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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I finally picked up my bike. I am now the proud owner of an '04 Tassajara. I have had it on layaway for about 4 months now. I couldn't pay for it straight up or the old lady would have killed me.
I have a few questions since this is my first REAL mountain bike. First of all, has anyone tried to put an Azonic Love Seat on the Tass? I have heard good things about this seat but I also heard that there might be a problem with mounting it. The seat that came on my Tass really hurts, but I am getting used to it after I made some adjustments on the nose angle. Since it's so skinny looking a friend of mine asked if I had to fart so I can actually get off the seat. Secondly, does anyone know if the non-disc model is disc compatible? I looked at the bike, but I don't really see anything to mount them to. I don't really know what I am looking for so maybe I just missed them. Thirdly, can anyone recommend some good clipless pedals for a beginner? When the shop says that "cleats are included" does that mean the shoes themselves or just the metal tab things? I would like some pedals that I can use as regular pedals when I want to as well as clipless when I need them. Lastly, is there a website or something that can show me how to do some simple maintainence on my bike? I have noticed a clicking noise in my derailleur already and I think I just need to adjust it a bit but I really don't know how. Sometimes in certain gears the chain seems to slip (like the chain missed some teeth or something) and I think that might be a derailleur problem too. I think I should be able to take care of this myself.

I really appreciate anyones help in advance.
 

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Unsane said:
Well I finally picked up my bike. I am now the proud owner of an '04 Tassajara. I have had it on layaway for about 4 months now. I couldn't pay for it straight up or the old lady would have killed me.
Congratulations! Welcome to the insanity.

Thirdly, can anyone recommend some good clipless pedals for a beginner? I would like some pedals that I can use as regular pedals when I want to as well as clipless when I need them.
I recommend the Shimano PD-M545. It's a double-sided SPD pedal surrounded by a nice, comfy platform. The clip is spring loaded & works fairly well with street shoes.



I recommend you stay away from the likes of Shimano's PD-M324. It's SPD on one side & platform on the other.



In theory, it looks like a good idea - but in practice, I found myself having to unnecessarily hunt for the right side to get firm footing.

When the shop says that "cleats are included" does that mean the shoes themselves or just the metal tab things?
While you can find pedal & shoe combos at some mail-order shops (Nashbar, Performance, etc), what they're referring to by "cleats are included" is the metal tabs that screw into the bottom of cycling shoes. Whenever you buy a set of clipless pedals, the cleats are typically included.
 

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Unsane said:
Well I finally picked up my bike. I am now the proud owner of an '04 Tassajara. I have had it on layaway for about 4 months now. I couldn't pay for it straight up or the old lady would have killed me.
I have a few questions since this is my first REAL mountain bike. First of all, has anyone tried to put an Azonic Love Seat on the Tass? I have heard good things about this seat but I also heard that there might be a problem with mounting it. The seat that came on my Tass really hurts, but I am getting used to it after I made some adjustments on the nose angle. Since it's so skinny looking a friend of mine asked if I had to fart so I can actually get off the seat. Secondly, does anyone know if the non-disc model is disc compatible? I looked at the bike, but I don't really see anything to mount them to. I don't really know what I am looking for so maybe I just missed them. Thirdly, can anyone recommend some good clipless pedals for a beginner? When the shop says that "cleats are included" does that mean the shoes themselves or just the metal tab things? I would like some pedals that I can use as regular pedals when I want to as well as clipless when I need them. Lastly, is there a website or something that can show me how to do some simple maintainence on my bike? I have noticed a clicking noise in my derailleur already and I think I just need to adjust it a bit but I really don't know how. Sometimes in certain gears the chain seems to slip (like the chain missed some teeth or something) and I think that might be a derailleur problem too. I think I should be able to take care of this myself.

I really appreciate anyones help in advance.
I have the love seat sitting in my toolbox at home, I tried to use it on my downhill bike (very little pedaling involved in downhilling) and it was way too wide for me even then. On a bike like the Tassajara, where you are going to be doing tons of pedaling, you'll definately want something narrower than the love seat. I ended up going with the titec Berserker, it's big enough at the back end to sit on comfortably while being narrow up front where it would rub your legs. (Oh yeah, and you're totally right, the loveseat has some mondo-rails on the bottom of it, very big and strong)

I'm not going to say anything about your front fork, but the Tassajara frame itself should have disc brake tabs on the non-drive side of the rear wheel. Check for two little horizontal holes. The front wheel may or may-not be disc brake compatible, it depends on the fork. If you're going to convert to disc brakes keep in mind that you're going to have to buy new hubs for your wheels.

As for bike maintenance, my wife has gotten me a couple of cheap bike mechanics books which cover more than I'll ever have the tools to work on. I don't know any good websites, but I'm certain that your local bike shop (LBS) would adjust your derailleur for free, it takes thirty seconds. If they don't adjust it for free, don't ever go there again. :p
 

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maintenance web sites

Unsane said:
Lastly, is there a website or something that can show me how to do some simple maintainence on my bike? I have noticed a clicking noise in my derailleur already and I think I just need to adjust it a bit but I really don't know how. Sometimes in certain gears the chain seems to slip (like the chain missed some teeth or something) and I think that might be a derailleur problem too. I think I should be able to take care of this myself.

I really appreciate anyones help in advance.
www.parktool.com or www.sheldonbrown.com

both have some good maintenance info
 

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I would say that being a clyde might make it MORE uncomfortable, but since I'm not so small myself (between 180-190) we'd probably feel about the same on it. Really check out the Titec berserker, it's nice and long and wide, and just as strong as the Loveseat since it has chro-moly rails also. If you want to see what it looks like, check out this pic:

http://gallery.mtbr.com/showphoto.php?photo=10821&password=&sort=1&cat=501&page=3

EDIT: Whoops, wrong link, here it is:

http://gallery.mtbr.com/showphoto.php?photo=10820&password=&sort=1&cat=501&page=1

it's pretty comfy.
 

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Okay, I just read the reviews for the Berserker DH, some are not so good and some are great. As always, and as I should have said before, seats are based mostly on preference. What works for everybody or anybody else might not work for you.

Cruise the product review section and see if something jumps out of the screen and knocks you out of your seat. Here's the review for the titec:

http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Saddle/product_78862.shtml
 

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When I worked in a bike shop the first thing we asked customers who said their seat hurt was "do you wear cycling shorts?" If not, we tried to get them to try cycling shorts. Most would and when we saw them again, most told us that cycling shorts worked. It takes a while for the booty to get used to a small cycling seat. Give it time and you should be OK. If it still bothers you, try a different seat. A good way to try a seat if you cannot put it on your bike for a test ride, is to put the seat to be tested on a hard surface you can sit on (like a bar stool) and then sit on the new seat. This is a fast way to try many seats. Buying local lets you do this and a good mechanic should set up the seat for you for free when you buy it.
 

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Second what Homer said about trying cycling shorts and giving it a little time for "bike butt" to subside (a few weeks, maybe a month tops). Keep in mind thopugh that many, if not most, bikes come with saddles that prove to be unsatisfactory. They can't guess what everyone will like and a saddle is an easy place to cheap out since most won't want it anyways.

IF you find yourself looking for a saddle in a couple more weeks, avoid cushy gel types. Also, I'm a clyde (probably bigger than you) and I wouldn't use the Love Seat as it is way to large for XC riding. WTB, Terry and some of the new Specialized (Alias and Avatar are available in three different widths) are where I would start.

Some saddles that look like they have little to no padding are actually pretty comfortable as they use the flex of the undercarriage as suspension of sorts.

As for your bike being bisc ready, the frame and fork are, but according to the specs, your hubs are not. This means that you would need new hubs at a minimum. I have seen package deals from places like wheelworld where you get the Avid mechanical disc brakes and a Mavic 223 disc ready wheelset for about $299. Your current levers will work with mechanical disc brakes.

Personally, I would say don't put a lot of money into upgrades on your new bike. Just replace what breaks. If you want a bike that has disc brakes, sell yours and get one that has 'em already. You'll be money ahead and probably end up with a better bike to boot. V-brakes were great for several years for a lot people. Adjust yours well and re-evaluate an upgrade to disc before plunking down the $$$.

Seriously, I think the Tassajara is an excellent entry level MTB that should give you great service as is for quite a while. Ride it as is and start saving for a whole new rig down the line if you go GA-GA over riding.

As for the clicking and chain skipping around, it sounds like your cables have done their break-in period stretch and just need a little adjusting. They can be adjusted at either the point where the cable enters the shifter or where it enters the derailleur. Put the bike in second gear and see if the top pulley on the derailleur is directly in line with the matching gear on the rear cassete (the gear cluster on the wheel). If it's not, adjust the cable one way or the other until it is and fine tune if necessary.
 

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Unsane said:
I'm a Clyde. Do you think this will have any impact on the comfort of the Love Seat?
I was a clyde about a year ago, I found the love seat incredibly uncomfortable. I bought myself a WTB Rocket V saddle to replace it and I must say it is the most comfortable saddle I've ever tried.
 

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Blather said:
I was a clyde about a year ago, I found the love seat incredibly uncomfortable. I bought myself a WTB Rocket V saddle to replace it and I must say it is the most comfortable saddle I've ever tried.
WTB all the way!!! I have a Speed V Race and i love it, it's comfy even after 3 or more hours in the saddle. Definitely give WTB seats a look, or even an SDG Belair, they are pretty comfy too.

WTB saddles

SDG saddles
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have a real quick question. How the hell do you pump up the tires on my bike? I got a flat yesterday after I told my dad how surprised I was at how durable the tires seem to be. I looked at the stem and I have never seen a stem like that before. I was forced to take it back to the shop because I couldn't figure out how to pump up the tire so I can try to find the leak and I didn't have a tube with that type of valve on it. How does your LBS do repairs? I figured that I would take the bike down and have them adjust the derailleurs while I was there. When I got there they said that I had to leave the bike there til Wednesday because their mechanic only works Tuesday through Thursday. I know I could have probably changed the tube myself so I figured it would be a quick 15 min job to adjust the derailleurs. I think it sucks that they only have a mechanic on hand 3 days a week. Is this typical?
Thanks for all your help so far. Well stupidly I ordered the Love Seat before I got any advice from you guys. I was going solely based on the reviews on this website. I think that I will look at it when it comes in but I will probably send it back and get something different. Although the stock seat that I got is kind of growing on me. I might hold off for a little while longer.
Jeff you're right I think I will hold off on the disc brakes thing. My girlfriend would kill me if I dropped $200+ on my bike right now. Especially since we are moving in a few months. I forgot all about the wheel compatability issues. Maybe I will ask for disc brakes for xmas.

Thanks again for all your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sorry another question

I know that tdhood recommended the SPD 545 pedals. But what others do you recommend for a beginner? I found a few deals that seem pretty good.

Crank Brothers Mallet C w/ 661 Launch Shoes - $99
Time Alium w/ 661 Expert Shoes - $99
Time ATAC Alium w/ Diadora Gecko Shoes - $95
Time ATAC Z w/ 661 Launch Shoes - $105

I found some good deals with Eggbeaters, but I don't think that is what I want for my first clipless experience. Which of the ones that I listed is the best deal? Or do you think I should just wait til I can spring for the extra $100 and get the 545s and shoes? Will it be that big of a difference?

Let me know what you think. Your opinions help me out a lot.
 

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I ride with flats on all four bikes, even both the XC rigs. Works fine for me :D

I think my part in this converstation is over... :(


EDIT: I wonder how much money Azonic has made from people who buy the Loveseat, and then store it for years before throwing it out? :p Nothing against Azonic of course, but it sounds like more than a few people have had run-ins with that seat... :D
 

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The park tool site mentioned already is great for bike maintenance. More specifically, check out this page: http://www.parktool.com/repair_help/FAQindex.shtml

Also, I highly reccomend scouring sheldon brown's web page and read everything he has to say about biking. He has a quirky personality that shows in his writing, but there is a ton of great bike knowledge there.

As far as the pedals go, the pedal and shoe combo deals out there sound good, and since you said your GF would kill you if you spent 200 on disc breaks, it sounds like you're trying to save a few bucks. If the 545s are 100$ more, you may want to consider the crank bros mallet deal at 100.

I have not used any of those shoes, and shoe quality/fit is at least as important as the quality of the pedals. If you buy shoes without trying a few on, you might regret it (just like the seat you ordered?).

Personally I think you should just ride your bike for a while and don't worry about clipless for now. Read sheldon's web page to learn more about bikes, and read park tool's page to learn how to fix your bike. After a few months of riding, THEN consider clipless and other upgrades.

After you get an idea of what you want, think about what you really need and what your budget can allow for. There's no shame in looking for a great deal. Try Supergo.com, Nashbar, Performance, and even Ebay for good deals on pedals and shoes. Look for brand new products on clearance on Ebay from reputable sellers who are often bike shops selling extra merchandise.
 

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Unsane said:
Crank Brothers Mallet C w/ 661 Launch Shoes - $99
Time Alium w/ 661 Expert Shoes - $99
Time ATAC Alium w/ Diadora Gecko Shoes - $95
Time ATAC Z w/ 661 Launch Shoes - $105
From the ones you've posted, only the ATAC Z's offer adjustability and an integrated platform. Lots of folks swear by the Mallets, but they use the same mechanism as the Eggbeater & offer no adjustability. Depending on the terrain you ride, the ATAC may be a be a better choice than the Shimano due to its mud-shedding design.

tdh
 

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You probably have "presta" valves on your tubes. You could buy a couple of adaptors that convert them so that a pump that works with a schraeder valve (the kind you are used to) would do the trick. But I would recommend a pump that works with both. Some have a pump with two holes (one for each), some you have to unscrew the cap and turn two pieces around to switch back and forth and some have a "smart head" (or some such thing) that will work with both. The Crank Bros. aluminum mini-pump also works well and is well built.

If you are looking for a good mini-pump that you could attach to your frame or put in a backpack, I would look at a Blackburn Mammoth MTN pump or a Topeak Mountainn Morph w/gauge. I like the latter better. You would have to switch the innards around yourself, but these are both excellent pumps.

I have had a few floor pumps and my favorite is the Serfas FM-300. It is well built, the gauge is closer to the floor, but the numbers are big enough to read easily. The head will fit both schraeder or presta and it has a pressure release valve buit into the head to release pressure to fine tune pressure easily. Turn it over and you can see it is made well from the brass fittings to the braided hose, etc. And the biggest plus is that it puts out more air than any floor pump I have ever used and it will inflate up to 260psi.

As Pyramid stated, I would not recommend buying riding shoes without trying them on and walking around the shop for 20 to 30 minutes in them. Remember that you may have to walk several miles in them some time, not to mention ride in them for an hour or more at a time. Bike shoes are all built differently and are not very forgiving in terms of fit. You could get riding shoes that will work with flat pedals and will easily convert when the time comes to clipless.

If you really want to try clipless, if Supergo has any more of the Ritchey V3 Comps for $25, I would get some of these and you would have a little more left for nicer shoes or ??? I have them on a couple of my bikes and really like them a lot. Don't let the low price fool you and don't bother with the Pro models. You can pay much more for the Comps (or any other clipless pedal) if you want to, but why would you if you don't have to?
 
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