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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Frames Reviewed In 2018Last Updated November 1, 2018
№1 – MCS 7-Piece Gallery Frame Set, Black (49709)
№2 – James Scott Black Solid Frame set with Usable Artwork, Set of 10
№3 – Love-KANKEI Wood Picture Photo Frame for Wall Decor 26×29 inch – With 30 Clips & Ajustable Twines – Collage Artworks Prints Multi Pictures Organizer & Hanging Display Frames
Canyon’s Grand Canyon cross-country hardtail
Cross-country bikes tend to use larger diameter 29in wheels — so are often referred to as 29ers — combined with lightly treaded, low-volume and fast-rolling tyres for maximum speed, though some brands offer them with 650b wheels — also called 27.5in.
They tend to use steeper head angles combined with longer stems and narrower bars for quick reacting handling and to place the rider into an efficient pedalling position.
The downside of this type of geometry is that it can make them harder to control on steeper descents, especially when combined with shorter-travel suspension and skinnier tyres.
Cheaper cross-country bikes will use alloy frames, but carbon is the default choice for top-end race bikes — although exotic materials such as titanium are sometimes seen. They tend to have a very wide range of gears to allow steep climbing as well as a high top speed.
Buy one if: you like pushing your heart rate as high as it’ll go and riding for hours on end.
Entry: £750 (hardtail), £1,000 (full suspension)
Good: £1,500 (hardtail), £2,500 (full suspension)
Brilliant: £2,500 (hardtail), £3,500 (full suspension)
This is the most popular style of bike because it can be used for pretty much anything.
Trail bikes have more relaxed angles to give greater confidence when descending and kit that’s designed to deal with more punishment. They use shorter stems and wider handlebars to help improve control at speed, while tyres will have more aggressive tread.
Enduro is a racing format in which the descents are timed, but you still have to pedal yourself around the course. That means that these bikes are designed to perform exceptionally well down steep and difficult trails but are still light and efficient enough to pedal back to the top.
The Mondraker Dune Carbon XR is an excellent — and expensive — modern enduro machine
Enduro bikes tend to have more travel than ‘normal’ trail bikes, and are almost exclusively full suspension. Most use around 160-170mm of travel at either end, paired to tough wheels and reinforced tyres. The suspension units they use are still air-sprung but tend to be heavier duty with a wide range of damping adjustments to tune their downhill performance.
Some have remotes that allow you to change the bike’s geometry and travel between a downhill and uphill mode. Many have just one chainring and a device to prevent the chain falling off paired to a wide range of gears at the back. Enduro bikes are also called ‘all mountain’ bikes as they’re ideal for riding in mountainous and technical terrain.
Commencal’s Supreme DH Race is a World Cup-ready downhill racer
As the name suggests, these bikes are about doing one thing; going down steep and technical tracks very, very quickly.
They have around 200mm of travel at either end, often using coil sprung suspension that’s optimised for pure traction and support, rather than pedalling ability.
To put up with the huge forces the bikes are put under, the forks have legs that extend above the head tube and are then braced together, known as a ‘double-crown’ or ‘triple-clamp’ fork. Again, aluminium is the choice for cheaper bikes, while pro-level machinery will be carbon.
Electric mountain bike
The Scott E-Genius 7Plus is an example of a modern electric mountain bike
Motorised mountain bikes are becoming very popular indeed, and it’s now possible to find electric mountain bikes in pretty much all of the disciplines listed above.
These bikes incorporate a motor and battery into their design and work by assisting the pedalling that a rider delivers. The power on offer is usually adjusted via a control unit at the bike’s handlebar.
These bikes are significantly heavier than their non-motorised equivalents but can make light work of climbing up the steepest of gradients. Don’t go thinking riding an e-bike is a piece of cake though, these can deliver a workout that many pros use to train with.
Dirt jump bikes
Dirt jump mountain bikes use tiny frames and often 24in or 26in wheels
As the name suggests, these are meant for hitting jumps or pump tracks.
They use tough frames that are easy to move about in the air, short-travel forks and often only have one gear for simplicity.
Singlespeed mountain bikes
Singlespeed bikes are few and far between, but those who like them tend to really like them
Popular with masochists, these bikes only have one gear.
The lack of moving parts means they’re simple to maintain and many people like to run them through the winter months to prevent damaging another bike.
They can be very cheap but many are also expensive, exotic bikes built by niche custom framebuilders. They’re usually hardtails or fully rigid.
Seatposts come in three main diameter sizes: 27.2mm, 30.9mm and 31.6mm. If you have a look at your existing seatpost shaft, somewhere on it (usually near the bottom) it will say one of the numbers.
If your existing seatpost is 30.9mm then it will fit any new frame with a 30.9mm seat tube (obviously!) but it will also fit into any new frame that has a 31.6mm seat tube too. You just need to buy a 30.9-31.6mm seatpost shim to convert it.
This is a biggie. There are various types of rear axle design out there and your existing rear wheel may well have a strong influence in what new frames end up on your shortlist. Having to buy a whole new rear wheel is not a small amount of money.
Bracing allows thin driveside chainstay for extra clearance
Frame sizes >>> Size matters: why we’re all riding bikes that are too small
Standover: just make sure any new frame has enough standover for your leg inseam length. Simple. >>> The complete guide to mountain bike geometry
Full suspension or hardtail
A common thing is to go from a hardtail frame to a full suspension frame.
To buy a decent full suspension frame costs significantly more than buying a decent hardtail frame. Cheap full suspension frames will weigh a lot, may have durability issues and will usually sport outdated geometry.
Full suspension frames can often have more compatibility conflicts (than a hardtail) with your existing stuff, which necessitates you having to buy a significant amount of new bits (forks and wheels mainly).
The debate around full-sus versus hardtail has been around for decades. To put it bluntly, if you have more than £1,000 to spend on a frame, get a full susser. If you have less than £1,000, get a hardtail frame.
Features and Considerations
Size: Measured diagonally, screen sizes are typically between and 1inches. What size do you need? That depends on what you want to display. You won’t be doing justice to your landscape photos if you display them in a small frame. Also, be aware that the bigger the frame, the more resolution is required in order to ensure a crisp, clear image.
Resolution: The rule is the higher the better, within reason. 480 by 720 pixels will do for a 7-inch frame, and it scales up from there.
Bells and Whistles
You can connect wirelessly to the Internet with some digital photo frames. This enables you to do web browsing, email, sharing & printing photos, and other things that take place online.
A digital photo frame can definitely be a handy addition to your home network, but it’s not likely to be as useful for your grandparents, who — at most — probably only want a slideshow of the grandchildren or to view some holiday or vacation photos.
At several hundred dollars for a high-end digital photo frame, you’ll need to determine whether you really need that or whether a mid-priced model will do the job.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (3fun & helpful websites).
Screen Resolution is the number of pixels that the frame can display. For example: a resolution of 800×480 produce 100 pixels per inch (PPI- pixel density). As pixel density increases quality of image also increases. “IPhone has a pixel density of 32PPI on a inch screen. Look at the clarity. That is what we are talking about.”
Coming back to the point, I recommend a minimum resolution of 800×600. But choice is yours.
In a high resolution display, your favorite images turn out crisp clear and detailed.
It is the relationship between height and width of an image. It is selected normally based on the camera you use. Most common aspect ratios are 4:and 16:Former is more common in low end point and shoot cameras and latter in high end DSLR cameras.
So.. Why is the selection of proper Aspect Ratio is important?
Because if chosen wrong, the frame may leave black bars along both the sides of images or may crop off image at the sides. Both are not at all desired. So be sure to select a good aspect ratio that suits your camera.
My personal opinion: 4:will be perfect for most of the photos while 16:gives you an appealing widescreen feel.
Bad Aspect ratio produce black portion on each side of the frame
The size can vary from small to medium, large sized photo frames are not so common. Most popular sizes ranges from to 1inches.
Portrait or Landscape
Some frames may display only in portrait or landscape mode. Therefore we must choose photos accordingly which is very annoying. So it is best to buy photo frames with built in accelerometer which automatically switches from portrait to landscape according to the image.
Allows you to send photos directly from laptop or mobile to photo frame.
Built-in Photo Editing Software
Some photo frames offer their own photo editing functionality with the aid of an image editor.
Most of the digital frames have this inbuilt. You can set the speed and transitions for each image.
A frame with sim card compatibility can send and receive files via email, MMS or web upload.
Some frames offer video and music playback. Such frames have inbuilt speaker system.
Mat Hoffman before you can roll.
Specifics to Look For When Buying a First Complete BMX Bike
If you’re sticking to our recommendations and going for an entry level first BMX bike, then we’d recommend going down to your nearest BMX shop and having a look around.
What’s important to consider though, is how often you’re going to ride the bike. If you’re only planning to take it down to the skate park on weekends every now and then, a cheaper entry level bike will do you well – remember, most proper BMX shops won’t stock any bike that isn’t good – while if you’re planning to hit it hard every day, a more upmarket, sturdier ride will do you well. Here are a few important points to consider:
Sizing: The most important thing of all. Get your local bike shop to measure you up so that you get the right frame size for your bike. BMX bikes are measured by the top tube. If you’re under 5ft 7”, you’re top tube length should be 20.25”, while if you’re over 6ft, you’ll likely be better with a top tube around 21” or over. Get measured up and get this right!
Weight: Buying a BMX bike that is super lightweight can be pretty expensive, but luckily for you, you don’t need a first BMX bike that’s super lightweight. What you do need is a ride that’s light enough to let you keep control, maintain energy levels and provide a good amount of manoeuvrability. Generally, lighter bikes will have better parts too, as the parts have been made with all of this in mind, so though they may cost a little extra, they’ll last you that much longer.
Double wall rims, on the outside of the wheel, are a lot more durable than single, and as such will last you a lot longer. Single walls dent easily. Doubles don’t.
Cranks, the component that connects the pedals to the bike and turns the sprocket, need to be strong enough for your style of riding. Tubular cranks or branded cranks are both great options.
Factors to consider
In an ideal world, you would have an indestructible frame that is also light as a feather. But unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world so you will need to compromise when choosing between weight and durability as these are contradicting features. So you can’t have an indestructible frame that is also super light.
Let’s face it, you never really intend to crash but having a strong frame will be useful for when you do. Having a strong frame is ideal for beginners but this means the frame is heavier and less agile in the air. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced pilot you know you can compromise some durability for lower weight which makes your frame more agile in the air.
The first step you’ll need to take is to decide what frame size you want. If you want to stay indoors you’ll need to keep under 120mm for safety reasons as you don’t want to lose an eye. If you are building a racing drone you’ll need a bigger frame to accommodate larger, more powerful motors to fly faster.
The name/title of the frame will normally include a number that corresponds to the size, also referred to as the wheelbase. This dimension is the distance between motors. As an example, the Qav220 or the Martian 220 are drones with a wheelbase of 220mm.
To simplify things a bit the drone community categorised the frame sizes. The size of the frame will define the size of propeller and motor you can use with it. These sizes are not a golden rule, but a general guide is given in the table below.:
The H frame is a far more spacious quadcopter which makes it a lot better to build on, because of space it also makes mounting extra components like a GPS module a lot cleaner. This design is used more commonly for freestyle frames as the flying style benefits from a top mounted (slug mounted) battery which keeps it protected as won’t be landing on your battery all the time.
True-H vs HX
Technically speaking, a true H frame is has arms perpendicular to the front (in the shape of an H), wherehas an H-X frame has the arm layout of an X, with the central body of an H frame. Buy for all intensive purposes these are still both H frames. Also most H frames (like the one in the image above) are still not true H frames as the arms are slightly angled.
The advantage of an X frame design is to reduce the unnecessary weight that an H frame might have to enclose all its’ components. An X frame is a more aerodynamic model since it has less frame material in the middle, and will typically require the battery to be mounted underneath the frame when flying. A bottom mounted battery typically takes a bit more abuse as you land on it each time. This X frame design results in a smaller central area which makes things a bit more difficult to build on. With this less space, you may find that some X frames require components like a 4inESC and a stackable video transmitter.
Stretch X Frame
This frame is a lot like an X frame, however as the name suggests, the arms are stretched out a bit more forming a wheelbase that resembles an ellipse instead of a circle. This gives an advantage that you’ll feel when cornering as the quadcopter as its a lot more stable This is because the motors are spaced out a bit more so they have cleaner less turbulent air when flying fast. However, the cost of this spacing is a marginal increase in weight!
It’s hard to put a number on the right weight you should be looking for, but obviously, a stronger frame will have a bit more weight to it. If you’re building a smaller drone below 100mm anything over 100g is getting a bit excessive, however, for a 210mm frame, 100 grams would be very acceptable. Now every frame will have its’ own way of minimising impact damage, but the more efficient way to link strength and weight is to look at the thickness of the carbon fiber:
Screen Size and Resolution
From tiny 2″ keychain frames to 35″ monsters, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to the frame’s screen size. Larger-sized products are usually hung on the walls, while smaller 7-1inch frames usually look best on a shelve or even on a kitchen table. Most common frame display sizes are 7″, 8″, 10″, 12″ and 15″, but some manufacturers make beautiful large scale frames often hitting 25″ and even 35″.
Once you’ve decided on the size, you need to make sure the screen resolution of the frame is up to par. As with any display, the higher the resolution, the better the picture quality. However, unlike with a tablet or a TV, there’s usually no need for super-high resolution displays in a frame. Aim for something with at least 800 x 600 resolution or higher. Obviously, the higher the screen size, the higher the resolution must be for the picture to remain sharp, so for a frame of 12″ and larger, you might want to look for 102x 76or higher options. If you only want the best, some high-end frames even feature 4K resolution!
Most of the time a frames sits inside your house or apartment, but there may be occasions when you would like to take it outside, i.e. away from the power outlet. If that’s the case, look for a frame that has a built-in rechargeable battery. Don’t expect it to last more than a few hours, though!
A remote control unit is handy when you want to click through your images (for example, when you’re showing someone pictures from your last vacation) or go into settings and you don’t want to touch the frame or open an app on your phone
Cloud Services Integration
Some modern frames can connect to your cloud services accounts including Facebook, Instagram, Picasa and Flickr to display the images from these accounts. While the initial setup will take some time, this opens some amazing possibilities to creatively display your images
Some frame manufacturers offer a paid cloud storage service along with their products, which usually comes as a subscription with monthly or annually payments. This is up to you whether you would use this service or not, but keep in mind that there are plenty of products where you don’t need any paid subscription
Nixplay 18.inch WiFi Cloud
Nixplay 18.inch has a beautiful large screen, high-resolution screen (although with a 16:aspect ratio, which might mean small black borders on the photos taken in a 4:aspect ratio), a motion sensor and a WiFi module, which means you will be able to email pictures to the frame, use a smartphone app, as well as connect the farame to a number of online social platforms (Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
Why did we choose Nixplay 18.inch WiFi Cloud? screen quality: Nixplay 18.inch features a high-resolution anti-glare screen power saving: the motion sensor will automatically turn the frame on when you enter the room and turn it off when you leave
Great for more experienced skaters and for those looking for more out of their skates. There is quite a range in this style of skate and you will find skates with features for skating a bit faster, and for greater distances than recreational skates.
One of the most popular style of skates great for beginner to intermediate skaters. Built with comfort in mind, and a splash of performance, skates in the recreational category are going to give a great fit and feel for a first time skater, and will offer a stepping stone to fitness skates.
Race style inline skates are going to offer a very stiff boot design boasting great performance. The stiff boots make for great performance but will not be super comfortable meaning these skates are truly only for those looking for race inspired performance.
The skill range associated with inline skates can range from beginner to expert with intermediate, advanced intermediate, and advanced in between. Just like any equipment for athletics there are various ranges of equipment available. The inline skate skill range will start out at beginner with plastic framed skates, with smaller wheels and lower grade bearings. As a skate’s skill range goes up you will get better components including frames, bearings, wheels and boots. Just like anything else you will want to match your ability with the type of skate you need. Buy an inline skate that best matches your ability, or is slightly above so you can grow into it.
The liner of an inline skate is a very important piece of the skate. If you have an ill
The days of inline skates just having boring standard lacing systems is a thing of the past, now there are ratchets, buckles, Velcro, quick lace and Boa! Skaters are typically going to lean towards one type of closure or another based on personal preference.
Originally the only form of a closure system, standard lacing systems are now frequently partnered with ratchet buckles and/or Velcro straps.
Plastic Frames –
Plastic frames are usually found on beginner level inline skates because they are less expensive to make, resulting in a lower priced skate. When compared to aluminum or carbon frames, plastic frames are the least durable and least stiff of the three materials. They also tend to be heavier, which increases the overall weight of the skate.
Aluminum Frames – Aluminum, when compared to plastic frames, are lighter in weight and greater in stiffness. They do not torque under stress as plastic frames do, making them more efficient and also more durable. Aluminum frames are most commonly found on intermediate level inline skates, priced at levels slightly higher than those at the entry level.
Although this may seem to be a bad idea for beginner and novice skaters, some skates do not offer a braking system. Aggressive skates, roller hockey skates, and race skates are just some of the skate styles that do not offer a brake system. The reason for this is that brake systems on these types of skates tend to get in the way of performance and skaters in these disciplines tend to be more confident in their skating.
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Tony Avedisian, the owner of Tony’s Corvette Shop in Gaithersburg, Md., has been working with Corvettes for more than 30 years, so he knows what potential buyers should watch out for. “My rule of thumb is to look at the body, the frame and the birdcage,” he said. “If those things are good, the car is probably restorable or drivable.”
Body: Check to see if the original composite body panels (called fiberglass on the early cars and sheet molded compound in later years) has been cracked or tampered with. Is the front clip original, or is it a one-piece aftermarket replacement?
Frame: Corvette frames do rust, but particularly where they kick up over the rear axle.
Birdcage: Many people assume that because Corvette bodies are not steel, rust is no concern. Not so, says Avedisian. The body panels attach to a lightweight metal frame – what he calls the birdcage – that can rust, causing adhesion problems. The best thing to do, as with any old car you’re considering purchasing, is to get underneath the car with the flashlight and inspect it carefully. “Repairing those things is very costly, so it’s not a good idea to jump in without knowing what you’re getting,” Avedisian said.
Those are the basic things a typical Corvette buyer should know about, but Avedisian says that anyone looking for an investment-grade car has quite a bit more homework to do. Meticulous documentation is good, and is indicative of sellers who really know what they’re talking about. Research by a potential buyer can go a long way: It pays to set aside passion for a moment and consider a car’s history and hard facts.
The thing to remember, he said, is that there are no absolutes. Cars were built by humans, so small defects and anomalies present themselves quite often. Cars from years when models were redesigned – 1963, 1968, 1984, for instance – are going to show differences between cars more frequently. That’s because GM was fixing problems that popped up as the assembly plant was gearing up for volume production. “I talked to Tom Hill, who was an engineer for GM back in ’63, and he said that he signed three engineering changes a day while they were building the car,” Avedisian recalled. “That’s a lot of changes.”
The trick, he said, to finding a good investment, was to do enough research to narrow down the search to a car or two, then hire a marque expert to look more deeply below the surface. But even then, errors are possible, even likely. “The stories about a car can get crazy, because someone had the car looked at by a former GM mechanic or something,” he said, adding that mechanical savvy doesn’t make one a historian, nor vice versa. “Today’s evaluation is more forensic than ever. It’s a very detailed look to establish the originality of the car, and that’s what most collectors want. Not only do the numbers match, but is the grain and broach mark on the block correct, things like that.”
After 1hours of research and testing, we think the 10-inch Nixplay Seed is the best digital photo frame for most people who want to display pictures uploaded wirelessly from their smartphones, hard drives, or social media and cloud storage accounts. Its superior display and simple setup lift it above the competition. And since you can send photos to the frame via Nixplay’s cloud services or email, or indirectly through a shared Dropbox folder, if you give one as a gift you can share photos with the recipient even if they happen to be halfway across the world.
We’ve added a Flaws but not dealbreakers section below to mention that neither of our photo-frame picks can support automatic importing of photos from cloud-based shared folders.
Great features and easy to use
The Nixplay Seed’s high-resolution IPS display offers pleasing colors and a wide viewing angle, so your images look great from every corner of the room. The panel’s 4:aspect ratio means it can display your smartphone photos full screen, without black borders, and you can position it in either portrait or landscape orientation. Step-by-step instructions on the Nixplay website make connecting the frame to your Wi-Fi network and uploading images quick and foolproof. Those images can come from your phone or computer, as well as from social media and cloud storage accounts such as Instagram or Dropbox. A motion sensor lets you conserve energy by putting the display to sleep after you leave the room. Using a cleverly designed semirigid USB power cable that doubles as a stand, the Seed can sit in either portrait or landscape orientation at a range of angles.
You can control the Seed using either the included remote or the company’s free app (iOS and Android). Its GB of internal storage gives you enough room for about 25,000 smartphone images. Although it isn’t the cheapest digital picture frame, the Seed offers a combination of features, user customization, ease of operation, and picture quality that its rivals can’t match. (Potentially) free alternatives
Why you should trust me
I’ve covered photo gear at The Wirecutter since 2013, and I’ve worked as a professional photographer and digital-imaging consultant for 1years. I also ran my own digital-printmaking shop for a nearly a decade, producing exhibition-quality photographs on wide-format inkjet printers. I’m on the faculty of New York City’s International Center of Photography, and I lead photography workshops around the country.
In preparing this guide we brought in eight digital photo frames for side-by-side comparisons and real-world use in my home.
How we picked and tested
We brought in eight frames for several days of use in a home environment.
Using these criteria we had only frames to consider, eight of which we brought in for testing. Some, such as the Micca Neo, were plagued by poor screen quality. Others, like the very expensive Aura Frame, were frustrating to use. For a closer look at what we dismissed and why, see The competition.
Onto each frame, I loaded identical sets of images shot on cameras ranging from smartphones to DSLRs. I compared image quality, functionality, and ease of use while working with the frames for several days in various rooms of my home.
Setup is quick and foolproof, and built-in Wi-Fi lets you import photos from your social media, email, or cloud accounts.
We tested the 10-inch version of the Seed (7- and 8-inch models are also available) and found that its IPS display produced pleasingly accurate results along with a wide viewing angle, ensuring that images looked great from every corner of the room. The screen’s 4:aspect ratio is a perfect match for smartphone (and Micro Four Thirds) camera sensors, which means your images can display across the entire screen. Sensors in DSLRs and many mirrorless cameras have the slightly different 3:aspect ratio, so those images will have a black border along two sides. The mismatch is subtle enough, however, that we think some people won’t even notice it. In any case, this display is a better fit than what you’d get on a frame with a 16:aspect ratio.
Images shot with DSLRs and mirrorless APS-C cameras have a 3:aspect ratio, so unless you crop them you’ll get thin black borders (like those shown here) along two sides of the screen.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Nixplay frames do not support automatic slideshows from shared folders. If you have a shared folder on Dropbox, you still need to transfer the files into your playlist manually, using the Nixplay site or app to see them—they won’t automatically appear on your frame. On one hand, that’s one more step to get your photos to a place where the grandparents will actually see them. On the other, it stops the slideshow from being overwhelmed by 1,000 almost identical photos of the Alaskan cruise a cousin went on last year.
Unfortunately, syncing with shared Google Photos folders is nonexistent. In this case you’ll have to manually move the images to a nonshared folder for which you have ownership permissions. Nixplay says it is aware of the incompatibility but points to Google’s lack of API support for shared folders, so we don’t expect a solution anytime soon. Instead, we recommend using Dropbox for uploading shared-folder photos to your Nixplay frame.
Many readers have told us they would like to have the option of setting a shared cloud-based folder to automatically populate their photo frame. Right now the only way to make that work is to have someone email files to the Nixplay address you receive when you create your user account.
The lack of Wi-Fi means you’ll be loading images via SD card slot or USB port. The Advance has no built-in storage like our top and budget picks, but Nixplay helpfully includes an GB USB stick to get you going. If you’re a Mac owner, note that you should format SD cards in your camera rather than your computer in order for the Advance to read them, and if you use your own USB stick, it should be in the MS-DOS (FAT) format.
The Nixplay Advance has ports for an SD card, a USB stick, and headphones. Nixplay includes an GB USB stick, shown here.
What to look forward to
Ever Frames has posted specs for an upcoming 8-inch Q-Series frame with an LED display, internal storage, and built-in Wi-Fi. Music and video files are supported, as well. As of this writing the company has not released pricing or availability beyond “coming soon.” We’ll update this guide when we know more.
With our wooden climbing frames you get a year warranty on the wood and all you need to do is apply a sealant to your set. The cedar wood used is from China and comes pre cut, drilled and stained this makes a truly easy assembly with minimal DIY skill required. With wood laid out, assembly instructions ready you can begin building straight away and see your efforts rewarded as you build something that will last for years and your kids will think you are absolutely amazing for building them their very own playground.
Cedar wood contains a tight knot structure meaning it rarely splinters or splits which ensures your kids hands and any exposed skin remains safe, so they can crawl around on hands and knees without fear of getting splinters. Like any natural wood product, it requires treatment to remain splinter free.
Cedar frames really are beautiful structures naturally resistant to rot and decay, they add visually to any garden and fit in with natural furniture that is around in the garden.
Positioning Your Frame
So you’re about to buy a climbing frame, but where to put it?
Check for maximum fall height making sure an adequate safety zone is created, our climbing frames will have deck heights of either 1.2m or 1.5m. Expansion of climbing frames is one key benefit with wooden climbing frames. Most are modular and can be added to so if you think that this maybe a possibility look for a suitable area before building.
Consider your neighbours, blocking sunlight or overlooking a fence can upset some people. Some council’s also have height restrictions but as this varies between each suburb its best to check with your local council.
A suggestion that could be helpful is not to have the climbing frame right next to your neighbour’s fence.
Most people build their climbing frames directly onto their lawn which is more than enough for a playground surface. This is the quickest and most cost effective solution. The impact absorption of grass depends on the soil, and how compact it is, soil type will also have an effect. The weather itself will have an effect on the ground’s ability to absorb impacts.
A counter argument is that it will ware well and compression will create a harder surface in high traffic areas. Official view from RoSPA is for fall heights under 1500mm (1.5m) grass is a suitable material for use under play equipment.
An impact absorbent surfacing made from shredded recycled rubber, rubber bark is highly absorbent but will need regular raking and topping up due to displacement. Rubber mulch as playground surfacing is made from recycling commercial or industrial tyres which are wire free. It is shredded and cleaned and can be bonded together. Generally it has a 3.5m critical fall height at 20cm depth which compares favourably with wood bark, sand or grass.
This means using less to cover more and less work surface maintenance. You can choose to use a resin bonding that piece together, this creates a permanent surface. Permanent surfaces are almost maintenance free in that it will take a lot for it blow away or get moved.
Resin bound rubber surfaces allow water to drain through; it’s often a misconception that these are completely solid creating puddles that will need clearing before play can resume. Assuming that the surface is laid with appropriate drainage it should clear and be ready for play when the rain stops unlike grass that maybe water logged requiring some time to be suitable again.
Safety Mats roles that are laid out then play equipment is put on top.
Rubber matting or grass mats are an easy solution to overcome a lot of the difficulties that a grass only safety surface would have. This is because it would negate the compacting effect that occurs in high traffic areas. Grass matting is especially effective in this respect as grass is allowed to grow through.
Synthetic grass is an all-weather surface; it is an ideal solution for surfacing play areas to reduce visible wear. Installing artificial grass is a great way out of mowing the lawn also, having annoying muddy patches and the end of worrying about making your grass green all year round. Artificial grass will last for a long time and can look very real depending on quality of grass being laid.
To make this a safety surface a shock absorbing surface underneath is needed. In the installation process a flat surface is created by flattening/compacting soil, ensuring it lies securely.
When talking about sand for a safety surface you must choose play sand that is clearly marked. Using builder’s sand (one part of cement) that is treated to ensure it bonds together quickly and be very strong would be completely unsuitable in a play area. This would form a hard surface when mixed with water so the first time it rains you will find dangerous lumps forming.
Well maintained sand is an excellent safety surface easy to install natural and washed sand is perfectly safe. However, to often it’s left to become compressed together despite being a non-packing surface it compacts tightly and this affects its ability to act as an impact absorbing surface.
Mid travel bikes don’t require the hard-hitting suspension of enduro or downhill bikes but they still need to be controlled and composed by excellent damping.
Travel will range from 1– 150mm on a trail bike so single crown forks will be the order of the day. A lot of modern bikes are run with asymmetrical travel where the forks have greater travel than the frame and shock. The heavy duty, wide forks of enduro bikes will be shed at this level and instead you’ll get trail forks with slimmer stanchions and less travel.
There are different versions of forks for different wheel sizes and amounts of travel but as long as the internals are the same you won’t notice significant performance variation.
Once again you won’t be hauling around an ultra-hard hitting shock on your trail bike. It’s very uncommon to see piggyback reservoir simply because the progression isn’t needed (although if you find yourself needing a bit more you can still use volume reducing tokens), instead you’ll have a traditional style shock to save weight. The shock is most likely to be air, not coil, as it is lighter and more adjustable.
Once again Fox and Rockshox rule the roost but there are competent offerings from X-Fusion, Marzocchi, Bos and Manitou. You’re looking for something with a good range of adjustment and some way to firm it up for long climbs. Most shocks will have a tune that is appropriate to the frame’s design – all part of a thorough design and development process that adds up to a high performance bike.
Trail bikes have the biggest variety of wheels on offer for any bike category. A few years ago it seemed like 650b had the market sewn up but the introduction of Boost (and now Super Boost Plus) hub spacing has made 29ers viable again. 29ers offer superior ground covering abilities and float over small holes while 27.wheels offer better maneuverability, but don’t be fooled into thinking 29ers are the ‘wagon wheels’ they’re often derided as, you can still get a flickable bike with big wheels
There’s also the emerging Plus bike market that fits large volume tyres up to three inches wide on wheels with 27.inch diameter. At the moment Plus bikes are being pushed towards the beginner and intermediate market for their superior grip and cushioning, but when the tyre tech starts to become more refined we could see them become more ubiquitous.
Tyres will be a bit lighter than on an enduro bike but still durable enough to handle the rigours of all day riding. They will probably also be a bit narrower (maxing out at about 2.inches) so that they aren’t too draggy. An aggressive tread pattern up front with a faster rolling lower profile tread at the rear is a good set up once conditions dry up and speeds increase. The Maxxis High Roller 2, Schwalbe Magic Mary and Rock Razor are all recommendations from us here at Dirt.
Lightweight two or four piston hydraulic disc brakes are standard kit on a modern trail bike – reliable, powerful and with good controllable modulation. Rotors sizes will be 180mm with maybe a larger size up front. Shimano, Hope and SRAM are favourites but we’ve just found favour with the new MTfrom Magura.
It’s still a toss up between 1x and 2x drivetrains for trail bikes. Top end bikes are starting to move away from 2x but a lot of consumers still like having the security of the extra low gears for getting up climbs easier.
You will likely have a ten or 1speed cassette at the back, however the recently released SRAM Eagle has introduced 1speed for the first time.
This won’t be a universally popular statement but if you’re riding a trail bike you really should fit a dropper post. Yes, people used to cope just fine without them, but when you’ve ridden one you won’t ever be tempted to go back. They don’t have to break the bank, with the Orba Digit starting at £60, but if you really want to push the boat out the RockShox Reverb Stealth takes some beating.
Pedals are very much a personal choice here. Objectively being clipped in will give you a mechanical advantage if you’re on a long ride, simply because you’ll have better pedalling efficiency. But if you don’t get on with them then there’s no point in forcing yourself to ride them.
All pedals need well sealed reliable bearings and a good build quality to put up with plenty of knocks and abuse and will need to work well with your footwear choice. Budget for £60 upwards for a pair of pedals – check out the Dirt 100 for our choices.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Frames wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Frames
- №1 — MCS 7-Piece Gallery Frame Set, Black (49709)
- №2 — James Scott Black Solid Frame set with Usable Artwork, Set of 10
- №3 — Love-KANKEI Wood Picture Photo Frame for Wall Decor 26×29 inch – With 30 Clips & Ajustable Twines – Collage Artworks Prints Multi Pictures Organizer & Hanging Display Frames