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  1. #1
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    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)

    Thought i'd start up a little build thread for the '99 FSR DH frame I recently acquired from a fellow MTBR member (Thanks RodH!). Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's my old-age showing through (i'm 36), but I have an affinity for some of the older bikes (not that I wouldn't LOVE to have a 2010 SX Trail II ).

    Anyway, this all starts back in '98 when I went in to my LBS back in Baltimore, MD. Went in looking to upgrade to a full-suspension bike (rode hardtails and even rigid forks since high school, later upgrading to the first Rock Shox fork - the RS-1) and came outta there with a '98 FSR Comp (with the China-built welded frameset). I REALLY wanted the red FSR Elite that sat next to it (with the USA-built Extruded aluminum MAX Backbone frameset) but I just couldn't afford it at the time. Anyway, I rode the piss outta that FSR Comp back then, did some slight upgrades and then over time stopped riding due to my increasing levels of responsibility. Fast forward to this past year...just a few months ago, when I finally dusted off the bike and decided to go riding again with some co-workers. Here's what the old FSR Comp looked like after dusting her off:


    The Comp was pretty much bone stock except for me stripping and polishing the frame, a Chris King Headset, some Syncros riser bars, Oury grips, and a set of Race Face Turbine cranks...all of which were done before I stopped riding back in '98-'99. After that first ride though, while I realized how much I missed MTBing...I also realized that my equipment just wasn't really up to snuff anymore. The old Judy XLC fork was shot...leaking oil and bottoming out on even smallish bumps, etc, as was the old Rock Shox Deluxe rear shock. I thought about buying a new bike, but didn't want to go out and blow $3K on a new bike. My pregnant wife would slaughter me if I came back with a new bike in this economy. LOL. So, I set out to upgrade my old FSR...on a budget. Wanted some beefier, longer travel forks and a new rear shock for sure, and it all kinda snowballed from there. Ended up with a freshly rebuilt '04 Marzocchi Junior T (Super T internals) w/ direct mount stem, a Fox Vanilla R shock, Race Face Evolve DH handlebars (needed to upgrade to an oversize bar because of the forks) and a set of Race Face Diabolus cranks. I got great deals on most of the stuff since it was bought off of eBay with the exception of the cranks. For the cranks, I did a direct swap with a coworker for my older Race Face Turbines. I wanted beefier cranks and he wanted a lighter crankset so it worked out perfectly. I rode it like that for a bit before tacoing the front wheel in a crash, after which I ended up buying a Mavic Deetrax wheelset on clearance and upgrading the rear suspension with a Risse Racing Hex Link. Here's what she looked like after the upgrades and new wheels (with wire-bead Stick-E 2.35 Kenda Nevegals mounted):



    At that point, I thought I was done with upgrades on the bike, but after the Risse Hex Link I wanted more out of the rear suspension. I wanted a longer rear shock to better match the 170mm travel of my front fork. I was running a NOS 6.5" i2i Vanilla R that I got a smoking deal on, but I figured I should be able to run a 7.5" i2i shock with the Risse Hex Link. So, I started scouring eBay for shocks again and came up on a used 7.5x2.0 '05 Fox DHX 5.0 that I got for a great price. Wasn't sure if the large reservoir on the 5.0 would fit on my frame (I figured it might if I reverse-mounted it), but I bought it anyway...the price was just too good to pass up. Of course, it didn't fit the space in the FSR Comp frame AT ALL because of the reservoir. Doh! But then I remembered seeing pics of the MAX Backbone frames with reservoir shocks like the Fox Vanilla RC mounted and figured the DHX 5.0 would probably fit on that frame as well. Besides, the MAX Backbone FSR was the bike I really wanted back in the day anyway, and the extruded aluminum MAX frame is probably better suited to the AM/light DH/FR riding i'm doing these days so it was a perfect idea. And so began the search for a MAX Backbone frame.

    Luckily, that search didn't take too long. A couple of posts and PM's here on MTBR and I had a line on a couple of MAX frames for sale. I settled on a '99 FSR DH frame because of the added gusseting Specialized added to the head tube for the '99 DH. I figured the added gusseting would definitely be needed with the taller fork I was going to run this frame with. Here's a pic of the frame as it was when I got it from a fellow MTBR member:



    After driving about 85+ miles roundtrip to go pick the frame up, I got to work stripping the paint right away. Felt kinda bad because the frame had been recently re-painted (hadn't even been built or ridden since the repaint), but oh well...wasn't really a fan of the paint scheme. Anyway, looks as thought the red/black paint scheme was spray canned over the factory powder coat. Using my usual brands of paint stripper, the red/black spray paint came off easy. The powder coat...not so much. Had to step it up to something more caustic to get through the resilient powder coat. Ended up with some Tal Strip II Aircraft stripper. Brushed it on THICK, let it sit for 30-40 minutes, waited for the powder coat to bubble, then scraped off with a plastic scraper and rinsed with water. Repeated this process till it was all gone (kind of a messy PITA!) then gave the complete frame a good rubdown with some Scotchbrite pads. Here's what I ended up with:



    Just for fitment purposes, I mounted up the rear triangle and test fitted the Fox DHX to the frame (with the stock link since the Hex Link is still on my FSR Comp for now):


    The DHX fits perfectly and should be even better with the Risse Hex Link. Next, I need to drill out all of the cable stops (I want to run full cable housings for the brakes and shifters), and figure out what I want to do about color for the frame. I was considering polishing this frame like I did with the Comp, but now i'm leaning more towards painting it a matte gunmetal color with black/white outline "FSR" and "Specialized" decals. After that's settled, it'll be time to swap over all the components from the Comp to the new MAX DH frame and upgrade to a rear disc brake as well (the new frame came with an A2Z rear disc adapter). Anyway, stay tuned. I'll update this thread as the work progresses...

    Alvin Caragay
    Hermosa Beach, CA
    Last edited by atchipmunk; 11-09-2009 at 05:58 PM.

  2. #2
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    Alvin, a couple of ?? Is that a second upper mounting point for the shock?
    What did you use for the mounting hardware for the Dhx? I hope that makes sense.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  3. #3
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    Skip...Yes, there are 2 sets of mounting holes on this frame. Not sure if that was just a function of the '99 DH frames, or if a previous owner added a set of holes, but when I got the frame from RodH it had 2 sets of holes. For the DHX, I have to use the upper holes because of the size of the spring, etc. The spring perch will foul on the frame otherwise.
    As for mounting hardware for the DHX, I used the same hardware that came with the frame and the Manitou shock that was on it. The bushings from the Manitou shock fit the DHX and it simply bolted in place with the smae hardware. When I actually swap parts from my FSR Comp, i'll have to use the rear shock bushings from the Vanilla R because they are sized right to fit with the Risse Hex Link (I cut the bushings that came with the shock originally to fit). Hope that answers your questions. If you have any more, let me know...

    Alvin

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    My frame is exactly like your's accept I don't have the extra mounting holes. Like you said maybe the previous owner drilled them. Seriously considering a Fox shock, a Van or Dhx, maybe that could be my christmas gift from my darling wife. Thanx Alvin, I'm sure I'll have a question or 2 come to mind as I go along here.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    My frame is exactly like your's accept I don't have the extra mounting holes. Like you said maybe the previous owner drilled them. Seriously considering a Fox shock, a Van or Dhx, maybe that could be my christmas gift from my darling wife. Thanx Alvin, I'm sure I'll have a question or 2 come to mind as I go along here.
    Skip...what year is your frame again? I just wasn't sure if maybe the '99's had these extra holes in them since I haven't been able to find too many people with '99's and I know they made some changes for the '99 DH frames like the added upper gusseting at the head tube. On your frame, which holes are the only ones you have? The upper or lower set? If they were drilled by a previous owner they must have been done with a drill press because I tested both sets of holes and they are both straight and in perfect alignment so they definitely weren't done by hand. Hopefully, I can get this bike together soon and can share my thoughts on the DHX on this frame with the Risse Link. That way, you can make a more educated decision if you want to go the DHX route...

    BTW...what spring rate are you running on the rear of your bike (this is also an open question to any other MAX Backbone frame owners out there)? Wondering what setup others are using so I know general ballpark if one of the springs my DHX came with will work. It came with a 550#, a 600# and a 650# spring and i'm about 195lbs...

  6. #6
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    I believe it's a 99, looks just like yours w/o the extra holes. I have the lower set of holes and gussets top & bottom. You know though, I can't be 100% certain it's a 99 because I was givien this frame as a gift, Fathers Day "07". My family purchased it from Kevin Risse.
    I talked to him about it later and he said "99". As far as spring rate, I am running one of Risse's air shocks, the Astro-5.
    I think if it was me,I would start with the 600# spring and go from there. Hope this helps.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    I believe it's a 99, looks just like yours w/o the extra holes. I have the lower set of holes and gussets top & bottom. You know though, I can't be 100% certain it's a 99 because I was givien this frame as a gift, Fathers Day "07". My family purchased it from Kevin Risse.
    I talked to him about it later and he said "99". As far as spring rate, I am running one of Risse's air shocks, the Astro-5.
    I think if it was me,I would start with the 600# spring and go from there. Hope this helps.
    Ah, yes...forgot you were running A Risse air shock. That was exactly my thinking...I have the 600# on there for now. Figure i'll test it with that spring once I get it all together and can change it from there as needed.
    My stock FSR Comp came with a 700# spring on it and it felt somewhat soft, but I believe the leverage ratio on the welded, non-MAX frames is a bit higher. Just thought i'd ask for some input from people running this frame.

    As for your frame, from what I gather only the '99's had the additional gusseting so yours must be a '99 as well. Yours is Cosmic in color, right? Anyway, Thanks again.

    Alvin

  8. #8
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    I was hoping it was a "99", as far as color, I think Risse had it powdercoated and they were calling it "city lights", whole lotta metal flake in it and it also changes color in sun light. 3 distinctive colors, rootbeer, cool green, deep purple. It looks black when it's in the house. Anytime and Thank you.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    I believe it's a 99, looks just like yours w/o the extra holes. I have the lower set of holes and gussets top & bottom. You know though, I can't be 100% certain it's a 99 because I was givien this frame as a gift, Fathers Day "07". My family purchased it from Kevin Risse.
    I talked to him about it later and he said "99". As far as spring rate, I am running one of Risse's air shocks, the Astro-5.
    I think if it was me,I would start with the 600# spring and go from there. Hope this helps.
    Bikepedia.com doesn't even list the "'99 Specialized FSR DH," but the '99 Stumperjumper appears to be the same frame with the extra hole:

    http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...0524&Type=bike

    The straight-up FSR does not appear to have them:

    http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...4879&Type=bike

    Regardless, I think your project is quite cool!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfSailRide
    Bikepedia.com doesn't even list the "'99 Specialized FSR DH," but the '99 Stumperjumper appears to be the same frame with the extra hole:

    http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...0524&Type=bike

    The straight-up FSR does not appear to have them:

    http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...4879&Type=bike

    Regardless, I think your project is quite cool!
    Neither of those frames are of the Max Backbone flavor.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfSailRide
    Bikepedia.com doesn't even list the "'99 Specialized FSR DH," but the '99 Stumperjumper appears to be the same frame with the extra hole:

    http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...0524&Type=bike

    The straight-up FSR does not appear to have them:

    http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...4879&Type=bike

    Regardless, I think your project is quite cool!
    Thanks SurfSailRide...but as Skip already pointed out, neither of those bikes utilize the MAX backbone frame. The second link you posted is actually my current bike...the Ground Control FSR Comp pictured earlier in this thread. The main difference between that frame an d the MAX frame is that the MAX frame was made in the USA featuring extruded aluminum for the frame where the other frame is China made using regular welded aluminum tubing. The Extruded MAX frame is supposed to be stronger and beefier than the China made Comp frame, hence the reason for this whole little "build".

    I looked on bikepedia as well before and didn't find the FSR DH listed either. In fact, I've found very little even when scouring the internet about the FSR DH aside from a couple of small, grainy pics, etc. Not too much seems to have been documented about these frames...or the info just isn't available anymore.

    So anyway...for updates...

    I decided to just spray paint the frame for now and settled on going with a gunmetal color. I'd really like to get it powdercoated for a more durable finish, but I don't want to spend the $$ right now for it and am kinda anxious to get the bike together so i can ride it.
    Before getting to paint, etc though, I drilled out all of the cable guides since I am going to run full cable housings on all of the cables. After that it was time for paint.
    Here's the cans of primer and paints I used:


    I cleaned up the frame first, blew off any dust, etc and sprayed a few coats of sandable primer:


    After the primer coats were done and dried, I wet sanded any rough spots or imperfections then laid down some primer sealer:


    After the primer sealer was dried, I again wet sanded any imperfections and laid down the color coat. Here's the frame after I sprayed the 3rd coat of color:

    And a closeup of the color itself:


    Next up is some clear coat to add a bit of protection for the paint, but I want a satin or matte finish. Still trying to find a spray can matte or satin clear, but if I can't find one i'm thinking about spraying a regular gloss clear then sanding that with 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper to achieve the matte look. Anyway, that's all for now. Will update more as work progresses...

  12. #12
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    Lookin good Alvin. You puttin stickers/decals on it? I'm curious to see it finished.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Thanks Skip. Yeah, definitely want to put decals on it. Thinking about putting "Specialized" Stickers on the side of the main tube in black w/ white or silver outline and "FSR" stickers on the sides of the seat tube section in the same color scheme (Black w/ white or silver outline). Just want to kinda replicate the stock stickers but in a different color scheme. Just need to find someone that has a vinyl cutter that can make me some vinyl cut stickers in the colors I need. Also want to test and see if I can clear coat over the stickers as well without them pulling up, etc.
    Anyone know and good decal/sign people or places that might already have the Specialized and FSR logos on file? I know I can go to any of the local sign and graphics shops and have them make them, and i'm willing to do that. The problem is the logos themselves. The Specialized logo is no big deal...can get them all over the internet, but I'm having a hard time finding a clean shot of the actual "FSR" logo...

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    Hey Alvin, you could really go custom and find someone GOOD with an airbrush and have "Specialized" and "FSR" painted on in the colors you wanted. Then you could spray some clear over that.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Yeah, I considered actually painting the logos on as well, but I figured i'd have to have some stencils cut of the logos and apply the colors using the stencils. I determined that it was a little more work than I wanted to spend on the logos and I think I can achieve a similar result with clearing over vinyl. I've "heard" you can do it...just never tried it myself. Never thought about having it airbrushed though. Hmm...
    Too bad I don't still live back East...have an old friend back there that is really good with an airbrush and has a vinyl cutter, etc for making stencils. He actually custom airbushes helmets for racers (car and motorcycle mostly) and i'm sure he'd cut me a really good deal...

    Anyway, I just found some satin and flat clear coat. Gonna do some test panels with the two to see how different they are and decide which one i'm gonna go with for the frame...

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    Great, detailed write up, and nice work on the frame.

    So, at this point, are you money ahead or money behind? How about ride time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Val Garou
    Great, detailed write up, and nice work on the frame.

    So, at this point, are you money ahead or money behind? How about ride time?
    Thanks Val. Money ahead or money behind? Not sure what you mean. Please explain...

    Alvin

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    What's the word? Build coming along ok? How bout your stencile/decal quest? Kinda curious to see it all done. CHEERS!
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    What's the word? Build coming along ok? How bout your stencile/decal quest? Kinda curious to see it all done. CHEERS!
    Well, I found someone to make the decals. I'm just trying to replicate the FSR logo in Adobe Illustrator so I can get them made. Also, the paints I'm using for the frame are acrylic which unfortunately takes a LONG time to dry completely. It dries to the touch pretty quickly but takes a long time to fully harden. Trust me, no one wants to see it finished more than I do. LOL. I'll definitely update this thread as things progress...

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    Alvin, Looks good. Glad you sent me the link on my text, I didn't even know you were doing this thread.

    II must say, that FOX shock looks BAD A!!!!! So let me get this straight, you have the Fox DHx, Fox vanilla, blown RS Deluxe and the Manitou? Geez, that is crazy. I wonder how the Manitou performs compared to the Dhx or Vanilla (as you know, I never got to rid it).

    My bike now is set up with the Vanilla Rx 5.625 travel mode (with the BETD link) middle setting and I use a 950# spring and I weigh 185-190. Hope that helps.

    I know this may sound stupid, but I think this FSR frame and the old Intense frames are the most attractive FS frames ever made. And I really don't think the newer designs are any better performing. I am totally (re)digging my FSR and new frames don't tempt me one bit. The technology that was put into that MAX frame is so much better than a typical pipe welded frame, if I went with one of the new frames I honestly think I would be going backwards when considering construction techniques and technology.

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    I think the FSR Max frames are the shizzle. I'm not changing anytime soon.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Skip, if you look at the serial number under the BB, it will give you a series of numbers, the first 2 numbers are the model year.

    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    I believe it's a 99, looks just like yours w/o the extra holes. I have the lower set of holes and gussets top & bottom. You know though, I can't be 100% certain it's a 99 because I was givien this frame as a gift, Fathers Day "07". My family purchased it from Kevin Risse.
    I talked to him about it later and he said "99". As far as spring rate, I am running one of Risse's air shocks, the Astro-5.
    I think if it was me,I would start with the 600# spring and go from there. Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    Skip, if you look at the serial number under the BB, it will give you a series of numbers, the first 2 numbers are the model year.
    Hey rod, because of the powdercoating I can't see the numbers.But my frame looks just like that one Alvin got from you..
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Heh. Yup...got the DHX, the Manitou, The Vanilla R, and the old blown RS Deluxe. The Vanilla R is currently on the FSR Comp and will probably stay there. Perhaps sometime down the road, i'll scrounge enough components together to put that frame to use as a spare or a second, more XC oriented bike. I dunno...we'll see...
    I do definitely plan on trying out the Max frame with both the Manitou and the DHX shocks though...just for comparison sake. Curious how different they'll feel.

    As for updates, I finished up the vector graphics for the "FSR" and "DH" logos today with some work in Adobe Illustrator and found suitable vector images of the "Specialized" and "S" logos. I've been trading emails with a couple of possible sources to have the decals I need made so hopefully soon i'll be able to get them onto the frame and can lay down the clear. I'm really itching to get this frame finished so I can get the bike together and ride it...

    And yes...I definitely agree with both of you. These frames were ahead of their time. I love the look and build quality of these frames and look forward to riding this thing for some time...
    Would I take a new SX Trail or Demo 8? Of course I would! But it wouldn't replace this bike, nor would I ever get rid of this thing. I Love it!

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    The guy i'm working with for the custom decals (a fellow member here on MTBR ) sent me the proofs for the final artwork for the decals today. Here's how they should look:

    Unfortunately, it's gonna take 7-10 days before the decals are done so it'll be a little bit before the frame is done. Dammit. I just wanna get this thing done already!

    Alvin

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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    The guy i'm working with for the custom decals (a fellow member here on MTBR ) sent me the proofs for the final artwork for the decals today. Here's how they should look:

    Unfortunately, it's gonna take 7-10 days before the decals are done so it'll be a little bit before the frame is done. Dammit. I just wanna get this thing done already!

    Alvin
    Awesome. I would actually build up the bike then put decals so you don't build it up and risk scratching it.

    The proofs look pretty good the only flaw I see is that the "R" on the FSR the front line/leg is a little short. Just slightly. No one would probably know though.

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    Hmm...didn't even notice that. I did the actual text for the FSR in Illustrator by tracing a picture of the FSR logo with the pen tool. Not sure how it ended up off a bit. Oh well. Think it might be a bit too late now...
    As for building it before installing the decals, can't really do that since i'm going to clear over the decals. Gonna spray a couple of coats of regular clear once the decals go down, will wet-sand it smooth, then spray a layer of flat clear for the flat look to the frame.

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    FYI-not that it matters much, but that blue linkage is powdercoated. But I think you plan on using a different link right?

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    double post

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    triple post

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    If its the downhill version of the 1999 max backbone, its a FSR Elite Big Hit http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...9113&Type=bike
    otherwise its a 1999 fsr pro, which is what i have and love it still http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...8863&Type=bike

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    Quote Originally Posted by felix5150
    If its the downhill version of the 1999 max backbone, its a FSR Elite Big Hit http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...9113&Type=bike
    otherwise its a 1999 fsr pro, which is what i have and love it still http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...8863&Type=bike
    This frame is a bit of a mystery, as is my frame that is a DH version from 1997. I worked at a shop at the time, mine was a C3 (the carbon fiber FSR recall) replacement and after pulling some serious strings, I got them to replace it with a DH version of the FSR (which, at the time ONLY meant that it had a longer rear shock on it that was supposed to produce 5.25" or so travel-claimed, but ended up being less than that). I also remember the frame and fork kit (boxxer?) available as just a frame and fork kit in the catalogs at the time. My understanding that as Specialized started to go more and more with OE Manitou stuff, they came out with the frame Alvin has in 1999 with the manitou coil over rear shock (instead of the fox, like mine did). There supposedly were available or were produced in very small numbers. Another interesting point about Alvins particular frame, the rear swingarm is actually a model year 1998 and the mainframe is a 1999. I didn't realize this until I tried to order a needle bearing kit for it and those 2 use different part (specialized changed the pivot in 1999 for one year only). Another oddity is the hole placement on the mainframe, they are totally different than the other MAX frames, not just one that was added, but both are in different locations. I compared it to my frame very closely. This might be one of those deals were they only did this configuration on the few DH frames they made in 1999?

    Then they came out with the FSR TEAM Dh, which was a different version of a MAX frame with more travel, and much siffer and heavier rear end.
    Last edited by rodH; 11-24-2009 at 11:03 PM.

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    That's some great insight Rod and answers a lot of the questions I had regarding this frame. Thanks for that. Right after getting the frame from you I started scouring the net for info on the FSR DH and pretty much came up with nothing other than a few old, poor quality pictures. Couldn't find any info as far as specs, etc. and Bikepedia definitely didn't list anything. But then again, bikepedia doesn't list the Palmer special edition of the FSR either so there's definitely stuff out there that hasn't made it into bikepedia.
    Regarding the shock mounting holes, wasn't really sure what the deal was with that because I haven't seen any other max frames that had multiple mounting holes for the shock. It also appeared to me (from pics at least) that the holes were in a slightly different position than those on other max frames. Since I don't have another max frame to compare it to directly, I just chalked it up to perhaps an optical illusion from the pictures, but I guess I was right after all.

    Anyway, here's the few pics I could find on the web:


    Those 3 are the only ones I could find of an FSR DH. The last pic is what I used to base the artwork for the "DH" decals i'm going to put on my frame.

    Here's a couple of other pics I found interesting as well:




    The first 2 are of the limited edition Palmer bike. One just of the bike, and the other in use by what looks to be a Specialized team rider (based on him being dressed head to toe in Specialized gear) if it's not Palmer himself. The last pic is just one I found, but have no idea what model it is. Never seen one with those decals on it. Anyone know what it is? Looks like it might be a DH since the few pics i've seen of the DH and the Palmer bikes came with that same chain tensioner/bashguard setup. Anyway, thanks again Rod for the added insight. Just trying to find out as much as I can about these bikes so if you have any more info please feel free to share it!

    Oh, and just for comparison sake, here's a pic of the FSR Team DH bike:

    Would love to have one of those, but I don't have much need for an all-out DH bike. I need something I can ride up as well as down on...
    Last edited by atchipmunk; 11-25-2009 at 10:19 AM.

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    That american flag bike, IIRC was a bike that Palmer rode at the worlds that year. You can usually tell it is one of his bikes, because his independent sponsers were Manitou (so you never see him on a Boxxer outside his eary years) and also Magura, with the bright yellow calipers.

    Does that Manitou rear shock look familiar

    The DH bikes were only available as frame sets, and cost around $1999, which was almost as much as the Elite or Pro FSR at the time. This is one of the reasons I don't think many people bought them. Plus nobody outside of DH guys or freaks like myself wanted a "DH" bike with a crazy 5"+ travel back then.

    Nice job on the "DH" logo, you hit it, you probably had to search hard for that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    That american flag bike, IIRC was a bike that Palmer rode at the worlds that year. You can usually tell it is one of his bikes, because his independent sponsers were Manitou (so you never see him on a Boxxer outside his eary years) and also Magura, with the bright yellow calipers.

    Does that Manitou rear shock look familiar

    The DH bikes were only available as frame sets, and cost around $1999, which was almost as much as the Elite or Pro FSR at the time. This is one of the reasons I don't think many people bought them. Plus nobody outside of DH guys or freaks like myself wanted a "DH" bike with a crazy 5"+ travel back then.

    Nice job on the "DH" logo, you hit it, you probably had to search hard for that one.
    Ah, that explains the mango colored Manitou front fork and neon yellow calipers on the "Palmer" FSR too. Interesting.
    When I first saw that pic of the rear link on the DH, first thing I noticed was the rear manitou shock. Same as the one that came with my DH frame.
    Also, the fact that the DH was only available as a frameset explains why there isn't much info out there on them. It's funny though...back in the day the DH bikes had 5+" of travel. By todays standards, that barely counts as AM. Anyway, thanks again Rod for the added insight into these frames...

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    That's some great insight Rod and answers a lot of the questions I had regarding this frame. Thanks for that. Right after getting the frame from you I started scouring the net for info on the FSR DH and pretty much came up with nothing other than a few old, poor quality pictures. Couldn't find any info as far as specs, etc. and Bikepedia definitely didn't list anything. But then again, bikepedia doesn't list the Palmer special edition of the FSR either so there's definitely stuff out there that hasn't made it into bikepedia.
    Regarding the shock mounting holes, wasn't really sure what the deal was with that because I haven't seen any other max frames that had multiple mounting holes for the shock. It also appeared to me (from pics at least) that the holes were in a slightly different position than those on other max frames. Since I don't have another max frame to compare it to directly, I just chalked it up to perhaps an optical illusion from the pictures, but I guess I was right after all.

    Anyway, here's the few pics I could find on the web:


    Those 3 are the only ones I could find of an FSR DH. The last pic is what I used to base the artwork for the "DH" decals i'm going to put on my frame.

    Here's a couple of other pics I found interesting as well:




    The first 2 are of the limited edition Palmer bike. One just of the bike, and the other in use by what looks to be a Specialized team rider (based on him being dressed head to toe in Specialized gear) if it's not Palmer himself. The last pic is just one I found, but have no idea what model it is. Never seen one with those decals on it. Anyone know what it is? Looks like it might be a DH since the few pics i've seen of the DH and the Palmer bikes came with that same chain tensioner/bashguard setup. Anyway, thanks again Rod for the added insight. Just trying to find out as much as I can about these bikes so if you have any more info please feel free to share it!

    Oh, and just for comparison sake, here's a pic of the FSR Team DH bike:

    Would love to have one of those, but I don't have much need for an all-out DH bike. I need something I can ride up as well as down on...
    Alvin & rod, that 3rd pic you show tells me alot. Only 1 set of shock mount holes and my frame is def. a DH frame. My frame looks identical to that pic. I wonder if a guy could talk directly to Mike Sinyard of Spec. and get the real story about these bikes/frames?
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    Alvin & rod, that 3rd pic you show tells me alot. Only 1 set of shock mount holes and my frame is def. a DH frame. My frame looks identical to that pic. I wonder if a guy could talk directly to Mike Sinyard of Spec. and get the real story about these bikes/frames?
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Happy Turkey Day! I've been thinking the same thing lately...wondering if there is someone at Specialized that can give us the skinny on these frames. Was thinking about writing down the serial number from my frame and shooting an email to specialized to see if they can identify it and tell me anything more about it and the production of these frames? It's worth a shot I guess...

    For updates on the build, still waiting for the decals before I can do much else. I did pick up a new, black, Chris King Headset for the MAX frame though. I have one on the Comp (pewter color) but wanted a black one to better match the color scheme i'm going for with the "new" frame. Been also wondering if a Specialized Command Post would work with this frame. The length wouldn't work with the Comp frame because the seat tube is too short and the Command Post needs at least 100mm of insertion depth. I think there's just enough insertion depth in the Max frame's seat tube, i'm just not sure if the height will be right for my inseam length, etc. Gotta get the bike together and take some measurements before i'll know for sure. It suuuure would be convenient though to not have to stop to change seat height before and after a decent, etc....

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    Happy Turkey Day! I've been thinking the same thing lately...wondering if there is someone at Specialized that can give us the skinny on these frames. Was thinking about writing down the serial number from my frame and shooting an email to specialized to see if they can identify it and tell me anything more about it and the production of these frames? It's worth a shot I guess...

    For updates on the build, still waiting for the decals before I can do much else. I did pick up a new, black, Chris King Headset for the MAX frame though. I have one on the Comp (pewter color) but wanted a black one to better match the color scheme i'm going for with the "new" frame. Been also wondering if a Specialized Command Post would work with this frame. The length wouldn't work with the Comp frame because the seat tube is too short and the Command Post needs at least 100mm of insertion depth. I think there's just enough insertion depth in the Max frame's seat tube, i'm just not sure if the height will be right for my inseam length, etc. Gotta get the bike together and take some measurements before i'll know for sure. It suuuure would be convenient though to not have to stop to change seat height before and after a decent, etc....
    I have run a telescoping seat post from time to time and realized that I didn't adjust it very often, so I went back to my standard post and found the "sweet spot" cut the post at that length and now I ride everything with it there. If we do go and ride some really tech stuff, then I will put the "scoping" post in for that day so that I can lower it in case I need to.
    At 6'2", with a 34" inseam my seat is kinda high.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    Alvin & rod, that 3rd pic you show tells me alot. Only 1 set of shock mount holes and my frame is def. a DH frame. My frame looks identical to that pic. I wonder if a guy could talk directly to Mike Sinyard of Spec. and get the real story about these bikes/frames?
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    It might depend on the year? Mine is a 1997 and it doesn't have the 2 holes either.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    It might depend on the year? Mine is a 1997 and it doesn't have the 2 holes either.
    I went to my LBS today and talked to a guy who has been in the bike industry for a long time. He had a catolog from 1999, he keeps alot of stuff around, and it does not show/tell anything about an FSR DH.Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the MAX frame was only available in the Elite or Pro. I have sent Spec. an e-mail asking if I can get any info on these bikes/frames. I'm really interested in this now. But you know, it really doesn't matter, I love the way this bike rides and with the gussets top & bottom I believe it is very strong and will withstand anything I can throw at it. Thanx rod.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    I went to my LBS today and talked to a guy who has been in the bike industry for a long time. He had a catolog from 1999, he keeps alot of stuff around, and it does not show/tell anything about an FSR DH.Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the MAX frame was only available in the Elite or Pro. I have sent Spec. an e-mail asking if I can get any info on these bikes/frames. I'm really interested in this now. But you know, it really doesn't matter, I love the way this bike rides and with the gussets top & bottom I believe it is very strong and will withstand anything I can throw at it. Thanx rod.
    I had a copy that I threw away only a couple years ago of the specialized catalog from 1997. It shows all the bikes of course and then it shows the DH frameset. It was red with a big SPECIALIZED logo on it, it looked different than the normal red FSR frame in that the normal FSR frame used much smaller lettering for the specialized and it had the weird circle ground control logo on it (which the DH version didn't).

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    I had a copy that I threw away only a couple years ago of the specialized catalog from 1997. It shows all the bikes of course and then it shows the DH frameset. It was red with a big SPECIALIZED logo on it, it looked different than the normal red FSR frame in that the normal FSR frame used much smaller lettering for the specialized and it had the weird circle ground control logo on it (which the DH version didn't).
    I'll ask and see if he has the "97" cat. You have seen the pix that Alvin posted, yes?
    The 3rd pic, small one, that bike has the DH logo on it, is that what you were talking about?
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    Another interesting thing I found. Look at this link: They call it is an FSR DHO. I totally remember that it stood for "down hill only"


    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:...ient=firefox-a

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    Another interesting thing I found. Look at this link: They call it is an FSR DHO. I totally remember that it stood for "down hill only"


    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:...ient=firefox-a
    Hey rod want to hear something ironic? That 2nd pic of the blue bike showing the rear shock, that was my old fsr comp before I obtained this Max frame.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    I'll ask and see if he has the "97" cat. You have seen the pix that Alvin posted, yes?
    The 3rd pic, small one, that bike has the DH logo on it, is that what you were talking about?
    No, those pics that alvin posted are from the newer frames (99 ish). You can tell based on the sticker kits. I do remember seeing that FSR DH, but here is the deal. When I worked at a shop the normal course of events went something like this. Before the actual official catalogs would come out, the dealer would get a dealer notebook that showed all the upcoming models with a lot of specs adn stats. We would usually get this at Interbike, IIRC. I went to interbike for the intro to the 1999 bikes, BUT I left the industry before those bikes really started to hit the shop. I left the state and my shop for grad school, so I am not sure if that "DH" logo actually made it on an actual production bike. Sometimes the dealer notebooks included bikes that never made it to production but I totally remember that "DH" logo. Thats why when I saw Alvins sticker proofs, I knew immediately that he had it right.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    No, those pics that alvin posted are from the newer frames (99 ish). You can tell based on the sticker kits. I do remember seeing that FSR DH, but here is the deal. When I worked at a shop the normal course of events went something like this. Before the actual official catalogs would come out, the dealer would get a dealer notebook that showed all the upcoming models with a lot of specs adn stats. We would usually get this at Interbike, IIRC. I went to interbike for the intro to the 1999 bikes, BUT I left the industry before those bikes really started to hit the shop. I left the state and my shop for grad school, so I am not sure if that "DH" logo actually made it on an actual production bike. Sometimes the dealer notebooks included bikes that never made it to production but I totally remember that "DH" logo. Thats why when I saw Alvins sticker proofs, I knew immediately that he had it right.
    Right on rod, Thanx. I hope you don't think I'm trying to be a "know it all" or anything , just trying to learn more about this frame/bike. Either way I'm gonna ride the pizz out of this thing just because it does it so well. Keep the info coming, I appreciate it.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    Right on rod, Thanx. I hope you don't think I'm trying to be a "know it all" or anything , just trying to learn more about this frame/bike. Either way I'm gonna ride the pizz out of this thing just because it does it so well. Keep the info coming, I appreciate it.
    No, I dont think that at all. It is hard to find the info on these bikes, esp since they are so old and the internet wasn't nearly as big back then.

    It would be interesting to see what Specialized official word would be on the subject.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    No, I dont think that at all. It is hard to find the info on these bikes, esp since they are so old and the internet wasn't nearly as big back then.

    It would be interesting to see what Specialized official word would be on the subject.
    If I get any info, I will post it up here and let you guys know. Have a great weekend.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    More great info guys...keep it coming! I'd like to try to talk to one of the local Specialized dealers or LBS people to see if they remember any of the stuff from the MAX Backbone era. Unfortunately, there aren't really any good bike shops in my area. No enthusiast bike shops at least.
    One of the old shops I used to go to back on the east coast in high school would probably remember that stuff. It was a small shop, but they had all the high end MTB stuff at the time and the staff was cool and down to earth. I bought my original Rock Shox RS-1 from them for my old ass Trek 9000. Next time I visit my parents, I should swing by and see if they're still around...

    I did find mention of the DHO online but couldn't find any pics. Also, there's some reviews here on MTBR for the FSR DH, but no pics . Skip, if Specialized emails you back, definitely let us know. Like Rod, i'm insanely curious to find out what Specialized's official word will be...

    On a side note...while surfing around, I came across another swingarm/chainstay that was made for these bikes. The Szember swingarm. Dirtworld did a little writeup on it back in 2000: http://www.dirtworld.com/PRODUCTREVI...ory.asp?id=235
    Last edited by atchipmunk; 11-28-2009 at 06:46 AM.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    More great info guys...keep it coming! I'd like to try to talk to one of the local Specialized dealers or LBS people to see if they remember any of the stuff from the MAX Backbone era. Unfortunately, there aren't really any good bike shops in my area. No enthusiast bike shops at least.
    One of the old shops I used to go to back on the east coast in high school would probably remember that stuff. It was a small shop, but they had all the high end MTB stuff at the time and the staff was cool and down to earth. I bought my original Rock Shox RS-1 from them for my old ass Trek 9000. Next time I visit my parents, I should swing by and see if they're still around...

    I did find mention of the DHO online but couldn't find any pics. Also, there's some reviews here on MTBR for the FSR DH, but no pics . Skip, if Specialized emails you back, definitely let us know. Like Rod, i'm insanely curious to find out what Specialized's official word will be...

    On a side note...while surfing around, I came across another swingarm/chainstay that was made for these bikes. The Szember swingarm. Dirtworld did a little writeup on it back in 2000: http://www.dirtworld.com/PRODUCTREVI...ory.asp?id=235
    Hey Alvin, keep up the good work at finding info on these FSR's, you da man. I will keep you guys posted as I find out more from Spec.
    Another question for you guys. What does FSR stand for?
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    Hey Alvin, keep up the good work at finding info on these FSR's, you da man. I will keep you guys posted as I find out more from Spec.
    Another question for you guys. What does FSR stand for?
    Heh. According to the Specialized FAQ, FSR stands for "Future Shock Rear"...
    http://specialized.custhelp.com/cgi-...hfdGV4dD1mc3I!

    Never heard the term Future Shock till recently though. They coined "FSR" a while ago, so I wonder if maybe it was originally a different acronym and now they associate it with Future Shock Rear? *shrug*

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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    Heh. According to the Specialized FAQ, FSR stands for "Future Shock Rear"...
    http://specialized.custhelp.com/cgi-...hfdGV4dD1mc3I!
    10-4, Thanx Alvin. I had heard it was "Full Suspended Racer", I think my buddy made that up though.
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    Did a couple of tweaks to the FSR decal logo. Fixed the short leg on the R (Thanks for pointing that out Rod!) and tightened up the spacing between letters so it more closely matches the originals. Sent the new vector file to the decal guy and he just sent me the new proofs with the changes so here it is:


    I think I got the sizes close enough to what I need. Having 2 sets of "DH" decals made as well...one set with white lettering and another with silver lettering. Will decide which I like better once they get here and I start applying them...

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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk

    On a side note...while surfing around, I came across another swingarm/chainstay that was made for these bikes. The Szember swingarm. Dirtworld did a little writeup on it back in 2000: http://www.dirtworld.com/PRODUCTREVI...ory.asp?id=235
    Interesting. It looks like the frame he is using is the Chinese non-MAX frame, which had less beefy chainstays than the MAX. It is unclear if the chaistays added the 6" travel, that would be impossible, so I am assuming it is in combination with the MRP linkage.

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    I always thought the FSR had something to do with the 4 bar linkage system, since the Ground Controls that didn't use the linkage weren't called "FSR".

    I am riding my bike a couple times a week now and love riding it, I have it set up to where it is really a fun bike with lots of travel and still light weight. I am hoping Santa brings me a set of platforms (not sure when I will use them, but would like to try them for fun) and a set of Easton Monkeylite carbon DH bars (I want to try riding a 27-28" bar).

    I am a little bummed. I just went riding dirtbikes yesterday and got back late last night. Planned on sleeping in and I woke with a text msg that was on there at 6:15 am from a buddy who I have helped get into riding MTB saying that he and some of our other freinds were going on a long ride at 7:15 if I wanted to come. I woke up after 8, so I missed it Arrgggggghhh!!!!

    Now I am sitting here on a MTB msg board talking about riding instead of actually riding like I should be. Bummer.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    Interesting. It looks like the frame he is using is the Chinese non-MAX frame, which had less beefy chainstays than the MAX. It is unclear if the chaistays added the 6" travel, that would be impossible, so I am assuming it is in combination with the MRP linkage.
    I thought the exact same thing. Don't see how just the chainstay itself could add travel. Must be in accordance with the MRP stuff...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    I am riding my bike a couple times a week now and love riding it, I have it set up to where it is really a fun bike with lots of travel and still light weight. I am hoping Santa brings me a set of platforms (not sure when I will use them, but would like to try them for fun) and a set of Easton Monkeylite carbon DH bars (I want to try riding a 27-28" bar).

    I am a little bummed. I just went riding dirtbikes yesterday and got back late last night. Planned on sleeping in and I woke with a text msg that was on there at 6:15 am from a buddy who I have helped get into riding MTB saying that he and some of our other freinds were going on a long ride at 7:15 if I wanted to come. I woke up after 8, so I missed it Arrgggggghhh!!!!

    Now I am sitting here on a MTB msg board talking about riding instead of actually riding like I should be. Bummer.
    Heh. I know EXACTLY what you feel like Rod. I usually ride 3-4 times a week now. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my morning ride days where me and a couple of coworkers meet at 6:30 and go for an early morning, before-work ride. It's a short little loop that has a good, fast, and somewhat technical downhill (with 3-4 decent sized jumps/hits on he way) followed by a good little climb back up to the cars. Great way to start the morning and a good little primer for for work.
    The weekends is when we usually go on a longer ride or 2. Was supposed to go this AM to check out Turnbull Canyon, but everyone bailed due to other obligations. Didn't really want to go check out a new ride by myself...so here too am I, on a MTB forum reading about riding instead of actually riding...

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    Heh. I know EXACTLY what you feel like Rod. I usually ride 3-4 times a week now. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my morning ride days where me and a couple of coworkers meet at 6:30 and go for an early morning, before-work ride. It's a short little loop that has a good, fast, and somewhat technical downhill (with 3-4 decent sized jumps/hits on he way) followed by a good little climb back up to the cars. Great way to start the morning and a good little primer for for work.
    The weekends is when we usually go on a longer ride or 2. Was supposed to go this AM to check out Turnbull Canyon, but everyone bailed due to other obligations. Didn't really want to go check out a new ride by myself...so here too am I, on a MTB forum reading about riding instead of actually riding...
    The worse part about it for me is that I didn't surf tis AM (which I usually do ever Tues and Sat AM, it is my 1st love) because I wanted to sleep in from a long day of riding yesterday, and to think I could have rode my Mountain Bike and still slept in a little

    I talked to his wife (I called to see if they were doing a really long ride and see if she was going to do a check point with food for them and maybe I could catch them half way) and she mentioned that he was going to call last night, she felt a little bad.

    Oh well, another day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    The worse part about it for me is that I didn't surf tis AM (which I usually do ever Tues and Sat AM, it is my 1st love) because I wanted to sleep in from a long day of riding yesterday, and to think I could have rode my Mountain Bike and still slept in a little
    Ah...well, the good thing about SoCal...the beach never moves. Yeah, the waves change from day to day and sometimes hour to hour, but at least you can rest assured that there'll be surf on another day.
    Speaking of surfing...I tried to learn to surf this past season, but unfortunately didn't get to spend hardly ANY time in the water. Been hard to find the time. Having grown up on the east coast, I was a pretty hardcore bodyboarder through highschool (in addition to being a hardcore snowboarder in the winter and MTB'er the rest of the time). I always wanted to learn to surf, but the conditions I had back east didn't really lend themselves well to surfing. I recently got donated a couple of boards from a friend from Hawaii, but just haven't been able to spend much time in the water. Also, during that little bit of time spent in the water, I found it pretty difficult sometimes to be a complete beginner again in something. I mean...with my bodyboard and fins in hand, I have the confidence to charge out into just about any kinda conditions. Definitely have to think twice about heading out into pretty big surf with the surfboards...just because i'm not really comfortable surfing yet. There were a couple of times that I was out, the swells were pretty decent, and I was struggling on the surfboard thinking, "I could be out here totally ripping on my bodyboard". Not that I wasn't having fun learning to surf too, but it's a different kind of fun when you're more in control...if ya know what I mean? Guess it's just tough to be a beginner in anything really. But I digress...

    Oh, also Rod I think you're definitely right about the chain and seat stays on my frame being from an earlier year. Was in the garage earlier doing a little wet-sanding on the frame and noticed that the left rear dropout of the chainstays has a serial number stamped into it. The serial number on the left dropout identifies it as a '98 MY part (98SFS2884) while the serial number on the fame identifies it as being from the '99 MY (99SFS02983). Gonna shoot Specialized an email with these serial numbers and see if they can give me any more info...

  60. #60
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    Looks like my old 2000 Big Hit. I ran 24s front and rear back in the day. The front tire was a Gazzo 3.0 on a doublewide and the rear was a Rhino Lite with a Gazzo 2.6. The bike lasted almost 4000 miles before I sold it.



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    Quote Originally Posted by kntr
    Looks like my old 2000 Big Hit. I ran 24s front and rear back in the day. The front tire was a Gazzo 3.0 on a doublewide and the rear was a Rhino Lite with a Gazzo 2.6. The bike lasted almost 4000 miles before I sold it.


    not a MAX Backbone frame, but still fun. Thanks for sharing. What rear link and shock did you use?

  62. #62
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    Hey guys, just got back from riding some really tech singletrack and some blazin DH.
    We ride out and up to the DH start, so there is some pedaling involved. There were 10 of us. My trusty FSR Max worked perfect today as always and I ended up right on the back wheel of a young man riding an 8" travel BigHit, we were the first 2 down the mountain.
    This bike works very well at a little bit of everything. I hope we can all get together next spring and maybe do some ridin. Thanx for letting me share.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    Hey guys, just got back from riding some really tech singletrack and some blazin DH.
    We ride out and up to the DH start, so there is some pedaling involved. There were 10 of us. My trusty FSR Max worked perfect today as always and I ended up right on the back wheel of a young man riding an 8" travel BigHit, we were the first 2 down the mountain.
    This bike works very well at a little bit of everything. I hope we can all get together next spring and maybe do some ridin. Thanx for letting me share.
    Skip, what are you running on your FSR?

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    Skip, what are you running on your FSR?
    A modified Marz. 55R set at 160mm travel and a complete Risse Racing modular rear end, including an Astro-5 rear shock.
    Rear travel is right at 6.1"
    Hayes El Camino's w/ 8" rotors fr. & r.
    Mavic 729 rear wheel.
    DT Swiss 5.1 fr. wheel.
    2x8 w/ bash drive train, XT & LX.
    Specialized Strong Arm crank set. Nothing fancy, but it does work very well. A bit heavy at 38#, but for the way we ride I need/like a tankish set up. Hope you likey.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by kntr
    Looks like my old 2000 Big Hit. I ran 24s front and rear back in the day. The front tire was a Gazzo 3.0 on a doublewide and the rear was a Rhino Lite with a Gazzo 2.6. The bike lasted almost 4000 miles before I sold it.
    Interesting. That '00 Big Hit looks a lot like my old '98 FSR Comp...just looks like Spec. changed some of the angles of the tubing by the seat tube to put the rear shock and linkage at a different angle. That the stock rear linkage on there kntr? Looks like maybe a MRP setup?

    Skip...sounds like you guys had some fun today. At least someone was out riding! The guys I ride with ALL have fairly new bikes...an '09 Enduro, Giant, Iron Horse, etc. and my old-ass FSR Comp holds it's own pretty decently still. I'm outta shape, so we're a little slow on the climbs, but i'm definitely always the first one down on the decents. Thanks for sharing a little ride report!
    Oh, and one of these days you gotta click us some pics of your setup. Would love to check it out!

    Alvin

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    Interesting. That '00 Big Hit looks a lot like my old '98 FSR Comp...just looks like Spec. changed some of the angles of the tubing by the seat tube to put the rear shock and linkage at a different angle. That the stock rear linkage on there kntr? Looks like maybe a MRP setup?

    Skip...sounds like you guys had some fun today. At least someone was out riding! The guys I ride with ALL have fairly new bikes...an '09 Enduro, Giant, Iron Horse, etc. and my old-ass FSR Comp holds it's own pretty decently still. I'm outta shape, so we're a little slow on the climbs, but i'm definitely always the first one down on the decents. Thanks for sharing a little ride report!
    Oh, and one of these days you gotta click us some pics of your setup. Would love to check it out!

    Alvin
    I'll get some pix taken and posted on here for you guys to check out. My trusty old Max bike takes a lickin and keeps on tickin. I take really good care of it, so it takes good care of me.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Another one still out there

    We just rode the Big M, Manistee Michigan trails yesterday. Some fast downhills with roots covered by leaves made me happy to have that long travel. Bought this bike 2 years ago and has been ridden hard since. My sons FSR Pro beside it. Like others here, I also tried to find information on the "DH" version but not much available. Happy to measure or photo anything on this bike if it helps.

    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-pic00003b.jpg
    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-pic00004b.jpg

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by isetta
    We just rode the Big M, Manistee Michigan trails yesterday. Some fast downhills with roots covered by leaves made me happy to have that long travel. Bought this bike 2 years ago and has been ridden hard since. My sons FSR Pro beside it. Like others here, I also tried to find information on the "DH" version but not much available. Happy to measure or photo anything on this bike if it helps.

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    How bout a close up shot of the rear shock mount to the frame.
    Head tube gusset, top & bottom, side view, top view, bottom view, Please.
    I just noticed something, it may be the angle of the pic, but the seat tube angle looks diff. from the pro in the back ground, and I see the seat post goes clean through the seat tube, does it do that on the DH bike?
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  69. #69
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    Testing pics

    Sorry for the double post, just playing with the methods to attach and view images




  70. #70
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    pics

    I'll scrape off the mud and post some.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by isetta
    I'll scrape off the mud and post some.
    isetta, I edited my first post, can you help me?
    BTW. a couple of nice rigs there.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  72. #72
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    Man, you opened up a can worms here. Some more ???
    What's the frame size for the DH? For the Pro?
    What's the head tube length on the DH?
    I'm not trying to be pest, I just want all the info on these bikes/frames I can get.
    Thanx for your time.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  73. #73
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    Thanks for posting those pics Isetta! That's a SWEET pair of bikes! You're actually the first person that i've come across that actually still has one of these FSR DH bikes! Call me a little weird, but I find that kinda exciting!

    Definitely post more pics if you can. Would love to see closeups of the headtube gussets, the rear linkage/shock area, etc. Did you buy the bike complete or as a frameset that you built up? What year is it, and what size frames are both your DH and the son's Pro? The DH looks to be a larger size than the Pro, or is that just the angle and the photos deceiving me? The headtube itself looks taller?
    Anyway, thanks again for posting. We NEED more pics! No need for a cleanup either...I mean it is a MTB afterall!

    Alvin

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    Thanks for posting those pics Isetta! That's a SWEET pair of bikes! You're actually the first person that i've come across that actually still has one of these FSR DH bikes! Call me a little weird, but I find that kinda exciting!

    Definitely post more pics if you can. Would love to see closeups of the headtube gussets, the rear linkage/shock area, etc. Did you buy the bike complete or as a frameset that you built up? What year is it, and what size frames are both your DH and the son's Pro? The DH looks to be a larger size than the Pro, or is that just the angle and the photos deceiving me? The headtube itself looks taller?
    Anyway, thanks again for posting. We NEED more pics! No need for a cleanup either...I mean it is a MTB afterall!

    Alvin
    I agree with you on the head tube, I'm curious about the seat tube angle.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    I agree with you on the head tube, I'm curious about the seat tube angle.
    Yeah, the seat tube angle does look to be different. Wonder if that's a function of a larger sized frame? Inquiring minds want to know....

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    Yeah, the seat tube angle does look to be different. Wonder if that's a function of a larger sized frame? Inquiring minds want to know....
    Hey Alvin, does that bottom head tube gusset look really big or is it the pic? Inquiring minds, ah you know.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

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    Skip the DH has a "step" in the seat tube that prevents the seat post from extending below. My guess is the factory bored out the tube and stopped about 3/8 inch short of the bottom to create that feature. I machined out that step on the FSR Pro to allow better range of adjustment when my son and I both rode that bike. I think the geometry is different, see the diff in height of bottom bracket and angle of chainstays and yet the DH seat angle looks shallow. It definitely has a rearward bias, too easy to lift the front wheel when climbing. BTW the DH is 20 1/4 seat tube and the Pro is 19 1/8

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by isetta
    Skip the DH has a "step" in the seat tube that prevents the seat post from extending below. My guess is the factory bored out the tube and stopped about 3/8 inch short of the bottom to create that feature. I machined out that step on the FSR Pro to allow better range of adjustment when my son and I both rode that bike. I think the geometry is different, see the diff in height of bottom bracket and angle of chainstays and yet the DH seat angle looks shallow. It definitely has a rearward bias, too easy to lift the front wheel when climbing. BTW the DH is 20 1/4 seat tube and the Pro is 19 1/8
    Coolio, hey whats the BB height on the DH?
    That makes sense about the seat post/tube. Thanx.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  79. #79
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    Alvin, I bought the bike as you see it except it had a downhill seat. I bought the Pro first for my son and thought it was a great ride. I needed a larger frame so kept looking. Found the DH on Craigslist. Pic attached with the DH seat. I'll measure and photo whatever might be helpful.

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  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    Coolio, hey whats the BB height on the DH?
    That makes sense about the seat post/tube. Thanx.
    abt 13 1/2 ground to bottom bracket. abt 14 1/4 ground to crank center

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by isetta
    abt 13 1/2 ground to bottom bracket. abt 14 1/4 ground to crank center
    A couple more and I'll leave you alone for a while.
    What kinda travel you getting, fr & r?
    Is that an MRP or BETD link out back? Thanx again.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  82. #82
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    Here ya go....
    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-img_8575.jpg
    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-img_8576.jpg
    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-img_8577.jpg
    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-img_8578.jpg
    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-img_8579.jpg

  83. #83
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    Skip, don't know how much travel. Is there an easy way to tell w/o taking the shock off?

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by isetta
    Skip, don't know how much travel. Is there an easy way to tell w/o taking the shock off?
    I don't know any other way. But maybe someone else on here might know.
    A big THANX for your time and effort to do those measurements and taking pix. I really appreciate it. I know it answered some questions that I had.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by isetta
    Here ya go....
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    isetta, 1 more pic please. Top head tube gusset on the Pro frame, side & top view. Please & Thank you.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  86. #86
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    Thanks for the additional pics isetta! That headtube is definitely taller than my frame and the gusseting looks bigger, but I wonder if that's just because it is a larger frame size? Mine is a medium, but I can't remember off the top of my head what the actual measurement is from seat tube to bottom bracket.

    As for the rear link, don't know for sure, but I assume that it's a piece made by Specialized. The couple of pics I found of the DH's I posted earlier in this thread (The American Flag ones), including Shaun Palmer's bike, had the same gold anodized rear link. This is the first time i've seen a pic of one up close though and it definitely doesn't look like either the Mountain Speed or BETD linkages. Don't know of any easy way to check suspension travel outside of removing the spring from the rear shock and running it through it's travel.

    Isetta...do you know what year your DH frame is? If not, a quick peek at the serial number on the bottom of the bottom bracket shell should tell you. Model year is the first 2 numbers of the serial number I believe. From the looks of it, based on the decal on the seat tube, my guess is that at one time that frame had the American Flag logo on the rest of the frame that someone must have peeled off. Anyway, you got a sweet bike there, man. Thanks again for the additional pics!

    Alvin

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    Thanks for the additional pics isetta! That headtube is definitely taller than my frame and the gusseting looks bigger, but I wonder if that's just because it is a larger frame size? Mine is a medium, but I can't remember off the top of my head what the actual measurement is from seat tube to bottom bracket.

    As for the rear link, don't know for sure, but I assume that it's a piece made by Specialized. The couple of pics I found of the DH's I posted earlier in this thread (The American Flag ones), including Shaun Palmer's bike, had the same gold anodized rear link. This is the first time i've seen a pic of one up close though and it definitely doesn't look like either the Mountain Speed or BETD linkages. Don't know of any easy way to check suspension travel outside of removing the spring from the rear shock and running it through it's travel.

    Isetta...do you know what year your DH frame is? If not, a quick peek at the serial number on the bottom of the bottom bracket shell should tell you. Model year is the first 2 numbers of the serial number I believe. From the looks of it, based on the decal on the seat tube, my guess is that at one time that frame had the American Flag logo on the rest of the frame that someone must have peeled off. Anyway, you got a sweet bike there, man. Thanks again for the additional pics!

    Alvin
    That frame is a LARGE.

    Also the rear link was used on the DH bikes used by team members and IIRC on some of the Big Hit bikes in early 2000's. I can't remember all the details.

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodH
    That frame is a LARGE.

    Also the rear link was used on the DH bikes used by team members and IIRC on some of the Big Hit bikes in early 2000's. I can't remember all the details.
    Figured it was probably a "team" piece. The link on the '00 Big hit looks similar, but doesn't look to be the exact same shape. Specialized also apparently made a rear linkage that allowed you to mount a later Big Hit rear triangle (the ones with the 24" rear wheel) to the earlier FSR. One of the replies in this thread (Older FSR swing arm? Aftermarket?) has pics...

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    Thanks for the additional pics isetta! That headtube is definitely taller than my frame and the gusseting looks bigger, but I wonder if that's just because it is a larger frame size? Mine is a medium, but I can't remember off the top of my head what the actual measurement is from seat tube to bottom bracket.

    As for the rear link, don't know for sure, but I assume that it's a piece made by Specialized. The couple of pics I found of the DH's I posted earlier in this thread (The American Flag ones), including Shaun Palmer's bike, had the same gold anodized rear link. This is the first time i've seen a pic of one up close though and it definitely doesn't look like either the Mountain Speed or BETD linkages. Don't know of any easy way to check suspension travel outside of removing the spring from the rear shock and running it through it's travel.

    Isetta...do you know what year your DH frame is? If not, a quick peek at the serial number on the bottom of the bottom bracket shell should tell you. Model year is the first 2 numbers of the serial number I believe. From the looks of it, based on the decal on the seat tube, my guess is that at one time that frame had the American Flag logo on the rest of the frame that someone must have peeled off. Anyway, you got a sweet bike there, man. Thanks again for the additional pics!

    Alvin
    Alvin, it is a 1999 and it is the American built complete with the American flag sticker on the "seat" tube under the derailleur mount.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    isetta, 1 more pic please. Top head tube gusset on the Pro frame, side & top view. Please & Thank you.
    Pics of the Pro and also side by side to compare geometry. Head tube on DH is 6" and on Pro is 5". This makes sense given the DH is large and Pro is medium. Seat tube angle looks very close.

    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-img_8580.jpg

    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-img_8581.jpg

    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-img_8582.jpg

    My old-school '99 Specialized FSR DH (MAX Backbone) Build...(long)-img_8584.jpg

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    I have run a telescoping seat post from time to time and realized that I didn't adjust it very often, so I went back to my standard post and found the "sweet spot" cut the post at that length and now I ride everything with it there. If we do go and ride some really tech stuff, then I will put the "scoping" post in for that day so that I can lower it in case I need to.
    At 6'2", with a 34" inseam my seat is kinda high.
    Hey Skip, I used a 1 1/4 metal cutting hole saw, ground it down to the exact dimension of the seat tube and then machined out the step on the bottom of the seat tube so my seat post would extend below the frame. Works like a charm.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    I don't know any other way. But maybe someone else on here might know.
    A big THANX for your time and effort to do those measurements and taking pix. I really appreciate it. I know it answered some questions that I had.
    I'll pull that shock and check it out. May take a few days tho

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by isetta
    I'll pull that shock and check it out. May take a few days tho
    Hey Isetta...for the most accurate reading of actual travel it is best to actually remove the rear shock, remove the spring from the rear shock, and reinstall shock without the spring. The travel is then measured at the rear dropout from the shocks full extension to where it hits the bump stop. Measuring it without the shock in place can give incorrect readings because the actual travel of the shock plays an important role in actual travel of the rear suspension. Anyway, i'm really curious as to how much actual travel the rear suspension on your bike has with that "team" rear linkage...

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by isetta
    Pics of the Pro and also side by side to compare geometry. Head tube on DH is 6" and on Pro is 5". This makes sense given the DH is large and Pro is medium. Seat tube angle looks very close.

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    Thanks for the additional pix, I like the side by side view/comparison.
    Thanx for sharing.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  95. #95
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    OK, I heard back from Spec. He told me that there was never a Max Backbone DH specific bike/frame for 1999. He said people were getting confused with the "Elite" bike because of the dual crown fork and the longer coil, not air, rear shock. The Elite was designed for the more aggressive rider, hence the longer fork, rear shock and higher bottom bracket. I know there will be more questions now with this little bit of info, so I will post the number I called and give the name of the tech.
    Here's the #. 877-808-8154 ext.7740. Either Don or Cody. If any of you do call and get some new info, please post it here for the rest of us to ponder. I talked to Cody and he was he was pleasant and polite. Thanx men.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    OK, I heard back from Spec. He told me that there was never a Max Backbone DH specific bike/frame for 1999. He said people were getting confused with the "Elite" bike because of the dual crown fork and the longer coil, not air, rear shock. The Elite was designed for the more aggressive rider, hence the longer fork, rear shock and higher bottom bracket. I know there will be more questions now with this little bit of info, so I will post the number I called and give the name of the tech.
    Here's the #. 877-808-8154 ext.7740. Either Don or Cody. If any of you do call and get some new info, please post it here for the rest of us to ponder. I talked to Cody and he was he was pleasant and polite. Thanx men.
    Hmm....interesting. I wonder what either of those guys would say about the pictures of isetta's bike? It is obviously a "DH" model based on the factory decals still remaining on the seat tube section of the frame, and I assume that the serial number verifies that it is a '99. Also, I was under the impression that only the '99 frames got the additional upper gusseting at the head tube so that would seem to verify it as well. That being the case, his bike by itself seems to refute the info they gave you. I wonder if they can give any additional identifying info based specifically on serial numbers?

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    interesting. I wonder if they just did a limited run or something?

  98. #98
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    I tried asking all the right questions while I was on the phone with this guy and I thought of a couple after hanging up, but give them a call, thats his job to answer our questions.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by atchipmunk
    Hmm....interesting. I wonder what either of those guys would say about the pictures of isetta's bike? It is obviously a "DH" model based on the factory decals still remaining on the seat tube section of the frame, and I assume that the serial number verifies that it is a '99. Also, I was under the impression that only the '99 frames got the additional upper gusseting at the head tube so that would seem to verify it as well. That being the case, his bike by itself seems to refute the info they gave you. I wonder if they can give any additional identifying info based specifically on serial numbers?
    I agree, but his bike could have just a decal saying DH. IMHO I think the DH designation comes from the components used on the bike, not the frame itself.
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip canfield
    I agree, but his bike could have just a decal saying DH. IMHO I think the DH designation comes from the components used on the bike, not the frame itself.
    Interesting. To be honest the only difference on the 97 DH vs the normal FSR is a longer Fox Vanilla Shock and a different sticker kit.

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