|You make it sound like whip is some kind of elicit drug, something sold in dark alleys by shady characters in trench coats, but I guess the feeling of getting your bike sideways is pretty addicting. It's not entirely clear whether you're talking about a tail whip, where the bike revolves 360 degrees underneath you, or a 'regular' whip, which means getting the bike as close to a 90 degree angle above the trail before straightening out for landing. It's the straightening out part that's key - landing sideways puts extra stress on your wheels and frame, and could certainly cause a bent chainstay. The same goes for flat landings - the forces generated by landing a trick to flat are much greater than if you land on a smooth transition. Just because you can overshoot a jump doesn't mean you should - aim for that transition, and your wrists and bike will thank you.|
As for your potentially bent frame, I'd start by examining it closely for any cracks, bulges, or sections where the paint is discolored or flaking off. Spin the wheels - do they rotate freely, without any major wobbles? How about your spokes? Do they feel evenly tensioned? Are there any creaking or popping sounds when you pedal? You may want to swing by your local bike shop to have them take a look as well, but whatever you do try to avoid telling them you were "just riding along." If everything checks out, whip away to your heart's content, but try to refrain from those hucks to flat, unless you have a wad of cash lying around to replace the parts you're sure to break. - Mike Kazimer
|First, you are correct that the change in the ride quality can be noticed by many riders who switch to a stiff carbon rims after riding old wheels that have been beaten into submission, or new ones that are lighter weight or more flexible. Specialized aluminum and carbon rims tend to be very compliant (ever hear the "bawaanng" sound that comes from the change in spoke tension when you smack a Roval wheel on a rock?), so the switch to the wider Light Bicycle rims should not have been a subtle change in feel. That said, the effects of stiffer wheels are not as dramatic as pro riders and the press often insist, especially when using trail-bike-width tires at lower pressures and on a longer-travel chassis like the Enduro 29.|
My guess is that some of the firmness you are referring to is the added sidewall support that the wider rims give, which may require a reduction in low-speed compression on both ends of your suspension. I have experienced that as well. Also, you should expect more feedback through the handlebar because stiffer wheels and tires that don't tuck add up to much less lateral deflection. Ten millimeter wider bars may be the solution.
I have also noticed that the width of the sidewalls can exceed that of the edging blocks of some tires when they are mounted to wider rims. This can cause the tire to refuse to grip off-angle rocks and often to bounce laterally through rock gardens that the bike had previously held a tight line through. You may have to choose a different front tire that has more pronounced edging blocks up front to complete your conversion to 32mm-width rims. Also, you did not mention whether your tires were tubeless - they absolutely should be when paired with wide rims.
far as reducing spoke tension, I'd vote against that, because it dramatically reduces the lifespan of a wheel. Lighter gauge spokes at the correct tension would be a better solution. - RC
|First things first, you should be thankful that the swingarm failure wasn't catastrophic! Trawling the Pinkbike BuySell might be your only hope to find a spare part, or perhaps finding another complete Session frame to cut and shut the best parts together, and then have some spares left over for the future. Unfortunately, you are out of Trek's three year warranty for the Session, so you will struggle to get any more help from them. Welding could be an option, but would need an expert alloy fabricator who can heat treat the swingarm afterwards. Something to consider is that aluminium fatigues over time and becomes more brittle and likely to fail. There are various opinions on how long an alloy frame should, could or would last, but the swingarm failure may have been the "Canary in the coal mine" - a sign that the frame's lifespan has come to an end. If a lightweight aluminum race bike like the Session has suffered a full five years of downhill abuse from new, it's likely ready for retirement. - Paul Aston|
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