2021 Santa Cruz Blur TR.jpeg
BIKE PREP

Getting the Santa Cruz Blur ready for BC Bike Race

Words Pete Roggeman
Photos Pete Roggeman
Date Sep 29, 2021
Reading time

I've had several people express surprise lately when I tell them I'm leaving for BC Bike Race tomorrow. No, they're not surprised I'm participating (racing? riding?) but rather that it's happening this year, and so late in the season. BCBR has always been a logistical feat, as it sees racers wake up in one place (usually from a sea of tents), take to the start line mere meters away, race, and then transfer to the next day's race venue - often by ferry as well as by bus - and get ready to do it all over again. This repeats over the course of a full week as the BCBR entourage would traipse around from the North Shore to Squamish, the Sunshine Coast, Powell River (also on the SSC), as well as places like Cumberland, Whistler, and more. It's a huge undertaking and the pandemic has made it that much more difficult - especially for a race that sees a majority of its traffic come from outside BC (I believe anywhere from 40-60% of racers traditionally come from outside of Canada).

So, BCBR is happening, and due to the late timing - necessary thanks to Provincial Health Authority rules on travel and congregation - this year the race will take on a clover leaf format based in Penticton. For the first time BCBR will trade coastal forests and loam for the Okanagan Valley's arid climate and dust, with fewer travel logistics and time spent on transfers, and more time to enjoy local wines and beer. Fingers crossed on those dry conditions - there's a little bit of rain in the forecast but right now it looks like we're mostly going to get the weather that BCBR organizers were hoping for.

As I discussed in my first look, I'm riding a 2021 Santa Cruz Blur in this year's BC Bike Race - that is, in fact, the reason I'm doing the race, although I've wanted to do BCBR for years and just haven't been able to make it happen. It's the perfect opportunity to test the Blur in the environment for which it was intended. I'm going to hold off on my complete review until after the race, but I have a lot of thoughts about the bike as I've been riding it a lot since publishing the first look in mid July.

2021 Santa Cruz Blur1.jpg

The Santa Cruz Blur XC back in June, before I made the spec changes I'll discuss below. Photo: Deniz Merdano

Santa Cruz Blur - changing from XC to TR mode

I'm riding an XL (I'm 6'1 with short legs and a long torso) Santa Cruz Blur XO1 AXS RSV, which was sent to me in XC trim, which means a minuscule 100mm of travel front and back, high-volume but barely-knobbed Maxxis Aspen 2.4s, 160mm rotors, and RockShox SidLuxe shock and Sid SL fork with front and rear lockout. Very racy, and despite my initial reservations, quite capable in coastal XC conditions. At least dry, mid-summer ones. It was always my intention to mainly ride and review the Blur in TR mode, though, since it seemed more appropriate for our conditions and climate - as well as my own riding style.

Here are the changes I've made to the Blur's spec since my First Look:

  • The 100mm RockShox Sid SL fork was swapped for a Fox 34 Stepcast Factory at 120mm
  • The 100mm RockShox SidLuxe shock was swapped out for a Fox Float Factory DPS at 115mm
  • Removed the remote lockout
  • Beefier tires (it's all relative): up front I'm running Specialized Ground Control Grid 2Bliss Ready T7 2.35 / out back S-Works Fast Trak 2Bliss Ready T5 2.2 or T7 2.35*
  • In addition to the stock Santa Cruz Reserve 28|XC wheels (on DT Swiss 350 hubs - 1550g for the set that costs USD 1,599), I'm taking a spare set of Roval Control 29 Carbon 6B XD wheels (1450g also w/ DT 350 hubs and costs USD 1,350). I'm running the same front tire on both, with a Fast Trak 2.35 T7 on the Rovals and a Fast Trak 2.2 T5 on the Reserve rear wheel.
  • Bigger rotors: 180mm SRAM rotors front and back instead of the 160mm that come on the Blur XC
  • The Blur XC comes with the new Fox Transfer SL - a 100mm travel dropper that weighs about 125 grams less than a standard Transfer. The Blur TR comes spec'd with longer-legged RockShox Reverbs. Despite being accustomed to 175mm droppers, I've had no issues with the 100mm Fox, so I opted to stick with it to see how it goes for a week of Okanagan XC.
  • OneUp EDC Lite in the top of the steerer tube
  • OneUp 70cc pump attached to the upper bottle cage with a CO2 cartridge riding on board
  • Blackburn's new Sidetrack Bottle Cage x 2 - this is their new, 48g composite cage that retails for about 27 USD - it looks good, is available with right or left entry, has 30mm of up/down mountain adjustment, and has worked perfectly so far (no bottles coming loose or ejecting, easy in and out)
  • Blackburn's simple but effective Grid MTB seat bag, in which I'm able to fit an epi-pen, Tubolito spare tube, and a single package of Dark Chocolate & Coffee-flavoured Trail Butter)

*Santa Cruz specs the Blur TR with Maxxis Rekon Race 29 x 2.4WT 3C EXO, on the front and back.

Tires

I've spent more mental energy on tire choices than anything else, by far. I knew right away that I couldn't hope to run the Aspens and avoid getting in trouble, even if I don't encounter rain. Defending BCBR champ Felix Burke is apparently running an Aspen on the rear for the race. I'm not only not in his league (literally...or otherwise) but I don't want to have to worry about not having enough meat between me and the ground. Unfortunately, however, I did get a taste of the speed that these tires provide, and my fitness is a larger liability than my technical ability, so...even though I may not use it, I am bringing one Maxxis Aspen with me in case conditions stay dry. These tires were surprisingly good around Sechelt this summer and I'm happy to find any advantage I can. I'm also going to see if I can chat to Felix and a few of the other pros about tires and other nerdy setup tips.

Here's a tire-related note I made a month ago: Had a ride the other night on a familiar circuit (West Sechelt: Dr Dale's, 3D and 4D). It's a low angle, twisty series of trails that - at least in dry conditions - lets me ride the tires fairly hard without worrying about losing traction, even in a bit of loose kibble over hardpack. Except in one section, which consists of a slight rise that then kicks down into a left turn with a compression (so you go up, unweight, then down hard into the turn, and up again). There is some loose stone and gravel in the corner so I make sure to be vigilant, but it's a corner I've started pushing harder into to see what the tires will do. Last night I found the limit - and I almost saved it - but ended up putting the butt end of the inside bar into the dirt. I was so, so close to going from a full slide on both wheels and successfully transitioning back into traction and picking it up again, and even though I didn't save it, it was still an exhilarating moment.

I drew two observations from this note: first, that this bike is absolutely capable of being leaned over and pushed while you seek limits, and two, that moving forward, I want to play around more with rear tires that roll faster - and my new standard is that if I find the limit once or twice per ride (when the consequences aren't nasty) I think I'll be ok with that strategy.

If this were a typical BCBR with stages in Squamish, North Vancouver, and other coastal areas, I'd put a 2.3 DHF on the front and play with rear wheel options like a Rekon or Forekaster if it's wet. But I can get away with something faster in Penticton, so enter the Specialized Ground Control and Fast Trak. I was very impressed with Specialized's latest Butcher and these XC tires are from the same generation and have similar compounds (T7 and T5 whereas the Butchers I loved were the stickier/slower T9). I first mounted them in mid-June and while I noticed the rear wheel rolling more slowly, the trade off in traction was well worth it. The Ground Control and Fast Trak are both designed to work on the front and rear; Ground Control is rated for XC racing in more demanding conditions all the way to trail riding, whereas the Fast Trak is a more dedicated XC/XC race tire. So I've been running a Ground Control up front and Fast Trak out back, and it's a good combo. No, a great combo. I can push a lot harder on the front end and not worry about losing traction as easily as I would with the Aspens, and the Ground Control does a great job in everything from soft and wet conditions to dry and loose ones. It picks up the line and helps me hold it. Out back, the Fast Trak is plenty fast but also has a lot of braking power and control. Occasionally on steeper climbs with wet rock it'll spin a bit, but it usually catches again quickly and reminds me to watch my technique and weighting.

I was starting to wonder whether my standards were slipping - or the trails near me were easier on tires - so I recently took the Blur on a long tour of some of my favourite trails on Mt Fromme, and was very impressed by how the tires behaved on my most familiar rooty and rocky trails. I threw in a bunch of loam just for fun and was similarly impressed. Without qualifiers, this Specialized rubber is legit.

Suspension

There was never any question in my mind about running 120mm up front and 115mm in the back vs 100 front and rear. As was my experience with the Aspens, 100mm of travel was surprisingly better than I expected, but I know I'm going to want the extra travel, especially at the end of day 3 or 4 when fatigue is setting in and mistakes are easier to make. Here again, I was happy to be wrong about how 100mm felt, and no doubt RockShox's Sid SL fork with 35mm stanchions and SidLuxe shock exceeded expectations. I'd be curious to try them at the same travel lengths as the Fox stuff I put on (I went to Fox because that's what SC spec'd for the TR version of the Blur - otherwise I would have endeavored to fit a longer-travel RockShox suspension) but I do know I'm quicker on the way down in the bike's TR configuration.

The Fox Factory 34 Step Cast fork is not noticeably stiffer than the RockShox Sid SL (and it shouldn't be - the Sid has 1mm more stanchion girth). It's not plusher feeling, either, even with 20mm more travel. Once broken in, however, it's proven to be fairly supple off the top - supple enough, anyway - and really supportive in the mid stroke. I have bottomed it only when popping off hits on the side of the trail and landing flat, but riding an XC bike on XC trails, it appears I'm not making such big mistakes with lines that I'm smashing into square hits or demolishing rock gardens. Steering precision is insanely good - as it was with the Sid SL - and I found it easy to setup and haven't touched it since I got it to a good place.

Out back, the Fox Float Factory DPS is crisp and responsive, and only seems to find its limit when pushed in areas where an XC bike is expected to suffer, like successive high-speed hits and rock gardens. I often flick the low-speed compression lever into the middle or 'trail' mode on climbs, but to really realize efficiency, it needs to be in the semi-closed position. Left wide open, it delivers great traction without wallowing, so I usually leave it there unless I'm on pavement or gravel.

Geometry

This is starting to become a review, so before I get too far into the weeds, I'll just make sure to cover the fact that by fitting 20mm of extra travel to the front and (less consequentially) slightly longer stroke shock to the back, the Blur's geometry does change in the following ways when going from XC to TR mode:

  • head angle slackens by 0.8 degrees
  • seat tube slackens by 0.9 degrees (in XL - in SM it slackens by 1.4 degrees)
  • wheelbase grows by 10mm
  • reach shrinks by 12mm
  • stack grows by 10mm

Some good news and some bad news in there. Overall the slacker head tube mitigates the seat tube slackening in my opinion, but your mileage will vary on that depending on what you're looking for in this bike. I did prefer the steeper seat tube angle and the bike certainly climbed better at 75.7º than 74.8º but I pushed the saddle forward a touch and it hasn't felt too compromised. The longer wheelbase has been welcome and the shorter reach and higher stack offset each other somewhat in terms of overall handling. I am used to bikes with much longer reach, of course, but have really enjoyed the Blur's handling. More on this in the review.

Final Preparations

I haven't even covered other race prep I've done - and the training I have and haven't done. It feels like there are more details than usual to go over since this bike is more of a departure for me than what I usually ride. What has surprised me most is how much I've enjoyed the process of getting used to a new style of bike and riding. I would have thought I'd be bored riding XC trails over the steeper, more technical ones I'm used to, but the opposite has proven to be the case. I love the speed, the need to finesse the bike through rough sections, and the importance of picking good lines is somewhat reminiscent of learning to ride smoothly on a hardtail. In future posts I'll cover other details from the race, including what I carried, what I wore, and most importantly, how badly I got my ass kicked by riding 7 stages over six long days, but as much as I'm anticipating some pain and suffering, the truth is I really can't wait to get to Penticton and get after it.

In the midst of the exhaustion I'm expecting, I'll try to grab some photos and anecdotes and get them written down. In the meantime, let me know what you're interested in hearing more about and I'll do my best to bring some of that information to light. Until then, I'll be doing bolt checks and agonizing over tire choices...

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Comments

rnayel
+5 Pete Roggeman baronkanon Todd Hellinga Dogl0rd Trent Blucher
RNAYEL  - Sept. 28, 2021, 8:46 p.m.

Enjoy the ride Pete, and be safe out there.

Reply

Taiki
+1 Simon Apostol
Taiki  - Sept. 28, 2021, 11:21 p.m.

Bit confused about the suspension section - the Sid SL uses 32mm stanchions, 35mm stanchions are used on the regular Sid. It surprises me to hear you don't notice much stiffness difference between the 34 sc and Sid SL (perhaps the Sid was using torque caps on the stock wheels?). As for plushness it might be worth having a look at the air shaft as many Fox forks are over greased from the factory, and the 34 sc has an adjustable negative chamber so you could pull the spacer if it's installed.

Anyways I look forward to the full write-up, and good luck out there!

Reply

gubbinalia
0
gubbinalia  - Sept. 30, 2021, 7:37 a.m.

I think it's more of a game of CSU stiffness than stanchion diameter with these XC forks -- the SID SL may have those pinner stanchions but it takes what's more or less a Pike CSU and then cuts it down a bit to pair with a smaller rotor, less grippy tire, etc. When the fork's only stroked at 100mm (and, let's be real, at an XC race setup pressure, it's really a 40-60mm fork with some extra travel for those bigger hits) you're only looking for a certain amount of plushness through the travel compared to a mid-/long-travel fork that needs to be stiffer/plusher through the trail. That old adage about "stiffness is felt as plushness" totally holds up with the new school XC forks. (And, FWIW, the 2022 34 Stepcast doesn't seem to have that usual fork assembly issue -- maybe b/c it's a first-year production run and it's getting some added care/attention at the factory?)

One option to keep the geo identical to the race version but add some chassis stiffness is to down-stroke a 34SC or SID Ultimate down to 100mm. Add the stiffness (and damper support) without slackening the STA. I had that setup on my Pivot Mach 4 last year and it worked out nicely for everything I could expect an "XC" bike to take out.

Reply

Taiki
+1 gubbinalia
Taiki  - Sept. 30, 2021, 5:17 p.m.

Stanchion diameter certainly isn't everything, I was mainly just pointing out the error in the article where he refers to the SL as having 35mm stanchions and was wondering if that had any placebo effect on his impressions. I noticed when opening up the new SID forks that the stanchion tubes are very short, I suspect that chasing stiffness at the expense of overlap has contributed to the all of the bushing issues on the regular SID. 

I enjoyed the last generation 34 sc but it certainly had some flex, and with the new 22 fork being significantly lighter I'd imagine its even less stout. Great for the Blur but for anything bigger I'd go for the regular 34 or Pike. 

As for 2022 forks the assembly issue is definitely still present, I just changed the travel on a brand new 34 (non sc) and the negative chamber was clogged with grease (albeit not the worst I've seen)

Reply

gubbinalia
0
gubbinalia  - Oct. 1, 2021, 3:07 a.m.

Ah I gotcha, hadn't noticed that Pete had the stanchion sizes backward (Sid Ultimate - 35mm, Sid SL - 32mm). Could be some placebo, but I think the Sid SL is plenty stiff at that 100mm stroke. New 32 SC is much the same -- far better than the old one.

That's an interesting point about the Sid Ultimate bushing overlap problem. I had heard from RS that the issue was a sizing problem of the bushings on the initial few runs, and that it didn't have to do with the overall design of the fork. Totally believable that lack of overlap contributes to the ovalizing of the bushings. You can definitely feel that on the Sid Ult -- it has a lot more bushing bind off the top than a Pike, even if the stiffness in the middle and end of the stroke is pretty darn good. 

As my old boss used to say... a fork is much more than travel and stanchions. CSU, bushings, wheel interface, and of course damper and airspring play a massive role.

Interesting that you've been seeing assembly issues in the '22 Fox stuff, I have not opened any of the standard 34s but the Stepcasts I've worked on have been put together really nicely, no need for that out-of-the-box service. The closer spacing on the tubes and beefed-up stanchion arch seems to play pretty nicely, too. Wouldn't say it's a ton stiffer than the old 34SC but it's certainly no worse; and small bump sensitivity is improved with that change to the Fit4 damper valving.

Agreed that a more aggressive setup demands a full-blood 34, Pike etc. (Mattoc?) Witnessing all the bushing issues on the Spur, Epic Evo and other slacker downcountry bikes has made me nervous.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 1, 2021, 11:37 a.m.

I did get it wrong, you're right! Thanks for pointing that out. But what I felt is the same. A few contributing factors: 

  • the Sid is at 100mm and the Fox 34 SC at 120mm

  • when I swapped forks, I also swapped the shock, increasing rear wheel travel to 115 from 100mm, as well as tires, so I went from a pure XC race rig to one with a bit more capability at speed in rough or technical sections

  • I rode the Sid SL and SidLuxe combo with the Aspens for a few weeks only, and have been riding the Blur in the TR configuration ever since

All together, I've been more comfortable and faster on the bike in general - as well as with the changes I made, since I made the changes. So it's likely I would notice the Sid SL wasn't as stiff if I switched back now, but from what I recall, the difference won't be large. Sure I was feeling flex out of that Sid, but I also get it with the 34 SC.

I thought about playing with spacers in the 34 SC, but have been happy with the feeling all the way through the stroke, from off the top semi-supple to supportive in the middle, and haven't had issues with bottoming, so I haven't had to tinker much. I use the LSC lever occasionally but usually leave it open except for long climbs on firm roads where I'll be out of the saddle a lot.

Reply

baronkanon
+1 Pete Roggeman
baronkanon  - Sept. 29, 2021, 1:15 a.m.

What's the deal with the inner tube covering the EDC Pump? Is there any reason for this?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 29, 2021, 10:26 a.m.

Ah yes, and thank you - I forgot to mention: it's a hack I picked up from AJ. That's a road tube cut and pulled over the pump so it stays shielded from mud. It just keeps it clean and keeps grit from getting into the seals. Easy on and off - I just peel it back when in use and replace to store.

Reply

Timer
+1 Pete Roggeman
Timer  - Sept. 29, 2021, 4:02 a.m.

In the section describing the performance of the Specialized Fast Track, which one did you run? The T7 or the T5 version?

These two are quite different tyres, especially with respect to rolling speed and wet grip.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 29, 2021, 10:28 a.m.

So far just the T7 - I haven't run the T5 yet. Have you got experience with them? Would love to hear more. The T7, as you kind of allude to, is quite good in the wet (ditto the Ground Control T7) but I am expecting dry conditions (mostly) so I'll be giving the T5 a shot for sure.

Reply

Timer
0
Timer  - Sept. 29, 2021, 2:38 p.m.

No direct comparison. I run an Eliminator T7 on the trail bike which has decent grip on wet rocks and rolls ok by "Enduro" standards. Which means the rubber is closer to Maxxterra than to XC race rubber. 

The T5 on the other hand seems to be a really fast and therefore less grippy XC rubber. A magazine measured rolling speed in the same range as other XC race tyres. I guess you will find that tyre to be quite similar to the Aspen.

Reply

kos
+1 Pete Roggeman
Kos  - Sept. 29, 2021, 7:12 a.m.

Long-time endurance sicko chiming in: all your choices look bomber to me. 

Don't doubt your tire approach. XCM always calls for a little party up front and business out back. Shoot, the fastest endurance racer I know runs Aspen-like tires out back AND up front, but he has truly mad descending skills.

And great call on the disks. I always figured that every wheel, front or rear, should have the same disk, because fast changes.

Quick cage question: will the Blackburn side loader fit a one liter zefal magnum bottle without it leaning outwards, in the "almost ready to release" position?

Have fun out there!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Kos
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 29, 2021, 10:41 a.m.

Thanks for the stamp of approval. Sounds good on the tires. I'm actually fairly comfortable on the Aspens front and back, but also nervous about flats in some of the mixed/rocky terrain near Penticton. Happy to have a little help up front.

A few grams for a bigger disc doesn't seem like an issue to me, and at 190-5 lbs. I need a bit more stopping juice than the other xc whippets.

I can't answer your Zefal bottle question, but if I can get ahold of one, I'll check. I can also fire a note off to my contact at Blackburn to ask.

Reply

agleck7
+1 Kos
Agleck7  - Sept. 29, 2021, 1:21 p.m.

Those bottles are a great option if you can fit it. I didn't have great luck with one in a Specialized side loading cage, but so far so good on the Silca King Cage copy i have.

Pretty sure you can get them on Amazon, Pete

Reply

kos
0
Kos  - Oct. 3, 2021, 6 a.m.

If you could check with Blackburn that would be great.

Both of my emails to their CS have bounced?

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+1 Pete Roggeman
Merwinn  - Sept. 29, 2021, 8:54 a.m.

When I did BCBR a decade+ ago (jeebus) I rode 1.95 Nevegals. Yep, old (and skinny) tech but I wanted some efficiency and familiarity of the tires I was already riding (2.25's?) back then. Confidence and predictability in one's setup is pretty important, especially when it gets greasy and you're physically and mentally tired.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 29, 2021, 12:20 p.m.

I hear you there. I've logged a lot of kms on the bike as seen here now and feel very comfortable - at least in the conditions I'm used to ;)

But I'm also a tinkerer and can't resist tweaking. Hopefully I find a healthy balance!

Reply

TheIdahoan
+1 Pete Roggeman
Andrew Hoehn  - Sept. 29, 2021, 9:34 a.m.

Excited to hear how this year's BCBR goes.  I've got tons of admiration for anyone who can put together a multi-day stage race in 2021. 

When I rode the BCBR in '19, I was happy to have 120/140, and DHF/DHR tires.  That definitely put me in the "too heavy to be competitive" class, but I was already "not in nearly good enough shape to be competitive" class anyway, and I loved being able to catch a good chunk of people who'd passed me on the climbs, on the downhills.  

Would love to see the final weight of your build before you take off for the race.

Reply

cerealkilla_
+1 Pete Roggeman
jdt  - Sept. 29, 2021, 9:41 a.m.

You mention having an epi-pen in the rear bag. Can you comment a bit more about riding with one of these in tow? Have you had to use it on the trail ever? Had any break? How often do you replace?    I am assuming this is for wasp stings. I often carry benadryl tabs (solid, not liquid tabs). I have found they can be important to OTHER people and not just me in case I come along a person in trouble.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 29, 2021, 12:25 p.m.

I'm no expert. Had a reaction to bees several years ago so it's a precaution but I've never had to use it. It comes in a plastic case so it's reasonably well-protected. It's probably due for replacement. I need to visit an allergist to find out more about my case and how allergic I really am but after three run-ins with ground wasps in one summer - two of which on remote rides - I realized I need to be better prepared. 

I also carry Benadryl and part of the reason is, as you said, for others - and even for my dog in case he ever has a run in with insect stings (Benadryl is safe for dogs but you have to dose carefully based on weight).

Reply

cerealkilla_
+1 Pete Roggeman
jdt  - Sept. 29, 2021, 9:21 p.m.

Epi pens usually have expiry printed on them. Their lifespan can be reduced through exposure to extreme temps, particularly heat. That being said, there is little risk of harm from using an outdated epi, just risk of reduced effectiveness.  With benadryl, liquid caps work a bit faster, but degrade faster. Hard tabs can remain close to full potency well after expiry. 

One trick for avoiding wasps (you likely know)...second rider gets stung. Another reason to be first in the singletrack. Thankfully, this year doesn't seem too bad for wasps, and this heavy rain will likely put a damper on their vigor. Have a great race!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 30, 2021, 4:18 p.m.

Yep, yep and yep! I always nose to the front in waspy areas now ;)

You're right that it hasn't been a bad year. Graham and I found a wasp-filled snag in a little-known area in West Sechelt last week but they were mellow. Not too worried about it during the race - lots of pros and fast peeps will be in front of me to flush em out.

Reply

tanadog
+1 Pete Roggeman
tanadog  - Sept. 29, 2021, 11:47 a.m.

Make sure you check that Tubolito before you head out. They were all the rage in the bikepack racing scene but now folks have found them way too unreliable...splitting around the valve core is most common. I've reverted to standard tubes of the ultralight variety - happy with the peace of mind and 100g weight penalty

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 29, 2021, 12:28 p.m.

Thanks, I will. And I've decided to carry a regular tube as well so I'll be well-covered. This is also in addition to co2 and bacon strips.

Reply

OLDF150
+1 Timer
Kerry Williams  - Sept. 29, 2021, 1:10 p.m.

Hey Peter.  I'm sure you've ridden in the Okanagan before, but just for you and everyone reading this, please keep in mind, many people who come here from the coastal region get an unexpected number of flats because of all the sharp edged rocks in this region.  I live in Kelowna and it's not as severe as Penticton. Penticton has tons of it and I'd hate to see an awesome week become frustrating from too many unforseen flats.  Enjoy the Okanagan, it's such a great riding area.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 30, 2021, 4:19 p.m.

Thanks Kerry. I may not have been clear about it but that's the main reason for my hand-wringing over tire choice. Gonna run a few psi more than I use at home no matter what tires I run.

Edit: I pre-rode stage one in the Blind Mice zone yesterday and oh man, for climbing I'd love the Aspen but on the way down there are so many places to not only flat but totally mangle a XC wheelset. Maybe later in the week if I'm feeling good but otherwise the slightly more robust rubber stays on the rear.

Reply

olaa
0
olaa  - Sept. 29, 2021, 1:47 p.m.

About tire choice, are you considering light inserts in order to run lighter tires?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 olaa gubbinalia
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 30, 2021, 4:19 p.m.

I did briefly and then discarded the idea because it was a whole other rabbit hole to go down for xc. Maybe for next year...

Reply

FlipFantasia
+2 Kerry Williams Pete Roggeman
Todd Hellinga  - Sept. 29, 2021, 3 p.m.

good luck, Pete! have a fun time!

Reply

araz
0
araz  - Sept. 29, 2021, 7:49 p.m.

S-Works tire in the rear? Sounds to me like a recipe for flats. Those are pretty thin, aren't they? I ran Specialized tires on an XC bike for a long time -- Ground Control mainly -- and learned quickly that the weight penalty for grid is well worth it, at least for a bigger guy like me. 

I'd love to do the BC bike race someday. Great to read about your preparations and I look forward to hearing how it goes. Have a great race!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 30, 2021, 4:26 p.m.

I may have linked an S-works but none of the tires I have are S-works. Mostly Grid casing and one Control.

Reply

araz
+1 Pete Roggeman
araz  - Sept. 30, 2021, 8:21 p.m.

Got it. 

I hope the tire gods smile on you and keep them fully inflated for the duration of the race!

Reply

andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Sept. 29, 2021, 8:59 p.m.

Two main thoughts from your bike set up choices:

1. I don’t think that the 30 grams saved by not running a fender (and four zip ties) is ever worth it. For such a simple and light piece of plastic it prevents debris and grit hitting the fork seals (priority one), debris and grit (and other trail debris ) being flung into one’s face (mouth and eyes) regardless of whether it is wet or dry, reducing the risk of eye (or sunglasses) damage or ingesting something that might cause an upset stomach.

2. The saddle bag, which is admirably compact, is better located, secured with an EDC strap, in the top tube/ head tube/ down tube junction for three reasons: a. It is not rubbing debris from the back wheel up and down the seal junction when you raise and lower the saddle, in particular ramming debris into the seal lip as you lower the saddle. This might not be so important to you as it is a loaner bike but for anyone that is actually racing their own bike (or riding it long term) why introduce another component wear issue that can be easily avoided; b. Reducing clearance between the rear tyre and the saddle at full compression; and c. you can see that it is there all the time (especially as it contains your epi-pen).

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cerealkilla_
+1 Pete Roggeman
jdt  - Sept. 29, 2021, 9:16 p.m.

Fender!!! I did the BCBR about ten years ago during a REALLY wet year. It was pretty much a mud-fest for the first four days. I think I was pretty much the only person with a decent front fender. It  made life more tolerable day-to-day, and shortened my clean-up time at the end of each stage. I ditched it when things turned sunny in Gibsons.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 30, 2021, 4:21 p.m.

If we were on the coast, fender for sure. But Penticton is the desert. Except today. And yesterday. It's pissing here and blowing 50 kph!

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 30, 2021, 4:25 p.m.

These are all good points AndrewR. Short travel dropper mitigates some of that issue but I can't argue with anything you wrote.

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wheelDeal
+1 gubbinalia
Primal Scream  - Sept. 29, 2021, 9:37 p.m.

You made a Tallboy 3!

This is a good thing. (I ride one.) It's perfect until you get going really fast on wild descents - at which point you may find yourself surprised at both how fast you're going, and your current limited ability to "plow". 

Fun build. Undergunned and responsive > wallowing around in sag

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gubbinalia
+1 Primal Scream
gubbinalia  - Sept. 30, 2021, 7:27 a.m.

So true. The Blur4 TR ~~ TB3 relationship is for real . Although with the flex stay and the two bottles it does kind of feel like the Blur has made a big leap into the modern age of XC. Always felt like there wasn't quite enough damper support on a TB3 w/DPS to make use of the VPP kinematics to the fullest extent.

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wheelDeal
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Primal Scream  - Oct. 13, 2021, 11:04 p.m.

fair points. It's nice to see the TB3 design live on, they seemed to have nailed the design/use case there, only to redo on the next gen. cest la vie

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 gubbinalia
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 30, 2021, 4:24 p.m.

With respect, there are similarities but they're different animals. TB3 adjacent, yes, but I rode a Tallboy in Scotland a few years ago and it's definitely a trail bike that hits above its weight - and well above the Blur, esp with beediee fork, brakes, and tires. But the geo is also different and the bike behaves differently when things get wild. 

They're both awesome bikes. They're not too far apart when measured on the greater spectrum. But they're definitely different.

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wheelDeal
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Primal Scream  - Oct. 13, 2021, 11:09 p.m.

For sure, I am just chuffed to see the basic design live on. My TB3 is on the other end of the spectrum with beefy tires etc but I've always been impressed with how well it both pedals and smashes given the travel.

Great rundown of your setup, hope things went well out there!

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