Session 88 review- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Session 88 review

    I know the bike's been out for a year, and there are literally billions of reviews, but being that I've had the bike awhile and gotten a feel for it, I thought I'd post my usual biggass rambling about how I like it, like I do with every bike I get.

    Bike: session 88 FR on closeout
    Build: full saint, with bontrager wheels
    Pulled the stock totem off before riding the bike, and put a fox 40rc2 on
    Swapped out stock pedals for canfield crampons
    Rode tires for a day, and decided I didn't like them and put my old trusty Specialized clutch 2.5 DH front tire on, and a 3c highroller rear on.

    Its much better then I was expecting, geometry is absolutely set, I can stuff it into corners so much better then anything I've ever ridden, and the suspension feels really really good and its only getting better as I get it closer and closer to where I want it. It feels pretty good on big drops, it has that nice pillowy feel on the initial contact with the ground, the custom tuned shock works really well with the big and and the compression is pretty dialed for it, so I haven't had a single harsh bottom out (including the 8-9 footer you see in the picture) since the first ride before I had played with my settings.

    Its reasonably stiff, nowhere near the level of the canfield, but nothing else I've ever ridden was, I can step on the BB sideways and not notice any discernible flex (I weigh 175 these days) and I certainly don't notice any flex or twisting while riding.

    I feel the rocks a little bit more then I did on your jedi, but I can hold speed better. I suspect that is because of the way we have our shocks tuned, where yours is rock solid stable, mine is squishy pillow that I can mash through when I want to. Works out pretty well with the ABP and 40 I have on the front, so I'm gonna run it this way and not worry about anything else.

    I really like the way it corners more then anything else I've ever ridden. My lucky cornered like most of the current iteration of dh bikes I've ridden, which was long and stable, and the session (being a medium with a much short wheelbase, and squishier suspension) really mashes in and gets alot tighter. So far I REALLY like this alot better in berms and tight stuff, and also like it better in the high speed wide open corners, and just let the bike get a little looser. It tracks the ground better then my lucky did, and feels much less skittery when drifting.

    So far the only place that I've felt it wasn't significantly superior to every bike I've ever ridden was in high speed ruts and and braking bumps on a wide open moto trail, its pretty good, but I like a little longer wheelbase for that stuff.

    Build quality was nice, I pulled everything apart when I got it, there was grease in all the bearings, loctite on all the threads, and it was torqued well.

    Only a couple of complaints:

    I've heard (and seen) a lot of horror stories concerning errant rocks getting flung up into the downtube and putting dents in it, I would have been happier if the frame had an extra pound or two of beef, I would be less worried.

    With 5 bucks and a couple of zipties, I solved the problem with a bit of thick rubber plumbing hose, and that works out to be really good protection against rocks



    Also, the brakes in their stock form did NOT work well with the frame, it was not good speccing/testing on trek's part. Granted, the new saints are absolutely fuggin fantastic, so much better then my hayes or codes or even the pairs of the ones I've ridden, but actually slapping a set on the bike first would have been a good idea. For some reason, something about the stock semi metallic pads resonates with the frame, and so using the rear brake causes the entire frame to vibrate harshly and be really really loud. Both Shimano and Trek gave me the runaround on it, but after a bit of looking deeper into it, I found out some people had luck with running one resin pad and semi metallic, and in some cases two resins. I tried one resin one semi metalic, and that took care of the problem. Now that I've got them working, I'm incredibly happy with them!

    Also, the MRP guide that comes stock (whatever the equivilant to the SRS is) is a complete piece of crap, both pully's have come off, put back on, loctited, and come off again. The minute I have enough money to replace it with an SRS or LG1, I will. I'm not pleased with the MRP guide. The saint derailler has kept enough tension on the chain that I haven't lost it yet, but I'd like a working guide anyway.

    Tires were meh, they had some potential, but ended up feeling like a lightened up version of a kenda nevegal. they slid out too easily, and its difficult to pin a line with them. Also, my roommate decided to try them out, and got two pinch flats within 2 rides (something that usually happens closer to once a year)

    Thats all the negatives that I can think of.

    My overall rating is: I'm incredibly happy with it. Build quality was great, parts spec was great, loving the new saint stuff, wish they had solved the brake problem before sending it out, but oh well, wasn't too big a deal. Bike rides better then everything I've ever ridden (although there are so many good bikes out there that I wont be that tool that says BEST BIKE OMFG EVAAARRRRRRRR!!!!) - different bikes suit different people, and there are lots of really well built bikes out. This one rides the best for me, and comes incredibly well set up (fwiw, I got a friend on one, and after half a run he was sold enough to buy one himself, which came in today and is sitting in a box in the garage waiting for him to come by this evening to build it up)

    I'm sure in a couple of years I'll be ready for something new, but for now, I've never loved riding a bike so much in my life. Totally stoked.

    Also, double post on the pictures, but reviews are worthless without some pictures.






  2. #2
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    Nice review! Good job on that DT guard . I have had a couple of large rocks kick up and hit my guard on Rocky already. I love my Saint brakes so much...... enough to say OMFG BEST EVAR!!!!!!!! MOAR SAINT BRAKES!! After a month of riding they just get better and better.

  3. #3
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    nice william
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  4. #4
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    What problems have you had with your MRP G2 guide? Just fasteners coming loose? I switched from the blue 242 removable locktite to green 290 locktite (medium-high strength) and had better results if loosening is the problem. Using a primer helps with the 290 as it has a secondary cure with the primer, it still comes off easily later but cracks and crumbles instead of turning to a powder like the 242 blue stuff.




    I am assuming this is the model guide you have as this is what came on my 88DH.

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  5. #5
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    Very nice little review, and even nicer bike!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4JawChuck
    What problems have you had with your MRP G2 guide? Just fasteners coming loose? I switched from the blue 242 removable locktite to green 290 locktite (medium-high strength) and had better results if loosening is the problem. Using a primer helps with the 290 as it has a secondary cure with the primer, it still comes off easily later but cracks and crumbles instead of turning to a powder like the 242 blue stuff.




    I am assuming this is the model guide you have as this is what came on my 88DH.

    nope, that's the g2, mine came with the system 2 I think? or system 1?

    https://www.mrpbike.com/product.php?...ct&item=sys1_2

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