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  1. #1
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    Matic 69'er Project

    I've been wanting a Maverick 29'er for a couple of years now, ever since Ethan spilled the beans that they were working on one. With Maverick's untimely demise, my dreams went up in smoke. I couldn't wait for the possibility that some other company will come to the rescue and carry on with the 29'er, so I had to come up with a Plan B. After reading 69erSycip's inspirational post on his successful conversion of a Durance to a 69'er and consulting with Ethan, I took the plunge and converted my Matic. I ordered a Stan's NoTubes Crest rim and some spokes, and used an extra Mav front hub I have to build the wheel. Ethan supplied me with the necessary parts to convert my SC 32 fork. I was curious how different my experience would be from 69erSycip's since he used a Durance (different front end geometry) and a DUC 32 fork. I'm guessing I have about 3.5" of front end travel now, would it be enough?
    I had to wait until the weather cooperated here in Ohio for a trial run. The trails are finally dry enough to ride on without damaging them. I chose to give it a trial by fire the first time out at the Mohican State Park trail. For the majority of you who don't know about this trail, it is considered the premier mountain biking trail in Ohio. It has a little (or a lot) of everything you want in a cross country trail. Lots of climbs, some quite steep and up to a mile long, equally long descents with switchbacks, rock gardens, pump track-like rollers, mud, sand, gravel, roots large and small, you name it. It's one 24 mile loop of pure fun.
    The course starts with a long climb, very steep at first. My first impression was that the front end was "light" compared to before. With the larger front wheel, I'm guessing I put considerably more weight on the rear wheel. I had tried to compensate for this by lowering my handlebars by 3/4" by removing a stem spacer when I set things up. I never felt the front end was out of control, but I was forced to climb the steepest hills sitting on the tip of the saddle. The upside? It was much easier to lift the front end over large roots and rocks. Rocky uphill sections were the most challenging, but even then, it was manageable. With more weight on the rear wheel, I never lost traction while climbing. Coming downhill was fantastic. The bike seemed stable and took short steep drops with aplomb. Fast downhill hairpins that have given me fits in the past seemed easier. This trail doesn't have enough tight twisty sections to get a good feel for how it would handle this, but those places that did require deft handling seemed no better or worse than in 26" mode. I found that I didn't miss the reduced fork travel at all. Maybe I haven't had the fork set up to use all the travel in the past, and I certainly wasn't doing any jumps or ledges, but I feel I had more than enough travel.
    In sum, I'm quite pleased with the results. I think I have most of the best aspects of a 29'er, yet still retain the Maverick platform and the lighter weight of a 26" rear wheel. I can't see a reason to convert back to 26", but it's nice to know it is relatively fast and easy to do so. In summary, I would highly recommend this conversion to anyone considering it on a Matic. With 69erSycip's thumbs up on the Durance conversion, it appears we have a viable alternative to the Maverick 29'er that's not to be.

  2. #2
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    Super happy you like the 69er format as well. I've got new photos of my set up to share as I got a dedicated 29er DUC32 and front wheel on the Durance now. That way I can ride my Trek 69er anytime.

    BTW, in honor of my 666th post as 69erSycip I have retired that username. I now have 69er versions of Moots, Trek, and Maverick bikes all built up for ripping singletrack. My Sycip frame is retired

  3. #3
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    Good to see people still liking their Mavericks. Since it is easy to put a 29 or 650b on these forks maybe we can keep these bikes going for a few years. I have put a 29 on my ML8. I really like to riding this bike. I need to put a 26 back on to see what that is like. It has been a few months since I rode with a 26 on the front.

    I didn't like giving up the travel so I made a modification where I get the full 6 inches of travel with a 29 wheel.

    140mm+ full suspension AM 29er - what's out there?

  4. #4
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    Geweber,

    That's a clever idea you have to maintain the travel while converting to 29'er format. Did you make those extenders? How long have you been using them? Any concerns about durability?

  5. #5
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    I had them made at a local machine shop. Took them one of the internals so they could match the threads and size. I have download the CAD program from an online machine shop, CNC Machine Shop | Custom Waterjet, Plasma, Laser Cutting | eMachineShop.com . You create your product with their program and then send in the file and they will give you a quote. Select your material and they will make the product and send to you. I want to try this for a comparison.

    I have three DUC's configured this way. I have been riding them for about 6 months. I ride about 8 hours a week. No problems yet. I take the forks apart quit often to check on them. I haven't used any lock tight yet. I may when I get to the point I am not making so many changes to the air coil and oil damper. Been changing the shim stack, adding internal floating pistons, experimenting with different oil weight, and changing to a lighter negative spring. With all the variables it is an art to tune these forks. That is what Ethan Franklin is good at. I am still learning and may never get out of that mode.

    Back to your main question. This modification is a risk and has not been tested except by my riding. I only weight 150 net and I am not a real aggressive rider. So I feel comfortable with it. I have increased my speed down hill over rough stuff because this configuration sucks it up so well it is hard not to let it go. The more I do this the more confidence I get so the next time I go a little faster. If you take air and come down fully compressed the geometry will be the same as if you did it with the spacers for the 29er setup. The worst situation may be if you take air and the extensions somehow stick in the bushings and you land with the fork stuck in the fully extended position. This would put extra stress on the fork housing and your bike frame. The leverage of the wheel being extended 1-1/2 inch more will be more force on everything. The normal mode is the fork is compressed when you are in the higher stress conditions. However, there is always Murphy's Law.

    I made three sets of stanchion guards from one extension pipe for the Home Depot shop vacuum. I think it cost me $8.
    Last edited by geweber; 04-05-2012 at 04:02 AM.

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