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DancingWithMyself's comments

221 comments found

Maxxis Forekaster - Aug. 29, 2023, 6:40 p.m.

It's a bit off topic, but I'm super curious about your love of the 2.5 DHF and dislike of the 2.3.  

I've always thought the conventional wisdom was that when they upsized that tire to 2.5, the dead zone got bigger, and even more people started running DHR's up front and then the Assegai came on the scene with transition knobs in all that real estate between the center knobs and cornering knobs.  Never heard someone disliking the profile and transition of the 2.3.  Not saying you're wrong, just curious.

Great review of the forecaster.

Maxxis Forekaster - Aug. 29, 2023, 6:35 p.m.

Not responsive to your question, but any word on the 2.5 DHR II ever being available to the public?  Think they're a lot of people that run the DHR II on the front and would be interested in the 2.5.  

Sorry if you get this question all the time.  And thanks for asking for input.

What's Up ButterCups? - Aug. 29, 2023, 6:26 p.m.

I've been trying hard to find some pushons I get along with, because everything you've said makes so much sense.  But I' m not big fan of the "float" from the ribs.  And during the summer, I simply can't hang on to them as well with sweat soaked gloves.  

I tried Renthal, but they're so thin they were harder on my hands than my go to grips.  Keep ending up back on Chromag Squarewaves.  Just love the shape and texture.

Please tell any buddies at Chromag there there's at least one person that would order a couple dozen pushon squarewaves just to make sure I never ran out.

What's Up ButterCups? - Aug. 29, 2023, 6:20 p.m.

I wonder if all these shocks getting HBO means the manufacturers are putting more R&D into it and that might lead to porting it over to forks to offer some more coil options?  I've never tried a coil fork, but I'd be pretty darn hesitant to give up progression on my forks.

What's Up ButterCups? - Aug. 29, 2023, 6:14 p.m.

I always thought the ultimate acid test was to pull the fork, drop the lowers, clamp the steerer tube, and then flex the stanchions inboard and outboard?  

LBS has my back because I've done a lot of advocacy, and they recently got a manufacturer to ship a new CSU based off a video of me doing this that captured the sound.  Put the creaky csu back on for a few rides and then swapped in the new one when it arrived, and never missed a ride.  

Have to savor awesome warranty experiences when you get them . . .

What's Up ButterCups? - Aug. 29, 2023, 6:06 p.m.

I'm not a suspension guru and maybe its confirmation bias from spending a couple hundred bucks on a burnishing tool, but I swear it makes a huge difference on my forks - on my Zeb to the point of needing to add air pressure to get the same static sag.  

The only reason I can come up with that it's not more widespread is this: there's no widget (other than a very basic tool) of which post pretty pictures/graphic and about which to write marketing. It's just getting precise sizing and, probably more importantly, roundness of some boring old bushings.

I'd trust pretty much anything Vorsprung makes, and Steve seems really sharp and straightforward. But I wonder how many Lufkappe and Secus owners got those parts installed by a suspension shop and never bothered to check the bushings before immediately going to aftermarket modifications.  In other words, they went straight for the widgets.

So like Andrew said, I'd put money on buttercups to stick around because there's a widget/gimmick/something different.

What's Up ButterCups? - Aug. 29, 2023, 5:04 a.m.

I always enjoy the site, but you guys are on an absolute roll with topic selection.  Every time I check the site, there's a new article in which I'm really interested.

I'd agree that I can't tell any difference between small bump sensitivity between a current Lyrik at 160 and a prior gen Zeb at 170.  Both have had bushings burnished, but the Zeb has a Runt, which definitely allows you to have lower pressure for the first portion of travel.  

It may be my imagination, but whenever I'm shopping for forks and reading lots of reviews of the same fork, it seems the reviewers vary the most, by far, on small bump sensitivity.  As Andrew pointed out and controlled for, there are a lot of factors that have nothing to do with the fork: wheel/tire casing/insert/pressure, bar, and grips, not to mention the trails on which the fork was ridden.

But I can't help but wonder if what's really getting reviewed is whether the reviewer won the bushing lottery.  In my perfect world, every fork that's reviewed would have the bushing burnished and the lowers serviced so those variables were eliminated.  But I understand all the problems with it from an "average consumer perspective."  People spend money on an amazing array of stuff that really doesn't make much difference, but very, very few people seem to even know about burnishing bushings, much less do it.  

On the other hand, and to completely contradict myself, I also wonder whether the suspension companies are burnishing the bushings of the forks they send out to be reviewed.  I certainly would if I were them.  And reviewers, on the whole, seem to like the small bump sensitivity of the current gen Rockshox a lot more than comment sections and forums.  And then maybe all my perceived variability in opinions on small bump compliance is from the other factors?

Gear Shots August 2023 - Aug. 28, 2023, 2:22 p.m.

Pete, seems like used these clipping in and with flats, and your preference wasn't affected by the choice of pedals and shoes?

Anybody else running insoles on the stiffer size with flats and have any advice or thoughts?   

I run Freerider Pros with Scrarabs and, for park and some winch-and-plummet days, Impacts with Daggas.  Use Sole insoles in both.  Like the slight bit of added impact absorption, but run them mainly for the arch support and metatarsal pad.  No plastic shank or the like to aid with stiffness.  Have a heal wedge under them that does sorta the thing as Remind.  

I am interested in trying a stiffer insole in the Freeriders.  But I'm nervous about losing pedal feel and the ability to sink my forefoot into a concave pedal (tried convex, not for me).  Thinking I may need something like the Cush without the plastic in the forefoot, but would be interested in the Medic if wouldn't interfere too much with pedal feel and using the concativy.

Any additional advice would be greatly, greatly appreciated before I start making educated guessing and ordering things to try.

Mission Workshop Jersey and Shorts - Aug. 26, 2023, 5:32 a.m.

The shorts absolutely are.  RIP Kitsbow, which made great stuff. But the shorts are better and more durable than Kitsbow.  For example, have had Kitsbow seams start to unravel.  Mission Workshop rock solid.  

One really nice aspect that wasn't touched on is the waist sizing in 1" increments.  Way easier to get a perfect fit with Mission Workshop.  And the waist adjustment is divine and gives a large range without awkward bunching.

I don't think Andrew has explained to us how min-max applies to apparel, but I have a price is not object approach to shorts and liners.  For basic long and short-sleeve tops, I tend buy whatever non-bike-specific, decent quality stuff I can find on sale.  

If I had to bet on what I'll still be using a decade from now, I'd probably put my money on these shorts over any bike component I currently own.  The only standard that could make them obsolete is my waist, and I have a fair bit of control over that.  And in may ways a pair of shorts is way more feasible (both technically and economically) to repair than a component.

Darwin's Platinum Card - Aug. 26, 2023, 5:23 a.m.

Excellent article!

It's probably just me, but, without any real basis, I view hardtails and full suspension bikes very differently when it comes to this sort of thing.  To me (and maybe putting bike packing to the side) full suspension bikes are about utility and performance whereas hardtails, almost by definition, are about prioritizing something else - simplicity, soul, a more connected riding experience, etc.  For example, in my head those Talon cranks make a whole lot more sense on, for example, a highly customized Chromag hardtail than on the latest full suspension wonderbike.  Same with aftermarket anodize bolts and the like.

NSBillet Talon Cranks - Aug. 26, 2023, 4:49 a.m.

That sentence clearly says there are other reasons to not like emts, and that's also implicit in the meaning of red herring.

I'll say this and then shut up. 

I made an offhand mention of an emtb in discussing why people might be negative towards these cranks and how, for me, that negativity might not be very rational.  And that spurned a big debate on emtb's rather than these gorgeous cranks.

I think the real problem is that we're all still getting triggered by emtb's.  I was certainly overly defensive of the environmental impact.

emtb's have the potential to have a hugely negative impact on our sport over the next decade or two as they become more and more prevalent.  But for better or worse, they are part of the mountain biking world and they are not going away.  Land managers barely have the resources to perform basic tasks, much less police emtbs, which are only going to get more and more incognito.  

People have to move off the opposing poles of emtbs are just like real bikes and won't change anything (pure fantasy) and outright dismissal and denial of emtbs as motorcycles.  I'd argue that just like we all have a duty to pick up a tool and help with our local trails, we also have a duty to engage on the emtb front and try to make sure the impact to riding culture and etiquette is as minimal as possible.

And I think that's the real danger.  I love me some bike park, but, for me, the park mindset and experience lacks soul to some degree.  I wouldn't want it to be the core of my riding.  And it's awfully easy to let an emtb push your normal trail mindset towards a bike park mindset.

We need the old guard that has been riding and working and advocating for a long time to engage with people on emtb's, and especially those that don't have a long history on real bikes.  I'd argue that's the appropriate reaction of someone who deeply loves our sport and appreciates the magic of riding real bikes.  Not creating division that's going to hurt our sport.

For example, I led the effort to create our main local trail system. It's fairly rolling (but rocky) terrain.  We've been advocating for locals to get the mid-powered emtbs, as we believe those are more appropriate for our trail system and do not turn some of our more xc, multi-use trails into high-speed, downhill trails to nearly the same extent as full powered emtbs.  And we've had a lot of success with that.

CushCore Trail Inserts - Aug. 25, 2023, 7:16 p.m.

Unions with DT Swiss tape.  Orange seal (1/2 reg; 1/2 pro).  Maxxis tires with EXO casing.  Didn't get any squeaking until fairly recently.

My frustration with the Pros is that if I pull a tire, especially a rear tire, after a good bit of riding and then reinstall, it seems like there's at least a 20-30% chance I get a casing wobble.  It's like after the casing has been ridden hard, it can't handle the uninstall and reinstall.  I've gotten scared to pop a bead to free the stanimals.

I'm by no means a pro mechanic, but I can build a wheel, so I'm not a total slouch.  Using a big trash can, moto bead lube, and all the cushcore tools and tricks.  Trying to be as gentle as possible.

Pulled off a worn out tire yesterday in preparation to experiment with CC trail (thanks for the awesome review) + EXO and Conti DH casings.  I think the squeak is coming from rim bed and CC interface.  But I can't imagine this has anything to do with carbon vs aluminum, as I'm pretty sure the rim tape and tire keep the insert from any direct contact with the rim.

In inspecting things with the squeak in mind, I was fairly shocked at how easy the CC has become to slide on and off the rim.  Like its stretched in diameter.  Very, very few nicks from being pinched against the rim.  Got a couple of years on it.

I'm about 215 and run somewhere between 25-28 psi in the rear depending on what I'm riding.  Wheel sees time on an overstroked EXe (160/145) or a Banshee Titan.  I'm fairly fast downhill for a 200+, 40-something, desk-jockey.  But it's not like I'm some beast that regularly rips tires off rims without inserts.  

Wonder if it's from lots of use in general, or from cornering forces?  And if the latter, wonder if it indicates pressure that's too low?  Next time I pull the other tire on the CC Pro wheelset I'll try to remember to report back in case it's useful to someone.

NSBillet Talon Cranks - Aug. 23, 2023, 5:58 p.m.

Thanks for the response.  Again, I'm not saying I'm right or there was anything wrong with your review (you certainly addressed the fact there is no performance advantage).  Please keep your reviews just like they are.  And I would never chime in with an unsolicited "it's a bad value" comment on a product like these cranks.

I was simply trying to discuss the negative reaction to them queried in the original comment and point out why I had somewhat of the same reaction and why, even though I arguably don't have much of a leg to stand on if I had to defend it in the context of my overall bike expenditures.  If I came across as saying others shouldn't want them or buy them, that was certainly not my intent.  I agree they're beautiful and you are correct that, as far as vanity purchases go, you could certainly do a lot, lot worse.  

And my secondary point, which probably wasn't well stated, is that when it comes to riding, we all have inconsistent or incompatible beliefs and actions - things we feel passionately about with respect to our riding experience that aren't necessarily consistent with our overall actions.  

And I think that's fine. For the vast majority of us that don't work in the industry, we're adults with "real jobs" and families riding bikes around in the woods for fun.  It's a hobby and outlet for self expression; not anything of real consequence.  But what is important is that we allow others their incongruent philosophies as well as realize we have plenty of our own.  (Although I think we can still have some gentle fun with, for example, people shifting electronically while running bad brakes and suspension).

Case in point, I have a ton of fun on the EXe, but will forever refer to my two other bikes as "real bikes" and the EXe as an "ebike."  I think the world would probably be better off without ebikes, and passively adopting the class 1 category for recreational off road cycling (way too much power outside of winch-and-plummet riding) is going to go down as the biggest advocacy misstep of the last few decades.  But the cat's out of the bag, or so I tell myself, and I'm not going to miss out on the additional fun.  But I don't like electronic shifting on principle, because mechanical works just fine and electronic doesn't give me anything I want in exchange for the additional complexity.   It doesn't even make any sense inside my own head . . .

NSBillet Talon Cranks - Aug. 23, 2023, 9:04 a.m.

The point of including that was to poke fun at my reaction to the cranks and the extent to which it's inconsistent and hypocritical.

As to motors and batteries, I think that's a total red herring for people who don't like ebikes, and same with the impact of carbon frames versus aluminum. I think climate change is a huge problem and I try to mitigate my "carbon footprint," but if I hired someone with professional expertise to evaluate my carbon footprint and told them what I'd really been worrying me was my ebike, I'm confident they'd laugh at me. For 99% of mountain bikers, the list of lower hanging fruit runs dozens of items long.

NSMB is better than most, and your reviews are better still, but the vast majority of mountain bike "journalism" is product reviews that encourage people to purchase new things when the things they have are just fine. None of us are supporting ourselves based on how fast we ride a bike. More specifically, I'd wager that the environmental impact of my ebike is less than the amount of perfectly fine brakes sitting in spare bins, likely to never be used again, because people bought Hayes or Formulas. Everything is gray, and we're all hypocrites to some degree, which was my point.

I was approaching it more from a philosophical point of view. I'm very fortunate that it wouldn't be a big deal for me to put these cranks on all of my bikes (let's pretend there's an ebike version). But what would I really be doing other than just buying something fancy for the sake of buying something fancy? What function do they fulfill that a $150 crankset doesn't?

It's important to me that my riding is in no way about collecting and playing with fancy and expensive things. I want to buy things that have a functional purpose, whether they be inexpensive or expensive. I'm not saying it makes any sense or that other people should feel this way. But I do think a lot of people react negatively to product where a big chunk of the price is due to form over function.

Regarding the ebike, for me the difference is that the ebike serves a purpose. It allows me to spend more time in the woods on a bike on the trails I find fun. Conversely, I can't figure out how fancy cranks serve any purpose other than "bling."

NSBillet Talon Cranks - Aug. 23, 2023, 5:50 a.m.

I totally agree that expensive does not equal conspicuous consumption.  Riffing off your last example, I've got some kitsbow and mission workshop shorts, both of which have been sewn up after tears from falls.  But they are functionally better than shorts that cost less (in particular, the waist adjust on the mission workshop shorts is awesome).  They'll last forever, and it's hard for me to imagine buying more shorts for at least 5 years, probably 10.  Absolutely a believer in buy once, cry once.

And I wasn't trying to say my reaction is correct or that people shouldn't buy the cranks or that anyone would notice the cost difference a year from now, much less 10.  Just trying to answer the comment/question of the source of some of the negative reaction.

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