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01/01/11
English (US)  

“I racked my bike and some POS stole my seat. Do you have a seat in stock that fits my bike?”
For some reason, customers assume that seat post size is standard. Low and behold their disbelief when I tell them that posts begin at size 25.4mm and go all the way up to 31.6mm in increments of a tenth of a millimeter!

Seat post clamps are not as much a headache. Make sure your clamp didn’t get nabbed as well. Typically one of four size clamps fit your bike: 28/30/32 or 34mm. You may have an odd ball size if your bike is 50 years old or was purchased at a department store.

You must bring your bike into the shop in order to buy a new seat post. Down Cycles measures the frame with a micrometer measuring tool. This measurement is a ball park figure. The frame has been clamped down on the post and the true inner diameter may differ from the clamp area. We trial fit new posts in the shop to determine the proper fit. For instance, a measurement at the clamp area may read 27.0mm on the micrometer. We then attempt to install a 27.0mm post in the frame, but it can be a sloppy fit. Then we fit a 27.2mm post and whamo, perfect fit. The 27.0mm post would not perform properly on a bike designed for a 27.2mm, no matter how crazy tight you make the seat clamp! You could also ruin or crack the bike frame tightening down the seat clamp onto the wrong size seat post.

Sorry you had your post stolen! Don’t make the ordeal any worse on yourself! Get the bike into the shop to buy a new post otherwise you will drive back and forth multiple times to get it right. Please don’t roll up for a new post without your bike with this much too common statement: “I need a post for my 94 fisher Y bike.” (My guess on that model would be a 31.6mm by the way).

A new alloy post, a decent seat and a bolt on clamp will set you back minimum $60.00. Sometimes we have old seats hanging around we can set you up with that would be OK on a station bike.
Next time you rack your ride, use a bolt on, not QR seat clamp or bring your seat, clamp and post with you after you lock up. It sucks that we have to live this way, but such is life. I’m not sure why thieves would want your grunge old seat. Defend yourself against stank seat sniffing weird-o’s for crying out loud. It’s a long ride home without a saddle!

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10/27/09
English (US)  

Impressed with Marin bicycles 2009 line, Down Cycles will move forward into 2010 stocking the brand and testing these amazing machines. The in house support at Marin is exceptional and my outside representative is no slacker, running around the north east displaying and demoing bikes at many different events. Even though my shop is three thousand miles from Marin HQ, they take care of my shop like it’s in their backyard.

2010MarinMtVision

Last season I tested out both the Mount Vision 5.8 and Wolf Ridge 6.8. I reviewed the Mount Vision in a past article on the Down Cycles product tests page. My only peeve was the steepish 69 degree head angle on the 2009 Bike. I felt the HA was too steep to get the most out of the bike. This year Marin Hooked up the 2010 bike with a 68 degree HA, perfect angle for trail riding! Many other improvements were made to the 2010 Wolf Ridge that not only benefit how it rides, but also how it looks.

Marin worked hard and cleaned up the aesthetics on the 2010 Mount Vision. Smoothed out welds on the head tube and seat post tube mimic the look of a carbon frame. Nicely done, two tone paint and slick graphics do an amazing job of slimming down the look of the frames tubes. Headset stack height is lower thanks to internal headset bearings and cable guides are present under the top tube for riders who may install a remote dropper seat post. Most noticeable though is the totally revised links and swing arm. Not only is the new swing lighter compared to last year bike, it’s also stronger and much better looking. The swing arm tubing is now almost all round, looking proper on a pure XC rig.

Marin’s Quad link suspension pivot and shock function close to your calves and inside knee. The old links were fairly wide, the bolts capped off with what I called Frankenstein bolts. Occasionally the link would graze my inner leg. This wasn’t bothersome me, but even the link area has been addressed for 2010. The whole link system and end caps that cover the link bolts are now narrow and have a cleaner appearance. I didn’t feel any part of the suspension touch my legs at any point during my test.

The Mount Vision is and always has been a fun bike to ride. The 2010’s improvements are immediately noticeable when first hitting the trail. On my first day of testing, the trail was littered with downed leafs that were soaked from two days of rain. Typically most bikes spin out on climbs in these conditions. I could not believe how the Marin crawls up impossible, sketchy climbs. I cleaned sections of trail that are hard to ride in perfect conditions, even with 32 psi in the WTB DNA compound tires! The only thing that could stop this bike from inch worming up slop would be the rider’s lack of endurance.

Descending is no sweat thanks to the new slacker head angle and Quad link rear suspension. The Marin gobbles up anything in its path. It does make a ruckus as the chain hits the swing arm. A small piece of felt glued in the right spot virtually eliminated the banging. Taking flight is a breeze. The bike jumps with confidence and is plush when landing even on flats. The suspension is lively and reacts well to boosting off obstacles, bunny hopping over logs and getting through tech sections. The wheelbase is pretty standard for a medium size bike. The ride is lively, this bike is flickable and carves turns like it’s on rails. The front wheel always feels planted and never once pushed on me no matter how hard I drove into the turns.

The new Mount Vision’s weight is acceptable at 28lbs w/pedals and identical to the 5” travel trail GT Sensor that I last tested. Weight can be reduced easily by switching to 2.1” wide tires (Stock F & R are 2.25”) and ditching the 180mm front rotor to a 160mm. Marin has tweaked the leverage ratio slightly for 2010 improving the ride. Riders interested in this bike must understand that the Marin Quad Link suspension is always very active. Pro pedal on or not, you always know you’re riding a suspension bike. The 2010 Marin feels less detached to the trail compared to the 2009 model, but still feels soft compared to other 5” travel bikes. Don’t get me wrong, you can still motor around on this bike and hit mach speeds, but most riders will assume that the plush ride is robbing power even though it is not.

What would make this bike the cat’s meow? I’m nit picking here because the 2010 Mount Vision is a seriously amazing bicycle. Marin is closing in on pure perfection, but I would love to see a few tweaks to the 2011 bike. Add ¼” length to the bikes top tube length (personal preference. I prefer to ride a bike with the front wheel way out in front. Adding a bit of wheelbase will improve the bikes handling through high speed rock gardens). Offer the bike with a seat post that has no kickback what so ever (not really an issue since I was able to slide the seat forward enough on the stock post to take some weight off the rear suspension. Sliding the seat back on the rails on a lay back post brings the worst out of the Quad Link suspension). Switch up to a shorter 80mm stem (hey, it’s the DHer in me. Besides the short stem would complement the ¼” longer top tube and also add to the confidence factor).

Redesign the disc side caliper mount. Space out the two bolts that hold on the drop out or just eliminate the bolt on drop altogether and weld on a fixed disc side drop (also not an issue unless you pull trials moves were the rear brake is locked up, rocked forward and back, flexing the 2 bolts that hold on the drop out). Improve the chain line with 150mm rear hub spacing while keeping the 73mm BB shell (Climbs in 2 and 1 created some noise from the chain line. A 1mm spacer behind the cassette might help reduce the angle, but the ultimate fix would be to dump the 135 QR spacing altogether and spec a 150mm Maxel swing arm like the 6” travel Attack model bike). Lastly add compression to the rear shocks mid stroke (Push Industries could probably tweak the FOX RP 23. Adding compression to the rear shock would help rid mid stroke wallow).

All in all, the new Mount Vision looks better, is lighter, stiffer and rides better. The engineers at Marin sure put their heart and soul into this bikes makeover. This unique bike and the company behind it deserve the many years of success they have achieved with their designs. After all, the Mount Vision has been bike of the year for some time now for a reason. The suspension technology designed into this bike will save your behind from pilot error and grab and claw for some traction when you try and pedal up the wrong line. The following equations simply sum up this review: New Rider + Marin Mount Vision = Smiles. Intermediate Rider + Marin Mount Vision = Applause. Advanced Rider + Marin Mount Vision = Podium!

1 Update

08/06/09
English (US)  

Cycling Sports Group (GT, Mongoose, Schwinn, Cannondale and recently Iron Horse) invited DOWN Cycles and other select shops to a multi day seminar/dirt demo in Park City Ut this past June. I extended my stay a few days and took a road trip down to Moab with a couple 2010 GT’s locked and loaded.

GT Sensor

Other than parking lot tests, I never properly thrashed around on a new GT. I always admired GT’s attention to detail and trick suspension design. Ironically, before I was a dealer, I primarily rode only GT bikes. For crying out loud, GT was my first grass roots sponsor!

In park city I tested the GT Sanction on lift access runs at Deer Valley. The Sanction was a spot on bike for this type of riding. 6” travel was enough to bomb almost all the runs and hit them fast and clean. I took it down the national course. I rode ninety percent on the track, but walked it through the Barney Rubble rock garden. I also didn’t feel confident enough to hit the big drops. I tried not to fall in love with the bike since it will only be available as a UK bike for 2010. Say good bye in 2010 to the Sanction state side.

I also tested the GT carbon Zaskar. This bike is scary fast! It rides extremely light and has stable geometry for high speeds (this is a good thing because you will only ride at high speeds). If you’re in the market for a lightning fast XC racer, consider the Zaskar. It is an unfair advantage on an XC loop as far as I’m concerned (even though I took the town lift to the top). Every other bike you ride will feel like a pig after riding a carbon Zaskar. I won’t be right for a while after that experience.

2010 GT Sensor

Moving on to the bike that stands out as my favorite of all time, a new model for 2010, the GT Sensor! I tested it out in Park City and fell in love. This is the bike I took to Moab along with a Force. The Sensor is a 5” trail bike with perfect geometry, a longish stroke rear air shock (low leverage ratio) and a rock solid build kit. The bike I tested had a full XT build, Fox air rear with lock out and Fox Float RL, 15mm fork.

From what I was told, the GT Sensor will be priced very competitively. The frame is alloy and is not available in carbon fiber. Handling is superb and the suspension is absolutely perfect! GT got the suspension balance nailed down on this new design. 5” trail bikes should be quick to accelerate and this bike rockets to speed thanks to the stiff swing arm and dialed in, no slop suspension links. What amazed me most is the positive rider to ground feedback. In other words, this bike does not feel like mush at all. The rider can feel what is happening beneath him, but is not being punished. The bike can be pumped back up to speed without any loss/absorption from inefficient suspension. I feel that the long stroke air shock has a lot to do with the Sensors dialed in ride quality. The shock is not working hard thanks to a low leverage ratio.

The Sensor’s ride is lively and inspirers confidence. I actually liked this bike much better compared to the more expensive 6” travel GT Force. I’m not sure how keen I am about 6” travel XC rigs. They just feel like too much bike for XC. The GT Sensor is my next trail bike for sure. Get ready to read crazy positive reviews when they’re released. The 2010 GT Sensor is simply fun to ride, easy to ride at speed and crushes anything you throw at it!

6 Updates

05/27/09
English (US)  

Occasionally I get to demo high end bicycles. I lucked out when Marin bikes hand delivered me a brand spanking new 2009 Mount Vision 5.8. Much to my surprise, Marin offered up the bike to me for a few weeks! To say I was flattered is an understatement. From the get go Marin knew, with utmost confidence, that I’d love their bike and the Quad Link suspension.

What attracts a buyer to consider purchasing a particular bicycle? In my opinion the look of the bike/ first impressions are most important. I would think the name brand weighs in next, then, I feel that positive reviews certainly help, good warranty, price/value may also seal the deal.

Marin bikes resemble no other suspension design in the industry. Marin takes an unconventional approach to suspension perfection by combining a true four bar link with a high forward pivot. This design creates a bike with a longish swing arm. This look is unconventional and invokes strange and sometimes annoying comments.

Obvious to me, the Mount Vision is an XC bike. With a steep head angle of 69 degrees and 4.7” of rear travel, this bike shouts XC. Funny thing, other riders (even experienced riders) would ask me if I was riding a DH bike. To some, the huge swing arm resembles that of a long travel DH bike. This scenario played out many times in my shop and out on the trail. Some people love the look; others think the frame looks odd and is too bizarre for their liking.

I like the look of this bike. Maybe the DH rider in me could care less how robust the swing arm is. I feel the bike has a well balanced, artist look to it. I can appreciate the attention to detail and I’ve always sided on “form follows function”.

Simply put, the Quad Link suspension does everything a suspension bike is supposed to do. I did not feel one bit of pedal feedback. The suspension is unaffected when braking and remains neutral. Small to medium bumps are gobbled up and the suspension ramps aggressively towards bottom out. Sag is easy to set (and also very important to set properly). The FOX rear shock "Pro Pedal" lever is easy to reach if you choose to use it. I used Pro Pedal on fire roads, but the Marin climbs well even in active mode.

The Mount Vision ride is smooth and the bike is a blast to ride. A bike that inspires me to ride again and again is always a winner in my book. Speaking of suspension, the Marin may be too good for XC riding! As good as the FOX Float works up front, it struggles to keep up with this bikes rear suspension. Some riders may become overly confident in their ability to downhill on this bike. A word to the wise, the Mount Vision will pitch you if you over ride her. The BB height is good for clearing rocks and the head angle is responsive and gives the bike a snappy feel, but these geometry specs are not DH friendly.

Negatives: Well nothing is perfect and I have a couple gripes. For one, the Devo WTB saddle was not comfortable and the edges are sharp. I have more than a few black and blues on the inside of my thighs to support this claim. The WTB grips are too fat and squirmy and they’re not lock on. Under extreme g outs, I could feel some swing arm flex. Please keep in mind that I’m a Pro downhiller and I’m riding down very steep terrain that most XC riders would not ride. I’m also spoiled with my King rear hub and can never get used to a Shimano XT. The XT hub has a lot of play/slop to engage forward momentum.

This bike would completely rule the trails with the rear drop outs (and 12mm Maxel axle kit installed) from the Wolf Ridge (Marin’s 5.5” travel bike). These drop outs will fit the Mount Vision, but you would need a new rear hub that is 135mm x 12mm. Why not slap on a King? With this modification, the Mount Vision would be unstoppable!

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02/28/08
English (US)  

The first year 2006 Mongoose EC-D was impressive, well everything but the tribal graphics.8| The EC-D seemed to come out of nowhere, spanking the competition with performance and affordability. For 2007, mongoose nailed the graphics and really didn’t change much else as far as frame design. The 2008 Goose has a bunch of functional upgrades that make it that much more desirable!

=> Read more!

4 Updates

01/27/06
English (US)  

I had the pleasure of testing the Mongoose EC-D (size small/medium) at Interbike’s Dirt Demo held at Bootleg Canyon. I was very fortunate to snag this bike just in time to board the last shuttle. I only had time to thread on a pair of generic platforms. No preride suspension tweaks for me. Sucking in dust, while hanging off the flatbed truck, I had a few minutes to admire and figure out the suspension design.

2006 Mongoose EC-D

=> Read more!

4 Updates

06/22/05
English (US)  

I’m a Brooklyn Machine Works junkie. Since 2000 I’ve owned some type of Brooklyn, be it the TMX or the Big Link. You can see me in countless photos and in videos loving life aboard my trusty BMW. The Race Link is my latest and greatest, a frame that has evolved into a masterpiece.

BMW Race Link
BMW Race Link Photo Album

=> Read more!

1 Update

06/03/05
English (US)  

2005 Norco Team DH

Click Here - Great Review on Norco's VPS Team DH, by NSMB

1 Update

05/17/05
English (US)  

Serious R & D has been invested into the new 2005 Sunday suspension design. Anyone reading this article already knows about the DW link. Dave Weagle has developed an innovative link system for the Sunday that has set a new standard. I am still in awe after riding this bike for the past three weeks!

What are we all looking for in a DH rig? My answer is confidence. Riding bicycles down mountains, through rocks and around trees is insane enough as it is. Riding these trails on a bike that feels foreign and sketchy is nerve racking and could force a rider into early retirement.

The Sunday is a stable machine. I must say, the most stable frame design I have ever owned. An 8” travel bike with a long 3” stroke shock combined with a low bottom bracket and a longer than normal top tube, make this bike perform. The geometry is spot on for all types of terrain. Watch out for the cranks! A 13.5” high bottom bracket can put a scare into anyone. Tag a pedal and it’s your fault not the bikes. Timing your pedals through tight sections is a must. I was actually not hitting my pedal at all. I bottomed out on the freakishly long crank arm. FSA cranks come on both the Team and the World Cup. It seems FSA has only one crank arm length (175mm) they just drill the arms for 165mm. This is a concern since running a 165mm arm with an extension defeats the purpose of running 165mm in the first place. I dislike the crank because of this and it will be replaced ASAP.

Sunday Team

=> Read more!

5 Updates

04/18/05
English (US)  

Brooklyn Machine Works (BMW) has announced the creation of the Hitman.

The Hitman

The Hitman is a replacement of the old Big Link from 2000. It gets 10" of travel!!! 88| like its older cousin. The Hitman was conceived originally in the fall of 2002 when Avalanche announced they were going to make a 10.5" x 3.5" stroke DHS. Since the RaceLink has performed so well the Hitman concept was put on the backburner for a few years. It will be in testing throughout 2005, I can't wait for 2006 ^:!!!.
Downcycles will keep you posted on any news over the year about the Hitman!

=> Read more!

3 Updates

03/23/05
English (US)  


Check out the new review on the Iron Horse 7point5, Adobe PDF file. ^:!!!

Iron Horse - 7Point5 Review - 3MB PDF

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English (US)  


March 2005 Issue of Mountain Biking Magazine. ^:!!!

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02/08/05
English (US)  

Nicolai, located in Germany, is a bicycle company like no other. They build exotic bike frames that mix outrageous looks with functionality. Standing alone, the ST frame could be mistaken for a machine gun or something gathered from the 1947 Roswell alien crash site.

You may remember pictures of the Nucleon ST from 2003 Interbike spy photos. It is quite the contraption, invoking wonder and curiosity. Hundreds of brackets, bolts, gussets and a Roloff 14 speed hub centered in the frame. The Nucleon ST is over engineered for sure. Complicated links can scare people away. You should only consider this frame if you enjoy tinkering on your bike. Frame angles and travel adjustments are infinite. With time and patience a rider can fine tune the ST to suite any type of terrain or ride style. Check out the bike in action on the photo and video’s page. I’m also riding it on some of the header pages on the site.

NICOLAI NUCLEON ST
NICOLAI NUCLEON ST

=> Read more!

1 Update

11/01/04
English (US)  

We all know by now that Orange bicycles win races. We see them in magazine photographs and in all the latest DVD's. The stunning hyroform down tube and the huge swing arm are clear signs that what you're looking at is an Orange bicycle. They seem to be everyplace you turn except in a test review. Recently, the 222/223 has caused quite the commotion in the world of downhill racing due to its, thought to be extinct, frame design, the single pivot.

=> Read more!

3 Updates

06/01/03
English (US)  

This is an interesting frame. Orange incorporated the one point five head tube into this frame only for 2003. They keep the weight down by using a hydro form style front triangle and rear swing arm. Shock options vary from FOX, Manitou, or Progressive. The flat black powder coat paint job looks mean and the cable routing is well thought out. The rear brake and shifter cables run straight through the swing arm. As the suspension travels, the lines slide freely through guides on the main frame. O rings wrapped around the cables keep dirt out of the swing. 135mm spacing and quick release drop outs keep things simple.

=> Read more!

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