New posts

Shinook's comments

80 comments found

Things We Think We Know - Sept. 26, 2022, 9:08 p.m.

"...the effort of vomiting pressed out about half a teacupful of the brain [through the exit hole at the top of the skull], which fell upon the floor."

I had my own, albeit significantly milder, encounter with this effect. A few years ago I smashed my face into a tree on a popular trail here. The result were numerous facial fractures, broken nose, orbital blowout, and apparently a fracture between the bones in my sinus and brain cavity? I'm not sure of the specifics.

Anyway, I blew my nose in the ER to get the blood out, not knowing any better, and half my face inflated like a balloon. The nurse rapidly took the tissues away, said "don't do that", and wheeled me back for a catscan revealing I had blown air into my brain. Off to the trauma unit in an ambulance for me, in the small hospitals words: "We can't deal with this".

Here is where we get to the vomit part. I was in the back of an ambulance, which is very nauseating, and was informed no less than a dozen times to tell the nice lady with a needle if I felt nauseous. She was sitting beside me staring at me the entire time with a fully prepared needle of something that she appeared ready to stick me with at any moment. Where it was going, I do not know and didn't need to find out thankfully, but it appeared to be something that would be rapidly deployed in an unpleasant location. Apparently vomiting with any kind of facial or skull trauma is very dangerous. While I was recovering, my neurosurgeon told me that he had a classmate who smashed his face on a rock kayaking in Africa and didn't seek attention, the ending to the story was he got on an airplane and that was the end of the story, leaving me with an impression that the after effects were not positive for him.

I'm mostly recovered now but later found that vomiting, sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose are very dangerous if you have facial or skull trauma. Some of these are obvious, but vomiting wouldn't have been on the list for me as obvious. Anyway, the lesson here is if you have facial trauma, go to the ER and be careful what you do after. In retrospect, I'm glad it happened there rather than at home, where the possibility of opening my skull to relieve pressure would've existed if I had blown enough air in through otherwise benign seeming actions.

The Ergonomic Grip Shootout - Sept. 25, 2022, 7:45 a.m.

I agree on the 35mm thing, I am convinced most brands went that way for aesthetics rather than performance. I gave up on them a while back and have found a lot of much nicer 31.8 options, including the ti bars I'm experimenting now. 

That said, more sweep made my problems much worse, I don't think it's an objective solution to every problem. It should be a fit variable like bar width, IMO, and tailored to whatever issue the rider is having. I do wish more brands would offer more sweep options, though.

The Ergonomic Grip Shootout - Sept. 21, 2022, 7:20 p.m.

Yes, I have and that was an issue early on and it was pointed out in a bike fit I had done. It's not as much of a problem while climbing as it is going downhill, a lot of our trails are really rough and eroded with extended descents. 

I should have added that overall fitness helps a lot. When I was really in shape pre-COVID, I noticed a marked decrease in problems, although it was still there at times, it wasn't as bad. Slipping a bit the last two years due to various factors, it's not as bad as it was but I've noticed its back again. I think for all the great fitness mountain biking is, it doesn't really provide the strength you need in certain areas to perform well and the best thing I found for my particular issue was overall fitness and weight loss, but the issue was still there at times.

The Ergonomic Grip Shootout - Sept. 21, 2022, 3 p.m.

I have really bad hand problems, in my left hand in particular. I've spent thousands on doctors (yay USA), components, gloves, forks, etc to try and find a solution. The closest I got was Flexx bars, but they have their own problems mainly stemming from the elastomers. 

Anyway, point being, I've tried a lot and can really tell when things work or when they absolutely don't. The 12 degree sweep SQlab bars made things worse for me, for instance, I think because of the increased pressure on the outside of my hand. I've tried most of these grip options on my bike and they similarly made things worse. I've tried a lot of other things, as well, and RevGrips made a difference for me (esp their "ergonomic" ones). 

I've concluded that there are two types of issues that cause hand problems for me: those caused by ergonomics (e.g. nerve entrapment), where the position of your hand and wrist causes nerve irritation and numbness, then those caused by the impact of riding to your hands. My issue seems less to do with the way my hands sit on the bars (unless I go to some crazy amount of sweep or do anything to increase external pressure) and more to do with the impacts on the outside of my hand irritating the nerve. 

If you are having problems due to impact and vibration, I think RevGrips make a difference. It's not going to solve your problems, but I can tell an improvement and a difference. The only thing I've used that truly made a massive difference were the Flexx bars, but I think they could use some refinement and try to find a way to get rid of the elastomers. I'm also trying various titanium bars right now with good success.

I'd really like to see more options out there. I saw a spy shot of some pros bike a few years ago and he looked like he had some kind of honeycomb type structure under his grips that looked promising, but it never made it to market AFAIK.

Flat Pedals, Foot Position & Reach - Sept. 1, 2022, 6:40 a.m.

I'm in a similar boat, I used the Catalysts for a while, but I had issues with grip and stance. I find their qfactor slightly too narrow for where my foot naturally wants to sit, which means my "natural" position is with my foot half hanging off the pedal. You could see my shoes at the time had marks from the pins on the inner half of the shoe. Despite my best efforts, recalibrating this to bring my feet in to sit on the pedals just didn't work and they naturally migrated out more and more especially on longer descents. 

I've been on the Daggas since and riding them the way the Catalysts were designed to be ridden, with the axle under your arch. What I've found is that it's a more stable position and I have fewer incidents where my feet pop off the pedals, although it flat doesn't work for me on smaller pedals (eg ANVL Tilt). I also find it easier to absorb the trail and stay centered, especially on a hardtail, and push into the bike when needed. 

The Daggas also solved reliability issues I've had with a lot of other pedals, including OneUp, which I had some pretty consistent bearing problems with.

Hayes Dominion A4 Brake Review - Aug. 11, 2022, 9:58 a.m.

I've run these brakes for years, the same set going for around 3 years or so now in various temps/altitudes/etc and never had an issue with them. The only maintenance I've done is to bleed, change pads, and lubricate the caliper pistons (more on this in a bit). The issue that early SRAM Guides had is a design flaw and has since been resolved. 

The bleed process is pretty straightforward if you are familiar with bleeding brakes, but I have found that over time the pistons can get kinda gunked up and need cleaned. This is hardly an issue isolated to Hayes, but it is something I'd suggest folks do from time to time using these. Thankfully, they considered this when designing the bleed block and if you use the opposite side of the block (the one with only half the bleed block there), you can work the pistons out safely without worrying they will fall out. Just insert the bleed block, pull the lever until they are extended, then you are free to clean them. For cleaning, I usually run a small piece of rag with DOT fluid on it or drip some dot on it, then wipe it off. You can also use this to work them in/out if they start to feel sticky. 

They won't stick in the sense of the Guides/Codes with lever piston issues, they just might not feel as smooth as they were before, but doing this will address that and it takes less than a few minutes. Every set of brakes I've had needed this eventually, but Hayes was the only brand to consider this and make a portion of the bleed block specific to that purpose, which was really nice.

2022 Transition Spire Review - March 24, 2022, 12:20 p.m.

It's good to hear Transition has done something to improve their bearing life. I ride in probably the 3rd wettest area in North America and we have really abrasive dirt, a bad combination for exposed bearings. My Transition ownership goes back to the OG Smuggler and Patrol, but I bailed on them as a brand after having extensive bearing problems with the lower main on my Sentinel and Smuggler. It shouldn't really be a surprise given the total lack of any protection with the bearing, which you could see the face of just by staring down into the pivot. 

Despite regular maintenance, I had bearings seize at least once every two months, oftentimes more. It wasn't just me, either, I know 3 others with the same gen Transitions and all of us had seized bearings. While they were helpful in answering questions and their support is great, I grew weary of constantly changing out bearings. The strange part is that the previous gen bikes prior to SBG didn't have this issue, so I'm glad to see it's something that has been resolved. I've wanted to try their newer bikes, but I've been skeptical given how many issues I had.

2021 Kona Honzo ESD - Full Review - April 12, 2021, 10:19 a.m.

I've only recently started riding some of the newer modern HTs and it makes me wonder what is taking these brands so long to adopt better geometry for these "entry level" bikes. We've had a really diverse series of geometry categories for FS bikes for years (xc, trail, enduro, dh, am, etc), yet it seems like geo for hardtails has traditionally been....XC and Chromag, if you weren't going custom.

Now, it seems brands are adopting better, more balanced, thoughtful geometry in their hardtails and the result from what I've ridden tells me that outside of outright speed and tracking in really rough terrain, a lack of rear suspension in HTs wasn't the "problem" with them, it was the crap geometry from 10 years ago. I think is great for the industry, and I hope that a lot of the 'budget' hardtails from big brands like Trek and Specialized will start to take notes from Kona and others, it'll do the industry a lot of good for beginners to have more balanced, capable bikes that they are comfortable on.

The ESD was tempting for me when I was building a new SS, but I have a bit of local loyalty to REEB and am waiting on my now fifth REEB frame to arrive this week, so I'll have a HT again. I find riding these bikes tends to help me engage with the experience more than my Enduro does, which is refreshing given all we've experienced in the last year.

As an aside, can I tell you how refreshing it is to hear experienced riders talk about features that are "not everytime"? I feel like in the mtb media, especially reviewers from a competing site, there is a certain level of hubris and a lack of recognition that not everyone does everything all the time. It's always really refreshing to hear experienced riders talk about how they aren't up for everything all the time and make that choice, it's one of the reasons I value content from you folks more than any other site on the interwebs, even if the scale of this in BC is more significant than in our part of the world. It feels less like I'm reading a review by someone who thinks they are superman and more by someone I just had a beer with.

Öhlins' New RXF 36 Trail & TTX Air Shock - June 26, 2020, 7:57 a.m.

Right on! Thanks for the reply. 

I've been on the RXF36 m.2 coil for a while now and your review was really close to my impressions, also! It has been interesting transitioning between it and the Mezzer, as well. 

Looking forward to seeing the TTX Air review, as well. I find I generally prefer running air during the summer and coil in winter, I have a TTX Coil at the moment but have debated on getting the air shock and cartridge for for the RXF, also.

2020 Öhlins RXF36 m.2 Coil Review - April 18, 2020, 4:52 a.m.

I've been on this fork for the last 2-3 months or so, it's fantastic. I agree with everything in the review. 

It helps also that Ohlins support has been great, too. I sent them a ton of questions and have had a lot of back and forth with them even after I bought it, they've been responsive the entire time. 

I was a bit leery going to a coil fork due to the lack of midstroke support and bottom out resistance that I had heard about from coil forks, but that hasn't been the case at all for me with this fork. I found it surprisingly progressive. 

Similarly, I also had to go down in spring sizes. I ended up trying 3 different springs before also settling on the blue one (2020 Enduro, 190-195lb rider). I found about a 4-5% ride height difference between springs. 

The thing that surprised me is just how usable all the settings are. If you close off the compression and rebound, it doesn't feel awful, same if you open them all up. You can feel the difference, but it isn't like other forks where there is a truly awful setting on the damper side.

Yeti SB150 Bearing Swap - How To and How Not To - March 11, 2020, 1:04 p.m.

I check mine with regularity. IMO the best way to do it is disassemble the linkage and spin the bearing, if they are gritty, or especially notchy or seized, then something needs to be done. 

If it's only minor, you can remove the bearing seal and flush them with a degreaser or rubbing alcohol, let them dry, then re-pack with some type of grease. I usually use a marine trailer bearing grease. If the grease is too thick, then it won't distribute properly in a pivot and will result in it seizing again. If it's too thin, then protection is minimal and it'll wash or wear out. As an example, Polylube is too thin and doesn't work very well, but Red N Tacky is too thick. While I haven't used it, the Park high performance grease seems like a good option, so is Phil Wood. 

If it's major, where the bearing is notchy, has play, or is to totally seized, then it needs replaced. Keep in mind that replacing a broken bearing is very difficult on some bikes, so you risk damage to your frame. I'd default to replacement whenever practical. 

Keep in mind seized bearings will rotated on the axles and inserts, so prolonged use of seized bearings will result in silvering or wear on the axles that will require replacement.

To prevent your issue, I regularly pull the pivot axles out and re-grease the axles, especially on bikes where they are exposed more like Transition bikes. Use the same grease as you'd pack the bearings with, loctite the threads, and grease everything but the threads (axle surfaces, collet heads, bolt heads, etc). The tapered washers you see in a lot of linkages in particular are really important to grease, as they could get stuck otherwise. 

In order of bearing durability, it's hard to lay out because a lot of brands use the same linkage design but with differences in implementation. I've found most VPP bikes (Santa Cruz, Intense) to have the best durability and longevity of the bearings/axles. They use dust covers and the bearings are mostly out of the way, along with most of them being in links. The Horst bikes are a mixed bag, Transition's bearing life is awful, but Specialized seems pretty decent because of some rubber seals over the bearings. I've looked at Norco, theirs seem better recessed and out of the way, but not as well sealed. The new Transition bikes have the bearings further encapsulated in the frame and covered by seals. 

Typically, I look at the amount of exposure the bearing has (If I can see the face of the bearing seal, it's excessively exposed; this determines how much crap the bearing will pick up), if they are protected by some sort of cover (determines how likely the bearing is to hold grit and run it past the bearing seal), how many blind bearings exist in the frame (blind bearings are a pain to remove), and how many bearings are in links vs the frame (bearings in links are easier/safer to replace).

Yeti SB150 Bearing Swap - How To and How Not To - March 10, 2020, 10:23 a.m.

I can only speak to Transition, the other bikes I've had have not required bearing replacement. 

I bought tools from Bearing Pro Tools, two or three blind extractors and several drifts. I think the total for everything I needed was around $70, I was able to buy just the sizes I needed rather than the several hundred for a full set from someone else. 

The drifts work fine, the extractors are a pain. There is no flange on them to grab the inner race, so they slip out after a few hammer hits. The first time I removed them, it took me over an hour to get two out, as the stainless bearings had corroded slightly to the aluminum shell due to a lack of prep applied to the original set. 

Removal of the non-blind bearings was fine on my bike, although I used a socket to press the bearing into, it sat uneven on the rocker and removed some paint. I replaced them on another bike that was about a year old (mine was 7 months when I first did it), they were seized/corroded so badly that we had to put the entire setup in a vice to press them out. I used to maintain sailboats, mixing stainless and alloy with insufficient grease/anti-seize is a bad combination..

Pressing in went fine, but it requires a careful feel to ensure the bearing isn't slightly pressed in crooked. This is the scariest part of doing it esp. on bikes that don't have the bearings in a link and the bearings are in the frame. 

I would have paid around $120 for the proper tools, I think more than that and the value starts to deteriorate. The issue for me is that with the blind pullers, I just couldn't find any that looked worth the investment. They all function roughly the same and seem prone to the same flaws.

Yeti SB150 Bearing Swap - How To and How Not To - March 10, 2020, 7:44 a.m.

Some bikes are easier than others, but more importantly, some bikes protect their bearings better than others. 

Santa Cruz uses dust covers that prevent debris from getting into the bearing. A layer of grease protects from water intrusion. The lower link, you can attach a grease gun and shoot grease around the bearing to protect it. Their bearings have consistently lasted the longest for me and required the least maintenance, outside of one demo bike I owned that had been pressure washed many times by the shop.

Transition (SBG) has a metal ring on their bearings that provides a minor amount of protection from grit buildup, aside from the lower main, which has nothing and exposes the face of the bearing to a 2mm or so gap. Post SBG models (e.g. new Scout) has the bearings recessed better into the frame and covered with a small seal. 

Specialized uses a rubber seal that presses around the outside of the bearing, along with greasing the face of the bearing. It's more minimalist and less protection than what you get with Santa Cruz, but so far has worked for me. 

I don't know what Giant does, I've taken some of my wife's link apart, but not the entire linkage. Every time I do, the bearings are perfect. I could be mistaken, but I think they use wheel bearings, which are better sealed, for their pivots. I'll check next time I disassemble her bike to be sure. 

The point being, ease of maintenance is nice, but some brands do an absolute pisspoor job of protecting their bearings, which requires more tedious maintenance. I've had brands that I went years of riding in nasty wet muddy conditions and never required maintenance outside of greasing axles, while others required maintenance or work every few months. IMO there is no reason these bearings shouldn't be protected and require more maintenance than once a year. 

How brands set up their bearings in the pivot has become a purchasing decision for me. If they are exposed and poorly sealed, then it's a no go for me. The next question for me is how easy it is to do (e.g. are the bearings in a link or frame? how many? are they blind?), but it's less important to me as avoiding having to do it at all.

Yeti SB150 Bearing Swap - How To and How Not To - March 10, 2020, 6:14 a.m.

Of all the bike maintenance tasks I do (which is almost everything unless I'm lazy), replacing bearings is the worst. I had to do it with a high level of frequency on my last bike (every few months) and I'd be ok never looking at another bearing press. Sadly, my current bike has 20 bearings throughout the frame (although they are very well sealed, whereas my last bike had next to nothing protecting them) and our dirt tends to wreck pivot bearings.

The worst of these are the blind bearings, removal of which can be a real chore if the manufacturer has loctited them or if they weren't pressed in with some kindof anti-seize.

I think the reason it sucks is the lack of availability of good tools that don't cost an obscene sum, especially for extraction. The tools I used for extraction of blind bearings would pop out after a few hammer blows, requiring an annoying replacement process several times before the bearing started to move. It lacked the flange shown on the blind extractor above. I also don't think hammering on your frame is an elegant solution, I found an obscure, small brand that made extractors that didn't require hammering, but sadly they only had a few size options available and I've yet to track them down again, making me wonder if I dreamed it up in my head.

On the non-blind bearings, you can easily fit the drift on the other side, then press it out, however what do you press it out into? A socket? One of those fancy extractors? They are all great until you get a frame that doesn't have an even surface for it to rest on, so you end up tightening this metal fitting onto your frame, chipping the paint at best. I'd like to see some kindof rubber or protective surface on those tools to prevent damaging the frame as you tighten the extractor and allowing it to conform to stylish, non-even surfaces (e.g. rocker pivot on Transition bikes). I guess I could hammer on it also, but not sure that's much better.

Fasst Flexx Enduro Handlebar - Feb. 25, 2020, 6:34 a.m.

Mine are at 800mm, I haven't cut them at all. I used to run 780mm, but I figured I'd try them at 800 during the refund period and never felt the need to go back down in size again.

80 comments found

Forum jump: