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Bicycle Product Reviews

Intense DH Comp60 2.7" Tire

The Intense Tires DH Comp60 2.7" tire is a nice wide, tall downhill tire. I was surprised to find that this tire fits the "M" arch on my 2001 Super T fork, but it does with a little bit of room to spare. I ran this tire on the front of my Stab for the second half of last season, and am running front and back this season.

I find one of the most impressive things about this tire is how stiff the sidewall is. Mounting these things is definitely not easy, but their pinch flat resistance and the ability to run them at fairly low pressures for better grip is exellent. Beleive it or not, the "FRO" version of this tire has even stiffer sidewalls!

The "60" in Comp60 refers to the tire's durometer, or how hard or soft it is. The Comp60 is not the super sticky compound, but rather the more conventional compound for those of us who still have to purchase their tires and have them last a reasonable amount of time. The Comp50 is the "Sticky Rubber" compound that wears out faster, but sticks like glue to the trail. The tread is nice and blocky, providing exellent cornering grip.

If there is one drawback, it is their weight, but that is to be expected with a wide, tall, stiff downhill tire. Overall, a great tire for it's intended use.

HJC CL-X3 Motocross Helmet

HJC's CL-X3 is a motocross helmet with a DOT rating, which means it is street legal. More importantly, this helmet comes in a size that actually fits my huge head (a true XXL), protects extremely well, and does not cost as much as some high-end dedicated mountain bike full face helmets.

There are two drawbacks to this helmet - lack of ventilation and weight. Both of these obviously stem from it's design as a motorcycle helmet and not a mountain bike helmet. Motorcycles generally move a bit faster than mountain bikes, so venting is not as much of an issue, and motorcyclists do not have to exert themselves quite as much while riding, so the weight is not as much of an issue. However, neither the lack of venting nor weight has really been a factor for me so far. The helmet fits great, has excellent protection, was affordable, and I'm already used to wearing a heavier helmet from motorcycling. If you are looking for an affordable, protective full face lid, you might want to check your local motocross dealer.

Hayes Hydraulic Disk Brakes

It has come to the point that there are many good working disk brake systems on the market, when only a couple of years ago there were almost none. One of the first disk brake setups to be widely accepted was the Hayes hydraulic system.

Hayes has been making automotive brake systems for many years, most notably for Harley Davidson motorcycles. With this expertise behind them, they produced a powerful, reliable, reasonably light weight hydraulic brake system for mountain bikes, and it remains one of the most popular systems available today.

I have owned two sets of Hayes hydraulics, in both 6" rotor and 8" rotor (photo at top of page) configurations. I find them the best of the current crop of brake systems for several reasons. First is their combination of power and modulation. I have found some disk brake setups to be overly touchy, such as some earlier Hope models. The Hayes have a good amount of power, but also good lever "feel" that allows you to apply as little or as much braking power as is needed. Second is their short break-in period. They tend to break-in well before the end of their first ride, while others, such as Shimano, take two to three rides (or more!) to come to full power. Finally, they have been virtually maintenance free, and parts are readily available if needed. Some systems, such as Hope, can be hard to find parts for.

Judging by the number of Hayes systems I see on riders' bikes these days, and by the number of manufacturers who spec them OE, I am not the only one who prefers Hayes...

Update August 5/03

The brakes on the '03 Stinky are the less expensive Hayes hydraulics. They work fine, except that if the levers are ever forcibly pulled away from the handlebar, there is a small circlip on the inside of the lever that can easily pop out. If this happens, it is possible to lose a bit of fluid, and the brakes generally will not work properly. There is a warranty fix consisting of a new circlip that can be done if the lever pops out, and if fluid is lost they will have to be bled. Otherwise, it is business as usual for these brakes.