Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul-searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand-picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.
You've pretty much covered the bases, although not all multi-tools are created equal. One thing that's important to consider is whether the allen and torx keys are actually long enough to be effective. There's nothing worse than pulling out a multi-tool on the side of the trail and finding out that it's too stubby to reach the limit screws on your rear derailleur, or that the 8mm Allen key is so tiny that it's basically there for show. I'd recommend looking for a tool that has at least a 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm Allen keys, plus a T25 and a chain tool. A flathead screwdriver bit can also come in handy. I try not to go too crazy with the amount of tools I carry, but I do like to be prepared, and I typically also carry a small knife, which I've used to do things like trim tire plugs, cut zip ties, etc...
With a with a multi-tool, a knife, tire levers, tube, pump, and some tire plugs stashed on your bike or body you should be able to deal with most of the mechanicals that could potentially occur out on a ride. Of course, for bigger excursions you'll want to add a few more things to that fix-it kit, but most of that time those tools and supplies should suffice.
Crankbrothers' F15 multi-tool has been serving me well for over a year now – it's a nice little option that hasn't ever let me down. For more ideas, Richard Cunningham put together a selection of even more choices that's worth a look. — Mike Kazimer
A good multi-tool should hold up to years of regular use.
Question: @Gmoneyog1 asks in the All-Mountain/Cross-Country Forum: I own a Canyon Spectral with the Fox Factory Kashima kit on it, and I love the Fox stuff but I've always been on Fox... If you know what I mean. I've been looking into other suspension options lately, and there are a lot more. What are your opinions on them? I'm not a huge RockShox/SRAM guy, but I'm open-minded.
Depending on your budget and intentions, Fox, RockShox, DVO, Manitou, MRP, and Cane Creek all make some decent stuff. But as with a lot of things in life, the more you spend, the more you get, and the top drawer offerings from all six companies won't be holding anyone back. Since you're currently on the Kashima-equipped fancy pants stuff from Fox, I'll assume that you want the same level of gear from the other guys, too. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Do you service your own stuff, and is it important that you can get parts quickly? The Pike and Lyrik are good options as they're probably the easiest to service and, depending on where you're located, to find spare parts for. With fewer external dials, I also think of RockShox's forks as being better suited to those set-and-forget types, but performance doesn't suffer because of this. If you like to tinker with settings and want the most adjustable suspension, Fox's new Grip2 damper is the ticket. It also happens to kick ass as well. Manitou's Mattoc is the sleeper here; it doesn't get enough respect but performs just as well, and its hydraulic bottom out adjustment (HBO for short) is an awesome, functional feature. DVO is certainly the cool kid on the block right now, and the Off The Top (OTT) dial is a neat tool, too. Cane Creek's Helm fork would be my choice if I were a large rider who wanted a sturdy feeling fork with damping the suits very aggressive riding. My personal pick would be MRP's Ribbon, though, because I like stuff that's a bit uncommon, and its twin-tube damper massively impressed me when I had it on the front of my bike last year.— Mike Levy
MRP's Ribbon fork was our Suspension Product of the Year Winner in 2017 for good reason.
Question: @stevecous asks in the Mechanics' Lounge Forum: Handlebars seem to be getting wider and wider yet my requirement does not. I am looking to buy a Raceface Six-C 820mm bar and want to cut it down to 760 which is below the stated minimum. Does anybody know the reason for the minimum length on bars? I can't imagine it would weaken the bar.
I doubt you're the only one that's wondered this. While wider bars do offer more control, it's important to have your bars the appropriate width for your shoulders and 760mm is pretty reasonable width for a lot of people. The bars should be plenty strong at whatever width. A lot of manufacturers, such as ENVE, don't recommend cutting a bar narrower than a certain width because it will adversely impact the ride quality. Engineers at Raceface will tell you that "not following the recommended guidelines can create a serious safety issue for the rider if they cut beyond the bar trim recommendations and that a rider should always be sure that the bar is rated for the type of riding they will be using it for."
The wider the bar is, the more leverage you have on it. If the bar is cut down, it's going to be stiffer. This can cause the quality of the ride to decrease and not be what the manufacturer considers "ideal". In other words, it could be harsh and beat you up a bit more. RaceFace and other brands make narrower bars that can be run at 760mm and still be in their recommended range of cutting, so it's worth exploring those options before you clip 60mm off of those 820's.
If the bars are cut narrow enough that your controls are not able to be clamped to the intended surface, especially on a carbon bar, that's a whole other issue and could compromise the integrity of the bar. And, remember, always make sure your bars are clamped evenly and you torque the bolts to the manufacturers' recommended setting.— Daniel Sapp
Cutting down a set of already stout bars below the recommended width is the recipe for a harsh ride.