Thursday, January 21, 2010
Last fall I demo'd or rented different 29er hardtails. One was a specialized S-works at Fort Rock. I immediately grasped some of the benefits and disadvantages of big wheels. Mostly benefits. Having gotten back into MTB racing last summer, I was ready to upgrade my hardtail racing platform. S-works don't come cheaply. I got some pricing on framesets and then contemplated my next move for several weeks.
During my period of contemplation, I travelled to Tennessee for a weekend escape of mountain biking. I rented a Gary Fisher Paragon, also a 29er. It was a lower end bike with aluminum frame and mid-grade components. It handled much differently, set up with a different frame geometry GF calls Genesis-2. Being alloy, the frame was much stiffer than the S-works. I was somewhat disappointed in the flexiness of the S-works frame. I had no interest in building up an aluminum hardtail though. I break 'em too quickly.
I did a little more research in to Gary Fisher offerings. In 2010, they offer only the singlespeed Superfly as a frameset. The MSRP of the SS Superfly was many hundreds of dollars less than the S-works. I went back into contemplation mode for a while again. Finally, working with a LBS, I put in a formal request to see if I could get a geared version of the 2010 Superfly. The answer was yes, but not as a frameset. I could get a frame, the same custom offset Fox 29" fork used on the SS frameset, but no semi-integrated headset. The headset was no biggie. The price was reasonable. I wanted in.
That was about two weeks ago. Yesterday I was still waiting for a call confirming a delivery date, expected to be in March. So last night I put an order in for the build kit:
- SHIMANO CN-7701 9SP CHAIN
- SHIMANO XTR M971 FRONT DERAILLEUR 34.9mm
- SHIMANO XTR SL-M970 RAPIDFIRE LEVERS
- SHIMANO XTR PD-M970 PEDALS
- HAYES STROKER TRAIL PLAIN PACKAGING '09 White
- ODI ROGUE LOCK-ON GRIP BONUS PACK
- EASTON MONKEYLITE XC RISER BAR '08 31.8mm, Low Rise, 685mm Wide
- THOMSON ELITE X4 MOUNTAIN STEM Black, 100mm, 10 Deg, 31.8mm
- SHIMANO XTR M972 SHADOW REAR DERAILLEUR Gs 9Speed Top Normal, Low Profile Design
- SHIMANO XTR M970 CRANKSET W/ BB Sil/Gry, 175mm, 44-32-22T
- CANE CREEK ZS-3 HEADSET Black, 1 1/8", Zerostack Type, 44mm Od
- SHIMANO DEORE XT M770 CASSETTE SPROCKET 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34T, 9 Speed
Roadie or skier readers might not have a clue what I'm talking about here, but UST is a strict tubeless tire/rim interface standard. It differs from regular tube type tires in how the bead hooks on the rim. When riders take ordinary rims with spoke holes in them, use strips and tapes to seal them, then mount regular tires on them without a tube, all kinds of interesting things can happen. Sealant is required to keep air from leaking out. The sealant can act like a lubricant at the rim interface and allow the bead to slip right off of the rim. Sounds like a shotgun going off when this happens. More likely is to hit an object hard and "burp" the tire, where the bead seal is momentarily broken and much air is lost before the seal is re-established. I really don't want to deal with these risks. I'd rather take the weight penalty of a certified UST tubeless setup.
There are now "tubeless ready" tires on the market. These don't necessarily conform to any kind of standard like UST. I may experiment with these on UST wheels. Bontrager markets a number of 29" tubeless ready tires, but I have yet to find a Bontrager tire I like, for road or off-road. The tire I may start with could be Hutchison Python's, which come in 29" UST. I've ridden Pythons before, many years ago. A fast tire, but not for all conditions.
A couple other missing items from my list above are seat post and saddle. I know exactly what I want for these (Thomson and Terry), it's just the place I ordered the other stuff from was wicked expensive for these items. I got good deals on some of the items above, like $69 for the Hayes Stoker brakes and $399 for the XTR crankset.
So I was ready call the LBS today to bitch about why they haven't gotten back with me yet on a delivery date. They called before I could call, not to give me a date, but to tell me my frame and fork were in already. Holy crap! I thought I had all the time in the world to get parts on order. Now I really have to decide on wheels. There's a chance I could head to Tucson with this new rig in March if I get it built up in time.