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Greetings.

I am a new proud owner of an 09 Session 88 FR. I took advantage of an awesome blowout deal. Anyways, before I made the purchase I did as much research as I could on the internet and I really couldn't find any bad news about the bike or the build. I was hoping that I could get some feedback from other Session owners out there about what their experiences are with the bike and also to see what are the must do's and don'ts regarding setup, if any.

Thanks in advance for any and all help.
 

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I have the exact same bike. I mounted a Marzocchi 888 RC3 EVO and called it done. The only other change I made was that I installed a 500 lb. rear shock spring. My bike is a small (because it was a closeout also. No other size available) that came with a 400 lb. spring. I'm about 160 lbs. and it would bottom pretty hard on 5-8 ft. drops. It's fine now after the spring swap.



Make sure to check the rear EVO link pivots. Mine completely came out this weekend. New parts are on order from the local dealer. The bolts need to be tightened in the opposite direction too. It's lefty tighty and righty loosey. =)
 

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Thanks Rat! How long have you had yours? Did you use the suspension tuning guide from their website to dial in your settings? Awesome action shot BTW.
 

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I bought mine in Jan. 2010 and ride it every week. No major problems so far. The only thing that annoys is that the Saint brakes really squeal. I dial my suspension on my own. I have about 2 turns preload on the coil in the rear. I like my rebound really slow too so it is more predictable on jump faces. I don't want to hit a kicker and end up in a nose dive. I have about 175 PSI in the boost valve with the Pro Pedal 5 clicks out. Love the bike. The Totem that came on the bike is really good as well. I mounted it on my Trek Scratch 7.
 

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Can you mount a hammerschmidt on the 88 FR?
I ride a ReignX now. It's my aggresive AM bike but it is park capable but I am looking for a burlier bike for the bigger gaps and drops. I still want to be able to pedal it up though like my reignX.

Is the 88 FR a good choice?

rat7761 said:
I bought mine in Jan. 2010 and ride it every week. No major problems so far. The only thing that annoys is that the Saint brakes really squeal. I dial my suspension on my own. I have about 2 turns preload on the coil in the rear. I like my rebound really slow too so it is more predictable on jump faces. I don't want to hit a kicker and end up in a nose dive. I have about 175 PSI in the boost valve with the Pro Pedal 5 clicks out. Love the bike. The Totem that came on the bike is really good as well. I mounted it on my Trek Scratch 7.
you have an 88 FR and Scratch 7... why? They are both FR bikes.. what's the difference? is the scratch just more pedal friendly geo?
 

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THATmanMANNY said:
you have an 88 FR and Scratch 7... why? They are both FR bikes.. what's the difference? is the scratch just more pedal friendly geo?
I don't know if you've looked at the geometry, but the 88FR shares the same frame as the DH. Its a full blown DH bike with a totem on the front instead of a DC 8 inch fork. There is a reason they no longer offer it as a model - two 6K plus DH bikes in the line that ride pretty much the same sans a few component swaps is a little much. Its a great bike, and its a ridiculous deal, but it is in no way a freeride bike, despite the name. Its meant for getting down the hill fast, and doing it in the most fun way possible.

I like mine alot, but I wouldn't recommend it as a pedal bike - no way. I found the bike would get harsh and spikey with the stock settings, so I slowed my rebound down to about 4 clicks from full closed, I'm running 190 in the BV, and I removed a click of BO resistance. Much more linear now with more damping, everything feels smoother and tracks better.

I've written alot of stuff about setup and the way it rides, should be able to dig it up somewhere if you're curious.

As far as the rear brake howl, there is a reason they no longer stock saints on that frame, and there is a reason that all the sponsored riders are running saints anyway.

The reason they no longer stock saint brakes on it is because there is some weird resonance with that frame and that brake - other brakes don't cause it, and that brake works on other frames just fine. But that combination makes the entire rear end of the bike try and chatter and howl.

The reason all the team riders are still running saints anyway is because there is a solution, and because the brakes are ridiculously powerful and awesome and great in every way.

Easy solution: get resin pads for the rear. One set should be fine. Use one resin, one semi metallic pad on the rear caliper. Once they wear down, you have another set waiting to go. I've gotten 17 lift assisted days, and probably 25-30 shuttling days on one "mix matched" set of pads since feb. Rain or shine.
 

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William42 said:
I don't know if you've looked at the geometry, but the 88FR shares the same frame as the DH. Its a full blown DH bike with a totem on the front instead of a DC 8 inch fork...I like mine alot, but I wouldn't recommend it as a pedal bike - no way.
you need to watch my friend pedal his vp free then :D We are talking 2k elevation gain on a single ride


The Scratch looks to be a promising ride but compared to my '08 ReignX the differences are minimal. I wouldn't be trading "up" for any benefits.

Has anyone ditched a good amount of the DH specific parts and swapped for lighter XC/AM parts? How much could it weigh?

My ReignX weighs like 37 lbs and has 170rear /160front. If the 88FR can get to that weight and you can get a granny on it... I don't think 20mm of travel will be holding me down too much.

Anyways, my question is can you make it a double FD bike? Using FD and/or hammerschmidt? I really need one bike that does it all. I have limited storage space and funds.
 

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THATmanMANNY said:
you need to watch my friend pedal his vp free then :D We are talking 2k elevation gain on a single ride


The Scratch looks to be a promising ride but compared to my '08 ReignX the differences are minimal. I wouldn't be trading "up" for any benefits.

Has anyone ditched a good amount of the DH specific parts and swapped for lighter XC/AM parts? How much could it weigh?

My ReignX weighs like 37 lbs and has 170rear /160front. If the 88FR can get to that weight and you can get a granny on it... I don't think 20mm of travel will be holding me down too much.

Anyways, my question is can you make it a double FD bike? Using FD and/or hammerschmidt? I really need one bike that does it all. I have limited storage space and funds.

The issue isn't the travel. I've owned 8 inch bikes with almost identical geometry to the VP free. I've ridden the VP free. Its got the same geometry as many 5 inch travel bikes on the market. I had a glory FR a couple years ago. Its not about quantity of travel, its about geometry and what the travel is tweaked for. I used to take my glory FR out for the same deal ~ 4K feet of elevation, and ride down a super rocky trail at the end (tunnel trail, in SB, if you're curious).

There are two things that make a good pedal bike -

1 - geometry - being able to get over the pedals, not having he front end wallow, while having enough clearance to pedal over rocks and roots without bashing pedals,

2 - suspension ratio - Is the bike designed to sit high in its travel and provide firm pedaling platform.

The VP free has both of those in spades. Its the definition of a big hit freeride bike. You can go out and pedal all day, and then send that 40 foot drop at the end. There are other bikes that do that as well - the old glory FR's, the new giant faiths, The scratch's, sx trails, Knolly FR bike (whatever its called), pretty much every bike company has something that fits the bill.

The things that specifically make a DH bike a DH bike (and make it bad for anything else): If the bike is designed to ride out over the back end (which most DH bikes are designed to) if the bike is designed to be slack and provide maximum stability at high speed (which most DH bikes are) and to have a compression ratio that allows for the best bump compliance possible, even at the cost of pedalling. (the session pedals pretty well for a DH bike, but its a pretty terrible pedaller for a long travel trail/fr bike) The session has those traits in spades - it sits really far back, its designed to be ridden over the back wheel, its low, and its really slack. There is a reason that the stock frame is raced on the WC DH circuit - remember, the "FR" and the "DH" actually have identical frames.

Do what you want, its your money, but there are way better places to spend your money if you want a descender that can climb. The session 88 FR is basically a bike park bike. Its designed to be ridden at whistler all day.
 

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What is it about the ReignX that you don't think it can take the bigger gaps? The 2010 Scratch line has the same frame just different build kits. I have a Scratch 6 Air with an RP2 and Lyric. Its really more of an AM bike. Now, I believe Cam McCaul rode the Coil 9 version and he has gone off some pretty big stuff. So to me, I'm pretty sure if I upgraded my suspension bits, I could have a FR bike that could handle everything I wanted it to (not that I'm capable of much anyway).

I don't see why it would be any different with the Reign X. Incidentally, the Reign X was the other bike I was considering when I bought the Scratch 6. The Scratch had the steaper seat tube (see Willliam42's 1st point above) and a pretty slack HT.

Now if I could just become a better freerider. lols

P.S. I'm not typically a fan of saying if a pro rider can do it so can we, but I think it speaks to the FR capability of the Scratch.

EDIT: I do have to say that Session 88FR (and the DH version) are beautiful bikes. If I had the gonads and a lift park around me (and a few extra $$$$), I'd love to have a dedicated DH/FR bike.
 

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Nothing against the RX. I don't think it's the gaps really. I mean I've hit plenty big things. But when your not smooth... The extra travel makes up for those harsh landings. I mean look at these guys on those slopestyles! Crazy!

It's that and I would like a more stable ride. Longer wheelbase. Slacker head angle. But guess what... I am a new owner of a used 88FR! And it is definitely a more stable ride. Not sure if its because of the above or no meastro/dw extra link combined with 12mm thru axle. But damn is it stable.

By the way I always thought the RX was a do it all bike until I came back from the Whole Enchilada. That was some gnarly terrain. And I know gnarly coming from jersey.
 

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The RX is perfect class of bike for the Whole Enchilada IMHO, including all of the side drops on the trail. I wouldn't want to cruise a downhill bike on that.
 
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