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  1. #1
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    Pantera 650B Conversion

    Pantera 650B Conversion-pantera-3c.jpg

    I've been the happy owner of this '03 Pantera (size small/15" ST) for about 8 or 9 years.

    I've owned 3 single pivot bikes, all with a high-forward pivots (2nd gen Heckler, El Chamuco, and this Pantera), and agree with K.P. "...it really is hard to beat a well designed single pivot bike..."

    I always thought the Pantera was misunderstood. Although it only had 4" of travel, it was more of a short-travel trail/light-am bike than XC racer--ie, it was a lot closer to a Santa Cruz Heckler or Blur 4X than a Superlight.

    Who knows, maybe it would have been more popular if it had 5" rear travel and an "official" rating for 5" forks of the day (IIRC, there were posts here warning that putting longer travel forks w/ a2c's significantly longer than ~480mm a2c's of typical 4" forks on the Pantera could put too much leverage on the HT...).

    Anyway, as I eventually moved on to longer travel AM bikes, the Pantera has seen very little riding time over the past few years.

    Bottom line is that for a 10-year old bike, this thing flat out rips as a 650B conversion:
    • the rear suspension design still feels great on the trail--and it's still just as laterally stiff as I remember...

    • the bigger hoops noticeably improve the bike's ability carry momentum while rolling over $hit that previously slowed it's momentum w/ 26" wheels

    • the rear swing arm has plenty of room for the 2.35 Neo Moto, and with shock deflated and fully compressed that Neo Moto isn't even close to touching the seat tube

    • for being 10 years old, the geo is surprisingly close to a medium 2013 Santa Cruz Solo: ~68* HTA (w current 502mm a2c on 130mm travel 2002 Z1 20mm thru axle fork), 17" CS, ~13.7" BB height, ~27.5" standover w/ Neo Motos


    Potential future mods:
    • eccentric rear shock bushings to drop the BB back towards 13", and further slacken the HTA to ~67 deg (although I may need to reduce the shock stroke a hair if the reducer bushings bring the rear tire too close to the seat tube)

    • will swap the 4.5 lb coil 20mm thru axle Z1 for a lighter 3.5 lb Pushed Float 130 (501mm a2c) that's been sitting in my garage forever--i just need to swap the Float's current 9mm QR lowers for new 15mm thru axle lowers

    • send the aging Float R shock to PUSH for a factory tune

  2. #2
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    It's funny how the times can catch up with a frame and make it perfect. I had the same experience with my Chamuco, though I never did get around to putting 650ís on it. For me, it was ditching the heavy free ride build (w/ a Z150), and building it down with a 140mm air fork and air shock. Suddenly it became a sub-30 pound bike you could do anything on.

    Glad you're stoked on it--those high-single-pivot Ventanas were beautifully executed and so fun to ride.

  3. #3
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    Thanks A!

    Funny--I too had a Z150 on my Chamuco (5.2 lb "SL" air-sprung model). It was probably in the 33-35lb range w/ Romic coil, avg components, and fat tires. I loved the way it ate up chunky terrain. But I hated pedaling it up steep climbs--not because of it's weight, but because I could never seem to find the right balance point to prevent the front from wandering without having the rear tire slip. But man was it fun riding down Porcupine Rim...

    I now regret that I sold the Chammy, and bet it would be a blast in 650B mode w/ today's air shocks & forks.

    Hope you're still rocking yours!

  4. #4
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    Alas, My Chamuco died in late 2011, with an unrepairable crack in the rear triangle. Too bad, as it would have been fun to try 650ís on it.

  5. #5
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    awww, that's a shame.

    a few months after i sold my chamuco to a friend, he backed his truck into its swingarm, bending it badly. fortunately for him, sherwood still had a few chamuco/pantera swingarms around to replace his.

    but that was at least 6 years ago, so replacement swingarms are probably long gone...

  6. #6
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    Sweet Pantera! That was my first Ventana that I owned!

  7. #7
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    V was out of swingarms, so I traded the frame in. However, I've been enjoying 650b's quite a bit on a hardtail lately, and have thought a few times about how good the larger wheels would likely have been on the Chamuco.

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