Reviews – Gear and such!

Reviews – Gear and such!

COVE – G Spot Review


After 155 hours or 1579km of riding on my G, I think that I have a pretty good idea what’s good about it and bad.  I shouldn’t say bad – just okay cause anything bad, I would have swapped out long ago.

THE BUILD

I bought my Cove part for part, with a friend supplying me parts of his old race bike.

Frame – G-Spot 160mm rear travel – designed for a 160mm fork.

Rear shock – Fox DHX 5 Air – Completed an Air Sleeve maintenance at 50 hours – KISS simple stupid to take apart and clean.  No issues so far except for a noticable squishy sound developed over the last 40 hours.  Time to get the oil changed.

Fork – RS Lyrik RC2 DH – U-Turn Coil – Read my trials and tribulations in a seperate article below.

Seat Post – RS Reverb – A real game changer for me. I broke the strain relief from the remote side and couldn’t get any parts from the bike shops around Vancouver.  Ended up getting parts from Ebay.  That was in the first week of my riding the G.  I put on a shrink wrap tube on the remote end to stiffen up where the tube exits the remote.  Works like a charm.  I use the post probably a dozen times per ride and I never have to stop and adjust.  Awesome!  There is a little play in them now, but not noticeable when I ride.

Derailleurs – XTR Race – Nothing but good things to say here.  I’ve broke my derailleur hanger 5 times this season and the derailleur staying nice and true.  I’ve since replaced the worn pulley wheels.

Crank – XTR 970 – Triple (had the double, but too hard for this bike).  Okay, I got the 2×10 crank (m980) and man it was a bugger to pedal on the long sustained climbs.  I felt like that my legs burned out after an hour.  I switched to the 3×10 and this gearing ratio worked wonders for the sustained climbs.

Pedals – XTR 970 – bombproof – all that I can say about them.

Brakes – XTR 980 Race – These brakes are a wonder.  Silent and powerful.  My riding buddies ride with Sram and I can here them coming from miles away.  Great modulation and stopping power.

Truvativ 730mm Handlebar and stem – Meh…okay. The wide bars are great and I probably won’t cut them.

DT340 hub/Mavic 719disc Wheelset – XTR cassette 11-36.  The low gear is great on these hills here on the coast.  The wheels are great and developed a bit of wobble when I stuck a shovel handle in the rear spokes.  A quick truing and it was fixed.

Tires – Nevagal Front, High Roller Rear – bombproof and super sticky riding the loam.

Saddle – WTB Titanium rails – meh…hard on my ass.  Could be swapping this out soon with a Charge Spoon.

Weight 32 lbs

THE RIDE

When I first rode this mountain bike after being away for 14 years, I was startled on how bikes have changed. I rode a Brodie Expresso with 71/74 angles and only 2.5 inches of travel in my Judy fork.  Any steep trails, I would go over the  bars in a heartbeat.  Riding the G-Spot?  Super stable with its 67/71 angles.  Craftsmanship is beautiful and the platform is stiff and beefy.  After 155 hours of riding, the back-end is solid with no play in the pivots.

Give it a super steep trail downhill and I lower the post, slightly shift my weight to the rear and hang on tight.  Just point it and go!  The 6″ of travel sucks almost any obstacle in its path.  This bike was meant to ride Shore trails and its performs beautifully!  The more sketchy the trails, my buddies’ XC bike drop off the pace and I leave them in the dust and often waiting for them at bottom of the trail.

For a 32 lb bike, it’s not the lightest all-mountain bike around and it shows in its climbing.  Don’t get me wrong, the G climbs well, but after an hour or so of climbing, you’ll know that your pushing 5-10 lbs more weight than your buddies’ super ultra cool carbon fiber weight weenie machine.  I initially got a 2×10 XTR crank and basically lost top four low gears in a traditional 3×10 setup and I would burn my legs up quickly.  So, 3×10 is the normal setup with this bike, putting the sweet spot of the pivot design right around the middle chain ring.  I’m okay bringing up the rear with my friends, but then again they win cross-country races and I’m able to pace with them very well.  So, from their perspective, I comparably slow, but I do have a couple of Strava KOM that are readily challenged. A few people can’t believe that I owned them with a 6 inch squishy bike compared to their Ti or carbon hard tails.

Its not a stand and hammer bike either and probably because I chose no lock-out on my fork. When I stand, I’m pushing the suspension down as well as forward.  Not very efficient.  Sit and hammer though and there is no noticeable bob.

Everything about the G-Spot challenges me to jump log gaps, ride drops and go downhill fast. Being a good climber, it is my one arrow in the quiver bike that can basically do it all.  I do feel spoiled on this bike by getting done right the first time around.  Well done Cove.

—WAB1234—


RockShox Lyrik

March 2012 – Part of my Cove came with a RS Lyrik RC2DH – Rebound, Compression (High and Low) and DH (no floodgate).  Also it’s a U turn coil spring shock instead of air.  So what do I think?  Its a 4 out of 10 out of the box, but a 9 out of 10 when working right.  Say what?  Let me explain.

The Lyrik can be dialed up to 160mm of travel and dialed down to 115mm for uphill climbing.  I can tell you from a person who rides 15-20% sustained grades that the 115mm is nice as it keeps the front end down.  Otherwise, you need to shift your body too far forward that sometimes the rear wheel breaks loose.  Its annoying on those steep pitches that you often choose to define how good you’re feeling.  Okay, my problem was the dial would self ratchet down after a long decent.  Every bump would dial it clockwise like 2 hours at a time (i.e. bump – 2 o’clock, bump – 4 o’clock, bump – 6 o’clock etc).  I had to install more ball bearings to keep it from moving.  Its harder to turn but its works now.

The second thing that bugs me – still does – is that I can’t get the last inch of my travel.  Even with a 4-5′ drop.  I checked for oil in the legs and re-added the oil and that seemed to help but still have never bottomed out the shock.  When I drop the lowers, I’m getting way too much coming from my damper leg.  I suspect that I have a o-ring problem.  Still its 5 inches on a 6 inch travel bike.

Okay – when it works – like new oil and u-turn dial operational, its super plush.  When I first got it, my first ride was hammered dog meat on the small bumps and it just took a couple of ride for the bushing to break in.  When we lowered the legs, way to much oil came out, but its way better now.  So, with all its quirks, I like them – and I’m becoming a good fork mechanic.

Updated Nov 20, 2012 – I f’in did it!  It took about 10 oil changes and 2 litres of different oils but I f’in did it!  The magic formula?  I used 2.5 wt Motul fork oil and 75w90 gear lube.  I get full travel on hard rides and  super plush action on small bumps.  I love the fork now.  I even upgraded my buddy’s Lyrik with my own concoction and he loves it too.  I suspect that the travel issue was related to the 15wt oil I used for a splash lube. Its way too thick and sticky for the oil to pass by bushing and so it was possibly binding.  The 75w90 is synthetic, sticky and thin enough to pass by the bushings.  It’s been 35 hours and so far-so good.

—WAB1234—


Nuuns – My Consummate Electrolyte Friend


I’ve tried them all.  Really.. and still got muscle cramps after 1-2 hours of riding.  Gatorade, Powerade, Tums, GU, Endurolytes, Bananas and even figs.  The cramps still came all the same.  My friend suggested that his buddy (we all have buddies) started to take Rolaids as soon as cramps started to appear and they went away.  I asked what was the difference between Tums and Rolaids, as I was thinking of my last attempt to use an antacid during an intense workout – burping and cramps – not fun.  He said that it was the magnesium that was the difference.  So, next workout about an hour and a half in the ride and felt the little twinges of muscle spams, I popped a couple of Rolaids, and waited.  And waited….nothing.  I was so relieved to finally find something that worked!  This led to my mission to find a product that had magnesium and didn’t make me burp all the time.  My travels led me to the Nuun product.

Nuuns comes in a tablet form and one tab is all you need in your water bottle to give all the electrolytes you need for your activity.  The tab must have some sort of baking soda in it, as it self-dissolves like a bath bomb – it dissolves within a minute.  I like the lemon-lime and the banana is a take it or leave it affair.

I can’t recommend anything better to deal with my cramping problem and now solved, I can concentrate on more intense and longer workouts to make me a better racer!

—-WAB1234—-

Matrix T50 Carbon Wheelset


My dad went to Taiwan on business and picked up two deep dish carbon fiber wheelsets from the Tank factory (Matrix).  Unboxing the wheels was like being in a candy store!!!  These wheels are a beautiful.  I haven’t used them yet so stay tuned for a review of my first ride!

Other photos – follow this Link here.

Update Oct 2011 –  After riding 500km on these wheels, I can say that they work really well.  They performed flawlessly on the roads in Sonoma County with all their broken pavement and potholes.  The wheels are quick to spin up – better than my Krysium SL’s or Easton Orion 2’s.  The braking was good, but needed more lever pressure when the road gradients where greater than 15%, and after extended braking the rim slightly pulsed from rim heat.  I never felt that I couldn’t stop even with rain or steep road sections.  After coming off the King Ridge Road, I felt the rims with my fingers and they were still  okay to touch.  The ride is great on Canadian roads and seems to float over chip sealed pavement.  Unfortunately when the pavement became more broken, the rims tended to transmit the shock into my hands and my hands were pretty sore after 375km/4 days of riding.  More so than my aluminum clinchers anyway. I really noticed the difference in the speed on the flats where I could spin up to 40km and hold it there versus my Eastons.  I felt that I was faster up the hills due to the sub 1400 gram wheels and using tubulars.  They are noticeably lighter than any wheels I own.    The good price also helps justify the nuances of the other side of using tubulars.  As a racing set, these wheels will bring you results or in everyday training, to give you your personal bests and satisfaction of having a good day’s ride.

—-WAB1234—-

Kenda Domestique Tubular Tires

As part of my “tubular” experience, I bought a set of Kenda Domestique tires for training and to complete the King Ridge Granfondo.  I’ve never been on tubulars, or tubs, or sew-ups so I never realized what a big difference a tubular ride was compared to clinchers.  I’ve ridden plenty of good clinchers like Michelin ProRace 3, Kenda Kaliente’s and my current set of Conti 4000’s.  But I have to say that these tub tires are light, quick to speed up and the ride is like riding on pillows.  Okay maybe the wheels have something to do with it, but these tires, together with carbon rims are current breaking almost every hill personal bests that I’ve been tracking all year.  

How are they holding up? – not badly at all, but really just started to put on the  miles.  I’ve ridden over car glass, gravel and marginal roads with good success (no flats).  I carry Vittoria Pit Stop just in case though.  I’ll probably upgrade to Continental Sprinters and keep these tires as spares. They’ll do for the meantime.  


Update Oct 4, 2011 –  I’m really impressed with these tires having put 500km on them to date.  Most of these km were in Santa Rosa and if you’ve been there, you’d know that these roads are rough with tons of potholes.  The tires performed brilliantly during my time there.   


Update Oct 9, 2011 – Okay as soon as I came home from California, I rode over a rock that cause a pinch flat on the side of my tire.  The Vittoria Pitstop wasn’t good enough to stop the leak and neither the Stan no-tube could hold the air in.  I was done and had to walk back to my car for 2 km.  So, I guess that I should carry a spare tub…pre-glued ready to go.  These Kenda’s are actually thin enough to fold very nicely under my seat so after this season I will buy some better tubs and use these Domestiques as my spares.  Fixing the Kendas was alittle harder than I thought as I took off the tubs with great difficulty (involved my tire lever) and had to remove a very stubborn basetape.  I cut the stitches and fished out the tub.  I had a nice little snake bite that may be a small design problem with sidewall integrity with these tubs.  I used a Park self adhesive patch, re-stitched the tire and pumped it up to 100psi.  Came back a hour later and the tub was flat.  I tried to repump the tire and heard the hissing from my new patch job.   Great… patch failed.   So the next day I went into shop and bought some tried and true vulcanizing glue and patch, re-opened the tire, applied the patch and re-stitched the tire.  I glued the base tape with barge cement and mounted the tire on the rim.  Good to go!  Lessons learned:  Fixing a tubular is way harder than a clincher.  Fixing a tubular make me closer to the cycling god than any other endevour with my bike.  Old technology is well suited to patching tubulars (so long Park Patches!).  I’m actually good at fixing tubulars (who knew?) 😮     


—WAB1234—

Kenda’s entry level tubular tire using old world technology wrapped in a 220tpi casing for a superior performance with an affordable price for training and racing.

  • Entry-level tubular for training or the cycling enthusiast that desires the feel of tubular tires
  • A supple 220tpi casing hand-built around a butyl inner tube