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  1. At first glance Silverback's Square is a big bike, the 27.5plus, 3 inch tyres dwarfing its frame and even the more typical 2.25" wheeled Silverback Slider model hanging with it on the bike rack on the back of my car. You'll be excused if you mistake it for a typical fatbike, or not know exactly what to make of it. I am in no way an XC racer, nor do I have steel gonads or a never-ending supply of optimism and energy. What I am however, is an aggressive trail rider. I like to do everything with a single bike, ride up at a semi decent pace then fly down. W2W one weekend and then enter an enduro the next weekend, without changing bikes or even suspension setup between events. My review is from this perspective - so please see it as such. I've spent a couple of days with two of Silverback's 2016 models, the Slider and Square with the focus of my time on the Square. FrameBike colours will always be subjective; Silverback has chosen to go the route of bright neons on their trail bikes, and some of them are a bit too bright for my liking. I normally ride my bikes black on black with only small feature pieces. The Square however is both bright enough and subtle enough to attract my attention and highlight it's features. The paint is durable and pretty scuff resistant and the decal design and colours under the clearcoat well thought out. The tubing diameter, profiles and layout looks well proportioned, and has an aggressive feel to it, and not the softer looks that some fat- and plus bikes offer. With a tapered headtube, hydro-formed 6061 alloy tubing, detailed machining and neat welding, Silverback makes a good looking stiff frame that inspires confidence in their build quality. The rear end buttons up with a 12mm Maxle for maximum stiffness. My right inside calf was touching the rear triangle on the upstroke, right at the top pivot bolt (due to the increased width to accommodate the plus sized wheels). This lasted for a couple of minutes and I thought I would get very annoyed with it, turned out I either got used to it, or adjusted my leg subliminally and completely forgot about it. ComponentsDrivetrain:Silverback uses Sram components on their bikes, and so the square features a 1x11 (10-42) Sram GX gear setup with a Raceface Turbine crankset and 32t NW ring. Shifting remained crisp and effortless during testing. I like the yellow cable on the display bike - a detail that works for me with the decals. Slowing down:SLX brakes on 180mm IceTec rotors, takes care of reigning this machine in, and albeit great for everyday trails, I found that they felt slightly under-powered when I was on steep difficult terrain where gravity was hard at work. A bigger front rotor could possibly sort this out, which would be a cheaper solution that upgrading to XT brakes. Wheels:52mm Wide Stans Hugo rims, on Sram hubs (15/110mm T/A front, 12/148mm T/A rear) and tubeless Maxxis Chronicle 3" tyres completes the running gear. The tyres roll fast and handles rocks and roots well, but I felt the front tyre could have more aggressive side knobs to aid aggressive cornering especially on loosepack. I tried different tyre pressures and ended up using higher pressure than recommended, to counter the feeling of sidewall flex in berms. Since the bike was an ex display bike turned demo bike, the bike slipped under the radar and did not get the PSS that would normally be done to a build before it gets sold or added to the demo fleet. This unfortunately meant that for the most components, I got a no-grease, bone dry bike. Only evident after taking a ride when trying to remove the rear wheel, realizing the 12mm Maxle has seized in place, resulting in a damaged axle when I had to forcefully remove it. Silverback assures me that this is a fluke - and all bikes gets a pre-sale service under normal circumstances. Saddle: Seating is provided by a very comfortable house brand Sector Perfromance series saddle on a Sector alloy seatpost. The newer bikes gets sold with internally routed 100mm Sector dropper posts, but unfortunately this display bike was built up before the dropper addition to the spec list and so I could not try it out. Bars/Stem: The cockpit comes in the form 740mm wide Sector double butted alloy riser bar, bolted to a 60mm Sector Box stem. Decent looking equipment, wide enough for good control, functional and clean with no clutter, and very little noticeable flex through the bars. The headset loosened up a few times in the first couple of rides, but after tightening it up the 3rd time, it retained it's place. This is probably due to a lightweight starnut. The topcap looks good, but the anodized alu feature bolt showing signs of wear without any over-tightening. The grips offers good tackiness and thickness, but is a bit hard for my liking and riding them for a long day on hard trails will result in some pretty hardcore calluses, once again that is very subjective. Fit: Geometry numbers on the Square are on par with modern trail bikes with a 69deg head angle, 625mm top tube and a pretty long 1169mm wheelbase. The large was a perfect fit for my 182mm (6'0) height. SuspensionFront:Suspension is sorted at the front by a 34mm stanction, Manitou Magnum Comp, 120mm fork with boost/110mm hub spacing. It has limited adjustability - air spring, rebound and ABS+ compression damper/lockout , but feels planted, plush and stiff, and more impressively - bottomless on trails, even with only 120mm travel. Surely the big volume tyres are partly responsible. Rear:IDS Revo is the name Silverback has given their rear suspension system (bottom bracket concentric cartridge bearings that mounts via linkage to the rear triangle), and running off a Rockshox RT3, the setup provides you with 110mm travel, that is both small bump sensitive, and big hit capable. I never flipped the lever over from fully open and did not feel it necessary on climbs, as the bike never felt like it was squatting or bobbing when pedaling, even out of the seat. The cable routing under the BB in an attempt to get it clean and neat, and to get it away from the wide rear triangle, seems a bit forced, with tight twists and turns. Changing brakes may prove a challenge, considering the length of the needed rear hose or completely re-routing, to make shorter hoses work. Riding the bikeUp:Mountain biking is not exempt from physics, and as per Newton's 3rd law of motion; what goes up, must come down. That means that to get decent downhills, you must endure the uphills. Consequently most good mountain bike trails typically start with a proprietary climb up a hill, leg powered or ski-lift, gradual or steep. Locally in SA, we don't have the luxury of Gondolas and so pedaling the bike to where you want it is standard procedure. The Square is good, albeit a bit slouchy on the climbs - the great suspension and endless grip only hampered by the 15kg+ weight of the bike. if you keep your cadence steady and your gear ratio light (with the legs to back it up), it will climb like a Sherpa over any terrain, but it does take it out of you on longer climbs. Once at the top, you may just want to take a slight breather before heading down. Down: Catch your breath, take a sip of your bottle (of which a full size bottle fits in the front triangle) point the 3" front tyre down and release a whole can of whoop-ass on the trail. The Square has immense roll over ability, and as long as you can imagine the line, the Square will obey, undramatically eating rocks, devouring bumps and ignoring ruts. The Square feels balanced, and composed, on trails, the geometry lending itself to going faster than you would feel comfortable on normally. Riding the bike on fast DH lines and quick Red routes like Red Phoenix, the bike reveals a planted character, unshaken by ruts or braking bumps. What you do also notice is that this stability comes at the cost of flick-ability, and liveliness and running flat out through a chicane will have you working hard to lean and keep the bike dropped retaining traction, especially in the quick switch from side to side. Some traction can be gained by dropping tyre pressures, but there's a fine balance of traction vs rolling resistance and the feeling of the tyre sidewall flexing, makes my stomach churn, especially since I know that if my wheel burps, I need a couple of CO2 canisters, and a whole lot of luck to get tyres seated or inflated. And a micro pump is about as useful as inflating an air mattress with your mouth. It will get you there eventually, but there's easier ways to do things. Riding typical trails where you are doing longer distances, the rolling resistance on wide tyres and extra weight will not go unnoticed unfortunately. Sure you'll get strong riding it all day, or - and more possibly so - you may plan or unwittingly keep your ride distances down to shorter rides than usual, with less traversing and exploring as a part of your ride. Let the brakes go, choose a line and commit and you'll soon go into hyperdrive, where trees blur, and tunnel vision takes over. The bike pops off jumps surprisingly easy for its size, and in the air is a place where the Square feels very at home. It's more comfortable with slight tweaks and dead sailors than with big whips and tabletops, since the sheer size of the wheels generate a substantial gyroscopic force that does not like to be change direction when at speed. Landing is uneventful and almost too easy. With a relatively long rear end, getting the front wheel to stay up and level at manuals takes some practice and technique adjustment - your front wheel needs to be picked up higher to get your weight more off the back of the bike, to counter balance the front end and get decent distance over obstacles. Alternatively, just roll over them, since you probably won't feel it. The real test of the Square's abilitiesAfter pitching the idea to Marthinus of Silverback, he was kind enough to let me run the Square in EzelEnduro 2016, a race that, although only in it's second year, has a reputation to break bikes and riders. The terrain on SS1 starting fast and off camber - sandy, and finishing off SS66 with nothing but steep boulder fields. To setup the Square for the race I did a couple of setup and component changes, just to dial it in. My own wider bars, XTR brakes, Ruby silicon grips to help with arm pump, and my Fox DOSS dropper with SDG iBeam seat and some cage pedals for more secure footing to replace my XTR clipless. Then I also added on loads and loads of frame protection tape and cut up a used tyre as downtube protection, so that I don't return a badly scuffed up bike to Silverback after the race. Other than that, I rode it all stock. The 120mm front suspension from the Manitou Magnum fork, was a concern in the back of my mind, but never felt overwhelmed on the trail, even though I did bottom it out a couple of times, it was never a harsh feeling. On that kind of terrain a 140mm fork would have been better suited, and I imagine the bike would be well suited to the longer travel. The rear suspension handled the rocks well, and not puncturing on any of the stages is testament to how well it coped. The weight of the bike hampering flowy swift direction changes, fast lines where a lot of skipping over sections would be needed, like I normally would do on a lightweight trail bike, but had me choosing seemingly impossible lines and not giving it a second thought, bouncing off big rocks, steep drops and riding in and out of ruts - mostly just over them with abandon. EzelEnduro photo Credit to Ewald Sadie. esphotography.co.za Pushing the bike up to the two final stages (that's just what you have to do - not compulsory, but impossible to ride and pointless to try), I was acutely aware of it's size and weight, as my body was tired from wrestling the terrain, and there is no way I could be carrying it on my back, up the slopes to the starting points. On the race, the Silverback Square proved to be, as my test rides would have suggested, a competent and very competitive and solid choice of bike for the terrain. I think my results, in part, shows what this bike lends itself to.Inspection after the race showed a bike for the greater part unfazed by the terrain, other than the rear wheel bearings may need a service/tightening up, rear spokes needs tensioning and there's a single small flat spot in the rim. The long and short of itBig wheels. Sure you can use it on the beach on your December holidays, and the 3" tyres would do well there running lower pressures; but once you've seen what this machine can do, you'll feel silly using it as a beach cruiser. If you look at it there on the car, dwarfing both the car and most other bikes, it is difficult to picture what the bike is designed for or what it is capable of; so take it to some trails to find out. I've been hitting downhill PR's with it on GSpot, Paarl DH and Eden normally on the first pass already. If you're not hard pressed for fast climbing or all day long distance riding, and more interested in a well mannered trail bombing machine, that goes as good as it looks, look no further. It won't replace a carbon framed lightweight XC machine, and it's not as responsive and forgiving as an long travel purpose built enduro bike. All-in-all though, a great trail bike, but shaving a bit of weight off the build, would definitely give this bike a bit more Synergy... The Silverback Square is a well designed, well specced machine, it is very capable and could make any trail, and especially challenging terrain, seriously fun. The drivetrain, suspension design and suspension components really standing out in testing as well considered parts of the build, with nothing falling in the "why is that on here" bracket. The bike is not cheap, but, at it's price point and impressive part list, it is great value for your hard earned money. Official spec list (slightly different from the bike I tested): Frame: Silverback Intelligent Design System (IDS) Revo Technology, Exclusive Suspension Science, 27.5+ Trail Machine, Hydroformed 6061 Alloy Custom Butted Tubing, Tapered 1-1/8”-1.5” Headtube, Silverback 12 x 148mm Dropouts, Super-Stiff StaysFork: Manitou Magnum Comp 27.5+, 120mm, Tapered Alloy Steerer, Crown lockout, 15x110mm Dropout, Post Mount DiscRear Shock: Rock Shox Monarch RT3, 110mm Travel, 184x44mmRims: Hayes/Sun Ringle Mulefut 50 27.5”, Alloy, 32H, Hayes/ Sun Ringle Rimtape and Valves, BlackHubs: Front: 2 Cartridge Bearings, Rear: 4 Cartridge Bearings, 3 Pawl Chromo SRAM XD 11 Speed Freehub Body with 10° Engagement, 32H, 6-Bolt Disc MountTyres: Maxxis Chronicle 27.5” x 3.0, TR and EXO, Kevlar BeadStem: Sector Box, Alloy, S/M: 60mm; L/XL: 75mm, 6° x ∮31.8mm, BlackHandlebar: Sector Gradient, Double Butted Alloy, W: 740mm; Back Sweep: 9°; Up Sweep: 5°; 15mm Rise x ∮31.8mmSeatpost: SBC Dropper Post, Remote Lockout, Internal Cable Routing, 100mm Drop, ∮31.6mm, S/M: 350mm, L/XL: 400mm, BlackSaddle: Sector Performance series, Cr-Mo RailsBrake set: Shimano SLX BL/BR-M675, Open Hydraulic System, Metal Pads w/Fin, Levers Rotors Front: 180mm; Rear: 160mm, 6-Bolt, BlackShifters: SRAM GX X-Actuation SL Trigger Shifter, 11 Speed, BlackFront Derailleur: N/ARear Derailleur: SRAM GX X-Horizon w/ Rolling Bearing Clutch and Cage Lock, BlackCassette: SRAM XG-1150 11 Speed, 10-42T, BlackCrankset: Race Face Turbine, 32T, 11-Speed, 175mmBottom Bracket: Race Face, BSAImage from Silverback's website.
  2. Hello hubbers, My bike, Scott Genius 750 (2018), has the ability to switch between 27"+ and 29", and now I'm interested to do exactly that. The reason is mainly because my bike has quite a low BB, and I believe 29er will be able to just add a few needed centimeters. I just want to know if it's possible to trade my current 27"+ wheelsets for 29ers? I have the following: Rims: Syncros X-30s, 32 hole, 30mm Hubs: Front - Shimano HB-M6010-B CL, 15x110mm Rear - Shimano FH-M6010 CL, 12x148mm Tires: Maxxis Recon 2.8" I also have a Shimano CS-HG50-10 speed cassette, which I believe is not compatible with Sram XD hubs, but in the future I'd probably want to upgrade to Sram SX/NX and I don't know if XD hubs and Shimano cassetes are compatible for the time being? What can I expect to get for my wheelset aswell? Thanks in advance!
  3. Hi I'm upgrading to carbon rims. Currently using ZTR Crests with Hope Evo Pro 2 hubs. 32 spoke count. My question is whether I should also change hubs and drop to 28 spokes? Weight saving probably around 30 grams (7.5g per spoke and nipple) so probably negligible. But carbon rims probably already strong enough not even needing the extra 4 spokes. I weight around 75kgs and do the odd jump. Thoughts? Thanks JL
  4. With all the hype surrounding a certain large company's suspension design and reasonable pricing, I was excited to get behind the bars of one of their offerings. When Dragon Sports offered me a Trance to test I obviously jumped at the opportunity. But two days before I was due to pick up the bike, I was told that the Trance was unavailable. Click here to view the article
  5. A couch on the beach?! No, that's just the super kitsch background in the office building What was offered in its place was an Anthem, the shorter travel cross country variant of the famous Giant Maestro suspension design. Why not? I'm not the XC sort, and haven't actually ridden an XC bike in a while, so I was particularly curious how far they have come. I picked up the brand-spanking new Anthem 27.5 1 from Dragon Sports and was immediately taken aback by the bright blue on white paint scheme. And the enormous stem. Even as un-XC oriented I am, it still confounds me how long stems are used so often. The Anthem has 100mm of travel front and rear on Fox suspension, 650b wheels and runs an almost full XT drivetrain. Giant components fill in most of the other gaps. SpecificationsPrice: R30 300Frame: ALUXX SLGrade Aluminium, 4" Maestro Suspension Rear shock: Fox Float CTD Performance Fork: Fox Float 27.5" CTD Performance, 100mm Travel, 15QR ThruAxle, OverDrive 2 tapered steerer Brakes: Shimano XT, 160mm front/rear Shifters: Shimano SLX 2x10 Cassette: Shimano HG81 11x36, 10 sp Crankset: Shimano XT 2x10, 26/38 Bottom bracket: Shimano PressFit Front derailleur: Shimano SLX Rear derailleur: Shimano XT Shadow+ Chain: KMC X10SL Handlebar: Giant Connect SL TR 730mm, Low Rise 31.8 Stem: Giant Connect SL, OverDrive 2 90mm (swapped out for a 60mm version) Grips: Giant lock-on Headset: Giant Internal Overdrive Seatpost: Giant Connect SL, 30.9 Saddle: Fi'zi:k Tundra 2 w/ Manganese Rails Pedals: N/A (used FUNN Bigfoot flats) Wheels: Giant PXC2 27.5 rims on Giant Tracker hubs with sealed bearings (F) QR15 ThruAxle, 135x5 QR Tyres: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 27.5x2.25 EVO Folding Tubeless Ready Weight: 11.6kg FrameGiant claim that this is their lightest alloy full suspension frame they have ever produced. I can't argue that point, as on our scales the Anthem weighed in at 11.6kg. Along with this was the fact that the frame was really stiff for an XC oriented bike. Very stiff in fact. This is surely down to the heavily hydroformed tubes and solid rear triangle. The down tube in particular is quite massive, something that wouldn't have been amiss on a free ride bike not too long ago. What helped on both counts too, is Giant's co-pivot design, where the shock mount on the frame is concentric to the lower linkage mount. This means that the shock and linkage mount share an axle, saving weight and improving stiffness.The headtube is a Giant's Overdrive system and goes hand in hand with the Overdrive steerer tube on the Fox fork. It tapers from 1 1/5" at the bottom to 1 1/4" top, instead of the industry standard 1 1/8" at top. Giant says this improves stiffness by up to 30 percent. Whether this justifies the pain in trying to find an aftermarket fork or stem when you're looking for an upgrade is another story. All of the cables and hoses are internally routed and made easy via big holes and rubber inserts. Something that immediately got my attention on the Anthem was the dropout system. It's got a quick release in the back in the form of a through-axle. No springs, but a DT Swiss threaded quick release that screws into the frame. You can even upgrade it to a 12x142mm system by changing the metal inserts of the dropouts. Clean and simple. Giant have got something here. ComponentsOn paper there's very little to find fault with the components on the Anthem 1. In real life there were a couple of things that stood out as potential for upgrade. Starting with the good ones though, the Shimano drivetrain was great. Simple and effective. While it's easy to be spoiled with a 1x11 SRAM setup, there's no denying that a 2x10 works really well. The XT and SLX combo worked wonderfully, and while I believe it is a whole lot easier to have only one chainring in front, the option of the extra gears does help on the ascents. The XT brakes worked without a hitch, providing fade-free stopping every time. They did have a tendency to grumble a bit at very slow speeds, like ambling around a parking lot, but once going properly this never happened. This was my first experience with a press fit bottom bracket, and I assumed it being a new bike, there's always some settling in to be done. So I attributed the slight grease leak at the BB to this, as it didn't actually affect the performance of the BB. As I said above, the Connect SL stem was much too long. And also, as I said above, finding one aftermarket is a giant pain. Thankfully, though, Dragon Sports had an identical stem, but in 60mm for me to swap out. Surprisingly, the handlebar was a decent 730mm wide, kudos to Giant for speccing something wide enough. But the Giant Connect SL handlebar never quite felt right, the sweep angles just feeling off. It would have been much better, I think, to go with an already industry accepted bar, as the in-house brands version seem to often lack the fit and finish of the companies who specifically make bars. I was not impressed by the Fox suspension units front and back. The fork took an especially long time to settle in, and never felt smooth in its travel. It also only felt okay when running 50psi, which is minimal. I eventually put 70psi because it kept running through its travel too quickly, but it always felt harsh. The rear shock on the other hand would blast through its travel with 120psi in it. It did feel better, and fairly plush, but also a bit squishy at times. The Giant wheels were probably the only in-house components that I liked at all. They were nice and light and took impacts well, but tended to flex a bit. The free hub could also do with more engagement points, especially during technical climbs. Lastly the tyres. I would not condone using Schwalbe Racing Ralphs unless you converted your wheels to tubeless, simple as that. The pressure needed to run them with tubes makes them have virtually no grip. Once we converted the wheels to tubeless they were tolerable, but still pretty bad on grip. Going upThis is where an XC bike should excel, in fact it should be the highlight of its performance. For the Anthem 1 it certainly is a great aspect of its performance, but unfortunately, it didn't seem to be its best. On long gradual climbs I found the best was to switch the Fox CTD to Trail, set a desired gear, sit and just pedal. You could tackle any length of climb like this without needing to stand up at any point. This was no doubt helped by the 11.6kg weight. Standing up would bring undesired movement in the rear suspension in the Descend setting, so the Trail setting was needed to counter this and still keep traction. This may not have actually taken any power away from forward momentum, but it still didn't feel good. So it was great that you never felt the desire to stand up. Technical climbs needed more forward planning, though. Because the front end felt so light and the rear end was so short, you had to choose your lines perfectly or risk the front wheel wandering. You couldn't just point the bike up a rooted slope and pedal your way up. By keeping your weight forward actually needed to use that light front end and pop the front up particularly steeper sections. This takes more effort than you would want to use going up. The light weight of the Anthem did help this immensely, but it was then let down by the Racing Ralphs and their lack of traction. The fork was pretty useless outside of the Descend setting, so that's where it stayed for climbing too, and it helped with traction in this setting anyway. DescendingDescending was where I was most surprised with the Anthem 1, because it came alive. The short rear end coupled with the low height of the front made the Anthem a very agile bike. Unlike some XC bikes it was not twitchy, even with a steeper head angle than I'm used to. It actually helped manoeuvrability in some cases, allowing you to avoid obstacles and change lines mid-corner. Mild panic? Or carrying a touch too much speed? The Anthem could make surprise you with how fast you wanted to go The Maestro rear suspension was a delight too, handling rough section without a problem. After almost every section of trail I went down I noticed that I had used all of the 100mm of travel. It never once felt like I bottomed either end of the bike suspension, but it sure indicated otherwise. Like I said above, the Fox Performance fork never felt right to me. I could never get it feeling smooth or plush enough, even with a minimal 50psi in. It also never felt balanced with the rear end. While it may have hindered climbing, the light front end was great for going down and mid-trail shenanigans. You could hop obstacles easily and small jumps were always sought out on the trail. The Anthem was always willing to play. If you got a bit rowdy, though, it could bite. Your feet in particular. The really low bottom bracket let the Anthem rail corners wonderfully, but would have you knocking your pedals like crazy if you even thought about pedaling around rocks or roots. I was running flats on one ride and smacked a rock so hard that a pin actually tore out of the platform. No fixing that, I'm afraid. And once again, the Schwalbe Racing Ralphs let the bike down with the monuments lack of grip. I had to run as low as 1.6bar to get any traction out of them. In the endThe Anthem 1 27.5 isn't your run of the mill XC bike. Climbing, I wouldn't say, is it's forte, although it does this well enough. It is the closest I have have come to witnessing an XC bike that is more oriented to descending than climbing. Let me reiterate. It is no slouch on the ups, but because of the low BB (which is a pain), short wheelbase, and active rear suspension design, its descending capability outshines its climbing every time.It is a great bike, even with it's component downfalls. And one thing that I always noticed was that I was smiling after every ride, looking down at the thing in surprise. It's a fun bike, no two ways about it. If I were to change two things about it, though, I would raise the BB by an inch and I would lose all the in-house Giant components. The wheels might last a while, but the lack of engagement points on the rear hub would drive me crazy. It's a great little bike, and perfect for someone who doesn't need too much suspension travel but still wants to let loose on the way down.
  6. Hi hubbers I know what I'm about to ask is probably thee most debated thing in mountain biking history and that there won't be a real conclusion to this. I'm about 1.8 meters tall and race in the u23 category. I was wondering if a 27.5 dual xco/marathon bike would be a good choice for me. I currently ride a carbon 29er hardtail and my friend and I are equally skilled and stick we each other on the single track. Every now and then I take my old aluminum 26er out and I leave my friend eating my dust on the same trails. I take my training very seriously(I have a coach) and I'm also a skilled rider. I race both xco and marathon but I can only afford one high end bike. My local marathon races does have a lot of single track involved and well national xco is 90% single track. Are there any tall guys riding 27.5s out there for marathon/stage racing
  7. So I've managed to get hold of a 650b Intense Tracer 2 and am looking at fork options. Most Intense's are spec'd with a 150s or 160s which give a head angle of 68 and 67 respectively. Obviously everyone wants a pike but I don't want to throw R20K at the fork and there isn't much about 2nd hand in the 150+ realm. There is though a couple of deals out there on new 140mm Rockshox sektors. While not the top of may peoples list it's a solid fork built on most of the Revelation hardware and will do as a stop gap until something longer comes up (but that could be a bit). Just wondering how much it will effect the angles and ride with a shorter fork that will steepen it it up a bit and if it's going to go well or dilute the frame design?
  8. For 2015 Giant builds on the foundation it has laid for it's Trance in 2014. The latest model makes a worthy claim at being the true do-it-all trail ripper that it's always promised to be. Click here to view the article
  9. The FrameAt the heart of the Trance is the hydroformed ALUXX SL frameset with Maestro suspension. Giant is proud to say that it's the lightest alloy 5.5-inch/140mm travel full suspension frame they have ever made. I am glad to see their swooping top tube is back after they abandoned it a couple of years ago in favor of a marginally lighter straight top tube. Not only does it look better to me, it also adds much needed standover height. The swingarm is 27.5 specific for the shortest possible chainstays and wheelbase, supposedly resulting in snappy handling. At 440mm the chainstays they are not the shortest, but I didn’t really notice the additional length out on the trail. It is shortsighted to put too much value in a single measurement of a bike's geometry - all the angles, lengths and widths should be considered together, as it's in this melting pot where magic happens. Cables are routed internally for a clean look and Giant has managed to do this in a way that doesn't lead to any annoying rattling or slapping that so many frames with internal routing suffers from. Keeping with internal routing, the Trance is compatible with "Stealth" dropper seat posts. The hose for the rear disc brake is still routed down the top of the down tube for ease of maintenance, but can also be routed internally should you wish to do so. More evidence of attention to detail can be found in the integrated chainstay protector. We're seeing more and more of these on frames and can only applaud the industry for adding value and bits where it matters. Trance frames feature convertible rear dropouts that allow you to run either 135mm QR (standard) or 142/12 through-axle wheels. I did find it strange that Giant ship their bikes standard with 135mm QR and not, the now widely adopted, 12x142mm. For 2014 the Trance's head angle was slackened from 69.5 to 67 degrees, wheels downsized from 29" to 27.5" and the top tube was stretched out for a longer front center and better reach which helps when running a short stem. The seat tube angle was steepened by half a degree to a climb-friendly 73.5 degrees. The geometry stays unchanged for the 2015 model. Overdrive 2 For their 2012 model range Giant introduced a new steerer standard called Overdrive 2. Rather than having a 1 1/8th inch diameter, these forks had a diameter of 1 1/4, and tapered down to 1.5″, which Giant claimed resulted in a 30% increase in stiffness at the handlebar. Although it was unique on their bikes, Overdrive 2 (OD2) was not patented and therefore free for all to adopt. There were however 2 practical issues with OD2. First, complete bikes shipped with OD2 forks which is fine if you weren't planning to upgrade and sell the OE (Original Equipment) fork. If you did, you could only sell that fork to another Giant rider with OD2 or to someone with a 1.5" straight steerer, but these are becoming hens teeth and should you find one it would be on a DH bike. Secondly, it used an OD2 stem and finding those aftermarket was a pain to say the least. Only a handful of stem manufacturers developed and launched OD2 compatible stems and most of them disappeared soon after. In terms of it's benefit I'm sure Giant saw a 30% increase in stiffness on a test bench. My initial thought was that that 30% would be over and above what the average rider would be able to feel on the trail and no real benefit in real life.Why all this historic info you ask? Well going forward Giant has gone back to standard tapered steerer which means forks and stems are readily available and you will find a buyer for your OE fork or stem that came stock on your Giant. Riders rejoice! Note that Giant still refers to their tapered head tubes and steerer as "Overdrive". Maestro Suspension First introduced in 2004 the Maestro has seen several evolutionary changes over the past decade to adapt to riders, modern geometry and drivetrain revolutions. In recent years changes have been made to take full advantage of 1x and 2x drivetrains and cartridge bearings have been incorporated in the upper shock mounts to improve the bikes’ small-bump compliance. ComponentsFork: The Fox 32 Float on the Trance 2 offers a noticeable upgrade in performance over the 2014 Talas and 2014 Float that I've ridden recently. It was easier to get the front and rear suspension balanced to my liking. That being said, at 140mm the fork feels stretched and battles with stiffness. Under load or when the trail gets rough there's quite a bit of twang and it soon feels over-run. This is in part due to the frame's seemingly willingness to go faster and bigger, but in doing so it stretches the Float 32's boundaries. From my experience a RockShox Revelation would have better suited the geometry and the faster, harder riding expected on the Trance. Tyres: Nobby Nics are great all rounders for general trail riding, but when pushed hard they battle to offer enough grip to maintain the speeds the frame can handle. Tires with some form of added sidewall protection is a must on most of the trails I ride and it didn't take long for the sidewalls to show signs of damage and wear. Note that the Nobby Nics on the Trance are from Schwalbe’s Performance rather than Evo line. Wheelset: The Trance 2 runs on Giant's in-house branded rims and hubs. We have ridden several Giant's fitted with Giant rims and hubs and so far they have proven themselves reliable. We can't comment yet on how their hubs hold up after a wet and muddy season. For the type of technical riding the bike is capable of it would be nice to have a hub with quicker engagement - especially when negotiating tricky sections that need half a pedal stroke to make it over or through an obstacle. Adjustable Seat Post: It would be nice to see a dropper post standard on all Trance models. It was the one thing I wanted to change most on the bike in all the time I spend on it. Thanks to proper guides and the internal routing option it is an easy enough (if not cheapish) fix. Drivetrain: Shimano's SLX groupset has become a fan favorite and for good reason. It is tough, strong, and reliable. The 24/38 chainrings paired with the 11-36 cassette provides a good spread of gears whether going up or down. Cockpit: A 730mm Handlebar paired with a 70mm stem is definitely a huge step in the right direction. No longer is it almost guaranteed that you will need to swap out the bar and stem to find something that works best for what the bike is capable of. After playing around with different set ups, I settled on a 60mm stem and 750mm bar - purely personal preference of course. MRP 2X Chain Guide: The bottom guide does a great job of keeping the chain in place and the ride quiet when the trail gets rough. Seeing one on a bike in this price range is testimony to Giant's attention to detail in speccing the Trance. On the TrailSimply put - this bike wants to go fast! The combination of the bike's geometry and suspension coupled to the natural fit and feel the first moment you climb on the Trance lends itself to high speed trail action. Increased small bump sensitivity means traction and grip is good on most terrain. The suspension does feel a little soft when changing direction quickly or when pushing it hard into a corner, but I would put that down to the Fox Evolution rather than the bike's suspension. The supple feel of the suspension means that you can run the shock a little firmer than usual. Giant's Maestro suspension always resulted in a wide tuning range and it's good to see that that has remained unchanged with this latest incarnation. To suit my liking, I set the shock up in Trail mode and left it there. This also helped getting a balanced feel between the front and rear in most situations. Flicking the switch to Descent resulted in a ride that does not have enough "pop" for me and the shock would blow through it's travel too quick on heavier terrain. It is another example of a mid-travel bike where component choice compromises the bike's geometry and ease at speed. Push the bike hard and the fork and tyres battle to keep up. Even with a QR rear axle the frame feels stiff overall with the only discernible flex coming from the Fox fork up front especially when attacking high-load berms or when coming off bigger jumps and drop offs. On the 2014 Trance 2 27.5 I previously rode, I had the time and luxury to tinker with the fork's internals. In an effort to rid the fork of it's linear feel, I added extra oil in the air chamber to ramp up progression. I think it is something heavier riders or riders riding heavier terrain should consider on the 2015 model, even though it did seem to perform better than the 2014 model during my time on it. Set in trail mode there is little to no suspension bob. Spinning away on uphill sections is good with very little chain tug even in the small chainring. It was easy to find a good seated position to keep the front end down, even on the steepest of climbs and with the neutral suspension uphill sections were disposed of with relative ease. VerdictI still remember when, not so long ago, the Trance was the awkward middle child. Not as fast and nimble as it's younger brother the Anthem, but not as burly and big-hit capable as the Reign. In 27.5" wheels, 140mm travel and a well-balanced geometry spearheaded by a 67 degree head angle, Giant has found the Trance's sweet point. It is still not as race-focused as an Anthem and won't cope with quite as much as the new Reign, but therein lies it's strength. It's stopped trying to be a long travel Anthem and with more and more downhillers finding a home in Enduro racing it doesn't have to border on the Reign anymore. It sits comfortably in the middle - exactly where most weekend warriors need their bike to sit. It's light so it can go places and not kill you off. It's fast and agile and will happily play in the forest on single track all weekend. And when the trail turns south it will cope with most downhill sections riders may face on our trails without blinking an eye. The Trance is no longer trying to be something it's not - the Trance has come home and found it's niche. It's a fast, agile and capable trail-muncher that will happily do a race (XC, Marathon or Enduro) when called upon. As a do-it-all bike, the Trance represents excellent value for money. Recommend retail is R27,500 at the time of going to press. Full specificationshttp://media.thehubsa.co.za/forum/uploads/monthly_10_2014/ccs-62657-0-89548900-1414228412.jpg http://media.thehubsa.co.za/forum/uploads/monthly_10_2014/ccs-62657-0-16660600-1414228414.jpg
  10. Hi guys.. I weigh about 110kgs. Currently ride a Giant XTC carbon hardtail. I want to go 650B as I'm never going to be fast. Looking at the Trance Advanced 2014 with full XT and a carbon frame versus a Pyga 650B (probably the Onetwenty) The Giant is R43k and the Pyga R47k Which would you choose bearing in mind my weight. I'll likely build my current Guide RS brakes onto the new bike. Will also likely sell the new bikes wheel and my current Hope+Flow Ex wheels and buy a 650B set of Hope + Flow Ex. I'm not nearly as skilled as full 140mm travel requires but I dislocated my knee on Die Burger and want to limit my falls by going from a 29er hardtail to a dual sus 650B. I'm 183cm.. Hope to get some good arguments for/against..
  11. Anybody know where I can get some 650b WTB Vigilantes in Durban? Apparently you have some good shops here!?
  12. A few years back, lets say about 10, my dad took up MTB'ing and he loved it, still does. It didn't take long for him to get hooked. A while thereafter he wanted my mother to join him in his cycling adventures and, needless to say, she was quite skeptical about doing something as ridiculous as whizzing about with a mix of alloys and rubber between your legs. My dad eventually got her cycling by getting her a bike without her knowledge and simply placing her on top of it, and chased her around the area a bit. This was not at all what she expected and really started to like it! Even after a while warmed up to the idea of clipping your foot into the pedal. Here is Alpha, the first and the one she started on. And no, it has not had a wash since... well I can't remember. After what seems to be a lifetime, and minor upgrades and fixes here and there, they came to a point where my parents decided that they need softtails, using the excuse that they where getting old. And after much fussing to put the wheels in motion, I was assigned the task of building my mom her a proper softtail with a budget of 25k, and the permission to salvage parts from her old ride. Step one would be to gather all the parts needed for the dually. So I blew through most of my budget, purchasing a medium carbon dual suspension frame and many extras including a headset, handlebars, Rockshox Monarch RL, 105mm stem, setback seatpost and clamp and finally a set of tyres. Granted the stem and seatpost will most likely change, but this was the deal, all for R16 000 from one of our own hubbers. All seemed to be good, until I swapped out the QR hangers with the through-axle... Both screws stripped on the way out and upon replacing them and fitting the hanger, I saw that the hole for the screw wasn't aligned properly... I'll see later if this will have an effect... Here is the damage But the rest was as good as gold. Well black gold in the form of woven carbon fibers. The next step for me and my dad, was the wheels. Having gone through a process of elimination we ended up with very few options, mainly Stans ZTR Crest or a set of Rapide R27 wheels and for only R3 690 and weighing in at 1659 grams they seemed like the route to go. And upon their arrival impressed we all where! Behold we had a set of very good looking and quite light MTB wheels! Complete with QR and through axle options which swapped out quite easily. Upon them I mounted a set of Arisun Mount Graham 2.2 tyres with their moderate weight of 650 grams each, they seemed to go well with the rims. I seated both tyres with Stans NoTubes Sealant, 80ml in each tyre, and a single 25g canister. They seated without a fuss and sealed properly. Being R18 690 into the budget already I needed to start salvaging. So I dug up a crankset we had kept for just such an occasion, a basically new Sram S2000 crankset. I can see the envy and jealousy brewing even on my own face whilst putting this magnificent being together. I'm jittery with excitement to carry on, and will do so as soon as I can. I'm currently hunting for all the necessary parts, scouring the internet for what needs to be found, for the right price of coarse. I'll continue with the following parts of my forum as I carry on with the build and find or fashion the parts I need. It's quite exhilarating to see what course the unfinished black steed of carbon fibers is going to take!
  13. Nicko

    Canyon Strive

    Hey guys So I'm going to Europe in May/June for a short trip and to do a bit of riding in Switzerland and Italy. And I was thinking of getting a bike while I was over there. Currently I race Enduro and Downhill, I'm not going for the podium, but I do aim to always improve my times and my overall position. For Enduro I ride a 26" Giant Trance 2012, it's pretty well kitted out... For Downhill I ride a Giant Glory 01, it's a 2011, fairly stock. I'm toying with the idea of selling both of these to buy a Canyon Spectral Al 6.0 Race... One of the reasons is that my trance doesn't seem to be able to cut it anymore, when I'm going really fast through bumpy stuff with the Revelation fork it just doesn't quite cut it. So I toyed with the idea of getting a Pike, but that's a 10grand fork on it's own. And i think it will be capable for downhill, cause most of the tracks in KZN aren't too gnarly, and I don't do the big jumps yet (that's the main reason). So it could possibly be faster for me in face I know a lot of people are going to say get the YT Capra, but the availability of that bike is an issue, I won't be able to get it in time. I think this Canyon Strive is definitely in the same bracket of bike... So what do you guys think about my plan? Any insight will be helpful...
  14. Hi guys after being extremely happy with the full range of Maxxis tyres on my 26ers I have not had much luck with any tyre on my 27.5. I have tried Continentals - sidewalls leak Schwalbe - weak sidewalls several big tears Maxxis Crossmark - I have now lost 5 tyres to small sidewall tears just outside the rim area in about three months where I have really not been riding much. Tyres are inflated to correct pressures and I have taken care to seat and seal them 100% So I am at your mercy here I know many of you swear by contis and most by schwalbe with snakeskins on your 29ers but please if there are any guys or girls out there specifically with 27.5ers let me know what you use that does not 'poof' at the first sight of a few rocks. Also if there are any of you that use or have used the new Onzas please share your experience.
  15. A custom build is always a rewarding project. Part of this is the agonising process of looking for the perfect fit of design and components. For me, the direction of the build gets locked down once the look, or in this case the colours, has been decided. Once that is done, then the hunt for a complementary build kit begins. Click here to view the article
  16. Searching for satisfactory components can take a while and bring about many direction changes - as I'm sure BogusOne can attest to. For instance, with this build the final look was only determined after it became clear that I wouldn't be able to get my hands on a green DVO Diamond fork in time. Seeing it all come together in the end is rewarding and a big part of why I go the bike build route rather buying a complete bike. Frame: Mercer Bikes Hungry Monkey Frame builder: Mercer Bikes The frame and reasoning behind it has been covered thoroughly in Part 1 and Part 2. What is new, however, is the spray job by Bogus Designs (user BogusOne on The Hub) and the inspiration for it. The brief handed to Bogus Designs for the frame paint scheme. The inspiration for the Hungry Monkey's look came from the big screen. The idea really took off when I saw custom paint jobs Field Cycles did on two of their bikes. I have become a big fan of their work and the incredible passion and attention to detail is obvious. Pearl Drums nailed the coffin shut when they showed a unique colour kit at the 2015 NAMM Show. I shared my ideas with Anton (BogusOne) and he took the initiative from there. Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Dual Position, 150mm Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems There is not a lot that needs to be said about the Pike, as it's reputation precedes it. For the first time in years, I have gone with a dual position fork. This was done for two reasons. Firstly, there was the desire to compare how it feels out on the trails to fixed travel forks. Secondly, I thought it could be a good fit on the Hungry Monkey as the ability to drop the travel will come in handy when tackling technical climbs or using it as a "play" bike. Wheelset: Derby Rims / Industry Nine Torch Hubs / DT Swiss Aerolite Spokes Rims: Cycle Factory / Hubs: Rush Sports Cycling / Spokes: SCOTT Sports Africa Derby Rims were the first properly wide, competitively priced and durable carbon rims to hit the market. Launched in the U.S. in 2013, they have proven themselves to be reliable, strong and a popular choice for custom wheel builders. I won't go into too much depth on the wide rim debate here, but I consider myself a believer following a good couple of months on a set of American Classic Wide Lightnings. The 34mm Inner / 40mm Outer profile of the Derby rims is a level up from the American Classics and if all the glowing reviews on the Ibis 741 rims (35mm Inner / 41mm Outer) are to be believed, then I shouldn't be disappointed with these. I picked Industry Nine hubs for their reliability, crazy sound, adaptability and super fast engagement. For what they offer, they are very competitively priced and the fact that one can order them in all sorts of anodised colours adds to the lure. Going with a complete Industry Nine wheelset with red spokes was an option, but I soon realised that I would struggle to match the anodised red with the overall look of the bike. Instead, I opted for DT Swiss Aerolite spokes for their look, competitive weight and the wider profile of bladed spokes. Drivetrain: SRAM X1 Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems Chosen for the value it represents over its 1x11 siblings and (to be perfectly honest) being all black. I am looking forward to giving SRAM's entry 11-speed mountain bike groupset a go and comparing it to the XX1 and X01. Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 125mm drop Distributor: Cape Cycle Systems Another RockShox product that doesn't need much of an intro or explanation. I like how the Stealth version keeps things neat and tidy, and being black plays well the overall look. In three years, I've only had one mechanical on a Reverb and that was when an OTB incident tore the hose and locked the post in the dropped position. Brakes: Hope Stealth Tech Evo with 183mm floating rotors Distributor: International Trade The only piece of kit that has survived from my Ibis Mojo HDR build. Back then RockShox's Guide range of stoppers were just announced. It will be interesting to see how the Hope brakes fair against the Guide RSC's that I'm running on another bike. So far the RSC's have been faultless, but can they compete long term with Britain's finest? Time will tell. Tyres: Hans Dampf TLR 2.35 front, 2.25 rear Distributor: Stage N9NE I had these tyres on another bike and was impressed with their all-round performance; although sand seemed to be their weakness. Having experience with these tyres, I decided use them as a benchmark to assess the impact that the Derby Rims have on tyre performance. The tyres have been converted to tubeless using the supplied Derby rim tape and Stan's NoTubes sealant. Pedals: Point1 Podium Distributor: Not available locally. Not as sticky as Spank's Spike flat pedal, but I had these in the parts bin and will probably ride them until they die. Bottle Cages: Specialized Zee Cage II with EMT Cage Mount Tool Distributor: Specialized SA Credit to Specialized for their range of S.W.A.T. kit and gear. It offers solutions to problems that actually exist and brings versatility to riders - prefect. With these I will be able to hit the trails without the need for a hydration pack and will only need a pocket for an energy bar or cellphone. (With only 1 broken chain and no flats on tubeless tyres in over 6 years, I feel it's a calculated risk to not carry any spares or additional tools with me on rides). Handlebar & Stem: Easton Haven 35 Carbon 20mm Riser Bar, 750mm | Easton Haven 35 Stem, 50mm Distributor: Hullabaloo It is incredible how much mountain bike geometry, set up and trends have changed over the last couple of years. The revolution has pushed gear and kit to new heights with innovation resulting in a number of new standards. One of which is handlebars and stems with a 35mm clamping area. The additional diameter has allowed manufacturers to keep the weight down and strength up on wider bars. Easton was one of the first big players to release 35mm bars and stems and it certainly looks like it's here to stay and possibly take over as the steering of choice for longer travel bikes. Saddle: SDG Duster Mountain Ti-Alloy Distributor: A-Line MTB and Outdoor Speed Defies Gravity has got to be the coolest name in the business! It's not the only reason it made the parts pick. I've been riding SDG saddles for the last couple of years and have found them to my liking and they've proven themselves to be very durable. Grips: ODI Rogue Distributor: Cycles Africa I have been a fan of ODI for as long as I can remember. With colour, width and feel options to suit just about every rider regardless of discipline. The Rogues have been my grip of choice, as they provide an extra bit of give without being too soft or spongy. Plus, they perform well come rain or shine. Headset: Nukeproof Warhead 44IETS Distributor: Dial'd Bikes Along with a bike's bottom bracket, the headset is often an unsung hero expected to slave without much love and attention. This will be the first time I try a Nukeproof headset, but judging from the quality of their other gear I'm sure it will perform flawlessly.
  17. So before posting this I took a read at some past chatter about new wheel sets (all sizes) for MTBing , with the hope of getting some clarity for my new 650b dirt killer. All it did was open up more options (which is great) add more technical muscle to what I didn't know (rim width etc) and lastly realising that the bigger brands may not be all that they are cracked up to be. What I would like to know from other Hubbers is where would a laymen start to look for a new set of wheels should he have a Giant Anthem Advanced. I originally looked at Mavic crossmax SLT but judging by some rider comments their may be better options to consider in a lower / similar price range. Most of my riding is done in JHB south (Thaba Trails and Rietvlei occasionally) and my bike takes a good beating over the rocky terrain on most weekends. The end goal is to have a good set of tubeless wheels to use to train with as well as do the occasional race after a 3 year sabbatical. Again, after reading through a few threads I'm not sure what the best option would be for my anthem - hope hubs + custom built crests vs off the shelf rims vs just keeping the standard rims, etc etc. Can anyone shed some insight?
  18. At last the day has come that I can build a bike that is exactly the spec I want (mostly), if one really managed to build the perfect bike then there would be nothing to upgrade and we can't have that now. Specs for now (12.58kgs with pedals and old tyres): Fork: 2013 RockShox Revelation RL with remote lockout (1.84kg inc axle and remote) Currently in for warranty repair and hopefully removal of the lockout. Shock: RockShox Monarch RL Frame: Anthem Advanced 27.5 frameset large (2.4kg with thru axle) Wheels: Giant P-XC2 27.5 Groupset: Full Shimano XT, 2x10, RT66 Rotors, 180F, 160R Stem: Easton Haven, 70mm, 0degree Bars: Nukeproof Warhead, 720mm, 20mm rise Seatpost: RockShox Reverb, 420mm, 125mm drop Seat: Pro Turnix Pedals: Shimano m520 Tyres: Onza Canis 2.25 front and rear (pictured with Racing Ralph and Honey Badger) Grips: ESI Chunky Future Upgrades: Wheels: ZTR Flow EX on something or AC Wide lightning. Bars: Raceface Next Riser carbon Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth Pedals: Shimano XT m780 Frame arrived 2 days after the order was placed, good form William! The fork with remote on its way back for warranty. Basically the concept of this bike is to create a trail bike that is as light as possible but without compromising on strength and descending ability. Traits I require are a stiff but supple fork, plenty of grip from the tyres and a dropper seatpost for downhills and cornering. On the flip side I have a strange love affair with brutally steep climbs and so I also need something thats not too heavy and pedals well while seated or standing. Frame with 12mm thru axle but no cable grommets. Other frame options were a Santacruz 5010 (ruled out because of price) or a Pyga OneTwenty650 (ruled out because of weight). Although ideally I wanted 120mm of rear travel, enough good things have been said about the Anthem's descending prowess in its standard spec (100mm front and rear) that I thought I would give it a try. Personally my favourite review of the Anthem 27.5 came from right here on the hub. I trust the opinion of a guy who rides in baggies, a t-shirt and FiveTens far more then a fully decked out lycra jock, so thank you for your review Claudio. It was rumoured a while ago that Giant was toying with the idea of making an Anthem with a 120mm fork, this sounded like a great idea to me as my previous bike was a Morewood Zula with a 130mm Sektor and I loved it but it was a bit portly. Recently Giant announced their 2015 bikes and the Anthem SX was among them. So now that I have a name for what I'm building lets get started. Daryn wrenching, he should have his arm in a sling but he's bad like that! I'd like to dedicate this build to my good friend Dazza (Mechanic at William's bike shop) who is currently recovering from a severe meeting with a tree in Jonkershoek. That didn't however stop him from giving up his evening and doing alot of the work to get the bike together in quick time with fractured scapular and all. Also a special mention to SJ from Revolution Cycles for great service & advice. The Reverb hose needs better securing but otherwise I'm extremely impressed with the finished product, orange grips and all. When the Revelation returns I'll update with pics. Once again massive thanks to Daryn, I would have spent twice as long and done the job half as neatly.
  19. Hi all . I am looking at upgrading so the two that I am looking at is the Gaint Talon 1 OR the KTM Ultra fun . My budget is up to R15000 . I do some short endurance events ( PTA Boys High 24 h ) and then some medium distance races 35 km - 70 km . Any advice on witch one will be the better one and if there is any other makes that I should look at . Thank you for advice and input.
  20. It's new bike time! I've recently sold my Commencal Meta 5.5, and am planning to buy a new full-suss trail/enduro rig sometime next year. In the meantime, I'm getting back to basics, and looking at a hardtail to get fit and do some trail riding. I probably won't race an enduro on it, but I will ride it everywhere I can. I've narrowed my search down to the Silverback Sola 2 (29") and Slade 1 (650B). Both 2014 stock. (Note: please don't recommend other brands / models - it's going to be one of these two). Given my height (1.86m) and the rave reviews the Sola is getting from a mate of mine (who went from a Slade to a Sola), I am leaning that way. However, I have a lot of perceptions (probably misconceptions) about 29ers, so I'm also drawn to the Slade - is less of a mind shift coming from a 26er. The Slade's spec is what's enticing me too. RockShox Recon Gold (vs Silver on the Sola), better rear hub, better shifters (XT vs Deore on the Sola), and slightly wider (21mm vs 19mm on the Sola) and tubeless-ready rims. Given my fat ass (almost 120kg), I am worried about a narrower, larger diameter wheelset - and the Recon Gold seems like a nice upgrade over the Silver. That said, I've been told by someone who's opinion I trust to disregard the difference in spec and go for the larger wheels. So - I welcome any input. Especially if you've ridden either (or both) of the above. Do I go for the bigger wheels and what is starting to sound like the superior frame / ride feel, or do I go for a better fork and more robust wheelset? Or am I just being paranoid about the spec? Thoughts?
  21. These two bikes were stolen from the Spur MTB Classic at the Post House Vineyard, Somerset West/Stellenbosch (28/09/14): 2014 Giant Anthem 1, baby blue with American Classic Race wheelset and X0 derailleur. 2010 Giant Anthem 1, polished aluminium/blue with Raceface crank and X0 derailleur (among other upgrades). If you have any information, please let me know on 082 883 6910. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Giants 27.5.pdf
  22. So I was looking at the geometry of my full sus Giant anthem 26er and wondered "if I change the front fork and rear assemblage would a 650b conversion be possible? Anyone know if it'll work?
  23. Apparently Bryceland and Peaty were riding these white horses at the recent British National DH champs... http://ride.io/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/santacruz-v10-650b.jpg http://ride.io/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/650b-v10-santacruz.jpg
  24. She is finally complete! Two years of saving and waiting for the right components I finally build the perfect all day singletrack warrior for South African conditions - 10.9kg, dropper post, 120/100mm travel, 650b, carbon beauty! Almost too low BB height in the 26" version of this bike, makes this puppy a cracker when converted to 650b! Running 120mm travel front and 100mm rear changes the head angle enough. Combined with a wheelbase of only 1062mm makes this bike extremely nimble, and ready to attack most singletracks in South Africa. And you have to get custom rim and fork decals... Rocky Mountain Element 70RSL Carbon Small XTR 10 speed Fox 32 Float RLC 120mm Kashima Fox RP23 100mm ZTR Crest 650b Conti X-King 2.2 front Maxxis Crossmark 2.1 rear Giant Contact Switch dropper, stealth routing ​Bikes for People who Love the Ride
  25. I have a fs 26' carbon frame lying around and have been wondering if I could take it to a carbon frame repairer and extend an extra 2.5 cm at the skewer , that would make it be able to run a 650b wheel? Would this work?
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