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Old October 4th, 2009, 08:40 AM   #1
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Default Feels good to be building again - finished pictures only.

I've given up on the whole 4x4 thing since we live in Michigan and "challenging" trails are a goodly drive away. If I want to experience 99% of what Michigan has to offer, by law, I can get away with owning a 2WD station wagon.

Anyway, long ago I realized that (for my wife and I) one of the best ways to experience off road beauty, challenges and seemingly limitless trails is to do it on two wheels. We ride dirtbikes and pedal bikes; this is the finished build of a bicycle I wanted for my wife to increase her advanced skillset.


It started out this summer; my wife and I went to ride highland rec. I have taken her there once a year for the past few years to see if I could use it as "the next step" in her MTB training.
She has an incredible MTB skillset that combines a high level of natural ability with stern determination and - for lack of a better word - fearlessness. So, this year's ride she was on her 100mm front travel steel hardtail and after about three miles in, we stopped and she told me something that sparked SEVERE interest and hope within me: she said "It feels like the trail wants to kill me! I can't control where the bike goes downhill and the back tire won't stay on the ground."

Well, now, I knew I could do something about that. As 95Geo would say "Your geometries are all wrong for what you want to do."

She has an older Jamis Dakar comp that works okay, but since it was a lower-end bike, even replacing the heavier/cheap oem parts (tires/seatpost/seat/cassette) only brought it down to just under 29 pounds. For a comparison, my 5" travel FS bike comes in around 27 lb, and there is nothing "stupid" light on it - just picked from what can be light w/o sacrificing durability ( I built it to race 24 hour races on ).



I gave the Dakar a tune up and we went back out to Highland - and surprise, surprise, she was able to ride A/B/C loops! The big difference in bikes that helped her is the Dakar has 130mm travel and is really good at sucking up huge hits that lets her continue to roll over obstacles AND it makes the headtube angle really slack which slows down the handling of the bike and makes it easier to navigate nasty terrain.

So, back to weight.
The front fork is coil-sprung and heavy (4.5 lb) - she doesn't use all of the travel because she's so light. I couldn't find a lighter spring for it and found myself looking for custom-made titanium springs. Before I went down that path and tried to guess what a good springrate would be for her, I decided to look for the lightest long travel air-sprung fork I could find. I got a smoking deal on a 130mm Manitou minute MRD (3.3 lb), however, it uses a 20mm thru-axle (very similar to the same thing dirtbikes use) so I had to build a new front wheel.

Then I decided to change the gearing so she wouldn't ever need to use her granny gear (22T front ring), and it turned into a complete bike build.

Here are some photos...



















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Old October 4th, 2009, 08:41 AM   #2
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Placeholder for parts list.

23.25lb

Frame: 2006 Santa Cruz Juliana Superlight
Fork: 2008 Manitou Minute MRD 130mm travel w/20mm thru axle.
Brakes: Avid Elixir SLCR
Discs: Origin8 superlight
Cranks: KCNC 2x9 converted to 1x9 w/bashring
Headset: Chris King stealth
Seat: Tioga Spiderlite caron seat
Post: KCNC Scandium / Titanium
Stem: FSA OS-99
Bar: Easton monkeylite carbon SL
Shock: Fox RP23
Tires: Conti Mtn King supersonic 2.4" w/stan's tubeless system
Wheels:

Front:
Hope Pro II 20mm thru hub
mavic 717 disc rims
DT 1.8/1.5/1.8 spokes
Alloy nipples
Handbuilt by me

Rear:
American classis 225 hub
mavic 717 disc rims
DT 1.8/1.5/1.8 spokes
Alloy nipples
Handbuilt by me

Switchgear: Shimano saint M810
Pedals: Look Quartz

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Last edited by ScOoTeR; October 9th, 2009 at 06:46 PM.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #3
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needs pedals.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 08:49 AM   #4
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would your dingleberries get cought in that seat if you were riding naked?
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Old October 4th, 2009, 08:59 AM   #5
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Nice looking Superlight! I love building too - I was just playing around on the Rocky Mountain DJ bike I built this spring.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #6
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Very sexy, but that saddle makes my boys hurt just looking at it!
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Old October 4th, 2009, 09:49 AM   #7
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Dats purty.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:42 AM   #8
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nice bike
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:49 AM   #9
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needs pedals.
High end bikes are never weighed with pedals, however, with the Look Quartz pedals, it comes in at 24 lb even.

If I went with lighter tires for her and when the new crankset arrives, with pedals it would be sub 23 lb. For a 100mm/130mm travel FS bike with discs.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:51 AM   #10
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Very sexy, but that saddle makes my boys hurt just looking at it!
Dude, you cannot believe how soft it is - that web flexes. It is softer than the other lightweight seats I looked at. That seatpost + seat weighs 304g together.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #11
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would your dingleberries get cought in that seat if you were riding naked?
I equate it to putting on makeup when I drive: two birds, one stone.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #12
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Dude, you cannot believe how soft it is - that web flexes. It is softer than the other lightweight seats I looked at. That seatpost + seat weighs 304g together.
i rode one of those all carbon fiber seats for a couple days on a customers road bike when he was having issues he couldnt figure out. wow that thing sucked! maybe it would be alot better now that my ass is a whole lot bigger than it used to be.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #13
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I equate it to putting on makeup when I drive: two birds, one stone.
gotta keep the pooper clean
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Old October 4th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScOoTeR View Post
High end bikes are never weighed with pedals, however, with the Look Quartz pedals, it comes in at 24 lb even.

If I went with lighter tires for her and when the new crankset arrives, with pedals it would be sub 23 lb. For a 100mm/130mm travel FS bike with discs.
so should I take them off my Huffy when I weigh it? I think it would take it down to 50 pounds or so. I have a question about this. Does a pound or two make that big of a difference? I can't imagine its cheap to go light. Cool bikes, is the black one yours? Or is that what you started with?
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Old October 4th, 2009, 11:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
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so should I take them off my Huffy when I weigh it? I think it would take it down to 50 pounds or so. I have a question about this. Does a pound or two make that big of a difference? I can't imagine its cheap to go light. Cool bikes, is the black one yours? Or is that what you started with?
yes a pound or two makes a huge difference. especially on items such as wheels. it is amazing how much you notice a couple hundred grams on a wheelset
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Old October 4th, 2009, 11:47 AM   #16
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If I went with lighter tires for her and when the new crankset arrives, with pedals it would be sub 23 lb. For a 100mm/130mm travel FS bike with discs.
That's redonculous. My road bike came from the factory at 21 lbs With a few quick changes I could make it to 19... but a 23lb. full suspension? NICE!

Those discs are totally going to fail in reverse.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 06:03 PM   #17
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RTI ramp score?
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Old October 4th, 2009, 06:46 PM   #18
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If I went with lighter tires for her and when the new crankset arrives, with pedals it would be sub 23 lb. For a 100mm/130mm travel FS bike with discs.
Those tires are MEATY!

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RTI ramp score?


'Bout 20 feet.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 07:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tab View Post
so should I take them off my Huffy when I weigh it? I think it would take it down to 50 pounds or so. I have a question about this. Does a pound or two make that big of a difference? I can't imagine its cheap to go light. Cool bikes, is the black one yours? Or is that what you started with?
the black one is mine and what I've been building since new in 2002 (I've been through three warranty frames and switched components several times).

It is horribly expensive to go light unless you work at a bikeshop, have a hookup, or are incredibly patient and wait for deals. It took most of the summer to gather parts and I ended up building the whole thing for less than a mid-range retail bike.

The reason I went so light is for several reasons:
1. My wife can't get any lighter or she would be unhealthy.
2. As Chad mentioned, removing weight in the wheels makes a big difference in acceleration, handling and suspension responsiveness.
3. Bragging rights for my wife when people see her bike.

Compared to her other FS bike, I dropped nearly one pound per wheel - minimizing tire/rim weight to reduce inertia. The energy she puts to the pedals doesn't have to first overcome extra inertial mass in the wheels before the bike accelerates. This pays off the whole ride, as she conserves that energy every time she increases speed. That translates to being able to ride farther, and being able to give the bike an extra squirt of power uphill if she has to ride up over a root or a rock. It benefits real slow technical riding too by reacting faster to rider input.

I also went a little overboard and did some things to lighten it that I could never do because I can never seem to get below 185 lb and break the really light parts. Nearly every bolt is titanium, and the ones that aren't are aluminum. The bottom bracket (that the cranks turn on) is aluminum, the spokes are the smallest gauge -

I am at the point where going lighter would cost big money (except if I put smaller tires on);
formula has new brakes out that would take 240 grams off, I could get another 150 grams with a cassette machined out of titanium billet, 400 grams with a lighter set of tires (at the cost of handling and technical ability) and maybe 100 grams by changing the derailleur and shifter to XTR.
Soooo... if I won the lottery and threw an extra $1200.00 at the bike, I could take off almost 2 more pounds. The tires would make the biggest difference (and would be the cheapest), but it would be like changing out a set of 31x10.5 BFG M/T for 235/75 all season radials - they're lighter, but you'll miss the performance of the grippier tire.

Think of it like tools, Tab: you could use an old stick welder or a fancy MIG welder and get the job done with both. Chances are, you'll do a better job in less time with the better welder.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 07:21 PM   #20
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Those tires are MEATY!
540 grams on one and 560 on the other - they are advertised at 530 grams.
I got cheated outta 40 grams!

When I worked at a bike shop, whenever new lightweight product came in, we would weigh every part, then buy the lightest one.
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