Mountain Bike Action’s Best Hard Parts Of 2020
Deity T-Mac Pedals
I often switch back and forth between clipless and flat pedals, depending on the bike and terrain I’m riding. On smooth flowy trails when I want to goof around, I ride flats. On rough terrain, I prefer to be clipped in to prevent slipping a pedal through a rock garden. My go-to flat pedal is the T-Mac from Deity. My T-Macs have taken a beating and just won’t give up. I also really like the symmetrical shape that offers a huge platform without being too bulky.
Specialized Flux 1200 Headlight
While a headlight might not be the most exciting product to talk about, I had to give props to Specialized for designing one of the best light mounts I’ve seen. This solid, CNC-machined clamp is worlds better than any rubberized strap I’ve used. Furthermore, the light can be mounted to an action-camera mount that allows me to run a 1200-lumen light on my Bell helmet. That said, I prefer this powerful night-riding light on my handlebars due to its cleverly designed quick-release handlebar mount.
Shimano Deore 12-speed
Shimano’s new Deore 12-speed drivetrain was a huge surprise to me, not only because of its value but because of its performance as well. This very affordable drivetrain uses trickle-down technology from the XTR to offer a close feel at a fraction of the price. Of course, this drivetrain is quite a bit heavier and not quite as smooth as its high-end relative, but it still amazes me what Shimano was able to accomplish. I’d expect many bikes in the next few years will benefit from this top-quality, affordable drivetrain.
TRP DH-R Evo Brakes
I’m typically a Shimano brake user, but I must say that TRP has made some major progress in brake performance. I have been utilizing TRP’s latest DH-R EVO brakes on the custom Giant Reign that I mentioned as one of my favorite bikes of the year. The best way to describe the brakes is that the DH-R EVOs don’t have the same quick, on/off, light-switch grab as Shimano’s current brake systems; however, a full-skid lockup can be initiated faster with TRP’s new brakes than with a SRAM four-piston brake system. Regardless, I liked the different feel of how the DH-R EVO modulates.
TIME Speciale 12 Pedals
I have typically leaned towards utilizing Shimano’s SPD cleat system for both trail and XC riding. That is not to say that I was unfamiliar with Time’s ATACs, but they were never my preference. Then along came the Time Speciale 12, which was intended for enduro. Now I have a new preference for aggressive trail and enduro riding. I like the way the cleat release really comes down to personal preference and what you are most comfortable with.
I really like being able to customize the amount of tension for how the pedals release on the Speciale 12. The ATAC cleat has a great engagement feel, but with more of a spring release than a Shimano pedal design. It’s worth mentioning that the quality and high-end materials used put these pedals at $349 for the set. If you’re a Time person, you won’t regret the initial investment.
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.