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  1. #1
    Baked Alaskan
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    2008 Spot/ 2009 36 Talas ride report

    Having ridden the new setup almost daily over the last few weeks I feel pretty confident in giving a review/report of my setup, and I don't know the weight yet.

    * Frame Size & Color: 2008 Large Sangria Red -- RP23
    * Fork: 2009 Fox 36 Talas
    * Brakes: Formula K-24 180/160mm
    * Cranks/BB: LX
    * Front Derailleur: Sram X-Gen
    * Rear Derailleur: X-9
    * Shifters: X9 twisties
    * Pedals: Eggbeaters
    * Stem: Thomson 110mm x10
    * Handlebar: Gravity carbon
    * Seatpost: Maxm carbon
    * Saddle: WTB
    * Cassette: SRAM 11-34
    * Headset: King GOLD
    * Grips: Not sure
    * Front Tire: WTB Weirwolf 2.5
    * Front Rim: Velocity
    * Front Hub: King 20mm GOLD
    * Rear Tire: WTB Mutano Raptor 2.4
    * Rear Rim: Velocity
    * Rear Hub: King GOLD

    First the good - it feels so much like my 03 Spot, only better - and that's a GOOD thing. Its very balanced with the 36, even when its set at 160. I've never ridden a Talas, but the 2009 edition of the 36 has been a great fork ... so far. I measured the HA at just under 68* with the Talas fully extended and the BB is just over 14" with my current 2.5/2.4 tire setup. Even at 160 it still has that low slung feel the Spot is famous for, it rails. It went together so easily, no problem with the BB or the HS, they just popped right in, it was cake. I do find myself riding with the Talas set at 130 a lot, but its pretty intuitive to reach down and flick the adjuster a click in either direction for uber climbing at 110 -- or the other way for 160 and more squish when it gets rough.

    I really agonized over a Lyrik 2-step or the 36 after dropping so much coin for last years 66 SL which turned out to be a turd. But the 2-step seems to be either climbing or 160, where the Talas is meant to be ridden at shorter settings. The 36 at 130 feels great, its definitely less plush at the 110 setting, but that's strictly for steep climbing so its fine for me. They supposedly made changes to the internals of the 09 model, but this is my first time on a 36 so I can't say if they're better than previous models.

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    The 36 is really stiff and very plush. Weight is a hair over 5# with the Maxle wannabe axle. The QR system works well, but I still like the Maverick system better. I'm still figuring out adjusting the high and low speed compression. This RC2 thing is new to me, but I have a couple clicks on each and its very smooth through the rough at any speed. fork is very confidence inspiring, it keeps the front wheel planted and soaks up everything I've thrown at it so far. Of course I don't ride like Zilla, so it doesn't take THAT much abuse.

    Photobucket

    The 5.5 rear with the RP23 is a lot like my old 5.1 Spot, but there's definitely a little more there. Roots, rocks and small drops have been buttah, I already feel faster than I was before on the DH stuff, but more up front may be helping that one. The rear is Turner stiff, no flex at all under my 200+ lbs. I've been running about 35% sag to get the rear nice and squishy, its like an old Caddy, just floats over everything. I like the asym stays, no contact with the front der. and there's no tire rub with bigger tires. I can't feel much of a difference with the lever settings on my RP23, I think it's bunk out of the box. Mine will only stay on 1 or 3, there is no midrange at all. It loses about 20# after every ride too, I have to gas it up every day, grrr... I may hunt down another rear shock so I can send it off for servicing, but with the AK riding season so short, no chance I'll settle for any down time.

    Photobucket

    The only flaws so far is the tight clearance with my front brake setup and more pedal strikes. My King hub and the K24's ... of course that has nothing to do with Turner. I wanted to use my Hope floating rotors with the GOLD carriers, but the rivets that attach the rotor to the carrier rub the 36's post mount. As you can see its pretty tight, just 1 or 2 mm's and right now I don't feel like taking a file to my new fork. After last years pu-pu platter known as the 66 SL, I don't want to funk up the resale value - just in case. But so far the 36 has been light years better than the 66.

    Photobucket

    I don't know if I'm pushing things harder because of the uber-Spor setup or maybe I'm running too much sag or what, but I've noticed more pedal strikes so far than I've ever had before - and that's with a slightly higher BB. This is a problem with the eggbeaters, because its been popping my foot out at precisely the wrong time. These may find a permanent home on my touring bike and I might be switching back to SPD's or jumping to Times.

    I wish I had more to say about the new Spot frame, its a work of art, its plush, stiff as you-know-what ... like I said, its everything the old Spot was and more. This continues to be the finset MTB I have ever owned, I'm guessing I'll get another 4 or 5 years out of this frame. I sold my old Spot and the RFX for one bike because there was too much overlap with my other setups. I found myself riding the Spot more than the RFX, but I really liked the bigger travel fork - despite the weight penalty. So I made the move to the 08 Spot with the 5.5 rear and geometry better suited for a 160mm fork - no regrets at all. Now I just have to scrape up a deal on a Sultan to see if it'll really make me abandon the Spot.
    Last edited by AK Chris; 06-16-2008 at 03:09 PM.
    The red couch has moved from Alaska to Florida...

  2. #2
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    Nice write-up. I have been thinking about the RC2 on my 08 Spot. I was concerned that the Spot with a TALAS 36 would not have a balanced feel. Based on your review, that is not the case. It looks like I will trying my 36 on my Spot. I have the 09 TALAS 32/15 mm QR on my Spot which is considerably stiffer than the 08 TALAS 32. However, it is still not as stiff as a 36- stating the obvious. At 210 lbs with gear I have an appreciation for stiff forks. Even though I do not jump or attempt any large ledges I do like the stiffness of the 36 in the rough, rocky terrain we have in Phoenix.

  3. #3
    Alaska Turner Mafia
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    Looks good Chris

    I've been riding through that area a lot lately, and surprised I haven't run into you. Be careful around there, two runners were just charged by a grizzly sow on Double Bubble. They fended her off with some ski poles and pure luck.

    I think you built yourself up a really versatile bike. That fork probably does a lot to reduce the overlap you had with the two prior ones. I had an older 32 TALAS on my '03 Spot and it was really nice to shorten it up for some of the more grunt climbs like on Upper Llama. I'm sure you'll find yours to have a pretty convertible personality this way as well.

    If you want to test ride a Sultan I could meet you after work one evening and let you try mine. I run Times, so after a quick swap I think you'd be set. I've been running my Spot with the same exact stem, so I'd imagine my Sultan is also pretty well set to fit you. The only downside is you may find yourself in an overlapping situation again if you're tickled by the ride it offers.

    I've been riding my Sultan a lot lately, and after two weeks on it decided to hop on a comparable 26er to see if I'd notice immediate differences. Thinking that the 4" travel Sultan would be a good head to head match to the 4" Burner was a poor decision. The Burner just doesn't keep up. It felt like it had less travel, was knocked offline by roots easier, and each root had more of a momentum robbing effect, and hits actually felt like they were larger than they were while riding the 29er. I couldn't keep up the same pace without getting beat up. On root tangles the Sultan seemed to skim right over the tops while the Burner had to truly absorb each . For purely covering ground the Sultan killed, whether it involved climbing or root banging in the flatter areas, like around Moose Ridge.

    If it's super twisty, it feels like I have to manhandle the Sultan a bit more, it's no Ginsu for sure. The Burner carves the slow technical better, but overall I really like the way Sultan wants to be opened up and kept rolling. You know the old saying "momentum is your friend?" Well the Sultan offers momentum in spades that really is noticeable. I need to stay on it again for a week, and then hop on a Spot. I'm sure that would be a more fair comparison, because it blew the Burner away.

    Saying now that I believe the Sultan to be a better match to the Spot just makes me believe you'd again be introducing overlap. The Sultan doesn't quite have the bump absorbing personality and plushness of 5.5" of travel, but it sure rolls over obstacles better, and leaves the remaining jarring to be taken care of with its 4" of movement.

    I feel like I'm a better climber on the 29er, and overall on our trails I probably am zipping around a bit faster. I clean Brown Bear from the Black Bear end almost every time I ride the Sultan, but I can't quite say that for the Spot. That one rooty climb to the planked section gets me.

    So watch out, the Sultan will be a match for ya. Maybe you shouldn't be tempted?

    I'm still trying to figure out which is truly the most versatile all-rounder for Alaska! (But having a ton of fun doing so)

    Rando

    P.S. Pedal strikes are killin' me lately too.
    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  4. #4
    George Dickel
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    That is one sweet ride. All you need to make it perfect is a gold Hope seatpost clamp
    I once corrected DW about a bicycle related topic.

  5. #5
    not so super...
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    I'll guess your at 29lbs since mine is 32 with the Gravity Dropper and CCDB.

    File the lower post mount on the fork. That's what I did to get the Hope Rotor to clear. No issues.


    Get rid of the RP23 and get a nice coil - goes good with the Talas 36.
    Nothing to see here.

  6. #6
    Surfin' da mountain
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    Chris,

    I'm glad you note the front brake tolerance. I have the same issue. My Local Bike Shop went around in circles with Hope about the tight tolerance. Because my set-up is a new Chris King, a new front Caliper and a new fork, we were unable to determine which component is a little off.
    Now it makes sense. The post on the fork may be cast on an extreme end of the "within limits" envelope.

    By the way I like the '09 decals (or lack there of) over the '08 decals. I think my Talas Decals will be history shortly.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Cucucachu; 06-17-2008 at 08:31 AM.

  7. #7
    Toby Wong?
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    good looking Spot, Chris. An updated original.

    does the 35% sag equate to the recommended 15-17mm of sag or is it lower than that?

    how do you like the Mutano 2.4 in back ?

    what bashie is that?

    carbon post + clyde?

    lets not make it a religion, it is recreation

  8. #8
    Baked Alaskan
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    Thanks for the props guys - the Spot is still the best MTB I have ever been on, period. Making the move to a new one was obviously an easy decision. I'll catch everyone in one post ... and in reverse order.

    Tap - I'm probably running closer to 20mm on the sag by the end of the ride - like I said I'm losing about 20 pounds of air a day. The Mutano is a pretty good tire for AK dirt, it hooks up well and rolls pretty fast and has decent volume. So far the 2.5 Weir/2.4 Mutano is my favorite combo. WTB tires just work up here. The sidewalls are really soft, but that seems to be the case with most WTB tires, its not a big deal where I live because there are few sharp rocks to tear them up.

    The bash always gets asked about, its a modded Raceface. I had issues with it when it was new - the chain rubbed when in the middle ring and the smallest few cogs so I radiused the inside to allow the chain to clear when I'm riding the 32x11 combo, the rest was just sheer boredom and an electric sander. I sanded off the logos and all the sharp edges and such on the front and polished it to a reasonably smooth finish. It turned out pretty well.

    I've been running the Maxm posts for a few years now with no issues, I'm not a big drop kind of guy, besides is it any worse running carbon bars over a carbon post?

    Cuc - Nice ride - white is dope. From what SS said I think I'll give filing the mount a shot because I really want to run the Hope rotors. Its frustrating that despite having "standards" things still have alignment issues. On my old Z1 FR I had to run a ton of spacers on the caliper to get it far enough out to line up with the rotor - and this is with the same hubs. The Pike only needed a few shims to line the calipers up with the rotors and with the stock Formula rotors you can see they live up fine. The slight increase in thickness with the Hopes is where I run into problems. Though if I were running Hopes this would be a bigger problem. I yanked the Talas decals off out of the box, but I left the Fox ones on -- for now. I may get JNC to do up some custom decals for the fork that don't make it look like a kids toy.

    SS - I weighed it last night and ... drum roll please ... its 29.34 lbs. My old Spot was right at 28 and now I'm a little over 29, all of that is basically the fact that my large 08 Spot is 6.8 lb compared to the 03 which was 6.4 lb and the 5 lb Talas compared to the 4.3 lb Pike. Looking at the frame weights the Spot really did get a little beefier.

    I really want to run the Hopes so I think I'll take a file to the 36 soon. The more I ride it the more I like it, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping its a keeper.

    ORVH - Way ahead of you - the gold clamp will be here shortly.

    Endo - the more I ride, the more I'm thinking a Sultan might suit me well. I'm the worst technical rider on the planet so the rolling advantage of the big wheels would be nice on our root strewn trails. Crap poking out of the ground on climbs is my biggest hurdle right now - so I'm focusing on keeping as much momentum as possible to clear things. I still get hung up on some of the bigger roots and rocks when going up. This is where I'm thinking something like a Sultan would benefit my riding.

    That being said my fitness is absolutely horrible right now - I did almost nothing outside of work over the winter so I'm sporting a bit of a gut and about 20 pounds more than I had last summer. Right now I'm just trying to get some lungs and shed the belly. Homebrew and no exercise is a killer.

    I'll take you up on the test ride offer, my credit card is frightened by the prospect though. I went Spot again because I haven't had enough time on a 9er to know if that's the one for me and I know what I'm getting with the Spot. I've thought about doing the 69er thing to gain the rolling advantage of the front wheel, or maybe one of those 650b's instead of going full out on a Sultan. If nothing else, its a great platform for more Franken-Turner stuff.

    JT - I'm not a hucker or anything like that, but I think the 5.5 Spot can push the limits of the smaller forks - especially if your a big guy. No more 32mm forks for me. The added stiffness and travel is worth the small weight penalty. I picked up about 3/4 lb going from a 140mm, non-adjustable Pike to the 160mm travel-adjust 36. I think it was a good tradeoff. The added stiffness and travel makes me try to push harder through the rough and improve my non-existent skills.
    The red couch has moved from Alaska to Florida...

  9. #9
    Alaska Turner Mafia
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Chris
    I'll take you up on the test ride offer.......
    I'll be out of town the next couple of days, but any time after that you're welcome to swing a leg over. A little advanced warning though, I run my brakes moto style! Other than that you'll be surprised how familiar it seems once you're on it. Something about the neutral feeling of DT's bikes allows you to hop on a strange one and immediately feel at home.
    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  10. #10
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    nice rig!

    i was almost going to go that route too, spot with a talas but opted for an rfx.

    questions on the talas?:

    what fender will fit since that hole i hear is too small for a starnut.

    did you ride/try a 36R also? i wonder if there's a big difference in the compression settings to slow down the bob when climbing. not sure if its worth the extra $100+ for compression adjustments. man it would be great if they made these with a lockout.
    We Ride In God's Country!

  11. #11
    Baked Alaskan
    Reputation: AK Chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myitch
    nice rig!

    what fender will fit since that hole i hear is too small for a starnut.

    did you ride/try a 36R also? i wonder if there's a big difference in the compression settings to slow down the bob when climbing. not sure if its worth the extra $100+ for compression adjustments. man it would be great if they made these with a lockout.
    Thanks for the props.

    As far as the 36 goes I'm not sure what fender will fit. If the hole is too small for a starnut, it could always be drilled out a bit.

    I thought about the R version too, but rebound only never seems to be enough with a fork. To me its worth the extra $$$ and it'll have better resale value down the road when the inevitable case of UGI strikes.
    The red couch has moved from Alaska to Florida...

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