MTB Britain Best Component Awards
|These are the best components we've ridden with in over ten years of mountain biking. I know there are other great components out there. Some of you will have different priorities set by your budget and/or style of riding. This
may lead you to disagree with our choices, to you I say 'tough'. Drop me a line and have your say by all means though. For those without opinions cast in titanium, all of this kit is well worth the cash and will reward your purchase with top performance and value. We've been riding in the worst conditions the UK has to throw at you, from deep snow to deep water, in acres of truly foul and sticky mud. The choices here reflect this
The prices are the lowest we could find on the web and in the magazines at time of writing (August 2000)
The five star
awards go to the best of the best.
The WTB Momentum Headset. If you buy any other
you'll kick yourself.
is the worlds best headset because it's the only one at this price
that can be re-greased from a gun without disassembly. The gun
should cost around £15 e.g. Dualco. In itself the gun is a much
cleaner and simpler way of dispensing grease and a worthwhile
addition to your tool box. The lower race is the one that usually
dies on a headset. Water and grit can get in here after a few wet
rides and the fate of the headset is sealed. A few pumps of grease
pushes crud out and can keep this headset going almost indefinitely
Handlebar Easton Monkeylite
de-facto standard these days since the demise of the Answer
Hyperlite. We all have them and they are worth the money. You don't
have to buy the top of the range carbon bar as the EA70 is extremely
Easton Monkey EA70
Shimano XT ES70/1
Bottom Bracket - Octalink
bottom brackets are a major blessing. they do wear out and can't be
serviced, but they last a long time and are cheap enough to chuck
out when the time comes. Recommended unless you love maintenance to
LX or Deore Holowtech
| All the features of our favorite LX chainset, only lighter and
stiffer. If you're on a budget consider the non-Holowtech LX, it's
a bargain. At these prices it's hardly worth changing rings, just
buy a new chainset! (replacing your chain before it's too worn will
considerably extend the life of your chainset rings and rear cogs)
Brothers Egg Beater
the serious all-weather riders amongst us there's really only one
pedal to consider. All the others will lock you in or out (or both!)
at some point. Downsides of the Egg Beaters are the shorter life of
their brass cleats.
Buy From Cycle
Saddle WTB SST K Titanium
great saddle for longer rides, also has the drop nose which allows
seated steep climbing (although this can be a bit uncomfortable!) A
good weight and an amazingly low price at the moment. If you need a
more padded saddle we recommend the Titec Berzerker.
Seat post Thomson
Setback or Race
have the Thomson Setback. In the Race Face range get the XY post
(the one with lay back) unless you have a very short upper body.
XY Approx £69.99
Stem Kore Lite 3
choosing a stem the most important thing is the length and rise. Take
care not to choose a short upright stem as well as a riser bar, or
your climbing will suffer.
ODI Lock On
Grips WTB or Profile
you can afford them, and you really should, the Lock-On grips from
ODI are the very best there is. Getting other grips to stay put long
term in our British weather is a real challenge. We like the narrow
Ruffians best but they are NOT the hardest wearing.
Approx £16 with
locking collars, £11 for replacements thereafter.
density grips stick better on your bars and give unparalleled grip.
Stick them on with hair spray or if you suffer slippage, some spray
paint or car touch up paint. If you use a lot of these latter two,
the grips may need to be cut off when you replace them.
Rear Mech Shimano
XT or LX
can I say about these superb components? You can use the new 9 speed
capable versions with an 8 speed block. It's the shifter that makes
XT Approx £33.99
LX Approx £24.99
Front Mech Shimano
key thing with these is to order the correct type and size. If you're unsure it's probably better to get a shop to do it for you.
XT Approx £19.99
LX Approx £14.99
Brakes Hope M4
or Hope Mini
or XTR V Brakes
|The XTR are better than the new XT as they
Up front this may well depend on the brake boss spacing of your
fork. If you have a wider spacing as is the case with
many of the newer forks, the XT should be OK.
XTR Approx £37.99
Hubs Shimano LX or XT
much difference between these in practice. The XT's are lighter.
Both need re-greasing manually every few months especially in
winter. Check the drive side of the rear hub first.
Spokes DT Swiss double
butted, brass nipples and Velox rim tape
butted spokes are stronger than plain gauge. The double butted part
refers to a progressive thinning of the spoke shaft along it's
middle section. Alloy nipples seize over time and will not then allow further re-truing of the wheel.
Inner tubes Specialized
and high quality.
are aggressive tyres and will hum on the road. Kevlar tyres are
worth the extra money. If you shop around you can find an aggressive
tread Kevlar tyre (2.0 or 2.125) for as little as most wire beaded
make the best rims by far. Just don't buy any one else's, and say we
told you so. They stand up to the rocky abuse I like to deal out
better than any we've tried.
Typical build XT
Hub X717 Approx £102 + P&P
Typical build LX
Hub X717 Approx £82 + P&P
PC69 9-spd chain
like the Sachs chains best as you can use the special gold links to
replace those you bend. It's also much quicker on the trail than the
Shimano black pin.
Gear Cables Any
||Just clean and lube the non-coated ones regularly.
Best brake cables are hydraulic.
Brake levers Shimano
have longer adjusters than most, a big plus with V brakes as they
pull more cable and the blocks wear quickly, meaning more frequent
adjustment. Or for the rich it's the Hope Minis or M4's.
XT Approx £34.99
XT or LX
you noticed we like Shimano? Years of trying other mediocre kit
always leads back to the big S. Mix and match to get the best value,
see above for what's worth the extra cash.
XT Approx £39.99
XT Approx £49.99