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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently picked up a rigid single speed, which is a blast on easy trails and meant my hardtail could take a more aggressive direction. It had a Fox Vanilla 120, 1x9, v brakes, Negeval front tire, and 640mm bars with an 80mm stem.

Thanks to the knowledge I've found on this forum, I added Formula hydro brakes, Butcher front tire, 720mm bars, and 65mm stem. I finally got it put together and hit the trails today and I was blown away by the transformation. The first day out I was hitting things so much faster and harder with complete confidence. The bars and stem make everything feel perfectly controlled, even over rough terrain when the edges of your vision start to blur. Jumping, driving into ruts, flying over roots and washouts, it didn't matter.

The Butcher up front has grip for days. My Nevegal would slip out on me constantly on flat turns on hardpack, it never happened once today and I just kept pushing it harder and harder without finding fault. It reminded my of the first time I rode a motorycle on race slicks, it leaves you stunned how much grip you have.

It is truly a completely different bike, which is even more amazing considering it is the exact same frame, fork, and drivetrain I've been running. Thanks for everything you guys have shared on here, I'm stoked!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well it turns out the upgrades don't mean that the bike and I are invincible and can monster truck whatever I want, even though it feels that way :D

I went for the second ride with the new parts today and there are definitely some obstacles where you have to use more finesse rather than just being aggressive. Both problems were double edged rocky washed out climbs. Before I would take the outside line and spin up them, I tried plowing into the and pulling the front up. I cleared the first ledge, fork compressed into the second ledge, then rebounded, shooting me back down the hill! Didn't crash and no damage done. Second one I cleared both ledges but got a very hard pedal strike that about knocked me off the bike, which never happens to me. Now I need to improve my skills a bit and learn when to charge hard and when to take it easy. Still tons of fun though.
 

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That's the challenge I have with larger drops and taking really gnarly lines at speed. I'd love to be able to say "I'm taking this ****, consequences be damned", but then I remember that I have a job that depends on me being on my feet all day and half the night long. If I can't be there, rent isn't paid. That tends to make me think twice about hucking that four foot drop on my hardtail. My kid doesn't eat and we sleep in the car if I screw it up too badly. That's not ok in my book. I'll take the bypass and go to work tomorrow with some peace of mind.
 
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