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10 Products I loved in 2020

DR ◣◢

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2020 saw my return to the trails in a big way. 26" grew to 29" and a lot of new kit was needed. Most of what I had was bought around 2012/2013 and very few parts could be carried across to the new steed. 


The products I loved in 2020 saw around 3000km of use and I'm confident that my reviews below accurately represent what these products were made for and how Joe Average would experience them. I'm by no means a pro but when I do swing a leg over my carbon steed I demand every ounce of performance from my parts. 


I linked to the retailers I purchased my gear from and where I feel I got the best service and pricing. 






1. Lyne Components Bottle Cage + Quick Draw Tool


The "enduro" trend of strapping everything including the proverbial kitchen sink to a bike appealed to me a little. I don't like carrying spares and tools in my pockets. Nothing hurts more than a multitool to the kidneys when you overcook a bit on the trail and you run out of talent.


I always ride with a backpack or hip pack and I can carry ample tools and spares but when something needs a quick adjustment or a bolt needs a quick nip I don't want to start digging for the right tool. 


The quick draw tool is definitely a must have if you feel the same as I do. It takes seconds to get out of the holster and contains all the basic bits (2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, T25 Torx, Flat Head (5mm), and Philips Head). Really good quality constructions and the bits will last when you take care of them. 


The side entry bottle cage does exactly what it should and securely holds a bottle in place. Little stiff to get the bottle back in place but I'd rather have that then a bottle rattling about or possibly going awol on a rough trail.


Good value at R499 - https://www.on-lynecomponents.com/collections/tools-and-accessories/products/quick-draw-holder-multitool-side-entry-bottle-cage






2. OneUp Components 110cc Pump


In the past I would use a CO2 bomb in emergencies or a very cheap and basic Ryder pump for top-ups on the side of the trail. Until that one day where I didn't have a bomb with me and I found myself dislocating a shoulder trying to inflate a tube from flat to 25psi. I cursed the pump with the wrath of the MTB Gods and vowed never to struggle like that again. 


Being a fan of OneUp I quickly shortlisted this pump. I'm definitely glad I did. At 110cc it takes a lot fewer strokes and in no time you go from flat to firm. 


The pump also features too storage in the rear for your plugs and slugs as well as a couple of extra bits. If you have the EDC tool system it will fit in the back comfortably. Also included is a CO2 adapter that I am yet to try out.  


Serious contender in the mini pump market. All aluminium construction and high volume makes the price of R1195 well worth it. - https://trailtechcycles.co.za/collections/oneup-components/products/oneup-edc-pump-100cc-incl-bottle-cage-mount






3. OneUp Components EDC System


I love tools. I love tools a lot. I love tools so much that I want to take them behind the shed and get them pregnant. 

After the purchase of the Lyne Quick Draw system I wanted to clean up the look of the bike a little and the EDC system living inside the steerer really appealed to me. 


The V1 system required the steerer to be threaded internally which will void your warranty on the fork. The V2 system appealed to me since it uses the EDC stem that has a conical insert that preloads the headset freeing up the steerer tube to accept the tool. 

The tool itself can be as simple as just the multitool and storage pod or as elaborate as including all the extra bits and pieces they offer. The storage pod can also be removed and replaced with a CO2 cartridge. Super nice to customise the system. 


The tools are excellent quality. The multitool was used once to tighten a crank bolt on the trail and I could put 105kg down by standing on it to get the crank bolt tight enough to ride out. Tool is still 100%


I am however very disappointed in the EDC stem and the preload system. I watched every install video and read every tech article I could find and I could never get the system to keep the headset preloaded for more than 5 rides. Imagine getting stuck 25km from a trailhead with a very loose headset and then having to go through the whole preload process on the side of the trail. It was not fun. The second problem with the stem is getting your bars straight while keeping the preload dialed in. Not fun and requires two people to make it work. Either two people of ratchet straps. 


For those looking for just a multitool in the steered OneUp now offers the EDC Lite tool.


Not cheap and the EDC Stem with the preload system failed me a couple of times. Maybe it's an error on my side but I just trust a good old fashioned star nut and top cap more. Priced from R799 for the tool lite that slides a multitool into your steerer without any mods to R3500 for the stem + tool + plug & pliers kit.  








4. Leatt Gloves DBX 2.0 X-Flow


Gloves are a personal choice for everyone. Hand shape and size varies a lot between people and finding the perfect glove becomes quite a mission sometimes. 


I used to ride mostly with Fox or Alpinestars. Fox is not bad but once I found the right finger length I also had the palms bunch up. Alpinestars didn't have that problem but the durability leaves a lot to be desired. I would get at most 3 months out of a pair before the stitching started splitting. 


I took the gamble and ordered the Leatt DBX 2.0 with one of my parts orders and didn't expect too much. First thing I noticed was that the fit is 100% spot on according to the size chart. The gloves slid onto my hands and honestly felt like a second skin. Nice thin palms and super ventilated. 


So far they've been through a lot of thorn bushes and hit the ground once or twice. No drama with damage at all. Durable and stylish.


An excellent fitting and durable pair of gloves. Little on the pricey side R580 (shop around for the 2018/2019 models on clearance. https://trailtechcycles.co.za/collections/gloves/products/leatt-glove-dbx-2-0-x-flow-slate






5. Evil Pamela Handerson Grips


I love a company that puts a little thought into naming their products. A witty play on words always puts a smile on my face. With colours to match their range of frames and more there will be something for everyone. For example the Rusty Trombone and Shrink It And Pink it.  


I was concerned at first that the grips will be too thin. Coming from ODI Rogues I always thought that a thick grip suited my size of hands best. I was very wrong. 


These are not too thin that it feels naked under the hand but also not too thick that your start feeling like you don't have a good grip on the bars. 


The design of the "tread" on the grip is well thought out and adds to overall comfort of the grips. Zero hand cramping of discomfort experienced. Soft and firm feel at the same time.


3000km later and the wear is virtually unnoticeable. 


These are now used on all the bikes in the stable. Suits small and larger hands just fine. 


Who wouldn't want to put their hands on Pamela. R570 makes the dream come true. 







6. Lyne Components AMP V2 Wheelset


Growing up from 26" wheels to 29" wheels on the new bike meant that I needed a new wheelset. I was temped to go with the Hope Pro Enduro wheels but at around R10000 it was just out of reach. 


A few conversations later with riders, Dayle at Lyne, as well as reading and watching all the review I could find, I box arrived at my house containing the high engagement version of the AMP V2 wheel. 


The 30mm internal diameter meant that my 2.4" tires sat just right and the added stability was definitely felt. 

The wheels inspire confidence on the trail with just enough flex to help pin down the grip but not so much that it makes a hard corner feel unstable. 


The high engagement hub feels amazing and putting down the power is instant. Get up to speed and they sound like an angry swarm of bees chasing you down the trail when you coast. Just loud enough to not scare children and small animals. Unsuspecting adults though is another story. 


The wheels are still 100% true even with my 105kg weight getting things wrong a few times. Designed to be user serviceable is a huge plus. 


A strong and durable system and very good value for money starting at R5999 







7. Ride Concepts Hellion Shoes


Up until a month or so ago I was still on my old Five Ten Impact Low's from 2012 and at this point the soles started coming loose from the shoe itself. Time to replace them.


My biggest concern wasn't the looks of the new shoes but rather the grip. Five Ten set the industry standard in grip with their Stealth Rubber and many other brands have tried to match them. Many without success.


The Hellion slipped onto my foot and immediately felt comfortable.  Very comfortable. The sizing is true to other shoes I own so my size 10 feet didn't have any issues getting comfortable in them. 


Grip is not as good as Five Ten. It took some time to adjust to it but as the soles wore in a bit the grip did get better. I do appreciate the less aggressive grip that allows for repositioning of feet during rides.


I recently encountered some stream crossings as well as pedalling through fairly deep water and I'm happy to report that my feet stayed dry. 


I did pick up one issue. If you have higher foot bridges you might find the inner soles to be inadequate. I was experiencing numb toes quite quickly into the ride and replacing the inners with Specialized Footbeds fixed the issue for me.


Durability so far is 100% fine but time will tell if they hold up to abuse. 


Not the cheapest but mostly on par with other brands at R3250 (I have seen them cheaper so shop around)







8. 3 Days Of Riding in Karkloof


The KZN Midlands is without a doubt one of my favourite places in South Africa. Throw in some forests and one of the best trail builders in the world and what is not to love? 


The routes vary from 3km all the way up to 55km with miles and smiles of single track. I used Trailforks and stitched together rides ranging from 1000m of climbing when heading up to the top of Lebanon and then linking all the fun bits in the outback trails back to the clubhouse. The trails were overgrown a bit but that is to be expected this time of year and considering the outback trails aren't maintained as often as the main trails. 


Grading varies from green all the way to double black. A word of warning, everything turns to double black when it gets wet. Some seriously slippery bits can be found and combined with smooth rocks will see you hanging on for dear life.


R60 a day gets you onto some of the best trails in South Africa. A good challenge with something for everyone though. https://www.karkloofclub.co.za/






9. Camelbak Repak LR 4


Not too much to say about this one. It's a hip pack. It holds 1.5l of water and has a few pockets to put stuff in. 


For all my JHB rides up to 30km I use this guy. Just enough space for bits and pieces and the 1.5l capacity is just fine. I normally consume about 1l of water during these rides so going with a full backpack is overkill. Especially in summer.


It's a straight forward 1.5l pack with good storage space. In typical Camelbak fashion it comes at a small premium of R1500. https://www.takealot.com/2019-camelbak-repack-lr-4-1-5l-dark-slate-lime-punch/PLID65547633






10. Evil Corpo Merino Wool Socks


I never thought I would spend R350 on a pair of socks but having used Merino Wool socks in the past I knew these would be a great addition to the gear. Also, I really like the Evil brand so having these put a smile on my face.


The fit is spot on. No bunching in the toe area and also not constricting around the ankles and lower calves. A good lightweight sock with minimal branding.


Not the cheapest but the quality and fit more than makes up for it at R350 - https://trailtechcycles.co.za/collections/evil-bikes/products/evil-corpo-merino-wool-socks-large



Edited by DR ◣◢
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I have bought a lot of stuff in a year when I shouldn’t have - my list would be long so I’ll narrow it down to 3


Curve Ti gravel bike GXR - made N+1 irrelevant


Garmin Varia - knowing what’s coming makes me feel safer, ride safer and be safer


AXS on my gravel bike - insanely costly but so reliable and so smooth - not sure if there’s a correlation but my chain showing no wear after 3800km so far

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I have bought a lot of stuff in a year when I shouldn’t have - my list would be long so I’ll narrow it down to 3


Curve Ti gravel bike GXR - made N+1 irrelevant


Garmin Varia - knowing what’s coming makes me feel safer, ride safer and be safer


AXS on my gravel bike - insanely costly but so reliable and so smooth - not sure if there’s a correlation but my chain showing no wear after 3800km so far

Your shopping lists would make Gee Milner have a happy accident.


I loved following your last build.


It was a tough choice for this year because I have so many other bits I can throw in like the OneUp bars, XTR derailleur and shifter etc. I didn’t want to write a Top 50 ????

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Lyne components holy rail FTW.


The evil grips, how are they in comparison to the dmr deathgrips?


Seeing that they about same price, you reckon the evils worthit?

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Nice list and well written, I enjoyed reading that. You've started something so I'll come back later with a list as well. 5 flaming chillies for the post DR


I was hoping to inspire others to do the same. Looking forward to it. 

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Lyne components holy rail FTW.


The evil grips, how are they in comparison to the dmr deathgrips?


Seeing that they about same price, you reckon the evils worthit?


Can't comment of the Death Grips to be honest. I initially bought the Evil to match my bike and I fell in love with them. So did my fiance when her Specialized grips ripped in a crash. 


Another point I always consider is having a lock jaw on both sides of the grip. Better protects the rubber and spreads the clamping force a lot better. I think Evil is 3 or 4nm

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The evil looks nicer in my view, if you didn't make this post I wouldn't of known they sell these grips.


The lock on both end does give them plus 1 over the dmr.

Think I shall give them a try when trailtech opens up again

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The evil looks nicer in my view, if you didn't make this post I wouldn't of known they sell these grips.


The lock on both end does give them plus 1 over the dmr.

Think I shall give them a try when trailtech opens up again


I was worried about the thickness at first. I'm a size L/XL glove and it worked out just perfectly. 


Well worth it. 

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Great initiative DR so here goes my contribution:

Ranking is not being applied here as these products have all been contributory to making 2020 a year of building on my ability as a cyclist in different ways. The last product is probably the most significant.


1. Lake CX 237/MX237


I've loved Lake Shoes for a while, since my first pair bought in 2018. This year I decided that replacing shoes that don't work or fit well is going to be a priority so I took advantage of Black friday and purchased a pair of CX237 and Mx 237. My feet are happy, my shins and knees are happy. Balance is restored to the force. Using the size calculator and fit chart made ordering online a breeze and when the shoes arrived there were no nasty surprises. The shoes fit, I produce more power in them for longer with zero foot or joint pain. I'm a Laker



2. Vye Cycling Velo Bibs


Having used their bibs for several stage races from 2016 through to 2020 I've come to appreciate slipping my butt into the Mirage Quad Bibs so trying out the Velo was a bit of a risk. Did they keep the essence of the Mirage Quad or did they miss the mark. Well it appears they scored a bullseye with it.  

Now if only they added blue and black to the colour range as the only options are olive or  oak currently. Still these are great bibs that continue the Elastic Interface usage.



3. Pave-Sports Sector Jersey and Gran Fondo Bibs


being a big advocate for Vye cycling kit I've come to understand what makes a great bib  shorts and little known Pave Sports has delivered big time. Its nto often that a small company will get a bib right first time but by using the best materials and listening to mountain bkers, roadies and triathletes alike, they have found a recipe that just works. The gran fondo bib is comfortable for a DC, very comfortable with that 7mm Elastic Interface pad and think gripper band at the bottom of the shorts legs. 

The Sektor Jersey is probably of the coolest and softest feeling cycling tops on the market. Its a shame I have so many other brand tops from events that I have to wear out but this is one of the best garments. I liked the fit so much I bought a tri   suit fro TT from them as well.




4.  Crank Brothers Power Pump, circa 2002.


Yip I bought this pump back in 2002 and found it in a bike bag in my roof. I guess the last time I used it was for Sabie Experience in 2009. I forgot I had it but boy am I glad I found it. After all these years it still works better than any other pump Crank Bros has produced since. The High volume to High pressure switch makes inflating a MTB tyre a breeze out on the trails. The pressure gauge is handy and accurate so I fdon't nee to use the squeeze test to check tyre pressure.


5. WindWaterWaves face masks


What more can I say, these have been with me since April and I've got at least one with me everyday, on the bike, in the car, in my laptop bag. I'm never without a mask and their other water sports apparel and accessories is finding space in my wardrobe all the time.


6. Ryder Slug Plug


The amount of times I've need this little tool to help out other riders has more than paid for itself. Single guys out there, you need a slugplug and know how to use it. The little tool is really a lady magnet and proof of its not about the size but how you use it. I've ditched my bigger plug tools and only carry Slug around now. Hear me Single guys, just get one and cruise around with your red undies on the outside. Forget Tinder, get SlugPlug.


7. SRAM Eagle XO1 Drivetrain+XX1 Gold Chain


The toyota Hilux of drivetrains. Can't kill it, t just keep son giving more and more. Almost 12,500km on my cassette and the 3rd chain... I've probably said enough about the chains


8. Pirelli Scorpion MTB XC Soft Terrain (S) front tyre


Well blow me an airhorn, this is a bit of a hidden gem. I've loved the Hard terrain tyre and he XC Race tyres. Superb grip, very compliant casings that have great puncture resistance in std form. The Lites are definitely more susceptible to punctures but seal easily with Enduro Seal. So When I fitted the Soft terrain tyre because they were on special I was blown away that these babies aren't more popular. This one is my surprise of 2020. I've only had it for 10 days but alreadt my confidence is up and i'm attacking corners were I would normally be feathering the brakes as long as possible.




It would be a shame if these are no longer available due to slow sales volumes so I'm sharing the secret in the hope that riders will snap them up and fall in love with this safe rubber.


9. Formula Cura 2 Brakes


I don't know how its possible to produce a product this good and retail it for <R5k  before black Friday discounts apply but Formula have. I've loved my SRAM Level TLM but they are at a point where the service cost would be close to the price of the Formulas( Formulae?)  so I jumped to try something new. Well WOW! What an awesome product that proves performance doesn't have to cost the price of a Bugatti Veyron. This is the Z car of MTB brakes. Great job Formula!!




10. Lyne Contour V2 Internal dropper 125mm


Ja ok this one wasn't supposed to be even a thought but events have a way of reshaping destiny. The problem is as I feared, that i am so addicted to how fast I'm going that I have to talk to myself to slow down. Naturally this causes some anxiety to strangers on the trail as generally  speaking peeps taking to themselves are probably being medicated. couple the dropped to Cura brakes and Pirelli Scorpion XC S front tyre and we'e got a lot of ingredients for some serious speed straight to the ER. Lets hope it won't come to that and that its just another 6000km of smiles in 2021.



Now just get those matchmaker adaptors back in stock please....

Edited by DieselnDust
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