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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hmm....undecided at this point. Definitely a lot of new things to get used to...

new bike (FS and went from 63mm setup to 80mm on the front fork...the weight distribution feels different)
new brake setup(I had a front cable disk and rear rim brake on the hardtail)
new tires (I've never used the Conti Explorer Pros)
new pedals (i've been spd for a while, but new pedals are new pedals)

I had a decent ride - cleaned some sections I struggle with on the first try, but I'm not sure if it's the bike or the fact I've been working on my technical skills.

The front tire felt like it had the tendency to wash out a bit - I'm not sure if it's from the weight distribution, bike setup or the new tires or me.

This is my first time using hydraulic brakes. I found myself accidentally locking up both tires in a corner - yowza...I guess some people think that's cool...for me it's ok as long as I don't crash! Lost some confidence using the brakes and my pedals sticking a bit - so I was cautious and didn't ride some things I normally do...

I could tell the difference on the sketchy rocky descents...in the past - I literally felt like a bouncing ball...bouncing my way down the trail. I got used to it and I figured that was the way to ride a hardtail. I distinctly felt that way on my last trip down Porcupine Rim. On the FS I actually felt like I was "rolling" down the trail. On the moderately bumpy stuff it was pretty darn smooth...like buttah. ;) I could see how I could go much faster in that type of terrain.

The jury is still out - maybe after a full long weekend of riding I'll be more certain. (my little hardtail was cool...I miss that little guy, he was good to me...) Regardless it will be fun spending the weekend riding and figuring it out! :)

happy trails!
 

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You definitely have to give it more than one ride. It took several for me to get all the nuances switching from the HT to the FS. And just because you've gone FS doesn't mean you stop picking lines, it just means you don't have as limited options for lines. At first I plowed over things just to see what the bike could do, and just as important, how I felt while the bike was doing its thing. But soon you go back to riding much like you did on the HT, choosing the best line with the added bonus of having the option to run over roots/rocks if it's more expedient.

I run my brakes really loose, the guys in the shop laugh because they know better than to tighten them up cuz I complain. There's nothing worse than barely touching your brakes and feeling like you've slammed into the back of a semi. ;)

One other thing you may want to tinker with is tire pressure. If you're pumped up really high you might find you slingshot more than you want to with the FS. I'm sure you'll be tinkering and testing for the next couple weeks, but I'm betting once it feels more familiar you'll find there are some benefits to the FS.

Mallie
 

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Full Monty Bike Bore
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Ooh a new ride, excellent.

The front tyre tends to washout eh? Nasty. Could be down to an over damped fork so try backing off the adjusters. This is a good plan anyway as it'll help to bed the fork in quicker. Another reason might be the weight distribution you mentioned, I found a straight seatpost gave the front much more grip. Subsequently changing tyres and lowering the pressure probably helped a little too.

It sounds like you're new ride is an improvement if you're now clearing sections but a few more rides should see ya fine tweak a few thangs until you're happy.

Enjoy.
 

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$.02

["The front tire felt like it had the tendency to wash out a bit - I'm not sure if it's from the weight distribution, bike setup or the new tires or me."

If the front end is pushing then chances are the rear suspension lacks sag. Try resetting the sag on both the fork and rear shock at 25% of the fork/rear shock stroke. This should balance the bike and with it your weight distribution over the bike resulting in neutral handling.

Also begin to mess with the tire pessures. Before the ride pump both tires up to 40 psi and as you notice a lack of traction on either end take small amounts of air out. If you carry a air guage youll be able to find the pressure that best suits you.
 

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Bored Carp
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A thought regarding your fork/tire combo...

Ok, a bit of background - I am a ex-Cat 1 road racer. I retired this fall and decided to get a realllllly nice FS bike. Because of my racing past, and because I am not a super big rider, I went for a really light, XC style FS bike: Santa Cruz Superlight, XTR, CrossMax wheels, 1.9 tires and a Sid World Cup. 22lbs!

Oh my, what a mistake. The Sid was the worst fork I have ever ridden - flexy and unresponsive, it made even the simplest corner on a fireroad into something sketchy. For the first month, I was convinced it was me - it had just been too long since I had spent much time on a MTB, and what I thought were pretty good cornering skills were just no good on the dirt. I thought I just needed to be more aggressive and less of a whimp. But after 9 stiches and some whiplash, it was time to re-consider.

With some careful evaluation - and riding other mtbs - I soon found that it wasn't me, it was my fork and tire choice. In the pursuit of a lightweight fantasy I had forgotten what makes FS fun and solid feeling - good grippy tires and a stable front end. So, I ditched the Sid and bought a Manitou Black and got some nice fat tires - Kenda Nevegal and Blue Groove combo. Wow, what a difference.

The bike rides so much better now - my descending has improved and my climbing is better because the fork/tire isn't flexing/washing out all the time.

Sure, it hurt getting rid of a fork I had only ridden for a month. It also $ucked buying a new fork. I wasn't sure how much it would matter that my bike was 2lbs heavier - goodbye 22lbs, hello 24. It didn't matter much. The bike is more fun, I ride it more often and the crashing is far less frequent.

Cheers,
C
 
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