. These days I'll take more resistance and protection over the weight loss.
  • 2 1
 My Five Ten Minnaar shoes are clipless but come with fastenable rubber inserts that fill the void where the cleats would typically mount to. With the inserts in place, the sole of the shoe is effectively identical to any of their other platform shoes. As for stiffness, they're equally stiff to my 5-10 Freeriders... which is crazy stiff.
  • 3 2
 I successfully rode Maltese Falcons on platform pedals, still having Crank Bros cleats in! That was in Alps.
  • 1 0
 The same goes to my 5.10 raven, but i hate the "clicks" sound from the cleats hit the middle of the flat pedal.
  • 1 0
 I also rode 5.10 ravens with spd cleats on DMR v8's but yes it's kinda stiff.
  • 15 0
 I ride barefoot so I can't comment.
  • 1 0
 @Ronworth - barefoot? Are you a member of James Wilson's Church?
  • 1 0
 This is an interesting discussion. I used for some years shimanos MP's clipless on flat pedals. When I first bought them they felt great because they offered so much foot support and stability. I never removed the rubber insert but it came off and they started to leak in. Then I bought myself another set of MP's designed for flat pedals. The difference I immediately noticed with the change was a more flexible, less supportive shoe. On smaller pin pedals it makes a difference as it adheres better than the clippless ones but on the other hand the sole is really flexible. It would be great to have some kind of mix of both worlds.
  • 1 1
 migkab - good point about shoe stiffness. I personally like soft shoes because they give me better feeling of clip out limit on the time/CB pedal, however on shimano system (that I no longe use) they were horrible as they were making it much harder to clip out. When I tried rigid XC ballerinas on Crank Bros I thought I was clipping out unintentionally many time, because that was all too fine line between feeling that final resistance before clipping out and doing it. I'd like a stiffer sole for riding clipless but compromised feeling of safety ruins it for me on time pedals which I prefer over Shimanos due to float.
  • 8 3
 Super gravity tubeless mounted fail in no time. DH casing or die
  • 5 0
 I ran supergravity Rock Razor tubeless on the rear for 6 months last year without issue. That included lots of DH, jumping, and trail riding. I moved on mostly due to a lack of climbing traction...loved the cornering and durability.
  • 3 0
 My SG Magic Marys got small cuts by the 3rd full day of riding rendering the tubeless capability useless without using mad amounts of sealant. I could patch them if I wanted to but they work awesome with standard weight 2.3-2.5 tubes and are just as reliable with tubes as any other DH tire while saving some weight and benefiting from the top casing flexibility. I'm definitely a little disappointed they did not last longer before getting full cuts through the carcass though.
  • 2 0
 Been running SG Magic Mary and Hans Dampf for about 6 months now with no problems.
  • 2 0
 I've had zero flats running tubes with Magic Mary and Rock Razor tires before them I was getting pinch-flats all the bloody time.
  • 2 0
 I've been using Schwalbe DH tires tubeless for a while now. Best tires IMO. Super Gravity version is lighter indeed, but the carcass under the knobs is just too weak for agressive rock garden riding. I hate to take the walk of shame only for few grams saving.
  • 3 1
 Been riding a used carbon mountain bike for the past year. I have yet to have any problems. Its been through some rough crashes and I've nearly put 3,000 miles on the frame. Cheers
  • 2 1
 Similar experience here. I built up a Cannondale Rize CF frame with a carbon Lefty all the way back in 2010 and it's been ridden hard as a primary enduro bike by myself and then it was passed over to my wife who even raced it competitively at DH nationals here in Poland. So far so good.
  • 3 0
 Richard, so how long does aluminum frame last? I remember reading an article on pinkbike awhile back and talking about the life of a frame...
  • 4 0
 Aluminum frames can't last forever, because aluminum alloys fatigue and work harden every time they are stressed and at some point, they will crack and fail - BUT and this is a BIG but - careful design and extensive testing by the better bike makers has extended the life-span of the average frame well beyond the estimated service life that any rider would use them for. Airplanes are quite reliable for the same reasons, and most of their superstructures are aluminum. That said, if I put in a lot of time on just one bike, I'd sell it every three years. That represents the longest period of time that the sum total of a mountain bike's components, suspension and frame will remain relatively trouble free. It works out to about 100 to 150 USD per month for an elite level bike.
  • 1 0
 Don't suppose anyone knows if those EU regs (EN whatever it is?) on bike design strength has made frames stronger everywhere as companies won't make one bike for one market and another for a market outside of Europe?
  • 1 0
 The issue boils down to: all sorts of frames and components fail under all sorts of people, carbon does fail, it is not invincible and aluminium is simply cheaper to replace. It is a tricky business with not having warranty on such expensive product.
  • 1 0
 Cheap is a word used relatively to an individuals income. In comparison to carbon, inexpensive. But to replace a $2000 frame is still on the expensive side @WAKIdesigns
  • 1 0
 somismtb - there's nothing to disagree with here so let's take it deeper hahaha Big Grin Income is not directly related to how much people spend on bikes. I know people who have 10k level bikes and I know that all in all they cannot afford them. They simply spend all the money they have left on bikes. If they had family and mortgage, or any form of savings plan, they wouldn't be riding even a 3k bike. Then I rode with a really loaded guy lately he always buys second hand bikes (and he does it once every 4 years, I told him to invest in wide bars, dropper post and "modern rubber" as he has none of it yet). He told me that he sees no point in overpaying while there are so many attractive offers on classifieds.

Frames are not the best example as they are not that much more expensive than aluminium ones, in most cases 20-30% maybe. But there is some stuff in MTB that is really like changing your toilet seat to a gold one - Ti screws, Carbon bars, stems, saddles, brake levers. That isn't even law of diminishing returns, that is next to no returns. Then if we take carbon rims then sht really flies out of the window. They are stiffer, and their fail rate is maybe 20% smaller than of adequate alu rims, same with weight, which currently is nearly identical for wide alu and carbon rims. At the same time price wise even the most expensive alu rims cost half of cheapest carbon rims.
  • 1 0
 But @WAKIdesigns how would all the companies stay in business???? I believe you mean INCREASING returns! Wink Seriously, we're better off losing 5kg. I'm not rich but I'm also not poor. I just let someone else buy the bike new and wait until they have to have the newest and greatest. I call that minimal returns/minimal loss. As we all know there's very little return in the bike world.

Let's face it though...it ain't cheap being a mountain biker!
  • 5 1
 I've switched to Carbon shoes for my clips and still can't pedal up hills with the weight reduction. What gives?
  • 2 0
 Thanks @MikeKazimer.
The first thing I did was try another set of pedals as my current one exploded on impact. There is a slight twist/bend in the crank, but not so much that can't wait until I'm feeling flush.
  • 1 0
 I have lots of experience with equipment made from carbon fiber from my other passion, windsurfing. I've also done a few repairs on equipment using various grades of carbon fabric and epoxy resin. The way the material is applied is at least as important as the material's properties themselves. Is it being vac-bagged to ensure an optimum fiber to resin ratio? Is it hand layed and left to cure? Post cured? How o I know which manufacturer uses what method? What if there are bubbles between layers? Will this possibly lead to delamination?

The advantages of the material are the stifness to weight ratio, the ability to tune how much and in which direction it flexes, and the way it responds to bending loads (it flexes right back to it's original shape). Another plus is that it can be repaired back to almost 100% depending on nature of damage and whether the repair guy knows what he's doing.

The major drawback is that it doesn't like being hit by hard, sharp objects (like rocks). So, because I ride in a rocky area, I crash and I'm not made of money, I tend to favour aluminum for mtb applications (I wouldn't mind steel or Ti). The top tube of my alu hardtail has a bump the size of a coin on the side due to a crash in a rock garden and it's going strong two years later.
  • 1 0
 kind of too stupid question PB is answering if can use clipless shoes in flat pedals. any idiot can see that you can use but is not ideal. I have a friend that uses shimando dx shoes in flat pedals and he is on the ground all the time. dont have the same grip like if he was on a descent flat edal shoes...
  • 1 0
 I've been running Schwalbe Hans Dampf and Rock Razor super gravity tires for a while and absolutely love the fact that i can run much lower air pressures than i can with normal single ply tires
  • 3 0
 After having carbon saddle rails snap on me I'm still unsure
  • 4 1
 You lost me at 27.5
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the great response to my question! unfortunately i hesitated and the bike was sold. Still searching PB
  • 1 0
 If Im running a Hollowtech bb, does it limit my crank choice?
  • 1 0
 Shimano and RaceFace (non Cinch) are your best bet with Hollowtech bb
  • 1 0
 Yes, but you can replace a BB pretty easily... (the bearings aren't going to last forever)
  • 1 0
 Im running race face evolve atm, Press fit bb I think. ( Not Hollowtech).
  • 1 0
 My Carbon Kona Operator came with Shimano pressfit BB and 83mm Zee cranks, I was able to just swap the cranks for RF Atlas without touching the BB. They are interchangeable as long as you keep the same crank spindle size. If you want to go SRAM, you have to press in new BB cups.
  • 2 0
 F SRAM. Cheers lads. Thinking of changing to Zee tis all.
  • 2 1
 Go steel and have a frame that lasts a lifetime Smile
  • 1 0
 Clip in or clipless for DH/Freeride riding?
  • 3 0
 Clip in and Clipless are the same thing.... Do you mean clip in or flats?
  • 1 0
 Yah sorry I always get confused... I ride flats whats your preference?
  • 2 0
 Flats!
  • 1 0
 Do you know if there is any advantage to having clipless? Even if there was I wouldn't go for it. Haha flats for life!
  • 1 0
 @mailessej I rode clips downhill for two seasons, but am back to flats now. Clips give you a wee bit more pedal power and better ability to hop the back wheel over obstacles - especially when you don't have time to preload the whole bike into a bunnyhop. They also mean your feet are anchored in place during rocky sections etc so you can get your weight a bit more forwards without feet slipping off pedals. I still prefer flats though and to be honest the difference is nothing - look at Sam Hill's times on the WC. I'd say in a 5 minute race I'd be exactly the same time with either.
  • 1 1
 Wow, so much wrong with pinkbike's physics! Everything they say about carbon is flat-out wrong.
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