Dirt Rag Magazine

Shannon Mominee

Shannon Mominee

What do you think about when you're riding your bike?

Music, food, my life. Often I try not to think and just enjoy being outside on a bike.

How would you rate your coffee consumption on a scale of 8-10?

I don't know, where does 2 cups a day fit into scale?

Complete this sentence: "My other bike is …"

a Fender Jazzmaster.

What are you eating, drinking, reading, or fearing these days?

Healthy foods, unhealthy drinks, Wired and the New Yorker magazines.

Elvis or the Beatles?

The Beatles

Say something profound and meaningful in exactly seven words…

Bikes and music help me appreciate life.

I like your answers. How can I get in touch with you?

Email me

Review: REEB Cycles TyREEB


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REEB cycles was started a few years ago by Colorado craft beer brewery, Oskar Blues. Rather than copy an existing design and slap on the REEB logo, Oskar Blues went against the grain with slacker geometry to tackle the rough descents near its Colorado brewery.

REEB bikes are aimed at the rider wanting a capable trail rig without twitchy, XC racer geometry. But, non-race geometry doesn’t necessarily make a bike slow, as evidenced by Macky Franklin’s victory at last year’s Breck Epic in the Solo Singlespeed category riding a REEB. My tester is a 29-inch-wheeled singlespeed, with Paragon dropouts and a Gates belt drivetrain, but it can also be built as a geared bike.

Read the full review here.

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Review: Moots MX Divide


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Since 1981, Moots has been handcrafting frames from U.S. made titanium and are well known for their soft-tail YBB frame and high-quality hardtails, road, and ‘cross frames. Feeling the need to cater to XC and Epic riders and racers looking for a short travel bike, other than ones made from carbon or aluminum, Moots partnered with the suspension experts at the Sotto Group. The Sotto Group has helped bike companies such as Fox, Mountain Cycle, Lynskey, and Ahrens with suspension designs, and after two years of working with Moots, the 29-inch-wheeled MX Divide was created.

Click here to read the full review.

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Out of the box: Fox’s Terralogic fork technology


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Call it fate. I recently purchased a Santa Cruz Highball frame and needed a fork to complete my build, and while I searched an email was forwarded to me from Fox looking for a tester for this fork.

The fork happens to be a Fox 32 Float 29, 100mm FIT Terralogic model, and yes, I’d like to test it. This model is available with either a 9mm drop-out or with an included 15mm thru-axle, which I opted for, and with either a tapered or 1 1/8” straight steerer. Kashima coated uppers, Terralogic threshold, rebound, and an air spring with updated damping for 2014 are all included.

The Terralogic technology was first introduced in 2004 and before that Fox partnered with Specialized to develop the Brain for its full-suspension rigs. If you’re not familiar, here’s the basics: when Terralogic is engaged, the fork rides as if it were locked out. Stand up, mash the pedals, pump the bars back and forth and there’s very little movement in the fork. When you hit a bump, the force from below activates the suspension by pushing the lowers up. As the lowers rise, a brass mass, which seemingly moves but really stays in place relative to the fork, reveals a piston for the oil to flow through and the suspension to become active. The amount of force needed for activation is controlled by a threshold adjuster. A return spring eventually pushes the brass mass back into place when the trail smoothes out, restricting again the flow of oil.

How does it work on the trail? Find out here.

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Review: 2013 Salsa Beargrease


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The Beargrease, one of two fat bike platforms from Salsa, is billed as a soft conditions racing bike. It’s designed for maximum performance when floatation and stability are necessary. As spec’d, it’s ready to take on frosty winter races or weekend fun on pretty much any terrain.

Made EV6 Xtrolite aluminum, the Beargrease has size-specific, double- butted tubing. For stiffness there’s a tapered head tube and hydro- formed top and down tubes. Full-length cable housing helps to inhibit contamination and the durable matte anodized finish saves weight over paint. Geometry is designed for stability at slow speeds with plenty of clearance to stuff those fat tires into the frame and fork. A 170mm spaced rear accommodates a 26-inch x 4.0-inch tire while the 135mm fork can fit a 4.8-inch fatty. Its relaxed 69.5-degree head tube adds stability and helps control the heavy front wheel, while the 45-inch wheelbase increases stability in soft conditions.

Read on to see how this fatty rolled…

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Review: Ruffwear Track Jacket (for dogs!) and Bivy Bota Bowl


By Shannon Mominee

Can you spot the dog in this photo?

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How about the dog in this photo?

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The blaze orange Track Jacket from Ruffwear definitely makes it easier to spot my dog, Roman, in the woods and makes him more visible on night walks. And even though he’s not hunting, there are hunters in the woods that we hike and mountain bike in, and I’d rather they see my dog than mistake Roman for a deer or other game. Read the full story

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Review: Easton EA70 XCT 29er wheels


By Shannon Mominee. Photos by Justin Steiner.

Easton’s EA70 XCT 29” wheelset is essentially the high-end EA90 UST rim laced to a less expensive hub. The stealthy graphics are attractive and the multiple axle options make them available to a wide range of users.

The tubeless rims have welded seams, and are laced three-cross with 24 straight pull, butted spokes to Easton hubs. Though, their 19mm inner width is on the narrow side. I mounted the wheels to my rigid Niner with carbon fork, which provided a good impression of the wheels isolated from any suspension movement.

The more I ride 15mm thru-axles, the more I appreciate them. The wheelset has excellent steering precision and felt solid when making quick steering adjustments and when carving through switchbacks. Nothing felt flexy, and the wheels held a line through turns. They proved stiff and have an awesome strength-to-weight ratio. I think the EA70’s are durable enough to use everyday and won’t have you wasting time at the truing stand.

The two-pawl design with 20 degrees of engagement is slow to catch, so there’s a lot of play in the drivetrain before moving forward. I would’ve expected a faster-engaging rear hub for the price.

If you are looking for durable wheelset that isn’t overly heavy, these could be for you. If you frequently riding in technical terrain, where you need to ratchet the pedals frequently, you may want to look for a wheelset built around a rear hub with quicker engagement.

Vital stats

  • Price: $750
  • Weight: 1,900g
  • Hub Compatibility: 9/15 Front; 135x10mm, 142x12mm rear
  • Degrees of Engagement: 20 degrees
  • Internal Width: 19mm
  • Spoke Count: 24 front, 24 rear
  • Country of Origin: Taiwan
  • Online: eastoncycling.com 
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First Impression: Intense Spider 29 Comp


By Shannon Mominee. Photos by Shannon Mominee, Jon Pratt and Justin Steiner

The Intense Spider 29 Comp is the bigger and bolder brother of the Spider 29. Intense should have picked a different name for the Spider 29 Comp, because unlike the Spider, this machine has a carbon fiber frame with more rear travel, shorter chainstays and a slacker head angle than its aluminum counterpart. It’s pretty much an entirely different beast except for the suspension design.

With 4.5 or 5 inches of adjustable travel and VPP suspension licensed from Santa Cruz, the Spider 29 Comp is ready to face the most aggressive trails or be dialed back for more groomed dirt. My inaugural rides took place over a weekend of riding in and around the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, North Carolina. What better way to become acquainted than with a 7-mile climb and a 4-mile descent through a rock garden.

For each of those trail situations I used the CTD setting on both the Fox Kashima coated Float CTD shock w/boost valve and the 130mm, 32 Float 29 FIT CTD fork to ascend and descend as efficiently as possible. I liked the “Climb” setting on the fork when, well…climbing, but that same setting on the shock was at the cost of rear tire traction, so I mostly used the “Trail” setting for the rear instead. For my downhill enjoyment, both shocks were set to “Descend” which provided a high degree of absorption on small and large hits alike.

The Spider 29 Comp has a long 46.5-inch wheelbase and rides exceptionally smooth and stable, but lets the length be known in tight switchbacks where it doesn’t maneuver so nimbly. The 67.5-degree head tube makes steering feel natural and is quick enough to pick a line, instead of running over everything, which this bike is also capable of doing. At 28.4lbs. the bike climbs lighter than the scale foretells. The carbon chassis is stiff and provides a comfortable ride, climbs well, and mutes trail vibration, without be so stiff as to be jarring or feel flexy.

Some cool features of the Spider 29 Comp is the internal cable routing with cable guide tubes, internal cable routing for a Rock Shox Reverb Stealth dropper post, which my tester has, ISCG mounts for using a single chainring in the front, a tapered head tube, rubbery protector on the chainstay and downtube, and G1 dropouts that can be swapped to accommodate 135mm QR wheels or 142x12mm thru-axles. A size medium frame weighs a claimed 5.5lbs.

The Spider 29 Comp retails for $5,928 as built without the dropper post, or $2,900 for a frame and shock. Unlike all of Intense’s U.S. made aluminum frames, the carbon ones are manufactured in Taiwan and assembled in the U.S. Look for a full review of the Spider 29 Comp coming soon to a Dirt Rag Magazine near you.


 

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First Impression: Salsa Beargrease


By Shannon Mominee

Call it luck, but with 8-12 inches of snow on the ground and a Salsa Beargrease in for test, I was ready to see what the snow bike flurry has been all about. If you’re not familiar with the Beargrease, it’s one of Salsa’s two aluminum fat bikes.

The Beargrease frame is made from EV6 Xtrolite aluminum for corrision resistance, has a tapered head tube, hydro-formed top and down tube, full length cable housing, direct mount front derailleur, and mounts for two bottle cages. It has a black anodized finish with blue highlights that match a set of fat blue rims. The matching aluminum fork has D-shaped blades, a 51mm I.S. disc brake mount, and 135mm spacing for a 4.8-inch-wide tire. The rear hub is the 170mm fatbike "standard." 

The Mukluk (not pictured), on the other hand, is made from 7005-aluminum and has Alternator dropouts that allow for singlespeed setup and uses set screws to adjust chain tension when pulling the wheel back in the vertical dropout. The steel Enabler fork it ships with also has mounting options for two additional bottle cages and and a fender mount. The rear triangle has rack mounts to extend your adventure. 

Basically the Beargrease is a "stripped down" fatbike, while the Mukluk is designed for more adventurous expeditions. 

I’m running low air pressure at 6psi. in both the 45 NRTH Hüsker Dü tires. Not sure if that name is a tribute to the 1970s board game or the 80s rock band from Minnesota, but either way the tires hook up in snow and provided more traction than I had anticipated.

For winter boot riding, the chainstays are shaped to provide extra heel clearance. Although I didn’t catch my heels on the chainstays, I did hit the back of my thighs on the seatstays when I paused pedaling to relax and stretch my hamstrings on down strokes. There’s ample standover clearance too in case you’re sliding toward a tree and need to bail.

On New Years Eve I went out for the maiden voyage with climbs through deep snow that included a lot of huffing, puffing, and pushing. The 2×10 drivetrain uses an e*thirteen 22/36-tooth crankset and 11-36-tooth Sram cassette. This 10-speed combination was adequate for the majority of riding until the snow becomes too deep to navigate through. After five miles I was spent and my upper body fatigued, but I had the bike dialed in. I set it aside and waited for an early morning ride.

New Years Day, I met my friend Jerry with his Mukluk and pedaled through the city to the trails. First thing I learned; tire pressure is key. I began with about 8psi., which caused me to spin out during climbs. After letting 2psi. out the tires came alive and gripped powder way more than I’ve experienced with a 29er. With a snow bike there’s less drifting and fighting against the wheels to maintain a somewhat straight line. The wider contact patch and volume floats on snow, instead of digging in. That’s not to say there’s no sinking, and I certainly wasn’t riding on top the snow, but think of the Beargrease as a bike wearing snowshoes. The larger footprint distributes the weight.

On downhills, I just removed my fingers from the brake levers and hoped to maintain my distance from trees. Once I got rolling I had the feeling of sledding as a kid and let out a few wooo hoos! as I sped to the bottom narrowly missing a deep drift. The Beargrease is just a pleasure to ride.

Turning is compliant as well with very little slipping or weird body movements to keep from losing the wheels. Braking actually slowed the bike without skidding or fish tailing, which aided control and kept my momentum moving forward. I also like that I had the confidence to roll over log piles and obstacles that make trail riding fun and could just relax, ride, and enjoy the winter scenery.

What I’ve learned in a few rides is that snow bike riding is less about speed and more about reaching the destination, if you have one. After a 5-hour ride and roughly 25 miles covered I was completely exhausted, but I experienced trail riding in an entirely new manner than I have in 20-some-years of riding.

A fat bike isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to ride through all snow, and make it up every climb. Some snow is just too deep to pedal through. But a bike like the Beargrease is a guarantee that you’ll at least be out riding in the winter through snow and having an awesome time doing it.

The Beargrease retails for $2,999 complete or $999 for the frameset. 

Watch for my long-term review in an upcoming issue of Dirt Rag.

– Shannon Mominee

 

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