Seth's Bike Hacks is a cool YouTube channel I've been subscribed to for some time now.

His latest vid rings very true, if your like me and will often watch clips of new trails before riding them the video makes obstacles look much less daunting than the reality.

A nice surprise from the Christmas list was a set of Deore XT PD-M8000 pedals.

These will replace my tried and tested Shimano M520s and offer much the same operation I've come to enjoy but with a weight saving of approx 100g.

They also boast a solid platform giving more shoe contact.  I'm going to look forward to putting these to the test!

Install is straightforward using a 15mm wrench.  I like a firm but not overly tight clip so set the tension right in the middle of the range.

Having completed a recent race series my bike was in need of some serious TLC.  In particular the last race of the series really took its toll.  There was almost every weather imaginable on a cold Spring morning including sun, rain, wind and even snow.

Unfortunately riding 15 or so miles through those sort of conditions meant a huge clean up was required and the first casualty - my bottom bracket bearings!  As they were completely seized, I searched around the internet and found that it would only cost a little more to replace the whole unit, rather than just the bearings alone.

I read good reviews online about Wheels Manufacturing BBs and particularly liked the fact that they use Enduro bearings.

Using Enduro ABEC 3 selaed bearings and weighing in at 98g the Wheels Manufacturing BB is suitable for 86 - 92mm shell widths and can be ordered for use with Shimano or SRAM crank spindles.  I'm running a Shimano SLX crankset so went with that option.

It looks a solid unit right out of the box and appears to be much smoother than my old BB (even when new)  the design is solid and it pressed right into the frame without the need for any special tools.  What I particularly like its that its an all aluminum unit with no plastic parts, so when this one wears out it should just be a case of simply switching out the bearings for new.

Images courtesy of 
High on this years Christmas list was a new helmet, something that will offer me a lot more protection when out trail riding than say my old Giro which I'll now use for commuting.

Having checked out several models and their online reviews, I wanted something sub $75 with lots of protection, ventilation and adjustability for that perfect fit.  There were a few that seemed to check the boxes in that list such as Giro Feature, which is also a very nice helmet.  However for sheer comfort the bell stoker seemed perfectly molded for the shape of my head.

Check out the YouTube video from the Bell team:

The Stoker comes neatly boxed, nothing too fancy here other than a sliding tray and a thin plastic cover sheet with a brief safety manual.

There are 13 vents in total in the helmet which utilizes an In-Mold Polycarbonate shell to make it a relatively light weight 316 grams.

13 Vents in the helmet, along with an adjustable blade visor.

Inside of the helmet there's plenty of padding and a simple wheel adjustment which can be done one handed and fits perfectly to my head.

Overall I'm very impressed by the look and feel of the helmet and can't wait for the trails to dry so I can test it out!

A fun video with a very relevant message from the Rocky Mountain Team.

Having ordered the EA70 XCT wheelset the UPS man rang the doorbell a few days later, leaving behind a rather large cardboard box.

The eagerly awaited wheelset looked great they arrived tensioned nicely and completely true.  The rear was set up out of the box for 10x135mm however it included the end caps to convert to 12x142mm if required.  The front was set for 15mm through axle.  The hubs run incredibly smooth and in fitting with the stealth look the rear runs quietly when coasting.

The front wheel weighed 800g out of the box

Pleasingly the combined weight was exactly as claimed with the wheelset weighing in at 1750g.

Rear weighing in at 950g for a combined weight of 1750g
The wheels look great, the rim is on the thinner side however they come tubeless ready without the need for any rim tape.  The only downside is that if you want to run the rims with sealant as I will due to some of my tires being non UST, the supplied valve does not come with a removable core to allow the sealant to be topped up.  This is easy to overcome though as you can pop the sealant into the tire before you mount the final bead section.  I opted to replace the valves with some Stans valves I had lying around.

Tubeless set up was straight forward with no major hiccups, I use a floor pump so always throw a tube in first to mount one side of the bead correctly.  For the winter season I have chosen Maxxis Ardent front and rear with the front being 2.4 and the rear 2.25.  I will likely go with something a little faster rolling for the summer, possibly putting an Ikon or Crossmark on the rear.

Outside of a quick spin around the neighborhood I've not had chance to put the wheels through a true test but so far so good!

Here's a quick before and after:
Lurcher with Sun Ringle Charger Comps
Lurcher with Easton EA70 XCT
I love the way they have transformed the look of the bike!  I'll update back after they have been put to use and completed some solid miles.

What's happening to the charger comp's I hear you say?  They are earmarked for my commuting, back up and all round this space.
Motobecane Fantom 29er in need of some new wheels

A few months back I picked up a vintage Giant Cadex on my local craigslist with the intention of fixing it up and passing it along to my wife to use.  Unfortunately the 55cm frame was just a little too big for her to ride it comfortably so it sat sad for a while until I found the time to give it an overhaul.  The Cadex is a really nice lugged aluminum carbon fiber frame.

The bike needed work, cables were rusted through and the bars seemed to be wrapped in electrical tape.
Unfortunately I got a little carried away on this one and as such there's not any pics of the work in progress.  I started by completely stripping the frame, cleaning everything, right down to the bolts then re-greasing and building everything back using the good parts.

New cables were required throughout along with a new seat and a desperate need for some decent bar tape.  Thankfully the wheels were reasonably true and the tires fairly recent.  The 105 groupdet was in pretty good shape and was completely reused with the exception of the downtube shifters as I wanted to bring the bike a little more up to date and switch out the down-tube shifters for more modern brifters.  A few hours searching online led me to the following parts.

Image result for sora triple 3x7
Shimano Sora 3x7 brifters
Downtube cable stops

The shifters needed a little adjustment with the help of the high/low stops on the front derailleur to only make two shifts rather than three, but the install was painless and there was minimal adjustment required for the shifters to index correctly.

I also added a WTB Speed V saddle from the parts bin and went with my tried and trusted black color bar tape.

The bike scrubbed up really well, and despite being too small for me it zipped around the neighborhood nicely.  It will now go on sale, and once gone I'll be on the lookout for my next project.

Here's a few more pics