After a fall season of more or less daily riding I have gathered a few impression about what seems to hold up. As a disclaimer, I am not a heavy guy. I am not a freerider either, even if I do the occasional jump or drop. What I am is a guy that rides lots, in big, rocky terrain. And when I decide to hit a line, I don't think about possible bike damage. If I think I can do it without hurting myself, I do it. No consideration to bottomed out suspension, sharp rocks or big impacts is taken. And sometimes I run out of talent, leading to all kinds of damage-inducing events.
Allright, with all that presentation out of the way, I will just tediously go through the specs piece by piece. If I by the end of this post have any readers left, maybe I will post a funny youtube video or something as a prize. So here goes...
Frame: Stumpjumper evo carbon. Yea, still in one piece (sort of). The upper headset bearing race is an aluminium affair glued into the carbon head tube. At some point it decided to let go of the frame and do its own thing.
I noticed by the paint cracking in a perfect circle a couple of millimeters below the top of the head tube, right in the intersection between carbon and aluminium. I glued it back with the strongest epoxy I could find and it seems fine, but time will tell...
Inner tubes and epoxy, trying to make head tube and headset race happy together
Otherwise there is not much, a bunch of scratches in the once shiny paintwork, and that bent downtube is very prone to catch all sharp rocks flung up by the front wheel, which brings me neatly to...
Frame protection: Rockguardz. Brilliant piece of kit, 35quid to save my oh-shit-are-you-serious-priced frame. One smashed to delamination in three places, went on top of a new one that is now also showing signs of delamination in one spot. As I said, brilliant kit, but next time I will ask for a dh strength version. They are made to order, so it should be possible. The only niggle is that they don't protect the stupidly routed cable underneith of the down tube, but on the other hand the cables are easily rerouted under the top tube and on the chain stays instead.
Squishy bits: Bos Deville 140mm forks from beginning of 2011 season, still going strong. Changed the seals for the second time in October, service is super straightforward. And in my opinion it is still better damped than all the shiny Pikes people tend to show up with these days. The Fox rear shock showed signs of tiredness and got replaced by a Monarch plus, and my impressions are very positive. No more compression spiking, and a rebound damping that actually does its job. More words in another post, this will be long enough as it is and is supposed to focus on longevity and not on performance.
Drivetrain: It seems like my Shimano SLX rear derallieur get sloppy in the clutch after a certain amount of rattling down rocky trails. I put a fresh one on before coming down to Spain in August, and replaced it mid October. It had developed a slop that no amount of clutch-tensioning seems to solve. It is the first time I actually wear out an RD before smashing it to bits, it has to say something about Shimanos clutches or my line choices. When it comes to the wear bits in the beginning of November I replaced the Mavic 10s chain I had been running since spring, and the brand new (xt) chain still meshes perfectly with the XT cassette, the Wolftooth 42t cog and the 32t N/W Raceface front ring. However, the OneUp 16t cog seems to be made of cheese, showing notable wear and not meshing with the chain even though it is the most recent addition to the drive train. Luckily it can be flipped, effectively doubling its short life. It messes up the shift ramps, but changing gear is still smooth enough for me. Anyway, a steel 16t cog would be better.
Upon coming home to Sweden, I flipped the front ring over since the teeth were showing some signs of wear. Double life again, I hope.
Brakes: I got my Saint brakes in September, and they have been perfect ever since (except for the rock that punctured the down tube routed hose, but I can't blame the brakes for that). Pad life has been impressive to say the least. I changed the front pads in the beginning of November, after two solid months of riding, the rear ones are getting thin but do still work. On the front the new pads I mounted were some third party affair that seem to wear a lot faster than the real, expensive Shimano deal. Next time I will buy originals.
Wheels: Replaced the bearings in the old Hope front hub once this season, as I do every season. Old style Flow rim still holds up, front wheels in general seem to last well for me. On the rear I have the original Roval Traverse whatever wheel with DT hub internals and stupid straight pull spokes. I had to replace the rim with a Flow EX after a couple of months, the original one was just done. I chalk it up to wear and tear, I don't suspect the Flow will last significantly better.
I snapped a couple of spokes during the season, but all was crash related. I truly detest working on that wheel, the aluminium (yes, that is how it is spelled dammit!) nipples always get a bit of friction in the threads and the spokes then turn in the hub instead of the nipple turning on the spoke, really annoying. If I ever go straight pull again, I will get bladed spokes so there is at least something to hold on to when the spokes start to spin. DT Swiss hub internals have been solid, just as expected, but I do miss the pickup of my old Kings.
The other stuff seem to have made it just fine. The RaceFace Half Nelson grips seem to wear very slowly, as long as one uses proper bar end plugs (I have Hopes). Bottom bracket is still smooth, so are the headset bearings. Cranks, bars, stem and all that have made it, a bit scratched up but still solid. Anything else would be cause for serious internet bashing I guess. Even the pedals, E thirteens immensely grippy but expensive lg1, have made it with just a bit of chipping in the plastic and a little bit of play, not bad.
I serviced the KS Lev seatpost when I came home, since it was getting a little bit spongy. Now that I have done it a couple of times it is a painless and relatively quick procedure to replace the fluid and make sure the air is only in the right places. It is now back to being as smooth and solid as ever. It seems to be another one of those "once in a season" things.
The Michelin WildRokr2 rubber has been holding up allright, even if especially the rear lost a bit of edge hold on loose surfaces towards the end of the stay in Spain. After two months of riding, I think that is fair.
To those who made it all the way, good work! Your boredom threshold is impressive indeed. Here you go, how about a picture from my current home turf?
Andrea catching me on one of my lunch ride trails, small bike and everything.
Still not happy? How about a kitten so small she fits in my hand?