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NOT A REVIEW - A FIRST LOOK

Guerilla Gravity Gnarvana - First Look

Words Dave Tolnai
Photos Dave Tolnai
Date Nov 22, 2022
Reading time

Life as a bike reviewer comes with a lot of perks. Well, actually, one perk. You get a lot of different bikes to ride. This is great and I’m not complaining, but this perk seldom comes with a lot of choice. If you’re lucky, they’ll ask you what size you want before the thing shows up. If you’re really lucky, you’ll have some say in the choice between a trim level or two. What never happens is a suggestion that you can just go ahead and order whatever bike you want off a website.

This left me a bit flummoxed by all of the options. It’s one thing to cast judgment upon the choices of others, and another to commit to them yourself. And Guerilla Gravity (GG from here) presents you with a lot of choices, handing you options for everything from NX up to XTR, or EXT down to low adjustment Rock Shox. GG has some handy starting builds (Race Build for the non thrifty, Rally Like Barelli for the fanbois, and the Ride Build for the budget minded) or you can go full custom. The only quirk is that not every option is available for every build, even “full custom”. The Race Build lets you option a Factory 38, Zeb Ultimate or an EXT, while the Ride Build only lets you go with a Zeb Select, for example, but no option gives you the full gamut. It sort of creates a high, mid and low tier bucket so it if you really want factory level Fox to go with your NX drivetrain, you might be out of luck. Practically speaking, there are options galore and the only person to blame if your build sucks is yourself.

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I can feel Dave Smith hyperventilating. It was a smoky day and I thought I could pull it off. Most of it worked, but this full side shot is a bit weird with the shadows. Sorry.

The strategy that I decided on was what I am now calling mid-spec stickler. I didn’t need anything flashy, but I also didn’t want to be able to complain about anything. I pumped a few extra dollars into suspension, brakes and a longer dropper, and left the rest as a sort of mid-tier smorgasbord of fine-ness. Rally Like Barelli was my starting point and I only needed a few strategic swaps from there. The result was:

- RockShox suspension with a healthy dose of clicks and adjustments – or at least that was the plan

- An upgrade to Code RSCs

- Waffling between a GX and an XT drivetrain – I wound up going XT largely due to the low end gear ratio

- The standard smattering of parts from Industry Nine (stem), PNW (bar and grips), Crank Brothers (wheels) and Bike Yoke (185mm dropper)

- I toyed with some Hutchinson tires, but ultimately went with the devil I know in an Assegai/DHRII combo – Maxx Grip up front and Maxx Terra out back, both in Exo+

One option that I wish GG would bring to the table is chainring size. I would have loved to throw a 30T on the front, but it seems you’re stuck here with a 32.

Purchasing and Shipping

Once you have your build selected, click a few buttons, enter your CC number and you’re off. It took eleven days from my order being placed to my bike being shipped, which seems like pretty good turnaround for a custom bike build.

Shipping itself looks straight forward. My specific case was complicated by the commercial invoice for my review bike. Yours shouldn’t be that complicated, and had there not been a customs schmozzle due to my specific circumstances, the bike would have been in my hands five days after it was shipped. This would have put total delivery time at 15 days after my order. Again, this seems really great for a custom bike build. In my case though, Canada Customs had it for so long I expected it to show up with dirt on the tires and some setup instructions from the customs agent.

The other thing to note is that if you are shipping internationally, you will be on the hook for duties, GST and service charges. Shipping is calculated at payment, and paid up front, but not brokerage and other fees. This was another $18 in customs fees and $400 in GST over the bill from GG, so keep that in mind when you order. GG will ship worldwide, and I’m sure results will vary by country.

If you don’t want to go this route, GG still has dealers if you prefer. They’re calling this “Shop Direct”. This is a bit of a mishmash of dealers stocking bikes on the floor and some that operate more as an online assembly and delivery service. Some even stock demo bikes.

Assembly

The bike showed up in two boxes. Box one was wheels and a couple of small bags containing shock, grips and chain. Box two was everything else. Things were well protected and plastic and zip ties were kept to a minimum. Everything showed up looking fresh and without damage.

- Wheels had tires, discs and cassette mounted and sealant installed.

- Surprisingly, shock wasn’t installed, but this makes sense considering the numerous shock options – easier to throw the right shock in at the end of packing rather than mount it up. The frame has a short metal rod as a spacer in place of the shock…I can see this spacer coming in handy in the future!

- Grips and handlebar weren’t mounted, and in their original packaging.

- Brake calipers were mounted.

- Rear derailleur had cable installed, but was un-mounted.

- All controls were un-mounted and wrapped in protective wrap.

- Fork was installed, and well protected with some plastic and cardboard wrap.

- Chain was sized to the right length, but un-mounted. This surprised me a bit, but I guess it would be a bit of a hassle to ship it with the chain installed and wrapped around the un-mounted derailleur and with the suspension slightly compressed.

If you work on your own bike, you can easily get things rolling in less than an hour. Getting all of the packaging off took as much time as anything. If you’re not comfortable with this, there are numerous places offering online bike assembly. Velofix will charge you $129 for example.

Once I had everything unwrapped, I bolted on the shock, installed the handlebar and the controls, mounted the wheels, installed the rear derailleur and installed the chain. That was it. Easy peasy. Cables weren’t the tidiest, but everything else looked to be ready to go. There are some instructions in the owners area if you’re looking for guidance. Using my photo timestamps it took me 35 minutes to go from a fully unboxed bicycle to a fully assembled bicycle (sans chain). You can do it!

Collecting all of the assembly detritus, I was left with a large pile of easy recyclables, a smaller pile of not so easy recyclables, and a really small pile of garbage. Could be better, but not too bad.

Warranty and Support

I asked GG about their warranty process. There is some detail here (lifetime warranty and crash replacements available), but not a lot on the process. What GG had to say is this:

Our customer service and warranty process is designed to be very customer friendly. If a shop sold a customer a bike, ideally they work through that shop for a resolution, but since we also sell Rider Direct, we're happy to help them. Response times are very rarely longer than 24 hours and often within a couple of hours. The shipping of parts / bikes is handled on a case by case basis (the less shipping and less work for the customer, the better).

Parts support looks pretty good. The parts store looks to have most of the things you might want to keep your bike going, including bearing replacement kits, hardware, axles, and even different heights of the reach adjust headset cups. They’ll also happily sell you modular seatstay kits if you want to change up your bike at some point.

What’s new with the V2

This here bike is the V2 Gnarvana. The first question you might ask is what’s different about this one to the V1? Fair question!

The biggest change is probably the introduction of the carbon swingarm. The seatstay assembly is still aluminum, but the V2 inches closer towards becoming a fully carbon frame. Guerilla Gravity claims 50% added stiffness in the chainstay with this upgrade. This change also includes a move to a SRAM UDH, as well as no longer requiring a 3mm dish on the rear wheel. There’s suggestion of a change in kinematics, where a touch more progression has been added. I’ll see if I can track down more detail on that front.

The bike still has 160mm of travel in the rear and a 170mm fork up front. It still uses the modular frame system that will allow you to swap to a different bike with a few strategic changes. It still has all the cables run down the left side of the downtube, hidden under an easily accessible hatch (see! I told you I was going to mention this). And it’s still largely black on black on black, although you can now pick from a few colours if you ask nicely. I kind of love that this warranted an announcement.

Geometry has few surprises. The angles are about as slack as you’d expect them to be, and reach is on the shorter side of modern, depending on how you interpret the sizes. The Size 4 has numbers that seem remarkably similar to the XL Megatower that I felt fit me pretty darn well, so it all works for me. 10mm of easy reach/wheelbase/top tube adjustment in the form of the geoadjust headset cups really open things up for lots of different shapes and sizes, as well.

Geometry Chart

Setup and First Rides

Once I got around to riding the bike, I noticed a few things that I didn’t during the selection and build process. First up was a bit of a mistake on my end. Seeing all the fanfare of the new RockShox stuff, I figured this bike was going to show up with the latest and greatest from MY 2023. Unfortunately, no, it’s clad with the old MY2022. Not the end of the world, for sure, but had I known this it may have changed my decisions. I expected an overwhelming number of clicks and cleverly named features and had I known no buttercups (the fork) or HSC (the shock) I may have saved a few dollars on these parts. Not the end of the world.

Guidance on suspension setup is a bit limited, both from RockShox and GG. I didn’t find much beyond “20% fork sag and 30% shock sag” in the GG owners area. With so many shock and bike combos, I’m not surprised that this is the route that they chose, but it’s always nice to have somebody whispering a starting pressure and clicks in your ear, while you’re getting started. What GG does offer though, is a really in depth guide to water bottle cage mounting! I actually found this to be very helpful.

It’s been a long while since I’ve tested a bike with a RockShox fork on the front. I was happy to find that they have a fancy little tool that will let you pop in either your serial number or model name and spit out some data. After all that work though, what they gave me was a bit limited, with only the air pressure and rebound settings and ignoring starting points for tokens and compression adjustment though. Still, the recommended pressure felt okay, and I don’t think there is a need to pop any tokens in, so it all worked out in the end.

The rear was even more of a guess as there was nothing easily findable on the GG website. I remembered a conversation that I recently had with some SRAM folks where they said “if all else fails, start with your weight”, so I plugged that in, bounced on it a few times to set rebound, opened up the compression and called it a day.

After that, adjustments were limited to adjusting the B-tension (I love the Shimano system with the built in indicator, compared to the need for a separate plastic gizmo from SRAM), fixing a stiff dropper post (opening up the cable doors and jiggling things around a bit got me most of the way there, however the post still isn’t as buttery smooth as the other BikeYoke dropper I’m running) and moving some spacers around under the stem (the bar height didn’t feel sky high when I rode around my neighbourhood but I couldn’t get any weight through the front end on my first ride. Switching out a large and small spacer made a world of difference in how the bike handled).

With the customs delay, the bike missed a month of prime riding and showed up for the very end of our dry-and-dusty spell and the start of the rains. I feel like I had barely gotten things feeling how I wanted before the conditions turned treacherous and I had to remember how to ride in the wet again.

If forced/paid/cajoled, I’d probably have this to say: climbing is fine, but doesn’t feel like it is this bike's strong suit. It handles the technical little bits well enough, but it’s not a rocketship when chugging away. “Really, Dave? That sounds surprising for a 160mm enduro bike that has seen no attempt at weight savings.” I say there’s no need for that sort of sarcasm.

As I mentioned above, on the descents I feel like I haven’t presented the beast with anything close to ideal conditions yet. “Really, Dave? During the month of November in Vancouver?” Which makes me hesitant to spend any more time with you, you sarcastic bastard.

There have been some moments though. One ride, probably the third, I felt like…I don’t know…It was just there, you know? There was a corner, and I took it, and it was like…I got this man. You just do what you need to do and I’m going to be there to allow you to do it. And I liked that feeling. And I’m going to search for more of that.

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Comments

trumpstinyhands
trumpstinyhands
2 weeks ago
+14 Andrew Major danithemechanic bushtrucker FlipSide Andy Eunson Konrad imnotdanny Heinous Carlos Matutes Velocipedestrian DBone57 Nologo HughJass hardtailhersh Tremeer023 Joseph Crabtree

A few thoughts re. the assembly process. For my sins I've built probably thousands of bikes over the years, and I often see comments regarding how fast the bike can be built. For example I recently built a YT 'something' and another website claimed that they built a YT 'something' in 12 minutes. I built this one properly and it took me over three hours. There was so much wrong with the factory assembly that wouldn't necessarily be spotted by someone eager to build the bike ASAP (I won't bore you with the long list.....). 

Velofix state that it'll take about an hour and charge you $150 for the privilege according to the link above. Will they pull all the linkage pivots to ensure that they are greased properly, threadlocked and torqued to spec to stop seized hardware or creaking after a few rides? Remove the fork and properly grease the headset? Remove the cranks and check that the BB is tightened properly (and at the same time find out that the Sram crank bolt has been tightened to 300Nm at the factory....)? Will the cables / hoses be cut to length and brakes bled as needed? Or is the bike also going to trap rabbits? How about spoke tension....that's often out of whack and can lead to taco'd wheels after a few rides.

Sorry for the ramble, but this sort of stuff always gets missed in the review processes of every publication. Just a blind assumption that the bike is built well from the factory, which can result in headaches and expense for the customer during ownership. A 30 minute build is potentially going to result in hours of extra maintenance time in the future. 

FWIW, I've not worked on a GG. Maybe it's perfect out of the box!

/Grumpy middle aged Service Manager who's tired of fixing everyone's shitty builds :D

Reply

danithemechanic
danithemechanic
2 weeks ago
+2 Carlos Matutes Doug M.

I absolutely second this.

On personal rides, everything i get either used or new gets taken apart before being built. Everything.

On customers bikes, i always ask if they want it built "like if it was mine" but that's going to be a favour for a good customer or an extra to pay.

I could never imagine getting a bike shipped, putting the wheels on and riding it.

Each part i didn't get my hands into is a potential problem coming up.

Reply

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
2 weeks ago
+7 bearbikerider Niels van Kampenhout ElBrendo kcy4130 Cooper Quinn Nologo danithemechanic BlazersDad89 Joseph Crabtree

Every technical device should work as intended when bought new. Be it a car, a bicycle or a lawnmower.

I never fuss with any part when it is not obviously wrong (like no oil on chain, or brakes not aligned, or cables too long) - if I can fix that, ok - but else? 5 year warranty.

Quite a while ago the last time I bought a new bike (YT), and everything was perfect from the start and still is (except the E13 parts) and no bearings or wheels went out of order. No regreasing or wheel truing (except after that double I cased). There is not that much magic to it. I never use a pressure washer, maybe once a year I hose it off. Must look dirty else it's no mtb.

When selling a bike to a customer I appreciate your view, but as that customer I would expect a perfect bike after paying the listed price and not extra.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
2 weeks ago
+5 Niels van Kampenhout BarryW finbarr bishopsmike BlazersDad89

Yeah, you don't do this with a car when you drive it off the lot, or a computer. 

I give bikes a reasonably through once over for safety and can correct any major issues, but I'm not tearing review bikes down to the studs just to have a look and see how thoroughly they greased bolts. This wouldn't reflect the experience of the average customer, which, in theory, is sorta what we're trying to do here. 

That said, most of my personal bikes *do* get torn down (or, more likely, they're built from the frame up to begin with.).

Reply

danithemechanic
danithemechanic
1 week, 6 days ago
+2 Doug M. Velocipedestrian

If it was a commuter bike we're speaking of, i would perform a torque-pressure-align check and off it goes.

But this is not the comparable version of an utility car: these bikes are the prized, hard earned possessions of an individual seeking for outdoor activity past time and fun.

The main goal as a mechanic these days is providing the right amount of service and make it last as long as the components allows given the riding time of the user.

To me serviceability is everything, and if you don't pull it apart from new you won't catch potential problems until, well, they become problems.

Your brilliant series "Teardown" does just this and i think it is the most useful piece of journalism for the potential buyer.

When a friend was reviewing wheels for another magazine, i used to tell him to tear those hubs down, because wheel reviews all read the same but if you tear those hubs you can truly tell wich is better sealed, has the biggest bearings, is a plain joke, ...

The same can be done with every "hidden" part of a bike, wich in the ends plays a huge role in the life of it.

This is a general consideration, i don't mean to pick againts GG or this review.

Reply

danithemechanic
danithemechanic
1 week, 6 days ago
0

@cxfahrer

You are absolutely right.

But every time has been a bet!

sometimes it's a bet backed by a great warranty (PNW seatpost) sometimes it just sucks from the third ride (KS seatpost)

since the bet sides are: i will ride this weekend or not, i try to not put too much money and time into it and advise my customers to do the same.

Let's say most of the industry should be more like the PNW than the KS seatpost.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 weeks ago
+6 Niels van Kampenhout Mammal Ryan Walters Cam McRae danithemechanic bishopsmike

While I can understand your viewpoint, you have to be reasonable in your expectations and also understand your personal bias. The fact that you're flagging something that 'always gets missed in the review processes of every publication' may also suggest there's a reason behind it.

You work at a shop, and your customers should expect to receive a bike that is built properly. That's on the brand that delivers the bike to you, and you (the shop) to figure out. We know some brands (or in many cases, some brands' designated third party assembly facilities) are better at this than others. Review bikes are often delivered along different channels, though. Smart brands have those bikes checked over by in-house mechanics before being sent out to reviewers. There's not much we (or other publications) can do in that case to replicate the consumer experience. Even if we tried, the experience of two consumers buying the same bike from two different shops is going to differ, so it isn't possible to replicate and we're not positioning ourselves as a Quality Assurance watchdog. If we went down that road, we'd be so far into the weeds that it wouldn't be a bike review anymore.

That does not mean that we (at NSMB) blindly assume everything delivered to us is 100%. If we find something egregious like improperly torqued pivot bolts, that's cause for concern. If the cables are all too long, there's no grease on the stem bolts, etc...that may be worthy of comment, but it's also situational. If a trend emerges, we'll highlight it. Big picture: it was built well or not built well, now let's move on to more significant questions you'd want a reviewer to spend their time on.

D2C brands like GG have to deliver a bike that a consumer with a modicum of skill and confidence can build in a reasonable period of time, and reporting how long it takes is something a potential buyer would want to know. Had Dave found a bunch of things wrong with the build, you would have heard about it.

Let me ask you this: no matter how thorough Dave or another reviewer was in checking every detail you'd like to see checked, and how good that build turned out to be, you personally wouldn't ride that bike without checking it yourself anyway, right? So is your complaint a fair one?

Reply

lister_yu
lister_yu
1 week ago
0

I could not a gree more - I get a lot of C* bikes and make them ride ready for customers. None of them is assembled properly (copy paste your list from above :-) ). Recently had a nearly 9k road bike in and it dropped the chain when shifted to the big chain ring at the front. Resulted in a scratched chainring and crankarm of a Dura Ace powermeter ;-) 

setting everything up correct after that is just too late

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Vik Banerjee

Nice to see an IS brake mount, and I enjoyed reading the water bottle instructions.

I like a lot of what GG is doing, but prefer a metal frame. Anyone think they'll bring the option back?

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 week, 6 days ago
0

I would love GG to offer metal FS frames again, but I don't think that is likely. They've gone all in on carbon FS. It would take a lot of $$$  and time to create a line of metal FS bikes that would be at the standard they'd be happy with.

They did show an example of a domestically produced FS metal bike line up that didn't cost crazy $$$ though. So perhaps someone else will take up the torch and fill that space.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 weeks ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

It's been a while since we bought two GG's, but they were perfect out of the box and we've had them a few years without any assembly issues causing problems. Their post-sales CS has been excellent as well when I had a question or needed anything. 

I normally don't order complete bikes, but the GG spec was really good such that I grabbed one of their full builds.

I went to a couple of their camping meet ups and the folks that built my frame and assembled my bike said hi on the group ride. That was nice.

All in all our GGs have served us well. No regrets taking a chance and ordering one sight unseen.

Reply

Andeh
Andeh
1 week, 6 days ago
+1 sky101

I've had my Revved GG (in a few forms - Smash, Gnarvana v1, and Megatrail mullet) for about 2 years now.  Their customer service has been great.  I had one issue with one of the threads at the horst pivot on the alloy swingarm stripping, and they covered it under warranty.  I've had the adhesive on the CS protector fail prematurely a couple times, both times they sent me a new one.  Apparently the one on the Revved swingarm is sort of co-molded into the arm so it doesn't get peeled up as easily.

The powdercoat is super durable, and has held up to abuse far better than anything I had from Transition or Ibis.  The stealth version looks amazing when clean and in the sun (especially with a frame protector), it really brings out the sparkles.

My wishlist is basically a Revved v2 version of the Megatrail with a flip chip and/or geometry designed for mulleting (and even more progressive), and better sealing on the bearings (Santa Cruz style).  I also wish they were more transparent with sharing their leverage curves to help shock tuners - it seems like most manufacturers are doing this now.

Reply

sky101
sky101
1 week, 6 days ago
0

This may be the v1 but you can see the kinematics numbers here: https://linkagedesign.blogspot.com/2050/04/gg-megatrail-29-2020.html

Reply

Cabana76
Adrian White
1 week, 5 days ago
+1 AndrewR

Happy to see NSMB with a GG!  Looking to your thoughts and a long-term review in the future.  

I've been delighted with my 2020 Smash.  It has been quite confidence inspiring on some of the steeper and gnarlier trails I've tackled in the Sea to Sky as well as the Coquitlam area. 

I think they have a great product and back it with exceptional customer service.  I've experienced same day email responses when I was purchasing as well as post-purchase support.  A recent warranty claim was submitted on a Sunday and fully completed on the Wednesday with the part in the mail on Thursday.  I cannot ask for faster turnaround. 

As for the custom builds, I agree with Dave that the options with the standard builds do not seem to allow of a fully custom build, however when I purchased my Smash after chatting with the service advisor I learned that you can always ask for whatever component you want and they will work to accommodate.  My example is that I wanted a MRP Ribbon Coil, but only the Air option was available on their site.  They sourced one for me.

I would recommend GG as a company and bike to anyone who is shopping for something different from a small, cool company.

Reply

davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
1 week, 4 days ago
+1 Adrian White

Whoah!  That is pretty cool to hear.  I didn't mean to phrase it as a complaint or anything, I just wanted people to go into it understanding that every single possible combination isn't available on the website.  Hearing that they'll source something for you that they don't even stock is pretty crazy.

Reply

hbelly13
Raymond Epstein
2 weeks ago
0

The bike looks good. A question I've yet to see answered since GG dropped these Revved carbon bikes is their warranty rate. GG claims that these bikes have 300% higher impact resistance than tradition carbon bikes. The handful of people I know that have owned CC's have only mentioned bearing wearing out as a maintenance issue, but I'd love to know if any of these things have broken and if so how many and where. Secondly, if the warranty rate is in fact low it would seem like another small US frame manufacturer would consider licensing the process. This is a valid opportunity, but as one builder told me it is just cost prohibitive at the moment for them.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 weeks ago
0

Impact damage isn't a warranty issue so let's take GG at their word on the impact resistance, but it wouldn't affect warranty rates.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 weeks ago
+4 Vik Banerjee Mammal Pete Roggeman Timer

Is any company open and honest about their warranty/breakage rate? I'm actually asking, I can't think of any company that makes it public. Though, breakage rates might tell us just as much about the typical demographic that buys said bike as it does about the strength/weakness of a particular bike.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
2 weeks ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I can't imagine that any company (bike or otherwise) puts that data out to the public unless it's mandated by regulations.

Reply

UMichael
UMichael
2 weeks ago
0

I think it makes sense to only offer with 32-tooth chainring... They probably want to ensure a more uniform user experience w.r.t. the pedal feel and pedalling performance.

It's difficult to ensure people don't negatively modify your product, then tell all their friends.  Restricting their options from the factory helps keep user reviews positive.

Or I'm wearing too much tinfoil in my hats.

Reply

davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
1 week, 6 days ago
+2 Andy Eunson bishopsmike

According to Wolf Tooth, the diameter of a 32 tooth is 136.1mm vs 128.0mm for a 30 tooth.  If that 4 mm (diameter/2) change in chain location has a dramatic impact on pedaling performance, I'd be surprised.  I guess that you could say the same thing about the impact on my ability to pedal the bike up a hill, but I know that 2 teeth is going to let me run one harder cog (for the most part) and pull me out of the bail out gear unless it is absolutely necessary.  The longer travel the bike, the more important I feel this is.

https://www.wolftoothcomponents.com/pages/chainring-diameter-by-tooth-count

Reply

TomO
TomO
1 week, 3 days ago
0

Depending on how you look at it dropping to a 30 tooth makes a 4-5% increase in anti-squat (based on a quick rough check in linkage), so not a huge difference but maybe noticeable.

Reply

sky101
sky101
2 weeks ago
0

Running my Gnarvana V2 with a Fox 38 and DHX2. So far its the best long travel bike I've owned and I came from a Transition Spire. It feels more progressive and easier to tune. The bike feels more predictable than the Spire. I also appreciate the powder coating which has taken abuse that would have chipped Transitions low quality paint.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
1 week, 6 days ago
0

The chain ring thing is a matter of OE parts delivery. Builders get them in bulk boxes rather than the fancy retail presentation that the after market retail buyer is presented with.

XO1 is considered "trail" so one gets a 32T chainring on the crank set.

XX1 is considered "race" so one gets 34T chainring etc etc.

On the one GX level bike I have, my fat bike, came with a -4 mm offset 32T, so I guess that GX gets the trail designation also.

Remember that a lot of the drive train input comes from people who live in Chicago and other flatter locations, designed for the 80% that live and ride in relatively gentle undulating terrain (by S2S/ Rockies and Alps standards).

And they are supplying to brands that have frame designers that design rear suspension based on the kinematics that are delivered by a 32T or 34T chainring.

Even worse, some brands (one might even be a brand that rimes with 'Loner') decide to use all that bottom bracket space to make the chain stays as wide as possible so in some cases you cannot even choose to use a non-boost chainring (unless you want to saw your chain stay in half) to improve your drive train situation. I encountered this recently whilst trying to improve the ride experience (ie a better chain line and more use of the 42T over the 50T) for an older rider. He is fit for his age but not going to produce the kind of power that pushes a 34-42 combo up a 15º gradient on a loose technical climb trail.

There is also the ridiculous obsession with top speed in the 10T at 90 rpm (riding downhill/ flat to the shop/ pub type 'mountain biking') as part of the process. The requirements of racers (12 and 10T) wide gear range and chain line also dictate this design and spec compromise. The racers and test riders are generally at a level of fitness and producing power that the general public cannot even begin to achieve and that skews product spec choices.

Sure a shop might feel like swapping out the chain ring for you as part of the "shop buying experience", now that stock to sale levels are more normal than they were for the last two years, but then, especially in the Sea to Sky/ North Shore, what do they do with their mountain of 32T chain rings? Build wind chimes? Let the mechanics use them as throwing stars or horse shoes on their 'smoke'  breaks? Use them for their sponsored race team?

Because the North Shore and Sea to Sky can easily seem like the centre of the mountain biking universe is is easy to forget that a lot of the design and spec decisions are made by people, and for people, that see the region as an occasional bucket list destination rather their every day ride.

I feel for them (except for the designer from 'Loner" they deserve to ride somewhere gentle and undulating with their 34T chainring).

Reply

davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
1 week, 5 days ago
+1 AndrewR

One of either the Ibis Ripmo or Canyon Spectral showed up with a 30t Shimano chainring, so I know it's possible.  I'm not sayin it's without a few hurdles, but I am saying that if I'm choosing options on a bike it would be pretty cool if I could get the chainring size that I wanted.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
1 week, 3 days ago
0

It is definitely possible but I am guessing that was a product spec manager's decision that probably applied to their entire production for that model for that year. I am sure if a certain brand said "the general feed back is that this model bike should have a 30T, so let's tweak the linkage or the shock to suit (because 4-5% is a lot to an engineer and those riders who can feel the difference) so let's order all of next year's cranksets with 30T chain rings" that either of the big brands (and definitely the smaller brands) would happily ship a bulk consignment of cranksets with 30T chain rings fitted.

I am by no means a shop and, as a couple, we would not qualify as "bicycle crazy" (no gravel, road or pub cruisers in the garage) and I have four or five 32T 'take offs' sitting in my "mountain bike part zombie apocalypse" box.

And they are a tough sell (in BC/ AB) on the usual bike/ parts buy/ sell forums. 

It would be interesting to hear the experience from someone who works in the mechanic/ parts aspect of a bike shop (I am only involved as a guide - so sure I recommend and help sell stuff to customers but I don't get involved in inventory and ordering).

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andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
1 week, 3 days ago
0

The cable compartment is a great idea (anything that means I can swap a rear brake without cutting off the olive, because that is the only way of getting the compression nut off the hose, thereby rendering the perfect length hose too short for re-installing on the same bike! Great idea - the person that invented that should have 1 cm snipped off somewhere important and report on how good that works out for them!!!) except this one is unimaginably biased towards the non-moto set up. 

That said I would rather have to be more careful in running the 'loop' for my rear brake (which is on the left ovs) and have external routing than have to deal with internal cable routing. 

There are no appreciable aerodynamic factors in mountain biking except at the very sharp end of a very small field that is the top ten WC DH racers on certain tracks in certain weather conditions, ergo there are no appreciable benefits to internal routing for the general public, even the manufacturers admit it is harder to build a frame to QC standards if it has internal routing. And anyone running a mechanical RD also has the pfaff of running a new cable outer when the old one wears out.

And for everyone that is hitting their keyboard to tell me about how internal routing revolutionised the dropper - ah it actually didn't and since they invented a little thing called AXS Reverb I don't need any routing for my dropper

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djjohnr
John Rodriguez
6 days, 9 hours ago
0

I'm on my second Revved GG. When I bought my first one I specifically asked if it would ship with a '21 DHX2 since it used the new architecture at the time, and a '20 showed up. They took the shock back and refunded me the cost with no issue. Generally their customer service is really good. I had some chainstay damage that was my fault, and they hooked me up with a discount on the replacement. I do wish they gave more support on the initial setup of rear shocks, specifically some high speed rebound settings for shocks that use them, the rest I don't mind testing my way into. Even here though, an email to GG got me a rough initial starting point, but something published would be better. Rocky Mountain does a great job of this on their support pages.

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