Check Out: Flat Fixing Tools, BMX Books, Big Rotors & More - July 2019

Jul 23, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  

A lot of gear comes across our desks here at Pinkbike. Check Out is a monthly round up of everything our tech editors have gotten their hands on. Sometimes it's products we're doing long-term tests on, other times it's stuff we're stoked on but don't have time to fully review. And, sometimes it's crazy shit someone sent us unsolicited and we're having a laugh.

Shimoda Explore 30 Camera Backpack




• Removable belt system
• Weather resistant
• Price: $259.95 // As pictured: $334.95 w/ medium core unit
• Multiple access points
• Exterior dimensions: 11.42 x 20.87 x 10.24"

bigquotesI’ve been using the Shimoda Explore 30 for a few months now and have been incredibly impressed with the build quality, customization, and comfort. The Explore 30 is the perfect size for a small camera set up and with the different core units available you shouldn’t have any issue finding a spot for all of your gear. Riding with the pack loaded up is comfortable and it doesn’t shift more than other similarly sized packs. Travelling with the Explore 30 has also been incredibly easy with plenty of space for other accessories and it fits nicely as a carry-on. My only complaints would be that I wish there was a better spot for a water bottle (on the shoulder strap isn’t great) and also that there was a side pocket instead of the accessory baggy that pops out.

Buying a camera bag is no easy task but I think the Shimoda Explore 30 will tick a lot of boxes for the majority of the videographers/photographers out there. The price is definitely on the high-side in comparison to other packs on the market, but when you consider what it’s responsible for carrying that pill becomes easier to swallow. I’ll be using the Explore 30 as my main camera bag for the foreseeable future.
Jason Lucas

The Birth of the Freestyle Movement 2nd Edition - Dominic Phipps

bigquotesThe Birth of the Freestyle Movement charts the beginnings of getting rad on a bicycle. Clearly a labor of love, this 350 page book is a fantastically detailed look at BMX Freestyle in the 70's and 80's. Stuffed full of simply amazing archival photos that will keep you flipping through the book. 109 different voices tell the story of freestyle through interviews and quotes. This book celebrates both the riders who changed bike riding and the art and design that emerged from the same creative spring.Taj

Ryder Innovation Slug Plug / Nutcracker / Slyder

The Slug Plug is small enough that it's easy to justify carrying in even the most bare-bones repair kit.
The Slyder mounts under a water bottle cage and holds a Slug Plug and a CO2 cartridge. There's also an option that carries two CO2 cartridges.


Slug Plug
• Includes 10 spare plus in a plastic case
• Presta valve core tool in handle
• Preloadable
• MSRP: $10 USD
Nutcracker Mini Tool
• Valve core remover, holds spare valve
• Tubeless valve rim nut tool
• Disc pad spreader
• MSRP: $10 USD
• Holds 25g CO2 cartridge and Slug Plug
• Sleeves slide into spine and lock in place
• MSRP: $10 USD

bigquotesRyder Innovation has released at trio of handy, inexpensive little gadgets that are designed to help make it easier to fix a flat. The Slug Plug is a simple, lightweight tire plug tool that can be preloaded and slid onto the Slyder storage system for quick access. Ten plugs (five thick and five thin) are included with the tool in a small plastic case.

Tubeless tire valve stem nuts can sometimes be difficult to tighten or loosen, especially if they've gotten covered with sealant, and not everyone carries a multi-tool with a set of pliers on it. That's where the Nutcracker Mini Tool comes in, and it also works as a brake pad spreader for those times when you accidentally squeeze your brake lever with the wheel off. Like the Slug Plug, it's very light, and won't take up much room in a pack.

Behind the Shield - S&M Bikes

bigquotesBehind the Shield is 175 pages of the entertaining and gritty stories that have made S&M a legendary brand. When Chris Moeller was 16 he started S&M Bikes with little more than his laser sharp wit and goal to make a quality bike. 32 years later the brand is still going strong and still making BMX bikes in the USA. It has not all been smooth sailing though and the adventures along the way make for some great reading. The book documents the motley crew of people that have been part of the brand and lots of the hilarious moments that make S&M Bikes such an icon of the bike industry.Taj

Galfer 223mm Oversize Wave Brake Rotor

The 223mm diameter rotors measure 2mm thick.
Galfer also makes replacement brake pads that are available in a variety of compound for different riding conditions.


• 223mm diameter, 2mm thick
• Price: $48 USD, €39.90
• Stainless steel construction

bigquotesIt takes a little more braking power to slow down big wheels, and now that 29" DH bikes exist the demand for larger rotors has increased. Galfer's 223mm Wave Rotors are claimed to deliver 15-20% more braking power compared to a 203mm rotor. They'll work with any wheel size, and use a standard 6-bolt mounting pattern, but they're not recommended for use on frames or forks with the older IS-style brake mount - postmount is the way to go here. Galfer also sells the brake caliper adaptor that's needed to run these extra-large rotors. It should be obvious, but you'll want to ensure you're putting them on a frame that can handle the extra stopping power.

The rotors come with a 6-month warranty, as long as you use them with Galfer's pads.

Reverse Components Angle Spacer


• Reduces head angle by .5°
• Compatible with 45° bearings
• Weight: 19 g (+/- 5% weight tolerance)
• Sits between fork crown and headset on tapered steerer
• Price: $14.99 USD

bigquotesWant a slacker head angle without increasing your fork travel? Reverse Component's aluminum Angle Spacer is a 10mm high crown race that works with all cartridge bearings that have a 45° angle where the bearing contacts the race. It's simple to install, and the price makes it an easy way to do a little bike geometry experimentation without breaking the bank.


  • 60 1
 Yeah, with that spacer I will finally be able to do barspins on my Trek remedy Smile
  • 4 0
 Please, let me know if it works.
  • 7 0
 Thanks to you, Trek is now back to the drawing board.
  • 3 0
 @Vyckinis: Well, after cca. 2 months I've finally ordered and received this piece of metal, and I can nofirm that it does the trick. Next step is to actually learn the barspin Smile
  • 9 0
 That angle spacer would do the trick. Cheap, simple and easy to fit. Too bad my fork is already at the axle to crown limit of my frame
  • 3 2
 Is it a tight fit like a crown race though? Or would you have to crank the headset preload right down to stop it rotating?
  • 3 0
 @not-finbar: says it “is a 10mm high crown race”
  • 3 20
flag hg604 (Jul 23, 2019 at 13:13) (Below Threshold)
 It doesn't actually change the head angle per se though. The bearings are in the same spot (ie in the headset cups) so the axis of rotation is still the same, all it does is actually skew the fork off the steering axis slightly (steerer no longer concentric to the axis of rotation) and put the front wheel marginally further ahead of you. This is functionally identical to increasing your fork's offset, which everyone is doing the opposite of right now. Maybe running it backwards would make more sense with regards to increasing trail, but you'd be shortening the front centre at the same time.
  • 7 3
 @Socket: Incorrect, I have one of these for a Fox SC AX.

As you increase axle to crown length, it reduces the headset angle in tune to that. On average it's assumed that 10mm moves the head angle down by 1 degree. You will also raise the handlebar height by a small amount as well.

Think of it as the same rhetoric as putting a longer travel fork on a frame. It will slacken the frame.
  • 2 5
Exactly. Would be interesting to try out as it would move the contact patch away from the normal position when you steer...
  • 4 0
 @sherbet: 10mm is 0.5 degree as stated above.
  • 2 0
 @lognar: Thanks for clarifying!
  • 3 0
 @sherbet: The handlebars height won't change because your steerer tube length will obviously stay the same.
Careful to have at least one spacer before trying to set this thing up.
  • 2 6
flag hg604 (Jul 23, 2019 at 23:53) (Below Threshold)
 @sherbet: Run the numbers, because you're missing what I'm saying - if you wanted to do that, you could just lengthen the fork's travel anyway. By raising the a2c alone (not adding in this spacer) by 10mm, you slacken the bike (assuming around 1250mm WB and around 570mm a2c to begin with) by very close to 1.0deg. On a 27.5 bike with 44mm offset, a 65deg head angle gives you 108mm ground trail. A 64 degree head angle gives you 113mm ground trail. Installing this spacer gives you an increase in offset of 4.97mm (let's call it 5mm). So you've now lost very close to 5mm out of the 5mm trail you gained. Woohoo.

So I was wrong that it's functionally identical to increasing fork offset given that it increases the a2c almost exactly to match - as far as trail goes, it's functionally identical to setting fire to the cash in your wallet instead of doing anything at all. This idea (more fork offset to reduce trail on larger wheels) was tried with Gary Fisher/Trek's G2 geometry way back in the day and was the main reason 29er geometry sucked for so long. Sorry to hear you bought one.
  • 1 1
 @Socket: I get what you're saying about trail and rake, was just clarifying that this does drop the head tube angle, which you stated it definitely did not.

Also, didn't have an old GF or Trek 29er. Not sure where that came from.

As far as "setting fire to your wallet"; there was a dude (ZileTsar I think) in the aggressive hardtail thread here on PB that put one in and had some interesting things to say. May not be for you, but hating on a product doesn't suddenly make it a poor idea.
  • 1 6
flag hg604 (Jul 24, 2019 at 16:28) (Below Threshold)
 @sherbet: I should have clarified - by "does not change your head angle per se", I meant that it doesn't alter the steering axis relative to the frame, unlike an angleset or works offset/angled headset. You would be better served by simply increasing a2c length by bumping the travel up, OR just having a 10mm spacer in its place without any angular offset, otherwise you aren't getting the actual benefits of a slacker head tube angle.

On another note, as soon as someone starts talking about handling on a hardtail I have zero interest, they all handle pretty badly at the best of times.
  • 5 1
 @Socket: There is no angle involved with this piece. Increasing the a2c slackens the bike by raising the front end, and that's pretty much it. It does push the contact patch a little forward, increasing trail. It's the exact same geo change as adding travel to the fork. Don't overthink it!
  • 4 0
 @Socket: also hardtails are great
  • 1 5
flag hg604 (Jul 25, 2019 at 10:57) (Below Threshold)
 @aharms: no, it's angled... that's kind of the point! It DECREASES trail due to the angle by the same amount that the a2c change increases it. Just bump your fork travel up instead, you'll get an actual benefit from that. And hardtails are great, just not for handling...
  • 3 3
 Actually, I think I've totally misunderstood, this isn't even actually angled... it's literally just a 10mm spacer. Wow. I'm blown away by my own stupidity in giving them enough credit to not make something so pointless.
  • 8 0
 Seeing those old magazines... shame we’ve lost so many
  • 4 0
 I would like to read those books. I was just wondering the other day though - there are loads of fantastic autiobgraphies from road cycling, running, surfing, hell, even triathlon - why none (to my knowledge) from mountain biking, BMXing or skateboarding?
  • 4 0
 Check out staying strong by Stephen Murray! Awesome read by a true legend
  • 2 0
 I sent Dom Phipps some source material years ago - I never saw the book, but he sent me a t-shirt Smile

I've reached out to the 2nd Edition guys to see if they'll ship outside the U.S. - BMX was my gateway bike to mountainbiking
  • 4 0
 Reverse spacer is a nice idea, however not only the head angle is modified, but also the seat angle and bb height. Further I think that Novyparts had this in the catalog since a long time, which I believe was more intended to compensate a too low axle to crown than reducing the head angle.
  • 8 0
 This is a ridiculous “invention.” Suspension companies spent countless hours designing forks that have the lowest axle to crown possible for any given travel. If you’re going to increase the a2c, just increase the travel by 10mm. If you want a slacker HA, use an angleset.
  • 3 0
 @maxlombardy: What if you want to run a reduced travel fork like a step-cast, Trust, or RS-1 and minimize impact to geometry?

Limited audience, but i'm sure they have sold at least one.
  • 4 0
 Formula does a 220mm already, I'm running one on the front of a 26er with a Formula The One caliper, can confirm its grabby AF
  • 2 8
flag Muckal (Jul 23, 2019 at 10:20) (Below Threshold)
 Sounds horrible in wet conditions.
  • 1 0
 I have a 9" rotor on a Hope Big 'Un front hub that I was running with mono 6 ti brakes back in 2004. It's been on my V10 for about 2 years now with Zee brakes just because I could...
  • 6 1
 Wait, there's a plug kit for $30?! That does MORE than just plug a tire?! Take notice Dynaplug.
  • 2 1
 Looks like a better plug also. Folded fat strip always always better than a single strip with metal cone.
  • 8 3
 The paint on those rotors to make em 'look like' floating is tacky as FK
  • 4 4
 Better than a giant silver saucepan lid
  • 3 2
 @zyoungson: nah, looks fake
  • 2 0
 It might be functional. High emissivity black paint can increase heat loss through radiation. Do it all the time on electronics enclosures.
  • 1 0
 Is 2mm thickness the standard for rotors? I thought sram and Shimano were slightly different will these work with Shimano calipers?
  • 2 0
 @Masseemtb: Yes, the 2mm thickness is compatible with all the calipers in the market, just you need to move back the pistons when you're changing the brake pads or extract some brake fluid of the system if it's needed.
  • 1 0
 @Masseemtb: Yes, the 2mm thickness is compatible with all the calipers in the market, just you need to move back the pistons when you're changing the brake pads or extract some brake fluid of the system if it's needed.
  • 4 0
 Butthead's voice: Uuuugguhgg.. Nutcracker... S&M bikes... uugghuhhg...
Beavis' voice: Yeah!! Nutcracker!!
  • 1 0
 Don't forget "rim nut tool."
  • 2 0
 Damn Galfer, I literally just bought new rotors. I guess it's time for the fearsome alternative of, "just lose weight"; really the worst of the worst of the worst case scenarios.
  • 2 0
 #203aintdead! #203forlife!
  • 3 0
 @mtbikemccoy: My dad was a machinist, he could have just made me the best brakes ever. Too bad. And he passed away before he taught me anything as I worked as a janitor at the machine shop. We could have made some cool ass shit by now because I know CAD, too bad.........
  • 2 0
 Actually Galfer doesn't make an adapter size that's not already out there. So with a PM7 and +43mm spacer you get 223mm. They don't make a +63mm for PM6.
  • 4 1
 Here's an idea. Angle spacer, offset bushings, and angleset for the ultimate ride-ruining modification!
  • 1 1
 Offset bushings yes, but integrated headsets don't allow angleset use so this spacer is quite a nice idea for all the integrated frames out there. It does of course reduce seat angle the same amount which is a negative, especially if the seat is already fully forward.
  • 3 0
 Both books coming my way... Chris’s S&M book is a must have for the older BMX guys!
  • 1 0
 The Behind the Shield book came out great, tons of good stuff and stories in it. I was lucky enough to get to go to the release party, it was a blast!!
It's kind of funny a lot of people either didn't know or forget that S&M were the ones making the original BlkMrkt MOB frames, should have never sold mine.
  • 2 0

Hah! I still have an OG MOB frame!
  • 1 0
 @DutchmanPhotos: That's awsome!! Funny how things work out, the guy I sold my mob to hit me up today and gave me first dibs to buy it back he never ended up riding it, so well see...
  • 1 0
 The Reverse Components Angle Spacer, but I guess the trade offs are slightly higher stack height and having to remove the old headset spacer. Also, not easy to find a place that has it in the US.
  • 2 0
 the crown race is brilliant if you want to tinker with wheelsize -spez used to make one, but they are hard to get by
  • 6 0
 Yep it should allow you to put a 26" back on.
  • 2 0
 That reverse angle spacer is a great idea. Question : would that work on a IS 36-45° heaset ?
  • 3 1
 "standard 6-bolt mountain pattern" is this a new stardard about to hit us? Haha!
  • 1 0
 That Ryder kit is nifty! It’s small, light and can go unnoticed until you need to use it. Looks like I’ll be ordering one tup
  • 1 0
 I don’t use cartridges to pump my tyre up because iI makes my stans sealant go into little hard balls- does anyone use a sealant out there that this doesn’t happen to?
  • 2 0
 That made my day to see Freestyle mentioned on Pinkbike!
  • 1 0
 Ak, why is this product being shown here... not angled... it’s just a reverse short offset deforker?
  • 2 1
 223/203 does not equal +15-20% power. ???? 9.8% tone precise
  • 1 3
 Need to use the increase in circumference not diameter of the rotor
  • 2 1
 @5-9-A2: that is wrong, but the result would be the same. Circumference is 2*r*Pi, so 9.8% more diameter equals 9.8% more power. But the diameter in question is not the outside dia, rather the center line of the brake surface. Assuming 16mm wide pads, this means 195 vs. 215mm, so 10.2% more.
The real benefit is the increased thermal mass = more time until they start to fade.
  • 1 0
 Where can you buy the Ryder products Online or USA ?
  • 3 6
 Great now instead of just water bottles laying on the trail I'm going to be able to find CO2 s and plug kits
  • 4 0
 Sign me up - free spares!
  • 1 6
flag pinnityafairy (Jul 23, 2019 at 12:02) (Below Threshold)
 @nouseforaname: smooth dialed Riders don't need plug kits
  • 2 1
 @pinnityafairy: until you do...
  • 1 0
 @pinnityafairy: I needed a plug kit yesterday after I pulled out a 3" nail from my tyres.
  • 1 0
 @panaphonic: sonds like you nailed it. Don't forget to recycle or reuse your new found treasure.
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