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Thread: 03 VT help

  1. #1
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    03 VT help

    hi, i've noticed that when i'm going uphills on the VT that tho it doesn't bob, it feels really really sluggish and it feels like the bike is really heavy and that my power is being lost somewhere as i go up hill but i'm not sure why or where. I've heard that the VT can climb as if its a 25 pound hardtail at times from other VT owners in the past as long as you stay seated but i'm not sure why my VT feels so heavy. the other day when i was going up an incline with some of my riding buddies i switched bikes with my friends ranier for a short period and as soon as i was pedalling his ranier i was practically flying up the hill compared to the VT and my friend just got off the VT right away and decided to push up the hill instead haha.
    my VT weighs in at 30 pounds and i have the minute shock in front and the 4-way swinger in the rear. I weigh about 140-145 lbs and i have my spv set at 65% my body weight and my main at 25% sag. my minute has about 50 psi in the spv chamber. any idea why my bike feels so sluggish going up the hills? i'm riding seated the whole way up.

    Thanks for any help given!

  2. #2
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    I think it is the weight and the relaxed seat angle. When I first put my VT together I felt like I was dragging a 50lb weight behind and riding on flat tires. Over time I have gotten use to the weight and the laid back seat position and it no longer feels sluggish. It does not have the lively felling of a hardtail, but I climb better on it since I don't waste energy trying to avoid obstacles- I just ride over them and have fun while I am doing it.

  3. #3
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    hey, strange thing, the VT climbs great now haha, i guess it was just that day! amazing how a seat adjustment (more forward) and some more pressure in the main chamber (around 20% or a bit more sag) can do for climbing!

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    interesting,

    i've found that jacking up the pressure in the swinger helps heaps with climbing

    also, i find that the recommended pressures are too low... i usually go another 20-40psi more depending on what i am doing

  5. #5
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    Tyres...

    Tyres make a heap of difference to the VT.......fast rollers like Nokian NBX or Hutchinson Pythons really bring the VT up to speed nicely.....whereas other tyres can really make the VT feel like a slug.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy
    Tyres make a heap of difference to the VT.......fast rollers like Nokian NBX or Hutchinson Pythons really bring the VT up to speed nicely.....whereas other tyres can really make the VT feel like a slug.
    mmm.. thanx, i'll keep that in mind

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    hey andy or any other VT owners

    you race your VT right?
    i was having quite the sloppy time with the VT the other day, conditions were a a bit muddy and i was just having heck with the VT, it felt quite sluggish on most things (except for the downhill secitons of course ), it felt like i was losing power somewhere still, but i had most of my troubles on the climbs, on some sections where you had to go over a root or a small bump, the VT's front end always pops up and feels really unsteady and i end up stopping and losing all momentum and i have trouble starting again (maybe a weight issue?)
    i currently have the panaracer fire xc tires and they seem to be packing mud quite a bit. i have my main chamber set at about 25% sag on my swinger 4 way and spv at about almost 135psi i believe. i had my manitou minute set at 90mm travel and my i would still have my wheel pop up, i was just not having a good time with my bike that day i would have to say unfortunately :S
    there was a race earlier in the place that i went biking and the race course was still marked out so my friends and i decided to give the track a try, after going on the track with my vt, i was having quite a bit of trouble on some of the sections that required rooty climbs or steeper climbs despite not being tired or lacking endurance, its just that i would end up having my wheel pop up or my tires would skid in the mud but if i try to lean more forward and go out of saddle i end up losing power.

    andy, how can you possibly race the VT? or was my troubles just a case of me having a bad day with my VT, or using the wrong type of tires, or having a bike that is too heavy, or my swinger set up is just not correct, or just requireing more skill? it seems that i get beat by my hardtail buddies on most things and its more of a case of me keeping up to them on most things except the downhills despite me having more endurance than them. how do you compete against most of the hardtail people in races? i hope my VT blues don't last too long as i'm almost (just almost) longing for a hardtail haha (*gasp). but i still do have my good and bad days on the VT but i don't know whats been wrong lately.

    Thanks a lot for any help!



    heres the set up for my bike (not sure if it'll help):

    03 Giant VT1 frame
    swinger 4-way
    manitou minute 90-120mm
    mavic crossland wheelset
    panaracer fire xc tires
    maxxis fly light tubes
    hayes hfx-9 brakes
    titec al-fast stem
    titec hell-bent handlbar
    titec x-wing seat post
    all shimano XT drivetrain (shifters, derailler)
    truvativ stylo team crankset
    truvativ gigapipe SL team bottom bracket

  8. #8
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    omg this bike is great, my love for this bike has been rekindled haha, sooo amazing how a minor seat and stem adjustment can make such a BIG difference, moved the seat forward just a little bit and lowered the stem by about an inch and now, no more wheelies, bike climbs great! my VT is a lot more balanced now since my weight is more on both wheels compared to before when all my weight was not balanced on both wheels (explaining my difficulties of skidding in certain terrains). i also feel like i have so much more energy now when i pedal, all because of such a minor adjustment, simply amazing! my minute fork is also now fully broken in and it is so responsive it feels great! no more complaints from this VT owner! haha

  9. #9
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    Oh yeah.. I can dig it..

    The VT's just keep getting better with some miles on them, and with the correct tuning, they are an incredible machine.

    Glad to see you got yours sorted out now... enjoy the ride, mate..



    R.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. VT
    you race your VT right?
    i was having quite the sloppy time with the VT the other day, conditions were a a bit muddy and i was just having heck with the VT, it felt quite sluggish on most things (except for the downhill secitons of course ), it felt like i was losing power somewhere still, but i had most of my troubles on the climbs, on some sections where you had to go over a root or a small bump, the VT's front end always pops up and feels really unsteady and i end up stopping and losing all momentum and i have trouble starting again (maybe a weight issue?)
    i currently have the panaracer fire xc tires and they seem to be packing mud quite a bit. i have my main chamber set at about 25% sag on my swinger 4 way and spv at about almost 135psi i believe. i had my manitou minute set at 90mm travel and my i would still have my wheel pop up, i was just not having a good time with my bike that day i would have to say unfortunately :S
    there was a race earlier in the place that i went biking and the race course was still marked out so my friends and i decided to give the track a try, after going on the track with my vt, i was having quite a bit of trouble on some of the sections that required rooty climbs or steeper climbs despite not being tired or lacking endurance, its just that i would end up having my wheel pop up or my tires would skid in the mud but if i try to lean more forward and go out of saddle i end up losing power.

    andy, how can you possibly race the VT? or was my troubles just a case of me having a bad day with my VT, or using the wrong type of tires, or having a bike that is too heavy, or my swinger set up is just not correct, or just requireing more skill? it seems that i get beat by my hardtail buddies on most things and its more of a case of me keeping up to them on most things except the downhills despite me having more endurance than them. how do you compete against most of the hardtail people in races? i hope my VT blues don't last too long as i'm almost (just almost) longing for a hardtail haha (*gasp). but i still do have my good and bad days on the VT but i don't know whats been wrong lately.

    Thanks a lot for any help!



    heres the set up for my bike (not sure if it'll help):

    03 Giant VT1 frame
    swinger 4-way
    manitou minute 90-120mm
    mavic crossland wheelset
    panaracer fire xc tires
    maxxis fly light tubes
    hayes hfx-9 brakes
    titec al-fast stem
    titec hell-bent handlbar
    titec x-wing seat post
    all shimano XT drivetrain (shifters, derailler)
    truvativ stylo team crankset
    truvativ gigapipe SL team bottom bracket
    My VT currently weighs in at 28.5lbs....and theres still some easy weight savings to be made on this without compromising the bikes reliability.
    I found the Panaracer Fire XC didnt really clear mud well at all, and this really weighed the tyre down and made for leg sapping pedalling...this could be a factor that contributed to your difficulties that day.
    When doing climbs you mentioned that the front wheel would pop up when hitting roots/small bumps.....on climbs its a fine line between keeping enough weight over the front wheel to ensure the steering is okay, yet at the same time keeping enough weight over the back wheel to ensure youre getting traction.....on some really steep climbs (and these are dry) I find myself needing to be in such a position that my chin is only an inch or two over the bar (just to stop the front end from lifting) whilst my butt is firmly glued to seat trying to keep traction at the same time....it feels a very unnatural position to ride in, but I`ve found this the best for coping with those climbs that lighten up the VT`s steering to the point of the wheel wanting to lift.
    I`ve also found it advantageous at times whilst climbing, to lift the front wheel over various obstacles such as roots, small rock ledges etc, rather than trying to power through them and having the front kick up on the rebound..... to unweight/lift over these small obstacles is just a little more predictable IMHO.
    Another factor could be your stem.....if its fairly short, switching to something a bit longer will get more weight over the front end and also help with climbing.
    If you`re after some seriously fast tyres to help you compete against your friends....try the Nokian NBX......these tyres are worth between 5-10% faster lap times over the Panaracers, they roll SERIOUSLY fast and have cornering/steering characteristics that are comparable or even better than the Fire XC`s
    Hope this helps you out
    Cheers

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the help!

    Hey thanks a lot for the help guys! after lowering the stem a little bit and moving my seat forward very little the VT is a great climber now, the front end rarely, if ever even, lifts up now. i feel that my weight is a lot better balanced on its two wheels now, i can make all the climbs that i could never make before due to my wheel popping up (i'm sure you guys can see how that can be very very annoying, having your momentum stopped going uphill because of a wheelie). i feel like i have much more energy on everything now too, i think its because my seat is positioned to be more over the pedals/crankset now as opposed to before, giving me much more power.

    On the stem issue, i think that my stem is 120mm long? i think that the stem is already quite long and making the stem any longer would make the steering feel quite unsteady i think.

    I can definitely see the mud clearance issue on the panaracer fire xc's, they pack mud quite heavily making the bike feel like it weighs a lot more than it actually weighs, but in dry conditions they are great. the nokian's are definitely something i would like to experiance with, how is the tread life on those tires?

    thanks again for the help!

  12. #12
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    NBX tread life

    The Nokian NBX tread life isnt as long as the Panaracers.
    I got over 2,300km on the rear Panaracer.......however the rear Nokian is showing about the equivalent wear after 1,300km.....this is without any skidding ( I think a longer life than this on rear tyre could be expected, mine wore quickly due to a lot of pavement training rides) the front tyre is only worn about 5-10%.
    The Nokians are a softer compound and very grippy, however this lends itself to a faster wear rate.
    I`ve heard heavier riders mention that these tyres arent for them.....I`m 160lbs and they work fine for me, but riders around the 175lb+ seem to find them a bit squirmy.

  13. #13
    m2k
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    bought my '03 VT used (approx 30lbs.): Bomber fork 5.75", 4 way Swinger, XT disc breaks and hubs, Thompson post, Easton bars, etc. and when I compared it with my brother's AC, I just thought the geometry of the AC was a lot better.

    The biggest difference I made was switching out the Fire XC's (yuck) on front/back with a MTB Weirwolf 2.5 on the front and a Kenda Kinetics 2.35 on the back. This made a HUGE difference and I have a lot more control over the bike now. Seemed to balance out all of the travel in the fork.

    The main thing I had problems with was, when I was on the seat, I felt like it was never back far enough (over the rear tire) and too high when I stayed on the seat for fast/rocky downhills, but when I was doing the steep, technical downhills where I'd be behind the seat, it always felt like I had no room for error with a seat in my chest and arms fully extended. I played with the seat a bit and I think I just needed to get used to it. Climbing - I really don't think it's any worse than my previous hardtail, especially with the Swinger. For really steep climbs, stay in the seat and lean forward with your chin just above the bar (like in andy's post) and bring the knees up into your chest.

    My advice is just that the geometry is funny and takes a lot of getting used to, but I realize how much I like this bike more and more with each ride. Just don't ride an AC because they definitely have superior geometry, but not as good climbers.

  14. #14
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    hmm ic, have you guys heard much about the specialized roll-x tires?

    For my VT, the issue i had on first was actually not having enough weight on the front weight, contrary to the back, but with some minor adjustments, i finally had the problem fixed and the VT really excels in both the downhills and uphill sections for a trail bike with that much travel. I find that the panaracers are still pretty good, they are really grippy and seem to be lasting pretty well, the only problem i guess is that their rolling resistance is not as low as they could be and they don't excel in muddy conditions because they pack mud so easily.

    Thanks for the help!

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    I have a VT-2 and after racing it several times I can confirm that its way too heavy to be competitive. The only way to make the thing faster without spending a lot of money would be to replace the tires with something tubless. Rather than spend a lot upgrading the bike I bought a used hardtail that can run circle around the VT-2 on smooth trails. The VT-2 however can go places the hardtail can only dream about. The VT also loves going down hill, its really the all-mountain bike that mountain biking is all about.

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    hmm ic, so i guess the VT is a bit too heavy to race then :S, well i guess thats what hardtails are for haha.

    thanks
    Last edited by Mr. VT; 06-28-2004 at 12:51 PM. Reason: already another forum with a tire topic for the VT

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    I can;t claim this to be THE best combo, but I am sort of stuck in the classics.. I am running a Dart front tire now and a Specialized Cannibal rear. This rear tire is UNSTOPPABLE for traction, wet or dry it seems. I am not sure how it clears mud and it is not a "fast" tire, but for all around traction I have not found anything better. I did a heavily techinical ride on Sundaty with may steep switchbacks, I had to actually get off the bike a few times not because I lost tractiona dn stopped, but because the tires gripped to the point I could not even pedal!! It was a cool feeling and yes I had my chin on the bars crankin away, she climbed like a goat!!

    I found myself riding her like a hardtail to a certain extent, helping the front over things, then letting the rear end climb over..

    I LOVE IT!!!

    I am surprised by your SPV settings.. I only have a 3-way on my 04 VT3, I weigh ~180, my main chanber is 200-210psi, spv is ~75psi. I was told to run the main chamber at body weight +/1 20psi and the spv 50-75psi. Are the '04 three chamber units that different??
    '93 DB Ascent HT, Manitou front shock, XT Der's, SRT500's, SS7 with 987's
    '04 Giant VT3, bone stock

  18. #18
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    hey sorry for the late reply, i think the settings for the 4-way swingers and 3-way swingers are pretty similar and i would think that they should be the same, i just guess the settings really depend on your personal preferences, manitous website recommends that spv be set at 50-70% of your body weight so i guess my spv settings are pretty high haha, i'm still fiddling around with my shock to find the right setting tho.

  19. #19
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    VT Freeride

    Quote Originally Posted by m2k
    bought my '03 VT used (approx 30lbs.): Bomber fork 5.75", 4 way Swinger, XT disc breaks and hubs, Thompson post, Easton bars, etc. and when I compared it with my brother's AC, I just thought the geometry of the AC was a lot better.

    The main thing I had problems with was, when I was on the seat, I felt like it was never back far enough (over the rear tire) and too high when I stayed on the seat for fast/rocky downhills, but when I was doing the steep, technical downhills where I'd be behind the seat, it always felt like I had no room for error with a seat in my chest and arms fully extended. I played with the seat a bit and I think I just needed to get used to it. .

    Sorry to pick up on an old thread, but I have the above comments are the only mention of what I have found to be an issue in crossing over from XC to light Freeride on the VT.

    I think part of the issue with the VT is the extra high Bottom Bracket. If you set you seat height for XC efficiency, you are seated a long way from the ground (cant get so much as a toe to touch whilst still on the seat) and looking straight over the bars on steep downhill.

    I do get off and lower the seat on very narly sections, but has anyone had this issue and found a way around it ie Can you run heaps of sag and still have SPV efficiency? Does setting the rear travel to 5inches make any difference? Does anyone know any bio-mechanics theory - if the forward seat position is more powerful ,can you have it lower etc???

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