Ask Pinkbike: Leaky Tubeless, Freeride Hardtails and Spine Safety

Sep 23, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  

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Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.




Tubeless Conversion leaks at the Valve Hole

Question: Bartonz20let asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I've just converted my new Specialized Roval rims to tubeless, The front tyre, a Butcher Control, went up like a dream: tyre on, no-flats in (tools), compressor, presto, job done. But the second one, the Slaughter, is the reason I'm going tubeless: same process, tyre flat after 20 minutes. I checked the tyre with soapy water and I've got air leaking from the valve, so I concluded it's either a faulty valve washer or the 2Bliss tape was punctured (although, I expect the Stan's No-flats would seal that).

First I bought a new valve, tried it - same again. Then, I tightened it with pliers (just to be sure) - same again. Must be the tape? I checked the tape for holes and scuffs and found nothing I could see, but as it's the only thing left, I ripped it off and replaced it with Asda gaffer tape. Now it seems to be better. The tyre's holding pressure longer (about 40 mins), but its still leaking from the valve.

I've got some more valves and some WTB TCS 34mm rim tape coming tomorrow and I'm going to have another go, but I'm worried this isn't going to work. If it doesn't seal, what else could I be looking at, the rim's nearly brand new, not a mark on it, so I'm out of ideas. What do you think is a better option? And anything else you would suggest?



bigquotesI feel your pain, as I just ran through that problem with a different rim and tire combination. I ran out of my favorite tapered valve stems and had to use the type with a rubber block vulcanized to the end that often leak. I believe that your problem could be solved by using Stan's valve stems. They have a tapered rubber stopper that wedges into just about any valve hole to form a seal. Some rims, however, have a very tight fitting valve hole, which doesn't allow the tapered plug to seat well on the inside of the rim. In such cases, the next best option (beyond using a tapered Dremel grinder to open the inside hole slightly) is the American Classic valve stem, which uses a thick O-ring that conforms to the inside of the rim and makes a flat seal. Assess your situation and make the call.

I researched Specialized's Roval rim profiles and they seem to be drilled on center, so this next suggestion may not apply to you. Asymmetric rims (ones that have offset spoke holes to help eliminate dish) often are drilled so that the valve hole is also off-center. In such cases, the rubber plug of a tubeless valve stem has a hard time sealing the off-angle surface. In such cases, if the valve hole is a tight fit on the inside of the rim, it makes the situation worse, so enlarging the hole very slightly will allow a tapered plug (like the Stan's model) to wiggle in and make a good seal. The last ditch valve stem is Stan's "Problem Solver" which has both a taper and a "hat" shape designed into the plug, so it can seal a wide area, or an oversize hole.

Finally, I agree with your choice of using a high-quality gaffer tape to seal the rims. Most of us at PB use Gorilla brand tape because its adhesive is the strongest we've found. Be sure that the width of the tape extends just beyond the width of the inside of the rim, so that the tire bead seats on the edge of the tape. - RC


Stans and American Classic valve stems 2015
Stan's tapered-style tubeless valve stem (left), next to Stan's Problem Solver stem, and American Classic's O-ring-sealed aluminum stems.





Freeride Hardtail?

Question: Pinkbike user bromontrider asked this question in the Freeride & Slopestyle Forum: I'm starting to realize that I'm an old school kinda guy. I like 2005-2007 Norco Sasquatch and Cove Stiffee North Shore - freeride type hardtails. Are companies still coming out with similar types of bikes today in 2015? I've stopped keeping track...but they seem strictly like a thing of the past.

bigquotesBy and large, overbuilt hardtails have been relegated to the history books, but that doesn't mean that you can't accomplish the same riding feats on a modern hardtail. Frame and component technology has greatly improved in the ten years since bikes like the Norco Sasquatch, Cove Stiffee, and Banshee Morphine had their heyday, and there's no longer a need to head off into the woods on a 40 pound hunk of aluminum and rubber. As an added bonus, the lighter weight of modern hardtails makes it possible to <gasp> ride uphill as well - no more trudging up fireroads as the XC crowd spins on by. Smaller companies like Chromag, Cotic, Stanton, and Ragley, just to name a few, have built their reputations on producing high quality hardtails, and although full-suspension bikes have become more and more affordable, the hardtail doesn't show any signs of going extinct.

There are also more wheelsize options than before, and where 10 years ago 29ers suffered from awkward handling due to their old-school geometry, the bigger wheelsize is now a viable option, with bikes like the Kona Honzo or Transition TransAm able to easily take on technical terrain. The 27.5+ wheelsize is also starting to gain momentum, and while I'm still not sold on the fatter tires for full suspension bikes, I do think it has potential for hardtails, where it can soften harsh landings and mute chattery sections of trail. The takeaway from all of this? The freeride hardtail may be dead, but it's been replaced by a wide range of options that will all deliver loads of fun out on the trails. - Mike Kazimer

Banshee Morphine all done.
The freeride hardtail era has ended, but there are plenty of modern options out there that are worthy replacements. Photo: PB user tommy4.



Spine Safety

Question: Pinkbike user Bushwacked asked this question in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country Forum: Been finding my riding has been getting more technical and faster recently to the point where I had a very close call last night and ended up in hospital - thinking I need to get some form of back protection for just general trail riding to be on the safe side. The two options which spring to mind are the Evoc back protector backpacks (16l) and the POC vest. Does anyone ride with anything like this? Are there other options?

Cheers for you input in advance - had a nasty scare and so pleased I can still walk/ride although going to be off the bike for a while!


bigquotesI've not had any experience with the POC vest but I have been using a Bliss ARG vest for the last few months and an EVOC Stage 12L pack.

The minimalist Bliss Armourgel spine pad is well ventilated thanks to the perforations and the vest is comfortable and cool on long rides, it also has pockets to fit 2 x 250ml Hyrdapak Softflask's which are supplied (although these have a habit of trying to escape when full) and two more pockets for stashing gels or tubes - I wouldn't like to put anything like a multi-tool in here as the pockets are located within striking distance of your kidneys.

The Stage 12L pack is a great choice and is slightly more breathable than the vest thanks to the Airflow Contact System, but this is offset against the bulk of a bag. The Stage has plenty of pockets for spares and space for a hydration pack. Personally I like the Bliss vest for shorter rides and shuttle/lift days, and the EVOC pack for longer rides, I always leave this bag packed with tube, tools, bars and some cash so I know I can just grab it and get on the trail. - Paul Aston

Bliss ARG day vest or EVOC Stage pack.
To bag, or not to bag - I choose the Bliss ARG vest for shorter rides and the EVOC Stage 12L for longer days in the saddle.



Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


150 Comments

  • 52 0
 I remember the freeride hardtail days. Evil Imperial with Monster T, bulletproof and heavy as hell. Those were the days.
  • 7 0
 Freeride hardtails, f*ck yeah!

http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/6321301

Saw a video of some nutter hit this drop on another hardtail, but with a shitload more speed.. Launched a good 30-40 feet and dropped a solid 30 as well.. It ain't the bike!
  • 3 2
 That's a good one.
  • 8 1
 This is the one I think. www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZLrNlnHJTA It was in one of the Jib movies. That's the double drop line at the old rampage site. The second drop was the world record as they claimed in the movie. Such a beast.
  • 2 0
 I kinda want to do a retro build morphine again lately...... 26"front wheel on a 02 7"travel monster T(not the super heavy monster) 24" rear..... I ran that for a few seasons. I could ride any trail the big bikes were on with a good amount of speed in tech sections and keep up.....rough rock gardens.....not so much...
  • 2 0
 Yeap,i also remember those times !! xD
This is my NS BITCH - www.pinkbike.com/photo/1686331
It was easier way to jump into downhill without expensive full susspension bike. I't was great time spent on this bike...
  • 3 0
 If you are aren't sure about getting a hardtail or not. go watch some chromag videos.
  • 3 0
 chyu is right !! Chromag edits ROCKS xD
  • 36 0
 I don't think I will ever say a particular bike trend is dead again. Back in the day people were putting wider tires on stuff left and right it seems. I even had 2.4s on my DJ bike. Now that's called plus sized. I've heard people say freeride and DH are dead at different points too. So maybe freeride hardtails will pop up again but be called "urban super enduro" or something like that. Don't count it out. Once it's dead and you've gotten rid of yours it will be the perfect time to convince everyone they need a new one again.
  • 16 0
 truth. just ride what makes you happy.
  • 11 10
 DH was dead at one point? In the U.S. it was on life support for a while but strange how people write stuff off. It does make things more entertaining. Imagine if there was no "freeride isn't dead" edit? It'd be as if Jesus Christ was never crucified on a X-Mas tree by the Easter Bunny.
  • 13 0
 How was downhill ever dead?
  • 23 1
 @TFreeman unless you prefer a different wheel size than the wheel size I prefer. Then you're a idiot and I hope you fall naked into a glade full of stinging nettles.
  • 3 0
 I thought "+" meant bigger than 2.4, more like >3?
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic DH has and is full of life in UK (look at the top 20), not the same story in France for exemple. In my region (the one from Absalon, Thirion and few others) we used to have a super healthy DH serie with about 5 rounds, always full and amazingliy technical tracks. Now from what I heard the is only 1 race left over the season, and the regional championship that is run on the same track later in the season ... That's pretty sad.
  • 2 0
 Harduro..
  • 2 1
 urban super enduro sounds hardcore yo.
  • 1 0
 stinging nettles.
  • 1 0
 @balgaroth downhill and racing are two different things though. People have been riding bikes fast downhills since they say they were invented and that's never going to change... Downhill will never die.
  • 38 6
 Chromag. Chromag. Chromag. They only word you need to know when it comes to hardtails for real world trail riding. Designed, ridden, marketed, and sold by guys who ride harder than you. A bit disappointed that this was not the immediate recommendation. Oh and most models are made in CANADA!
  • 11 0
 Made by guys who ride a hard tail harder than I ride a 203mm bike...
  • 7 0
 Ragley is a pretty rad company as well. Wouldn't mind having either one of those in my quiver.
  • 4 1
 My chromag almost out performs my old spec demo they are the best hardtails. They climb like xc bikes, decent like beefier am bike and trick like dj's
  • 4 2
 Reeb makes a rad hardtail too!
  • 5 2
 But it's not chromag
  • 1 0
 Chromag Surface and Stanton Sherpa get my vote.
  • 8 0
 Stylus
  • 3 0
 I love my Krampus hardtail but it's probably not everyone's cup of tea (or coffee for our cross atlantic cousins)
  • 2 0
 Man I love my Cotic BFe too... another option that is pretty similar geo to the Stylus (I went back and forth between the two for a long time before getting the BFe).
  • 2 0
 3 of 8 Chromag frames are made in Canada. Surface, Samurai, and their fatty.
  • 11 0
 Whenever I see a leak coming out the valve area, it usually is not leaking around the actual valve. It always seems to be a problem with the tape job and the air is coming through holes above the nipples and finding its way out the easiest way, the valve area.
  • 13 4
 You said nipples! Giggidy.
  • 7 0
 Surprised to find my question on here but it turned out to be the tyre bead being slightly larger than the outer edge of the tape, even though they were both specialized products. Replaced the tape with some wider stuff and made sure sealant covered all contact points and eventually got it sealed.
  • 1 0
 Specialized valve stems are faulty pieces of crap and they should either recall them or stop selling them. I've gone through 3 this year which I replaced with Stan's. The design doesn't keep an airtight lock on the tape and allows sealant to get under the tape. The recommendation above is spot on.
  • 3 0
 Mix some glitter with the sealant.
  • 1 0
 I had the same issue on my rear WTB KOM i25. Front was perfect with a floor pump, the rear was a battle. Actually got it to seal, but a couple months later when I wanted to add some slop there was no sealing back up, and it just drizzled out the valve hole. My tape job was crap. Re-tapped with Gorrila and it was perfect. I think for stans rims their tape is great, but gorilla is more flexible so you can get it around the rim bead on the WTB rims better, plus it's really sticky. Helps that it's basically free compared to stans. Mega roll was like 10 bucks.
  • 1 0
 I tried the gaffer tape (which is great for a lot of things) from Leevalley tools, it didn't work anywhere near as well as gorilla.
  • 10 0
 Just to be particular the Stage 12L is a technical not a protector pack so you are not getting any spine protection other than based on what you are carrying. The Freeride series are built around a spine protector and are very good daysacks. The bonus is the elastic kidney belt which really stops the pack moving around or worse up into the back of your head when things get rowdy. Haven fallen hard on mine I know that I am grateful for the spine protector. I use the POC Vest when skiing more challenging terrain and occassionally in the bike park and the spine protector is quite reassuringly well built. The fact that it is VPD means that it conforms well to one's back from body heat. I certainly feel safer when wearing either of them rather than just riding in a shirt (terrain appropriate of course).
  • 2 0
 Bliss makes a backpack with a spine protection. It's the best pack I've used for riding, and I can pull the spine protection out when on mellower rides. Very comfortable and we'll thought out pack with real spine protection. I use their arg top in the park and it's great!
  • 4 0
 Love the Evoc Freeride Trail (20L). It's got a good size, good protector, and the Tools compartment is awesome!
  • 3 0
 Just bought myself the FR enduro blackline. I was very suprised by its size, for a 16l pack its massive, but I suppose it's there for a purpose to cover the full length of your spine.
  • 2 0
 I wear Alpinestars Moto-X body armour......

Used to get some stick for being "overdressed".......

First time i stacked it into a bush (that had a rather chunky tree in the middle)... suddenly im not so bothered about other peoples opinions... Big Grin

So, take heed of @amrskipro and make sure you do get some ACTUAL spine protection.....

I walked away from a crash, make sure you can too...
  • 1 0
 There is the option of wearing a neck brace. The core of what makes our neck braces work is Alternative Load Path Technology (ALPT®). In a typical face-plant type accident without a Leatt-Brace®, the force of the impact is transferred from the ground to the helmet, through the helmet to the scull and scull base where it is then transferred through the neck to the back (thoracic spine). With the Leatt-Brace® fitted, the force will instead transfer from the ground to the helmet, through the helmet onto the Leatt-Brace® once contact is made, some of the force will therefore be transferred to the brace and dispersed to the less vulnerable parts of the torso. If the impact is significant enough, the brace is designed to fail in crumple zones (similar to those seen in cars), thereby helping to absorb some of the energy of the impact.

www.leatt.com/shop/braces/bicycle-dbx/bicycle-adult.html

We also make a full line of body protection that has CE certified padding. CE standards set limits on the amount of energy transmitted by a pad. Our 3DF Foam padding turns hard upon impact and returns to its soft form because it does not have any memory.

www.leatt.com/shop/body-protection/upper-body-soft/upper-body-soft-adult.html

Our new 2016 DBX Hydration Systems have back protection built in with multi layer CE certified padding. Depending upon the amount of cargo storage you are looking for we offer a few different options. These will be available soon.
  • 8 2
 Ns makes a pretty cool am/freeride hardtail. Or you can just do what I did and find a random low end 26in mtb for sale preferably with disc brake mounts and rake it out with a 120-140mm fork on it and some decent parts and you have a freeride hardtail.
  • 4 0
 Smart man
  • 9 2
 It's actually quite brilliant, see...when the frame (and rider) break all to pieces he can use the straight tubes to splint himself up right there in the woods. You just might want to go 180mm at least on that fork...120mm is so XC.
  • 3 0
 simply love my simple bike...NS Surge frame with 160mm RSlyric forks... i can just recommend
  • 1 0
 AGREE with @sNek
I have one just like you described... here is it.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/12714996

Beer
  • 10 0
 Freeride hardtail! Try a dartmoor hornet they take some shit!
  • 1 0
 Agreed. I have one, and it rides great.
  • 1 0
 i have an dartmoor hornet 4x. even if it only has 4" of travel, its pretty fun to ride at local downhill-tracks!
  • 7 0
 New free ride hard tail: Commencal Meta HT AM 2016. With 27.5" wheels, a slack 66 degree head angle and a 160mm Fork. It's the future!
  • 2 1
 But is it steel? Because only steel is real.
  • 3 0
 Meta SX here, 26 an 160 55's Yea it's pretty sweet
  • 9 4
 Bottome line (IMO)..... it is a dangerous hobby. I have watched dudes break ribs in full moto armor, knock themselves out in a full face and break ankles with 510s. I used to wear a back protector and I don't anymore. I used to wear a neck brace, I rarely do anymore. I feel mobility during impact has helped me more than any form of armor. If a hit is just right, it isn't going to make much different no matter what you are wearing. Real damage can be done internally and nothing minus an exo-skeleton is going to save you. I always try to way risk verse reward. I race, but don't plan on making a future out of it, so if something seems sketchy, I don't push it. Anyways, that is just my two cents. I still rock knee/shin guards to avoid the abrasive injuries and believe those make a HUGE difference for those kind of falls.
  • 2 0
 Thoracic spine fractures are painful but have to be high energy to injure the spinal cord. On the other hand cervical spine fractures would make one a quadriplegic or dead. So my personal plan is to protect my head and neck before I'll add back padding.
  • 1 0
 This past Christmas a good friend of mine sent a small kicker at low speed, ended up going OTB. Had a burst fracture of the 6 & 7. Paralyzed from the core down. A back protector we believe could have reduced such a thing from occurring.

@jasdo What is your definition of high energy?

I do agree with @rydeen1 The mobility is preferred, though I do see the industry listening to that and accommodating those requests such as the direction that knee pads and elbow pads have gone providing solid protection with soft pad that firms up on impact allowing for the rider to move freely when not crashing. Pretty stoked seeing the back protector integrated in the water pack and will look into purchasing such a setup.
  • 4 0
 I am sorry to hear about your friend. That sounds like a bad crash. A true burst fracture is from axial loading (eg compression from impact to the head or feet), but real world mechanisms especially in an MTB crash are going to be more complex (bending/rotation/shear). From the information that you provide I personally would not be certain that a back protector would have helped assuming that the burst fractures presumably happened from axial loading rather than a direct blow to the spine. But we will never know.
Found this study from Australia on motorcycle crashes where foam back protectors were associated with a nonsignificant increased risk of spine fracture: www.georgeinstitute.org/sites/default/files/documents/motorcycle-protective-clothing-protection-from-injury-or-just-the-weather-the-gear-study.pdf
"Small numbers may also explain the lack of effect for back armour. However, other research suggests that most motorcycle-crash back injuries are caused by bending and torsional forces, not direct impacts to the spine (EU 2003). The back sprain injuries in those wearing foam inserts may be due to such bending and twisting forces, but it is hard to explain why that group should be more at risk than motorcyclist without any protection."
However, then there's this article from Italy where they do find a benefit for a back protector: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25342252

Personally, I think a back protector sounds like a great idea for spine fracture reduction at first glance, but when I consider it from a mechanism of injury standpoint, I don't think the potential benefit is great enough for me to wear one. Again, that is a personal position and we all make different choices based upon our personal levels of risk avoidance.
  • 5 0
 Cotic BFe for life! Close enough to a freeride hardtail, especially when I set mine up with my burly 3" Duro tires. Still trying to figure out if my 24 x 3.0 tire is better on the rough stuff than a 26 x ~2.6 24" rules for slackness though and getting your ass really far back on the super super steeps.
  • 1 1
 For life? Jeez...
  • 1 0
 yeah, the way that frame is built, mine will probably be around for life...
  • 1 0
 Well sounds like they are worth checking out, I'm off to their website right now.
  • 5 1
 Yelli screamy by Canfield Brothers. The name says it all, smiles all day. I traded my f/s bike for it and I'll never look back!! Tons of fun and light enough to ride all day. Benefits of a 29er that really corners amazingly well. Can go with a 2.4 on the rear and even outfit it with 27.5+ wheels and tires. For me it is the perfect hardtail that can take a beating and always wants more. Lastly, the acceleration that a hardtail gains is amazing and gets up to stupid fast in seconds. Try one and you will love it.
  • 4 0
 Someone already said it but: Leaking at the valve is almost never a bad seal between the valve seal and the rim. Nipples (particularly alloy) create a pretty good seal with the spoke bed, meaning the valve hole at the spoke bed is the only place where air and sealant can leak out. A bad taping job is the culprit 90% of the time, and don't be fooled into thinking I'm wrong if American Classic valves seem to 'almost' solve the problem... they just seal a little better at the spoke bed meaning the real problem (bad tape job, bad weld, cracked rim) is camouflaged. SOLUTION: scuff your rims with a green scotch pad, clean them thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, use tape that goes hook to hook, and put that tape on tight! Finally and maybe most importantly install tubes overnight, this pushes the tape onto the rim without giving it anywhere to escape!
  • 6 1
 Tubeless guy: You may want to try ghetto tubeless with a 20" schrader tube. It sounds like your valve hole might already big enough to fit the schrader valve.
  • 2 0
 Agreed. I reckon I can get any rim / tyre combo to work ghetto. I've been running ghetto for 5 years now with no problems or burps.

Ghetto also gives you a bit of added security as you have a rubber / rubber interface where both can (in theory) move rather than rubber / aluminium inter face where only the rubber can move.

Jared Graves was also running ghetto a few years ago... does anyone know if he still does?
  • 7 0
 Replace 2bliss tape with gorilla tape and repeat.
  • 1 0
 I've had a similar problem (not as serious, though) a replaced 2bliss tape with Stans yellow tape, and it's been working great ever since.
  • 2 0
 Gorilla tape is king of the tapes.
  • 5 0
 @bromontrider - check out the Chromag Stylus, you can put a 160mm fork on it, and ride it anywhere (for that matter, check out the Chromag Rootdown, even more fun!!!!)
  • 2 0
 I love my Chromag Rootdown, but to take it "anywhere" I think you're gonna have to build wheels that are so heavy you'll hate your life on every climb. Stylus seems perfect for freeriding. Here's mine, cause I'm proud ep1.pinkbike.org/p6pb12435838/p5pb12435838.jpg
  • 1 1
 Naw, you just have to be smooth!
  • 1 0
 K, if you're rad, get a Rootdown. If you like to case jumps sometimes and ride a gorilla (and are maybe built like one), Stylus all the way! Razz
  • 1 0
 Agreed!
  • 1 0
 Radical gorillas think alike.
  • 4 1
 rode a Cove Stiffee for a few years and loved it. I built a Kona Explosif this year: 650b steel hardtail frame, XT brakes and XT 1x10, just put a new Pike on it, RaceFace cranks and bars, SRAM wheels, WTB tires. Stoked on it for short, medium or long trail rides with plenty of tech.
  • 4 0
 Lets see this beaut!
  • 1 0
 I just put the Pike on very recently and have not taken any shots. I'll get one on trail tomorrow
  • 4 0
 Love my explosif ti!
  • 4 0
 love my steel honzo and my steel explosif, super fun rides.

always lusting over the explosif ti...and the honzo ti for that matter. any pics of yours?

cheers
  • 1 0
 Ti Explosif is definitely on my list of dream bikes. Was at an enduro recently where a fellow on a Honzo/Pike was on a stormer, easily a top 20 finisher, maybe even top ten, until he cased a jump on the last stage.
  • 2 0
 Nice! Just picked up a Honzo about two months ago. Had to up my game on the downhill, was lazy when it came to line selection and being smooth on the AM FS bike I previously rode. Now I find myself trying to imitate Fabien Barel attempting to be smooth and flow with the trail. It's pretty obvious, will never to be trail god like Fabien, but I find myself enjoying the trails so much more on the Honzzzzzz! Long live AM HT!
  • 5 0
 Thanks RC for the help on the last last post a few weeks back. Gorilla tape really did the trick and I am now running tubless for the first time!!!
  • 2 0
 Just because the air is coming out from around the valve doesn't mean that's where it is leaking. If air is going under the tape somewhere, the air leaks into the box section of the rim and comes out at the valve hole because that is the path of least resistance.
  • 1 0
 Seconded.
  • 1 0
 I used the American classic valve thing all the way on the right in the picture as well as 2 coats of gorilla tape to make sure it was covering all holes and right into the bead seat, used a ghetto high pressure air canister to seat the beads and what was a troublesome constantly leaky set of wheels is perfect now!
  • 1 0
 The main problems with the AC stems is that they are very thin material and the "o" ring washer doesn't work very well. Try the Speed Evolution stems.
  • 2 0
 Let's not forget the Evil Sovereign! A killer hardtail.

SPAM ALERT: a brand new Cotic BFe could be yours - www.pinkbike.com/buysell/1814200/f

Hardtails ain't dead; 26ers ain't dead!
  • 1 0
 Fantastic bikes, love mine. Should edit your add though, only the down tube is 853.
  • 1 0
 if your valve leaks i've had that problem what i did was i took this rubber plumbers tape used for the treads of pipes to keep them sealed but if you wrap that around the valve it creates a great seal just a suggestion if anyones had that problem.
  • 1 0
 I have both the Evoc 16l and the POC VPD 2.0 vest and I highly rate them. What you get in term of spine coverage and protection is better with the POC vest (and the chest protection is a nice bonus). The Evoc is a good option but I am keeping it for longer rides when I need more space to carry things.
  • 3 2
 Last week I have been speaking about backpacks as a mean of spine protection with a representative of a renowned protection gear company. He said while back pack is better than nothing, nothing beats a real spine protector, particularly one with plastic top that slides on the ground. He was a bit distasted with certain company marketing the backpack as a mean of effective spine Protection for MTB (snow being a different story) since they have run tests on such solution in case they would like to run a similar product. I am confused
  • 1 0
 Interesting...thanks for sharing. I've never used either, did he mention what the important differences are?
  • 1 0
 While a pack isn't ideal from personal experience they do work well enough as back protection.
  • 2 0
 I'd take a look at the BTR frames, not cheap, but they've got some fantastic geometry numbers IMHO.
Especailly their DH hardtail, the "Belter":
www.btr-fabrications.com/product/belter
  • 1 0
 I had to log in just to comment on this one! I used to ride a lot of large jumps and drops on my DH bike back in the day. But, I now ride it all on my hardtail, and am always thinking how freeride on the hard-tail is so fun. So in my world, no, it ain't dead! Maybe not as fast, a little more hard on some hits, but one heck of a fun ride! I can also peddle up to the top a lot easier!
  • 1 0
 Speed Evolution valve stems are much better option than the ones given. They have a larger internal diameter and are much stronger than the American Classic stems. They use a better interface for mating with the rim that lowers the possibility of having sealant come back up through the stem.
  • 3 0
 Not sure about that Evoc model, but I've really like my Enduro FR 16L, and that definitely has the spine protector.
  • 2 0
 Ditto about the Evoc FR Enduro. Good spine protection, great tool compartment and lots of good useful pockets.
  • 2 0
 Norco Torrent seems to fit the bill for a freeride hardtail - www.norco.com/bikes/mountain/trail-plus/torrent-7/torrent-71
  • 1 0
 Take a small 1cm x 1cm piece that you cut from a tire tube, cut a small hole just big enough to fit over the stem, put stem back through hole. Makes an airtight seal that won't leak again.
  • 1 0
 ^^^^thats a great idea......I use this stuff from the auto store called slime. it is green and cheap and mix it with stans latex. the slime clogs the big holes and the stans does the rest. Also cover the valve washer in the slime then place in the rim, then squirt a bit more on it for good measure....works every time
  • 1 0
 I don't understand how asymetric rims eliminate dish. Wouldn't wheel dish be the same no matter what the rim design is? That is, any rim (asymetric or otherwise) has to centre over the axle, right?
  • 1 0
 They don't eliminate dish, what they do is try to equalize spoke tension on both sides of a dished wheel. basically, it's designing a rim around being dished, as opposed to designing a rim for an undished wheel (which is essential true of a symmetrical rim.)
  • 1 0
 Serious question about Spinal Protective gear.
Do data suggest that most injuries come from hitting rocks/trees? I have the feeling crash, bend, twist beyond the intended limit may be more common.
  • 2 0
 They did a good study on Whistler a few years back (www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(12)00015-4/fulltext12) which basically indicated that most spinal injuries were compression fractures (i.e. landing on your head) rather than landing on rocks etc.
  • 3 0
 @StackingItSince1991 wait, there were 898 cases of injury in just 5 months of riding at whistler? that's like 6 per day!

"Of 898 cases, 86% were male (median age, 26 years), 68.7% were Canadian, 19.4% required transport by the Whistler Bike Patrol, and 8.4% arrived by emergency medical services. Identification of 1759 specific injury diagnoses was made, including 420 fractures in 382 patients (42.5%). Upper extremity fractures predominated (75.4%), 11.2% had a traumatic brain injury, and 8.5% were transferred to a higher level of care"

I had heard whistler bike park bought an MRI machine because they had so many injuries, but HOLY CRAP!
  • 1 0
 I know if I went to Whistler I would definitely be that category!
  • 2 0
 Thanks @StackingItSince1991 , that's very interesting.
I guess the bike park style (t-shirt &neck-brace) starts to make some statistical sense now!
  • 1 0
 @TheBigMtt and probably a pair of wrist guards - i'm looking at the flexmeter wristguards as a result of this study- they look to be usable with handlebars because they don't block your palm, but I haven't tried a pair on yet

not sure what to do about the next biggest risk, shoulder/clavicle injuries
  • 2 0
 Leaks around Valve stems going tubeless: Shoe Goo painted in a couple of layers around the inside of the hole does a great job sealing it up.
  • 2 0
 Quite right. I've done the same thing and it has always worked.
  • 1 0
 I've got my 03 Morphine frame in the garage right now. As well as some bomb wheels, all I need is another crankset/bb, and I'll have my hardcore hardtail built back up. 35lbs of single speed fun.
  • 1 0
 The protection and comfort the POC vests offer is unmatched. I absolutely love mine! I have had it for years and it is still protective as ever and comfy as hell. Wouldn't rely on anything else to protect my spine.
  • 3 4
 I cant really see climbing with that Banshee...or downhilling for that matter. Climbing you have the big squishy fork up front with relaxed geometry and descending you have no give in the rear except your tire. Seems lika a lose-lose to me.
  • 6 0
 well... its good fun and good practice. because image when you finally put 6 or 8 inches of travel on the back of your bike. you'll be railing trails.

get a HT with a 160mm fork (new fork) and you'll love it.
  • 4 1
 My AM Hardtail was the best thing I ever did for my descending skills...granted, it didn't have a 200mm fork on it, but a 140 was plenty. A big part of speed, safety, and confidence while descending is about being smooth and picking the right lines. An AM hardtail is the best thing you can do in that regard. If you're not into the whole "building skill and speed" thing and just want to get out and have a good time then an AM hardtail is also probably the best way to go. Sketchy, cheap, maintenance free, and quiet(ish).

Dig it: www.chumbausa.com/new-products/rastro-36
  • 1 0
 I think that shiver has a little more travel than 160mm
  • 1 0
 You've obviously never ran Shivers. Them things are firm. Mine barely dip when pedaling uphill but as soon as i hit a drop its smooth and soft.
  • 1 1
 I feel like a 2-3k hardtail kills the point of them
  • 1 0
 @TBagTantalizer haha that might be because the front is so slacked out that the front wheel has no weight on it when you're going uphill. But yeah, I do believe that it wasn't bobbing Wink
  • 1 0
 For valve leaks I've used plumbers tape with great success. Wind it a few times where the rubber meets the valve and you should be good to go.
  • 1 0
 Plumber's teflon tape: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thread_seal_tape

It's cheap and it works.
  • 1 0
 Just take the stringy, goopy dried stans fluid and wrap it around the valve stem. Works the best.
  • 1 0
 Why hasn't anyone suggested adding a dab of sealant to the the valve where it meets the rim/tape? I've brought back worn valves with that trick...
  • 1 0
 Use the gummy dried stuff and just wrap it around. It will bond with the new stans fluid.
  • 2 0
 Just picked up a prototype Stiffee its awesome
www.pinkbike.com/photo/12716832
  • 1 0
 @bromontrider: check out the new Liteville H-3 (formally known as 101, which is now a marathon fully, both not on website yet).
  • 1 0
 and: @Paul Aston: Did you really mean the Stage? It has no protection despite being a backback...? FR series has protection.
  • 1 0
 ragley? lolz cracked my frame and they refused to warranty it...... i wouldn't suggest anyone buy from them. even when they do finally come out with a new frame
  • 5 3
 I have a HT with a 180mm fork and I'm in love.
  • 1 0
 I have a HT with 160mm fork, is pretty common in Chile, down here almost every DH race has a hardtail category.
  • 1 0
 Same here, HT with 180mm. Every DH race here has a HT category too, because many people can't afford a FS. And damn, some guys riding HTs are faster than most FS guys.
  • 1 0
 The more technical it gets, the more fun you have on a long-travel-hardtail.
  • 1 0
 a Kona Explosive ti would be my dream HT Freeride bike. Just thinking about it makes me all warm inside.
  • 1 0
 Snipes Elemental with a Jr T. Spent my 2003 season on that thing. Thanks Drop in. Ha!
  • 1 0
 Had the same problem leaking at the valve stem. Two wraps of stans tape did the trick.
  • 1 0
 Spine Protection: I just blow into my camelback to inflate it a bit. Makes a great cushion when you land on your back.
  • 1 0
 Answer yo faulty tubeless crap -----------> UST. No leak no pain no time lost.
  • 1 0
 Just got the new POC vest, haven't ridden with it much but its very comfortable an flexible
  • 2 1
 Monarch plus or fox drcv? For a slash 27.5 w a fox 180 on the front.
  • 1 0
 I actually don't like the spring curve on the monarch plus, and I've messed with all the volume spacers a ton. It will have better damping on the long descents though.
  • 3 1
 Asphinctersayswhat?
  • 1 0
 Hardtails will never die ! Use an inner tube .
  • 1 0
 Ultra aggro hardtail from Italy
imgur.com/WJlMuz9

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