|As you'd expect, both SRAM and Shimano would likely say that combining any drivetrain parts that haven't been designed in conjunction with each other is going to result in a voiding of your warranty and less than optimal performance. And while that might sound like them just toeing the company line, there is some truth to that. I've used both companies' drivetrains with aftermarket cogs and have found that shifting performance isn't quite as good as it is with a completely stock setup - it's 97% there, but never just right. A Shimano derailleur and shifter combined with a SRAM 11-speed cassette is very much the same. I've used that exact setup for a few months and shifting was pretty damn good (after all, it is the same number of cogs stuffed into the same space) but I could never get it bang-on perfect. Then again, it still shifted better than what I see from most of my riding buddies' bikes, and it was good enough for me to use without hesitation. As for a chain, any 11-speed chain is going to work just fine. - Mike Levy|
|Although you could probably get away with running the Crest rims for a while, all it takes is one taco'd wheel in the middle of nowhere to make you wish you'd heeded the manufacturer's recommendation. For that reason, I'd say go with your gut instinct and put something a little more stout on your new ride. I'm also inclined to think that the RS-1 fork might end up being a little flexy for your liking as well. Elite XC racers, the riders who that fork was designed for, typically aren't built like linebackers, and don't exert nearly the amount of force when cornering that you will. Even though you'll incur a slight weight penalty, something like RockShox Pike or a Fox 34 may end up being more suitable options, offering more stiffness to better handle the paces you'll be putting it through. I'd also highly recommend taking a test ride if you haven't already - you may end up opting for something with a little burlier build that's better suited to your dimensions and riding style. - Mike Kazimer|
|A quick Google search for 'cycle jerseys' throws out a load of results but most of these seem to be biased towards XC or road riding kit, and many of these companies only offer screen printing. There's a reputable company based in Scotland called thecyclejersey.com who do a customized service offering quality, mountain bike cut jerseys with fully sublimated designs, which means the design is printed in to the fabric of the jersey rather than on to it. Minimum orders on custom jerseys are fifteen, unfortunately a little more than you require. But with prices starting around $50 USD (approx.) they could cost you less than a branded off-the-shelf jersey. For validation, thecyclejersey already supply teams like URS, DeLoitte, Kona UK, Mojo, and Royal Mail as well as their own downhill racing team. - Paul Aston|
The Cycle Jersey offer a sublimated jerseys, any shape size or colour you might want for your mountain biking needs.
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