Big Mama heavy like a Walmart bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Big Mama heavy like a Walmart bike

    Just built the big mama frame that I bought last year. Wow. Heavier than I had expected. I put on Salsa Gordo rims, but all other parts are XT, X.9, s-works, etc. The result is a very solid feeling bike, but heavy as well. It really does feel about even in weight with the NEXT-brand bike that I fixed the other day. Not sure I'll be able to pedal it up the hills.

    I've a trail ride scheduled Tuesday evening. I'll have more of an opinion after riding the bike. I'll be riding a trail known for rootyness, and for climbs. My guess is that the bike will handle the roots ok, but will suck on the climbs. We will see.

  2. #2
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Not sure why your bike is so "heavy", (exact weight please?), but Big Mamas have been built down to 26lbs and I would guess mine to be in the upper 20's, just under 30lbs.

    Most Mall Wart bikes are something on the order of 35-45lbs and are far heavier than any Big Mama I've handled. (Work at a shop, and have seen several Big Mama builds)

    Please elaborate. I don't see the comparison you make here at all.

    Heck, a lot of hardtail 29"ers weigh in the upper 20's just shy of 30lbs.
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  3. #3
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    I'll see whether I can borrow a scale and weigh the thing. It is a beast though, and I hope Salsa can reduce the frame weight in their next edition.

    Throwing the Gordos overboard will help, but I want to ride them a few times first. I do have a set of Semis, so I can switch things up at some point.

  4. #4
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    IIRC, the BM frame was about 7 pounds. That's the same as my old Stumpjumper FSR, and only a pound more than the racy light Spearfish or similar frames.
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  5. #5
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    Ive been riding a HiFi Pro 29er. Maybe I've been spoiled.

  6. #6
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    Jonathan, that BM that I had was right at 27lbs with Sram x7 & x9 Stans 355 wheelset,
    set-up tubeless RR on the rear and a Maxxis Aspen on the front, carbon promoto bars.

    If your less then 165lbs you could get that bike down to near 25lbs with a Stans race wheelset.
    Good luck
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  7. #7
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    Heavy like a Wall Mart Bike? Really? I'd suggest getting rid of the Wal Mart build kit, because it's got nothing to do with the Big Mama.

    Medium Big Mama weighs 3000g with shock. Weight wanker alternatives weigh around 300g less. A bit hard to blame the frame really. I'm yet to read about broken frames, recalled frames etc and I don't know of any ridiculous disclaimers or any other means of discouraging certain rider weights.

    I searched for Hi Fi Pro weights and while I couldn't find a frame weight, the complete weights I saw were hardly amazing. If you can build a weight weeny frame to what ever it comes to, I can't see how the 300g constitues a heavy bike.

    Mine has XT everything, Ritchey WCS post, bars, stem and headset and a 285g Ti railed San Marco Rolls saddle. The wheels are taped up Flows/Supercomps/Hope Pro2 with folding Saguaros. It weighs about 12.8kg or 28 lbs. I considered it a sensible, long term, quality approach to the situation without wasting money. I ride it for 50 miles at a time in the Brisbane Forest Park. Rides which have about 9500ft of ascent.

    I can't believe that you'd have anything but praise for the bike if you simply swapped the frame with the Hi Fi and used the same build kit. The rear suspension is a dream come true. No bob, no propedal required.

    I hope everything works out for you.

  8. #8
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    Maiden voyage today. Did a 20+ mile ride with some friends, going out from town and coming back on the Tour da Woods race route. This ride gave me my first chance to experience the bike in other-than-driveway conditions.

    The good:

    * The Salsa Gordo rims roll with authority. Part of the credit might go to the DT Swiss ratcheting skewer, and maybe some goes to the S-Works Eskar tires, but the result was a front-end that went where I pointed it. My HiFi front-end is not nearly so confidence inspiring.

    * Geometry, handling, weight-distribution on the bike, all felt good. The frame is confidence inspiring.

    * Salsa's shock-pressure recommendation for my weight is pretty much spot on. I very quickly got the sag dialed-in, and the performance is good.

    * I really like the bike on the downhill, especially when the going gets rough. The frame has a solid feel to it, and the Gordo rims roll over stuff with authority.

    The bad:

    * Chain suck! I'd been hoping to avoid this well-known problem with the frame, but I got nailed with suckage near the end of the ride. Had to undo the Powerlink and thread the chain through where it was stuck, and then put the chain back on correctly.

    * The weight. I cleaned all the hills, but the weight did begin to wear on me during the ride. If I were racing, I'd choose a different bike.

    I'm happy enough with the frame. It's a bit on the porky side (sorry, but that's my opinion), but it gives me something to ride on rougher trails where you want something solid that will hold the line.

    I'm going to leave the Gordos on for a few more rides. Then I'll probably swap in a set of Semis, just so that I can compare. Half the fun of riding for me is changing things up now and then.

  9. #9
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    Why would you blame the frame for chain suck?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by seat_boy
    Why would you blame the frame for chain suck?
    There are many, many reports on this forum of problems with chain suck related to the Big Mama frame. It could've just been a bit of one-off bad luck though. I'm not going to worry about it unless it happens routinely.

    I knew about the chain suck problem when I bought the frame, so it's not a surprise, and I'm not terribly worried about it at the moment.

    Edit: "chain suck" might be the wrong term. What happens is that the chain gets "trapped" by the swingarm such that you must either pull the cranks or break the chain.

  11. #11
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    I've read and thought a bit about the chain suck thing.

    The bottom bracket is in the same spot as any other bike's bottom bracket, just a little higher. The rear spacing is the same as any comparable bike, so the chain line is the same as most, if not all geared MTBs out there.

    This leaves the chain stay length which is quite long, so perhaps there is an issue with chain tension and a lack of resistance to being sucked up.

    My own experience with XT chain, cassette, cranks and rings is that I get chain suck when caught in rain and the chain gets full of crap. This is a problem because when it kicks off, that's it. You can get the crap out, or start walking. I solved this by buying a small can of WD40. On two occasions since, I have just blasted the crap out of the chain, allowing me to ride a further 12 and 16km (10miles) with no further issues. WD40 is not a lube, but does this job well and the little cans are portable.

    Also, recently I had a Connex Wipperman link fail on a ride. I always carry a spare, but on the only occasion in my life when I nedded it, it wasn't in the bag. I had to borrow a chain tool and shorten the chain. It's been pissing down (Brisbane AU) here for over two years now, so no surprise that I find my chain in a state where I am watching out for the sucking to start, but it didn't. It's hard to draw certain conclusions over one experience and it was only one link, but it was interesting. The Big Mama is so long I use an entire 114 link chain on it.

    I've also wrapped some leather there, so the chain won't fit in the tiny gap. It works well.

    I'd like to hear anyone else's thoughts on chain tension causing the sucking issues as I really can't claim to be sure about it based on a couple of situations.

    Having said all that, my old 26" hard tail, Niner MCR9 and On One Inbred all suck up when the chain cruds up.
    Last edited by MagicCarpet; 05-15-2011 at 09:45 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    Edit: "chain suck" might be the wrong term. What happens is that the chain gets "trapped" by the swingarm such that you must either pull the cranks or break the chain.
    My take on it is that this problem occurs most often due to an issue where the suspension is activated causing the chain to lose tension. When the swing arm rebounds, the derailleur whips the lower run of the chain. Then somehow that loose, flopping lower run of chain is jammed between the small space between the swing arm yoke and the middle chain ring.

    I've only had it happen three times on my Big Mama, but when it does, you're dead in the water until you can work it free by breaking the chain, or if you are really angry, (), by yanking it out by hand. Not that I ever get angry about stuff like that..........

    Anyway, I had considered fashioning an anti-chain suck device for mine and attaching it to the chain stay yoke. I should probably get after that before I blow my stack again.....
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  13. #13
    rth009
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    My Big Mama is just at 30 pounds and I love every pound of her. Who cares about a couple of pounds.

    Since i swapped out the Race Face Deus cranks for XT, I have had no problems in over 1000 miles unless the chain gets really dirty. Even then, with the XT crankset and the proper spacer (1 X 2.5mm spacer on drive side), if the chain does suck up between the chain rings and the chainstay, there is enough space that you can just get off the bike and put the chain back on the rings. With the Race Face crankset I would have to tug hard or remove a chain link to free the chain from being stuck. Perhaps it comes out so easy now because the chainstay has been eaten away by the chain from all those early on jams with the Race Face cranks, but I doubt it.

  14. #14
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    I've got that beat

    My XL is probably pushing 35, but I built it burly to take on the vigors of gooseberry, Moab and Fruita. The poor frame is already beat to hell but holding up like a champ. On the 2+ hour rides i do feel the weight penalty, but I have the perfect compliment, a light dos niner for the long cross-country stuff. I'm curious to see what the next version looks like. It's a bit strange that with all the work design and forge parts on the frame, that it only made one production cycle.

  15. #15
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    Got mine down to 26 and change with an XT 1x9/tubless setup Lightweight tires are key to keeping the weight down. The 1x9 basically eliminates chainsuck (I reckon a 2x9 would be similarly effective if ridden primarliy in the middle ring). Run the shortest chain you can and lube the chain with Tri-Flow before every muddy ride.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er
    My XL is probably pushing 35, but I built it burly to take on the vigors of gooseberry, Moab and Fruita.
    Good call, I think. On the downhill sections and rough sections on my local trails, the bike is solid as a rock. It's much better handling over rocks and roots than is my HiFi.

    I 'm choosing not to worry about the jamming issue right now. I'm treating it as a fluke. And I might switch the crank set anyway. I'm running 2x9, SLX double cranks right now. Surprisingly, that 36-tooth ring is enough to trap the chain. But what I'm finding is that I don't really have the legs for a 36-tooth ring on my local trails, so I might swap in an LX 22/32/bash configuration that I have laying around.

    I will probably change out the Gordo rims too. They are probably overkill for where I ride. They are fun though.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted
    I've only had it happen three times on my Big Mama, but when it does, you're dead in the water until you can work it free by breaking the chain,
    Don't laugh, but I almost gave up and walked home before remembering that I had a Powerlink on my chain. Duh! Once my brain kicked in, the fix was easy.

    Edit: Ok, you can laugh, because I did too, once I thought about it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    Good call, I think. On the downhill sections and rough sections on my local trails, the bike is solid as a rock. It's much better handling over rocks and roots than is my HiFi.

    I 'm choosing not to worry about the jamming issue right now. I'm treating it as a fluke. And I might switch the crank set anyway. I'm running 2x9, SLX double cranks right now. Surprisingly, that 36-tooth ring is enough to trap the chain. But what I'm finding is that I don't really have the legs for a 36-tooth ring on my local trails, so I might swap in an LX 22/32/bash configuration that I have laying around.

    I will probably change out the Gordo rims too. They are probably overkill for where I ride. They are fun though.
    I think someone else on here had issues with the LX crank and Big Mama frame, XT is the safest bet.

  19. #19
    Davir
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    big mama /fish hifi 29

    big difference hifi broke three times in the first year lots of down time waiting for warranty parts,Big Mama year and 6 months just ride and smile chain suck wouldn't know never had it truvativ stylo crank 2x9 i do replace the drive train when its needed though. Big Mama high bottom bracket hifi low bottom bracket depends on where you ride i guess but i like less pedal strikes on Big Mama.

  20. #20
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    Pretty sure mines just under 30bs and I couldn't be happier!

    Have been running as a 1x9 since I set up the bike a little over a year ago. First with a 36ring up front and just switched to a 32ring and it rides much better. Haven't had any issues of chain suck ever. Until recently I was running a Rolf chain guide and just started running the rig without it and no hiccups as of late.

    It's the perfect bike for every trail Ive ridden within the last year, south FL all the way up to NC. Works great in our tight technical trails in FL and bombed wonderfully when I've hit the mountains of NC & GA. Love the frames versatility and how different the rig performs with the pro pedal off or on.

    Keep us in touch with your future rides Jonathan, I think the more time you spend on this bike the more you'll like it! Cheers

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssalmons
    I think someone else on here had issues with the LX crank and Big Mama frame
    Yes I did. A cheap Firex had been in there before and it had never let me down. First ride on the LX and I'm cursed. If you're like me and ride the same 1 or 2 places over and over, it's not a big deal because you can learn how to deal with it and exactly where it will happen.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    Yes I did. A cheap Firex had been in there before and it had never let me down. First ride on the LX and I'm cursed. If you're like me and ride the same 1 or 2 places over and over, it's not a big deal because you can learn how to deal with it and exactly where it will happen.
    Me too! I've got an LX crank on this one. Chain suck happened just a few times. Ya know, that new XTR, (and soon XT) derailleur with the clutch mechanism to prevent chain whip is what we Big Mama owners need on our bikes. The cages on these new derailleurs will not whip forward, which I think would prevent 99% of the issues Big Mama owners are having.

    That said, I'm going to install an older Stylo crank with new rings soon, and hopefully eliminate the issue altogether without the derailleur change.

    Got a new Specialized dropper post on my Big Mama now. Man! How did I ride without one of these before? Major improvement.
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  23. #23
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    I donīt mind BM weight!!! I missed mine

    If anyone of you are planning to sell your BM frame because of weight, if itīs a size small Iīll buy it immediatly, I have not forgive myself to being sold my BM two months ago!!!!, my brother has a Spearfish and definetly is not the BM sucesor. I hope Salsa is planning to bring back the BM...

  24. #24
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    I've been riding the bike three weeks now, so thought I'd circle back with an update. The good news is that the bike is growing on me. I'm certainly not going to sell or otherwise get rid of it.

    My opinion really hasn't changed about the frame being a bit on the heavy side. OTOH, my lighter weight Hifi 29er frame is cracked and the swingarm is on the front porch ready to go to the dump next time I make a trash run.

    I'm convinced that I'm feeling the weight from the Salsa Gordo rims more than the weight of the frame. I still plan to try a lighter-weight wheelset, but...

    I've been enjoying the Gordos so much despite their weight that I'm going to run them awhile longer before I swap them out. I'm running the same 2.3" Eskar tires on the Big Mama this season as I ran on the Hifi the past two seasons. But it is like a completely different set of tires! Maybe it's the added stiffness from that 9mm thru-bolt interface (DT Swiss). Maybe it's the stiffness from the Gordos. Maybe it's just the wide rims opening up the tires. Whatever the cause. I am noticing a huge difference in cornering performance from these tires that are on their third season. That's been an eye-opener, and a heck of a lot of fun too.

    Suspension is low-sophistication, and that shows. I can feel my energy draining into pedal-bob when I'm running the rear shock wide open. This is the first bike I've felt the need to run in Pro-pedal mode most of the time.

    I've been around the local loop several times now. What I find is that I really only notice the weight when I'm pedaling up hills. And even then, I tend to notice it more when I'm struggling to keep up with faster riders than when I'm riding alone. But when I get to the to of the hill and catch my breath and head down the other side, woot! That's where the fun begins. The bike is solid and stiff and inspires a great deal more confidence than my Hifi 29er ever did. I am comfortably more aggressive on the rooty downhills this season than I was last season on the other bike.

    So there you have it. My experience is probably a bit of a mixed bag, but then that's true for any bike that I ride, I think. I'm enjoying the Big Mama. If I could latch on to a size Large for my son, I'd probably grab one. It's the bike I'm going to grab for a rocky or rooty trail. It is probably not the bike I will grab if I ever decide to ride in a race.

    Give me a few weeks and I'll probably mount a lighter-weight wheelset. I'll try and remember to check in again once I've done that.

    Edit: I will just add that I also have a Stumpy FSR 29er with Brain Shock. Yet on my last two rides around the local loop, I've chosen the Big Mama with the Gordo Rims as my ride.

  25. #25
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    had my big mama about a year now. i only bought it 'cos they were going for a stupid low price, so i thought i had nothing to lose and it was an experiment for me (never previously owned a full suspension bike). at first i wasn't really that impressed, slow and heavy i thought but i did appreciate the comfort. i've made several changes back and forth and now have it just about right. with racy tubless tyres it is fast. with 100mm fork, 75mm stem and 660mm bars the handling is good but certainly slower than my hardtails (niner and on-one). round one of my training loops i've done a faster lap on this than my on-one carbon race 29er. quite a hilly technicallly difficult (in places) ride 1hr 51 on the on-one 1hr 47 on the salsa. yes its a fairly heavy bike, but it can be fast. i want a spearfish now though:-)

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post
    My take on it is that this problem occurs most often due to an issue where the suspension is activated causing the chain to lose tension. When the swing arm rebounds, the derailleur whips the lower run of the chain. Then somehow that loose, flopping lower run of chain is jammed between the small space between the swing arm yoke and the middle chain ring.

    I've only had it happen three times on my Big Mama, but when it does, you're dead in the water until you can work it free by breaking the chain, or if you are really angry, (), by yanking it out by hand. Not that I ever get angry about stuff like that..........

    Anyway, I had considered fashioning an anti-chain suck device for mine and attaching it to the chain stay yoke. I should probably get after that before I blow my stack again.....
    Having experienced this approximately 8 times; I would agree with Ted concerning the cause of the problem. I lost good positions in two races because of this problem. I figured out a technique to pull the chain free after much pulling and cursing to the gods of mnt biking. Push the seat or top tube forcefully down ward as you pull the chain downward. This forces the suspension to cycle. If you pull the chain downward at the same time you will be able to get it back through the open space that occurs as the swing arm moves down. After figuring this out, I simply decided to make more "space" between the yoke and the middle chain ring.
    I used a dremel tool to grind off a 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch from the chain stay and (swing arm yoke area) where the chain would get caught. I also rounded off the squared edge of the design. I have been riding the bike since last spring this way without any problems. On the occasion that the chain looses tension, it now easily slips back out of the space. I also replaced the 44 tooth outer ring with a 42 tooth ring. This created more space between the outer ring and the chain stay as well. The Big Mamma is a great ride, but this was a poor design.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jincardona View Post
    ...After figuring this out, I simply decided to make more "space" between the yoke and the middle chain ring.
    I used a dremel tool to grind off a 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch from the chain stay and (swing arm yoke area) where the chain would get caught. I also rounded off the squared edge of the design. ...
    That is a supurbly good idea. I will keep that one in mind.

    So far, I believe I've only experienced the problem twice. The removable link has saved each time.

    I've really come to like the bike. It's grown on me. My son picked up a good deal on a used frame, so now he rides one too.

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    lol

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    That is a supurbly good idea. I will keep that one in mind.

    So far, I believe I've only experienced the problem twice. The removable link has saved each time.

    I've really come to like the bike. It's grown on me. My son picked up a good deal on a used frame, so now he rides one too.
    Wow... I've been fortunate. Three years on the same Big Mama, including racing it for an entire season in 2009 (cat 1), and I've never experienced the chainsuck you guys are describing. I'm not saying it doesn't, or can't, happen. I'm just saying I've been fortunate. My chainstay is still fully painted and totally clean... Crazy.

    FWIW, I'm using a TruVativ Stylo Team crank... It wasn't even a new one in 2009. It had already been raced on for a season in 2008, but still it has functioned flawlessly.

    Sorry to hear you guys have had issues.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er View Post
    My XL is probably pushing 35, but I built it burly to take on the vigors of gooseberry, Moab and Fruita. The poor frame is already beat to hell but holding up like a champ. On the 2+ hour rides i do feel the weight penalty, but I have the perfect compliment, a light dos niner for the long cross-country stuff. I'm curious to see what the next version looks like. It's a bit strange that with all the work design and forge parts on the frame, that it only made one production cycle.
    The "next version" of the Big Mama is available today. It's called the Horsethief.
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  31. #31
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    Funny you should resurrect this old thread of mine. I just a couple days ago -- on Tuesday morning I believe it was -- finished the last bit of suspension service and cleaning ahead of the new season. The bike is ready to go as soon as the weather warms. It's even got new rubber this year.

  32. #32
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    mgersib wrote:
    Wow... I've been fortunate. Three years on the same Big Mama, including racing it for an entire season in 2009 (cat 1), and I've never experienced the chainsuck you guys are describing. I'm not saying it doesn't, or can't, happen. I'm just saying I've been fortunate. My chainstay is still fully painted and totally clean... Crazy.

    FWIW, I'm using a TruVativ Stylo Team crank... It wasn't even a new one in 2009. It had already been raced on for a season in 2008, but still it has functioned flawlessly.

    Sorry to hear you guys have had issues.
    MG, I wrote a bit of a a theoretical speel in post #11. Without really needing to read it all, can you elaborate on your set up regarding how you percieve your chain tension. Do you run a double or tripple? Cage length? Chain tension?

    I've also changed to a home made chain lube that for me has eliminated chain suck. I mix equal parts of grated bees wax and grated parafin wax with white spirit or wax remover (same thing really) until it is like sunscreen or moisturiser. I wipe it on thick and spin the cranks as usual. I have a fair bit of wax built up here and there and it just cracks off when it's ready. The amazing thing is that I have not removed or cleaned any drive train items in six months. Apart from some clogged up waxy bits, it all looks really clean and no chain wear in this time as best I can measure it.

    The "next version" of the Big Mama is available today. It's called the Horsethief.
    This is a subject I've dwelt on at length on my long fire trail rides. I feel I could write a book about Big Mama and how it has been replaced. I actually think it has been replaced by both the Spearfish and Horsetheif. A few days ago I rode Big Mama down some twisty single trails at battle speed. I was feeling really on top of the situation and Big Mama did not run out of steering capability.

    That's not a rebuke. I always like reading your posts and enjoy pointing out to others that Big Mama is being raced (by you). I understand that even Salsa claim Horsetheif as her replacement, but I really think the Spearfish is her single trail/steering replacement, whilst Horsetheif expands on her comfortable wheelbase and stability.

    It's a great testament to a bike, when it has to be replaced by two, I think. Some say it's a nowhere bike, but as much as I browse the net speculating about a new bike one day, I get on the Big Mama and no matter whether it's a long ride in the hills or a rocket ride down some skinny trail, I soon stop thinking about a new bike.

    Righto, gotta go look for a new bike, everyone. Ride 'n' Smile !!!!

  33. #33
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    Magic Carpet, I totally agree with you, BM It is not a nowhere bike, It is the best of both worlds! As fast as an Spearfish (my brother has one) but a lot more comfortable. And the Horsethief is heavier!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Ticho View Post
    Magic Carpet, I totally agree with you
    I can feel a new signature line coming on. Sorry Traktor.

    I'd really like a Spearfish and a Horsetheif to choose from, but which one would I choose? I'm happy enough for now.

    My one criteria, for what it's worth would be to have an extra 10 or 20mm up front for those pot holed braking areas, but the BB height on Big Mama says no. On the other hand, it's everyone else bashing their bikes over those logs.

    Saturday tomorrow. I can hear Mama calling me from work.
    Last edited by MagicCarpet; 04-12-2012 at 04:47 PM.

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