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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Decided to get back into it after about 12 years away from mountain biking. Picked up an '06 FSR XC at the lbs this weekend, and so far so good. Well, pretty much, at least. I have a few questions, and it'd be a big help if anyone could point me toward the answers.

First, I'm looking for a few quick tips on dialing my front and rear suspension. I'm sure much of this is personal choice, I'm just looking for a good place to start. I'm 6'2" 200lbs. Looking to ride mostly XC and technical type stuff, but I know deep down I'm going to be stuck on the pavement more often than not.

Next, I seem to be having a bit of trouble shifting as smooth as I'd like. I seem to be getting a bit of rattle in several gears, which I at first attributed to poor workmanship in the lbs, but am now realizing this may be my fault. Are there any guidelines you folks tend to use? "Rules" as it were?

Finally, if I have one beef with my otherwise excellent lbs, it's that I feel they were a bit short with my fitting. By which I mean...there was no fitting. None to speak of at least. I tried out a couple of bikes, adjusted the seat heights, and that was about it. When I decided to purchase the XC, I expected a more thorough fitting, and the chance to swap out stem/risers/bars as needed. No dice. Now, I find the bike comfortable enough, and frankly an absolute joy to ride, but I feel like the cockpit is a touch too tight and that I may be placing too much weight on my bars. Moved the saddle back, which helped a touch but not enough. Any ideas?

Finally, (I'm serious this time) I'll be looking to swap out a few things in the next few months. Tires, pedals, wheelset, fork, brakes, in that approximate order. Just looking for a few ideas as to what products you'd suggest for the type of riding I'm looking to do and my budget. (ie ...tight. Think "college student." Wait, no. Think, "musician-college student. Shudder.)

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the novella. Take care.

Patrick
 

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Life is Good
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Your suspension IS going to be personal choice. I'm not sure what that bike is equipped with, but you can adjust air shocks with a shock pump to a desired level of stiffness. Coil shocks require you to buy a stiffer/looser set of springs. You will want to adjust the sag on the suspension (the sag is how much the shock is compressed under normal sitting weight) to about an inch. At this setting, the suspension should cover its full range of travel under normal trail-riding conditions; it may even bottom out once or twice and that's ok. I say just play with the dials/shock pump until you find something that is comfortable. If it has adjustable rebound, then play with it so that it returns fast enough for rapid bumps, but not too fast that it feels like you're going to be launched from the bike.

Shifting? You're cables might need to be adjusted. After buying a new bike (or new cables, for that matter) they tend to stretch and throw your shifting out of whack. Your LBS should adjust em for free.

As far as the fitting issue, I'd recommend a longer stem to put your bars out a little bit further.

FINALLY for your last issue, I wouldn't worry about swapping things out right now. Ride the bike and the parts that are on it and get your money out of them. If you do feel the absolute need to swap, then change tires to match your riding conditions. For your riding style and budget, the parts on the FSR-XC should be just fine. Go ENJOY THE BIKE! :)
 

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Some thooughts

Gustom Slayer said:
First, I'm looking for a few quick tips on dialing my front and rear suspension. I'm sure much of this is personal choice, I'm just looking for a good place to start. I'm 6'2" 200lbs. Looking to ride mostly XC and technical type stuff, but I know deep down I'm going to be stuck on the pavement more often than not.

Dial it in to your liking as stated before. In general, the front and rear should compress and rebound at the same rate, and not feel like a pogo stick

Next, I seem to be having a bit of trouble shifting as smooth as I'd like. I seem to be getting a bit of rattle in several gears, which I at first attributed to poor workmanship in the lbs, but am now realizing this may be my fault. Are there any guidelines you folks tend to use? "Rules" as it were?

Don't shift under heavy load. If you're still getting this rattle, take it back to the LBS for adjustments. This should be free of charge

Finally, if I have one beef with my otherwise excellent lbs, it's that I feel they were a bit short with my fitting. By which I mean...there was no fitting. None to speak of at least. I tried out a couple of bikes, adjusted the seat heights, and that was about it. When I decided to purchase the XC, I expected a more thorough fitting, and the chance to swap out stem/risers/bars as needed. No dice. Now, I find the bike comfortable enough, and frankly an absolute joy to ride, but I feel like the cockpit is a touch too tight and that I may be placing too much weight on my bars. Moved the saddle back, which helped a touch but not enough. Any ideas?

Too late to complain about this one. You should have asked before you bought what their position was regarding fit. I'm not by any means justifying their lack of attention to detail, or inflexibility on swapping parts to make the bike fit right. Just stating that you might have approached this a little differently. If you feel the cockpit is small, and that you're putting to much on the bars, try a setback seatpust. This will give you more room. A longer stem might help, but it might also exacerbate the problem with feeling you have too much forward weight.

Finally, (I'm serious this time) I'll be looking to swap out a few things in the next few months. Tires, pedals, wheelset, fork, brakes, in that approximate order. Just looking for a few ideas as to what products you'd suggest for the type of riding I'm looking to do and my budget. (ie ...tight. Think "college student." Wait, no. Think, "musician-college student. Shudder.)

You're talking about swapping out almost every major component other than drivetrain. Why would you buy a bike that didn't have what you wanted to begin with? Don't upgrade yet. Ride the bike. Enjoy it as it is. As components wear out or break, replace them with what you want.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the novella. Take care.

Patrick
Just some food for thought. I'm sure the bike will be fine. Make the adjustments necessary for the bike to fit, and go from there.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies.

I'll look into a setback seatpost, but probably a slightly longer stem first. I didn't mean to complain about the lbs per se, as they were super nice, and really helped me out.

As far as swapping out parts. Most of the things I'm looking to swap out starting in the next couple of months are for weight reasons. I'm in no hurry, but to me upgrading components and working on the bike is a huge part of the fun.

Thanks again. I really appreciate it.
 

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A word about a layback post, or moving your seat back, vs a longer stem in order to adjust fit. These two adjustments aren't really an either/or thing. You want to set your seat so your position over the pedals is optimal for leg extension and knee position in relation to the pedals; setting your butt back too far isn't a good thing. The stem length/rise and bar combo is more about putting your upper body and hands in the right position.

What size frame did you get? What length and rise stem did you get? Did you get a seatpost with adequate extension? Perhaps the shop should have gone over these things with you, but if you didn't raise the concern perhaps they thought you knew what you wanted.

About that rattle, is this a noise while you shift or after you have shifted into particular gears? Could be anything from cable adjustment to a loose cassette from your description.
 

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I have had the same "luck" with LBS and fitting....it is discussed far more in this forum...typically they just eyeball and ask how it feels after trekking around a parking lot....never had anyone even ask me what my inseam is....if you are a tweener even worse because the one in stock always seems to be the one they thinks fits you...but I digress. Get out and ride like the wind, as much as you can, before you jon the rest of us (at least the vast majority) in the "real" world and cant find the damn time!
 

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Gustom Slayer said:
Thanks for the replies.

As far as swapping out parts. Most of the things I'm looking to swap out starting in the next couple of months are for weight reasons. I'm in no hurry, but to me upgrading components and working on the bike is a huge part of the fun.

Thanks again. I really appreciate it.
I am going to make a coment but dont take it wrong. For all that enjoy buying parts & working hands on you should really consider doing a ground up build that cost more but you have the bike you really want. If you insist on buying a bike & up grading you can send me all your "old parts" sign me up. :ihih:
 

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Dogonfr is right....I will also take sloppy seconds:thumbsup: ...perhaps I can stop pining for a new rig by upgrading mine with your "gently used" parts. If I could only figure out how to convert a HT to FS (or is there a thread addressing this issue?)
 

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Gustom Slayer said:
As far as swapping out parts. Most of the things I'm looking to swap out starting in the next couple of months are for weight reasons. I'm in no hurry, but to me upgrading components and working on the bike is a huge part of the fun.
You think you want to swap parts now, but wait until you price 'light' parts for your bike. You will think twice when you find that they can add up to what you paid for the bike in the first place.
( I don't know what components you now have or the price of your bike, so maybe i'm wrong here )

-Enjoy the ride. Ride the crap out of it and replace broken components as needed. Just my advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks again for all of the replies.

Sadly, Raf, I'm all to familiar with the real world. I'm going to back to college at 26 to finish my degree. That said, I will get out and "ride like the wind" before having to face the real world again.

Unfortunately for you guys, the girlfriend and her new Specialized HT will be getting a majority of the **ahem** sloppy seconds. Thanks for the advice Eat. I realize I came off sounding as though I weren't happy with the bikes component spec and am looking to upgrade instantly, but this isn't really the case. I simply find the idea of switching components, feeling the difference between weights and materials and how the affect my bike, as well as the actual mechinical work fascinating and a lot of fun. I'll take it slow though- replacing only the tires/tubes, and maybe going clipless. The other things can wait.

Thanks again everyone. This was a big help and I'm glad I posted.
 

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eatdrinkride said:
You think you want to swap parts now, but wait until you price 'light' parts for your bike. You will think twice when you find that they can add up to what you paid for the bike in the first place.
( I don't know what components you now have or the price of your bike, so maybe i'm wrong here )

-Enjoy the ride. Ride the crap out of it and replace broken components as needed. Just my advice.
I gotta agree on this point. If you're talking about replacing almost every major component on the bike, and then saying that you're in the poorhouse, you find yourself in quite the pickle. The fact is that lighter isn't always better (as a fellow clyde, I can attest to this fact), and that lighter components cost way more. I, for instance just replaced the entire drivetrain on my Klein and blew almost $800 on parts and labor (yeah yeah, shoulda done it myself, but I know enough to know I can't do that one). My advice? Just ride the thing into the ground with the parts that are on it now. Replace as you break/wear things out. It won't be as bad as laying down all that cash in one hit for all that stuff.

Just my two cents

Ross
 
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