Dialing it all in.
With the lack of an EaSSter ride, I wasn’t able to get out and be productive on the MTB this weekend. No worries – that left me some time to figure out how I should dial things in.
After my first test run of the new Ferrous setup, I came to realize a couple things.
1) Single Speeds are very different. I like this.
2) My fork feels great after the rebuild, but not like I remember.
3) I remember my 29er being a lot more plush than this.
4) Wow … in theory this 34×18 gear ratio would be great, but I feel real slow.
Having the day off of riding gave me time to sit and contemplate my future. I envisioned myself high upon a Tibetan mountain, singing bowls in the background, and conferring with the god of suspension. I also did a lot of research about dialing in my Reba Race to make it better than it ever has been.
Going against what RockShox recommends for this, I tested out the following settings (for the curious):
Air pressure at 60% of bodyweight (100 psi for me)
2 turns of floodgate
2 clicks of rebound from fast
10psi less in Negative Chamber than Positive
Run your compression damping about 1/3 to half, but only use 1-2 turns of Floodgate from full-open. This will give you a little bit of low-speed compression damping, and helps the fork combat brake dive and packing up, but will feel just as plush as it does with no damping.
This, coupled with the new remote lockout, has completely changed how the bike has ever handled in the past. Amazingly plush when I hit stuff, but standing and going is STIFF. I’m liable to run the bike in lockout a lot more often now with the floodgate ready to let loose when I do hit the big stuff. Problem One: Solved.
I used to run my tyres (HAHAHA) at 35psi with tubes. Last year I ran them at 30psi tubeless without any problems, but now it was really feeling harsh on the bike. Took them down to 25 psi and … yep, still not to my liking. So I used science and let about 3 seconds worth of air out of the front & rear tires. Didn’t check the PSI but HOT DAMN. It’s a True Temper OX Platinum Frame so it’s already a smooooooth ride, but now the bike just ROLLS over everything. Problem 2 … fixed! I’ll see what pressure I’m at, and make a mental note.
As far as the 34×18 … something magical out there happened today. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the mental preparation, maybe it was the sportlegs … who is to say. But the tall gear was PERFECT today. Able to stand up on every hill, no slow grinding, kept the legs spinning, felt amazing. Kept the momentum around every corner, still didn’t have the front brake broken in (gonna work on that tomorrow!) but things just FLOWED. I think I’m over the shock to the system of only having one gear – subsequent rides will tell. But I’m going to go and say … Problem 3 (which is actually point #4 from above): fixed.
Going to shorten the front brake cable, and do some cleaning / re-bedding in of the front pad in the next day or so. Next time I COULD ride is Wed morning – depends on how tonight’s thunderstorms fare on the ground.
I’m having a proper handlebar light ordered, so I’m going to try my hand at Night Riding this year. Hopefully as soon as this week.