Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro

    Before I go any further, this is NOT the final production frame, only one of the revision frames tested/ridden by Airborne. What may be on this frame may or may not be in the final revision, therefore I will have to keep some of the frame details a bit fuzzy. Please do not ask me for geo numbers.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-box1.jpg

    A huge thank you to Mike and the Airborne Crew for the frame! I should also thank my CFO, the Mrs., for giving me the go-ahead on the build. Thanks babe!

    At first, I thought this was an April Fool’s joke, as the conversation with Mike first occurred on April 1st regarding the new Enduro 650B by Airborne. Open ended questions had me scratching my head at the time so I showed the conversation to the Mrs. and she said I was being taken for a ride, its April Fool’s Day. The Monday following Mike asked me what size frame I liked to ride, I responded that if I were to order one in, it would be a large frame. "It just so happens we have one sitting here in Large," says Mike - I hope this is not an extended April Fools prank... “Can you build up this bike and test it and report back to us?”

    HELL YES I CAN!

    It arrived on April the 11th, in all its glory at my desk. NICE! I don't know what I did to have Airborne send me a frame that hasn't been released yet, but I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that has presented itself to me. The bike isn't named, so I am curious to see what Airborne will call it. I found one picture where they labeled it the Black Plague, but I want to say Airborne had a paint that was called the very same name, either way that is what I am going to name the bike. This 3rd revision frame was tested by Mike at Airborne, so there are a few scratches and marks on the frame, too cool! To be honest, I was looking for a reason to build another bike when this frame dropped in my lap. To say I am excited is a huge understatement! This will make a great Moab bike, and fun ride for Colorado chunk, and should feel right at home in the high desert on the local whoops.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-box2.jpg

    With the frame here, and a minimalist budget of about $1500, I can start to source parts. I obviously don't have the budget to go all out, and therefore I will be searching for take-off deals on the interweb for the entire build, one part at a time. The goal is to be as budget-minded as possible, for example; looking at NX vs. GX and so on. I have a few spare parts I can use, such as a set of Hayes Radar brakes, RaceFace stem, GXP BB and rotors, which will help keep the budget in check.

    I like the white on black decals, but I think the Airborne logo on the down tube needs to be bigger on both sides, I want to put a white protection strip on the downtube itself, starting at the "A" logo and up toward the head tube. White vinyl should do the trick nicely – a project for the future. I removed the Airborne logos on the rear triangle, they weren’t on straight and it kicked in my OCD, so off they go.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame1.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame2.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame3.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame4.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame5.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame6.jpg

    More to come!!
    Last edited by s0ul_chicken; 07-08-2016 at 10:03 AM. Reason: grammar

  2. #2
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    Nice! Looking forward to the progress reports.

    As for names, I vote for Spectre or Banshee

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBaldBlur View Post
    Nice! Looking forward to the progress reports.

    As for names, I vote for Spectre or Banshee
    Not bad TBB! I think there is a brand of bikes called Banshee already, but I really like Spectre, that name never occurred to me and the wife and I came up with a lot of good ones. I really can't wait to ride this bike, completion date is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12. WooHoo!

  4. #4
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    very cool, welcome to the club! can't wait to see your build...




    I vote for Plague....

    Sent from my SM-G360V using Tapatalk
    Cool BandolArrow

    Jerry Hazard – website

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    very cool, welcome to the club! can't wait to see your build...

    I vote for Plague....
    Sweet ride JH - I dig the murdered frame! What are your opinions on the Aion fork? That fork has been on my short list for the longest time now.

  6. #6
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    Just some build notes...

    Drivetrain will be SRAM 1x11, with a 30T up front to compensate for the weight of the bike, or should I say my lack of fitness and my love of beer... Thankfully, the BB is threaded, which I really do prefer over PF BB's for ease of maintenance and replacement parts. Budget for entire drivetrain (RD, Cranks, BB, chain) is 300.

    Fork travel is 160mm, which is nuts! Before I get going on the front fork (unless I find one uncut), I will need to order the headset (FSA No. 57 ZS) so I can get an accurate measurement of how long of a steerer tube I will need. I see lots of take offs, but it amazes me how many people cut the steerer tubes on a new fork and try to sell it as new. I am looking at Fox Float 34's, Suntour Aion and X-Fusion Sweep 34's, budget for the fork is 400.

    The rear shock measurements are 200mm x 57mm, with 22.2mm mounting hardware. In the prototype pictures, I see Airborne using Fox Float CTD shocks, so that gives me an idea of where to start looking as far as take-offs. I have no clue as to what company makes a better shock than another in this regard, so I will be looking at reviews more than anything else to give me a direction to go. Looking at X-Fusion, Fox\ and RockShox. Budget for the shock is 200.

    Wheels will also be take-offs and I am looking for a 27.5/650B 15mmx100mm TA - 12mmx142mm TA wheelset, with an internal width of at least 23mm or more, with an XD driver. Looking at Easton, WTB I23, and I25's. Budget for the wheelset is 350.

  7. #7
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    Thanks! Not sure they show up, but there are Airborne graphics on the downtube that match the frame finish almost exactly

    The Aion fork is sufficient.

    Basic compression adjustment (several settings between softest and locked out) is good. It is stiff, maybe as stiff as the Pike, but not as supple. It takes big hits well, but it's not as nice on small-medium rough stuff, even at speed. Not sure I'd recommend it - go for the Fox or X-fusion if you can find them in your budget. My next fork will probably be an MRP, if I can secure the finances. Depends on the what the accountant (wife) says

    I also have a Suntour rear shock, which oddly enough, works as good - if not better than the CTD I had on the 26" prototype. I'd say give it a try if you come across one that fits.
    Cool BandolArrow

    Jerry Hazard – website

  8. #8
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    That is cool JH - I didn't even see the logos on the frame! Thanks for the information on the fork and shock, that is good to know. This is my first full-squish, so I have a lot to learn about rear suspension and how to setup a front fork with that much travel. I don't jump much, but I will do the occasional drop, so I am not even sure I would even use that much travel in the fork. For sure this will be a new level of riding to learn, hopefully the curve isn't too steep and I don't crash and burn too badly!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ul_chicken View Post
    Just some build notes...

    Drivetrain will be SRAM 1x11, with a 30T up front to compensate for the weight of the bike, or should I say my lack of fitness and my love of beer... Thankfully, the BB is threaded, which I really do prefer over PF BB's for ease of maintenance and replacement parts. Budget for entire drivetrain (RD, Cranks, BB, chain) is 300.

    Fork travel is 160mm, which is nuts! Before I get going on the front fork (unless I find one uncut), I will need to order the headset (FSA No. 57 ZS) so I can get an accurate measurement of how long of a steerer tube I will need. I see lots of take offs, but it amazes me how many people cut the steerer tubes on a new fork and try to sell it as new. I am looking at Fox Float 34's, Suntour Aion and X-Fusion Sweep 34's, budget for the fork is 400.

    The rear shock measurements are 200mm x 57mm, with 22.2mm mounting hardware. In the prototype pictures, I see Airborne using Fox Float CTD shocks, so that gives me an idea of where to start looking as far as take-offs. I have no clue as to what company makes a better shock than another in this regard, so I will be looking at reviews more than anything else to give me a direction to go. Looking at X-Fusion, Fox\ and RockShox. Budget for the shock is 200.

    Wheels will also be take-offs and I am looking for a 27.5/650B 15mmx100mm TA - 12mmx142mm TA wheelset, with an internal width of at least 23mm or more, with an XD driver. Looking at Easton, WTB I23, and I25's. Budget for the wheelset is 350.

    I got a set if WTB Frequency I23 29er wheels with sram x9 hubs from ebay in late winter for $239 shipped if memory serves. so far i really like them. I'm not accustomed to any super expensive components of any kind so maybe you will have a different opinion. but to me the feel very nice. the roll nice, are very stiff, they feel light, and have given me zero issues. they are more than god enough to get my clyde ass down the trail. I hope this helps you.

  10. #10
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    This is awesome! I look forward to seeing the final build and your impressions. Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by iluvny081 View Post
    I got a set if WTB Frequency I23 29er wheels with sram x9 hubs from ebay in late winter for $239 shipped if memory serves. so far i really like them. I'm not accustomed to any super expensive components of any kind so maybe you will have a different opinion. but to me the feel very nice. the roll nice, are very stiff, they feel light, and have given me zero issues. they are more than god enough to get my clyde ass down the trail. I hope this helps you.
    Thanks! I have the wheels picked out already, I have been working silently for the past few months gathering parts and working on the build blog until I had permission to go public, but I love hearing others and their thoughts toward components that I have an interest in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt n Dust View Post
    This is awesome! I look forward to seeing the final build and your impressions. Good luck!
    Thanks DnD! I look forward to finally finishing!! As of now, my build blog is over 25 pages, so there is a lot left to put into this thread.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    The first component ordered is a new rear shock, on its way is an X-Fusion 02 RL (267g), I found a killer deal on a new one at JensonUSA for 100 bucks with "no packaging" with a retail tag of 350. I am not sure if it includes the proper hardware or not, if it isn't what I need, I will have to source the hardware as well. This is my first full squish bike, so I am sure I will be running into an issue here and there regarding the shock and how to get it installed and setup. X-Fusion even has a page to help you figure out your shock setup as well, which will come in very handy later on.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-shock.jpg

    Now that the rear shock is here, it is time to see if it will bolt up to the frame. The distance between both shock mounts on the frame are 22.2mm, with an 8mm bolt to hold the shock on both points. The bottom bushing on the shock is too wide, with the top of the canister fits perfectly, but the bushings are 6mm, so the stock shock bushings will have to go. The measurements of the shock are the same as the Fox Float, with a part number of 803-03-166. I am seeing these kits go for 10-15 bucks. RWC has a nice needle bearing setup, I have it bookmarked for future upgrades as everyone says they notice a smoother feel in the shock movement. It was surprisingly easy to remove the pins from the bearings on the shock just by using a couple of simple tools (I couldn't pull or push them out with my fingers). I used a 3" Phillips head screw w/ wing nut, an axle spacer, small washer and a 1/2" socket to pull the pins out of the bearings, I just put pressure on the screw head with my thumb as I wound down the wing nut, pulling the pin through.


    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-shock1.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-shock2.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-shock3.jpg

  12. #12
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    It will the Plague!

    Funny, but at one point DK and Airborne both had a Spektre, unaffiliated at the time, and DK had a Banshee back in the 90's.

  13. #13
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    Maybe I missed it, I see it's a 27.5 but is this intended to be a PLUS bike or standard size tires?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBaldBlur View Post
    Maybe I missed it, I see it's a 27.5 but is this intended to be a PLUS bike or standard size tires?
    Standard 27.5, enough room for 2.5's though.

  15. #15
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    The Fox shock hardware kit is here, so the next step will be to install the hardware and then install the shock to the frame. The Fox hardware kit fits perfectly and it was easy to install the pins without tools. The bearing has what appears to be a silicone liner, so the Fox pins slid right into position and come out just as easy. Perhaps something in the Fox pin tolerances is why it was so easy to install and remove. I ended up using the caps from the hardware that came on the RL as it was black instead of the cream colored ones that came in the Fox kit. It took less than five minutes to install the hardware and install the shock on to the frame. Now that it is on there, the weight of the frame with the shock is 3431g, or 7.56 lbs.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame7.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame8.jpg

    The next item in for the bike is a take-off tubeless wheelset, Easton AR 27 27.5's with SRAM hubs on PB for $325, off a '16 Transition Scout 2. I think I got a decent deal on wheels, especially since the price included shipping to my door. All in all, great deal for a nice set of wheels and they have a nice 27mm internal width for some extra tire volume. The AR rim is sleeved with a 32 hole count and the ARC rims are welded and have a 28 hole count, so the AR's should be a good, strong wheelset. I also see they have different color sticker sheets so I can customize if the grey color doesn't work out. The hubs are MTH-716/746, which are essentially X9 hubs. I am not too worried about the weight of the wheels, or even the whole build for that matter. If I can pump the Griffin up these hills, I can do so on the Plague as well (I didn't say it would be pretty, though). Front wheel weighs in at 858 grams and the rear weighs in at 1027 grams, 1885g combined.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-wheel3.jpg

  16. #16
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    I must admit, I love looking for take-off bargains on the net. I have been watching a set of new take-off S1400 2x10 cranks, standard GXP with a 24mm/22mm spindle, with direct mount chainrings going for about 80 bucks each (retail is 150). I just saw the seller drop the price to 64, so I couldn’t help but pull the trigger. I plan ditching the 2x10 chainrings and install the 30T spider that came off my Griffin GX cranks instead. I already have a spare BB that I was going to use on my other Airborne Goblin, so that can get put onto the bike right away. The 2x10 chainrings have been taken off, the 30T installed and the cranks onto the frame. Weight of the crankset with the 30T is 654g. The crank color is actually the same color as the decals on the wheels, so that is a bonus, plus the black chainring looks good installed on the cranks.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-cranks1.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-cranks2.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame9.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame10.jpg

  17. #17
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    One last update before the weekend!

    Now that I have the wheels here, I need to figure out what kind of through axle the frame takes, so that will be a good start. I haven’t come across a through axle that doesn’t thread into the frame before, so I will have to do some serious research. After looking for a few hours, I was really scratching my head, so I contacted Airborne and they suggested the Syntace X-12 system. Now I know what to get! More to come, there is still quite a bit I have to do.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-syntace.jpg

    A completely unnecessary desert photo...

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame15.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame12.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame13.jpg

    Next on the list ordered is a No. 57 FSA Headset, which is a zero stack headset. The stem stack height is 40mm, the headset stack height is 20mm and the head tube is 130mm. This means the fork steer tube has to be around 190mm, or 7.5 inches to work, I would like to be a little beyond that just in case I need to make height adjustments.
    Since I have the Easton AR 27 wheels back out of the box, I may as well pull off the SRAM decals off the hubs. They aren’t overly annoying, but I am sure I would like the looks better without them on there. I am keeping the Easton logo’s on the hoops, as they look awesome just as they are, plus they match the gray of the cranks (Bonus!). I may as well pull the hub off the rear wheel for a once-over, clean all the factory grease out of the hub and lube it all up with some Slick Honey. The hub is just like what I am used to on the Sun Ringle MuleFuts, so no surprises there. Next, the spring and three pawls need to be removed, cleaned and re-greased with some Slick Honey, now the hub sounds pretty angry!
    I went ahead and pulled the pre-installed tubeless tape off the wheels, as it is starting to peel up on the cut edges. They are take-off wheels put together for Transition, so who knows who actually did the work as they started and stopped the tape without covering the valve hole on the hoops. The tape came off easy enough and it really looks like they used fly paper… odd stuff. I am really looking forward to putting some good 2.4’s on there with the wide rims, it should give a rather large contact patch on the trail, especially setup tubeless.


    Have a great ride! More to come on Monday.

  18. #18
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    Awesome thread and LOL at the desert photo!

  19. #19
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    Very nice looking frame!

  20. #20
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    Next on the list ordered is a No. 57 FSA Headset, which is a zero stack headset. The stem stack height is 40mm, the headset stack height is 20mm and the head tube on this frame is 130mm. This means the fork steer tube has to be around 190mm, or 7.5 inches to work. I would like to be a little beyond that just in case I need to make height adjustments. This headset is a bit different than what I am used to as it is an integrated headset. The kit contains two bearings, two bearing cups, crown race, star nut, top cap, dust cap and the compression ring. The cups will have to go into the frame first and the fit is nice and snug for both, with a bit of help from some Slick Honey. The bearings drop right in, which will make servicing the bearings relatively easy to do as well in the future.

    Since I have the Easton AR 27 wheels back out of the box, I may as well pull off the SRAM decals off the hubs. They aren’t overly annoying, but I am sure I would like the looks better without them on there. I am keeping the Easton logo’s on the hoops, as they look awesome just as they are, plus they match the gray of the cranks (Bonus!). I may as well pull the hub off the rear wheel for a once-over, clean all the factory grease out of the hub and lube it all up with some Slick Honey. The hub is just like what I am used to on the Sun Ringle MuleFuts, so no surprises there. Next, the spring and three pawls need to be removed, cleaned and re-greased with some Slick Honey, now the hub sounds pretty angry! I went ahead and pulled the pre-installed tubeless tape off the wheels, as it is starting to peel up on the cut edges. They are take-off wheels put together for Transition, so who knows who actually did the work as they started and stopped the tape without covering the valve hole on the hoops. The tape came off easy enough and it really looks like they used fly paper… odd stuff. I am really looking forward to putting some good 2.4’s on there with the wide rims, it should give a rather large contact patch on the trail, especially setup tubeless.

    Woo Hoo! I have been watching quite a few forks over the past few weeks, girding my loins for the impact on the budget. As I stated before, budget on the fork was going to be 350-450 easy, as the travel specified for the bike is 160mm. On the watch list were X-Fusion Sweep RL2, Manitou Mattoc and Fox 34’s forks, all 160mm. Those were all on PB, anywhere from 350 to 500 bucks, but I also like to look at all the obvious online shops and in this case, I am glad I did! Chain Reaction Cycles put up a stunner, the X-Fusion Sweep RL2 for only 235 and free shipping! With the trigger pulled, the fork is now on its way from Northern Ireland, and it should be here in about 10 days or so. There is a nifty upgrade to this fork, called the Roughcut damper, the cost is roughly 200 for the system, but the cost of a new Sweep Roughcut is around 800. Everyone says this fork is awesome, but even better with the improved damper. One to add to the “upgrade” list in the future! The Head Tube Angle on this bike is slackest I have and it looks like a downhill bike next to my Griffin and Goblin. I will probably pull the Sweep decals off the fork leaving the X-Fusion decals on. As I was looking at the bike with the fork on, the rear shock with the decal off seemed to be out of place. I have one Airborne logo sticker in white left, so that is going on the shock to match the head tube. I truly cannot wait to bomb the local trail as it is really starting to look quite mean!

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-shock4.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-fork-1.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-fork2.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame16.jpg

    More to come!

  21. #21
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    Saw someone racing this frame at the Keyston Big Mountain Enduro this last weekend. Curious to hear your thoughts.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    Saw someone racing this frame at the Keyston Big Mountain Enduro this last weekend. Curious to hear your thoughts.
    I took it out for the first ride yesterday on the road to work out any kinks, 9 mile round trip to Dunkin Donuts and back. Tonight after work will be the first trail ride for the bike to see how riding a full squish feels as all I have ever ridden have been hardtails. The only thing I really noticed so far riding on the road is the steering feels a bit heavy, but then again so is the fork and the front tire (more to come on that).

  23. #23
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    I took the X-Fusion Sweep down to the LBS and had them install the star nut into the fork. I have no way to start the nut into the fork and I really do not want to screw something up by not having the right tool. Once I get the RaceFace stem on there I can get an accurate measurement to make the cut on the steerer tube.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-stem1.jpg

    Next up on the order block from Chain Reaction Cycles is going to be the tires, grips, and handlebars. I found a nice set of Easton Haven Riser bars in Black and Grey, 740mm with a 20mm rise, the lettering and coloring combo is right on track with the wheels and the cranks – nice!! Ritchey WCS foam grips for some comfort are going on those killer bars, in black of course! The tires are Vee Rubber Fluid MTB tires, in a 2.4 width. I was asking JH, who has a Prototype as well, what his tire recommendations were. For cost, these Vee’s were the ticket, but not long lasting and to take that into account before I purchase them. That part I am not too worried about as this bike will make the third Airborne MTB in the stable, and I am almost 100 percent sure I don’t ride as hard (damned sure don’t jump as high either!) as JH. Total cost for the four items is 104 with free shipping, another great round of buys and keeping the budget in check. Once they all arrive, I will re-tape the wheels and mount up the tires, install the grips and bars onto the Plague. After this group of goodies, I don’t have much left to source out. I just need to get a seat, dropper, shifter, RD, chain and cassette. I have held off on NX drivetrain parts waiting for good deals, but prices have not changed since I have started the build. I will be keeping an Eagle’s eye on it though. Right now I am on track for completion sometime in July. STOKED TO RIDE THIS BIKE!!

    I need to set the wheels up tubeless, with some new tape and valves from the LBS, which will happen tomorrow night. The tires are Vee Rubber Fluids, which have a 120tpi casing, which makes the sidewalls rather stiff. Before I taped up both wheels, I did a dry fit to see how hard it would be to mount the tires onto the rims. They went on easy enough without levers and drop into the channel and hold nicely, as I cannot rotate the tire by hand once they are in there. I like to tape up a wheel and then use a tube to help set it in place, plus it helps set a bead on one side. All I need to do now is take them to work with me and use the shops compressor to finish the job. These tires should be a good ticket for the hardpack and all the wonderful sand here. Only downside is the weight penalty of these tires. They come in at a whopping 1250g, almost the weight of the griffin tires, but set up tubeless very easily with the shop compressor. Once on the wheels and inflated, the tires measure out to 2.5” width on the tread and 2.3 width on the casing. They look fairly aggressive and have a nice round profile to lean the bike in the corners. I also put the fork on the bike, installed the stem, and made my steer tube cut for the new handlebars. The bars are now on the bike along with the Hayes brakes, ready for the shifter and remote for the dropper.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-bars2.jpg

  24. #24
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    Looking great! I totally understand your feeling about the steering/front end. That slack head angle creates wheel flop and the steering feels odd or heavy. It is the one thing I didn't care for after riding several enduro-style demo bikes. Going up technical climbs felt clumsy. Of course that changes when you point the bike into a descent...then these bikes come alive. This is all my opinion and likely due to my lack of skill.

    That is going to be a sweet ride!

  25. #25
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    looking great so far!

    haha, waiting for my new set of Vee Fluids today! Can't beat the price. Mine set up tubeless pretty easy, but I'm on Mavic wheels, not sure the difference.

    You'll get used to the slackness I think. It really comes in to play at higher speeds, or when you're keeping momentum through rough stuff. Agree, it can be challenging in tight spots, but for me, the trade off is worth it.

    Fork looks killer, btw. May have to look in to one

    MOAR!!
    Cool BandolArrow

    Jerry Hazard – website

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt n Dust View Post
    Looking great! I totally understand your feeling about the steering/front end. That slack head angle creates wheel flop and the steering feels odd or heavy. It is the one thing I didn't care for after riding several enduro-style demo bikes. Going up technical climbs felt clumsy. Of course that changes when you point the bike into a descent...then these bikes come alive. This is all my opinion and likely due to my lack of skill.

    That is going to be a sweet ride!
    Thanks DnD! I have never demo'd an Enduro bike, so the feel is very strange and new to me. I ended up tightening up the steering a bit more than I am used to, which helped quite a bit. The true test will be on the trail later this week. I thought I was going to be able to roll tonight, but that got cut short today due to work... Happy Happy Joy Joy!

    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    looking great so far!

    haha, waiting for my new set of Vee Fluids today! Can't beat the price. Mine set up tubeless pretty easy, but I'm on Mavic wheels, not sure the difference.

    You'll get used to the slackness I think. It really comes in to play at higher speeds, or when you're keeping momentum through rough stuff. Agree, it can be challenging in tight spots, but for me, the trade off is worth it.

    Fork looks killer, btw. May have to look in to one

    MOAR!!
    Yep, the price is what did it, you just can't beat 33 bucks for two of those tires. Thanks for the recommendation!!

    I will be taking the shock pump with me on the trails for a while, I am having a bit of difficulty getting my sag set correctly on that Sweep fork. Another thing I have found out is there is a dedicated "tuner" thread for this fork here on MTBR. People are able to remove the damper side and change up the shim stack to change how the fork feels. A great read and something to try out when the weather turns bad later in the season.

  27. #27
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    I still need the 11 speed cassette, shifter, derailleur, chain, pedals, dropper post and seat. I am hoping for some blow out deals as usual, fingers crossed they exploit another holiday sale. I am taking in the wheels to the LBS to ensure correct spoke tension, plus I also need to pick up a few items for my pack. Trigger pulled on the last seven remaining items, bringing the total cost of the build to $1508, right on the mark! I have the GX cassette and chain coming, NX shifter and NX derailleur, KS eTen Integra dropper with a WTB Pure V seat, VP Vice pedals to finally finish the build. To be honest, I found the build to be quite fun, but a bit stressful at the same time. This just may be the bike to quench the N+1 factor (and my wallet) for quite a while, as the stable is very well rounded for any condition and trail type. With everything finally here, I can finish installing the remaining parts to complete the build. I think the only thing that will take some time is installing the internal dropper from KS. I briefly looked through the instruction manual, it doesn’t look tough, but they sure do draw it out. The install of the remaining parts was fairly straight forward, now all that is left is to take it for a light cruise to work out any bugs that may have popped up. This will be a good opportunity to figure out how to adjust the shock, and play around with all that gooey travel in the front fork. Since this is a budget build, any issues on any components will be upgraded as I go along in the future.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-goods.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-brakes1.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-brakes2.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-cables1.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-cassette1.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-frame18.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-wheel4.jpg

    NX shifter and rear derailleur along with the cassette and pedals have been installed, with the chain in a degreaser soaking to get rid of the heavy/sticky feeling oil. The Pure V seat matches the lettering on the wheels and grips – another bonus! All that is left is to figure out the routing and cable length to finish installing the dropper post. The grips will be the last to go on as I will have to remove the lever a couple of times to get proper measurements on the cable and housing, but I may just leave it as is and order in different lever assembly altogether, or modify a front derailleur shifter.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-almostthere.jpg

    The only thing I have ordered that has not shown up is another set of TOGS, which have been on order for well over a week now. I have emailed the company, for some reason or another the TOGS have been shipped to San Franciso CA instead of NM... not sure what gives, normally it only takes three days to get them here. This is holding me up in the worst way, as the foam grips are a one-time shot on installation. I guess if I get too antsy, I can get a set of lock-ons from the LBS as the waiting is absolutely killing me here!

    More to come, I am almost there!
    Last edited by s0ul_chicken; 07-12-2016 at 03:00 PM.

  28. #28
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    Friday I ended up ordering in a KS Southpaw remote to replace the stock remote which just arrived this morning. I will put that on and finish up the KS Integra install tonight, my thumb will appreciate it. I like this lever better than my Kronolog lever, there is quite a bit of adjustment in placement.

    Here is the complete list of purchased parts and cost listed. As stated before, my budget was $1500 and I didn't miss it by much. What really helped was finding the rear shock and front fork so cheap. I had no intention of buying a dropper, I didn't think I would be able to squeeze it into the budget, so I am glad I was patient when I had to be. Having a few components laying around didn't hurt the budget either. More pictures to come after I install the lever!

    Build List - Cost to date:
    X-Fusion 02 RL Shock – 100
    Fox Shock Hardware - 10
    SRAM S1400 30T 175mm Cranks – 64
    FSA ZS No. 57 Headset – 45
    Syntace Thru-axle – 35
    Easton AR 27 Wheels – 325
    X-Fusion Sweep RL 160mm Fork – 235
    Ritchey WCS Grips – 12
    Vee Rubber Fluid 2.4 Tires – 33
    Easton Haven 20mm 9 deg Handlebars – 60
    Race Face 50mm Stem – 40
    Team GXP BB – 25
    KS eTen Integra Dropper – 165
    NX 11 speed shifter – 30
    GX 11-speed Cassette – 109
    NX Rear derailleur – 65
    WTB Pure V Seat – 29
    Cables/Housing – 25
    SRAM PC 1130 Chain – 20
    VP Vice Pedals – 41
    Tubeless setup – 40
    KS Southpaw - 32
    TOGS - 23

    Total – 1563

  29. #29
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    Just a quick update, I heard back from TOGS:

    Hey,

    99% of the time USPS is rock solid, don't know whats up this time tho. No doubt you'll get it... sometime. We know what its like to want/need your Togs! We've sent complimentary carbon set today, enjoy!

    Thanks for your repeated orders!

    -Rita


    Sweet! Nothing like an upgrade! So in my hastiness to ride this bike, I will get a set of lock-ons today at the LBS so I can get this bike on the trail and final pictures taken. The Ritchey grips can wait a while, I really only ordered them to avoid shipping charges from overseas, but I read nothing but good things about them and would eventually like to try them out.

    As far as the other TOGS, they are at Pier 39 chilling at the Crab Shack eating some baked Dungeness Crab drinking a Speedway IPA. I can't fault them, the evening hostess is quite stunning!
    Last edited by s0ul_chicken; 07-12-2016 at 12:34 PM. Reason: grammar

  30. #30
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    Congrats on the bike. Looks like its gonna be a fun ride. Do you happen to know the chain stay length measurements?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMO8853 View Post
    Congrats on the bike. Looks like its gonna be a fun ride. Do you happen to know the chain stay length measurements?
    Thanks TMO8853! I have been asked not to publicly give out any geo numbers due to the fact that this is not the final production frame.

  32. #32
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    This has been a really fun read!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosborn View Post
    This has been a really fun read!
    Thanks rosborn! I have had a lot of fun putting this build thread together. I can't wait to finish!!

  34. #34
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    Looking at the bike this morning I noticed something that I haven't before. I always thought the decals on the wheels seemed a bit off as the top and bottom split of the decal really didn't match up. That is, until I looked at them from above and saw that the Easton decals line up from side to side, not top to bottom. Very cool.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-wheel5.jpg

    With the KS Southpaw now on the bike, I can finally finish installing the eTeni dropper post and put on the lock-on grips I purchased last night. This means my total cost goes up another twenty bucks, but I am not complaining one bit. Having the bike finished and ready to ride has me excited to no end and I can guarantee that this will be the longest day of waiting to ride since the day the frame arrived at my door.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-southpaw.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-southpaw2.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-bars3.jpg

    More gratuitous photos:

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-finished1.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-finished2.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-finished3.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-drivetrain.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-drivetrain2.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-dropper.jpg

    There is nothing finer than a sense of accomplishment after a long project has been completed. Again, thank you Airborne! I really do appreciate the frame and all the support you have given me and others. Much, much more to come in the next couple of days as I will have the opportunity to start test riding the bike. I still have a lot to learn about this bike and tons more pictures to take, this time on the trail!

  35. #35
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    any idea if this one will be available as a 29er? and whats the weight of your build?, thanks a lot. It looks sick

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by autopilot View Post
    any idea if this one will be available as a 29er? and whats the weight of your build?, thanks a lot. It looks sick
    Thanks autopilot! I did weigh the bike last night and it comes out to just a smidge over 31 pounds. There is tons of room for weight savings, such as lighter tires and lighter drivetrain components and so on. The weight doesn't bother me at all, if I can push the Griffin up these hills, I can do the same on this bike. As far as a niner version, that is a question for Airborne themselves.

  37. #37
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    thanks, once you have a couple of rides on it, would like your thoughts, since i'm looking for a FS bike, i was hoping for the hobgobblin, but it looks it may take some time for it to see the light

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by autopilot View Post
    thanks, once you have a couple of rides on it, would like your thoughts, since i'm looking for a FS bike, i was hoping for the hobgobblin, but it looks it may take some time for it to see the light
    Will do, I want to hit every trail around here as they all have different characteristics which should test the bike nicely.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by autopilot View Post
    any idea if this one will be available as a 29er?
    The Plague will be 27.5" only

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by autopilot View Post
    any idea if this one will be available as a 29er?
    Quote Originally Posted by jesse4130 View Post
    The Plague will be 27.5" only

    Is there a 29 Plus bike, HT or FS, in the pipeline?

  41. #41
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    Last night was the first night for a trail ride on the new Plague. Man, was it hot out there with the wind blowing, it was like riding with a hair dryer blasting in your face. I got to the trail head after work and there wasn't a soul out there, not that surprising due to the temps outside.

    Wow - so this is what it feels like to ride a full squish. I have never ridden one before, so the feeling compared to a hardtail was quite alien to me, so much so that I ended up locking out the rear shock about half way through the ride. The RL 02 still has travel when locked out, I should have reset the band to see how much, but I could definitely feel it move under me over harder bumps. I can see I have a lot of learning to do when it comes to that shock, especially with rebound settings. I opened up the shock for the downhill section of Rigor, it only has a few small drops and I almost blew through all the travel, so I will need to increase my air setting. For the ride I had it set to 160 psi, so next I will add 20 more psi and try again. I will say this, this bike is crazy fast!! My normal Rigor downhill speed is just over 20mph and last night I sailed through at 26mph without effort. Matter of fact, I thought I was on cruise control as I really didn't want to push the bike too hard. This bike absolutely comes alive on the downhills! The grip in turns was flawless, it never did step out of place, never once did I feel I was on the edge of slipping out when I leaned the bike over. The next test will be this coming weekend at the Alien Run and Seven Sisters, to see how much front travel I will use on the jumps/techy and adjust accordingly. Last night's ride I only used about 110mm in travel, but then again, there isn't much in the way of jumps on Rigor.

    I did struggle just a little on the climbs, so I am going to swap the 30T for the 28T on the Griffin and give that a try as well. The 28T on the Griffin is perfect for that bike, so I hope it translates as well onto the Plague since they are so close in weight. If it feels good, then I will spring for another chainring - I really want to try out an oval, I think my knees would appreciate it.

    More to come, including pics later today.

  42. #42
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    Nice!

    Have to say, sorting the rear shock was the trickiest part of the build for me. Mine is locked out for climbs 95% of the time, and also locked out on flat sections unless I know it's going to get rough. I had the CTD at first, but found I couldn't get it to stop blowing through the mid stroke travel. (The Suntour I have now is surprisingly responsive).

    Ideally, having a low-speed compression setting would be nice, but that's a feature seemingly reserved for more expensive shocks. (I use my weight as a starting pressure for the shock). Of course, you probably should not be getting a whole lot of travel on those trails anyhow. I'm sure you'll notice a difference when you hit up Alien or Phil's.

    Great build and build diary so far man, that thing is comfy at speed, eh?
    Cool BandolArrow

    Jerry Hazard – website

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    Nice!

    Great build and build diary so far man, that thing is comfy at speed, eh?
    More so that I would have imagined! I am looking forward to the weekend, a buddy of mine just called and asked if I wanted to cruise up to Phil's this Sunday. How could I resist?

    Thanks for the tip on the shock, I have a long way to go, but I am enjoying the trip!

  44. #44
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    Funny! I come home for lunch and find two sets of Togs waiting for me in the mailbox. The second set only took three days to get here, the other close to two weeks. I will get those installed tonight.

    In the meantime, a couple of pics.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2021.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2019.jpg

  45. #45
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    I'm sure it's not a direct comparison due to differences in geometry, but I'm curious to hear your feedback on this vs your Griffin when it comes to active rear suspension vs plus size tire "suspension" over the same terrain in terms of comfort and keeping the rear wheel planted.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBaldBlur View Post
    I'm sure it's not a direct comparison due to differences in geometry, but I'm curious to hear your feedback on this vs your Griffin when it comes to active rear suspension vs plus size tire "suspension" over the same terrain in terms of comfort and keeping the rear wheel planted.
    I have the same thoughts in mind, which is why I want to try this bike everywhere I normally ride the Griffin. I have a bit of a learning curve to overcome as well, but there will be plenty of reports on this bike in future days on all the different trails here.

  47. #47
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    If possible, I would re-route the rear derailleur and rear brake cables down the bottom tube on the production model so that the top tube is clean. Also, are there ISCG05 tabs on this bike for bash guard?

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMO8853 View Post
    If possible, I would re-route the rear derailleur and rear brake cables down the bottom tube on the production model so that the top tube is clean. Also, are there ISCG05 tabs on this bike for bash guard?
    There is, but that is something that I will add later on down the road. As far as the routing, it is actually very clean, and not noticeable when riding.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_1725a.jpg

  49. #49
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    Boy, she sure is purdy thang. Nice job on the build! Looking forward to the ride reports.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt n Dust View Post
    Boy, she sure is purdy thang. Nice job on the build! Looking forward to the ride reports.
    Thanks DnD! 5:30 just can't get quick enough for me to go ride!

    I just ordered in a North Shore Billet N/W, 26T for 40 bucks, it should be here sometime next week. This will give me three different options as far as a front chainring, 30T, 28T, and 26T between two bikes. I already know that the 30T is still a bit too much for my knees, but doable, and the 28T feels good on the Griffin, so I may as well try the 26T on the Plague. For the coming weekend rides I will be taking the 28T off the Griffin and placing it on the Plague for another round of testing. Can't wait!
    Last edited by s0ul_chicken; 07-15-2016 at 10:49 AM. Reason: grammar

  51. #51
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    Soul - are your chainrings 104 BCD? Last time I checked I couldn't find anything smaller then 30T to fit my Sram X7 Cranks.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMO8853 View Post
    Soul - are your chainrings 104 BCD? Last time I checked I couldn't find anything smaller then 30T to fit my Sram X7 Cranks.
    Nope, the S1400 cranks are direct mount rings, which is why I was able to ditch the 2x10 rings that came on those cranks and put the 30T direct mount ring on instead. That was the whole reasoning behind purchasing those cranks as I wanted the ease of replacement, and more options when it comes to the tooth count. See post #16.

  53. #53
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    Well, the trip to Phil's World didn't happen after all, but the four of us did manage to get out to Alien Run instead. This bike is a complete animal on the descents, but a little slower on the climbs than I am used to. The 28T was a big help, but I can see going 26T on this bike quite easily as some of the pedaling for me was a bit tough as I didn't exactly build the lightest bike in the world. I did make the cliff climb on the first try, so that was a big confidence booster in the bike, especially when I was the only one of us four that made it.

    Opening up the rear shock on the back side of Alien was a complete blast, it just chewed up anything in the way and kept on flying. I didn't have to worry about picking lines so much as just point and shoot the bike down the trail. I caught myself laughing quite a bit on the fast and nasty parts of the trail. The travel when locked out on the shock has quite a bit of give to it, which made for an extremely comfortable ride without feeling like it was taking anything away from the trail. The only thing that I felt gave me any kind of issue was the actual reach to the shock from the seated position. I can see where a remote would be helpful, but I really don't want the clutter, so I will just have to practice the reach to it.

    All in all, I had a great ride with friends, this bike is a lot of fun at Alien. The next scheduled ride is going to be after the 26T arrives, as Seven Sisters will be the next trail to take on. Lots of whoops and jumps here, but I need the extra help on the climb back out before I make the attempt. In the meantime, it is time to give the Goblin some trail time as I have the Griffin and Plague apart at the cranks waiting for that 26T to arrive.

    More to come!

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2027.jpg

  54. #54
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    Cool to see someone else enjoying this frame, I hope Airborne releases it soon!

    Dig your build Soul, but have to ask: I appreciate subjectivity in ride set up and gearing, but a 26t?? What's the largest cog you have in the rear?

    either way, my tires finally got here, just need to put 'em on, haven't been on the Plague in a little while now, your post has me itching to get back on it
    Cool BandolArrow

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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    Cool to see someone else enjoying this frame, I hope Airborne releases it soon!

    Dig your build Soul, but have to ask: I appreciate subjectivity in ride set up and gearing, but a 26t?? What's the largest cog you have in the rear?

    either way, my tires finally got here, just need to put 'em on, haven't been on the Plague in a little while now, your post has me itching to get back on it
    I have the 11 speed 42-10, but I am always in the lower gears. Even on the Griffin I have never gone over 8th gear on the trail. What I am really trying to protect are my knees, the glide behind my knee caps is starting to deteriorate, and keeping the pain manageable is my goal, without resorting to surgery. The doctor I see for my knees is also a mountain biker, so he suggested keeping a high cadence, and keep the hard pedal mashing to a minimum.

  56. #56
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    You're not alone. I switched from a 1x9 setup with a 32t and 11-34 to a 2x9 with a 22t and 32t. I use the 22t for most trail riding and only get into the 32t for flat stuff or paved trail.

    Glad you're liking the bike! I have demoed a Devinci Troy, Kona Process 134, and Orbea Occam AM so far this year. Each one was a blast on rough trail and drops. Very nimble. So different from the Guardian, that's for sure.

  57. #57
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    Totally get it. I gave up the single speed for similar reasons. For now, I'm pain/stress free, but we'll see how long that lasts. I try not to be a masher either. Wife has meniscus issues and deals with it similarly. Looking forward to seeing your 26t
    Cool BandolArrow

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  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt n Dust View Post
    You're not alone. I switched from a 1x9 setup with a 32t and 11-34 to a 2x9 with a 22t and 32t. I use the 22t for most trail riding and only get into the 32t for flat stuff or paved trail.

    Glad you're liking the bike! I have demoed a Devinci Troy, Kona Process 134, and Orbea Occam AM so far this year. Each one was a blast on rough trail and drops. Very nimble. So different from the Guardian, that's for sure.
    Yep, no spring chicken here, I even have to watch how I take steps. No more two at a time, and the movement deliberate. I catch myself still doing it, but quickly my right knee tells me first to stop it. My left isn't too far behind, thankfully riding helps greatly!

    A total of 17 miles on the Plague, so I am still getting warmed up to the bike. I am really looking forward to the whoops of Seven Sisters later this week to see how it performs. Time for a bit of air!

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    Totally get it. I gave up the single speed for similar reasons. For now, I'm pain/stress free, but we'll see how long that lasts. I try not to be a masher either. Wife has meniscus issues and deals with it similarly. Looking forward to seeing your 26t
    Thanks JH - I am looking forward to testing it out, I think it will do wonders. I am really hoping to not have another shot at the doctors office!

  60. #60
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    Just in time for the weekend, the NSB 26T has arrived and ready to get installed onto the bike. I will do my final chain cut as well to go along with it. I am really looking forward to the weekend to jump back on the Plague for more testing!

  61. #61
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    Nice looking bike. Good to see a nice looking FS frame that I assume will come in at a reasonable price.

    However, I must say I wonder why you'll spend money for a 26t but not on a decent set of tires. You could probably save 3/4 lb or more per wheel. I've got knee problems of my own (both ACLs have been torn and torn meniscus) and I ride a 32 oval with 11-42 cassette.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryguy79 View Post
    Nice looking bike. Good to see a nice looking FS frame that I assume will come in at a reasonable price.

    However, I must say I wonder why you'll spend money for a 26t but not on a decent set of tires. You could probably save 3/4 lb or more per wheel. I've got knee problems of my own (both ACLs have been torn and torn meniscus) and I ride a 32 oval with 11-42 cassette.
    You and I may not ride the same type of terrain, elevation, and elevation gain to justify the 26T on your bike. Sure, the tires are heavy, but so are the other components - I didn't go into the build thinking it would be a 25 pound bike when I finished with it.

  63. #63
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    There's a certain point where weight isn't really an issue. This point, is subjective. (at the intended price point, this won't be a 25lb bike).

    I assure you, 3/4 of a pound here and there certainly won't cripple this bike, or it's ability to deal with intended terrain. It keeps up with the best of them, even leads them sometimes in these parts The weakest link in my ride isn't my ride, it's me, lol.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-airtero.jpg
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  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    There's a certain point where weight isn't really an issue. This point, is subjective. (at the intended price point, this won't be a 25lb bike).
    Couldn't be more true. Unless it's time race uphill, a bit of extra weight provided it's not all up high/unspring/rotating is usually hard(or impossible) to notice, but a heavier bike is always more stable in chunky stuff. I'm all about granny-winching to the top if it means I'm having more fun on the way down, and have the Strava Jester-of-the-Mountain tracks to go with it (pathetically slow last quartile uphills, top dozen downhills).

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ul_chicken View Post
    You and I may not ride the same type of terrain, elevation, and elevation gain to justify the 26T on your bike. Sure, the tires are heavy, but so are the other components - I didn't go into the build thinking it would be a 25 pound bike when I finished with it.
    My average weekend ride starts below those clouds. I'm plenty familiar with elevation gain. And elevation, I live about 6k and some rides just outside of town to 10k. I personally would rather lose close to a pound per wheel in rotating weight than 2 teeth in gearing.


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    hence the subjective nature of bike set-up.

    personally, I'd just leave a beer or two out of my camelback and call it good with the 26t.

    not everyone has easy access to elevation either. nor is everyone at the same fitness level or condition (regarding wear and tear).

    also, lighter tires are more likely to fail, generally speaking. I'm good with a meaty tire I know I can put through a pounding without puncturing a sidewall.

    anyhow, really I just mean to say "to each their own", and I hope Airborne releases this bike soon so that Soul and I (and another whom I'm not familiar with) aren't the only ones enjoying such a sexy frame.

    gorgeous photo, btw.





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    Quote Originally Posted by ryguy79 View Post
    My average weekend ride starts below those clouds. I'm plenty familiar with elevation gain. And elevation, I live about 6k and some rides just outside of town to 10k. I personally would rather lose close to a pound per wheel in rotating weight than 2 teeth in gearing.

    Nice shot! I can understand where you are coming from, but after the last three rides with the 26T, it is just about perfect for me. After the climb out of Seven Sisters, I still had two gears left to rely on, which means I could easily go out and ride an elevation trail such as Outer Limits. Like I said earlier, whatever it takes to get you up and over the mountain ahead of you.

    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    hence the subjective nature of bike set-up.

    personally, I'd just leave a beer or two out of my camelback and call it good with the 26t.

    not everyone has easy access to elevation either. nor is everyone at the same fitness level or condition (regarding wear and tear).

    also, lighter tires are more likely to fail, generally speaking. I'm good with a meaty tire I know I can put through a pounding without puncturing a sidewall.

    anyhow, really I just mean to say "to each their own", and I hope Airborne releases this bike soon so that Soul and I (and another whom I'm not familiar with) aren't the only ones enjoying such a sexy frame.

    gorgeous photo, btw.





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    Great shots as always JH! I have a few ready to post up from the weekend as well. You are right, this is one sexy bike!

  68. #68
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    The weekend came and went with three rides on the Plague and the new 26T installed. I wanted to get some great climbs in, so a buddy and I had a three run session on the Rigor downhill followed by the Seven Sisters downhill back to the truck (thanks for that tip JH, I love getting that climb out of the way first!). 9 miles with an elevation gain of 906 feet which took just over an hour. Top speed on the bike at the finish of the Seven Sisters downhill was 31.5mph. Rolling this bike down all those whoops and jumps was a complete blast! I wanted to get some video in, but the frame is quite difficult to attach a camera to. I did stop and hide the camera on one of the sessions, so I will need to get that edited and uploaded as well.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2041.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2046.jpg

    And here is a cheesy video to go with it. The drop in to the first part of fun doesn't look nearly as crazy as it is in person (to me, anyway).


    A few more pictures of the bike:

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2038.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2048.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2049.jpg

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    Are you ready to give up your plus bike?

    Or does this have you thinking about a FS plus bike?

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBaldBlur View Post
    Are you ready to give up your plus bike?

    Or does this have you thinking about a FS plus bike?
    I could never give up the Griffin, it is still a funner bike to ride than the Plague. Don't get me wrong, the Plague is a blast to ride, but the way the Griffin destroys the terrain out here is just crazy. I think the Griffin will always be my go-to bike, but having the Plague close by for the crazier stuff and for trails out of town is a nice way to round out the stable. Now all of this could change with me getting more accustomed to riding a full suspension, but that dial would have to go to 11 to compete with the fun factor of the Griffin.

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    Right, and my terrain is similar so that's the answer I expected.

    Now.... imagine a FS "Griffin"

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBaldBlur View Post
    Right, and my terrain is similar so that's the answer I expected.

    Now.... imagine a FS "Griffin"
    That would be a very interesting ride! I take it you are in the Southwest as well?

  73. #73
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    Colorado mountains

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBaldBlur View Post
    Colorado mountains
    Nice! I bet it is cooler there than it is here, at least the monsoons are kicking back up and it isn't as hot as it has been. If you are ever in the Four Corners, look me up!

  75. #75
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    Gotta keep the heels down! I look forward to more seat time tonight after work!

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-rockmount-00-07-15-934.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-ssplague-00-00-05-205.jpg

  76. #76
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    Back on the trail last night was a hot one, but at least I am managing to get faster and faster on the Plague. My quickest downhill is 2:00 on Rigor with the Griffin, and last night I managed to get a 2:07. It could have been a bit quicker if I had not hit a tree with my shoulder, knocking me off course for a moment. I woke up to a nice sized bruise, a little sore, but couldn't have a bigger smile on my face from the nights ride.

    I am headed back out tonight after work, another hot ride with a high of 101 projected, so it is time to start hydrating. Weekend plans include more Rigor/Seven Sisters sessions as I need to start dialing in the front fork. The Sweep fork has 36 clicks of rebound adjustment to it, but only one for compression, so I will be taking a few swings both ways on the rebound instead of dead center to see how it feels. A long way to go, but with every ride, I get a bit more comfortable with the overall feel of the bike and I can push it a bit harder each time.

  77. #77
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    Comparison Times

    This mornings ride with friends was a bust (again), so I decided to do the almost 13 mile portion of the Road Apple Rally to get a three-way bike comparison between the Goblin(30T/24lbs), Griffin(28T/32lbs), and Plague(26T/32lbs). The more I ride this bike, the more fun it is becoming for me, plus I can feel my riding style for the bike is changing a little as well. My time today could have been faster, but there was a walker on the downhill portion of the Anasazi Loop wearing earbuds, so yelling at the top of my lungs "BEHIND YOU" several times did absolutely nothing and I had to jam it up and go around a tree. I never had a feeling I was going to crash, at least.

    So, here is the break down of the three:

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-capture.jpg

    The Plague isn't too far off from the Goblin at all! Granted, RAR is more XC than anything else, it chews it up regardless. Going with a larger front chainring might get the time up a bit faster, but it has me wondering if it would be too much bike for a 15 mile race like that. I want to try the course again, just to see how much I can try to close the gap on the Goblin. I think I can get very close!

  78. #78
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    any idea on the projected price of the plague?

  79. #79
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    I went back out Sunday and rode the course again, this time thankfully without any walkers on the trail. I was able to get the time down to 1:08, but not sure how much more I can get out of it without going to a bigger front chainring. Of course, there is the fact I am using the Radar brakes off the Griffin, so I know there is room for improvement there as well. Once I switched to Guides on the Griffin, times got faster and faster, so it is time to start looking for better brakes to put on the Plague.

    Name:  Capture.JPG
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  80. #80
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    Arriving next week, a new set of Formula R1/RX brakes with rotors. I have always wanted try Formula's out, so I am really looking forward to getting them here and installed on the Plague. My hope is the same outcome from swapping out the Griffin brakes - getting faster and faster with confidence in the brakes.

    More to come!!

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  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by autopilot View Post
    any idea on the projected price of the plague?
    Shooting for $2399

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    That's an awesome price point, curious what the spec will be.

  83. #83
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    The Formula brakes arrived yesterday, and I think they look very slick. I did run into an issue where the rear caliper pistons will not seat flush. No matter what I tried to do to the pistons would not seat all the way. At this point, I can't even get the rotor to seat between the pads due to the 1-2mm protrusion of the pistons.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2055.jpg

    On it's way is a bleed kit from Amazon. I am not too upset about having to remove fluid from the system, but I was hoping to at least get them mounted to the bike and a test ride done this evening. I know I will also probably have to cut the rear line down, it came in at 1500mm, and possibly the front line as well.

    More to come once the bleed kit arrives!

  84. #84
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    FINALLY - the bleed kit arrived, so I was finally able to mount the brakes to the bike. Getting rid of the Hayes was a huge improvement in feel of the bike, one that was severely overdue. The Formula R1/RX combo brakes ran about half of what I spent on the Guides, although the feel is quite similar, with great modulation. Interesting the way they mount to the bars as it is just like a stem, but look freaking cool with the red anodizing. I also swapped out to the Formula rotors that came with the brakeset, and bumped up the rear rotor to 180. I went for a 30 mile ride over the weekend (damn, I am sore!) to start getting a feel for the new brakes and to see how far I could push myself on the bike. I love how snappy the bike feels on tight switchbacks, and I was able to clear all but one nasty climb on the route thanks to the 26T. More testing to come this week.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-28879530222_c3b5c9773e_b.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-28952325296_28afdb0e12_b.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-28367756923_5997f6e808_b.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-28952311086_d4a5c3c7d3_b.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-28698711760_ec5e5bea73_b.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-28984557135_3aa22c9bb6_b.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-28952264176_d5f678943c_b.jpg

  85. #85
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    Crushed it!

    As I get more and more comfortable on the bike, it just gets faster and faster. I was riding last night after work with a friend of mine who has been trying to crack 2:09 on the Rigor downhill section, so I thought I would take the Plague back out to see what I could do with a better set of brakes. I let him go first and gave him a bit of space to get going, and then I jumped on it and shot across the road to start the segment. It doesn't take long to get to the bottom, finishing in a 1:57, beating my Griffin quickest by 3 seconds. I caught up to the other guy I was riding with and he asked how my downhill time felt on this run. I said it felt fast, but I think I could go faster as I had a couple of turns that I didn't quite nail just right, so there is more there to gain. I got home and plugged in the Garmin and the PR popped up. NICE! Breaking top 5 overall means I need to find two more seconds, which will be a great motivator for me. Tonight three of us are headed out after work to see what we can crank out - I can't wait!!

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-capture.jpg

  86. #86
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    Got EvilAdam and his Plague Blanc out in OTero Canyon today. awesome weather, great conditions, and we pounded the bejesus outta the Plagues. still grinning from the ride, screaming down Otero is such a blast!



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    Last edited by jhazard; 08-28-2016 at 08:31 AM.
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    Amazing ride on some AMAZING Bikes! Totally ruined for any bike under 6" of travel, the insanity you can ride over/through...

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by eviladam View Post
    Amazing ride on some AMAZING Bikes! Totally ruined for any bike under 6" of travel, the insanity you can ride over/through...
    How did you find the climbing to be? I had the opportunity to ride Otero with the Goblin once, what a blast coming back down!! I can only imagine how well the Plague chewed up the chunk rock on the downhill vs. an XC bike there.

    What does your downtube lettering say? I can't seem to make out what it says.

    Nice rides guys!

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    *DISCLAIMER* Climbing is just a means to an end for me.

    That being said I had zero difficulty beyond my normal climbing ability on the Plague, and in some instances I found it to be better than the Griffin in dealing with large gnarly boulder climbs. I attribute this to me climbing in full squish mode and not locked out for the first half of my day...

    Coming back down is a night and day difference between my setups. I railed as hard as I could on the Griffin with a 120mm fork and 9psi in my tires. The Plague on the other hand is rocking 160mm Pike and a Monarch +, The trail was no challenge for it at all. As much speed as you want, any line you want, anything you want to jump it simply asked for more. "Choose Your Path" has never made more sense to me.

    My downtube lettering does say Airborne but written in Aurebesh, the alphabet for Star Wars Basic..... Ya Im a super nerd!

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by eviladam View Post
    *DISCLAIMER* Climbing is just a means to an end for me.

    My downtube lettering does say Airborne but written in Aurebesh, the alphabet for Star Wars Basic..... Ya Im a super nerd!
    Fair enough! I think I need to find another shock that will handle pedaling a little better, I still feel a bob when I am 'locked' out, but love the way the bike bombs the descents.

    I think my biggest limitation to the bike is me and my surrounding trail terrain. Most all of the trails here are very XC orientated, with only one kinda-sorta techy trail. I am in a situation where I am severely over-biked, trail and skill wise. I see pictures of JH taking on the hills, jumps, drops, and everything else that I would be too terrified to try at my age on the Plague and think that I would rather be on my Griffin. I have even toyed with the idea of swapping it out for a 29+er... BLASPHEMY! I know....

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    Not blasphemy at all; I've concluded my next bike will be a FS plus bike. When this thread started I'd hoped this frame was Airborne's take on that.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBaldBlur View Post
    Not blasphemy at all; I've concluded my next bike will be a FS plus bike. When this thread started I'd hoped this frame was Airborne's take on that.
    I just saw the EVO, curiosity has been piqued!

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    I totally get the over biked feeling, the trails in Placitas while fun are not challenging at all. They are pure Griffin territory! Not to bag on the Griffin its perfectly at home in serious gnarl. However on trails like Otero Canyon has you can feel a difference on the Plague and its a good one! Wouldn't trade either bike for any reason.

    I get you on age and jumping, at 35 and an ex motocross/sport bike racer with somewhere in the range of 30+ broken bones I am quite a bit more cautious than I used to be. But I still can't turn off the switch in my head that makes me want to go crazy fast downhill and jump along the way....Im just working up jump size at a slow pace on a MTB! My father who rides with me will still hit the jumps at 58! So never too old to act like a teenager!

    I can't figure out the point of the Evo when there is already a Griffin... Would have been nicer to see a fs Griffin with a slacker ht.
    Last edited by eviladam; 08-31-2016 at 01:35 PM. Reason: Spelling....

  94. #94
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    I didn't start MTBing until I was 42, I used to be a hard-core runner until I really screwed up my left leg and ankle. Four years later and I wish I would have messed up my leg 20 years ago! I never was in BMX or anything like that when I was a kid, I just had a Schwinn 10-speed to get around town, but when I hit a trail for the first time I felt like a kid all over again. HOOKED

    I can see the EVO fitting in between the Goblin and the Griffin, especially if you like to ride a bit harder than what the Goblin is designed for, but don't necessarily want large volume tires to push around.

  95. #95
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    Riding since 13-14 (aggressive street/freestyle/dirt jumping), took a good decade off. Now, it's a risk vs reward thing. I had some goals over the last 5 years, and accomplished most of them - most adrenaline-based, lol. Now I have to find some new ones that involve a lower risk level, and well, maybe a higher fitness level, haha.

    IMO, the EVO is a fine bike, but I feel it really covers the same ground as the Griffin. The 3 inch tires aren't really that difficult to push uphill. I think they should cross breed the two; slack the HA, 130/140mm fork, shorter rear end. That would be a real trail killer.

    Not that the Griffin is any slouch, lol. What a fun bike. Great to have choices, right??
    Last edited by jhazard; 08-31-2016 at 05:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eviladam View Post
    would have been nicer to see a fs griffin with a slacker ht.
    x2! That's most likely my next bike, whether Airborne makes one or I have to go to Trek Fuel EX or Scott Genius or ....
    Last edited by TheBaldBlur; 09-01-2016 at 07:18 AM.

  97. #97
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    While I have been waiting for the Carbon Ti axle to show up for the Griffin, I rolled another 50 miles on the Plague over the weekend. I am gaining confidence in the bike, and my times seem to be improving.

    I also had an opportunity to get with a local vinyl guy and get my decals ordered which should be ready by tomorrow. I only ordered downtube logos, but they are going to be twice the size of the current ones with white lettering instead of a white outline. I am really looking forward to seeing the outcome!! More in the next few days!

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_2094.jpg

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    The weather has been absolute JUNK the past three months... at least we can practice wheelies, manuals (yeah, right) and some stair riding at the local park. By looking at the pics, it looks more like a prison yard than a park!

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-20170107_123938%5B1%5D.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-20170107_124015%5B1%5D.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-20170107_124236%5B1%5D.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-20170107_123911%5B1%5D.jpg

  99. #99
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    Probably not so bad as your area Soul, but it's not been the best here. Temps warm up this week though, and I have some minions and a Yari fork on the way. Can't wait to get back at it!

    Great shots, your bike looks great

    Here's a couple warmer weather shots to help stoke the coming temps... It was just over a year ago I finally got this one together. Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-20160103_171401.jpg

    Good ol' Otero Canyon...
    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-img_7634-2.jpg
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    If it were only that dry out on the trails... sigh... Another storm last weekend, and now another huge storm is on the way, just in time for the weekend. I guess I will go urban riding yet again.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-virb_0007-00-01-23-963.jpg

  101. #101
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    Cool shot on the staircase

    So. Decided to ditch the Suntour Aion fork, as it did not inspire confidence, and well, it was just not fair to move from a Pike to that fork. Picked up a Rocksox Yari, which arrived on my lunchbreak today. Will put it on this evening, but as noted, the weekends here in NM seem to be dominated by weather this season.

    Cool thing about the Yari - you can change the travel via air-spring replacement, much like the pike - except the Yari will go up to 180mm... Sweeeet. I've located a 170mm which will probably be enough, but having a 180 up front is pretty fun. Photos coming soon.
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    Sweet. Probably the fasted, most trouble free fork swap I've ever had. The Yari is 100% improvement over the Suntour Aion (sp?). Damping is a bit different from the Pike, so set up is going to take some trial and error, but the adjustments work great; you can feel a different with every click on the compression.

    What a difference the 2.5 tires and stout fork make. Can't wait to get out on it..

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-20170119_154154.jpg
    Cool BandolArrow

    Jerry Hazard – website

  103. #103
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    https://youtu.be/pUSUiQrv454

    Looks like Barry Nobles went ahead and got a seventh at the most recent Fontana downhill race against a fast field on his Plague. Nice

  104. #104
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    Looks like he's running a Pike?
    Cool BandolArrow

    Jerry Hazard – website

  105. #105
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    ...and, that course is probably twice as hard to deal with as it appears
    Cool BandolArrow

    Jerry Hazard – website

  106. #106
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    Finally, dry trails were to be had at Pinion Mesa, even if they were very soft. It was a tough go, but I am thankful to be able to do so, even if I should have been on the Griffin. You just can't beat the views here, well worth it.

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-20170211_093228.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-20170211_093333.jpg

    Project 505: Airborne 650B Black Plague Enduro-20170211_105416.jpg

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