Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally - she rides

This bike has been under construction, in one form or another, for at least 6 months now. And as you'll see, it's still not done. But after finally giving up my long-time full suspension companion (she's being shipped to my brother in Las Cruces as we speak) I needed to finish this project up so that I'd have a squishy bike to ride when necessary (ie, when I'm feeling old and slow, which is often).

I've mentioned some things about this frame before, but here's a recap for those who are interested:
-It's 6" rear travel (or about 150mm) and currently 120mm front travel. I'm hoping that at some point Fox makes a 140 or 150mm 29er fork, but for now, that's the setup.
-The Ventana chainstay assembly will probably be replaced with a 12mm maxle setup (built by me) at some point next year, but I am low on time lately and wanted to get up and running, so I just ordered this one from Sherwood. I'll find another use for it down the road.
-Angles are 69 (or 68 with a 140 fork) head tube and 73 (effective) seat tube.
-43.5cm chainstays, 14" BB height, 23.2" effective toptube. Yes, I am built like a T-rex. I'm running a 110 stem for "XC mode" but would probably use a 100 or 90 for riding the lifts.
-Tapered steerer, 15mm through axle, blah blah blah. It's wicked stiff.
-Tubing is Supertherm for top/down tubes (32 and 38mm, respectively), .035" 4130 seat tube. Head tube is heat treated 4130.
-Current weight (set up as a 1x9) is 27#, albeit using a really light XC rear wheel that I wouldn't want to ride on chunky stuff at speed. Figure with really beefy wheels/tires and a serious chainguide that you'd end up close to 30#, and with XC wheels and the 1x setup that it could get down to 25# or so without too much trouble.
-A rocker swap and flip of the Talas travel adjust on the fork changes it from a 5/6" trail/freeride bike to a 4/5" XC bike with a 13.2" BB and a 70 degree HTA. Pretty neat!
-Parts are nothing particularly special:
LX cranks and King BB
Cane Creek XX44 headset
Thomson stem/post
High rise Monkeylite bar
Elixir 5 brakes (love those)
XT cassette, some old chain that was on the floor of the shop.
The world's most beat saddle (which was actually the first aftermarket bike part I EVER purchased, back in 1999)

The frame still needs an ISCG mount (probably never for a Hammerschmidt, but for an actual DH chainguide), as well as an integrated mount for the MRP 1x guide (which I love). I need to get it powdercoated eventually, and I also need to get a different rear shock - this RP23 has the air valve on the wrong side of the shock, so you either can't access the valve, or can't access the switch to change modes. In fact, I will be selling this one off - watch for it tomorrow in my holiday garage
sale, if you need a nice shock at a cheap price.
-I need a bigger chainring, but this old 32t was the only one I had in decent enough shape to use. I ran a 38 (along with a 7-speed 14-34 cassette) all year last year and loved it. Might use a 36t this time, but the 32t is way too small.

So how does she ride? Well, I have a grand total of about 3 miles of actual dirt riding on it, so the honest answer is I have no idea, but early signs are that I'll love this bike - it has everything my old trusty DHL-crushed bike did, with more travel and more reliable parts. And yes, if you're in Boulder and want to borrow it, you're more than welcome to, as long as I'm not riding it.

Edit: Got in a few more singletrack miles (mostly smooth mellow stuff, but also a little bit of chunder-tech, and I think this video sums up my feelings pretty well. Even without doing any real suspension setup work or all the proper tires/parts, I was going stupid fast on the link trail - it felt like a DH bike, which is what I wanted, and once you crank down the Talas and flip the RP23, it feels like a decent XC bike on the uphill and flat stuff, too. DOUBLE RAINBOW!!!


Feldy said...

RAD! Though comparing yourself to a T-Rex??? I realize you're referring to your puny arms, but seriously, how are you *that* awesome? I mean, you don't even eat meat!?!

And don't worry, I've already got a stoopid thing to do with that swingarm when you make a new one.

inthewoods said...

Walt, I wonder if part of the reason you are so skeptical of short chainstays is your proportions. Look at your saddle position vs. mine on ostensibly similar bikes, both 5.5~6" squishy 29ers with 68~69 HT yet your saddle is way further back over the rear tire. Both of us are 5'10", me with 30" inseam and you with 35".

The weight distribution is very different, I think causing you to have more negatives with short stays versus what I experience, at least with respect to the balance between technical climbing versus unwanted wheelies.

Walt said...

InTheWoods -

I don't have an unwanted wheelies problem with short stays, I have a "bike goes all over the place at speed on rough stuff" problem.

But you are right. Obviously stay length should be proportional to the rider. That's why I did not go much, much shorter on this bike (the stays could easily have been 420 or something if I'd wanted).