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  1. #1
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    Heckler - AM build. Thoughts?

    Here's the deal. I would much rather be riding than sitting here in front of the computer talking about my bike but it's snowing like a mo-fo outside. Since I've already cleaned it, washed all my gear, tried on my new baggies I got in the mail (twice), ordered an new full-face, I can think of nothing else to do that has to do with riding.

    How can I make my already dope ride even doper? I'm thinking about changing up the stem and bars to something lighter, getting a joplin or speedball, maybe going tubeless, maybe a small block 8 or something lighter in the rear, some straitline levers... I just don't know. I don't really need anything but I gotta fuel my obsession. It needs to climb fairly well (hence the talus) but it also needs to rock the downs. Any ideas for improvement?

    Here are the goods:

    Frame : 2004 Heckler, Medium (purchased recently online - thanks Chris!)
    Shock : 2007 Fox DHX 5.0 with Ti spring
    Fork: 2008 Fox 36 Talas R
    Headset : King
    Handlebar : Titec El Norte
    Grip : Ruffian
    Stem : Hussefelt, 60mm
    Seatpost : Thomson
    Saddle : WTB Rocket
    Brakes : Juciy 7s, 8" front, 6"rear
    Derailleur front : XT
    Derailleur rear : X9
    Crankset : LX
    Tensioner: Blackspire Stinger
    Bash: Dangerboy
    Pedals : Crank Brothers Acid
    Shifters : X9
    Chain : Sram 990
    Cassette : Sram 980
    Hubs : Hope Pro II
    Spokes : DT
    Rims : Front - E540, Rear - 5.1D
    Tubes: Yes
    Tires : Front - Nevegal 2.35, Rear - Excavator 2.35

    DriveSide.JPG

    FrontRightSide.JPG
    Last edited by masonmax; 02-28-2009 at 06:52 PM.

  2. #2
    wait...what?
    Reputation: CaliforniaNicco's Avatar
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    might weigh a little less with an air shock?
    I mean, it looks fine to climb...how much does it weigh???

  3. #3
    ride hard take risks
    Reputation: dogonfr's Avatar
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    Joplin would add weight but definitely worth it.
    Formotion Products
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  4. #4
    on my 3rd wind...
    Reputation: SingleTrackHound's Avatar
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    I dig the way it is. Maybe PUSH the rear shock.

    Is Fox 36 lowered to 140mm? If it is, geo and spec looks pretty much nalied.
    sth

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the responses everyone.

    Yeah.. the fork is at 140 in the pic. I'm not sure how much it weighs but I'm guessing in the 35 range. I came from the DHX air in the rear and the coil is just so much better. Would having my shock PUSHed be worth it? I can't imagine it feeling any better back there but then again I have no frame of reference. I'm really into the idea of an adjustable seatpost but I can't determine a clear winner based on what people around here are saying. Is the joplin the one to get?

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have.


    Looks like you've already got the perfect girl there, but you've gotten so used to her you don't realize what you've got. I think you need to sleep around a little bit to realize what a good thing you've already got at home. Fortunately, bikes aren't monogamous, get some exotic bike, maybe one with amazonian 29" wheels, maybe one without an ounce of cushion on her, or maybe some abused little dirt jumper. She'll show you some new moves on the trail, and when you get back with your true love you'll love her even more.

    Shelling out for a boob job for a "9" is kind of a waste of money, wouldn't you say?

  7. #7
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    Dudes... I LOVE this bike. Don't get me wrong. I know I am lucky to have it. I already feel like she's a "10".

    My ride was pieced together over years buying parts on ebay, pinkbike, etc... I did it through trial and error based on my needs as a rider. I'm just fishing for some good ideas. Did I mention there's snow covering up my local trails?

    I think DOGONFR has me convinced to try a joplin.

    Thanks again for all the feedback!

  8. #8
    Hmmmmm
    Reputation: Ericmopar's Avatar
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    For All Mountain, that thing is equipped just about perfect.
    Even the LX cranks are really durable. I've had one on my bike for 5 years now and it's still going strong. There would be no real weight change if you bought a new XT or SLX etc.

    You might get a slight shifting improvement, with a XT cassette and chain swap.
    I went all Shimano last year, and couldn't believe the improvement in chain life and cassette wear and shifting performance.
    I also went to a Shadow XT dérailleur.
    Still, that X.9 is hard to beat too.

    You're not the only one, to complain about the performance of the DHX Air on a single pivot. The guys that ride Mountain Cycles say the same thing. The common complaint is a lack of midrange damping control.

    It may not have Saint, XTR, or X.0, but the build is just perfect for what kind of riding you're doing.

    I'd guess from the spec, it's actually closer to the 30 - 32 lb weight range.

    I wouldn't get anything Pushed, unless there seems to be a balance problem between front and rear. If you can set the damping controls, so the bike feels balanced in corners and off jumps, then I wouldn't waste any cash on suspension upgrades.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity.

    Peace and Long Rides...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ericmopar
    For All Mountain, that thing is equipped just about perfect.
    Even the LX cranks are really durable. I've had one on my bike for 5 years now and it's still going strong. There would be no real weight change if you bought a new XT or SLX etc.

    You might get a slight shifting improvement, with a XT cassette and chain swap.
    I went all Shimano last year, and couldn't believe the improvement in chain life and cassette wear and shifting performance.
    I also went to a Shadow XT dérailleur.
    Still, that X.9 is hard to beat too.

    You're not the only one, to complain about the performance of the DHX Air on a single pivot. The guys that ride Mountain Cycles say the same thing. The common complaint is a lack of midrange damping control.

    It may not have Saint, XTR, or X.0, but the build is just perfect for what kind of riding you're doing.

    I'd guess from the spec, it's actually closer to the 30 - 32 lb weight range.

    I wouldn't get anything Pushed, unless there seems to be a balance problem between front and rear. If you can set the damping controls, so the bike feels balanced in corners and off jumps, then I wouldn't waste any cash on suspension upgrades.
    That about sums everything I was going to post..
    Very nice choice of parts over-all, The DHX Air has worked out perfectly for me, Apparently it's not too well for single pivots as mentioned before.

    Bigger rotor rear, Wider, lower bars (highly recommend Sunline V1) which will keep things lower when that Talas is all the way up to 160. Other than that it seems like you've got everything set up nicely. (everything left to change would be the blingy details)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ericmopar
    You might get a slight shifting improvement, with a XT cassette and chain swap.
    I went all Shimano last year, and couldn't believe the improvement in chain life and cassette wear and shifting performance.
    I also went to a Shadow XT dérailleur.
    Still, that X.9 is hard to beat too.
    If there's an improvement in performance by going to a Shimano cassette then I need to know. Does anyone else care to chime in? Do Shimano cassettes perform better than SRAM?

    Thanks!

  11. #11
    Hmmmmm
    Reputation: Ericmopar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masonmax
    If there's an improvement in performance by going to a Shimano cassette then I need to know. Does anyone else care to chime in? Do Shimano cassettes perform better than SRAM?

    Thanks!
    What I can do is add some more specific info.

    The shifting performance was increased mostly at the chainrings.
    The LX cassette I've been using for over a year now, simply doesn't bend teeth the way the PG 950 - 970? cassettes were.
    I was keeping records for awhile, and the HG-93 chains last longer than the 951 Srams I tried before. Twice as long, here in the desert.
    I was averaging about 90 days with the 951s and about 6 - 7 months with the XT level chains.
    Others swear they have never had these issues, with Sram chains and cassettes.
    I have no answer to that, only my personal experiences.
    When I have the extra cash, I will buy the Power Link for the Shimano chain though.
    I might add, I never had a wear issue with the old PC - 69 chains. It's the replacement 900 series I don't care for.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity.

    Peace and Long Rides...

  12. #12
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    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Have you had any experience with the upper-end SRAM cassettes like the 980 and 990?

    These three key factors have basically eliminated shifting problems for me.

    1. Move to SRAM shifting. The 1:1 ratio is so crisp and precise.
    2. Learning to diagnose, adjust and tune my drivetrain and shifting.
    3. Smooth and efficient shifting while riding.

    I rarely if ever have shift issues anymore.

    One thing I don't know much about are ramps on cassettes. Do SRAM and Shimano designs work differently from one another?

  13. #13
    There's no app for this.
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    thoughts...

    wow! I don't see how to improve that ride, I'm impressed.

    FWIW, on the Norshore, nobody's using auto up/down seat posts, one gets off at trailhead after a pedal up, and lowers it manually.

    I can't think of any suggestions....tubeless isn't big here either, well, that I'm aware of. We weekend warriors find tubes easier to work with when you flat.

    Happy trails, Jim

  14. #14
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    VERY sweet bike. There's a couple of things I'd recommend:

    Easton Carbon DH bars. I have them on all my bikes. Nearly unbreakable and light. For some reason, I broke a LOT of bars until the Easton stuff came out.

    Maybe some cheap carbon headseat spacers.

    You could drop a lil bit o' weight with a Gamut P20 guard, I think.

    I don't know if your Avids squeel but some of the new Elixir's would be fun.
    "It looks flexy"

  15. #15
    Hmmmmm
    Reputation: Ericmopar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masonmax
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Have you had any experience with the upper-end SRAM cassettes like the 980 and 990?

    These three key factors have basically eliminated shifting problems for me.

    1. Move to SRAM shifting. The 1:1 ratio is so crisp and precise.
    2. Learning to diagnose, adjust and tune my drivetrain and shifting.
    3. Smooth and efficient shifting while riding.

    I rarely if ever have shift issues anymore.

    One thing I don't know much about are ramps on cassettes. Do SRAM and Shimano designs work differently from one another?
    You know...It's been about a year, or maybe longer since I last used a Sram cassette, so I don't remember how different the ramps are. Patent rights alone, would suggest different ramp designs though.
    I never had a problem shifting the Sram cassettes, even with mixed brand drivetrain. It was always the premature wear and teeth bending, that I didn't like about them.
    I never tried a 980 or 990 cassette, for the same reasons I've never tried a XTR, it just plain costs too much.
    I can say this though, I think dollar for dollar, the LX and XT are probably better. It doesn't mean that a PG-990 might not be better than a XT, just that my experience has been, that in the same price range, the Shimano cassettes seem to be better.
    I almost switched to a Sram X.9, but I didn't have the cash for new pods and dérailleur. Also, Shimano came out with the Shadow line, which is pretty damn good for rough riding conditions.
    I also have arthritis in my hands, and in my case, I find the Shimano style pods a little easier to use.

    There are small but important differences in the chains, between Shimano and Sram. The rollers are significantly narrower on the Sram chains. The outer plates look identical between the two brands at a glance, but the Sram plates have a beveled edge, while the Shimano plates are machined square at the edges. I think that may be why the Shimano chains pick up better on most rings.

    This thread got me wondering, if an all Sram drivetrain would perform fine, just like my all Shimano drivetrain.
    Sram chains may like Truvative's ramps better, because of the way their outer plates are designed, for instance.
    Truvative is a Sram company, for those that didn't know.
    The small differences, might make them work better with their own brand of rings etc.

    In any case, I don't have an answer. Some seem to have better luck with Sram, while others are like me and don't want to give up Shimano.

    I agree with the advice about proper shifting adjustment and riding technique.
    I always try to back off the pedaling load when shifting.
    I don't crosschain.
    I also know proper set up.
    I use good cables and housing, not that cheap crap.
    My biggest improvement in shifting, was from the Shadow dérailleur.
    If it didn't cost so much, and standard style pods were more easily available, I might have tried a Sram X.9.
    Still, the Shadow XT is really a fine dérailleur, that is much better suited to aggressive riding than the old style Shimano rear mechs.

    I've heard a few people claim "that little piece of aluminum, that attaches the Shadow derailleurs to the mount, breaks too easily."
    I find that an interesting statement, since on most Shadow derailleurs, that little piece of metal is forged steel.
    I say most, because I don't know what that "mounting tab" is made of on the XTR versions. For the price, the mounting tab on XTR should be titanium.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity.

    Peace and Long Rides...

  16. #16
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    Thanks for sharing. I think I'm gonna try a shimano chain and cassette next time around just for the heck of it. I'll report back as soon as that happens.

    Anyone else have any insight?

  17. #17
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    wouldn't buy a thing. It'll never be enough.

    Start looking for ways to throw money at a riding trip somewhere...that'll give you plenty of vein bursting decisions to make.
    "...his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

  18. #18
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    I have an 05 Heckler myself and I love her. I have just swapped the DHX5 coil for an RP3 , albeit a "wrong" one at that since it is a small volume one tweaked for a Kona Coil Air and I have found the pedaling sooooo much better. And to be honest I do not miss the the buttery smooth of the coil that much. That alone has shaved almost 500gr. Soon as I can I will get a correct RP2/3 for it.
    Like others said before a carbon bar might be a good idea but make sure you add some bar ends to protect it. And since everything else looks just about right, I can only add some "bling" factor....well and a frigg=load of performance really...in the form of Hope's new Tech M4 brakes with floating rotors. Lets just say that the rougher the conditions, the better they perform. I likie!

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