Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 Giant Reign X 1

2014 Giant Reign X

In December I was surprised by my wife with a new bike an not just any bike but the one I had my eye on for several months, The Reign X.  I have been needing a new bike for a while (the Airborne Marauder I had didn't last long under real use) and had been riding everything we had at the shop.  I really liked the new 27.5" wheeled bikes that Giant has out like the Trance and Trance SX and I liked the Trance X 29er.  I rode the crap out of all of these trying to decide what to get but for the type of riding I enjoy it was narrowed down to the Trance SX 27.5 or the Reign X.  In the end I was more comfortable on the 26" wheels and the Reign was the bike I wanted.  The surprise was that my wife got it for me!

Giant's Reign X is the one of the last 26" wheeled bikes being offer by Giant.  The last 26" offerings are the Reign X, the Glory, and the STP.  The Anthem, Trance, XTC, and Talon are all going to 27.5 wheels, and I would not be surprised to see the Glory and Reign X go that way in the next couple of years.

The Reign X 1

Price-$3,825 msrp


SizesS, M, L
FrameALUXX SL-grade aluminum, 6.7" Maestro suspension
ForkRockShox Lyric RC, w/20mm thru-axle, OverDrive 2 steerer, 160mm travel
ShockRockShox Monarch Plus


HandlebarGiant Contact All Mountain, 31.8mm
StemGiant Connect SL, OverDrive 2
SeatpostGiant Contact Switch-R, 30.9mm
SaddleGiant Contact, Upright


ShiftersSRAM X7, Trigger Shift
Front DerailleurSRAM X7
Rear DerailleurSRAM X9, Type 2
BrakesAvid Elixir 7 Trail, hydraulic disc, [F] 200mm, [R] 180mm
Brake LeversAvid Elixir 7 Trail
CassetteSRAM PG1070 11x36, 10-speed
ChainKMC X10
CranksetSRAM S1000, 24/36 w/MRP 2x Guide
Bottom BracketSRAM GXP


RimsGiant P-AM2, Double Wall
Hubs[F] Giant Tracker, w/20mm axle, 32h [R] DT Swiss 350, w/12mm Maxle axle, 32h
SpokesDT Competition, 14/15g
TiresSchwalbe Hans Dampf Performance, 26x2.35, folding

My size large Reign X weighs in at 32lbs with Wellgo Magnesium platform pedals.  While this is definitely an improvement over my 42lbs Airborne Marauder it is still not the lightest bike out there.  The Reign X does not climb like a heavy bike but it also does not climb like an XC machine.  The Maestro suspension does a great job of controlling pedal bob, and with my upgraded Rockshox Monarch High air volume rear shock that has three compression settings it will get up anything I need it to.  When the trail heads down the Reign X is really in its element.  Rock gardens vanish under it and drops feel like your going off a curb.  The Reign X's slack head angle and 29" bars give the bike a very controlled feel while descending and inspires confidence.  

The Reign X comes with a Giant Contact Switch-R dropper post that has 4" of travel.  I personally would like one with 5" or 6" of drop so I could run the post all the way down and still get high enough to pedal, as it is I have about 3" of post exposed to get the saddle height I like for pedaling and in the dropped position it has not interfered with my descending so I am just nit picking.  I also would have liked to see the bike come set up for internal cable routing for the dropper post. 

The brakes that are spec'ed for this bike are Avids Elixir 7 Trail brakes, while I sure they are good brakes and have plenty of power I can't say anything about them because they were replaced with my Avid XO Trail brakes before I ever put a leg over the bike.  The XO Trails are the best feeling brakes I have ever used.  They provide the power that a four piston brake should and have great modulation, unfortunately they take a little more maintenance than Shimano brakes, but I would not trade the feel of these brakes for the difference in time it takes to bleed them.

Sram's 2x10 drive-train is a solid performer and the MRP 2x guide will keep your chain were it belongs in most situations, I was able to drop a chain during a downhill race but never on a trail ride.  

The bike comes with the Rockshox Monarch rear shock, mine had a problem when it arrived and Rockshox sent out an upgraded version that has a higher air volume and 3 setting compression switch.  This has worked great for me since I am 220lbs.  The front suspension duty is handled by the Rockshox Lyric.  The Lyric is and has been one of my favorite forks in the last few years.   It has both rebound and compression adjustments that allow you to dial it in where you like.  The fork will take anything you can throw at it.

All in all the Reign X is a solid All Mountain/ Enduro bike that will get you to the top relatively painlessly and let you really enjoy the trail on the way down.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ryders Eyewear

Shore Goggles

About a year ago Ryders Eyewear provided me with two pairs of the Shore goggles for testing and review, unfortunately it took a while for me to get enough use out of them to give an honest opinion.  Most of my riding is done on local trails that do not require the use of a full face helmet or goggles, but this summer I was able to get several days of riding in at Mammoth Mountains bike park and at Snow Summits bike park along with some time on local downhill trails where I had ample opportunity to throw on the full face helmet.  My son who is 13 also tested a set of shore goggles to see if there was any difference with different size helmets.

 What Ryders Eyewear has to say about the Shore goggles can be seen at

I have used several other goggle brands prior to using the Ryder Shore goggles, I have used Oakley, Scott, Smith, and Dragon brands.  I liked all of these and thought that they were really good products but the ones I liked the best were the Oakley MX O-Frames.  These fit my helmet better than the others but they had a smaller field of view.  I always felt that I was riding with blinders on while wearing the Oakleys, but they did not pinch my nose or rub weirdly on my face.  They also stayed in place really well.

I did not think that the Shores would stand up to the Oakley O-Frames, until I put them on.  The Oakleys always sat a little high on my nose giving me the feeling of looking out the bottom of the lens.  The Shores have a higher nose bridge and they seemed to fit to my face perfectly.  This also made it easier to breath without the extra pressure on my nose.  The Ryders Shore goggles also have a wide field of view, I never felt that my peripheral vision was suffering any more than it would wearing my Bell full face helmet without goggles.  The Shore goggles are designed from the ground up for Mountain Biking and they are made to fit the mtb full face helmets.  These frames fit my m/l size Bell helmet like a glove and they also work perfectly on my sons small sized Bell helmet.

Most goggles I have used will fog up if the conditions are right.  Stopping in cool air with my heavy breathing the Shores fogged up, but as soon as I started to move again the Ryders vent design immediately clear the lenses.  I never had a problem with fogging up if I was moving and they never got bad enough that I had to take them off to clear them.  The vents also help to keep your face cool on hot days better than any other goggles I have used.

I had the chance of testing the durability of the Shore goggles at Snow Summit where I went over the bars at a good speed and slide down the side of the hill on my face.  My visor on my helmet broke and I was able to watch the dirt as it came over the front of my full face helmet and into my mouth, but the goggles kept it out of my eyes and they never slipped.  My eyes were the only place that dirt did not get!  The goggles also came away from the crash scratch free.

Ryders Eyewear has continually impressed me with the quality and design of their products and the Shore goggles are no exception.  They are light, durable, and comfortable.  They come in 4 different colors.   The lenses are compatible with tear away systems and they are affordable at $54.99.  I will continue to use these goggles, and if I ever need another pair the Shore goggles will be my first choice!
Jake with his Shore goggles at Mammoth Mountain
Jake rocking the Shore's in El Moro

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Giant Bicycles Has A New Look For 2014

In the last few years Giant has invested heavily in the 29er market with models from the entry level Revel 29er to the top of the line Anthem 29er and Trance X 29er. Giants 29er bikes have been solid performers and the Trance X 29er has become one of my favorite bikes to throw a leg over, it is fast, capable, and plain old fun to ride. The XTC 29er was another bike that really impressed me with the line up of the last few years. It is a bike I have seen ridden as an XC race bike and then the next day used to bomb down one of the more technical trails in our area. I took one out a few times and was able to climb like I never have before. So with as impressive as Giants 29er line up has been in the last few years, this year I expected to see them continuing this with the current models and adding the Trance X 27.5 and the Reign 27.5. What they actually have done is very surprising, Giant Bikes is going 27.5 for almost their entire line up for 2014. The anthem will be offered in 27.5 in both the aluminum and carbon models, the Trance X will be offered in 27.5 in aluminum and carbon, there is a new model the Trance X 27.5 SX which is a long travel version of the other Trance model, the Reign is no more (this makes me sad), the XTC will also be offered in 27.5 wheels, as well as some of the entry level models. Liv/Giant has also announced that they will only offer 27.5 wheeled bikes this year.

Check out this article for more infomation:

 Anthem X 27.5

Trance X 27.5

Trance X 27.5 SX

XTC 27.5

The offerings from LIV/Giant the Intrigue, Lust, and Obsess

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ryders Eyewear- New Stuff

When you think of sunglasses for mountain biking the first name that comes to mind is Oakley.  In fact Oakley is the first name that comes to mind when you think about eyewear for any sport.  I have owned several pairs of Oakley glasses and they are good, but I have never felt that they lived up to the price tag.  For an average pair of Oakley glasses I could buy a new Shimano XT derailluer or even a dropper seat post.  To me this sucks, who wants to spend $180-$300 on sunglasses that could break in a crash, but you do need that eye protection so I buy what I think offers the best protection, Oakley!  Then I meet a man named Jimbeau and we spoke while I got his bikes ready to ship, he told me he worked for a little company called Ryders Eyewear and asked me to check out their products.  I told him I would and that I would review them on my site.  He brought me several pairs and now I will never go back.  Each pair of Ryders that I test are better than the pair before and they cost a fraction of what you will pay for Oakley's that are equivalent.

Soon I will have two new pairs up with reviews and have several other people testing with me so I will also have some guest reviews.  Up next are the HIJACK, and VTX both of which have an interchangeable lens system and retail for under $100.  Check them out at if you can't wait for the review.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Trance X 29er.... A little more testing.

So after some significant time on the Trance X 29er I can honestly say this bike is AWESOME!  It rolls fast and can handle just about anything I have thrown it into.  The Trance climbs great with the 29" wheels, even for someone like me who does not fancy himself a climber.  When you point the bike down hill, it flies.  The big wheels roll over obstacles on the trail so easily that I forget they are there until the next time I ride my 26" bike.   I feel this bike works best if you ride the climbs and relatively flat parts of the trail in the trail mode on the fox CTD suspension and only use the climb mode on paved roads leading to the trail.  The descend mode is great on rough downhills but most of the time I have found that the bike works great in trail mode for everything.

The Positives

1.  The components on the level 1 platform are great (and only get better if you step up to the 0)
2.  The Fox CTD works well with this bike.
3.  The geometry feels good.
4.  The bike is responsive (sometimes you forget you are on a wagon wheeler)

The Negative
1.  It's a 29er so switchbacks can be interesting.
2.  The Giant Contact switch seat post develops play at the seat over time.

If you are in the market for a 29er or just a dependable trail bike, then I would recommend that you take a good look at this bike.  For most riders it will easily fit as their everyday ride.  For those who want a fast bike that can handle some serious descending, but would still like to pedal to the top then the Trance X 29er should be on your short list of bikes to be considered.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Avid XO Trail Hydraulic Disk Brakes-First Impressions

On Sunday I had the chance to get out on the trail and give the new Avid XO Trail brakes a try.   Here are my first impressions of the new brakes:

The Ride:
-El Moro, Newport Beach Ca

-Bommer, Red Tail Ridge, Rattlesnake, Mach One, I Think I Can, Moro Ridge, Missing Link, Fenceline, Bommer.

We started out on Bommer, a fire road with a hill right at the start.  I have noticed my old brakes sometimes took a couple hills to get warmed up and really work, but the XO Trails were grabbing right off the bat.  From Bommer we rode Red Tail Ridge out to Rattlesnake.  Rattlesnake is a single track that has a technical downhill section in it.  Through the technical section I had more control of how the brakes grabbed than I have ever had.  I have ridden this section with Tektro mechanical disk brakes, Avid Elixer 3, and both Shimano SLX and XT brakes.  None of these felt as smooth or had the ability to modulate the braking force in this section that the XO Trails had.  The thing to these brakes have been the Shimano XT's (which are awesome).  The XO Trails lever pull is the smoothest I have used.  After Rattlesnake we went down Mach One which is a steep fire road that you cn generate a ton of speed coming down.  I was able to let the bike roll and still had plenty of power to slow down when I needed to.  We then climbed up I Think I Can and Moro Ridge to Missing Link and Fenceline.  I used the brakes in these flowing single tracks to really control my speed into and out of the corners and once again felt like I had superb control and flow.  The whole ride took about an hour and a half and in that entire time the brakes did not make noise once.  They were silent, strong, and offer great control.

I will continue to test and review the Avid Trail XO brakes over the next few months so stay tuned!