Randoms: Chainrings, Hip Packs, Headsets, & More - Pond Beaver 2021

Apr 16, 2021
by Daniel Sapp  


Endless Bike Co. Direct Mount Ring

Endless Bike Co has produced four bolt chainrings and single-speed cogs for years, but they're just now rolling out a direct mount option. The chainring has a unique and rad design and is available for both SRAM and RaceFace mounts in 28t, 30t, 32t, and 34t options. There are plenty of color varieties to choose from as well with black, blue, gold, lime green, orange, pink, purple, red, silver, and turquoise options depending on your taste. Chainrings sell for $80 USD. More information at endlessbikes.com.






High Above Apollo Payload Platform

High Above's younger sibling to their Gemini platform, the Apollo features an updated HANK (high abrasion resistant neoprene kevlar) velcro strap for easy access while still being secure. The strap can be trimmed to length. The platform is available in 6 anodized colors with 4 label color options. The system weighs 34 grams and accommodates items from 1.5"=3.5" in diameter. It mounts to a frame via a standard 64mm bottle cage mount or accessory braze-on and is made in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. The strap sells for $34 USD. More information is available at highabove.net.






Osprey Savu 5 Hip Pack

The minimalist Savu 5 is made for shorter frontcountry rides. The roomy main compartment features plenty of organization and is stabilized with compression straps to keep the contents from jostling around too much. There are two rigid pockets for beverages, each of which, can tuck away to make the pack less bulky if not needed. There are zippered hip compartments on each side by the bottle holders and an additional sunglasses pocket next to the main compartment. The pack is available in green, red, and black. It sells for $60 USD and more information is available at osprey.com.







Wolf Tooth Premium IS Headset

Wolf Tooth's IS headset is made exclusively for Specialized frames with molded-in internal bearing cups. The headsets are made to be light, strong, and durable with three levels of custom sealing to protect bearings and prolong the life of the headset. There is a 3mm stack height for the headset. Uppers and lowers are sold separately and the headset comes with a lifetime warranty. The upper is priced at $59.95 and is available in a variety of colors. For more information, visit wolftoothcomponents.com








Rudy Project Crossway Helmet

The Crossway is designed for riders looking for a well ventilated helmet with performance and value. The shell is compact with in-mold construction and extended coverage on the back. There are 23 vents for ventilation. Additionally, there's a frontal air frame band to help with sweat evaporation. The helmet uses Rudy's RSR10S retention system and it has a fully integrated visor along with bug-stop netting. Available in white and lead black colors, the Crossway sells for $129.99 USD. For more information, visit rudyprojectna.com.



Pond Beaver 2021





118 Comments

  • 137 5
 Frontcountry???? Wtf is frontcountry?
  • 37 1
 It's when it's your brains in the frontcountry and party in the back
  • 87 1
 The opposite of backcountry? The real question is whether you can ride downcountry in the frontcountry.
  • 38 1
 Semi-civilized. If camping, the difference between bringing an air mattress and a grill versus backpacking 50 miles into the wilderness.

Alternatively, it could be measured in how long it'd take someone to haul you to a hospital or pub.

"Light duty outdoors"
  • 65 1
 Think of it as front-bush.
  • 15 8
 Nothing. They just like inventing words and being smug about it.
  • 48 0
 (In the perfect Hank Hill voice) ~ Well Bobby, It's Crossing the down country enduro XC all-mountain boundary with upmountain crosshill sidedowning of the fall line with the elegance of freeballing and the perfect tail whip... simple really when you look at it from an 18 IPA and a fat spliff perspective...
  • 11 0
 I heard it’s in ColoRADoWink
  • 10 0
 Frontcountry is all about going down, unlike backcountry
  • 9 0
 Oh, you hadn't heard? Latest category: between XC and downcountry.
  • 10 0
 Its down country but you stoppie every corner.
  • 25 7
 I think “frontcountry” is fairly well known, at least here in the North America. It’s a semi-useful term describing outdoor locations that aren’t far from home and are easily accessible. Pinkbike sure didn’t make it up.
  • 2 0
 @tipsword: dammit Bobby!
  • 7 0
 @rpet: I like front bush, back bush though....
  • 6 0
 Back bush is gnarly
  • 1 2
 the opposite of downcountry. very intuitive actually.
  • 3 0
 @SEA5ONS: surely the opposite of backcountry is a shopping mall
  • 2 0
 @lehott: That's a 6 IPA bonus for you!
  • 1 0
 @stainerdome: back bush is always muddy though
  • 1 0
 @SEA5ONS: wouldn't that be upcountry?
  • 1 0
 @SEA5ONS: no the opposite of down country is actually upduro.
A combination of up and enduro
  • 4 0
 Makes you wonder what wheel size will the frontcountry range of bikes will be rocking
  • 4 0
 @Philt32: it’d have to be a 29.99” wheel , in reverse mullet (with a 36” on the rear)
  • 4 0
 @short-but-sweet: Smile Smile that’s me suckered in to the frontcountry hype
  • 1 0
 It's if you ride FROM anywhere around Denver.
  • 2 0
 @short-but-sweet Denver and Salt Lake City, for example, have the "front" of the mountains near the big cities. Can be short easy rides where a big ass backpack isnt needed.
  • 2 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: Yeah I was gonna say. That's a pretty common term.
  • 3 0
 It's at 90° of leftcountry or rightcountry depending how you turn your head.
  • 1 0
 @rpet: as long as its not back-bush.
  • 3 1
 @rpet: front bush should be shaved
  • 1 0
 @tipsword: You win, full stop...
  • 4 0
 It's just regular downcountry with your fanny pack worn to the front
  • 43 0
 Do those chainrings have a bottle opener? I'd hate to have a component on my bike that is incapable of opening a bottle.
  • 1 0
 Ayyyy someone listens to the podcast.
  • 9 0
 You are your own bottle opener. You can create a fulcrum with nearly any object. Cans are where it's at though. Integrated can opener, you see....
  • 10 0
 The real question is does it open a bottle that you carry in your frontcountry hip pack.
  • 10 0
 Wine bags are where it’s at, they’re their own camelbak
  • 7 0
 @suspended-flesh: It's like Archimedes said, "Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will open any bottle."
  • 1 0
 @stainerdome: with a h20 bullet for little fizz is were it’s at !
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: beer does taste better in glass I gotta say
  • 2 1
 @lehott: I'm not going to get into that argument again. Also after decades of hardcore abuse, I've been drinking various 0,0 ABV cans (and bottles depending on availability) for 10+ months., so I don't really give a F what it tastes like. Turns out the brain is trained to release dopamine regardless of content. It's so nice drinking whenever i want - driving, etc. First break I've had in this adult life....crazy but liberating.

P.S. Not in a 'Program'
  • 17 1
 60 dollar hip pack? not too shabby
  • 5 6
 I was thinking the same, but its so large at what point is a camelback better
  • 14 0
 @hamncheez: @jonnyboy18 It's not that big mate. It's just the pictures. I've been riding this pack for two years now and it's awesome on rides where two bottles is enough water, and you don't need to carry clothing layers.
  • 10 0
 Savu is my favorite hip pack so far. Really great.
  • 1 0
 @mybaben: You're really tempting me....
  • 2 0
 @rickybobby18: Looks gorgeous too!
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: LOL. Do it mate. Wink And if you only need one bottle and it's on your bike, then it's VERY low profile and comfy with no bottles. If you have an REI or something like that not too far, just take a look at it and see what you think.
  • 3 0
 Yeah I've been riding with this pack for a bit and really enjoy it. The way the bottles are positioned it actually feels more secure than my single bottle hip pack, even though it weighs more.
  • 1 0
 @mybaben: How comfortable are the bottles on your hips? I usually just put extra water in my pack anyways.
  • 2 0
 @iridedj: I'm 183cm and slender and I'm pretty picky about being comfortable, and I think it feels good. Suck your stomach in and keep the waist strap pretty snug and let the pack sit on your hip bones. The black webbing you can see in the picture is pretty comfortable, and I actually carry big 24oz bottles. Those ones in the pic are just 18-20oz.
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: yea being able to carry bottles when I'm lapping an upper system would be nice. Cheers
  • 1 0
 I have the Dakine 2L hot laps and it’s like 40 bucks. Just the right amount of storage, great price and with the exception of the bottle safety string which ripped off at one end the quality has been great.
  • 3 0
 Great pack, been on the original for over a year now and love it. Might replace it with this one if I can figure out if there's any upgrades that make it worthwhile. Mine is feeling a bit, "loved" and the sweat seems to be making the straps stiff. I love Osprey products, and the versatility of this pack is amazing.
  • 2 0
 @NRZ: Toss it in the wash, then air dry. Don't forget about the lifetime warranty too!
  • 1 0
 @Upduro: I also love my hot laps and I remember it being kind of not expensive before fanny packs were a thing. Yes, my bottle string also ripped out and I tried to sew it...
  • 1 0
 It's the best one I've used by far.
  • 14 2
 $80 for a ring that's not really any different from what else is out there. At least WolfTooth and AB make rings that offer something different, like being able to run Shimano 12 on a SRAM crank, or a lighter Shimano option, or very, very oval rings (or just slightly oval rings).

If you're gonna bring a new product to market, do something....ANYTHING to justify why your widget is worth considering over the other widgets.
  • 6 0
 My widget has a mesmerizing turquoise spider that crawled out of Asheville, NC
  • 6 1
 Endless Bike Co makes sweet products and they work really well! Support local small business.... The products are more durable too IMHO Love my Endless Cogs, spacers, and Rings!
  • 4 0
 @MrDiamondDave: Great to see Endless still around. Their Lifetime frame was a really fun OG Mullet rig (IE 26/24). And as far as I can remember their Kick Ass SS cogs were the first to have some width to them to not chew up the freehub body.
  • 3 0
 What's not so obvious in their difference is their longevity. Endless rings and cogs last!
  • 3 0
 @defconfour: I was just going to ask if this was the same Endless that made the Lifetime frame. That thing was so nice.
  • 1 0
 @harmar: that's why I referenced Wolftooth and AB. Both durable, boutique brands that haven't gone to Asia to save manufacturing costs.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: why go to Asia when you can go to Poland carrying a German suitcase...try an oval and never look back--absoluteBLACK. The English accent really sells it.

Not sure I'm ready to drop $130 on an elliptical steel ring and CAMO spider when I can pedal elliptically on a $20 DM. Maybe if I were getting paid
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: furthermore Wolftooth makes a steel ring. I am lusting after this one.
  • 5 0
 Wolf tooth if you can see this, any chance you guys might make a good alloy preload collar for raceface cinch 30mm cranks? I know it’s a long shot but I need more alloy in my life, nylon is not a great material for preloading, or really for anything that needs strength in that form.
  • 3 1
 Just use spacers and ignore the preload ring. Raceface used to make alloy rings when their current design of cranks first came out. Not sure why they went to nylon. Thin spacers on the spindle are the ticket though!
  • 2 1
 @Frontrange: it won’t overload the bearings?
  • 1 0
 @MTBrent: I saw that, nice! Always nice to have other options as well
  • 2 0
 @zombiejack33:

I’ve got thousands of miles on spacers. No issues. Just measure to try and use the correct amount.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for all the replies! Not gonna lie though, a wolf tooth one would look pretty sick wouldn’t it? Love their chain rings and headset parts
  • 4 0
 @Frontrange: iirc they switched from aluminum to plastic on the preload ring due to creaking.
  • 1 0
 @m-t-g: oooooh makes sense
  • 1 0
 Recently thought that I'd cooked my Cinch BB bearings after just 800km. Turned out the preload ring had made several turns and shifted a couple of mm. Not a confidence inspiring design.
  • 5 0
 Custom fork with reasonable price for _custom fork_ gets price astonishment in the article. Should be more astonished that an alloy chainring pulls eighty dollars. Eighty!
  • 1 0
 I must be missing something with all the $80 alloy chainrings out there... Is there a feature that justifies the extra $60 over a steel ring? Is it just weight and pretty anodizing?
  • 2 0
 @smleitch: I think you just answered your own question.
  • 3 0
 Like PT Barnum said, there's an $80 chainring buyer born every minute...
  • 5 0
 I was just saying this morning how we don't have enough aftermarket anodized chainring companies! Pedals and stems fall into the same category
  • 4 0
 Their next velcro strap could be called the High Abrasion-resistant Neoprene Kevlar Year-round Platform And Naturally Capacious Item Smile
  • 7 0
 I like that helmet
  • 2 0
 Why are the headsets made specifically for Specialized frames? Does Specialized do something with their headtubes I'm not aware of?
  • 4 1
 They have integrated headsets.
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: yes integrated, but more specifically the is42 upper bearing has a deeper bore than a regular standard. Aka Campy style, only headsets that work rn are Chris King drop set 5, stock specialized FSA, and this new wolftooth.
  • 1 1
 @senorbanana: any angleset options?
  • 3 0
 @makripper: no. It's really just a bearing riding directly in the frame and then a dust cover (theres a little more to it than that but that's the gist of it). I'm not aware of any way they could angle adjust that.
  • 2 2
 @Trudeez: I wish I could get another .5 slacker
  • 3 1
 Best I can tell this is $60 for a $26 Enduro bearing and $34 for the parts you already have just not in purple.
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez: 9.8 is making an angle-set for is41/is52 headtubes....

www.9point8.ca/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=261
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez: 9.8 makes one for integrated headsets. Doesn’t fit Specialized though.

www.9point8.ca/index.php?route=product/product&path=124&product_id=261
  • 3 0
 High Above with the subtle labeling there...Does it come with a sharpie?
  • 2 2
 It comes in grey too!
  • 4 0
 At least you can use a razor and just remove the patch.
  • 1 2
 Not sure if it's just me but I thought you want to travel as light as possible. This hip pack looks massive and really heavy......XD anyone agree? I personally would rather a backpack reservoir over 2 water bottles as well. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Not to sure if I would spend $60 for this....(*╯-╰)ノ
  • 2 0
 Shouldn't the High Above velcro strap be called the HARNK?
  • 2 0
 I guess HANK sounded cooler.
  • 2 1
 whats the point of a headset for Specialized frames when they don't need one?
  • 5 0
 Cus fsa headsets suck
  • 7 6
 Who still rides with round chain rings? (that should wake people up on this Friday afternoon.) Wink
  • 3 1
 Wolf Tooth is starting to give CK a run for his money.
  • 3 0
 Til they come out with a comparable pair of taper leg dad jeans, I’m out
  • 7 0
 Wolftooth is taking CK's lunch money. Waaaaaaaay less cash for high quality US made stuff.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: Yeah I ilike their stuff.
  • 2 0
 Nothing comes between me and my WolfTooth.
  • 1 0
 What if your "frontcountry" is other peoples "backcountry" and vice versa? Then what?
  • 1 0
 You design a helmet to have all sorts of holes so it is cooler and you paint it black? Yeah cuz is cooler....
  • 2 0
 You're wearing a thick foam hat, the colour doesn't make much difference. It's such a good insulator of heat, that the colour doesn't change much.
  • 1 0
 @GilesSTurner: it's a thick foam hat with holes.
through those holes you get radiation from the sun itself and the black parts of the hat near the holes. Even black foam radiates heat. It does not conduct heat as much since is foam but it radiates what it absorbs (being black more than white).
I see roadies wearing full flat black from northern europe heat stroked everyday here even in winter. ( Canary islands winter)
  • 1 0
 Why can’t anyone make a nice cool looking helmet for $80 bucks? S
  • 3 2
 why has every single article got POND BEAVER tagged on the end
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer spoke. They listened.

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