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  1. #1
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    All Mountain/Gravity Bike

    I've been doing quite a bit more gravity riding this past season and instead of buying a freeride bike I was considering making some modifications to my 6 inch Santa Cruz Butcher to make in gravity/AM bike. I'm considering:

    Swap out the 70 mm for 50 mm stem
    Swap out 2.35 front tire for a 2.5
    Swap out the RP23 shock for a DHX coil
    Swap out Shim XT wheels for DH wheels
    Swap out clipless for flats
    Swap out the 32 x 11-36 drivetrain for 38 x 11-36

    The bike already has a Fox 36 fork, wide bars, single ring chain guide, big brake rotors and beefy cranks.

    Has anyone else done a similar conversion or should I just sell the whole thing for FR bike?
    2013 Transition TransAM 29er
    2012 Banshee Spitfire V1.5
    2011 Yeti 303R DH
    2005 Trek Bruiser SS

  2. #2
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    What's your idea of "Gravity/AM/FR"? The Butcher is already an AM bike, what isn't it doing well for you?

    - 50mm stem: always a good idea for DH if you can manage it on the climbs/long rides
    - 2.35 for a 2.5: depends on the tire in question and the terrain you're riding.
    - Coil shock: will give you more consistent damping/spring rate over long descents and smooth out low frequency chatter better.
    - DH wheels: overkill on an AM bike as you probably won't be going fast enough to need them, unless you're hucking or sending really large jumps.
    - Clipless for flats: personal preference.
    - 32x11-36: are you spinning out on your local trails? How badly?

    New Bike

    - Do you need more travel for the terrain you're riding? IE very high speed and rocky? Lots of big hucks (8ft+)?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurp View Post
    What's your idea of "Gravity/AM/FR"? The Butcher is already an AM bike, what isn't it doing well for you?

    - 50mm stem: always a good idea for DH if you can manage it on the climbs/long rides
    - 2.35 for a 2.5: depends on the tire in question and the terrain you're riding.
    - Coil shock: will give you more consistent damping/spring rate over long descents and smooth out low frequency chatter better.
    - DH wheels: overkill on an AM bike as you probably won't be going fast enough to need them, unless you're hucking or sending really large jumps.
    - Clipless for flats: personal preference.
    - 32x11-36: are you spinning out on your local trails? How badly?

    New Bike

    - Do you need more travel for the terrain you're riding? IE very high speed and rocky? Lots of big hucks (8ft+)?

    I forgot to mention I do plan on buying a 29er hardtail next season for daily pedaling purposes. My Butcher would be bike I use for free riding and lift served.

    When I do lift served, I do feel like I need more gears, but my current set up is great for climbing, not so much for long descents.

    I also bottom out my RP23 shock a lot, I feel like a coil would be more appropriate for drops and high speed DHing. The biggest drops I'm doing are 6-7ft to smooth transitions.

    I do like the idea of DH wheels mostly for stiffness and strength for hammering loose terrain and drops, my current AM wheels are narrow and get knocked out of true more often than I'd like them to.

    I would like 7 inches of travel, but is it worth buying a while new bike for a little extra travel?
    2013 Transition TransAM 29er
    2012 Banshee Spitfire V1.5
    2011 Yeti 303R DH
    2005 Trek Bruiser SS

  4. #4
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    Could always get a new angle set and rake out the front end another degree or two, depending on your gearing may make the climbs a bit of a *****. But will def make it feel better on the decent.


    With the money you that can possibly go into your current bike you may be able score a 8" DH in the 2004-2008 model range for a comparable price. Then you can keep the light AM bike and get the little heavier DH rig too.
    2012 Giant Reign 1

  5. #5
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    Man, I think you'd miss the Butcher if you get rid of it for a bigger bike.

    29er light pedaly ride sounds good, and a bigger bike for shuttles/resorts/big stuff leaves a big hole in the middle.

    Suppose you could have the 29er built up beefier and the big bike able to go lighter for some rides.

    IMO, I'd keep what you have and shop around/save up to pick up a used FR sled. Figure you're not going to sell the Butcher for a ton - you'll still likely have to throw out more money for a new rig anyhow. Same deal with beefing up or lightening up two other rigs - I think you'd be better off saving up and shopping for a deal over the winter.

    FWIW: my Reign-X setup with a -1* headset, Totem Solo Air, Vivid Air, Reverb post and two wheelsets has been a good "big bike" compromise. Threw the heavier/DH tire wheels on, with a regular post vs. the Reverb for a couple days at Sunday River in early October and it was perfect for the place.
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  6. #6
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    I tried to make do with "tweener" bikes for a few years after selling my DH bike and finally decided to just get the right bike for each job again. I've been much happier since

    Sounds like you want a dedicated park bike, I say get one.

  7. #7
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    BikeRadar did a review with their Butcher in which they swapped the 150mm Rev for a 170mm Lyric RC2 DH with positive results:

    Santa Cruz Butcher Review - BikeRadar

    Sounds like a costly endeavor. Personally, I'd save for a purple TR250 :drool:
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurp View Post
    I tried to make do with "tweener" bikes for a few years after selling my DH bike and finally decided to just get the right bike for each job again. I've been much happier since

    Sounds like you want a dedicated park bike, I say get one.
    In a perfect world I'd have a park bike, 5-6 travel AM bike and 29er hard tail. But that ain't gonna happen. I've got a wedding and grad school to pay for so I've only got the budget for 2 bikes.

    I think a slacked out new school 29er hardtail would be nice compliment to a 6-7 inch travel park bike.
    2013 Transition TransAM 29er
    2012 Banshee Spitfire V1.5
    2011 Yeti 303R DH
    2005 Trek Bruiser SS

  9. #9
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    I was going through the same thing... I have a mojo HD and I was bringin it to highland mountain bike park, an burke mt. an all the places we have in the northeast. An It was good enough for all the "bike parks" and jump lines. But, for the price of switching to coil in the rear, wider bars, beefier everything I scored a 2010 rocky mountain flatline pro on craigslist for 1200 bucks! It was a no brainer.. IMO it's not worth having a bike that does everything ok when you can have 2 bikes (yeah, they maybe used, not new) that do great at what they were meant for.
    determined to put the "mountain" back in "MOUNTAIN BIKING!!!" "HIT IT!"
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  10. #10
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    If you think the thing holding you back is just the burliness of the build and quality of travel, then it's a no brainer - just get a coil shock and swap out your components. Definitely get a 50mm stem, get some dual ply tires for bike park days, and consider a 180mm fork.

    If you think geometry, upgrade the frame. If you want to keep it climbable but increase high speed stability there are some AM frames out there that have longer wheelbases - ie an Intense Uzzi, Specialized SX Trail, Reign X (I have one of these with a custom tuned coil on the rear, it's always did me right at the bike park when I didn't have a DH bike with me) etc.

  11. #11
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    I run my butcher with a coil shock, 50 mm stem, wide bars, 160 mm coil fork with a .5 deg. angleset so HA is 66.25 and wheelbase is longer, and you could even slack it out to 65.25 if you want (angleset is a better route than slackening it with a 170 or 180 mm fork, that raises the BB too much and the head tube is not designed for forks longer than 160 mm) Its a very capable bike, and still climbs great. I think it has great geo for AM and light dh/lite freeride, its so nimble and flickable, and the xfusion vector coil eats the rough and steep. However, if youre repeatedly doing really big drops and chunk, you might want to also get a used fr tank so you dont crack the Butcher.. My other bike is a Transition Blindside with a Totem and I use that on the rarer occasion when I do bigger stuff. And there is a noticeable difference in the ride feel. But I do most of my riding on the Butcher, I wouldnt sell it if I were you. If you can afford 2 different bikes, its the way to go. if you do pick up an fr/dh bike, leave the butcher light(ish)
    Last edited by dwyooaj; 11-28-2012 at 11:06 AM.
    '14 rocky mountain altitude, rally edition
    '11 transition blindside

  12. #12
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    Yes on 50mm stem
    dh wheels? Why not Flow Ex with Hopes or dt's or kings?
    Vector? Why not Vector air?
    Why only swap the front tire?
    I think the bike can be dh capable and light enough to leave the 32 on and still be able to pedal.

  13. #13
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    btw i also run flat pedals, saint 810 brakes with 8" rotors, and my old wheels wers hopes laced to 823's. i recently built up a set using hopes and the new wtb frequency i23 rims to lighten things up a bit; and if I want i can swap out the wheels with the dh wheels (transition hubs, halo sas rims) from the blindside. (or just ride that instead, haha) . Fork on the butcher is a rockshox domain 160 u-turn, great fork for the money but Im saving up to get either a lyric or an xfusion slant 160. In current trim bike weighs just under 35 lbs. my gearing is 22-32 cranks and 12-36 cassette, 9 spd. I like the extra low granny cog.
    '14 rocky mountain altitude, rally edition
    '11 transition blindside

  14. #14
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    In your case I think I would opt for a park bikeor DH rig for gravity riding and then a long travel 29er like the Giant Trance X29er or the Santa Cruz TallboyLT for every thing else.

  15. #15
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    I would do some of that stuff, like the shorter stem and bigger tire(s). I find if 32x11 isn't enough gear I'm probably not going to pedal anyway (but maybe that's just my slow ass). My big gear is 34x11 and never felt like I needed more at Whistler personally. Wheels, if you're pretty sure you'll kill them or they're too narrow for the bigger tires then sure. I'd get a set of Flow EX's laced to whatever and that will cover all types of riding unless you're hucking big.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lostboyscout | www.beerscout.ca
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  16. #16
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    It really depends on how much you are willing to spend or have to spend. If you start getting up in the $800+ range you can get a used freeride bike for around that. Might not be the cats meow but then you dont have to worry about if your butcher will cut it.

  17. #17
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    Interesting. I guess I could consider a buy a used FR bike. I dunno, I was looking at Banshee Prime too as a do it all 29er. I really need cheaper hobbies.
    2013 Transition TransAM 29er
    2012 Banshee Spitfire V1.5
    2011 Yeti 303R DH
    2005 Trek Bruiser SS

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwyooaj View Post
    I run my butcher with a coil shock, 50 mm stem, wide bars, 160 mm coil fork with a .5 deg. angleset so HA is 66.25 and wheelbase is longer, and you could even slack it out to 65.25 if you want (angleset is a better route than slackening it with a 170 or 180 mm fork, that raises the BB too much and the head tube is not designed for forks longer than 160 mm) Its a very capable bike, and still climbs great. I think it has great geo for AM and light dh/lite freeride, its so nimble and flickable, and the xfusion vector coil eats the rough and steep. However, if youre repeatedly doing really big drops and chunk, you might want to also get a used fr tank so you dont crack the Butcher.. My other bike is a Transition Blindside with a Totem and I use that on the rarer occasion when I do bigger stuff. And there is a noticeable difference in the ride feel. But I do most of my riding on the Butcher, I wouldnt sell it if I were you. If you can afford 2 different bikes, its the way to go. if you do pick up an fr/dh bike, leave the butcher light(ish)
    Any pics of your Butcher? I'm curious to see what it looks like all freerided out.
    2013 Transition TransAM 29er
    2012 Banshee Spitfire V1.5
    2011 Yeti 303R DH
    2005 Trek Bruiser SS

  19. #19
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    are you from vermont?
    determined to put the "mountain" back in "MOUNTAIN BIKING!!!" "HIT IT!"
    2012 MOJO HDeeeeeeee!!!!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by manchvegas View Post
    are you from vermont?
    Not originally. I lived there for 4 years and grew up skiing there. I live in Boston now.
    2013 Transition TransAM 29er
    2012 Banshee Spitfire V1.5
    2011 Yeti 303R DH
    2005 Trek Bruiser SS

  21. #21
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Interesting. I guess I could consider a buy a used FR bike. I dunno, I was looking at Banshee Prime too as a do it all 29er. I really need cheaper hobbies.

    IMO, for the dough you'd spend on two other bikes...Keep the Butcher as is.

    Pick up a hardtail 29er. Just find one with the geo that suits and pick up the cheapest model.

    Save up over the winter/cruise/troll for deals on a used/demo/whatever FR/DH rig.

    Then you get to have a three bike stable, and the cost gets amortized out a bit.

    If you really can have only two, a burly 29er hardtail seems like it would be a pretty damn good do it all daily driver, then something in the 7" pedaly FR range with two wheelsets (lighter and heavier) would work well.

    IMO, a Reign-X built up with a 7" fork is titties in this area. Pedals well, isn't crazy heavy, is still pretty damn bomber, and they can be found for no a ton of cash. Even easier if you have your old Domain still kickin about, and if it can be converted to a 180mm version.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    Any pics of your Butcher? I'm curious to see what it looks like all freerided out.
    Post your Butchers & Nickels!

    2d post down or so. A year ago, so its a little diffeernt (and lighter) now. Now it has a 50 mm stem instead of a 45, and the new lighter wheels.
    '14 rocky mountain altitude, rally edition
    '11 transition blindside

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    If you really can have only two, a burly 29er hardtail seems like it would be a pretty damn good do it all daily driver, then something in the 7" pedaly FR range with two wheelsets (lighter and heavier) would work well.
    This is what I'm thinking. I think I may have buyer for my Butcher frame. Now I'm thinking build a steel, slacked 29er hard tail now and buy a used freeride bike in the spring. The 29er would be the daily driver, freeride bike for Vietnam and Highland. Yee haw!
    2013 Transition TransAM 29er
    2012 Banshee Spitfire V1.5
    2011 Yeti 303R DH
    2005 Trek Bruiser SS

  24. #24
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    picked up a steel last night... 2010 trek scratch 9 for 900 bucks!! Thing is mint, If you look, the deals are out there...
    determined to put the "mountain" back in "MOUNTAIN BIKING!!!" "HIT IT!"
    2012 MOJO HDeeeeeeee!!!!
    2010 scott CR1 comp

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