Yeah, the seat tube looks slack, but it rides just fine. Very similar to the Ibis HD3 and the Nomad. Such a small difference that I didn't notice.
1. What wheels do you currently use? Right now I'm running Stan's Flow EX rims on both bikes; one set with DT Swiss 350 hubs, the other with Chris Kings.
2. Have you had any experience with DT Swiss wheels? I've had quite a bit of experience with the DT hubs (440's and 350's), but I haven't been on a set of DT rims in a while. I think the last set I was on was on my 2005 Santa Cruz V10. The rear rim ended up failing, but casing a 25 foot gap probably didn't help it.
3. Have you had problems with spoke or hubs breaking? Other wheelset issues? Rim related issues have been on the decline for me. After some injuries and discovering that light wheels can actually go over obstacles, rather than through them, I stopped destroying wheels on a regular basis. Rear hubs, however, are a different story. Most stock hubs I have run (Formula, Novatec) have blown up after only a few rides. The higher end ones (Hope, Chris King, DT) have stood up really well for me.
4. Have you ever tried tubeless? I did the tubeless thing off and on for a while. But now that the rims and tires are really designed for it, tubeless is all I run. Whether it's the easy to set up Schwalbe Super Gravity tires or some 'XC' tire, it's totally worth the hassle to get tires onto the wheels without tubes.
5. Have you ever bought a wheelset, or do you usually run what comes on the bike you have? I've done both. On my Ibis HD3, I'm running the stock wheel set; well, almost stock. The rear hub blew up after about 3 weeks and Ibis replaced it with a DT 350. For my Nomad, I chose to run Stans Flow EX rims laced to Chris King hubs.
6. Do you own a bike with 27.5 or 29" wheels? Both bikes I own have 27.5 wheels and the same spacing. If I'm lucky enough to test the wheels, I plan on putting them on the more pedally Ibis for about a month, then the more DH oriented Nomad for a month.
7. Where do you live and ride? I live in North Vancouver and live at base of Mt. Seymour. Probably 90% of my riding is on the shore and the remainder would be split up to Squamish, Whistler, and the interior.
8. I just posted a review for the Push ElevenSix rear shock with pictures to come soon (http://bb.nsmb.com/showthread.php?p=2874632#post2874632)
I've been riding the shore for the past 8 years or so and I have had a bunch of wheelsets in the past year, so I have some good comparisons for the DT wheels (aluminum Stans, Light Bicycle carbon, Derby carbon). Unfortunately, I don't have 20 posts in the last month, but I have a background in science and am religious about note taking. I think I would a good fit for this review.
So I drank the koolaid… After a bit of rough ride (which was probably my fault and not my gear), I bought the new ElevenSix. But I think I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm running a 650B Santa Cruz Nomad with a 180 mm Fox 36 up front and the original rear shock was the RockShox Monarch Plus. When I first bought the bike, I was sure that I would be replacing the rear shock right away. I haven't had the best experiences with RockShox products in the past, so I was prepared to bite the bullet and spend the extra cash to get the Nomad feeling great. But it turned out that RockShox had really done their homework and the Monarch Plus is a great shock. I rode it for almost a year (with maintenance) with no issues. I liked the way it was easy to set up, had a great progressive feeling, and had pretty reasonable sensitivity for an air shock. What I think it lacked a little was a bit more mid-stroke support and the ability to tinker with the settings. Great shock, but…
The mistress is never happy with just great, right? So I picked up a fresh, shiny ElevenSix. After I wrapped my brain around how much it would cost, the rest just fell into place. Ordering the shock was pretty easy (via SuspensionWerx in North Vancouver), but the customer experience with ordering the shock was the thing that really blew me away. The guy building my shock actually spent time to call me and double check my riding style, riding area, weight, use of a backpack, etc, etc. Good feelings all around. The shock showed up about a week later, and 5 minutes after that it was bolted to the bike.
Most of my rides start with a pedal and I was blown away with how well the shock pedaled in the 'trail' mode. As the shock is fully customized to you, I chose a DH mode and a trail mode to begin with. On the way down is where this thing really comes alive. Most small bumps on the trail were all but erased and the big stuff was handled perfectly (although on par with the Monarch). But the thing I was really pleased with was the mid-stroke support; something that I was looking for when I bought the shock. Pedaling downhill is where I felt the Monarch wallow a bit and the ElevenSix took care of all of that.
There's one other thing that I really noticed; cornering. I guess I should have expected it, but it kind of caught me by surprise. There's a couple of corners on one of my favourite trail that the rear wheel always gets a little loose. But every ride with the ElevenSix, the rear wheel stays planted to the ground, allowing me to lean forward and weight the front wheel more and go faster. And like Seb Kemp's dad would probably say, faster is always faster, right?
Overall, I've been really happy with the shock and it really brings out the mini-DH bike in the Nomad.
Any questions? Ask away…
p.s. After a few rides, I tweaked the 'trail' setting to be more like a 'climb' setting. Now there is less shock movement than any of the lockout/climb settings on any of the rear shocks I've ever used. Good stuff!! Pics up soon…
Get the Zee cage as recommended, but don't buy the swat tool attachment, it wont fit on your Nomad.
In fact I will be selling my swat zee cage tool ….PM if anyone is interested
Yep, I agree with Bradical here. Zee cage is a no brainer. Cheap (relatively speaking; $20) and functional. I got a right hand mount and put my pump on the other side. The guys at Steed said the SWAT tool would fit, but I couldn't get it to go on my medium. Maybe it would work on the large? Tape a tube in the front end of your front triangle, multi tool in the pocket and voila, pack free riding. I just started riding with out a pack this year and I'm wondering why it's taken me so long to do so…
My wife got me this one a couple years ago.
I was pretty skeptical at first with no pit-zips, pockets, etc. But it works awesome. It's a pretty tight fit, so I'm not able to fit pads underneath (except the super thin XC jobbies). But, since it's tighter, it seems to breathe a little better.
Arc teryx makes a few really nice riding jackets too. But they are in the $400-500 range…
I've got the XTR's and the DX's. the XTR'S are great for the weight, but the DX has a better feel. A little more shoe engagement (I'm using the Shimano AM shoe) and a little easier to get into. The other big advantage (as mentioned above) is that they are better in hairy situations when you're inclipped.
If you're really concerned about weight, go for the XT, if not, the DX is the way to go.
I built up a similar sort of hardtail a few months ago. I have a few buddies that love their steel hardtails so I figured I'd try one and pulled the trigger on a Surface. Absolutely beautiful bike and absolutely not for everyone. I rode it over 20 times and I couldn't seem to find the fun. I went back to a dually and I'm happy I did.
If you're looking to get a hard tail, Chromag builds a beautiful bike and they were really helpful picking out the Surface for me. The one thing that I really liked about the Surface was the 29er wheels. Definitely going to try a small dually 29er in the future.
I like that there are lots of lines to choose from on Expresso right now and I think it's fun to ride with a buddy and be on totally different lines. But Expresso needs some maintenance and any love the trails get would be great; even if there is only one line. The only thing I wouldn't want to see on the trail is endless sections of rocked in trail, like on CBC. I think I would rather ride chunder than all the rock cribbing. Yes it lasts a long time and it will last for years without maintenance, but it's not fun to ride in any conditions. Just my 2 cents!
Rode Expresso last night. Theres a snowy patch on the road right a Ladies, but that's about it. We had to walk for a bit, but could pedal again at the entrance to leopard. It looked like you could climb higher too. It looks like things are melting fast up there.
Expresso was pretty fun, but anything wood was very slick.