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  1. #1
    Now older but less slow!
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    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!

    I started out mountain biking with a '93 Specialized Rockhopper. It wasn't long before I started upgrading. First to front suspension, then to a Kona Hei Hei (the Ti hard-tail version). I loved that bike until I bought my first FS bike (a Proflex Animal). Then in '97 I got what was to me the ultimate XC FS frame, a Boulder Starship - this is the bike with the shock as an integral part of the top tube. I rode that bike until last Fall.

    With maintenance becoming a nightmare on a 15 year old FS frame and with my transmission needing replacement I called it quits on that bike and got my current stead - the Tallboy LTc.

    I love that bike but sometimes still feel like the 29er wagon wheels get in the way a bit. So I decided to resurrect the Boulder again. As it is no longer my main bike I decided to upgrade the transmission from its current (worn out) 3x8 to 3x10 with 2013 SLX shifters, XT cassette and chain. I have a spare 2013 XT shadow to go on the rear as well.

    Well, I get the bike down from its rack (hasn't been touched in months) and realize that the rear shock is heavily gouged and leaking oil. It still works but it looks like it is on its death bed. So what to do?

    I still have a lot of good components that are centered around 26er wheels. So I looked at new frames. I wanted simplicity so i figured a hard-tail. Decent 26er frames are getting hard to find so I considered getting a 29er and rebuilding my wheels. But this would also need a new fork and I changed out my old fork just a little over a year ago, so I didn't want to do that.

    Then I came across the On One Scandal 26er being sold for $229. That is pretty much the cost of a new rear shock so it seemed like a no brainer. The frame is in ano black as well so it is really going to work well with my current kit.

    So I seem to be going about this the wrong way.. Most people have a 29er cross county machine and perhaps a 26er all mountain/trail bike. Well I have an uber awesome 29er trail bike but will soon have a 26er cross country ride. I must be mad!

    By current Boulder Starship weights 26lbs 10oz. If the Scandal frame is true to weight I should be able to bring this bike in at 25lb or perhaps a hair below. That should be fairly lively!

    The build is going to be:
    Frame: On One Scandal Large (ano black)
    Fork: '11 Rockshox SID RLT (white)
    Headset: c'97 Chris King (silver)
    Stem: Control Tech 110mm (silver) - might need to change this.
    Bars: Easton Monkey Lite
    Wheels: '99 Hope hubs (silver) with Mavic 217 rims and DT Rev spokes
    Tires: Continue trail king front, Kendall SB8 rear, tubeless
    Brakes: '99 Hope Pro Hydro (silver)
    Rotors: '12 Hope Saw 180mm front, 160mm rear
    Cranks/BB: '11 e13 XC cranks 22-32-44 (black)
    Shifters: SLX m670
    Cassette: XT 11-32 10 speed
    Chain: XT
    Rear Derailleur: XT Shadow
    Front Derailleur SLX
    Seat post: ?
    Saddle: WTB SS'98
    Misc other stuff: bell, bottle cage, grips etc.

    So as I embark on the blast back to the past am I going to hate a hard-tail 26er again or love it?

  2. #2
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    My primary ride is a C-dale Rush but last year I built up a 1997 Ibis Alibi as a 1x9 and fell in love with it. I rode that rig as much as the Rush and for anything in the 5-8mile range it is probably the bike I grab.

    I ride all New England stuff so I like the 26" and it works fine for me in the tight quick switchbacks etc.

    I also have a brandy new 2001 Ibis Ripley frame (softtail) to build up this year if everything comes together from a $ sandpoint. Of course that is another 26er.

    I will probably convery my wife's Rush to a 650b as she liked riding the 29ers last year from a demo perspective.....

    There's nothing wrong with 26"

  3. #3
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    You are not mad for going back to 26" wheels. 29ers are not for everybody. I had the privilege of riding a loaned Stumpy 29er ht on some New England trails a year or 2 ago. Not gonna lie I had a blast. The following day I took my 26" ht out on those same trails and had an even better time. Just the way the bike darted around tight turns and popped over obstacles compared to the slower, though more stable handling 29er had me grinning from ear to ear! Stick with your 26er if thats what puts a smile on your face!

  4. #4
    650b me
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    Nothing wrong with 26" at all. Ride what you like!

    I'm still fixated on the Boulder Starship you rode until last year! I've not seen one in person, but I remember seeing photos when it came out and thinking that was the coolest bike ever. Now I'm sure the rear suspension isn't on par with what's available these days, but what a cool concept! What kind of rear shock did it use? Must be proprietary?

  5. #5
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    The shock is a Risse Genesis but with a custom body that screws into the top tube. Risse still make them, but in the last few years of dealing with Risse in getting a new shock and the need for an annual rebuild I am getting fed up.

    I love the Starship, it truly is a unique bike - in fact my very bike was featured in an MBUK Mag article a year or so ago as one of the 50th sexiest bikes of all time But the reality is, things have moved on. The Tallboy LTc totally trashes the Starship in every category. What I need now is a bike I can ride with the kids, downtown, and on my local XC trails (Marshall Mesa over to Flatirons) as an alternative to the monster rock eating ability of TBLTc. It's like the TBLTc is a Ford F150; hugely capable, but sometimes all I need is a Mini.

    What scares me a bit is if I'm going to find an aluminum hard tail harsh after 15 years of riding full suspension, but where I will ride it I have ridden my cross bike so I can't be any worse than that. Also I must remember that this won't be my main bike. It'll be my alternative play bike when I fancy a change or I want to Strava a local segment - I can't imagine that a light weight race orientated hard tail will be slower than the behemoth I'm Stravaing on now

    Oh I just remembered. I have a suspension seat post in my parts bin. Perhaps I'll try that on the bike. LOL.
    Last edited by TheNormsk; 02-23-2013 at 11:23 AM.

  6. #6
    650b me
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    Thanks for the info on the Starship. Definitely a notable model in the evolution of the mountain bike.

    Consider steel for your 26" hardtail. Not sure what's available these days, but steel would likely be more comfortable than aluminum. I built a 650b steel hardtail at UBI and I'm really enjoying it. Fun, playful bike, and surprisingly comfortable for someone who's been on full suspension for the last decade.

  7. #7
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    Yes you are mad! However the MTB community needs more mad riders - be sure to post pics of the project.

    In a couple of years the"new thing" will be the 26 hard tail!

  8. #8
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    Ill second the steel hard tail recommendation. On One makes the Inbred and 456 in 4130 steel for a great price.
    Had I not found a Jamis Dragon 26er(853 Reynolds steel OOOH BABY) frame at a really good price, I would have bought an Inbred.

  9. #9
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    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!

    I probably should have got the Inbred but its too late. The Scandal has already been shipped to me.

    I think I'll be okay with it. I have my cross bike which is steel and whippy and the bump absorbing TBLTc. I'm kind of interested to see what a modern aluminum ride will do.

    I'm probably going to set the bike up racy with skinny 2.1/2.0 tires designed for speed. It's going to be interesting to see if it is actually faster, or if it just feels faster than the monster truck TBLTc.

  10. #10
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    You still have the tallboy, right? If so...I don't think your mad, hah. You have the option to choose between both wheel sizes anytime. Or are you planning on selling it and sticking with 26inch for good?

    For me, I only chose to go with 29ers because I am on the taller side and they just feel more comfortable to me. I still ride all the same trails I did on my 26ers, and clear the same obstacles. Some sections favor the smaller wheels, and some sections favor the bigger wheels. In the end, it's all the same. My brother is smaller then me and prefers the 26 inchers because it feels better to him.

  11. #11
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    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!

    Oh I'm keeping the Tallboy LTc.

  12. #12
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    If you were truly going mad, you'd be putting a rigid fork up front.

    If you ever get a chance to try out a short-chain-stay'd 29er one day, I highly encourage it. Handling like a 26 and all the benefits of a 29.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNormsk View Post
    I started out mountain biking with a '93 Specialized Rockhopper.
    I started out on an 89 Rockhopper Comp. It still lives in my garage. It's one of those bikes I just can't get rid of.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNormsk View Post
    I probably should have got the Inbred but its too late. The Scandal has already been shipped to me.

    I think I'll be okay with it. I have my cross bike which is steel and whippy and the bump absorbing TBLTc. I'm kind of interested to see what a modern aluminum ride will do.

    I'm probably going to set the bike up racy with skinny 2.1/2.0 tires designed for speed. It's going to be interesting to see if it is actually faster, or if it just feels faster than the monster truck TBLTc.
    Not mad. I started riding on a rigid bike long, long ago. Upgraded to a '96 Stumpjumper.

    Jump to a 2007 C'dale Rush FS bike with a Lefty and hydro disc brakes!!! Wow... Then it all got too easy. And I missed dancing with my bike.

    So I went to a steel 29-er rigid single speed. Oh boy was that fun. My riding skills really improved too; same with fitness. But it soon became an anti-social bike; totally different pace than everyone.

    So I built myself a steel hardtail; Dialled Bikes Prince Albert. That was 3 years ago. Now I'm dabbling with swapping to the On-One 456 Evo. But what I really want is the Dialled Bikes Alpine frame. High quality steel with a very springy ride.

    Even if you build up your Scandal HT, you can always swap to the Inbred. My buddies 456 definitely has a more plush ride than my PA. I get the nod with a more accurate rear. That coupled with a 20mm maxle fork and the bike feels so balanced.

    Anyway, back to the OP topic. Not mad. Just more fun!!!
    Just get out and ride!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002 View Post
    Jump to a 2007 C'dale Rush FS bike with a Lefty and hydro disc brakes!!! Wow... Then it all got too easy. And I missed dancing with my bike.
    I can relate to that. The TB LTc definitely makes things easy (apart from going uphill fast where its current 30lbs weight can be felt). The old Starship just felt one with me but I would not call it easy. It required work but could be surprisingly fast. But, I find it fitting that this bike has come "home" to end its life. It was forged in Lyons, CO, shipped to the UK where I bought it. Then moved to Wisconsin, then Illinois and a couple a years ago, we ended up in Boulder county just 40 minutes from its birth place. It seems fitting. The circle of life.

    Well the old Boulder Starship is all stripped down - with my LBS having popped out the headset today. I'll pick up the old frame and headset tomorrow and will then see about overhauling the King bearings before getting it pressed back into the new frame. You've got to admire King headsets. Mine is 13 years old and the top bearing is still smooth and only a little roughness in the lower bearing. It should clean up well.

    I'll post up some pictures of the transition as I progress.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNormsk View Post
    I'll post up some pictures of the transition as I progress.
    Please do. Being relatively new to the sport (since 2006), I've no idea what a Boulder Starship looks like and would be very interested in seeing some legacy frames and components.

  17. #17
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    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!

    This is how my bike looked in current trim.
    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!-imageuploadedbytapatalk-hd1362776919.726825.jpg

    The rear shock placement made the bike unique. Though as you can see, even though this shock was replaced just a couple of years ago, heavy scoring by dust contaminants is killing the rear shock.
    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!-imageuploadedbytapatalk-hd1362776981.441655.jpg

    The shock is screwed into the top tube and a piece of motorcycle link adjusts the offset between the rear swing arm and the frame.
    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!-imageuploadedbytapatalk-hd1362777003.629184.jpg

    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!-imageuploadedbytapatalk-hd1362777068.857644.jpg

    At the end of the day though the bike is still just a single pivot design.
    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!-imageuploadedbytapatalk-hd1362777135.172763.jpg

    The original frame did not have a rear disk mount. In 1998 I broke the rear triangle as I was using the bike for downhill racing at the time. I sent the rear back to Colorado from the UK to get it repaired and at the same time I got the ISO mount welded on. I have always like the neatness of the Hope caliper in this frame.
    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!-imageuploadedbytapatalk-hd1362777214.298070.jpg

    The motivation for the rebuild was to upgrade the transmission. My 1995 XTR 3x8 was finally on its last legs. Still it's had a good life. The rear mech is about 17 years old though it has been rebuilt a number of times....
    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!-imageuploadedbytapatalk-hd1362777278.476728.jpg

    The front mech was designed for a 48-36-26 front rings. It doesn't shift so well on 44-32-22 these days.
    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!-imageuploadedbytapatalk-hd1362777320.500554.jpg

    Alas, with the rear shock leaking and scored and needing replacement again I have called it a day on this frame. Hard to believe I rode the same mountain bike for 15 years!

  18. #18
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    Thanks for sharing, Normsk.

  19. #19
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    Why be mad for that? Sometimes I miss my old 26er as well..

  20. #20
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    Worst case, if you end up hating the 26 HT you can always strip both frames, swap to a 26 FS with more travel and throw the big wheels and fork on a 29 HT frame. Should be a good experiment to see how you pan out though.

  21. #21
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    Really enjoyed the photos, Normsk....thanks! I had not thought about how that design leaves the rear shock vulnerable to trail grit picked up by the rear tire. I'd say you got your money's worth out of that frame and drivetrain! Whatever you end up with, you'll love the improvements of current gear. Mountain bikes have gotten so damn good.

  22. #22
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    I must be mad. Going back to a hard-tail 26er!

    The funny thing is that until I moved to Colorado the rear shock placement wasn't an issue. It coped with every day mud and dust just fine.

    But in Colorado the fine power crushed granite is really abrasive. In a little over two years it has killed two shocks.

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