Monday, November 17 2008, 12:00 AM
Bottomless CL Day!
Sick deals back to back all day long.
matamua: Yes, I think I'm coming at this from a similar trajectory. Coming off a 24lb(ish! XC bike though, I can't even fathom a 40lb. rig, and in any case, anything like that'd be complete overkill for me. It's gotta be sub-thirty, and honestly I'm really hoping to keep this around 27lbs(ish). Not sure if that'll work out, but I'm looking to build a capable trail bike, not a full-bore AM ride.
What you said is heartening. I'll be happy if I find I'm not giving up too much on the climbs. I know I've got a lot of room for improvement on the descents, how much of that I can realize with more suspension remains to be seen! If I gain confidence dropping steep and technical stepped-descents and sticking rock gardens, I'll be happy.
The fact is, I'm never going to be as fast on the descent as some of the knuckle-heads I ride with. If I can keep it close through the rollers I'll be okay, and I'll take whatever pride I can in making up whatever time I can on the climbs.
So. I over-stated the whole situation with Shimano and the thru-axle conspiracy, there. The 15mm development is an open standard, anyone's free to get on board with that. Clearly the Market will sort things out. I guess I'm just overly wary, as a consumer, of being caught in a turf-battle between two divergent competing formats (like BlueRay and HD DVD) but as mr.T points out, this isn't that.
So, the obvious choice to me seems to be between the Fox 32 Float RLC (15mm TA), and the RS Revelation 426 Dual-Air (20mm TA). They would appear to me, based on my research, to be extremely equivalent in form and function, features, weight, and price. (Near enough.) So is there a basis on which you would differentiate between the two, or is it purely subjective? Is there some aspect of their relative personalities which I'm missing in the (positively glowing) reviews? It seems to me that the Float has pretty much set the standard for buttery-smooth suspension since its inception... How about maintenance? And which would be the most directly comparable offerings from Marzocchi and Manitou? Is there good reason to expand my search beyond the usual suspects?
FYI, I'm @ 175 lbs, aggressive trail-rider. I'm definitely coming at this from the XC side of things, looking to move up from 4" to 5.5" travel. It's all about a versatile trail bike for me. Something to handle the Epics and the Everyday loops. I'm definitely avoiding anything more than 3' drop to flat. It's mostly deep woods "hardscrabble" here. Broken chunks of granite, ledgy woods, technical steep up and down, repeat. Twisty, sinewy singletrack constantly punctuated by prolific gardens of the afore-mentioned rock. They don't call it The Granite State for nothing. I need something that'll carry speed through all of it.
I'll get the wheel thing sorted out... my Mav's aren't gonna work with thru-axles, so I'll have to build from scratch, or buy factory wheels. My Crossmax's (and Ksyriums on my road bike) have made me a fan of factory wheels, or at least Mavics, anyway. I'm not set on pre-builts, though. As long as it's something that'll spin up quick, roll fast, hit the ruts and rock gardens at speed, come out the other side true, and do it all without too much fuss! I'll feel better once I decide on a fork...
mr.T: I didn't see any MTB gruppos at CRC. I saw they had a sweet deal on XT, but all gone now. The deal at Blueskycycling sold out apparently, as well. Not worried about that, though. Frame first. I need a Fork. I've got time over the cold months to find a deal on a wheelset. Those are my priorities. Apart from the other items I'll need to get rolling, I can transfer most of my old XTR kit, I think, and brakes from my XC bike for now. Upgrade as I'm able from there.
Hey! I'm back. I had to call my Internet Provider to find out what the heck was going on. I thought I they had shut me off or something. I was only two weeks late, but I paid the bill yesterday! Turns out, they were experiencing difficulties in my general area. Nothing to do with the bill. They were aware of it. Whew. Okay.
First, thank you both. Second, I had several things I'd like to follow up on. I lost my last post, there, but I'm back now, as I said...
I made the switch from my 4" to my 5" bike because I wanted to go a little bigger, have more travel, and bomb the steep stuff. I didn't want the weight of a freeride or downhill setup, because a 40lb+ bike around here is just silly.
It sounds to me like you might be trying to achieve the same goals. I read OBSCENE AMOUNTS of comments, forums and articles about longer travel setups. I asked tons of questions and waffled back and forth about whether or not the climbing issues would ruin things for me.
On the climbs, the longer travel more slack HA set up was no where near as big a difference as I had imagined. On the descents, it was way more of a difference than I had imagined.
Even though I ride mostly XC, I love my AM setup. It's a good balance for me.
Having only heard tale of the twisty trees of the north east, it's tough to make a great comparison. In my experience, a longer travel fork (really taller axle to crown height) and a more slack HA does make your handling a little more sluggish. I noticed it going from my 4" to my 5" fork on my original XC bike. It is different, but it isn't huge. You'll get used to it.
Unless you're always doing huge step-ups or you are a super clyde, deflection and flex shouldn't be an issue. 32mm stanchions are plenty for my 200lb+ butt. I wouldn't describe the fork as "flexy" in the least.
The difference in climbing as I said before is noticeable, but you can totally deal with it. All it takes is leaning over your bars a bit. You can't sit/lean way back and expect to get over larger roots/rocks.
I had lockout on my 4" fork rarely used it. I don't have it on my XLT, and certainly don't miss it, especially when I am climbing through rock gardens and over roots. Lockout in those circumstances will definitely cause some serious deflection if the roots and rocks are larger.
I'm a total bike geek, and I love techy innovations such as adjustable travel. I read up on new products on a fairly regular basis and try to ride it whenever possible. All that being said, I just can't sing praises of the adjustable travel fork.
As far as wheels go, I think it is appropriate to let us know a little bit more about you and your riding style before committing to a TA setup. How much do you weigh? You said you don't huck, but how big of drops/jumps do you take?
If you are under 200lbs and don't ever do anything over 3' or so, I think you could easily get away with a standard quick release. If you are over 200lbs or close, and you frequently go bigger than 3' be it drops or air, you probably ought to go with a TA setup. As Mr. T said, you can probably find conversion kits from 20-15mm for most hubs on the market, especially higher end ones.
(...let's try that.)
We will have these variations for a while. With RS sticking with 20mm for now, just to start. This certainly protracts any change toward one standard right there. Interestingly, you'll see many hub manufacturers have them be capable of using any size bolt just with adaptors- as some already do. As I just did with my 240 hub, from 9mm QR bolt to 20 thru for another shock.
The interesting part I think is, we will have bikes with 15mm front AND BACK being much more common for MTB after a couple of years, with 20 sticking around as a front option for as long as it wants. There are other design positives for the rear being 15mm- besides just stiffening rear. (funny, RS was the first to create a 15mm rear.)
For now though there is really no weight issue between the two, so whatever fork you like the most (including KIND of thrubolt design), and likely the mavs or other high end hubs will meet you for some time. Whether 20 or 15 is better, it will be a matter of what brands you want go with.
Yeah, that's the thing mr.T. "Variations". I don't want to say anything, but Shimano's behind this, too- aren't they? I don't want to begrudge them their relentless pursuit of... everything, but is there an advantage to the 15mm spec over the 20mm?
I'll admit that it appears to me that the centerlock system appears to be a better system than IS 6-bolt, and I'd personally like to see it adopted as the new standard. If it works better, that's one thing. Having said that, change for the sake of a propietary advantage, and with the aim of monopolizing, doesn't do the industry any good. It stifles innovation. The bottom line, though is that compatibility issues make things that much more complicated and/or confusing for the consumer.
I'm really appreciating the advice, here. I hasten to add that I'm not going to be stopping to adjust fork travel (unless I'm scared out of my wits and there's another option available, I mean.) My experience has always been that I don't use a lock-out. I've never felt any advantage to a lock-out on trail, climbing, but... I've been riding a 100mm fork. I'm just concerned that 140mm will be sloppy going up, and I've heard adjustable travel is preferable if you want to lock-out a longer travel fork, climbing. That way you can lock it out at a steeper HA, does that make sense? Again, I never lockout 100mm climbing on my XC bike- I've always found the fork to be an advantage, there.
The other thing is, I like a quick trail-bike. I ride in the NE (NH, VT mostly). I've gotta be able to throw it around trees on swoopy-fast, tight and twisty, woodsy singletrack, but it's gotta eat roots and rocks breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'm a little concerned about the flex inherent in a longer travel fork, but I lack any experience with one. I don't wnat to be deflected straight into oblivion. I guess the 20mm TA will make a difference, here?
Being that 20mm (or 15mm Fox?) TA is preferable, I'd need a new wheelset... I'd love a new wheelset, don't get me wrong, but should that (20mm vs. 15mm TA) be decided solely by which fork I like? In other words, my understanding is that wheel manufacturers are (or soon will be) accommodating of Fox's 15mm TA as a new standard in addition to the 20mm TA spec, but am I missing something- I mean, is there anything else I should be considering?
I totally second Mr. T's TA recommendation. What wheels are you looking at?
Honestly, the best money I spent on my bike has been my RP23. I've ridden coils and with the HV canister, the RP23 has a pretty linear compression curve out of the box. No sharp ramp ups or drop offs. I really love it, and the Propedal makes climbing nice.
I'm a pretty good size dude at 200lbs, and I don't blow throw the travel either. People have different opinions, but I love it.
..got a chance to see one more question, and now matamua's suggestions. Glad to be somewhat in sync, and yes it is disconcerting whenever you adjust fork height, and your bike behaves totally different.
Again, for the size/travel you're going for a thru bolt/axle is the way to go. Variations are huge this coming year, but QR is too weak of a connection for AM if you can avoid.
I just checked my angles and my XLT has a 68.5 HA and 73 SA. I think that the SJ geo might have changed a little. The new SJ has a 68.5 on the "low setting" for the HA and a 74.5 for the SA.
I'm assuming that they mean 68.5 at the 100mm of travel. In any event, it feels weird to me. I picked my minute up for $250 and haven't looked back. I built my XLT from the frame up (J7s fr 203mm, r 185, Fox Rp23 w/high volume can, etc.) and still like my fork better than the talas.
For reference, I ride in UT, mostly XC with a little AM mixed in and can ride most of the technical stuff. I can't clean a 2 foot tall 90 degree step up, but I can get over most stuff. The best part about my current setup is that it climbs just about as well as my 4" XC bike did (like a monkey on crack), and descends like it's on rails.
Depending on what and where you ride, I think I'd still go with the float over the talas.
..ah, I musta missed it, izza go check for good manners. As for CRC, I am not as aware of big ticket price fluctuation. Everything else generally is seasonal. Hmmm...
For the larger travel bikes, I would stay fixed. It is when you are in the 2-4" range, knowing the Htube angle and a brand's suggested fork travel you might consider some travel adjustment or lockout (axle to crown measurement is important to know then in this case). With bigger travel forks tho, it is not worth the adjustability; even near severe climbing is much more left to the rider's ability to isolate power to wheels. Fox does have some nice 110-150 adj. forks. My experience, as with others I ride with- all AM bikes, never go to the trouble to adjust for climbs (terrain? give me a break). This also applies to people who think it is important to get the shock to prevent bobbing, but is again easily resolved by rider technique. I know you are going bigger and you want rear and front to mostly stayed matched.
Regarding lock out, ETA, remote compression adj. -tho with RS it is pretty cool-we come full circle, and back to an attribute suited to race and min suspension situations.
matamua: Thank you, that's exactly the kind of opinion I'm interested in hearing. I want to build true to the intent of the frame, and to my own tendencies (which is why I want that frame in the first place). First, it's an Intense frame with some steep geo. 70/72 HA/SA. I want the 5.5" of travel, but my priority is that it goes up as well as it goes down (as much as possible) since all the trails here sure do. I ride real technical terrain, and fast, but I'm not seeking out the big hits, per se. Not like some of the guys I ride with- not at all. I'm kinda a wuss that way, and also I'm afraid too many more Superman-shoulder-seperations and I won't be able to comb my own hair.
Who really wants a mtb specific non-disc wheelset these days, even if it is hand built?
I would have to say that in my humble opinion, the Talas is a bunch of hype. That of course depends on the type of riding you do.
My dad has a Stumpy expert with the Talas 32 and I've got a Manitou minute :03 on my Jamis XLT. My bike is more of an AM setup that his and has a MUCH more slack headtube angle. I've ridden both bikes extensively, and I have come to the conclusion that even though my bike has more of a tendency to wheelie up steep stuff, I like the non-adjustable fork better. At least on the SJ, the geometry changes pretty wildly when you change your axle to crown height by approximately an inch when you adjust the travel.
It feels unnatural. My opinion, go for the float, and put the extra couple hundred into something else.
...vs. RS Pike... my head hurts.
20mm TA, or QR? That's the big question on my mind...
mr.T: Hey, will a Medium Giro E2 fit in the holder in the Cube? I kinda hope so, but even if it doesn't... I mean I'm no worse off than I am now with a regular old duffle bag, I guess. I responded to your post, mr.T. You must not've checked back. I was interested to know your opinion of CRC, because I'm on the verge of buying a frame from them. The price just went up (@ $35US) overnight, though. I was wondering, do their prices change on any kind of regular (predictable) basis, or more of an irregular (less predictable) basis? I'm just asking because the price dropped @$25 mid-week last, then went up last night/today.
I've been thinking a lot over the weekend about RS Revelation 426 U-Turn vs. no U-Turn vs. Fox 32 Talas vs. Fox 32 Float...
The Endura Crosstrack Jacket showed up at my door today, and I am enormously pleased. I was bracing for the thinner and/or bare basic offerings of other rain jackets that have cruised through here, but Endura once again proved mainstream gear from the UK is generally more stout and has design features driven by strict function.
Testing will commence all too soon. But hey, I will be on the bike; my two wheeled prozac.
I had to skip the cube, I knew my big headed helmet would not fit. Could have gotten one for my GF, but I need to give my UPS driver a break.
And yo, hijo, did you get my Friday's late night recommends?