I got the best x-mas present ever this year, a trip to visit Andreas’ sister with family on Gran Canaria. Yea, I know, I’m a lucky sod.
Off course we took the bikes with us, hanging out on the beach for a week is not our idea of a holiday.
Off we go!
Well then, time for the fun bit.
A whole lot of tarmac climbing later…
A whole lot of tarmac climbing later…
Well, being down at the dirt track, now we just roll gently down to the cafe for a beer and seafood dinner, right? Right?
We still had a bit of climbing to do, and then…
A seemingly very long push later…
Oh, and the Marzocchis, the gear nerds ask? Well, to put it bluntly, they work and work well. I was more than a little bit apprehensive, since the Bos shoes they would be filling are very big indeed, but my worries were unfunded.
I spent a while fettling around with air pressure, since mine are lowered to 150mm I had to go surprisingly low. At 160mm I thing the recommended air pressure in the manual is pretty bang on, but I had to take out 15-20% to be anywhere close to using full travel on them at 150mm. Damping feels great, supple but supportive, and stiffness under braking and cornering is more than enough for my 75kg. This is also the biggest change I have noticed so far when compared to the Devilles with their straight steerer. Oh, and the axle is more fiddly (and heavier I think) than the beutiful 20mm unit on the Devilles.
As far as damping goes, it is hard to really pick out big differences without riding them back to back, which I have not done. There is a slight difference in feel I think, the Bos forks have a “dead in the parking lot, great on the trail” feel to them that is hard to put in words. The air spring might also be a bit more progressive in the Marzocchis compared to Bos at stock oil levels, but the difference is i think easy to overcome by just adding or subtracting a bit of oil in the Bos.
The biggest difference I think is in the adjusters. The Marzocchis have a more traditional, very wide range on the rebound for example. It goes from pogo to almost not extending at all, with a bunch of useable clicks in the middle somewhere. Bos on the other hand does not seem to give the option of a bad setting, all 22 or whatever clics are good and useable, at least for my weight.
In summary they are two awesome forks, and I like the Marzocchis right now for the stiffness, great damping and cool brown stanchions (yea, I’m silly, I know). Big thumbs up to Fillariosa for providing punters like me with gear that is way better than they deserve.
Finally, a shout out to Andrea is well in order for giving me this trip as a Christmas present, and of course to her sister with family for letting us stay and being super cool company.
Here I am getting excited again. I will tell you all about Gran Canaria and how buttery the new suspension was in just a little while, when I get all the pictures straightened and processed. Right now, I just wanted to say give Outdoor Research two big thumbs up for helping me out with gear this summer.
Yeah, I know, it’s great. OR makes gear for climbers, alpinists and skiers. I think it will do for mtb as well. Nice looking, minimalist no BS stuff, just as I like it. I look forward to putting it through its paces.
I am beyond chuffed to be able to say that I am a part of the Fillariosa Team. As such, we will be working together on my suspension, which incidentally is the part of my bike I like to tinker with the most, and that I am most particular and nerdy about.
With their long experience of not only selling bouncy bits, but also service and custom tuning (YAY!) I am convinced they will prove an awesome partner. As I understand, the expansion to Sweden has just started. About time in my opinion, we really needed options closer than the usual suspects in Britain.
To start off, I got to try the on paper very promising Marzocchi 350ncr. The Bos Deville left some fairly big shoes to fill, and my expectations are set very high. First impressions are just that, first impressions. Not much one can say really as long as things are not awful, and they are not. Let me get back in a week and I hopefully will have logged some time in more serious terrain on them. While it might look nice and dry on the pictures, mind that composition is all about not showing things. Snow and ice in this case, but soon I will be in bigger, dryer and warmer terrain to test things out proper.
It’s a long time coming, but at last I am slowly getting better. While I work on a longer post about Easter, snowboarding, getting better and all that, in the mean time let me just say that today (and yesterday) I got to ride my bike. Even if it is just for an hour, it is a sure way to make any day a better day.
Yep, still not well. But I am making progress I think, it just happens to be painfully slow.
Last week I was able to ride my bike all 2km up to the garage four days straight, an unbelievable feat! I cannot describe how good it felt to get out and roll a bit, even if it is the most boring riding one could possibly come up with.
In the garage I busied myself with the bike belonging to a certain hungry hen, a 2012 Stumpy Evo if I recall correctly. Lots of trails have been ridden since 2012, and the bearings in the frame were due for a change. As anyone who ever attempted to change bearings in a Specialized FSR frame surely knows, the pivots below the rear axle are a pain to work with. Each of those pivots contains two bearings, pressed in one from each side so that there is no way of actually pressing them out, and since there is a washer in between they are also very hard to bang out with a screwdriver or something. After cursing for a while, I turned to google for answers and manufactured this:
Essentially it is an M10 screw with a split in it. I put it in the bearing at just the right depth and then bash a screwdriver in the split to open it up, thereby grabbing the inner race of the bearing. Then it is just a matter of getting the whole thing out, I do it by using a socket of appropriate size and a nut to pull out the bearing.
Outside of the garage the snow is melting fast now. The weather is unseasonably mild, but since I can’t go skiing anyway I’m not the one to complain. I have actually been able to do a couple of short sessions on the little bike, practicing track stands, hops and wheelies. Damn it feels good to be on a bike again! And today, for the first time in what feels like forever, I rode an actual trail. Granted it was 20m long and i was exhausted afterwards, but I did it! Now I just hope my health will come back in the same pace as the trails start to become rideable again!
That little bike is so much fun, it surprises me every time. I really look forward to the coming season, especially with the move up to Tromsö in the making. There might be other big news coming shortly, stay tuned!
Yea, so a month has gone by with me practically wearing out the couch. I have finished off Command&Conquer, Red Alert, Civ2, Theme Hospital and the best part of Age of Empires 2 (that’s a damn hard game, by the way), and have now started with Red Alert 2. That’s about as fun, or not, as my life has been.
In the mean time we have had the weirdest winter ever, scary snowpack and 75 dead in avalanches in Europe so far. In Sweden there seem to have been a few truly fantastic (but oh so sketchy) days and between them lots and lots of crappy riding. If I got to choose one winter to not be able to ride, this one is a good candidate.
Today I was at the hospital (again) and the latest word is that I might suffer from post myocarditis. In pure English, this means that I may have had a light inflammation in the heart muscle (not as bad as it sounds) and now my body is healed but cannot really believe it and gives me all kinds of symptoms (way worse than it sounds).
Good or bad, at least for the first time I have some kind of educated guess about what is wrong. And the good thing is that it’s not dangerous, just tedious. And I think i just maybe possibly might be on the way towards recovery, today I even managed a proper walk in the sunshine. I cannot stress enough how good it felt after not being able to drag my bum off the couch for more than a month. YAY!
All quiet here, I’m sorry about that. The reason is that I have been mostly lying down for the last weeks, some weird post-Spain bug caught me and rendered me completely useless.
It’s times like these that make me realise how important good health and strenght is, and how often I have just taken it for granted. Waking up in the morning and not spending a second doubting that the body will cash whatever checks the mind has written, that is luxury. I hope to be back there soon.
In the mean time I read about snow science, bike suspension dynamics and play old computer game from the ninties.
Bos, Deville, DT Swiss, durability, E13 Lg1, Fox CTD, KS Lev, Long term, Monachil, Monarch Plus, OneUp, RaceFace Half Nelson, Raceface NW, Rockguardz, Roval, Saint, Shimano, Sixc, Specialized, Stans Flow, Stumpjumper EVO, StumpjumperEVO, WildRockr2, Wolftooth
After a fall season of more or less daily riding I have gathered a few impression about what seems to hold up. As a disclaimer, I am not a heavy guy. I am not a freerider either, even if I do the occasional jump or drop. What I am is a guy that rides lots, in big, rocky terrain. And when I decide to hit a line, I don’t think about possible bike damage. If I think I can do it without hurting myself, I do it. No consideration to bottomed out suspension, sharp rocks or big impacts is taken. And sometimes I run out of talent, leading to all kinds of damage-inducing events.
Allright, with all that presentation out of the way, I will just tediously go through the specs piece by piece. If I by the end of this post have any readers left, maybe I will post a funny youtube video or something as a prize. So here goes…
Frame: Stumpjumper evo carbon. Yea, still in one piece (sort of). The upper headset bearing race is an aluminium affair glued into the carbon head tube. At some point it decided to let go of the frame and do its own thing.
I noticed by the paint cracking in a perfect circle a couple of millimeters below the top of the head tube, right in the intersection between carbon and aluminium. I glued it back with the strongest epoxy I could find and it seems fine, but time will tell…
Otherwise there is not much, a bunch of scratches in the once shiny paintwork, and that bent downtube is very prone to catch all sharp rocks flung up by the front wheel, which brings me neatly to…
Frame protection: Rockguardz. Brilliant piece of kit, 35quid to save my oh-shit-are-you-serious-priced frame. One smashed to delamination in three places, went on top of a new one that is now also showing signs of delamination in one spot. As I said, brilliant kit, but next time I will ask for a dh strength version. They are made to order, so it should be possible. The only niggle is that they don’t protect the stupidly routed cable underneith of the down tube, but on the other hand the cables are easily rerouted under the top tube and on the chain stays instead.
Squishy bits: Bos Deville 140mm forks from beginning of 2011 season, still going strong. Changed the seals for the second time in October, service is super straightforward. And in my opinion it is still better damped than all the shiny Pikes people tend to show up with these days. The Fox rear shock showed signs of tiredness and got replaced by a Monarch plus, and my impressions are very positive. No more compression spiking, and a rebound damping that actually does its job. More words in another post, this will be long enough as it is and is supposed to focus on longevity and not on performance.
Drivetrain: It seems like my Shimano SLX rear derallieur get sloppy in the clutch after a certain amount of rattling down rocky trails. I put a fresh one on before coming down to Spain in August, and replaced it mid October. It had developed a slop that no amount of clutch-tensioning seems to solve. It is the first time I actually wear out an RD before smashing it to bits, it has to say something about Shimanos clutches or my line choices. When it comes to the wear bits in the beginning of November I replaced the Mavic 10s chain I had been running since spring, and the brand new (xt) chain still meshes perfectly with the XT cassette, the Wolftooth 42t cog and the 32t N/W Raceface front ring. However, the OneUp 16t cog seems to be made of cheese, showing notable wear and not meshing with the chain even though it is the most recent addition to the drive train. Luckily it can be flipped, effectively doubling its short life. It messes up the shift ramps, but changing gear is still smooth enough for me. Anyway, a steel 16t cog would be better.
Upon coming home to Sweden, I flipped the front ring over since the teeth were showing some signs of wear. Double life again, I hope.
Brakes: I got my Saint brakes in September, and they have been perfect ever since (except for the rock that punctured the down tube routed hose, but I can’t blame the brakes for that). Pad life has been impressive to say the least. I changed the front pads in the beginning of November, after two solid months of riding, the rear ones are getting thin but do still work. On the front the new pads I mounted were some third party affair that seem to wear a lot faster than the real, expensive Shimano deal. Next time I will buy originals.
Wheels: Replaced the bearings in the old Hope front hub once this season, as I do every season. Old style Flow rim still holds up, front wheels in general seem to last well for me. On the rear I have the original Roval Traverse whatever wheel with DT hub internals and stupid straight pull spokes. I had to replace the rim with a Flow EX after a couple of months, the original one was just done. I chalk it up to wear and tear, I don’t suspect the Flow will last significantly better.
I snapped a couple of spokes during the season, but all was crash related. I truly detest working on that wheel, the aluminium (yes, that is how it is spelled dammit!) nipples always get a bit of friction in the threads and the spokes then turn in the hub instead of the nipple turning on the spoke, really annoying. If I ever go straight pull again, I will get bladed spokes so there is at least something to hold on to when the spokes start to spin. DT Swiss hub internals have been solid, just as expected, but I do miss the pickup of my old Kings.
The other stuff seem to have made it just fine. The RaceFace Half Nelson grips seem to wear very slowly, as long as one uses proper bar end plugs (I have Hopes). Bottom bracket is still smooth, so are the headset bearings. Cranks, bars, stem and all that have made it, a bit scratched up but still solid. Anything else would be cause for serious internet bashing I guess. Even the pedals, E thirteens immensely grippy but expensive lg1, have made it with just a bit of chipping in the plastic and a little bit of play, not bad.
I serviced the KS Lev seatpost when I came home, since it was getting a little bit spongy. Now that I have done it a couple of times it is a painless and relatively quick procedure to replace the fluid and make sure the air is only in the right places. It is now back to being as smooth and solid as ever. It seems to be another one of those “once in a season” things.
The Michelin WildRokr2 rubber has been holding up allright, even if especially the rear lost a bit of edge hold on loose surfaces towards the end of the stay in Spain. After two months of riding, I think that is fair.
To those who made it all the way, good work! Your boredom threshold is impressive indeed. Here you go, how about a picture from my current home turf?
Still not happy? How about a kitten so small she fits in my hand?
To kill my ongoing cold I decided to tag along on a trip down to Motril, a little more than an hour’s drive away from Monachil. The plan was to check out the downhill track, do a couple of laps and just have a good time.
It turned out that some riding was just what I needed. (Surprise surprise!) In the morning I felt like roadkill, but the further the day went the better I got. The track was really good, dusty and flowy with good jumps and drops, and a couple of steep sections thrown in as well. Like La Zubia, but more technical, steeper and more fun. I like! I managed to grab a couple of pics of parts of the gang, thanks for letting me come along!
And the new shock? So far, promising. No spiking, controlled rebound, lots of traction. No harsh bottoming out, but I did bottom it with 33% sag. It was well deserved though, landing and g-out. I will elaborate more on the subject when the jury is back in.