What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Monday update

Yeah, I know that it is Tuesday. Just didn't get around to writing anything up yesterday.

The Ventana, we had a pretty good run. In the end though I just never bonded with the frame. The combination of high bottom bracket and steep seat tube just left me feeling way too high over the bike. It didn't have that confidence inspiring feel. Only time that it felt really good was when the saddle was dropped and I was ripping singletrack downhill. Honestly the whole project has been a bit of a disappointment. The bike didn't work well with a long travel fork and even with a shorter fork it wasn't the best balance. I could console myself knowing that I had been able to ride a quality bike, but with the issues I had along the way I can't even recommend the brand to others as the end all in quality. My experience was otherwise. Sherwood at Ventana is a stand-up guy, but for a $2K frameset I think it should have been better. A parting shot before I tore it down...

10lb of shit in a 5lb box. Yep, broke the frame down to the bare essentials and fit it into 2 boxes capable of being shipped International Express mail.

I started with this (note, the frame fits nicely in this box complete)

Austin is a crack up. He found that ghost bag and hooked it up to Poppy's leash. He then put on a ghost show for us by hiding behind the box and making scary sounds while dragging the ghost around the box fron with the leash.

I wrestled with the box for a while and eventually got everything crammed into this...

If you look close at the previous image you will note the emblem for size reference. The front triangle by itself fills a box up to the International size restriction. I get to see this afternoon if there is any issue when I go to mail it off. These 2 boxes are headed to Russia. That's right, a very excited buyer in Russia snagged it up off e-bay.

I have been reading up on the various 29er full suspension bikes, but in the end decided to go with a Turner. They seem to have it together. I also want to check out the bushing rear suspension to see how that holds up. Should be better out this way than bearings since we do get a bit of rain and mud out here. As of last week I am officially a Homer (that's how the Turner guys over on mtbr refer to themselves)

No "upgrades" this time around. Just hook me up with a stock size and a stock color thank you. Chad over at Red Barn Bicycles hooked me up with a pretty sweet deal. His price on the frame was over a hundred bucks less than anywhere else on the net. I also hit him up for that White Brothers fork. Also a good deal there. While we are at it I needed some new hoops to complete the build/swap. Out the door it was a chunk of change, but with the proceeds from ditching my 26in stuff I was only out a few hundred. That is acceptable for me and the Mrs.

Again, check out Red Barn Bicycles for great prices on the latest in components. There are a few shops like this one on the net now. I think it is a pretty cool gig. Basically the guys typically have a store front, but they also deal in exotic/boutique frames(Intense, Ventana, Turner, Independent Fabrication, Merlin, etc). They don't make full pop on the stuff, but they do move a lot more cool and high end stuff through their shops. They get to check out the newest stuff without having to worry about it sitting on the shelf. And they get a reputation as being good guys to deal with online. They aren't megastores like Jensen or Performance. Prices aren't listed. Basically no window shopping. You tell the guy what you want and he will tell you his price. It will usually blow the megastores price out of the water. And you get to feel good about putting a few bucks into the pocket of the small shop.

So now I wait for parts to come in. I will be breaking down my saint wheels and lacing them to a set of robust 29er rims. Eventually I would like to pick up a lighter set of 29er wheels for xc days. But for now I have the Saint hubs, they are good quality, and they are not worth much on the open market so I might as well get some more use out of them. Lace them to a set of these beauties

and throw a set of 29in x 2.3in tires. What you got there is some serious traction. I have been impressed with 29ers up until now only riding xc tires. I can't wait to see how awesome the grip is with a more substantial tire mounted up. Looks like the 29er tire selection is going to get a big boost this year. Panaracer, WTB, Hutchinson, and Scwalbe all have big volume tires coming to market this fall. Now you have some real choice in the 29er tire market.

If you have some time to waste, the Eurobike photos are out. Lots of cool stuff. Kelly's again had half naked ladies painted up and on display. Errr I mean displaying Kelly's Bikes. Since this is a family site I censored (sorry guys)

Haven't posted up on riding last week, but I was able to get out for a couple of good rides. Rode a couple of new routes in Monte Sano. I am finally starting to feel like I can ride again. I am still getting left in the dust on the climbs, but I am catching up much faster at rest stops. I did have a major blowout on Saturday, but it was my fault. Got a bit happy on a 2' off camber drop and wasn't running enough pressure, so my rear tire came unseated. End result was a gun shot loud blowout and a shredded tube. No big deal and it was only a couple hundred yards from the parking lot at rides end. So I walked it out. The weather here has finally chilled out a bit. Currently it is very similar to Santa Cruz weather.

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