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Editorial

Love the Bike You Already Have

Words A.J. Barlas
Photos A.J. Barlas Unless Noted - Title Image: Deniz Merdano
Date Apr 27, 2021
Reading time

During the past decade, many riders have fallen into the habit of upgrading their bike every one or two years. Not everyone, but the desire is present in many of us and I've certainly fallen victim. The marketing departments at our favourite bike brands are just too good at spinning their web. But is there really much to gain?

It's no secret that for the majority of bike manufacturers, updated models see incremental change – nothing beyond a few millimetres here and a fraction of a degree there. These changes aren't enough to justify our desire to update every new model year. That is assuming you are upgrading to the newer version of the season-or-two-old bike in the garage.

Our own Andrew Major wrote a compelling piece on spending that new bike money on your current rig only a few weeks before the pandemic hit. Since then, the large growth of our sport has made the topic more relevant than ever, as people struggle to lock down their new dream whip. But there's no need to head to the buy and sell and fork out that COVID tax. Save your money and consider some of the following strategies, which I'm positive can bring some joy back to the relationship with your current steed.

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We're looking at you drivetrain, but ideally not all at once.

The Simple Things Can Have a Large Impact

You can spend a lot on upgrades to make your current bike feel new but it doesn't have to break you. New suspension or an entirely new drivetrain feel great and they can renew your desire to spend time on your bike, but I've also found simple things can provide a similar boost, albeit without completely satisfying our inner consumerist.

I don't have enough fingers to count the times I've heard a friend claim 'Johnny's new bike pedals so smooth and easy,' affirming their own need for something new. The consensus is that the new wheels, the latest drivetrain, or upgraded geometry make all the difference and their currently 12–18-month old ride no longer cuts it. What's often forgotten in these conversations is that these riders have done the bare minimum in terms of maintenance, making for a drastically lop-sided comparison. Lubing the chain and checking tire pressure is vital, but the chain that came on the bike 12 months ago is quite certainly flogged* and the suspension definitely needs a service. At the very least, sticking a shock pump on and checking damper settings would be a good start.

*This will depend on the individual but for anyone riding solid amounts (1–2 times/week over 12 months), it's likely time to change more than just the chain.

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Regular replacements prolong the drivetrain and give the sense of new every time.

I've found it beneficial to update my chain regularly, never allowing it to become too worn, which in turn prolongs the life of the entire drivetrain. But the best part is whenever a new chain goes on, I feel stronger and faster, and the bike becomes quieter and more efficient. I've never made huge strength gains overnight, and any improvement is likely due to placebo effect, mating a new chain to a cassette and chainring that aren't worn can improve efficiency and chain retention, which is noticeable on the trail.

Depending on the chain or drivetrain component needed, finding a replacement right now may be difficult. Maybe sourcing an aftermarket option will suffice and with Shimano and SRAM 12-speed chains hard to find, doing so may be necessary.

It's more important than ever to properly maintain your equipment and doing a proper clean and fresh lube, replacing that old shifter cable, even checking the alignment of your hanger, can reap great rewards. They don't have the sex appeal of a new bike, or a major upgrade but simple procedures can improve your time on the bike.

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New suspension is nice but what about making sure the current stuff is working well?

New Suspension vs Service (Or Custom Tune)

When was the last time you had your suspension serviced? Maybe you're able to drop the lowers yourself and give them a freshen up, but haven't for a while? I'm guilty of this, and writing this has made me realize it's time to get busy. If you aren't comfortable pulling apart your fork or shock, maybe it's time to book it in and make it feel like new. Your suspension works better when serviced regularly, and it has a dramatic impact on the trail. It's no secret that suspension service centres are busy but that means book it in now and don't wait till it's too late.

Generally that lust for a shiny new fork or high-end shock is driven by a perceived performance benefit. But new products don't always provide the desired result and in some cases getting your current products custom tuned will deliver better results. Vorsprung in Whistler has had their Fractive tune options available through global support centres for a while now and I've heard from a couple of riders that it made a great improvement. Avalanche is another option and while they are less prominent now, have for years garnered high praise. Push Industries has upgrade options available and many, many more. Your local suspension service centre may also be able to make changes and it's a good relationship to have.

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Whether going with a full custom tune, or something like a Smashpot coil conversion, the result can be better value than a new shock or fork. New decals also add a nice sense of new.

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Something as simple as a tire insert can change how your bike rides too, smoothing out the trail for less than a new fork or shock. Thinner casing and firmer rubber may be possible too.

Tires can have a lasting impact on ride feel, and are often overlooked as a 'suspension' part, and tire inserts sometimes have an even more profound impact. Our tires are the first thing to connect with the ground* and some inserts can improve ride quality by dulling trail noise and feedback. Some riders find they can run lower pressures, further improving ride quality and increasing grip. If you haven't had a chance to muck about with inserts, this might be a good time. Many prevent flats too, prolonging the life of our favourite tires, and finding new tires right now can be a challenge.

*Ideally the only thing

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The sharp edges of a fresh, favourite tire can make you do silly things.

Fresh Rubber & Prolonging The Life of a Favourite

A new set of tires, preferably replaced once traction starts to diminish, is one of the best value changes you can make. Looking down at fresh rubber makes me feel giddy and excited to push the new, sharp-edged lugs into some of my favourite corners. Popular tires are getting harder to source but with the availability of inserts, you may be able to drop to a lighter casing.

While daunting, trying rubber from a less popular brand isn't the end of the world. Over the last few years, tires from WTB, Michelin, and e*thirteen have proven to be strong performers. Specialized has updated their tires recently too, and Pete has had good experiences with them. There are also options available from Vee, Kenda etc. though we can't speak personally to those yet.

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Michelin's Wild Enduro is a popular alternative to Maxxis and Schwalbe. The warm conditions now setting in the Northern Hemisphere make the Magi-X² compound a great front tire.

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Many of WTB's latest tires have been impressive in various conditions. In anything but proper wet, the Vigilante is an excellent option.

Another option is to prolong the life of the tires you have. I've had some success keeping my favourite tires rolling for longer by patching holes. Kits are available for this but I've found a pot of rubber cement from the local hardware store and pieces of inner tube work well. For some holes, a regular tube patch with a healthy lathering of rubber cement has got me by as well. Don't toss that three-ride old tire you just punctured, it's possible there's plenty of joy left.

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One of my favourite grips is the ODI Elite Flow. An offset core provides more rubber under the hand and grip is great. Nevertheless, it takes a few rides to wear down the tips of the diamond pattern to my liking.

TouchPoints, Because We're All Hands-On

The touchpoints of our bikes may not get the attention they deserve. They're not going to make our bikes feel more efficient, nor improve grip through that corner you've been pushing harder into with every ride, but because they're our first point of contact, they can make or break our time on the bike.

I'm not a fan of most grips when brand new. Aside from a set a friend is developing, I've never put a new grip on and enjoyed the first ride. That includes grips that I consider favourites. The fresh rubber feels a bit coarse against my boney hands and it takes a few rides to get new grips beaten down and softened.* Once they've started to break in, they feel fantastic and I'll keep using them until well past their use-by date.

*It should be mentioned that AJ doesn't wear gloves - Ed.

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Andrew's love affair with push-on grips has me keen to get a set back on my trail bike. Photo: Andrew Major

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Question is, where to start? Maybe the grippiest grip Andrew's gripped, the Renthal Ultra Tacky Push-On? Photo: Andrew Major

Other riders froth for a new set of grips. That fresh feeling provides a greater connection and more rubber than that old, worn set. Trying something new can be a bit of a gamble if you're fussy, but a new grip can breathe life into your connection with the bike. Andrew's articles have me considering moving back to push-on grips and I always enjoy the feel of the set on my dirt jumper. Trying something different with a product that isn't in short supply is an easy experiment and there's no denying the comfort of a full rubber grip. As a bonus, they're cheap.

Saddles are possibly the most personal part of our bikes and I'm not going to suggest messing with that if you're happy now. They can however wear and begin to lose the support we fell for in the first place. I haven't heard of any saddle supply issues, so maybe it's time to give the tush something fresh to rest on? It's a relatively inexpensive part to update too unless you're hooked on the 600 USD Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror…

Heaps can be done to change things up and bring a sense of new to clapped-out bikes. Proper maintenance and preparation can add peace of mind on the trail, but replacing wear items is a relatively easy win as well. Certain items aren't as straightforward to source as they once were, but some clever thinking and flexibility can achieve similar or even better performance. If all else fails, there's always a fresh coat of 'new bike in a can' to reinvigorate your relationship.

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Comments

velocipedestrian
+8 JT AJ Barlas JVP Beau Miller Pete Roggeman bushtrucker Nologo Lynx .
Velocipedestrian  - April 27, 2021, 3:11 a.m.

Damn straight. I keep bikes longer than most, but I keep them running nicely, and enjoy messing around with setup to change the feel too.

Swapping out for a higher rise bar, - 2° headset and a longer dropper added a lot of spice for the price for me.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+3 Beau Miller Pete Roggeman bushtrucker
AJ Barlas  - April 27, 2021, 6:45 a.m.

Nice. Messing about with head angles is a great one for sure. A quick and effective way to change handling for relatively little investment. What did you slide that into?

Reply

velocipedestrian
+2 AJ Barlas Lynx .
Velocipedestrian  - April 27, 2021, 4:34 p.m.

Banshee Spitfire v2. I also swapped the 26" dropouts for the 27" ones (+10mm stays) and the thing practically feels modern! Tiny wheels and massive front axle notwithstanding.

Reply

Lynx
+2 Velocipedestrian ak_kwlsk
Lynx .  - May 1, 2021, 4:35 p.m.

I've still have my pre-production Banshee Prime from 2012 and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, I mean it's definitely a tank, but other than the about 34.7lbs build weight, it's great. I've even managed to retrofit the newer proper production V1 rear tri and drop outs on it, so I can run 135/142,148 or 150 hubs. 

The PP Primes all had 1.5" straight steerer tubes, so down the road if I wanted, I could easily stick in an angleset if I found the 67* HTA not slack enough. Has proper clearance for 29x2.8" tyres with the 650B drop outs (+10mm) and still plenty clearance for 2.5" with the regulardrop outs if I wanted a shorter rear end. So I can completely change how the bike rides and feels just by swapping from say my "XC" i29 wheelset with 2.3" tyres to the "Trail" i35s with 2.6" tyres and flipping the chips in the drop outs.

Reply

velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - May 2, 2021, 3:20 p.m.

I recommend the headset swap. Spitfire went from 66° to 64° and there's nothing I don't prefer about the change.

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ak_kwlsk
0
ak_kwlsk  - May 11, 2021, 1:11 a.m.

Production Prime V1 here. I have the long version, 150mm dropouts, -2° slackerizer headset and 160mm Yari with newest Debonair installed. Also running 2.6/2.5 rubber on 30mm id rims. 

All this made this bike super stable, stiff and very capable (also a little bit of a tank ;) ) 

No plans of replacing it in the nearest future!

Reply

JVP
+3 Beau Miller AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman
JVP  - April 27, 2021, 10:51 a.m.

I'm on the same train. I replace tires more often than most people, service my pivots, lowers, and dampers a lot more often, use a torque wrench and plenty of anti-seize/loctite/grease, and ride other parts for years and years. To be fair, I'm a parts killer, so a lot of my stuff isn't truly old, but I run a lot of it till it dies.

I used to also keep forks for years, but now sell after a year so they always have warranty coverage. Too many CSUs. Most other bike parts have gotten wickedly durable, so bring on the trail dual crowns!

Hey Manitou, a DC Mezzer would be sweet! You did it back in the day with Sherman/Travis, do it again! It's really the last piece in the durability puzzle.

Reply

hongeorge
+2 lkubica Pete Roggeman
hongeorge  - April 27, 2021, 3:20 a.m.

Easy to love (and keep) a raw G1

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Cr4w
AJ Barlas  - April 27, 2021, 6:46 a.m.

Haha. True. Whenever it gets stale (which admittedly isn’t often but each to their own) it’s time to switch up the mutators. So many options!

Reply

Hollytron
+1 Andrew Major
Hollytron  - April 27, 2021, 9:16 a.m.

I wish my kona could change chain stay length.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 AJ Barlas Beau Miller IslandLife
Andrew Major  - April 27, 2021, 9:53 a.m.

Process 153? May be worth asking your local Kona dealer if a Process X chainstay assembly is compatible.

Reply

fartymarty
+3 Beau Miller Pete Roggeman Lu Kz
fartymarty  - April 27, 2021, 4:18 a.m.

When I read " If all else fails, there's always a fresh coat of 'new bike in a can' to reinvigorate your relationship." I though you meant breaking out the rattle can and giving your bike a fresh coat of paint...

I just finished re-spraying my youngest new hand-me-down bike and was thinking of doing my bike.  Worst case if it looks crap then you get it professionally re-sprayed.  It also gives you the chance to rebuild your bike and sort out all the little problems.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Beau Miller
AJ Barlas  - April 27, 2021, 6:48 a.m.

That too! New bike in a can tickles the fresh bike senses for a few rides but a repaint goes the full distance. It’s heaps of work but he result of something that looks totally different is great. What colour are you leaning towards if you do go for it, Marty?

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - April 27, 2021, 11:37 p.m.

My Murmur is 2 years old now so getting g a little scuffed.  It's BRG so was going to stay with something similar maybe a dark metallic green with a black rear triangle.  Also tempted to strip a few parts back to raw aluminium as my cranks are very beat up.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 28, 2021, 6:57 a.m.

That’s sounding unreal! Be sure to share some pics if you do it.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - April 28, 2021, 11:59 a.m.

Fingers xed it turns out as well as I hope.  Its more a long term project as I don't mind a scruffy beaten up looking bike if it's mechanically working well.

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Jotegir
0
Lu Kz  - April 28, 2021, 10:14 a.m.

If you take your time I'm sure you can get a result that you're satisfied with!

After doing a bunch of test pieces I've just got the primer on a 2015 Slash 9.8 that's going from tennis ball yellow/carbony colour to a metallic abyss purple main colour and a lemon to lime fade on handlebars, hubs, decals and highlights. Gonna be mint!

PS - it only took me two years of practice on and off to get to the point where I'm ready to go for the real thing. Good luck!

Reply

Jotegir
0
Lu Kz  - April 28, 2021, 10:14 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

jt
+2 Beau Miller Pete Roggeman
JT  - April 27, 2021, 6:08 a.m.

Damn straight to all of this. I tend to keep a bike longer than the standards it was built to (looking at you 15x100), which in the past made owning and updating as necessary an easy and economical process. But hooooboy did C19 mess up stocks and pricing of older components. I've had to go off brand on some small parts and headed things off at the pass early on in the pandemic and purchased shop file boxes of brake and derailleur cables and housing. Excessive? For sure. Regretted? Not a bit, not with most local shops running 2+ weeks out without taking into consideration getting parts. Being able to handle all aspects of maintenance is a hold over from my shop and industry days, and admittedly gave an excuse to the spousal unit to indulge in a mess of tools that no, I don't need em now, but yes I will need em in the future.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Beau Miller
AJ Barlas  - April 27, 2021, 6:57 a.m.

Well played JT! There’s nothing wrong with being prepared, hey? I reckon major parts stayed in use for longer before all of the hub spacing changes a while back now. Back then, I purchased a set of nice custom wheels with hubs that I planned to lace to new rims for years to come, only to have most bikes switch to a different standard within the next year or two. I also never saw the point of 15x100 and remember chatting to a wrench from a big brand about how unnecessary it was. Now all trail bikes are on it… Bikes are so good though today and heaps has improved since then, so I let it slide but I wouldn’t be opposed to running a 20mm front axle. My dirt jumper still does too!

Reply

velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - April 28, 2021, 11:25 p.m.

"looking at you, 15x100." I'm finally starting to get a few boost parts in the house, but everything else is still 20mm. It's nice to skip a standard, but an indictment on the industry that I'm still happily using the one older than the recently obsolete axle.

Reply

Straw
+3 Beau Miller jaydubmah Pete Roggeman
Straw  - April 27, 2021, 8:23 a.m.

Thanks for the piece.  I remember reading Mountain Bike Action in 1996ish and all their gear reviews, and they made me feel bad about not being able to afford new gear.  So I stopped reading that magazine (at the time it seemed more gear-heavy, others like Bike iirc were less) and my relationship with new gear improved.  I'm sure the marketing web is spun way tighter and is much more sticky these days, and much harder to escape!

Reply

craw
+5 Saidrick mnihiser mrbrett Mammal Adrian White
Cr4w  - April 27, 2021, 11:19 a.m.

I miss Bike.

Reply

LWK
+5 MuscogeeMasher AJ Barlas Cr4w Pete Roggeman bushtrucker
LWK  - April 27, 2021, 8:36 a.m.

big yes to better bike maintenance and I've committed to improving my game here.  And the free, and truly liberating, option is to focus on bike riding rather than bike buying.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 27, 2021, 11:12 a.m.

Ride that bike!

Reply

papa44
+2 Andrew Major Cr4w
papa44  - April 27, 2021, 8:39 a.m.

I think the purchase that made the biggest difference to my riding was a correct size sqlab saddle, a decision born from an old article on here somewhere. I now bore everyone to tears on the trail describing how to measure your sit bones. Honestly, measure your sit bones and order the correct size sqlabs saddle it will change your life/perineum

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 papa44
AJ Barlas  - April 27, 2021, 11:13 a.m.

It's a massive help to know your dims, for sure. It helps heaps with finding a comfortable seat but it still requires some trial and error until that special unicorn is found.

Reply

craw
+3 JVP papa44 AJ Barlas
Cr4w  - April 27, 2021, 11:21 a.m.

It's quite eye opening isn't it! Once I measured myself and did a little research to discover that 99% of saddle manufacturers make their saddles the same length/width it all became clear. God forbid you start questioning why every bar manufacturer (but, of course, SQLab) offers one combination of backsweep/upsweep. Bike and bike part manufacturers are really myopic when it comes to fit. Making a range of fits to suit a range of people would be awful work I'm sure.

Reply

Hollytron
0
Hollytron  - April 27, 2021, 9:23 a.m.

My problem is that sometimes I get to ride something different and for some reason I always get pumped on the handling of a different bike. Im like that deadmilkmen song "you'll dance to anything" with a new to me bike and then my current rig just feels boring. I guess thats not really a problem but a quirk.

Reply

craw
+4 Andrew Major AJ Barlas mrbrett jaydubmah
Cr4w  - April 27, 2021, 9:45 a.m.

This year was a great reminder that it's always worth spending a little more to get the bike you really want - that always turns out cheaper than realizing you're disappointed and flipping it and buying else. Especially now that there's nothing else to buy.

Reply

hotlapz
+2 AJ Barlas Cr4w
hotlapz  - April 27, 2021, 10:59 a.m.

For a long time I thought about getting a Secus or a Luftkappe. Then after 500km I got my lowers serviced at Steed and the new performance was enlightening. For the last couple weeks, I've been running 2 PSI less with one extra click of LSC and all my gripes about the FOX 36 grip2 are gone.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 27, 2021, 11:16 a.m.

A freshen-up goes a long way! Stoked you had it done and maybe now you'll be keener to get it done a bit more regularly. ;)

Reply

Saidrick
0
Saidrick  - April 27, 2021, 11:31 a.m.

I agree with everything in this article, just had my local bike shop do 90% of the recommendations,  and my newly serviced bike is running like a champ!  Also, the pandemic parts shortage “made” me try a longer dropper post and it seems to be working better even better than before. 

P.s. Having extra back-up shocks for the factory service rebuild 2 month wait is key.

Reply

bushtrucker
0
bushtrucker  - April 27, 2021, 3:02 p.m.

Real into this attitude. It's amazing how much difference a proper service makes to the feel of a bike. Another option to mix things up (and save of expensive drivetrain parts) is to go single speed. Old familiar trails will be a total challenge again and your fitness and technique will improved so much.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 28, 2021, 7 a.m.

I feel my already busted meniscus grinding away at the thought of this. Haha

Reply

Fahzure
+1 Cr4w
Fahzure  - April 27, 2021, 4:43 p.m.

Easy for us G1 owners to say.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 28, 2021, 7:01 a.m.

Lol. All the adjustments!

Reply

B_Badonde
0
Harry Barnard  - April 28, 2021, 3:12 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

B_Badonde
+1 Pete Roggeman
Harry Barnard  - April 28, 2021, 3:12 a.m.

Totally with you on this. I've had the same Devinci Troy frame which I bought new in 2016. Over time I chucked in a cane creek shock, coil sprung Pikes and a few bits and pieces here and there. I recently had the opportunity to buy a new bike but, having test ridden it, couldn't see how it was worth the money over my existing bike which I've put so much into getting set up just the way that I like. I think we're reaching the top of the S-curve for mountain bikes - designers are searching for that last 5% now but I doubt we'll see any huge innovations in 5-10 years time in comparison to the last 10.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 28, 2021, 7:03 a.m.

It’s an interesting thought for sure. Very interested to see how the next 5 years plays out. I’m guessing the largest technological gains will come in/from the eMTB side. Som of that may trickle over (it already has been) but how much more will?

Reply

stinhambo
+1 Pete Roggeman
Steven Hambleton  - April 28, 2021, 7:57 a.m.

I went from DHF/DHR2 to Rekons front and back. That really changed the bike!

Reply

Mongo.No.5
+3 Mark grcgrc Velocipedestrian
Matt Verrier  - April 28, 2021, 9:58 a.m.

All well and good until you can't buy the spares you need because bike media and manufactures are pushing new stuff with the aim of making ever increasing amounts of wonga.  I've been riding a 2012 meta sx 26" until I sold it yesterday.  I had one set of bushes for a 2011 lyrik, and spare parts which are like gold dust now after that you can only buy 27.5 forks.  Commencal with a finite and diminishing supply of frame parts so you simply cannot keep a bike that long if you plan to ride hard.  I had planned to convert it to the piggy back rear end and buy a new fork but once you calculate the cost it makes more sense to buy a new bike.  Which I have done.

This like most industries are crafted so you must buy new shit at some point sooner rather than later.

I think manufacturers should be held accountable for this since they are asking for motorbike money for a push bike.  You can buy parts for say a 30 year old motorbike but in the bike industry they stop after 5 if your lucky.  Fucking rockshox don't even sell parts for your charger damper, if that breaks you buy a new one.  They don't sell bushings any more, those fuckers wear out if you actually ride your bike, and they claim they are for life, of two years? After that new lowers at 250 a go as opposed to 40 for a set of bushes. 

Love the bike you already have, would love to, but you can't!

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syncro
0
Mark  - April 28, 2021, 2:18 p.m.

This is one of my biggest gripes with bike/parts mfgr's - lack of availability for service parts and sky-hi prices. The one notable exception IME has been Suntour.

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Jotegir
+3 Dogl0rd AJ Barlas Lynx .
Lu Kz  - April 28, 2021, 10:09 a.m.

I gotta say, even without a custom tune the first time you get your year or two old suspension completely overhauled is when it will feel the best in its entire life. Better than the stuff that comes on new bikes. For one, forks habitually ship with desert dry dust wipers and o-rings, but it's more than that. Maybe something about the bushings being just a little worn in? All the slidy-bits slide a little better? Whatever it is, it's one of the biggest "upgrades" to any bike over like $1500 you can do. Adding a custom tune is just icing on the cake, even if you aren't shelling out for some fancy internals.

PS - I'm a huge fan of the MSRP $99 Vittoria tires that came on my Optic. So much so that I've ordered a bunch more for other bikes when the rollers on them wear out. Not sure how they fair on the shore (we are 99% dry AF in the interior) but I'd give them a shot because the price is right.

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bigbrett
0
bigbrett  - April 29, 2021, 8:59 a.m.

AJ, how are you fixing your OneUp pump to the G1 these days? Any strap/spacer/location combo you have found to be the best?

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - April 29, 2021, 11:01 a.m.

I'm still using the same placement and straps that I spoke about in my every ride carry piece. The setup in the title shot here was before that and not the best tbh.

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ChazzMichaelMichaels
0
ChazzMichaelMichaels  - April 29, 2021, 12:09 p.m.

I'll say another thing. Have a full service done. I bleed my own brakes, can drop lowers, change bearings etc, but I travel for work so much that recently I took it into the shop and said full service please, check everything.

I was astonished how quiet and smooth it came back. I had to look at the invoice to see what was done. I suspect, clean everything and regrease goes a long long way. New dropper and shifter cables and housings which were cut just perfectly to length. I'll certainly being getting it done every year now.

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xy9ine
+2 AJ Barlas Velocipedestrian
Perry Schebel  - April 29, 2021, 6:24 p.m.

as someone that tends to keep his bikes for a long time & ride them into the ground, this is great content. i'm a hardcore gear nerd, but also very cognizant of the negative impacts of rampant consumerism / unfettered consumption. keeping these opposing forces in check can be a challenge, and that's where periodic refreshes come into play - reigniting that passion for the current ride rather than falling for the latest shiny new thing. and it doesn't usually take much; a bit of maintenance, new rubber, freshening up the contact points, rattlecanning the frame fluorescent rainbow colors... 

i find that the longer i own something, the more i grow an affinity for it. it develops a patina of wear & tear / shared experiences, and inevitably some funky tweaks & modifications that give it a unique character. rat bikes are rad.

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grcgrc
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grcgrc  - April 29, 2021, 9:48 p.m.

New bars are a wonderful upgrade to a bike. My last bike came with 35 mm handlebars & they left my shoulders & arms sore after easy rides. A set of SQLabs 31.8mm in a 12º bend were much more comfortable. I no longer felt like my body had been connected to a jack-hammer for three hours. This christmas I splurged & gave my ride a set of Stooge bars. So nice. The increased sweep combined with a few more mm of rise make these the nicest bars I have used.

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Endur-Bro
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Endur-Bro  - April 29, 2021, 10:32 p.m.

Article penned by an author who is riding one of the most progressive and adjustable frames out there 😂. 

:p

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