cardboardbike.jpeg
Beggars Would Ride

The Universal Cartridge Mountain Bike

Words Mike Ferrentino
Date Mar 10, 2022
Reading time

I was somewhere around item 57 of a 146- item scroll on the Chain Reaction website when I realized I’d have to narrow my handlebar search parameters down a bit if I didn’t want to die of old age while staring at the screen. Selecting “rise bars” from the filter list culled the offerings to 113, sticking with 31.8 clamp diameter thinned the herd to 56. Right back where I started. The scrolling commenced again. For most of those 56 choices, I could then further choose from three or four different rise measurements, as well as different widths and colors.

Suddenly, this is all beginning to feel very Déjà vu. Didn’t I just write about choice paralysis a week or so ago? Hard to tell, what with the early onset senility and all…

I’m not pining for the bad old days of mountain biking technology, where the austere lack of choice in every direction usually meant decisions were limited to “cheap, heavy, questionably designed and fragile” or “expensive, light, questionably designed and fragile.” But I am willing to stick my neck out and say that the rampant proliferation of choice that we can exercise in every possible purchasing decision these days might, just maybe, be getting in the way of having a good time. Do we (and by “we”, I mean me and some imaginary cohort of mountain bikers who might entirely be a figment of my imagination) spend too much time obsessing over ways to improve our bikes that are marginal at best, questionable for the most part, and downright stupid at worst? When we could just be out riding, and not thinking about how our rides might be better if we had more control over our high speed compression damping, or if our rims were three mm wider, or if we had ten degrees of bar sweep instead of eight?

Meanwhile, Uncle Dave’s piece last week set me to thinking. This is totally fantasy speculation here, but what if we had an option that was durable and decent handling and did almost everything pretty damn well, for most riders in most terrain, but was not in any way adjustable or repairable? Immediate clamor of alarm bells, right? But what if, for the sake of discussion here, it was a bike that you didn’t have to do ANY maintenance to at all for, say, five years? And at the end of five years you could just bin the whole damn thing, err, I mean... conscientiously recycle it and get a new one? In this fantasy realm, I am talking about ZERO maintenance, but also ZERO adjustability.

Is this heresy?


Some of us used to be very suspicious of any indexed shifter that did not include a friction mode, “just in case.”
un51.jpeg

"Yeah, it's a bit dirty, but it still spins like a top, mate..."

When cartridge bottom brackets first came out, every single one of us who wrenched at Velo City was mortified. How could they? This was going to be an unmitigated disaster. It wasn’t. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Cartridge bottom brackets essentially snuffed out old multi-part cup and race bottom brackets in a couple years. I just dug through the parts bin and gave an old UN-51 to a buddy for his beater road bike. I think I rode that thing for five solid years, swapped it through three frames, raced cyclocross through several horrible winters on it, and it is still as silky smooth as it was when new. Yeah, it weighs at least twice as much as a fancy ti-spindled White Industries bb did back in 1995, but IT STILL WORKS LIKE NEW. I have not adjusted the bearing preload on a cup and cone bottom bracket since 1992. Okay, maybe 1994.

When disc brakes began to appear, we all wrung our hands and fretted about pad wear and rotors bending and the bogeyman of bleeding miniscule hydraulic things. I have not had to think about eating through a rim sidewall, or eating through a tire sidewall due to a dented rim or misaligned brake shoe, for over two decades now. I might bleed my brakes once or twice a year. Pad changes are less frequent than I recall back in the “it’s winter, kiss your brakes goodbye” days, and so easily performed a sleepwalking drunk could change them.

I have a set of chain whips somewhere in my tool stash, along with a fistful of old freewheel crackers and some strange looking blocks of aluminum that mounted in vise jaws for those times when freewheel rebuilds got really weird. Haven’t used any of that shit since the early 90s. I don’t really even know what some of these tools are supposed to fit anymore.

Some of us used to be very suspicious of any indexed shifter that did not include a friction mode, “just in case.” Back when the most we had to worry about was shifting across six whole cogs…

We have a certain performance expectation when it comes to our equipment these days, but at the same time we are increasingly being led into a consumer experience that does not involve maintenance. We all use computers, but most of us can’t code for shit. Because we don’t need to. We drive cars, but as a percentage of road users how many of us even change our own oil anymore? I have a 2015 Ford Transit van. There is no way of even checking the transmission fluid. The service schedule for that involves pulling the pan at 120,000 miles, dumping all the oil and refilling it (somewhere, don’t ask me where that filler hole actually is). Good for the next 120,000. At 133,000 miles, I have not once thought about my spark plugs, until writing this sentence just now.

So, why not the same for our bikes?

gt.jpeg

Face it; for every diligent, conscientious mountain biker who carefully services his or her own bike in such a fashion that it is always performing at its best, there are thousands of other mountain bikers who range from "moderately negligent" to "completely self-sabotaging" with regard to bike maintenance. These people need a bike that is the equivalent of a mid-grade automotive shock absorber. Nothing fancy like a Fox bypass shock; something more like a nice basic Bilstein B4, or maybe B6. Ride, smile, forget about it, replace when things eventually start getting kinda wallowy...

I have been wrenching on these damn things for most of my adult life. I do not want to ever rebuild my suspension components. Sure, I’ll dump the oil in my forks and change it – if I even own the bike that long. I will freely admit that I am living in the land of the lotus eaters here. Weather and terrain are relatively benign, my days of hucking anything to flat are safely in the rearview, as are those years where I was pounding out a couple hundred miles a week. Realistically, between a regular rotation of three bikes, I’m lucky if I even wear out a set of tires in a season, let alone a drivetrain or my suspension units.

Meanwhile, bike shops still face the age old conundrum of being expected to perform high quality work for ever shittier margins. Except the work is becoming more advanced and difficult all the time. The complexity of bikes has already increased to the point where many mechanics will opt to replace a dropper post or fork or shock rather than perform a rebuild; aside from not necessarily having the manpower to dedicate to fixing all the broken bouncy things, the thought of maintaining any reasonable inventory of repair parts for even the most basic range of suspension components is hugely daunting, and so suspension work turns into specialty work. Aftermarket wheels are increasingly being sold as sets, rather than being built by a shop craftsman. Electric shifting, I don’t really know what people do with that stuff when it shits the bed, but I suspect most of that work involves putting the offending components in a box and sending them back to where they came from.

And face it, if you’re into chasing performance, in our accelerating world of perceived gains and rapid fire technological shifts, a five-year old bike is a dinosaur.


spaghetti.jpeg

On the plus side, since frames are increasingly plastic, it's unlikely that you'll have to fish a bottom bracket as horrifically rusted as that fine UN-51 pictured upscroll from here out of this bird's nest of ELECTRIC WIRING that is hiding down there in the dankest part of your frame. But on the minus side...

So what about it, bike industry? The UN-51 of mountain bikes, I’m ready. 130mm rear, 140mm front, 29x2.5 tires, I don’t care what size brake rotors so long as they stop the bike and so long as I DO NOT HAVE TO BLEED THEM, not once. Same goes for the drivetrain. 9-speed, 12-speed, I don’t care. Just don't ask me to turn any barrel adjusters, ever. Dropper post, sure! Surprise me with how long it is, so long as it works. Build the bike right, so that not a single suspension pivot bolt works loose, so that nothing creaks, so that the wheels stay mostly true, so that the absolute most I have to do for the next three to five years is occasionally slather some lube on the chain and make sure there’s air in the tires. Try to keep it right around 30 pounds. I’ll pay $6k, tops.

I’ll ride it and smile, and never check any online reviews or internet forums to find out that my handlebars aren’t wide enough, or that my cranks aren’t the right offset, or that my hubs are obsolete and won’t fit on whatever bike I buy next, because it just won’t matter. And I’ll be free to think about all kinds of other stuff. Whenever we’re getting beers after the ride and that one guy starts talking about how he coulda really nailed that one section if he was riding a highpivotmullettrunnionlongerslackerbiggernewermore bike I’ll be able to tune out and listen to whatever music is playing in the background, or contemplate how beautifully the sunlight filters through the amber of my beer, and not have to live out that Groundhog Day conversation anymore. The same damn conversation. For thirty seven damn years now. I’ll just ride my bike for as long as it works and then bin the whole damn thing, oops, sorry... conscientiously recycle it and go get a new one.

Heaven. That sounds like heaven.

hell.webp

Just for the record, I think this is a pretty beautiful piece of lateral thinking here, and some awesome execution of that lateral thinking. However, I kinda doubt that this will make it onto the Universal Cartridge Mountain Bike. Cedric absolutely eliminated one of the key "why doesn't my bike shift anymore" concerns that the less enlightened of us experience every time we drop our bikes unwittingly onto their drive sides, buuuut... so many idlers, so many pivots...

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Comments

papa44
papa44
5 months ago
+16 fartymarty blackhat Scott Jamieson Poz Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman imnotdanny Cam McRae Andy Eunson toddball CPB Ripbro Spencer Nelson Andrew McKee Muesliman MTB_THETOWN

You are forgetting one crucial point, without garage based bicycle tinkering what will you do with your evenings? Hang out with your family? Have a beer with your friends? Watch that tv series you’ve been putting off? Pff.. haven’t thought this through have ya

Reply

mammal
Mammal
5 months ago
+3 papa44 DancingWithMyself MTB_THETOWN

Yep, not contemplating my ride for 5 years  sounds extra boring.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
5 months ago
+11 mikesee Justin White Mike Ferrentino pedalhound Pete Roggeman derek.richards Metacomet Alex Hoinville DC Spencer Nelson ZigaK

Finally my moment to shine. Yeah we've suffering from too much choice but not where it matters. I'm an XXL rider and there is a noticeable dearth of choices that aren't complete afterthoughts. The thinking that leads to that also makes bikes suck for XS riders, and honestly, everyone in between. We are offered all this variety where it doesn't really matter and not where it should: at the most basic level, making each size proportionate to the intended rider. 

We have 50 variants of tire but can't seem to realize that not everyone (wait for it) should be on the same seat tube angle and rear center. Some brands ostensibly offer different grades of carbon in their frames and yet virtually all handlebars come in the same configuration of upsweep/backsweep. 

It seems like we are really offering everyone sameness with the illusion of individualized choices sprinkled on top.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

While I agree with you in general Cr4w, the fact these days is there's lot of 5'5"  riders, who DO NOT weigh anywhere close to what someone that height should weigh, in fact, more like what a 6'4" person or heavier, so what do you do then :skep: Unfortunately you have to make it for the highest denominator, i.e. to survive the fattest/biggest person to ride that size, OR, buck the trend and put actual weight limits on your products, so some 5'5"/220lb person doesn't buckle that SM frame designed for a 5'5" 120lb max rider.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
5 months ago
0

Are you seeing a lot of 5'5"/220lbs people doing the kind of riding discussed on this site?

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
0

No, but they are a huge part of the market, no matter what, that's just a straight up fact and the type of riding discussed on here, is such a fractional part of what most MTB riders experience it's not funny, most are riding there clapped out 160 enduro rigs where a good steel HT under a competent rider would be more than just fine, sad truth.

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derek.richards
derek.richards
5 months ago
0

I hear you on the XXL size brother! It's so frustrating! It's nice though that lots of boutique companies are popping up making custom frames though. Tough thing though is that you can't take it out for a test before purchase!

Reply

just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+9 blackhat cheapondirt Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman CPB Ryan Walters Spencer Nelson DancingWithMyself MTB_THETOWN

"When we could just be out riding, and not thinking about how our rides might be better"

These are not mutually exclusive. For example, I have 2 toddlers, so I have plenty of time that I can't be riding but can afford some attention to research or satisfy curiosity about new parts and tech, or read/watch interesting biking stories.

Even before the kids, I can't recall a single time I didn't ride because I was somehow too busy looking at or buying new parts. However, I can definitely think of times that I couldn't ride because of bad parts that could have been prevented by _more_ "thinking about how my ride might be better".

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
5 months ago
+9 eriksg shenzhe Justin White Mammal Cr4w Ryan Walters Spencer Nelson imnotdanny hairymountainbeast

It’s up to us to be happy with what we have.  It’s up to us to realize that all these adjustments are optional and to ignore them if they make life worse.  The constant pursuit of perfection is a hamster wheel we all have to get off at some point.  Hamster wheels aren’t bad, but when we mistake the churning for real progress things get messed up.  

But this article?  It’s really just adding one more option to your search results.  All those bars, weighed against an ever present option to say “fuck it” and get the cartridge bike.  You still have to decide what’s right for you.  It’s not stepping off the hamster wheel.  It’s welding in another rung.  

You’ve identified a hole in your soul best described as consumerism.  We all have it to some extent and try desperately to patch it with things.  Surely once we have the right things happiness will come.  And as you recognize, it’ll never actually work.  But your solution is to patch it with another thing!  To tell the industry that the reason you’re unhappy is they don’t make the right product.  

Until you can browse that list of handlebars at peace and just pick something “good enough” it won’t matter.  Cause no matter what bike you ride, it will still be you riding it.  Still you wondering if maybe that other cartridge bike would suit you better, or wishing you had a regular bike so you could try a different rise.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months ago
+3 Mammal blackhat BarryW

I'm part ginger, so it's highly unlikely that I have a soul in the first place...

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
5 months ago
+6 DanL Mike Ferrentino kcy4130 BarryW Greg Bly slimchances57

I’m full ginger.  It’s a myth that we don’t have souls.  We just take them from other people.

Reply

DanL
DanL
5 months ago
0

haha, that's perfect. Bravo

Reply

32x20
Blain Echols
5 months ago
+1 blackhat

Good comment.  It resonates with me.  We've been trained well by the advertisers. 

I found the article interesting because it describes my (5 year old) bike pretty well.  130/140, 29er, 34lbs, 'slack' for the time at 67.5deg.  But I find myself wondering if the new slacker/bigger/lower stuff is that much better?  I'm hoping demo days come back soon so I can scratch that itch without spending a fortune.

Reply

jt
JT
5 months ago
+1 blackhat

If you really want to find out and your frame and fork can accept it, drop in an angle adjust headset. If so for under $200 you can find out if LLS works for you. I plopped in a -2deg on a 26" Yeti SB66 and was surprised at how much of a difference it made on an eight year old frame, and all for the better. It's a low cost of admission to new skool geo and it keeps your wallet a considerably bit fuller than a new bike would.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+1 Greg Bly

Are/Do you really need anything slacker HT wise than that or is it just the marketing telling you "need" it? If you live someplace with the appropriate type terrain like NS and ride such trails, then like JT said, grab an angleset and see how that feels, couple hundred bucks and you'll know.

Reply

32x20
Blain Echols
4 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Oh, it's mostly curiousity.  I live in CO, so on a lot of trails you could make use of 'enduro' geo if so inclined.  Back when I settled on this Intense Primer I did a demo on a Switchblade (with was certainly slacker) and didn't like how it made the lower/flatter trails boring.  At that time, though I was riding a 72deg HA rigid SS 29er from 2008, so all the bikes seemed slack/stable/squishy.

Wolftooth does make a -1 that'd fit, so that could be a fun test for $100.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Hahaha, so you were on a Monkey or Inbred? LOL Yeah, I loved my '08 Monkey, rigid, but when plus came about though, I 69'd it with a 650B 2.8" in rear and 29x3.0" in front, which slacked the HTA out by about 2.5-3 degrees and made it much more fun on the steeper and techier stuff, definitely got ridden much more once I made that change.

Another option, although don't think you can even find them these days is an travel adjustable fork if your frame doesn't offer geo adjustment. My friend got a 130-150 Pike for his 2014 Trek Rumblefish and it made a world of difference for him on the downs.

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
5 months ago
0

I just bought a Reign myself.  It’s really eye opening how capable it is.  Exactly what I wanted.

The problem is I bought a lower end model and planned to upgrade the bits that really matter.  Like the Yari damper.  And maybe put a smash pot in there.  But charger 2.1 is rumored to be too soft for a coil, so now I’m looking at push and avalanche.  Or maybe crack the damper open and reshim it?

Meanwhile I still haven’t used full travel on the forkor even come close to understanding how to ride the bike to its full potential.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
5 months ago
+1 blackhat

Very well put, and I fully agree! I readily admit that my bike is a high-end build - but nothing on it is for fashion, or trying to keep up with trends. I chose every part on that bike to work well for me, and it does work very well for me. I replace parts when it's legitimately "time", or when they're broken, but never because something new, or in a better colour comes out.

Example: I run an old, 11-spd drivetrain because it's the best performing, most reliable drivetrain I've ever run. I take a lot of flack for it, and I certainly don't care. It does everything I need it to do.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
0

This.

It's like when someone says a less adjustable fork is somehow a better choice (if price is not an issue) than a more adjustable one because it's "easier to set up". Except if you just leave the "extra" adjustments in the middle (or where the sticker/manual says to put them), they're both exactly the same to set up! With the bonus that if it turns out the you and your riding aren't in the "middle" (anyone want to come out and admit/claim they're perfectly average?), you can make more adjustments if you choose to.

There is always 'an ever present option to say “fuck it”' and continue on same as it ever was.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
5 months ago
0

I've spent my entire riding career trying to get bikes to work for XXL me the way virtually every product available is intended to work for the person for whom it's optimized. I just need this stuff to work in the most basic way, just have it not be an ergonomic nightmare because some guy in California doesn't care that there are different sized people out there.

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
5 months ago
+2 BarryW DancingWithMyself

I hope it didn’t sound like I was criticizing the desire to make things better.  If you’re riding along and thinking “I really wish it was more _” then it’s not consumerist to pursue “_” by purchasing products.  But if you’re happy with your setup yet suddenly feel angst when presented other options, that suggests that you’re falling into the trap of perfecting things that have no true fault.  

It’s a matter of where the “need” is created.  If it’s your experience then no one can rightly disagree.  But if the need comes from the existence of the product itself that’s a red flag.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+6 blackhat Mike Ferrentino Joseph Crabtree taprider CPB Spencer Nelson

Yo Mike, seems like you're in some sort of similar box to Andrew right now, some worth reading stuff coming out ;-)

As to your "simple" bike, do you also want it diamond plated, because getting a bike to 30lbs, doing all that you require, that's the HUGEST of pipe dreams I've ever heard. What you wants can be had, but it'll cost you lots of weight to gain the robustness.

Thanks posting that pic of the BB, kept forgetting to try and find exactly one for my 20+ year old XTR M950 crankset that's still working sweet, well actually got it off a friend who no longer wanted it, dug into the "unserviceable" BB and got it back to spinning good enough, if a bit crunchy, but would like to get a new BB for it.

Oh and BTW, I enjoy tinkering with bikes about as much as riding them, which I guess is about as weird to many people as when I tell them I enjoy climbing a good tech climb as much as a good tech descent :skep:

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
5 months ago
+5 Andrew Major Lynx . Mike Ferrentino Mammal CPB

To paraphase the Dead Kennedys - Give Me Adjustment or Give Me Death.

Reply

Poz
Poz
5 months ago
+5 Lynx . Mike Ferrentino JT kcy4130 Muesliman

Great thought experiment, and the lead up was good too! 

I recently was gifted a KLR650 (first motorbike, no license yet) that needs a bit of work (it was under 40 feet of water at one point but still runs). I digress…..

I was tinkering on it a while back and it got me thinking of why these things are so much more set and forget than our trusted bicycles. I’m constantly working on my bikes to keep them running in top shape, I enjoy it immensely but it is time consuming. Whereas this thing was ridden to the Yukon, under water for a couple weeks, and all round had a well loved but tough existence with not much more than your typical service. I guess the obvious came to me and it’s the general disregard for weight savings due to the fact there is a (non-meat) motor pushing it along. Removing that constraint opens up so many options for robustness being built in. 

Now I do like the idea of a set and forget bike for the general public. I think we can get pretty close to your thesis and not get too crazy with weight. A wider range Alfine-type hub, high quality sealed bearings all over, updated brakes that have significantly thicker pads. High volume suspension (lots of fluid). 

Don’t think we can get around the odd tire replacement.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months ago
+5 Pete Roggeman Sandy James Oates Spencer Nelson Poz Muesliman

Oh man, I had initially framed this entire article around using adventure motorcycles as a parallel allegory - how the BMW and KTM riders think nothing of spending upward of $14k on a new bike then dumping another $4-6k immediately into skid plates and bash guards and running lights and big knobby tires and matching anodized oil filler caps and ECUs and suspension revalves, all of which they deem "absolutely critical" for performance and enjoyment, whereas the hardest choice a KLR rider has to face is what color milk crate to strap to the rack...

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Poz
Poz
4 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Muesliman

Very true. I have a friend with a BMW and it’s just like a custom mountain bike. 

The milk crate on the KLR is yellow by the way. Lol

Reply

jt
JT
5 months ago
+1 Poz

This bike was referred to me by two close moto head friends separately after I got my license. One owns a repair shop and raced Isle of Mann, the other used to be a test rider for a manufacturer. Apparently the KLR does everything, maybe not perfectly, but it works and is damn near impossible to destroy on top of being very easily tinkered with as need arises. Suffice, once you purge the aquademons from it, I suspect you'll have a great long relationship together.

Reply

Poz
Poz
4 months, 4 weeks ago
0

It was my dads and he’s downsized. He loved how it required nothing and went everywhere, didn’t want to see it leave the family when he decided to downsize. Most everything works fine just think the stator is bunk as the battery doesn’t seem to charge when riding. Get about 80k then it dies. 

I think there are maybe 6 wires on the whole bike! Simplicity at its finest. Not the most elegant machine but a tank on two wheels.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+4 Lynx . cornedbeef Velocipedestrian MTB_THETOWN

"where many mechanics will opt to replace a dropper post or fork or shock rather than perform a rebuild"

Literally just had this happen to my cousin, though actually not even a "rebuild". The shop she went to hadn't ever worked on a KS dropper, and just didn't know how easy the cartridge* swap is. So they offered to just sell her a new post, because they labor cost they were thinking about charging would have made the (easily done in less than 30 minutes) swapping of an $80 cartridge cost almost as much as a new post.

Another cousin quickly stepped in to say "bring it to me and we'll drink some beers and learn how to do it ourselves"*, so they'll keep some metal out of the trash and get some knowledge into their heads, win-win.

Maybe this also says something about the proliferation of very similar components with just different corporate logos slapped on them, such that a smaller shop just can't afford to learn about all the various same-but-slightly different components. Yes, KS isn't just-another-brand-X-cartridge user, but fact is they're not as common as a Reverb, Transfer, or even the various house brands, at least around here.

* It's a cartridge! Like, literally the thing you're talking about, and they still didn't want to do it.

* Because of course a little parts shopping and wrenching doesn't automatically mean a loss of riding time.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+3 blackhat Mike Ferrentino fartymarty

"Try to keep it right around 30 pounds. I’ll pay $6k, tops."

Shit, you almost made me ruin my keyboard with spit-out coffee.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
5 months ago
+3 Spencer Nelson Maximum Radness Justin White

Hopefully that was where people realized that I was speaking in purposefully unrealistic terms. Maybe I shoulda used some sort of shrug emoji there... As to the rest of your points, yep. The coding analogy was way off, but I was stretching an analogy just for the sake of it. 

I actually do kinda like working on bikes, and nerding out about bikes, and wondering about how to make them better. Fuck, there's a column or two in my head about how much damn time I spend thinking about how my bars are rotated, while riding. But every once in a while I also just want to shut my brain off. Hence the seed of this column, planted by Uncle Dave but also fertilized by those years spent wrenching on other people's bikes for way too little money while being constantly amazed at the level of neglect that so many bikes somehow miraculously struggle along under before finally losing the battle against entropy and finding themselves in the work stand of an incredulous mechanic.

Holy run-on sentence...

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Dude, you don't have to tell me about the just basic maintenance that people just seem to refuse to do to their bikes to just keep them running, it drives me insane - how hard is it to first wipe the chain off of all the gunk on it BEFORE you apply the new lube, IF you apply any new lube anyways.

But I enjoy tinkering with mine, finding out that despite being a heavier overall solution using "X" tyre, with what looks to be more aggressive knobs, it actually rolls faster/better than the lesser treaded and lighter tyre, yet also offers more grip - weird and strange, yet wonderful.
Or when 29ers first came on the market and figuring out that if you built your wheel using an SS hub, you got a much stronger, dishless wheel and could still cram 5, 6,7 maybe even 8 cogs on there and have a good gear range.

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derek.richards
derek.richards
5 months ago
0

@Lynx have you actually built up a SS hub and put 7 or 8 cogs on it? Asking as I recently took a 10sp 11-36t cassette and took two rings out (idea from Andrew Major)... works awesome! I'll be in the market for new wheels at some point and a nice simple, strong SS hub is very appealing. I'd consider running 7sp using a modified10sp cassette.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
0

Derek, been on a 29er since 2007, rode normal 135 hubs until 2008 when I got my Hope Pro2 SS/Trials hub and built it up as a dishless 29er wheel. I could easily run 6 9 speed cogs with the biggest being 34t, figure if you go with a more modern 11-42, 10 or 11spd cassette, then you could easily do 7 or even 8. With the spider machined off 5mm from the back of a 9spd 11-34 cassette I easily ran 7 cogs. Could fit 8 cogs, but 8th wasn't really engaged with the machined spider, but with closer spacing of 10 or 11 or even 12 speed, easy as pie to fir 8> cogs.

Reply

derek.richards
derek.richards
4 months, 4 weeks ago
0

I love it! Thanks for sharing!

Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
4 months, 4 weeks ago
0

The worse thing you can do to limit the joy of s ride is to obsess about parts while riding. 

I staring 5 meters ahead at janky gnar concentrating on my next move . 

My worst rides are when I'm thinking about my bike . 

Big fan of durable parts that don't need constant attention. 

Love my Durolux fork six months later after suspension werx gave it a serious make over . Including drilling holes to prevent suck down. 

I really miss true open bath damping. Simple , effective , perhaps an oil change every two years ? 

Threaded BB are easy to replace or pop off the seals and shove in fresh grease . 

No matter what the adult toy if used often it will need maintenance . Or batteries;)

Reply

just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+2 shenzhe Mike Ferrentino

The computer users knowing how to code analogy doesn't quite work. Writing code, programming, application development, whatever you want to call it, it's not on the same level as changing the oil in a car engine or mtb fork. It's more like machining new parts (down to bolts potentially), molding new carbon thingies, maybe even just assembling a whole bike from parts depending on the abstraction level of a chosen programming language or development system.

Changing motor or fork oil is more akin to: running a virus scan, defragmenting a disk (don't really need to do this anymore, but it makes a point), or making sure your programs and drivers are updated. Even more advanced things analogous to changing an engine (new CPU), or just adding a roof rack (extra hard drive, maybe), don't need coding skills.

I get what you're saying, that for most things users/owners don't need to be, and arguably shouldn't be, maintenance experts, but the coding analogy is just way off. Oil changes, fork maintenance, or component swaps is closer to doing Geek Squad work: not disparaging anyone, it's just a different skill set: many professional programmers wouldn't have a clue how to upgrade a CPU.

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imnotdanny
imnotdanny
5 months ago
+2 Lynx . kcy4130

My mountain bike is a 2019 hardtail that cost me less than $500 USD to buy new. It has a coil Suntour fork, a 3x7 Shimano drivetrain, and mechanical Tektro brakes. I have performed very little maintenance on it up until I just recently broke the cranks. Yes, it weighs over 35 pounds for an aluminum hardtail, and yes, it isn't the prettiest, fastest, or most fun, but it was within my budget and it has given me very few problems. I'm sure my skill level and the frequency with which I hit demanding trails help keep it in working order as well, but it's all the bike I need for the time being. 

Although if I had the budget I would buy a fragile $5k bike in a heartbeat...

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+2 blackhat DancingWithMyself

That's really great, get out and enjoy riding on the trails, but I'll tell you straight up, once you actually try even a "low end" decent MTB with the likes of even Shimano Deore 10spd and a decent fork, it'll be hard to go back to that ride.

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imnotdanny
imnotdanny
4 months, 4 weeks ago
0

That is unfortunately true haha.

Another backdraw is that it doesn't have a lot of current standards that I kind of need to upgrade to good parts... for instance, it's got a straight steerer tube, non-boost hubs, and no routing for a dropper. Probably just gonna buy a better hardtail like a Canyon Stoic/Marin San Quentin/Vitus Sentier at some point.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
4 months, 3 weeks ago
0

You can always make a hole for the dropper cable if you want to fit one.

Just take your time and file the burrs off.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Why would you possibly risk causing frame damage/failure when there are quite a few externally routed droppers, that makes absolutely no sense. PNW Cascade Solo, PNW Pine Solo, PNW Coast suspension, BrandX Ascend II, TranzX Kitsuma, KS E20, to name the more popular ones. It's not like in the old days when they first came about the cable connected to the top of the post and was a royal PITA bowing out etc when lowered, they all pretty much these days have the mechanism at the colar, so the cable stays static.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
5 months ago
0

I for one am amazed that my bike doesn't need more maintenance than it currently receives. I consider myself half decent at doing all sorts of bike maintenance - but I don't love doing it. Still, I smash the hell out of that thing a couple times a week, and it's a minor miracle that 35lbs of bicycle can stay in one piece for a typical ride in these parts. For me, the biggest game changer in reducing maintenance has been good, carbon rims, run with inserts and proper tires. Before that, I used to spend lots of time truing, removing dents, and otherwise replacing rims.

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knarrr
Andrew McKee
5 months ago
0

for absolutely no reason whatsoever, I got halfway thru this article and had opened another tab to find out the fate of the "Nitro Shox"

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helpimabug
helpimabug
4 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I think it could sort of be done, but it would have to be a hardtail with a gearbox, maybe belt driven.

Coil fork with an open bath damper.

Bikeyoke 34.9 dropper.  

Hellbender headset bearings.

Wheels with some of those un-breakable carbon rims that people keep insisting exist now (and inserts, of course).  Brass nips.  Hope Pro4 front hub and I9 Hydra rear (swap the Enduro bearings for SKF or similar).

Bike shop visits for maintenance twice a year.  Brake pads changed and brakes bled.  Lowers service.  Pawls greased.  Tires changed and/or sealant topped up as needed.  Gearbox oil changed once a year and check belt.

That’s about it.  The rear travel is about 130mm short, but it would hit the under 6k 30lbs.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Velocipedestrian DancingWithMyself

So in other words, it's impossible :-\ Say that because if most people took their bikes to get properly serviced twice a year, most would not have any issues once they just kept them clean and lubed. You'd be surprised the amount of people that are riding at least twice a week consistently and only take their bikes to service properly once a year or even longer apart than that.

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