SR Suntour Edge  NSMB AndrewM.JPG
EDITORIAL

My Yeti SB104 - Sheared Pedal Pins & Terrified Grins

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Nov 22, 2021
Reading time

Dreaming Before Brunch

Long, long before Intense blenderized the Tazer name, it was a badge worn by the sweetest short-travel slalom & 4X bike ever produced. It combined the aggressive lines and manners of the famous monocoque M1 DH-bikes with a Horst Link suspension configuration. It was worthy of lust even for the masses of riders who would never want something so purpose-built and the few folks I know who owned one still wax poetic about them today.

And, if my Yeti SB104 Before Brunch Ride (BBR) seems like a ridiculous hodgepodge of ideas then let me begin by saying that it was that lust for a past bicycle experience that pushed me to undertake this project. I think of it as a happy failure. It was an experience that was at times terrifying for me and hilarious for my compatriots. I smashed the sh*t out of a 28t bashring that was missing more aluminum after a week than years of prior use. I trashed my favorite OneUp Composite pedals. I laughed a lot and screamed a little.

Factory Jackson Intense Tazer 2003.jpg

The best image of a 2003 Tazer I could find was from Darren Tapp's modern makeover on Factory Jackson. It has updates like a clutch derailleur and narrow-wide ring but it still looks badass. (Photo: Factory Jackson)

SR Suntour Edge  NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Firmer is faster. Around 100mm rear travel, 120mm front, mullet wheel setup, and a 305mm static BB. The Slack front end was a nod to where I actually planned to ride the thing.

The SB104 BBR started life as a used Yeti SB130 frame that I borrowed from the shop I was turning wrenches at. The goal was to build an aggressive, low-slung, short travel 4X-style bike for riding North Shore trails. I had just come off of testing the Banshee Titan as a mullet and I wanted to get the same experience out of a bike with 4-5" of travel.

The project started with the high-functioning, budget-friendly SR Suntour Edge shock I was testing. The 190x40mm short reduced eye-to-eye which slacked out the head tube angle (HTA), lowered the bottom bracket, and decreased the rear travel to somewhere around 100mm. Yes, the 104mm moniker is pulled straight out of my ass and absolutely mocking companies that list hilarious travel numbers like 134mm or 167mm in their bike model names.

Throw on the SR Suntour Durolux EQ off the front of my hardtail, dropped to 120mm, the mullet rear wheel I was running on Titan, and an IS Slack-R Angelset (-1.5°) from 9Point8 and Yeti got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low. It was necessary to run a micro-drive setup with a 28t ring up front and a bashring just to make climbing possible and I routinely scraped the pedals any time there was a technical element on climbs. That's running less than 20% sag but then the bottom bracket height was a CM lower than my hardtail at 305mm, static.

Yeti SB104BBR Drivetrain NSMB AndrewM.JPG

The 104BCD Blackspire Granny God mini-bashring took a beating as did my poor OneUp pedals. Chunks of aluminum and multiple pins missing after the first ride.

Yeti SB104BBR Drivetrain NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Does the future have fewer gears? What about more mullets? The Before Brunch Ride had both with the custom 13-36t 8-speed block in the black and a 27" wheel.

My first ride was dizzying deliria and a definitive example of why you never jump on Oprah's couch before taking a second sober look. I cruised up a semi-smooth single track that I know too well and then flew down an equally unobtrusive downhill jetting through corners while 'Danger Zone' played in my head.

Truthfully, it set the tone for my entire experiment. Whether trails were smooth, or technical, I could rocket down them with a big smile on my face, for most of the run, as long as my trail knowledge was at the intimate level. While the low-low bottom bracket became more of an issue on trails I was riding blind, I would somehow get down them relatively unscathed. A combination of having my brain fully engaged and running at slower speeds.

Where the SB104 was truly a fright was on any trail that I was only mostly familiar with. For example, a rock roll at Woodlot where I thought I knew the line and then clipped my bottom bracket on a hump at the mid-point and careened down with my mulleted tire wedged between my cheeks while my brother laughed at me. Actually, I was laughed at a lot riding the SB104, even on trails I know well. I think it's the only time my friend Toucan has ridden Pangor where he almost died laughing instead of from his own bike handling.

9point8 SlackR Angelset NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

The 9Point8 Slack-R system is a nifty way to add an angleset function to an integrated standard (IS) headset that uses drop-in bearings.

9point8 SlackR Angelset NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

The install wasn't totally faff-free but it's straight forward and once I had everything snugged down there were no issues whatsoever.

It didn't take many rides to realize I was going to get hurt on the SB104 but if I lived somewhere that the trails are significantly smoother it would have been the jump point for a galaxy of exploration. The bike was slack enough in the HTA that running a 29'er rear wheel would have bumped up the bottom bracket, provided a 29'er cleared at the bottom out - I never investigated. Likewise, a slightly longer eye-to-eye shock and a 130mm air shaft in the Durolux may have just taken me over the line from terrifying to terrific.

Yeti's warranty states "FRAME LIFETIME WARRANTY. No Fine Print. No BS." But, if you've gotten a bit bored with your SB130 and you figure a Before Brunch Ride is exactly what you need in your life, I'll note that short stroking and short shocking the frame is probably not included. At least confirm before ordering a shock, lowering your fork, and slapping in an angleset. As much as I love mullets, I'd probably leave the smaller wheel off the list for your reborn carbon rat rod. That said, warranty aside, the SB104 will put a smile on your face and if you need a modern 29'er 4X bike in your life it's a place to start.

SR Suntour Edge NSMB AndrewM.JPG

The SR Suntour Edge rear shock brings high quality manufacturing and solid performance to a 350 CAD | 280 USD price point.

SR Suntour Edge  NSMB AndrewM.JPG

It was slack, it was low, and the pedaling position worked well with a 180mm OneUp with my saddle slammed forward.

Rat Rods

There was plenty more I could have done to make the SB104 more all-around rideable but that wasn't really the point. I'd created the rocket ship of my daydreams (daymares?), using a borrowed frame and a collection of parts I already had access to, and I'm much happier for the experience. Like my single-speeded Marin Rifty, it's a project I felt compelled to investigate with the upfront knowledge that the end product probably wasn't going to be a long-term ride or have any influence on bicycle spec and design.

Armed with space, time, and a budget, my hobby would be perusing the buy-and-sell looking for interesting used bike projects. Not as a collector looking to restore anything to its past glory but rather, like all those folks who flipped the links on their Giant Faiths to make them decent DH bikes, trying to creatively turn them into something different. Bikes are adult Lego, and like all Lego, the real fun starts when you put the instructions away. Well, except that your bicycle is much more likely to slaughter you than your Lego collection.

Marin Rift Zone SS AndrewM

My Marin Rift Zone single-speed is another beautiful failure in bicycle experimenting. There was simply too much monkey motion climbing.

FSA Afterburner Crank NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

If I owned a DH/Park bike it would be #1FG for certain. The trail bike Rifty experience involved a bit too much suffering though.

There are some machines from deep in the past and the nearly present, that sweat Rat Rod potential from every orifice - press-in or threaded. Admittedly it would be a constant battle of axle standards, hub widths, and wheels sizes to really play with these projects but that doesn't stop my mind wandering. I can't see a 2014-2017 Kona Process 153 or 134, with their bigass bearings beautifully shielded, and not wonder what sort of mullets they'd make with a -2° Angleset and a 1cm reduction in fork travel. The 134 Supreme I reviewed in 2015 seems like a lifetime ago now with a sweet aluminum frame, XX1 build, and Hope hubs for 6000 CAD | 5500 USD. I can't help but wish it was hidden away at NSMB HQ.

When you know what you're looking for, this is simply an extension of Buying The Bike You Already Own. It's just someone else's used rig. I always have my ears open but as we all know, the used market has been insane the last couple of years with roached rigs selling, sans warranty support, for monies approaching new bike pricing. Case in point, buying a used carbon SB130 to investigate the 104BBR concept wouldn't have been prudent.

RaceFace Emotional Support Layers NSMB AndrewM (20).JPG

Do I look tight or terrified? The SB104 mullet was ridiculous fun anytime it wasn't straight up ridiculous.

It isn't about restoring a classic or keeping a solid rig running well past trendy, though I think those are both excellent pursuits. I'm talking about the desire to mullet, angleset, over-fork, big brake, single-speed, fewer-gear, and generally experiment with making new or old rigs a bit, or a lot, different than the manufacturer intended. I imagine most of the time the end result will be a mixed bag like the Before Brunch Ride but then my angleset equipped, mulleted, edition of the Banshee Titan was the most fun I've had on a long-travel trail bike, so the potential exists to eke out additional excellence.

In a world where $10,000 superbikes seem normal, and often not all that super, I'm hoping to see a lot more handy riders' takes on making older rigs interesting. I'll be certain to share my ideas, and real projects when the stars align, and I'm keen to see yours.

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Comments

BenHD
+9 DarioD Pete Roggeman Andrew Major kcy4130 mrbrett Cr4w Robby Tremeer023 Zero-cool
BenHD  - Nov. 21, 2021, 10:21 p.m.

What a stupid project. I love it!

Reply

fartymarty
+2 Tjaard Breeuwer Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Nov. 21, 2021, 10:45 p.m.

This has just convinced me to slap that -2 in my short travel Murmur when I finally get around to doing it.

We need more of this rather than playing it safe and tweaking fractions of a degree and a few millimetres that were are being served up with.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Nov. 21, 2021, 11:08 p.m.

Headset - Totally do it. Works makes a great -2°. I have the new Wolf Tooth -2° and it's, unsurprisingly, a really nice piece. Worst case, it's a small investment to try something different compared to flipping rigs.

Geo - If we're talking about fresh rigs then sure. Custom metal is still beyond relevant for a reason. 

Geo #2 - Sometimes it's not about what's ideal as much as what works using what you already have (or can afford). If I was sketching up a 6" bike the geo wouldn't look like a 2014-2017 Kona Process 134/153, even with a -2° headset. If I was trying to win an argument about how amazing an older bike can be made to be I'd turn either of those into a mullet, angleset it, get the suspension serviced, upgrade the brakes and I'd have a machine that I think could run with anything on the market in the trail (134) or enduro (153) category. At least with a rider my level riding it.

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Nov. 22, 2021, 1:30 a.m.

I have a -2 Superstar HS in my Krampus that I can transfer to the Murmur.  I also have a -2 Works that goes with my rigid Krampus forks (straight 1 1/8").  I'll also swap the Pike off the K and lengthen to 140mm from 120mm.  Maybe the Öhlins m2 will get a 140mm air cartridge if it all works out well.  I could almost run 120 /140 and crank up the air pressure in the rear can to make it feel like short travel frame.  

There are lots of options, it's finding something that I can live with and are worth exploring further.  I like the idea of a 140/120 bike that can go everywhere.

Edit - The Franken-Murmur - 120f 140r - normal HS (the -2 doesn't fit with the steerer), 70mm rise Ergotec bar.  Not ridden yet but hopefully tomorrow night (DIY has taken its toll on my riding atm).

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major
IslandLife  - Nov. 23, 2021, 8:34 a.m.

I just put a Works -2 in a used 2017 Norco Sight that I picked up for my wife.  Bike was ridden about 4 times, geo works well for her except for the stock 67 degree HA... it's now 65.  So now she has an essentially new bike with modern-ish geo, it's perfect!

I had a -1.5 in her previous bike and I have a -1.5 in my son's 2018 Marin Hawk Hill.

I have nothing but good things to say about those anglesets... works as intended without issue.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 IslandLife
Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2021, 1:40 p.m.

That’s awesome on so many fronts. Maybe most of all that bikes have matured so much that geo has changed that little really over five seasons.

Actually, scratch that. Most of all that mountain biking is a family affair.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 21, 2021, 11:02 p.m.

Ha; thank you! #NoBoringBikes

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Nov. 21, 2021, 10:40 p.m.

Andrew - what numbers did you end up with?

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AndrewMajor
+1 AndrewR
Andrew Major  - Nov. 21, 2021, 11:18 p.m.

Someone could probably math it out. It was plenty slack (HTA), just steep enough (STA), long enough (size Large SB130 is the size I'd ride stock as well), and too low (<13" BB). The 120mm Durolux has ~ the nominal A2C of a 130mm fork, the -1.5° headset adds around 1cm top and bottom, the mullet rear-wheel slacks things out a bit as does the shorter shock. 

This was a project for me (I only decided to write about it later) so looking at geometry beyond the holistic picture of how it rides wasn't really a priority. I'm only a geo nerd when I'm ordering a custom bike (someone is translating my idea to a geo chart) or when I'm trying to explain why I like/dislike a certain bike for an NSMB review.

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Nov. 22, 2021, 1:21 a.m.

Do you still have it built up? - if so you you could use an angle measurer on your phone and throw a tape over it.

Geo is interesting for me as a basis for comparison in the future.  You know how far is too far when looking at geo charts.

Out of interest if you could change it what would you do to get it perfect.

It it were my project I would run full 29, shorter cranks and a 70mm rise bar with lots of spacers to get the bars way up and definitely the -2. I like the idea of a skack 120/100.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 6:19 a.m.

Returned the (borrowed) frame ages ago. 

I would have steepened the STA a bit so I’d have some fore-aft saddle adjustment and raised the BB 1/2”. After I rode it like that I’d probably want an extra 10-15mm of chainstay length even though that would be off mission. 

The standing attack position was awesome.

——

5mm or even 10mm shorter cranks weren’t going to save me. I prefer 175mm and don’t see any reason to switch. Descending was good but I found pedaling shorter cranks less comfortable.

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Nov. 22, 2021, 11:04 a.m.

Ah, shame, would have been some interesting numbers to jot down.

I'm a #175forlife crank guy - I need all the leverage I can get running 11-42.

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AndrewMajor
+1 colemaneddie
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 11:57 a.m.

I don’t know if it’s leverage, though I do find longer cranks are better for traction control on the SS, as much as 175mm just being what works for me anatomically. I’ve tried shorter but it didn’t work great for me.

cooperquinn
+4 Pete Roggeman DanL Cr4w Timer
Cooper Quinn  - Nov. 22, 2021, 9:16 a.m.

You set out to build something that's... low, short travel, efficient, slack, reasonably light, yet still capable... 

If only someone had a region specific term for the type of riding this bike would be good at.

Reply

xy9ine
+2 Dave Smith Andrew Major
Perry Schebel  - Nov. 22, 2021, 10:02 a.m.

stop right there sir.

i once short shocked my PDC abomination trail-esque bike; was running a bb at about 12" even (with around 6" travel) & silly slack. to say pedal awareness was important was an understatement. was fun in (smooth) corners tho. said experiment was short-lived.

Reply

DaveSmith
+1 Andrew Major
Dave Smith  - Nov. 22, 2021, 10:52 a.m.

the iterations of said PDC could fill a post for this website.

Reply

xy9ine
+4 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major Cr4w kcy4130
Perry Schebel  - Nov. 22, 2021, 11:02 a.m.

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 Andrew Major Cr4w
Cooper Quinn  - Nov. 22, 2021, 11:48 a.m.

Makes this Yeti look practically stock.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 12:02 p.m.

I’d love to see the double post make a come back but as a dropper. Gotta get that 80-degree STA.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Cooper Quinn
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 12:01 p.m.

CPR QNN, do you mean something like Squamduro or All-Whistler bikes? Maybe a nice Cross Coquitlam rig?

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 Andrew Major
Cooper Quinn  - Nov. 22, 2021, 2 p.m.

Valleycross is taken already.

Reply

DaveSmith
+1 AndrewR
Dave Smith  - Nov. 22, 2021, 9:43 a.m.

That looks like a super fun bike.

I rode a Brodie Nemesis(not so good) and a SC Blur 4x(very good) for a few seasons in the yesteryear of the Shore as my primary trail bike and was super fun and a very capable mini-sled. 

Longer, lower and slacker I'd be all over it if there was  production bike.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
+1 Andrew Major
AndrewR  - Nov. 22, 2021, 10:24 a.m.

My SC BlurTR was a fun bike and the main reason I stopped using 175 mm cranks (& will never go back to them) as when that VPP sagged mid hit it was pedal strike galore. Running a short travel bike with a low BB certainly improved my pedal timing and ratcheting skills!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 12:06 p.m.

What length have you settled on v. how tall are you (long legs?). I’ve tried shorter cranks for all the reasons they make sense but the 175 feels much more ergonomic. I tried 180mm too and the 175mm felt much better - but I’m only 5’9”

Reply

andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Nov. 23, 2021, 9:24 a.m.

I have stopped at 170 mm because it is almost impossible to get the better trail cranks in 165 mm (and no one chime about the fact that a certain brand that might begin with r makes them - I said better trail cranks).

For reference I used to run 177.5 mm or 180 mm cranks on a track bike so I appreciate the benefits of a longer crank where a ground strike is not going to launch me sideways off the track or over the bars.

But I am more of a spinner than a pusher of cranks as well.

6'2" tall, 33" inseam. Cleats almost all the way to the rear of the tracks (maybe 9 mm forward), definitely between ball of foot and front of arch of the foot. I am a toe in - heel out kind of rider (it helps engage the vastus lateralis as we are naturally really good at engaging the vastus medialis). No knee pain including in the twice reconstructed left knee.

As a fer instance I have the 2020 Optic (XL), as my 'little' bike and love the way it rides but the natural fit on my 2020 Sight (XL) is better due to that design team's commitment to the steeper seat tube.  

One can only achieve so much 'fit' variance by slamming seat rails forward after all.

That said there is not a lot that cannot be ridden (albeit perhaps a little slower and with less 'safety' margin) on the Optic, and similar 'short travel' bikes and it is certainly enough bike for 90% of riders on 90% of trails. 

However Norco created the Unicorn with the 2020 Sight so it is a hard act to follow/ compare to for other bikes but most trails do not 'need' at 150/170 mm bike.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2021, 1:42 p.m.

Canfield makes down to 150mm. SRAM 3-bolt, nice manufacturing. No excuse but to go down another 20mm! (Hahahahaha)

Reply

andrewbikeguide
+2 Tjaard Breeuwer Andrew Major
AndrewR  - Nov. 23, 2021, 3:20 p.m.

Canfield do make nice stuff.

I have been aware of the crank - power - efficiency studies for quite some time as I am quite interested in bike fit and ergonomics as part of being a guide/ coach.

I am actually planning on going crazy and treating myself to a set of these:

https://www.ignitecomponents.com/product-page/mtn-cranks-pre-order

Probably 165 mm and hopefully for SRAM DM so I can continue to run my Wolftooth CAMO and Stainless chain ring set up. The question is cerakote or ano purple?

If one is going to be different it might as well be really different.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2021, 6:03 p.m.

The Ignite's are lovely. Has to be anodized purple?! Actually, the same as with any premium purchase I'd recommend going Silver. Run a purple ring - and then whatever colour next after that dies - but the silver arms will look good forever. 

If I was replacing my years old, and abused, Turbine R cranks I'd love to have the budget for the CaneCreek EE-Wings.

AndrewMajor
+2 AndrewR Dave Smith
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 12:05 p.m.

I don’t know a single person who owned a Blur 4x who doesn’t have really positive memories of the experience. And I know a fair few folks who had one. If for no other reason, it’s a bike worthy of remembering for that alone.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
+1 Andrew Major
AndrewR  - Nov. 23, 2021, 9:25 a.m.

The Blur TR sale was a dilemma. I wanted to keep it for nostalgia and the sheer giggle factor but I also knew it was going to get ridden less and less and I wanted someone else to get enjoyment from riding it.

Reply

DaveSmith
+1 Andrew Major
Dave Smith  - Nov. 23, 2021, 12:16 p.m.

It was a great bike. The lasting legacy of that bike for me is that I always look for a certain fit and feel as a result from all my subsequent trail bikes.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2021, 1:44 p.m.

That’s interesting. Do you find you can translate what you’re looking for into a bike with current geo and bigger wheels?

My current best-fitting bike is very different (way longer reach, way slacker, way longer wheelbase, way longer stays) from the bike I loved the fit of 15yrs ago so I’m curious.

Reply

DaveSmith
+1 Andrew Major
Dave Smith  - Nov. 23, 2021, 5:37 p.m.

There's a certain fit/feel that I want in the reach and there's a playfulness that I tend to look for, regardless of wheel size and the blur had that in every way.

Reply

samnation
+2 Andrew Major Tremeer023
samnation  - Nov. 22, 2021, 10:13 a.m.

As someone who owned a Kona Howler, Brodie Nemesis, Blur 4x, Blur TR, then made my own Blur 4x out of an LT after they stopped making it, I sympathize with the overforked, slackened, low, and slack short travel bikes. I am currently eyeing up an old "Killer B" Norco Sight frame sitting in the back of a friends garage.

Reply

Tremeer023
+1 Andrew Major
Tremeer023  - Nov. 22, 2021, 1:06 p.m.

Kona Howler was ahead of it's time.  Of all the suss frames I've owned, that one holds fond memories.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 samnation
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 9:44 p.m.

Did you have one new in 2006-2007 era or did you buy it used later on?

Reply

samnation
+2 Andrew Major Tremeer023
samnation  - Nov. 22, 2021, 10:19 p.m.

Bought an 06 Howler in 2012, the only reason I moved on from it was the 30.0 seatpost, I couldn't find a dropper post. I stripped the paint off so people would stop asking when I was going to buy a new bike, they just asked me what bike it was. I remember when I bought it people thought I was crazy because it wouldn't take a front derailleur... Oh how times have changed!

The howler, Cowan Ds, Norco xxxx, intense tazer, blur 4x, yeti 4x, and transition double were all ahead of their time. They were down country bikes when xc bikes were twitchy things loaded with gears when the point was to seemly have the least active suspension you possibly could and Enduro bikes were called freeride bikes and weighed 55 pounds!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 samnation
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 10:35 p.m.

Very much agree with you in regards too the bikes. Commencal’s Meta 4X deserves a mention too. 

Do have to call a foul on your unironic use of DC. They’re trail bikes. They were excellent, fun, trail bikes when XC bikes were terrifying and Freeride (Enduro) bikes were massive pigs.

Reply

samnation
+1 Andrew Major
samnation  - Nov. 22, 2021, 11:38 p.m.

Yes the Meta! I know I'm forgetting a bunch more the Morewood Ndiza ST as one. 

I'll take the foul on downcountry I was split on whether I would consider them downcountry or trail bikes I went with DC because most XC bikes still had 26" wheels and we were starting to see bikes like the Scott Ransom Carbon that was like 35 pounds and had 150mm or so of travel and claimed to be leading this new category of "All Mountain" bikes.

xy9ine
+2 Andrew Major AndrewR
Perry Schebel  - Nov. 23, 2021, 9:10 a.m.

adding another to the list of burly / aggressive short travel bikes ahead of their time - i had a nicolai DS (circa ~2005); 115mm rear, 150f; lots of geo adjustability via a plethora of shock mounts:  

Reply

andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Nov. 23, 2021, 3:22 p.m.

I am not sure which scares me more: the saddle angle or the head tube angle. Nice suspension though.

Tremeer023
+1 Andrew Major
Tremeer023  - Nov. 23, 2021, 4:49 a.m.

Howler was a second hand frame in near new condition.  I bought it around 2008/9, upgraded the shock which increased travel to around 114mm and stuck a 150mm fork on (RS Domain) to create a mini short-course DH / do everything bike.  Was very good for the time, and for my local woods.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2021, 6:08 p.m.

It's interesting because Kona's Honzo in 2011 (2012 model year) and Process111  in 2013 (2014 model year) are the first production trail bikes (sold that way) I can think of that were 1x specific. I wonder if the Howler had any influence on them.

Reply

rugbyred
+1 Andrew Major
Eric Van Sickle  - Nov. 22, 2021, 10:41 a.m.

Had a 2016 Transition Patrol that had a 170mm fork (160 was stock) and used a -2 deg angleset. 

The bike was a blast. Wished I never sold it. Currently waiting for 9.8 to release the SlackR for SpecEd Enduro. Would get a -2 and run the bike in the high setting. I think it would make an amazing bike even better (for me). 

Awesome project. Thanks for sharing.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 12:51 p.m.

The SlackR is one of my best of 2021 product experience. Any company that's trying to keep the bikes folks already own relevant (or relevant enough) and/or interesting is a winner in my books. 

Cheers!

Reply

just6979
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Justin White  - Nov. 22, 2021, 12:24 p.m.

"I'd probably leave the smaller wheel off the list for your reborn carbon rat rod."

I understand this build was build with what was on hand, but if you had the options, why not stick with the 27 rear wheal and use and original/proper length shock? Even if the actual full travel is longer than the fork, doesn't really matter if you stuff the shock full of spacers and compute the sag as if it was a shorter stroke. It'll be plenty firm and you'll probably never use full travel, but still get the decently low BB, good ass clearance, and fun from the smaller wheel, where the 29 rear with short shock only gets the low BB.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Justin White
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 12:42 p.m.

Fair point. Lots of ways to limit a shock stroke v. eye-to-eye. Look at that line from the top tube through the seat stays though. Mmmm. 

I could have done a lot more stuff with the SB104 but the key goals were met. Build a wicked slack-and-short-travel rig and ride it. Continue fueling folks' thinking about upgrading their bikes / the potential of used bikes.

Reply

just6979
+1 Andrew Major
Justin White  - Nov. 22, 2021, 2:46 p.m.

Oh yeah, I 100% get that this build is what it is, but just thinking about that recommendation for someone else's build.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Justin White
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 3:07 p.m.

Ah! That came out of talking to SB130 owners I know - all of whom are tall - not a one of whom was willing to consider mulleting their rig. 

I’ve seen mulleted SB130s but never one that was short forked as well. Hopefully lots of projects to see in the future!

Reply

Shoreloamer
0
Greg Bly  - Nov. 22, 2021, 1:35 p.m.

Has anyone else noticed slack HT angle feels very awkward at slow speeds? Like doing skinnies or slow teck?  Mind you I'm on smaller wheels .  I remember my 68 degree bike cruised on skinnes . Less chance of fork wobble caused by slow speed negotiating a narrow log.  Track stands and slow trials down hill I swear it's tougher to keep bike stable. Isn't slack for hi speed?  

It's possible that 29 inch wheels need slack .  Same angles as a DH race bike ? 

I'm confused. Or maybe I just suck at riding.

Oh 2003 I had a Giant Warp . 2 inch rear shock . 5 inches rear travel.  Marzochi  5 inch fork up front.  That was my only bike for years.  Rode every trail on the Shore . Loved that bike . Handled perfect . Feels perfect.  

Then some fu. Ker stole it. !  

Some of us  always enjoyed short travel Shore bikes.  

29 inch wheels . Long and slack.  No thanks.  

Not on slow double black teck trails.  

Yes to upgrades to vintage bikes !   Glad we have so much variety.

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AndrewMajor
+1 AndrewR
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 1:46 p.m.

It’s a totally different weight distribution. I rode the same logs and bridges on my steeper and shorter wheelbase bikes as I do now.

I find a slack headtube angle, combined with a short stem and long top tube work great for stability. 

A big difference for me has been going to a narrower bar. When I ran a steeper setup I found a wide-wide bar really helped with stability. Now I’m running 760mm usually and I’d go narrower before I’d go wider.

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cooperquinn
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Cooper Quinn  - Nov. 22, 2021, 2:01 p.m.

Also, trail matters. A lot. 

Not like, the singletrack. But the measurement on your bike.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 2:38 p.m.

I mean, if you’re building a custom rigid fork + frame then for sure, you can play with HTA and offset to get your ideal trail different ways.

But, assuming Greg is talking about hardtails with suspension forks, it’s not like there’s a huge variation of offsets on tap. In my experience going between stock suspension fork offsets (say between 44mm offset and 51mm offset) on the same bikes doesn’t make for a night-and-day difference to handling. Similar (slack) HTA I’ll choose a shorter offset when I need to run a shorter stem and vice versa - if it’s up to me. But adapting to either takes five minutes and certainly one isn’t going to make skinnies “very awkward at slow speed” compared to the other.

I actually think the relationship of stem length to trail is more important for bike handling. I’ve played with that a bunch.

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just6979
+1 Greg Bly
Justin White  - Nov. 22, 2021, 3:25 p.m.

It's a combo of slacker HTA, longer fork trail, and longer wheelbase (front center specifically, or rather front center to rear center ratio) changing the weight distribution that can make slow speed stuff feel awkward on modern bikes.

The slackness means more bar turn is needed for a given direction change, but then more trail means that bar movement also causes more counter-leaning force (wheel flop feeling?), and then less weight on the front wheel (relative to a shorter front-center and a neutral stance) giving a less direct feel of what the front wheel is doing and less immediate ability to drive the front wheel into the ground for traction.

Unless you ride mostly skinnies though, the trade-off of all that vs the stability at speed and larger window of forgiveness provided by longer and slacker is worth it everywhere else.

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mammal
+2 Andrew Major ackshunW
Mammal  - Nov. 23, 2021, 11:58 a.m.

I noticed a substantial change in very-slow speed stability after adding a -1.5 Angle Set to my 27.5 hardtail. The only time I notice it is either during a track stand (or close to it) or rounding a REALLY tight switchback. 150mm fork, fairly long top tube, and all components remained the same other than HS, with the head angle going from 65.5 to 64. It took some getting used to, for sure.

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velocipedestrian
+1 ackshunW
Velocipedestrian  - Nov. 23, 2021, 2:55 p.m.

Oh ya. Slack bikes are very hard to ride no hands.

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colemaneddie
+1 Andrew Major
colemaneddie  - Nov. 22, 2021, 4:53 p.m.

I think you gotta get some Canfield 155mm cranks and give it another go. It's just begging for them.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 9:46 p.m.

My daughter is riding Canfield 150mm cranks and I have to say if I was buying short-short cranks for myself they'd be high on my list. The quality of manufacturing and finish v. investment is really solid.

An additional advantage for her bike (which uses a 135mm rear spacing) is that a Boost ring puts the chainline into a non-Boost friendly position (use a Super Boost ring for regular Boost spacing). It's MUCH easier to find a quality Boost ring these days.

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ackshunW
+1 Andrew Major
ackshunW  - Nov. 22, 2021, 5:02 p.m.

Fun experiment, great idea for an article! From appearances though.... it looks even lower. My Megatrail in Gravity (stock without LEGO-ing) sits with a 12.7” static BB. I woulda figured after all your changes this one woulda been pushed to further extremes...!? 

That said, I haven’t yet found a trail to try out my bike in low mode... most of my riding is up down up down rolling, and the just OVER 13” stock static highs in high is plenty low for any of that!

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AndrewMajor
+1 ackshunW
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 9:48 p.m.

I'll have to dig up my photo with the tape. Now that you mention it 13" sounds much higher than it looks/feels and I wonder if that's a typo on my part and it's actually 12". Thanks for the prompt!

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AndrewMajor
+1 ackshunW
Andrew Major  - Nov. 27, 2021, 11:22 p.m.

HA, glad you called me on this. Couldn't find the photo but went back to my notes and it's 305mm static, or as my note said "It's 1cm lower than my hardtail - static!!!" That's right around 12" not 13".

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Vikb
+2 Andrew Major AndrewR
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 22, 2021, 5:39 p.m.

I like weird bikes. I cannot lie.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Velocipedestrian Vik Banerjee
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 9:50 p.m.

It's not that weird! HAHAHA.

Got another nice compliment on my Chromag today. "WOW! I didn't know Chromag made rigid forks. Great colour too, is that stock?"

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Vikb
+1 Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 23, 2021, 7:42 a.m.

Chromag just needs to get that bike into their production line up already. It can be one of the custom-ish high end models built locally to allow for lower demand. You've done all the proof of concept/guerilla marketing that a prototype needs!

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2021, 6:10 p.m.

I mean, they can't let Stooge have all the aggressive production rigid bike sales!

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oldmanbike
+1 Andrew Major
OldManBike  - Nov. 22, 2021, 5:57 p.m.

Sorry, the Golden Age is over, and the Fiercely Idiosyncratic Age has resumed.

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AndrewMajor
+1 OldManBike
Andrew Major  - Nov. 22, 2021, 9:51 p.m.

HA! That was very short-lived! I didn't even get a sticker.

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Fasta_Pasta
+1 Andrew Major
Scott Jamieson  - Nov. 23, 2021, 5:49 a.m.

Ah. Thought the 104 was a reference to the original Dirt Mag test track, aka the 1:04 (if memory serves, one Samuel Hill dominated it and held track record)...

https://youtu.be/jJS9KQ7sV8k

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2021, 1:48 p.m.

That’s funny, I totally get the reference now but never would have come up with it myself.

Nope, 104 is definitely taking the piss out of brands that list pedantic travel numbers.

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mayberex
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Mario S  - Nov. 23, 2021, 9:59 a.m.

why though? like its worse in every way

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AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2021, 1:47 p.m.

What’s worse in every way? The SB104BBR?

I’d argue quite the contrary having ridden both machines. I liked everything better about the 104 other than the low BB. It’s slacker, snappier. Super fun.

And even if it was worse in every way, the why is because it’s possible and interesting to experiment.

———

Actually, the fact you’re asking is kind of surprising. Welcome to NSMB!

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mayberex
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Mario S  - Nov. 29, 2021, 6:39 p.m.

fair enough, I am actually new here. 

the bike looks unridable to be with the BB that low,

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ChazzMichaelMichaels
+1 Andrew Major
ChazzMichaelMichaels  - Nov. 23, 2021, 1:13 p.m.

I think this is where the whole standards thing kicks in. I've got maybe six Specialized Enduros including a couple of the short travel SXs (04, 09) and we had a pretty golden run where the only standard to worry about was a 20mm front wheel. So I'm forever playing round with old builds as I could move so many parts around. 

I know we've kind of settled now finally, which is why I'm contemplating a new bike for the first time in seven years. 29 wheels, boost hubs and that's about it.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 23, 2021, 1:54 p.m.

There’s still enough 135/142 bikes being made that I’m not panicked about getting hubs. Chainline offset comes from chainrings so no stress there.

Other than the dearth of 1-1/8” forks affecting some otherwise awesome bikes I think most everything else is doable?

——

The SX is another awesome short travel bike that’s worthy of mention!

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Briain
+1 Andrew Major
Briain  - Nov. 24, 2021, 5:57 a.m.

Andrew major: What's the chain device on your Marin Rift Zone single-speed? It looks amazing

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AndrewMajor
+1 Briain
Andrew Major  - Nov. 24, 2021, 7:17 a.m.

It’s the tensioner for a Pinion gearbox. Unfortunately they don’t use ISCG so it’s bolted to the Blackspire bash taco (holes drilled to accommodate), which is then mounted to the ISCG.

What’s cool about it rather than a derailleur hanger mounted tensioner is that it moves up and out of harms way when you smoke it on something.

It doesn’t have a clutch, but the spring tension and path of travel make it really quiet too.

The Pinion distributor in the states stocks all kinds of small parts and they seem very friendly and knowledgeable- though I’ve had limited dealings.

———

I’ll note as well it’s much better adjusted in photo two.

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Briain
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Briain  - Nov. 24, 2021, 2:29 p.m.

The fact it's at BB end of the bike is what caught my eye. Much neater solution and gives you the clean single speed look

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ChazzMichaelMichaels
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ChazzMichaelMichaels  - Nov. 24, 2021, 1:18 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

ChazzMichaelMichaels
+1 Andrew Major
ChazzMichaelMichaels  - Nov. 25, 2021, 3:11 p.m.

Edit. Gave up trying to embed an image. I may have spoken too soon. The 09 SX has 26" wheels (therefore fork) and a tapered headtube. That must have been a fairly short run combo.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 25, 2021, 11:42 p.m.

Do you mean 26" wheels and tapered headtubes? 

Tapered headtubes were on Trek's Remedy bikes in 2008 (shipping in 2007 for 2008 model year) and were adopted by most players almost immediately. 

I'd peg the starting point of 29'er mass curiosity as happening somewhere between the 2012 Kona Honzo and 2013 Specialized Enduro 29'er and 650b (27") mountain bikes didn't really start kicking ass on 26" until the 2014 model year. 

That's a healthy amount of time that 26" and tapered headtubes existed. There are some brilliant bikes in there too. For example, I could absolutely rat rod a 2012 Specialized Enduro S-Works into being a full suspension daily driver. Convert the stock CCDB DB Air shock into a coil, install an angleset, run a 27" fork/front wheel combination. Good times!

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ChazzMichaelMichaels
+1 Andrew Major
ChazzMichaelMichaels  - Nov. 28, 2021, 11:12 a.m.

Yeah I was trying to work it out. My 06 Enduro has a straight 1,1/8th head tube, I know my 14 Enduro was the last 26" version as they went 650B in 15. 

So maybe six years of tapered head tubed 26ers?

Most importantly I need a 98 or 99 X-Vert with the 22mm disc mount to finish my FSR DH build, now that's a hard fork to find!

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 28, 2021, 5:18 p.m.

That's a rare fork! Especially to find one in better condition than wall-art. Happy hunting! 

Re. your date. You can still buy a tapered steerer 26" bike! Look at a Surly Troll. Even ignoring the slightly esoteric, remember that the 26" wheel didn't suffer an instant death, because 27" is only slightly bigger. 

The last year of Kona's Process 167 26" was 2016. I'd call that the death of mainstream 26" + Tapered frames.

doodersonmcbroseph
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doodersonmcbroseph  - Nov. 24, 2021, 9:27 a.m.

Andrew, if you are really wondering about that 2015 Process 134 being mullet-ed/29er'd I have a friend who tried it with his. Running a lyrik at 170mm and trying both 29 and 27.5 wheel. The results were less than spectacular. Biggest problem being that the chainstay is very short (426mm) so with the ever so decreased reach from the long fork and/or mullet you end up with a bike that will manual just by tipping your head back. Sounds fun right! it is until you have to be braking in wet weather on steep tech. The bike tends to push your weight back so much/often that you really have to be on top of that front wheel. Can be really fun but if you get into a situation where you aren't 100% on your game the front wheel feels like its on ice.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - Nov. 24, 2021, 9:51 a.m.

I think his problem may have started when he put a 170mm fork on a Process 134, never mind the larger wheel.

Firstly, this is why when over-forking I recommend adding an Angleset to get the Reach back. Then you need to account for the taller axle-to-crown height of a 29” fork v. a 27” fork with the same travel and the larger wheel.

If I was mulleting a Process 134 I’d add a -2* Angleset and run a 130-140mm 29’er fork depending on axle to crown height (150-160mm on a Process 153). I’d hazard to imagine it would be spectacular based on other experiences will mulleted 27” bikes.

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doodersonmcbroseph
+1 Andrew Major
doodersonmcbroseph  - Nov. 24, 2021, 3:38 p.m.

Fair points. 

Most of the riding was on a 27.5" wheel (the 29er was a 1-day experiment), I am well aware of the height differences being a problem without a compensation method but when you have an older bike that is sub $2k to begin with buying angle sets and other goods is a rabbit hole as you mention in your article. 

I guess I was interpreting the conclusion of the SB104 experience as you were interested in the possibility of it being more 'lunch ride' in which yeti does not do anything to adjust headtube angle. I understand lunch ride is way less extreme and I agree that it isn't a good philosophy in our process 134 case as I hated/disagreed with the bike wearing the extra long travel fork. 

To your point I think all the fuss of putting a 130/140mm fork on it and angling it out just to run a 29er seems like a lot of effort for that extra bit of ability to roll over things not worth the trouble without really knowing if it turns out great. If it does you have an opportunity for newer geo on a much cheaper bike. I personally think the bike is fantastic on the shore with the 150mm pike that it has now and no other changes but it's owner is looking for something more.

Does the slack mullet really help you that much? On the process 134 with -2 angleset the bike would end up with a 64 degree-ish headtube. I guess I would like an opinion of a person that enjoys this kind of bike? 

I had a 2021 Status 160 (also have a friend who has the 140 version) which as you know is born as a mullet with a 426mm chainstay; so similar-ish to the kona with a bit more reach. I personally did not enjoy the 29" wheel or the fact that in the low position the bike was hovering below 63 headtube angle. It felt like a barge turning on some of the tighter trails like pangor. The Status 160 felt pretty good with a 27.5 on the front (un-mulleted and not compensated so that the headtube became more steep) although it did make the pedals pretty low (not a big deal imho). In the end I felt like I was riding a very overweight bike for no reason at that point so I bailed on it for a lighter trail bike. The replacement bike is around a 65.5 degree headtube angle and matching 27.5" wheels which doesn't seem to be a problem on steeps or tech and I love it. Yet some folks describe this magic of a 29" front wheel and slackness which doesn't translate for me when I tried it. Not a big deal but just trying to understand other people's fascination with it.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 24, 2021, 6:42 p.m.

Yeah, I'm not really a fan of the SB130LR. I mean, over-fork the SB130 for sure, but I think most folks who have tried both stroke setups (shock eye-to-eye is the same) will tell you the suspension works better as an SB130. It's relatively cheap to experiment either way since it adds nothing cost-wise to a routine 100hr service that, of course, most riders are doing anyways because they want their bike to perform its best (haha).

Don't let anything about this project take away from the fact that the SB130 is a great bike.

--------

To your other points, I think you sum up the disconnect well in this paragraph:

"To your point I think all the fuss of putting a 130/140mm fork on it and angling it out just to run a 29er seems like a lot of effort for that extra bit of ability to roll over things not worth the trouble without really knowing if it turns out great. If it does you have an opportunity for newer geo on a much cheaper bike. I personally think the bike is fantastic on the shore with the 150mm pike that it has now and no other changes but it's owner is looking for something more."

These sort of projects - which unlike the SB104BBR are usually just cloud drawing exercises - have nothing to do with whether a bike is fantastic or not. The SB130 is a great bike, the Process 111/134/153 are great bikes (even if they don't have a bottle mount in the front triangle).

Likewise, there is no "fuss" or "a lot of effort" when the process is the goal as much, or more, than the product.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Nov. 24, 2021, 6:44 p.m.

In terms of the Process 134/153 specifically. These bikes were brilliantly thought out and executed with suspension that punches above its travel number (even if calling them the 110 / 135 / 150 would have seemed less pedantic) and bearing shielding that the vast majority of companies (including the current Kona rigs) don't match. Yes, the chainstays are very short as these bikes came out in the height of that trend.

I wish Kona could have come up with a way to keep the horizontal shock mounting and added the necessary inside-the-front-triangle bottle mount for the current generation bikes.

With routine suspension service, and replacing worn/broken parts they are current enough that there's really no reason one should have to replace them. Sure, maybe someone wants new geo, 29" wheels, lighter weight, etc but there's no reason that a rider wouldn't be having an amazing time on an 8-year-old Process that had been maintained.

The beauty of adding an angleset, mulleting a bike, playing with fork travel, picking up a coil shock or a new longer OneUp Dropper post is these upgrades are much less expensive than the new difference between selling and buying a fresh rig. If they keep a bike feeling fresh and a rider stoked for another year or two that sounds brilliant to me!

I wrote a bunch more on the topic here if you're interested.

--------

As to the advantages of slack front ends and 29" wheels, I'd try some different bikes before I drew too many conclusions from the Status. It's cool that Specialized did a production mullet but it sucks that it's basically a jib bike with a big front wheel. A Stumpy Evo mullet is a better example of the breed.  

We talk a lot about geo numbers because it's a common reference point but it's fairly amazing how different two bikes with very similar static geo can ride sometimes.

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doodersonmcbroseph
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doodersonmcbroseph  - Nov. 25, 2021, 12:05 p.m.

I'm with you on the older process bikes, it's essentially what I wanted but noticed in the planning process that it was a little hard to get what I wanted in 12x142 and the bottle holder on the bottom was not ideal. The names didn't seem to bother me, whatever travel it ended up at was what they named it, fine by me. I agree the 134 punches above it's weight for sure, I love that it is on the lighter side too. My friend ended up buying a used one hence the experimentation. The bike ended up being stock config other than being 10mm overforked (150mm) and it rides great if you ask me. 

If the Status is not the best example of a mullet setup then that would explain some of it. Even my DH bike has a 63 degree headtube angle and doesn't flop around in the same way. I bought it because I like jibby short chainstay bikes as the Shore isn't my only ride destination and while it did the things, it fell short of feeling great. The 29" front wheel on that bike seems like it's trying to do too many things or maybe it just makes it better left to being a park bike?

My 5010 is basically the closest thing I could find to being an updated older process 134 and it's fantastic for me. The current model 134 build in 27.5" is quite a boat anchor for someone my weight compared to the older version. I guess it's what I had hoped the Status was going to be but not so much lol! I got away with selling the Status at zero loss so no big deal. I haven't ridden the newer Process 134 since there have been many around (Covid) but very curious if it has the same feel as the old one, looks like the chainstay is still super short.

69tr6r
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69tr6r  - Dec. 1, 2021, 6:57 a.m.

I love it when someone builds the bike of their desire, rather than settling for what is available as stock! 

In that regard I have a 2017 Banshee Phantom (stock is 105mm travel and 29 wheels) that I have over-shocked to give me 120mm rear travel. I also added a 170mm Fox 36 27.5" fork, which is the same A-C as my old 140mm 29er fork. I'm running 27.5 wheels front and rear, and my BB is sitting at around 340mm with dropouts in the High/Steep setting.  With 170mm cranks I have few pedal strikes. The bike rails and jibs like crazy! 

I wonder if short travel 27.5 bikes will ever become a thing.

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