EASTON EA50 MONKEY BAR
Now I know they say you should change your bars every year–ish; especially if you crash a lot like me; but my old man always says, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. So with that in mind I’m risking it ‘cause these bars are too good to put in the parts bucket just yet (and I have yet to see or hear of an Easton bar ending up in two pieces). They are five and a bit years old and have seen tons of abuse and only a few pounds of love. The rise is two inches, which you can find on pretty much any other bar, but it’s got the perfect sweep that I have yet to find on anything else. I don’t like the look of 31.8mm bars and I also find them too stiff, so this one being 25.4mm is just right. Personal preference and all that, but for me this bar is perfect, and so was the price.GR Price: £29.99 Extra 01933 672170
MANITOU SWINGER X3
Quality control is not something that’s been keeping some suspension manufacturers awake at night recently. A well–known university recently found most of the main companies had significant variances in the performance of the same model shock from the same company. Even qualitative testing has its inconsistencies too. Take the Minute Super from Manitou, dire reviews in some magazines but a particular pair that we have has been fitted six months without any problems, a super supple ride and possibly up for review as one of the best 150mm forks out there.
The Manitou Swinger X3 on the other hand is plain rubbish. Not having half a dozen on hand to test we don’t have the comfort of doing averages but there is a telephone for feedback from other people. Our advice if buying a bike with this shock is that you’d be better off opting for a Fox RP23 for a far smoother ride and less money in the long run.
Oh the reason? Well possibly similar to the coil X3 in that the sealhead bushing has such a tight hold on the shaft that it doesn’t free causing an inconsistent ride particularly on ‘small’ stuff. It sticks and it shouldn’t happen. It’s not as if it’s something complicated.SJ
MAVIC CROSMAX STD
Intended use. Tricky one that. With many bike companies fitting rims marketed clearly as ‘trail’ to downhill bikes and subsequent fall–out as a result of damage (that is bending the living daylights out of them) because of such riding then you have to feel for the rim manufacturer. Supply chains bring another issue mind you, and with many downhill teams sponsored by companies running rims so clearly sold as ‘trail’ then you cannot really have much sympathy.
Whatever, this isn’t about the other companies, this is about Mavic, and on current form quite possibly the best wheel manufacturer in the world. Take these Crossmax STD wheelset, used on forest trails – intended – quite possibly. But I have to admit they have been ridden hard – a difficult one to quantify. Whatever, these rims are still absolutely straight and incredibly strong. The problem we had was that the spokes popped out, yet even with such a weakened structure these wheels remained true. That said I’d be pretty pissed off if this happened to me, but a call to Mavic reveals that the newer models have a fixing that prevents this from happening. Just be careful you buy the up to date model, but highly recommended.SJ Price: £488.00 Chickens 01582 872 202 www.mavic.com