|While that's an interesting proposition, it is also one that I wouldn't recommend pursuing. Yes, I'm sure that there are people out there who have done exactly what you're asking about, but I'd wager that they've ended up with the worst of both words rather than a bike that works well when ridden as intended. The issue isn't weight - the Session can be built up quite light - but rather geometry. Let's say you went ahead and purchased a shorter travel fork, and even a shorter eye-to-eye length shock to match the new fork's travel - you'll still end up with a bike that sports far too slack geometry to be enjoyable on trails that require any sort of pedalling effort. The bike's seat tube angle, while being great at moving the seat out of the when it's set to a low, downhill friendly position, is also far too slack for any sort of comfortable seated pedalling. The other issue, one that is even more serious, is that a different length shock very well could cause parts of your frame to come into contact with each other at full compression, especially the seat stays and seat tube. The bottom line is that your proposed conversion isn't just going to create an awkward riding bike, it is going to be downright dangerous.|
My advice would be to take that money you were going to spend on a second fork and shock and put it towards a mid-travel bike that you can pedal around. There's a good chance that you can pick up something used for around the same amount you'd spend on your conversion, and then you can swap in some of the burlier components from your downhill bike - tires, short stem and wide bar, powerful brakes, et cetera - and then ride your new rig in the bike parks and on the local loops. You just might discover that your new mid-travel bike is even more fun than your slack downhill machine. Or not, but at least you won't be turning your Session into a dangerous franken-bike. - Mike Levy
|You were well advised. Ramps, pins and specially profiled teeth are used by every good drivetrain maker to assist the front mech to lift the chain up to the larger chainring. Shimano is the king of ramps and pins, which is largely responsible for its bomb-proof, industry leading front shifting. While you can coax any good front derailleur to shift the chain up to an un-ramped single-speed chainring, the amount of excess derailleur movement required to get the job done will most certainly cause a situation where the chain will derail occasionally to the outside of the chainring when you make the shift. The Shimano Deore chainring is one of the better shifting sprockets you can buy and it is priced quite low, but you'll need to be sure that your crankset's bolt-circle diameter matches it (Shimano four-bolt XT cranks use the more common: 104 millimeters for the big and middle sprockets, and 64 millimeters for the third, granny sprocket). Once you figure out the BCD of your crankset, you can spend the big bucks for aftermarket sprockets, but my recommendation would be to save your cash and purchase the stock items for your brand of crankset. - RC|
Shimano's Deore XT chainrings are heavily manipulated with shifting aids like ramps, pins and profiled teeth to provide instant shifting
|I'd listen to your friend on this one. The wider tire in the front will give you a larger footprint to lean into while cornering, providing more grip and control. This will help prevent your front wheel from washing out, which has much harsher consequences than if your rear wheel were to get a sideways in a turn. It's common to run a wider tire with a more aggressive tread pattern in the front paired up with a narrower, lower profile tire in the rear. This lets you benefit from the decreased rolling resistance of the rear tire, while still having the cornering traction and flotation that the front tire provides. It's also fine to run the same tire width front and rear, but I'd recommend against running the wider tire in rear - having more cornering traction in the back than in the front could make for some awkward handling on the trail. - Mike Kazimer|
It's common to pair an aggressive front tire with a slightly narrower, lower profile option in the rear.
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