Fall ’12 Mountain bike setup

The 29er

The 29er

 

The stars have aligned to set me up with some new mountain bike gear. A bike shop employee discount, student loan check, and a filthy road bike that needs to be completely disassembled and cleaned has led me here. for the last year I’ve been running a single speed setup on my ’07 Gary Fisher XCal and enjoying it quite a bit. Still, I’ve encountered a few hills that were a bit too steep for me to get up in 32×18, and done a few road rides that had me at a laughably high cadence.

Drive Train:

My recent upgrades started out with the SRAM’s announcement of the new XX1 groupset. It’s an 11 speed setup designed specifically to be run as a 1X. I was holding out for this group until I realized I’d be waiting until October and that it would have XO level pricing. Instead, I set out to piece together my own 1X setup. At the center of my setup is the MRP Bling Ring. It’s a 1X chain ring intended to drop onto cranksets with a removable spider. Next up, I needed to choose the crankset that I’d be bolting it to. My initial thought was SRAM’s X9, but after comparing them to lower end SRAM offerings, I ended up with the X7/S1400 cranks. The weight difference was about 10 grams and the price difference was about $100. Both cranks are manufactured the same way, with hollow arms. Unfortunately, our distributor was out of the S1400 cranks, and the currently available X7’s didn’t have a removable spider. Then I turned to the Truvativ AKA. These cranks were pretty much the same thing as the S1400 at the same price point.

Now for the rear.. I had already decided to go gripshift, and I wanted as many gears as I could cram on a standard freehub, so I used the PG-1070 cassette in the widest range available, 12-36. As with the cranks, I started looking at X9 level gear, but sadly, SRAM isn’t currently offering a 10 speed X9 gripshift. I ended up going with an XO unit, even though the price was kind of ridiculous. All online accounts of SRAM rear¬†derailleurs seem to say that they all shift as good as the shifter you pair them with, so I saved a little money by going X7. Once dialed in, the shifter feel is very soft, but the rear engagement is very hard – “KA-THUNK”. I don’t mind the loudness, and the shifting is pretty smooth regardless. The grip shift is going to take some adaptation in technique, but I don’t think it will be bad. After one ride I was already getting the hang of it. The only thing I really don’t like about it is the increased distance that my break lever is from my hand. Some adjustments are definitely in order.

Wheels:

I also decided it was a good idea to ditch my boat-anchor vuelta wheelset in favor of something more modern. I ended up going with the Stan’s Arch EX wheelset with Stan’s hubs. They are _considerably_ lighter and let me run tubeless. As my first tubeless experience, I had a little difficulty mounting my tires. (my old Specialized Fast Trak LK Control’s) The beads just didn’t want to seat properly at first. I think that my main problem was inflating with a floor pump instead of an air compressor. Now that they’re on, all is good. no burps or problems otherwise.

The future:

I think I’m pretty well set up for a while. The only other kit that might be on my wish list is a dropper seat post. I generally ride out of the saddle, but now that I have multiple gears, a XC seat height is more appropriate a lot of the time. Still, the $275 price tag of the Specialized Command post Blacklight is a little daunting. I might also throw some new brakes on. Traditionally, I only run a rear, but I’m probably missing out in by not having a front. Still not sure which way I’d go if I do get new brakes.

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