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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Sherwood:

A few open questions for you since I'm sure other's may have the same.

1. Pricing?

2. Availability?

3. What is the tire clearance?

4. Do you require the X brace frame, or would it be available with a traditional diamond?

5. Shock stroke and I to I?

6. Finally, and most important: Now that you have a little time on this bike, how does it compare to a 5 inch Saltamontes? What do you think it does better, and worse? How will El Capitan fit onto your personal quiver of bikes? In other words, what trails/ conditions do you see yourself really preferring to ride it on/in? What trails/conditions do you see it suffering in?

How would you rate the overall plushness of the rear compared to a 26er? Many say a 3 inch travel 29er is equivalent to a 5 inch travel 26er.

I wait with interest for your response.

Eric
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Sherwood's reply via email

"I am not sure I am ready to give a detailed
report
just yet as I only have six rides on it so far. I like it a lot, but I
haven't ridden it on anything other than buff single track and fast
baby
heads (in our Wednesday night race series) so far so my review would be
seriously skewed, and quite frankly not much use to people who don't
ride
this type of terrain. I have taken my Saltamontes out of my bike
stable for
now, and plan on spending the next 6 months on El Capitan exclusively.
So I
should be able to give a detailed interpretation in a couple of months.
But so far, this bike rips.

MSRP is $2095, comes with quad bearings, and heavy duty double gusseted
swingarm, in X-brace frame configuration. I can build traditional
double
diamond style with butted top and down tubes if you want for an
additional
$200 semi-custom upcharge, but stock they will be stout x-frames as I
have
no control over potential customer's height, weight, or riding style.

We built 15 in our first run, and have sold five of those and used five
on
our demos...so I think we have five left to sell (19-1, 21-3, 23-1). I
did
not produce any 17" frames other than the one for me in that first
batch and
of course I already have orders for that size too. So supply is
limited
right now. I am kind of trying to see where it is going to gage how
many to
build in the next batch.

I have not gotten my hands on a set of exi-2.3's yet, but I eyeballed
them
pretty hard at Sea Otter, and I am quite sure they will fit, I'm just
not
sure by how much.

Shock is 7 7/8" i2i x 2" stroke giving El Capitan a low compression
ratio of
2:1 which should keep shock pressures low for heavier riders.

Post this if you like.

Best regards,
Sherwood"

Thanks for producing the bike, and your honest evaluation.

Eric
 

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I've had a week on mine...

..and I'm very impressed.
It's plush, stiff and just begs for some rough trade.
Exiwolfs fit fine, and clearance is good with all the tyres we have available at the moment. The frame is real strong which means a bit heavier than we are used to, around 7.5lb, but the bike doesn't ride heavy and is amazingly flickable and chuckable. I've got mine built up with a Maverick and Rohloff and it comes in at 31lb with heavy LX cranks and BB, but I could get it under 30lb if I wanted to, and around 27-28 if I biffed the Rohloff and spent up large, which I wouldn't want to do.
This bike will ride up anything and is the best aggressive climber I've ever riden, the combination of longish chainstays, steep seat stay and a quick front end makes it a great techinical climber, better than any other 29'er I've owned or riden. The steepish front end makes for a quick handling bike, but it's a very fast decender, and gives tremendous confidence.
It's plush, and even with the RP3 bobs a little more than I'm used to, (we are talking about 1/8-1/4" at the shock) but I'm still playing with the Fox and it may be I've just got lazy with my pedaling as well. I've been riding 29 hardtails and an Asylum over the last three years so my perception of how much bob is acceptable is a little skewed at the moment. But the ride is amazing - super stiff and plush. My mate has an X5 and in my opinion the Capitan is a significantly better ride in every aspect, except for big launches (he's built up strong wheels, and I'm on Delgardos and not that brave).

In response to your questions:

In other words, what trails/ conditions do you see yourself really preferring to ride it on/in? What trails/conditions do you see it suffering in?

I would say that this bike is a blast to ride on anything, but the rougher the track, the bigger the grin. The Rohloff makes mine harder work up long steady fireroads than it needs to be, so for me I'd prefer rough and techincal trails. It's geometry is quick enough to handle woodsy type riding, and big wheels make it stable on fast decents etc, etc (you already know the 29er drill I'm sure)

How would you rate the overall plushness of the rear compared to a 26er? Many say a 3 inch travel 29er is equivalent to a 5 inch travel 26er.

This is a highly subjective question, but from my perspective, I'd say the Captian feels like it's got a lot more than it's 4", and I for one couldn't imagine needing more. It's 4" feels much better than the 6" on the aforementioned X5, but it had a Romic and may well ride better with an RP3.

I've only had the bike for a week, but have taken it over as many of my 'someday I'll clean that' obsticals that are handy, and several of them were cleaned first attempt with the Capitan, after years of trying with other 29ers, and (in the distant past) 26ers.

That little bit of extra travel over it's fs peers, and the plushness and stiffness, makes this bike an inspiring ride..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks a lot. That was just the sort of feedback I was looking for. The comparison to the Asylum was also helpful. Got any photos you want to post?
 

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El C pix

SingleSpeedSlave said:
BryceB, can you post up some picks of your El Capitan to drool at and how did you get a frame so fast????

Thanks!
These pix aren't too flash, and the bike is dirty, but you'll get the idea...
I had originally thought I'd replace my Asylum with a Lenz, but when I heard Ventana were thinking about building a 29'er, I was interested as a friend had built up an X5 recently and I was impressed with the bike. To cut a long story short, I ended up without a bike unexpectedly and needed a new ride before our summer ran out, and even though the Lenz Leviathan has had good reviews and I don't think you could go wrong with one, I thought I'd go with a bit of extra travel and I liked the robustness of the El Capitan. Also Lenz were really slack about responding to emails, even though I said whatever I was going to buy, the order would be for two, and in the end I felt that if they weren't interested in responding on a possible sale, what would they be like in the event of problems? Ventana on the other hand, were prompt to respond, had the answers on hand and were a real pleasure to deal with and delivered on time and went out of their way (in a very busy pre Sea Otter week) to get the frames to me asap.
I ordered two 19" frames from the first batch Sherwood built up, and they arrived here (New Zealand) on your Sea Otter Saturday after being sent your Monday (our Sunday and Monday respectively), and first bike was finished and ready to ride on (our) Monday. The other frame is in the box waiting for it's owner to come back from holiday. It will be a near identical build to this one, ie Maverick, Rohloff, but different brakes.
After nearly two weeks on the bike, I can say I'm extremely pleased with it, and I've found the bike to perform beyond my expectations. It just wants to find a rougher line, or boldy go where no bike should go...
It wheelies beautifully and feels extraordinarily well balanced, much more so than the aforementioned X5. When we swapped mounts, the difference was marked, and we both agreed that the El Capitan felt superior to the X5, to the point where the owner said it was good enough to tempt him into 29" wheels! (Something I thought I'd never hear from him!)
The bike loves technical climbs and the combination of longish chainstays, a steepish headangle and a massive 14.5" BB height (enhanced by a 34 tooth front sprocket) gives this bike an almost freakish ability to climb up and over things. I'm regularily cleaning obsticals that I've never been able to in the past, and I'm still a long way from really getting to grips with the bike.
The bike weighs roughly 1.5 lbs more than the Asylum but while you don't notice the extra weight, you do notice that the bike just feels stronger which gives you a lot more confidence to tempt fate and go for the hard option/line. I love that...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice Build

Dude:

Talk like that is convincing me to lay down some serious cash. Upgradeitis has afflicted me. I know what you mean about the 29/26 thing. My only experience on the trails with a 29er came when a friend switched his full rigid Karate monkey with me for a mile of singletrack. The bike fit me poorly, but just begged to go fast. I was impressed with its stability, and confidence, and this is for a rigid bike! When I got back on my 26" Salty, It felt twitchy and unstable. I can't imagine a 29er with suspension.

Questions:

What is the measurement between your center of BB to top of saddle?

What is your inseam? How tall are you?

I ask this because I am between a 19 and 21 and am wondering about bar height a little.

How do you like the Rohloff? Is this your first?

Nice bike. Great customer service. Not bad for a company that does no advertising.

Eric
 

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enelnelson said:
Dude:

Questions:

What is the measurement between your center of BB to top of saddle?

What is your inseam? How tall are you?

I ask this because I am between a 19 and 21 and am wondering about bar height a little.

How do you like the Rohloff? Is this your first?

Nice bike. Great customer service. Not bad for a company that does no advertising.

Eric
Measurements are 30.5" BB to top of saddle, my inseam about 33.5/34, and I'm 6'1" and a bit.
I've run Rohloffs for over five years, on FS as well as hardtails, 29" and 26" bikes.They have some minor downsides, and will never be for everyone. I probably wouldn't run one if I was heavily into racing or lived where there was no mud but in my stable, and for my riding at least, they've earned their place, and I can't speak highly enough about their durability, ease of use, and their functionality. I've long since given up trying to convert people to them, I just let the hub do the talking. It's silence on the trail speaks volumes...
 

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Thanks for the pics. My frame (school bus yellow) is actually in shipping so I should have it by the weekend and hopefully, I can get a wheelset built at the same time.

I'm 6'1" with longish arms and decided to get the 21inch El Capitan just for the extra top tube. I've already got a Mav DUC32 in black and felt the the extra TT would help offset the short stem.

Bryceb, I think I sent you a PM concerning the conversion of the Mav to a 29'er fork and you never responded. All I needed to know was the outside diameter of the shim.

bryceb said:
Measurements are 30.5" BB to top of saddle, my inseam about 33.5/34, and I'm 6'1" and a bit.
I've run Rohloffs for over five years, on FS as well as hardtails, 29" and 26" bikes.They have some minor downsides, and will never be for everyone. I probably wouldn't run one if I was heavily into racing or lived where there was no mud but in my stable, and for my riding at least, they've earned their place, and I can't speak highly enough about their durability, ease of use, and their functionality. I've long since given up trying to convert people to them, I just let the hub do the talking. It's silence on the trail speaks volumes...
 

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Sorry about that

I do remember replying to somebody about that measurement, maybe I replied to the wrong person! Sorry if it was meant to be you.
The OD was 25mm, ID 10mm and height 30mm.
Good luck with the build!

SingleSpeedSlave said:
Thanks for the pics. My frame (school bus yellow) is actually in shipping so I should have it by the weekend and hopefully, I can get a wheelset built at the same time.

I'm 6'1" with longish arms and decided to get the 21inch El Capitan just for the extra top tube. I've already got a Mav DUC32 in black and felt the the extra TT would help offset the short stem.

Bryceb, I think I sent you a PM concerning the conversion of the Mav to a 29'er fork and you never responded. All I needed to know was the outside diameter of the shim.
 

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Nicely done...

...I was wondering how the El Cap would look with a Mav on it. Cool spec. Good report.

Behemoth, El Cap, Behemoth, El Cap.

Sean
 

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BryceB, I've got another question for you on the Mav 29'er conversion: does it change the build height (Axle to Crown Race) of 517.4mm? Someone told me it should lower the build height, but I'm having trouble seeing how it could do that.

It should stay the same since we are only limiting the travel, not changing the axle to crown measurement, correct?

Thanks again!

bryceb said:
I do remember replying to somebody about that measurement, maybe I replied to the wrong person! Sorry if it was meant to be you.
The OD was 25mm, ID 10mm and height 30mm.
Good luck with the build!
 

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Build height

SingleSpeedSlave said:
BryceB, I've got another question for you on the Mav 29'er conversion: does it change the build height (Axle to Crown Race) of 517.4mm? Someone told me it should lower the build height, but I'm having trouble seeing how it could do that.

It should stay the same since we are only limiting the travel, not changing the axle to crown measurement, correct?

Thanks again!
Hi SingleSpeedSlave,

Nothing changes except that the travel is restricted by 30mm, build height remains the same. The spacer fits over a shaft restricting the movement, so there is no way it can change anything. Good luck with the build, you'll be blown away by how good this bike is once you are up and running. I've got mine fully sorted now, had a little trouble with the fork initially (faulty valve, $0.95c fix) but now this bike is sooooo fast, both up and down hill, and never ceases to astonish me with what it will ride over. Super nimble on tight singletrack. For reference, on a hardcore group ride last weekend which included the El Capitan and a Dos Niner, as well as half a dozen Prophets etc, the 29ers were way out in front, and quickest through the forest by a big margin and both bikes were significantly faster both up and down where it mattered, particularily is nasty going. The ride included a two hour carry section, and was very steep, and the big wheels shone except they were a bit of a handful on some of the portaging, big wheels take up a lot of width when on your back, but the up side is that the Capitan is good, if somewhat heavy, to carry for long stretches.
 

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Man, you are killing me with all these ride reports!! I'm still waiting for my darn wheelset! Ah, well, it sounds like it will be worth the wait, kinda like waiting until you are married before having sex...

BTW, I know a guy who is selling his El Capitan due to health reasons keeping him from riding any more bikes. If anyone is interested, send me a PM, its a 21inch///

bryceb said:
Hi SingleSpeedSlave,

Nothing changes except that the travel is restricted by 30mm, build height remains the same. The spacer fits over a shaft restricting the movement, so there is no way it can change anything. Good luck with the build, you'll be blown away by how good this bike is once you are up and running. I've got mine fully sorted now, had a little trouble with the fork initially (faulty valve, $0.95c fix) but now this bike is sooooo fast, both up and down hill, and never ceases to astonish me with what it will ride over. Super nimble on tight singletrack. For reference, on a hardcore group ride last weekend which included the El Capitan and a Dos Niner, as well as half a dozen Prophets etc, the 29ers were way out in front, and quickest through the forest by a big margin and both bikes were significantly faster both up and down where it mattered, particularily is nasty going. The ride included a two hour carry section, and was very steep, and the big wheels shone except they were a bit of a handful on some of the portaging, big wheels take up a lot of width when on your back, but the up side is that the Capitan is good, if somewhat heavy, to carry for long stretches.
 

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bryceb said:
Nothing changes except that the travel is restricted by 30mm, build height remains the same. The spacer fits over a shaft restricting the movement, so there is no way it can change anything.
Bryce,
I've got a duc32 that I want to put on a 29" frame. When you made the conversion, did you keep the old bottom out bumpers and add the new ones, or replace the existing set with the new set?

Does the lockdown still function? If it does, do you use it much and how much travel is left?

Thanks,
Monte
 
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