Pictures From Virgin, Utah – October, 2020

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Pictures From Virgin, Utah – October, 2020

Last weekend, we attended a couple of events. The Utah NICA league had its state championships in St. George and our friends from the RaceKraft MTB Team staked a claim in the desert outside of Virgin.

We spent the first night camped next to the NICA pit zone, but were able to spend a couple of evenings with the RaceKraft crew in the dirt.

Utah’s unlimited outdoors was on full display. When the red rocks collide with big skies and the wind is chill, the kids can enjoy the mountain biking across this world-class terrain without the crowds and clamor of city living. Here are a few photos from the weekend.

Outside and all is well

Fall and spring in the Utah desert can be quite amazing. If the wind is low and the bugs are out of town, it’s hard to leave.
Our friend Aiden [far right] @aiden_parish83 works on sealing a deal from the comfort of his remote office.

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Mountain Biking the Flying Monkey trail

The fun is spread out over several square miles. It’s like Disneyland, but uncrowded and fun.

Wyatt hikes his mountain bike up a ridge

No lift lines all day long.

MTB Helmets For Kids

Make sure your kids have proper, well-fitting head protection.

Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids

G-Form knee pads for kids

Knee Pads For Kids

Knee pads are another level of protection for young riders.

MTB Knee Pads for Kids

Camelbak LUXE hydration pack for kids

Hydration Packs For Kids

Is your kid big enough to carry their own water and supplies?

MTB Hydration Packs for Kids

Making way back to camp on a desert ridge

Look ahead. Level pedals. Attack position on the bike. One finger on each brake lever. Well done!

Taking time for a photo in the desert

A chest protector is a good idea out here because O-T-B doesn’t just stand for “Outside The Beltway”.

Sending a straight-down line with multiple drops

Wyatt returns to the ground floor of the venue on a line with a few bumps and drops.

Mountain biking down loose terrain in the Utah desert

Riding a narrow strip of the desert’s dusty slip-and-slide.

Flying Monkey. Cue the music and scan the clouds

The Flying Monkey trail is a favorite. Tyge has to walk a section or two, but he can iron out the tail every time.

Jumping at the old Rampage site near Virgin, Utah

Getting sendy on a run-out from a steep, chunky line.

Riding some desert tech

Attend Virgin Tech. It’s an experience and education all its own. Learn as you go. Broaden your horizons and meet like-minded people.

Riding the tail-end of Flying Monkey

Until next time, Virgin. We hope it’s soon.

1x Drivetrain Upgrade On Our Kid’s Mountain Bike

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Upgrading a kids mountain bike to a 1x drivetrain

We converted a 2×10 drivetrain to a 1x set-up on Tyge’s bike with a non-boost hub. Before we started, our friend Steve from Hyland Cyclery took a look at the bike to help us identify all the tools and parts we needed. I was glad to find out we could save some money by keeping the original crankset and shifter. As you’ll see in the video, this is obviously the first time we’ve done something like this.

DOWNLOAD a PDF with a list of parts and tools that may be helpful. This PDF includes affiliate links.

How To Convert A Mountain Bike To A 1x Drivetrain?

If you’d like to try a similar upgrade for a bike your family owns, be aware that drivetrains are different from bike-to-bike and your project will almost definitely require different parts. Ours ended up with parts from SunRace, Shimano, SRAM, and WolfTooth. If you’re not comfortable taking inventory and assessing what you need, we bet your local bike shop can help you out. Watch the video and Tyge will take you through what he did.

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MTB Helmets For Kids

Make sure your kids have proper, well-fitting head protection.

Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids

G-Form knee pads for kids

Knee Pads For Kids

Knee pads are another level of protection for young riders.

MTB Knee Pads for Kids

Camelbak LUXE hydration pack for kids

Hydration Packs For Kids

Is your kid big enough to carry their own water and supplies?

MTB Hydration Packs for Kids

Bontrager Ion Pro RT/Flare RT Light Set Review

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Bontrager Ion/Flare RT light set

It’s important to be able to see where you’re going no matter where you are – but especially when you’re riding down a trail during dusk or at night. Not only do these lights help you see the path in front of you, but it also makes it easier for others to spot you – making the chances of a painful collision much less likely. The Bontrager ION Pro RT/Flare RT Light Set takes care of both of these issues.

Bontrager Ion/Flare RT light set

Consisting of two different types of lights, the Ion Pro RT and the Flare RT, the set attaches to two different parts of the bike in order to keep you safe. The Ion Pro RT fits on the handlebars, where it illuminates the path in front of you with a wide enough light to cover the width of just about every path and trail. The Flare RT, designed to go on the back of the bike, fits below the seat and flashes behind you so that anyone coming up from the rear realizes that you’re there. However, both can be mounted on a helmet as well, giving you the flexibility to arrange them as needed. A lot of night riding mountain bikers swear by having a powerful light on their bars, and their helmets for an even greater/brighter night ride.

Bontrager Ion Lights with packaging

Both lights are easy to recharge, thanks to handy included USB cable. Just remove the lights from their mounts, and bring them inside. The mounting system is easy to use, and holds the lights in place no matter how many bumps you encounter on your ride, while at the same time, they slide out easily so that you can recharge them as necessary. The batteries are a sturdy, rechargeable 4800 Li-Ion that provide up to six hours of power when the lights are set to low. On high, they last for an hour and a half, while when set to flashing they last for 26 hours.

Bontrager light mounted to PNW Components stem with accessory mount

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For lack of a better term, the Bontrager Ion light set is lit.
Bontrager Ion light mounted to Bontrager Rally MIPS helmet

When it comes to visibility, the Pro RT and the Flare RT contain LED bulbs that produce enough light to make them visible up to 2 kilometers during the daytime, and they can be set to flash in an array of patterns that you can set to provide the ultimate protection based on your exact circumstances. Their maximum light output is 1300 lumens, which is pretty powerful. You can control the lights, as well as monitor their battery life, with your Bontrager ANT+ or Garmin device. This makes it easy to switch their flash pattern while you’re in the middle of a ride, without having to get off of your bike.

Looking ahead with the Bontrager Ion LED light
The rear Flare RT light from Bontrager
The small red light included in this set from Bontrager is very bright

We’ve used our Bontrager Ion Pro RT/Flare RT Light Set quite a few times and they’ve been great. Use them in the daylight as well for additional visibility. Be sure to keep them in your hydration pack or hip bag in case your ride goes longer than expected. We even used the Ion Pro when setting up camp when a traditional headlight has not been handy. When riding on trail behind our youngest, the red flashing tail light was so bright, it was distracting and we had to turn it off. This not only makes this light set great for mountain biking, but it’s also optimal for road biking and commuting. Your experience and age don’t matter when it comes to fun and safety. Be sure to include the Bontrager Ion Pro RT/Flare RT Light Set as one of your essentials.

Moab Mountain Bike Trails For Families, Kids And Beginners

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Beginner mountain bike trails in Moab for families and kids

Moab Mountain Biking Trails for Kids/Beginners – Moab is home to some of the best mountain biking trails on the planet! But before you take on The Whole Enchilada, Slickrock Trail, Captain Ahab, and others with your small kids or beginner mountain bikers – you gotta start small and start safe. This list Moab trails for kids is made up of our favorite beginner mountain bike trails in the area.

Moab Trails for Kids = Family Mountain Biking Fun

One of the best things about mountain biking in Moab is that there is plenty to do. In fact, you can introduce your kids to mountain biking with one of these short rides and hike surreal desert landscapes on the same day. As  your children’s mountain biking skills increase you can return to Moab and go on longer, more technical rides. Without doubt, Moab is a great place to spark a love for mountain biking.

MOAB MTB WEATHER

Jurassic Trail
Area: Klondike Bluffs | Distance: 3.2 miles one way 

A perennial favorite of Moab trails for kids, the Jurassic Trail is a beginner-friendly smooth singletrack trail with very little elevation change. This hardpacked dirt trail skirts the edge of a mesa. The Jurassic Trail is located in the Klondike Bluffs mountain biking area, a network of 50+ miles of singletrack located 20 minutes north of Moab.

Getting Started

The Jurassic trail begins half a mile north of the south parking area. This trail can be reached via Inside Passage (single track but more climby) or on the 4×4 Klondike dirt road (boring but flat).

Jurrasic Trail Overview

The Jurassic Trail is a smooth singletrack trail with almost no elevation change. Jurassic follows the edge of the mesa to the west of the Copper Ridge road. There are no difficult climbs (7% max grade). Above all, there is nothing technical to make beginners uncomfortable.

We’d recommend this trail for beginners since there are no technical challenges. For that reason, intermediate riders might choose to opt for the Dino Flow trail found in the same area. Dino Flow will add a bit more technical challenge.

Beginner mountain bike rides in Moab

Getting To Jurassic Trail In Moab, Utah

The Jurassic Trail is most easily accessed from the South Klondike Trailhead in the Klondike Bluffs area. To reach the trailhead from Moab, drive north on Hwy 191 for 16.0 miles to the signed junction for Klondike Bluff Road. Turn right onto Klondike Bluff Road and continue 2.9 miles on the unpaved road to the South Klondike Trailhead. NOTE: There is no water available in the area, so be sure to plan ahead!

The Great Pyramid Loop
Area: Dead Horse Point – East side trails (Intrepid Trail System) | Distance 4.2 miles 

The Great Pyramid Loop is perhaps the most scenic trail in our list of Moab trails for kids. The Intrepid Trail System was designed for riders of differing skill and fitness levels. The Great Pyramid Loop is a fun loop for families with beginner riders who have some experience riding on dirt. The Great Pyramid is technically easy and mostly flat with some gentle climbing on first half of the loop, so you get to end on a downhill.

Getting Started

The trail system starts at the north end of the Dead Horse Point visitor’s center parking lot. After a short length of two-way trail (Intrepid), it forks into a loop. Of course, this trail can be ridden as an out and back if you decide to turn around at any time.

The Great Pyramid Loop Overview

The Great Pyramid Loop (Intrepid – Great Pyramid- Raven Roll) is easy to follow. You’ll find signs at each intersection and rocks and logs define the trail. The trail is mostly well-packed dirt with a few rock and very short sand sections. There are no true technical areas to speak of. However, you’ll come across a few small rock steps (2-5″ in height) that true beginners might choose to walk over. Although the trail has great views, it is more than 50 feet away from the cliffs so parents can relax while biking with kids. Be sure to take the time to hike out to the marked overlook points (Colorado River Overlook and Pyramid Canyon Overlook) along the trail.

NOTES: Dead Horse Point altitude is around 6000 feet. As soon as you arrive at the trailhead, you may notice the elevation. Thus, it’s usually at least 10 degrees cooler there than in Moab. Importantly, there are bathrooms and water available in the visitors center at the trailhead and at the group picnic site. The Great Pyramid Loop trail flows well and is a super fun ride. All things considered, riders of all ability levels will enjoy this loop.

Great Pyramid Loop - beginner mountain bike trail in Moab

Getting To The Great Pyramid Loop Trail In Moab

About 10 miles north of Moab, turn west off Highway 191 towards Canyonlands National Park on Highway 313. Drive 14 miles and turn left toward Dead Horse Point. Four miles later, pay your entry fee. At this time, $15 per car, significantly higher than most Utah state parks. Then drive another two miles to the visitors center. The trailhead is at the north end of the parking lot.

Lazy-EZ Loop
Area: Moab Brand Trails System Distance | 3.1 miles 

Take note that this ride is best suited for competent beginners and intermediate riders. A fun loop for competent beginners and early intermediate riders. This loop is a bit more challenging than the Bar M trail for beginner riders who are hoping for a little bit of challenge. The Lazy EZ Loop is a 3-mile singletrack loop made of two different trails – Lazy is the eastern trail and EZ is on the west. This loop has is designated as a one way loop, which makes for less trail congestion.

Prepare for around 150 vertical feet of mild climbing.

Getting Started

To get to the start of EZ/Lazy, take the double track Short Loop 1/10 of a mile from the main parking area. This loop is designated as a one-way ride starting with EZ, so take a right at the trailhead.

Lazy – EZ Overview

EZ offers nice views of the Wingate cliffs to the west. EZ trail skirts the edge of a small ridge and is mostly smooth hardpacked dirt with a few slick rock sections. There are a few rock outcrops that are mellow enough for beginners to ride with little concern. After about 1.5 miles, you’ll come to the Lazy Trail.

In comparison, Lazy has more downhill than up and is fun to ride. From Lazy, you’ll enjoy views of the La Sal Mountains and Arches National Park The loop travels over rolling desert terrain. Whats more, you’ll be treated to long views into Arches National Park to Balanced Rock, the Windows and the Klondike Bluffs. This trail is fun! Accordingly, we especially enjoy the swoopy downhill section near the end.

Get out there and enjoy the ride! The Lazy-EZ loop is a nice trail for riders of all skill levels. Beginner riders will find it mildly challenging. In conclusion, not only is Lazy EZ a nice loop in itself, it also accesses other trails so you can extend your ride if you choose.

Lazy EZ Loop - beginner mountain bike trail in Moab, Utah

Getting To The Lazy EZ Trail In Moab

To get to the Moab Brand Trails System, drive 7-miles North of Moab on Highway 191. Turn east onto a gravel road – opposite from the Gemini Bridges turnout. You’ll see Bar M signs advertising a cowboy dinner. After getting off the highway, immediately turn right and continue down the road as it curves left into a dirt parking lot. The ride begins here.

Bar M Loop
Area: Moab Brand Trails System North of Moab | Distance: 8 miles 

This ride is best suited for true beginners and intermediate riders who would like a warm-up ride. Bar M Loop is a super easy well signed mostly double track ride with beautiful desert scenery. There is hardly any change in elevation. Many families ride this trail, including baby trailers and trail-a-bikes. The loop is eight miles long, but does have several escape trails throughout the area in case you need to get back to the parking lot quicker than planned.

Bar M Overview

Firstly, the east side of the loop has a few non-technical slickrock spots to play around on. Secondly, it’s a great area to give true beginners a taste of what slickrock riding is all about. In addition, there are also a few short downhill sections to get the amazing feel of flowing effortlessly through the desert on your bike. As soon as you get here you can pick up speed and blast down through the sand and stone to see what your bike is capable of. Fear not though, there’s nothing technical on this trail.

Surprisingly, the views also become more dramatic as you can see Arches National Park in the distance. Keep an eye out for spur trails that lead to overlooks for even better vistas.

Overall, the ride consists of mellow singletrack with a few low-threat technical sections for beginners to test their mettle (but if anything is still too hard, there’s no shame in walking.) Despite these few rocky spots, overall the path is smooth, well marked, and excellently maintained. To conclude, this is an amazing trail system for beginning riders and one of our top 5 Moab trails for kids.

Beginning mountain bike trails in Moab - Bar M trail

Getting To The Bar M Loop In Moab

To get to the Moab Brand Trails System, drive 7-miles North of Moab on Highway 191. Turn east onto a gravel road – opposite from the Gemini Bridges turnout. You’ll see Bar M signs advertising a cowboy dinner. After getting off the highway, immediately turn right and continue down the road as it curves left into a dirt parking lot. The ride begins here.

Moab Canyon Pathway and Highway 128 path (paved)

Importantly, the Moab Canyon Pathway follows the former path of Highway 191. This path has been re-paved and extended so it forms a nice paved bike path from the north end of Moab to Highway 313. Connecting to this trail at the Colorado River is the paved path along State Route 128.

Moab Canyon Pathway

The Moab Canyon Pathway is a great for a couple reasons. Firstly, this trail can be ridden as a destination in itself or as a connection to Brand Trails, Gemini Bridges or Highway 313. The path begins at the pedestrian/bike bridge that crosses the Colorado River on Highway 128, just north of Moab. Additionally, the super smooth blacktop snakes through 2 miles of the red rock canyon to the entrance of Arches National Park. The path continues past Arches National Park for another 6.5 miles, and 525 vertical feet of climbing, crossing under Highway 191 to the beginning of Highway 313.

Since this paved, parents can pull their babies behind their bikes in trailers. In addition, riders of all ages can enjoy the pathway, even if it is just for a leisurely stroll. Kids can try their new bikes on the flat sections on either end, since only the middle 4 miles have noticeable grade.

Mountain bikers may choose to use the paved bike path for direct access to the multiple trails at the Moab Brands Trail System and Gemini Bridges area (near mile 6). Undoubtably, this will add a great warm-up on pavement to the trail ride. From there, mountain bikers can access unlimited miles of dirt and slickrock routes including the Sovereign Trail, Bartlett Wash and Monitor & Merrimac areas.

Summing up, the Moab Canyon Paved Path is one of the most scenic bikeways around. It connects the Courthouse Wash trailhead near Arches National Park with Highway 313 that leads to Canyonlands National Park. Additionally, along the way, the trail provides access to the Bar M trails and the Mag 7 trails (Gemini Bridges).

As has been noted, the Moab area has lots of fun for the whole family. With this in mind, we hope this list of Moab trails for kids is helpful in planning your family mountain biking trip to Moab. What have we missed?  We’d love to have you contact us on Facebook or Instagram and share your favorites.

Check out the MTB with Kids Destinations and Trails page for more ideas on family adventures.

Beginner mountain bike trails in Moab for families and kids

Kids Bikes Available Now – October, 2020

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Kids mountain bikes for sale - October, 2020

Updated October 11, 2020 – Due to the coronavirus epidemic and stay close to home guidelines, kids’ mountain bikes are in high demand. Some of our favorite manufacturers and brands for the best kids bikes are weeks away from getting their inventory back.

If you’re itching to get your kids out riding as soon as possible, check out our list of Kids Bikes Available Now! We just spent a little time seeing what’s available online for shipping today.

Note: With 27.5 Inch Wheel Bikes and 29 Inch Wheel Bikes in this list, we did our best to present bikes available in XXS, XS, or Small sizes.

Kids mountain bikes for sale - October, 2020

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Strider 12 Sport Kids’ Balance Bike

strider kids balance bike 12 inch wheels

12 inch wheels | MSRP $108.99 USD

Co-op Cycles REV 12 Kids’ Balance Bike

12-inch wheel balance bike rev

12 inch wheels | MSRP $139.00 USD

Strider 12 Pro Kids’ Balance Bike

12 inch wheel kids balance bike strider pro

12 inch wheels | MSRP $139.00 USD

MTB Helmets For Kids

Make sure your kids have proper, well-fitting head protection.

Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids

G-Form knee pads for kids

Knee Pads For Kids

Knee pads are another level of protection for young riders.

MTB Knee Pads for Kids

Camelbak LUXE hydration pack for kids

Hydration Packs For Kids

Is your kid big enough to carry their own water and supplies?

MTB Hydration Packs for Kids

Co-op Cycles REV 20 6-Speed Plus Kids’ Bike 

REI Co-op 20-inch wheel mountain bike

20 inch wheels | 25.51in standover height | MSRP $339.00 USD

Norco Fluid FS 1 20

Norco Fluid 2.1 FS kids mountain bike

20 inch wheels | Fits riders 3ft 10in – 4ft 3in | Standover height 19.68in | MSRP $2,199.00 USD

Norco Fluid 2.2 FS

20 inch Norco Fluid full-suspension mountain bike

20 inch wheels | Fits riders 3ft 10in – 4ft 3in | Standover height 22.44in | MSRP $1,649.00 USD

Norco Rampage 1 20 / Dirt Jumper

Norco Rampage 1

20 inch wheels | 17.0in standover height | MSRP $1,499.00 USD

Vitus 20 Kids Bike 2021

20 inch wheel mountain bike - Vitus

20 inch wheels | 20in to 23in standover height | MSRP $329.00 USD

Nukeproof Cub-Scout 20 Sport Bike (Altus) 2021

20 inch wheel mountain bike - Nukeproof

20 inch wheels | 20in to 24in standover height | MSRP $629.99 USD

Co-op Cycles REV 24 Plus Kids’ Bike

REI Co-Op 24-inch wheel mountain bike for kids

24 inch wheels | 23.38in standover height | MSRP $379.00 USD

Trailcraft Maxwell 24

Trailcraft Maxwell 24 - Kids' Mountain Bike

24 inch wheels | 24.8in standover height | MSRP $1,350.00 – $4,299.00 USD

Early Rider Limited Seeker 24 Kids’ Bike

Early Rider - 24 inch wheel mountain bike

24 inch wheels | 24.8in standover height | MSRP $899.00 USD

Cannondale Trail 24 Kids’ Bike – Nuclear Yellow

Cannondale Trail - 26 inch wheel mountain bike

24 inch wheels | 24.25in standover height | MSRP $410.00 USD

REI Co-op Cycles DRT 3.2 Mountain Bike – XS, S

Co-op Cycles DRT 3.2 Bike

26 inch wheels | 29.96in standover height | MSRP $2,799.00.00 USD

Rocky Mountain Reaper 26 Bike 2021

Rocky Mountain Reaper - 26 inch wheel mountain bike

26 inch wheels | 28.7in standover height | MSRP $2,499.00 USD

Cube Acid 260 Kids Bike 2020

Cube 26 inch wheel mountain bike

26 inch wheels | 25in to 28in standover height | MSRP $429.00 USD

REI Co-op Cycles DRT 3.2 Mountain Bike (M, L, XL)

Co-op Cycles DRT 3.2 Bike

27.5 inch wheels | 30.7″ stand-over height | MSRP $2,799.99 USD

Yeti Cycles SB140 C1 Complete Mountain Bike 2021

Yeti SB140 - 27.5in wheel mountain bike

Extra Small | 27.5 inch wheels |27.63in standover height | MSRP $5,100.00 USD

Revel Rail GX Complete Mountain Bike 2021

Revel Rail GX - 27.5in wheel mountain bike

Small | 27.5 inch wheels |27.36in standover height | MSRP $4,999.00 USD

Niner RKT 9 RDO 2-Star Bike 2020

Niner Mountain Bike

Size Small | 29 inch wheels | Standover height 27.7in | MSRP $3,900.00 USD

Alchemy Arktos 29 SRAM X01

Alchemy Arktos 29inch wheel mountain bike

Small | 29 inch wheels | 31.18in standover  | MSRP $5,699.00 USD

Devinci Troy GX 12s Bike 2021

Devinci Troy Mountain Bike - 29 inch wheels

Small | 29 inch wheels | 28.22in standover  | MSRP $3,599.00 USD

Yeti ARC Carbon C1 Bike 2021

29 inch wheel mountain bike - Yeti Arc

Small | 29 inch wheels | 28.5in standover  | MSRP $3,600.00 USD

Check out our Destinations and Trails page for more fun places to ride and visit! We’d love to hear about your favorite places to ride bikes with your family, too.

PNW Components Loam Grips Review

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PNW Components Loam Grips Review

Nearly every part of a mountain bike can be customized to suit your preferences, including the grips. Not only do they serve an essential contact point on the bike – giving the rider a comfortable place to hold the handlebars and stay under control – they’re one of these easiest components to upgrade and customize. PNW Components Loam Grips are designed to be comfy – so they feel great.

PNW Components Loam Grips Review

The trick with the Loam Grips is to put them on the bike so that they face the proper direction. On the outside end of the grip, just align the “PNW” letters so they are horizontally aligned and legible. Each pair has a mountain pattern that’s supposed to be mounted facing upwards. This section is thicker than the other parts of the grip, using ergonomics as part of the design, allowing for plenty of comfort when you hold on it. The remaining parts contain thin textured strips that provide grip traction as well as structure in the outer zone that helps the grip absorb some of the bumps on the trail before they reach the hands and arms.

PNW Components Loam Grips in the box

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The PNW Components Loam Grips are available in different colors, including: Safety Orange, Blackout Black, Seafoam Teal, Cement Gray, and Really Red. This allows you to choose the pair that will work best on your bike, as far as color-coordinating is concerned. Also, the pattern on the grips, which incorporates all of the design and usage features described above, is attractive and stands out a bit. Even if you choose a color that completely blends in with your handlebars.

Detail shot of the PNW Components Loam Grips

Installing the grips is almost as easy as removing your current pair. After removing your yucky old, worn out grips, do some light cleaning to remove any grime that was under them on the bars. Then, push the new grips into the place; rotate them so the mountain design is facing the correct direction – and tighten them down using a 3mm hex wrench. Be careful to tighten the grips to the proper specs with carbon bars.

End o seafoam teal PNW Components Loam Grips

How To Install Your PNW Components Loam Grips

The single clamps have a closed-end, helping them stay put. Once the correct side is up – the mountains that have extra padding – you just need to fasten them in place to prevent any slippage while riding. Since the Loam Grips are lightweight, coming in at a mere 90 grams for the entire pair, they won’t add much additional weight to the bike itself. In addition, they are 133.5 millimeters wide and 30 millimeters in diameter, making them fit onto a variety of mountain bikes.

Gray PNW Components Loam Grips
Mom's PNW Components Loam Grips

Both Traci and Tyge have been using the PNW Components Loam Grips this year. Wear-and-tear is obvious on Tyge’s set, but the grips aren’t dead yet. They’re still functional and safe. Every few rides, we’re sure to check that they are tight and secure so they will not rotate and slip due to abrupt or steady force.

Wear and tear after a season using the PNW Components Loam Grips

Overall, the grips have performed as designed. The thicker sections of the grip – where the bulk of your hand wraps, are still comfy and have plenty of life left. The only parts that have broken away are due to not so carefully laying the a bike down on concrete or pavement. The colors have not faded and there are no cracks or tears. When you’re ready to upgrade or replace your grips, give the PNW Components Loam grips a shot. Your hands, fingers, and forearms will thank you.

Bontrager Rhythm Women’s Mountain Bike Jersey Review

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Bontrager Rhythm Women's MTB Jersey Review

Functional and stylish, the Rhythm Women’s Mountain Tech Tee includes many features that make it a must-have for any mountain biker. Not only does it come in an array of colors, including gravel and mulberry, pink and black, and even a tie-dyed looking light teal, but the fabric is designed with performance in mind.

Bontrager Rhythm Women's MTB Jersey Review

The overall fabric is very lightweight and has built-in mesh inserts where you need them the most. The material also consists of a polygiene blend that controls odor, no matter how warm you get while riding. In addition to the fabric, there are a number of thoughtful features built into the shirt. There’s an added drop tail in the back for extra sun protection when hunched over the handlebars, as well as a sunglass wipe in the hem, preventing the need for an extra piece of fabric. That’s one less thing that you need to carry around. A back locker loop allows you to hang up the shirt when it’s not in use, making it easy to dry off after a particularly sweaty ride.

Bontrager Rhythm Women's mountain bike jersey

Designed to prevent chafing, the shirt has offset seams. This helps keep things comfortable, even when you have a hydration pack or gear bag riding along on your back. The semi-fitted seams provide plenty of room for movement of all sorts while staying close to your body to prevent snags.

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Back view - Bontrager Rhythm women's mountain bike jersey
Sleeve detail - women's mountain bike jersey review

Thanks to the large range of sizes, going from extra small to three-x, it’s easy to find a Rhythm Women’s Mountain Tech Tee that fits you just right.

Neck detail - Bontrager Rhythm mountain bike jersey review

I have been wearing and using the Bontrager Rhythm jersey for months. It has held up very well through a bike season from Big Sky to southern Utah, to the Pacific Northwest. The colors have not faded and the collar has not stretched out. Best of all, it’s still comfortable and always finds its way into my mtb road trip wardrobe.

Camping Gear For Your Family Mountain Biking Road Trips

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Our favorite camping gear for mtb road trips

Our family has been camping together for over 15 years. When the boys reached the ages where we could introduce bikes, new experiences and fun produced a synergistic effect that was second-to-none whenever we hit the road. In this article, we’re going to let you know about some of our camp gear essentials when we load up the van instead of booking a room.

Our favorite camping gear for mtb road trips

Marmot Limestone Tent: 6-Person, 3-Season

Our old tent had a few tears, a couple of busted zippers and bent poles. Instead of getting all these things repaired we opted for the Marmot Limestone 6-person 3-season tent. Even though there’s only four of us, we really like the extra available space for storing additional gear in the tent. We’ve used it well over a dozen times over the the last couple of months and it has held up very well. We can easily transport it in our roof rack on the van (shown below) and it sheds the rain very well. Working it into the stuff sack can be a bit of a challenge so you have to make sure you compress and roll it tight.

Coleman Even-Temp Propane Stove, 3-Burner

What does one do when you forget the stove for a 3-day car camping trip with the kid’s mtb team over a holiday weekend? You hustle your butt back to the closest town and buy whatever they have available. We lucked out and got the last stove in the store. The surface area for this Coleman camp stove is big enough for our small griddle as well as a medium-sized saucepan. If you have safe-cracking sensitive fingers, you can carefully dial the burner knobs to control the flame to a nice simmer. This Coleman stove is easy to clean and store, too.

Coleman griddle:  Amazon

Marmot Trestles 15 Sleeping Bag

A good night’s sleep is an important part of a successful mtb camping trip. That’s why our kids have the Marmot Trestles 15 sleeping bags. As the name implies, they’re rated down to 15º F for comfort. The sleeping bags feature durable zippers and the mummy-style design helps keep the heat in on chilly nights. We’ve washed ours several times and the insulation and color has remained good as new. Mom has the women’s version of this sleeping bag.

Eureka Super Cush Sleeping Pads

This season we replaced our old 4-inch thick foam sleeping mattresses with these Eureka! sleeping pads. You inflate them by pumping them up using a valve system in the built-in pillows and applying your body weight until the pad with built-in pillow is fully inflated. They are space-saving additions to our gear because the old rolled up foam pads took about 6x the space. The Eureka! Super Cush Sleeping Pads are comfortable, too.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Battery And Nomad 50 Solar Panel

The Goal Zero Yeti 400 allows us to power the family’s laptops and phones on the road without hotel/condo stays. A useful tip is to pick up the Goal Zero 12v car charging cable and you can charge/use the battery while you’re driving. The battery allows us to get about 3 full charges on a laptop and over 20 smartphone charges. To test it out prior to our last big trip, I powered our flat screen TV and DVD player for over an hour. Do the research and make sure the battery you choose can power the item you want to use.

We paired our Yeti 400 with the Nomad 50 Solar Panel to harness the power of the sun to supplement charging when we weren’t using the mini-van’s power port. For solar panels, the bigger the better. Our foldable, easy to store/transport Nomad 50 has pulled close to 40 watts in direct sunlight. Multiple panels can be daisy-chained together to charge a battery faster.

Goal Zero Nomad 50 Solar Panel:  Amazon
Goal Zero 12v Car Charger:  Amazon

The Black Diamond Moji lantern

Black Diamond Moji Lantern

We picked up a dozen of these during a Black Friday sale a couple of years ago. The kids use them for last-minute birthday gifts for friends. The soft glow of the light is perfect for using while cooking or evening tent games. They run on three AAA batteries and come in multiple colors.

The Helinox high back chair is a must-have

Helinox Chairs

We always get asked about our Helinox chairs and we love-love-love them. They’re comfortable, durable, lightweight, easy to transport/store, and easy to assemble. They come in several colors so a lot of families can choose a separate color or pattern for each family member.

A simple but useful cooler bag

Jumbo Insulated Cooler Bag

This is just a basic item we like to use for transporting soft goods, bags of ice, food and beverages, laundry, whatever. When not in use, you can easily compress them and tuck them away in your vehicle to save space.

These Kryptonite chain locks are not unbreakable, but they're an excellent deterrent

Kryptonite Bike Lock

When camping, we lock our mountain bikes up next to the tent at night. We will either stack them by laying them down on each other, or use a nearby tree as an anchor. A Kryptonite chain lock is just one of the locks we use. We also use a cable lock and u-lock to wad up our bikes in a big ball of mtb love.

Thule Roof Storage Box

Our lockable Thule roof box increases our storage space dramatically. We can store our 10×10 canopy shade, 4 sleeping bags, 4 sleeping pads, tent, and hydration packs on the roof of the mini-van. There’s no way we would be able to do a proper mtb car camping road trip with our family of four without one of these.

Trek Fuel EX 8 Review

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Trek Fuel EX 8 Review

The Trek Fuel EX 8 is a mountain bike capable of handling all types terrain. To prove this point our kid was able to test the bike completely in many different locations. From hitting the jumps at the original Red Bull Rampage site in the desert to a junior devo NICA cross-country race in the alpine, the Fuel Ex 8 was up to the task.

Trek Fuel EX 8 Review

Trek:  Website | Instagram | Facebook

Who Is Trek Fuel EX 8 For?

This mountain bike is designed to fit riders 4ft 6in tall (XS) all the way through 6ft 7in tall (XXL). That’s quite a range, isn’t it? A Fox suspension package means the bike is ready to go for trail rides and cross country loops, bike parks, technical terrain and dirt jumps. Novice riders through experts will enjoy riding the Trek Fuel EX 8. If you were to put a pin in the bike spectrum from light-weight cross country racer on the left to downhill freeride machine on the right, we’d place the mark a couple slots to the right of center. Tyge is just a touch over 5ft tall and he was paired with a Small frame with standover height of 27.79 inches.

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A Quick Overview Of The Trek Fuel EX 8

standover height icon

STANDOVER HEIGHT

Min ~27.55 inches

drivetrain icon

DRIVETRAIN

1 x 12

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WHEEL SIZE

27.5in (xs, s), 29in (m and up)

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WEIGHT

~30 lbs sans pedals

Frame Style And Tire Sizes Vary

Because the bike is available in seven different frame sizes, there are a couple of secondary features you should be aware of. The XS and Small sizes will have a curved top tube. This is a great because it will allow shorter riders to comfortably straddle the bike with both feet planted firmly on the ground. This also enables the rider to get a foot down quickly if bumpy or uneven terrain dictates a dab or quick stop. XS and Small frame sizes for the Fuel Ex 8 will also come with 27.5in wheels. This is also a plus in the design-and-fit column. We have seen other brands with XS and Small frames and 29in wheels where the length of the frame is too short and the rider’s foot makes contact with the front wheel of the bike.

Top tube - Trek Fuel EX 8 review

About The Trek Knock Block

The Knock Block is a proprietary function of many Trek mountain bikes. This feature is designed into the stem of the bike and it prevents the handlebars from turning 90º. With the addition of the Knock Block, Trek is able to tinker with geometry and ergonomics that result in a bike where the suspension fork cannot strike the frame. Does it limit your turning radius? Technically it does. But not many people are capable of throwing down a 90º turn over a very small distance. Some have mentioned that the Knock Block negatively affects how a bike is stored/transported on a truck’s tailgate or inside a car. This video from Trek explains the Knock Block feature a lot better than we can.

Bontrager Parts

As you may know, Bontrager is Trek’s house brand for components. Some folks are not fans of this approach, but the trade off is a lower overall price for the bike with parts that function very well. Tyge did his best to beat this bike up and it would be reasonable to believe that at the very least – the Bontrager Line Dropper would surrender. But after several months of rough treatment and transport, the dropper works as well as it did when we built up the bike.

Grip detail Trek Fuel EX 8 review
Trek Fuel EX 8 - Knock Block

Frame Aesthetics

Overall the design of the frame is appealing. It’s no-nonsense linkage design is clean and unobtrusive. The front- and rear-wheels are attached to the bike with thru axles. Internal cable routing and an under-the-bar dropper remote keep additional lines on the bike pleasing. Because we have a small version of the frame, there’s not a lot of room to work with for a bottle cage on the down tube. The solution was obtaining a side load bottle cage. You may like the Bontrager Left Side Load Water Bottle Cage for your small frame.

Internal cable routing on the Trek Fuel EX 8
Top view of the Trek Fuel EX 8

Trek Fuel EX 8 Suspension

A Fox Performance Float EVOL, RE:aktiv 3-position shock with 130mm of travel fills the space for the shock. The fork on the bike is a Fox Rhythm 34, Float EVOL w/air spring and 140mm of travel. Both the shock and fork have lock-out features. We easily added or removed air for the suspension depending on the day’s terrain. And, you can also adjust the rebound for the fork.

Trek Fuel EX 8 with a Fox shock

Measurements And Angles For The Trek Fuel EX 8 [small]

Reach420mm
Stack568mm
Top Tube (effective)567mm
Seat Tube C-T355mm
Head Angle66.5º
Seat Angle75.5º
Chainstay435mm
Wheelbase1143mm
Standover706mm
BB Drop14mm
BB Height341mm
Wheel Size27.5"
Front Travel140mm
Rear Travel130mm
Trek Fuel EX 8 - Shimano brakes and SRAM drivetrain
Tire detail - Trek Fuel EX 8 review

Trek Fuel EX 8 – Build Specs

FrameAlpha Platinum Aluminum, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal routing, downtube guard, ISCG 05, magnesium rocker link, Mino Link, ABP, Boost148, 130mm travel
ForkFox Rhythm 34, Float EVOL air spring, GRIP damper, tapered steerer, 44mm offset, Boost110, 15mm Kabolt axle, 140mm travel
HeadsetKnock Block Integrated, cartridge bearing, 1-1/8" top, 1.5" bottom
Rear ShockFox Performance Float EVOL, RE:aktiv 3-position damper, tuned by Trek Suspension Lab, 210x55mm
AxlesFront: 15x110mm / Rear: 12x148mm
Rims/WheelsBontrager Line Comp 30, Tubeless Ready, 6-bolt
TiresBontrager XR4 Team Issue, Tubeless Ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 120 tpi
CranksetTruvativ Descendant 6k Eagle, DUB
Chainrings30T
Bottom BracketSRAM DUB, 92mm, PressFit
ChainSRAM GX Eagle, 12 speed
Rear DerailleurSRAM GX Eagle
Cassette/Rear CogsSRAM XG-1275 Eagle, 10-50, 12 speed
ShiftersSRAM GX Eagle, 12 speed
HandlebarsBontrager Line, alloy, 35mm, 27.5mm rise
Tape/GripsBontrager XR Trail Elite, alloy lock-on
StemBontrager Line, 35mm, Knock Block, 0 degree
BrakesShimano Deore M6000 hydraulic disc
SaddleBontrager Arvada, steel rails
Seat PostBontrager Line Dropper, internal routing, 31.6mm
PedalsNot included
Weight~30lbs. without pedals
MSRPLive Price
Trek and NICA : Trek and Trek retailers make up the largest annual contribution to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). If you have a registered NICA athlete in grades 7-12, or if you are a registered NICA coach, you may be eligible for a discount on select Trek mountain bikes. Check with your local Trek dealer.

Riding The Trek Fuel Ex 8

Tyge loved the suspension on the bike. He only weighs up to 95 lbs with gear and his flyweight build was a good match for the Fox squish.

140mm of suspension was perfect for demanding downhill riding

We got the right size Fuel EX 8 and it made a difference. Your kids are growing and they’re not going to be on the same bike for more than a season or so. Know that your investment goes beyond the money spent. When you purchase a proper fitting mountain bike for your kids, you’re giving your children the opportunity to enjoy the sport with safety, progression, and fun in mind. Also be aware that a good bike is going to have a good resale value. Families all over are looking for good used bikes and you can usually receive over 70% of what you pay for a new bike.

Wheelie mode on the Trek Fuel EX 8 in Park City

Tyge loved the tires. He’s never been on 2.6in wide tires before and they immediately granted more control, stability and confidence. On loose surfaces, there was more tire in contact with the ground. On skinnies, there was a wider footprint which resulted in more support and security. Market year 2021 Trek bikes will ship without tubes and with valve stems and rim strips from carbon builds down to the 7-levels. This is good news – tubeless tires out-of-the-box!

The Trek Fuel EX 8 with SRAM Eagle drivetrain was comfy when pedaling

The 1×12 Eagle drivetrain has a 50t ring on the cassette and 30t front ring. That provided plenty of pedal power for long, sustained climbs. If your child has not yet experienced a drivetrain with this set-up, they’re going to be pleasantly surprised at the additional climbing and pedaling capabilities the drivetrain provides. Shifting was smooth and simplified.

Zooming along at Powder Mountain on the Trek Fuel EX 8
Sending a drop at the old Rampage site aboard the Trek Fuel EX 8

Riding with flat pedals or clipless pedals was determined by the task. For cross country, some trail riding, and a couple of NICA races, Tyge sported clipless pedals. At the bike park, dirt jumps, and technical terrain – flat pedals were the accessory of choice. We have learned to travel with both sets of foot platforms for extended outings and road trips.

Taking an optional line at Grafton Mesa on the Trek Fuel EX 8

On jumps and bumps, Tyge was able to control the bike very well. Be sure your kid uses the dropper to get that seat out of the way so your can get low on the bike when needed.

Racing the Trek Fuel EX 8 at a NICA event

Racing the Fuel EX 8 on a couple of Utah’s NICA courses proved to be very fun. The 1x transmission and gear range was very beneficial. And, the dropper was used throughout races. We certainly tightened up the suspension and tires for more grip for one flowy, firm track. On another course with a lot of loose corners and and a layer of dust, the 2.6in wide tires were perfect with lower air pressure. If your kids are cross country speedsters, you can explore additional options in the company’s catalogue that are lighter and have features favored by world-class racers.

Step up your game with the Trek Fuel EX 8

Being comfortable with a bike’s geometry allows the rider to progress on technical terrain and in the air. Blend this in with the will to succeed along with finding the right speed and you will get favorable results aboard the Fuel EX 8.

The Knock Block did not limit or impede the cornering or handling of the Fuel EX 8

Cornering with the Knock Block technology was not prohibitive and it functioned as engineered by Trek’s design team.

Dropping in at Trailside Bike Park

140mm of suspension is plenty for a kid of Tyge’s stature and riding style on big jumps and technical terrain. He could only bottom out the fork and shock if we let out all the air. And, both components had enough range to allow us to tinker with the sag and find the best settings.

Our small Trek Fuel EX 8 was the right size for technical desert riding

The bike really shined after the turns were earned. On open descents, the Fuel EX 8 was is in its element and an extension of the rider.

The 2.6 inch wide Bontrager tires made the Fuel EX 8 a confident cornering machine

Braking power provided by Shimano was always reliable and easily controlled. When you get your Fuel EX 8, be sure to set up the cockpit so the levers are at the proper angles for safety and ergonomics. You can reduce finger cramping and arm pump by simply setting the levers up the right way.

Topping Off The Trek Fuel EX 8

Our child enjoyed this bike because he’s a good fit for it literally and figuratively. The size range of the Fuel EX line-up has him covered so we were able to choose the right size, right away. He also has access to a lot of different terrain due to the west’s never-ending mountain bike season. From the rough and please-don’t-tumble red rocks to the flowy NICA race courses, the Fuel EX 8 has what it takes to make its riders happy. The geometry and build are great for beginners through experts who would like to get better at bikes. And, the bike is a good choice for those who are ready to drop a proper amount of money for a machine that will enable kids to grow their love for the outdoors; on bikes – together.

Riding the Trek Fuel EX 8 on the rocks

Bontrager Quantum MIPS Mountain Bike Helmet Review

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Bontrager Quantum helmet with MIPS review

Mountain bike helmets provide mandatory protection. They protect your head in case of a fall and are designed to absorb and dissipate as much of the impact as possible, doing their best to prevent traumatic brain injuries or worse. Not all helmets are created equally, and the Bontrager Quantum MIPS Bike Helmet is definitely one that you should be taking a second look at – in a good way.

Bontrager Quantum helmet with MIPS review

Not only does it come in nine different colors, including a cool teal and volt combination, black, white, and several shades of blue, among others, but it contains top-of-the-line protection. Plus, with three sizes to pick from, small, medium, and large – finding just the right fit is easy. After all, you don’t want a helmet that’s too large, because it could slip while you’re riding and not protect your head properly. Plus, the BOA fit system helps you quickly and easily fit the helmet to your head. The helmet features an adjustable clasp and the length of the chin straps can be adjusted.

BOA adjustment system on the Bontrager Quantum MTB helmet

The helmet will will fit heads ranging from 51-57cm (small), 54-60cm (medium), 58-63cm (large). And, it weighs 335g through 410g.

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Visor detail - Bontrager Quantum mtb helmet with MIPS
Rear view - Bontrager Quantum bike helmet with MIPS protection
Bontrager Quantum helmet with MIPS - trailside repair

When it comes to safety features, the designers at Bontrager have been thorough. The built-in MIPS protection system covers the head and prevents against angular impacts and multi-directional damage. There are lock-down dividers that help keep the helmet in place, as well as an in-mold composite skeleton making it strong and effective.

Style for miles with the Bontrager Quantum MIPS helmet

In addition to the safety features, the helmet contains recessed and internal channels that allow for airflow – which help keep your head cool as you ride. The washable helmet pads also wick away sweat mid-ride. There’s even a removable snap-on visor that keeps the sun out of your eyes but removes easily if you no longer need it.

Our kid has been using this helmet for a few months now and he still likes it. He hasn’t complained about it being uncomfortable or heavy. It’s well ventilated and good looking. The visor does its job and the BOA fit system provides a snug fit. We’ve affixed a GoPro compatible mount on the top of the helmet. This will let our kid sport an action camera, like a GoPro Hero 8 or the Bontrager Ion Pro RT light.

This helmet holds a GoPro, or Bontrager ION light with easse

The Bontrager Quantum MIPS helmet in our possession has survived a couple of minor crashes. It’s dirty, but structurally safe and sound. The helmet is great for trail rides with our NICA team. Mom and dad need new helmets soon, and based on our son’s experience with the Bontrager Quantum, we may end up with the same model.

Kid riding mountain bike with the Bontrager Quantum helmet