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Thread: my vt project

  1. #1
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    my vt project

    i dont have a digi cam so no pics, sorry. been trying to get my friend's, but the camera he "always has with him", he never has with him.

    i finally decided i wanted to keep and build the frame so i went about stripping the paint on my own. $8 for a quart can of aircraft remover and about 16 hours time later, the frame is mostly stripped. the frame has relatively weak primer so the paint remover worked fairly well, but still not well enough for my taste; i ran out of patience even tho i had a little bit of stripper and paint left. the frame has a few spots of primer left here and there in fairly obsure areas so i left it at that for now.

    sanded/scuffed the frame with a scuffing pad and polished with cheap metal polish (blue magic brand, i think). without a buffer, it's really labor intensive, i did the stays on the rear triangle really nice, but the support bridge, pivots and dropouts were left raw. has a nice contrast, i think, but that could be my hunger and fatigue talking. the main triangle was not done nearly well, but i'll re polish after assembling most of the bike; i dont have a frame stand and holding/polishing the main frame was a bit more aggravating.

    when polishing, dont bother with the instructions. apply the polish with a rag and buff the crap out of it until the black gives way to shine. dont just apply, rub in till black then wipe off and buff. the results are much better if you rub the polish in until it starts to disappear on its own. but again, without a buffer, it's alot of work.

    the 16.5" frame weight prior to stripping was 6 and 12 ozs. (complete, with shock, headset cups, etc). after stripping, the frame alone (no shock, no shock hardware, no headset cups) weighs 5 and 3 ozs. the shock alone (manitou 4 way) weighs 15 ozs. measurements were made on a cheap digital fishing scale that is accurate to an oz, give/take an ounce. i'll be looking to get a lighter shock, hopefully in the half pound range. with completely frame weight at around 5 and 12 ozs, i think that's close enough to other long travel, high end frames.

    the biggest hassle in stripping (aside from the stripping itself) was removing the main pivot bearings. i ended up using a c-clamp rig with a socket adapter and a bunch of washers. the socket adapter was placed into the bearing, the clamp pushed on the adapter and the washers protected the frame and also provided leverage. one bearing was so stubborn, i had to stick it into a vice (with the adapter again to push against the bearing).

    i did not strip the linkage or rocker. the rocker is silver while the linkage appears to be anodized black. looks fine as is, but i may do those in the future. the rear triangle, i had originally planned to paint black, but changed my mind and did not appropriately deal with the linkage/rocker. i'm too tired atm.

    i had bought a new headset for the frame, a cane creek zs-6. this headset will not work as the upper bearing cup is not correctly shaped for the frame. actually, a hacksaw could fix the problem...

    with the shock removed, the linkage on the frame was really stiff and after looking at it, i removed the nylon spacers that went between the upper links and the rocker and rear triangle. (the metal spacers at the same locations were retained). these (nylon) spacers caused binding in the suspension without contributing anything apparently useful. if anyone currently riding a vt could remove the spacers from the bike and report any change, that would be nice. otherwise, it'll be awhile until i get a new headset and complete the build.

  2. #2
    MBAA!
    Reputation: en are es's Avatar
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    Let me be the first to wish you good luck for the rest of your project. Sounds like most of the work your doing is tedious, labor intensive work, but mostly goin well (minuse the headset).

    It will turn out great...
    One of my friends recently died of a coke overdose and it really got me thinking, "damn, maybe I should start drinking pepsi"

  3. #3
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    thanks, i think all the hard work is done. a new headset is on the way so it should be a snap from here on...

  4. #4
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    got the new shock. still haven't gotten pics. current build, 26 lbs 1 oz:

    16.5 2004 vt frame
    cane creek ad 5 7.5" X 2" set at 5.7 travel
    manitou skareb 80mm
    wtb inner peace internal headset
    hollowtech 2 lx cranks
    sram 850 11-28 8 spd cassette
    use alien post 25.0 + 30.9 shim (no post trimming necessary with this post and the ad 5)
    performance mtb ti saddle
    wellgo 110 stem
    performance carbon riser bar
    lx shifters
    lx/xt front/rear derailleurs
    avid brake levers
    avid bb mech discs 6"
    ac hubs
    mavic 619 rims
    panaracer dart/smoke tires
    performance ultralight tubes

    took her up and down the street to adjust brakes and deraillers, feel her out. the shock is at 210 psi, i'm 165 lbs, manual rec's 170 psi. fork is also at 210, rec 150. slight bob in the rear, but nothing tragic or unexpected. smooth as butter over the small bumps, curbs, ruts.

    the rear triangle flexes like a meat head at venice beach. how does anyone ride like that? i did remove the nylon shims from the "faux" bars, but i can't believe those shims actually do anything for stiffness, considering that the rocker itself is twisting.

    the front end is floppier than a bunny rabbit. going downhill is fun??? i am wondering tho if it's the fork itself, it was floppy on an m2 stumpjumper.

    gonna try and hit a trail in the am, i'm not looking forward to it.

  5. #5
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    An 80mm fork on a 5-6 inch travel bike? Interesting!

    And, Ive felt the rear is somewhat flexy, but hardly unridable or scary

  6. #6
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    Please explain the 80mm forks? Road riding in comfort?

    The flexy rear is the downfall to the VT. Their not much more than a trail/enduro bike. The linkage/rocker idea was no the brightest idea. I think Rocky Mountain got the right idea with their new Slayer.

    Those nylon spacers must do something?

    Please post a pic to see the polished frame and more about the new shock.

  7. #7
    I just let one RIP
    Reputation: Jwiffle's Avatar
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    yeah, 80mm is way too short a fork for the VT.120-140mm is what you want--that will make downhill much more fun.

  8. #8
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    havent gotten to ride her yet. got a cable for my 8mm camcorder which can also take stills, but i haven't figured out how to operate it in still mode/external drive. not that i've actually tried yet anyway...

    the 80mm was a financial decision, a take off from another frame. i have massive buyer's remorse atm (for all kinds of purchases made over the past few months) and cant get myself to pop for even one of the clearanced long travel forks. i dont expect a long travel fork to fix the floppiness tho, with the original shock which was "blown" still mounted, the head was sagged enough to emulate a longer fork. the floppiness was worse. if you guys have a vt, can you comment on what i'm saying?

    if the 80 feels too sketchy, i'm thinking i could probably lengthen the fork by swapping the top out spring and adding a spacer. or something like that, i'd have to take the fork apart and look at it. i dont think it'll be that bad, especially since i mostly do xc type riding and not shuttle runs.

    the spacers were just binding up the works. maybe they're there as mechanical dampers? whatever the case, they're crap. i still have em so i can put em back to try.

  9. #9
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    I would not have removed the spacers. I imagine since the frame is new that it will not be as smooth as after it has a few miles on it. Removing the spacers could add more flex to the rear end.
    I would rather put money into a proper front fork vs. replacing the rear shock. The 80mm fork is going to be no fun on the downhills.
    I noticed some rear end flex initially but overall I am very happy with the rear ends performance.

  10. #10
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    I've seen Psylo SLs and MX ETAs for around $200. Not an insignificant amount of money, but either would help make the bike handle more as it should.

  11. #11
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    Try to get a 120mm fork, you'll thank us when you hit the trail downhill sections. With a 120mm fork and 5.7" rear travel the bike is great going down and also going up. With more travel up front the front end will tend to rise while climbing.

  12. #12
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    Dirt devil has it right, the 120mm is perfect fit.

    Few months ago, I got the 05' Marz MX Comp w/ ETA for $210 from beyondbikes. NOW it's only $160!!!
    I might go buy another one for my future HT project. It's that good and that cheap.

    The ETA locked on makes the shock about 80-90mm for the long climbs and 120mm for the high speed stuff. So you get the best of both worlds and the fork is a lil under 4lbs. Anthing in the mid-low 3lb range cost nearly $500. So in my book, the fork is light, plush and cheap.

  13. #13
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    reba sl's are available for 259, but when i got to the confirmation page, the price had bloated to 300 with tax and shipping. i couldn't do it...

    i would really like to know what you guys think of the front end of the bike. can you ride no handed without being scared? does the front end want to flop to either side instead of holding a straight line?

    edit: my regular bike is a zaskar with a 63mm sid. long travel and dual suspension is a novelty to me...

  14. #14
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    got her dirty today, ride impressions:

    my legs weren't beat up from having to absorb shock.
    rear end flexiness, front end sketchiness made me wash out once on kitten heads. was a weird feeling like the bike was folding while i was trying to catch myself.
    every bump, water bar, jump, pebble, etc felt like i was getting at least 3 feet of air.
    bobbing was actually useful, annoying at first, but i got the rhythm of the bob and used it to actually help pedal.
    the short fork didn't make downhills any more sketchy than usual.
    despite the high air pressures, i still got full travel front/rear.
    generally, the rear end flex wasnt noticeable (except the one washout), front end floppiness was disconcerting at times, but manageable.

    i think i the rear brake housing is too short (why dont cable manufacturers provide full housing front and rear in this day of disc brake foisting?), bumps while braking would cause the brakes to grab.
    i kept banging the pedals into the ground. that was the most irritating thing, bb too low? the short fork drop the bb too much? too much rear travel?
    shifting was good, pedal feedback was unnoticable... i only say that because pedaling didnt feel different from the hardtail, i dont actually know what pedal feedback feels like.
    brake jack? same thing, what brake jack...

    so, i'm pretty cool with her, we can hang out some more...

  15. #15
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    80mm fork on this bike would feel downright scary if ya ask me. My Reba Team set at 115mm and makes the bike feel very balanced. Any less and i can see some serious superman impressions happening as you are shot over the bars! no fun!
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