vp components vp 536 clones 1

VP Components VP-536 clones

I have relatively big feet, and these are my go-to pedals. As I remember, first made by VP components originally, then copied by almost any pedal manufacturer. Being all plastic and simple, they are very cheap – I got them for about 12$. Contrary to popular belief, they are serviceable, light enough and have good grip unless your shoes do not have rock hard soles, like most clipless pedal shoes. I generally ride with sandals or running shoes, so this does not bother me. They have solid axles and cup and cone bearings.

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tektro eclipse v brake lever 2

Tektro Eclipse V-brake levers

These Tektro Eclipse brake levers was the ones I used with Shimano BR-T610‘s. I picked these, because they were both lighter, cheaper and feels better than those matching Shimano levers. Besides, these v-brakes are also compatible with road bike calipers. As you can see in images, there is an adjustment pin (when lever is pulled) which varies the pull ratio. May not sound super-useful, but if you have an old road bike frame, these are handy in converting them to flatbars, AKA fitness bikes.

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shimano deore brt610 v brakes 0

Shimano Deore BR-T610 V-brakes

Shimano Deore BR-T610 series was one of the last V-brakes produced by Shimano. They are quite lightweight, firm and has replaceable cartridges. Second hand or new old stock prices gone up, and they’re almost more expensive than brand new a decade ago. Approximately 175 grams a set, they are lighter than a medium grade hydraulic disc brakes when combined with relatively light brake levers. I used them more than a year, and they perform stunningly well, especially compared to my current Deore hydraulic setup.

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Shimano HB-M770 Front Hub

Shimano HB-M770 Front Hub

This is the last Shimano XT front hub for rim brakes, then replaced with the identical, but disc compatible HB-M775. Contrary to popular belief, these are the best sealed and bombproof hubs made by Shimano. Only XT and XTR hubs at the time have thicker but aluminium axles. Hub includes ball bearings, but these are encased in a plastic cage – not to be mistaken for caged bearings.

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amoeba vitra stem 2

Amoeba Vitra Stem

Amoeba looks to be a defunct company – their website somehow works, but not updated for long. A decade ago, they released some Scandium alloy aluminium frames, carbon fiber reinforced handlebars that were amazingly lightweight, at a really fair price. It’ s a shame they did not release something worthy in the last years, but it is (was?) a brand that I liked very much. This Amoeba Vitra stem was my one of their favorite items: they’re cheap, robust and comes with a nice sack.

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lixada titanium hub skewers 2

Lixada Titanium Skewers

Lixada Titanium Skewers – bought these at AliExpress. Lixada is a well-known brand amongst “AliExpress brands” and these skewers’ weight speak for itself. They need a weird socket to remove and install, so unless you have some tire like Schwalbe Marathon Classic, saving 50 grams, or even more, doesn’t make sense.

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crankbrothers candy 1 pedals 5

Crankbrothers Candy 1 MTB Clipless Pedals

I remember the time when these pedals released. Crankbrothers Candy is a milestone in pedal history if there is such thing. People seem to love them, I love them too. They have different looks, cleats and modus operandi then the Shimano SPD pedals. Made up of composite plastic, Candy 1’s are more robust than they look. I have the older versions, newer ones have ridges for “traction”, but frankly I don’t believe it makes any difference. Internally, they are a bit flimsy with miniature cartridge bearings. These things click and make noise. There is no way such tiny bearings would last. I personally like using these on smart trainer bike. Shimano users can find them weird.

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shimano fh rm 70 front hub 1

Shimano FH-RM70 Front Hub

There is no data when Shimano FH-RM70 Front Hub is released, but some anectodal evidence points back to late 2000’s or early 2010’s. Machine marks on aluminium body is a tell-tale sign of a entry-level item, but this is a very well sealed, well made and quite lightweight hub. Under 150 grams, it puts many higher level front hubs to shame. I bought this brand new at a very good price, less than 10$ few months ago. This front hub is not disc brake compatible. It’s Acera level, out of series, but still expect some Shimano quality. As all Shimano hubs, this has a cup and cone design, too.

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deckas 1x chainring 36t 2

Deckas 1x chainring – 38T 104BCD

I bought this chainring from AliExpress to couple it with my Deore XT 760 crankset few years ago. Deckas still makes these chainrings, there are lots of varieties, including ones for road cranksets. Look-alikes are available under many brands, and these are very cheap. When I bought this, it was just under $30. Last time I checked, which was a year ago, prices were the same, or slightly lower. I used this chainring on a 1×9 and 1×10 setup. So there is no reason it won’t work with 11s too, but I believe chain teeth is wide for 12s or 13s chains. (did not measure, but 10s chain fits pretty tight) My chainring is 38T and for 104 BCD cranks. For me, it was quite OK for flat land even with 11-28T cassette, on 26″ wheels. On grades over 5%,… Continue Reading Deckas 1x chainring – 38T 104BCD

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shimano parallax fh rm60 rear hub 11.resized

Shimano FH-RM60 Parallax Rear Hub

Shimano FH-RM60 Parallax is an Acera level rear hub from 2009. Although noted as “8 speed”, it works with 9 and 10 speed cassettes, too. This is an MTB hub, not disc brake compatible. What’s interesting about this hub is the proper and hefty sealing. Being an entry level hub, you can clearly see machining marks – hub body is aluminium, Parallax hubs come either for 32 or 36 spokes. Being a Shimano hub, it does not have cassette bearings, but uses cup and cone system instead. Feels very solid in hand. I have no idea why Shimano called this hub “Parallax”, written in huge fonts. Interestingly, this hub is only 3 grams heavier than the Shimano FH-RM665 SLX, which is a few notches above in the hierarchy. Yes – it’s disc compatible, but also supposed to have better materials,… Continue Reading Shimano FH-RM60 Parallax Rear Hub

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shimano tourney tz25 front derailleur 2

Shimano Tourney TZ500 Front Derailleur

All-steel, cheapest Shimano front derailleur you can get. Tourney TZ500 is down-swing, dual pull, clamp type and meant to be used with 42-34-22T crankset. Shimano site says its compatible for 8 and 7 speed, but included in a groupset with 6 speed rear derailleurs, so I assume it’s also 6 speed compatible. There is also a TZ510 model, which is compatible with 42T cranksets. Only for 3 speed chainrings. It’s also specially denoted as to be compatible for friction shifters, I don’t know why and it also doesn’t make any sense, as any Shimano derailleur have no indexing built-in on derailleur. So, index shifters should also work logically. Despite being dinky, it’s also very lightweight. However, the cage is low carbon steel, so it’ll probably bent if you have a serious mis-shift problem.

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btwin 0 30 stem 12

Btwin 0/30 Stem 80mm

An interesting stem by Btwin, one of the brands of Decathlon, a French sports equipment chainstores. This is a very solid stem, as if machined from single block of aluminium. That explains its hefth; it weighs 188 grs, the heaviest stem I owned so far. This model is 80mm; 90mm and 70mm models were also available. Front plate has only 3 screws. Suitable for 31.8 handlebars. Can be used as 0 or 30 degrees. A very authentic feature is the stackable spacers. These can be bought separately, several colors were available. You can use 3 different spacers having different length, which corresponds to markers on the top side of the stem, as can be seen on the images.

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shimano deore xt fd m781 a front derailleur 1

Shimano Deore XT FD-M781-A Front Derailleur

Shimano Deore XT FD-M781-A Front Derailleur is a top-pull, 2×10 front derailleur from Deore XT groupset. It can handle maximum chainrings of 42T, with a capacity of 14T. That means, smaller chainring can be minimum 28T, if 42T big chainring is used. This particular model is braze-on type. It attaches to seatpost frame with a single bolt. Clamp types are about 10 grams heavier. Deore XT M780 series released in 2012.

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shimano altus sl m2000 right shifter 9 speed 4

Shimano Altus SL-M2000 3 speed front shifter

Shimano released Altus M2000 in 2017. This is an entry level groupset, so got almost no attention. But it was somewhat a milestone release: with M2000 series, even the lowest group got almost all technologies from the higher groupsets, including Hollowtech II, and Shadow (not Shadow Plus which includes clutch). It also become 9 speed. This shifter is probably released a while later then the M2000 release, because the earliest mention of it I can track dates back to 2020. Altus SL-M2000 is 3 speed, and unlike higher end models, not 2/3 selectable. It does have an optical indicator which is fixed, while up to XTR, higher end models offer removable optical indicators. It’s all plastic and steel, thumb shifters look flimsy, but shifting feel is pretty good – especially for a shifter for under $20. It performs better than… Continue Reading Shimano Altus SL-M2000 3 speed front shifter

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