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May 23, 2020, 5:42 p.m. -  John Delacruz

I started over forking a 120mm travel Haro Shift with a 140 travel RST Rogue.  Then I moved to Switzerland where a friend invited me to ride Verbier bike park.  He had gotten a new Canyon Torque (180/170mm) to ride the park, finding his Stump Jumper (150/150mm) undergunned.  In the bike park, the trails were steeper than the backyard trails around Lausanne and had to be ridden much faster.  The Haro and RST did not feel right.  The fork would become harsh at high speeds, and the riding position felt perched forward. When I opened the RST fork, I found that I had 20cm more travel available, so I adjusted it to the 160mm setting.  I removed a washer that enabled lockout on the compression damper to make the fork plusher.  I also added a -2 Superstar components headset. Taking the bike back to Verbier with this setup, it felt much better but right at the edge of its capability.  It was afterall still a cross country bike, just overforked by 40mm. Looking at the 2nd hand bikes for sale, I saw a 2009 medium size Morewood Mbuzi that came stock with a Lyrik and Fox DHX Air 4 (160/160mm).  The bike was priced at 650 Francs.  I hopped on a train to Zurich and got it as soon as I could. I rode the Morewood in Verbier and felt the suspension was more appropriately plush for the park.   But the riding position felt like I would fall right over the bars on steep trails.  I replaced the headset with a Works Components -2 degrees angle set to slack out the HA from 68 to 66 degrees. I also added as many spacers as I could under the stem, then changed the handlebar to 50mm rise.  The bike finally had a comfortable geo on the steeps.   We started exploring other Swiss bike parks.  As our riding progressed my riding partner then upgraded from his Torque to a Sender. Not having the budget for my own DH bike, I found a deal on a Marzzochi 66 (180mm) that the owner took off his Commencal and replaced with a Boxxer.  I got the 66 for 50 Francs.   With the longer axel to crown height on the 66, I had to remove all the spacers under the stem on the Morewood.  Standing the bike next to my old Haro Shift, I was surprised to find their handle bars ended up at the same height.  At 180/160mm the bike felt great and finally gave me confidence riding down steep park trails.

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