|It 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
|Considering 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
|Nearly 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
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