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Monday, October 22, 2007

Weekend stoke

The Sultan is together. Needs a bit of fine tuning. I want to swap back to the 3" shaft for my Gravity Dropper. The rear hydraulic line is too short. The steerer can be cut a bit shorter. Turner uses long head tubes, so there is no need for spacers. I have 1 5mm spacer under the stem and even that feels a bit high.

The ride report...
Well, it rode like a Sultan. I had taken cruzthepug's Sultan out in the Spring and was really impressed by how well the bike pedaled despite the air pressure being set for someone 20lb lighter than myself. It also rode well despite the layback post and 120mm stem. Needless to say I was excited to see how the same bike would work out setup to my personal preferences.

I am stoked
My build pedals as well as cruzthepug's. Of course the heavierr tires/wheels do make it a bit more downhill oriented. But I was pleased to find that it still climbed very good. Even with the 90mm stem I found no problem with weight distribution. I stopped once to adjust the air pressures, but otherwise was happy running 220 in the rp23 and 15psi in the Fluid135. I was able to get full travel out of both without feeling like I was bobbing down the trail. Riding with the platform on was unnecessary. I tried it in all three settings and honestly don't see a need to run the platform. Pedaling was comfortable and efficient with the platform off.

In comparison to the 26in Ventana X-5 that it replaced...
The Sultan pedals better with less platform. The F135 is much smoother than the RS Pike air fork. The Sultan pedals better out of the saddle. The bigger wheels just mob over the rocky terrain here in AL where the 26in wheels seemed to get caught up a lot easier. Yet again a 29er has changed my perception of ride quality

In comparison to the 29er XC bike...
Yeah, it doesn't have the snappy acceleration of light weight xc tires/wheels. Wheels on the Sultan are noticeably stiffer, track better, and transfer power without any wind up or delay. Rocky trails are point and shoot on the Sultan instead of white knuckle sketchy. Once again I can now trust my bike to handle jumps and drops.

Build spec:
- XL Sultan frameset
- WB Fluid 135 fork
- XT crankset 22/36/bash
- XT front derailleur
- X9 rear derailleur
- X0/X9 shifters
- Saint/XT disc brakes, 8in rotors
- Halo Freedom Disc wheelset, 20mm front, QR rear
- Nevegal/resolution tire combo
- gravity dropper
- Specialized 90mm stem
- Salsa h-bars
- Nisene saddle
- lock-on grips
- PC970 chain
- Weight?? Probably 31lb, feels much lighter than my X-5

I tooled around in the Huntsville Land Trust for a few hours. I had ridden the High Trail before, but the rest of the ride was new territory for me. You can follow my route on the map below. Blocks on the map are about .1mi. I think my total ride was about 12-14mi, but I didn't measure. The toll gate trail is a shale/rock fire road climb. Kind of like riding up a river bed. It was a good warm up and test of how well the Sultan could climb and motor up loose terrain. I stopped and snapped the first pictures of the day at the intersection with High Trail. Once on High Trail I messed with the rear shock air pressure and shock platform. In the end a bit more pressure and platform off are where I left things for the rest of the ride. Much less fuss than I had anticipated. The White Brothers fork performed flawlessly. It is my first WB fork and it was pretty much set and forget. I rolled to the end of High Trail and snapped a few pictures of the bike and trail signage.

I took a brief trip down Waterline Trail. Sketchy for sure. Full pads and full face helmet to tackle that beast. I decided that on the new rig it was best not to even try a trail that steep and technical. So I hiked up and rode out to the top of Bluff Line to take advantage of the full downhill run. I dropped the seat and proceeded onto the most fun trail I have ridden in AL. It had rock gardens, massive amounts of flow, rock ledges, and a couple of small drops. I stopped in a couple of places, snapped pictures, adjusted my bars, and hiked up to do the sections again.

From the bottom of Bluff Line I took Annandale to connect to Waterline a bit below the sketchy stuff. Waterline also was a must see trail. Fast rocky downhill. I was really able to see how my suspension was working on this trail. Here is the bottom of the trail for an idea of what I am talking about...

From here on the story is pretty boring. Lots of very technical terrain. Alms loop had some hike a bike, but a lot of tech climbing thru rocky outcrops. I wouldn't put it on my weekly routine, but it is worth doing sometime. I dropped down Alms Creek trail to find a more appropriate bike flowing trail. Fagan Spring trail proved to be just the ticket. Great singletrack, flowing uphill climb, and beautiful rock outcrops and channels to ride through. At the top I decided that I wasn't dead yet, so I headed out Railroad Trail. Interesting, but more of a hiking trail. It was mostly double track with chunked up granite boulders to ride on. Highlights of the trail are the plaques with history lessons, several bridges over granite gaps, and the scenery.

All and all it was a great break in for the Sultan. I was surprised that I spent very little time fussing with the setup. It really just worked as it was. The chain popped a few times off the bat, but stretched enough on the initial climb to mesh with my cogs and chainrings. So far so good.

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