Monday, February 27, 2012

Bell Drop: Crash tested, rider approved

Here is what Bell Helmets has to say:

Whether you're into pointing that front wheel down hill or more likely to push it against a starting gate, the new Bell Drop is what you're going to want on your head. BMX, freeride, slalom, four-cross, or downhill this is the gravity lid du rigeur.

The hand-laminated Drop was designed from the ground up by the same team that created Bell's now legendary Moto-8 motocross helmet, so you know it's gonna rip. Certification to both the CPSC bicycle standard and the new ASTM downhill standard makes it stouter than most.

Bell Drop Full Face Helmet

Here is what I have to say:

Bell Drop Full Face Helmet

I wanted a full face helmet because I like to ride downhill trails, seems like a real good reason, but I also wanted one for when I ride alone.  Even when I ride by myself I like to take on jumps, drops, and gnarly rock gardens, and I like to take them fast, it did not make sense for me to be doing this in my regular trail helmet.  My main problem with getting a full face helmet was that they can be really pricey, and rightly so!  Your helmet protects, for most of us, the most important part of your body, the brain.  I checked out a few different helmets and noticed that the less expensive ones did not carry the ASTM rating for downhill, and the helmets that did were over $300 dollars.  This was more than I could afford.  Then I found the Bell Drop, it is the 2010 model but it carries the CPSC certification as well as the ASTM Downhill certification.  The best part was that it was on sale for under $60.00.  I ordered it and I have been very happy with the results!
The Fit:
The helmet is not as svelte as some others and it feels a little big on your noggin but it is really comfortable.  The padding on the inside holds it snug to your head without causing pain from too much pressure.  The chin strap is padded and sits comfortably where it should.
The Looks:
The helmet in the picture is the one I got and I think it looks great.  The colors are not too loud but the gold (it is a metallic flake gold) gives it a little flash.
The Performance:
A full face helmet takes a little getting used too, but after a couple time you don't even notice it.  The Drop is a little heavier than a carbon helmet, but it was $60 not $300.  The one feature it lacks is vents, there are a few but they do little to move the air and on a warm day it can heat up pretty fast.  If you are shuttling or riding lifts this is not a problem, when I climb I strap it to my pack until I am at the top. 
The most important aspect of a helmets performance is how it protects your head, and I am fairly well versed in the performance of crash tests.  I had the opportunity to crash test this helmet a few weeks ago at Vail Lake Resort on the Hillbilly downhill trail.  While filming my Airborne Flight Crew application video I cased a jump and decided to see how hard the ground was, it turns out that it was really hard.  Shawn McDonald from said he could hear my head hit the ground and he was filming from 500'-600' away and up the hill.  My shoulder was sore for two weeks and my collar bone felt like someone hit it with a hammer, but my Bell Drop helmet let me get back up and ride the line again.  The helmet got some scratches by did it's job perfectly.
The Recommendation:
If you are in the market for a full face helmet but don't have a ton of money to spend, then check out the Bell Drop.  The 2010 models are still out there at places like for around $60 and the newer models can be found all over for about $130.  This is a great helmet, it saved my head maybe it could save yours too!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ryan Rides Aliso

So, Ryan had her 8th birthday in January and she got a new bike.  She has been riding on a huffy princess bike, but now she has her Giant Areva mountain bike.  She has had it since her brithday but we have not had the time to get her out on the trails, that is until today!  Armed with her new bike, a months worth of practice in shifting and braking, and a brand new kid sized pink Camel bak we took to the trails in Aliso Woods park.  This was her first trip to Aliso, so we took it easy.  The original plan was to ride from Canyon Vistas to Coyote Run and ride it to Mathis then ride back on the fire road to Cholla, up Cholla and down Lynx then back to Canyon Vistas.  However the small steep portions of Coyote Run were giving Ryan a hard time so we rode it once through then went back to the start on the fire road and rode Coyote Run again and she had no problems on most of it but she still chickened out on the last hill so we rode Coyote run back and decided to skip Cholla and Lynx this time. 

Jake was slightly up set because he was all set to do some downhill with his new full face helmet and felt his sisters skills were holding him back from  proving that his new helmet would make him as fast as Aaron Gwin!  He may not have been any faster but I noticed that he was definetly more confident on features that he had been nervous on before.

Right now Aliso requires more skill than Ryan has, but not for long!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hard Work Pays Off!!!

This morning I woke Jake up at 6:30 am and we headed to my fathers glass shop to strip aluminum and take it to the scrapyard, I do this every couple of months when I have free time to get a little extra cash.  Usually I will get some upgrade to my Marauder or a piece of equipment (helmet, shorts, gloves, pads, etc...) that I want and the rest of the money goes to bills.  Lately Jake has been riding with my old road helmet because he lost his good helmet.  Has also been riding more advanced trails in recent months.  He was told that if he helped he would get $20 and he agreed, but today he worked harder than I have ever seen him work so instead of giving him the $20 I took him to the Fullerton Bikes and got him a full face helmet.  He picked out a flat black Bell Sanction.  It is a sweet looking lid and makes me feel better when we take more gnarly trails, but most important (at least to him) is that he looks rad like Aaron Gwin (who also wears a Bell, but he did not mention dear old dad who wears a Bell Drop).

 Here is the info on the lid:

The Sanction is Bell’s all-new lightweight, recession-busting full-face helmet. Weighing in at 950 grams, the fully-ventilated, low-profile helmet was designed with the younger rider in mind. Its sizing skews smaller than both its predecessor (the Bellistic) and the more robust Bell Drop, and is squarely aimed at BMX, Super-D and all-mountain riding. The moto-inspired style lines and graphics are youthful and contemporary, adding to the Sanction’s aggressive attitude.
Hand lamination is still the best way for our helmet builders to orient the fiberglass weave to create a shell that is both strong and lightweight in full face helmets.

Bell Sanction Specs:
  • WEIGHT: 950 G / 33.5 OZ
  • VENTS: 15
The shall be a review to follow when it's had some use!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Two Wheels One Planet Bike Repair clinics

This Sunday night February 26th from 5:00-6:00pm the Costa Mesa Two Wheels One Planet bike shop located at 420 E. 17th Street Costa Mesa, Ca 92627 will be hosting a service repair clinic and Q and A session with a mechanic.  This session will be on wheel repair and maintenance.  I went to the last one that was on derailleurs and it was well worth the time, Dennis was very knowledgeable and answered everyone's questions.  On top of gaining some knowledge you also receive a $10.00 gift certificate for anything in the store.  I will be there and I hope you will too!  See you Sunday.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Airborne Flight Crew Application

I just sent my application for the Airborne Flight Crew and now have to wait to hear whether or not I will be selected, but in the mean time here are some photos and the video that I made with the help of Shawn McDonald from, enjoy!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday at Vail Lake

Sunday Jake and I meet up with Shawn McDonald from to do some filming for my Airborne Flight Crew application video.  We got some good video and it is now in the editing process, but I think it will turn out really well.  While we were out there Shawn also got some still pictures that turned out really nice.

Vail Lake Resort is located just out side of Temecula on Highway 79.  It is a private facility that supports many different activities.  In just the small area that we saw they had camping facilities, motorcross, and the mountain bike park.  I did not have the time to really explore the whole mountain bike park, but we were able to ride one trail that was a massive jump line with several different options at different points that we were able to stop and session the features that we liked.  The only other people in this area were a couple of teenage kids on BMX bikes so we basically had the jumps to ourselves.  We also pedaled over to a downhill trail with some wood bridge features and sessioned one of them for a while.  The only people we saw there were a couple on a XC ride.
The cost to get in and use the park was only $5.00 per rider but I think it was well worth it.  I would like to go down and spend a coupe of days there and ride more of the trails, if it was closer to our house we would ride this park as much as we could. 

The park has jumps, gaps, downhill, XC, and I was told it also has some really nice All Mountain riding.  If you have the time I would definitely recommend taking a day to head out there and do some riding!

Friday, February 10, 2012

We've Got Wheels

As I sat here listening to the .357 String Band and pondering the activities for this weekend, I realized that I am going to be busy.  Saturday morning I am leading the Boy Scouts on a map and compass course, Saturday night I will be taking Jake and Ryan to the Orange BMX track to do some riding with the guys, and Sunday I will be heading to Vail Lake to do some filming for my Airborne Flight Crew application with Shawn from  I was prepping myself to not stop moving until Sunday night when I heard a noise at the door, the dog stood up and gave a growl so I went to check it out.  What I saw was a guy in a FedEx uniform walking away from the door.  He turned and mumbled something over his shoulder and I mumbled something that was meant to be thanks and threw him a wave (I guess they don't knock when they deliver anymore, takes to much time).  I took the box in and found my brand new AreoMax wheelset inside.  I got these from crosslakesales on Ebay, who I have bought several items before, and they were less than $120 with shipping.  These wheels are not a real flashy set but they seem solid and are hand built, I am sure there are lighter better wheels out there but I am happy with this deal and I think they look pretty good too.  Thanks to RL Policar for the heads up on these!

Next up is brakes!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Forking Sweet!!!!

The next step to my road bike has been taken care of.  I got my tax returns and took just a little cash to make some progress on the road ride.  I picked up these carbon forks by litespeed form Adrenaline Bikes in Orange for under $100.  If you are in need a a fork they have a few sets left.  They will only mount Caliper brakes, which is fine with me because I am treating this as a road build not really a Cyclocross build, and I have always found cantilevers to be a pain.
The next step is to mount up my wheel set when it gets here.  I ordered it and it should arrive soon, nothing special but it was a good deal for a hand built set (thanks to RL Policar of for sending me the info on this wheel set).  I will also need to get a stem soon, so that is probably the next step.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My New Project=Cyclocross Bike

Yesterday I picked up a lightly used Motobecane Fantom CX cyclocross frame.  The frame came with the stock crankset and headset.  Apart from a few light scratches on the chainstay the frame is in excellent shape, the bottom bracket is smooth and the bearings in the headset seem good.  Now I just need to get everything else.  My goal is to put together the bike as cheap as I can, but to end up with something I can use as a cyclocross bike and a road bike.