|The 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|
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.
| 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
|Before 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|
|The 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|
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