Summer at Partridge Hills!

Dirty Hombres Girlz!

Dirty Hombres Girlz!

Southern Vancouver Island was blessed with summer conditions last weekend so we rounded up a crew of Dirt Hombres and hit the trails at Partridge Hills. :)

Click for larger map and GPS track...

Click for larger map and GPS track…

With sunshine, warm temps and virtually zero wetness it was a lovely taste of the summer riding yet to come.

Michael rolling the Heckler...

Michael rolling the Heckler…

Woosti the super trail dawg...

Woosti the super trail dawg…

Sharon charging on the Mach 6...

Sharon charging on the Mach 6…

Zoe enjoying the sunshine...

Zoe enjoying the sunshine…

Bev colourful and smiling...

Bev colourful and smiling…

Joanne representing on the Bronson...

Joanne representing on the Bronson…

My Mach 6 taking a break in the forest...

My Mach 6 taking a break in the forest…

Dirt Hombres!

Dirt Hombres!

Rockshox Reba RLT mods for 29+…

Big green and rigid...

Big green and rigid…

I’ve been meaning to modify my RS REBA RLT for a while now, but kept getting side tracked. Finally Saturday after a solid morning ride and a nap I had the late afternoon free to tackle the project.

Jammed...

Jammed…

The Knard on RH jams up nicely in the stock fork. Won’t turn.

Gentle sanding...

Gentle sanding…

So I hit it with the dremel and sipped some beer while creating the clearance I needed.

Now she rolls...

Now she rolls…

Took about 1 beer’s worth of gentle grinding to get the clearance I was after and the tire turning freely.

Still solid...

Still solid…

Looks gnarly, but there is lots of material left and this mod has been done many times with zero reported failures so I think it’s pretty safe.

Clearance on top...

Clearance on top…

There is clearance now for all the conditions I ride it. We don’t get really sticky clay type mud in my part of BC and that’s the only situation I think this fork would be a problem with.

Clearance on the sides...

Clearance on the sides…

Lots of side wall clearance. Before mod sidewall would rub fork.

Next up tubeless Knards...

Next up tubeless Knards…

All in all a pretty minor quick mod that lets me use a “normal” 29er fork with my Krampus and not have to go Lefty and/or run some weird front hub.

I’m going to setup my Knard/RH wheels split tube tubeless next and see how the wheel fits before I mask off the Reba and paint it. The tubeless tire might change size and need a slight tweak to fit well.

BTW – the fork will go on my Krampus. I just left it on that 29er to make it easier to work on until I was ready for an install on the Big K. The puny rear tire is a Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.4″ on a Stan’s Flow rim.

Carnage on Maple Mountain!

So nice at the top...so much carnage down below!

So nice at the top…so much carnage down below!

Last weekend the Dirt Hombres crew met up at Maple Mountain for what we expected to be a challenging, but fairly normal ride for us. As it turned out this time the trails shredded us not the other way around.

dhmm

Click map for larger version and GPS track…

While I’ve been waiting to find time to write this post I’ve been ponder why things were so challenging for us? Conditions were a bit wet/muddy, but that’s not unusual for Vancouver Island in the winter and we ride year round. In fact at the end of winter we should be at our peak sloppy riding skill level. Some folks had some equipment issues. I was on my new bike with under gunned tires and it was machine I was not used to riding. Another Hombre had some worn tires which made riding treacherous.

The long painful 5km climb to the top...

The long painful 5km climb to the top…

The thing was by the end of the ride just about everyone had had a serious crash. Typically we would have zero bad crashes on a ride like this and maybe 1 major crash on an especially tough ride.

Huston can you hear me?...we have a problem! ;)

Huston can you hear me?…we have a problem! ;)

Talking to everyone the day after the ride there was general puzzlement at why it went so far to gnarly side.

Starting down the mountain...

Starting down the mountain…

Luckily none of the damage was permanent. :)

Waiting for the injured to catch up...

Waiting for the injured to catch up…

Black eyes are healing. Testicles are not as swollen as they were. Scabs are peeling off. The bruising of bodies and egos is fading away. Some bike parts were killed in action or replaced due to poor performance.

The crew...

The crew…

And our crew of Hombres and Hombresses is tough…we are packing our gear as I write this. Getting ready to shred again. Ready to face the challenges of the mountains and forests. Sometimes you don’t get answers in life and you just have to get back in the saddle.

As most mountain bikers know all too well – sometimes the trail giveth and sometimes the trails taketh away!

First ride on the Mach 6 in the bag!

First ride on the Mach 6 in the bag!

Wish us better luck this weekend! :)

Not clean any more...

Not clean any more…

The Winner = Pivot Mach 6…

Pivot Mach 6...

Pivot Mach 6…

After much deliberation the bike I ended up buying was the Pivot Mach 6.

  • 155mm DW-Link travel w/ Fox Float X
  • 160mm Rock Shox Pike fork
  • SRAM XX1 drivetrain w/ Race Face Next SL cranks
  • Light Bicycle carbon 35mm wide rims w/ Hope hubs
  • Continental Trail King 650B x 2.2″ tires
  • XTR 203/180mm brakes
  • Rock Shox Reverb seat post

At 27.8lbs this is by far the lightest most capable mountain bike I have ever owned. My Santa Cruz Nomad is 35lbs.

Side view...

Side view…

So why this bike?

  • DW-link suspension is something I’ve been keen to try
  • efficient techy climbing is important to me
  • short chain stays = agile
  • short TT = mo’ better agile for tight forest trail riding
  • slack seat tube and head tube = stability and give me the room I need between seat and pedals for efficient seated cranking
  • light and stiff thanks to the carbon frame
  • we could actually see, touch and ride this bike
  • one amazing review after another…it was literally hard to find anyone professional or amateur reviewer who wasn’t stoked about this bike
  • Sharon wanted one and having two of the same bikes is a lot simpler for setup, maintenance and stocking spare parts

More than anything the last point sealed the deal on this purchase. Spending a big chunk of change on a bike you have never seen is hard. With the Lenz and Knolly bikes I was looking at I would have had to simply pull the trigger and hope the fit and performance was what I expected. With the Mach 6 we were able to find some in stock at a LBS in Sedona.

Yes it's VikApproved... ;)

Yes it’s VikApproved… ;)

The bad

  • this is one of the most expensive frames of its class available
  • it’s carbon and we’ve never owned carbon bikes so that’s a bit of an unknown for us
  • the internal cable routing is a joke and not a funny one! :(
  • only available with a Fox Float X [I would have preferred a RS or Cane Creek shock - anything, but CTD!]
  • none of the colours rocked my world….this blue was the best option given we ride in dark forests 95% of the time
Sharon's new Mach 6...

Sharon’s new Mach 6…

Not interesting in futzing around Sharon got a standard XO1 build kit from Pivot with a Fox Float 34 up front and Float X in the rear. Dropping 7-8lbs off her current bike will be a huge benefit to Sharon who only weighs ~120lbs.

The runners up…

Knolly Warden 650B...

Knolly Warden 650B…

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will recall I started rumbling about getting a new full suspension mountain bike almost 2 years ago. Financial uncertainty in my professional realm put the kibosh on that for a while, but I got a new contract in a new promising field so I decided it was time to pull the trigger on that fresh trail rig.

Before I post up info on the new bike I wanted to give some props to the two machines I was very close to owning. In fact I tried to or did order both of these bikes and then in each case a snafu came up. Although to be honest no matter which bike I ended up with they are all so impressive that there was no wrong answer.

In no particular order I give you:

Knolly Warden:

  • 150mm travel
  • medium and low BB height option
  • 650B which seems like a good option for better roll through while staying agile
  • AL frame for stress free crashing into rocks
  • modular external cable routing – clean and flexible
  • two position shock for versatile geometry
  • CCDB Air shock option = awesome performance
  • short chainstays and long TT = agile and stable
  • Knolly 4×4 suspension = active with great traction
  • BC company with great customer service

I literally had a Warden on order I was that sold on this bike and had I bought one I am sure my smile would be equally huge. This looks like a great all mountain option for a one-bike-to-rule-them-all rig. :)

Photo: MIke Curiak

Photo: Mike Curiak

Lenz Lunch Box

  • 140 or 150mm travel w/ two sets of rockers
  • low BB
  • 29er wheels for crushing chunk into submission
  • AL frame for stress free crashing into rocks
  • clean external cable routing
  • handmade in Colorado
  • several great shock options
  • very short chain stays and shortish TT = agile despite big wheels
  • proven active suspension design

Seeing all the great photo of Mike Curiak and gang shredding their Lenz’s was pretty inspiring. Plus being able to buy a FS all mtn bike handmade in the US is pretty amazing. Mike was kind enough to offer to meet us in Moab on our way to Sedona last Dec so we could test ride his amazing Lunch Box. Sadly Moab received 2′ of snow just before we were to roll through town which scuttled any test ride plans. I tried to order a Lenz for delivery while I was in Sedona figuring the reduced shipping costs and taxes would be worth it. Denied again I was told the next opportunity for a new Lenz was March/April 2014. Then on a separate occasion Sharon nearly placed an order for a Lenz.

The bike I ended up buying is a 650B 6″ travel all mountain machine so it’s unlikely I’ll get a chance to enjoy a Warden, but I have pondered the idea of getting a Lenz in a year or so and swapping the parts from my Nomad to it. Having a 650B bike and a 29er wouldn’t be totally crazy talk. ;)