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Master of None
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I have a light(er) singlespeed hardtail, 24 lbs, and a heavy 39 lb Joker 7x7 bike. The singlespeed climbs like mad but of course on the decents it's a bit of a pinball ride. The Joker is really tough to climb and I'm trying to figure out why. I think it is more than the additional weight.

Firstly, I noticed the Joker wants to wheeile while going uphill. I think this is cause the fork is so long. So I slid the seat all the way forward in the rails, this helped a lot; still more wheelie prone but that can be a good thing. :) On the downhills I just drop the seat with the gravity dropper so the position doesn't really matter.

My friend was watching me climb with the Joker and he said it bobs a bit when pedaling. So I pumped up the SPV pressure and it seemed to solve that problem.

However, I still notice it is really tough to climb! Also my shoulders and back are sore after a tough climb. Maybe this is because of the short stem and top tube? The SS has a 90 mm stem and the Joker is a 50 mm. The bars are basically the same on both bikes.

Anyone have any insight? I don't want to mess up the big hit capability but if I could switch out some parts or maybe change technique that would be great.
 

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flow where ever you go
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I don't know your bike, but it sure sounds like a fork that allows you to reduce travel would help allot.
 

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Try a longer stem. It sounds like you're a bit cramped up when climbing. This will shift your weight foreward, which will keep the front end down, and should help relieve your sholder pain. Then move your seat back to its original positon, and see how that works out for you.
 

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presslab said:
I have a light(er) singlespeed hardtail, 24 lbs, and a heavy 39 lb Joker 7x7 bike. The singlespeed climbs like mad but of course on the decents it's a bit of a pinball ride. The Joker is really tough to climb and I'm trying to figure out why. I think it is more than the additional weight.

Firstly, I noticed the Joker wants to wheeile while going uphill. I think this is cause the fork is so long. So I slid the seat all the way forward in the rails, this helped a lot; still more wheelie prone but that can be a good thing. :) On the downhills I just drop the seat with the gravity dropper so the position doesn't really matter.

My friend was watching me climb with the Joker and he said it bobs a bit when pedaling. So I pumped up the SPV pressure and it seemed to solve that problem.

However, I still notice it is really tough to climb! Also my shoulders and back are sore after a tough climb. Maybe this is because of the short stem and top tube? The SS has a 90 mm stem and the Joker is a 50 mm. The bars are basically the same on both bikes.

Anyone have any insight? I don't want to mess up the big hit capability but if I could switch out some parts or maybe change technique that would be great.
If the bike weighs 39 lbs, I'm guessing your running dual ply tires, and because your running dual ply, I bet your running a low-ish air pressure. Get some single ply tires, and pump them up to 40psi. The difference will be night and day. I'm running kenda 2.6 Kinectics and they save me a pound each over my old tires. The results will be dramatic.
 

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It will never climb as well

noshortcuts said:
I don't know your bike, but it sure sounds like a fork that allows you to reduce travel would help allot.
If this is the Ellsworth Joker, remember that long travel single pivot have limitations when going uphill. As you noticed the performace uphill is closely linked to the pressure in the rear shock: if it is set up plush bob becomes a very real problem. :eekster:

It is not by chance that Scott with the Ramson went to the expense and complication of providing a rear shock with (bar mounted) on the fly travel/compression adjustment. You tried to achieve a similar effect by pumping up the rear shock: this gives you not only less bob but it also rises the rear of the bike and gives you a more forward asset, the con is that you cannot reverse on the fly ... an adjustable fork will let you change geometry quickly and reversibly.
 

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Master of None
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah it's an Ellsworth Joker. I know the single pivot bikes can be worse for climbing. With the SPV pumped up it feels firm out back, of course it gives up some plushness but it actually isn't too bad over the rock gardens.

The fork is a 66VF with 170mm travel, I was thinking of swapping the spacers to go 150 travel; although from you guys it sounds like ETA really is the way to go, I'll probably go that way.

I don't expect to climb like my singlespeed but I think there is room for improvement...

I switched out the tires already for Kenda Nevegal 2.35 and although I shed some weight the climbing didn't seem to change.. I am running 35 psi front and rear, same I run on the singlespeed.

I'll throw the longer stem on there and try it out. Although the short stem is nice for the downhills as I can move around more and get the weight further back.. It's a compromise it seems.

Lots of good comments, thanks.
 

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No, that's not phonetic
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A lot of little things add up. The short cockpit adds 10% to the effort, weight 10%, tire selection 5%, some energy robbed by over-active shocks 5%, etc. Next thing you know, the bike feels like a pig and it feels 50% harder to get up the hill.

There is no single thing to address, and it will never breeze up hills like a light, short-travel bike. The biggest factors are being able to lower the front (and still have the suspension be effective), and not be cramped in the cockpit. An adjustable travel fork (36 Talas, Lyric 2-Step, 66SL) and a longer stem would get you part way to easier climbing, and losing weight off the bike would be the other area to address. The latter is tougher and would not make as big a diff, I think.
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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presslab said:
I switched out the tires already for Kenda Nevegal 2.35 and although I shed some weight the climbing didn't seem to change.. I am running 35 psi front and rear, same I run on the singlespeed.
Nevegals roll very slow. Try a 2.35 60a Minion dhr on the back. The wheelset and tires will make the biggest difference, shock tuning will be a compromise.

Your issue is why I went with a vpp bike, I couldnt get the rear to be both plush and not sag too much when climbing. The spv effect, while amazing in 2003, was growing old. It makes an otherwise fairly poor suspension feel ok, but I think there are better alternatives.
 

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Used to have a joker.

presslab said:
Yeah it's an Ellsworth Joker. I know the single pivot bikes can be worse for climbing. With the SPV pumped up it feels firm out back, of course it gives up some plushness but it actually isn't too bad over the rock gardens.

The fork is a 66VF with 170mm travel, I was thinking of swapping the spacers to go 150 travel; although from you guys it sounds like ETA really is the way to go, I'll probably go that way.

I don't expect to climb like my singlespeed but I think there is room for improvement...

I switched out the tires already for Kenda Nevegal 2.35 and although I shed some weight the climbing didn't seem to change.. I am running 35 psi front and rear, same I run on the singlespeed.

I'll throw the longer stem on there and try it out. Although the short stem is nice for the downhills as I can move around more and get the weight further back.. It's a compromise it seems.

Lots of good comments, thanks.
I had a Joker myself a few years ago. As mentioned, a fork with travel adjust will make a big difference. A 170mm zoke makes the Joker slack as hell. I had a 6" fork on mine with eta that brought the front down to 5" for climbing. I am not sure how tall you are, but the Joker does have a fairly small cockpit. Try a longer stem as well. With the right set up many people find the Joker to be a better long legged aggressive trail bike than a freeride bike because of how light the frame is.
 

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Purveyor of Trail Tales!
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presslab said:
Yeah it's an Ellsworth Joker. I know the single pivot bikes can be worse for climbing. With the SPV pumped up it feels firm out back, of course it gives up some plushness but it actually isn't too bad over the rock gardens.

The fork is a 66VF with 170mm travel, I was thinking of swapping the spacers to go 150 travel; although from you guys it sounds like ETA really is the way to go, I'll probably go that way.

I don't expect to climb like my singlespeed but I think there is room for improvement...

I switched out the tires already for Kenda Nevegal 2.35 and although I shed some weight the climbing didn't seem to change.. I am running 35 psi front and rear, same I run on the singlespeed.

I'll throw the longer stem on there and try it out. Although the short stem is nice for the downhills as I can move around more and get the weight further back.. It's a compromise it seems.

Lots of good comments, thanks.
Hi presslab,

I have a 36lb Specialized Enduro Pro that I wanted to turn into a "social" climber. In other words it won't win any races but it grinds up anything you like without undue effort. Like most people said a fork w/ETA makes a big difference and I have the Fox 36 RC2 handling that chore for me. However I did a few things I didn't see mentioned so I thought I would share them:

• Added a 4 inch drop Gravity Dropper so I can have the seat at the perfect height for power generation. That said I can drop it 1 inch for rolling singletrack or a full 4 inches for DH at the touch of a bar mounted lever. I find a lot of people with traditional seat posts leave their seat an inch below optimal height for power generation to enhance DH capabilities. IMHO it doesn't work well for either option.
• Moved my seat as far forward as possible to put my body closer to being directly over the BB. Everyone else I've spoken to does this to help keep the front wheel down. I do it to generate more power in the pedal stroke.
• Added bar ends to my bars to allow me to stretch the cockpit and counter the forward position of the seat. Additionally they allow me to run a 40mm DH stem. I know that makes me a permanent mountain bike dweeb since bar ends haven't been popular since after I started in '81. That said, they do a great job for climbing and are a non-issue when descending. They are a non-issue on the 4 ft. huck platform I have in my yard. I have 9 stunts and jumps in my yard that I practice on 3-4 times per week and they are a non-issue on all of them.
•Added Stans NoTube system so I can run 32-34 lbs of tire pressure without getting a pinch flat. I did this because I experience better traction on the uphills when I'm trying to negotiate a technical section. I know other folks recommend much higher pressure to reduce rolling resistance. However I find I can get up harder moves if the tire smears instead of bouncing on/over the obstacle. To me that benefit outweighs reduced rolling resistence

All the changes noted above were predicated on my desire to have the most DH performance out of a bike that I can still easily, if slowly, pedal to the top of the hill.

Good luck and have fun,

Michael
 

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never ender
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Yeah, ETA rocks. It won't make your bike climb like an XC machine (although since I got my AM2 ETA mounted up I can clean climbs on my Heckler that I never even made on my hardtail) but as long as you have the muscle and the patience, you can slam the front end and crawl up almost anything.
 

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presslab said:
I have a light(er) singlespeed hardtail, 24 lbs, and a heavy 39 lb Joker 7x7 bike. The singlespeed climbs like mad but of course on the decents it's a bit of a pinball ride. The Joker is really tough to climb and I'm trying to figure out why. I think it is more than the additional weight.

Firstly, I noticed the Joker wants to wheeile while going uphill. I think this is cause the fork is so long. So I slid the seat all the way forward in the rails, this helped a lot; still more wheelie prone but that can be a good thing. :) On the downhills I just drop the seat with the gravity dropper so the position doesn't really matter.

My friend was watching me climb with the Joker and he said it bobs a bit when pedaling. So I pumped up the SPV pressure and it seemed to solve that problem.

However, I still notice it is really tough to climb! Also my shoulders and back are sore after a tough climb. Maybe this is because of the short stem and top tube? The SS has a 90 mm stem and the Joker is a 50 mm. The bars are basically the same on both bikes.

Anyone have any insight? I don't want to mess up the big hit capability but if I could switch out some parts or maybe change technique that would be great.
Hmmmm, sounds like an 07 Marzocchi 66SL ATA would will solve your problem. The ATA travel adjust should solve your wheelie problem and the compression stays the same as you crank down the travel... It wont screw over your bighit capability, because the 66SL is a nice and beefy fork. Dont the Rock Shox Totems come with U-Turn? Those are even beefier than the 66 forks. If you want to save on weight and not sacrifice durability go with the 66. If you dont mind gaining a few pounds, and stepping up in beefyness go with a Totem. :thumbsup:
 

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Davide said:
If this is the Ellsworth Joker, remember that long travel single pivot have limitations when going uphill. As you noticed the performace uphill is closely linked to the pressure in the rear shock: if it is set up plush bob becomes a very real problem. :eekster:

It is not by chance that Scott with the Ramson went to the expense and complication of providing a rear shock with (bar mounted) on the fly travel/compression adjustment. You tried to achieve a similar effect by pumping up the rear shock: this gives you not only less bob but it also rises the rear of the bike and gives you a more forward asset, the con is that you cannot reverse on the fly ... an adjustable fork will let you change geometry quickly and reversibly.
Ah, I do alot of climbing on my 05 Coiler setup with an 06 66sl and 07 DHX 5.0 Coil. I dont see pedal bob as a problem. "I have my boost and propedal and the minium" If you can pedal correctly/smoothly, it doenst present a problem. Unless you like to climb outo of the saddle that is....
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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Mountainbikextremist said:
Hmmmm, sounds like an 07 Marzocchi 66SL ATA would will solve your problem. The ATA travel adjust should solve your wheelie problem and the compression stays the same as you crank down the travel... It wont screw over your bighit capability, because the 66SL is a nice and beefy fork. Dont the Rock Shox Totems come with U-Turn? Those are even beefier than the 66 forks. If you want to save on weight and not sacrifice durability go with the 66. If you dont mind gaining a few pounds, and stepping up in beefyness go with a Totem. :thumbsup:
66 ata..... 5.9 lbs 140-180mm air
Totem 2-step... 6.3 lbs 135 or 180mm air
'06 Boxxer Ride.. 7.1 lbs 133-178m coil u-turn

I'd probably go w/ the 66 ata if I had a choice right now, but its a 1st year fork, like the totem... hope they hold up!
 

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Just another FOC'er
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presslab said:
I have a light(er) singlespeed hardtail, 24 lbs, and a heavy 39 lb Joker 7x7 bike. The singlespeed climbs like mad but of course on the decents it's a bit of a pinball ride. The Joker is really tough to climb and I'm trying to figure out why. I think it is more than the additional weight.
Try tying the fork down and then see how it climbs. The ability to lower the fork is the #1 factor for me, more of a factor than weight. For a lot of people that's not the case however, so you've just to got to experiment and see.
 

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Just roll it......
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As suggested:

A fork with varying height is gonna make the biggest difference, imo. I didn't see what year 66, you have, but if it's an '05, it's gonna be SUPER tall and that'll have a huge effect on climbing alone.

Lighter tires - I run dual ply dh tires on my big bike, but I run 2.6 single ply kinetics on my "AM" bike and that makes a big difference.

If your rear shock has a low speed compression adjust, you could also crank that up a bit for the climbs and turn it back out when you start your descents. That'll likely help with pedal bob.

Longer cockpit - this is tricky and I'd do this last because, ulitmately, you want a short cockpit for descending, so you might compromise the downhill ability of the bike if you went with a longer stem.

You could spend a fortune to buy lighter parts, but then you're gonna have a bike that isn't going to hold up to the absuses it's designed for. I think dealing with the weight is just a factor with pedaling a bike that you're going to thrash.

Cheers,
EBX
 

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Some Assembly Required
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If you aren't spending a fair amount of time on your 39 lb Joker then your gonna be sore after you grind out a climb. If you'll ride the Joker and get used to the weight & geometry, I guarantee your riding will be stronger & you skillz will be stronger. AND it won't cost anything. I guarantee. It did for me.
 

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Me hates pinchflat
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Mountainbikextremist said:
Hmmmm, sounds like an 07 Marzocchi 66SL ATA would will solve your problem. The ATA travel adjust should solve your wheelie problem and the compression stays the same as you crank down the travel... It wont screw over your bighit capability, because the 66SL is a nice and beefy fork. Dont the Rock Shox Totems come with U-Turn? Those are even beefier than the 66 forks. If you want to save on weight and not sacrifice durability go with the 66. If you dont mind gaining a few pounds, and stepping up in beefyness go with a Totem. :thumbsup:
I dont think there is any Totem with U-turn. There is, however, the 2-step air model (180 or 140mm of travel)
 
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