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  1. #1
    CTB
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    Had a great day on the Sweetspot

    Yesterday was perfect weather here, and it was a trail maintenance day at what I'd call my "home track." Last year, I didn't take a bike, thinking I wouldn't want to ride after doing all the work on the trail. Well, that was wrong, so this year I brought along a bike. Since I hadn't yet gotten to try any of the mods I made to my HG Sweetspot Monogear over the winter, I took that along.

    Wow! I have never had any of my Sweetspots work as well as this one is working now! Over the winter, I changed the rear shock from a non-adjustable Risse air shock to a period Fox Alps 5R, expertly rebuilt by one of our own (thanks, BM!), I added some blingy bits to brighten it up (obviously no performance gains here), I swapped out my uncomfortable bar ends for a set of Ergon Biokork GP5's, a new Straightline rear brake lever with much better ergos than the original Hayes, and I got a new 17 rear gear for Christmas to bridge the gap between the 18 (too short) and 16 (too tall) that I had.

    The 5R finally let me dial in the rebound damping to where I like it, and I was smiling the whole ride with how well this bike works and how much fun it was. It scales in at around 23 lb, so it's a whole lot different feeling than my 30-lb Tracer VP that I normally ride. The Tracer can bowl over anything in its path, but it's definitely more AM than XC. The Sweetspot is maybe a bit quick for steering, but I don't think I'm going to pursue changing it since it isn't TOO quick and seems to suit the bike character. We'll see as I ride it more. But you can really tell that this is the shock that the bike was designed for. I like the ramp-up in spring rate through the travel, and the rebound damping is set right around the middle and working great for my weight and riding. I think I'll stick with this gear ratio until my fitness gets better.

    Oh, I still haven't done Bad Mechanic's tips for making the rear end have less friction. We did work on getting the shock aligned (I think I came up with a setup that is pretty good here), but I still need to tweak the bushing widths since there is noticable friction in the pivot.

    I even got two people who commented on the bike, which is pretty rare around here. One guy was riding a beautiful new Yeti SB66 Carbon, yet he liked my bike. The other was one of the guys I was doing the trail work with. "Is that a Homegrown? Man, I wanted one of those so bad when they came out. Back when Schwinn was quality!"

    I meant to snap a picture of it yesterday, but after a long day of trail work, a ride, then a couple more hours of yard work at home, I crapped out on the couch. Next time the sun's out, I'll snap a pic. This is how it was last year before I made a bunch of changes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Had a great day on the Sweetspot-2012-10-17_17-29-56_486.jpg  

    Last edited by CTB; 04-28-2013 at 07:11 AM.

  2. #2
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    I was gonna stop by and see you, but the Jehovas witnesses came by. When they left I started drinking. Voicemail from Paul

  3. #3
    CTB
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    Another great day on the Sweetspot. I was THREE MINUTES faster than Saturday in adverse conditions! Woo hoo! I matched my best time ever on the bike at this trail, so my goal (two minutes faster than this) is in sight! I'm REALLY enjoying this bike. The suspension combo I have on there now (2000 Rock Shox SID 1000 Hydra Air, Fox Alps 5R) is really working nicely (made a couple small air pressure tweaks today). If my Carbon ever worked this well, I might never have changed to the 4-Banger!

  4. #4
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    Man, how did I miss this thread?!?

    Glad to hear the shock is working out well for you, as is the bike in general. Now with some time on it, how are you liking singlespe...I mean...monogeared? I highly recommend adjusting the main suspension bushings, since it really does bring the rear to a new level of plush.

    Is your current fork 80 or 100mm of travel?

    Let me know about the shock pivots. I still have the extra bushings and lathe here just waiting to go.

    Also, we demand pictures!!!

  5. #5
    CTB
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic View Post
    how are you liking singlespe...I mean...monogeared?
    It's a different mental state and challenge, so I'm liking it so far. It does, however, seem to require a better level of fitness to even start doing some of it. Amazingly, I was nearly as fast on the Mono as my geared bike earlier this year.

    I highly recommend adjusting the main suspension bushings, since it really does bring the rear to a new level of plush.
    I do intend on doing that as a winter project.

    Is your current fork 80 or 100mm of travel?
    100mm, and I'd slack it out slightly more if I could.

    Also, we demand pictures!!!
    OK. Biike is 23lb as you see it, and I didn't try very hard to keep it light. Lighter crank/BB would be the biggest save that wouldn't sacrifice rider comfort. Everyone gives me crap about my bar ends on my bikes, but they're essential on the Mono for toughing it out up the hills. I had lighter ones on there, but they hurt my hands so I switched to the Korks.














  6. #6
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    That's just a good looking bike.

    If you don't mind putting some more money into it, you could always buy a 120-140mm Fox Float or F-Series and limit it down to 110. My friend did that with his Homegrown hardtail build and it worked out really well (better than I thought it would).

  7. #7
    CTB
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    Thanks, Z. The first Sweetspot I ever saw was a lime green S-30 carbon fiber model on the showroom floor here in Michigan back in '99, so I had never seen the metal versions until I got a catalog. I thought they were extremely odd-looking at the time. However, now that I have this one in person, it makes me smile every time I look at it. I think it is a very racy, light, and aggresive look, very different from the Carbons I have. Of all the bikes I've had (and it really isn't THAT many), this one gets the second highest number of comments, nearly equal to my Tracer. I rode my carbon Homegrown for 8 years and almost no one said anything. I rode the blue/silver Banger for two years and not many people said much. But in the last year with this one, I've gotten probably four or more comments. "Hey, Homegrown!" "Is that a Homegrown? Wow, I wanted one of those when they came out." Etc.

    I'm going to leave the bike as-is (mostly) at this point, as it is performing very well for what I want it to do. This has zero function, but I really would like to get a custom stem cap that has the Homegrown tomato on an orange ano cap instead of the red. I think that would look nice on this bike.

  8. #8
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    think i've seen that ride on an episode of Pacific Blue.. .. one sexy tomato!
    '11 Jedi
    '01 Straight8
    '01Rocket88< ran over it.. always do a full walk around!
    '00 Homegrown

  9. #9
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    CTB, how do you like the Conti X-King? I currently run a 2.2 Race King SS, and am looking for something with more aggressive edge grip for a bike I'm contemplating building.

  10. #10
    CTB
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    Z, I'm going to give you the long version since I think I need to frame my reference point for you.

    I started off with Race King 2.2 Supersonics on front and back of my HG4B when I started with Conti tires. The RK up front scared the ever living hell out of me. The supple ride was awesome, but the front had no grip compared to what I was used to. Rolled like a beast, tho, and light as hell (465g and 463g). I then moved to a Mountain King 2.4 Supersonic up front, keeping the RK in back. More rolling resistance, WAY more grip, more weight (580g or so). However, after riding a long time on that combo, the MK started to put me on my face in the dry. It had the very unendearing trait of gripping up until it let go, and then when it let go, you were on your face before you knew what happened. I eventually got tired of this and got an X-King 2.4 RaceSport for the front. Rode that combo until I got the Tracer. Similar grip to the Mountain King, but the X-King would recover if you slid it, unlike the MK. Again, similar weight and rolling resistance to the MK, so not a bad combo.

    Moved that combo to the Tracer until I started riding past the limits of the X-King up front. I also got tired of spinning up on climbs when the Race King lost grip in granny gear, so I moved the X-King to the rear and got a Trail King Protection 2.2 up front. I love that tire. Sadly, yet more weight and rolling resistance, but the TK has yet to let me down. It manages to re-find grip once you sell the farm, so I keep it around in spite of wanting to get back to the lighter weight and RR of the other tires.

    Now let's move to the Monogear. To keep the build light, I put one of my Race Kings on the back (again, 2.2 Supersonic) and got an X-King 2.2 Racesport for the front. This tire definitely moves around, but so far it has not let me down. Both get rather dicey in mud (the Race King is useless if you end up in wet conditions), but the X-King generally has enough grip and recovery to keep the rubber side down. I run every one of these tires tubeless except for the Race King on the Mono - I didn't feel like resealing that tire (RK Supersonics are notoriously porous), so I just stuck a tube in it. The Monogear responds well to this combo, I think, rolling like gangbusters yet still providing enough grip to get the business done. There are grippier tires, but you'll pay for that grip in rolling resistance and weight. Since I'm a weakling, I don't go that route.

    I also prefer the handling feel of a round profile in the back like the Race King, which is reduced somewhat by the X-King. The X-King is rounder than the old Mountain King, though, so it still is a pretty nice rear tire.

    I ride at 26-28 psi on both ends for the most part. I'm about 160 lb geared up on the bike with pack, etc. Oh, and you'll note that I don't ride any Contis that aren't Black Chili. I see no reason to get the plain compound when Black Chili wears so well.

    Did any of this help? More questions? Let me know. Sorry for all the words - this is what happens when a former tire development engineer talks tires.

  11. #11
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    Wow. Thank you for the extremely thorough answer. I love information so I love thorough answers.

    What kind of trails do you mostly ride? Smooth dirt? Rocky? Mostly roots?

  12. #12
    CTB
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    The trails I ride are generally smooth dirt with some roots, and sandy. We don't have many rocks here. We have very changing weather here in the summer, so that smooth dirt can go from a slight tack with great grip to loose-over-hardpack in the dry summer period, and then to fallen leaves over dry and/or tacky. Of course, when it rains, we get mud. And since I always feel a picture is worth 1000 words, here are a bunch of pictures flashing by 48 times a second. The last 1:30 of this video is my favorite section of this trail. This is the trail I usually refer to as the test trail or the "home track." Sorry about the glob of mud on the lens.


  13. #13
    CTB
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    Occasionally we have rocks:


  14. #14
    CTB
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    And sometimes the dirt is slightly more rocky:


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