I picked up a moondust frame on Friday and started installing all my components from the previous bike on it it, worked on it late Friday night until about 1:30 am, got a new rear shifter cable Saturday and finished it up. I was on a bike that was too small for me, a 17.5" Hardrock 29er and I'm 6'-1 with a 33" inseam, so yeah, I was cramped...
First off, I had never built a bike before, I disassembled my Hardrock and sold the frame, that was easy so I wanted to try building myself. It was not hard, used common sense and tips from youtube videos by SRAM on setting up my rear der and I was good. It was very gratifying building my own bike, very much so. Going from a 17.5" Spec frame to a Large EMd that is the correct size required some playing around to figure out what seat position I need etc. But having the right sized frame made a huge difference, less arm fatigue, no numb hands, just all kinds of goodness when you get the right size bike for you. I am convinced this was a large factor in the high frequency of me going over the bars on the Hardrock, I was cramped up into a more upright position, higher center of gravity, not as easy to move myself back over the rear tire, etc.
I visited a new trail today with my brother, he had been there before but it was new to me, Oak Cliff here in Dallas. Its an intermediate with some technical, not allot of flowing single track, but more compression of the trail into sections you pedal "balls out" for a few seconds followed by hard braking, and a tricky descent or climb, nothing crazy but lots of fun. Allowing myself to stretch out over the new bike was allot more comfortable and confidence inspiring. As I approached a couple of drops/decents I would have had a hard time going down on the old bike without going over the bars I was just flowing down on the EMD. Once I got over the fear factor I was nailing drops with reckless abandon towards the end of our first outing.
Just cruising around at a normal pace it felt pretty similar to my previous bike, but as soon as I did anything the differences started to shine. Allot of the lateral flex I was feeling on the hardrock while pedaling hard during climbs were hard to percieve on the EMD, I'm sure it was there but the Hardrock was flexing so much this doesn't feel like its flexing at all. Climbing on this bike is where it really shines compared to my last frame, I'm guessing its a mix of shorter chainstays and rigidity of the back section transfering pedal power to the wheel but it just felt like it exploded up the 10-12 foot climbs over roots and stumps. The first couple I did really put a grin on my face.
The steering response is much sharper than my first bike and is causing me to ride a little differently, different in a better way though. The amount of steering input required is less and I was kind of "over cooking" some turns and had to back off on my steering to get back on line. The bike no longer feels like its fighting my wishes of going into a turn like the Hardrock, its just said "ok, your the boss" and followed on track where ever I pointed it. The steering response was so quick it was almost telepathic compared to the Hardrock.
So in wrap-up, I'm a long time car guy, spent allot of time on tracks trying to make slower cars go faster, etc. So its easier for me to break this down as if I was talking about sports cars. The bike is nimble, feels light on its feet, yet sure footed in rough terrain. A couple of times where it felt as if I was understeering too fast into a turn I could just give it a little rear brake, get the back end to come around, and start pedaling out of it with no hesitation, this type of behavior would have caused me to either stop or high-side my bike on the Hardrock. The throttle response is quick, feels great, makes me realize I need a better huib on my rear Flow to get more out of it. For the price the bike is an amazing "point and click" device for trailriders, for the price I don't imagine I could have done better honestly.
Build brake down for anyone interested, I'm guessing its about 26# with potential to easily drop another pound between the heavy tires and seatpost.
-2010 EMD moondust size large, 1x9 drivetrain
-Truvativ gxp 1.1 32t with MRP BB mounted guide
-Sram X9 shifter
-Sram X9 medium cage der
-Sram pg-980 11-34 cassette
-Formula RX brakes with Avid G2 clean sweeps, 185fr/160rr
-Stans Flows with X7 hubs ( I know, I know, I need to swap the hubs)
-Captain Controls Armadillos 2.2 with Stans sealant
-Sunline V1 flat bar cut down to about 680mm
-Specialized 100mm stem from a stumpjumper
-Origina8 propulsion torqlite headset
-Stylo setback post
-Bontrager Inform R saddle
-Thompson seat post clamp
-Odyssey nylon platforms with pins
Picture before I routed the rear shifter line, I will be replacing the stem and post in the next week or so but the bike is pretty good the way it sits.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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