|A change in bar height of 13mm is a fair bit that most will take note of, but less perceptive riders might not feel a difference. That said, you mentioned that you prefer a relatively low handlebar so I'm guessing that you would pick it up right away. The taller bar might not be a terrible thing, though, as the average downhiller would be quite surprised at just how high a professional World Cup racer prefers their grips. That doesn't mean that everyone should go that route, of course, but it doesn't hurt to try a different setup every now and then. Want to keep your bar at the same height regardless of what others are doing? Start by measuring its height - make sure your bike is standing straight up and not leaning over, then measure from the ground to the top of the end of the handlebar. If you want to also preserve your bike's handling so it is close to being the same as with the BoXXer, you can use an angle finder app on a smartphone to match it after you install the new fork by sliding the 888's stanchions up and down in its crowns (be sure not to exceed the lowest recommended position). It's true that those angle finder apps might not be the most exact, but that doesn't matter as you're only aiming to match the numbers taken with the old and new forks.|
Once you've got the new fork installed, start by using the angle finder and by sliding the stanchions in the crowns to match the head angle of your bike with the old fork. Now, take a ground up measurement to the top the the handlebar to see how much, if any, further adjustment you need to make by adding or removing headset spacers under the top crown, buying a handlebar with a different rise to it, or going with a different stem. If you actually discover that you need to go slightly higher, a number of companies offer spacer kits that fit between the direct mount stem and the fork's top crown. All of the above might sound a bit like OCD to someone who prefers to just jump on their bike and ride, but those who are picky about their bike will understand. - Mike Levy
| The perfect storm for your budget is to find a close-out deal on a 26-inch dual-suspension frame that fits the components of your Voodoo hardtail, but that may not be possible. Your Voodoo probably has quick release rear dropouts, while modern suspension bikes have 12 by 142 millimeter through-axles, I'd guess that the Voodoo doesn't have a tapered head tube either, which creates a compatibility issue for your existing headset and fork steerer and may force you to buy a headset to adapt the fork to the new frame. Seatpost diameters tend to be smaller on hardtails, so you'll need to measure and match it, or be prepared to buy a new one, and many rear suspensions require specific front derailleurs - top or bottom pull, or direct mount - to clear the swingarm bits. The good news is that it should be easy to find a frame with a threaded bottom bracket shell to fit your existing crankset, and that your fork is already compatible with your front wheel. Switching over your components to a new frame is only advisable if you are well versed in component compatibility and have a comprehensive tool kit.|
Forget about upgrading to mid-size wheels, because the frame upgrade will also force you to purchase an expensive new fork and wheels. Your best bet, although it will bust your budget, is to search for a close-out 26-inch trailbike that an on-line store or LBS is trying to unload at or below their cost. The overnight success of 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes has made new and slightly used 26-inch models almost worthless, so this is your shining opportunity to buy a great 140-millimeter trailbike bike for very little cash. - RC
We doubt that jayandgt will find a new 2014 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Evo to fit his budget, but with 26-inch-wheel stock crashing like Wall Street during the Great Depression, he should be able to score a top-performing, 140-millimeter small-wheel trailbike from a respectable bike brand for 25 pence on the pound.
|You can certainly run a 32t chainring on a downhill bike, although you won't have quite the same top speed before you spin out as you would with a 36 or 38 tooth ring using the same cassette. The terrain you typically ride on will determine whether or not you'll miss those extra teeth - on really steep, technical tracks it will hardly be noticeable, but on wide open, fire road or ski slope type sections you may find yourself wishing you could throw in a few pedal strokes to gain additional speed.|
The question about shortening your chain will depend on the size of the ring you're currently running. To figure it out, once you have the new ring installed, shift down to your hardest gear in the rear and look at the rear derailleur cage. If the chain is sagging, or if the chain on the upper pulley is touching the chain on the cassette then you'll need to take out a link or two. If you're running a chainguide, you'll also want to lower the upper guide, and raise the lower roller as well. Many chainguides be adjusted down to accommodate a 32 tooth ring, but it is possible that you may need to purchase a different guide if this isn't the case. - Mike Kazimer
Going to a smaller front ring means that any chain retention device that's in place will need to be adjusted.
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