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Old 04-08-08, 07:05 PM   #1
maddmaxx 
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What the Dormouse said.

Project Dormouse is alive and well and complete to the baseline stage. This is the point at which the bike is configured as a flat bar MTB (this is the configuration that I am most familiar with) so as to evaluate the rigid fork in place of the usual Marzocchi XC suspension fork. The "Dirty Roadie" configuration will grow from this starting point. That will consist of drop bars, road controls, a compact double and much lighter tires that compromise serious dirt handling for improvements on asphault.

The bike weighs 25lbs at this point. Those are very heavy (by my standards) dirt tires and it is possible that the final bike will come in at 23lbs. The gearing is a 26, 36, 48 triple in fromt with an 11/32 cassette in the back. The control group is SRAM X.9 with Avid BB7 disc brakes. If I were still building bikes for customers, this would be (with the suspension fork) the baseline standard bike

With the rigid fork, the nose of the bike has been lowered about 3cm which tightens up the handling of the bike and makes it feel a little more like a road bike on asphault. It also requires the high angle stem seen here to get the bars back up to a comfortable height for this old body.

Now to go ride it for a while and see how much the rigid fork gives up on dirt to get the compromise handling improvement on the pavement.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:28 AM   #2
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This looks like a very nice concept.
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Old 04-09-08, 03:04 PM   #3
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Here is the first ride report. It was a short ride with numerous stops as this was the check ride with small adjustments to saddle height, angle, bar rotation etc. The ride was made on asphault (local neighborhood roads) as the nearby trails are currently a sea of mud.

The rigid fork and less slack geometry of the front end coupled with a short straight bar made the bike feel more lively than with a suspension fork. This may also be a factor of the bike being almost 3cm shorter that my previous MTB frame and being configured with the short/high cockpit (90mm/30deg stem). My first impression is that the bike is considerably improved on asphault (even though currently fitted with more dirt serious tires) No suspension bob and much quicker power application. (Over the corse of the last year some of you predicted that rigid forks would show power improvements) This could be a very quick pavement MTB (applications for a better motor may be accepted later). Next I will have to take it out on various dirt surfaces to see how much negative payback will be extracted for the asphault improvements.

The bike is more comfortable (short trip) than any of my road bikes but this I will attribute to the more upright hybrid riding position and the large volumn tires. So far the experiment has produced the expected results. I would not hesitate to recomend this MTB based hybrid approach to large riders looking for an all purpose bike.

Next on to dirt. After that, even better road performance and last, the drop bars and road control group.
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Old 04-13-08, 04:35 AM   #4
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More rides on the rigid fork and I am begining to get a handle on what the dirrerences are. First off, I like the rigid fork more than the suspension fork "for the type of riding that this bike is used for". On unpaved rail trails, gravel roads and asphault, The fork coupled with high volumn tires is pretty comfortable. Having said that, I do sometimes miss that Marzocchi suspension.

With the rigid fork, it is not as easy to go fast over things that generate a lot of vertical motion for the bike. For example, it used to be possible to just smash my way over 3" deep 6" wide water cuts in the middle of the trail. Now it is necessary to pay more attention and hop over them or slow to find a smoother way. Trap rock fill (the sort that Solveg posted pictures of in another thread) requires much more attention to detail as the bike gets banged back and forth in different directions more often than with suspension. Your upper body will get a much better workout on a rigid bike.

As a project to develop a hybrid all purpose bike from a mountain frame, this seems to be going quite well. The pavement and smooth trail potential is much higher than the losses on rough trail.

Pay attention to the surface you are going to be riding on though. The pundits are right. It is much much less tiring and you can go a lot faster over rough terrain with suspension than without.
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Old 05-01-08, 01:41 PM   #5
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I'll be building my ferrous version of this concept soon. I have ordered a set of Tektro RL520 levers to mount on Origin-8 Gary dirt-drop handlebars. These are the version of the Campy shaped levers that work with V-brakes. They will go on Lugnut, my Trek 970 lugged steel MTB frame.
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Old 05-01-08, 02:04 PM   #6
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We travel the same path grasshopper.

Same brake levers, Ritchey Bar and adjustable stem and probably bar end shifters, perhaps mounted on Paul's thumbies up on top of the bar. I won''t go that route till late in the summer though as I am presently having fun with the baseline MTB style setup. I have a lot more riding time on the bike now then last ride report and I am very pleased with the rigid fork. Suspension is nice, but complexity and maintenance are simplified with this setup. It would be fun to get together with BD when this is all done to compare the ride qualities of the two projects. I know very little about steel as I have always been mounted on aluminium.
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Old 05-01-08, 02:26 PM   #7
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I'll be going with bar ends as well, mounted, of all places, on the ends of the bars.
I haven't decided whether to rob the Suntour friction shifters from Uncle Duke or the Shimano 8 speed bar ends from the tandem. Maybe I'll splurge and buy a new set from eBay. I also still need to get some tires for the project. Either Ritchey Speedmax or Forte FasTrak.
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Old 05-01-08, 03:50 PM   #8
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thought this was another reference to Albert Hofmann's passing. Feed your head!
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