November 8, 2010
A few rides in, a few more thoughts
First of all I think it’s worth answering some of the questions I’ve been asked about my Five.
“Not tempted by burlier suspension then Sim? CCDB option or 150 / 160 fork etc.”
Yes, but not yet. I’m definitely going to try the Five with a 160mm fork and a coil shock as it’s a setup I imagine a lot of people will want to run if they take their Five to the Alps. The Five is available in an ‘AM’ spec with a Fox 36 and the option to upgrade the Fox Float to a Cane Creek Double Barrel so it’ll be interesting to see how the Five feels in that set up. For now though I want something that is a bit lighter and more rounded than the AM build.
“It looks fantastic. How tall are you?”
Five ten in my five tens.
“I’m surprised Sim that you didn’t manage to get one of the Strange Evo Fives with your connections. 16″ standover height with the top tube length of the 18″ – perfect.”
I did actually ask about one of these but they had all been sold and there are no plans to make any more. I think in the end though I got the right size, the top tube length of the 18″ would have stretched me a bit more than I’d have liked and it would have played on my mind. The 16″ feels more suited to my preferences.
“Just can’t wait for mine to arrive now, another 5-10″ on a 16″, reckon a 17″ is long overdue!”
Whilst a 17″ would be great I can understand from Orange’s point of view why it would be a headache; another size to build, new jigs, stock control, ditherers trying to choose between a 16″, 17″ AND 18″…
“Those wheels look a bit fragile! How are they holding up?”
Well, they haven’t folded, dented or gone wonky yet but the freehub has needed some love and oil (mostly oil) to keep the pawls moving smoothly. This is easily done as you can pull the freehub out without any tools, but I can’t help thinking that may also be the cause of the problems too.
Any other questions post them below and I’ll get you answers in the next write-up.
A bit of rub here and there. The patina of wear starting to develop makes the frame feel more like my bike than just another test bike.
Matt has previously reviewed the 2011 Fox 32 TALAS Terralogic forks in the Grinder section of issue 59 (Premier users can see it here), and did a great job explaining how the Terralogic system works and his opinion of them but I thought I’d let you know my thoughts on them too.
Just taking a look through the name of the fork there’s lots to talk about, 32mm stanchions with Kashima coating, TALAS (Travel Adjust Linear Air Spring) offering the ability to run the fork with 140mm or 110mm of travel at the turn of a knob, and Terralogic (More on this in a mo), and on this set the 15mm QR axle. That’s a lot of tech and spec for one pair of forks.
Looking at that long list of features the most interesting, and unfamiliar, part is probably the Terralogic part. Essentially it’s a platform threshold for your forks, allowing you to tune how much they move relative to trail input. This means you can have a fork that feels completely locked out until you actually hit something, then it opens up and you get the full use of the 140mm of travel, closing again after the bump has been dealt with. There are 15 clicks worth of adjustment so getting something to suit is easily achievable. The Terralogic is also good at letting you know when you’ve dialled in too much platform as the forks feel like they are locked out and your wrists start to hurt, it takes a few rides to get the tuning just right, although some people will probably find the feel and way they work a bit odd. Riders who prefer a more obviously suspensiony feel to their forks won’t get the most out of the Terralogic system and would find a 32 RLC a better choice.
The Terralogic is great for people, like me, who run their forks relatively firm to help keep them riding higher in their travel on corners and descents. On a Float RLC I run a fair dose of low speed compression for that reason. In a sense these forks are the Fox-feel amplified; taught, firm and composed and more suited to working at higher speeds.
More info can be found on Mojo’s webpage here.
The Michelin Wild Rock’r bears more than a passing resemblance to Monsieur Bibendum’s classic Comp, the tyre that changed the way tyres were designed and the genesis of quite a lot of imitations.
I’ve stuck these on the Five as the Conti Rubber Queens were starting to feel out of their depth in the autumnal gloop and I wanted something with a more aggressive tread pattern to find purchase in the mulch. So far so good, but there are some niggles, there’ll be a full review in issue 62.
The only fly in the mud-loving ointment has been the Shimano SLX brakes.Despite re-bleeds, new pads and cleaning the discs with alcohol wipes they just wont stop me. Pulling on the brakes leads to a gradual loss of speed, followed by a lot of noise, mild panic, further clenching and when my knuckles are white, the wheel locking up. Lack of ability to stop quickly severely limits the ability to ride quickly. Having to ‘drag-brake’ downhill for when you need to lose a lot of speed isn’t ideal, I want all the power there exactly when I want it with the ability to feather it up to that point.
I’ll be looking to sort out the braking problem as matter of priority as it’s really starting to grate now and feels like it’s ruining the bike.
I’ve become obsessed with finding a nice seatclamp, the one that comes with the frame is functional but not exactly a looker. Suggestions welcome.