Wow! Really enjoyed that! Awesome artwork and execution of the idea.
Joined Feb. 24, 2017
Commented on Paint Fast, Ride Slow - North American Enduro Cup 2022 - 2 weeks ago
Wow! Really enjoyed that! Awesome artwork and execution …
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The ¨bike industry¨ by direct influence of the consumers, seems to have lost a LOT in the translation between the things that would legitimately improve our riding experience, and always making every unreasonable and unnecessary effort to make things as light as possible along with making every unreasonable and unnecessary effort to make things as sexy looking as possible.
Good, clean, well considered external routing can easily preserve and really even enhance the looks of a bike while making it logical, affordable, and even enjoyable to work on.
I guess from a manufacturers standpoint, good clean well considered external routing costs a lot more development money than just deciding to shove all the cables in through a hole in the side of the frame or through some godforsaken tiny slit in a stem and headset and letting the consumers deal with the expense of both money and time, and as an extra bonus they can sell it as a feature because it looks sexy in pictures? Logical cable routing most Definitely influences my purchasing decisions because living with and working on a bike with shitty routing is f´ing shitty.
Wouldn't it be something wonderful if manufacturers made more conscious efforts to properly and effectively fully Seal frames and components from any water/salt/dust/sand/mud whatever intrusion, protect bearings with robust seals and shields, and use more appropriate and larger and incredibly well sealed bearings where it makes sense LIKE THE BB and HEADSET? Wouldn't that be worth some grams? Wouldn't it be worth having cable routing that lets you or your shop easily perform the most basic and minimal maintenance your bike will frequently require? Instead we prioritize putting holes everywhere to seemingly guarantee that frames will invite water and salt and sand and mud to come hang out inside and rot those bearings and everything else out as rapidly as possible.
Its pretty good, but I wish there were individual guides and clamps under the cover to help keep the cables organized while you route everything, and then the cover would just hide it all. As it is now, keeping the cables sorted under the cover while you tighten it down is annoyingly finicky, and it makes replacing an individual cable/housing that much more annoying as well. I also wish the dropper cable was routed into the other side of the headtube/downtube before entering the frame so it gives the cable a more natural radius. GG must be one of the only manufacturers that I am aware of that routes the dropper cable into the non-drive side. I actually have two revved GGs in the house, mine and my sons, so these obviously arent a deal breaker, but it could be better IMO.
Yepp. And are one of the things I really appreciate in a riding/active pant. Prevents splashes and mud and loam and everything else from getting funneled into your shoe, by allowing the pant to open around the shoe enough so all that shit can flow over and keep your socks and shoes dry and clean. Genius! haha. Ok not really genius, but it is way more functional, practical and effective than your typical racer fashion ankle tight muck funnels.
Hell yeah! I have my Chromag Stylus set up 26+ with minion DHF/DHR, and cushcore pro front and rear. And it is quite a playful riot like an all-terrain bmx/dirtjump bike for gnarly natural trails or slippery conditions. Extremely playful in corners, on steep gnarly terrain, and on smooth lower grade flow kinds of trails. It just pumps and dips and carves and hops around so intuitively, and encourages a very active and dynamic riding style to go on attack.
Plus tires are really great for the things they are great at. The more a trail begins to look like a purpose built bike trail, and the better or more hardpacked the trail conditions are, the worse plus tires will perform. That Should be obvious to people, but its not. I think that was the biggest issue with them when they came out, was that they were being sold as THE NEXT BIG THING substitute for your regularly sized wheels/tires, and not as a complement to them. Which is what they are. A perfect compliment to your existing wheels and tires, for the conditions that require them.
I think another big thing that contributed to their rapid fall from popularity was the lack of a good purpose built tire insert (and the widespread adoption of inserts) for them when they were at their most popular. Pinch flatting plus tires was too common because of the lower pressures at their sweet spot. The ride characteristics were best in a specific pressure range, but it was low enough that it was easy for a square edge or more pointed rock to just push right through the support without much aggression or a particularly bad mistake. I think if something lighter but still effective, like tannus tubeless or Octamousse were around and well known, many people would have had better experiences with plus tires, enough to begin to understand and accept where they excelled and use them appropriately in those settings.
I do hope the industry at large (at least the tire manufacturers) continues to support them because there is definitely a place for them for a Lot of people.
On a fairly related note to this article, something I began thinking about more and more in the last 2-4 years, is if we are going to start seeing people seeking out bikes from a specific model year of their production. Mostly as bikes have Really began to mature in terms of things like geometry, suspension kinematics and pedaling performance, internal dropper routing, boost front and rear becoming the more/most prevalent standard, etc., and as the newest generations of some bikes have just gone too far in one direction or another for your given taste and requirements.
Aside from the obvious value of going with an older but still supported bike, you may find better fit and function and performance by going with a model from a specific ¨vintage¨ for a specific use case. Kind of like how skiers/boarders may have really loved the shape and flex/layup of a specific model that was only made for a year or so before the manufacturer changed it, and people go out of their way to find NOS, or even just used and abused with hopes of keeping that perfect ski in their quiver a bit longer.
When a bike just works, it just works, and pretty soon (or maybe its already happened) it wont really matter what year its from as long as the bike is sporting features and standards that are still supported and the frame was built to last.
Think this is possible? Is this already happening? Obviously the shiny and new will always carry the most broad appeal, but for the right and knowledgeable person, their perfect bike may not be the newest one.
This theme is kind of better asked as a two part question.
One question is about what is your bare minimum trail/riding style before you lose interest. Id say you can get away with a pretty low-end bike as long as you keep it on the low-end trails and riding speeds. But the idea of essentially downgrading your abilities and giving up your relatively safe/reliable access to more advanced terrain is a difficult pill to swallow.
And the second question is what is the bare minimum type of bike/equipment could you safely/repeatably/reliably use, without forfeiting the terrain and style you are currently comfortable riding. This minimum should also still allow for riding progression without requiring you to constantly repair or replace parts.
Drivetrain is pretty easy. Really doesn't matter a whole hell of a lot anymore as there are good and reliable options at pretty budget levels.
Frame could for sure be a robust enough and well designed steel or aluminum hardtail.
I think the most complicated parts of this question are brakes, rear hub, and a fork that isn't actively gonna kill you or blow up every time you ride it. Tires are UBER important, but they're also the most frequently replaced wear item and the price differences arent SO enourmous so they kind of get a pass. Run what you want to run. Contact points and bar preferences are more personal of course, but they dont need to be bling to work in a way that doesn't hold you back or threaten your well being. Rims/wheels need to be up to the task, but they dont need to be anything crazy. Good alloy rims arent exactly cheap either though and will need replacing at some point.
The sum of all these parts definitely puts the price up in the thousand(s)ish range, but it doesnt have to be in the MANY thousands range.
I experienced a bit of this myself when my primary bike was stolen, and all I was left to ride in the interim 5-6 months was my Rocky Mountain Blizzard fatbike. I was pretty terrified to have only my fatbike to ride during the summer to try and keep up with friends and still enjoy more gnarly terrain. Some adjustments to riding style and expectations needed to be made obviously, but I got by surprisingly fine once I adapted to riding it, and honestly had a Lot of fun on it. Essentially Just a basic but serviceable hardtail with good enough brakes, good gear range, and a barely but more or less a good enough RS Bluto fork.
Definitely not something I would recommend trying to replicate. lol. Was like a comedy horror movie riding home mangled and bleeding everywhere, showering, and then trying to have my daughter butterfly stitch my mangled face back together cause I thought I only Maybe needed some stitches. Obviously did not work at all. Off to the hospital. The cuts were not so wide but they were deeep and flowing, especially when touched. Was not expecting to see so many broken and shattered and displaced bones when they did the CT Scans and I´m grateful my wife did not see the results. I consider myself to be 100% recovered now, and really I felt pretty much 100% very shortly after the crash and after the swelling went down. Very little visible from the crash now save for some minor scars that are growing ever fainter, and a less pronounced cheekbone that isn´t soo obvious unless I told you to look for it. The nerve stuff is just a subtle numb reminder, and that´s also still healing so may go away completely.
So yeah, would have been nice to be wearing a fullface, convertible or not, for that one! I cracked the front/right rim of the halfshell I was wearing, so it definitely did its job to the fullest degree it was capable of. A 661 EVO AM. No concussion, no neck injury, no nausea, barely a headache later that day.
I think if a convertible helmet can be as comfortable and stable as your own familiar and favorite all-mountain halfshell, and really easy to store the chinbar, it would make it a lot harder to choose and eventually fall back on a regular halfshell for pretty much any occasion. And if you are using the convertible helmet, you will have the chinbar with you, and you´ll put it on for the descents or the jumps or the more spicy whatevers. Having it with you is what counts. My worry with the lightweight fullfaces is that they will inevitably be left at home occasionally, and possibly always, where they are only protecting your shelf. The better option is always the one you are going to wear.
The best option I guess would be to have both a convertible, and a lightweight fullface that you are equally happy with wearing. That way whenever you head out you are either always covered, or at least have the option.
If you are doing DH, just put on your damn DH lid and pads.
In response to the topic at hand and leaning on my personal experience and general observation... Maybe people are moving back away from fullfaces because there is no perfect-enough option out there yet for people to commit to and then never look back, after having tried one or two and still been left wanting. And if there is, these lids are too expensive and too uncommon to be able to try them all until you arrive at your own personal goldilocks. I tried out the enduro IXS fullface and it was lightweight but the fit and general feel/construction wasn´t as great as I was hoping so I returned it and kept looking until I arrived at the Leatt 4.0 Enduro. The Fox Proframe and the TLD Stage look great, and the Stage fit my head really well and comfortably when I tried one on in the store, but you dont know until you´ve lived with them, and then you are still left with a full face only, for better or worse. Worse if you stop using it.
Popping the chinbar off my Leatt is Awesome for the climbs and rolling terrain in hot/warm/whatever weather, and putting it back on is equally as Awesome for the descents. Climbing and general riding in rolling terrain with the chinbar on is not terrible, but it is undeniably cooler and more comfortable with it off. That has proved to me enough that I value the option, and may influence whether or not I would commit to using a dedicated lighter weight fullface like a TLD Stage.
I think my Ideal helmet would be a convertible Fox Dropframe. I have the Dropframe and it´s one of my favorite helmets ever, even if its got some minor room for improvement. It extends low in the back, utilizes a pad fit, is completely stable on my head which is crucial for mounting a light, runs cool and is not at all heavy feeling, and has no over-the-ear echo/muffle/hot/claustrophobic effect. It disappears on my head, with no adjustment necessary. If the drop-ear pieces were made sturdier so it could support a removable chinbar it would be damn close to perfect for me, and could probably stand as my only helmet for all trail riding. That design would also make the chinbar small enough that storing it would be substantially easier than the longer one on the Leatt and many of the other options, and could probably go somewhere on the bike without issue or interference. I know the Giro switchblade is close to that, but they don´t fit my head well enough, and they rely on a dial to squeeze your head to hold it in place.