Reply To: 2019 RockShox Reba RL – damper upgrade/hack


Thanks Vapidoscar for the pointer.

I spent last night geeking out on lots of component websites, and came to the realisation that it will be more cost-effective to buy a new bike rather than upgrade my RockRider XC 500

I bought the bike earlier this year. In approx 6 month, it’s completed 3,000 km and about 100,000m+, and I have to accept that it’s reached its end of life. It’s been a good bike, and got me through Navad 1,000 in less than 7 days. But Navad has tested the components to their limit:

  • the rear wheel is taco’ed (I broke 2 spokes during the race, rode the last 200km of the race with the broken spokes. I fixed the spokes once home, but on further inspection, the rim is taco’ed beyond repair)
  • The 32 and 36 tooth cogs of NX cassette are worn out (and require replacing the complete cassette)
  • the GX rear derailleur still shifts OK-ish with a newly-fitted cable, but the cage has a lot of play
  • the Rockshox Reba RL… see above. And I’m switching to a rigid fork anyway: 1kg saved on the bike and the added robustness (the compression damper on my Reba gave up working after 500km of race)  will outweigh the few seconds lost on the descents
  •  The Rockrider 500xc 29″ is fitted with SRAM Level T (180 front, 160 back). The Navad 1,000 route included 5 or 6 long descents (over 1,500m-). I clearly noticed a decrease in brake performance as I progressed in the descents, I suspect linked to the pads and discs warming up. Typically, after 500m-, I’d have to switch from 1-finger to 2-finger braking. And after 1,000m-, I got strong reminders of my cantilever brakes from previous bikes… More alarmingly, and even on the shorter descents, once every 20 or so braking, one of the brakes would fail to provide any kind of power. The lever would feel very spongy, and provide virtually no braking power. Then, the power would could back after a few minutes just as randomly as it disappeared. Anyway, my conclusion is to switch to 200mm rotor front and back, and Shimano 4-pot calipers (Saint or XT 8120). I had heard that SRAM brakes were hopeless (both local bike shops around me rent MTBs and sale them at the end of the season, and both shops told me that they’ve given up on SRAM brakes because they don’t survive a 3-month season on rental bikes), now I can confirm based on my own experience that I won’t run again any SRAM brakes

So overall, that’s a lot of money to spend on a bike: changing the rear wheel is the chance to switch to Shimano MicroSpline and run away from SRAM… but the math adds up to a too big total. Rear wheel with MicroSpline hub (EUR 400), SLX cassette+shifter+derailleur (EUR 300), XT brake set +discs (EUR 400), ridig fork (EUR 500)… and the total already exceed the value of the bike when new.

So I guess I have to accept that the bike has serve me well so far, but I will upgrade the whole bike. The Orbea Alma M15 is indeed very tempting: it’s SRAM-free, and can be fittedd with Orbea’s Spirit rigid forks. I’ll geek out for a couple more days on OEM’s websites, reading through specs and geometries… but the Orbea Alma seems pretty much spot on for me.