Video: $180 vs. $1900 Contact Points - Budget vs. Baller Episode 3

Dec 6, 2021 at 14:52
by Pinkbike Originals  


This time on Budget vs. Baller Henry and Jason dive into the world of contact points. Grips, handlebars, stems, dropper posts, saddles, and pedals all play a role in a bike's performance but do you need to splash out on the latest and greatest? We're here to find out where to spend and where to save.


WATCH ALL EPISODES OF BUDGET VS. BALLER HERE


Presented by


Jenson USA





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216 Comments

  • 306 8
 I know this is a bit of fun, but I don’t really understand the “budget” upgrades. It’s more like budget downgrades.. why put on worse parts (tires and dropper) than what originally came on the bike? Ofcourse it’s going to feel garbage, those parts are garbage.

I feel like you’re going to chuck an $80 Amazon fork on there in one of the episodes and complain that this “upgrade” hasn’t improved performance at all
  • 151 1
 Came here to say the same thing. Maybe some actual budget upgrades, not just blowing money on the cheapest shit you can find?
Also, please turn Henry’s levels up (and intro music down). Same issue when he was on GMBN, he has a whisper quiet voice and no audio tech in sight to help him out.
  • 126 3
 for 12 dolar they could get a odi grip from jenson instead of a knock off brand from china, for 25 dolar they could get truvativ bars from jenson. they could have kept the original saddle and saved 20 bucks from going to a trash product also why even downgrade to a dropper brand that isn't even used in entry of entry level bikes. for 9 dolars i won't even think about getting a stem known for breaking. stock ones were perfectly fine and safe. The title of the series is hugely misleading imo, they're spending money for the sake of spending it
  • 22 4
 Maybe they need to have three options: Budget, Average, High End
  • 23 0
 Completely agree.. I think the series would be better off going forward if henry could pick and choose the upgrade parts he keeps on the bike, and is able to swap back and forth with original parts he likes. For instance whats the point in going back to the bad tires? If this was a real world scenario (which is the point of this test) then you would stick with the original tires that came on the bike as they are better. I think he should try the new budget parts, but be free to put the old parts back on if he genuinely prefers them.
  • 2 4
 I would hope they'd ACTUALLY order the fork straight from AliExpress... since they're likely going to need tapered steerers and thru-axles... now the question becomes whether the giants are OD or OD2 steerer tubes. It will also be nice if they actually take the time to read the specs... lots of cheap forks come with only 30mm or 32mm standchions but if you search around 34s and 36s do exist.
  • 14 4
 @Noeserd: Whatever you want to say about Henry's seat, it looked 100 times better than the seat on the Lal Bike with the Supre Drivetrain.
  • 3 22
flag deeeight (Dec 28, 2021 at 9:53) (Below Threshold)
 @Noeserd: The question could be WHAT is actually available... lots of online dealers show stuff on their catalogs but actually have zero stock to ship. At least with AliExpress and Amazon you can see if they have any available.
  • 5 2
 Henry riding in gloves tells everything we need to know
  • 41 1
 Shaping up to look more like “Bin vs Baller”
  • 14 2
 ok that was weird.... i ride a sworks and i still get smoked by guys riding much less expensive bikes. but viewing this video made mee feel very uncomfortable ...it was like making fun of less expensive things... no no no no .... that was a cheap video
  • 23 0
 @nurseben: maybe they should have budget, common sense and baller. Since apparently fixing up good gear (forks, shocks, wheels, etc) isn't cheaper in PB mind compared to buying junk. And don't get le wrong, there are plenty of good, cheap products on Aliexpress or entry level, but if you have stock stuff that works or can be fixed it doesn't make any sense to buy the cheapest junk to replace it. I was looking forward to that series but stoped watching it, this show is garbage.
  • 9 2
 @aceface17: i think stuff like tires is good to show the super cheap stuff though because eventually your tires will wear out and maybe this video will teach someone to not cheap out too much when replacing them. Stuff like saddles and pedals that dont wear out doesnt make much sense to downgrade though as a cheap person would just run what they brung
  • 9 1
 couldn't agree more.
They should have gone "min/max" vs "max/max". That would have been interesting to see if there was a discernible difference.
  • 7 1
 on the fork, It would make more sense to open up the suspension and revise before chucking in a new one.
  • 3 3
 @Noeserd: some people believe they are saving money... As for the stem, I agree, the stock Giant stem is fine, but some people will replace it just for the color and the $9 price... But, somethings aren't worth skimping on..
  • 3 8
flag deeeight (Dec 28, 2021 at 11:59) (Below Threshold)
 @lumpy873:

the stock giant stems aren't anything to write home about either. Its just 6061-T6 and only meant for XC/Trail riding. If anything that $9 6061-T6 stem is going to be stronger (and heavier) simply by having more material in it than what it replaced.
  • 3 4
 @deeeight: I got a identical stem from AliExpress for less than 5€,and it worked fine on my trail HT.
The stock parts on the Giant are not flashy but they do the job and take abuse,I see those "budget upgrades" on the premise that something broke and the owner hadn't got the cash for an equal quality part,so he went for the cheapest he could find.
But I agree that we could buy better parts for the same money.
  • 3 0
 I look at it more as a part has broken on your bike so the question is, replace with like for like or go aliexpress or Amazon. Obviously the answer is what everyone already knows, go for middle of the road and it will likely function well enough that any more money spent on high end would result in imperceptible differences.
  • 5 0
 Well I guess it's good I didn't watch. Sounds like more shite upgrades for laughs...

Would be one thing if the first "intro" had made the point that they were going to do "crappy CHEAP SHITE changes" to the one bike just for fun.

But it said "budget upgrades" which implies there is actually an UPGRADE that is going to happen...???
  • 66 0
 +1 Just commented on youtube, but i feel like they look at this more. Just going to reiterate that although this series is entertaining, it is completely useless. There is no use in comparing an 85 dollar dropper to axs. I would much rather see something like a factory transfer vs a brandx ascend, a raceface ride cockpit vs the carbon enve stuff, stamp 11 vs race face chesters, and a carbon vs steel rail version of two saddles that the testers know they like, like a wtb silverado (250) vs steel (50). Same goes with last episode, the mike bear tires obviously weren't an upgrade, they were a downgrade because they have an xc style tread, and the wheels aren't even the right size. i wouldve much rather seen some custom built carbon wheeled, berd spoked wheel compared to a cheaper dt swiss wheel that actually fits. And for any of these, finding older used parts would be a much better option than what you are doing currently. I know this comment is just going to get lost in the pile of hateful comments, and pinkbike isn't going to change anyway, but i just feel the need to vent.
  • 16 2
 @Lhillgamer: They can't do a comparison like you've asked for because they get marketing dollars from both sides. They can only show these alibaba parts because they don't get paid by the chinese part manufacturers.
  • 5 0
 @Balgaroth: @Balgaroth: @Balgaroth: Common sense or value option would be my preference, that's how I build mine.

Honestly, it's hard to feel the difference between high end and middle range products, the extra cost is mostly bling or lower weight, very few high end products add any functional improvement over middle range products outside of suspension.
  • 13 1
 Yeah, they managed to fuck up the whole series
  • 11 0
 It’s almost as if you guys haven’t realized this is just another sales pitch from jenson…

Realistically this is on par with the weather bruh hawking the latest garbage everyday on global.. take their “pro” advice with a large grain of salt.
  • 2 2
 @jwdenver: reviews in the bike publishing industry are most of the time the brands sending you testing samples. Not the magazine buying and testing the parts.
  • 5 0
 I just re-watched the original "intro". In hindsight they are pretty much hinting all along they were going to spec cheap CRAP instead of what most of us would consider "budget" parts.They even showed a glimpse of the Mike Bear tires at the end.

But if you look at the comments on that first video I don't think most of us thought that's what they were going to do. I think the majority of us thought they were going to do an honest "budget" parts compared to top dollar parts review and that's what most of us were expecting.

Missed opportunity IMO. Hopefully some other YouTuber with big pockets can take that idea and run with it?
  • 4 0
 @Noeserd: Don't forget the Hussefelt stem, amazing product that can be regularly found for around $20.
  • 4 0
 Tranzx dropper would have been the ideal budget dropper
  • 6 0
 Yup. I figure the budget would like spending $$ on putting a charger damper in a Yari fork instead of buying an entirely new fork.
  • 8 1
 @JohSch: not really. It’s sponsored content. They make clickbait, we (the knowledgeable user base) all click on it to call them out, they get views and get paid.

Garbage like this is going to hasten my move to Vital.
  • 4 0
 The largest demographic on YouTube for mountain biking is kids under the age of 18. Look at all the comments on Seth's Bike Hacks and it's obvious. Pinkbike is pretty similar too. Pinkbike's review vids don't apply to kids because very few kids under 18 can even afford the $2500 budget full-sus bikes. One of tge contingencies of trying to grow and getting bought by Outside is to appeal to a wider audience. It's no secret why Seth has the biggest channel. It's because it appeals to different people other than the typical journalist sites.
So no, none of these videos will make sense. They're for kids.
  • 6 0
 It's funny now to realise they got it right (by mistake it would seem) going with the Bontrager wheels. They are a good low cost option that will likely be an upgrade for a lot of people. Actually a good comparison against custom carbon wheels to see if the expensive wheels are noticeably better and if so how then to think about whether the improvement is worth the $$.

Suspension should be fox factory Vs Marzocchi Z2 or something but will likely be the cheapest Suntour XRC forks that Jenson stocks - even though they are entirely inappropriate.
  • 6 16
flag SebastianApple (Dec 28, 2021 at 18:41) (Below Threshold)
 @conman1395: As a 16-year-old viewer I can tell that you are completely wrong. I find it highly entertaining to see the upgrades and downgrades that they are doing to these bikes. Over the past year, I have found that Pinkbike's content has become more appealing and better. Keep up the great work Pinkbike!
  • 19 2
 @SebastianApple: you literally just confirmed my comment lol. I said their job was to appeal to kids under 18 and you said watching this content is entertaining. Thanks for playing.
  • 5 0
 @conman1395: Haha! That made reading the comments worth it Smile
  • 1 3
 Because those parts aren’t downgrades for everyone and/or they’re trying to see whether any of these parts are worthy replacements when stock parts wear out.
  • 1 1
 @skogland: you don’t watch the video, do you? No way, that’s just advertising, I’m here for the comments
  • 3 0
 Fully agree !!
The budget end could have been done much better… How about actually guiding people on buying cost effective components to upgrade when on a budget?
Just putting on the nastiest, cheapest crap offers online a couple of minutes worth of vacuous entertainment…
  • 2 0
 Budget build should entirely be based on what most (maybe?) PB users will do. Sales and deals on, Kijiji, FB and PB marketplace. You can pick up some wicked good deals from people selling take-off parts, warranty replacements, "I decided I didn't like the colour" parts, OEM tires, etc.

That's the budget build I want to see.
  • 2 0
 @Alias530: So far they seem like they've all been downgrades compared to the used parts that were already on the bike when they started. Better to spend that money getting the bike serviced/repaired and then if needed buying used replacements parts you know work rather then taking a huge gamble on knock off parts...
  • 1 0
 LOL, just occurred to me that we'll probably see this on the "Top Stories of 2022" because of how many page views even though some of us haven't watched the video on the page... Smile Smile Smile
  • 2 0
 They should have some kind of third category that is “what pinkbike would buy for a reasonable price.” That way we could see what is best of the three. Most of the wins going to baller and pinkbike picks, but there could occasionally be a good budget option. But yeah they are just choosing all the products that nobody will buy for a budget.
  • 7 3
 I don't think these reviewers have any concept of having to upgrade a less than perfect bike. They have been riding 10k bikes too long and are out of touch with the average mtb'er.
  • 8 0
 They’ve totally messed it up. I was really looking forward to the series but not now. Replacing a perfectly fine handlebar with a shitter one, what’s the point?
  • 5 0
 @stiingya:

"But it said "budget upgrades" which implies there is actually an UPGRADE that is going to happen...???"

Those are the words I was looking for. This is the motto of budget upgrades vs baller upgrades.

They did it very right with the wheels and tires. You will change the tires, and budget new tires are upgrades from slick tires.

If they adress this issue and remake this episode, there will be no problem.
  • 1 0
 @road-n-dirt: I'm using an internal cable routed dropper from KS that I bought via aliexpress. One year later and function better than new.
  • 2 0
 They should have gone for one bike pimped to fuck, and one bike having what everyone does in real life - suspension service, new chain, cables and tyres. New anything that is actually broken. Service or fix anything that can be serviced or fixed. I guess we would see that the difference is in the tyres if they did that.
  • 5 0
 Budget Upgrades or budget downgrades?
  • 2 0
 @road-n-dirt: #1 manufacturer of rebranded droppers for the OEM market (Specialized posts are tranz-x's for example).
  • 2 0
 I was hoping the budget vs baller comparison was going to be within the same brand? Or at least reputable name brands? Like Ritchey comp trail bars (39) vs Ritchey WCS carbon (229) or Magic Marry performance line (44) vs evolution line (101).
  • 2 4
 @conman1395: my neighbors make good money... they have 3 sons... about four years ago they bought their 16 year old middle son a fancy-ish new brand full suspension sold here in canada (and actually reviewed here on pinkbike) called Staran that was about that price. And at first he was riding it all the time. But within about 18 months he'd largely given up on mountain biking and moved onto other pursuits. These sorts of videos are as you say, aimed at kids. Kids who's attention span for mountain biking might disappear once they get a girlfriend

.
  • 5 1
 Come on PB, you should at least change in the same class as what was stock. A downgrade is not what we would ever do in the wild. I would also like to see what Henry would pick for him self rather than getting the cheapest shit on his bike. All that Amazon and Ablibaba stuff beside, you could at least use lower end components that had been supplied by Jenson. In this case it would stay more inline what we (your clients) would use ourself.

Set your specification sheet in a way that it can be matched, a dropper with 100mm drop is again questionable, pedals with a body below 100mm width is also garbage,
When it comes to suspension and brakes will you also use 80$ products copared to a 1400$ spec??? Where is the point. It should still be relevant for the masses.

I may get it wrong but the series should not be a comedy and satire show
  • 2 3
 @x-rider: I just realized...the $9 blue stem... Seth used a black one on one of his flipbike builds a few months ago. Pinkbike...continuiing to be an industry leader in stealing component choices from the big influencers...
  • 2 0
 @conman1395 @crazy-canuck: "Are you laughing at my brother?" -John Shelby
  • 4 0
 They're entertaining videos, but it would be more useful if the "budget" products were things that readers on this site would be more likely to try. Vanishingly few pinkbike readers will be shopping Mike Bear tires; I'd rather see high-end Maxxis vs. the Delium Versatile that Henry wrote about last week. More expensive that Mike Bears, but I might actually ride them. Or for pedals, compare the $300 pedals to Chesters or Stamps, which cost about 1/6 as much.

I guess I want "budget" to mean "best value" rather than "cheapest thing we can find on Amazon." The Ibis Ripley AF is the PB Value Bike of the Year even though it was more expensive that most of the other value bikes tested, because it's a lot of bike for the cost. Personally, I think a comparison between the Ripley AF and, say, a top-spec Ripley would be interesting. A comparison between that same high-end Ripley and the cheapest full-sus at Walmart? Not so much.
  • 1 2
 @Pghbrown: The mike bear tires were chosen because the brand or distributor submitted them for review. PB doesn't buy anything. Any reviews they do is stuff sent for free to be reviewed. At some stage, they had enough of these things piling up that they thought make a video series for them... the two used giants came from Giant Bicycles demo fleet.
  • 1 1
 @nurseben: You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
  • 4 0
 100% this is what I came here to say. I was really excited for this series as someone who resents some of the aesthetic and monetary similarities to jewelry that bike components are approaching, but replacing Giant spec'd dropper and cockpit with something off amazon just for a laugh is the opposite of a budget friendly upgrade. They're spending money for worse kit. Its also dangerous. Would be much more interesting to see Henry properly service his existing dropper and sus and compare that to Jason's fancy-boi upgrades. Even better would be to have Henry service everything in the first 2 episodes, while having Jason have a per week spending limit, and see who had the cumulative fastest times/most fun over the course of the series.
  • 3 1
 @Pghbrown: I want to see more top vs base spec comparisons of the same model. Is an S-Works Stumpy Evo and an Eco Comp Alloy $7200 better? Ha ha
  • 2 0
 @conman1395: holy shit I was skeptical when I read "Seth has the biggest channel" and then I went and looked and 2.37M subs to this dude's vlogs where he barely rides and...tells you to put a $20 in your f*cking handlebar. wow
  • 2 0
 @Balgaroth: Totally agree. They should have had a middle ground (common sense) option or a non-upgrade, stock part option. That would have been more realistic.
  • 99 3
 This is so unfortunate. Henry outright admitting the tires were unrideable proves the whole point of the "budget upgrades" was misleading. I don't wanna point fingers at Jenson or the brands, maybe this was just how the script was written, but why does it have to be the CHEAPEST and MOST EXPENSIVE... Aka what people aren't buying. The large majority of parts people use are simply between those 2 extremes.

I suppose this was an entertainment series and people thought it was going to be an education/testing series. It's almost like PB meme-ing on all the "Amazon upgrade" channels.

And even then, the upgrades being done are similar. Extremely long-winded way of saying "you get what you pay for" but also that the bikes ride fine no matter what.

I think an alternate version of this would have been using objectively different parts while still retaining the upgrade concept. So both bikes came with a budget air shock, how about one gets the affordable Marzocchi coil and the other gets a super expensive air shock instead. And one gets a wide range 8 or 9 speed from Box or MicroShift and the other gets AXS drivetrain, to explain the differences between wireless advantages and less gears to go through advantages. Maybe one gets a very basic fork upgrade, and the other gets an overkill RS Zeb upfork and explain how up forking can affect the geometry and ride feel both down the hill and up it.

I think this could have been entertaining AND informative/educational :-/
  • 3 1
 I was disappointed when Henry switched back to Maxxis "as a control tire". If you picked them, you ride them! The fact is, some may actually buy these parts... but those buying them are not likely to be on Pinkbike in the 1st place. Keep the Mike Bears on and keep it real/comedic.

The problem with a true Budget vs Baller using decent Jenson USA budget parts - Youtube couldn't properly convey the discernible differences past counting grams without proper abuse and instrumented testing.
  • 2 1
 @tankthegladiator:

Another point is that by riding the Mike Bears, he will get used to it and lower his time difference to the tires that it came with.
  • 4 0
 @tankthegladiator: If the tires are shit in the wet... stop shooting the videos when its raining maybe?? Lots of major tire makers have produced tires where were frightening in the wet on rock or roots. Better still... JUST BUY a different model of cheap tire.CST has loads of tire models that cost significantly less than the ones that are part of their Maxxis line.But the thing is...they're NOT buying these parts at all. These are products submitted for reviews by their dealers, distributors and /manufacturers being compiled together onto these bikes for a video clickbait series.
  • 3 0
 @deeeight: I fully agree. On Jenson, I just filled a cart with everything they've done upto now including wheels, tape, tubeless stems , sealant and tires. Really decent stuff consisting of real brands, real components you or I could actually ride, for $900 all in. Budget vs Baller, if informative could have been done well. But if aimed to be satire - could have been done much much better.
  • 4 0
 @Notmeatall: also what was the point of running Mike Bears tubeless at 40psi with a frame pump strapped to the bike? If you can't get it to stay on the bead tubeless you'd be better off throwing a tube in there and running 30psi. Anyway, huge missed opportunity. Was looking forward to the series but that 2nd episode told me I don't need to see the rest.
  • 4 0
 @bkm303:

What told me the series was going to be a joke was when they shoved a 148mm wheel into a 142mm frame in part 2 because well... they had to. It was the only wheel in the correct tire diameter that had been sent to test. Anyone ACTUALLY doing budget purchases would have had the common sense to order the correct parts for their bike. Surprised they didn't end up with the wrong diameter dropper post and either sanding it down or beer can shimming it up to fit the bike.
  • 80 0
 Next time try doing what everyone on here is saying Pinkbike. Let one bike have an unlimited budget, and the other do actual upgrades. And what is out there that offers the best value. Simply putting the cheapest parts you can find does nothing for the consumer. But a $650 Bomber fork vs. a Lyrik ultimate is a real world decision. Or a Yari, vs. a 38. This is like comparing a WRC rally car, to a Yogu with 250,000 miles on it.
  • 10 1
 This
  • 22 0
 Even keeping the yari and putting in a better damper, showing people what else they can do for a bit less outlay than buying top forks.
  • 21 0
 Absolutely. When I started riding I was very much someone who needed to hunt around for deals and be really canny, now I'm in a position where I can just go out and buy the parts I feel want or need.

This series is completely disingenuous. Making comparisons from off-brand parts AliExpress and premium offerings from JensonUSA is ubsurd and really provides so little real world value. Its also thoroughly unhelpful for people new to the sport that might find the potential cost of the sport a serious barrier.

What would be SOOO much better is to see something akin to the student me—riding a couple of year old aluminium bike with revelations/yari single ply basic compound tyres and a low end drivetrain—and the now 40-something me riding a niche-brand carbon bike with Factory 36s fitted with a Smashpot, a Push ElevenSix and some enduro casing tyres with soft compounds, etcetera etcetera.

Comparisons of relevance and value might have been:
Rockshox AXS vs OneUp dropper
Rev grips or ODI Elite Pro vs DMR deathgrips
Crank Brothers Stamp 11 vs Raceface Chester pedals
Enve Stem and Handlebars vs budget Brand X or Funn stem and handlebars

The simple point is that you CAN spend the earth on your bike should you wish but it's not actually a requirement. You can have a riot and shred hard on a fairly modest rig, where your upgrades are affordable.

Ballin' hard can be something you aspire to but it should be made clear that in mod instances their performance benefit from much much more affordable mid range offerings are often slight and in some cases almost imperceivable.
  • 7 0
 Maybe I missed something but I was under the impression that all the parts were going to be stuff available from Jenson, not cheap amazon junk for the low budget bike.
  • 2 0
 I'd be surprised if any Yugo ever made it to 250K miles.
  • 1 0
 They got an Enve stem. They can put an Intend UD fork and a EXT shock. For the Yari, a service, damper and maybe a coil conversion, if the original air shock doesn't behave nicely.
  • 56 1
 Maybe trying to justify expensive parts by saying "see, budget parts are garbage, you NEED $200 pedals".

You can build a good bike on a budget. But y'know...marketing.
  • 40 0
 Let’s be honest, a full suspension rebuild front and rear plus dropper service, a drivetrain adjustment and cable replacement, a brake bleed, and new tires probably would have cost $500 or so to do and would have had Henry’s bike riding almost as good as factory. I don’t know what shape the frame bearings were in but even spending $1000 totally rebuilding everything on the bike still would have cost less than Jason’s saddle and dropper. #That should be the real takeaway here.
  • 5 0
 Henry literally says to buy the chromoly version instead of the titanium axle pedals.
  • 36 0
 rather than buying random crap ( that actually downgrades the bike) , there should have been a set budget per part , say 20 quid vs 200 quid , and then it's up to guys to buy new or used part to improve the performance of the bike.
  • 26 0
 Instead of buying a new dropperpost for 85$, they should get new calbes, housings and a better 1x style lever for 50$ and keep the old dropperpost. Just replace the worn parts and do a service in order to acutally improve the performance.
Downgrading the buget bike like this is just stupid.
  • 13 0
 Yeah giving henry a budget and telling him he has to buy x parts for that budget would make much more sense rather than buying the most horrific shit they could find.
  • 5 1
 Agreed.

Henry should have an overall budget he needs to stay under, but he can experiment to determine if there are things he bought but didn’t like enough to keep.

This whole idea of buying bottom of the barrel is better suited to building an entire bike from the frame up, where the owner doesn’t have any existing parts to compare against.
  • 5 0
 @Rossfeld-biker: Exactly! Why the f**k would anyone go from a longer internal routed dropper to a shorter external one? That is a downgrade and straight up stupid. Not to mention why even bother changing the saddle unless it's torn up or makes your hind parts miserable? The budget end of these clips is just spending money on junk for no reason.
  • 6 0
 Exactly right. The way most us of probably upgrade a bike is by starting with a (low) budget and figuring out how much value can be had for that money. Then you make choices, like "New good quality mid-range part vs. used high-end part?" I've done that countless times. I've never once made the choice to buy cheap crap and actually downgrade the bike.
  • 31 3
 I love the video idea but I feel it's missing the mark a bit. Your audience isn't riding Walmart bikes on the trails.

Consumers are a lot smarter with their money than you're giving them credit for. No one out there is considering throwing a $9 stem (or any of the other garbage on Henry's bike) on their multi thousand dollar enduro bike. I think I'd personally find a lot more value in these videos if it was comparing decent budget kit that people actually buy vs higher end parts and then giving your informed opinion on where you feel it's worth high end upgrades. Fun videos regardless and I'll keep watching just for entertainment.
  • 2 1
 I'm with you when talking about dropper and saddle (or tires fwiw), but I ride this exact stem (one in black and one in silver on the DJ) on a "multi thousand dollar enduro bike" (in the lower "multi thousands, mind you). Some friends do, too. For years going strong now.

These are not downgrades per se - depends on what was on the bike before. In this case, I don't think they're upgrades, either. They are what I would go for when strapped for cash and NEED a 35mm stem (maybe old one broke, maybe got a 60mm on before the swap,...).
  • 24 0
 This is all good fun but you're learning the same thing Donut learned on the first season of hi-low. There is a limit to how budget you can go before the parts become downgrades, performing worse than stock, inappropriate for your goals and being downright dangerous. The second season of hi-low got it much better, the budget parts weren't just 'the cheapest possible', they were the cheapest possible while still being an upgrade that worked toward their goals for the vehicle. I hope this gets a second season and that you learn and change in the same way.
  • 5 0
 Agree - someone said above, give Henry a budget he has to stick to on the final build, but let him try the different options (and if he decides not to fit them, don’t include it in the budget).
And of course, start and finish the series with a race, see how much the budget upgrades improve Henry’s time, compared to how much money no object improves Jason’s.
  • 1 1
 I liked the first season of HiLow better - everyone knows that normal stuff is OK. I wanna see wacky eBay stuff I debated installing when I was in high school get installed by professionals.
  • 1 0
 The Donut 4x4 special was a good example of this concept executed properly. Do I need a winch or a come along? ARB lockers vs junkyard e locker, stuff like that.
  • 1 1
 @husstler: That's been done a billion times though
  • 19 0
 i question you choice of buget-components, guys.
wake stem and handlebars work fine and are stable. (the handlebar is available with 1001 "brands" on it).... but everything else was just... bad.
For the same money you get some stuff that actually works. who on earth would choose this "saddle?"
  • 2 0
 Agree.
A few friends and I ride the stem (me on several different bikes for years now, swapped over in some cases, outliving some bikes), and a friend rides the bars. They're fine. no complaints, don't know what you would expect of a stem more than "it's there, it doesn't break, is the right length".
With handlebars I see the personal preference point, and one like the One Up making claims about vibration damping. But again, those bars are fine.
  • 19 0
 Production is finished long ago of course, but it is disappointing to see this series going exactly the direction we all hoped it wouldn't
  • 20 2
 Why the f*ck are you guys downgrading the budget bike?
  • 13 1
 Jason going full lipstick on a pig with $400+ in bar and stem alone. That’s like 20 Mike Bears - a whole forest worth of bears.

I’m almost feeling bad for Henry but I haven’t forgotten that internal cable routing debacle.
  • 14 2
 Dude, you guys seriously flaunted rip-off Chinese products? Forget where they're made, when they're straight-up stolen IP you really shouldn't be supporting them.

For the same money as those crap pedals, you could have had some Chesters, OneUp, etc. These videos are so far off the mark, it's painful.
  • 1 5
flag zoobab2 (Dec 28, 2021 at 14:41) (Below Threshold)
 "stolen IP" imanginary property cannot be stolen, it's not a rival good.

For the "crap" pedals, only long term tests can compare cheaper pedals with more expensive ones.

Some of those cheaper pedals have a decent quality, just nobody is reviewing them.
  • 12 0
 Instead of Zoom dropper, go for a Satori Sorata Pro for the same 85USD. At least it has 150mm travel, and a decent lever, depending on the model.
  • 9 0
 The original series which this one is based, Hi/Low from Donut Media bought upgrades on a budget/baller price tag. They never downgraded the vehicles or I never saw they did with the 350z or the Tacoma. They even upgraded the low Tacoma with used parts, the locking differential from the hi truck when that was the budget way to achieve that goal. What a waste of a great idea is Pinkbike doing with this series. Most of us would love to upgrade our bikes with budget but reliable parts and that is what Hi/Low did with their vehicles. I'm a fan of the Donut Hi/Low series and I'm waiting for season 3, but I can't say the same for Pinkbike's Budget vs Baller series. A great idea with poor execution.
  • 11 0
 You guys are hung up on what “budget” is. They should have named this series ‘Baller vs what guys on Reddit ride’.
  • 3 0
 Lol this is the one, some of the stuff you see on Reddit is so cringe it almostales you wonder if thats where they got the idea
  • 10 0
 Turn up Henry’s microphone !

I’m sure filming is long finished, but there must be ways to adjust the volume after the fact.
  • 14 0
 Rumor has it no matter how much you turn up his mic he still whispers gently into your ear and ASMRs you to sleep. What we really needed for Christmas was a PB video where Henry goes through all the below threshold comments on the most controversial PB posts and gently reads them to us by a fireplace...
  • 4 0
 @lepigpen: Uncle Henry’s fireside chat.
A new series for 2022.
Good idea you had there.
  • 1 0
 @PB4UGO: username checks out
  • 6 0
 This series is kind of a joke and not the good kind. It's pretty cringy. You could have taken the opportunity to create something valuable, like showing people that expensive parts don't dictate the experience. That a modestly priced component can perform well and produce the same level of joy. Instead, Jason, Henry, and the rest of PinkBike just look like elitists. Maybe it will turn itself around by the end, but as it sits, it looks a lot like a couple of douchie industry insiders.
  • 7 0
 This has to be the worst attempt at advertising by jenson USA. how about spend less on sponsoring this kinda cr@p and lower prices slightly to reflect, we like lower prices more than terrible content.
  • 3 1
 I can stomach their support & pushing product like on the Jeff Kendallweed videos. This however, is a new level of low-end crap.

Still proudly saying that PB is not changing for the worse @brianpark ?
  • 8 0
 give Henry some knock-off sneakers, i see plenty of kids riding trails with knock-oof yeezy hypebeast style shoes
  • 9 0
 Surely the budget option would be to not change anything?
  • 7 0
 They need to bring this series back down to earth. The budget stuff is way too budget and not practical. There are plenty of budget parts that look and perform awesome.
  • 5 0
 damn, seems like this series with great potential is off to a really bad start... you cannot compare this series to the likes of donut's hi vs low series. whoever made the decisions on what parts go on the bikes has really missed their mark. i was excited for this but it's literally just comparing absolute trash parts with the literal most expensive of the expensive parts. very few people in the audience are likely riding walmart bikes on double black trails and the same stands true for the other side of the spectrum
  • 4 0
 The zoom dropper is temperamental to an overly tight / narrow band seatpost clamp. But works as well at -20C as plus 30C. Most all of these cheap droppers are cartridges inside, and a thinwall "post" shaft will pinch the cartridge when the seatpost clamp is tightened too much.
  • 2 0
 Surprisingly I have been running a Sartori internally router post on my hardtail for 2 years now, with most of the use during winter. Post needed extra lub out of the box but has been flawless since. Return is a bit fast but it does the job reliably and that is all I ask from a dropper. Funnily enough you can find the exact same dropper sold by different retailers under their own brands but obviously more expensive (you get warranty and stuff, so fair enough).
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth:

The biggest manufacturer of OEM droppers for different "major" brands is JD Components in taiwan...aka Tranz-X. I'm at five years without maintenance now on the one they made for my 2016 Specialized Fuse. Its also funny how many hold these aliexpress listed brands in disdain when KS... one of the top brands known for droppers... is Kind Shock Suspension.... a taiwanese company largely known prior to the popularity surge in dropper posts, for cheap suspension forks and shocks seen largely on department store bikes.
  • 4 0
 I think a nice twist would be having the chaps trade bikes at the end after their second timed to assess the changes ( I can’t use the term “upgrade”). It would be great to see them asses each other’s bikes. Be like the field test to give a fair assessment. Jason might be gloating less knowing he will eventually have to ride the other bike. Also suggest changing the name of the series to Gutter vs Baller as currently the value of Henry’s is dropping to “ can’t give it away” value.
  • 5 0
 It’s frustrating how pinkbike wants to have integrity when a frame breaks doing a dumb olde drop…. But then go on to hide a sales pitch for one of their biggest advertiser as if it’s useful knowledge.
  • 6 0
 Ol Doddy must be losing his shit with the lack of zip ties on that dropper cable install lol
  • 4 0
 looking forward to brake upgrades so they can put tektro v-brakes on a trail bike come on guys, your're not doing budget parts, you're doing walmart level bike-for-groceries parts
  • 6 4
 I could understand the negative reaction to the last episode, but not so much this time around. For Henry's setup it's less a case of reasonably inexpensive but sensible upgrades, and more a case of 'how bad can the cheapest stuff be?' It may not be what you'd like to see, but it's only entertainment, and I thought today's episode was pretty good.

In last week's episode we saw that for tyres it's a really big deal. This week I'd say the conclusion is that, for contact points, it's not such a big deal.
  • 6 0
 Budget downgrades vs baller upgrades?…
  • 2 0
 I've run fancy pedals-now run Deftraps, and I flat-out prefer them. At $60 or so, replacing them isn't a wallet buster and the rear entry pins are easy to swap.

Not every expensive part is better (and I'd argue most "boutique" parts are hot garbage) and not every budget part is scrap.
  • 6 0
 Trash vs Baller, what a waste of time and resources...
  • 3 0
 there really isnt anything to compare when taking some walmart parts to downgrade what ever that came stock on the giant. even companies knows the OEM specced parts are better than those "budget upgrades"
  • 3 1
 This series is taking a turn for the worse… What irks me the most is that I do not see any PB staff comments….
Why?!?!?
Too scared to admit that this is a corporate sell-out series?
Just looking at the comments it is clearly not in line what the community and general consumer wants or is expecting…
You guys really f@&£ed up a potentially great video series… Hope the Jenson money was worth it…
  • 6 0
 This is dumb. Not sure who this caters to buts it's not actual mtb'rs
  • 2 0
 What is the point of that dropper post and seat? Is a 9 dollar stem really an improvement from the original? I get that they need to get new parts, as it is something sponsored by a bike shop. So the keep and fix parts is not desirable for sponsorship purposes. But for me it would make sense to have "Common sense cheap" that actually improves the bike, and the Baller bike.

If you watched the Donut Hi/Low series, they wouldn't just go for the cheapest random thing. Sometimes the budget difference was not as big, as 30 times the price (280 vs 9 dollar stem), but it was an improvement (or that was the idea)
  • 2 0
 I guess the most worthwhile piece of info in this video was noting that one should choose components like bars and stems wisely since a failure can have serious consequences. That said, the Enve bar/stem combo failed early on in fatigue testing done by a testing lab, I'd have more faith in the $9 stem for reliability.
  • 2 0
 Missed opportunity here. Should've at least attempted to make the bike better on the budget build. While I enjoy this series, I can't shake the 'Gatekeeping' feeling of it. It really screams, spend all the money on all the things or else your upgrades suck.
  • 3 0
 PB - you have an informed audience with strong opinions. For future budget vs baller bits why not democratize the “budget” part choices through a survey and run those parts against the baller build?
  • 2 0
 So weird how I should feel more excited about this series because I can totally relate to the budget side. Matter of fact, I'm rocking the same stem (Wake) that everyone here seems to crap on (and I've had it on other bikes that I've ridden fairly hard)... am also sure that there may be other choice parts from that budget build that would end up being similar (my crankset were $45 Ebay specials, my 12-sp cassette were $60).

Anyway, I managed to build the same Trance for about $1500, so a decent "budget-baller" bike can be done.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/21580653

frame (FB marketplace) $450.00
Ibis wheelset (CL special) $200.00
der/shifter (CL special) $130.00
Ebay chainring $15.00
Ebay cranks $45.00
Ebay cassette $65.00
Zee brakes (used) $200.00
Silverado saddle (used) $20.00
Amazon pedals $20.00
KS dropper (Jenson) $120.00
Minion tire (CL special) $40.00
Pike Fork (trade up) $100.00
DPX2 shock (trade up) $100.00
  • 1 0
 Brah; you're supposed to pay five grand for this; which I can clearly probably bend with my hands. You're doing it wrong:
polebicycles.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/POLE-machine_white_page.jpg
  • 4 0
 I'm surprised Henry didn't have more to say about the externally routed dropper. The horror!
  • 6 1
 I feel like I could do a better job with this series.
  • 3 0
 very true Evan.
  • 2 0
 Rev grip owner (I know), got them for $50 and had previous hand injuries, everyone thinks I'm a dentist....but like they're riding >$300 cassettes...
Seems like low-mid level is the best.... (happy OneUp fan)
  • 1 1
 Love my XX1 cassettes.
  • 3 0
 It's the second time the comments are full of this isn't budget, or do 3 versions next time. @brianpark any chance of a season 2?
  • 2 0
 Do some decent testing on those components before you claim out of nowhere that they might break. Heavy over built aluminum won't break easily. It could still be true that this stem is actually made out of cheese
  • 6 4
 crankbrother products are the true meaning of baller because you know that whoever buys any of their trash will end up spending another 200$ on something else almost immediately.
  • 5 0
 Triggering the CrankBros fanbois. Their reputation for garbage parts goes back over 20 YEARS!!! Just like SRAM had to prove they could make a brake that didn't suck (and Code's don't suck), Crank Bros. needs to put 5-8 years of utterly reliable stuff out before they've proven trustworthy.
  • 1 2
 @wyorider: rode mallets 3 for a year and they straight. Currently ride highline 7 dropper mainly because the 4 year warranty because Of a v2 OneUp cartridge died twice in 6 months. 1 year in CB Synthesis e11 wheels and still going strong.
  • 3 0
 you guys should post the running total of each bikes budget with each new episode so we can watch how fast Jason's bike runs away from Henry's dollar wise!
  • 4 0
 This was a really cool series, but this is a complete joke. The worn out parts were better than the garbage put onto it.
  • 3 0
 this series started good but then taken a massive downturn, budget downgrades? why??

why are PB videos going downhill recently?
  • 4 1
 As an encore, maybe you all should do some series about what the Outside+ executive team thinks we drive and eat, or maybe what sort of homes we live in.
  • 3 0
 beware of the 20 dollar ebay special handlebar! check out my video clip in my profile of when that identical bar broke on me off a small drop last fall.
  • 1 0
 Instead of the Mike Bear tires (which almost none of us would realistically put on our bikes), you could have tested something like the CST Rock Hawk (same parent company as Maxxis). I think that's a more realistic budget vs baller test.
  • 1 0
 Even tho its downgrading in every aspect i still think it makes a good contrast between top tier and cheap ebay stuff. Just to show us that alot of cheap stuff is almost as good, if you look away from the estetic facts and your trust in the construction.
  • 2 0
 I realize this is a Jenson ad, but comparing bad parts that none of us would buy to super luxurious products misses the point and doesn't make good for Jenson's image, quite the opposite.
  • 1 0
 I think its good to compare the super cheap stuff to the super nice stuff. If henry had decent name brand but still budget parts - there isnt really that big of a difference in ride feel, they would perform well enough that these videos would be boring, henry would have nothing bad to say about them. Everyone knows that - these episodes are fantastic because they are showing what to not put on your bike for safety reasons! Too many parts out there that are attractive for price but are actually unsafe to use
  • 2 0
 So when they do the suspension upgrades are we going to see the shock “upgraded” for a block of wood? Pine is softer so it’ll have more of a dampened ride vs hickory…….
  • 2 0
 I feel like they should do the following for the budget bike:
Here is $180, for which you can buy the following parts (list of parts), you can use ebay/pinkbike to get the equivalent.
  • 2 0
 Suggestion: do a poll on the budget parts spec for future episodes ( as I’m sure everything has been edited already, maybe do some second episodes for things like tires) and let the masses let you know what they want.
  • 1 0
 The majority of budget parts are all the same, just different decals...bars, and stems until you get into the mid-range are all literally the same bar and stem made by Dimension, Velo, or Ritchey. Trials riders get the bottom of the barrel compared to stuff MTBers get....if those stems and bars are lasting years on a fully rigid bike getting scraped and bailed with on rocks, gapping to front wheel and doing drops to flat concret, it's fine for most of the Freds hucking off a 2 foot ledge to dirt with 180mm of travel. Ride what you can afford and don't worry about it....
  • 3 1
 Great episode. Glad you swapped out the tires on the budget bike. Don't think I would of done the blue anodized and oil slick pedals but hey, thats my opinion.
  • 4 0
 At least Henry's glasses cost more than all today's upgrades
  • 4 0
 @jasonlucas Ill take the old chromag saddle!
  • 8 6
 I'm enjoying this series immensely. The subject matter is interesting and the chemistry between you guys is pretty good. 10/10 so far.
  • 6 5
 Agree. Complaining by oh-so-serious Pinkbike commentators adds to the amusement factor.
  • 3 0
 Henry's bike reminds me of every "upgrade" video on YouTube lol Snafu and Wake. Two brands I would never purchase.
  • 4 0
 How about testing a Rapha jacket vs a Walmart one. Oh wait..
  • 2 0
 I can't stop laughing when they show Jason's fork action on the trails. Would be fun to see a side-by-side of old fork vs new next week.
  • 3 1
 Can’t believe you’d just discard the Chromag saddle for some garbage SQlabs saddle and call it an upgrade. I’m offended
  • 4 0
 This new series seems to have gone over really well . . .
  • 1 0
 It is pretty easy to determine what components you can shave some money on and what you can't if you are a capable rider and ride a lot. This series is mostly for novice mtb riders.
  • 1 1
 I've got revgrips. Crazy awesome. I've got SQ saddles (611, 60x, 610) and can recommend them all (get the right size). I've got full AXS xx1. Regularly reliable for 2100+ miles. I clip in and use Santa Cruz bar (after trying the new PNW and seling it) so those aren't great comparisons.

I'm not a dentist but some of the more expensive stuff is just better.
  • 4 0
 This is Dentist vs Dangerous
  • 1 1
 Anyone else realized this video series is just stealing ideas from BermPeak ? He's already done a long review on Amazon sourced pedals... he's already reviewed those $90 grips. He's done cheap bike upgrades with Amazon sourced parts on used bikes to give away or to flip for a profit. He's also put together some rather fancy bikes.
  • 1 1
 This is tragic. Henry should have had a set budget and decided where and how to spend it - like what to upgrade, what to leave, and what to service/fix. He should have also been able to choose whether to buy new or used. Just slapping on the worst and cheapest landfill materials, replacing better parts that came on the bike in the process, isn't educating anyone. Why not make this realistic? Such a waste of a great idea.
Also - in each episode a timed run should have taken place after the upgrades to see if they actually made the bike(s) faster.
  • 1 0
 I know most of us wanted a real budget vs baller where proper products are considered...... but we all have that one freind who thinks the cheapest parts are "just as good" and tosses a wake stem on a park bike (true story).
  • 1 0
 Wake stems are known to break. For little more dollars, go for ZTTO stems, in 35mm and 50mm versions.
  • 1 0
 @zoobab2: IIs ZTTO a step up though? They cros brand with Zoom and many others. Although I've used a cassette of theirs with success.

I'd rather find a $10 brand name stem used either way....
  • 1 1
 @itsjasonlucas I strongly agree with saddles beeing personal preference. Nevertheless, SQLabs have, to my knowledge and personal experience, two standout "features":

A: they feel like shit on the first couple of rides - especially, but not only, if they aren't mounted perfectly horizontal
B: if users make it through the first couple of rides, a considerably big percentage converts .... and uses them forever.

So, I'd encourage you to take a deeper look on SQLabs Website, reconsider the mounting position (and width) and give it some proper tries.
You might be surprised what comes out of that ....
  • 2 0
 Think I am done with this series.... no one on pinkbike is buying an $8 stem and $10 bars. Unless they really want to help a dentist buy a new Porsche.
  • 1 1
 This video series is SPOT ON. As a lifetime bikeshop rat, Henry is a customer that I would see weekly. Someone always buying some used halfway decent bike online, then “upgrading” it with shite that they find on EBay (usually in anodized colors). I know you guys are all knocking it, saying this is far below the “minimum” level component upgrades, but trust me, there are plenty of people making these same exact minimum upgrades on their 2013 Ebay S Works, then rolling it into the shop for us to “make it work” for them. Also, trust me, these people making these “minimum upgrades” are reading Pinkbike, because they are telling me about a Friday Fail they saw a week ago. I love this video series, and you just have to enjoy it for what it is.
  • 3 0
 Since when are Dropper posts and stems contact points?
  • 2 0
 Just buy the best parts you can that you want for the cheapest price possible.
  • 1 2
 I see peoples points on the budget options being ridiculous, because they are. But I personally love how this series is going especially the budget options. It really helps provide the starkest contrast and showcases what’s actually important. These days the average options are really going to be just as good as the baller options as far as performance (actual speed down the trail).
  • 4 0
 C- content
  • 2 0
 are we just going to ignore putting a boost rear wheel in a non boost frarme?
  • 4 3
 Did they just wrap old rebar with duct tape and call it a budget bar "upgrade".... I'm scared to watch

Smile
  • 2 4
 I appreciate the "budget" build. Reminds me when I was a teenager and would have 'upgraded' with any crap I could find. Fortunately, the internet wasn't was it is now. We all probably know that one rider starting out who found the cheapest crap to put on.
Going for an average vs. baller part would be splitting hairs much of the time over weight or a small performance. I don't think it's perfect, but the format is pretty entertaining.
  • 2 4
 I agree. Everyone knows how an OEM bike feels. I wanna see weird Alibaba crap get pushed to the limit.
  • 2 0
 but the exciting part of this series would have helped answer the question we're all thinking about...is it worth throwing our hard earned money to go from the average we're all running to baller parts??
  • 2 1
 I use that same SQ lab saddle on my XC bike and love it! Super light but somehow comfy for 5 hour hammer days.
  • 1 0
 What's your weight and sit bone distance?
  • 2 1
 @JohanG: 170lbs and a medium sit bone distance, can't remember the measurement. I also ride with a nice chamois, so that's certainly helping
  • 1 0
 @naisemaj: thanks
  • 1 0
 (hadn't finished yet)... But it makes no sense to throw this around as an argument unless you do some real testing.
  • 2 0
 This is just becaming a game of shit bike vs baller bike.
  • 1 0
 How about, or is there, a list of the parts? Not quite sure what Jason's new pedals are.
  • 2 1
 Jumping on the Repair-vs-Change bandwagon! Definitely the least interesting video series in Pinkbike
  • 6 5
 Great series, absolutely incredible.
  • 1 0
 11:46 cue: budget music. my ears will never recover.
  • 2 2
 Also, I’m very impressed on the budget options that are out there. I can’t wait to see what’s next lol
  • 1 0
 anybody know what jacket Jason was wearing?
  • 3 2
 Budget != Crap
  • 5 4
 Oh my god who cares
  • 1 2
 It’s an entertainment piece. Enjoy it for what it is… or don’t watch it.
  • 1 0
 deleted
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