16 March 2014

Fall has come & gone
Winter has also come & gone, and come & gone, and come & gone, etc.....
Let's hop into the 'WABAC Machine' and re-visit what's happened over the past 6 months.

Mally got herself a nice new job, so now she's working exclusively in acupuncture, and during the daylight hours, I get to see my wife more than 1 day/week now!! 

She had a working interview back in November, which went extremely well (as expected), so I pedaled into town to meet her after she finished to have a celebratory dinner. We tossed my bike into the 3 week-old car, and headed to the restaurant, when BAM!, some clown decided to ignore the left-turn only lane & continue straight ahead into the driver's side quarter panel/door & mirror.

We got a new  'smashed up' car!

Thanksgiving day led some of the boys to BCLP for the Turkey-X race, but not without some mechanical issues happening: Bobby's Hamplanet had some drive-train slippage, which he solved by light pedaling for the race; Hirsch picked up tubeless conversion supplies, but decided against installing it for the race. Result, he had 3 or 4 flats, and the Wild Turkey shots caused some riders to refund after another 100 yds or so.

Only racer w/a kickstand for the win!

Did some on-again, off-again pedaling over the winter

Refreshment stop at BCLP
Christmas Eve on Green Mt.

White Ranch always pleases
Joe & I pushing the time limit at Lair o' the Bear
Joe & Greg vogueing
First ride at Ken Caryl

BeerdBelly V
Another fantastic season opener at Elk Meadows. Mostly sunny day with temps in the low-40s gave us excellent conditions to spend the 1st day of 2014 w/a great group of like-minded folk.

New Parts
After riding w/dropper posts on the Honzoschmidt & Sanction, I knew the Monkey needed one, but wasn't willing to shell out much on one. Voila, Jeremy mentioned a budget version during a TITS ride, so I ordered up a TMARS.

-27.2mm x 425mm
-3 positions: fully extended, 55mm drop, & 110mm drop
-spring-activated lift

Hadn't found much info about these, but wanted to add a dropper to my 27.2mm seat tube light-duty bike, and this $80 dropper fit the bill perfectly. Ordered from Taiwan & it was in my hands about 8 working days later.

One review mentioned that they disassembled it & lubed everything up to improve movement, so once it came out of the box, I proceeded to rip it apart. Once I started wrenching, I saw how simple the design was. On-bike installation was also straightforward: plop it in the seat-tube and run the cable to your bars. I did however notice an issue straight away that needed resolved: once the cable was routed, I saw that the barrel adjuster for cable tension was in a terrible position, too close to the housing box where it could get kinked very easily. To solve this, I just swapped ends and put the barrel at the bar end, problem solved. It comes with a 1.1mm cable, but I found that can be replaced with the normal 1.2mm derailleur cable.

Preliminary adjustments completed, so time to pedal around the yard & see how it worked. Right away, I noticed that even when completely slammed, there is a mile of post sticking out. The measurement from the top of seat-tube to the saddle rails is a gargantuan 8-3/4”!    Buyer beware – check that distance before you buy this thing. Since I'm Sasquatch-sized, my saddle height was only about 1/2” off the mark, and I was able to solve the issue by putting hacksaw/file to Karate Monkey seat-tube.

As you see in the picture, the bottom of the housing containing the controls hits the seat clamp, making about 3/4” of the post useless, which adds about 1-1/4” extra post overall.

It goes up, it goes down
The TMARS will take a ride to get the hang of learning to put some pressure on the saddle when you adjust the saddle. You can't just hit the trigger & move it, as the pressure from the spring will inhibit the lock pin from moving enough to unlock it from its current position. Cable tension is important to set up correctly, or else you'll experience a non-locking post: just a bit too tight & the post may not stay locked into position; a bit too loose & you'll have to mash on the lever to get it to unlock. It took me some trial-and-error, but I finally got it just right, and the post worked as it should on its initial ride. If you can't get it to lock in the lowest position, I found that taking a 6mm allen key to the bottom to relieve some of the pressure on the spring will do the trick.

My next project is adding 1 more position to the post - 27.5mm drop in addition to the 55mm & 110mm factory stops.

-simple design

-long length

Some more fun took place

We celebrated Mally's 11th 29th birthday, where the
veghead of the house cooked up 8# of pork belly
Joe & I enjoying the final bits of sun at Alderfer/3 Sisters
Délicieux! Mally & I finally cracked open our last fancy bottle of wine, Henri!
DR is usually the 1st dirt to dry, which is good since it's one of the funnest!

More new shit
So I bought a leftover 2012 GT Sanction last year, and rode it about 15 times over the summer, mostly at Trestle & Keystone. Really fun bike that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I had a recurring itch in the back of my head since the summer before. After cleaning it up post-ride last fall, I decided to list it for sale to see if anyone wold bite, and if not, keep riding it. After 6 months of posting sporadically, I had a taker.

Regarding that itch: let's go back to summer 2012 at Trestle - I demoed a Kona Entourage, and thought it was hands-down  the funnest bike I'd ever ridden. I was instantly hooked, and have been jonesing for one ever since. Cash in hand from the sale of the GT finally gave me the ability to look for one in earnest, and yesterday, I finally got one of my own.

Oh, joy!
Got home & made some quick changes to suit it to my sasquatch-sized body: since they only go up to a large, I needed to give myself a touch more room, so swapped the Kore OCD 800mm bars from the Honzo w/the stock Kona 780mm bars; swapped the OE MTX33 wheelset w/older, much more heavy-duty Ringle 36h anchors passed to me from Boomer, and put on Kenda Excavator DH 2.5" instead of those skinny Maxxis 2.5" (measure more like 2.35") that came stock; increased rear disc size up from 180mm to 203mm; and ordered an x-firm coil to put in the Domain fork. Just need to figure out which weight coil needs to replace the lightweight stock on the Fox Vanilla.

Bring on summer & big-time fun riding again!

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