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NSMB 2023 Full-Suspension Thread

April 4, 2023, 7:09 a.m.
Posts: 1090
Joined: Aug. 13, 2017

Dan, it's our neighbours garage door and driveway but no ones lived in the house for 2 years.  Saying that our drive is similar - time to break out the jetwash.

Pantone 7476C is the colour.  Remunds me of my first Fisher back in the early 90s.

April 4, 2023, 7:21 a.m.
Posts: 2307
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

This is going to be a long rambling post on a variety of subjects so the smart money will just skip it. And yes I ended up in the desert with a bunch of warm clothes due to the shitty weather forecast and actually saw the sun a bit [warm weather didn't last sadly] so I needed an extra SS jersey so I stopped at a cruisewear store in Tucson and grabbed a shirt. Cruisewear and dadbod are a match made in heaven. Don't judge. ;-)

I've been riding my hardtails pretty solidly the last two years. I can recall 2 or 3 FS rides in that time. Don't get me wrong I love my FS bike. It's a rad OG GG Smash made back when metal was a thing for them. I just like riding HTs more....at least at home on Vancouver Island. Since I was headed to the UT & AZ desert for the month of March I figured what better chance to reconnect with my FS rig?

The weather was cruel this trip. Normally I'd be worried about dehydration, sunburn and heatstroke. Instead we were faced with death mud, hypothermia and frozen water bottles. The main reason for this trip was to give two buddies who had never been riding in this part of the world a concierge MTB experience. I spent a lot of time saying "It's not normally like this..." With some cunning schedule/destination re-arranging on the fly we were able to ride pretty much everyday we wanted to without being trail douchebags and carving up muddy trails.

So did I fall back in love with my FS bike? Sort of. I definitely remembered what I loved about the GG. The short CS climb great for me and bike is easy to jump and corner. The front end is long and slack enough for confidence going down anything I'm ever going to ride without being so long it just takes me along for the ride. The high BB rides over chunky tech without noticing. Lots of clearance for 29 x 2.6" rubber on 30mmIW rims. Tall bars and slack-ish STA make for a comfortable all day riding position. The desert combines highspeed loose trails with slowspeed janky tech. It's definitely a demanding environment which will show off any weaknesses of rider or machine. The GG was right at home here.

Other than two issues I'll mention below the Smash was trouble-free. I just lubed the chain every few tires and added air to the tires once. No messing with shifting or suspension settings. No flats. This bike is just boringly reliable. I did break a spoke on the first or second ride. The DT Swiss wheel set was a stock item from 2018. I don't recall ever giving it some love and with a new spoke installed it's round/true and seems ready for many more years of fury on the trails. My 9.8 dropper started getting finnicky on the last two rides. It hasn't been serviced ever since 2018 so I can't complain too much. I just ignored it since I knew my trip was over soon and I could deal with it at home.

I'm getting old and I've accumulated a bunch of RSIs...mostly in my hands/arms/shoulders. So I was not sure what was going to happen with this much riding in a row. I having not ridden the GG a lot recently my body was not used to it so how it would react was a gamble. I'm happy to report that nothing happened. My upper body felt great. My arms were not complaining. Basically it was perfect all things considered. I mean I had the normal aches and pains from riding a lot, but none of the possible RSIs that could have ended the trip early. I'm going to credit the tall bars and slack-ish STA mainly for the positive outcome. Modern geo forces me forward putting too much weight on my hands/arms and abuses my RSIs. Also a shoutout to my WTB Pure saddle. I don't wear bike diapers and despite a ton of back to back saddle hours I never thought about my butt/junk.

So am I going back to FS riding at home? No. The GG is a great bike, but there is something about riding HTs that I really love and particularly on Vancouver Island the terrain just seems well suited to them. I will keep the GG. Both because it's an amazing bike and it would be worth pennies on the dollar to sell the frame. I hope to do more road trips now that COVID is less of an issue. While I could have ridden a HT [with inserts] in the desert on this trip [and had fun] the GG's monkey motion made a lot of sense as wheels met square edges at high speed and ill advises jumps of ledges landed me in rubbly jank. She's paid for so I'll just hang her up on the wall of the garage and know that whenever I want/need a FS bike for a ride I've got a great one ready to roll.

So lots of positive stuff about the Smash. I did F-up one thing bigly. Amateur move really. I wanted 29 x 2.6" tires for the bike. I couldn't get my hands [easily] on tires I knew I loved. So I grabbed some DHF/DHRs in EXO+ casing thinking it would be close enough to EXO that it wouldn't matter. Sigh. I have been a supple tire casing/low rolling resistance guy for a long time. So I should have known better. Anyway these tires absolutely punished me with their slow roll. It was like I had lost a bunch of fitness overnight. At first I blamed it on the altitude, then the long drive, then stress from having to adjust plans all the time due to the weather, but eventually I had no more excuses and had to admit I put slow tires on the GG. A smarter version of me would have just gone to a LBS and bought new tires, but I am stubborn and I stuck with them thinking I'd overcome the slow roll. Newsflash I did not.

So ya these tires are coming off soon. I have have some worn 29 x 2.6" DHF/DHRs in EXO on my SS HT that roll great and given where I typically use my FS bike worn tires are okay. I'll put fresh rubber on the SS HT since it gets ridden a lot more and in wet conditions.

So all in all I'm glad I brought the GG Smash along on this trip. She's a fine mountain bike. I just got an email from GG touting the new Smash V2 [really V3 if we count my metal frame as V1]. I scanned the geo chart and lost interest pretty quick. I made a smart choice ordering this bike sight unseen back in 2018. I'd still put her up against anything available today and feel like she has stood the test of time really well.


 Last edited by: Vikb on April 4, 2023, 7:23 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
April 4, 2023, 7:42 a.m.
Posts: 828
Joined: June 17, 2016

Good to see some action in the full suspension thread, thanks for sharing your pics and trip report Vik! Glad you are still enjoying the Smash.

Interesting observation about the EXO+ tires, I can't say I've noticed much difference between EXO and EXO+ in the same rubber compounds in terms of rolling speed. Although I think Maxxis redesigned EXO+ at some point and my stash are still the old version. I always suspected that Maxxis simply took the EXO tires that came out of the factory a little heavier than specced and slapped the EXO+ label on them ;-)

April 4, 2023, 7:47 a.m.
Posts: 2307
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

My experience has been heavier tires in and of themselves aren't slower [within reason] it's the stiff casings that kill the rolling speed. That said stiff casings tend to be heavier. Once I get the tires swapped over from my SS HT in the name of science I'll go for a FS ride just to make sure the EXO+ tires are the issue.

April 4, 2023, 7:54 a.m.
Posts: 963
Joined: March 16, 2017

Posted by: fartymarty

Posted by: Endurimil

Nice. Though to be transparent this isn't helping the whole Bike Stuff Dream Wishlist thinking. LOL

What may help is that I have been riding the Solaris Max a while lot more since I got it.  If I had to ditch a bike the Murmur would have to go.  The Murmur is a great bike but a good HT isn't far behind and way more versatile and a ton cheaper to keep running.

To be honest will ride HT as long and as much as possible. However knowing what the surgeon said about the right knee eventually  developing arthritis and becoming potentially painful in certain activities. And was thinking about it a bit yesterday during my ride. Have started looking into a full suspension frame  for that eventuality. Dealing with some of the stuff related to getting hit and was asked about if thought what potential long term adaptations would need. Figure get something and even if don't use it immediately better to have something in hand then to try to get something in a rush.

April 4, 2023, 7:56 a.m.
Posts: 963
Joined: March 16, 2017

Posted by: Vikb

Vik, think surf shirts where the Laguna Radz jersey of choice back in the late 1990's.

April 4, 2023, 8:02 a.m.
Posts: 548
Joined: Feb. 16, 2013

I don't notice any added resistance of EXO+ over EXO. Not that there isn't any, but my legs certainly can't tell at all.

April 4, 2023, 8:15 a.m.
Posts: 73
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

The old EXO+ had a120 tpi casing and the newer version has 60 tpi casing. About 100 grams heavier for a 29 x 2.6 and not as supple. I just swapped out the rear tire and they do roll a bit slower IMHO.

April 4, 2023, 8:27 a.m.
Posts: 828
Joined: June 17, 2016

Ah yes that's right, mine are still the 120 tpi casings. I bought a bunch of them a few years ago, just put a new DHF on the front and still have a spare DHF and DHR2 so I'll be on the old versions for a while. Haven't ridden the new 60 tpi versions so that might explain.

April 4, 2023, 8:31 a.m.
Posts: 2307
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: mammal

I don't notice any added resistance of EXO+ over EXO. Not that there isn't any, but my legs certainly can't tell at all.

I kept looking back to see if someone tied a cinderblock to my bike. ;-)

April 4, 2023, 9:36 a.m.
Posts: 169
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Hey cool, you were in my neck of the woods! (sorta).

Yeah, we have had super weird weather this winter, more rain than I can remember in a very long time.   Glad you were still able to salvage your trip!  At least the trails drain pretty quickly here in the desert.

I can't seem to run anything less than DD casing in the rear on my FS without flatting here.  I don't notice the rolling resistance is that much worse than the EXOs I am running on my hardtail.

April 4, 2023, 7:58 p.m.
Posts: 1286
Joined: Nov. 21, 2002

After basically being solely a HT rider for the past 5+ years, I think I'm ready to take the plunge into a FS ride at least half time. I'm at the point now that I need some relief in the joints to keep on riding comfortably, and even then it's no guarantees.

So I built up this hardtailer's FS bike. Overforked to 150mm and paired with a progressive 120mm out back. Relatively conservative angles stock, it's probably around 65.5 HA now with the longer fork.

I've tried a considerably slacker and lower FS trail bike before this Trance, and while I can see its appeal, it ultimately wasn't right for what I was looking for


 Last edited by: UFO on April 4, 2023, 8 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
April 5, 2023, 4:03 a.m.
Posts: 1090
Joined: Aug. 13, 2017

Vik - great photos and good to see you back on a full boucer.  Do you have any photos of your friends bike.  It looks to be steel and full sus therefore interesting.

April 5, 2023, 4:08 a.m.
Posts: 1090
Joined: Aug. 13, 2017

Posted by: kavurider

I can't seem to run anything less than DD casing in the rear on my FS without flatting here.  I don't notice the rolling resistance is that much worse than the EXOs I am running on my hardtail.

After a while on WTB tough casings (2.3 Vigis,2.4 Judges and 2.25 Trail Boss) EXOs feel too squirmy for me (I don't run inserts) unless they're pumped up 28-30 psi in the rear.  One thing I have noticed is that the compound makes a big difference.  I have had a High Grip Tough Judge on the back of the Murmur over winter and it's noticably slower than my mates Fast Rolling Tough Judge - altho the High Grip wins when it gets greasy.

April 5, 2023, 12:14 p.m.
Posts: 828
Joined: June 17, 2016

Posted by: UFO

After basically being solely a HT rider for the past 5+ years, I think I'm ready to take the plunge into a FS ride at least half time. I'm at the point now that I need some relief in the joints to keep on riding comfortably, and even then it's no guarantees.

So I built up this hardtailer's FS bike. Overforked to 150mm and paired with a progressive 120mm out back. Relatively conservative angles stock, it's probably around 65.5 HA now with the longer fork.

I've tried a considerably slacker and lower FS trail bike before this Trance, and while I can see its appeal, it ultimately wasn't right for what I was looking for

Nice Trance, very red! Might want to put some tape over those ankle rub spots on the stays.

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