That falls into my "too slack / weird BB height" category. With a 160 fork, you're at 63.3 HTA, 75.4 STA, and 346 BB height in Gravity mode. Doing a mullet with Smash stays is slightly less slack (63.4 / 75.8 / 334) but I'd still like to see the numbers a bit more normal before I go buy a new rear wheel.
I've got it "short" forked with a 160, so it's theoretically at 64.2 HTA, 76.6 STA, 345 BB. (I measured it once at ~64, ~77, 345.)
Fair point about the adjustment points. It's the same issue with other geo flip chips - 90% of the time, everyone runs them in the slackest/lowest position.
I both agree and disagree with your points on chainstay length. Agree: longer is better, almost all of the time. I've been riding a Gnarvana (with 450mm CS) the last couple months and the added stability feels soooo good when going fast, or in chunk. Disagree: I'd rather see a bike come with adjustable CS. I think most manufacturers will hedge their bets towards shorter, so adjustable would let them spec it on the short side but me run it a bit longer.
I really think the next bike I buy will be designed as a mullet. I've played around with a few conversions, but these invariably have issues that I don't like (BB way too high or way too low, HTA & STA way too slack). I'm 5'8" / 172cm so I can and do ride a full 29, but it becomes a bit of a handful on tight, off camber corners. When I've ridden mullet conversions, they've felt incredible on those types of corners. They do feel less good on square edge chunk/holes, but there's not a ton of that where I ride, so I really think a proper mullet would be the "bike for trails I ride, not the trails I want to ride." Ideally, GG will make a set of stays for a dedicated mullet, so I don't have to wait until 2023 to get this. ;)
The Patagonia Landfarer shorts became my favorites this year. No garish logos like Fox or TLD, light and super breathable while shrugging off the occasional butt-buzz of a 29er. No fiddly waist adjust straps. Perfectly designed hamstring cell phone pocket. Cargo pockets for lightweight items like gloves, chap stick, or gummies.
I like the feel of their Dirt Roamer shirts but the fit is too snug for me. The fit on their Capilene Cool Daily is more of a traditional "relaxed" fit that works a lot better if you're not a beanpole like AJ. They're long enough in the back to be sufficient, but if they made a MTB version that was an inch longer in the back it'd be perfect.
I've got 2 rides on my DP3s, and you weren't kidding. The fit on them is dialed, and everything is well thought out. Worth every penny indeed.
I already own a Hangover, and ordered an Evo. In terms of run time, my night rides are usually about 2-2.5 hrs. I leave my bar light on low for the climbs, and keep the headlight off for those. Then descending I turn both on high. I haven't had any issues with them running out, but last night my bar light (L&M Taz 2000) had the red indicator on by the end. The Hangover was still green (had about 45 mins of use on adaptive).
As a GG owner, I'd definitely agree that the small brands have to out-nerd the big guys. I went with GG over an Ibis, Santa Cruz, or Specialized not only because of the base geometry and suspension kinematics, but because of the ability to build it completely a la carte, and to go nuts tinkering with the different seatstay kits. I got a bare Smash frame, a Gnarvana seatstay kit, and an EXT shock for less than I would have paid for a Ripmo, Megatower, or Enduro (when you include tax).
Oh, and perhaps equally important this year: time from order to delivery was about 2.5 months, not 12+ months.
The Taz / Seca is a great bar light, but it's too heavy for helmet use. I found it gives quite the bobble-head feeling, especially if mounted up top. I found not only did I have to wear my full face (prefer half lid since I'm only riding at 75% at night), but I had to wear goggles to help stabilize it. My Taz 2000 stays on my bars now, and an Outbound Lighting Hangover goes up top. That weighs literally half as much as a Taz 1200, and the shape of it is much lower profile as well (further helps with the bobble-head feeling).
Are you referring to the POC "Joint VPD Air"? Those look they might do the trick.
I get that logically it makes sense to wear elbow pads, but I can't find any that fit well. I've got decently sized forearms leftover from when I used to rock climb, and just average biceps. So any pad that's big enough for the forearm (to not cause pump) is loose and slides around the top. And anything snug on the top cuts off circulation on my forearms. When I tried my last pair (the same 7iDP Sam Hills reviewed here), I exchanged emails with the company first, and the CS rep suggested sizing up, and admitted to me that he couldn't wear them either for the same issue I had.
Luckily for me, there's not a lot of rocks where I live, so if I'm going to push myself, I can always wear a long sleeve which will at least keep the dirt out of any scuffs.
Wow, your Impact Pro soles are holding up a lot better than mine. Maybe it's cause you are rotating pedals, and I've been on the exact same ones? My current pair I got in February have some pretty deep holes where some of my pins go. Hard to say how much I've done on them, I'd guess about 950 miles / 210k ft vert. They still grip really well, and like you said it makes it easy to position your feet on the pedals. But I have noticed that I'm starting to have a bit more foot soreness on descents, which might be coming from having less cushion on those pins. I did snag a backup pair of them when they were on sale to switch to when I decide they're finally done.
The NF pants look nice. I've got some buddies with the Oakley helmet that complain that heavy sweating can overflow the gutter, causing a literal shower of sweat down into your eyes.
I hate semi-slick or tires that prioritize rolling speed over control, but that's a function of local trails. I got to ride a ton early in quarantine, before I got summoned back to work, and did a lot of A/B/C testing of a brand new Dissector, a moderately worn DHR II, and a brand new Michelin Wild Enduro Rear. I'm in northern California, and the trail I was lapping was about 2 minutes long with an average grade of -27% (according to Strava). It's a moderately steep "natural" flow trail, that is almost always loose over hard, and it includes some off camber and sections with loose gravel-sized rocks. I consistently get better times with the the more aggressive tread patterns. The trail is so naturally fast and the natural traction is so bad that if you run semi-slicks, you brake longer and have less control.
I've had people from out of town visit, who normally love an Aggressor, then remark after the first lap: "OK, now I see why you ride real tires."
Are you not using the steerer tube mount for the tool due to issues, or just because you don't need it with the larger pump?
One advantage to using the canister extension to the OneUp tool is they now make a jabber extension, AND you can put in their mini pliers and a few spare pieces of bacon in the canister.
I recommend taking a thin strip of Gorilla tape over the top of the spare quick link, to hold the links in place so they don't accidentally fall out when you're using the tool.
Seemed pretty accurate to me too: 128mm using wrist vs. 130mm sit bones. About a year and a half ago, I got fed up with my old saddles not being very comfortable and tried using the SQLab fit system (basically sit on a piece of cardboard and measure distance from center of dents). I did that about 10 times and averaged it, coming up with 130mm. Turned out I didn't like the SQLab saddle, but it got me a more accurate sit bone measurement (a bike shop had previously fit me with a 150mm Rocket). I ended up trying the 142mm Koda after NSMB reviewed it, and I really liked it. Unsurprisingly, that's one of WTB's recommended saddles for me. The wrist measurement is WAY easier to do.
I rode with a former product manager from Zerode this last weekend, and had a chance to play around a bit on his Taniwha. He noted that people who have experience driving manual transmissions have an easier time grasping the concept. As someone who occasionally murders gears shifting under load on my X01 Eagle, I see the appeal. A gearbox either shifts perfectly or not at all, and all that's required to get it to shift is momentarily reduce pressure on the pedals. It's pretty cool to be able to dump a huge range instantly, such as going into a big dip/reverse.
The weight didn't bother me. His medium Taniwha was lighter than my Sentinel with a coil, and the suspension also felt pretty nice. ~32 lbs for an enduro bike is not unreasonable.
However, I hated the grip shift. What gearboxes need are an electronic paddle shifter (like AXS). That would get me to seriously consider it.