Hemlock owners – I have questions!

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  • Hemlock owners – I have questions!
  • Mowgli

    Just bought a rather tasty looking Hemlock frame off ebay (pic below). Planning on swapping as much over from my Dialled Alpine as possible as I can’t really afford it – so it’ll have to make do with 140mm Pikes for now. Also going to have to get a bigger seatpost, but will find the cheapest possible for now and upgrade to a dropper in a couple of months.

    Can you tell me what sort of front mech will work? I have an XT one with the low clamp, but all pictures I’ve seen have the high clamp. Will the low clamp foul on the pivot? Would a high clamp or a direct mount be best?

    Will I get away with a short cage rear mech? Not sure if the movement of the chain stay will cause problems. The short cage is just on the limit of it’s range on my hard tail, and I wasn’t sure if fs bikes need a bit more throw to account for the suspension.

    Finally, what’s the best headset to get, bearing in mind I will be using standard 1-1/8th Pikes for now but will try to upgrade to tapered or 1.5″ Lyrics in the summer. Is there one which uses the same cups in the frame and just swaps adapters for different forks? Something with low/zero stack height would be good as my steerer is not very long. Want to avoid unnecessary removal/installation of headset.



    “Also going to have to get a bigger seatpost”
    Bigger as in fatter or longer?

    If just fatter you can get a 27.2 – 31.6mm shim to fit for about £6

    Looking at the pic I’d guess you’d have to use a high clamp/low swing mech


    If its a 44mm headtube you can get a HOPE pick n mix 2 topcup H bottom cup, and a crown race converter. You will need to go tapered in future with this option as the top is for 1.1/8th and they dont do adapters for the 44mm traditional topcup. Most stuff is tapered these days anyway.

    like this..



    You need to use a high clamp front mech.

    Can’t remember how much chain growth there is – won’t be much. Build it up with the rear mech you have, then put it the gear combo that gives you the tighest chain and cycle the suspension with the shock removed. You’ll see how close to snapping the mech gets.

    Headset. Pikes will be lovely. It’s a 1.5 HT, so if you want to run a tapered or 1.5 steerer at a later date, then you’ll need to use at the very least an external 1.5 lower cup, then you can get a crown race that adapts the 1.5 bearing to the 1.125 steerer. Top can be inset, whcih gives you a bit more room to play with, and you can keep it if you use tapered forks. Have a look at the Hope range – you can buy all the bits separately which helps.

    (Don’t own a Hemlock, but spanner on the other half’s. They’re rather nicer bikes than many people seem to think)


    Good stuff, thanks guys. Hadn’t considered shims but that might be a cheap short term fix. I haven’t seen any 1.5 straight steerer forks actually, so probably just stick with either 1.1/8 or tapered. Hope is always a good bet!

    Premier Icon luket

    Looks lovely. They’re the 120mm rocker plates I presume? Not that it affects your questions. And the newer stays, which make a real difference I think.

    I ran mine with a medium cage rear mech, a 22-42 triple and a standard pretty wide ranging 9 speed cassette and it was fine. Perhaps a little tight but fine and I kept it like that for the life of a good couple of mechs without going for a long cage. Then again I guess over stretching them might’ve shortened mech life? Now with a double 32-36 and slightly modified stinger and still a medium cage mech and that’s obviously fine too. As above I’d try it and see – decent chance the short cage will be good on a double.

    I had Pikes on it too for a few years. They were good on it. I’ve now got some 160s and it’s even better but then again I’ve beefed up the whole bike a bit to suit. So it’s horses for courses I reckon.

    Mines mkI so can’t comment on headsets.

    Premier Icon luket

    Oh and watch out for where the rear mech cable outer exits the top tube bracket by the top of the shock. Mine’s worn the frame badly there. Zip ties and little bits of camelback tube are your friends.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Mine is a medium, and just barely works with a low-clamp SLX double mech- if the weld was just slightly differently shaped it wouldn’t fit. But the small looks like it has a little less space to work maybe.

    Short cage mech will be pushing your luck on a double or triple setup (PS- double). It can work, especially with a smaller range cassette but there’s a bit of chain length change in a 4-bar and you might end up with issues if you shift into the stretchier gears. I wouldn’t.

    Forks/headset… I ran mine at 140mm (Revs), 150 (more Revs) and finally 160mm Lyriks. Frame is by far at its best with 160 IMO. It was alright with 140 but didn’t really live up to its potential- I think there’s better 140mm frames out there. It just feels like it wants to be 160/120 at heart.

    So, headset- if I was you, I’d buy a cheap one, if it needs it now. Then I’d buy something to suit your forks, if you replace them. And lastly I would keep an open mind about angleset things, because that’s what really turned mine from good to great.

    All IMO, of course, quite likely other folks would not like my bike.


    Mine was the original so not much help but I had 110/130/160 talas and I’d agree that 160 was just right with the 100mm rocker. Great bike, shouldn’t have been suckered into the new bike thing…


    Cool. I won’t have much choice on forks till at least the summer, but sounds like I’ll get by on Pikes anyhow. Will keep an eye out for bargains after a couple more pay packets! Domains and Totems seems to be going cheapish at the moment, which might be an option for the Alps.


    A pal of mine picked up some barely used Lyrik 2 positions for £300 off ebay the other day. That would make a lovely bike.


    For info

    I ran forks at 140mm by choice with the short rocker. Seemed to work best for me. Tried it at 160 but made climbing worse and no discernable effect on downhill.

    Rear mech wants to be either Shimano Shadow or Sram as the traditional Shimano bash the chainstay a lot.

    It looks like a small so if you run a seatpost QR you need a Hope or similar to angle the lever down a bit or it bashes the bridge on the rockers under full compression.

    If you run 1.5″ or tapered forks you have to have an external cup (I think) whereas the frame was designed to run an internal cup to lower the front end. This doesn’t mean you can’t or that it will be a bad thing. I had an external cup for a while as my LBS got the wrong one in. Hope or Cane Creek are the main headset options.

    Premier Icon cy

    All covered above really (thanks you lot!) but to confirm, you need a conventional high band front mech for best operation.

    If you want a futureproof headset you need the Hope F bottom cup with crown race adaptor and the number 4 top cup.

    Drop us a line if you have any more questions.


    I have mate who has some lyrics with 1.5 steerer that he used on a hemlock.
    He no longer has it so may sell
    Email me if you are interested
    Email in profile

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