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Product Reviews

Ice Toolz E213 One-way torque screwdriver-By Art Aguilar

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Ice Toolz E213 One-way torque screwdriver, 1~5N•m, for 1/4" drove sockets. Also contains bits of Hex, Pozi®, Phillip, Slot, Torx® (totally 32 bits), and a 1/4" adaptor.

Price: $107.63

The E213 is very easy to use. All you have to do is pull the knob on the handle back, then turn it to the proper setting you need for the job.

Then just tighten, and when it clicks, that means its been set to the proper torque.

This tool is perfect for any bicycle mechanic that is working with torque sensitive parts. I have a set of FSA cranks that requires me to torque down the crank bolts at just the right amount, if I don't it puts too much pressure on the bearings and the end result, the cranks don't spin freely. Haviing the Ice Toolz E213 took away the guessing game and wasted time in trying to figure out if it was tight enough.

Our review disclaimer as it is required by the FTC.

Airborne Taka-Art Aguilar

OK, I could start by rehashing everything I talked about on the test and I will mention a few things, but this is about what the AIRBORNE TAKA could do when it is truly put through the paces for what it’s meant to do and that’s “RACE”.

The race was the Golden State Championships at Fontana Ca. Saturday was practice and Sunday was the race. I didn’t get as much of a practice as I had hoped, and bringing the TAKA out here and putting it through its paces would be by far different than just riding it on a downhill trail; you push your bike in a totally different manner, you may have to adjust your suspension, adjust tire pressures, or change tires altogether.
I did adjust tire pressure and I did adjust the suspension by slowing down the rebound on the Marzzochi 888’s. When this was said and done as in the trail test the TAKA was a point and shoot ride, no fighting, no fussing, just ride which allows you to concentrate on your race, its geometry shined on the course which was made up of jumps, flowing turns, and rock sections with loose to hard pack ground.
As I said the geometry with its DH angles gave the TAKA precise steering in the turns and was very stable at speed. The suspension worked in perfect unison with each other and if there was any brake jack I really didn’t notice it as I did on the trail test. Now the only thing left to do was the race.

Well I got one practice run out of the way and I would have like to do maybe one more, but time did not permit, so the time came and you’re on the start block for a brief second you think is there anything I could have done to make the bike run faster or better, but truth be told the TAKA was set up fine it was all up to me now.

I left the start gate and as I raced down the course I found myself flowing without effort only thinking of the course not the bike. This is a good feeling and as experts, or pros we demand a level of quality on the gear to win races and become champions.

I said this would make a great beginner , sport race bike, well I can also state that the AIRBORNE TAKA DH bike would make a great expert race bike, why because it took me to a “FIRST PLACE WIN”
One thing that was kind of funny is that all my friends that race, saw me with the TAKA asked ‘What’s that?”, “Why you racing that.”, “HOW MUCH IS IT, YOU'RE KIDDING!” The end result comments “Hey Art it’s time to sell your high end bike!” I guess the truth is you don’t need a $5000 bike to win races.

So whether you want to just freeride or race and you are on a budget this is by far the best way to get into a DH bike. You won’t regret it, you’ll just have fun and win races too.

A big thanks to the guys at AIRBORNE for allowing us to test their TAKA.

Click Here to order the Airborne Taka for just $1,399.95 (Free Shipping!)


By Art Aguilar

The Introduction
OK I have been a downhill racer for a long time and if there is one thing I know its protection and protecting yourself from impact, my fulltime job puts me in contact with the best protection company in the world.

That being said, while at this year’s Interbike show I was wandering the countless aisles. While there you will see many cool things as well as the newest ideas that will never be.

While turning the corner of one said aisle I hear a loud bang three or four times, so as I see this tube and a man talking to the crowd he drops a bowling ball down the tube on a pad about an inch thick and the bowling ball is bouncing on the pad, next he pulls the competitors pad out and places their pad in place.
Now this thing is only about a quarter of an inch thick and he is going to drop this bowling ball on it. OK one word comes to mind “RIGHTTTTT!” Thinking this pad will be obliterated on the first hit I decide to stay and watch them go down in a crash of burning flames. I try to get close to the action so I could see this and as he gets ready to drop the ball I’m ready to see this thing blow apart or beat it to a pulp.

He’s ready, drops, and “BANG”, wait no multi bounce of the bowling ball”! What gives, is this the same stuff that 661 uses; it can’t be it’s not as thick as their pad.
Now this demonstration did what it’s meant to do catch your attention and that it did.

Time to talk to someone.

The name of the company is called G-FORM and you can go to to check them out.
They make elbow, knee, and shin pads, as well as some other things. When I looked at these I thought they can be used in a number of sports and the first thing that came to mind was cross county riding as well as racing, heck these pads can have uses in cyclocross and shell I dare say road riding, and racing.

Now Tech Talk
The pads are made of Poron XRD foam, a molded, rate-dependent impact pad. These pads will stiffen on impact and absorb the shock (remember the bowling ball not bouncing), but will stay flexible and soft while wearing them.
One reason for the flexibility is the ridges and hinges on the pads which create an exoskeleton and gives your arms or knees movement.

The XRD foam is attached to a Lycra compression sleeve with a strip of silicone on the upper part to avoid slippage on the arm or leg.
The elbows come in a short or long compression sleeve in sizes ranging from XS-XXL.
Legs come in sizes 2xs-3XL and are a short knee pad.
Shins come in sizes 2XS-3XL. All pads are priced at $39.99. These pads are made to wear outside the garment.

The Ride Test
The first thing I liked about these pads is the fact that I could pack them in my pack, but really when you put them on their really is no need to take them off, they have great breathability and they feel light while wearing them and had no movement at all, which I love in a pad.

One thing that is great about the G-FORM pads is on a long ride I didn’t get hot in them and on a cold day they kept my knees and elbows warm.

On rough terrain or jumping with them again no movement, “love it”.Now all testing so far has been trail riding and I have yet to give them a race test or of course the dreaded crash test which I’m sure will come.
As I had said earlier these pads I believe can be used in cross country, cyclocross, and road riding as well as racing.
I do look forward to cyclocross in these pads as well as maybe an XC race, or Super-D.
The Bottom Line
Are these pads good for all occasions? Sure why not. To me they are good for XC, CX, Super-D, and those long trail rides.
They offer lightness and pack ability no other pad can offer, as well as fit, comfort, and protection that is not typically offered or found in a pad for the XC, trail riding crowd.
The price is not bad either at $39.99 I say go out and get yours today, so go on line and get a hold of the guys at today and dress for all occasions.

And thanks to Ami at G-FORM for the test products.
Finally a light pad for the trails! “Yeah!”

Our review disclaimer.


Monday, July 4, 2011

One thing I saw out and around at Sea Otter was a dh bike that I saw at Interbike and I just knew it would be an awesome bike to ride.
It was the new COMMENCAL SUPREME DHv3.

When I was running around on the downhill course during sport- beg practice I spotted this beauty and I just had to talk to this racer, for he had something I thought only the Atherton's were still testing.
Well I found out that this racer and two others were here with the only new 2011 or should I say 2012 Supreme DHv3's from the Canadain Commencal distributor T2R distributors.

[caption id="attachment_6516" align="aligncenter" width="599" caption="2011 COMMENCAL DH BIKE"][/caption]

I got a chance to talk to Peter Amory director of T2R and he had informed me that the new Commencal Dh rigs are more or less available in Canada and will very soon be in the U.S. markets ( Give your local Commencal dealers a ring.)

The new rig is totally revamped for this year, now I got to test ride the 6" Dh Supreme and was blown away on how it felt like a 8" dh bike.
The new Commencal puts the rear shock lower in the frame for a lower center of gravity to futher improve handling.

[caption id="attachment_6517" align="alignright" width="150" caption="New shock position and pivots."][/caption]

One nice touch was the cable routing through the front headtube which was very cool.

Other new touches are taperd head tube, adjustable rear axle, and Fox equipted suspension.

Now don't think I didn't get a chance to ride this baby because the minute I saw it I had to try it out even if it was only about a 50 to 75 yard little downhill sprint, and I did find a little bump to jump this thing even if it was a foot off the ground and it felt nice. The one thing I asked was what size was it and was told it was a medium, but if felt like a small.
What could I say about it " If the Atherton's were involved with the making of this thing I need say no more."
Thanks to Peter and Sean of T2R for the info on the Supreme DHv3.

Nirve Ultraliner-By Art Aguilar

Sunday, June 5, 2011


This morning’s bike commute was a cool 86 degrees. Cool you ask? Sounds warm, but compared to the hellish ride home of a scorching 106, 86 degrees isn‘t too bad.

the way home

Today I used the Nirve Ultraliner I picked up from RL the other weekend. It’s a sharp looking bike with brushed aluminum finish and a rocking 3 speed automatic shifter. I was surprised to see how well this bike rode. It actually shifted on the precise moment I needed it to shift gears. Don’t ask me how it does, because it blows my mind too.

Nirve Ultraliner

I’ve only got a short 4 mile one way commute but it’s pretty hilly the whole way. And having the automatic shifter is such a blessing. You don’t have to worry about when to shift or which gear to use. The Ultraliner does it all for you.


One major difference of riding this bike compared to the other bikes I’ve ridden is you’re not hunched over to reach the handle bars. This is definitely a plus for me. Riding on any other bike usually gives me back pains after prolonged rides. But I did not experience that with the Ultraliner.

I plan on commuting with the Nirve Ultraliner for the next couple of weeks to give a more thorough review.

KHS Lucky 7-By Art Aguilar

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I struggled for a couple days to write the review of the KHS Lucky 7. I kept transitioning from reviewing the bike to telling stories about the bike. Finally, I've decided that's exactly what I'm going to do. What follows, is the story of my time aboard this bike. The trips, the rides and the races that the KHS Lucky 7 carried me through. Watch for the review in the upcoming weeks.

The Lucky 7 has been my go to gravity bike this year. Team sponsor KHS cycles has been nice enough to grant me extended time with this demo bike, on the condition it is raced and that I share the results.

Though designed for free-ride use, the Lucky 7 is the go to bike for the KHS race team at smaller DH race courses. However a thorough resume is not a prerequisite for hopping aboard the Lucky 7 and getting the most out of the experience. I was a casual mountain biker, I owned one trail bike and rode two or three times a month. I had other hobbies and interests that split my time. From 2006 till November 2008, that was my riding experience. That's when I met RL through this very blog and eventually the rest of the Mtnbikeriders team. Which led me into single-speeding, then XC racing and eventually DH racing. So as I, a true newbie to downhill, I began my time with the Lucky 7. The first race [Southridge Winter Series, 2/22/2009, 13th out of 14] was a disaster! I did manage to get the durability testing out of the way immediately, though!

The next race [Southridge Winter Series Finals, 3/22/2009, 10th out of 20] was a lot better! With no dirt naps in-store for me. I began to see the capabilities in the bike and the potential I had to become competitive [in Beginner Men 27-34]. Unfortunately, I would be without the Lucky 7 after this point until a shuttle session at Telonics a couple weeks before the 3rd race of the Golden State series in Fontana on 07/12/2009.

In Telonics I got to ride some real DH terrain on the Lucky 7 and it was amazing! It's just a forgiving bike that soaks up the small and big hits. We had a ton of fun and burned through a set of brake pads in the process! Now onto the race, with a two run format and no "wall" to pedal, this is the closest to a true DH race located in So-Cal nowadays. With a fresh new attitude on DH riding and fresh legs (normally I race XC the day before the DH race), I was able to put together "the run of my life" I recall telling Tony at the bottom. What a rush! To have a clean DH run, one where I honestly felt I rode as fast as I possibly could, clean without any mistakes, I get excited thinking about it! The result was a 3rd place and my first DH podium.

Next up was Mammoth mountain, now this is a true DH race. On a mountain with loose pumice, a nasty rock section, a wall ride and a finish through the 4x track. Mammoth lived up to its name, with a fast race run coming in 4 minutes, the track was over a minute longer than any Fontana run. The Lucky 7 was beautiful here, through the steep sections, over the jumps and pedaling the straights. We were a team, and we were determined to make it to the podium. Well, we did better than podium, we won!

So, now here we are near the year end. The 18th annual Southridge classic has just concluded (though I'm gonna make you wait for that story). Be sure to check out the upcoming Lucky 7 review and review the 1st impression here. It's funny, we're so used to reviews coming from expert and pro riders. It's true that they can push a bike to it's limits, but couldn't they ride almost any bike down the Mountain? Wouldn't a bike we (mountain bike enthusiast) consider stable and comforting seem slow and unresponsive to them? Anyways, if you don't want to read a review from a Beginner DH racer, don't worry. I'm moving up to sport the first race next year. I've got to say thanks one more time by the way to KHS Bicycles and their our Lucky 7. Don't forget to check out the KHS SixFifty 606 too.

9 speed 36t Cassette Review-By Art Aguilar

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

36t just posted a very convincing review of the Shimano 9 speed, 36t cassette.