Hard to pick anything I don't like about this frame. All of my old, worn out gear seems to shift better than it did on my Enduro, which might mean that I've ended up with a better chainline on this bike. In ProPedal mode (90% of the time), bike feels stiff and responsive but still eats the bigger hits. No bob in this mode, so I never use the lockout - even on road. In Open mode, the bike is plush and feels like my Enduro. Exactly what I wanted.
Easy adjustment, but I don't use it very much, as it's pretty much perfect with the travel set at avout 100mm and the Gate set at about 80%. When I've got time to prepare for a long descent, I wind it out to full travel (115mm), open the gate and it reminds me of my Fox TALAS RLC. A great fork and if it's even half as reliable as my TALAS, then I'll remain happy with it.
The new pedals are settling in pretty well. The clip in area feels smaller to me than my old Time Aliums, but this only seems to cause me issues when I use shoes with worn cleats. The shoes with new cleats work fine. Aside from that, though, I'm never conscious of the fact that I'm riding new pedals, which is good, as I loved the performance of the old ones and these are lighter.
Have given the tyres two solid rides now and am having a little trouble finding that "sweet spot" when it comes to pressure. Have been doing most of the adjustments on the trail without a pressure guage, so I'm not exactly approaching it scientifically, but I'm still finding them to have amazing bite when leaning hard on them. To much bite sometimes - they can sometimes start working their way up off camber stuff instead of holding a straight line. I'd prefer this to washouts, though, so I'm not disappointed.
Loving this bike. :D Just devasteted that I'm not riding it nearly as much as I want to. Hope to get to a race soon and find out how it goes under pressure.
how does those centerlock rotors stay in place?
They use a splined interface and the same sort of lockring that your cassette does. It's a really secure system that stops you from having to worry about stripping the heads on stoopid little T25 bolts that you can never torque properly and need tons of bloody locktite to stay on properly (or those fiddly little bendy metal bits that you have to bend over the heads of Shimano 6-bolt systems ).
I will never go back to 6-bolt braking systems. Centrelock is the business.
It's actually interesting timing that you've posted in this thread (1st post in about 4 or 5 months), as I've just updated some parts, so I'll post all the changes up when they're all done next week. They look goooooooood and the bike's riding better than ever. :)
Getting this bike more and more sorted. Updated pictures above in original post:
There's nothing like a new drivetrain to make a bike feel great. In terms of upgrades, I've only upgraded the cassette, but I've replaced the shifters, rear mech, chain and chainrings and the shifting performance is about as good as I think shifting can get - especially considering that almost all items could be upgraded. But the balance of performance and price that these parts all offer leave me with no desire to upgrade.
Another thing that can transform a bike is a new set of tyres. After my trusty Larsen TTs finally gave up the ghost, I ran Panaracer Fire XC 2.1s for a while, which never seemed to hold air as well as I thought they should've. As well, I couldn't seem to find a good pressure to run them at, as their optimum grip seemed to be at surprisingly high pressures (approx 45psi) and a large part of the reason I run UST is to run lower pressures... But these S-Works treads are brilliant - they hold air magnificently, have awesome grip on sketchy surfaces and have a big enough bag to cushion big hits at low pressures. Riding them on road is a scary experience, as the knobs squirm like holy hell, but this squirmy feeling doesn't seem to translate to the dirt. They were unbelievably expensive, but if they don't wear too quick, then I'll be quite satisfied with the price I paid.
I've gone for a zero rise stem and had most of the excess steerer cut off, as the front end of the bike always seemed too high with any rise and I didn't want to run a negative rise stem, flat bar or lower my fork to anything less than 100mm. The front feels pretty well sorted now - not wandering too much on the climbs and not putting me over the bars on steep descents.
However, the top tube length still presents a bit of a problem for me, as I still think it's too short - my knees always feel too close to the bars and after smacking a knee on my brand new shifter a few weeks ago and suffereing some fairly severe bruising, I now know why so many Specialized bikes come specced with setback Thomson posts! Having just bought a brand new one (thought I'd give silver a try - getting bored of black), I'm now a bit sh!tty, as I think I'm going to have to get a setback post and see how it feels. The only worry is that I don't want to get so far over the back of the bike that my newly-sorted climbing confidence suffers.... dilemmas, dilemmas... Can anyone lend me a setback 30.9 Thomson? :o Just for evaluation? :o
looking good bodin. i've been very interested in the s-works fast track tyres for a while - i keep thinking pythons with good cornering, these things might be the go. after talking to james dickey about them yesterday and seeing that you're loving yours aswell i might have to give them a whirl. james and i seemed to come to the conclusion that they were made by hutchinson which would explain why they air up so easily.
i've gotta agree with you on those ritchey wcs barplugs, they are useless aren't they, have you ever been able to take one out of your bars without snapping the ends off. i suppose you can get away with crap end plugs when the grips are oh so good.
oh, and on the thomson issue - can't lend you one as it's still brand new and will decrease value for selling it. but if you do decide you want one i've got a black setback thomson masterpiece in 30.9 x 350 that can be yours for a reasonable figure.
Yeah, I was gunna call the tyres a cross between a Larsen TT and a Python, but I've only ridden the tubed Pythons (picked 'em up from Cadel's Cannondale team at the World Cup round in Sydney in '99 - still can't bring myself to throw them out...), so I hesitated for lack of "scientific" proof. Seeing as you've thought it yourself, though, I'm kinda thinking I might've been justified afterall.
Yes, Ritchey grips are the business and would be a 5-star product if it wasn't for the plugs. Have to deduct an entire star for those f&*(ers.
I'll talk to you about the masterpiece soon, but I might have to move house in the short term, so don't hold on to it for my sake. If I get some of the overtime that work owes me at the moment, I'll give you a buzz.
I've gone back to running a full Shimano drivetrain with the exception of the shifters. A lot of serious riders have stuck with Shimano chains and cassettes for durability reasons and durability's what this bike is all about. I've got 2 identical chains and I'll be swapping them over every couple of hundred kms to get the maximum possible life out of the whole drivetrain.
I'm totally unconvinced by the brakes - I got them because I love the idea of running matchmakers and only having one clamp on the bars. The adjustability is great and they solve a problem with SRAM shifters not fitting well with older (or newer) Shimano brakes. The Avids feel spongy to the max, but I've only just fitted them and had them bled, so maybe the power and bite will improve. If they suck, I'll probably get some aftermarket levers.
I'm also totally unconvinced by the new stem and bar - the stuff looks really pretty, but it's heavier than my old FSA/Easton setup and if it's not noticeably stiffer, I'll probably go back. The ozriders grips are the same size and shape as the Ritchey foams that I used to love so much, but are a bit firmer, so I'm looking forward to seeing how they feel after a few hours of death-gripping.
The tyres are on their last legs and I'm about to go with a new set of Intense Tubeless offerings. Stay tuned for more news on them.