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Bnerd
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is going to be a long ramble about a full season of riding my DT.
I will intersperse the text with pictures from my Fall trip to Hood River's Post Canyon and Falls City's Black Rock Mountain Bike Area so that it isn't so much of a slog to get through the text!

Post Canyon - Extended Play
Clothing Tire Bicycle frame Bicycle wheel Wheel


I am very happy with the bike and the majority of the components that are on the DT. The bike has performed admirably in all the rides and situations that I have put it through. I feel that the DT, for me, is the 'one bike'. I use this bike for all of my riding and do not feel I am comprimising on any of the rides I take while on the DT.

I am tall and heavy. And I ride a large DT with a 66ATA and a DHX5c. My riding consists of the WBP and all of the trails in the Sea to Sky corridor (Whistler, Squamish, Pemberton) and beyond. I ride my bike for a living and for enjoyment. I am rarely off of it through the riding season (the season: early to mid May-depending on snowpack- to, usually, the end of October/ early November-depending on how hardcore I am about riding in the cold and freezing rain!).

Post Canyon - Extended Play - My SO
Bicycle wheel Tire Wheel Bicycle frame Mountain bike


Pedalling this bike is not a chore considering how much it weighs (42 lbs - although, it might be slightly lighter now). It is only on the longer rides and much steeper sustained sections of climbing that the thought ever so briefly crosses my mind that a lighter bike would be nice. The majority of the climbing I do is on old logging roads to get to the trails. Occaissionally there are rides that are up and down on singletrack. And those rides have me thinking about how well the bike pedals.

The vast majority of trails where I ride and live would be considered technical riding no matter the direction you are riding them in. This fact was highlighted for me on my Fall trip through Washington and Oregon.

Post Canyon - My SO
Natural environment Forest Outdoor recreation Old-growth forest Trail


As to the set up of my bike for pedalling I have the head angle set to the middle option and the chainstay pulled out to about three quarters of the full length. I did do quite a bit of changing the settings for a lot of the rides but have settled on the previously stated settings because that is where the bike feels great for handling all the stuff I ride outside of the bike park. I also set the propedal to 1 - 2 clicks from fully off for pedally rides. I can't say I notice any bob when pedaling no matter how I pedal. But I will say that if you have a decent circular pedal stroke it makes the DT move in a forward direction very nicely! Not very hard to do even with flat pedals.

Admittedly, the front end of the bike does wander on the steeper sections of climbing. This is with the fork wound down to 140mm in travel. A part of what is causing this is where I have the head angle setting set at for pedaling (in the middle setting). But moving your sitting position on the saddle does help keep the bike's front end from wandering. This means riding the nose of the saddle for the steeper sections. I don't have any negative thoughts about the cause of this because my set up is causing the issue. It is just an observation and a solution.

This is a rambling thought:
Thinking about pedal bob and wandering front ends makes me wonder at the riding techniques of some of the other poster's posts that I have read on many of the forums on MTBR. I don't know the bike riding abillities of the posters but sometimes in the way the posts are written it would seem the posters would expect the bikes they ride to perform like a car. By this I mean no input has to be put into the bike to perform the way it should. Just push the gas pedal and go! No consideration about pedal stroke, seated climbing position, saddle height and body position in general. I know everyone has a different approach and philosophy to riding a bike but there is still a little rider technique involved to making the bike ride well. Not just the set up of the bike and its components.

Post Canyon - second feature on Drop Out
Bicycle wheel Bicycle frame Mountain bike Natural environment Downhill mountain biking


Once you get to the top you have to go down! The best part, in my humble opinion! In looking at the descending qualities of the DT in this portion of the ramblings the bike being referred to is in the pedalling set up (middle head angle setting and 3/4 length chainstay).

I can haul ass on this bike and go quite large!!
My mental confidence in my bike riding skills have gotten much much better while riding this bike! In the last few years I have been aware that I have the skills to hit gnarly terrain and features but the mental confidence has been holding me back. It would seem I had plateaued with my riding abilities.This season there was a break through! Now, I can't completely give all the credit to the DT but it has definitely been a great help. The bike is confidence inspiring!

This bike can point and shoot. It can also nimbly finesse very tech situations. The DT can also help when the unexpected happens, such as bad landings and pointing it down the wrong line, because the DT is stiff thoughout its frame and the suspension works beautifully.
With the head angle in the middle setting the DT handles very well at speed through techy chunder/chop. It is also very agile in the tight trail situations in this setting. I generally have the fork set at about 160mm to 165mm when descending on pedal rides. I will bring the travel up to 180mm when I know the trail has large stunts and fast gnarly sections. It is a great all rounder for pedalling up and hauling down. I guess that is why it is listed as an All Mountain bike on the Knolly web site! Well, all mountain by BC standards! Pretty much freeride any where else. (Gotta keep remembering not to shake my head in disbelief at the weight weenie reviews of bigger pedalable bikes when reviewed by buff single track riding XC people. 31lbs does not make a bike heavy!)

Post Canyon - my SO on the second feature on Drop Out
Bicycle frame Bicycle wheel Mountain bike Natural environment Sports equipment


Now to the Whistler Bike Park riding portion of my ramblings.
The DT holds its own on any trail in the bike park. The pilot just has to have the balls to ride the DT in those scary situations!
For the bike park I set the bike in its slackest and longest positions. I also ride with the fork at 180mm. I am having a ton of fun on the DT in the bike park. I have come to grips with my riding style and realized I don't necessarily need a DH sled for the vast majority of my riding in the bike park. Yes, because of my boost in mental confidence, I have been pushing the DT to very edge of its and my limits in the park. There have been a few times when rocketting down a trail the DT has felt to be too small of a bike. But, I have come out at the end of the trail still grinning like an idiot and enjoying riding my DT! Although, now that the Podium is in line for production... !

I have also been trying out different chainstay lengths and fork travel lengths for riding in the park. The head angle setting has always stayed in the slackest position. The bike is super fun at its shortest chaistay length and lowered fork travel. The DT turns into a fun poppy play bike. But the trails are limited to the jump trails in the park on this setting. The bike becomes a handful on the fast tech trails in the park in this setting. I did notice that the fork had a tendency to become stiffer in its travel when in the shorter travel settings. A not as plush feel as when it is in the full 180mm of travel setting. Most of the time, though, I run the DT in the longest chainstay and most fork travel for the park.

BRMBA - drop on Granny's Kitchen
Bicycle wheel Tire Wheel Bicycle frame Mountain bike


The bike park has a tendency to eat bikes. This is no word of a lie! If you ride the park regularly you will know if your frame and the components hung off of it are solid parts after a very short time riding in the park!
The DT frame has passed with flying colours from taking abuse in the bike park! I do have a small dent in the down tube from a large rock that was kicked up while charging down in the Garbo zone. The dent is just above the Knolly logo on the down tube. (Noel, do you think I can get a frame warranty for the new 2010 Delirium!? wink, wink, nudge, nudge!!!)
The linkage did come loose once from riding in the bike park. I snugged up the bolt and I have yet to have any loosening happen again.
The majority of the components have made it through being ridden in the park. Any of the issues I have had with the components have been minor.

As for the 6.5" of travel in the back of the DT, I feel that it is enough travel for riding the bike park. I have bottomed the shock out a handful of times. But none of the bottomimg was harsh.
I have the boost valve pressure at 150psi and the bottom out dial set to about 3/8 - 4/8 turns. And, maybe, about one turn of the spring collar for preload with a 500lbs coil.
The only time I really noticed the lack of travel was when I was rocketting through very choppy/chundery sections of trail. At those times a DH sled would have been better. Because of the solid feel of the DT I have been riding this bike like a full on DH sled!
The rear suspension is great. It sucks up everything I can throw at it. It is plush and the progressiveness of the suspension does make the back end feel like it has more travel (not sure if that statement, the way it is worded, will get the armchair enginerds in a huff!).

BRMBA - my SO dropping into a very steep landing on Granny's Kitchen
Clothing Tire Bicycle wheel Mountain bike Natural environment


When riding my DT I feel very centred on the bike. Regardless of where I am riding it. I feel very comfortable in the cockpit when pedaling as well as when descending.
I do have a bad habit of moving a little too far back over the bike when cornering hard and fast. The DT manages to keep me on the bike when doing this but it does lighten the front end. There is always riding technique to work on! When I am centred and cornering hard the bike rips! The front end doesn't feel like it is tucking under me.



Some thoughts on the components that are hanging on my DT.

Wheelset:
I am still stoked on the original wheelset (Mavic EX721 rims, DTSwiss 340 hubs) that I recieved with the DT. The wheel build was excellent and held up for a long time before I had to true the wheel. I did blow out a spoke on the rear wheel and still rode it for a few days before I could get it fixed. Once it was fixed I had to go back over the wheel myself since the shop didn't do a very good job of tensioning the the spokes. I am, I feel, a competent wheel truer. I have put numerous dents in the rear rim wall but I have managed to take out the worst ones.
Being a large guy I put alot of strees on my wheels especially riding in the bike park. These wheels have performed well but because the DT frame does not flex I can feel the wheels flexing more now. Mostly when I am preloading hard for a jump and every now and again when cornering hard.
The Wheelset Fairy paid me a visit this summer and gave me a Mavic Crossmax SX wheelset! I have been running this wheelset as my AM/FR set for pedaling. These wheels are also great! They are also very stiff. When leaning the bike over while cornering hard I feel very little wheel flex. What I do feel is if I have enough air pressure in the tires! If I don't have enough I can feel the tires roll a little on the rims!

BRMBA - sending it on a drop on Granny's Kitchen
Wheel Tire Bicycle wheel Bicycle frame Mountain bike


Tires:
For my bike park wheelset (721's, DTSwiss) I am runnig Maxxis Minions DHF 3C 2.5 front and rear. I think the next time I have to replace the tires from wear I will go back to having a DHR on the rear. I don't really like the braking quality of the DHF on the rear. The DHF doesn't feel like it is getting a solid grab when braking.
For my AM/FR pedal wheelset (Mavic Crossmax SX) I am running Maxxis ADvantage 2.4 front and Ardent 2.4 3C rear. I am somewhat surprised how well these tires work in a variety of conditions. The ADvantage grips and corners very well in almost all conditions wet and dry! The Ardent is a decent tire as well. Although it has a tendency to lose its grip cornering hard. It is possible that the tire is nearing the end of its life because the side knobs are easily pushed out sideways. Both these tires are fast rolling considering the size of the knobs. I guess placement does affect things!

Saddle:
I switched the Chromag Trailmaster DT saddle for the Trailmaster because the Trailmaster DT killed my ass! Just because the saddles look the same doesn't mean they fit the same. I had the Trailmaster from another bike so no money was need for the swap.

BRMBA - my SO on an off shoot from Sunday Stroll
Clothing Bicycle wheel Tire Bicycle frame Wheel


Pedals:
I swapped the Kona WahWah pedals for a white pair of WahWah pedals. The white finish didn't last very long. After a few rides the paint started to peel off. What a shame! I have white accents running through my bike. And now it doesn't look quite as spiffy with the paint peeling off the pedals.

Chain Guide:
I changed out the E13 DRS guide for a Blackspire Stinger e-type guide. The E13 guide's rubber pulley wheel was worn completely through on one side. Is this pulley wheel not meant to last longer than two months? Or is the idea that the product is only meant for weekend warrior types who ride their bikes very little? I have this issue in the winter with Burton equipment. It seems the build quality is only meant for someone who gets, at most, 20 days of riding during a season. I am on my bike and on my board all the time because this is my passion and because of this passion I have turned it into my profession. Isn't equipment supposed to last a reasonably long time no matter the use? I am some one who can sway a client's and friend's decision in what to purchase.
The Stinger pulley wheel looks and feels much stronger. I did have to take a knife and file to a part of the pulley wheel because the sharp corner of the step on the pulley was grabbing my chain and making a racket. It is now running silently.
When I ordered the Stinger online I got click happy and didn't read to closely the descriptions. When the Stinger arrived I realized I had ordered the ISCG Stinger rather than the ISCG05. I emailed Blackspire and received a prompt reponse with an easy solution. Just mail back the ISCG plate and they would send me the ISCG05 plate. Total turn around was 5 days! This is another company that gets my solid support for their CS and products!

Rear Derailleur:
I originally had an X9 medium cage RD but I knocked it very hard riding in the park. After the knock it wouldn't shift down to the last 4 gears. The Rear Derailleur Fairy gave me an XO short cage RD and now everything is running like it should.
Because of the short cage I have to becareful with running the chain on the biggest cog on the cassette with the chainstay at its longest. But that (34t - 11t) cassette is on my AM/FR wheelset and don't run the chainstay at the longest setting for pedaling. My DH wheelset is running a 26t - 12t cassette and that works out fine in the longest chainstay..

Chain:
Yes, chain. I have only broke a couple of chains in my cycling career. Since I have been on the DT I have snapped 4 chains. From what I have read and can remember I don't recall there being any major chain growth as the rear suspension cycles through it stroke.
When jumping there is also an odd chain 'snapping/tensioning' feeling immediately after I leave the lip of a jump. I have yet to figure out what is going on.
No, I don't have a too short chain.

Fork:
Now, to the nitty gritty!
I am running a 66ATA fork on my DT. There are some issues but it hasn't stopped me from riding and hasn't stopped me from thinking this fork is a great fit for the DT.
Oil was leaking out of the PAR chamber when I was setting the air pressure earlier in the summer (June). I pumped the chamber up and while letting the air out let the oil out. No more oil has leaked since.
Then at a later point in the summer I noticed the PAR and ATA chambers had the same air pressure. After a little investigating it would seem the seal between the two chambers was not doing anything in trying to keep them seperate. The fork still worked and the travel adjust still worked. I shrugged my shoulders and continued to ride my bike. The decision not to send it for a fix was the fact that I need my bike to do my job. I cannot afford any bike down time. Now, you are probably thinking 'well, it probably would break anyways riding it like that'. You might be right in someone else's situation but things seemed to all come up Milhouse for me. The fork is still working well for me and when it is time to pack the bike away for the winter season I will get the fork sorted then.
With this seal issue the fork is not getting full travel. But the travel I am not getting is in the 5mm to 10mm range. But that might be because of my pressure setting. I have only bottomed the fork twice and that was right at the beginning when I was trying to find the right pressures.
I like the progessive feel of the fork towards the end of its travel. When I end up having a harsh landings off bigger features the fork performs well. There isn't a sudden stop to the travel of the fork but a nice progressive feel that doesn't hurt the wrists.
However, an air fork will never get the small bump (read: braking bumps) feel of a coil. That was brought home to me in the park after my Fall trip. On the trip all the trails were buff so that made the shock of riding in the park that much bigger! But I personally feel the bike park is played out! Don't get me wrong I like the bike park but the explosion of brake bumps by the middle of the summer has me looking elsewhere to ride my bike. Come on people, get some braking skills!
The fork shines in all the other riding I do outside of the park. Enough said!

BRMBA - jump on Sunday Stroll
Tire Bicycle wheel Wheel Mountain bike Natural environment



Overall, I am still very smitten with my DT and the components on it. It rides all the terrain I need it to and more.
I am now trying to figure out if I can affoard to get the new 2010 Delirium frame!! It is not that I don't love my present DT but new Delirium is very sexy!! A question that I should probably direct to Noel through the Knolly site but I am going to ask here about the eye to eye length of the shock in the new 2010 Delirium frame. Is the eye to eye the same on the 2010 frame as the DT? This answer will help in the expensive decision!
And Noel, I love the look of the new frame with its flowing tubes! Let the whiners whine!

So, if you made it this far I would like to say thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts.


Tall
Go out and ride everything!
 

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Great Review

I talked with Noel at Interbike and he didnt mention anything about a shock i2i change, the large I rode still had a 8.5 x 2.5. What is your weight riding with a 500lb spring? I'm about 200 geared up and I am using a 450 lb spring on the same shock. I'm thinking of sending it in to Push for the MX Tune which puts a high and low speed compression adjustment on the shock. So what do you do for work that requires you to ride your bike?
 

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Bnerd
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
craigstr said:
I talked with Noel at Interbike and he didnt mention anything about a shock i2i change, the large I rode still had a 8.5 x 2.5. What is your weight riding with a 500lb spring? I'm about 200 geared up and I am using a 450 lb spring on the same shock. I'm thinking of sending it in to Push for the MX Tune which puts a high and low speed compression adjustment on the shock. So what do you do for work that requires you to ride your bike?
That would be great if the i2i hasn't changed. It would make the purchase a tiny bit more affordable not having to buy a new shock.
I weigh ~240 w/gear and I'm 6'6".
I have also been looking at maybe sending my shock to Push to get it tuned but I haven't put a lot of thought into yet.
I am a coach/guide/instructor for various programs running in and out of the Whistler Bike Park. That is why I need to ride my bike for work. I have been employed by Whistler Bike Park and Whistler Blackcomb for some time now.
 

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Great review! Could have used a few more pics in between the Pedals and Fork headings. LOL

I hear you on the braking bumps; nothing like braking bumps for quite a ways before and -all the way around- huge berms (as was the case on some runs in the Portes du Soleil region last summer).
 

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shh. don't tell the wife
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I want to commend you on such a thorough review. I would also like to say that I believe we must be genetic twins as your experience identical to my own. Well, I don't ride at your level, but the change in my riding level this year and everything I've felt is the same. Specifically,

I am tall and heavy.

ditto. 6'4", 205lbs (without any gear)

As to the set up of my bike for pedalling I have the head angle set to the middle option and the chainstay pulled out to about three quarters of the full length. I did do quite a bit of changing the settings for a lot of the rides but have settled on the previously stated settings because that is where the bike feels great for handling all the stuff I ride outside of the bike park. I also set the propedal to 1 - 2 clicks from fully off for pedally rides. I can't say I notice any bob when pedaling no matter how I pedal. But I will say that if you have a decent circular pedal stroke it makes the DT move in a forward direction very nicely.

ditto. I found the exact same thing and run the same settings for those conditions.

But moving your sitting position on the saddle does help keep the bike's front end from wandering.

That was a ride saving move for me and with my Trailmaster saddle certainly made it possible.


This season there was a break through! Now, I can't completely give all the credit to the DT but it has definitely been a great help. The bike is confidence inspiring!


Big +1. I went from always having 2 tyres on the ground to feeling 100% confident with anything 5' and below.


Yes, because of my boost in mental confidence, I have been pushing the DT to very edge of its and my limits in the park. There have been a few times when rocketting down a trail the DT has felt to be too small of a bike. But, I have come out at the end of the trail still grinning like an idiot and enjoying riding my DT!


Yup. I follow a very accomplished rider on a VP Free and while I'm not as fast (less experience and a smaller bike) I do hold my own.

The only time I really noticed the lack of travel was when I was rocketting through very choppy/chundery sections of trail. At those times a DH sled would have been better. Because of the solid feel of the DT I have been riding this bike like a full on DH sled!

Its only on the roughest of descents at high speed, for a long unbroken period that I think a DH sled might be nice. However, as I prefer technical trails that change things up over the course of the descent I choose to ride different trails rather than a DH sled on long, rough high speed runs.


I have the boost valve pressure at 150psi and the bottom out dial set to about 3/8 - 4/8 turns. And, maybe, about one turn of the spring collar for preload with a 500lbs coil.


Ditto. I was running a 450 spring based on my body weight but when you factor in all my gear I really did need the stiffer spring. By getting off the bottom end of the travel the bike actually go smoother on all types of bumps.

I do have a bad habit of moving a little too far back over the bike when cornering hard and fast. The DT manages to keep me on the bike when doing this but it does lighten the front end. There is always riding technique to work on! When I am centred and cornering hard the bike rips! The front end doesn't feel like it is tucking under me.

Same here. I wonder if it has to do with being a tall guy? Maybe its a habit we picked up as kids on BMXs and just can't shake it. If you figure out how to stay forward can you let me know?


Again, great review and it really mirrors my year on the DT.
 

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Perpetual Hack
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jitenshakun said:
Same here. I wonder if it has to do with being a tall guy? Maybe its a habit we picked up as kids on BMXs and just can't shake it. If you figure out how to stay forward can you let me know?
While I'm a shorty at 6'2" I have the same "bad" habit as well as a background riding 20" Just glad I'm not the only one.:D

michael
 

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RideEverything said:
...is the 'one bike'. I use this bike for all of my riding and do not feel I am comprimising on any of the rides I take while on the DT. ...
I feel the same way about my V-tach! :D

Awesome write-up! Nice pics! Do you ever ride on the ground?

I've got to get back to Post. It's been too long.
 

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Bnerd
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you!

I would like to say thanks for the compliments on my write up. It did take a 'little bit' of time to think it out and write it up but it was fun and easy to write. Why couldn't have school essays been this easy to write?!

In rereading my post a few more thoughts have come to mind.

I always hear and read about square edge bump compliance in relation to rear suspension. I have a little more than a basic understanding of rear suspension and how different types work. My question is how big is this one 'square bump'? Is it curb size, bigger, smaller? And if it is as big or bigger than a curb why wouldn't you prepare your legs to help absorb said curb 'square bump'?

Overall, I think the rear suspension on the Knolly DT does a great job of smoothing out the trails. Yes, I do every now and again get the rear wheel hung up on roots or rocks. Mostly going up hill. But, in my opinion, I believe it has to do with my line choice, speed (forward momentum) and my skill. And, really, the odd hook up of the rear wheel doesn't diminish my riding experience on the DT!

Here are a few more pics from the trip. Really this post is just another excuse to post more pictures!

Post Canyon - my SO hitting the step up on Drop Out
Wheel Sports equipment Mountain bike Bicycle wheel Natural environment

Post Canyon - half an x-up on the step up on Drop Out!
Bicycle wheel Bicycle frame Tire Wheel Mountain bike

BRMBA - my SO log riding in the skills area
Natural environment Forest Old-growth forest Trail Mountain biking

BRMBA - Tree Ghoul on Banzai DH
Wood Natural environment Tree Forest Old-growth forest

BRMBA - watch out for slow children!
Natural environment Plant Forest Nature reserve Soil

Galbraith - super long ladder/log ride to jump on Stinger
Bicycle wheel Natural environment Bicycle frame Mountain bike Bicycle

Galbraith - drop on Evolution
Nature Natural environment Branch Tree Forest

Galbraith - I found the fabled Beer Tree! Unfortunately, they weren't full of beer! Oh well, it was only low alcohol content American beer. So, no loss!
Plant Tree Leaf T-shirt Shorts


Tall
 
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