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  1. #1
    I wonder why?
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    ... and if we just ... i1dry's ML Exogrid build and ride report (long).......

    Finally, the build was completed (sort of) and I have a few good rides in. Since ordering the ML Exogrid I've really wanted to see how it would compare with the now departed Hammerhead. But my comments on the ride will have to wait. Just like I did, as little went as planned because getting the build done ended up being a challenge.

    Most of the components were going to be switched over from the HH. The RD, FD, pedals, brake levers and shifters will be up graded to the 07 XTR, when it arrives at retail in August or Sept. However, due to the different seat tube size, I needed a new seat post and XTR front derailer. Also, I wanted to get new handlebars (as my old ones were showing some wear) and to go with all black cable housing.

    The parts were ordered from my LBS just after I ordered the ML. Every two weeks I called to see if the parts were in and finally two weeks ago, I was told that they had arrived. Great I was good to go.

    Thursday, the Exo arrived late in the day. God it looked gorgeous, I was dying to ride. I called the LBS to set up getting the head set switched over from the HH and made an appointment for Friday afternoon. Great I was good to go.

    Thursday evening I break the HH down. I’m good to go.

    Friday morning I take some pics and share them with you. I’m good to go.

    Friday afternoon, I arrive at the LBS. To make long story short, the seat post is correct, the derailer is bottom swing instead of top swing and there’s no handlebars or cable housing. The LBS can’t get the bars as Easton was/is in the process of switching Canadian reps and they won’t sell to them until a new one is in place. They simply forgot to order the housing.

    Not good news, but I can live with it. I get the LBS to weigh the ML Exo frame, it comes in at a surprising 5.75 lbs. (with RP3 and seat tube collar). The head set is done and I’m off to find a FD. I can still use my old bars and I have a mix of black and silver XTR housing, just enough to do the job. After visiting a few other bike shops, it's getting late and there's no suitable derailer to be found. I head home empty handed to start the build. I’m going to ride Sat., one way or another.

    Saturday morning, I improvise with a couple of layers of inner tube around the seat tube and end up using the old XT derailer from the HH. It’ not pretty but it works. After waiting for the rain to stop and the Lock-tite in the BB to set (Rotor crank peculiarity), it’s four in the afternoon, the bikes on the car, and we’re off to the trail head.

    After two days of pretty intense riding, let’s just say that I have a great big grin on my face.

    I must mention that I loved the HH. The HH (Pushed front and rear) was/is a killer bike; a fantastic handler in all aspects and especially great at climbing the technical stuff. Though things could get a bit sketchy going down at speed through the really steep rough stuff.

    The Build:
    Frame - Custom MotoLite ExoGrid (23" TT, 4.75" HT, 42.52" WB)
    Rear Shock – Fox RP23
    Fork - Pushed Fox Float RLC
    Brakes - XTR Disk (currently w/ XT 756 levers, will upgrade to '07 levers when available)
    Cassette – XTR M960 (11- 34)
    Chain – XTR (DuraAce)
    Cranks – Ti Rotor RSX4 crank system with integrated BB (24-34-44)
    F Derailleur – XT (will upgrade to '07 XTR when available)
    R Derailleur – XTR M960 SGS (Rapidrise) (will upgrade to '07 when available)
    Cables – XTR
    Grips – Race Face Good and Evil
    Handlebars – Easton Monkey lite high-rise carbon
    Headset – CK NoThreadset (Black)
    Pedals – Shimano M959
    Saddle – Stelle Elite Trans Am Gel w/ Ti rails
    Seat Post – Thomson Elite (black) (wanted a Masterpiece but don’t come long enough)
    Shifters – XTR Rapid Fire (will upgrade to '07 when available)
    Stem – Thomson Elite (black) 100 X 10
    Rims (front) – Velocity VXC (black)
    Rims (rare) – Velocity VXC (black)
    Hub (front) – Chris King ISO Disk (black)
    Hub (rare) – Chris King ISO Disk (black)
    Spokes – Sapim XC-Rays (black)
    Nipples – Sapim Alloy SILP (silver)
    Skewers - Salsa Flip Offs (Rasta) Cut
    Tires - I have a bunch (my current favorites are Kenda Nevegals with Stick-E compound w/Stans)

    Finished weight about 25.8 lbs.

    Set up:
    The Exogrid is set at 5” front and rear, with both set at their recommended sag of about ľ of the full travel. To compensate for the slacker head and seat tube angles, when compared to the HH, I moved my seat forward and lowered my handlebars each by ľ inch. In this position, I felt comfortable and well balanced in the cockpit.

    I predominantly ride a wide variety of fabulous technical single track through forested rolling hills filled with lots of roots, rocks, steeps, etc. For the most part we don’t have the long epic climbs or the great mountain top vistas.

    Overall ride impressions:
    Da bomb!!! In most respects, the Exogrid’s handling is equally impressive as that of the HH and flat out better in some. The Exogrid was buttery smooth over all terrain and exceptionally quiet. While riding the Exogrid, the comparison that kept coming to mind was that the Exogrid was stealthy (agile, smooth, and silent) and the HH equally agile, but a bit more edgy.

    I’m really impressed with the stock RP23 in both the soft and firm propedal settings. I didn’t fiddle with the rebound at all, as it felt perfect from the get go (I’ll have to check to see what it is set at). The RP23 is a good match for the Pushed Float and both work exceptionally well together on the Exogrid for terrain that I ride. I spoke with Darren at PUSH about getting a Pushed 07 Talas and he recommended that I stay with the Float (set at full travel).

    Going Up:
    The Exogrid climbs, at least, equally as well as the HH, both while spinning and attacking. I noticed no wandering of the front end during steep technical climbs in either of the propedal settings. The front wheel effortlessly tracked wherever it was pointed. Traction was excellent seated or standing and the rear wheel stayed glued to the terrain at all times. Break away, spinning, of the rear wheel was predictable and it was really easy find and maintain the traction sweet spot in the cockpit.

    Low speed tight twisties:
    Again, virtually no difference between the Exogrid and HH. Steering was crisp and predictable. The higher BB and riding position did not affect the Exogrid’s low speed handling. Very tight off camber hairpin corners were a breeze.

    High speed twisties:
    A bit of difference between the two bikes was noticed through the swoopy high speed corners of forested single track. Here the higher BB and riding position became noticeable, but not in a bad way. With the HH, I could go more directly into a high speed turn, then with subtle breaking turn at the last minute and power out. This was particularly useful if there are trees close to the inside of the corner. I found this a bit more challenging on the ML Exogrid. At speed the ML wants you to lean more into the corner more, forcing a slightly wider line to protect one’s head and shoulder from the inside trees. This line requirement was not noticeable in more open areas. All and all, the ML Exogrid rails the high speed twisty stuff and is an absolute blast to ride. In many instances, I felt like I was cornering significantly faster on the Exogrid than I could on the HH, most particularly if the terrain was rough or rooty.

    Going down:
    The ML Exogrid is heads and shoulders a better descender when compared to the HH. The bike just flies down the steep rough stuff. Stable, smooth, and predictable, just pick a line and go. Fun! Fun! Fun!

    As I said, I still have a huge grin on my face.

    Here’s a few pics for your enjoyment.

    i1dry?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by i1dry; 07-23-2006 at 08:22 PM.

  2. #2
    I wonder why?
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    A few more pics...

    ....plus a couple of the Exo's little sister, my wife's xs ML.

    i1dry?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    thats right living legend
    Reputation: blackagness's Avatar
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    WOW!!! That's some famly. Very detailed to say the least. But when you get yourself a brand new ML exo, we would expect nothing less.

    Awsome, incredable beautiful, mastrerpiece, razor sharp... I hate you. Thanks!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: GuruAtma's Avatar
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    Nice write up. Are those rotor cranks the ones that don't stay parallel to each other in order to give a better stroke?
    我的镀铬光泽的冰柱一样,我骑在镇附近在我的低骑手自行车

  5. #5
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
    Reputation: crisillo's Avatar
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    Awesome review!

    Enjoy your new ride!

    Cheers,
    Cris

  6. #6
    I wonder why?
    Reputation: i1dry's Avatar
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    Thanks.....

    Quote Originally Posted by GuruAtma
    Are those rotor cranks the ones that don't stay parallel to each other in order to give a better stroke?
    Yes, the Rotor crank arms move at different speeds through the pedal stroke. The up-stroke is faster so that when you reach the 6:00 o'clock position on the down-stroke the other arm will have moved to the 1:30 or 2:00 o'clock position. There is some adjustment for riding style and terrain, such as for flats or hills, with five different settings each about 6 degrees apart. They have an integrated BB and at 1100 gms they are somewhat heavier than say an XT or XTR crankset/BB. Tested power output is said to be 16% greater than conventional symmetrical cranks.

    I initially got the Rotors to ease the stress on a surgically reconstructed right knee. Without them it would be difficult for me to ride as much as I like. And I would have to agree they definitely provide greater and more consistent power to the rear wheel. Expensive but, in my case worth it.

    i1dry?

  7. #7
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
    Reputation: crisillo's Avatar
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    Interesting...

    Quote Originally Posted by i1dry
    Yes, the Rotor crank arms move at different speeds through the pedal stroke. The up-stroke is faster so that when you reach the 6:00 o'clock position on the down-stroke the other arm will have moved to the 1:30 or 2:00 o'clock position. There is some adjustment for riding style and terrain, such as for flats or hills, with five different settings each about 6 degrees apart. They have an integrated BB and at 1100 gms they are somewhat heavier than say an XT or XTR crankset/BB. Tested power output is said to be 16% greater than conventional symmetrical cranks.

    I initially got the Rotors to ease the stress on a surgically reconstructed right knee. Without them it would be difficult for me to ride as much as I like. And I would have to agree they definitely provide greater and more consistent power to the rear wheel. Expensive but, in my case worth it.

    i1dry?
    I had read about those cranks, but this is the first "actual" comment I read on them. Seems like an interesting approach. Worth a look...

    Again.. nice ride!

    Cheers,
    Cris

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    Have I mentioned to you how I hate "bike leaning up against 'X'" pics? You have to bring that camera along when we ride so we can get some action shots.
    Did you make it up the two log valley climbs on the new bike? Did you take it down Four (or is it Three now?) Drops?

  9. #9
    I wonder why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids
    Have I mentioned to you how I hate "bike leaning up against 'X'" pics? You have to bring that camera along when we ride so we can get some action shots.
    Did you make it up the two log valley climbs on the new bike? Did you take it down Four (or is it Three now?) Drops?
    I tried to get the "bike" to stand up on it's own for pics but couldn't do it, so I had to lean it against something. Actually, both John and I brought our cameras on Sat. when we rode Durham. When we went to take pics both cameras had dead batteries. Forgot to bring the camera on Sunday.

    Went to Three Rocks on Sunday and rode pretty much everything including the valley climbs and drops. Both up and down, the "bike" handled everything with aplomb. Iím pretty stoked to say the least.

    Are you going to join us this coming Sat?

    i1dry?

  10. #10
    "El Whatever"
    Reputation: Warp's Avatar
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    I1... I freaking hate you... Man, I'm suffering serious envy.

    Don't ever come close to my trails or I will drop you off a cliff and keep the bike to myself.

    Boy... that's an awesome ride!!!
    Big Congrats!!!
    Check my Site

  11. #11
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by i1dry
    Are you going to join us this coming Sat?
    What time? I'm trying to figure out my social life for this weekend and that may interfere with the start and end time of my rides.

  12. #12
    I wonder why?
    Reputation: i1dry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackagness
    WOW!!! That's some famly. Very detailed to say the least. But when you get yourself a brand new ML exo, we would expect nothing less. !
    As for the detail, they say "God is in the details." My wife just says I'm anal.

    Thanks for the compliments.....on the bike.

    i1dry?

  13. #13
    I wonder why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warp
    I1... I freaking hate you... Man, I'm suffering serious envy.

    Don't ever come close to my trails or I will drop you off a cliff and keep the bike to myself.

    Boy... that's an awesome ride!!!
    Big Congrats!!!

    Thanks for the kind words Warp.

    If I come to Mexico, I'm chaining the bike to my leg.

    i1dry?

  14. #14
    thats right living legend
    Reputation: blackagness's Avatar
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    Waite Just One Minute!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by i1dry
    I tried to get the "bike" to stand up on it's own for pics but couldn't do it, so I had to lean it against something. Actually, both John and I brought our cameras on Sat. when we rode Durham. When we went to take pics both cameras had dead batteries. Forgot to bring the camera on Sunday.

    Went to Three Rocks on Sunday and rode pretty much everything including the valley climbs and drops. Both up and down, the "bike" handled everything with aplomb. Iím pretty stoked to say the least.

    Are you going to join us this coming Sat?

    i1dry?


    You mean the exogrid frames don't stand up by themselves???

  15. #15
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    What!!!!

    You mean they dont stand up by themselves either???? I was sure that after seeing Whafe's Blingmobile that they had a teflon coating that made dirt and grime just fall off. What a waste of $3K!!

  16. #16
    Bike to the Bone...
    Reputation: rzozaya1969's Avatar
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    Hey i1dry

    Since that frame you have there looks soooo ugly, I'm willing to do you a big favour....

    1. Remove everything from the frame...
    2. Pack it nice in a box and send it to my address..
    3. In return, you'll get a cool and great Gunmetal Gray Al ML frame.

    And, to show you what a nice guy I am, I'll pay for half the shipping fees

    Congratulations

    Have a great time riding those bikes.....

  17. #17
    Veni Vidi Vici
    Reputation: barelylegal's Avatar
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    i1dry, Your bike is a beauty!

  18. #18
    "Its All Good"
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    !1dry. Sensational. Fantastic write up. So glad that you are having difficulties putting into words hot the Ti ExoGrid frame feels. I am loving it alos, it is as smooth as butter and real complient...

    I too thought I had all the components perfect for the build.. I to had to get anew XTR frint D, my other one was to large, the seat tube is quite thin compared to others. Great impravisation, you must have kiwi blood.

    Some more thought son those Rota Cranks would be great..

    Bob is sending my RP23 at present, it has just been Push'd so am real keen to try it and use it. Looking forward to being able to really lock this stiff anyway rare end.....

    SO for me, great to see another ExoGrid ML.............. ENJOY....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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