Downhill Enduro prep-time.
Saturday July 23rd is the 4th www.nofussevents.co.uk Downhill Enduro on the Fort William world cup track. And as ever i have signed up for it again. Maybe it wont rain this year.
Anyway, after doing there MacAvalanche a few months ago i have changed a few things round to suit the venue better, the main issue with prepping for the MacAttack was no point of reference to look at. With the little i knew of Glen Coe i went for it being super steep and technical and very rocky, so a singlespeed set up made sense (to me). On the day i wasnt the only one who thought wrong, many where busy trying to swap bits round, some built heavy for serious abuse then tried to go lighter....others went light, then decided they really needed full on DH wheels and tyres on... go figure, we all have a different take on how hard or easy something looks. And a gravity dropper seatpost will be on a lot of peoples wish lists for next year (if no fuss do it again). I was able to give the little www.atomlab.com Pimp2 a good workout on the mountain. Heres some insight into my world.
First job was to compare the Superfly Styler to the Pimp. On paper the Pimp has a longer top tube, by lying the Superfly on top we see the difference in frame size and why Ben at Torico bikes reckoned i had nicked a kids bike to race on, i am 6'1" and manage ok, taller riders than me have done a bit of dirt jumping ok, bit small for long XC rides but nice and chuckable for shuttle days. So the Superfly has a slightly longer effective top tube, but the rear end is fixed at 405mm for the chainstays.
I had the Pimp on 400mm for the Mac, for the Fort which will be faster it will drag out to about 410-412mm so it should handle well on the motorway section, cant complain about the Superfly over the last 2 years up there, but a bit of extra wheelbase might make me ever so slightly faster.
First job was to graft on the Gamut P30. The Pimp has a 68mm BB shell with NO ISCG mounts, i could get a new BB mount Boomerang or find the adapter plate i had in a box somewhere. Cue a few hours of faffing about dialling in the Gamut so it it dosent rub the tyre and has a good chainline. Install, try, undo, move some spacers and try again.
Gears, important as they make us ride about 2 miles uphill first to thin the pack out, screw doing that on a singlespeed DH Hardtail in full armour. Last 2 years have seen the ghetto bin find XT/105 custom 6 speed cassette, thats now goosed so a full 9 speeder went on, the nice thing is i now have a 27t sprocket over the 21t ghetto set up, so riding uphill should be nicer this year (i am unfitter as well). I did have trouble with 9th gear and the chain rubbing on the chainstay, tried a few other sprockets, then just went with some spacers and 8 gears, carefull set up of the mech stops, a dead shift mid block and it works allright. The wheels are from a Spesh 07 SX trail, until i try some other wheels i will assume the hub spacing may be a Specialized own brand for SX thing going on.
The mech hanger... the Pimp2 dosent come with a hanger/chaintug, atomlab do make one, DMR make a uni fit one sure Gusset do and some others so finding one is no biggy. However i have a www.wheelsmfg.com Gimp multi tool that came with an emergency uni-fit hanger, so i am giving that some serious abuse, so far its working out well. I have only used a driveside chaintug, Gusset 2-tug, then the wheels hanger, as the through axle (10mm) is alloy and the top hat nut is alloy i want a lot of threads in there so left the other tug off.
The SX hanger banger has also been put to use and makes set up a lot easier. Also note the ziptied cable. I have the 09/10 model year Pimp2 and it has the box gusset, the first cable guide is too close to the gusset, it's tight and kinks the cable so i have run a full length outer instead. The 2011 spec Pimp2 has lost the box gusset, and i belive the seatpost is up to a 27.2mm as well. My 09/10 is a 25.4mm seatpost and factor in finding a quality long one if you need more than the 200mm length BMX ones that are cheap and easy to pick up. Thomson bailed me out with a 330mm Elite post.
For the Mac i used the Spank spike 777mm bars, comfy on the wrists but the width hurt my shoulders so they are getting chopped. Buy wide bars and then custom fit them to you, for comfort the 700mm slightly bent Bitch sticks and DMR headstock 50mm stem are going back on. Also changed the saddle, the DMR long haul is off and i found an old secondhand spank dirt jump saddle which is shorter/smaller, this i hope will lessen the chaffing i got last year when the wet grit soaked through and rubbed my ringer and scrote sack raw, that was not nice for several days after the race, so smaller saddle might help there.
Tyres, an old fave here, already done 20 laps of the fort and several other races and uplift days, the front is still in good nick, a WTB Prowler MX race/FR in 2.5 and 50a rubber weighs about 960g in single ply. The rear tyre, not in so good nick is a MX Prowler 2.5" Superduty DH casing and 40a rubber, claimed weight is around 1260g....mine is 1625g did wonder if i got a rebadged UST or something, also i got these about 2 years ago so i would like to think the weight is more like 1260 on the current 2011 tyres, that aside they roll well and the porky rear is pretty bombproof. They worked well last time, in the wet and are going to be easier to pedal uphill. www.wtb.com www.hotlines-uk.com are UK importers well worth checking into, with current tyre prices they are well priced and they do other DH tyres, they seem to be overlooked here in the UK, but trying the Prowlers out at different venues i was very happy with the performance on dry tracks. Fort William runs well wet or dry, fresh wet rooty tracks where a handfull to get down, but dry super fast rolling tyres.
The race ready bike, gears lashed on, pump taped on, the spare tube might move but looks happy there, and yes there is an allen key taped to the seatpost, the seat will be up for the ride up, then jump off drop the post and enter the DH from the big wallride, and make sure you clamp the post up tight as the bike hangs from the saddle on the way up. Tyre levers and multi tool in pockets and there we go. In reserve i have last years Continental Kasiers on the DMR backline/revolver wheelset set for single speed, would use them but Q/R rear wheel, so running the bolt through Spesh SX wheels. The gears only have to survive the ride up so any problems after that and it will be going single speed for the rest of the race. Quite a few others finish off the day chainless as they rip the mechs off in the first few runs
And to finish off with weirdness from last year, Mr Evans with the proto Strange 225, the trick was to zip tie the linkage to lock out the suspension, so a hardtail to sprint uphill on, hit the first jump-pop the ties and unleash the travel... Yes it did work and this is what people will do to get a good start, i cant wait to see what crops up this year. If you happen to be in Scotland around Fort William next saturday then the race starts at 3.30pm, uplift is shut off at 9.30 and if its as dark as last year, some of us can boast about doing a world cup track in the rain and fog, and dark with no lights, this event is truly out there as one for the mentalists !
Now for a shakedown ride on a local track, reckon i will move the pump and tube lower down, check i did all the bolts up then pack it for scotland. A report will follow depending what state i am in after this years race, see you other nutters up there.