|It sounds like you're well aware that while the Boulder 3 is a fine bike for getting around on and some light duty riding, it isn't the ideal machine for proper mountain biking. The 2013 version has an 80mm travel fork, a 3x8 drivetrain, and a pretty basic build kit all around, all hung off of an aluminum frame. And while I don't doubt the frame's strength when it comes to some average mountain biking (don't go sending it over road gaps and super booters, though), it's that build kit - the steel handlebar and long stem, everything to do with the wheels, and the crankset with its old-style square taper bottom bracket - that has me worried. You should be able to sort a few things out, though, and I'd start with the bike's stem and handlebar as it will both allow you to get into a better position on the bike and make it safer to ride hard: replace the stem with something in the 50 - 70mm length range, and the wimpy steel handlebar with a nicer aluminum model that's at least 740mm wide, two items that can be had for not much money if you look around. The shorter stem and wider bar will give you a ton more confidence on the bike, which means you'll end up going faster, so pick up some higher volume tires while you're at it, but make sure that you have the clearance on the frame and fork to fit them. The stock fork might have just 80mm of travel, but it's the steel stanchion tubes and light duty construction that concern me more. Have a look on the Pinkbike Buy and Sell for a used single crown fork with 120mm of travel or less (a longer fork is going to put more stress on your frame), something that you should be able to find for around $200 USD, especially if it has a quick release axle that you'll need to fit your stock front wheel on it. You might have to invest $300 or so, and it still won't be a bike that you'll want to do any real jumps and drops aboard, but those changes will make a big difference when it comes to just general mountain biking. - Mike Levy|
|You are in luck. The freeride (FR) version of the Shimano Zee short-cage rear derailleur is designed to follow the steeper angle of the wide-ratio 11 by 36-tooth, ten-speed cassette, and its cage can take up a difference of 25 teeth - which happens to be 36 minus 11. The Zee parallelogram is basically the same as Shimano's XC models and the newer ones have the Shadow-Plus clutch, so it should be perfect for the task. Your 32-tooth chainring is not a problem. You are using a one-by drivetrain, so it makes no difference how large or small the chainring is, because the cassette determines the derailleur's chain take-up capacity. BTW: the DH version of the Zee derailleur is designed to trace the more obtuse angle of an 11 by 21, or an 11 by 28 cassette, but it shares the same 25-tooth chain take-up capacity. That means you could also make the DH mech' work in a pinch, by turning in the B-tension screw until the upper pulley clears the 36-tooth cog. Make sure that you use a narrow-wide chainring. - RC|
Shimano's Zee short-cage rear derailleur was intended for gravity riders, but the freeride model can handle an 11 by 36 tooth cassette and, at only 268 grams, it is an excellent candidate for one-by-ten XC/trailbike drivetrains.
|Autumn rides are always a little bittersweet, since the grey and dreary winter months are just around the corner, but the riding conditions are often the best of the year. Golden light mixed with tacky trails and colorful leaves creates a recipe for amazing days on the bike. Dressing appropriately can be tricky though, since it's not uncommon to roll out of the house on a frosty morning only to find yourself sweating under a blazing sun just a couple of hours later, wondering what made you think wearing a wool sweater was a good idea. Layering is the key here, and you'll want to choose clothing that you can easily put on and take off without too much hassle. Your idea of wearing some type of windproof layer is a good one, but I wouldn't put a short sleeve jersey over it. Do it the other way - short sleeve jersey, and then the windproof layer on top. That way if you start boiling on a long climb it's easier to take off the layer that's causing you to overheat, and just as easy to put it on again before a descent. In the summer time you can get away with wearing cotton layers, but as the temperatures drop you'll want to go with synthetic or wool options to keep that sweat moving away from your skin.|
Shorts are usually just fine for riding in the fall - toss on a pair of knee warmers underneath and you should be good for most of those chilly rides. Leg warmers are an option as well, but it depends how much warmth you're looking for - I find them to be too warm for most fall riding. Everyone's internal thermostat is a little different, so it might take a couple of rides before you figure out what works best, but once you do you'll be set for years to come. And don't rule out riding in the rain either - with a little extra preparation, including a water-resistant or waterproof jacket and the addition of a fender of some sort to your bike, you'll be able to extend the riding season even further. - Mike Kazimer
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