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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got my first ride today on the new AM so here are some initial thoughts but first the boring stuff that is bound to spark debate.

I'm running the AM in the 150mm mode; the CCDB is still on stock HSC/LSC settings from the factory; I have 600lb/inch RCS Ti spring with no pre-load (the fit is so tight against the retention collar that it equate to about one turn already).
The size is large but with a 15" seat tube; cranks are 165mm and the BB in static mode measures bang on 13.7". Haven't been able to get a HA reading I can rely on so far; the clinometer on my iPhone is saying 63 degrees with the forks set to 150mm travel, so about 535 A2C.

From when this photograph was taken I’ve since fitted a set of Sunline V1s, dropping the bar height by 20mm and shaving 5mm off the width (like you’d notice that). Also the Joplin has gone back to the distributor to have its lateral play sorted out, so there is a Thomson on for the time being.

All in weight is now confirmed as 32 lbs 8ozs/14.6kg with the Joplin and 32lbs dead/13.9kg with the Thomson. With a Fox Van 150mm fork, an MRP 1.x guide, and Crossmax 2.2” tyres , the bike would still be coil front and rear, the same geometry as mine is now and weigh 29.6lbs/13.4kg. This is tempting to some degree.

I test rode the AM several times before ordering mine. On both occasions it was a medium (the same bike) but the second time I rode it, it had acquired a layback seat post, which lengthened the cockpit by about 25mm. On the first test I didn’t feel like I was ‘in’ the bike in the same way I was on my Spesh Enduro. I felt I was sat too high and attributed this to the BB being higher. On the second ride, with more room when seated, I felt so much better. I had also swapped my bars and stem onto the test bike for the second ride and this made a huge difference to the bike feeling much better balanced.

Having had that experience, I opted for the large with the custom ST. This it turns out, was a great decision as the bike feels amazing; long, low slung and perfectly balanced front to back. I feel like I am nestled perfectly between the front and back wheels and don’t feel the need to ride over the back of the bike.

The previous test rides had been with a DHX Air and I’ve also been running a DHX 5 coil on my intermediary Ellsworth. So that said, the thing that has blown me away the most today is the performance of the CCDB; quite simply it’s a paradigm shift. The thing just grips and grips and grips; the trails today were a mess – mud over wet roots and loamy soil – there were so many places where I would normally just provoke the back end to set out and slide round a corner but no matter how hamfisted I was with the Nic, it just wouldn’t let go. The test rides were mostly done during the spring/summer months but even then, the back end was more willing to slip than it was today, hence why I attribute the performance to the damper rather than the frame. To give you some idea, I was hitting some of the trails as, fast and in places faster, as on my Ion, which only has a pushed DHX on it.

The bike pedals amazingly well, even with the stock LSC settings. I can’t recall whether the test bike pedalled this well or not, but it was certainly not better, which surprised me because I figured the level of LSC damping on the DHX Air would be much higher and more intrusive than on the CCDB unless you wound on say 60% of the available damping.

I didn’t have any problems with pedal strike but then the trails are not rocky and mostly you can carry your speed without having to pedal so it’s not conclusive. Plus I am running 165mm cranks.
I’ve no idea at this time how much sag I am getting or whether I need to wind on more preload. At a guess, I would say it is quite a bit more than 28% but not more than 40%. The bike feels well composed in its travel as it is but if anything it inhibits climbing a little. I shall have to get some help on setting the sag more accurately.

I am aiming to get a ride in the Peak District next week, which is rocky and natural so this should help shake things down a little more.

Overall I am blown away and desperately happy with what I’ve ended up, although it is only one ride so there is time yet to discover bad habits, although I am not expecting any.
 

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Lovely looking bike - looks mean and fast - why run your ccdb that way round - switch it round and lower your centre of gravity a smiggin

TLR the BB on the AM is 2.5 mm lower than the FR - I run a ccdb sometimes with 35% sag on the FR and never bash pedals - sorry to say it but if u are, its a technique thing bro
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ian - yeah we really need to get that sorted. I am still out of work at the moment:eek: but I can afford to have a day out. The best opportunity would be in Feb some time as the wife and son are heading off to Australia for two weeks as of Feb 9th so I can slip away for even a weekend if neccessary.

I have some other mates I ride DH with, all about my level or a bit slower and none of us are into big air, that I need to catch up with at some point. We usually head to Cwmcarn but there has been talk of a weekend down at Gawton if you're up for that also. It would be a full weekend though as its too far to go for a day. Failing that, a simple day at Cwmcarn would be awesome.
 

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geetee1972 said:
Ian - yeah we really need to get that sorted. I am still out of work at the moment:eek: but I can afford to have a day out. The best opportunity would be in Feb some time as the wife and son are heading off to Australia for two weeks as of Feb 9th so I can slip away for even a weekend if neccessary.

I have some other mates I ride DH with, all about my level or a bit slower and none of us are into big air, that I need to catch up with at some point. We usually head to Cwmcarn but there has been talk of a weekend down at Gawton if you're up for that also. It would be a full weekend though as its too far to go for a day. Failing that, a simple day at Cwmcarn would be awesome.
Geetee1972--Let me know if you are going to Gawton i will try to meet up with you.Its only an hour from where i live.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ahh, then we should definitely have a little Nic-o-meet at Gawton.

Amazing place - tracks there are fantastic. We spent a weekend there around March time last year. It wasn't raining but it was quite damp. Can't imagine how hard Egypt would be if it was hooning with rain. What really narked me was that I couldn't get a clean line through the rock garden on Egypt. The high left line didn't look on as I couldn't get my head around the clearance between my 750mm wide bars and the tree on the left. The rocky lower right hand line was doable with enough momentum carried into it, but again, the entrance is tight with a tree on the right that I couldn't get my head around not hitting with my bars.
 

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Sweet, are there any other custom options on the frame than the shortened seattube?

Everybody is talking so much good about CCDB, I seriously regret I didn't buy one.
Though the AM tracks weel even without it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Since I was paying for the custom length ST I also opted to have it as 30.9mm in order that it could accomodate my exsting Joplin seat post.
I also had a few cable guides added to the underside of the top tube for the Jolin's cable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, I did toy with the idea of either a cone head or a 1.5" but you're just adding more weight and cost and I didn't see the point really. The 1.5" and E2/Frustrum forks are barely any lighter themselves and all in the system is heavier if you include the added HT material and larger headset cups.
It may be stiffer to have either of the two other options, but the forks I;m using now hardly feel flexy.
 

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Hi Geetee , I have an AC on order & am still agonising over wether to send off my DHX air or RP3 to be serviced & pushed for the frame , as it sounds as though you have some experience of the DHX air I wonderd what thoughts you might have.I know there seems to be a lot of anti DHX opinions on this forum , but it is a very tunable shock.
The AM looks great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@JFB

I used to have a DHX air on my Enduro as well as having tried the DHX on the AM so I have had plenty of time on it. I've also seen a lot of negative response to the DHX Air but I think a lot of that has been since there were negative reports in the press - from memory, I know MBR and Dirt have said that the DHX Air isn't as good as the standard Float and since then, I notice a lot of other people voicing that opinion. Perhaps this is not coincidence.

I am pretty sure that there isn't a Push tune kit for the DHX Air; certainly TF can't do anything with them as I've asked myself, but Mojo, who are the distributors for Fox, might be able to.

I've ridden a Push tuned Float RP23 on an Ellsworth Moment and it was awful; so over damped that you might as well have been running a hardtail. I just couldn't get the thing to sit into its travel and ended up with so little air in the chamber that when I did get the thing moving, it blew right through. Having said that, a standard service and tune, i.e. having Mojo tweak the insides for you rather than a Push kit from TF, may be the way to go. TF can also do standard tunes of Floats although I've noticed a difference between TF and Mojo tunes with the latter tending to prescribe a DH racer like set up for everyone, so the compression damping and spring rates tend to be a lot higher and the suspension much stiffer. Their reasoning is that you skip over the bumps rather than allowing the wheel to fall into them; at least that's what I was told by the Mojo guys.

Personally I got on fine with the DHX Air on my Enduro (although I had to have the IFP chamber pressure increased as there was hardly any pro-pedal/Low speed compression damping to be had on the stock (Specialized) tune. Mine didn't allow for user adjustable boost pressure.) and I never thought the DHX Air on the AM was all that bad either, until I rode mine with a CCDB today, which is hardly a fair comparison!

The DHX Air is pretty tuneable and once you start to experiment a little with the settings, in particular the boost chamber, you can get it to do what you want. I found that having too high a pressure in the boost chamber made the damper ramp up really badly and stall on bigger hits. It also really accentuates the pro-pedal damping .

So I guess it comes down to what you already have and what you want to spend. If it were me and I didn't have any damper and couldn't buy the CCDB for whatever reason, I would probably go for the new Float with the boost valve. I tried one of these on a mate’s Ellsworth Moment and it performed as well as the DHX 5 coil I was running on my Moment. If you have both the DHX Air and the RP23 and don’t mind spending a little money, then I'd be inclined to go with the RP3 and have TF service and tune it for your weight and the AC, but I definitely wouldn't get it Pushed - that is of course just my opinion. Bear in mind also that I've not ridden the AM with the RP3 or any other version of the Float. Finally if you don’t want to spend any money on the damper, then run with the DHX Air but spend some time trying to get the settings sorted.

Hope that helps.
 

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My mum lives near gawton, and the guys i go to the alps with also live down that way, so could get a big group togeather and organise the uplift. we can always do a weekend, one day at gawton and one day at cwm carn.

we should meet for a drink sometime and organise it.
 
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