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  1. #1
    Alaska Turner Mafia
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    Another Sultan in the 907 - that's Alaska

    Ever since I built up a 29er Waltworks for snow riding (clearance for 50mm rims and the largest 29er tires so far), I've been thinking of adding a Sultan to the stable. I have my share of Turners already and love them, but the appeal of my favorite frame style and frame maker, in combination with the big wheel was an offering that has had me drooling since they've become available.

    I think what really clinched it for me was a mini gathering of sorts last year about this time. Four of us, all on Turners, rode the Russian River Trail and I got to witness a Sultan in action ridden by bones get broke. I was impressed at how adept it seemed as an all-rounder trail bike. As a result, I had it in the back of my mind to eventually get one, I just didn't think it would happen for a couple years.

    Then along comes an empty beer classified from Az mtber. He owned a Sultan already, built a bit on the burly side for riding South Mountain. He picked up another frame to build at the opposite spectrum, with light weight in mind for racing. Before that project ever got underway, he bought a Highline I believe and dumped enough money that he decided to sell the second Sultan to recoup a bit financially. It was a large, in raw finish, just what I had in mind. It had never had a component on it.

    The frame arrived in perfect shape. I got it mid-December, thinking I'd make a winter project of the build, hoping to have it assembled by spring. First thing I did though was to try to improve the industrial look, it was a bit too raw for me. A little time steel wooling, sanding, and polishing with Mother's did wonders. Just enough that I can leave it alone now.

    Some hand-me-down parts went on first, like square taper cranks and BB. I know they aren't the latest rage, but they have the 5 bolt compact pattern that will allow me to run a 30T middle chainring if I choose. Right now it's set up as a 2 ringer, 20-32, with a 9 speed rear. I've come to prefer some components for their proven durability, so on went Time pedals, CK headset, X4 stem, Salsa post, Hope seat binder, and older XT 4 piston disc brakes and lock-on grips.

    The bigger decisions to research were fork and wheelset. I watched a thread on the 29er board started by Rainman where he compared a White Brothers fork to a Manitou. Those, along with a Reba were in the running, but I finally settled on the WB. A 20mm axle dropout, 110mm travel version now graces the front. It just happened to be an mtbr classified ad score as well. One of our members did some website work for WB, and he got credit for some forks. I picked up one from him last March, so as you can see it's been a gradual process.

    Wheelset. Well, I knew I also wasn't building up a weight weenie bike. I wanted solid, durable, medium weight components that could keep me going in back country Alaska. Wider rims and big rubber are my preference, so Stan's Flows got the nod in 36H. To me a front hub is a front hub, but having the versatility of changing from QR to 20mm is cool, so my front wheel is laced with a Hope Pro 2. Rear: Chris King for it's sealing and engagement. Double butted spokes, brass nips.

    I've also developed a preference for twist shifters so I can ride with bulky gloves in winter. Lately I've come to like the Shimano compatible Attack shifters better than XO's, so they're coupled with an XTR rear, old LX front.

    Trying to determine my handlebar height is still in order. I've already gravitated downward twice, once by lowering my stem, putting spacers on top, and then by swapping to a 19mm lo-rise bar. I may be there now.

    The icing on the cake was a set of decals from jncarpenter. It's now reminiscent of my '99 polished XCE, classic looking Turner. Enough babble, I know you guys live for pics, check it out. Sorry, don't own a couch yet!

    Rando
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    Last edited by EndoRando; 05-18-2008 at 11:50 AM.
    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  2. #2
    trail fairy
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    Sweet Sultan porn Endo, congrats
    Just riding a muddy trail. . ..

    MAXXIS 4C!
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  3. #3
    Alaska Turner Mafia
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    There's been a ton of endorsing of the 5.5 rockers for this frame. I picked up a set, but sent them to tscheezy to test out with my air shock. He wanted an opportunity to run back to back with his PUSH rockers, then also play with my small can RP23 vs. his HV RP23. In the meantime, I bolted on some 5.3 Spot rockers to give a run. Since my first rides were in winter, I also felt better about not exposing an air shock to our cold temps, so a Pushed Vanilla coil shock saw first duty.

    Tscheezy has recently sent me back my rockers and shock, along with his Pushed RP23 so I can get some impressions on back to back changes. So far I bet version 2 will at least see the longer rockers installed.

    The jury is still out on the tires. They're a pretty low profile knobby, which may not cut it. Our trails are still pretty fragile as snow still melts, so it may be another two weeks before I can give the tires, well the bike in general, a proper wringing out in the dirt. Can't wait. First TNT Turner for me too.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, Straitline levers on these brakes feel great! Here's a few more pics if I haven't force fed you enough already. Next set of pics hope to be in action.
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    Last edited by EndoRando; 05-18-2008 at 01:20 AM.
    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  4. #4
    AWi
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    Beautiful bike! How long time did you spend polishing that raw frame? Must have been a while ...

  5. #5
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    Nice setup! Did you have to shim the front brake caliper to align it properly on the Fluid 110?
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
    Alaska Turner Mafia
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    Quote Originally Posted by AWi
    How long time did you spend polishing that raw frame? Must have been a while ...
    All winter! Nah, not really. We had a bunch of brutally cold weather this winter that kept me indoors, so I didn't mind having a bike project to tinker on. I actually spent less time than I had planned because I didn't want to turn it into the full blown polished finish. Four hours may have been the max. I didn't get into the machined areas like dropouts or reliefs in the yoke, just main tubes, otherwise I'd still be at it. Polishing the bevels on the rocker may have been another hour and a half.


    Quote Originally Posted by GreenLightGo
    Did you have to shim the front brake caliper to align it properly on the Fluid 110?
    The fork came with some spacers, so the usual caliper centering shimming was all I had to do. I think I actually invested more time in getting that rotor true than I did on the calipers. Those are Magure Louise rotors, and having eleven spokes radiating to the brake track makes it much simpler to fine tune the truing.


    I may swap to the 135mm version of this fork, time will tell. I also picked up a travel reduction kit for it so I can convert to 80mm and then it would fit on my hardtail, just in case I make the switch. The fork is pretty sticky yet, I really need to hit dirt and put some wear on everything.

    Thanks for the compliments guys. It was a fun build.
    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Let's go back to RR when I get paroled. One week to go!

  8. #8
    rr
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    Nice ride, so you prefer the Shimano der and gripshift to the Sram stuff? I tried the Attack gripshift with my Saint der on the RFX and hated it, ended up going to a trigger shifter. To me, there is no better rear shifting system than Sram gripshift w/X series der, most precise and smoothest out there.

  9. #9
    Dishwasher Safe
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    Wow! That is one sexy Sultan!

  10. #10
    Alaska Turner Mafia
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLaker
    Let's go back to RR when I get paroled. One week to go!
    Hmmmm......LoafyD and I were just talking about hittin' it next weekend. We may not be able to wait for ya!


    Quote Originally Posted by rroeder
    ...so you prefer the Shimano der and gripshift to the Sram stuff? I tried the Attack gripshift with my Saint der on the RFX and hated it, ended up going to a trigger shifter. To me, there is no better rear shifting system than Sram gripshift w/X series der, most precise and smoothest out there.
    I have a Spot and 6 Pack, both set up with XO twist shifters with X9 rear drlr's. Shifting is precise, sure, but the XO shifter's action during upshifts is really clunky compared to the Attack's upshift feel I've had on a Burner with XTR rear drlr for quite some time now. I originally had this Sultan set up with the XO twist shift/X9 drlr combo too, but the smoothness at the upshifting in comparison to my Burner swayed me to change. The Attack combo with an XTR rear drlr is noticeably smoother at the shifter at upshifts, and so far every bit as precise. Granted, I realize with SRAM at both ends your tune remains longer, but an occasional barrel twist to me is no big deal. I'll give it some time and see how things fare long term, I still have the XO twisters/X9 drlr combo should my feelings reverse, but for now it's that upshifting process that's the difference.
    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  11. #11
    No, that's not phonetic
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    I should have sent you a box of tires to try out too, Randy.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  12. #12
    Baked Alaskan
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    Yo Rando, sweet! I'm impatiently waiting for a decent deal to pop up on a Sultan. Problem is most seem to be selling the whole bike and I don't need much more than a frame. I dig the vintage polish/black sticker look. You need the rainbow badge to complete to old skool style.
    The red couch has moved from Alaska to Florida...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndoRando
    Hmmmm......LoafyD and I were just talking about hittin' it next weekend. We may not be able to wait for ya!
    Next weekend? I thought the Denali Classic was next weekend. Anyway, I understand if you guys don't want to ride with me, it's totally cool. I guess I'll ride it solo and run the chance of gettin' mauled by a big a$$ bear, kinda like the one we saw last spring but like said, it's totally cool.

  14. #14
    Alaska Turner Mafia
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    I should have sent you a box of tires to try out too, Randy.
    Yeah, maybe just the Rampages. I have some 2.55 LT Weirwolfs and some 2.3 Exiwolfs that I'll give a shake. mikesee mentioned something top secret about some larger volume tires he's testing out, but they're more in the DH category!


    Quote Originally Posted by Ak Chris
    You need the rainbow badge.....
    You're right! That would have been the topper! I'm not going to get crazy though with aesthetics. It's still just a step up from raw, and I really don't want to have to do much primping on it, just ride it hard!

    Let me know when you get one put together. We're breaking ground on another 8.5 miles of new singletrack along the hillside this summer, these should be fine weapons. Let me know and we'll do some carving!


    Quote Originally Posted by BigLaker
    I thought the Denali Classic was next weekend......
    Yeah it is, and although the scenery is spectacular, it's just sounding more appealing to ride some singletrack through the peninsula instead of 170 miles of washboard dirt road. Don't worry though, if you want to ride it when you're released I'll join you for a revisit. There'll be a work party with chainsaws clearing out blowdowns that weekend though, so maybe Johnson's before the cow parsnip gets too overgrown could be a plan B.

    Solo is cool, my first spring rides the last two years have been solos, both on Russian River, just don't forget the pepper spray. I gotta admit though it's kind of eerie. I ran into a wolverine two years ago, (exactly two years to the day!) and last year I couldn't help but keep looking over my shoulders and panning from side to side constantly for bruins. I'd rather join ya than know you'd be out there alone, so give me a call.
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    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  15. #15
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    thanks for the feedback on the spacers, I'd never seen a close up pic of those before yours was posted - I hope the Fluid will loosen up for you - it's got me 'curious'.
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  16. #16
    Alaska Turner Mafia
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    Makin' changes already!

    Since ts returned my 5.5 Spot rockers, and they seem to be the hot ticket by all impressions, I installed them yesterday. I've decided to run through the gamut of a few different shocks, starting with something that has no ProPedal compression tune, and progressively work my way up through an RP3, my LV RP23, and ts's HV PUSHed RP23. Now I just need the trails to dry out!

    jnc's been telling me I need an Avy!
    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  17. #17
    beer is good
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    Hey Rando, good lookin bike there. I like the look of the 5.5's over the 5.3's
    Too bad about that "lack of dirt thing" though....
    Hope your trails dry out soon!
    Steve
    "looking California, feeling Minnesota"

  18. #18
    Baked Alaskan
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    Your shock comparo will be interesting. I've never ridden a Turner without a platform shock, I started with a Spot/Romic and every shock since had a platform of sorts. The 5.5 rockers are badass. Hopefully the late season blizzards are in the past and things will be dry soon.
    The red couch has moved from Alaska to Florida...

  19. #19
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    Very cool Rando, great lookin bike!


    Andre (the guy who sold you the fork)
    ( That I had anything to do with your Sultan makes me happy )

  20. #20
    Alaska Turner Mafia
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    A few impressions over the last couple of days....

    All, thanks for the compliments.

    I've recently found some rooty singletrack that's drying out nicely to bang through to give some initial suspension and handling impressions with this configuration.

    I have about a two mile ride to the trailhead as a warmup, and right away noticed my Cloud Nine was a bit too sagged, and bobbing slightly while pedaling. A little air pressure to firm it up and spinning was surprisingly steady at the shock, compression dial turned to have no effect.

    I've had four inch travel Turners before, and still do, and always felt ProPedal wasn't necessary. Floats, Vanilla twin clicker coils, Cloud Nine, even the Alps 5, all were well suited. RP3 a tad harsh. Maybe once you get into the longer travel frames it's an aid to pedal transfer and eliminating bobbing, but if you have a shock with a compression adjuster, like this shock has, you can tune these shorter travel and stroke shocks to function fine.

    Once into the singletrack, I was really impressed with the momentum the big wheel carried over successive sets of roots. Dips between four and five inch tall roots, spaced about a wheel's length apart would sometimes stop me dead in my tracks on my Burner or Spot. The larger rolling profile was less prone to being halted, sure the roots still act like speed bumps, but they felt like lower ones.

    The rear end sucked it up! This combination of 5.5 rockers and shock absorbed the hits, and our roots are pretty square edged in nature, like a longer travel bike. So far thumbs up on this shock with it's unhindered movement. Speeds were slow, so rebound tuning didn't come into play much, but when I needed to grunt up an incline that contained roots, there was no mushy pedaling sensation at all. I didn't feel the need to add any clicks of compression damping.

    Another initial impression noticed was the ability to stand and honk up rises without spinning out the tire, even with a low profile Racing Ralph. There are some sections I usually sit and spin up. Purposely, I stood to test out the standing pedaling capability and was shocked at how well it continued to motor.

    Two rides now with this combination, nineteen miles each ride, and I'd give two thumbs up to slow, technical, rough trail riding for the rear end. I used up most of the shock shaft length, so kept the air pressure the same. Pedaling hasn't been mushy, so still haven't felt inclined to add any compression damping. I need to find some fast trail situations now that may highlight a bobbing effect if it exists.

    I wish the fork functioned as well! As is, the WB Fluid reminds me of prior Marz X-Fly forks that I've owned, only stiffer. The action on bigger hits is superb, there's no hint of side flex, probably due to the thru axle and 36 spoke wheel combo, being air it ramps up nice and progressively, and adjustments make a noticeable difference. But like the X-Fly, the small bump compliance is suffering. I mean, to the point that my fillings are rattling on gravel washboard at speed on my way home. I'm still reserving judgment though until it has more hours on it, it's pretty sticky yet. It's enough to make me yearn for the plush feel of a Fox Vanilla fork.

    I shortened up the stem length 10mm. I noticed I was having a tough time lofting the front wheel up and onto taller logs to cross, that's now cured with a 100mm. I'm also surprised at how many pedal strikes I'm getting. As a long term Turner owner I'm aware of this symptom for all the Turner bikes I own, and thought my riding style naturally had adjusted to compensate. And with the 13" BB height I currently have a strike shocked me. No biggie, I'll adjust, especially with the King rear hub that allows you to ratchet your pedaling much better once you encounter taller obstacles.

    Having fun getting to know this bike's personality. It's a plowhorse, it wants to keep moving forward. It also has another character that's become obvious, especially considering I've earned my handle, it's way less prone to launching you over the bars! I did ram into one wheel-deep dip that stopped me cold, and the rear raised, but I didn't go sailing like I'm sure I would have on one of my other bikes. The fork bottomed, I rammed my gut into the top of my steerer tube that still protrudes above my stem, and shook it off while standing instead of crumpled in a heap out in front of my bike like I'm so used to.

    I have to admit though, there's a bit of a character flaw as well. It doesn't seem to be as nimble on the super tight turning narrow singletrack. There are a couple situations where this trail makes almost 180's in a really tight radius, you catch yourself really upping your concentration. It's doable, sure, just taking a bit more focus. Lumbering you might call it.

    So far so good though. It's got a familiar Turner feel, but more like a brutha from anutha mutha.

    Rando
    Last edited by EndoRando; 05-23-2008 at 03:29 PM.
    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

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