Ask Pinkbike: Head Angle Changes, Carbon Frames, and DH Wheelsets

Dec 13, 2016
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

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.



How Will One Degree Affect Handling?

Question: bridgermurray asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I'm swapping a frame for my hardtail and the head angle is changing from 69.5 to 70.5. I like to do some aggressive-ish riding, not necessarily suited for a hardtail, and am worried the one-degree difference could make the bike feel twitchy. Nothing else between the two bike's geometry is drastically changed. I'm going from a Trek Superfly to Santa Cruz Highball, for reference.


bigquotesThe short answer is; "Yes. You will be able to feel the difference between the Superfly's 69.5-degree and the Highball's 70.5-degree head angles." Because they are 29ers, however, and have similar geometry, they should feel relatively stable, and their handling will be close enough that you won't have any issues. My experience riding technical trails on a variety of 29ers with similar number is, as long as they are in the 70-degree to 69-ish range, they steer, descend and corner about the same. The tipping point seems to occur at and below 68 degrees. As head angles become appreciably slacker, they create proportionally larger changes in wheelbase and weight transfer that have more dynamic effects upon handling.

Both the Superfly and the Highball are intended to be cross-country/trail bikes, so I assume that you are comfortable riding steeper geometry than most Pinkbike members prefer. If you do plan to ride more aggressive terrain, then you'll probably be searching for a longer-stroke fork in the near future. An additional 20 to 30 millimeters of travel will put the Santa Cruz's head angle closer to the Trek's and give you a big advantage on the downs. And, if you want a slacker, more fashion-forward feel, you could always choose the less-expensive option and pop for a adjustable-angle headset from a reputable parts maker. - RC

Santa Cruz Highball 2016
The 29-inch-wheel Santa Cruz Highball is a great-handling XC/trailbike, but it would need some accessorizing to approach the realm of all-mountain performance.




Downhill Wheelsets?

Question: Pinkbike user @samfuller123 asked this question in the Downhill Forum: I have been looking at some new wheels for my Tues and honestly have no idea what to get! I've looked at Atomlab DHR, Mavic 729 and Stans Flow, can anybody recommend a strong but relatively light rim that will stand up to some abuse?

bigquotesI'll assume by the fact you ride a YT Tues that you have no bike shop allegiance and are happy to buy products online. Combined with your UK location, I don't think you can beat Superstar's wheel deals. I haven't used a specific downhill wheelset from Superstar but I did review, with success, a pair of 29er enduro wheels from them two years ago. There's a range of in-house and other rims on the website and the custom builder makes it easy to select colors, rim and hub sizes and freehub bodies. Knock them out of shape and you can post them back to take advantage of free lifetime truing. If you trash a rim, Superstar will build a new rim and spokes on to your old hub and post it back to you for around 30 GBP. Complete wheelsets range from 179 - 289 GBP.

If you want to splash a bit more cash, the quality and longevity of Hope hubs are renowned worldwide and the Pro4 hubs are their best yet. Try lacing these to FR570 rims from DT Swiss for a compliant downhill wheelset. The Stan's Flow you suggested could save you 120 grams per pair compared to the DT rims, they are not downhill rims but should survive if you ride on the lighter side of the spectrum. - Paul Aston


Superstar Tech4 Wheelset 29 15mm Front Hub 142 x 12mm Rear Hub XD Driver
Superstar's wheel builds are some of the best value in the business.
Morzine - Paul Aston
Hope's hubs and DT Swiss or Stan's rims will always be a reliable combination.



Carbon Conundrum

Question: @shiremux asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I’m about to order the new NS Snabb carbon frame. I’ve been riding for like one season at the most. I’m…not hitting big things and not really opting for that, just having fun on local trails and [riding] 3-5 times during the year at some bike parks. I can get a good deal that is hard to refuse on the frame. I know this is almost 2017 and carbon manufacturing is way better than before but still, I’m a bit worried, this is the first carbon frame from NS and my first carbon frame as well. Is this a good decision? I weigh about 90kg…


bigquotesHey, Shiremux. Your question is actually a couple dozen questions packed in one Gigantor interrogative. Let's get parsing. Is a carbon frame a good idea for someone who doesn't classify him or herself as a "shredder"? Is a carbon frame a good idea for riders who don't possess a malnourished, Ring Wraith-esque build? Is a carbon frame a good idea when the company designing it is relatively new to the carbon game? At some level, you're posing all of those questions...

Is it a good material for beginning riders? It can be a good material for any level of rider. Carbon has the potential to be both bomber and lightweight. There are plenty of positively ancient Trek Y-Bikes and Cannondale Ravens out on the trails and, as you noted, the technology has grown in sophistication by leaps and bounds since those early days. Not all carbon frames are equal - not by a long shot. Carbon components are truly handmade products and the quality of fiber, resin, layup, molding and execution all have a direct impact on their final ride quality and durability.

As for the matter of rider weight, there are also countless riders who put more of a hurt on the scales than you do, and who've been safely riding carbon frames for years now.

Should you buy a carbon frame from a company that only recently got into the carbon frame game? That's a tougher question to answer. All things being equal, most people would recommend going with a brand that has a proven track record with the material in question. That said, plenty of brands have also jumped in these waters and had stellar first-year reliability. Santa Cruz and Intense, for instance, came roaring out of the gate years ago with very reliable frames. I think it really comes down to the brand's overall track record for reliability and for supporting riders when their bikes and components do happen to go pear shaped. Do riders feel that the bike brand does a good job of supporting their customers? That's what truly matters.

Now, having said all that, I'm also going to suggest that you sort of forget about the frame material for a moment. Bear with me...

Yes, carbon can be, for lack of a better word, "rad". But I think ride quality, geometry and reliability are all more important than the material the frame is made from. Does the bike fit you? That's question number one. Does the frame's geometry mesh with your riding style and/or terrain? Does the company consistently nail it with suspension pivots that don't shit the bed? Is this a suspension design that pedals well yet doesn't sacrifice downhill performance? Those are the questions I'd be asking first.

I'll put it this way: I'd rather ride a really dialed aluminum frame than a janky, poorly executed carbon one. I'm not implying that the NS Snabb falls into that latter category, but I am saying that we riders often place too much emphasis on frame material. Ask yourself the other big-picture questions first and then worry about carbon later. I know, it may seem like I'm not answering your question, but I am. Or at least, I hope I'm reframing your question in a way that's useful. Cheers. - Vernon Felton

NS Snabb Carbon
Picking a frame material is only one part of the new bike decision making process.






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


149 Comments

  • 42 3
 Just in case anyone is interested in my two pence;
I was after a set of DH wheels for my Scalp this time last year and after reading the reviews and seeing the £99 price for the full wheelset, I bought Superstar DHX rims on Tank hubs. This was a mistake.

A few rides in I hit a landing a bit nose heavy and lost the front end. Slid out and got straight up, thinking nothing of it, only to discover the front wheel completely taco'd. On closer inspection, the slightly askew landing had completely seperated the pinned joint and bent the rim beyond saving.

A few weeks later I clipped the rear on the lip of a double at PORC. No speed was lost and I thought nothing of it. Right up to the point where I ended the run and noticed the rim had torn across. Completely ripped through and dead.

I emailed Superstar, telling them about thee minor incident that caused each of these and my concern at how easily the rims had died. Their response; tough sh*t. Apparently mildly casing a double is beyond what a DH wheelset is expected to be able to survive and since I had not floated like a plastic bag caught in an eddying wind current, the loss is my problem.

I replaced both of them with Mavic EX325s and have had zero issues since.

I have had plenty of products from Superstar before; their I/O chainrings are superb, I have no qualms with their brake pads and I run their chainguides on two bikes. But the customer service, the soft rims and the cheesy freehub body which needs so much care have put me right off buying wheels.

Superstar; you're doing plenty of things right, but DH wheelsets and customer service are not two of them for me.
  • 8 0
 avoid their kevlar brake pads too.... the organic ones may wear out quite quickly but the kevlar ones will have you wearing through rotors at an alarming rate
  • 15 0
 @netracer-enduro: well f*ck then. I bought 4 pairs in the Black Friday sale. I guess they can eat through all those crippled Superstar rotors I have
  • 5 0
 @codfather1234: Funny thing is Remerx Czech brand of wheels/rims are selling Rims for like 15-20euro if i would compare the rim with DT or Mavic ... same rim from the company would cost 60euros ... now the question is why arent they selling this worldwide if the quality of the Rims is insane ... ( i cased insane amount of stuff hit insane amount of rocks yet i have the same wheels for 2 whole seasons ( Speaking of Remerx Brave rim )
  • 6 0
 Actually, there's another one. I ordered four rotors from Superstar a while ago. Nothing fancy, just ordinary steel discs. Three of them were out of true beyond usability straight out of the bag. Little things like that wind me up a lot. Especially when I'm buying rotors to replace ones which I'm bored of bending back, I would hope the replacements would be more circular, rather than less.
  • 3 0
 Doesn't surprise me. I phoned a few times to place an order for a wheelset but to no avail. I'm guessing now that you amongst all the others. Were giving them grief bout broken wheels etc whilst I was trying to speak to a human. Maybe their cnc robots answer the phones but are not programmed to speak...
  • 3 0
 Mavics have always done right by me. Not the lightest wheels out there or cheapest but for the most part very strong. In fact usually a light true is all that's needed (even after I blew 4 spokes simultaneously and was completely my fault. I smoked a 4" drainage pipe dead on). I have the ex823 which is very similar to the 725 which I have also had great success with. I just wanted the fully tubeless option so I went the the 823's.
  • 5 0
 @AJ420: My Stans Flow Exs have held up to two seasons of bike park smashing and racing before cracking so thats pretty cool.
  • 1 0
 @X-Liam-X: sweet. I have yet to try any of the stans wheels. I do like the fact the mavic ones don't need a rim strip or conversion kit. (The d max ultimates use the same technique and might get those next) I kinda went custom with mine laced to saint hubs for the finned rotors. But I'm stoked your stand have held up.
  • 3 1
 I've got a set of DHX rims on my DJ bike as I case loads, they have been good as gold.
  • 5 0
 @X-Liam-X: My Stans Flows were bought second hand and have been hammered for around two years. i weigh 86kg and don't always get my landings and lines right. The rear has a couple of very minor dents, but going strong. I would not bother with anything else.
  • 2 0
 @AJ420 Jizzy crizzy I like a little lift every now and then but a 4" drainpipe? That's going overboard mate Razz
  • 3 0
 Forget DH wheelsets, they can't build a set of trail wheels without having them go baggy. My EX23s had to go back after 3 or 4 rides because the front wheel was rubbing on the inside of my fork in even minor corners. I like Superstar, have been running their stem for two years and the Nano pedal for longer, the pedals in particular are a quality item, but I reckon Stans and Hope can have my business next time I'm in the market for a wheelset, despite Superstar's very tempting Christmas prices.
  • 6 0
 Even 2 years after it happened, I'd never ever buy another set of wheels from Superstar (or any product from them tbh).

I ordered a DH wheelset with a build and delivery estimate of ~3 days. 3.5 weeks later I was still waiting (having paid etc). And only got them after many many emails as they never answered their phone.

When the wheels arrived the rims were scratched and the wheels totally out of true (by a *long* way). They never replied to my complaint or warranty emails and left me high and dry. I had to go to a LBS to put them right.

The 200mm rotors I bought from them at the same time warped after 2 rides (despite determined efforts I could not get them straight), and the rotor bolts were so soft it was nearly not possible to torque them correctly without warping them.

I was left with a very bitter taste, and a boat full of buyer's remorse.
  • 3 0
 "since I had not floated like a plastic bag caught in an eddying wind current, the loss is my problem" haha
  • 2 1
 I have a superstar dhx wheel set with my shortys on (hate changing tyres) and they have been amazing. Abit heavy but have ran them very low pressures in the alps, revolution bike park and all over the uk and they're fine. Only noticed this weekend I had quite a few loose spokes and the rim is still straight
  • 1 0
 Who did you get to rebuild the wheel? LBS Did you reuse the superstar hubs?
  • 1 0
 I think many people see Superstar wheels as kind of 'part built' - They are super cheap because they are built quickly so expect to have to either true them yourself or take them to a shop and have them tensioned. As for Superstars other parts, some of them are good, some of them utter catalogue crap. Their current plan seems to be copying as many parts as possible from other manufacturers and making them themselves in-house, so at least if they copy things and make them to tolerance there could be some cheap versions of good product in the future. However, I would never purchase another thing from the company due to how much of a complete tool the owner is, how rude they are to customers via e-mail and facebook and how poor their warranty support is.
  • 1 0
 @llarrggee: I rebuilt them using the original Superstar hubs and Sapim spokes. I really liked the choice of spokes, apart from the need to buy a spoke nipple wrench (yes, that's what they're called. Long pokey socket looking f*cker) to relace them.
  • 1 0
 @ThomDawson: accidentally cut a corner too what at silverstar
  • 1 0
 Another supporter of Stans Flows. I ride a mixture of park and trail and weigh about 100kg. I have beaten and thrashed my Flow ex's and they are still in good shape. 29er too.
  • 24 1
 I don't think "It is NS' first carbon frame" is a consideration as very few companies make their own carbon frames (or even aluminium frames). The carbon Snabb could be made by a company that has been making composite bikes for twenty years. Or not. Santa Cruz didn't/don't make their frames either.

I'm sure someone will enlighten us with the origin of that frame.
  • 7 0
 Manufacturing is one thing, but carbon construction is quite complex so the development has to be properly done as well. But there are companies where you can outsource that part too...
  • 6 1
 Very valid point, NS dont have their own lay-up facility. It would be done by a competent thrid party. Plus if Sam Pilgrim rides one, im going to wager its robust!
  • 10 0
 @sean9002: spot on regarding mfg, however your comment of Sam Pilgrim riding one holds no true bearing on the production model. Prime examples: SC/Syndicate has been developing the v10 for an eternity with only short periods on frames that could be considered production. KHS has had their DH bike available to the public for the last several yards and yet the bikes Kevin Aiello and Logan Bingglie ride literally only share a resemblance of the production models. On the flip side, there are a great many pro level riders riding production bikes, but those bikes don't always survive. Those pro riders are just being fed as many bikes as they need to stay afloat. I've been on many pre production bikes that resemble the production model but have such major alterations hidden between the lines it is no longer the same bike. point I'm making is take any pro riders opinion of a bike with a large grain of salt, as they likely are not riding production or are being fed volumes of replacement frames. my 2 cents.
  • 3 1
 After Joe McEwan's recent remarks regarding carbon and the V10 I am even more reluctant to buy carbon. Paying through the nose for 'agricultural' lay up techniques and for what actual benefit? Minuscule weight savings... From what I can tell if a carbon bike is any good it's not through design but more a stroke of luck. I'm happy with my honest, welded tubes.
  • 11 0
 I ran Mavic 729s for about 3 or 4 years and they were bombproof, though a bit on the heavy side I think. I wouldn't hesitate to pick them up again for a DH bike. They survived a nasty side-on collision with a rock that dented the rim-wall inwards, but still ran fine for 2 years after that.
  • 27 1
 Flow MK3 + Hope gets my vote (and will be my next wheelset)
  • 16 12
 I vote for DT 240S and Flow MK3. Or the upcoming DT EX511 which should be more solid than Flows.
  • 4 0
 @fartymarty: just got mine built up and ohhhhhhhh are they ever nice!!! As the kids say, "they're dope"
  • 5 0
 Dt ex 471 on hadley has been a great combo for me!
  • 10 0
 Saving weight on DH wheels kinda seems like the wrong approach to me, but then I'm north of 220 lbs... my priorities are: #1 strength, #2 price, #3 everything else.
I've had great luck with several sets of Azonic Outlaws for my 26'er needs over the years. Have not tried their 27.5 offering.
Very heavy and Very cheap ( $300 for the set).
Decent colors and I appreciate their flexible hub width/diameter setup. I *do not* appreciate their shitty stickers that take a couple of hours to peel off and de-gunk.
  • 1 0
 I've had good luck with Mavics as well. I've had a set of 325's and a set of 729 and just pounded on both and they always held up very well. Like you said not the lightest, but just very solid rims.
  • 3 0
 @fartymarty: same here! Just had flow mk3 on hope pro 4! I have a set of carbon rims on dt240s and while they are stiff and light I would rather ride the flows! They just seem to offer such fast pick up and have great compliance, it feeels like I have 20mm more travel in my suspension
  • 1 0
 @adamsemmens: May I ask which rims? I'm trying to find some DH worthy carbon hoops.
  • 2 0
 I run dt swiss ex471 rims on novatec hubs..one whole year of races (including val di sole master wc) and zero issues..
My advice..lace with brass nipples, as supplied dt swiss ergal nipples break in the heads..
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: down voted again for a pretty std. comment. Oh well...Smile
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I run 240s on Flow mk3s and they are awesome.
  • 4 0
 Spank spoon wheels, Little bit heavy but indestructible. Hope/flow also indestructible but pricier and light, good for DH but your should avoid major f^ck ups.
  • 2 0
 @vic690: Nice rim.

The ex 471 rim came stock on a dT wheel set on my DH rig. Was worried about it at first as it was on the lighter side for a DH rim. Then saw, who was it, Gwin, ride this rim naked down a course and through the finish line. Its held up great for me and I'd replace it with the same when it dies. Width is plenty for a 2.5 Magic Mary which is huge
  • 2 0
 729 are the only rim iv never been able to wreck. iv even bent forks and sent derrailers into the the back wheel for a spin and both rims with hope hubs survived no problems . dam heavy tho.
  • 1 0
 I spend all my Dh days on mavic 729 and recently brougt a rear flow mk3. The bike feels better (light and lively) but the rim just survived a few runs on real DH track. Mavic's alloy is stronger and double eyelet makes a big difference.
  • 2 2
 I bought a set of 729s for one reason. Never ever worry about fkng up a rim.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I say DT 350,much more value
  • 1 1
 @lenniDK: i have dt 350 upgraded with 36t ratchett. Dt240s is like hope or chris king. Forever
  • 1 0
 @slowrider73: Hell yeah! Same here, 3 seasons in and just now rebuilding the rear after about 100 rides, front is fine still.
  • 1 0
 I'm still on my set of Flows with Hope Pro II Evo hubs from 2011! Never trued the wheels, just took the freehub body off once and cleaned and greased the paws and springs. That's it. The weight is nice too, with 1864 grams with rim tape.
  • 1 0
 @tcmitchell: I have a set of light bicycle rims built up on dt240s hubs with bladed spokes and they come in at 1550g complete and I tend to use them for more trail riding which is why I had the flows on hope built as I wanted a hard charging set to go on my enduro bike for uplift days or riding in areas that have more aggressive trails! That being said if the light bicycle rims where built up with thick gauge spokes then they would be a pretty tough set but not sure if dh strength, they do however now do a dh specific rim
  • 1 0
 @adamsemmens:
iv got some light bike dh rims now and they are deffo upto it, not ex729 indestructible but way obviously lighter and stiffer . I've put some cracks in the bead hook and snapped plenty of spokes but the rims are still going fine. payed for themselfs and a amazing ride for me.
  • 14 2
 "I'll assume by the fact you ride a YT Tues that you have no bike shop allegiance"... dems fighting words! LOL! I "assume" you didn't mean that.
  • 5 0
 Hope hubs, Halo rims. Buy UK...
  • 5 2
 Yeah, I thought that was a pretty brutal way to start
  • 3 0
 @KuroHada: I second the Halo option, for reasons of tight budget, I've ridden their wheels for years and they're tough as hell. Zero maintenance apart from the odd true and they've seen me right for a long time. Even their budget hubs have been reliable and trouble free.
  • 2 0
 @KuroHada: Halos are indestructible. I have tried.
  • 8 1
 Why not lace a good rim on a Shimano hub? Considering the price of a decent hub with cartridge bearings, even XT hubs are cheap. Yes you need to service them every now and then, but it is one of the easiest things to service on a bike. And they hold up quite well if you just stay clear of the jetwash. Every time a see a WC mechanic jet wash one of these top level bikes it makes me cringe.
  • 1 0
 +1 for shimano hubs. Solid and reliable, chuck some fresh grease in there every now and then and they can last for a very long time. They're cheap but the rear hubs are not light as they almost all use a steel axle. But it's better to save money on some shimano hubs than cheap out on a rim for sure. I've found the dimensions are very similar to DT hubs so you can swap out the hub later on without needing new spokes. Plus centerlock rotors are amazing.
But I think pro bike mechanics are well aware of the risks of using a pressure washer. It is possible to wash a bike with a pressure washer without ruining it. Besides they take the grease out of hubs and spin the bearings out to within an inch of their lives to give the least possible rolling resistance.
  • 1 0
 Keep in mind the WC mechanics are basically completely tearing down and are building those bikes on a daily basis on a race weekend. After they power wash it they take every part off and clean/regrease it by hand.
  • 1 0
 I never had Shimano hubs, but I know "cup and cone" hubs and I hate them, it's a PITA to adjust them so there's no play but also minimum friction. It's cheap to do maintenance but I rather spend some money on a bearing press and adaptors than to deal with that.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: Yeah, I'm aware of that. Pretty nuts to think of actually. Qualities like low maintenance and durability that are important to the regular customer those components are aimed at don't mean a thing on the WC circuit. The jet wash drives dirt past the lip seals in the opposite direction so it is still worse than doing nothing at all.

@passwordpinkbike Shimano hubs aren't particularly hard to service. Sheldon Brown wrote some nice tips to help you out and if I recall correctly there has been an article on PB as well (workshop Wednesday or something). Compared to truing a wheel (which has to be done to pretty much any wheel) it is a very quick and easy job.
  • 4 0
 Shimano hub - never fricking again. Just because they work fine if you service them twice a year and then carefully watch if they need any readjustment doesn't mean that I want to take part in such process Smile
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: To each their own. I hate the idea of getting an expensive bearing press just for that specific hub, for the few times I need to replace the bearings. Cone spanners are cheap, even compared to the hubs they're to be used on.
  • 1 1
 Shimano hubs = play... always, cone wrench is your best friend with them. No thank you DT's or Hopes and nothing else matters.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: what press? you can change a bearing with a hammer and a socket also a flat screwdriver will help.
  • 2 0
 @b-wicked: never had a single problem with play on any of my shimano hubs from old LX to new XTR. I smell user error. Adjusting the bearing preload is one of the simplest things on the bike and a feature you don't get with cartridge bearings. There is something nice in the simplicity of a cartridge bearing hub but cup and cone isn't the devil most seem to think it is. If you're cabable of tightening a nut then you're capable of adjusting cup and cone hubs, there's nothing more to it. At least the cassette doesn't fall off every time you take he wheel out (Hope). As I said before they are solid and reliable and cheap to maintain, there's nothing not to like and leaves more room in the budget for decent spokes and a good rim.
  • 1 0
 @ThomDawson: I don't ride them i service them for money it's my bread... As long as there cones and shimano I will have my bread. Otherwise there are DT's Hopes and all other manufacturers and with thos you only can clean and lubricate ratchets... Cones are good, for road racing and track...
  • 1 0
 @b-wicked: people don't own a set of cone spanners but everyone owns a hammer ;-) besides the vast majority of bikes that come through shops for repair will be cup and cone.
I agree they're good for road and track but they're also good for anyone who wants to reduce rolling resistance - pro dh mechanics use drills to spin out hub bearings to 'wear them in' which is basically wearing them out, they'll last one or two runs then poop. Rolling resistance is a thing in mtb too. I'm not here to tell people cup and cone is better just that both systems have merits and it's not good verses evil as so many people believe.
  • 2 0
 @ThomDawson: i think you just took it one step too far with rolling resistance. You'd be good at selling ceramic bearings Wink

Cup and cone bearings get loose or seize all the time. I did my best to take care of my xt wheels yet both died. Front due to getting seized in the bikepark and I noticed it after coming home (like most 20mm Shimano hubs die) and rear because it git loose and I ignored it for two rides, thinking: oh it's just a minor play.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I tried so hard, they got so slick, but in the end those axle threads were stripped ...
  • 3 0
 Cup and cone / Yankee screwdriver / mangle / sodastream / cd / wank mags /steam tractor...still work but we've moved on.
  • 2 0
 @Earthmotherfu: I am as far from a Luddite as anyone could ever be. In this case I don't see newer as any improvement over OG cup and cone. I see two different systems that both do the same job, both work as well as one another and which both require routine maintenance to keep sweet. I should point out that my hubs are sealed cartridge but if the same hubs were cup and cone I wouldn't think twice - it isn't something I'd base my hub choice on.
@WAKIdesigns I admit I let the rolling resistance thing run away with me but it's one feature you don't get with sealed bearings, of course, there are also merits of sealed you don't get with cup n cone.
In over ten years I've never had a problem using shimano hubs but I dig that some may have done - I tried Hopes for a while and had a similar experience to you and your XTs - I now steer well clear of anything from Hope. But I must have just been very unlucky since so many people think they're awesome. Or maybe they've never tried a good old shimano cup and cone Razz
  • 1 0
 @ThomDawson: I remeber the days when I had shimanos, any hard riding got them loose over short time so you needed to adjust the play out of them, right now i'm banging DT's for a second season did't done anything with them yet. Also I got myself a Scott dirtjump hardtail that had cup and cone hubs on it in stock, at first I thought I could get away with them for a wile. Silly me third ride and they got a nice amount of play so will be getttin some hopes cause they are the best choise if you need a robust SS hub from my point of view... Maybe it is from riding style i'm harsh on my bike.
  • 1 0
 @b-wicked: riding style could well be a factor. I chose Zee hubs for my dj bike over cup and cone for the rock solid axle and reliability. I have experienced the play you guys mention but in my experience it's just a breaking in period - I readjust after two rides and they're good. As you can imagine those Zees took a beating on such a bike, lots of cases and wonky landings but after that initial adjustment they were solid and I'd chose them again for a bike that's gonna get thrown around. I've seen Hope axles shattered into pieces used on similar bikes. My own Hopes had play from the start which then obviously got worse and there's nothing the user can do about out of tolerance shells with cartridge bearings besides ask Hope nicely to fix it (only to be told I was making it up!). I think Hope believe their own hype. They gained popularity during an era of bright anodising and there was enough hype that people started think they were actually good hubs when in fact they are cheap cnc from soft aluminium and a poor design. But now I'm really getting off topic...!
  • 2 0
 @ThomDawson: i had Hope hubs twice. The freehub with cassette fall off on any given chance, bearings are better now but on Pro-Ii they were mediocre. Noise is annoying as hell to me. Finally their freehub is made of cheese alloy and works only with cassettes with large spiders. So you need to get the steel freehub which put it into weight range of all Shimano hubs save XTR. And sorry if a rear hub weighs 420g then it should not cost more than 50£. I'm no weight weenie but Shimano hubs and cassettes are over the edge for me... especially given that xtr rear hub costs as much as DT 240s which is a work of hub art.

Also with shimano hubs you are stuck to hub standard.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: glad I'm not the only one that finds Hopes overrated! I agree that Shimanos aren't light, for me that's their only downfall. And also that the XTR is overpriced. I'm using DTs these days but I'll still go with Zee or Saint on a DJ bike every time, they're just so solid. If shimano managed to bring their weights down I'd put them on my pedal bike too. I think we can agree that the 240s is pretty much the gold standard!
  • 1 0
 @ThomDawson: I only interested in Hope 4 ss hubs cause it is only one with steel freewhel for single speed cog (ther is also Profile and King but both have some problems Smile ), not a fan of cheesy alu freewheel either, and yes Hope had flaws in the past. For any other bike it's only DT with XD for me solves every problem, rolls fast and has nice sound.
  • 7 0
 @shiremux
@vernonfelton

I just built up a Snabb Carbon. No way have I had the chance to ride as many bikes as the editors here, but I've been working on and selling bikes for 7 years and riding them a lot longer. Carbon can be either good or bad. My last bike was carbon but geo sucked and the flexy rear triangle was awful. Enter the Snabb Carbon. Buying one sight unseen was a risk, but one that I'm so so glad I took. The fit and finish on the frame are excellent, the hardware for the pivots and shock are proper sized and proper material for the application. The carbon front and carbon seat stays are very stiff and the aluminum chainstays are also proper sized. Really well though out cable routing with full guide tubes for rear brake, dropper, and rear der as well as the option for external routing. I went the custom build route and did a 170 lyrik, new mk3 flow wheels, raceface bar stem and cranks, e13 tires, shimano brakes/drivetrain and lev dropper. Its not light, but it's also not heavy. Another thing I love is that on the top rocker, they used bearings to combat the bushing twist on a vertically oriented 4 bar bike. Feels very good with the monarch plus debonair. I broke it in on some of the hardest, steepest, most down hill bike worthy trails in the South East and it was incredible. My previous two bikes were 27.5 carbon enduro bikes and this one is in another league. Geo is spot on, the long wheelbase was excellent for the steeps, and the suspension is plenty supportive. Long story short, the Snabb Carbon is an incredible bike that should rival the big guys. Buy one!
  • 3 0
 Thanks for your in depth answer, by saying "broke it in" you mean you broke in the shock or u cracked the frame? Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @shiremux:
Broke it in must be an American expression. Just means it was my first ride on it so it was my first time getting used to it and seeing how it feels. Its a really awesome bike so if you can get a good deal on one you won't be disappointed.
  • 5 0
 I ride a carbon fiber rocky mountain element and i weight over 270lbs with gear on and ive never felt better on a bike, i was concerned about weight resrictions on carbon fiber figuring id snap a carbon fiber bike like nothing but i was very wrong i love my carbon bike
  • 6 1
 as many bike manufacturers have said over the years carbon can be very strong, if you build it right, its cheap tat that gives it a bad name
  • 5 0
 My YT Tues came with YT-specific rims - DT Swiss YT2020. At a recent DH race, I showed someone at the DT Swiss booth these YT2020 rims, and they quickly identified them as being based on the rims used for the FR-1950 Classic wheelset. Which is not a bad deal. If your YT's got the same ones...they are probably already a pretty good rim. I've not been able to figure out what the hubs are though, yet. Need to take em apart.
  • 1 0
 Hey man, did you ask them about how they hold a bead tubeless? I've been considering setting up my Tues tubeless to run a little lower pressure and save some weight.
  • 1 0
 @TheRiddleofSteel: I didnt think to ask! Darn.
  • 7 0
 Props to Pinkbike for recommending an affordable wheelset.
  • 4 0
 Mavic 729's are heavy, but so reliable. Been riding em for like 4 years now, Im amazed they have survived some of the nastiest crashes. I even rode em with broken spokes through steep rocky terrain.
  • 1 0
 Hell yeah I have a set that I rode all the way down from the top of Angelfire with 4 spokes broken in the rear.
  • 1 0
 If those fail they just blast into pieces, otherwise they are always straight. Had D321 in the past 3 meter drops to flat no problemo Big Grin
  • 3 0
 Just one more question for you..do you prefer wheels trued with low spokes tension or high spokes tension ?? Elastic or stiff wheel ??
I attended to a lesson with Dave Garland and he suggest to build it with very low tension..i tried but i really can't deal with it..
  • 2 0
 If you don't want to have to true your wheel after every ride then run em tight!
  • 2 0
 @studers: i think hes asking if you should do the truing and dishing while the spokes are at low tension, and then tighten to full tension. the answer is yes, with a final truing touchup after final tensioning.
  • 1 0
 Sorry i have not explained good Smile ..
I meant Dave told to run wheels with very loose spoke tension in order to let the wheel flex..he told that a hi tensioned wheel is really bad for dh use..
my younger teammate was supported from him last year and used Marcelo Gutierrez wheels built from Dave..very low spoke tension and incredibly they had no need for frequent truing..
I tried it but didn't like the feeling..
  • 2 0
 @vic690: When I spoke to Nigel, Stevie Smiths mechanic last year he said they had been back tensioning the wheels so they tracked the ground better providing more grip, personally I build my wheels tight AF so they have very little flex
  • 1 0
 @studers: thanks mate
  • 3 0
 wow, Cheers PB for in depth answer, didn't expect that! Anyway, i've ordered the frame shortly after i asked the question, it is almost completed now, waiting for some mounting hardware and im done! Bike seems build very well, one thing that makes me worry is that i can see carbon "patches" on the frame, probably bad paint finish or what, i hope this wont affect performance.
  • 2 0
 HI, if by "carbon patches", you mean, square edges and right angles beneath the lacquer? It's nothing to worry about, just the way that the frames are made. Carbon is made from layering sheets of material. This is what you can see. Hope that helps
  • 1 0
 @jiminthestix: Yes, exactly, some of them are square, some are irregular like a splash, dunno how to say it
  • 7 1
 Looking at Spank Spike Race 33's for my next DH wheelset. Thoughts?
  • 3 0
 Can anyone shed some light on the pros/cons of using an adjustable-angle headset vs offset shock bushing to alter a bikes head angle? I'm curious to know if there are specific reasons for using one method vs the other.
  • 4 0
 I only have experience with offset bushing. Both will push fork out and drop bottom bracket. But do it differently. One does it by dropping front, other does it by dropping back. I chose the offset bushing because i wanted to feel more in the bike compared to on top. Shifting weight back, not forward. Feels great and love the geo. Just have to make sure your suspension still has clearance to fully work after the change. Went with Offsetbushings.com and very pleased.
  • 6 0
 An angleset will really only change your head angle and will have minimal affect on other characteristics of your bike. Offset bushings reduce the eye to eye length of your shock so they mimic making your bike sit lower into it's travel, as if you were running more sag without losing any travel. This results in a lower bottom bracket and depending on your bikes suspension design could change the way it works. I have used both, I currently have a single offset bushing on my process 134 and combined with a 150mm fork I really like the results.
  • 3 2
 I have used offset bushings on my bike and found them noisy to the point i swapped them back out. I have a Slackeriser headset from SS on my bike now and love it, makes the bike much more stable and makes no noise.
  • 2 1
 Also consider that often when someone slacks out the front end with an angleset they tend to simultaneously go with a longer travel fork to 1. take advantage of the more gravity oriented HA and 2. get the BB and other geo elements closer to original spec. I'm not sure I would slacken a front end, at least significantly, without changing out the fork too. Personal opinion, totally depends on the bike in question and how it will be ridden. Conversely, my old SX trail had a dual position rear shock mount and it was a noticeably different bike in the slacker setting... more DH oriented, but I did have more pedal strikes on trail.
  • 2 0
 @robwhynot: I get more pedal strikes to be fair.

Mine is 160 F & R
  • 2 0
 Dirt had an article recently where they said that the steel single pivot enduro bike they tested was faster downhill than any of the full carbon wonder bikes. There are amazing bikes made from all sorts of materials but it shows that carbon isn't the best all and end all of materials when it comes to mountain bike performance. Sam hill also won an easy on an aluminium bike last season. Carbon bikes are amazing but it isn't the only option for performance
  • 5 0
 I hope they reseat the bead on that Schwalbe tyre before hitting the park.
  • 2 0
 Good catch, haha. Didn't even notice that.
  • 4 0
 that's the "ghetto tubeless" split tube rim strip that is coming out the side, not the bead.
  • 4 0
 Watch some Sam Pilgrim videos on his carbon Ns Snabb and u will see this frame is awesome in every aspect.
  • 11 0
 Or.... wait for it..... maybe Sam is awesome in every aspect.
  • 2 0
 @WasatchEnduro: so… You're thinking its the rider?
  • 2 0
 @WasatchEnduro: I think Sam is an awesome rider ( He is truly one of my favourites riders) but I also think Snabb is an awesome bike. I mean He proves than that bike can take a beating.
It is anything wrong in that? I know that good rider can do almost anything on any bike.
If I was a little bit a*shole in the previous comment, just sory Smile
  • 4 0
 The sad thing is I never ended up gettting that frame Frown
  • 2 0
 Look towards new brand starling cycles. Steel custom geometry bikes with engineered flex. Reviews say they ride like nothing else on the market
  • 2 0
 Please dont go with chinese cheap carbon, especially for downhill or hard hitting purpose... You'll be sorry like I did... ????
  • 1 0
 Absolutely go for FR570 rims if you want a bombproof wheelset. Had them on our rental bikes at Whistler and even the Joey's had a hard time denting let alone tacoing those hoops.
  • 1 0
 Dunno, I've always found dt swiss easy to dent. Dont think joyes are the right measure even though they often go full retard...
  • 1 0
 Don't know if its just me, but the first carbon bike the brand makes has "snap" written all over the headtube, cartoon-style, as if its just happening right there on screen. Uuuuh, thats so cynical, I LOVE IT!
  • 9 8
 Frame material aside, NS Snabb is a really cool bike. Rode it this summer and felt at home almost instantly. I am 178 and frame was Large.
  • 51 1
 It's funny, I've always pictured you as younger than that.
  • 1 0
 @metaam: Really? It's actually younger than I was thinking...
  • 16 0
 @metaam:

Trolls have a longer lifespan than us humans
  • 1 0
 @UtahBikeMike: that's so obvious and those Swedish cave trolls, omg they live for centuries...
  • 2 0
 Spank 345's all the way.. Fratelli industries has got the tech going on... Chris King, Hope hubs or DT swiss a nice choice.
  • 1 0
 Just used the 345's with Hadley hubs. Love those wheels!
  • 1 0
 I've loved every set of spank hoops I've had, that being said my atomlab DHR's were absolutely bombproof
  • 2 0
 This is the best "Ask Pinkbike" article I've seen yet. Nice job guys. Really solid answers. Thanks!
  • 1 2
 I have five modern mtn bikes.4 aluminum and the last a pivot mach 5.7. It will be 5 years old in Feb 2017.

This is what I have to say:
Eventually most all bikes will be made from carbon. Like the digital watch. The new technology is just better and will eventually be cheaper.
The most I or my friends have gotten out of an aluminum frame is 4 years. I;m edging up to 5 years on the Pivot with only a bottom linkage bearing change. And I average 200 days of riding a year.
  • 1 0
 In my opinion I would only say yes to buy a carbon frame is if you are going to race it cuz if not you don't need to spend so much for a little weight loss
  • 7 4
 Ratboys not retiring Smile
  • 1 0
 He is riding for the Steve Peat Syndicate I think.
  • 4 0
 check out his fb page, he has commented on a post saying, not to believe what claudio has said and that he is not retiring
  • 1 0
 @steve-sxt: awesome! Was gutted when Claudio said that
  • 3 0
 11 days till xmas...
  • 2 0
 Yes it is! On that note what bike stuff is everyone asking saint nick for this year!??
..........mine is a DVO TOPAZ rear shock in a 200×51/57 for my Devinci Troy. Please Smile
  • 2 0
 Winning lottery ticket!!!
  • 1 0
 @slowrider73: Just got one for my Tracer T275c DVO edition. It's badass. Thanks @DVOSuspension !
  • 2 0
 psa: carbon fiber is hella strong
  • 3 0
 Carbon smarbon.
  • 1 0
 My 729s on hope hubs have been going stron for 4 years. They're full of dents but still straight.
  • 1 0
 Mavic rims on hope hope hubs. Have that set up on both bikes, and will always use mavic rims with hope hubs.
  • 1 0
 For great wheels in the UK, i would suggest Sixth Elements on Pro 4s.
  • 1 1
 Flows are not DH rims? That's news to me. Didn't the Atherton run them for many seasons in WC?
  • 4 0
 Maybe but they also get their wheels rebuilt constantly by their own mechanic with brand new freaking rims. I've had Flows and like them, but they're definitely on the soft side. It's easy to get flat spots and I can trash a Flow rear rim in a season with 'normal' trail/am riding. Mavic tends to use a harder allow in my experience.

If I had a rim sponsor and my own mechanic I could get away with running AM rims on a DH bike too.

I guess racers prefer the acceleration of a lighter AM rim as long as it's strong enough to last a weekend at a time?

I'd steer the everyday rider away from Flows for DH use as they probably prioritize strength/reliability over weight and don't want to replace it multiple times throughout a season. The exception of course is a lighter weight rider and/or finesse riders who don't plow and case like the rest of us. Just cuz the pros run something doesn't mean it's best for the rest of us.
  • 1 0
 @WasatchEnduro: I've had a set of Flows on my Session for the past year and once you tighten the spokes, they rarely require a spoke tool. Have a set on my Nomad for the past couple of years as well with no problems.
  • 2 0
 Build your own wheels
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