Ask Pinkbike: Shock Adjustments, Upgrading a Drivetrain, and DH Helmet Options

Jan 12, 2016
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.






Shockingly Easy Shock Upgrade

Question: Pinkbike user ashleyacw asked this question in the Mechanics' Lounge forum: I have a Fox Float shock, and I keep bottoming it out. I was wondering if there was an upgrade that I can do to stop this besides pumping more air into the shock.

bigquotesIt doesn't matter how much you spend on a new shock, it still won't work right if it isn't set up properly, which sounds like your only issue. The very first thing to do is to make sure your spring rate is in the right ballpark by measuring the sag when you're on the bike. In short, when you're on the bike and wearing all of your gear, the shock should settle into somewhere between 20 and 35 percent (depending on your bike and how you want it to behave) of its stroke. Find out what your bike's manufacturer recommends, and use the O-ring on the Fox shock's stanchion to see how much sag you have, adding or removing air pressure until it's correct.

It is okay for your shock to bottom now and then, especially from a hard impact. It's made to do this. But, if your shock is constantly bottoming, and you're running the correct amount of sag, then you'll need to add a volume spacer to the Float's air spring. This is an extremely simple and common modification that many people have to do, and it doesn't mean that your shock is bad, but only that you need to set it up for how you ride. The spacers, which are plastic and slotted to fit over the damper rod in the air chamber, simply reduce the air volume of the spring, which in turn makes the shock ramp up much quicker through its stroke. Spacer sizes are 0.2, 0.4 and 0.6 cubic inches, and installation can be done with a shock pump and a small screwdriver in about five minutes. Here's how to install a volume spacer in a Fox shock.
- Mike Levy

Easing the air can back up the shock body
Installing a Fox volume spacer is quick and easy to do.
Slide spacer into can head
The spacers slide over the rod and up into the air can's head.






1x11 or 1x10?

Question: Skrubway asks in the Mechanic's Lounge: I'm looking to upgrade to a one-by-something and I am having a hard time deciding. On one side, I could go 1x11, but my hub is a Shimano and cannot use the SRAM XD cassette. I can buy a Shimano cassette, but that will cost me about 500 bucks. On the other side, I could go 1x10 and just get a new chainring and cranks. Possibly a new rear derailleur as well (one with a clutch) and that would only run me about $250. What are the main differences between 1x11 and 1x10? Do I really need 1x11 just for one extra gear? I'm mostly a training rider, however, there are some pretty steep climbs at my local trails.

bigquotesConsidering that your request was decidedly price conscious, your best bet is to assemble a one-by-ten drivetrain using a wide-range booster cassette kit from the likes of OneUp or Wolf Tooth. Pinkbike has posted a number of technical pieces on this simple conversion, so I'll skip those details. You will be able to use your standard Shimano Shadow non-clutch rear derailleur paired with a top-guide. Narrow-wide chainrings are readily available from a number of sources in the most popular bolt-circle diameters (yours is probably 104mm), so you won't have to purchase a new crankset either.

The main question here is what advantage SRAM's 10 x 42 eleven-speed cassette has over using a boosted Shimano-style 11 x 42 ten-speed cassette? The bottom line is that there is a substantial difference. SRAM's eleven-speed cassette shifts better than a ten-speed conversion and offers a more natural spread between each shift. It feels just right almost all of the time and at present, SRAM's 10 x 42 eleven-speed drivetrain is the best performing option for one-by users.

Converting a Shimano-compatible ten-speed cassette to an 11 by 42, (or an 11 x 45) is the next best thing - and a far less expensive option, which only requires two cogs, a narrow-wide chainring and possibly, a top-guide to manage the chain in lieu of a clutch-type rear mech. The downsides are that a wide-range one-by-ten won't shift as well, and while the spacing between gears is pretty good, it rarely feels just right. That said, I've ridden a lot of trouble free miles on one-by-ten drivetrains with wide-range conversions and I'd recommend one for any rider on a budget. - RC


Truvativ GX-P
SRAM's new GX one-by-eleven drivetrain is its most affordable one-by-eleven drivetrain to date. Could a ten speed wide-range conversion approach its performance and range?
Wolf Tooth Components GC 42 cog 2015
Wolf Tooth's ten-speed kit includes a 42 and a 16-tooth cog.






Helmet Choices

Question: Pinkbike user mayjamest asked this question in the Downhill Forum: Hey guys, I am doing more freeride/downhill riding now and am looking for an appropriate DH helmet. The problem I am having is finding one with good weight and durability, at an alright price. My question is this: Do downhill helmets follow the same rule of thumb of being replaced after you hit your head on the ground? Also, is there a significant point in getting something like a Kali Avatar II or Bell Full 9 if you aren't doing something competitive? I can justify spending $400 on a helmet like those if it comes down to safety. I see other full face helmets for $100 - $200 dollars and wonder if they aren't as safe? Anyways, all help on tips for buying a proper DH helmet and what to stay away from?


bigquotesNearly all helmet manufacturers recommend replacement after a large impact, even if it's simply dropped onto a hard surface. The only helmets I know that are certified against multiple impacts are from Swedish brand POC. The current Cortex model comes in at $249 USD for the standard fibreglass shelled version, and there is a MIPS equipped version that uses a carbon fiber and aramid polycarbonate (think bulletproof vest material) dual layer shell for a hefty $499. POC also released the new 2016 Coron helmet that we spotted back at Eurobike, the non-MIPS version will cost $450 USD. That's a lot of money for a helmet, but if it can repeatedly take the hits this means better value in the long term than a one-hit wonder. The Troy Lee D3 uses a 'Dual Density Shock Pad' system where the outer layer of foam can withstand multiple light impacts, but a large impact will mean the end of its lifespan. Most brands offer some kind of crash replacement guarantee, so if you smash your lid they will replace it for a reasonable price, this is something that you can factor in to the initial outlay.

If you want to invest in extra safety there are a number of new technologies to consider that have appeared in the last few years that help to reduce rotational impacts and concur with higher prices. Many helmets use the MIPS system which helps to reduce rotational forces during a crash which is one of the biggest factors for injury. Leatt's new GPX helmet uses 'Armourgel Turbines' that help to dissipate forces in a similar way. Other brands like Kali Protectives take a different approach and say that a reduction in mass is the best way to reduce these forces, their 'Composite Fusion' technology uses dual density foam pyramids which allows construction of a smaller, lighter helmet but still offers the same impact protection as other helmets in its class.

Like many mountain bike products, spending more money generally means higher quality materials, lighter weight and sometimes better styling. With helmets and protection an extra large investment can pay dividends in the future - buy the best you can afford and try and keep 'er upright... - Paul Aston


Randoms
The new Coron helmet from POC Coron is certified to withstand multiple impacts.



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


176 Comments

  • + 136
 It's great how pink bike goes in depth in these technology issues and they are very helpful, but I personally am more interested in the unanswered age old question at the beginning of the article. Can I or can I not have stickers?
  • + 121
 Yes, you can have stickers. All you need to do is send a self addressed and stamped envelope to:
Pinkbike.com
PO Box 610
Squamish, BC, V8B 0A5
  • + 74
 brace yourself, stickers request are coming
  • + 23
 @mikekazimer will personally mail them himself
  • + 26
 SWEET!!!!!!!!!! I am hoping Mike can slap on some lipstick and seal it with a kiss for me!!!
  • + 5
 not only can ben ride a bike, he can ask some really good questions as well. nice work buddy. PB, it's gonna be a torrent. what was that address again?
  • + 2
 I eat stickers all the time, dude!
  • + 3
 You guys do pinkbike decals?
  • + 5
 Dot rated helmets, small gears and avalanche suspension = balls.
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer Do you do that internationally?
  • + 5
 How about a job? Very mechanically inclined and will work for table scraps, beers, and lodging.
  • + 3
 @KonaChina it's a prepaid envelope, doesn't matter to them....
  • + 2
 @robaussie99 Ah yes, you're right. Thought it might be impossible because it's not easy for me to buy Canadian stamps in China and post it to them anyway.
  • + 4
 Hello,there exist thing called coupon réponse international which you buy at your post office.The receiver can exchange it for the stamps in his country and send you back the stickers so you don't have to chase for Canadian stamps.
  • + 1
 Wow, glad to know there's such a way to solve this problem. Thanks mate!
  • + 2
 You are welcome! just pay attention when you buy this coupon,the post officer has to put a rubber stamp mark on it,otherwise it is not valid.
  • + 4
 Made my own pinkbike decal since I never got any answers about it. I think it'd be a hit if you guys did such a thing!
www.pinkbike.com/photo/12778592
  • + 1
 @KonaChina

They'll send them anywhere because you are supplying the pre-paid return envelope.
  • + 1
 @fr3er1d3r we have some diecut decals
  • + 41
 Just get some duct tape and your helmet will be fine
  • + 125
 Also I found not paying for health insurance can save a lot of money that could be used for bike parts
  • + 13
 @ibishreddin looking at the helmet prices above it might actually be cheaper to get a good health insurance instead of a helmet
  • + 21
 @ibishreddin or just move to a country where health insurance is not a thing you have to pay for at all Razz
  • + 4
 @haxxx What country would that be?
  • + 6
 Just get some duct tape and your head will be fine.
  • + 3
 @Pedro404 Canada would be one of them. Pretty sure a lot of European countries do it too
  • + 1
 Yeah the UK is free ???? Pretty handy!
  • + 4
 It's not free (national insurance) but but it's bloody cheap for what we get..
  • + 0
 @Pedro404 e.g. Germany Big Grin
  • + 2
 Australia has free national health care similar to the UK and Canada (paid for by a levy on income tax).
  • + 3
 Well, technically it's not free, but rather tax financed. Either way it's a good thing Smile
  • + 5
 @haxxx Not really, from Wikipedia on German health care: "All wage workers pay a health-insurance contribution based on their salary if they are enrolled in the public subsystem". It's the same in Czech Republic (and UK and Canada and a bunch of other places), but it's not actually free, the money still comes from citizens. It's a better system than in US, I'm not arguing that, but saying it's "free" is misleading.
  • + 1
 Yes technically it isn't free! You're correct, but even if you didn't pay tax, they won't (unfortunately) refuse you treatment either!
  • + 9
 Still cant get my head around the fact that if you break a leg in the UK, you pay £50 for crutches, whereas in the usa for the same injury, you would probably have to sell your house to cover costs. 'Murica Smile
  • + 5
 since when did you have to pay for the crutches? I didn't have too
  • + 2
 I was supposed to and just forgot, but handed them back once finished... same effect!
  • + 1
 I remember hearing a couple years ago that if you break your arm without insurance the average American charge is $14K!
  • + 1
 @doe222 if you have health insurance, like the vast majority of working americans, you need not pay much at all. I enjoy having an HSA and a low deductible plan, so when I retire I can withdraw from that HSA like a retirement account. Quite nice that I have the option to do with that money as I wish.
  • + 1
 *sorry, HIGH deductibe plan.
  • + 1
 A Sram 9 sp quick link works perfectly on a Shimano 10 sp chain. 3 years of heavy use. No problem.
  • + 35
 XT M8000 shifter, derailleur, cassette, and chain is only $230, and will work with traditional hub drivers. A $100 42t ten speed adapter will have some shifting compromises; with native XT 11 speed there will be none.
  • + 3
 I just did exactly this and it works great.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez $230? Where?
  • + 10
 (ALL AMERICAN $)

$52 shifter www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/shimano-xt-m8000-11-speed-trigger-shifter/rp-prod135894

$90 cassette www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/shimano-xt-m8000-11-speed-cassette/rp-prod135828

$80 derailleur www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/shimano-xt-m8000-shadow-11-speed-rear-mech/rp-prod135893

then I would prob go with a sram chain, unless shimano finally makes chains with a master link in them; i have no idea I haven't bought a shimano chain in years
  • + 1
 Maybe more like $250. Thats about what it would cost if you add it all up on Jenson right now.
  • + 4
 chain reaction has $15 off when you spend $125 or more, plus free shipping.
  • + 7
 Wow, it's so much cheaper than I though. Damn. Forget SRAM hahaha Full XT shifting kills Sram X9, it's shocking.
  • + 3
 add front chainring?
  • - 4
flag ictus (Jan 12, 2016 at 13:53) (Below Threshold)
 You Can use a sram link with shimano chains. And as far as I know you don't need a 11speed derailleur to upgrade... just the cassette and shifter
  • + 2
 Yeah, not sure why he said extended cogs are the best way to go. I understand it's the most affordable but the best alternative?
  • + 2
 @hamncheez you can use Wipperman links with any chain (as long as you buy the right speed of course, though I've ridden 9sp ones on 10sp for months before remembering to replace it... fits a bit loose but works fine in practice.)

To hell with links that need tools to use.

www.amazon.com/Wipperman-Connex-Connector-10-Speed-Chain/dp/B0028WT392
  • + 1
 @shutter2ride I was comparing a $230 XT vs ~$100 adapter, ceteris paribus
  • - 1
 You don't need an 11 speed derailleur for shimano's 11 speed cassette since it is the same width as a 10 speed cassette. All you need are the 11 speed shifters. However, if your current RD is crap, you might want to get a new one so the shifts are nice and crisp.
  • + 15
 I don't understand why everyone is excited with GX when you can get XT for virtually the same money. With the bonus of not needing an XD hub or having to deal with SRAM shifting.
  • + 3
 wait hold on, you guys are telling me if I wanted to take my Radr Caged saint derailleur and add a xt or xtr shifter and cassette, i could have an 11 speed with a tough as nails derailleur.
  • + 7
 kmc makes shimano links, and they're awesome
  • + 1
 @Maverick18T Most of the current 10 speed derailleurs have the same or very similar activation ratios (the distance moved per mm of cable pull) as the 11 speed systems. As long as the derailleur can clear the biggest cog you are good to go with only 11 speed shifters and cassette. I have heard of people adding a longer b-adjust screws to help clear the largest cog if needed. Not sure if the saint derailleur will work, but it would be interesting to know.
  • + 1
 y'know, I've heard of people using the m8000 with 10 speed cassettes (w/ 42t extender). It seems to make sense you could go the opposite direction. will have to do more investigation. Would I need the 11 spd chain as well? The spacing is thinner right?
  • + 5
 @jojotherider1977 Yeah. To go to 11 speed you MUST have an 11 speed cassette, chain and shifters. This is because the spacing between cogs is narrower so you need a thinner chain and shifters that pull less cable per click. Some people have gotten away with reusing their 10 speed derailleurs, but they aren't guaranteed to work.
  • + 1
 The 10 speed derailleur probably flexes into the gears which seems a hack way of doing this. I'm getting XT cassette 11-42 + GX shifter and der + KMC chain for 243 shipped from Chainreactioncycles... not too bad...

www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/sram-gx-11-speed-rear-trigger-shifter/rp-prod135895
www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/sram-gx-1x11-speed-rear-mech/rp-prod135897
www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/shimano-xt-m8000-11-speed-cassette/rp-prod135828
www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/kmc-x11-93-11-speed-chain/rp-prod132779
  • + 2
 I'm running the GXT setup (GX shifter+mech with the XT 11-42 cassette). Doesn't have the range of the sram cassette, but works well for me, shifts fine.
  • + 2
 Many people are running a 10 spd rear Der. (shimano) with an XTR 11spd cassette, shifter, and chain with great success. Little cheaper option if you already have some xtr 10spd stuff laying around
  • + 4
 Also, no love for the praxis 10 speed wide range cassette??? Less weight than an XTR 11spd cassette and you can use with your current 10 spd stuff. @130 bucks it's just a hair more than one of the single big cogs! @Mikelevy wrote about it a few months ago www.pinkbike.com/news/praxis-wide-range-10spd-cassette-review.html
  • + 1
 If you run a ten speed rear mech on an 11 speed XT cassette, it probably will shift ok, but like @camcoz69 said it flexes and fudges into the right gear. It will wear out the teeth on your new cassette much faster. It only took one season of riding for me to ruin the teeth on a 42t adapter I put on my 1x10 setup; that aluminum cog is a ton softer than steel.

I was also considering matching GX shifting onto an XT cassette, and I prefer the ergonomics of the sram triggers, but I like the idea of the Shimano Shadow design where the derailleur hang out a lot less; it looks like it has a much lower chance of getting banged up by stuff. Does anyone have experience with this? I've haven't ridden shimano shifting since 2008
  • + 2
 sram x9t2 + used shifter $70
new kmc chain $20
gear king (ebay) oval narrow wide and cassette expander : $70
used shimano cassette

$160 and nailed it
  • + 8
 No question XT M8000 is the end of the discussion for the cheapest way to get into 1x11. It's so cheap it's basically pointless to try expanding 1x10 unless you already have 2x10. Between Merlin and CRC you can do an M8000 setup with N/W for about $260 shipped. That's incredible, and how 1x11 should have been from the start. The whole point of going to a 1x is to cut complexity and save money. Why should LESS PARTS cost MORE?
  • + 5
 @hamncheez I'm old enough to remember why we all flocked to SRAM in the first place, but going Shimano shifting is the way to go, if possible these days, especially with 10sp or higher, as SRAM is missing one key feature(I suppose there's a patent keeping them from implementing it or some such.) That feature is multi-release, which lets you upshift two gears with one lever press. when you don't have that large gear jump that a front deraileur provides when riding rapidly changing terrain, being able to get through rear gears faster is important, & Shimano has a big step up on SRAM in this case.
  • + 1
 Question for everyone on the thread here running the 1x11 setups. Has anyone else run into the dropped chain issue when when backpedaling in the really large cogs? Like I said above, I went to the new XT 1x11 setup and I just can't stop it from happening no matter how far I inboard my front ring. From what I can gather from the internet its a very common issue on 1x11's and its just a side effect of such a wide ranging cassette. Its not really a big deal as its really only an issue when the bike is on the stand. Just curious of anyone else's experience.
  • + 1
 I have not been able to verify this as I have not been able to get myself in a position where I would be able to, much less need to, backpedal in the largest cog. I guess I could prop myself up by the tailgate of my truck in the parking lot and backpedal just for verification, but I know that when i'm in my biggest rear cog, every bit of force I can muster is being applied to the pedals in effort to keep them moving. I can't figure out a scenario where I would ever backpedal in that gear.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven - Yea same here. I have not had the problem arise at any point while riding the bike and I doubt it ever will. Like I said its only an issue when the bike is on the workstand. I'm asking more just as a general question since this was my first 1x11 that I've set up. I just want to make sure this is normal and not a side effect of something being set up incorrectly.
  • + 1
 You can get a 11-42 ten speed cassette for $100 USD. Why should you adapt a large cog to a ten speed cassette for the same price?
  • - 1
 Xt m8000 is also heavy as crap. Over 100 grams heavier in just the cassette over a praxis 10spd. Also a 10spd der will only work with 11spd cassette with the right shifter and I wouldnt do it over 40t.
  • + 21
 if money is a deciding factor, think about going 1x10 and leave the granny front ring on your crank - yes you have to stop to shift but it's a FREE 'get out of jail card' and stopping is awful so you will be encouraged to muscle up.
you'll get more range than adding a extra large aftermarket cassette ring. you also don't have to buy any new parts either, which is not the point is it ;P
  • + 5
 JungleT, I'm not sure what you mean; Stop to shift?
  • + 15
 manually put chain in granny, and I like this idea
  • + 13
 @skinnyjeans, Why not just use a front mech and keep rolling along? I haven't "shifted" to 1x10/11 yet ( I'm old school ),
A properly adjusted front derailleur will never fail you.

otherwise your just doing this ; www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjhcXZGp0YE
  • + 3
 ACC was running this way on her enduro bike, but you do need something to retain the chain if you take off the FD: a shift ring, with no FD or clutch RD, is going to drop the chain like crazy(even had it happen with a chainguide.)

So you do need to buy something, a narrow-wide ring(just the clutch RD might work, but I've never tested that configuration.) but yea, leave that granny on there, at least until you can save up for a range expander, & maybe even then. 24g is awfully light for some insurance.
  • + 9
 @enduroelite, Although I have made the switch to 1x10, as a mechanic I couldn't agree with you more. A properly adjusted front derailleur will never fail you, a few of my buddies still run 2x10's and I can honestly say they've never dropped a chain while riding with me but than again I do maintain their drive-trains.
  • + 1
 I still rock 2x9 with grip shift. was thinking wife`s bike for simplicity. as she is 2x10 now.
  • + 1
 Good suggestion. I am eyeing up a GT Sanction but they don't support a front derailleur - but I still want a 2x to get up the hills.
  • + 1
 I think the problem with the properly adjusted FD is that it needs to be constantly adjusted to keep it proper. I used to do the 1+1x10 that JungleT is talking about. Then I rode an xc bike with a FD and remember trying to figure out why I ditched the FD. halfway into the ride I could hear the chain rubbing the FD. I've never been on a bike where the FD didn't need to be adjusted on a regular basis. Even after taking it to a shop to be adjusted.

I'm not against them, but thats my experience.
  • + 1
 @jojotherider1977, maybe your not adjusting your front mech properly, this is a set it and forget it component.
I have noticed however that many people route the cable on Shimano front derailleurs wrong, drives me crazy! That could account for the many people who find front derailleurs to be "inefficient" and hard to shift with. But when you try to " show " someone how to do something they usually get offended as though your talking down to them, weird. All this to say there is still much to learn about what we already know about.
  • + 19
 I love my downhill helmet. It just fits a bit loose...

stylemens.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/03/22/dark_helmet_angry.jpg
  • + 7
 i respect RC's opinions as much as the next guy...buuuuuuut...i have 4 bikes in the stable. 2 are 1x10 shimano wolf tooth hacks, one is straight up X1 1x11, and one is shimano 1x11 with an X1 cassette. the 1x10 bikes shift just as fast as the rest of them, and frankly, i barely notice any difference. FWIW
  • + 7
 For the Helmets; What about the Giro Cypher? is it too "budget brand" for most riding?
  • + 5
 The Cipher is a great option for DH riding of any kind. www.pinkbike.com/news/giro-cipher-full-face-helmet-review-2014.html
  • + 6
 I have a 2014 cipher and love it!! It fits so well and is the comfiest helmet ive ever owned!!
  • + 4
 That's a very solid helmet. I have a Remedy, which was the predecessor model to the Cipher and its been great.
  • + 3
 The Cipher is ASTM DH certified, meaning it's safer than helmets that only have the CE1078 certification. ASTM DH is a DH specific safety rating, while CE1078 is a general purpose bicycle safety rating. I found the Cipher to be too heavy and hot, but it may suit you. It's a very sturdy lid.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer What open face helmet would you recommend? I have just had a rather big crash resulting in smashing my head hard. I usually wear a Troy Lee A1 which was very comfortable. Any other recommendations? cheers
  • + 1
 My favorite open face helmet is my old D2 with cut out chin piece.
  • + 4
 I'll second the Cypher being super comfortable. The styling is pretty on point as well.
  • + 2
 @ArchieDH, it comes down to what fits your head the best, but the Troy Lee A1 is one of my favorites, as is the Specialized Ambush. Giro's new Montaro MIPS is also worth a look.
  • + 1
 Mike, check out the 6D helmets, kinda spendy but read up on concussions and you decide. The boys got them! ! !
  • + 4
 I have the Giro cipher, remedy and remedy carbon, and a bell full 9 carbon. Carbon definitely a lot lighter. The cipher is the heaviest and hottest of them all but not significantly. I love them all! I think cipher is best bang for the buck, check Amazon.
  • + 2
 TIP - look online for a previous year's model and save big bucks on helmets. Most of the time they're just changing the colours/graphics.

I have a Fox Rampage carbon that I bought on Jenson - the 2015 is $450 and the the 2014 model is $240. Super-comfy on my giant noggin
  • + 8
 What about Praxis or Sun Race wide range 10 speed cassettes?
  • + 3
 Yeah, shame on @RC for not mentioning these. www.praxiscycles.com/product/cassette

@Skrubway $150 for the cassette and a new chain for; $50 NarrowWide up front and you're done. Maybe throw in a newer deore rear mech with a clutch for $50 and whammo: Brand new 1x10 with a wide range and shifting as good as Sram x-9 all for about $250.
  • + 2
 The Sunrace is a fair bit less expensive than Praxis, and has been working out well for me for the past 3 months or so. Not widely available, though - tend to be out of stock/backordered.
  • + 7
 or $230 for cassette, chain, shifter, and derailleur XT M8000 eleven speed. Just sayin.
  • + 2
 Right? Did PB not name the Praxis one of the most innovative products of the year, only last week? Then they recommend a booster cog...
  • + 1
 @gkeele totally weird. A praxxis is a no brainer. I've done the wolftooth option, and the only way I had decent shifting was to use the 13T lockring so the rest of the spread was just the regular cassette. Worked well, but it lacked the range.
  • + 1
 $60 shipping from hong kong to the us.... not sure i trust that...
  • + 4
 Why no recommendations for the SunRace 11-40 & 11-42 10 speed cassettes? Retail at the shop is $80-120 depending on model. I picked up an 11-40 and it shifts killer with my SLX GS derailleur, Zee shifter and KMC chain. 11-42 would likely require a long cage, but it's far less messing around. I look forward to one day seeing a review of 'em at some point.
  • + 2
 11-42 with mid-cage and a Wolf Tooth Goat Link works great, or at least it's working great so far. We'll see what happens when I bash it with a rock sooner or later. Cassette + Link came to £80 ($115).
  • + 3
 There would seem to be three strategies for buying a DH helmet:

1) Buy an expensive one and hope it can survive multiple impacts

2) Buy whatever is marked down to a reasonable price (usually the ones with purple graphics or the like) and repeat as needed after a crash

3) Invest in a riding course and practice to reduce your dismount frequency

I personally favor a combination of strategies 2 and 3. Works also for derailleurs.
  • + 3
 $24 for plastic volume spacers???? And why 3 spacers when I only need one???
They could already put the larger spacer in the shock and if you think your shock is too harsh just use less pressure.
Im gonna design my own spacer based on the original fox spacer dimensions and send the project to a 3D printer. That way I'll stop bottoming it out and it will cost me a fraction of the value.
  • + 2
 Or just got to the hardware store and find an appropriate size plastic washer for plumbing and cut a slot out of it with a steak knife... cost $2.
  • + 1
 or just put a gob of grease in the chamber!
  • + 1
 thick cable tie is what you need, applicable to rockshox bands as well.
  • + 1
 I dunno, 25$ seems reasonable for a tuning tool you know will work, in useful gradients, that doesn't require 30 minutes wandering around Lowes. I only ran one of those spacers, but i tried all 3 when i was running fox.
  • - 2
 Actually a simpler solution is dropping in rubber ball bearings. they won't hurt the air can/shaft walls at all, come in different sizes, and you can super-tune the volume that way. Check the plumbing section, they're usually sold in multi-packs.
  • + 1
 Cane Creek sells the volume spacer kit for the DB's for like $10 and as everyone has pointed out, you can stuff basically anything in the can and it will take up some volume.
  • + 2
 @rideonjon the grease could move around and get in the negative air chamber, or interfere with the negative chamber port equalizer.
  • + 2
 my bike shop recommended i add motor oil to the chamber, with the schrader out and the shock bottomed out to make sure it didnt get overfilled

I opened up my shock and low and behold, I already have the largest spacer in there, so i put 20 extra psi in there, run 15-20%sag, works well, low speed damping just suffers.

with the corset and the devol air cans, I believe the idea is the additional volume for the negative air spring helps smooth out the initial lack of plushness
  • + 1
 I change my spacers depending on the ride; Park gets no spacer, XC gets a big spacer. It literally takes less time to install them than it takes to pump up a tire from flat. This is the best trail side suspension tuning device I've ever used.
  • + 1
 @enduroelite "Park gets no spacer, XC gets a big spacer."

That sounds backwards...
  • + 1
 @scottzg No spacer give you a more linear ramp up, so when you hit big stuff it feels the same through most of the travel.
Big spacer gives you more progressive ramp up, making pedaling more efficient and "stiffer". I picked up a set a couple of seasons ago, it's changed my world.
  • + 2
 I dont know about you, but I need progressive springrate at the park or else I am going to blow through all the travel on multiple features
  • + 1
 I'll try that (next season), But I also speed up the rebound 1 notch, it will come back a tad quicker without throwing you over the bars, and you'll need it to prevent "packing" But I will try the opposite!
  • + 1
 the solution to all of this is obviously to ride a rigid single speed.
  • + 2
 I've just got my spacer. Fits well and it does make a difference.
If anyone want the file with the 3D model just let me know and I'll send you. You just have to find a 3D printer (you can find it on 3DHubs) and send the file to the guy.
Cheap and useful
  • + 2
 You can go 1x11 with shimano xt (minus crankset) for around $215 on ebay. I test rode it at an ibis demo and it worked beautifully. By the time you buy a new front chainring, fuss with your rear derailleur to clear a large 42 or 45 cog, and likely get less than ideal performance - xt 1x11 starts looking better all the time. I plan on upgrading to XT from my 1x10 later this spring. It is even a great deal cheaper than Sram's GX series and it is compatible with current10sp freehubs.
  • + 6
 1x10 with Zee mech, XT shifter and cassette with a blackspire 42t ~ £200
  • + 1
 Was wondering how well the Zee derailleur handles larger cogs - no problems up in the 42t range?
  • + 0
 I bolted the one up rad cage on my zee. Goes for years through proper gloop. Added a 16t cog and a 40t. Excellent shifting for about half the price of my mate's 11 speed. Oh, and don't forget the added costs for replacements.
  • + 1
 Zee is awesome. Short cage, cheap and handles 42t without any problems. Make sure you get the wide range one though.
  • - 1
 I used a standard Zee and it works fine with 42t. I ended up ditching my 11t cog just to keep the cassette profile smooth.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty. I have a short cage Zee now (11-36 cassette); are you sure it'll handle 42t?? I thought I needed a medium cage derailleur.
  • + 1
 Zee only comes in short cage, & most of the expander cassette makers suggest you go no larger than 40t with it(in fact, at least one of them started making 40t models specifically to support short cage stuff like Zee.)

But just buy a RADr cage, & you can go 42t, no problem, with better shifting & durability than the stock cage.
  • + 1
 There are few detailed threads on Google about using a Zee or Saint derailleur with a 42t. Apparently it does work. I guess also it can depend on what type of bike you have, hardtail or full suss as to how well it will work. But I believe an SLX derailleur or upwards with a medium cage works better or buy a radr cage or a Garbaruk cage for your Zee or Saint. Don't forget you'll need a longer chain regardeless of which derailleur or cage you use.
  • + 1
 Im on a hardtail so no chain growth and it's all good.
  • - 1
 Zee is a short cage SLX. Parallelograms are identical. I do recommend going for medium cage with wide range sprockets. All in all 11sp XT and expander combos for 10sp come at similar prices. I must say though that while personcally I find shifting quality of Shimano better, the finish of their products is worse than SRAM. Engaging clutch on XTR mech leaves me worried about breaking the lever.
  • + 1
 The zee derailleur comes in a wide and regular version too just incase anyone didn't know. A DH and wide ratio version. DH is stamped on the hanger part, for DH cogs, and the regular one for the wider ratio cogs.
  • + 3
 Tried the non dh zee derailleur with a 42t ext cog on my Canfield The One and wouldn't work. Of course the 9t hub they used to sell was probably the issue as much as the 8" of travel
  • + 1
 Heres my 2 pence worth... each bike is going to be different. The location of the mech to the rear axle is critical. You are going to need to buy the mech and try it. Its also worth noting that you shouldn't be bottoming out in the 42t cog so if the mech doesnt quite stretch its probably not the end of the world.
  • + 2
 I agree @Fartymarty, but going for medium cage is a safe bet. Chance for short cage to work any good with 42t on 140+ bike is quite little and it may not work at all. So before someone spends 100-150$ on expanders or praxis cassette he may need to consider that he might be forced to change his short cage mech for a longer one. OneUp Radr cage costs the same as SLX medium cage rear mech, and original Shimano cages are not always easy to find while they still cost 30-40$. Quite honestly dropping in "hand-operated* granny is a quite good idea, which I would personally use if I wouldn't get a set of 11sp shifter/mech combo for Christmas. I want a slightly bigger range since I am upping the wheel size and going for a heavier casing on the rear.
  • + 1
 A medium cage is the safe bet. But short cage is preferable. Chain length is the key thing. Im running a 36t with a zee on my 200mm travel frame with no issues. Pivot is on centre line of a 38t front ring. One day i may try the 42t...
  • + 1
 I may just buy the 11-40t sunrace cassette and try it out on my 140mm travel bike.
  • + 2
 I've run the 40t expanders with a short cage mech in several configurations, including a 150mm biike. 40t shouldn't cause problems for any* bike.


*I'm sure there's some bike with insane chain growth like a redalp that doesn't work, but it should really be troublefree for 99% of people.
  • + 1
 @groghunter. Awesome, thanks for the info.
  • + 1
 I rode a Banshee Spitfire with short cage SRAM and either 40 or 42t (dunno wasn't my bike, don't even know what cassette it was) and shifting was crap. It was taking evidently more time for the chain to go up the last gear and it wasn't always going up without forcing it with thumb. I checked, the wire tension and limits setup was right. At least where I live, you jump between top 3 gears very often, but if you shift once per few minutes then I assume it's not an issue. Then my short cage X9 and Zee barely copes with 32t front and 36t rear. Zero link of tolerance, only one good chain length for the cage to not touch the cassette on 11t and not stretching too much on 36t. I did run into problems with chain retention on long cage though, I was losing chain on N/W chainring with such setup.
  • + 1
 I tried for a short time to run a short cage on a TB LTc(135mm), but it just wasn't worth it. The medium was better overall since it still had a bit of capacity left at both ends of the cassette and provided better tension. The short cage would barely be tensioning the chain in the 11t, and was at risk of completely bottoming out and breaking something when in the 42. Not much chance of that happening as I hope your not bottoming out your suspension when in your 42t, but it just plain worked better and is much safer and better practice with the medium cage.
On the point of this thread though, 1x10 vs 1x11, I've been running a 11-42 1x10 with a saint derailleur and Radr cage and its been perfect. Do not want to give up the direct mount saint derailleur, but plan on maybe switching to a 11spd xt cassette, and a 11 speed shifter and keeping the derailleur once my cassette and 42t cog are worn out. Wont be much price difference up front, and the savings should come back in the long run with the single 11 speed xt cassette coming in around $90.
  • + 2
 $500 for a shimano cassette?,XTR can be had for $250 or less and an XT for about $100,people need to do more research before they ask these questions.I was looking at replacing my worn XT cassette with expander cog,i ended up going XT 11spd for a couple dollars more.
  • + 1
 I currently have a Cannondale F4 2008 XL 26" mountain bike with the headshok which I am looking to replace. I was looking at fox 32 Float and know about a reducer but need additional info on tapered/ length of stem tube; can i use my existing stem or does it need to be replaced; etc. Can you please address? Also, most used forks on site are 15QR. Can I convert w/o replacing my existing hubs.
  • + 1
 i think the rear shock q&a was cool but there was a lot of things that were not really covered? is the shock setup for the frame? was it a high volume or low volume air can? what was the frame linkage/type? is the shock in good order/serviced recently? there could be a lot more to getting it working correctly other than making it ramp up more!
  • + 1
 Sunrace 11-42 10 speed cassette is great, I got him e for 50 quid, which is cheaper than an xt cassette + adapter
Lighter than a SRAM xg and half the price

www.billys.co.uk/english/group.php?prod=cssr-mx3

No need to go 12speed and certainly no need to go for flimsy SRAM
  • + 3
 Praxis cassette is great with zee mech and shifter. Many miles and great shifting throughout. Cheap superstar n/w ring all for under £200 can't say a bad word about it
  • + 3
 SunRace 42t cassette sounds awesome too. Keep your 10speed shifter.
  • + 2
 The plastic inserts for the fox shox are great - They make a huge difference. It's like getting your shocked tuned - except for a few hundred less.
  • + 1
 PB should put together an article on MIPS and make a list of popular brands that use it. I've been looking and a lot of brands don't show well that they sell MIPS, like Troy Lee for instance.
  • + 2
 Praxis makes a good wide range 10 speed cassette. I know the review is somewhere here.
  • + 2
 I'd like to see this poc helmet on someone.... The older one was fug ugly as!
  • + 1
 Thanks for the notes on the air volume reducers and ramping up the suspension rate. "bottomless suspension" maybe that's the tagword of 2016?
  • + 3
 In that last picture the glove to the right is picking that guy's nose.
  • + 1
 I wanna know what is considered a light impact? Accidentally dropping your helmet on the floor?
  • + 2
 It looks like the glove is in that guy's nose in the last pic.
  • + 1
 Last year's stock of entry level full face helmets: $100 quite often, & you don't feel bad if you destroy it.
  • - 1
 One can get a moto helmet for $100 to $150 now-days. Why not simply use one of those? Besides the weight and ventilation, I really cannot see a downside. I prefer my moto helmet in the winter anyway (it's warm!).
  • + 5
 I personally find that the weight is a large turn off.
  • + 3
 You must have missed all the articles where moto helmets not having adequate low speed collision protection was discussed
  • + 1
 I wore mine in the bike park a few times, by the end of the day I could barely hold my head up it got so heavy
  • - 1
 scr248, interesting! I have not seen those. I just assumed that a moto helmet would be superior in any case. Wonder who sponsored/paid for the article? Following the money is always smart to determine an articles "sway."

I get the weight thing. I'm very used to wearing my moto helmet all day, so that's never been a big issue for me. That's a huge personal thing though.
  • + 4
 @algs911
It has nothing to do with sponsorship or money, it's engineering. Moto helmets are designed to meet DOT or SNELL standards, which are certification against a large, high-speed impact. Neither DOT or SNELL collision standards place emphasis on preventing concussions, they're aimed at making sure your skull doesn't get cracked like an egg and spray brain bits all over. If all you get is a concussion after being ejected from your Ducati at 120, that's a win. MTB is a different design space. Even in DH, you will rarely, if ever see speeds close to what DOT/SNELL are aimed at, and wipeouts are far more frequent. Consequently, preventing concussions in lower speed crashes is a much higher priority.
  • + 1
 A good survey would find out how many people really trade in their helmet for a new one every time it gets dinged.
  • + 1
 Don't skimp on protection, Especially your head.
  • + 1
 Why not mention the fact you can get xt 1x11 for £140 without cranks.
  • + 1
 Why don't you tell people why Sealed Drive bikes don't exist?
  • + 1
 XT 1x11 beats anything sram has right now
  • + 1
 Pink Bike,

Is true that everytime you skid a berm a kitten dies?

Best,
  • + 1
 The kitten not only dies, it soul never rests. It will spend eternity in purgatory and eventually haunt your bike. So if your wondering why you keep getting flats and why your brakes always need bleeding, its your fault!

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