Through the Visor

For those who are PASSIONATE about their love of a particular sport, for those who take absolute pleasure in every moment it can bring be it; joy, misery, fear, elation, sadness and the satisfaction. Rejoice. Know that it is a good thing. To be so enthralled by whatever it is you love, that you’ll sacrifice almost everything else to be in that moment. Those of us who understand this allure share a bond, while those who do not are to the rest of us, a bit ‘foreign’. Perhaps even lacking a certain motivation for life.

For me specifically the TT represents unfettered freewill. It represents the pureness of racing; speed, adrenaline, risk, fear and excitement. In my opinion, it is the most visceral experience in the world. I love the TT, even though I have never gotten the chance to compete there nor probably ever will. My passion for the TT runs deep, ingrained amongst the racing fanaticism within my blood. The TT is both real and surreal at the same time. It is history, it is tradition, it is freedom and liberty defined.

The TT is the world’s toughest and greatest road race. Down-to-earth, honest, hard-working, ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things on motorbikes.

Photo-Op! the R002 in all of its glory…

After reading and viewing a post by fellow WP writer and cycling connoisseur bgddyjim I was inspired to post my own ‘dressed’ rig… decked out in matte black, accented mostly by red anodized bits.

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From the top down… red carbon headset spacer, red alum stem cap, red anodized bar ends, red anodized seatpost bolts, red anodized seatpost clamp. Red anodized brake pad housings, red alum cable ends, red anodized hubs, red anodized skewers, red alum pully/jockey wheel and red alum presta valve caps! The one non-red parts are the gold alum chainring bolts… (I do have a set of red  :-D)  #ocd

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The poor photo quality doesn’t do the bike justice! Bad lighting… perspective and cameraman! lol… but in person, it is a looker if I do say so myself!

Here’s where I’ll add a quick review of the bike by another rider. Paul K.  is actually my neighbor and big mtb’er. We are very similar in height and bike fit, so he was willing to give the R002 a go.

“Today I test rode the R002 carbon bike and let me say it was a dream (besides the knocking sound coming somewhere by the bottom bracket). That said, it didn’t take anything away from the performance of the bike. The 28mm tires took the corners with confidence and speed, feeling planted at every turn.”

“The carbon frame and carbon wheelset along with some good rolling rubber helped the bike excel up any hill I threw at it. I had never used brakes on carbon wheels before, so they felt a bit sketchy initially but still performed quite well. Near the end of the ride I took it on a 2 minute sprint which the bike loved, I actually got a PB on that particular segment. The bike accelerated with ease, begging for more.”

“After all was said and done and I was left hanging over the bars with exhaustion from pushing the R002.  It was a great ride on a well performing machine and I can’t wait to try it again- once the knocking sound is fixed.”

(mystery noise 101… Seatpost, check. Pedals, check. BB?
I have taken apart the external bearings cups, checked them and the threads and inspected the bikes BB as well, but the noise still emanates from below. I have a new BB-90 to install and hopefully that takes care of it…)

Tested & Ridden: X-Fusion 02 Pro R Shock

This review is of the X-Fusion 02 Pro R shock that comes mounted on with the Marin Hawk Hill 1. I recently picked up the HH1 and have had half-a-dozen rides on the full suspension rig.

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The bike has seen a variety of trails, including some flowing single track, mostly dirt with little rocks and roots, flat dirt and grassy trails and some proper rocky and rooty trails. Certainly enough different types of terrain to analyze the performance.

The ‘performance’ of the shock is decent, with the dampening being fairly good while the shocks rebound keeps up with the harshest of technical trails. Though it does lack compression adjustment capabilities. This is a significant issue in my opinion, as well as the rebound setting adjuster being very vague when turning the knob clockwise. Turn it CCW and you can feel each of the 11 detents. Turn it CW and there are NO detents. (why 11 clicks not 10 or 12? Really X-Fusion? ) #shit

I have read that some testers and riders experience ‘stiction’ on the rear shock, but I have had no such experiences. It compresses and rebounds fairly smoothly.  But the above mentioned two problems are glaring in their own right and render the shock inadequate for any long-term consistency. BUT the worst of all, is that the air chamber leaks! It fucking leaks man.

A BRAND NEW shock does not hold its pressure from week to week, this is unacceptable. Typically the shock loses 20-25 psi just sitting idle in the garage. Is this normal? Of course it isn’t, we’re not talking about tires here folks…. we’re talking SEALED dampers. It mother fucking leaks. #ugh.

02 pro

So, I called X-Fusion… (this is rich) their tech said, yes he has had this issue before. Really? I’m ‘shocked.’  (  😀  pun intended! )  He say’s, “it’s most likely the seal on the upper portion.” ” It could have been sitting in a warehouse for awhile… (define awhile please…) “You’ll  (emphasis on ME, as You will) Really?  “You’ll have to take apart the shock and grease the O-ring, that should seal the chamber, if not then send it on back it to us.”

Me on the other end of the phone; ah, I have to take apart? “Well, if you’re not comfortable than have a bike shop do it.”  OH! Yes, let me PAY a shop to fix a brand-fucking-new piece of equipment so it then works properly, like it was DESIGNED to. Oh, I  s e e. . . Suffice to say I am completely unsatisfied with X-Fusions customer service not too mention their product performance.

I had ordered a coil-over prior to taking delivery of the bike, planning on replacing the air shock anyway. But alas…I was sent the incorrect model. I did not re-order it as of yet. But will be doing so SOON!

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Some may be wondering why I would replace an air shock with a “antiqued, heavy” coil over damper. ( not my description, but rather the typical punk response by the young inexperienced mtb crowd) who seem to buy into every meme and narrative out there, no matter how false or illogical it is.

Fact: Coil shocks are more reliable. Fact: Coil shocks perform better in pure suspension action. Fact: Coil shocks require less maintenance. Fact: Coil shocks will NEVER leak air and collapse.

Yes, air shocks do have more adjustability but, they require MORE maintenance and are LESS reliable. These are facts, not memes or opinions. The weight of the coil shock is offset by it’s performance and longevity all day long over the ‘popular’ air shocks.  I dislike ‘popular’ things anyway.  If any mtb’ers have any doubt as to these facts, just ask Curtis Keene or read mbr. AND is if that wasn’t enough for the read-a-meme and its true crowd…Rockshox had released a coil shock for trail riding in May of 2017.

The performance of coil overs is no secret to me (having an extensive moto background) as well as no secret to the top MX and SX teams.  As most are on coil overs, with a few utilizing air dampers. And all the MotoGP and WSBK teams are using coil overs, ( mostly Ohlins) these are the best riders on the best machinery in the world, using coil shocks period. Done and dusted punks.

Conclusion: The X-Fusion 02 Pro is a mediocre shock at best. Throw in the that this particular one leaks and it is a complete shit show. Garbage.

Here’s a meme for you… #getaclue #dontbuythehype
😉

 

 

 

Guy goes 29″… (and talks Tour Divide)

Chain Reaction caught up with short-circuit roadracer and expert TT rider, Guy Martin and his take on the Vitus Rapide 29’er. In addition to being a real roadracing champion, Guy is a hardcore mtb enthusiast and DH rider.

 
In this clip below Guy Martin discusses his Tour Divide training and preparation. Guy took a one-year sabbatical in 2016 from roadracing to focus on his mountain biking.

Team R-002 completes Two-Day Tyre Test

Test Day 1
The R-002 rolled out in windy but dry conditions on a new pair of Serfas Seca Sport tyres. Initial pressures for the 700x28mm set were placed at 82R/74F. What I immediately  noticed was how smooth they rolled, it was like gaining a bit of free speed. Now considering that the Ultra Sport 2s have become my personal Benchmark for performance, the Seca Sports were impressive right out of the gate.
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Billed as a training/performance tire, the Hard/Medium Soft intermediate tread and carcass design utilizes multiple silica and rubber compounds for both durability and performance. The center of the tyre is rated at a hardness of 65h for longer wear and puncture resistance while the edges are at a medium-soft 58h, which gives it plenty of ‘stick’ when flicking it or railing through the corners.

Left @ Dunham II

On the first run, the Seca Sports encountered lumpy and bumpy roads from smooth new pavement to weathered worn tarmac, sidewalks and bumpy park paths. The tires handled every surface with ease, providing solid feedback and inspiring confidence at every turn. The main focal point of today’s run was to test low to moderate speed corner entry and exit, hard braking as well as lower speed trail braking.

Bump compliance was another main consideration as there was very minimal ‘slippage’ off of debris, small rocks and pavement irregularities. The Seca Sport tires soaked up obstacles just enough to keep bike and rider planted, while still maintaining a good amount traction and control. Which means that  in ‘loose’ sections, the Seca Sports negotiate less than perfect surfaces and transmit a real ‘feel’ back to a rider in order to respond accordingly.

The tires were predictable yet precise, edge grip and stability were both top notch. Though smooth rolling they are not vague either. Allowing a rider to feel the road surfaces and all of its subtleties. As you can see from the whitish lines on the post-ride photos, I pushed right to the edge of both front and rear without so much as a whimper from the Seca Sports.

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Having never ridden on Serfas tires prior, they were performing a bit better than expected. Initial feeling at lower to moderate speeds were not too different from my usual stalwarts, the Conti Ultra Sport 2s. Even tipping the scales at 35 grams less than the Conti 2s. So now looking ahead, day 2 will attempt to push the limits of higher speed cornering and find the limits of high-speed braking performance.

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Test Day 2 (official)
Once again weather was hot with dry roads, so right to it then. Pressures were set at 85 rear and 74 front. At about mile 5, I increased the pace and started to push on. Right from the get go stability at turn-in and under braking at higher speeds provided good feel at the onset and all through the range of  turning and braking.

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I blasted down Quill Penn, then headed towards the curves of Ferguson Rd where the tyres just kept biting and biting. Then it was on to the Top of the World a fast and bumpy sweeping descent. (had the pleasure of stealing the KOM while I was at it!) I also managed to clip 42 mph with not so much as a hint of protest from the Seca Sports. Again, bump compliance was spot on, soaking up the uneven and torn up pavement. The Seca Sports are very stable and very confidence inspiring indeed.

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Through cul-de-sac hairpins and Mtn Park Circuit, direction changes at speed were also very good. (through chicanes, hairpins and short esses). The tire profile, though not ‘sharp’ still lends itself to quick but precise steering and easy transitions from side-to-side as well.

mtn pk right

Even while trail braking into the hairpin corner feedback and ‘feel’ was very solid. If you may be wondering, without question, there is a direct correlation to tire and braking effectiveness, something worth considering when choosing tyres. The final few miles had me bombing Somerville Rd, touching 42 mph again. I wanted to go faster, but just did not have the leg power today.

As far as hauling the bike down, under threshold braking, (just a micro moment before lockup) the Seca Sports braking-traction [not to be confused with breaking traction! 😀] yielded good ‘assist’ in slowing and stopping the bike from higher speeds, this is undoubtedly due to the grippy compound. Now whether or not that means a quick life-span, remains to be seen…

Conclusions
After a total of 3 days, two of which were very hard riding stints and one easy tour I racked up a total of 80 miles. No, it isn’t a long-term test by any means, but, it was enough in most all riding aspects, flat, uphill, downhill, slow semi-technical corners and fast sweeping turns on a variety of surfaces to draw a solid evaluation. In my many years of riding experience both on motorcycles and bicycles, I can safely say after a modest yet thorough analysis, the Seca Sport Tyres bridge the gap between very good training tires and all-out racing rubber.

Tyre and Suspension Basics

Though titled, “MotoGP Basics Tyre & Front Suspension” this video is a very good dynamic explanation of both the vertical (gravity) and lateral (radial or centripetal) forces acting against tyres and wheels. These same forces (albeit much less in N)
which are acting upon a bicycle as well.

When lateral force is greater than vertical force…(usually the front) wheel go buh bye… 😛  Referred to as a wash out or a low side. Your bicycle is a rolling physics lab, it is an amazing piece of machinery. Efficient and relatively simple, yet the complexity of applied forces in action are astounding.

Another part of the video explains the action of the front fork suspension on a motorcycle, which is the exact same action as a mtb bike fork. And btw… I know ‘Air’ is the hot ticket right now in mtb suspensions, but the best forks in the world (GP/SBK) are utilizing oil and springs, so that should tell you something…

Dreams… (Ultimate Bike Build)

Like so many other riders, I dream of an ultimate build of a two-wheeled push bike. This first post will be on my dream MTB… Now I just have to win the lottery!
Estimated Cost: $11,500 +/-

Frame:
Yeti SB6 27.5 Carbon
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Front Fork/suspension:
Ohlins TTX 22 M
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Rear Shock/Suspension:
Ohlins RFX 36
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Front & Rear Disc Rotors:
Alpha Ceramic/Carbon discs
discs

Front & Rear Calipers:
Brembo Radial Mono
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Drivetrain:
Shimano XTR M9000
XTR
Wheelset/Hubs:
DT Swiss XRC 1200
DT-SWISS-Laufradsatz-29-XMC-1200-Spline-Gold-Edition

Additional items:
♦Magura Vyron Elect Wireless Dropper Seatpost
♦Ritchey WSC Carbon Matrix Stem
♦Answer Riser Bars ( cut down to 24″ – 25″)
♦Shimano XTR M9020 Pedals

Not too shabby a build for under 12k I would say!
Thoughts/opinions? What’s your dream build