1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #26
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Maybe you have the guide tune your derailleurs for you. I'd probably have trimmed the barrel adjuster a little and forgotten it had been an issue. It really does pay to learn this stuff, especially if you ride off road. You're also not giving this drivetrain a fair shake if you don't learn how to take care of it, and you're not giving yourself the chance to get an accurate perception of how much (or not!) of an improvement throwing some parts at the bike will make. Finally, your fancy new components aren't actually going to work well for very long either if you can't tune your cable tension yourself.

    I'd also order the new derailleur hanger, and have the existing one fixed if it can be without failing, or replace it if it failed at that point. A spare derailleur hanger is a good thing to have with a mountain bike.

    This should take you under fifteen minutes to learn. Just Google Site Search the article, skim down to the indexing section, read that, and do it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    It really does pay to learn this stuff, especially if you ride off road. You're also not giving this drivetrain a fair shake if you don't learn how to take care of it, and you're not giving yourself the chance to get an accurate perception of how much (or not!) of an improvement throwing some parts at the bike will make. Finally, your fancy new components aren't actually going to work well for very long either if you can't tune your cable tension yourself.

    This should take you under fifteen minutes to learn. Just Google Site Search the article, skim down to the indexing section, read that, and do it.
    Your statement about learning how to do this stuff in 15 minutes is false. For some people, they look at it one time and the get it. For others, including myself, not so much. I understand enough about derailleur adjustments to set up shifting for my Cyclocross, but that came after hours and hours of trying to figure out what I thought I understood, but didn't. It wasn't until I got "Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance" did I finally get it. That book also helped me true one of my wheels after a spoke came out. That did take 15 minutes!

    Anyway, trust me, I understand the importance of learning to your own maintenance, but it doesn't come easy for me, especially derailleurs, and the Guardian has Sram instead of Shimano, so that threw me for a loup. My rule of thumb is if I can do it myself, I will, but if I'm uncomfortable about doing something, or if its critical that it gets done right, I'll have a pro do it. I feel I've come a long way when it comes to bike maintenance, and know a heck of a lot more than 2 years ago, but I've still got a lot to learn. It takes time.

    Realize that while some people can pick stuff up easily, others can't. If you are someone that can pick up stuff easily, then great, but appreciate the fact that others aren't quite as gifted as you, as there are things in life you probably can't figure out, but for others, it comes easily.

  3. #28
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I get that not everyone can figure out drivetrain setup by inspection. And I think most of us screw it up the first time.

    This is exactly the same as on your cyclocross bike. Try manually operating your derailleur cables if you don't have a great sense for how that part of your system works. The only difference between the drivetrain on this bike and the one on your 'cross bike is that it has shifter pods with separate levers, instead of integrating the ratcheting system into the brake levers. But in terms of tuning - wherever the barrel adjusters are, they do the same thing.

    As long as you don't mess up your limit screws, (just don't touch 'em if you're nervous) you really can't damage your bike by trying to fix the indexing.

    I know that you're really interested in seeing how different equipment affects your ride. But most of what's on the bike is just a platform to facilitate a certain setup - that's where the really big changes start happening. Think of dialing in your tire pressure, or your suspension fork. Or putting your saddle in the right place, even. It's the same deal here. And it's worthwhile to figure it out.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Alternatively, you can learn to tune your derailleurs.

    See parktool.com. Great articles.
    It's this. There is little to no speed difference in shifting from X7 to X9. I would check for kinks in the cable hidden behind the housing, sometimes cables at the factory get bends in them during hasty assembly which can affect shifting. You could go so far as to buy new cables and housing (if cables turn out to be your problem), but my secret trick has been a small amount of Shimano SIS SP-41 grease on the cables. It's like shifting gold and costs nearly as much.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  5. #30
    fly on the wall
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    And even when all is said and done about getting your equipment sorted, successful shifting still comes down to technique. When going against cable tension (shifting up in the front and down in the back) the drivetrain likes to shift smoothest when itís not under a lot of load. The right time to shift involves getting into the right gear before you power up a climb. If you are shifting too late, the chain will jam against the gears.

    Give your drive train another chance. Better parts wonít replace bad technique..

    As you get used to it, youíll also find you can still shift on a climb if you back off on the power when shifting, though you'll loose some momentum.

    On a lighter note, your reports sound like a lot of fun so far. Keep the fun coming.

  6. #31
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    Glad to hear good things about Airbourne. i am considering a Goblin soon as i cannot find any decent 29er's at a reasonable price on Craiglist around here.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan769 View Post
    Glad to hear good things about Airbourne. i am considering a Goblin soon as i cannot find any decent 29er's at a reasonable price on Craiglist around here.
    I think you will do fine with the Goblin, as long as the size is right. If you haven't already done so, check out the Airborne section of the forums - really great help there, and one of the guys who is very active works for Airborne.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    I think you will do fine with the Goblin, as long as the size is right. If you haven't already done so, check out the Airborne section of the forums - really great help there, and one of the guys who is very active works for Airborne.
    Yeah what he said. It's a lot of bike for its price which makes it well worth it.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    On second thought, the one thing the bike store guy did mention was that the cable tension seemed a little loose, but he said that since it was shifting well, he opted to leave the tension alone. Maybe that was the reason for the split second delay, so perhaps that was a bad call on his part. He also mentioned the derailleur hanger was slightly bent. Anyway, shifting could be better, but it gets the job done. I plan to ride it the way it is for a season then upgrade my whole drive train next year.
    I don't mean any offense to the guy at the shop that wrenched on your bike, but I question what he did (or really didn't do).

    During the build at the factory we do our best to "pre-stretch" the cables, but after a few rides its not uncommon for things to break in and need a little tuning. Truthfully cables don't "stretch", its really the housing that slightly compresses. So its safe to assume your tension would be a little slack and shifting would be off. That should be addressed; no system is going to work properly with loose cable tension. For him not to adjust it makes me question his comment....

    Also, the RD hanger needed to be straightened at the very least. When I worked in shops I never would have sent someone out the door with a bent RD hanger. If its slightly bent a simple light touch should get it back into true, followed up by a quick RD tune. Now if it was severely bent, I probably wouldn't have tried to fix it unless the customer understood that it could snap during the attempt and that a new one might be in order...

    At this point, I'd recommend to get the tension fixed and the RD hanger back to being straight. If its something that's tough I'd take it to *another* shop and have them do it, should be all of a few minutes up in the work stand for a good mechanic.

    We do sell RD hangers on our site, its always good to get a back-up and keep one in your bag or pack. I usually always have one, however the one time last year I forgot to follow my own advice I was about 2 hours away from home on a trail and 5 minutes into the ride I caught a stick and BAM!, my ride was over. No way of fixing it, had to wait in the truck for a couple of hours while my buddies finished the ride and I then drove all of us home. 4 hours of driving, 2 hours of sitting in the car with nothing to do (no cell or 4G service there), and 5 minutes of riding total.

    Glad you like your Guardian! Looks great with the new fork!

    Jeremy
    Homebrewer, Patriot, Amateur Photographer

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