Want to get your bike back to that “showroom new” condition? Suzuki Motorcycle Wash is the only way to clean your bike. I am not sure what they put in this stuff, but it is a miracle worker. You can purchase it in a gallon jug or spray bottle at your local Suzuki dealer. I normally pick up the gallon jug and use a spare spray bottle around the house to save a little bit of money.
Step 1 – Rinse the bike
Step 2 – Spray on the Suzuki Motorcycle Wash
Step 3 – Wait 5 minutes
Step 4 – Rinse off the bike
Step 5 – Dry the bike
Step 6 – Re-grease chain, fork and shock
It is really that easy. You can forget the days of scrubbing or wash rags. This wash takes off everything without harming the paint or other components on your rig. This pink liquid literally works like magic. It even takes the mud residue off your tires without any effort. The only place I normally don’t spray the wash is on the fork seals and where the seals contact. I don’t think it will do anything to the seals, but why take the chance (this would go for any cleaner or direct water contact). If I had any complaints about the Suzuki Motorcycle Wash it would be the fact that after every wash, someone asks you if that is a new bike. Without fail, every time I go to the trail head after a Suzuki treatment, someone thinks it is my first ride on a bike that i have had for a long time.
I have heard a lot of people say, “it’s a mountain bike, it’s supposed to be dirty.” I do not subscribe to this line of thinking for several reasons.
Dirt/Mud is like sandpaper to components and the frame. Over time it will cause damage and deteriorate the performance of the components you rely on to have a good ride.
Resale – The more your bike and components look “brand new” when you go to sell them, the more return you will see. This is just a fact of life.
Care – I like to take care of the things I own. Parts are not cheap, and I would hate to think that I am having to replace things just because they were left dirty.
I like clean bikes. I put a lot of effort in the component/frame selection…even down to the color matching. Some of you might not get this picky, but when I take that kind of time…I like it to look good!
So for all of you that like to keep your bikes dirty because it is a mountain bike…consider these things when you start to hear creaking or the shifting is off during your next ride. A little maintenance in the beginning saves a lot of trouble in the end.
I have tried to include as many examples below of how great this stuff actually works. All I did was follow the steps above to get that new bike shine.
The second ride on the Ardents changed my opinion on their performance due to a critical change in air pressure. I lowered the front another couple psi to the 26 lbs. range and the tire performed so well that I had to re-write this review.
I took the Ardents up to Pinhoti 2, 3 and 4 up in the north Georgia mountains over the weekend to get some long mile testing in. The Pinhoti’s are known for providing some of the best single track that Georgia can provide. Great tight, twisty downhills with long steep climbs get your heart rate peaked no matter which way you are headed.
To get full use out of these new tires from Maxxis, I mounted them up to the Flow rims on the Moots Mooto-X 29er 1×9 previously reviewed on this site. Luckily, a birthday ride for a fellow riding friend provided the perfect excuse to get up there and really throw the tires around.
These tires went on very easily, almost too easily. Using my floor pump, I was not able to air up the tires tubeless, so I threw in some light 26″ tubes. Everything air up perfectly and the bead popped into the rim. I left the tires at 40 psi over night and then lowered them down to 28 psi for the ride. For the next ride, I am going to release one of the beads and attempt the tubeless route again.
The first thing I noticed with these tires is that they roll incredibly fast. The center tread has very little rolling resistance which makes pedaling very efficient on climbs and flats. During the climbs, there were a few instances that the tires lost traction, but these were in very steep sections. This bike is also set up 1×9, so I don’t think the tires would have lost it in a granny ring situation climbing correctly. When the trail started pointing down, the tires did not disappoint. On the straights, the tires felt great. The low rolling resistance and consistent center tread made for a fast tire in the flats and straight downhills. When the trail got really twisty, they started to lose traction and pretty easily. I was struggling to keep them on the trail at speed. After letting some air out from the 28 psi baseline, the traction got a little better, but not much. The tires were actually making me nervous about going off of these tight trails. Now, the trail was dry and there was a lot of lose dirt and leaves that makes any tire a bear to handle, so this had an effect on the tires handling. At this point, I lowered the pressure some more down into the 26 psi range and the front tire came alive. The traction in the turns increased 10 times over and it was no holding incredibly well in the loose turns. At this psi, I would normally be worried about pinch flats, but even through rock gardens and jumps…I had zero issues with pressure loss or flats.
HOW IT STACKS UP TO THE COMPETITION
These are the other tires that I have ridden on 29er’s.
Specialized Resolution 2.3
WTB Stout 2.3
Kenda Nevegal 2.2
The Ardent tread pattern has huge potential. After I lowered the front pressure, these tires are at least on par and in certain situations better than their competition. In the future, I would like to see a 2.4 version with the specs below for a true AM 29er tire that can really do anything.
My 2.4 Ardent 29er Proposal
More Tread – The tread height is pretty low for an all mountain tire. Add a little bit of height and they should be set.
Tread – Widen the tread blocks. This added with the increased height should square the tire off a little bit more and really let the side and transitional knobs do their job. It will also bring the transitional knobs closer to the side and center tread which will increase the grip.
Volume – Increased volume will help even more in rock gardens and jump situations.
Maxxis has a real winner with the Ardent tread pattern. It is a fast rolling tire that also grips incredibly well in the turns. For the average 29er rider, these are going to be the perfect tire for everyday riding. Even pushed to the limit, these tires perform incredibly well for a 2.25. I would like to see a 2.4 offering out of Maxxis to fulfill my want/need for a big 29er tire, but in the meantime, this 2.25 Ardent has turned into my favorite 29er tire so far.
I finally got a chance to get the new 29er Ardents from Maxxis mounted the night before I am supposed to be riding the north Georgia mountains. First, these tires go on Stans Flow rims extremely easy. There was no need for tire levers at all. I didn’t have a compressor handy, so right now they are mounted up with light weight 26er tubes.
Each tire is set at 40 lbs. of air pressure for the measurements. 40 lbs is my “set over night” pressure to make sure the tires get into the rim and stretch properly. After the ride, I am going to remove the tubes and run them tubeless on the Stans rims.
Front Tire @ 40 lbs. on Stans Flow Rim
Casing Width – 2.172 in.
Tread Width – 2.217 in.
Rear Tire @ 40 lbs. on Stans Flow Rim
Casing Width – 2.099 in.
Tread Width – 2.152 in.
For the ride, the tires are going to be lowered in the 28 lbs range. My initial thoughts are that these are going to be great all around tires for 29er’s. Currently, most of the 29er offerings are low tread designs, so it is great to see Maxxis come to the market with a more trail oriented tire. These tires are fairly light for their size. I did not have a digital scale handy, but the other prototypes are coming in around 733g. I already know from the DH 2.6 and 2.4 that I tested that these will rail the corners. It is going to be interesting to see how the bigger wheels change the way the tread reacts.
The test bike is the Moots Mooto-X that I reviewed earlier this year. Ideally, I would like to use a Turner Sultan to test these tires to the extreme limit, but I am really able to push the Moots. I have even taken this bike through free-ride parks, so it should fit the bill perfectly in the mountains.
Note: It is difficult to get an accurate measurement on tread width with calipers. They always want to push the tread in as you measure, so those might be a couple hundredths off.
Ardent 2.6/2.4 DH Casing Final Review (Pisgah Tested)
Ardent 29×2.25 Final Review (North Georgia Tested)
The guys over at Maxxis sent us some of the 29er Ardents to test along side the DH casing 26er versions we are currently running on the Terremoto. So far, we are extremely impressed with the performance out of the 26er version, and we are excited about getting our hands on the 29er set. These tires are getting mounted to the Moots Mooto-X 29er that we previously reviewed for some good thrashing in the north Georgia mountains.
Out of the box, the tires are exactly what I was expecting. The tread is exactly like our other test tires and the size is, at first glance, going to be almost dead on to claimed. The 29er crowd has been begging for a more aggressive tread design for their rides, and this Ardent just may be the answer.
Specialized Resolution Pro 2.3 (No longer in production)
Panaracer Rampage 2.35
WTB Stout 2.30
Kenda Nevegal 2.20
So far, these are about the only 29er tires that compete in the same weight and tread class. The all mountain tires in the 29er market have been slow to release, but we are starting to see some more promising tread patterns out of the tire manufacturers.
Look for the full review on the 2.6 and 2.4 26er versions later this week.
Thule Sweden bought the T2 design when they acquired Sportwerks. When this buy out was completed, Thule owned the patents to the best rack design on the market. With a couple of Thule “tweaks”, the rack became what it is today. The main design stayed the same, but the addition of adjustable rails, locking arms and replaceable straps gave the rack the Thule quality with the trusted Sportwerks design. MSRP is 369.00 See the pictures below for visual representation of the explanations that follow.
HOW IT WORKS
The T2 rack is a hitch mounted rack that is available in 2″ and 1-1/4″ receiver versions, but the 1-1/4″ receiver model is not approved for the 2 bike add on. The basic lever actuated four bar design folds the rack vertically for out of the way storage and pivots downward for tailgate access. A bolt threads into the main tube via the hitch pin location to secure the rack to the hitch. You can purchase an optional Snug-Tite lock to lock the rack to your hitch.
Up and Out of the Way
One of the best things about this rack is it’s ability to fold up and out of the way easily. This rack never leaves my truck. Pull back on the lever and fold the rack up effortlessly until it snaps into place. That is really all it takes. To bring the rack down, pull back on the lever and push down until it snaps into place. It really is as easy as it sounds.
Accessing the Tailgate While the Bike is Racked
Under the rack tube, there is a single silver pull pin. Pull this pin out, pull the lever and let the rack down easily. In this position, you are able to access your suv’s storage without un-racking the bike. This feature is incredibly useful and lifting the rack back into it’s normal position is a breeze.
Racking the Bikes
This is where the T2 really shines. Set the bike in the trays, pull the arm up and over the front tire, ratchet down the arm onto the front tire and then secure the rear strap. You now have your bike racked without harming the frame, and it is as secure as frame mount designs. This rack also accommodates any frame regardless of the frame tubes because it is a tire mount design. The rails are adjustable to customize the rack for your needs. If you loosen the four bolts that secure the rail brackets, you can slide them left or right to keep the bikes from hitting each other during transportation.
Locking the Bikes
This is the one area that Thule has not perfected. The Snug Tite lock does a great job of securing the rack to the hitch, but the locking arms are very easy to get around. Do not use these locks as your only theft preventative. To lock the bikes to the rack, I use the New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Lock from Kryptonite. With it’s 11mm six-sided, chain links made of triple heated boron manganese steel, this chain is the leader in security. The price is a little on the steep side, but it will save you from having your bike stolen. Even the look of this chain will keep the casual thief away from your bike. The chain and lock combo also comes with a $3,500 warranty.
This is the rack that others are judged by. Sportwerks started the design and Thule just added further improvements. Yakima’s HoldUp 2 and Raxter’s 2 Bike Rack try to achieve the same simplicity and performance, but they fall short. If you want a no nonsense rack that works every time without fail, buy the Thule from T2 and never look back. If you are not able to use a hitch mount rack, check out the rest of the Thule line for the same quality and design. This is the best bike rack on the market.
Update: We have gotten in the 26 inch Team version for review from SRAM. Click Here.
TwentyNineInches.com reported some great news yesterday. Both the 29er and 26er version of the Reba QR and 20mm TA will be available with the Air U-Turn option. Travel will be adjustable from 90mm to 120mm.
When I was attending the SRAM press release at Sea Otter last month we got the formal introduction to the 2009 Reba in 26″ and 29″ versions. What we didn’t get was something Rock Shox honches were holding back because they weren’t sure of the timing.
Well, now it can be told that besides all of the other cool features on the ‘09 Reba, the 120mm version will be available with a Air U-Turn option that will allow the rider to adjust the travel from 120mm to 90mm on the trail. This option will exist for both the 26 inch and 29 inch versions of the new 120mm travel Reba only. The expected time of availability on this version of the Reba is the end of June. (For the complete article click here…)
The hits just keep on coming from Rock Shox/SRAM and it is starting to look like a huge year for the RS line. It also appears that SRAM is paying very close attention to what their end users are asking for. These new Reba’s will also be using the new 46mm offset. This Reba line answers all of the requests that 29er and 26er riders have been asking for all year long. Very exciting news…
For me, the question still remains…what is happening to the Pike line now that the Revelation goes to 140mm with a 20mm TA?
I finally got a chance to take a really good look at the Maxxis Ardents…mounted, weighed and measured.
Bike: Ventana El Terremoto 6.0
Front Wheel: Chris King 20mm Hub with DT Swiss 5.1d Rim (27.8mm wide)
Rear Wheel: Chris King HD Fun Bolt with Mavic EX 823 (30mm wide)
Front Fork: Rock Shox Lyrik Coil U-Turn 115-160mm
Front Tire: Maxxis Ardent 2.6 DH 3c
Rear Tire: Maxxis Ardent 2.4 DH 60a
Note: Results will vary depending on tire and rim.
MAXXIS ARDENT INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
They are relatively light for DH tires. Both the 2.6 and 2.4 weighed in at 2 lbs 14 oz (roughly 1304g) which really isn’t that bad for tires this large with thick DH casings. After the weigh in, I removed the Maxxis 2.35 High Roller UST’s and mounted up the Ardents. The Ardents went on much easier than the High Rollers they replaced. I didn’t even need to use tire levers. In comparison to the High Rollers, the Ardents are much larger with a lot more volume. This is a welcomed change because the “claimed” 2.35 High Rollers really only measured out to about 2.2 and the volume was much less than the other 2.35′s on the market. It appears that Maxxis is really making an effort on claimed vs. actual specs this year.
HOW DO THEY MEASURE UP?
Measurement Specs (pictures below):
Front 2.6 Casing Width: 2.210 in. @ 28 psi
Front 2.6 Tread Width: 2.522 in. @ 28 psi
Rear 2.4 Casing Width: 2.175 in. @ 28 psi
Rear 2.4 Tread Width: 2.317 in. @ 28 psi
Now, these measurements will vary slightly depending on rim choice. My 2.6 is measuring out smaller on the 5.1d (27.8mm wide) than it would on an 823 (30mm wide). The rear 2.4 width on the 823 is pretty close to what you should find on most DH rims. The full labeled production versions should be very close to this set.
So far, these tires look great. The tread pattern is the best that I have seen out of the Maxxis camp so far, and I am really hoping that they rail the corners with lower rolling resistance than the High Rollers or Minions. I will be taking the bike to the Big Creek freeride area to check their rock garden and drop performance and then a couple of laps around the cross country course for some overall performance testing. These tires have increased my patience line on the UST Big Betty’s that were supposed to be in our hands Jan. ’08. I am starting to think Schwalbe meant Jan. ’09. Stay tuned for full ride reports and final thoughts.
Side note: For those of you with Lyrik’s or Terremoto’s, I included stay and fork clearance pictures.
For all of the Cannondale riders, this is not new information because your bikes have been running this system for awhile. The BB30 standard (Cannondale calls it SI – System Integrated) integrates the bottom bracket bearings into the frame via a press fit.
The BB30 International Standard provides the specifications for an oversized bottom bracket shell for a bike frame. This standard allows for Direct-fit, pressed-in bearings and a 30 mm spindle.
The system saves weight by accepting a 30mm aluminum spindle and eliminating cups that would normally hold the bearings.
The oversized bottom bracket of the frame provides more area to attach larger down tube, seat tube and chain stays to better resist deflection from pedaling forces.
CompetitiveCyclist.com is quoted as saying:
Item #2. The truth can be a bit boring, but it’s still important. Here is your official warning: What the bike industry did to the headtube with integrated headsets 7 or 8 ago, they’re about to do again to bottom brackets. It’s not happening in 2008, and it probably won’t happen in 2009, but sooner or later the BB30 standard, as it’s known, will be everywhere.
The BB30 is an open-source (to use software terminology) standard where you essentially press bearings directly into an oversized BB shell. It eliminates the need for external (or internal) BB cups Unlike integrated headsets, the BB30 actually has performance upsides: You get a substantially lighter and stiffer BB. You reduce Q factor. In theory prices should be reasonable since road bikes and mountain bikes will share the same BB design (no more 68 vs 70 vs 73).
The most hyped example of unconventional BB bearings in 2008 was with the new Trek Madone . FYI, theirs is not an example of BB30. Rather, all Trek did was move the cups from outside the BB shell to inside the shell. There was no meaningful weight savings and no consequential reduction in Q-factor. We don’t understand, exactly, why they did this.With BB30 you essentially rid the bike of BB cups. That’s the key. And it’s the future. Ben Delaney of velonews.com wrote a great summary here, and you ought to check it out.
BB30 also claims that SRAM and FSA are now also on board.
This is actually one of the Cannondale proprietary items that I actually agree with (probably the only one). This is the solution that solves the square taper vs. x-type argument that I addressed last week. This is also a very similar setup to the one found in the custom Wolfhound build. This system provides the thicker 30mm axles for greater stiffness but with internal bearings. To me, this seems like the best of both worlds. All it really takes is the frame manufacturers jumping on board, and the system would be in place.
Pictures from Singletrackworld.com’s coverage of Sea Otter:
After taking all the air out of it, we were able to get it to compress slowly so’s you could get a look. See how the rubber bladder folds over itself as it compresses.
Looks like a really interesting shock. I haven’t seen one in person yet, so I will reserve any opinions until then. I will say that I am very impressed with Magura’s shock offerings so far, so this one should be right in line with the rest.
How about this for some late Sunday night stoke?! We got our hands on some of the new prototype Ardents from Maxxis…specifically the 2.6 (3c compound) and 2.4 (60a compound). They are going on the Terremoto for some testing running the 2.6 in the front and the 2.4 in the rear.
The pictures aren’t great, but you will get the idea. I hate shooting tires…the pictures just never seem to come out right.
Look for a detailed review after some good thrashing, but right off the bat…these seem really light for downhill casing tires. In the meantime, check out the Maxxis Ardent on their website.
An aggressive tread in high-volume casings distinguishes the newest addition to Maxxis’ downhill and mountain disciplines. Designed with great traction in mind, the Ardent doesn’t forget the racer. Large block-style side knobs offer numerous edges for high-speed corners. Center tread, while designed for braking and accelerating traction, also features ramped knobs to minimize rolling resistance. With a wide variety of size offerings, the Ardent captures every mountain rider’s needs.
SRAM gave a closed door, blindfolded test run of their new HammerScmidt front shifting mechanism at Sea Otter last weekend to Decline and Bike. Here is what they had to say.
Had a very interesting morning yesterday. It all started with a bright-and-early 7 A.M. breakfast with a representative of SRAM (which was super fun to wake up for after the premiere of and party for Kranked 7: The Cackle Factor held Sea Otter in Monterey over the weekend).
After some bacon and eggs I was thrown into a van driven by Tyler Moreland (are Canadian free riders really just allowed to drive in this country? Shouldn’t’ there be some special licensing involved? Waivers? Anyone?).
Anyways we arrived at the Embassy Suites in Monterey and I was led past a security guard to a dark room. There an attractive young girl blindfolded me, and I know what you’re thinking—girl, blindfold, dark hotel room? This is where it gets freaky! And how!
But this was really, really freaky. (And because we’re talking about mountain bikes here the girl quickly disappeared…)
But once inside I was told I had 30 seconds to ride a bike set up on a trainer. I knew what to look for (figuratively speaking, I’m still blindfolded at this point): the front shifting.
This whole elaborate rouse was set up by SRAM as the first real taste of a “revolutionary” front shifting system SRAM has been working on for months now. The shifter only had two positions, and by feathering the rear brake and shifting at the same time I could feel the gear ratio changing. What I didn’t find was the clackety-clunk of a traditional front derailleur in action. Instead the shifting action came smoothly, via the same sensation you get from an internal 3-speed beach cruiser hub.
So that’s all the info we have for now, but there you have it. SRAM’s Hammerschmidt, which we teased HERE last month, promises to take the front derailleur out of front shifting. The possible benefits are many. (Think single-ring, go-anywhere bike with a bashguard/chain retention device of your choice.) Stay tuned.
So that’s all the info we have for now, but there you have it. SRAM’s Hammerschmidt, which we teased HERE last month, promises to take the front derailleur out of front shifting. The possible benefits are many. (Think single-ring, go-anywhere bike with a bashguard/chain retention device of your choice.) Stay tuned.
During the Sea Otter, I was invited to a secret breakfast with Eric Schutt from SRAM. I figured it was to check out the new transmission system I’ve heard rumors about.
After breakfast, a few other journos and I were tossed into a van driven by Tyler Morland. As he squealed out of the parking lot, we were told to put on bandana blindfolds. We arrived at the Embassy Suites hotel and taken one by one into a dark room to “test ride” the new shift system on a trainer. It was an odd scene but I did get an impression of what is coming.
Called the HammerSchmidt, the shift system works on a normal feeling Trigger shifter and I’m pretty sure it is located on the crank. It shifts extremely smooth and fast, and doesn’t require the cranks to be spinning. The HammerSchmidt offers two gear options that feel similar to a 23/34-tooth combo. It is obvious that the system does not use chainrings and may have a design similar to a planetary gear system, but I am only speculating. That’s about all I can tell you until SRAM lets us take a look at it. For now, sign up at SRAM’s Magic Mechanics propaganda website for updates.
The most interesting part of this entire experiment is the shifting without having to pedal. This would make shifting between the front two gear ratios much faster and easier at the same time. There is a lot of anticipation on this release (mostly because of the nature of SRAM’s promotion), so stay tuned for more information.
Some time ago, on our local board we had a “discussion” on the pros and cons of square taper bottom brackets vs. external bearing bottom brackets. The mountain biking crowd has basically split into two camps.
Square Taper Devotees
External Bearing (X-Type) Riders
Others, use some of both, but I think everyone has pretty much ruled out ISIS as an option over the past couple of years.
THE PRO-EXTERNAL BEARING CROWD
I am all in on the external bottom bracket technology. I have been running this style of bottom bracket since it’s introduction for several reasons.
Stiffer – Larger axle and bearings
Trail-side Maintenance – You can actually get the cranks off if you have to. A friend of mine blew up a granny ring at Dupont once and it would have been a long walk back to the car if it wouldn’t have been for externals
Drag is unnoticeable on the trail – For me, this is a case of what you see on the stand does not translate to the trail…just my opinion.
It all boils down to personal preference and I think the pluses of externals far outweigh the minuses. There are people that can argue either way…but the industry is going the way of externals…so all of you square taper guys better start buying up the inventory.
Manufacturers also have to produce products to the widest possible audience. The racer/pure xc riders is arguably the smallest group of riders these days due to increased bike technology and market trends. 10 years ago…that was basically all there was, but that is not the case now. XT cranks see everything from xc to dh, so why would a company manufacture several product lines when one will eventually win out due to market demand?
The AM 5″ trail bike is the fastest growing market in mtn biking. Even now we are seeing larger travel bikes marketed towards more xc oriented riders because of light weight parts/frames that can also take long term abuse. External BB’s are a better fit for these types of riding styles and frames.
Phil Wood also makes some great replacement bearings for the external cups…but like everything Phil Wood, they aren’t cheap.
Probikewrench on the local forum had this to say:
I guess I’m a technology buff. Personally, I’d rather use the newer style cranks with an outboard bearing set-up (ceramic or not) than revert back to a square taper that is over two technological generations removed. No manufacturers are spec’ing it on completes… there’s definitely a reason for that. I’ll still run ST on my single-speed beater, but not on anything else. If you are doing it with some trick cranks or just in it to be a little different, by all means, go for it. It’s your bike. You have the final decision. Good luck!
weight is a small factor when comparing st to external. external bb weight lighter but then you have to add some weight to crank due to spindle. why a bike company would switch is how the market looks. it is the what is new that sells. you can put a $300 dollar st bb on A bike and most people would not care because it is not current. unless you have a knowlegeable staff it would be a hard sell. a st is only proven in regular riding or racing xc conditions.
the true problem with st is that is a press fitting, not an interface. there will be some slight alignment issues(maybe a white industry crank to deda bb, the companies will have slightly different margins of errors) but for the most part it is not an issue. a st will never be perfectly aligned(we are talking mm) due to factors of manufactoring. it does have a smaller q factor but now we have bikes with 83-100mm shells for strength. q will help with narrow hip people etc(most racers)
the orginal design of the external was to run a larger bearing with more surface contact for strength in crank/bearing interface. a external drive crankset is a stiffer design. you are not dependent on a m12/m10 bolt. now does the strength come from just riding xc or hucking mountains. that design came about to improve the strength to weight ratio due to cranks failures in the dh scene. when running a square taper i was blowing up bearings or with a heavy impact on bashguard could and has started to move my cranks due to a 4 piont press engagement. not the cranks or bb faults, it was the fact i was on 46lb dh bike with 10 inches of rear travel. this was a new area for mtb. people went looking for solutions.
the issues with bearings on x drive is that the oe bb companies use plastic shims to “help seal bearings”. that is why i prefer the enduro bearings since they design a metal to metal interface with their bearings. ceramic bearings have been used for quite a while, it was how to cut manufactoring cost to get it where it will sell. issues i have noticed with x drive is you can get water through the seatpost etc that can get to bearings on the inside where that is not possible on standard st designs.
THE SQUARE TAPER CROWD
Duckman had this to say:
I use an Action Tec titanium square taper BB(Cambria) on the race XTC. I wish all my bikes had the same setup. 145gms. Been in 4 frames to date since late 02. Spins about 25 times with new bearings(yes, they are replaceable. About $20 per set every yr or so if you race alot with some mud events).
Anyone can get ST cranks off on a trail plus a decent multi tool and self extracting bolts. Why is that so hard on a ST crank? And I’ve NEVER needed to pull a crank on a ride regardless. Thats not even a concern either way.
I bet most can’t flex or detect it on a ST crank. Thats crap. Theres LOTS of super strong roadie and mtb racers that are animals that still use ST with zero “flex” issues. I think thats a non issue for 99.9% of racers. Maybe Lance..
XT ST BBs can be had real cheap. And last way longer then “cheap” external BBs ever dreamed of. All the while performing better as well as lighter.
Speaking of “generations removed”…one could say that the Racer X is an “old” (but proven) design(like my Spider for that matter) also…and could also be argued a couple generations removed from current tech(again, like my Spider ) itself. Somethings just don’t need “improving” much imo. But in BB design…that apparently means going to heavier, slower, wider(Q-factor), and apparently less reliable x-cranks(unless much more $ bearings are had).
Okay, I have been giving this a lot of thought over the last few days (obviously). I think there are pros and cons of both designs, but I still question whether the pros of external BBs outweight the cons.
Then it hit me: The manufacturers are not making external BBs for the beneift of the riders, it is for their OWN benefit. The big advantage is ONE SIZE FITS ALL. Instead of making two (or more) different shell sizes and multiple axle lengths, they just package up one unit with a bunch of spacers and let the wrench sort it all out.
Now, this does give the bike owner one small advantage in that you can move your spacers around to get the perfect chainline for your rig, and eliminate some of the vagaries of internal BB manufacturing. But I know that at least RaceFace admits in their instruction manual that the spacers might create further drag on the bearings (they suggest you move or remove spacers if your cranks are not spinning smoothly upon installation).
edited to add: I guess another advantage is that they are easier to install and remove, which is good because you have to replace them so often
Some riders wanted bigger axels, and now they have them, but so does everyone else. While 5″ trail bikes are apparently a huge market, I question how many of those owners are actually using the 5″ of travel in a way that necessitates a larger axel. I know some of them clearly are, but what percentage?
I don’t mean to sound like I’m whining, I just question whether the “new” technology is “better” technology. I have ridden bikes my whole life, and I have been riding mountain bikes for 12 years. I never gave my bottom bracket a single thought until 2004, when I bought an ISIS crankset and the BB seized up after only 6 weeks of use.
herein lies the problem…i’ve got square tapers that are over 10 yrs old that still rock. they’re the king headsets of the bb world. i’ve been through 3 or 4 isis though i am now using the crank bros that has a 5yr warranty. no true experience w/ the outboard stuff, i’ll admit, so perhaps i was a bit hasty in judgement. of course, there are those that would never run carbon cranks and i’ve been rockin the same set on the titus since oct ’03 and i’ve hit some fairly big stuff w/ them.
what exactly are the problems w/ sq t other than their being an older design? the only things i can think of are perhaps rounding them off – which i’ve never done – or possibly flex.
The square taper devotees seem to find the Turbine’s from Race Face as the holy grail of hard to find cranks these days.
198′S FINAL THOUGHTS
A solution that I think would make everyone happy is for frame builders to start building in the external bottom bracket bearings into the frame. The roadies have seen this for awhile and we are starting to see this style move over into the custom steel mountain biking market. Overall, I truly believe that the external sets are a step up from the older square taper design. The advantages they have over the traditional square taper bb’s far out weigh any minuses they might have. What do you guys think?