Tested today for the first time:
Garmin VIRB Elite
Crank Bros. Split Skewers
Giro DND Gloves
Maxxis Ignitor and Ardent
I didn't want to venture out too far as this was the first run with a set of new Maxxis rubber, so I took it easy for the first ride. Ardent 2.3 out front and an Ignitor 2.1 in the back, first time trying out a tubeless setup with the stock i9's utilizing the ghetto method and Gorilla Tape. I first noticed a big difference in takeoff - it was much easier to get the niner rolling compared to the Geax's tubed up. Best move I have made to date, right behind the 30T RF chainring. If you are considering going tubeless, take the leap as you will notice a huge difference in the way the tires soak up the bumps. Much more supple, and responsive compared to tubes -- plus the drop in weight was very substantial, almost two pounds dropped in rotational weight! The grip was incredible, especially in the turns. Loose conditions over hardpack (mostly sand) the tires were very responsive and predictable with no wash out at speed, unlike the Geax's. My problem is I have a tendency to ride with too much speed in some corners, which gives me a bad exit line (see 30 seconds into the video).
Giro makes an excellent glove, especially for the pricepoint. The DND's feature silicone fingertips for excellent grip on the shifter and brakes, plus a nice padded outside palm for a great hold on the grips. The knuckles also feature a split seam so there is plenty of room to move your fingers to move freely. Compared to the Cannondale's I ran before these, there is no comparison. For a full finger glove, these are incredible!
The CB split skewers were a great addition as they only require about half the force to close them. As you know, the WTB's on the Goblin need to be "stupid" tight in order for the brakes to not rub against the rotor, and keep the wheel centered. This was very welcomed as I constantly need to remove the front wheel to transport the bike. Since they are split, you close one half the skewer, followed by the other half. Genius! These are ONLY recommended if you ride XC! AM and DH riding can cause these to come loose in extreme conditions. I maybe get two or three jumps in, but they are considered bunny hops by most standards, and therefore hold up nicely.
The Garmin VIRB is incredible! You are able to do much more than a GoPro, such as video stabilization, lens correction to remove fish-eye, an actual viewfinder to see where you are shooting without the need for a phone app, plus goodies like a level, accelerometer, built in altimeter and G-Force readings. This unit will also shoot pics while video is recording at times you specify, plus embed GPS data in the final production to your liking that you can control. The VIRB Edit software isn't rocket science, nor is it anything to be desired if you want to really take control of your editing skills, but will embed any information you want from your ride. My only complaint of the camera is the sound - it picks up everything you don't want it to, and nothing you do want it to, such as voices. Not a big deal as you can add the music you want to cover up the not-so-ideal background noise - plus not everyone wants to hear you being out of breath, or hocking up a big 'ol lung-cookie after a long climb. Something else to consider - depending on your PC, it can take a long time for MP4 conversion after your edit, especially if you are including music. The video was shot using a GoPro handlebar mount, which was easy to use with the included VIRB universal mount adapter. Lens correction and stabilization were both turned on. The video was shot in 1080p, but Vimeo has reduced that to 720 - time to upgrade so I can go all HD.
Onto the Video - a lap around Anasazi Loop! I think the dog liked my riding better than his owner!
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