existential dread original 2.jpg
Beggars Would Ride

Existential Dread And The Proliferation Blues

Words Mike Ferrentino
Date Feb 24, 2022

It might have been the replacement seatpost that put me over the edge, trying to juggle desired dropper length against the weight differential between each length. Coulda been the rear brake conundrum on the previous build, though. I mean, it’s a rear brake, so is there really any point in running something bigger than 160mm? Or, if it is determined that 180 is about optimum for the rear, can we shave a bit of weight by running a two-piston caliper, or should we person up and opt for the Full Monty clamping force of a four piston unit? But then, what’s the weight/durability/performance delta between a 180 rotor with a four piston caliper and a 203 with a two piston caliper? Or maybe it was trying to decide which Maxxis tire to replace the worn out Maxxis tire on the rear of the biggish bike. Minion DHR? Assegai? Dissector? Maxx Terra, Maxx Grip, or dual compound? EXO, EXO+ or DD casing? Shit, there are FIFTEEN versions of Minion DHR between 29x2.3” and 29x2.6” to choose from, not counting the 3.0” out on the end.

Choice is good, right? Especially good if your job is to write about bike stuff. More stuff means more to write about, right?

I’m not so sure about that anymore. Aside from the mental paralysis that kicks in whenever I scroll down (insert tire brand of choice here) that insane list of compounds and casings and sizes and try – from a relatively informed place, mind you – to make some sort of purchasing decision, there’s a vague feeling creeping over me that we are all just splitting hairs at this point. Isn’t everything rad enough already? How far down the rabbit hole of chasing individually meaningful product performance perfection do we really need to go? At what point does relentlessly chasing constant improvement turn into a game of diminishing returns, and will we even recognize the difference between those diminished returns anymore when we get to that point?

Screen Shot 2022-02-23 at 12.46.19 PM.png

I mean, choice is good, but at what point does it become too much of a good thing? Sure, it's great to have options that range wider than "Ground Control" or "Smoke", but fifteen iterations of the same tire? Really? Cue paralysis...

You have to search pretty hard to find a shitty bike these days. And, after a month spent mashing shifts on a bone stock Deore equipped bike, I’d add you have to search pretty hard for things to complain about when it comes to the performance of middle of the road componentry. But complain we do. Because we, as a species, are restless little monkeys, and we are very rarely satisfied with the status quo.

So now I’ll completely contradict myself, and say that Deore equipped bike REALLY needs better brake pads and rotors. That the handlebars are too heavy and that some lighter, much more expensive carbon fiber bars would imperceptibly damp trail chatter and would therefore make a lot of sense as an upgrade. That the wheels, perfectly round and true and blessed with a wonderfully low-key unobtrusive freehub buzz, really are a bit chunky and are holding me back on the climbs. That the saddle doesn’t feel just right upon my taint. That the fork damping is okay, I guess, but maybe spending a grand on a different fork would make it feel even more okay. Probably oughtta play around with the air volume spacers first, though, before making that call.

Seriously, this is all I can complain about these days?

I must be getting old. That’s the only rational explanation I can come up with vis-à-vis this suspicious sense of disenchantment I feel when faced with the explosive proliferation of rad stuff that makes mountain biking better. Once upon a time, when I was young, like last century, I would have welcomed some diversity in the name of increased radness.

Because once upon a time, most everything sucked. This isn’t some “we had to walk uphill in the snow ten miles to school, then they’d turn the hill around so we’d have to walk ten miles uphill home from school as well” Abe Simpson shaking his fist at clouds and yelling at kids to get off his lawn, slipping into dementia rant. Things really sucked.

kookabrokeuh.jpeg

Ahhh, the good old days! "They don't make 'em like that anymore!" Thank Dog. Although, to be fair, Kooka weren't alone in this, and it still happens. The internet is jampacked with relatively recent pictures of carbon crank failures, and out of sensitivity to your local allegiances I tried to delicately sidestep the absolutely massive raft of broken RaceFace crank images that came up in the search. Kooka are/were fair game because, a) they broke a whole lot and, b) they are long gone...

Handlebars were heavy and bendy. If they were light, they were prone to snapping clean in half. And they were only about 500mm wide. Square taper cranks, dear lord… The incessant creaking, wallowing out of cranks, bending of axles, to say nothing of the snapped crankarms and bb spindles that almost certainly involved pain and bloodshed in gratuitous amounts. Rims were skinny and made of something ever so slightly stronger than cheese. Wheels were held in place with thin little pieces of wire that had questionably designed and even more questionably executed little cams to tighten them down. Forks bent, head tubes ovalized or sheared straight off, geometry was not a whole lot different than what you found on road bikes, and if you desired tire choice you could have whatever you wanted so long as it was 26” in diameter and measured between 2.0” and 2.2” wide. Durometer? Save that for your fork elastomers, buddy.

The quality of mountain bikes and components was of such a standard in the 1980s and 1990s that I am to this day stunned and amazed by how people were willing to push the progression of the sport. Everyday no-talent meatheads like me could break bikes without really even trying, and we were just riding the bunny slopes compared to what was going on out on the fringe.

Product evolution thankfully happened, and allowed the progression of the sport to really get down to brass tacks. And now, after weathering a middle-evolution adolescent phase of increasingly functional but mind-bendingly ugly bikes (I’m looking at you, 2003-2013), consumers have an absolute bonanza of choice with very few obvious pitfalls and almost zero likelihood of snapped bb spindles lacerating their posterior tibial arteries. Or punching their fists through their front wheels, hands still resolutely gripping the handlebar half that had, just milliseconds before, been attached to the bike. Or…. Ahhh, nevermind. You get the picture.

uglyking.jpeg

Again, not to single anyone in particular out here... this is just indicative of the general ugliness that those 2003-2013 years could spawn. But it definitely helps the googles that Charlie dedicated an actual column to this particular ugliness.

Somewhere along the way we evolved entire sub-branches of the genus “mountain biking,” so that the skinny freaks who race 24-hour solo XC can call themselves mountain bikers with exactly the same pedigree, authority and conviction as the winch and plummet mossbacks who are about as likely to pin a number on their baggies as they are to throw their 5.10s in the trash and buy some clipless pedals. Where a British road and cyclocross phenom can throw down and win the Olympic XC race and claim the same mountain biking legitimacy as Tyler McCaul can when he gets run into by his own camera drone while boosting huge air off a dinosaur of a film jump in Utah. Where Quebecois fatbikers and Kiwi DH bogans can share common ground, if not consistently common language. The explosion of technology, proliferation of choice and evolutionary refinement in every area of the sport has made it possible for people of every conceivable stripe to get their mountain biking groove on with more reliability, comfort and performance than ever before. Some of those mountain bikers may be more ethically aligned with backpackers, while others may be more akin to parkour athletes, but they are all still drinking from the same ideological mother river.

Here we are, in the awesome now, and I am experiencing a sensation that can best be summed up as; “the more I know, the dumber I feel.” Meaning, basically, that I feel like I am drowning in choice. I can dip my paddle into any current of mountain biking that I want, even though my own reflexes and tendencies cause me to eddy out somewhere in the “wheels on ground old dude who rides trails, but not very fast anymore” branch of that mother river. But wherever I look, I face an avalanche of choice. Whether I’m looking for new shoes or a pair of grips, the sheer magnitude of options available to me is daunting. I’m not complaining. I am stoked that my footwear options now include more choices than Nike Lava Domes or Sidi Cyclocross. I am profoundly relieved that there are more aftermarket grips to choose from than Oury waffles or ODI ribs.

I’m not complaining, but maybe I am. Everything is good enough, some things are better than good enough, but everything is plenty capable, and I am finding more and more that if I try to make a choice when faced with so many options of basically similar end benefit, I freeze. According to Cam, Douglas Coupland (he’s one of “your people”, so you all know him, right?) referred to this in Generation X as “option paralysis: The tendency, when given unlimited choices, to make none.”

Of course, bringing up Generation X only underscores just how damn old I am… Mumble mumble, shakes fist at sky, yells at kids to get off his lawn, decides that ratty old Minion still has a few rides left in it anyway…

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Comments

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months, 1 week ago
+9 Mike Ferrentino Perry Schebel Andrew Major kcy4130 Dave Smith goose8 Timer slimchances57 Andrew Stevens

"At what point does relentlessly chasing constant improvement turn into a game of diminishing returns"

Boost has entered the chat.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
+9 Cooper Quinn NealWood Dave Smith Mammal bushtrucker goose8 slimchances57 Maximum Radness Andrew Stevens

"142x12 quietly slips out of the chat unnoticed..."

Reply

4Runner1
4Runner1
4 months, 1 week ago
+8 mnihiser Mammal LWK eriksg BadNudes Ben Shaw goose8 Andrew Stevens

Option paralysis is so prevalent in all parts of life these days. I usually scroll through Netflix options for about 45 minutes before I shut it down and go read my book instead.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
4 months, 1 week ago
+6 Dogl0rd Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson cheapondirt Mammal bushtrucker

Yep. I can definitely relate to the analysis paralysis over tires. I've had 16 tabs open for like 2 months.

Edit: I'll add that some of the photos of mountain cycles in that team robot article are unbelievable! Thanks for that, needed a laugh on this rather dark day.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 kcy4130 Justin White

I've got a spreadsheet going with 15 options for a middleweight casing, summer, rear tire. And yeah, all those web pages and more were once open.

Can't wait for winter front tire time...

With how much they can change a bike, tires are worthy of careful consideration - but maybe not that careful!?

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Mammal kcy4130 Justin White

You're overthinking this. By like, miles.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 kcy4130 Justin White

Yes, and well, not really in a negative sense. I've regretted a couple of tire purchases that actually reduced the enjoyment of riding, so now I put more effort into it. Plus, it's an activity in itself. A much less effective escape mechanism than riding, but it can be done while rocking a baby.

Reply

eriksg
eriksg
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 kcy4130

Anything you're considering that comes in 2.35-2.4 tanwall? I've never done anything but black before and I'm chasing a look with my next tire change, but the options are more limited.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
4 months, 1 week ago
0

I think most tan walls are exo/trail weight casings. Specialized Eliminator & Butcher soil searching edition come to mind first. Maxxis and Schwalbe both do some tan walls as well.

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
4 months, 1 week ago
+6 Andrew Major Mike Ferrentino Scott Jamieson bushtrucker kcy4130 OneShavedLeg Andrew Stevens Nologo

Having been mountain biking since 1983 I concur. Bikes and components available now are damn good. Improvements now seem to be more marketing hype than real improvements . Disc brakes, dropper posts good suspension were all huge improvements. Boost. Really? Super Boost? Fuck off. 180 travel single crown forks? Dumb. No one buys a bike with that much travel for its ability to ride up tight technical trails. Handlebars festooned with multiple lock out levers? Pfffff. Electric gizmos? Opens and closes and closes and opens. Dude I was born a long time ago.

Reply

rigidjunkie
Allen Lloyd
4 months, 1 week ago
+4 Mike Ferrentino Justin White NealWood Nologo

The funny thing is I remember when everything sucked and we still acted like some of it was the best thing ever.  Now it seems every part available has some fatal flaw that people complain about.  

I am an outlier, but I never had issues with square bottom brackets.  Rode them off 8-10 foot drops to flat and never broke or bent one.  My hatred of ISIS is evenly split between the terrorist group and the bottom brackets.  I once went on a drunken hour long rant about how I was sure the terrorist group infiltrated bike companies to launch this attack on us all.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 slimchances57 Andrew Stevens

I was just thinking the same thing about BBs, considering I once needed a 4 foot breaker bar and all my weight to get a square-taper BB out that had been in and working for like 6+ years, and had partially welded itself to the shell. Needed to get the threads chased, but the BB itself still spun well enough, and was only moderately gritty.

Reply

jt
JT
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 Justin White Andrew Stevens

Ditto. I ran UN52 (then UN55) and UN72 units and never had a bad experience with em aside from the bearings wearing out, and even then that took yeeeears. Still have one on my winter beater track bike. Cranks though..... Woof! Last pair of squares I ran on a MTB were Turbines, and after the taper went to hell they were happy to upgrade me to ISIS. And that was when the bearing troubles began.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Allen Lloyd

ISIS sure did have some bearing size issues, for sure. Yet somehow Octalink didn't. My personal square taper death toll involved one snapped Edco, one snapped Mavic, and years of bike shop mechanic work replacing left side crankarms on nutted square taper cranks that had come loose and waddled out. As well as that season at a Gary Fisher dealer when Trek changed bb spec due to supply issues to a particular SKF bb that had an incorrectly treated or threaded axle. I still remember a customer, deranged with anger and concussion, shaking his drive side crankarm at me, after the bb axle snapped as he accelerated on pavement from a stop light three blocks from the shop, telling me to "make things right." Wish I could say he was the only one...

Reply

rigidjunkie
Allen Lloyd
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson slimchances57

Wasn't the Gary Fisher moto if it ain't broke, it probably didn't come from us!

A friend of mine was on a high sugar diet for a couple years.  GF would send him a frame and he would snap it and they would send him another.  I think at the end of 2 years he went through 10 frames.  The crazy thing was they broke in different places.  It wasn't one design flaw it was a laundry list of questionable decisions.

Reply

Fasta_Pasta
Scott Jamieson
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino 4Runner1 bushtrucker

A few months ago I had to replace my Magic Mary. Except now there are like 8 options between Super Ultra Apex and Ultra Apex Super. I spent close to an hour trying to figure out which was "Trail Suitable for my trails". FINALLY I made a choice...only for the website to send me the wrong one. Turns out I don't care.

To quote Monty Burns: "Ketchup? Catsup?"

Reply

impressedbyyourwokeness
impressedbyyourwokeness
4 months, 1 week ago
0

and if you can find a MM in stock anywhere in the world, let us know.

Reply

LWK
LWK
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 Andy Eunson DancingWithMyself Metacomet

For some things, choice is good.  Like tires.  Yea Maxxis has many variations but pick your wheel size, then your preferred width and you're left with only a few options to choose from.  Conversely, when shopping online I marvel at the sheer number of brands and models for things like flat pedals, handlebars, and stems.  At a given price point, there appears to be little or no differentiation among them.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
4 months, 1 week ago
+4 kcy4130 Velocipedestrian 4Runner1 BadNudes

But for the love of god why can’t all tire manufacturers simply agree to label tire compound by durometer or nomenclature that makes sense. GumX or MagiX. ???

Reply

BadNudes
BadNudes
4 months, 1 week ago
+5 kcy4130 Andy Eunson Velocipedestrian goose8 Maximum Radness

Kudos to WTB here, who are as far as I know the only brand to make it as simple as it should be. Light or tough casing, high grip or fast rolling compound. No need to parse through press releases and marketing bull to understand that.

Reply

eriksg
eriksg
4 months, 1 week ago
0

I agree on that. Every manufacturer has their own branded language for tire carcass and durometer. Sure it's product differentiation, but it doesn't make it easy to compare (and maybe that's part of the point, to lock you in to the brand). I find it darkly ironic that Schwalbe says they tried to clarify their lineup in their recent changeover of naming, and I really don't think it has helped anything.

I'm not sure things are that much better in the automotive world though. At least you have Traction and Treadwear standards with a grading scale, and a nice distinction between winter, all season, and summer. But then you end up sifting through "High" vs. "Max" vs. "Extreme" performance subcategories. Maybe it is an improvement, but it still gets murky. And off road has so many different conditions I think bike tires become necessarily more complex.

If I were to design the tire shopping experience for a brand, or a tire grading system across brands, I'd start with the terrain you ride. Deep mud? Slippery roots? Dry hardpack? Loose over hard? And tires get rated Good, Fair, Poor in each.

Reply

Squint
Squint
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 Justin White Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson

This is all so true. Gear reviews these days seem to be splitting hairs between really good and really good. Anytime I think maybe my 150mm dropper and 180mm rotors really aren't getting it done, I have a 1992 top-of-the-line GT hanging in the garage (Tange Prestige! 3x7 XT! 26x1.95!) that will bring me back to earth. Bikes today are so so good. 

But let's go easy on the square taper... my first bike had cotter pin cranks. Square taper was a gift from the gods.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 kcy4130

I very briefly flirted with bringing up cottered cranks, then fell into a flashback of beating on cotter pins with rocks as a child, removing cotter pins and shimming them with little slivers of broken feeler gauges because it was a weekend and the bike shop was closed and there were skids to be skidded, stripping out the nuts on cotter pins while trying to tighten them just... that... last... bit... That pedal-thunk-pedal-thunk dead spot as a crank with a buggered cotter comes through the top or bottom of the stroke, yeah. You're right. There were far worse things things than square taper...

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

omg you just revived some deeply buried memories. the feeling of pedaling loose cranks w/ worn cotter pins (and the satisfaction of installing shiny new ones & snugging up said crank). and yes, i've shimmed a few as well...

Reply

BenS
Ben Shaw
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Brake pads and rotors for sure. Every option now is between “good enough” and “trophy truck,” but what a menu of choices. 

When I started on mtbs: canti brakes that would shudder and bend the 1” roadie-weight quill stem on my rigid Rockhopper, while letting the wet aluminum rim roll along like it was covered in coconut oil.

Pads lasted 2-3 rides and all under-delivered on their promises.

Reply

mnihiser
mnihiser
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson

On one of the popular MTB forums there is a never ending supply of threads that begin " I'm riding a DHF / DHR2 combo. On Tuesday afternoons at less than 82% relative humidity I notice the front start to washout and then catch in left hand turns. Any suggestions?" I'm being sarcastic but it just seems terribly fussy to me. If it REALLY sucks,replace it. Otherwise, quit overthinking and just ride.

Thru the 90's I rode all sorts of stuff on crappy 1.95 semi-slicks on a bike with "NORBA classic" (i.e. road) geometry. Answer clipless shoes with $15 flat pedals and cheap Bell brain bucket. I didn't have the cash/ knowledge/ options to know any better. Things are a helluva lot better these days so even everyday equipment is pretty good.

Reply

T0m
T0m
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major goose8

A couple of Manitou thoughts here-

Dougal is in NZ, has been around for donkey’s years. and sells and tunes Manitou and services other suspension brands since he owns a shop. His forum posts are how I learned about long-shocking my Evil with a McLeod. That just happens to be the best air shock I’ve ever used. Shilling, maybe, but his knowledge is for real. He has experience to back up the opinions. Don’t fear the Mezzer.

Reply

maximum-radness
Maximum Radness
4 months ago
+2 Mike Bergen OneShavedLeg

im with Mike.

his perspective and insight has been the old man yelling at the clouds for years. 

now that we are all a little older, I find his voice comforting. 

like reading old dirt rags in the crapper at the cabin. 

comfort. 

like not having RF or SRAM carbon products on my bike. 

Thanks again mike. 

now go for a Bicycle ride: all of you.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino fartymarty Joseph Crabtree

"head tubes ovalized"

This is still happening it seems. Everyone's darling Starling noted they had to switch to a thicker walled headtube on the new Spur because some were flaring. That blew my mind. They're supposed to be steel experts, but they couldn't pick the proper headtube for a modern bike? Is it actually still 2002, not 2022?

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 4Runner1

Justin, i'm sure most companies have issues with their products.  For me the test of a good company is owning up to the issue and fixing it for customers and then making sure it doesn't happen again.  The Canyon article earlier this week was a good example of a company trying to understand and solve the issue.

Reply

@canopyclosure
@canopyclosure
4 months, 1 week ago
0

I had one of the very first Cotic Jehts about a year ago. The head tube was not round after a few weeks of riding.  It's unclear if it occurred riding or in production (it was one of the first 30 hand made in UK). They graciously let me send the frame back for refund. I have been known to occasionally break things and FWIW have broke Kooka cranks (rasta colour), but way way more RF Nexts!

Reply

DancingWithMyself
DancingWithMyself
4 months, 1 week ago
0

"implying (even sarcastically) that one company makes up the majority of failures, when evidence points to the opposite, well, that's just not good for the industry."

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months, 1 week ago
0 Vik Banerjee Mike Ferrentino Etacata TristanC kcy4130 mrbrett Mammal DancingWithMyself

"tried to delicately sidestep the absolutely massive raft of broken RaceFace crank images that came up in the search"

By "sidestep" you mean just put it in a (overly long) caption instead of the article proper? I'd like to see this search, because "broken mtb crank" or "broken bike crank" on Google Images Search takes a LOT of scrolling to find _any_ RaceFace.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 kcy4130 Etacata DancingWithMyself

Okay, admittedly, nothing delicate about it... but I did find more than a few overt RaceFace images pretty quickly. As well as a huge number of very poor images of old Sugino Mity or similar cranks that were probably just victims of hamfisted mechanics but which also would have failed specatcularly if anyone had tried to huck to flat on them.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months, 1 week ago
-1 Mike Ferrentino Etacata TristanC fartymarty Joseph Crabtree kcy4130 Mammal DancingWithMyself slimchances57

I dunno, a plain search for "broken raceface crank" vs "broken shimano crank" gives back an order of magnitude more results for shimano, or sram (257K vs 2.89M vs 1.21M).

Image searches for each query gives me one page of broken RFs before it's just links to reviews, while the shimano or sram image search is pages and pages of broken things.

I know you're trying to make a point that things have gotten better and yet can still be even better, but implying (even sarcastically) that one company makes up the majority of failures, when evidence points to the opposite, well, that's just not good for the industry.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
+5 Etacata Andy Eunson DancingWithMyself Justin White Sandy James Oates

Whoever it is downvoting you, it ain't me! Anyway, you make a fair point. It is probably sensationalist of me to single out RaceFace on this, especially when it comes to modern carbon crank failure images - my googling shows up a pretty similar number of both RF Next and SRAM and e13 cranks in various stages of death. And this points out that maybe I should retract cranks in general from the above narrative, since obviously they must still be failing in the numbers that they used to "back in the day".

Except for the fact that we didn't chronicle everything failing quite so obsessively in the pre-internet, barely digital era. F'rinstance, I cannot find one single image of the three Tioga Revolver cranks in a row that I had split right where the chainring locating pin was welded onto the back side of the rings. And, damn, I blew about two solid hours yesterday looking for an image of Larry Hibbard at the '93 Worlds in Metabief when he finished the race with a stick jammed in his stem after his handlebars snapped in half. Couldn't find squat.

But to your point, mea culpa. However, I did pretty easily manage to find some old broken RF Turbine images; it took typing "broken raceface crank" into google image search and then scrolling to the second row, past the first row of entirely modern carbon carnage.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 fartymarty Andrew Major Mammal

No worries, I wouldn't think it was you. There is one single author on another, colorful, bike website that banned me from commenting on his articles... but I've been reading your words (in print) for probably a decade and half, I wouldn't expect that kind of behavior.

Maybe there are some algorithms having an effect at what we each see, but also maybe you nailed it with taking cranks off the list. I've personally never had a crank problem*, but also can't deny I see a decent amount of them posted.

The carbon carnage is definitely a thing, but I've also witnessed carbon cranks being beat to hell and back and still holding on, so YMMV as usual. Of course, my pedals and cranks after 2 years look about 4 times that age, so I'll likely never pick carbon or hollow alloy because my local trails require much pedaling through jank, mucho crank strikes are just part of the ride.

* Unless you count besides 100 kilos causing gently bent XC cranks after 5 years of all-mountain beating, many 165 and 170mm cranks being just 175s or even 180s drilled shorter thus negating a bunch of the clearance bonus of short cranks, and it being harder to find decent 104 BCD options for bashguard usage.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Mike - IIRC Race Face weren't that bad back in the day because they were forged (grains aligned therefore stronger) than those machined from a block of aluminium like Kooka (which I heard of breaking frequently (especially as everyone I knew of rode them for DH - ditto any FS bike of the time)).  I had a pair of Turbines from the mid/late 90s that cost a small fortune but lasted 10-15 years till the pedal thread gave out.

I get your point thought - and don't mind a little sensationalism for a point to be made - as I started riding in 1990 and shit broke very regularly which is why I ended up on a very overbuilt DH bike (Keewee - which also broke eventually).

cyclotoine
cyclotoine
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

What happens if you normalize those numbers against production numbers? Just saying. The reality is, “back in the day”, shimano forged cranks were boring and came on most mountain bikes but were probably more reliable than most of the fancy sharp edge machined cranks that cost 5 times as much.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Shimano owned the quality game in cranks in the 90s. Having a several story tall drop forging "machine" that could achieve awesome grain alignment and get close to finish levels of forging in one massive stomp, along with many more decades experience forging things, gave them a huge advantage over the outfits who were machining down blocks of billet aluminum. And yet they were definitely seen as the boring choice at the time. Many riders, myself included, spent a lot of money on many different machined cranks - they weren't lighter, they definitely weren't stronger, and yet we could not resist their allure.

Reply

JankyEric
Eric Olsen
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Coming full circle

https://ride5dev.com

cyclotoine
cyclotoine
4 months, 1 week ago
0

This comment has been removed.

Ripbro
Ripbro
4 months, 1 week ago
0

As a kid I would flip through the ads at the back mountain bike action and lust after a set of Kooka cranks. Mountain bikers haven’t changed, we are still suckers for colour, even if the product sucks. That and and a Mountain Cycle San Andreas.

Spoiled for choice is right. If someone is looking for a new bike, they can just get the bike equipped with full Deore. They’re done, if they are looking to get great performance at a decent* price.

At the same time, I’ve been contemplating a new fork for over a year now. My current fork isn’t quite right. I’ve reshimmed the damper, but alas, not good enough in the fast chunk. So should I get a Mezzer? The thread on mtbr is over 4000 posts long, those people seem to think so… A user named ‘Dougal’ is answering questions like he’s on salary. Maybe an ERA, they’re apparently the *&$#, but its too expensive. Smashpot… And there hasn’t been a demo day in years. Not that a Mezzer, Era or smashpot would be available.

Your not the only one loosing sleep :)

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GiveitsomeWelly
Karl Fitzpatrick
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian

Haha Dougal is the distributor for Hayes/Manitou in NZ (Shockcraft).

So yeah, he's invested. But all you hear about more recent Hayes and Manitou products are outstanding. 

If I had disposable income to try new things, they're high on my list. 

Instead I'll just keep going with choosing cheapish, not shit, low maintenance, well proven parts and ride them to they die and NEED replacement.

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Ripbro
Ripbro
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

The Hayes group is making a strong comeback it seems. Dominions are among the best brakes out there and Manitou is back strong with the Mezzer, Dorado and McLeod.

Dougal has skin in the game, but he helps people out. I like that:)

Reply

LWK
LWK
4 months, 1 week ago
0

I ordered a Mezzer Pro back in Dec expecting to wait months and months for it.... it showed up like 3 weeks later!

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Ripbro
Ripbro
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Does it live up the hype, or are your eyes starting to wander?

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LWK
LWK
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Ripbro

Its for a new HT frame that I wont have for another couple of months so fork is still in the box. 

So far, it totally lives up to the hype! :^)

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eriksg
eriksg
4 months, 1 week ago
0

I've had a Mezzer pro on my HT for the last year and a half and it works for me. It's taken me a rigorous approach to dialing in the settings--it was decent out of the box but too stiff for me. I've ended up running Dougal-ish low pressures. It's still a very supportive fork and rides high.

But my high level suspension experience is basically nil (just a MoCo Reba to compare, besides short rides on friends' bikes) so take this with many grains of salt.

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slimchances57
slimchances57
4 months ago
0

Damn funny little read Mike. Thanks for the reminder of those bygone days of paying for the privilege of being a test pilot. I have my list of shit that wasn't quit ready for prime time and even a few scars to remind me of times too. Bike and components are indeed WAY better these days. Market driven planned obsolescence and willful non cross compatibility not so much, lending an illusion of choices that don't really exist.

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mack_turtle
Jonathan Nolte
4 months ago
0

This encapsulates my struggle precisely. thank you.

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mtbiker.stevens@gmail.com
Andrew Stevens
4 months ago
0

You forgot the ground control s or the ground control extreme. Then we had the Smoke 2.2. Those were the days, choices, choices, choices...

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