MtnBikeRiders Holiday Gift Guide-2009

To help with your holiday shopping for the mountain biker in your life, I’ve come up with some great products that will make you a winner.

Clif bars holiday flavors. Yum. Out on the trail, you’ve got to have nourishment. Why not make it a Cranberry Orange Nut Bread, Sliced Pumpkin Pie or Iced Gingerbread? The holiday Clif bars are a seasonal item and make a great stocking stuffer for the mountain biker who has everything.

Uh, yeah. I want some pumpkin pie!

Wool socks: During the winter time our feet get cold out there on rides. I picked up a pair of Swiftwick Four Merino socks a couple of weeks ago and really like them. They definitely keep my feet toasty when out riding and they feel great with comfy sole support. OK, so this is Southern California so take the “toasty” comment with a grain of salt but a “prop” for the Swiftwick Socks is that the Merino wool socks are machine wash-able and can be put in the dryer on low.

Cold winter ride + Feet warm & toasty = GOOD

If the doldrums of winter are getting your mountain bike aficionado down, give him something he can upgrade on the bike. Changing new cables are recommended on a yearly basis, depending on the number of miles you put on the bike. For derailleur cables I like fully sealed systems but they can be pricey. Instead, I’ve tried and like Jagwire Ripcords. The Ripcords come in different colors including: merida green, white, red and SID blue to name a few.

White derailleurs cables, THAT’S HOT!

For those that have a hitch mount on your vehicle I cannot more highly recommend the Raxter Rack. This is the best rack system I have used and I trust all my bikes (and other people’s bikes) to it. I am always questioning the thought process behind purchasing a $3,000+ bike or two and transporting it on a $50 rack. Cheap racks are cheap for a reason: they have compromises. They compromise in how they hold your bike (rubbing the paint off your bike’s top tube… ask me how I know), they compromise in materials (cheap metal that won’t support the bike’s weight) or they compromise in design (allowing exhaust from the tailpipes to heat up a bike’s tires in transport). The Raxter rack holds the bike securely, by the wheels so no paint rub, uses sturdy materials (nearly 3 years: looks great, functions PERFECTLY) and is designed extremely well. It’s also really easy to use!

Did I mention that RL likes it too?

OK, this last one is spendy: if your mountain biker buddy has not tried a 29er, it is time to get ‘em on the big wheels. As proclaimed by one prominent mountain biking magazine, the 29er hardtail will replace the 26” hardtail. I can promise you, your mountain biker buddy will go absolutely gaa gaa with a 29er hardtail in the garage. I would personally start off with a Sette Razzo, which has a great balance of component spec and low price. Or, if you have money to burn, a Kona King Kahuna would be a great addition to any bike stable.

29ers ROCK!

Happy Holidays and please add your holiday suggestions in the comments section below.

Review: Sette Razzo Frame

Product Tested:
Sette Razzo

Sette Razzo 29er frame in size Large (20″)

Website’s MSRP:

Material Full 7005 Alloy, Double Butted Main Triangle
Welding Tig Welding
Recommended Suspension Fork Travel 80-100mm
Headset 1-1/8″ Standard
Front Derailleur 31.8mm Clamp Type, Top Pull/Top Swing
Bottom Bracket 68mm, English
Rear Hub Spacing 135mm
Max Rear Tire Clearance 2.3″
Seatpost Size 27.2mm
Seat Clamp Size 31.8mm
Brake Mount IS 51mm Standard Disc
Available Sizes Small (17″/43cm), Medium (19″/48cm), Large (21″/53cm)
Color(s) Polished Aluminum
Weight 3.2lbs/1.5kg (Medium Size Avg.)
Warranty 5 Years

About Me:
6’1” 210lbs, 29 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys XC riding.

Climbing on the Sette Razzo at Sycamore Canyon in Riverside.

Testing Grounds:
Marshall Canyon, Sycamore Canyon, Fullerton Loop, Bonelli … and many other trails in Southern California.

First Impressions:
The frame was light. The Large version came in at a pretty light 3.5 lbs which is comparable to frames 2 to 3 times the price. The polished look is nice and the graphics are understated. The welds are not pretty resembling toothpaste being squeezed out than the clean stack of dimes look. But for this price you can’t have everything and the bike provides most everything else in spades.

Even with a non-bling build (bb5, low end fsa cranks), the weight of the complete bike came out to 22ish lbs

The frame is light. Light enough to race. Light enough to be considered a light frame out there in 29er land. This means that even if you’re throwing heavy parts on it, which I most assuredly did, you’ll still end up with a relatively light bike. My SS build, other than the carbon fork and 200 gram saddle, was not an exercise in weight weenism and the bike still came out to a very decent 22ish pounds. I’m not a gram counter, but this bike is definitely the lightest non road bike I’ve ridden. Other then the fork and saddle, the whole build could lose a LOT more weight easily.

For a 7005 series aluminum frame, the ride is really pretty good. It is definitely not harsh like some other frames I’ve ridden before. Now, don’t get me wrong, you will not be mistaking this for steel, but it’s quite comfortable as long as you keep in mind that it is an aluminum bike. In one particular instance from this past weekend, I remember riding down a skinny singletrack trail with babyhead sized rocks. Immediately after that, the singletrack widened into doubletrack but went up through more rocks that were bigger. Both coming down and going up that part of the trail was, I wouldn’t say comfortable but, do-able. I didn’t feel totally beat up because of the rocks going down or up.

Sette Razzo enjoying the fun singletrack at Bonelli.

The Razzo has held up very well under me. I’m 210lbs but geared up with a full camelbak I go about 220-225 and this frame has been very good. I had no issues with flex which I would definitely have noticed since I have only run this frame as a rigid singelspeed. Climbing and descending would have definitely shown me some flex issues in this particular setup.

I also did not have any issues with the welds even as I’ve ridden it through some fun Southern California terrain. On a side note, riding rigid singlespeed has really been a revelation to me in the simplicity of a rigid, ss, mechanical disc brake bike. With less complexity, the bike really has less of a chance of having any issues. Just lube up the chain, check the tire pressure and I’m off.

Toptube plate… not sure what it is there for… maybe it lends more strength to the toptube/seattube junction.

The price is very competitive if not an absolute steal. Some people have bemoaned the fact that the Razzo costs so little compared to other 29er frames out there. I don’t. I’m all for more options and at this price the Sette Razzo really gives you a lot of options. This bike can be run in so many different ways from ultra light & fast race bike with really good weight weenie parts to a total beater with parts bin components used. The sturdy, comfortable hardtail frame can easily go high or low end or something else in between without feeling as if the frame didn’t match the purpose.

A frame at this price will have its cons. The first one most people don’t notice unless they look very closely is that the welds are not pretty. The welds are functional but they won’t be winning any beauty pageants nor will they be getting any nicknames like Ventana’s Electric Sex welds. Weld beauty, though, is way down the list of important factors when it comes to a bike frame purchase. As long as the welds hold and it has under the testing from this clyde over the last 4 months, I’m ok with it.

Rear tire clearance at the chainstays are a little tight with a 2.1″ Miaxxis Ignitor

The rear tire clearance is not 2.3”. I mounted up a 2.1” Maxxis Ignitor and it fits fine, but I’m not going to be able clear much mud at the chainstays. The seatstays had plenty of clearance for bigger rubber though. No problem for me as I don’t really want to run anything bigger than that on this bike but for those looking to build the Razzo into a burlier trail bike would want to consider this issue. Your milage may vary as I’ve seen some people run 2.25” rubber back there without issues.

Simple, light, comfortable, stiff and priced very well, the Sette Razzo really has a lot going for it. These traits could also be one of the reasons why the Razzo is the #1 selling Sette frame. Small issues like beauty of the weld and rear tire clearance are really outweighed by the many pros of this excellent 29er frame. Get one while they’re still available.

For more info on the Sette Razzo, click here.

Sycamore Canyon Ride Report

Months of racing every other week can take a toll on a person. After seeing Joe’s Sycamore Canyon video, we set up a relaxed vibe ride last Saturday. One of the things we wanted to do was ride the trail on single speed bikes. I checked with our buddy Randall and he said that the trail was SS friendly. Well, I should have taken into consideration that Randall doesn’t own a SS and that he rode the trail on his 27spd bike.

The posse, I was showing off my new sunglasses that I purchased at the Ladies section at Walmart…$10 bucks and they even had a star on the temple!

With that said, we still set out for the trail. We met up with Jeremy, David, Val and two new friends, Dan and Ian. This was Priscilla’s first group ride on her SS and I have to tell ya, she did great! The girl was a natural. All her spin classes had paid off because she was pretty darn consistent, meaning she was climbing most of the hills and was able to keep up with the other multi-geared riders.

Since Joe was on this trail not too long ago, he was our tour guide. With his handy dandy GPS device, he was leading us through some tough climbs and sweet single track.

At one point…I think mile 4 of the ride, we came across some rocks that was beckoning my name…like a sweet sound of Sirens, I dared to go up on the rock in an attempt to jump it.

Here’s the entry…

The mid air shot

The rough landing…

and the result…

After brushing myself off, we continued on our adventure and found more miles of climbing and wonderful single track. But we stopped at another rock formation to get a group shot. Here’s Val and David taking a “sniper” shot of us.

This was also Jeremy’s first SS group ride. Oh I have to mention that he was riding the newly built Sette Razzo. If you’re wondering why David is walking down the hill, well he was trying to assist me. I was jacked up from this ride. My whole body was starting to give up.

There were many hike a bikes, but if you look, the guy with the sleeveless white shirt, that’s Dan. He made it up the hill on his granny gear!

We started the ride around 7:30am and didn’t get out of there until about 11am or so…by the end of it all, most of us ran out of water, and some were cramping up like crazy. However, I would like to thank Joe for leading the group and for being patient with me. Let’s just say I complained quite a bit…Here’s a helmet cam video that I took with the Vholdr. I wish I had more footage of the better single track, but my batteries died…bummer, but enjoy!

Sycamore Canyon Ride from RL Policar on Vimeo.

How 1×9 got me ready for SS

As many of you know, we recently added the Sette Razzo frame to our lineup of bikes here at WCH. The Sette Razzo was built up as a SS. I have to admit, I was, and still am, very tentative about riding a single speed. I probably got that way due to all the Moe & RL puke stories. I, like many of you, are not a fan of puking.

SS can be quite a workout, especially if you go rigid

I decided to hit my local test loop, the Fully loop, for my first ride on the Razzo SS. The loop starts off for almost flat with just a twinge of an incline. I immediately felt the desire to shift gears and go faster, so much so that my right thumb twitched. Of course, there was no gear to change into so I ended up spinning really fast here and there. But I wasn’t used to all the spinning and my legs quickly got tired of it. I’m going to have to work on that part of SS riding.

What I was really afraid of were the climbs. None of the loop climbs are particularly long, about the only thing the loop is missing, but some are on the steeper side. The first short quick steep after crossing Euclid was conquered without any issues. Rolling along the street after the climb was a bit annoying because again I couldn’t get my legs to spin up fast enough. But ahead lay the climbs and as much as I was annoyed by all the spinning out I was cognizant that the lower gearing would be greatly beneficial on the climbs.

Redline Mono 9 has 9 gears. This helped get me ready for Single Speed riding

The climb that really got me antsy begins with a mild fireroad ascent. It then rolls along a little before hitting a short rooty section followed by a short steeper section. The end of this is a little past the halfway point of the loop. No puking on this climb. I was close… but I held it down. One more climb which is made difficult with railroad ties was up next and only my pride plus the presence of a couple of hikers stopped me from letting it flow.

What I came to realize over my SS ride was that my body had built up a bit of a familiarity to sustained standing climbs which is really your only other “gear” when you’re riding a SS. The familiarity was achieved when I began riding the Redline Mono 9, a 1×9 geared 29er. Before the 1×9, I would sit and spin my way up but when I rode the 1×9 consistently I realized that if I sat and spun all the hills, I’d quickly run out of gears.

So I adopted a different approach to climbing that included a mixture of spinning for a while then climbing while staying in the same gear. For example, if I was in gear 4 on a seated climb and I felt I wanted to change gears, instead of choosing to shift I’d stand up and climb for a bit. This essentially doubled the number of “gears” I had available to me from 9 to 18 and also eased my transition from 27 gears down to one.

Being comfortable with sustained standing climbs turned out to be a great help when I rode the single speed. I truly believe that if I went straight from 27 gears to just one, I probably would have joined RL & Moe with puke stories of my own.

Sette Razzo = Single Rigid

OK, no it doesn’t, but mine is. My Sette Razzo build is more of a parts bin build than Joe’s White Zion, but I’m not jealous since mine is a 29er! 😉 The Sette Razzo came to us just under two weeks ago from pricepoint and after finding some parts and picking up a tensioner kit, we finally have it built up.

The shiny finish on the Razzo makes matching anything to it pretty easy

The decision to go SS was quite easy. Everyone else was doing it, so why not me? j/k. I’ve been intrigued with SS ever since I picked up a SS commuting bike. I have been enjoying my singlespeed commutes to work so much that I knew the next logical step would be to try it out on the trail. Of course my commute to work is nearly flat and the trails are… well not flat. At times, I do wonder what kind of pain I’ve gotten myself into.

Got to run the bigger rubber up front for more cush. Rigid is tough on the body, but big wheels and bigger rubber makes up for the lack of suspension

Rigid was an easy decision as well. I really liked the eXotic Carbon fork on a previous bike so it was an easy call to go back to rigid for the Razzo build. A carbon fork which dampens some of the trail chatter plus a wide front tire provides me with enough cushion for most of the rides I’ll ever do on a singlespeed bike… at least that’s what I currently think. We’ll see if that changes with more saddle time. One thing I’ll have to be aware of is how much air pressure I run up front. I want enough to prevent pinch flats, but not so much as to lose the cush.

Forte’s Singlespeed Conversion Kit made for an switch to SS. Not the cleanest look, but effective

The easiest decision was getting the Forte Singlespeed Conversion Kit. I received a gift card to Performance for Christmas and we’ve had some good feedback in regards to the kit. But if Performance sold the White Industries Eccentric Eno Disc Hub, I’d have a much more difficult time with the decision. Thankfully, they don’t and my wallet is safe.

Shiny spacers to go along with the shiny frame. Props to our master mechanic RL for all the help with the build

First ride will be this week. Running through some of the geometry numbers shows I might need to shorten up the stem a little. We’ll see, though. Geometry numbers are just that: numbers. Although geometry numbers can indicate a lot of different things, riding is still the best way to determine comfort. Riding the bike will let me know for sure whether I need to perform a couple of parts swaps. Keep checking back in as I get in some rides on the Sette Razzo.

Sette Razzo Frame… is in!

The good folks at sent us the new Sette Razzo frame. It’s quite pretty. 🙂

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Sette Razzo frame – beautiful shiny finish.

derailleur hangar

Welds at the seat tube/top tube junction

the Razzo. Understated in black lettering

toptube has a little extra plate to stiffen it up

The 20″ Razzo came in at a very respectable 3.5 lbs on our ultimate analog scale. We’ll be building this up as a single speed, my first. Wish me luck.

For more info on the Razzo, click here.

Sette Razzo is offering a new hardtail frame… a 29er frame to be exact. Meet the Sette Razzo.

Sette Razzo

Hella cool and wicked fast, the Razzo 29er is ready to rock it from coast to coast!

Featuring one of the lightest 29er frames on the market, the Razzo weighs in at a mere 3.25 lbs/1470 grams (18″ frame size) and uses double-butted 7005 aluminum tubing.

This isn’t just a re-scaled 26″ mountain bike disguised as a 29er, it was designed as a 29er through and through. A shorter head tube allows for more precise, agile handling and the formed sloping tube provides greater fork/front wheel clearance.

Oh yeah, and the Razzo comes in a cool, super shiny polished aluminum finish. Dang! Check it.

Did I mention that it is light? 3.25 lbs is about as light a HT frame as you’re going to get in a 29er. The price, as with all Sette products, is very competitive at $249.98.

Here is the link.