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  1. #1
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    SS - pedalability and seat post question

    hey

    so, i'm currently lusting over getting an SS frame and have 2 questions

    firstly, how is it to pedal around? do you feel the weight of a FR/SS bike, or is it not so bad? how is it for climbing anything?

    and secondly, is there a seatpost with enough length that you can get into a pedaling position and still be able to slam the seat all the way down?

    thanks

  2. #2
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    Ok, yes its feels a bit heavy when climbing, but it pedals pretty well in my opinion. A travel adjustable fork would be good for climbs to get the weight forward. Any pain on the way up is made up for once things head down or you find some jumps. I had a thomson seatpost that I could get up higher enough and get low enough when required. The seat tube is very low so mostly you dont need to shove it all the way down to get it out of the way.

  3. #3
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    I find mine pedals fine, better than the 6Pack i owned, it climbs better too.

    I use a Thompson seatpost too, plenty long enough for me.

  4. #4
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    I'm not really a fan of adjustable seatposts, but the the Joplin is a pretty user friendly setup. You just set it to the riding/pedaling height with it extended and the either use the remote or the lever and you can pretty quickly drop it out of the way. It's one of the better ones out there, however there aint much that beats a Thomson!
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  5. #5
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    I have a small and was running a dhx 5.0 with a 400# Coil. It didn't pedal great, but it was maintainable. If you want something that can take a hit and still offer the best for climbing too, i'd go with a high volume rp23. That way you get an air shock that can take a hit and still has their propedal design to be able to climb, with out humping it on your back. Than again down here in AR there isn't a lot of places you have to hike a bike.

    I second the adjustable travel fork too.
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  6. #6
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    I use a thomson 410mm on my medium SS, i recently switched to the regular, non-setback version and IMHO it's better for climbing.

    While it will not be as uphill-friendly as the 5.5, the SS will take you up nicely, and better than other FR rigs I tried (including my former uzzi VPX which weighted 2lbs more).

    Of course, the Bottom line is, as always, the engine
    Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads..

  7. #7
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    I use the regular Joplin with 3" travel. I don't need to slam it down, but I still need to raise it up or down by 1-2" depending on the ride (by using the seat clamp).

    This is probably the worst pedaling VPP bike (other than M6 or Socom). You can climb with it, but you will feel all of the 35lb for a typical build. Even the Uzzi VPX climbs better than this. Regular 6.6 is a much better climber (and I would suspect same with the new Tracer).

    The other weakness I found is that while the low BB really helps you corner, it kills you on rock gardens or anything with rocky terrain. Yesterday, I hit my pedals, cranks, my foot, bashguard, etc. many times on rocks. My brother also broke his dropout when he hit a rock and the whole thing including the dropout, rear deralleur and cable just exploded. He never had that problem on his Uzzi.

    So definitely not a do-all bike. I basically replaced my 5.5 with it. But if you don't pick out a good line, the low BB will hurt you. You would need another bike like M6 or Socom or Uzzi for more aggressive riding.
    Last edited by Cable0guy; 11-16-2008 at 09:22 AM.

  8. #8
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    For rides where I'm doing a lot of climbing, I have the bike set up at about 34 pounds, yet it's still plenty burly. Actually, my SS climbs better than my 6.6 that was two pounds lighter and had a TALAS fork and a longer stem.

    I use a Maverick seatpost (same as the Joplin), and its travel is pretty good. I can also lower the post as much as I need. Also, I can lower a seat post all the way to the bottom bracket, if I so desire.

  9. #9
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    Im about 6' with a large and im about at the max on the seatpost. i wish there numbers were true when they said the large seattube was 17" but its still only 16". so any taller than that and you might have some issues.

    as for the low bottom bracket i haven't had too much of an issue. the only time i notice it is when its a really rocky, ledgy uphill and you occasionally catch a pedal but thats all timing. it definately pedals better than other freeride bikes. i have pedalled many, transition dirtbag, bottlerocket, nicolai ufo st, santa cruz bullit, and a ellsworth joker. the only other bike i have ridden that pedals better was a santa cruz nomad. saying a 5.5 or tracer pedals better is obvious. they are designed for that and generally lighter.

    and for my seatpost, im getting a KS i900 adjustable seatpost... 5 inches of adjustability!!!

  10. #10
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    I sold my ss frame to get a tracer cuz 80+ % of the riding I was usuing it for is aggro trail riding. I had a push tuned fox float on the ss and it worked just fine. Pedals great for what it is but the tracer in 6 inch mode pedals way better, is lighter, and I can still ride it on the descents as aggressively as I do my dh bike--you cant go wrong with the tracer IMO. (with a 160mm fork). my 2 cents...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by adevault
    I sold my ss frame to get a tracer cuz 80+ % of the riding I was usuing it for is aggro trail riding. I had a push tuned fox float on the ss and it worked just fine. Pedals great for what it is but the tracer in 6 inch mode pedals way better, is lighter, and I can still ride it on the descents as aggressively as I do my dh bike--you cant go wrong with the tracer IMO. (with a 160mm fork). my 2 cents...

    i totally follow you there, but i've got a 2007 Jamis XAM 1 that i can use for that. just looking for something abit burlier for out west.

    and is the bb REALLY as low as people are saying? looking at some numbers of other bikes, it seems right on par for bb heights.

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    I have an SS and a 6.6 built up a little differently.

    My SS is built with light free ride parts, single ring and coil front and rear. It comes in at about 34 lbs.

    My 6.6 is a little over 30lbs with air front and rear and 2 rings and a DRS guide.

    Yesterday I did a 3 hour trail ride that included everything: Downhill sections, jumps, flowy single track and lot and lots of rocks. I was on my SS. The whole ride I was wishing I was on my 6.6 except on the fast dh bits and the jumps but even still I wished I had the 6.6. Here's why:

    The SS pedals fine but feels heavy. It is not a 'snappy' feeling bike. It does catch its pedals on rocks unless you are concentrating and picking your pedal stokes. It is great when the going gets steeper and gnarly and definitely fun on the jumps - but on balance - not the bike for that kind of riding.

    So, if the kind of riding you do sounds like what I have written - get a Tracer or 6.6.
    If you regularly hit jumps, so some free riding or light DH - get the SS.

  13. #13
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    I'm 6'2" on a large and use a Thomson 410mm straight seatpost and its fine dropped or hiked right up.
    I think it pedals well, but getting the right spring is crucial as if its too soft the VPP sag will sit lower than the sweetspot and you might get a little more pedal feedback, as i used to.
    I used to ride an Orange Five and it pedalled amazingly but was not so great downhills.

    Getting the SS made me so much happier as the DH's were SO much more fun, but there was definitely a sacrifice on the uphill pedalling efficiency. I broke my leg last year and so am quite weak on the uphills anyway so can't really do a direct comparison, but i think its great if your main focus if FR/DH, if its XC/AM the SS is probably not the right bike, the Tracer may be a better option!

    For reference my setup is: DHX Coil, Totem, Chris King/Mavic, Hone/Saint, Thomson/Easton/SDG.
    Its All Downhill From Here....!

  14. #14
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    Within the context of what an SS is, it pedals extremely well. It requires no pro-pedal, only a semi-smooth cadence. If you're bobbing, fix your cadence. 170mm cranks and a coil shock will keep pedal strikes to a minimum. If you're still hitting rocks, learn some timing. If the bike feels heavy, get fit, the reality is that it weighs next to nothing for what it's capable of.

    If you can't pedal the SS up a hill at a darn good pace (relative to the build you're using), it's YOU, not the bike.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Err
    Within the context of what an SS is, it pedals extremely well. It requires no pro-pedal, only a semi-smooth cadence. If you're bobbing, fix your cadence. 170mm cranks and a coil shock will keep pedal strikes to a minimum. If you're still hitting rocks, learn some timing. If the bike feels heavy, get fit, the reality is that it weighs next to nothing for what it's capable of.

    If you can't pedal the SS up a hill at a darn good pace (relative to the build you're using), it's YOU, not the bike.

    what he just said ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    if you ain't man enough to pedal it then get a gurls bike

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cable0guy
    Yesterday, I hit my pedals, cranks, my foot, bashguard, etc. many times on rocks.
    issue for me too on NE rocky terrain makin it a bit more of a chore to ride xc
    Quote Originally Posted by Cable0guy
    My brother also broke his dropout when he hit a rock and the whole thing including the dropout, rear deralleur and cable just exploded. He never had that problem on his Uzzi.
    not really specific to ss ...but i would like to see pics. never heard of that happening before

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey_C
    issue for me too on NE rocky terrain makin it a bit more of a chore to ride xc

    not really specific to ss ...but i would like to see pics. never heard of that happening before
    I don't have any pictures. Should have taken some. But the X9 derailleur's plastic cylinder busted in half, the derailleur hanger (part of the dropout) was bent by 30 degrees or so, the thread was stripped, and the cable housing was split in half near the derailleur.

    I bent his hanger back to normal, but we couldn't salvage the thread, so he had to order a new dropout. He is an aggressive rider, but the 1st time he did this. He has an Uzzi VPX and a 6.6 (for sale). And bunch of other bikes before that.

    It is probably due to the low BB as well as the low leverage ratio which may cause the bike to sag more (when riding vs. static sag) than the other bikes. Maybe he was using to much of a soft spring or too much rebound. But he also had a Totem on there, which raised the BB vs. the 6" fork that most people use.

    Either way, it is something to watch out for when riding technical rocky terrains.

  18. #18
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    What does a low bottom bracket have to do with damaging a rear derailleur? No matter what height the BB is or the size of fork, the rear derailleur is mounted in the same location relative to the center of the rear wheel. I'd guess that it takes a damn hard hit to bend one of the Socom/M3/M6/SS/VPX derailleur hangers. The only thing that would change the position of the rear derailleur is to go to a bike with 29" wheels (the axle is higher because of the larger wheels).

    If he has a problem hitting derailleurs, he should try the new Shimano Saint derailleur.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cable0guy
    I don't have any pictures. Should have taken some. But the X9 derailleur's plastic cylinder busted in half, the derailleur hanger (part of the dropout) was bent by 30 degrees or so, the thread was stripped, and the cable housing was split in half near the derailleur.

    I bent his hanger back to normal, but we couldn't salvage the thread, so he had to order a new dropout. He is an aggressive rider, but the 1st time he did this. He has an Uzzi VPX and a 6.6 (for sale). And bunch of other bikes before that.

    It is probably due to the low BB as well as the low leverage ratio which may cause the bike to sag more (when riding vs. static sag) than the other bikes. Maybe he was using to much of a soft spring or too much rebound. But he also had a Totem on there, which raised the BB vs. the 6" fork that most people use.

    Either way, it is something to watch out for when riding technical rocky terrains.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaster1200
    What does a low bottom bracket have to do with damaging a rear derailleur? No matter what height the BB is or the size of fork, the rear derailleur is mounted in the same location relative to the center of the rear wheel.
    Depending on what combination of gears you are in, low BB especially when you are in g-out mode will cause the derailleur to be lower due to the rotation of the seatstay. Just go and compress your rear suspension in low gears and you will see.

    The dropouts are made of aluminum, so they will bend. I almost wish that you can just replace that hanger instead of the whole dropout like a 6.6, which you can carry around. His derailleur must have hit a rock doing a drop. I just felt a lot better doing the same trail on an Uzzi on those sections than SS. But the flip-side is that SS handles a lot better. So you can't have everything.

  20. #20
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    I rode my SS so damn much last year that I completely neglected my XC & trail bikes. It climbs really well & the low bb height is a blessing, not a hindrance.

    Climbing with the SS has probably made me that much of a stronger climber & way better at cornering since I had to learn how to carry speed more efficiently. Plus I am better at pumping down the sides of rocks to gain & maintain speed instead of pedaling.

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    this might help ...

    If you - besides riding AM/trail - plan to go to bike parks on a regular base and can only choose one bike, the SS is VERY hard to beat. All it's attributes (HA, rather long WB, low BB) come into play in the park - of course they will compromise AM ability to some extent. In the region I live and ride, especially the low BB demands attention and care - in fact it's a pain in the a... at times. In this respect I very much agree with gravityfreaky ...

    When I bought the SS I was prepared to sell my 6.6 but it did not happen ... simply because the 6.6 is the better all-rounder if your going to the alps. So if you don't go to parks with this bike, get the 6.6 or Tracer.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cable0guy
    Depending on what combination of gears you are in, low BB especially when you are in g-out mode will cause the derailleur to be lower due to the rotation of the seatstay. Just go and compress your rear suspension in low gears and you will see.
    The chainstay rotates on all suspension bikes. Those frames that have more travel rotate more than those with less travel. Nonetheless, the BB position in the front triangle still doesn't affect the derailleur. Just go and compress your suspension in any gear and imagine if the BB shell was two inches lower or higher in the frame's front triangle - it doesn't change how it affects your derailleur.

    But although I think it does take a nasty hit to damage the hanger, I do agree that it would be a lot nicer if it was more easily replaceable. However, the hanger on the 6.6 or 5.5 is much more prone to bending than the dropout type, so there are tradeoffs. But with the cost and strength of some of the current derailleurs, I'd rather replace a $20 hanger that gave away before a $125 dropout or a $100 derailleur.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaster1200
    The chainstay rotates on all suspension bikes. Those frames that have more travel rotate more than those with less travel. Nonetheless, the BB position in the front triangle still doesn't affect the derailleur. Just go and compress your suspension in any gear and imagine if the BB shell was two inches lower or higher in the frame's front triangle - it doesn't change how it affects your derailleur.
    In certain gear combinations (especially low ones), lower BB (or fully compressed suspension) does affect the distance of the derailleur and the ground. This occurs because the lower jockey wheel is close to the seatstay and away and forward of the rear axle. Just go try it.

    I also think that lower BB affects how you ride. You have to pick the right lines. So instead of subconsciously worrying about maybe how your rear derailleur could hit an obstacle, you are worrying more about pedal strikes. My brother had a Totem in the front, medium cage derailleur, and 175mm cranks. With the same setup on the Uzzi VPX (and probably 1 1/4" higher BB), you can plow through most rock gardens

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cable0guy
    In certain gear combinations (especially low ones), lower BB (or fully compressed suspension) does affect the distance of the derailleur and the ground. This occurs because the lower jockey wheel is close to the seatstay and away and forward of the rear axle. Just go try it.
    Your lower jockey pulley should never be close to the seatstay! That's the problem! Just kidding. I know you meant chainstay. Nonetheless, I still disagree about the derailleur position being different. Yes, the chain will enter the lower pulley at an ever so slightly different angle, but it's not going to change where the derailleur sits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cable0guy
    I also think that lower BB affects how you ride. You have to pick the right lines. So instead of subconsciously worrying about maybe how your rear derailleur could hit an obstacle, you are worrying more about pedal strikes. My brother had a Totem in the front, medium cage derailleur, and 175mm cranks. With the same setup on the Uzzi VPX (and probably 1 1/4" higher BB), you can plow through most rock gardens
    I had a VPX with 175s and a Totem fork, and I experience no difference in derailleur strikes as my SS with 175s and a 36. Sure, the BB on the VPX was higher allowing more crank/pedal clearance, but the poor handling of the VPX as a result of the jacket up BB was not worth it. Heck...even with the pedal strikes, the SS and M6 still feels a lot more stable in rock gardens (i.e., the SS and M6 plows through rock gardens better - they don't pedal through better, but they plow through better). But note what I said earlier - because I ride with my right foot rearward, I inherently protect the rear derailleur - in 15 years of riding mtb, I've never damaged a rear derailleur, which is why I don't mind running an XTR derailleur on my SS (although I just changed over to an 09 Saint derailleur).

  25. #25
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    people just need to ride smarter.

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