SDG I-Beam post and I-Fly seat
If you ask me seat rails really seems like an out dated way to hold your seat onto your post. I know it works great (most of the time) and there are a few beautiful seatpost options to pick from, but c'mon, it is time to move on to a better system isn't it? SDG's I-Beam system makes a lot of sense. It's light, it's simple, and there are no rails to crush or bend. Are there any drawbacks to running I-Beam setups?
For the last two years I've run nothing but SDG I-Beam posts and seats on my personal bikes. For 2007 there were two seat post options, a standard aluminum post and the fancy-pants carbon version. I would have sprung for the slightly lighter carbon shaft but alas, it only came in a 350mm length and I needed the longer 400mm aluminum post to get proper height on my Orange 224. If you want to get real tech, the post itself is 2014 while the head (two opposing plates) is cold forged 6061 aluminum. There are a number of size options ranging from 25.4mm all the way up to 31.6mm.
As a system, it is a very simple system to use. The only tool you'll need is a 6mm allen key. Slide the seat between the two head plates and pick a fore-aft position you like. It is important to make sure the teeth cut into the single seat rail match up to the teeth on the head as not to cause any damage. Just do the bolt up a little bit to take most of the slop out and feel to make sure its not in between a position. Next pick the angle you'll want to have your perch at. Same as before, just make sure the teeth line up and then tighten everything down to the torque spec in your instructions that you kept instead of throwing out with the box.
There are quite a few seat options from SDG to pick from. I chose the pinner I-Fly seat but if that's not you there is also a BMX seat and everything in between. The I-Fly is the most compact seat in the lineup at only 120gms. If that sounds scary then the next step up is the I-Fly C with twice as much padding but only weighing in 15gms more. Not a bad trade off!
I really like this system. It's lighter than the lightest old fashioned railed set-ups but much sturdier than a titanium railed road seat and light post. I found the smallest of the bunch I-Fly seat to be quite comfortable even on longer XC rides. Seats are quite a personal thing though and I know that my small seat is a source of constant amusement to some people I ride with. Whatever though, I like it a lot. Due to owning a few different bikes over the last couple years I've had to buy a few posts to fit different size seat tubes which means I must like it to carry it over from bike to bike. I'll be straight with you though, I have managed to snap a I-Fly seat in two on a big off (on my back no less!) in Williams Lake last season. It was a monster crash and I would not have expected any seat to escape unscathed though. I know that particular I-Fly seat had seen some hard times before and I'm sure that a traditional railed saddle would have gone south long before, so I am still super stoked despite the broken saddle.
The limiting factor with the I-Beam system is the seat itself. There are one or two other options now but I-Beam seat choices are still limited to SDG and Kore, so you need to be happy with one of their offerings or the setup does not make a lot of sense. If one of the seats work for you then I would recommend picking yourself up some SDG I-Beam goodies! There is a new micro-adjust I-Beam post out for 2008 that looks great as well as a 400mm carbon version that I will be picking up asap.Have a look at the entire SDG lineup
Troy Lee Designs D2 Carbon Classic
I've had a pile of different full face helmets over the years and they have all worked as advertised. Lots of protection, some sort of safety certification, and they have each saved my ugly mug from getting even uglier on many occasions. Yes, for the most part all of them were just as safe as the one that came before or after it but there was always one helmet that I've lusted after for years and years. The Troy Lee D2 has been around for a long while now and to this day it is still the helmet
to have. Atleast that's what I think anyway! Troy Lee lids are burned into my memory as Palmer sitting on the pavement in jeans and a stars and strips jersey having just earned a silver medal at the WC's, Peaty's many variations of beer bottles and good times on his lids, or any number of world class riders that don a TLD helmet. To this day nothing says pro like a Troy Lee helmet.
Cori's mom will do anything as long as she is wearing protection
After many years of gawking I finally managed to get my dirty paws in a D2 helmet at the beginning of last season. I chose the '07 Carbon Classic as it is less flashy than the other options but still has a bit of zing to it. It showed up in a sweet silver helmet bag (otherwise know as a 'murse') and a few extra stickers for me to show the love. It's a given the it looks great though, what about the fit? Well I found the fit to be great. I'm a medium kinda guy and it worked out perfect for me. Helmets seem to 'pack in' a bit over time and the D2 did also but it just seemed to make it more comfortable. Obviously the fit can't work for anyone but it seems like smart fitting that should work for most as long as you don't have some freakish shaped head. I can't see myself ever using the 'murse' though. I know I should when on the road but I just can't bring myself to do it.
The D2 uses D-rings on the chin strap as it is more secure than plastic clips. I've had D-rings on helmets in the past so I can do it with one hand now but at first it is a bit tricky. It's all in the name of safety though! I ate my fair share of shit last season with this helmet on but besides the visor it's no worse for wear. I recommend replacing your helmet after a big hit to the head regardless but the D2 is holding up quite well. The mesh on the chin guard hasn't broken and the foam is not separating from the shell which is more then I can say for some other lids. It's no cooler than other full face helmets but then again it's no hotter either.
I still love my D2 and wish I had picked one up years ago. There are other cheaper helmets on the market that work great also but in the end you know you'd love a Troy Lee D2 and for good reason, it is the best!Want to see what Troy Less has got cook'n for 2008?MRP System 3 Carbon
Ok everyone, I spent a whole lot of cash money on some carbon bits for my bike and at the time the only reason I did it was because I liked the look of it. There, I admit it. I had full intentions of ordering up the time tested aluminum version on the System 3 but then a funny thing happened.... I saw a picture of the full carbon System 3 and I knew I had to have it. Here in Canada it is nearly twice as much as its aluminum counterpart. Say what you want but in the end it's my money and guess what, it ended up being one of the best things I've bought for my bike.
The System 3 is based on a single outer plate, two sealed bearing rollers and two black anti-friction guides mounted under each roller. I install a pile of chain guides each season and one thing I've come to appreciate about all of MRP's products is the simplicity. There isn't a ton of parts, no super long chainring bolts needed and nothing to fill up with sticky mud that you have to clean out with a stick on the side of the trail. There are a few different flavors of the S3 chainguide to suit your needs and wallet. MRP has the trusted aluminum plate version
, the carbon offering
you see here and the always popular Party Crasher option. If you 50/50 landings then the thick polycarbonate Party Crasher
option may be just what you need. Still buying bike parts on your piddly allowance? Then check out the SB3 guides
for some bang for your minimal buck. You need to have cranks that have a 104mm 4 arm bolt pattern as the plates only come in 4 hole configurations, if you are not sure what you have just count the number of chainring bolts you have. If it's 4 then you're set. If the answer is 5, then sucks for you! (actually you can buy separate plates after market).
I have had bad luck with chainguides in the past. And when I say "the past" I mean a long time ago. But it was bad enough that switching chainguides is still scarier then meeting the girlfriend's parents for the first time. Most of the trouble back then was actually caused by flexy square taper BB spindles and weak crank arm tabs, now that we are past that, things are much easier and I don't end up throwing my bike into the bushes as much anymore! Anyways, I bolted up the new guide with no troubles whatsoever. Setup is damn easy, the instructions are very clear, I think I was at work an extra 30 mins putting it on and there was no swearing. It was so easy I was sure I forgot something! I needed zero spacers under the boomerang and didn't need to space out my bottom bracket at all....It just worked
! If you don't have ISGC tabs then you'll have to use the adapter cup which means removing your BB (which you'd have to do with any other guide) but this only adds one step so don't fret.
Top roller and anti-friction guide
It is of no use convincing certain people that carbon is very strong and more then suitable for nearly anywhere on your bike. I've had those discussions and they end up going nowhere, if that's what you believe and there is no convincing you other wise then fine....But you are wrong
! I've had carbon DH bars, a Dorado with carbon legs, carbon posts, and now a carbon chainguide. After nearly two years on the System 3 carbon I am 100% convinced that this is the best place for the one to put some carbon bits on their two-wheeler.
The abuse this guide has taken is over the top. I can't count the times I have absolutely buried the boomerang and lower roller into the dirt, cased large and unmovable objects, and just plain kicked the shit out of it. To this day my carbon boomerang is perfectly straight with no chips or cracks. Amazing. I'm not a 'carbonologist' but I'm guessing that the lay up of the carbon lets it flex when it needs to but return to the same spot it started while at the same time being stiff enough to hold everything where its supposed to be. Good stuff.
I will admit that the outer carbon guide plate has seen better days. There were three major incidents where I was sure that my days were numbered and the carbon plate took an over the top amount of smashing. Besides pissing myself in fear, I walked away unscathed. The plate was not as lucky though. The monster that did the damage was due to some real poor line choice due to me trying to straighten things out a bit too much. I would describe it as at least 20ft to immediate stop to face grind onto my handle bars. It ended up taking a bit of the roundness out of the carbon plate! The crazy thing though is how the carbon ring remained perfectly flat. I'm not even talking just a bit out, I can put it on a glass table and it is dead flat still. That little episode was nearly a year ago now, I never bothered to replace the ring or even fix the damage with a touch of glue. Did I mention that the carbon boomerang is still dead straight also? I know that an aluminum plate would have folded in two and I've seen poly plates fail under way less load.
Not looking so pretty but still doing its job
It's all pretty convincing evidence for me. I originally sprung for the carbon option because it looked so great as well as being a bit lighter. Now that I've used it for so long I know that it's also the most reliable guide you could buy. Don't rule it out just because it's carbon as that is actually the reason to mount this setup on your bike.
MRP has a chainguide for your needs. Check them out!
Look for a future Stuff Mike Rides in the coming months to cover 5.10's High Impact shoes, SRAM's X.0 shifter and the DMC Moto timer.