The Mountain Bike Life
My first project was lacing up my new 650b wheels here, but now I am moving on to finishing up my next project. Every year Nashbar has a frame sale and blows out a bunch of GT frames at fantastic prices. Two years ago I picked up and Carbon Force and built it up, but then sold it off to buy a car. Hard to imagine a bike frame being worth the same as a car, but it was close. Anyway, I did like the Carbon Force as I built it more as a full suspension cross country bike instead of an all mountain. However the geometry of the frame was a little high to really get into tight corners. That was part of the reason I sold it and part was for the money……OK more was for the money, but I can tell myself what I want. Anyway, I still had an itch to build up a FS CC bike. So how about a GT Sensor?



What is the difference between a Sensor and Force? They pretty much look the same. Yeah yeah yeah, but the bottom bracket height is lower, the head a bit less slack and even the aluminum frames weighs about 2 pounds less. As a matter of fact the AL Sensor frame weighs about what the Carbon Force frame did. Last but not least the geometry of the frame is based on a 130mm fork not a 150/160mm fork. Much better suited for most of the riding around here. Best part was I got it for $150 shipped to my door! It didn’t have a shock, but heck I just rebuilt a Fox RP2 that fits that frame and it was hanging on my work bench. Perfect!

 


I at the same time decided to try a bunch of new components I managed to pick up on end of the year closeouts. First up are a very handsome looking set of single speed Race Face Evolve cranks. They come with a single 32T ring so I don’t have to do anything but mount them up. I have another set of Evolve cranks and they have held up very well, so I wasn’t afraid to try the 2013 model. Best part is they can be found at the end of the year around $120. Weight wise they are about the same as XT cranks or SLX so this is a bargain. Only complaints I have seen was that the older Race Face bearing sets would wear out quickly. The newer design is supposed to fix that and I haven’t had the problem on my 2011 set.

Last season I tried to give clipless pedals another go and I am just not comfortable with them on really rocky trails. On my road bike I love my Shimano shoes and Egg Beaters, but on my mountain bikes I really have come to like platforms with pins. In different conditions they hold my feet firm and I never have to worry about starting and stopping. Anyway, like everything else my goal in all components is the same, function, weight and price must all converge. I decided to try these Welgo KC001 compact platforms. At close to 300 grams and less than $50 they look like they may be the ticket. I will try to review them when I get some miles on them.

Brakes are always a concern and I had a set unused XT brakes hanging in my shop for the last year. I kept looking for a bike to put them on, but never got around to it. Starting from scratch on this frame gave me a place to finally put them. I paired them up with a 205mm front and 180mm rear AirRotors. These are some of my favorite rotors for a lot of the above mentioned reasons. One the bench they seem very grabby, but it is hard to pass final judgement until you are on a steady downhill and need to stop. Again, let’s see how they do.

They rest of the bike are bits and pieces from the Carbon Force build I had not put on anything else. Ritchey Carbon seat post and stem are mostly just for the bling factor. My trusty 26” Vuelta Superlights, Xfusion fork lengthened to 130mms, and XT shifters round out the build. Overall it weight in right around 26lbs, so not too bad. Now if the weather can start to ease up I may get to ride it.

The Lonely Mountain Biker's Guide to NOT Finding a Group
No Fat Bike? No Problem.

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