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Retro MTB Any old shool bikes outside the Fat world like Ritchey, Breezer, Salsa, VooDoo, Yeti, Bontrager, etc.

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Old September 29th, 2009, 2:49 PM   #1
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Default Pulled the trigger on a Bontrager Race

Newest addition to the stable...
No special place in my heart for Bontys, but cool handbuilt American steel none the less.
Frame only...this one might take a while to figure out the build.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 4:37 PM   #2
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Sure, why not..?! Nice iron!
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Old September 29th, 2009, 5:01 PM   #3
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Must be trying for a divorce or something!
No special place in my heart for Bontys, but cool handbuilt American steel none the less.
Frame only...this one might take a while to figure out the build.
Bontrager Race Light was my second choice back when I bought my 93 Yo. A local shop had one that fit and was deeply discounted even with nice components. I looked that bike over for a few weeks and just couldn't do it. It just didn't feel as good as the Fat. I'm happy with my decision.

I'd still love to have one of those Bontragers as a backup though. I love the retro paint scheme. I rarely saw them on the trail, even back in the day!
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Old September 30th, 2009, 5:30 AM   #4
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Default Nice!

Great looking bike. There's a good chance I built that frame... depending on the year. From the look of the seat stays and chevron panels, it's a 1994 model. We went to a 1 piece seatstay in late 1994 - early 195 iirc. Enjoy it! Cheers, KP
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Old September 30th, 2009, 7:15 AM   #5
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Thanks for the compliments everybody! For $175 I thought is was worth a shot!

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Great looking bike. There's a good chance I built that frame... depending on the year. From the look of the seat stays it's a 1994 or earlier model. We went to a 1 piece seatstay in late 1994 iirc. Enjoy it! Cheers, KP
Thanks Kirk,
It is an honor if you were the torch on this one!

I have been researching a bit. I don't know the exact year of the frame, I read that the f der cable stop got moved from the back to the side of the seat tube in '94. I worked at a shop in Cinci that sold both Fat and Bontrager through both companies' transition periods and thought I remembered the sleeved stays up until after the Trekification, perhaps they were older frames that we got shipped??? The mid 90's are a bit blurry from all the singletrack and herbal supplements back then! Anyone know if the serial numbers have any kind of date code in them?

This frame might be art for a while as I just found out that I am getting back my '92 Y0 (my first, 734Y2S) and a '95 Rocky Mountain Speed (full sus Sweet Spot bike)! Bike build overload time!

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Old September 30th, 2009, 8:19 AM   #6
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I have been researching a bit. I don't know the exact year of the frame, I read that the f der cable stop got moved from the back to the side of the seat tube in '94.
DC
I think I got that backwards???? I think this one is looking to be a '94 due to the combo of sleeved stays, the side mounted cable stop and the non square edged decals (slanted ends of panels).
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Old September 30th, 2009, 10:55 AM   #7
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I think I got that backwards???? I think this one is looking to be a '94 due to the combo of sleeved stays, the side mounted cable stop and the non square edged decals (slanted ends of panels).
Yes, that looks more like a 94 to me. Fwiw, the serial numbers were completely random. We'd stamp sequential numbers into hundreds of drop outs at a time and dump them all into a big box. Parts were then pulled randomly to build batches of chainstay / dropout sub-assemblies and could have ended up on any number of models / sizes. Cheers, KP
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Old September 30th, 2009, 11:51 AM   #8
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$175.00 !!! - I'd say the cranks are worth that alone.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #9
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$175.00 !!! - I'd say the cranks are worth that alone.
I wish I got the whole thing for that!!! I'm getting the frame, f derailleur, post and I think seat clamp. The seller did offer me a insane deal on the wheels like throw em in for $100!!! I'm a 32 hole / 3 cross snob, so I declined. He said pretty much everything else was sold.
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Old September 30th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #10
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The Bontrager was my first or second choice, depending on the day, until I finally bought my Fat. I really loved that bike and the look of the panels. My LBS had an unfinished frame on display to show off the welds, it was drop dead gorgeous. The welds were SO nice I inquired about buying a frame unfinished, and have it clear coated or clear powdered.
Curious how you'll like the ride compared to your Fat.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 6:44 AM   #11
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...
Curious how you'll like the ride compared to your Fat.
I had that chance to compare the rides of both back in the 90's. I thought the Bontrager was very responsive, but rocky downhills always made me feel like I was going to go over the bars. Thats why I chose a used Fat Chance for the same price I could get a new Bontrager. I've never looked back. HOWEVER, I agree that they are top notch in the construction and they look sweet too! We'll see how this girl handles, probably won't have a Bonty offset fork(at least at first). It also probably won't get built as a traditional trail bike, as that is what my Yo and Buck are for!
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Old October 1st, 2009, 8:04 AM   #12
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I have built a lot of frames and been to a lot of bike factories, and can say that with the exception of TST, Bontrager frames were built better than anything else I have ever seen in person. TST (Sandvik) being an exception... but only because we insisted they use our process to build the Ti Lite frames. They were so impressed with the results that they adopted the process for all of their frame production. I felt the same way on my Bontrager. My only complaint was that the seat angle was way too steep and put the rider in a much too forward position. I got launched over the bars more on my first Race Lite than any other bike before or since. Fortunately I worked there and was able build myself custom frames sporting twin 72/72 seat and head angles and a longer top tube (24 inches on a large frame) a combo that still works perfectly for me today (for hardtails). Cheers, KP
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Old October 1st, 2009, 8:15 AM   #13
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It is the coolest thing getting to hear your inside perspective on the Bontragers, Kirk!
The first fork I'll be putting on it will be a Vicious 415(413?)mm that Colker is sending my way. Something in my gut tells me this may ride pretty well, we'll see!
Frame coming from Cali, fork from Rio...I'll be impatient very soon.
I'd say the possibility of this frame hanging around as wall art for a while are slim to none!!!
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Old October 1st, 2009, 9:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I had that chance to compare the rides of both back in the 90's. I thought the Bontrager was very responsive, but rocky downhills always made me feel like I was going to go over the bars. Thats why I chose a used Fat Chance for the same price I could get a new Bontrager. I've never looked back. HOWEVER, I agree that they are top notch in the construction and they look sweet too! We'll see how this girl handles, probably won't have a Bonty offset fork(at least at first). It also probably won't get built as a traditional trail bike, as that is what my Yo and Buck are for!
Back in 92 / 93, when I was comparing the Yo Eddy to the Bontrager Race Lite, both built bikes in seperate shops, I remember the Fat feeling nimble and easy to bring the front end up. The Race Light on the other hand felt very much like a high candence positioned bike and I had to struggle to get the front end to rise even a couple of inches. The 89 Bridgestone MB3 I had at the time had that same cadence feel or geometry. As stated before, I couldn't be happier with my decision to go with the Fat and I'd certainly do it again.

The Bontrager does have a certain mystique about it in my mind, and it's just so nice to look at. Probably make the nicest looking road warrior ever!
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Old October 1st, 2009, 12:13 PM   #15
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What was the point of the different fork offset? If you've ridden a bonty with and without, did it really make it better, or what? We sold a few, but I never spent much time on them since we never got any in that fit me (read, I'm tall).
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Old October 1st, 2009, 2:06 PM   #16
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I've never really ridden a one without its proper fork. I will soon find out.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 10:07 PM   #17
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D Sizzle,

i think you are going to like the way the bike handles. i have had several Race Lites. with the sloping top tube, it felt a little more sporty than say my Buck Shaver or Yo. a little better in the open single track - but, this is what it was designed to be used in. my Fat bikes seem better carving in the tighter twisty stuff.

the finish quality of the frame - paint, decals, - i think is far better on the Fat bikes. both of the Race Lites that i have owned had poor paint quality. but, that also could be designed in. just a junky powder coat to keep the steel safe.

regardless - way bitchen frame. gussets, gussets, and more gussets. it should be a joy to own. plus, it has the sleeved seat stays! early most likely pre Trek production. super cool.

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Old October 2nd, 2009, 4:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk Pacenti View Post
I have built a lot of frames and been to a lot of bike factories, and can say that with the exception of TST, Bontrager frames were built better than anything else I have ever seen in person. TST (Sandvik) being an exception... but only because we insisted they use our process to build frames. They were so impressed with the results that they adopted the process for all of their frame production. I felt the same way on my Bontrager. My only complaint was that the seat angle was way too steep and put the rider in a much too forward position. I got launched over the bars more on my first Race Lite than any other bike before or since. Fortunately since I worked there, I was able build myself custom frames sporting twin 72/72 seat and head angles and a longer top tube [24"], a combo that still works perfectly for me today (for hardtails). Cheers, KP
if i ever get myself a custom frame it will be a double 72.. i like the steeper front so much more! mantis was the only bike w/ this kind of geometry.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 5:02 PM   #19
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It is the coolest thing getting to hear your inside perspective on the Bontragers, Kirk!
The first fork I'll be putting on it will be a Vicious 415(413?)mm that Colker is sending my way. Something in my gut tells me this may ride pretty well, we'll see!
Frame coming from Cali, fork from Rio...I'll be impatient very soon.
I'd say the possibility of this frame hanging around as wall art for a while are slim to none!!!
Dan, i am shipping the fork on monday!
i need to build a box for it.
the vicious fork has a rake that's very close to the original bonty.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 5:04 PM   #20
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What was the point of the different fork offset? If you've ridden a bonty with and without, did it really make it better, or what? We sold a few, but I never spent much time on them since we never got any in that fit me (read, I'm tall).
bonty lower rake = more stable at high speeds.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 6:39 PM   #21
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The 3 different offsets were available for rigid forks only and were intended to cater to rider preferences. Iirc they came in 38, 35 and 32mm offsets. Once suspension forks became the norm we could only offer one offset for obvious economic reasons. The Bontrager specific RS Judy all came with 32mm of offset (iirc). Cheers, KP
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:30 PM   #22
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Default OT: Colker, love Rio de Janeiro

Colker, just saw that you live in Rio de Janeiro. Was there in April for the first time for work and loved it. The MTBing there must be awesome with all of the big rocks jetting out of the earth all around the city. Oh, and the eye candy, you are a lucky man.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 6:01 AM   #23
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Colker, just saw that you live in Rio de Janeiro. Was there in April for the first time for work and loved it. The MTBing there must be awesome with all of the big rocks jetting out of the earth all around the city. Oh, and the eye candy, you are a lucky man.
trails are steep, slippery going thru the forest around those massive rocks. loops are short but very intense. commuting thru the city is fantastic too. the scenery is beautifull.
it's a great city and will get much better now w/ the soccer world cup and the olympics.
oh... and the women.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 7:09 AM   #24
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The 3 different offsets were available for rigid forks only and were intended to cater to rider preferences. Iirc they came in 38, 35 and 32mm offsets. Once suspension forks became the norm we could only offer one offset for obvious economic reasons. The Bontrager specific RS Judy all came with 32mm of offset. Cheers, KP
That is great info, I've been searching the heck out of Bontrager the last week and that is the first I've ever heard of 3 offsets being originally available. Mostly you hear about THE Bontrager offset which I presume is the the 32mm, I wonder how many of the composite forks out there are actually 35 or 38mm??? Also pleased to hear that there was a 38mm, since that is what the Vicious comes in at. This might end up being my tight and twisty singletrack exploration rig!
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Old October 5th, 2009, 7:28 PM   #25
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That is great info, I've been searching the heck out of Bontrager the last week and that is the first I've ever heard of 3 offsets being originally available. Mostly you hear about THE Bontrager offset which I presume is the the 32mm, I wonder how many of the composite forks out there are actually 35 or 38mm??? Also pleased to hear that there was a 38mm, since that is what the Vicious comes in at. This might end up being my tight and twisty singletrack exploration rig!
Thanks,
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the vicious fork is already on your way Dan..

you will be able to sing Lou Reed's classic while riding
" ooh Baby...
you are so vicious!"
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Old October 5th, 2009, 8:55 PM   #26
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the vicious fork is already on your way Dan..

you will be able to sing Lou Reed's classic while riding
" ooh Baby...
you are so vicious!"

Right on!!
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Old October 6th, 2009, 10:42 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Kirk Pacenti View Post
The 3 different offsets were available for rigid forks only and were intended to cater to rider preferences. Iirc they came in 38, 35 and 32mm offsets. Once suspension forks became the norm we could only offer one offset for obvious economic reasons. The Bontrager specific RS Judy all came with 32mm of offset. Cheers, KP
Kirk,

Can you shed any light on the older fork crown numbering system? Those older crowns had a single digit number stamped on the underside. I've seen 4's, 5's & 7's, 7 being the one with the most rake. Was it just rider preferance on the rake/number or was a Bonty of that era intended to use a specific crown with the other crowns being offered for other brand bikes?
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Old October 6th, 2009, 11:12 AM   #28
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Kirk,

Was it just rider preferance on the rake/number or was a Bonty of that era intended to use a specific crown with the other crowns being offered for other brand bikes?

Yeah, that's what I was wondering when I asked the question earlier. Did Keith think he was on to something or was he just offering other offsets for the sake of offering other offsets? Basically, what was HIS original intent
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Old October 6th, 2009, 12:09 PM   #29
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Yeah, that's what I was wondering when I asked the question earlier. Did Keith think he was on to something or was he just offering other offsets for the sake of offering other offsets? Basically, what was HIS original intent
I couldn't say with any certainty. When I started working there in 1994, the rigid forks had all but been phased out. Iirc, Keith liked how the bikes handled with less offset. I happened to like lower offset too. I'll give KB a shout and see if he can chime in on this. Cheers, KP
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Old October 20th, 2009, 9:38 AM   #30
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Frame and Vicious fork are in my hands...build inspiration is brewing. Cleaning, touch up and frame saver need to be done on frame. The fork, the orange is a bit nasty, will probably build it as is and paint the fork black in the spring(warmer weather).
I have been going back and forth on whether to do a fat tire dirt drop build or a more normal flat/riser bar. Single? Dingle? Full geary?

Lots of wear and tear on the frame, but no dents or rust. Beautiful welds, bad a$$ gussets. Handbuilt American Steel!!!
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Old October 20th, 2009, 11:03 AM   #31
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After the grey w/white & blue decaled OR that orange was always my fav. Vicious fork looks very nice on there too. Even with the vertical dropouts this would still be a great candidate for a single speed. I love the way mine rides as an SS. It was my main ride this past summer. Contrats and enjoy the build whatever direction you go.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 6:51 AM   #32
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Got the Race built this weekend had time to get about 45min of trail time on her yesterday. I'm still trying to reach a verdict on it's character:
1. very responsive to steering input(spent 1/2 hour doing a slalom around the bike shop sales floor, it was raining)
2. on the trail you must steer it through the corners(vs my Fats that you just sit back and carve)
3. bunnyhops like a jackrabbit, seems it would rather bunnyhop trail obstacles than wheelie over them
4. the rear end wanted to slide out a few times on the wet leaves, where I totally wouldn't of expected my Yo or Buck to.
5. Orange is a b*@#^ing color for a trail bike, especially this time of year!

I would say that overall I am pleased. Some of my observations might seem negative, but it is more just getting to know how a new tool performs. I still need to play with the stem length/angle a bit which will also change my COG, changing handling a bit.

Bikes are cool!
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Old October 26th, 2009, 6:58 AM   #33
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awesome!!
so good to see the vicious fork built on a Bonty. the paint will flake like it's christmas. definitely repaint it, in black!!
as for set up i suggest a 135mm stem w/ the risers. it will bring the climber and racer character of that frame.

nice job!!
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Old November 13th, 2009, 3:52 PM   #34
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Daang Brother that is sweet!! I need to get on here more!
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Old November 15th, 2009, 10:00 AM   #35
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Been riding the Bonti mostly (other than the commuter) the last couple of weeks, starting to like it quite a bit. The FATs are starting to get lonely though!
Can't wait 'till spring comes to paint the fork, looking down and seeing the not exact paint match bugs me, fortunately it is night riding time of year for me.
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Old November 17th, 2009, 3:20 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by DC View Post
Been riding the Bonti mostly (other than the commuter) the last couple of weeks, starting to like it quite a bit. The FATs are starting to get lonely though!
Can't wait 'till spring comes to paint the fork, looking down and seeing the not exact paint match bugs me, fortunately it is night riding time of year for me.
hahahah!
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Old November 18th, 2009, 6:18 PM   #37
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awesome!!
so good to see the vicious fork built on a Bonty. the paint will flake like it's christmas. definitely repaint it, in black!!
Don't worry Flav, I'll paint it BLACK come springtime!!!!
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Old November 18th, 2009, 6:22 PM   #38
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Don't worry Flav, I'll paint it BLACK come springtime!!!!
why not try it w/ slighly longer stems? 120 or 130. it will change the handling.. may be an interesting experiment. just get some cheap stems.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 6:30 PM   #39
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why not try it w/ slighly longer stems? 120 or 130. it will change the handling.. may be an interesting experiment. just get some cheap stems.
Thanks, I have been playing with that (I have an arsenal of Moto-aces and Dimension stems for that purpose). I keep going back to the 110 x 10deg, although I long for the bars to be higher, I need to try a 135 x 15 or 17 even if it looks silly.
I just got back from about 20 miles off-road and the hands are feeling it, also the bar on there has less sweep than I'm used to (it aint no Luv Handle!) so there are multiple factors at work. The trail I rode twists and turns endlessly, and the "Bunny-rager" was right at home.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 7:26 AM   #40
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Default now on ebay

I've really dug this bike during the last year. Ridden with risers, then did a dirt drop set up which is amazing in really tight and twisty singletrack.
Unfortunately the time has come and I put her up on ebay.
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