Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The right tool for the right job.

So, I still have a head full of Switzerland. Every day my thoughts turn to all the different rides and the great friends we made on the trip. Or meat, bread, and cheese. And that meat, bread, and cheese was the best because it was part of a great day of riding. IN THE SWISS ALPS! Did I mention that part?
As a result a lot of my postings are going to be related to the trip.
I thought I would get to how the bike performed. It KICKED ASS!
I spent the six months before the trip getting the bike and gear ready. Two months out I broke the frame. Eeeek! Yes I was sweating. Santa Cruz was great about it and replaced the front triangle no problem. First gen Nomads had an issue. Ok, on with it.
The Nomad received a Cane Creek Double Barrel rear shock. ( Major Dist) It took some time but I got it dialed in spot on before the trip. I could go on and on about how killer this shock is but those that know me have probably already heard it. Or already own one. I figured for this trip and this bike if I was going to do it I was going to do it right.
The front suspension I lucked into about a month before the trip.

Rock Shox Totem. I grabbed another inch of travel and who knows on the weight. Not much more that the Fox 36 I was running. I was concerned about the rake due to the height increase. The Nomad is pretty slack as it is. I did a few local rides to get sort of the All Mountain feel. I took it out to Big Creek in what I call the Outback where some fast down hill runs and jumps are. It handled great. I never felt like there was the slightest loss of control. On anything.
The tires were another item that I finally nailed. The third set upon a recommendation from Ray was the winner. Kenda Nevegal Stick Es. Pricey but so worth it.
Shoes came down to Shimano mp66 and m647 pedals. I like clip-in platforms. The shoes were bought after much research and due to the info from Big Mountain that stated there will be plenty of hike-a-bike so have some comfy shoes. I love my Sidi's but not for long walks. Turns out that five of us had the same shoe and pedal set up. My dogs were never barking. Very comfortable, rigid, well made shoe.
And if you are riding All Mountain bikes a Gravity Dropper ( is a must. Not only does it turn every little root and rock into a kicker (cause the seat ain't up your arse) it is nice to change leg position for a few minutes on long rides. I rode quite a bit of technical rocky traversals with the seat down. It allowed for better handling. There was some serious rocks and boulders that needed taming.
Oh yeah and three rear derailleurs later I ended up with a Sram X9 mid-cage. A good solid mid-cage. The large rocks in the Alps just can't wait to snag a long cage. Not that there is a huge difference but, I thought it was enough. I'm running it with and XO shifter. Did well.
The bike rode great everyday. I would hose the bike off once in a while and every morning before the ride lube the chain. The Double Barrel and the Totem made me absolutely fearless. I rode the hairy traversal and the blistering downhills right on Chris Winters rear wheel. It was awesome chasing someone that knew the trail. Full throttle. Once Chris realized the boys from the Southeast weren't a bunch of fancy pants posers or toothless rednecks (well not toothless anyway) it was on. We ran every down hill WFO. I beat the stew out of that bike and all it wanted was more. The Totem was set up so that through out the whole trip I came within about a quarter of and inch from bottom out. All this with a full pack. Somedays heavier than others. One day the pack was probably close to 30lbs. It was so heavy I had to stop every so often and loosen the seat post clamp and pull the post back up. The weight caused the post to gradually get shoved down in to the frame. No matter how tight I got the clamp. That's a lot of weight and says a lot for the durability of the Gravity Dropper.

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