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Colorado Springs // Colorado
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One of these might be worth a shot:
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/18723- … ch-3.1.htm
Nope…. was really unimpressed with the Sette a buddy got.
failing that, I know there gotta be some older nice GF Cakes around. Components don’t matter, whatever comes on the bike will most likely end up in a pile anyways.
I’m gonna do another ground-up…. it’s just gonna take a long time to finish it up.
…. or I could just steal one. 😏
On the 19th of December what little I still own; a box of clothes & army uniforms, a crate of vinyl records, crappy turntables, a few boxes of books & magazines, a goodwill couch & chair, and a bunch of assorted junk that’ll just get thrown in a dumpster….. including my file-cabinet and last photo-album…… will be auctioned off.
And then they’re even going to charge me an extra $96 after I’ve been robbed of every last scrap that was worth anything!
It just makes me sad they care so little that instead of doing one small thing that’ll keep at least one aspect of a poor sap’s chances in straightening his life out going, their lawyers are more concerned about their legal liabilities and being sued.
Well, this is the last first & last time I’m going to stoop to this level… if it doesn’t help me now, it’s not as if worrying about it will help any more or less. If it’s of any interest to anyone here, the storage company is "U-Store-It" in Colorado Springs, and my name is Joel Stover.
Even if nobody here is willing & rich enough to help me get my things back, I think everyone should call them and let ’em know that by blindly kowtowing to their gutless lawyers, they’re going to seriously screw up somebody’s life for good. Because some scumbag WILL snatch all those personal & bank records and pictures, and WILL steal the only thing I have left.
Well, the storage thing is pretty beyond my saving now. All my vinyl, tools, memorabilia, and paperwork….. gone. Or will be shortly, it’s almost 30-days overdue. Things just keep getting better & better. And my wife (now ex) kicking me to the curb doesn’t help at all.
All day today I kept being wished "happy thanksgiving"…. and then got hurt looks & disapproval when I simply couldn’t return the sentiment with any sort of honesty. Evidently, even though my life has fallen entirely to hell (mainly through luck & some of my own pitiful choices), I should still be thankful…. about what? Being alive? Having food to eat & a roof over my head? Sorry folks, those things just don’t matter anymore. Being alive, comfy & happy; as opposed to being alive, cold & wet….. makes no difference to me either. Any poor fool can simply exist, that’s the easy part. And it’s rather aggravated me that I keep being given thank-you’s, encouragement, & prayers…. Will those bring back my lost marriage of 8yrs & everything else that I cared about… and I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g? Nope, they sure as hell won’t. Nor will they help me to "feel" any better; I know that everything I ever cared about and all my plans are well beyond my grasp, so how can my spirits be improved by mere words?
Thanks to the Army & VA’s wonderful system for treating veterans, I’m on a $0/month salary w/o benefits…. which are dubious at best. I’ve already near exhausted the job-search options around me, and have been turned down (or ignored) for almost every single one; except for the high-turnover spot here & there; like fast-food, tire-shops, etc…. all of which I just can’t physically do. And that’s a problem, since where the rubber meets the road, I’ve not encountered anyone who can afford to hire a broken man, veteran or no. Evidently, I have to be legally insane or terminally ill; or else just lazy, uneducated, in a "minority" demographic, and have 4+ kids to get any kind of help from any charitable organizations or the federal government. I’ve never been one to ask for help or favors, and I absolutely despise not being able to do things for myself, it makes me feel even more low, useless, and….. dirty. But by the fiat of fate, my life has reached the far side of ridiculous.
"We support the Troops!"
I keep hearing about disabled & disadvantaged vets being given all kinds of stuff; like houses, vehicles, & whatever else they need. But as I see it, it’s a requirement for there to be a publicity angle in the deal…. and having some poor kids involved too doesn’t hurt, I guess. Who the hell gives a twit about some lone 30yr-old vet with no marriage, no children, no religion, no luck, no nothing… but who’s predicament is every bit as twisted & painful as the next guy’s. I never asked for or expected anything for serving my country; erasing jihadists from the face of the earth, spinning wrenches, basically just doing my job was my reward. But now that it’s evident that I do need help from my country, my country has turned it’s back and walked away. I keep hearing people say "We love & support our troops!", but that’s just a semi-patriotic sentiment. It’s PC nowadays, and we know where that leads.
When it comes to really supporting the troops; from those who are hale & hardy, to those who’ve been struck down by the fates of war… Then it’s always someone else’s job to do the supporting. Anymore I don’t believe that many people truly believe in "Support the Troops!" when they say it, or when they slap a sticker on their bumper. Again, it’s PC and in bad taste not to do so. Maybe in the beginning everyone meant it while September 11th, 2001 was fresh in their memories. But American society has a short attention-span now, and the War has become just a process running in the background; something that they’re all concerned about, but a sense of the true human cost eludes them.
So what I’m not missing body parts or some mental faculties, how does that eliminate me from simply being aided by the country I sacrificed so much for….. in picking up the pieces and being given a shot at a halfway decent quality of life? Well, no thanks to the Army, I’m on a $0/month salary w/o benefits….. aside from a couple years of VA care (lacking at best), which I have to pay for should I find a job…. the prospects of doing so are dubious at best. I’ve already exhausted the job-search options around me, and have been turned down (or ignored) for almost every single application; except the high-turnover spot here & there; like fast-food, tire-shops, etc…. all of which I just can’t physically do. Instead, the few jobs I can do are given to those who are young, healthy, can work for less, and won’t require special considerations on the job for disabilities. Being a military veteran isn’t worth spit, unless there are significant perks to be had in their hiring. Yet, "We Support the Troops!"
I volunteered. I went to the War twice. And the War got me in the end just as surely as had I caught an RPG. I went through an IED blast in 2004 that started all of this (and ended it), yet I didn’t rate a Purple Heart because there weren’t any visible wounds… nor was my unit commander willing to write the extra citations anyways; I should’ve gotten at least a CAB (Combat Action Badge) for being an M2 gunner on the top of a HMMWV, getting shot at on a regular basis, dodging rockets & mortars day-in-day-out (in 2004 it was really indian country then), IED’ed, the works… on top of doing my job as a mechanic when my gun-truck team wasn’t outside the wire. The Army’s criteria for awards is so twisted, there’s soldiers who’ve been awarded medals for sitting behind a desk when a mortar landed nearby; and soldiers who regularly go outside the wire and merely get the "job-impact atta-boy" (otherwise known as either the ARCOM or AAM), or they get nothing at all.
So what I got was an "impact atta-boy" instead; along with all the "well wishes", a few cards, the occasional thank-you’s from strangers (which I do appreciate, everything else aside), the joys of falling through the cracks of a wrecked Vietnam-era VA system & a blinded society… And finally a destroyed marriage that was once beautiful & my whole world; a wrecked body with a healthy dependency on morphine just to function (another thank-you to the Army docs); a criminal record for being a homeless vet who was a gun-owner; a repo’d car, no place to live but my poor parent’s house, an empty bank account, and no net underneath for being kicked out at the start of the worst period in recent US history.
If that wasn’t enough, I was burglarized not once, but twice this year in Colorado Springs. I lost everything except my army cot, my clothes, & a few books/DVDs; my TV, my old laptop with ALL of my pictures from my happier times & Iraq tours; my few Army awards & records, and worst of all, my perscription painkillers…. all gone. Yet my VA doctor & nurse scolded me for losing my meds; they didn’t even look at the police report, and I was suddenly cut off of my perscriptions. Still, according to the VA it was my fault that I had to turn to my local street pharmacist, so that I could simply take care of myself (I’m not doing it for fun!), as my wife was gone & there wasn’t anyone to help me at home; and it was my fault I had to check into the county detox center & leave the state because to not do so would’ve meant certain inprisonment and/or death. WTF. Verbal encouragement & prayers?!? Until someone can give me my life back, I don’t want to hear it.
I deeply apologize if my words seem harsh and cold, but on this thanksgiving, I have very little to be thankful about. Maybe it’s selfish of me, maybe it’s "PTSD" talking, and maybe it’s the shock of being divorced by my wife whom I loved dearly & losing everything else besides…. Possibly it’s a combination of everything. But when I hear "We Support the Troops!" or see the bumper-sticker, it just makes me sick. And you know what? I would reenlist as an E-1 buck private in a heartbeat, if I’d be able and allowed to do so, even if it was only in a reserve capacity. I love my Nation; it’s not the population or government I fought for…. It’s the *idea* for which I fought; something bigger than myself, something that IS the greatest dream of mankind on Earth, and something that still needs to be fought for as long as there are those who wish to end it.
Strip away everything else, and I’m still an American Soldier to the core, and that can never be taken from me. I’m just sad that my fighting days are long gone. So don’t pray for me, do it for America instead.
I’m in Tampa now.
I’m still trying to find a locksmith that’ll do the work without me there. I called a few not long after I got here and from the tone of the responses I got it was pretty obvious they thought I was trying to rip someone off, and the ‘smiths didn’t want anything to do with me and haven’t really tried anyone else since. Hell, I could’ve done it myself with a good hand-held electric angle-grinder/cutoff wheel. I paid extra $$$ when I first got the place for a bolt-cutter-proof lock. Smart me. <yawn>
Well, my budget isn’t $800 anymore…. it’s more like $100 +/- $20. My unemployment’s been cut off too so there’s nothing else coming. When I left Colorado I had only the clothes on my back and what could fit in my suitcase, but I thought it’d be enough to get me by for job hunting until I found something for a paycheck. It wasn’t, and I think my limited wardrobe has certainly not been helping my employment prospects. So my having to buy a couple button-down shirts and a pair of decent shoes, paying for the gas I’ve used driving my mom’s van around while job-hunting & on doctor visits, and now rent for storage of what’s left of my crap back in the Springs…. has damn near wiped out my bankroll. The only person back there in Colorado who was from my last Army unit and I thought was my friend; who said he’d get the lock off the storage unit & ship my important things back, reneged on his promise even with my offering to pay for the shipping & his time…. he just flat out said "no, I don’t feel like wasting my time or money on your crappy decisions".
So I had to pay the storage fees, and now I have to find a locksmith who’ll be able to cut the lock off & a way to get them into the storage facility in the first place; and then finally, figure out a way to get the most important things left in there shipped to me here in FL…… all without being completely ripped-off & the last of my belongings getting cleaned out. If it hasn’t happened already, which would not be a surprise. That’s what happens every time I try trusting people with really sensitive or important parts of my life. I’m pretty afraid to find out if I’ve been ripped off again or not though…. I’d almost rather keep paying the storage fees and still believe that the last few scraps of my life were still there, waiting.
If ya’ll ain’t careful, I might be left with no choice. It’s just I’ve been out of the loop for so long, I’m way behind on the industry and tech. Things in the bike world are advancing so fast, it’s like the computer industry. Stuff that was new two months ago are out-of-date. Not to mention my rolling test-bed is gone.
I feel like a heel…. like a drama-llama, a pity-sponge, someone call the waaah-mbulance, for even putting any of this up here. Like it should be kept on private, why let the whole frakkin’ internet & biking community see how tore-up my life is.
I have to say this, coming back to read and make a reply to all the offers of helpful thoughts and prayers is something that I had promised myself I would [i:2g4lb3nu]not[/i:2g4lb3nu] do.
I’ve been hunting constantly for a way to wrap my brain around the loss of my Nomad, and the end of my life-plan including making any sort of career in the bicycle world. I’ve tried applying logic and being pragmatic about it all; which then turned to my trying to just be my normal cynical self and blow it off by making light of it in my own way. And lastly I’ve tried to just forget…. which actually has had the opposite effect.
So far, my family, the VA head-shrinkers I’ve talked to, and the few of my "friends" (whom I’ve known for over a decade at least & can still contact, though they never reciprocate) I’ve tried explaining this to…. simply do not have the faintest grasp of the kind of anguish losing that damn bike is causing me. Every time the advice I get commonly boils down to something like this; "It’s just an inanimate object, you’re too attached to it, just forget about it.", or "Don’t worry, you’ll get another bicycle and then you’ll feel better.", to "Just give it some time, work at getting back in the groove of things, and your passion for it will come back."
Look, I know everyone is just trying to help me feel better and get me doing something that makes me happy again, but every time I’ve tried explaining that it wasn’t just a ^+*#)$!ing normal bicycle and hobby. It wasn’t just a damned prized possession like someone’s favorite car, or even like a beloved family pet.
Originally, yeah, the mountainbikes I owned before were prized possessions, and riding was just my newest favorite pasttime. But when I decided to reenlist in the Army, and that I would use my reenlistment bonus to buy that Santa Cruz Nomad, it was all part of my ultimate plan that would lead my life until retirement…. and it was the one and only damn thing I’ve ever discovered in my life that I loved doing enough so that even as a job, I could live & work on bikes until one day I died with a spoke-wrench & wheel in my hands, and not feel for a second that I should’ve done something else with my life. Going to Barnett was the first step in making a life out of my failed run in the Army, and I have this knack for doing all things bicycles, which made me think I could make a go of it regardless of the other screwups in my life….. but that dream endo’d and ate $!!t just as it left the gate too. Even when my wife divorced me; which took a huge chunk of happiness & left a big hole in my life’s plan, I still weighed that loss against the fact that I’d still have my bike and my passion for them (which was shared by so many friendly people), that the hurt of being alone would be bearable.
That stupid bicycle was so much more to me than just me "dream bike". That damn POS kinda became my best %*#^#$’ed friend; when I lost the emotional and intimate portion of my life, it took me away from the numbing loneliness which consumed my life just sitting at home. I could just look at that dumb inanimate object sitting there and SEE the potential it held for me (literally & metaphorically)…. that without it I wouldn’t have ever discovered what I truly wanted to do with my life. And through the miracle of cutting-edge mountainbike technology I could actually ride it and not only save on fuel money (important when one is un-hireable), but I wouldn’t be in agonizing pain afterwards. Riding around on that bike (and later my Klunker) actually had enormous physical theraputic value; it kept my muscles from balling up into horrible knots, the nerves from being aggravated by so much inactivity, relieved stress, etc.
Even IF, by some miracle, I found & was offered a steady job at a decent LBS….. being around all those beautiful reminders and people still able to embrace their own passion for riding, would only make me miss my friend that much more…. and probably make me incredibly jealous. And it’s not as if that on a part-time (or even full-time) shop-monkey’s minimum wages, I’d ever be able to afford another Nomad (or comparable full-suspension bike of it’s caliber). That’s why it just pisses me off even more when someone suggests that I just go out and buy a cheap bike. My body just can’t handle riding a cheap bike, or any kind of normal hard-tail. Hell, I’d even be happy to find an old klunker or used cruiser-bike (like the Nirve), so that I could put one of those suspension seats/seatposts & big fat wide tires on it, so that my back would be able to take the occasional pothole or even eventually short off-road excursions. Actually, come to think of it, converting another cruiser into a Klunker like my Nirve, with just a few changes from last time, would make me a lot more at ease with things. BUT…. I’m still faced with the fact that after so many years wasted & not having a clue of what to do with the rest of my life, and finally having found that one thing……. I got nothing now, and won’t ever have that opportunity again. But worst of all is I lost my friend….. which is yet another sad life commentary, ‘since the few decent people I knew who swore to be loyal friends no matter what time or distance or circumstance…. every single one of them has forgotten their word & discarded me. That’s why I’m so angry about just a stupid mountainbike, and why I can’t just let time distract or heal things.
This is me explaining the "Farewell" part….
I’m still unsure as to if… and why… I should even be putting this out here. I’ve only let two people know about this, who know exactly what’s happened to me in the past half-dozen months, but I know that there are people here who, even though they’ve only met me once (or never at all), I’m still real enough to them…. it’s rather crass to simply shirk my responsibility as a friend and member of the community, and vanish. And I believe that it’d be an unreasonable (and rude) thing to expect the one person here who knows my story to explain my disappearance.
I’ve been away from Singletracks for a long time now, and it took a lot of effort for me to even get this far. It’s a matter of guilt, really.
I’ve been severely lacking in my obligation to Singletracks and the members here; it was my job to keep on top of the latest and most influential developments in the industry disseminate that information to everyone here, as well as keeping up with my editor & moderator duties. For a while when I still had internet access last year, before leaving the Army, I simply didn’t have the spare time. However I planned on coming back to Singletracks and sharing my knowledge & experiences with my fellow Singletrackers. I intended on helping ST become the BEST mountainbiking website on the net, and I was devoting much of my spare time to digging up & collecting material to fully flesh-out ST’s Bike Tech DIY pages; complete with detailed step-by-step photos, proceedures on every type component on every type of bicycle I could lay my hands on (i.e. SRAM, Shimano, Campy, etc rear derailleur setups & repair for MTB, road, & recumbent cycles). I wanted to really get into GPS systems…. and start a geocaching, only for MTB’ers. So for the guilt bit…. When I make a promise to do something, I do what I can to make it so. [i:t6u8o65o]Normally[/i:t6u8o65o]
Since I started riding in ’05 and really got hooked on everything velocipede, I wanted to work at an LBS with an eye towards opening my own shop with the help of my then-wife, and some VA loans later down the road. But in the meantime I fully planned on going at least semi-pro & racing Super-D and Downhill, even though I was staying in the Army. It even occured to me that if I had told the Army I wanted to start racing mountainbikes, it was entirely likely that they would’ve helped sponsor me…. and even better, I would’ve been able to work doing both things that I loved so much!
Then I got hurt in Iraq during early ’07, the time I could spend really riding got smaller & smaller, as my physical problems got progressively worse. In addition, it became evident that my career in the Army was finished, and I had to start making a new plan for my rapidly approaching discharge date. 14 November of last year was my final day in the Army, and my wife left me that same day. I didn’t know it then, but she intended on filing for the big D once I finished at Barnett and got settled into a good job and a permanent residence…. as she didn’t want to risk distracting me from my mission in life, which was to do all of the aforementioned and then send for her once she had finished her own schooling in Florida, and I ‘spose I should be a bit grateful for that.
I started attending school at BBI in May, and I when finished there I was due to start working for an best LBS in Aspen. At the very end of May, two days from my 30th birthday and on the last day of class….. everything in my life came crashing down in a firey ball of cinematic figurative death. It’s hard for most people to believe how a momentary loss of attention to detail could result in the effective end to one’s life; but that’s exactly what happened.
I should’ve known better…. especially since I’ve seen exactly what a momentary loss of attention to detail can do to a man in combat. That’s when the suicide bomber in the crowd starts their final prayer to allah while walking towards your position, or you drive over the IED that would’ve been spotted, or the guy with an RPG pops out of an alley off to the side and sends it; and it’s all missed because the mind wasn’t focused on the task at hand, all because of one momentary loss of attention to detail. My mistake was almost that catastrophic for my life; and after that, absolutely everything that could’ve went wrong, absolutely did.
Without going into details, which are still incredibly painful for me even to think of it….. On one day I lost absolutely everything that I held dear in my life. But most devastating was the future that I had worked so hard to secure evaporated in a heartbeat. And though I learned later that regardless of what I did or didn’t do, my wife whom I loved wouldn’t have been a part of that future. Yet I still would’ve had two-wheels, the ribbon of dirt, and the community of my fellow Singletrackers to help keep my hope for happiness alive through the loneliest days/months/years….. All of it gone, and in less than a whole weekend.
My wife, my grandfather who passed that day, both of my bicycles (Nomad and Klunker), my antique Jeep, tools, my collection of antique & modern memorabilia/valuables…..
I will never be able to recover either of my bicycles (or any of the other invaluable items), nor will I ever be able to afford anything like them again. Due to my health condition, I simply cannot ride a bike unless it has enough quality suspension in front and back to soften the blow of even riding over a curb…. or I can manage to ride a rigid Walmart crapcycle on a perfectly smooth surface and never have to pedal hard up or down even the smallest of hills. Even if I had a decent bicycle now, I wouldn’t have a way to transport it beyond the couple mile radius around where I live now, as I have lost my Volkswagen to the bank.
I thought that maybe, after a couple years of saving enough of nickels/dimes/quarters to buy a used mid-range, full-suspension MTB…. like one of those older base-model Gary Fisher Cake3s, or a Trek Fuel, or a Specialized Stumpjumper. And I started thinking; once I got my bike, I’d start riding more…. which would in time become easier as my screwed-up back got used to it, or it got fixed. Even better, a head start! Waiting for that to happen before starting to save for a replacement mountainbike (or klunker) would mean I’d be looking at a decade-long timeline, given the miniscule amount of money I’d have left over from bills and a minimum-wage job.
My dreaming days are done now.
It was impossible enough to find someplace that’d hire a broken-down 30yr-old ex-Army vet; make accomodations for his physical limitations so that he could work more than a few hrs/day, pay him enough so that he could make his car-payments…. AND the rent, utilities, medical-&-car-insurance, medications, and lastly food.
Believe it or not, that in this day & age of "support" for veterans, I’ve been outright rejected for scores of jobs because I am a disabled 30yr-old veteran who’s prior job experience is worth diddly, since his medical condition precludes doing jobs where that experience would be used. Even if I DID have a job, I’d have no way of getting to it…. unless it was less than a couple blocks away so I could walk there. What could I do instead, ride a bike???
I’ve had to face the ultimate shame of having to run back to my parent’s house…. and they’re past retirement age, but my mother has had to take a part-time job to pay for my bills. So every time I’m reminded of my stolen mountainbikes it throws my ruined marriage, my broken promises, my unfulfilled oath to my Nation, and my wasted life, right back into my active consciousness. Usually just after I’ve managed to temporarily forget things and maybe get a decent night’s sleep.
That’s why this is my Farewell…. unless by some miracle I can come to terms with at least the loss of my bicycles. I keep looking at eBay hoping to maybe spot my Nomad or Klunker, but I know that’s a notion on the far left-side of ridiculous. I’ve been looking at used full-suspension bikes too, but there’s been nothing I could remotely afford that I could ride.
In short, I’m almost run out of my unemployment insurance benefits, and I left Colorado with little more than what I could carry on my back & shove into a couple suitcases…
I’ll do my best to wander my way back here, if I can, when I can. I want to be sure everyone here is still doing what they love, and Singletracks is still growing into the best Mountainbike website in the industry.
Oh, and this website has done something for me that’s eased my psychic agonies a bit, which means a LOT in reality. When my laptop was stolen (there’s a pattern here, hmmmm…. do I exude some sort of scent that attracts thieves, like bears are to honey?!?) it had every remaining picture from my happy life on it. ALL of them. Pictures of my wife, of my family. Pictures of Germany, the Army, my Army comrades (some of them "Taps" has been played for). Pictures of everything Bicycle-related that I’ve piled up over the years; fellow riders, my bikes, my wife’s bikes, people’s bikes, rides I’ve/We’ve been on, trails, tech, gear, etc.
I don’t just keep pictures because I’m a shutterbug. If I don’t take pictures of something or someone, it or they will have completely vanished from my memory within 6-12 months, except for a vague recollection of the person’s name & gender (if I’m lucky). If it’s a place/thing, then I’ll have totally forgotten it with no residual reminders. Unless….. those people or things are attached to a particularly unpleasant memory. Joyful memories aren’t so lucky, they disappear too. Take my ex-wife, Lindsey. I can’t remember what she looks like anymore, or what her voice sounds like, or what she liked to eat, or….. isn’t that a good thing about an ex-wife? or so I’ve been told.
Singletracks has kept some of the pictures of people & places I hold dear, and because I now have even just those low-res pics, I can remember the happy times in my life.
I’ve been running my CBros Mallets since I first switched to clipless pedals…. 5 years ago. I’ve ridden them hard, often, and put them away wet/muddy/blood-soaked. And they spin as well & secure my feet as solidly today as they did when new. Actually, a little better now, since the eggbeater springs weren’t broken-in all nice when new.
The story has been the same for every happy CBros ‘beater rider i’ve talked to. The key factor here is "happy".
I’ve lost track of how many riders I’ve talked were anti-eggbeaters because of two main reasons; A: They tried eggbeaters but didn’t like them due to the float being non-adjustable, and/or the force required to clip in/out was too great; B: They heard from other riders about "A", and/or they heard the trail-legends about eggbeaters releasing suddenly when struck by an obstacle from below, the pedal-axles seizing because of the bearing/bushing design, or any number of other trail-legends… all equally ridiculous.
98% of the riders I’ve queried who tried eggbeaters and didn’t like them, only rode on them for a couple rides at most before switching them out. And therein lies the problem; CBros Eggbeater Pedals require a break-in period first; second, the float is [i:ffndsfa0]fully[/i:ffndsfa0] adjustable on eggbeaters, even more so than on standard SPD pedals.
Where people go wrong is the shoe/cleat setup… or just the wrong shoe. The cleats wear out, not the pedals, and anyone trying to say otherwise is just trying to sell more pedals. A worn-out and/or improperly set-up cleat is responsible for a vast majority of the problems associated with eggbeaters. Only the tiny minority of issues in eggbeater pedals are contained within the pedals themselves. But most people don’t or won’t take the time to set up their shoes & cleats properly, and this blame the pedal since the fault simply cannot be human-error.
Are CBros Eggbeater (et al) pedals perfect? No, but they’re pretty damn close for having nearly every weight-mark and riding purpose covered. Not to mention their absolutely superior mud-clearing ability, bomb-proof strength, and weight-weenie/racer-boy(girl) appeal.
Don’t waste your money. The Slime tubes are much heavier than a regular MTB tube with Stan’s inside, and the slime-stuff doesn’t work nearly as well as Stan’s (or Bontrager) sealant. I tried the Slime tubes once, and it wouldn’t even stop up a puncture caused by a couple cactii thorns. Just because you don’t have tubeless tires/rims, doesn’t mean you can’t use the sealant that goes with them.
Easy one…. a SRAM i-Drive internally-geared 8spd hub.
Or the right spring-rate coil for my DHX on the Nomad, so I’ll actually be able to ride with the full 6" instead of just 4" of travel.
Pshhh…. yeah, right. I’m gonna have to chalk this Christmas up as a loss…. again. 😏
Wow… glad she’s doing better now. Hope the attack doesn’t dampen her desire to ride.
Here in Colorado we’ve got mountain-lion to worry about as well, but hearing about rider/bear incidents like that makes me wonder if I should be less concerned about the size/weight penalty & just start riding with a .44 Mag instead of my 9mm. 😏
Even just five years ago, the differences between hardtails & full-suspension mountainbikes in terms of climbing/pedalling efficiency were pretty large. Suspension damper technology wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is now, and suspension designs (linkage location & pivot placement) were pretty basic, with there being four standard setups; VPP, Horst-link, single-pivot, and four-bar, with DW-Linkages being developed more recently.
Of those four, VPP & Horst-linkages had the greatest impact on climbing/pedalling efficiency; VPP aided the most on climbs & sprinting, while Horst-linkage bikes are, for the most part, happily immune to pedal feedback over rough terrain.
Single-pivot & four-bar depend a lot on what type of damper is being used, and benefitted the most from shocks equipped with compression & rebound adjustments, and some sort of lock-out or pedal-input damping (i.e. "ProPedal"). Single-pivot/four-bar designs also had a greater amount of inherent structural strength, while some of the original VPP & Horst-linkages were flimsy & prone to structural failure.
But new full-suspension bikes of all types have been refined a lot, eliminating most of the teething problems that the more complex suspensions suffered from. Suspension damper technology has advanced by leaps & bounds, and while once found only on high-end shocks/forks, the more complex adjustments are now being used on more entry-level dampers.
But even with the newest shocks/forks, there are still basic attributes that are unique to each suspension design.
Here’s my rundown on FS bikes, their pro’s & cons:
Singlepivot (i.e. SantaCruz Heckler, Cannondale bikes)-
These bikes are great in their simplicity, strength, and versatility of design. They can be built either as a minimal travel XC race bike, or a freeride meteor. However, they do suffer from pedal-bob, and the suspension is often locked out while pedaling or braking, making the bike a virtual hardtail. This can be alleviated to an extent by many of the pedaling-platform shocks on the market, as well as several aftermarket floating-brake caliper setups.
Horstlink/FSR (i.e. Specialized FS bikes, Norco bikes)-
This suspension design is considered one of the best pedaling, and remains fairly active under braking. However, it can be somewhat flimsy unless well designed, and companies other than Specialized have to pay to use their patent, and often that shows in the cost of a Horstlink bike. Norco is a company that makes a killer DH rig using this setup.
Virtual Pivot Point (i.e. SantaCruz Blur, Intense bikes, Marin bikes)- Here the rear triangle pivots on two short rotating links near the seat-tube, and behind the bottom braket. This design is very versatile, but depends a LOT on proper shock setup/sag. When done correctly, these bikes resist pedal-bob very well, and although they do exhibit some stiffening of the suspension under braking, it’s negligible. Again, this depends highly on proper shock setup.
Four-bar/Rocker Link (i.e. Trek bikes, Kona bikes)-
This is design is very similar to the FSR/Horstlink setup, but differs in that the rear pivot is placed above the axle instead of on the chainstays. This makes causes a small increase in pedal-bob, but has more of a tendancy to lock-out the suspension under braking. However, these bikes can be made as light or as beefy as needed, and there are a lot more choices of frames using this design.
DW Link (i.e. Iron Horse bikes)-
This is a fairly new design, somewhat related to the VPP linkage system, but supposedly responds a lot better to hard pedaling than the VPP suspensions and is not as reliant on precise shock dialing. I’m not too familiar with this setup, other than what I’ve read.
I-Drive/Freedrive (i.e. GT bikes, Mongoose bikes)-
These look a bit like a singlepivot design, except that the pivoting rear triangle actually includes the bottom bracket. This solves the problem of pedaling toping out the suspension, and pedal bob to some extent. I am unfamiliar with this design as well, and I am unsure on how braking affects this suspension.
Soft-Tails (i.e. Salsa bikes)-
These have a very minimal amount of travel, and this is granted by the seatstays actually flexing up to 2", and damped by a shock. I’ve seen this setup on a lot of 29" bikes, and are popular with the XC/endurance crowd. The bonus here is that the price of a premium softtail frame is often between that of a hardtail and a full-on FS rig, and while not providing as much cushion, they still keep you from feeling every bump later and are simple to service.
"Magic-Link" (Kona’s new design)-
Now, this one is VERY interesting. Under power or while coasting, and depending on the rider’s position, the extra little shock under the main damper compresses or extends. This changes the bike’s headtube angle, making it steer slower on fast downhills or sharper on climbs. It also increases/decreases suspension travel a bit. I’ve not tested this design out yet, but from all accounts it’s a very effective & efficient suspension.
ABP ("Active Braking Pivot")- Another new design, this one puts the rear pivot point at the rear axle, which supposedly does away with braking/pedalling feedback. Again, I’ve not tested it, but it is also reported to be very good.
So pick your poison….
I will say that as far as FS rigs go, you really do get what you pay for. Not that $5000 means you get a perfect bike, but around $1500-2000 will get you a pretty reliable and versatile bike with a good component group.
We’ve got a lot of new members since this topic fell to the wayside, and I betcha everyone may have found some stuff worth telling about! 😉
Welcome to Singletracks, and greetings from another Springs denizen! It’s good to see another Springs local show up here, so we can together gloat over the fact that we’ve got one of the best trail systems right in town. 😼
Since you brought up the cost of disk-brakes, I can tell you that sets of take-off hydraulic brakes for under $150 are common nowadays. Very often bike shops will receive a MTB which was ordered by a customer and who wanted better brakes, so the LBS will swap out the OEM brakes for the customer’s preferred stoppers. They’ll then resell the OEM brakes for a fraction of what they’d cost normally.
Online bike component retailers also sell a lot of take-off components, often for as much as 50%-off!
Anyways, if you’re interested, I can take you to an LBS that I’m very familiar with, and they’ve got a good selection of older (+5yrs) used mountainbikes at reasonable prices. I don’t care who you are….. nobody deserves to be riding a Wallyworld deathcycle! 😉
What do you recommend I change from the following? I do not want to totally pimp out my ride just yet but what would you recommend I change/upgrade so that I can ride aggressively in South FL trails for weekend warrior fun (not competition). I know these are your subjective opinions but they will at least prevent me from buying totally unecessary stuff (or not enough stuff).
Wow, that is a relic! 😉 😃
Not that it’s a bad thing. With an updated parts spec, your Fisher will be a capable & pleasant bike.
For your area, the type of riding specified, and the bike in question, I recommend the following;
Continental Gravity 2.3" tires – $30
These are the fastest rolling tires I’ve ever ridden. They are also the most durable; I rode a set of the smaller Vapor 2.1s for almost two years solid, and they exhibited very little tread wear. I swapped them for a set of the larger Gravity 2.3s, and they roll just as fast & in over a year’s worth of hard riding are just as wear-resistant. In addition, the tires stand up extremely well against sidewall damage. On numerous occasions I dragged the Vapor’s & Gravity’s sidewalls across jagged rocks & branches, and never had a tear or cut as a result.
These tires also grip extremely well on rock, and the 2.3" Gravity’s float well in sand, of which I know there is an abundance in Florida. 😏 They also do extremely well on moist, loam/dirt trails; but suffer on dry, crumbly terrain.
Schwalbe Albert 2.25" tires – $20 (Wire Beads)
I’ve always been a fan of Schwalbe tires. The Albert line is a great XC/AM line that does better on loose dirt (damp or dry) and rocks, than on hard well-worn trails. They’re durable and won’t wear out too fast, but the Continental Vapor/Gravity tires wear even slower. Usually tires that have a very slow wear-rate also don’t grip as well due to a harder rubber, but Continental & Schwalbe tires are happily ignorant of that truism. 😀
The Schwalbe Alberts work better on dry, crumbly trails than the Continental Vapor/Gravity, but roll slower.
Or….. instead of spending all that geld on upgrading your old Fisher, you could use the money to buy a newer used Fisher, like a Tassajara or a full-suspension Cake. That’s personally the direction I’d go, and look specifically for a 2005 or 2006 Cake1 Deluxe.
I got to disagree with you a little bit on something. The Hayes Mechanical brakes have worked great for me, and I prefer there Hayes Strokers over Juicy.
I’m going off the four bikes I’ve tested with Hayes mech brakes; they were not up to task, but were definitely better than the Tektros.
I’ve not tried the Strokers yet, but I wouldn’t doubt they’re more effective than Avid’s Juicy 5 & 7’s….. never had a good experience until after adjusting the snot out of them."jbronko1" wrote
i really like my gary fisher hi fi+, which was more than you’re talking about spending, but an overall endorsement of Fisher in general. but if you could stretch the $ a little further, you might want to consider one of these used bikes. by all accounts, these are great bikes.
You’re quite right about the Hi-Fi. I’m not a big fan of the redesigned frame and haven’t ridden one yet, but I love the prior Hi-Fi’s. The Fisher G2 geometry is no marketing ploy; it really does make a huge improvement in the bike’s handling over their older Genesis geometry.
Aside from the Avid BB7s, mechanical disc-brakes are pretty much ineffective. Those from Shimano are marginally ok, but the Hayes & Tektro are bad with Tektro’s being the worst.
Avid’s BB7 mech brakes are actually better than many of the cheapie hydraulic brakes. But with older model hydro brakes becoming so cheap, it’s really pointless to stick with V-brakes or mech disc brakes. For example, the Magura Julie is one of the best base-model hydraulic brakes on the market, and they’re selling for $70 each ($140 together) on CBO. In fact, the Julies would be at home on any high-end XC bike for their light weight & stopping power.
Welcome to Singletracks, Marine181!
I agree with Flamdrag8; if you can afford it, starting with a Gary Fisher is a good step.
Bear in mind that it’s always more expensive (often a LOT more) to upgrade an entry-level (or low-grade) bike than it is to buy one already fitted with good components.
Upgrading a base-model hardtail with a mid-range drivetrain, brakes, and wheels will be at least $350-$500. And that’s not including cockpit components, tires, pedals, and a better fork. All that stuff can easily cost another $500, give or take $100.
Meanwhile, many of the quality MTB manufacturers make bikes already set up with mid/high-end components for half (or less!) of what it’d cost the customer to buy upgrade parts at retail prices. Good examples are the Gary Fisher Tassajara or Diamondback Sortie-3.
Or instead of buying a brand-new bike, try looking for used ones. There are those of us who are really serious about mountainbiking that trade in our rides every year for the newest models. LBSs’ will often have trade-in bikes that are a year or two old, and can be priced at up to 1/2 off what they sold for new. Components from a couple years ago are just as good as what’s out now, and in some cases this year’s mid-range parts are last year’s top-end parts (the ’08 SRAM X-9 derailleur is basically ’07’s XO!).
I’ve seen bikes that sold for $3000 in ’06 being listed for $1200 this year, and there’s nothing wrong with them.