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Messages - jonathan

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The Bike Shop / Taj Mihelich (mountain) bike check
« on: June 10, 2020, 12:37:39 PM »

(that's not a dirt jumper with a slammed seat, it's a trail bike with a dropper seatpost. I am curious to see what it looks like with the seat up.)

I found this to be pretty interesting. I also have not been on a BMX bike in a long time, but a hardtail mountain bike for gettin rowdy in the woods is just as fun for me. Taj' experience is a lot like mine. contrary to popular opinion about how a mountain bike should fit and handle, we have both chosen to ride:
  • a steel hardtail in places where you "need" a full suspension bike
  • a frame with a short reach in an age when bikes are getting longer and longer
  • an intensionally steep head tube angle. he put a HTA-steepening headset on it, when standard for mountain bikes these days is 67° or slack-er
  • over-inflated tires. when most people are riding with less than 20 psi, he is running 30+
  • feeling awkward about the "in the bike" feeling that riders seem to want

maybe that's something that is hard-wired into a riders brain when he starts with BMX.

The Lounge / Re: Mountain bikes
« on: August 13, 2019, 06:30:00 PM »
Ride an actual aggressive trail bike and see how much faster you are than with a fucking singlespeed steel rigid bike.


I'm having fun on my bike regardless of how fast I go relative to everyone else. I just put a 140mm fork on it and I've been enjoying the dropper post thing for a while now. It probably does not make me faster and I don't give a fuck. I'm not racing anyone but my mortality.

The Lounge / Re: Mountain bikes
« on: August 09, 2019, 08:32:32 PM »
cmc- are you on the austin mountain bike forum? I got into mtb waaaay after this forum. I am on there as mack_turtle. I work about a mile from WC Park and ride there occasionally after work. I'll be out there more when the weather calms down. currently on a Karate Monkey.

The Bike Shop / Re: converting bike with gears to single speed?
« on: August 09, 2019, 08:28:35 PM »
are you still interested in converting to single speed? if the dropout does not allow room to move the axle, you can do one of two things:
find a "magic gear". play around with the cogs on the rear wheel until you find one that works with the front chainring and keeps the chain tight. this is a ghetto, temporary solution. it only works a chain that is worn to exactly the degree to which the current chain is. when the chain wears more or you replace it, it won't work anymore.
chain tensioner. there are a ton of these on the market. A Shimano Aline tensioner might work, but if you remove the cable from a derailer and adjust it such that it cannot move laterally, you've made a ghetto tensioner that will work just fine.

the front rings and rear cogs on a bike that was designed to shift won't hold the chain in one place very well, especially if the chainline is not spot-on.

adjusting shifters and derailers is not difficult. you just have to take a few minutes to understand how to set the two limit screws, set the cable tension so it effectively pulls the derailer across all the gears, and set the b-screw so it spaces the jockey pulleys from the cassette. this is all very simple after a few Park Tool videos.

if the drivetrain is old or out of whack in any way, things won't work so smoothly. you might need to replace cables, housing, or drivetrain parts- a worn out cassette, chain, or chainring won't shift well. make sure the derailer hanger is straight and perpendicular to the center of the bike.

you might be able to remove the left shifter and lock out the front derailleur by cinching down the limit screws on it until the derailer stays in one place, keeping the chain there, probably on the center ring.

all this trouble with front triple chainrings is why most modern mountain bikes have only one front chainring and very few other bikes have more than two chainrings.

for an old road bike with a thread-on freewheel, you can get the chainline close enough to work by rebuilding the rear wheel. replace the freewheel with a single-speed freewheel and swap the axle around so the drive side spacers are on the opposite side of the hub. this will throw the rim off-center, so you'll need to dish the wheel. you might be able to pull this off by adjusting the spoke tension, but you might end up with too much nipple engagement on the right side and not enough on the left. the answer to that is to rebuild the wheel with the spokes on the opposite side of the hub. this is time consuming, but if you're used to building wheels, its no big deal.

if your rear wheel has a freehub designed for a multi-speed cassette, you should buy a single-speed cog (Surly!) and some spacers to line it up with the front chainring. if you can get a hold of some old cassette spacers from a worn out cassette, you can use those too. in a pinch, a carefully selected range of PVC pipesegments will do most of the spacing.

Sell and Swap / Re: Lots of rad stuff cheap
« on: February 25, 2019, 11:48:10 AM »
Macniel pivotal seat

Gsport Homer axles- UK made

Primo drive-side hub guard, a bit chewed up

Two complete Solid headsets, one with a Pig wedge mod

Tree sprockets- 36t and 33t

Tree sprocket guards- one for 29-31t, one for 33-36t

Jtec freecoaster shell

Odyssey Pre-Loader shell

FSA Orbit headset

Araya Super 7x rim, 48h, chrome

Gsport Monkey rear hub, RHD, laced to a black
Haz lite rim. 48h. With 13t Odyssey freewheel. I think you can put a Homer axle in this, is that right?

Gsport Homer shell, LHD for 13t freewheels, 48h, drive side bearing installed. Never used

Still have the above. Just want to see it used so pay me enough to cover shipping.

The Lounge / Re: Mountain bikes
« on: December 14, 2018, 08:46:08 AM »

Interesting video: Seth takes a BMX friend to a downhill park to ride a mtb for the first time. Seth's videos are endlessly entertaining and well done. He's primarily a mtb guy but his videos feature shenanigans on every kind of bike imaginable. He's obviously an old BMXer and I see why BMX guys turn to mtb-ing. My only beef with mountain bikes is they are ridiculously expensive and complex compared to BMX bikes. A high -end custom BMX bike costs less than a decent "entry-level" hardtail. Even a Taiwan-made steel singlespeed frame costs as much as a mid-range complete BMX bike. So many lazy old farts in the mtb world just buying expensive bikes and then doodling around on them.

The Lounge / Re: Mountain bikes
« on: November 09, 2018, 08:20:19 AM »
That Pace RC 129 looks like something I would enjoy. Steel, reasonable reach and BB drop. chainstay could be shorter. Singlespeed option is a must for me. I will have to see if I can get one in the US.

The Lounge / Re: Mountain bikes
« on: November 09, 2018, 07:41:31 AM »
When you say you see a lot of e-bikes in mainland Europe, are those commuter hybrid bikes on the roads, or e-mtbs on singletrack? I thin e-bikes in the city are brilliant but I don't get the e-mtb thing at all. It seems antithetical to the spirit of mountain biking for me.

The Lounge / Re: Mountain bikes
« on: November 08, 2018, 08:49:24 AM »

I see how my BMX mentality doesn't gel with modern mtb mentality. BMX riders are militant about their bikes being simple and pure. Strong, light, and cheap, BMX bikes can be all three, but there's little opportunity to buy performance. BMX riders would reject technology that actually makes riding easier. We joked about spring-loaded headsets to make barspins and tailwhips easier, but I see a modern mtber jumping on something like that. Pegs that spin instead of grinding were tried and failed, but mountain bikers would pre-order every last one of such a thing if it made mountain biking easier.

Mountain bikes with electric motors are mainstream now. That makes me want to puke, but most mountain bikers don't share that view. Why is that?

The Lounge / Re: Mountain bikes
« on: November 08, 2018, 07:53:51 AM »
Go Gunners! (there’s a pub in Austin that broadcasts all the Arsenal games and a big following here. Sometimes we’re at the pub at 6 a.m. to watch the game, even though the bar legally can’t serve alcohol.)

To be sure, a hardtail is going to have a better whip-able feel than a FS bike most of the time. FWIW, suspension and linkage design keeps getting better, to the point that I hear many riders who swore they would always ride a hardtail saying they love ____ FS bike they are riding now because the design is that much better than what was available in the past. I have yet to put any serious trail miles on a FS bike, but I can see how rear suspension is preferable or even necessary for mere mortals on trails that combine speed and lots of technical features. For the trails I ride, FS is nowhere near necessary, but most of the locals insist that they need it. for a lot of these people, the suspension covers up poor bike handling skills, strength, and line choice. For someone like me, who has decent bike-handling skills (most of the people I ride with can’t bunnyhop to save their life), I can do without it.


However, I am looking for some insight about the finer points of geometry in mountain bikes. In recent years, mountain bikes have gotten … lazier. Long reach, lower bottom brackets, long front-center, slack seat tubes, wider and wider (and heavier) rims and tires, more plush suspension, steep seat tube angles to make up for the long reach, and dropper posts are almost ubiquitous.

they change in rider position, I believe, is still based on how a rider fits in a static, seated position, which is important, but it compromises the handling when standing and wrangling over tough terrain, when sitting and spinning the cranks is not an option. I see this happen all the time when some guy on a really nice $6000 squishy bike sits and tries to grind up a hill in his lowest gear, and then I pass him on my singlespeed rigid bike, the difference is, I stand up and hammer instead of letting all the technology do the work for me.


I really think the new breed of mountain bike is being designed so that unfit riders with no skills can just pedal and plow through everything with minimal effort put into wrangling the bike. They are designed to stay glued to the ground like the tires are made of velcro. This is boring as hell to me. I want a bike that I can ride somewhat comfortably for hours on end, but also allows me to whip it around, bunnyhop logs, etc.


In the same way that a dirt jump-oriented BMX bike is longer and lower than a flatland bike, I am looking for a middle ground. My BMX background instilled in me a sense that riding should be very active and dynamic and the bike should encourage you to use those skills. I love that about bmx- it’s really not about the bike because the bikes are so simple and have barely changed in decades. Mountain bikes from five years ago, however, are effectively obsolete because axle standards, headsets, seatpost sizes and such change all the time.


On that note, are BMX bikes still being sized by actual top tube lengths? Have they adopted the trials bike version of “reach” – distance from BB to center-top of head tube? I hope they figured that out because actual top tube length tells you nothing about how a bike fits.

The Lounge / Mountain bikes
« on: November 07, 2018, 02:16:17 PM »
I’ve been away from BMX for a long time. It seems like a lot of aging BMX guys like myself have gotten into mountain biking. I have been mountain biking for over a decade now and I am finding that the industry is pushing trends that don’t work well with my riding style, which is heavily influenced by my background in BMX.

I ride a steel singlespeed, often with a rigid fork, on the same rocky trails in Austin where most people “need” a full-suspension, dropper-post, 500% gear range bike. I am not that strong of a rider, I just get bored with a bike that you sit “in” instead of “on.” It feels like the industry is pushing bikes that practically steer for you (and sometimes pedal for you in the case of e-bikes).

In some cases, these long, low slack bikes are helpful and even a safety issue, but mostly for trails where there’s a lot of steep downhill, which I don’t find very often and don’t care to ride. I like flat, twisty, rocky trails and climbing. It feels like the newer mountain bikes are stable to a fault, they stick to the ground like Velcro, which is great at high speed and going downhill, but not so much for riding like the trail is a 30 mile-long skateboard park. My riding style and the terrain I seek out is analogous to riding bmx bike at a skatepark that’s all little kickers and ledges instead of big dirt jumps or a vert ramp.

For those of you who have started mountain biking from a BMX background, what kind of bike suits you? Do you find that low BB drop, long reaches, long wheelbases feel natural to you? If not, can/ did you adapt? what do you look for in a mountain bike that handles somewhat like a BMX bike that you can toss around and not a tank?

Anything specific that works or doesn't regarding reach, BB drop, wheelbase, angles?

The Bike Shop / Re: Tubeless bmx
« on: November 04, 2018, 07:17:48 PM »
Tubeless BMX or tubeless period? I regularly ride with literally hundreds of mountain bikers and not a single one of them fucks with tubes anymore.

The Bike Shop / Re: Tubeless bmx
« on: November 04, 2018, 03:21:38 PM »
no mountain biker would be caught dead with tubes in their tires these days. I am surprised that BMX companies have not figured this out yet. make the equivalent of a 36h, 20" Flow EX rim and put some Orange Seal in it at 65 psi.

The Bike Shop / Re: ebike Bmx commuter
« on: October 14, 2018, 04:56:48 PM »
what is the point of dirt jump bike geometry on an e-bike? are you planning to jump on it? I would think that riding in traffic at high speed, you would just want stable, predictable handling. 99% of the e-bikes out there are aluminum frames, either hybrid type bikes or hardtail XC hardtails. I am all for people riding e-bikes places that they would normally drive to reduce traffic and (arguably) reduce emissions, but e-bikes on mtb trails is dumb.

The Lounge / Re: 15 Years on the forum
« on: April 20, 2018, 09:40:38 AM »
"In the trenches." I love it!

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