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9 speed, 36t cassette. What’s the verdict?

Posted by RL Policar On April - 26 - 2011

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Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test out my new 9 speed 36t Shimano cassette. The trail was Turnbull Canyon in Southern California which includes a 2 mile climb to the top down to a trail called the 7th Avenue Loop, then back up again to the top with steep switchbacks that we had to work our way through and down again through another trail called A-Line.

Below you’ll see the sprocket sizing used for the Shimano 36t cassette. On my original SRAM cassette, the cogs were:11,13,15,17,20,23,26,30,34. Notice that the cog sizes on the 36t are bigger than the SRAM 34t. Believe it or not, it makes a difference. Let me explain…

I’m no engineer or mathematician, but try to follow my logic. With the 36t, I’m using bigger cogs. The jump isn’t drastically different from the 34t, in fact they both have the same jump in cog size, from 1 to 4, depending on which gear you’re on. However, the larger cog sizes on the 36t make climbing easier. So for example, if you’re climbing a steep section that you normally would use a 34t cog on, this task would be much simpler on the 36t, not sure what the whole gear ratio is, but basically the bigger the gear in the back, the easier to pedal. It makes sense that the larger cog would provide greater ease while climbing.

But at what cost? Truth be told, I’m not much of a climber, and with the 36t cassette, you are riding slower due to the bigger cogs. I really didn’t care if I was riding slower, all I knew was I making a large percentage of the climbs that I’d normally have a hard time on with the 34t cassette. So what’s the verdict when it comes to the 36t? First of all its not for everyone. The cassette was intended for 29er riders to help get their ginormous wheels over the climbs. But it can certainly apply to 26er riders with 9 speed drive trains. Secondly, if you’re a weight weenie, don’t bother. The larger cassette does weigh like a brick compared to the SRAM 34t.


One more thing, there’s no need to swap out your whole drive train and shifters to the new fandangled 10speed groupo just so you can benefit from the 36t. I simply swapped out my rear cassette with the old one and went for a ride. There was no further adjusting with the rear derailleur needed.

Here I am grinding up the 2 mile climb. It’s tough, but the 36t made it a bit easier.


With all that said, I’m totally happy with the 9 speed 36t set up on my 26er mountain bike. It kinda made climbing a bit more fun. Forgot to mention that you can pick up your own 36t cassette from Jenson USA for $40.

Review Disclaimer

Sette Bikes: Sea Otter 2011

Posted by RL Policar On April - 18 - 2011

We paid a visit to our friend Brian Cleveland who was working the Sette Bike Booth at Sea Otter. Brian took the time out to show off the new bikes, check em’ out!

The Sette Derro is a 4″ XC mountain bike mated with Fox suspension, Kenda Nevegal tires, XT and SLX drive train.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sette Torx ST-107 Bearing Cup Press: Review

Posted by RL Policar On February - 25 - 2011

Sette Torx ST-107 Bearing Cup Press was sent to us by the kind folks of Sette USA.

Price: $54.98


The Sette Torx ST-107 Bearing Cup Press uses several enhanced and updated features in comparison to other headset presses on the market. The Torx ST-107 has a longer threaded rod and resized press-plates that accommodates 1” to 1 1/8” headsets and includes stepped bushing cup adapters to fit most cup sizes. The ST-107 can also be used to install press-fit bottom brackets. The Torx ST-107 is constructed of nickel-plated, heat-treated steel making it very durable. It also has an updated quick-release bottom plate for easier use and removable long non-slip handles for years of comfortable use.

For the longest time I’ve had to slum headset installations by using an allthread, 2 bolts and a few washers. For the most part it worked, but there are times when it wouldn’t. I’d actually break washers in half because I’m torquing down on the bolts so much just to get the cups to sit properly.

Using home brew presses were great for once in a great while jobs. But, when you work on bikes as much as I do, then you’re better off getting an actual tool for the job. This particular tool from Park would cost a regular Joe as much as $120! Lucky for guys like you and I, Sette came up with their own version of a headset press that rivals the Park brand model. In fact, they look and work the same way.

Here’s the Sette Torx ST-107 in action. I’ve just finished installing a Chris King headset onto this frame.
Sette Headset press

Rubberized handles are removable for easy storage, and they also provide a comfortable grip.
Sette Headset press

The way it works, you place a cup on the head tube, adjust your locking mechanism to the correct depth, and turn the handles. It’s that simple!
Sette Headset press

This is the locking piece that goes on the bottom of the press, its basically a quick release. All you do it turn in off or on.
Sette Headset press

I’m actually really impressed by this tool, and the best part would be its price of $54.98! You simply can’t beat that! Besides this is the tool that every home mechanic needs to have. So stop messing with home brew presses or using two blocks of wood and a hammer to install headsets, make sure you get the Sette Torx ST-107 Bearing Cup Press, you won’t regret it!

Review Disclaimer

A clever way to transport a Sette Vexx securely

Posted by RL Policar On October - 27 - 2010

Team Racer, Wes Castro showed us how he securely transports his DH bike, the Sette Vexx to the races.
Check out how the rack fits perfectly through the frame!
Wes never has to worry about his bike bouncing around or falling off the rack.

Sette Serum, Musings and Pondering’s

Posted by Chop Chop On October - 21 - 2010

I have had the Sette Serum for a number of weeks now. Every time I ride this bike, it wants to put me on the podium. She’s always looking for someone to hunt down and pass. Kinda like a hired hitman, it’s always ready for action. The only thing from stopping this bike from drinking some champagne and being kissed by a podium girl is me. I’m gonna call it like it is, this bike is RACE.

Large head tube accepts standard 1 1/8 headset

I took the Serum on varying terrain and this bike just wants to go. You might ask yourself….Watcha talk’n bout Willis?…

……you pedal, it goes forward. No hesitation, no flex, no bob (as on some FS bikes), no arguing and no compromise. When you get on this bike, you immediately realize that you are positioned to race. Start pedaling and you will find yourself instep with a race bike; it even has a funny way of changing your mentality from a nice morning on the trail to “seek and destroy”. I must preface this by saying that you must be sure to set the ergonomics to your style. I made several changes including saddle position, seatpost height, cockpit control angles etc.

Love Da Curves

Component wise the how can you go wrong with XT, you can’t. Shifting is extremely accurate, components are extremely durable and everything works in conjunction perfectly. The bike came with a full XT kit (including wheels) except the brakes, which I can’t figure out why; XT brakes certainly get good reviews from what I’ve read and from those I know who use them. The Avid Elixr CR with carbon lever were definitely up to the task and the multiple adjustments made personalizing the feel pain free and a huge plus. The fox fork functioned as expected, no mistakes, stiff with its 9mm drop out and bare minimum adjustments.

Big beefy Bottom Bracket, plenty stiff

Since this is a ride report I wont get too much into the components other than what was stated above and from my initial review which is HERE. I have not had the bike very long and I only say that to make sure you the consumer know that I have not had the bike long enough to reveal any long term issues or problems. With that said, I can tell you that this bike is extremely fast and is intended for the XC racer seeking podium fame. If you are not accustom to riding a hardtail with XC geo numbers, there will be a learning curve. There are certainly a number of full suspension frames that can be built up for serious XC competition but if you want a no compromise carbon XC hardtail, you need to take a serious look at this frame.

Internal Tube routing is sweet

More curves, mmm

Love the flat black fade to carbon weave

Frame: 26” Full 3K Carbon MTB Frame
Price: 2250
Weight: 22.56lbs
Shimano XT including wheelset
Brakes: Avid Elixir CR Carbon Levers
Fork: Fox 32 RL Open Bath
Handlebar: Sette Vector
Stem: Sette Edge
Seatpost: Sette APX
Saddle: SDG Fly w/Ti rails
Tires: Kenda Small Block 8

Oh Ya, happy Bike O' Ween

Sette Nix Shoe Review

Posted by RL Policar On October - 18 - 2010

I received the Sette Nix a while back and since then I’ve been able to use it in various riding conditions as well as a race.

Price: $49.99

Before testing:
Sette Nix

After testing:
Sette Nix Review

Product Description:

Sette Nix SPD Shoe

The all-new Nix from Sette is a great option if you’re looking for a little style in a clipless compatible shoe.

The Nix features a durable, high grip outer sole with a recessed cut-away mount that will fit any SPD style two bolt cleat. Inside is a highly rigid plate that will withstand flexing even under high stress full power situations.

On that note, the freeriders among us recommend using this shoe exclusively with clipless pedals. While the outer sole has a tread pattern that is platform friendly for those hairball moments when you need to unclip, the lack of flex means the Nix won’t “wrap around” the pedal to provide the feel you want if you prefer to run platform pedals.

The upper is made from synthetic leather and has a very clever Velcro strap to keep the laces out of your way. Reflective accents on the heel will help keep you visible if you get caught out after dark.

The Nix is cut a bit snug so for best fit we recommend going up a size.

The Sette Nix offers platform pedaling or SPD compatibility.
Sette Nix Review

You can use these shoes for bike commuting or night riding because they offer a reflective strip on the back that allows cars to see you.
Sette Nix Review

Are they stiff enough?
That has to be the number 1 question I get when people see the Sette Nix. My answer is YES! It’s plain and simple, the shoes are pretty darn stiff.

sette nix review

If you’re anything like me, the whole spandex, XC-Racer style of clothing doesn’t appeal to me. So that means I want to look as normal as I do on and off the bike. That would include my foot wear. Beside after a long ride, we typically go out to eat and that means I can just leave my shoes on with the Nix and walk around with out looking like a dork.
Bonelli 10/16/10
The Sette Nix offers 2 cleat locations on the sole that allows the rider to customize their pedal position. During the down stroke of my pedaling, the shoes worked great. The upstroke, this is when I made sure to give some force to see if the shoe’s quality would compromise. But after miles and miles of test riding, not one stitch or any other part of the shoe broke. As far as the insole, its pretty comfy, but a $5 upgrade from Wal-Mart might make your feet happier.

As I mentioned, I raced with the Sette Nix. At the Golden State Finals, did 5 practice runs on the DH course and 1 run on the Super D course. Keep in mind the weather that weekend was in the high 90′s and possibly 100. During practice, there was a ton of hike-a-bikes since I would session one section at a time, multiple times. By the way, the rubber sole offers great grip.
sette nix review

I also took 2 diggers during practice, both times landing on my right side. Yes, the shoes and the bike were ok.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the Sette Nix shoes. Not only have they proved to be reliable, but they are dang affordable! $49.99 , can’t beat that! Besides, check out the color scheme, black and white, that means it will match with anything you ride and wear. I like the fact that I can use the Nix to commute with since it has the reflective strip on the heel. Plus they look great! I love how they look like normal skater shoes. I like the look so much that I wore them with a pair of jeans to work, and I didn’t even ride my bike that day!

So if you’re in the market for new shoes, check out the Sette Nix, even if you aren’t get a pair, its only $50! Just keep in mind, you have to go a size bigger. I normally wear a size 10, so I had to make sure I got a size 11. One more thing, we’re on the cusp of the holiday season, the Sette Nix shoes would make a PERFECT GIFT! Dude, if I had gotten a pair of these for Christmas, I’d be pretty stoked. Oh by the way, I received a TON of compliments on the shoes. Anyhow, enough of my jibba jabbin’, buy these shoes, you’ll love them as much as I do!

Our Review Disclaimer as required by the FTC.

Sette Serum

Posted by Chop Chop On September - 30 - 2010

Sometimes we here at MTNBikeRiders receive letters from Santa about this time of year. Usually it’s kids writing to Santa wanting to get a new bike for Christmas but let’s face it, Santa ain’t got a clue when it comes to bikes. Santa will usually forward the letters to us to read and make a suggestion for a new bike. Below is a perfect example of just such a letter. Billy, from the USA, wrote Santa asking for a new bike that he could race! Well we just happen to get in a new Sette Serum Pro for a long term test.

Letter from Billy, USA

Billy, here is a video I shot just for you. If your a good kid, maybe, just maybe you’ll get a new Sette Serum for Christmas.

Quality is priority #1. The tubes fade in several places from a visible carbon weave to a flat black which is completely different their older frame the Phantom. The carbon is 3k High Modulus which means high quality. There are only a few carbon bike manufacturers in the world and you can be sure that this frame was produced in one of them. With a 5 year warranty, you can’t wrong.

Fade to Carbon Weave

Full spec kit is priority #2. The bike has Shimano XT everything except for the brakes which are Avid Exlir CR. Tires are Kenda Small Block 8, a great all around choice. Front suspension is provided by a Fox 32 F RL which is indubitably one of the best.

Da Business

Stiff. Lightweight. Fast. I will be testing this bike on real trails but during the neighborhood test, all the kids got smoked. I have seen others weigh the frame by itself at 2.7 lbs and this bike weighs 22.5lbs, really light!

Artistic Framework

The bike is available for purchase now at a retail price of $2250 and the forums are already abuzz about the new frames. If your a good kid like Billy, maybe Santa will bring you one too.

The Serum for your ailment

I’ll be testing this bike for a while and my first order is to fine tune the cockpit. Once that is completed and this heat wave we are experiencing fades, I’m gett’n on this thing for sure.

Sette NIX SPD Shoes-Testing Begins

Posted by RL Policar On September - 3 - 2010

One of my favorite brands is Sette . Not only do they have quality products, but its really affordable! All their stuff is available through With that being said, I was fortunate enough to be able to get some new shoes from Sette.

The Sette NIX SPD Shoes are new for 2010, they actually remind me of their older shoe that I dearly love, the Sette Rival (no longer available). But this time, its white! The color scheme actually matches our 2011 Team Jerseys.

The heel area has 3m reflective magic, that way you can use it at night and still be seen.

The sole is very similar to the Rival. Don’t let the picture fool ya. You can remove the rubber cover so you can install SPD or CB cleats. If you’d rather use them with platform pedals, you can do that too.

The Sette NIX are relatively inexpensive compared to the 661 Filter shoes that look just like it, but can retail up to $99. I’ve been a strong supporter of Sette, my impact suit, knee/shin guards, shoes, bike frames, various tools and other knick knacks are all from Sette. If the Sette NIX is anywhere as good as the old Rival shoes, then it will last me years to come. But to be certain that their quality is top notch, I’ll be putting them through the paces in various riding conditions and report back with a full review.

***Quick Note: The NIX run a bit small, so when ordering go up a size bigger. For example, I normally wear a size 10, but for the Sette NIX, I would need to wear an 11.

Sette Venom Frame on Sale only $299.98

Posted by RL Policar On August - 6 - 2010

The Sette Venom is currently on sale @

Great things about to come from Sette Bikes

Posted by RL Policar On July - 28 - 2010

From what I heard,Sette USA (Bikes),distributed by, is doing a big reveal of a whole new lineup on September 1, 2010. Their current campaign is simply called “Adjust Your Thinking.” Supposedly they have lots of new models and these new bikes will be what they call…”game changers”.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve always been a fan of Sette Bikes.


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