Trail Grams: Wrecking Crew & Shop Props


It seems that every mountain bike magazine or website these days only writes about the [stuff] that is made by companies that advertise with them. I hate that. Where do I have to go for a fair review of a bike? I ride several times a week and think I could show you a thing or two about how to review a bike.

Bronson Duck
Mill Valley, California

Multiple editors ride every bike we write up for a test. We then collaborate on the ride impressions and, finally, we write the review. It’s a tedious process, but it has nothing to do with the advertising depart- ment. In fact, we the editors have gotten ourselves into some trouble with the ad guys when we want to test a bike that’s not on the list of companies that spend money with us. Sorry to say, but there are some companies out there that make incredible bikes and don’t buy ads with us. That’s not going to stop us from riding them. That’s because you the reader want to hear what we think about the best bikes out there, regardless of whether or not they advertise with us.


In 2007 I bought my dream bike—a Yeti 575 (based on your reviews). Since then, I’ve had several “new” bikes, thanks to your recommended upgrades. First were new wheels, then a year later a wider han- dlebar and shorter stem. Each upgrade felt like a 20-percent better bike! Then the next breakthrough was after I threw a chain on a climb and almost fell off a cliff. I dropped the three rings in front and went to a 2×9 drivetrain, and it’s been wonderful! This past year I got a new air-sprung fork, a Fox 32, and, again, it was better than I could ever imagine! So, I recently had my shop weigh my bike, and it’s 26.3 pounds! Yes, it’s still a 26, but I think the difference is incremental. So, for those like me (55-plus years old) who don’t take huge drops, I think your tips have served me exception- ally well, and I cannot justify buying a new bike. I’d be happy to loan you guys my bike to evaluate against others’ well-maintained and upgraded bikes, say Ellsworths, Giants or Specializeds (all with 26 wheels). For me, if I can’t get up or down something, it’s not my bike’s fault! Also, a big shout out to my boys from Black Mountain Bikes who have guided me through the upgrade and maintenance process!

Tyler Gabriel
San Diego, California


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