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  1. #1
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    Weekend Report: Zee/Straightline, Roval crabon, Butcher Control

    Took the Chili to Austin this weekend for a little XC mixed with some nice TX free riding, i.e. drops to flat and loose chunky limestone.

    Zee kicks ass. Upgraded from 9 speed X9 and an e13 LG1 guide. The zee rear d. combined with the Straightline guide is almost completely silent and shifts better than X9. Also upgraded the cassette from a cheaper model to XO, so not sure how much shifting improvement is attributable to the cassette. With the performance of Zee, also not sure why someone would spend twice the dough on Saint or even more on XTR. The weight difference between Zee and more pricey options is negligible on our bikes.

    The retro grouch in me has been very wary of carpet fibré bike parts, except for pure road use. After pedaling my 37 lb Chili for over a year, I finally decided to trim a little fat and swapped my tire and wheel combo from King/819's with Butcher SX 2.5 and Continental Trail King 2.4 UST to Roval Traverse SL wheel set and Butcher Control 2.3's. Dropped 2 lbs 6 oz, pure rotational weight. This was the initial run for the wheel and tire combo, I was definitely weary of carbon rims and lighter tires leaving me stranded on the trail with a shards of carbon and tire pieces. So far however, I'm digging the combo. After multiple hucks to flat and a few miles of sharp limestone, everything is true and ok. Will report later with long term (ab)use. The Butcher rear corners better and rolls slightly better than the 2.4 TK, but doesn't grip as well on steep, loose, chunky climbs. The TK rules in that domain, it climbs up like a tractor. IMO the Butcher definitely has more "hook" in loose corners and had enough grip to get up anything my legs could pedal.

    Overall, losing 2.5 lbs of rotational weight was huge and made the bike much more snappy on the punchy, short climbs in Austin. The Zee and Straightline combo is near silent, works awesome, and is a fraction of the price of other options. Considering XX1? Get Zee and save enough to pay for a nice biking trip, you probably won't notice the difference if you're decently fit.

  2. #2
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    thx for that review. i was wondering all the time about when somebody would report about his experience with zee. sounds good and even not now, i might consider this option in the future.

  3. #3
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    Good stuff.

    I have a Zee on the Chili and Podium, and very happy with both. I built the Endo with a mid-cage XT clutch since I had it already, but very tempted to put a short cage Zee on the Endo as well.
    If jackasses could fly this place would be an airport.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for sharing...

    I run X9 on everything currently (and the new X7 rear derailleur on my GF's 29'er which is also quite nice I must say).

    I'm getting a Zee rear derailleur to use on a new build with 9-speed stuff and a spacer based on what I read at in Kensington, Maryland, United States - photo by jwick - Pinkbike

  5. #5
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    Nice write up man! I have a butcher SX 2.3 on the front of my chili. I came from 4 years of riding minion DHF. I still love the minion but I am very impressed with the butcher. Ive been running it for 8 months now on the front.

    Zee is definitely in the cards for new brakes/derailleur.

  6. #6
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    Everyone in my crowd is a pretty big fan of the Butcher SX 2.3. Much beefier than a single ply XC carcass, but not overkill like 2 ply DH wire beads.

    I'm not planning on routinely bashing the carbon wheel and control casing Butcher combo through chunk, just haven't had time to build up the King hubs and Flow EX's (cracked the front 819 and dented the rear).

    The only downfall I've noticed from the Butcher SX 2.5 front was a tiny bit of side knob squirm on slow speed off camber tech, but this is being extremely nit-picky, as every other front tire I've ran would've slipped in those situations so its still my go to front tire and a top performer.

    Regarding the Zee brakes and rear derailleur, you'll enjoy it mrniceguy42. No personal experience with the Zee brakes, but the new SLX, XTR, and XTR have impressed me, riding friends, and mechanics at my shop. I'm sure they will work great. The Hope V2's are going on the V Tach and the Chili is getting new XT's, I'll report back with details.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rscecil007 View Post
    Good stuff.

    I have a Zee on the Chili and Podium, and very happy with both. I built the Endo with a mid-cage XT clutch since I had it already, but very tempted to put a short cage Zee on the Endo as well.


    How could you not be happy with an Endo, Chili, and Podium?! Even if they have X4 with 8 speed, I'd still be grinning like a fat kid in a donut shop!

    Seriously, one thing I've been working on recently is standardizing my fleet of bikes. Makes it much easier to switch between rides when they all have similar bars, stems, and mechanicals. A good tip I picked from B Lopes in his latest book.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Gillespie View Post
    How could you not be happy with an Endo, Chili, and Podium?! Even if they have X4 with 8 speed, I'd still be grinning like a fat kid in a donut shop!

    Seriously, one thing I've been working on recently is standardizing my fleet of bikes. Makes it much easier to switch between rides when they all have similar bars, stems, and mechanicals. A good tip I picked from B Lopes in his latest book.
    Haha, yeah hard not to smile when I look out into the garage or go our there for a beer.

    and I try to keep my bikes setup as close as possible also. I run as much of the same stuff across all 3 as a I can, where it makes sense.
    If jackasses could fly this place would be an airport.

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