Royal Racing 2010 Race Jersey & Short Review
At first glance, the overall design of the gear is striking and nice to the touch. Paired together, the jersey and short is an attention getter — whether you’re ripping down a trail or standing on the podium. The large logos placed in visible spots along with the herringbone graphics makes for a very moto feel. You’d no doubt feel like a king while waiting for your race to begin or when you’re ruling the race course. The race kits come in 3 color ways. They’re available in a black/gray/white set. A red/gray/white set. And the purple/gray/white set that was tested. The “Race” kit is aimed at downhill and freeride riders, however, Royal also offers gear for all riding disciplines in a full range of sizes to accommodate most rider types.
FIT, FINISH & PERFORMANCE
The fit is accurate and true to size as well as being very comfortable (see royal sizing guide). The jersey drapes nicely and is not excessively baggy nor form fitting. For a regular build person like myself, I was able to move around freely. The finish is first-class. The race jersey is designed for great looks and performance. I would compare them to horse-racing silks amongst the moto inspired gear that are out there. I especially appreciated the large vents down both sides that run from the arm pit to the bottom hem of the jersey. This comes in handy when the thermostat starts to heat up and air flow is highly prized. The sleeves have sewn in elbow pads that offer a little protection for those occasional spills but you shouldn’t rely on them to save your skin. One thing I noticed was that they made my arms feel warmer compared to the rest of the jersey.
The shorts can be dialed to provide a custom fit by using the velcro tabs on either side. You can adjust them as snug as you like. The shorts have ample amount of room without being droopy, this addresses the issue of them getting snagged on a seat. They never felt too tight or bunched up and were always just right. They are well vented with lots of mesh and vents for airflow. Stretch panels are used in places you’d expect to help with easy movement while pedaling. Although these are race shorts, they do come with 2 functional front mesh pockets with zipper closures. Perfect for carrying an energy bar in one pocket and a Rockstar in the other while cruising the pits. My only dislike was that the leg opening was bigger than I felt it needed to be, it seemed like there was extra fabric there. Overall I really like these shorts, they’re good fitting and feel comfortable on.
CONSTRUCTION & DURABILITY
The Race Jersey is made from a light, high-quality polyester. It feels lighter than a typical short sleeve T-shirt. The thin material is intended to provide better venting as well as suppleness for easy movement. I did not get a chance to test its durability as I did not crash (who wants to?). Looking at the fabric, they wouldn’t hold up too well in a crash. The high sheen finish might also be prone to snagging. All that said, race jerseys are designed to enhance the performance of the rider and offer some protection. No gear is rip-proof though. If you’re going crash during a race, tearing the jersey would be the least of your concerns. Most riders who want to ride with armor under the jersey will find these to work perfectly fine.
Like the jersey, the shorts needs to do the same job… fit comfortably, move easily, keep you cool and most importantly, protect your hide. What’s noticeable about the shorts is the light weight. Compared to my Troy Lee Moto’s, these were significantly lighter and had better airflow while not sacrificing durability or protection. The material was thick and felt like it would hold up well in a crash and take some abuse. The build quality is spot on. Other than the leg opening being a bit big for me, I liked the shorts a lot.
ABOUT ROYAL RACING
Made famous by riding legend Steve Peat, the Royal Racing brand was inspired and designed specifically for downhill racers in 2000. It became an instant success with it’s bold designs and attention to detail that cater to the DH community. For complete product lineup information, visit royalracing.com.
GOOD: Quality Construction. Progressive design/looks. Light weight. Vents well. Good fitting and comfortable. Helps bring photos to life.
BAD: Thin jersey material. Leg opening bigger than it needs to be.
Reviewed by Brian Roark
Continental Der Kaiser DH Tire Review
Der Kaiser means “The Emperor” a sovereign ruler of great power and rank. One ruling an empire. Think about that. These being DH specific tires, that’s a huge claim and it also conjures up a lot of characteristics you’d expect to benefit from. So let’s see how they did…
DESIGN & FUNCTION
The thing that appealed to me with the Continental DKs was the aggressive looking tread, the reported 1,000 gram weight (1190 actual) and that they work well in a lot of conditions. They also have a striking sidewall design and graphics. Something about German design, they always pull it off nicely.
The DKs come in 26 x 2.5 size. They are true to size and have a fair amount of volume to them. Noticeably bigger than the Maxxis Minions in a similar size. They’d actually be more comparable to the 2.7 width in the Minions. They are available with a wire bead only but I was able to run them tubeless with Mavic 823 rims and Stan’s sealant. They went on with a little coaxing with a little help of water around the bead. I used a compressor to inflate them and they seated almost immediately with the customary shake and bake. They stayed aired up really well and I rarely had to check the tire pressure. I ran them at about 25 psi and I never experienced a flat in the 5 months I had them on my bike (I weigh 165 geared up).
The blocky tread pattern is DH inspired with big center blocks and ample spacing in between. This allows dirt/debris/mud to get in between the blocks where they easily get dispersed, letting the big sticky blocks do their job holding you on your line. Being bigger and sticky, they also throw up more dirt and debris when riding. I noticed I’d always be dirtier when riding these tires compared to others.
Where these tires shined for me was on hard packed with loose and sandy DG trails. They were gummy and sticky and were more confident-inspiring than the 2.5 minions Super Tacky. On rocks and rough terrain, they would wrap themselves around little cracks and splinters in the rocks and provide a noticeably quiet ride. The compound is so soft that you can literally pull up on the rubber leftover dingleberries and it’d stretch and slowly reshape (kind of like taffy with memory).
These tires do grip really well. BUT, they come with a big tradeoff. Compared to Minion tires, they felt sluggish and slow, as though the tire needed more air. I loved how they gripped but in sections where the trail flattens out some or where I might have to pedal up a little, I found myself having to pedal harder to get through those sections. I ended up pulling off the rear tire and ran a Minion 3C in the rear. This became a nice combination for me and I ran it this way for about the last 2 months.
GOOD: Soft compound. Grippy and tracks predictably. Works well in a lot of conditions.
BAD: Expensive at $75 retail per tire. Weight is closer to 1200g and not 1,000 as reported. Slow and sluggish, not a fast tire. Wears quickly.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham
2010 Knolly Podium DH Bike Review -Part I
In the RAW color, it’s a thing of beauty. The welds are gorgeous and superbly done, fully exposed, displaying it’s craftmaship and toughness. The smooth, matte finished tubing used are juxtaposed by the precise black CNC’ed suspension links. This is distinctively Knolly (and done for all color ways).
This build included a Cane Creek Double Barrel shock and steel spring. The weight is right around to slightly better than the reported weight of 10.5 lbs w/ Fox DHX coil. There’s definitely room for improvement with a future Ti spring upgrade. The 64° head tube angle is based on a 203mm fork measurement. This might vary if you run a Boxxer fork (at 200mm). I compared my Knolly Delirium T and the Podium side by side; and both head angle looked identical. The DT is fitted with a Marzzochi RC3 Ti fork with the frame in the slackest position. So it was no surprise that I got comfortable with the Podium almost immediately.
With DH bikes, low and long is the way to go. Since this is my second Knolly, the Podium feels very familiar, compact without feeling cramped. The suspension linkage works much the same as with all Knollys and stiffness is still there. Despite the bike sitting lower and longer than my DT, it was like I already knew what to expect.
The one noticeable thing that stood out on my first run is the 83mm-width bottom bracket. The additional 10mm widened my stance, which makes it feel a little weird initially. I can only compare this to changing the stance on a snowboard, where a small change in the stance requires some level of body adjustments and inputs to get the board to behave the same. As trivial as this may sound, coming from a 73mm width bike, it’s something that is exaggerated more for me since I’m not blessed with long legs. I wasn’t fixated on this very for long though, as it became insignificant after I got in a few runs. As what I had anticipated in the ride experience would soon become apparent.
The wide stance combined with a lower sitting bike translates to more stability at speed and railing turns with added confidence and stoke. This is the reason why you hear people say, “the bike wants to go fast.” I’ll surmise what this means in this way… basically, I haven’t reached the capacity of what can be thrown at this bike. I’m actually afraid to find out, since I’ve already taken it on a few bombing missions. This bike is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (a tough sheep). When I let off the brakes and cut it loose, I still feel very much in control. The entire bike is working for my benefit. Its stability, travel, damping, stiffness, tracking… all working in unison, delivering one of the quietest and plushest ride I’ve experienced. It makes my DT sound like a Costco bike I’m sorry to say.
I run about 33% sag on the shock, which I would estimate the BB height being roughly 13″ (dry-weight height is 13.9″). When riding, the bike sits low enough to worry about pedal strike with 170mm cranks. With any new bike, there’s an adjustment period, luckily, I’ve quickly learned when and where to ease off the pedals. Potentially, I can see going to 165mm length crank arms where it would be a benefit for some of the sections I roll through — realistically speaking, I doubt I’m missing out on anything because of this. The bike is ridiculously fun!
Frame: Knolly Podium. RAW (small). 213mm travel.
Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel 9.5 x 3 (350# spring)
Fork: RockShox Boxxer WC 200mm
Crankset: Shimano Saint M815, 36T E13 chainring
Chainguide: MRP chainguide
Pedals: Nuke Proof Proton
Rear Shifter: Shimano Deore XT
Rear Deraileur: Shimano Saint Short Cage
Seatpost: Thompson Elite
Seat: WTB Devo Carbon / Ti
Stem: Hope Integrated Stem and Top crown 50mm
Headset: Cane Creek XXC flush
Handlebar: Sunline V-One 745mm width, 19mm rise
Grips: ODI Ruffian
Brakes: Shimano Saint Brakes. Hope 203 F/R floating rotors
Wheelset: Mavic 823, Chris King Hubs
Casette: Shimano Saint/SLX Cassette 9 Speed HG80
Chain: Shimano XTR
Front Tire: Maxxis Minion DHF ST 26 x 2.5 – Tubeless
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR ST 26 x 2.5 – Tubeless
Approximate Weight: 38.7 lbs
Coming in under 39 lbs, it is nearly a pound lighter than my Delirium T. I imagine it’ll come in at 38.25 by the time I put a Ti spring on it. The trend seems to point towards this weight range for most DH bikes offered in the past few years. As you can see, this build is not built up with super light parts; so overall, it could easily be replicated with most components and come within a respectable 38.5 – 40 lb range.
I have spent about 2 months on it, with a few big rides. I’ll do a follow up review after 6 months, which should give me enough saddle time to assess it further. There’s just a lot to learn, tweak and experiment when it comes to a DH bike. There’s different settings for the different kinds of terrain I’m riding. I’ve taken this bike to my local trails that are mostly manicured with smooth features where a firm setting is preferred. In contrast, a more gnarly trail like Project X / Hell Razor where there’s all types of conditions, a plush and damper ride is appropriately welcomed.
While some owners are quick to figure out their shock settings; I’m still looking for that magical combination of HSR / HSC turns and LSR / LSC clicks. Luckily, I’m the type of person where once I find that right equation, I just leave it the hell alone. So the search is still on (it’s not a bad thing though, I’m learning how to use my equipment).
The Podium is the second Knolly bike I actively own and ride; if it wasn’t for an already crowded garage, I’d probably want to own the entire fleet. That’s a testament to how well these bikes ride and perform over a long period of time with little maintenance worries. Knolly’s are insanely well built, durable and a blast to ride — and the 2010 Podium is no exception.
Knolly is a small bike company where you can still find friendly, knowledgeable and professional staff. For more information and perspectives, visit the mtbr knolly forum where you can find Noel answering posts. Need more info? Check out the Knollybikes.com or dial em up at (604) 324-6635.
GOOD: Believe the hype. The guys on the North Shore have another winner. For Knolly owners, it’s an instant favorite. It Rides, feels, and looks like the big brother you never had. Except this one exists and you can actually meet him and have him come live with you. Some note worthy goodness:
1) un-interrupted seat tube, you can run a full length one on here
2) beautiful construction and design
3) solid, quiet and stealthy.
BAD: Demand is higher than supply. Not a bad problem for Knolly. Price wise, it’s still up there. It’s hard to find faults with it at this point. I’ll have more to report at a later date.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham
Chumba XCL Freeride Edition Review
This is an addendum to a previous frame review on the Chumba XCL I did back in February, where I reviewed the different ride characteristics of 3 different builds.
This time around, I went for a light freeride build. I call it my Freeride L edition. There’s not much more about the frame I wanted to review, but more on how the recent upgrades have increased the riding potential of an already capable bike. In building up this version, the “be all you can be” Army recruiting slogan rang true as motivation for what I could get out of this bike. I wanted this bike to be the ultimate trail and light freeride ripper.
So what were the upgrades? (see items in bold)
Freeride L Build:
Frame: Chumba XCL Black Ano (small)
Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel w/ Ti Coil (700g)
Fork: Fox 36 Talas 160mm
Crankset: Shimano Deore XT 175mm, Dual Ring + E13 DRS + TurboCharger Bash
Pedals: NC17 Suds Pin III Pedals
Shifters: Shimano Deore XT F/R
Front Deraileur: Shimano XTR
Rear Deraileur: Shimano Deore XT Shadow Medium Cage
Seatpost: Thompson Elite
Seat: WTB Devo Carbon / Ti
Clamp: Chumba Racing
Stem: Chromag 50mm
Headset: Cane Creek
Handlebar: Sunline V-One 711mm width, 19mm rise
Brakes: Shimano M775 XT 180 F/R
Wheelset: Mavic Crossmax SX
Casette: Shimano XT 11 – 34T
Chain: Shimano XTR
Front Tire: Maxxis Minion DHF ST 26 x 2.35 – Tubeless
Rear Tire: Larsen TT ST 26 x 2.35 – Tubeless
Approximate Weight: 31.25 lbs
At a hair over 31 lbs, this is an impressive build with a coil shock. Chumba recently partnered with Cane Creek where the shocks are tuned for the XCL suspension. As the XCL suspension is very linear, it makes for a nice even stroke through the travel. I am running a spring rate that is 50lbs heavier (450 vs 400) than I would on my other bike. This is necessary for 1) they’re different bikes and suspension types and 2) it would provide a balance between good pedaling efficiency and the ability to soak up big bumps. Surprisingly even with a coil shock, it pedals beautifully. It climbs well out of the saddle, chugs up technical sections and sprints over rocks with ease. All this with hardly a noticeable bob.
What I love most about the addition of the CCDB is the compression and rebound adjustments for both low and high speed. I’ve been running the shock in the neutral position for low and high speed compression. For rebound, I have been running more HSR and in the middle for LSR. Most of my riding is done in more aggressive trails mixed in with stunts and jumps, which makes the shock a blast to ride because of what it can accommodate. Having 160mm fork with the CCDB shock provides a new level of confidence and has definitely boosted my stoke. It’s now even more fun than I would have imagined. It’s still a fun jumper and predictable in the air, however, now I am more easily tempted to do more. After taking a few warm up runs, I gave myself the green light to let it rip.
The shock and other components such as wheels, tires, handlebars and brakes have been a welcomed change to the riding characteristics of the bike. In its previous life, I wouldn’t have been comfortable in pushing it as hard. I was pleasantly surprised that it could handle all the stuff I would normally reserve for my 6.5″ freeride bike.
As outstanding as it is as a jumper, it is even more enjoyable now in how well it can eat up challenging terrain. The jarring rock sections can be pedaled without the sensation of being bucked off. The former RP23 shock had a higher pitch noise going over rocks and I could feel it in my legs and joints. With the CCDB, it’s a low volume, thud, thud, thud sensation; all I notice is my legs working and powering. These sections are now a blast to do. It feels like I have a throttle and I can just turn it to speed through. brrrapppp!!!
Overall the bike feels tighter, more solid and responsive. I attribute this to switching out the carbon bars for the Sunline V-One bars as well as adding the stiffer Mavic Crossmax SX wheels with soft compound tires. This makes perfect sense when you think about the inputs the bike takes from your hands and how it transfers those inputs through the bike and its relationship with the ground. I feel good about saying that the upgrades have surpassed my expectations.
Chumba is a small bike company and is super responsive. Their technical support and customer service is friendly and easy to work with. You can often find Alan answering questions directly on the Chumba forum at MTBR. You can also find more info at chumbaracing.com or call them directly with your questions 714.986.9100.
GOOD: More capable and versatile for 5″ travel bike. Net benefit: Improved performance. Enhanced riding enjoyment. Trails can be ridden with renewed amptitude.
BAD: A little chain slap on some of the burlier stuff. A future component consideration would be a 36T chainring vs. 34T as the big chainring has been removed for the bash guard.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham
Dainese 3x knee/shin and elbow guard review
I rode a crotch rocket when I was in college and was a big fan of sport bike racing. I remember Eddie Lawson tearing up the track with that distinctive red and white striped Marlboro bike… you couldn’t miss it. Although, I never had the money to buy a real riding suit, I knew if I could, it would have been a Dainese. In all his championships, Lawson wore the Dainese suits with the devil emblem strategically placed on the knees. Just sharp.
About 9 months ago I was looking to replace my worn out pads (Troy Lee Brian Lopes model); I knew Dainese made nice motorcycle stuff but didn’t know much about their mtn bike protective gear. I’ve always noticed them on display at a LBS and thought this was a good a time as any to give them a shot. Upon a closer look, what I noticed is how well they’re made. Knowing they make gear that can hold up to 150 mile an hour crashes, it’s natural to think that they’d apply their production standards across all their products. No doubt, these are quality pads.
DESIGN & FUNCTION
The 3X design is a blend of minimalism and purposefulness. What you see is there for a reason. Visually, they look like most other pads in this class, but take a closer look and you’ll find it’s a look unique to only Dainese. I must admit, I’m a fan of European styling, and the understated look of these pads were both beautiful and functional. You’ll see it in the details from the hinged joints meant for easy bending to the minimal amount of straps used to reduce binding sensation that straps have, as well as weight savings.
The pads are low-profile so they can be worn under clothing, when seen on a rider, there’s not a lot of bulk; they don’t protrude out which reduces the chance of them getting snagged or hitting something on narrow trails. Riding with them, you’d hardly notice they’re on as they’re relatively light and stay in place with minimal shifting. For the amount of coverage, they breathed incredibly well, this is due to using material where it’s needed which keeps the pads light and airy.
FIT & COMFORT
The 3X pads come only in Medium and Large sizes. This is where perhaps the euro design thing is a bit odd as the mediums actually fit like a small in most other brands. These pads appear to have been designed in 2 lengths where they use average thigh, calf and ankle measurements to give you enough strap length to fit on a small or a medium rider. I’m 5’5″ and 155 lbs and the mediums fit just fine. So if you’re a true small, the mediums would be fine. If you’re a medium on the slender side, the mediums would be fine. The large my guess would accomodate, obviously large riders but could accept an XL slimmer type bodied rider. Your best bet is that if you’re interested in these pads, go try them on at a shop. You’ll be gambling buying these online to turn out they don’t fit.
I’ve been riding with my set now for 9 months, needless to say, riding with these pads as previously mentioned, you’d hardly notice them once you hit the trails. Overtime, the padding will naturally break in and take on the shape of your arms or legs and they will stay put with little shifting. When brand new, you will experience some movement but that would be expected with any pads in this style. What I like especially with these pads is the articulation of the elbow and knees. Each pad has 2 parts and work independently, so when you bend your arms or knees the top and bottom move separately.
PERFORMANCE & DURABILITY
These pads have saved me on several occasions. I’ve had a few minor get offs where I know the best way to protect my hide is just to slide on the pads similar to how skateboarders slide when crashing in half pipes. Obviously, dirt and rocks have more friction than a smooth half pipe but I’ve relied on this technique with both knee/shin and elbow guards to help minimize injuries. While the pads do offer a modest amount of protection, there are other safety measures you might consider when riding more aggressive terrain. It’s pretty easy really, the more coverage you have on your body the better off you’ll be.
With all the spills I’ve taken, these pads have held up remarkably well. The plastic is scuffed up and there’s a few pedal gouges, but overall they still look good and the materials have held up. I’ve washed them several times in the washer. The fabric is still the original color with no apparent fading and the stitching is still holding strong. One important thing that’s often overlooked is the durability of the straps. Velcro straps tend to wear out over time but Dainese uses some super duper velcro that has essentially gone unchanged in the time I’ve had them. In terms of mileage these have plenty on them and I’m impressed with how long they’ve lasted.
Dainese pads are harder to find because not a lot of shops carry them (they’re on the high end pricing range). The Knee/Shin Guards retail for around $90 and the elbow pads retail for around $70. You can find them usually online at hucknroll.com (look for the banner ads on this site). You can also visit the manufacturer website at their summer sport section http://www.dainese.com/us_en/multisport-summer to get more details or check out their other product offerings.
GOOD: Dainese oozes high style and high quality. These pads are the Ferrari of pads. Well designed, form fitting and performs well. Their durability and construction is top notch.
BAD: Rear calf protection on the knee/shin guards would be nice. The non-standard sizing is a little tricky and they are a bit high on pricing.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham
Evolution Carbon Nouveau Review
For 2010 the Evolution carbon helmet goes Fast Times at Ridgemont High (80s retro movie for you youngsters). Think checkered Vans, OP shorts and lightning bolt polos. Hey dude, let’s party!
The new paint scheme is a sharp departure from the 09 model where it was more like tribal organic lines meets hotrod pin striping. This paint scheme is a throwback to the 80s graphic style done in a new and improved fresh look. I dig it.
The design of the helmet from 09 to 10 has not changed. Still easy on the eyes with it’s elegant curves and edges at the back of the helmet. Vent holes are all in the same places and provide adequate ventilation. It’s offered in 2 paint schemes, black/grey/cyan and if you’re bold enough, go for the black/purple/pink version – just make sure you have matching pink gloves and shoes to complete the look.
The padding can be removed for washing like most helmets these days. A good tip I’ve come across to avoid washing is to wear a skull cap. Essentially, this is a sock for your head.
FIT & COMFORT
It goes without saying that fit is important and for two very good reasons. 1. You don’t want it to move on you while riding because it’ll effect how you can see out of the helmet. 2. Safety. If it doesn’t fit, it won’t protect you. Depending on the shape of your head, helmets fit differently so it’s always smart to try them on at a local bike shop if you decide to buy one online (that’s where the best deals are).
I have tried on 5 brands. Giro, Troy Lee, Bell, THE and 661. All good quality helmets. I really wanted the TLD but my head would not fit in one of those. My head is round and wide, out of the five brands, the Bell, THE and 661 offered the best fit. If you have a long oval-shaped head (meaning long and narrow), any of the brands would work. But if you have a round and wide head like mine, you’ll be limited.
When you think about comfort in a helmet, most of them use really nice materials inside. This helmet has soft and supple lining. I almost dreaded the fact that I was going to sweat in it. What I like about this helmet is that it has an all around good fit without any weird pressure points. Even with my wide face, I didn’t feel like my cheeks were being pushed in. Just like a shoe, you want to make sure you get the right width or you’ll feel like there’s a vice on your head.
FUNCTION & DURABILITY
The main thing with a full face is how quickly can you put it on and take it off without thinking about it. It should be like putting on a t-shirt; this is what I like about this helmet. Even with gloves on, I can easily toss it on, put the chin strap through the double metal loops and secure the loose end to a snap button. As mundane as this action is, I’ve had other helmets that required a little more effort to don. The visor is easy to tilt up and down by loosening the center bolt under the visor. I suggest once you find a good position, tighten it down good and use a quarter to tighten the outer screws on each side of the visor to prevent it from moving.
My biggest fear with using a carbon helmet is it shattering or splintering during a fall that would render it useless. This may be true to some extent but the upside is weight savings and a killer look. If you’re wondering if carbon fiber is a tough material, look no further than armor jackets that cops wear or airplanes you fly on — that’s right, they use carbon fiber. You don’t need to lose any sleep wondering if it’ll hold up. In fact, I’ve had two crashes with this helmet, other than a few cosmetic scuffs, the integrity of the helmet has not been compromised.
When you buy a full face helmet, it’s understood that one day, you’re going to go down and you’ll be one happy buckaroo knowing you were wearing one – and feeling pretty smart you got one to begin with. That’s where I think sixsixone is such a great buy, because they have one of the best crash replacement programs. You can get a new one and will be back out on the trail in no time. Take it from me, I’m a happy benefactor of it. You can find them on the web at sixsixone.com or call toll free 888.520.4888.
GOOD: Sleek, elegant design. Quality materials throughout. Comfortable and tough. Crash replacement program is incredible.
BAD: Crashing and ruining the shiny finish. Area of improvement would be to reduce the overall outer diameter size, it’s bigger like a moto helmet so the swing weight could be less.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham
NC-17 SUD Pin III S-Pro CNC Pedals Review
I was running a set of flats that were on the big side and usually that means heavy. That lead me on a search for pedals that had the right profile, were light and durable. So looking around, in the $80-100 range my options were limited to Crank Brothers, Azonic, Wellgo, Atomlab, Transition and a few others. But all these were heavy and I wanted something under 400g.
Then I came across these pedals I’d never heard of before (NC-17 SUD Pin III S-Pro CNC Pedals), I purchased them from a website in the UK as they are not available in the USA. They looked good and were made in Germany. I figure, you know the bearings had to be good cause it’s a known fact that Germans make the best bearings right? Well at least I can vouch for this part of it, let’s take a closer look:
– Weight: 399 Gram
– Material: 7075-T6 Aluminum CNC-made
– Cr-Mo axle
– pedal size (LxWxH): 90x90x15mm
– sealed precision cartridge bearings
– replacement Pins included
– laser engraved
– Colors: black, green, white and red
They look great, there’s not much not to like. They have a nice full squarish shape. Pin placements are in good spots you’d expect. At about 400 grams, they were over 100 grams lighter than most pedals in this price range. CNC pedals have a nice finished quality to them and obviously strong. They roll very smooth and there is no perceivable play when turning and pulling them by hand. They felt really solid under foot.
FUNCTION & PERFORMANCE
This is where I have mixed feelings on these pedals, as I know potentially, they would have been excellent. Here’s where they missed… a 90×90 surface area is a little small for even a modest shoe size (I’m a size 9). That’s why the NC17 (No children under 17) name is a mismatch; as they’re better suited for kids under 14 years of age and less than 100lbs. That said though, if you’re coming from a small body clip-in pedal, they’d be perfect. The upside is, you end up not hitting as many trail rocks, branches or whatever as they’re smaller in profile.
I’ve ridden them now for 6 months and was conscious of them for a month or so (just being small) — but I hardly notice them anymore. They grip pretty well with the Five Ten shoes (what doesn’t), they’re light and strong for their size. Having ridden them for this long, I thought they would have been toast by now but they’ve held up well despite some of their short-comings.
STRENGTH & DURABILITY
Stregnth wise, these pedals have held up strong. I’ve taken a few big jumps, dumps and the occasional whack to rocks and they continue to be straight and smooth rolling. After 6 months of good use, there is no play in the bearings.
Durability wise, it’s a miss. If I started off by removing the allen hex pins and phillips screws and loctited them in place, I’d say pretty good. But the fact that I’ve lost a few pins after hitting a few dirt hills or loose rocks, I think that’s where these pedals come up short. The drilled holes for the hex pins are shallow, so they don’t provide enough threads to bite into the pedal body. The outer pins, loosen up easily and I’ve had a couple just flat out stripped. There’s a reason for why they come with extra outer pins, but this provides little relief if threads are missing from the pedal body. For being a German made product, this part of the construction seemed overlooked.
GOOD: These pedals are strong and roll very nice with the precision cartridge bearings. pedal body is nice and thin. Weight is respectable at 400 grams at the $100 price point.
BAD: The biggest obvious thing is the surface area. It runs on the smaller side (some people may prefer this coming from perhaps clip-ins). Shallow pin bores and thread strength at the outer pins. These pedals would be awesome if they solve this part of it. Overall, for agressive riding, these are more suited for smaller riders. Not advised for DH use.
Reviewed by Qwan Pham