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  1. #1
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    Seeker - improve uphill performance?

    First, sorry if this is a repeat thread.

    My dad got a Seeker for xmas (wanted a Goblin but they were out of stock). He was looking for a good-value 29er that would help him keep up with me a bit better than his old ride (an old Jamis trail X3).

    Thing is, the Seeker doesn't climb all that great - takes a ton of effort to keep the cranks moving. And the uphills are where I tend to blow him away.

    So - any ideas for some relatively inexpensive upgrades that would improve climbing performance?

    New wheels would be huge, but I don't want to spend so much money on wheelsets that he'd have been better off getting the Goblin - know what i mean?

    How about different tires? Any suggestions?

    Would a tubeless conversion help at all? Has anybody done it with these wheels?

    Other ideas?
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  2. #2
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    Losing rotational weight is the best way to go, and losing about 1.5 pounds by converting to tubeless is a great start. I am sure others have converted those wheels, and will chime in.

  3. #3
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    I was curious about the weight of the stock wheels to have a basis of comparison.

    Shedding weight will be the best way to climb better. I ride a Seeker. I've swapped out the stem (running a 60mm -10 degree), handlebar, saddle so the fit/weight distribution feels right and I feel a lot better climbing. Granted, I've also been riding whenever work and weather permits so seat time has definitely improved my climbing.

    I'm interested in getting a set of carbon wheels (Chinese ones or Ibis) but I'm going to try and pick up a FS (maybe Airborne if they come out w/ their AM 27.5) before I get to Germany.
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  4. #4
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    It's already a hardtail.

    Does the fork bob when he climbs? Honestly, unless the bike is doing something that wastes massive amounts of energy, like a ton of suspension bob, I don't think there's much you can do to improve its performance.

    The bike could also be sabotaging your Dad's performance. If he can't hold a line or his riding position on it blows, you might be able to remove that impediment by fitting it better. Crappy pedals can be particularly annoying on a technical climb too.

    After that - he's got to outweigh the bike by a long shot. He needs more Watts and less kilos.
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  5. #5
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    This is actually more my complaint than his - it just doesn't float up climbs like my Specialized Camber (which also cost $1,000+ more... He's coming off a real POS though so the seeker is like heaven to him). I'm clipless on my bike, while he's on some crappy DJ pedals. That's probably a factor.

    I definitely notice the long stem (we're the same size, so it should be a problem for him, too). That should be fixable easily.

    Tubeless conversion may be priority number one. Maybe he can get some lighter tires, too... Gotta do some research though.

    Thanks for all the suggestions! Keep 'em coming.

    And like Soul Chicken said, if anybody has gone tubeless on a seeker before, I'd love to hear how it went.
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  6. #6
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    What tires are on the Seeker? I didn't care for the stock Geax AKA tires that come on the Goblin. Climbing was always a struggle. I recently went with a Maxxis Ardent/High Roller combination and that is MUCH better than the Geax.

    In fact I have been meaning to start a thread on the change so maybe I'll do that this morning....

  7. #7
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    Sounds like you've ridden the Seeker up some of the same stuff?

    Funny you should mention the Camber. When I demoed one in 2013, it was the first time I rode a full suspension bike and liked it. Until then, my aspirational bike was a carbon 29er hardtail. I didn't buy it. Specialized doesn't sponsor me. But it inspired me to arrange a demo of a FS XC 29er that I did end up buying.

    Something I notice about climbing on my FS is that if the suspension's working for me and I'm maintaining a decent pace, it's easier to get the rear wheel up and over things than without rear suspension.

    I'm a sucker for fancy tires, so I think that sounds like a good direction. 2.3" with a 120 tpi casing and whatever tread and sidewall protection are appropriate for your area. It's possible to lose a ton of weight in tires and while I've come to think it's not that important in terms of measurable performance, the fancy casing does feel a lot better.
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  8. #8
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    Seeker owner here, love the bike but it really came to life when I went tubeless with Maxxis Ardent front Ikon rear. I used Stans strips, and haven't had any problems yet.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangur View Post
    This is actually more my complaint than his - it just doesn't float up climbs like my Specialized Camber (which also cost $1,000+ more... He's coming off a real POS though so the seeker is like heaven to him). I'm clipless on my bike, while he's on some crappy DJ pedals. That's probably a factor.
    Interesting. My Dad's Camber is quite a bit slower than my Goblin up the same climbs when either he or I ride it (but definitely faster on the rougher stuff on the way down). Have you tried switching bikes with him to see how things compare?

    I'm sure there are some differences in your equipment, but it might be a good idea to evaluate how much is equipment and how much is rider technique and power before you drop a bunch of money on changes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Sounds like you've ridden the Seeker up some of the same stuff?

    Funny you should mention the Camber. When I demoed one in 2013, it was the first time I rode a full suspension bike and liked it. Until then, my aspirational bike was a carbon 29er hardtail. I didn't buy it. Specialized doesn't sponsor me. But it inspired me to arrange a demo of a FS XC 29er that I did end up buying.

    Something I notice about climbing on my FS is that if the suspension's working for me and I'm maintaining a decent pace, it's easier to get the rear wheel up and over things than without rear suspension.
    Yup - local trails around my parents' house. Been there a few times without my bike and went for an impromptu ride on my dad's machine. Big difference between then and when I plan ahead and bring my Camber down to ride. So to address some other people's concerns: the only variable in this problem is the bike - the rider (me) and trails are the same. Verdict is - I'd like to make things easier on my dad. Yes he could improve his fitness and skill level, but the bike has a lot of room for improvement, too.

    Anyway, as for the Camber, AndrwSwitch: I love that bike, also a 2013. On it, I usually beat the more enduro-oriented bikes to the top of the big hill around here on our weekly rides. The rear suspension is a must-have on technical climbs for exactly the reason you point out. I've experimented with locking out the shock, and it always makes for a harder time going uphill. At the same time, it never feels like an energy suck. Great bike.

    Having said that, a hardtail is a whole different kind of fun, so I like to get out on the Seeker when I can.

    Seeker_EmC: glad to hear the tubeless conversion worked for you! We'll definitely have to try it.
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  11. #11
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    Do this... have your dad start tracking his rides with a phone or whatever. Then let your dad ride the Camber and compare his times on both bikes... I bet your dads uphill climbs times don't change very much. I don't think that small improvements are very noticeable to the average rider.

    It's hard for me to even remember how slow I was when I first started riding. I've tracked all my rides with Strava over the last year and I ride a lot of the same trails so I have a ton of comparable data. My times have been cut in half from when I started. Yea, I went tubeless and made some cockpit changes to the Goblin, but my bike got quicker because I got stronger.

  12. #12
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    I have a seeker and have been setting it up as more of a trail bike. Bought before the EVO came out. I ride with a group on FS bikes and I suffer in the climbs and have given it a lot of thought. I changed to wider bars and shorter stem. Then moved the seat back and forth till I found a good balance point. All of the above helped improve control on the climbs. Also, I struggled most on short, steep, climbs and that is what I am focusing on. If you are talking long fireroad stuff, then that would be different.

    My next change is the tires, which would spin out (rear) on climbs really easily. I went with 2015 Nobby Nics in 2.35 size. Haven't tried them yet, but I expect them to make a big difference. Right now I have tubes in them, but I plan to convert to tubeless after trying them a few times. Just wanted to change one thing at a time to see the effect.

    Lastly, I need to adjust the derailers, front and back. Shifting is not real crisp and if I need to grab a lower gear near the top of a climb, there is a delay and I loose some momentum (which I usually don't have any to give up) till I can pedal again.

    Also pedals, or staying in contact with them is important. If hitting bumps while climbing sometimes I slip off the pedals, and that looses momentum too. I have good flat pedals, but I bought some 5/10's which help and have learned to get my butt off the seat and back down for rear wheel weighting as needed. See utube clips on knee to chest techniques.

    After that, its all in the motor and that's a whole other subject.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bttocs View Post
    I have a seeker and have been setting it up as more of a trail bike. Bought before the EVO came out. I ride with a group on FS bikes and I suffer in the climbs and have given it a lot of thought. I changed to wider bars and shorter stem. Then moved the seat back and forth till I found a good balance point. All of the above helped improve control on the climbs. Also, I struggled most on short, steep, climbs and that is what I am focusing on. If you are talking long fireroad stuff, then that would be different.

    My next change is the tires, which would spin out (rear) on climbs really easily. I went with 2015 Nobby Nics in 2.35 size. Haven't tried them yet, but I expect them to make a big difference. Right now I have tubes in them, but I plan to convert to tubeless after trying them a few times. Just wanted to change one thing at a time to see the effect.

    Lastly, I need to adjust the derailers, front and back. Shifting is not real crisp and if I need to grab a lower gear near the top of a climb, there is a delay and I loose some momentum (which I usually don't have any to give up) till I can pedal again.

    Also pedals, or staying in contact with them is important. If hitting bumps while climbing sometimes I slip off the pedals, and that looses momentum too. I have good flat pedals, but I bought some 5/10's which help and have learned to get my butt off the seat and back down for rear wheel weighting as needed. See utube clips on knee to chest techniques.

    After that, its all in the motor and that's a whole other subject.
    Great points... I assumed he was talking about smooth climbs. Bttocs - if you're into short technical climbs you've got to go tubeless. I went tubeless and switched to Maxxis Ardents and it was a huge improvement on short technical climbs. Also, I feel that switching to 1x10 helped me as well, because it forced me to climb in a harder gear that was less prone to slipping.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMO8853 View Post
    Great points... I assumed he was talking about smooth climbs. Bttocs - if you're into short technical climbs you've got to go tubeless. I went tubeless and switched to Maxxis Ardents and it was a huge improvement on short technical climbs. Also, I feel that switching to 1x10 helped me as well, because it forced me to climb in a harder gear that was less prone to slipping.
    Not too many smooth climbs here in New England. There are a lot of long ones. And Technical ones. And long technical ones.

    Climbing control isn't the biggest issue. The seeker just stops dead at points where I'd otherwise motor up and over on a different bike - it's a work in vs work out efficiency kind of issue (I hope I didn't just open up a crazy can of worms dropping the E-word). Yes, any rider can always get better/fitter. But that's not what I'm interested in talking about here.
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    Thanks for the info, I will go tubeless for sure. On the 1x10, can you do the same thing with the 2x10 and stay in a higer gear? I was told that staying on the big ring in front is better for shifting (I think that was the reason) and I tried that. My typical trails are way to steep to stay in the large front ring. I basically just stay in the small front ring unless riding in a relatively flat area. I have tried to stay one gear higher in the rear and have had some success with that, especially if I can carry momentum over from a downhill section.

  16. #16
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    I find the seeker stops dead at times also. I figured it was just me and lack of speed and leg strength. I am speaking about tight, uphill, single track. It may have to do with how much weight is on the front wheel and that has to be "lifted" to go over something. I moved my seat min/max and found it effected front wheel weight a lot. I liked having a "light" front wheel, but I wheelied too much on steep short climbs. Slid the seat forward till that was tamed a bit. This made the front wheel heavier and more difficult to lift when needed. To roll over something, front wheel has to come up.

    Another thing I noticed is some of the teeth on my front rings were a little bent due to bottom strikes. I don't have a guard on my front sprokets. This maybe be adding some drag to the chain. I plan to get a guard in the future, especially for rock protection.

    Locking the front shock really helps in power transfer to the rear wheel, but I only do that on fireroads with long uphills, short and steep is too much bother for that. I do have the air pressure up so the front fork "bobbing" isn't too much. I would rather be a little stiff than bobbing like crazy.

    The work in vs out should be good since it is a hardtail. I guess tires and or something not right mechanically are all thats left. Maybe a crank or a bearing is gone on the bike and is adding drag??

    Just read an old post that said the wheels on the Seeker were significantly heavier than a Goblins. Maybe rims/spokes are another major contributor
    Last edited by Bttocs; 04-07-2015 at 05:37 PM.

  17. #17
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    I'm pretty sure it's the wheels. New tires and going tubeless should make a big difference.

    Regarding your "light" front wheel - you don't really want a "light" or floaty front wheel on climbs. It will wander around on you and the bike will be difficult to control. That's why the experts always tell us to slide forward on the seat to sit on the nose of the saddle, and get your weight low over the bars while keeping your butt planted (for rear wheel weighting and traction). If you find the right balance point, maybe you can put the seat back in a more neutral position, and get some of that lifting ability back.

    Sorry if you've heard that lecture before. Just thought I'd mention it.
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  18. #18
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    I agree 100%. My wheelies up hill were happening even with me slid forward and chest down on the bars. I had a really light front wheel, which was nice for practicing wheelies on flat grass. It was too light and I moved the saddle forward till I could keep the front wheel down on steep short climbs by doing what you describe. This took some of the light front wheel feel away. It is a 29er and not a short chain stay, so it feels like what it should be right now. Can always fine tune a little if needed.

  19. #19
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    ^^^
    What happens if you use a longer stem or fewer spacers?
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  20. #20
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    A longer stem puts more weight on the front wheel. The original stem was a 110mm or so, and I couldn't lift the front wheel for the life of me. The shorter stem I have on now, 40mm, really helped in lifting the front wheel. For going up hill, the longer stem was less sensitive to rider position, the front wheel stayed planted without sliding forward on the saddle. I haven't tried fewer spacers, but I don't think it will weight the front wheel as much as the longer stem. It will make you crouch more, instead of leaning forward. Probably a little similar to longer stem, but not as much weight increase to the front wheel I am guessing.

  21. #21
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    Dayamn - you made a huge change! I usually go 10 mm at a time.

    Maybe a 70 or 80 mm stem next? I get them cheap - I see it as an experiment. You could find you end up with a really nice balance.

    I find that fewer spacers tends to rotate my whole body forward and down. That can be good or bad - pretty similar to experimenting with stem length, really.
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  22. #22
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    I tried one intermediate stem length between 110 and 40, I think it was 90 with a steep 45 deg angle. It told me I was going in the right direction, but needed to go a lot more. I was way to stretched forward and down. I have long legs and short torso. 40 stem and 3" riser bars put me in a very comfortable position and I could manipulate the bike very well. You can feel when you are balanced well, and after sliding the seat back and forth on the rails settled on a good sweet spot.

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