Ask Pinkbike: Fork Progression, Climbing Tips, and Broken Spokes

Jul 24, 2017 at 8:56
by Pinkbike Staff  
More Progression Needed

Question: Pinkbike user FlyHacker asked this question in the all-mountain, enduro, and cross-country forum: I have a 2015 Fox 34 FIT 160 fork that bottoms out too easily. When I opened it up to add some tokens I discovered that there is no mount on the underside of the top cap for them. How can I make the fork more progressive? Can I get a top cap that has the attachment slots for tokens like the newer Fox forks have?

bigquotesA fork that's overly linear can force you to run too firm of a spring rate in order to compensate, which often means that you have to compromise your small bump compliance and overall performance. Unfortunately, your 2015 Fox fork doesn't make use of the volume adjustment system like their newer forks, and the ID of the stanchion tubes on your 2015 34 is different to the 2016 forks so you can't just buy the newer top cap and volume spacers.

There is an easy way to get around this, though. Adding 5cc of oil to the spring leg to reduce the volume of the air chamber, which is an unofficial mod, is very common and effective at creating more ramp-up later in the fork's stroke. Your other option is to go with Push Industries' $80 USD Fox 34 Float Air Volume Kit that replaces your fork's top cap with a version that accepts one of three differently sized volume reducing spacers.
Mike Levy

Push Industries





Tips to Survive Long Climbs

Question: Benwalter22 says in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: The climbs have literally been killing me. I have a 2016 Ibis HD3 with a SRAM 1 x 11 drivetrain, 175mm crank arms, a 30t steel ring,and a SRAM 11-42t cassette. I frequently find myself wishing I had a lower gear for the long climbs. I’m fine with short and steep, but it’s those long ones that get me. I can’t seem to get my cadence high enough and find myself fighting for every stroke. My fitness can obviously always be better, however, I’m riding 3-4 days a week. While I have seen improvement, I still have to hike my bike in sections that really aren’t too bad.


bigquotesI was born a sprinter, so extended climbs have always given me trouble. There are a number of good coaching books that can tell you how to train for big climbs, so start there if you desire better fitness. For the meantime, I'll relate some tips I have learned over the years.

Gearing is important, tall riders with long leg bones can push monster gears and stay out of the saddle for miles, but most of us will have to find a low enough gear to keep our heart and lungs pumping under 80 to 90-percent while we make our way up the mountain. Try a 28 tooth chainring.

Get into a rhythm - two pedal strokes for an inhale and two for an exhale. Get a verse to a popular song going in your head to keep everything synchronized.

Pain and suffering is part of climbing. Most riders step off the bike because they believe that they will blow up after one more pedal stroke - wait until you actually do. Break up the hard parts of the ascent. Make deals with yourself: "Okay, I'll let you get off and push, but first, you have to make it to the next switchback." And when you do make it, set another goal... even if it's only ten more pedal strokes. Join small segments together and most of the time, you'll make it to the top.

Let the mountain come to you. The last ten percent of a big climb is not the hardest, because you know you're almost done - it's the middle part that kills you because you are unsure of how long you are going to suffer. Start your climbs with an easier gear than you think you'll need. Let the stronger riders pass on, and ease into a natural rhythm. Before you know it, you will be comfortably up-shifting to harder gears, and probably passing the early leaders, but don't get cocky and over-do it. Save a little for the end when you will be pedaling on will power.

The last tip is the most empowering. Sometime in the early season, pick a climb that is much larger than you (an adversary, if you will) that is not technical, so you'll have no excuse to get off and push unless you truly can't pedal another stroke. Climb until you make the summit, no matter what. If you must stop, stay where you are and start pedaling again. Once you top a hill that big, it will make the lesser climbs you will face throughout the season seem doable. 
RC


CG had a mechanical on day one and is now just riding for fun with his friends.
Huge climbs, like this transfer stage on the Andes Pacifico enduro race, reduce the best climbers to walking. It's part of mountain biking.





Riding With a Broken Spoke?

Question: Pinkbike user @Wildcat1214 asked this question in the Bikes, Parts & Gear forum:So I have a new wheelset on the way to replace my damaged one...but DHL screwed up the order and it is not going to be here by the time I will be going up to ride DH at Granby. I went to the LBS and they won't sell me the spoke without me paying for labor, and labor is $50 which I can't afford.

So the question is...can I ride with one spoke missing on the rear wheel without getting hurt? I get that it will mess up the wheel for good, and I'm fine with that. However, am I asking to get really hurt by riding with a broken spoke on the rear? I will retension all the other spokes as tight as I can, assuming that will help a little



bigquotes My first piece of advice would be to find another bike shop. There may be more to the story, but any good shop should be willing to sell you a single spoke without making you pay for labor. There's also the fact that $50 is a really high fee for a simple spoke replacement...

With that out of the way, let's get back to your question. Can you ride with a spoke missing? Yes, you can, assuming the remaining spokes are tensioned properly, and that your rim is in acceptable condition. I'd strongly suggest replacing the spoke instead – after all, the spoke should only be a few dollars, and installation shouldn't take more than 30 minutes, even factoring the time it takes to watch a tutorial video.

If you do decide to ride with the spoke missing, you'll want to add a little tension to the spokes on either side of the missing one, but there's no need to go through with your plan to tighten all of them as much as you can – that's a recipe for stripped nipples, and possibly even more broken spokes. 
Mike Kazimer

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191 Comments

  • + 84
 dam. 50 bucks for a spoke replacement. you honestly need a new bike shop. my bike shop used to charge 50 bucks for a whole wheel build. you could buy a load of oreos with the money you saved on buying a simple spoke at a different bike shop.
  • + 2
 I broke three spokes when I out of lazyness "forgot" to measure chain length. It took me two hours but I changed 16 out of 32 spokes, because I felt like it. Fresh wheel, no? Very true, yes, yes. Used two planks and two small ones in oak with two large screws and a silicone tube on the screw to measure rim diameter, etc.

It cost me £1 per DT Swiss Revolution spoke. I am not questioning their intelligence, or anything, but I would have bought those spokes somewhere else.
  • - 2
 That sounds right. The parts are under 10 bucks and the labour is an hours time charged for TRUING the wheel. If you want cheeper labour then learn how to fix your rides. I am saying this in the most respectful way I can muster as I respect the bike shops and their under payed mechanics.
  • + 81
 If the quote is $50 I'm guessing the words MAVIC and CROSSMAX are involved in there somewhere.
  • + 5
 @Fix-the-Spade: My pedal song is "I'm Stayinl Alive" Works every time...
  • + 8
 You say Granby, so I'm guessing local CO rider. There's no shortage of bike shops in Colorado, and most will replace a spoke for under $10, mine does it for free since I spend so much money on other shit. Post in the forums for some bike shop suggestions
  • + 3
 @madmon: A spoke replacement and true shouldn't take a professional mechanic more than 25-30 minutes unless the wheel is severely f*cked up. That's in line with the $25 labour my shop charges for a spoke replacement. It may be that the the spoke in question is on the rear driveside, most shops seem to charge like $15 or $20 to remove/install a cassette, which kinda sucks considering that the job takes about 2 minutes.
  • - 17
flag madmon (Jul 26, 2017 at 13:23) (Below Threshold)
 @mnorris122: that is one hour labour. no charges a half hour. That said go to mountain co-op for a better deal but at Dukes or other reputable shops don't be surprised to pay a REAL wage.
  • - 11
flag madmon (Jul 26, 2017 at 13:25) (Below Threshold)
 @mnorris122: Mark reality is not 2 minutes.lol.
Ask first about the total cost or don't complain about the bill.
  • + 43
 $50 is reasonable; The shop is likely including the labor to swap the tire, sealant, and rim tape in addition to removing the cassette and disk rotor. Wrestling a 14 gauge DH spoke through a 4x spoke pattern is a hassle. Not to mention most DH rigs are clapped out piles of filthy crap. Ya'll cray.
  • + 14
 @madmon: It takes about 20 seconds to get a cassette off, and a 1 minute 30 seconds at most to install a cassette with a bunch of individual cogs.
  • + 14
 @Broth-Ratchurch: exactly, I see nothing wrong with paying mechanics a living wage for their time and expertise.
  • + 59
 all of you guys are getting this wrong. its not about the spoke. its about the Oreos.
  • + 19
 @Broth-Ratchurch: you are spot on, especially as this customer sounds like they are in a hurry.

That said, they should still sell him the damn spoke for $1-2 and tell him in no uncertain terms that they have no responsibility whatsoever besides giving him the right length if things go south.
  • + 1
 $50 for a spoke replacement is not reasonable, it's highway robbery. All the attempted justification I the world can't change the fact that is a stupid price for a spoke replacement.
  • + 106
 As a professional mechanic with 20 years experience, I'm sick of hearing people say shops charge too much. If you know axactly how much time, tools, and materials it will take to get the job done, then you should be doing it yourself.

Most shops employ inexperienced seasonal mechanics in an effort to keep costs to a minimum. They can't have some 17 year old with three months experience doing hourly labor estimates. They rely on a list of flat rate charges that are the average between best-case and worst-case scenarios.

A mountain bike rear wheel spoke replacement is typically a very time consuming job. With some luck, I can use the old nipple and leave the tire on, but often the nipple is roached or fallen inside the rim. So that means a tire removal, tape removal, cassette and rotor removal, clean sealant off the rim, replace spoke and true wheel, tape the rim, install tire with sealant, install cassette and rotor. Without interruption I can do all that in an hour if everything goes smooth. How much do you think it costs to pay for an hour of salary, rent, utilities and insurance?

As for not selling the guy a single spoke, something must have got lost in translation. Any shop will sell you a spoke. Maybe they didn't have that spoke in stock (there's thousands of variations) and did not want to order it without doing the whole job. Spokes typically come in bulk, not singles. Ordering a $50 wholesale box of spokes for a $1-2 sale is bad business unless the shop typically stocks that size.

If something doesn't add up when you're at a bike shop, either you're ignorant of the whole picture, or you need to ask more questions/talk to someone there with more experience. Shops operate on tiny profit margins overall. They may occasionally bill 30 minutes for a ten minute job, but that's the exception. Bikes get more complex and require more skill, training, research and tools every year to service and repair. Experianced bike mechanics are currently underpaid (and no, beer does not help us pay our bills, so start tipping for excellent service with cash money) and if people keep whining about the cost, good luck when your fancy bike breaks and all the good mechanics have moved on to decent paying careers.
  • + 22
 What a "spoke replacement" entails:
Tubeless tire + tape + sealant install- $20
Cassette install- $15
Rotor install- $15
All that on top of a wheel true (+ actually installing the spoke)
$50 sounds about right to me..
If you are trying to save money remove the cassette and rotor, then completely undo your tubeless conversation, remove one spoke (not the broken one), take that spoke in and then re install everything yourself. If you can't do that, then sorry ur gonna have to eat $50 if you want it done right.
  • + 2
 My last spoke replacement cost $20, 15min of workshop time and a spoke. Most of the time went on truing the wheel.

The nipple was still in place and I was hanging out anyway so I did the rotor while there.

Perfect way to make sure your job gets done first!
  • + 2
 @Broth-Ratchurch: the whole point is the kid couldnt get the spoke unless the shop installed it from what i gathered not the price of the installation itself. The kid is cheap like me and would rather do it himself like i would do.
  • + 1
 @AutumnMedia: My pedal song is "long hard road out of hell"
  • + 5
 @ripplemuncher: I do my own work, but I find it pretty naive to say that if something doesn't add up, it is the customer that is the problem. There's plenty of shops doing shoddy work and ripping you off while doing it. I won't even get into the crazy markup for merchandise. Most shops seem to be like you and talk to customers like we are retarded and they pretty much don't ever get any of my business.

It's been fun learning how to wrench on my own bike and I save thousands of dollars buying equipment online.
  • + 5
 @IronBender: I don't disagree with you that some shops do shoddy work and bill a lot for it, but merchandise is one place where people are absolutely not being ripped off. Hell, shops in my town don't even keep merch anymore because everyone comes in, tries a jersey on, and the buys it for $7 less on Amazon. Markups on merchandise exist because running a bike shop is expensive, and you need to make money somewhere. I guarantee you the guy you buy your jersey from on Amazon makes more money on it than your LBS does.
  • + 4
 @ripplemuncher: exactly. I can't see a shop selling a guy a single spoke but charging labour for something they are not doing. Something has not been explained. Coincidently, I just did the same repair to my wife's wheel. She lent the bike out and it comes back with a broken spoke. Probably a stick or something as it broke in the middle. But cassette, rotor, tire and rim tape had to come off, nipple fell in the cavity and had to be shaken out, spoke installed, wheel trued, new tape more sealant and done. Maybe took 30 minutes. Agreed though, too often bike mechanics are not respected.
  • + 1
 Call up Granby and speak to Wes, I'm betting he would get a new spoke on your wheel and have you rolling in no time, and not charge you $50 either. Got me back on the hill many times.
  • - 1
 That is very insane price for a spoke replacement. As a shop owner/mechanic I charge abt 2 bucks for a single spoke and abt 15 labor, so no more than 20 on an average wheel. And if someone was to bring me a box of Oreos as a tip I probably wouldn't charge for the spoke and maybe even knock a few bucks off the labor haha.
  • - 1
 @madmon: underpaid mechanics is a result of not enough business. Not even business may very well be a result from price gouging (I would know these facts, I am an automotive technician). Charge half that and gain a return customer and make more money in the long run. In this guys case, I would find a new shop as well. These bicycle mechanics aren't flat rate, labor should be negotiable.
  • + 4
 He just wanted a spoke.
  • + 0
 Such an American response. Cuz mechanic and wheelbuilders deserve to make only minimum wage, it's not like it requires skill or talent
  • + 3
 @rumblefish255: you must have a pretty low overhead shop. charging that low of labor might win you some friends, but I know my boss couldn't pay the rent charging rates like that, much less the employee wages.
  • + 2
 @Fix-the-Spade: learnt my lesson there, £180 for a rim/spoke replacement after cracking the rim :0
  • + 2
 @RGonz: That's why I stopped going to bike shops for most repairs. It might take me 5 minutes to pop a rotor and cassette on. $30 to do that?
  • + 1
 @ripplemuncher: I do agree with you, since I have worked on bike shops when I was 16-18. But there are so many mechanics that just treat all clients as garbage (although some do deserve it), that it is easy to understand the frustration so many people have with bike shops. Besides as the way people buy bikes and parts has shifted, the LBS turns ever more into a service shop, since buying on line is so much cheaper...
  • + 2
 @madmon: to remove and reinstall a cassette? Even I can do that in 2min and I'm an idiot
  • + 1
 @TwoWheelMike: that's what I have to charge to stay competitive. All the other shops around me charge abt the same for comparable service.
  • + 3
 @Broth-Ratchurch: "clapped out piles of filthy crap" you described all the bikes I've ever owned
  • - 1
 @shredteds: Merchandise has always been a gigantic rip off. I can think of no other industry that I participate in that tries to bend the customer over so badly. It is seriously normal to see a 100-200% markup on parts. While I have never gone to a bike shop for clothing because it is such a rip off and I can go to REI and try on clothing and then purchase it there for the same online price, if you have to mark up your products 200%, then you should expect no one to ever buy it.
  • + 1
 @AaGro: I wanna live, I wanna love...
  • + 1
 repeat
  • + 3
 @IronBender: Who is charging 200% markup? Shimano makes us adhere to a 40% markup and Chain Reaction sells it for 5% over cost. When your overhead is 25-30% on a good day, you don't have to do the math on how hard it is to pay your rent and pay your employees a living wage with health insurance.
  • + 1
 @IamSeaDevil: I live in Fruita and the last time I called local shops about an oval chain ring, a couple did actually have an unbelievable 200% markup for the item. i wanted it right away for a trip I was about to go on, but it wasn't even close to worth it at that price.
  • + 1
 Sounds like owning a bicycle shop is a bad financial proposition and people should just watch a youtube video to find out how to replace a spoke and true a wheel on their own...
  • + 2
 @JDub713: Pretty much the reason why you can now find people making a living just building, tuning, and servicing wheels. That and suspension are really the only things anyone seriously into mtn biking can't easily figure out with a basic set of tools and even suspension and wheels can easily be walked through by watching videos and a small subset of specialty tools that will pay for themselves very quickly.
  • + 2
 @WaterBear: it takes that much time for someone with experience yea, the average Joe would still be struggling with how to use a chain whip. that's the point... Good fast work will cost you. Also tool wear is a real thing. Like I said above, you can save by doing it all yourself nobody's stopping you from watching a park tool how to vid or buying the latest edition of the big blue book of repairs.
  • + 55
 answers:
1. rigid fork
2. chairlift
3. yes, film it
  • + 3
 Wise words of wisdom , i heartily agree, esp no2 .
  • + 13
 Chairlifts are why we need progressive forks and have broken spokes. Small price to pay but worth it.
  • + 21
 Odds are, broken spoke guy went into the bike shop with his whole bike and asked for a spoke, but shop-guy didn't know the length. It is probably a rear-wheel, drive-side spoke. If it broke at the threads instead of the elbow (which can happen), the shop guy couldn't help without removing the rear wheel and cassette to get the spoke out to match the length. If he is running tubeless, it means removing the tire and rim tape to replace the nipple.

So, shop-guy was probably a bad communicator. He could have told his customer to come back with just the broken spoke, but didn't. $50 isn't unreasonable for the whole job (remove wheel, remove cassette, remove tire + rim tape, replace spoke + true, put everything back together).
  • + 22
 Someone is going to read #1 and put oil in a fork with a self-balancing air negative spring. That'll be fun for them..
  • + 8
 I came down here to post this exact thing.
  • + 1
 @Buggyr333: : is that the schraeder valve thing on older Boxxers and Lyrics? If so I've been there (blocked valve, stuck down in travel)!
  • + 16
 For the climber I would suggest a HRM. You'd be surprised how often you're probably running way too high of a heart rate and blowing up. Get the monitor and through experimenting find out what rate you can climb and still carry a conversation. When you start going too low, speed up, when you start getting to high, relax the pedalling. Obviously there are spots that will tax you but trying to keep your hr in that average will pay huge dividends over time.
  • + 7
 Putting in some road miles and developing your his spin would no doubt help
  • + 19
 Tips to Survive Long Climbs : dont be a pussy.
  • + 18
 Bonk out, throw up, rinse and repeat. Don't need no yuppy monitors to tell me how to do that
  • + 16
 The climbs are not literally killing you. Did you know it was proposed to change websters dictionary's definition of literally to mean not literally? Meaning people so often use the term incorrectly that it now means the opposite. Literally...
  • + 2
 strength work at the gym (i.e. squats), buying clips and developing spin cadence, and a bit of extra cardio on top of my normal 8km daily commute helped me conquer a 1300m 35km single day climb a year ago, and has fundamentally changed the way I look hills. each one is dwarfed by the memory of that beast - totally agree on that last point.
  • + 1
 @jlfskibikesail: As somebody who struggles with long climbs that are steeper than road grade, I've taken the "don't be a pussy" advice and just keep going. I'm not the fastest climber but I make it to the top because it's always worth it. Nobody wants to tell the story of how they almost made it or that they had to turn back.
  • + 3
 @Ride406orDie:
Climbing is part of (IMHO) real mountain biking. The mags and videos would have you believe that its all about lifts and shuttles, but most of us have to climb to earn the descent, or ride trails with short moderate climbs interspersed with down hill single track.

Pain and suffering. I hear that a lot here and in magazines. It's a workout. It's HARD WORK. Kind of sick of the pain and suffering verbiage. To me it is a turn off and not encouraging to those new to the sport. "Buy a new $4,000 bike and enjoy pain!" Who would sign up for that?

As for the actual climb. Cadence is everything. I've heard people on this forum poo poo the idea and say it is for roadies only. Probably the same people who can't pull off a long climb. Keep your cadence in the 80-90 strokes a minute range and you'll get to the top. If you have to stop, stop. Then ride again. Don't push the bike! 1, it sucks. 2, it actually takes more energy. 3, it doesn't help you get more ride fit.
  • + 14
 Long Climbs - I've been mulling this one over for at least... 4 years. And I believe I've come up with a truly novel take on the subject of long and/or steep climbs. It'll take some serious recalculation of the part of the industry and it'll be one of those topics that a number in the Pink Bike clan will never get used to. I call it "the triple chain ring". I know... I know... most bikes that are being produced are set-up for the "1 X whatever". But, I'm sure there are some smart folks working at various bike-frame manufacturers and after-market component manufactures that'll come up with the conversion kits. I even have the marketing phrase all worked out: "The Triple. Experience what you've been missing..."
  • + 11
 the double is even better. Ride on roads to the trailhead and climb the steepest hills.
  • + 7
 Or at least a double. I have 20-34 at the front and 11-34 at the back and the only thing i run out of is grip... Also, go tubeless. Massive difference when you shave weight at the rims.
  • + 2
 Not really related to the topic, but I've been wondering about the shift in weight in mountain bikes when cassettes got bigger and chainrings started disappearing. The difference between a Shimano XT 10 speed and 11 speed cassette is about 100 grams according to my quick research, so there's about 100 grams more weight distributed towards the rear. Combine this with the middle of the bike getting considerably lighter because of 1-2 less rings and a missing front mech, and you have a bike that's butt-heavier than one equipped with a 2x system. I do like the 1x's simplicity, and for now I prefer it over having a front mech.
  • + 3
 @racerfacer: 2x10 all the way!!!
  • + 1
 But what if i enjoy my chain actually staying on my chainring though?
  • + 2
 @warbird971: blackspire stinger!
  • + 2
 @warbird971: I've never had an issue with this since clutched derailleurs came about, and I ride some chunky stuff. Before clutched derailleurs I used a stinger, now I don't even bother.
  • + 1
 @cueTIP: no clutched derailleurs in 9 speed :-(
  • + 2
 @BenPea: pretty sure the cable pull ratio is the same so you could use a clutched 10 speed derailleur with a 9 speed shifter
  • + 1
 @chize: GTF out of here. Is this true? I'm sure i heard something different about 8 years ago. I'll check it out though.
  • + 1
 Turns out i would need one of these : www.sjscycles.co.uk/cables/jtek-shiftmate-6
Woulda been too easy.
  • + 1
 Strange, i'm doing squats and they seem to work much better.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: ah you're right. I know shimano 10 speed shifters work with an 11 derailleur (I'm running this setup) and I thought 9 speed was the same but it's not. Sorry to get your hopes up
  • + 1
 @chize: you exploited my failing memory... Doesn't matter, I have no chain loss issues with a normal 9 speed shadow and a stinger. Just thinking too much while injured...
  • + 13
 As someone who regularly climbs 1500-2500ft to get to the top of sweet singletrack, I wholeheartedly accept/agree with your advice. I have also heard an oval chainring is good for climbing, so maybe jumping to a 28t oval would help him also.
  • + 17
 Away from the bike, going to the gym and doing a load of squats and deadlifts will make you climb better. First you'll get used to the sensation of your legs being sore, then you'll get stronger. Once you're stronger you'll find yourself merrily spinning along on gradients that used to be nothing but pain and agony. It sort of sneaks up on you, one day climbs are hard, then suddenly you'll be pedalling away form the top of a climb and realise that you just did a big arse climb without really thinking about it. It's the smuggest feeling in the world.
  • + 2
 @Fix-the-Spade: was going to say this, surprised it wasn't mentioned in the article. I have buddies who ride loads more than me but i usually dominate them on climbs because i've been doing a basic strength routine for a few years (squats, deadlifts, OHP, bench press, rows, and lunges) the increased leg power makes a huge difference on climbs.
  • + 20
 @Fix-the-Spade: Loosing weight helps a lot too. I can stand to drop like 20 lbs and that will make me a far better rider than an oval chainring.

But I do have an oval chainring, its the tits
  • + 4
 @ClaytonMarkin: Agreed. No one wants to say it, but the biggest improvement to my climbing came from dropping 20lbs. That and intervals. 4x10min at FTP, or 4x8 at 110%FTP (most effective, hard to do, 2-3 minutes rest at easy (40%FTP) between intervals), 2x20min at 90%FTP (sweet spot) are really effective if you're riding less than 10 hours a week. It does take some work, but mixing it up with some structured training once in a while really helps your progress. Pick a climb with a Strava segment (or make one) so you can track your progress on it. Sometimes that can help your motivation to finish the interval too.
  • + 4
 @Fix-the-Spade: I wish that worked for me. Over the last few years I've gone from zero weight training to 2x BW deadlift and a 1.5x BW Squat, both at 5 reps. It's got great benefits for going down, and injury prevention, but I've had zero gains on my climbing. Maybe it's my rep range, but I've always been a sprinter rather than long distance. I really don't know, but my experience is the only way to get better at climbing is to climb more frequently for longer. I usually prefer to piss and moan instead, which is why I don't seem to get any faster.
  • + 2
 @kram: for me too, altough at nearly 90kg myself I´m at lower strength numbers than yours. For me the one thing that helped me on climbs: ride more, especially longer rides. Keep spinning the pedals on a constant pace for some hours.
  • + 5
 @kram: For pedal power you don't lift your max, you put about 60% of your max on and keep going until your form breaks down, then you stop, rest for minute and do it again for 3 or 4 sets. I'm not very strong and only squat about 1.3x BW and can't deadlift my own weight (91kg) for power sets, but I can squat 70kg for almost 40reps for the first set and pedal 350Watts for the best part of an hour, or 600+ for a minute.
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: great advice
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: Also if you're not a fan of the gym, like me, and don't hate running too much a ~30min set of sprint intervals can really help your leg power on the bike. I usually do a taper, so:
30sec sprint
30sec steady jog to recover
1min sprint
1min recover
2min sprint
2min recover
4min sprint
4min recover
then back down again 2/1/30sec

The recovery needs to be active for best fitness gain - you'll get endurance improvement as well as power - even if you are trying to jog on spaghetti legs for the first 10 seconds or so of the recovery Smile
  • + 1
 @kram: Climbing is an aerobic effort. As you said, when you climb more frequently and longer, you do better at it - because you're developing your aerobic system. The key to aerobic development is aerobic stimulation - rides of any length, but long, easy-ish rides are a staple of any pro's training.
  • + 1
 I tried an oval ring that my buddy had on his giant talon 29er and i really didnt notice any difference from running the round ring on my reign so im still not sold on them and also i noticed my feet hitting the front tire on the 29er unless i had my toes planted on the pedals which was also very annoying.
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: Thanks for the input, makes total sense that endurance makes the most difference for biking. The bad thing is that I hate training in high rep ranges so much. Maybe that means I should do it more.
I´ve always been more a sprinter type. I DL around 120kg but my squat is pretty weak at around 85kg. I do most exercises at 4-5x8 which is my happy place between 5x5 where I find it extremely difficult to maintain form while using an amount of weight that isn´t too easy the first sets and more reps like 3-4x12 for "difficult" compound exercises especially.
  • + 9
 Not sure how much I agree with RC's advice to "Most riders step off the bike because they believe that they will blow up after one more pedal stroke - wait until you actually do." For me the key to keeping going a long climb is to learn to recognize when you're going to blow up long before you do, and just ease off a bit and recover while you're still riding. Rather than go untill you blow and then stop for a rest.
  • + 8
 I think he's looking at it from a training standpoint: going to failure does all kinds of good things neurologically & physically to make you fitter the next time you have to attempt that climb. Your strategy is the right one to keep a good reserve of energy & speed if you're in the middle of a race or something.
  • + 2
 I think he's also assuming that the questioner is in his lowest gear as he notes that he wishes he had a lower one for long climbs. Now maybe he just isn't getting there quick enough, but to me it sounded more like he was there a long time before running out of gas. For me the thing that works best is riding with a fitter partner. If they're still going up, I somehow find it easier to motivate myself to keep pedaling so I'm not the one off the bike.
  • + 2
 There have been heart attacks on trails in my region. Recommending that someone go until they drop without knowing their fitness is a dangerous idea.
  • + 2
 @MarcusBrody: Whenever I ride with a fitter partner, which is whenever I ride with a partner, they're usually at the top waiting by this point, or at least several turns ahead and out of sight, so it's no longer motivating.
  • + 8
 It should be mentioned that the oil trick for progression will not work on a lot of modern forks with a self-equalizing negative air spring. With those, the oil may travel to the other chamber reducing the volume for the negative spring which would not give the desired effect...
  • + 1
 That's correct, it won't work with forks with a negative spring. Unless, of course, the negative spring is on the top of the fork, rather than the bottom... Are there any forks set up that way? None that I know of.
  • + 8
 "I went to the LBS and they won't sell me the spoke without me paying for labor, and labor is $50 which I can't afford."

So, I'm usually pretty chill on this site, and I rarely (if ever, that I can recall) curse here. But this time, as a former shop employee and still avid rider I can't help it... that's some f'n bullshit. Shame on that shop, those greedy bastards. You can bet they won't be around long. That's honestly unbelievable.
  • + 2
 My guess is that the shop charges $30 for a spoke replacement and $20 for a cassette removal/install...which is still pretty damn high, though not unbelievable.
  • + 13
 @mnorris122: The fact that they wouldn't just sell him the spoke, though?
  • + 5
 A shop that gives away free labor will be gone even sooner.
The rotor and cassette will have to be romoved. Not to mention trying the wheel and retensioning the spokes.
If the the nipple has to be removed from the rim, that involves removing rim tape and tire and then resealing it and adding more sealant.
This whole job while not that hard or time consuming isn't as simple as just adding a new spoke.
We would also do it on the spot. It would take one of my technicians around 20 minutes to complete while the customer waited. It would cost $38.00 parts and labor.
  • + 6
 @mnorris122: don't forget likely taking a tubeless tire on and back off the rim (+$15-20)

@phobospwns YEP, refusing to sell a single spoke is the problem, not the labor rate.
  • + 1
 @phobospwns: yes, you are right. It seems to me he didn't even want them to replace it...
  • + 3
 For sure. I've gone into my LBS (knowing the necessary spoke length) and they just gave me a single spoke.
  • + 2
 @IamSeaDevil: the shop that gives away free labor once in awhile will keep customers. We have a new bike shop and they have done a few things for me every now and then with no charge. More then happy to take my bikes in now and pay to have the work done.
Also will spend a little extra on gear buying from the shop if they have what i want.
  • + 1
 @brncr6: I happen to agree with you
  • + 1
 @IamSeaDevil: the wgole piont is the kid just wanted to buy a spoke and the shop wouldnt sell it to him without them installing it. Read the article it clear as day states this. It doesnt say anything about the shop being overpriced
  • + 1
 @IamSeaDevil: whole point***
  • + 7
 "tall riders with long leg bones can push monster gears and stay out of the saddle for miles".

As a tall rider with long leg bones I need to find out about this. Because even in years when I'm at my most fit, I sure wasn't staying out of the saddle for miles, or more than smaller riders, or whatever. I'd love to hear some actual science behind this, so I can go faster for the knowing....
  • + 1
 I'm curious too about the reasons, but I do know a few 190cm 90-100kg guys (like me) pushing 34 front with 11-36, whereas my 160cm 50kg girl friend and others need 22/33 front with 11-34 cassette.

I love pedalling out of the saddle, thought with droppers and 170mm I do it less obviously
  • + 1
 Tall rider here. I work much better out of saddle and always push pretty hard gears.
  • + 3
 @jack-sprogis: Are you saying pedaling out of the saddle on long climbs? To me that sound like the wrong way to ride.
  • + 2
 @Poulsbojohnny: depends how much your arse hurts. Last time i rode a bike with a fizik seat, i was Froomeing like a mofo.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: um, not sure what Froomeing is, but it doesn't sound good. Perhaps a better seat is in order? Smile
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: it was a borrowed bike fortunately. Previously tried a fizik in 2003 with the same outcome. Don't know how they haven't got their shit together yet. Maybe it's my butt. Froomeing = pantaniing
  • + 1
 @BenPea: fizik Gobi for me, great.

Me and my French friends have been traumatized by San Marco haha
  • + 1
 @Uuno: that was it, a Gobi. Horrible. Every butt bone is like a fingerprint. WTB pure v for me. Once you find a comfy model, you never change.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: oh and ergon is great for me too

Yeah, to each butt their own
  • + 5
 2015 Fox 34:

I had this fork as well, and also needed to add some oil for progressiveness. Although it had a decent effect on the lower portion of the stroke (slight reduction of bottom-out harshness for given air pressure), it didn't really help for the mid-stroke wallowing that the fork is known for. I'm now on a Mattoc with IRT and have been very impressed with the mid-stroke support on that fork. The overall spring rate can be balanced with the secondary air chamber to find a great combo for suppleness and support.
  • + 3
 god, the wallowing. I had a 2014 Fox 34, the mid-stroke support wasn't there either. and, like you, i swapped over to a Mattoc. I haven't even installed the IRT yet, and already it's a million times better than the fox. Steep, loose terrain that previously seemed impossible suddenly felt less steep, because i'm now staying higher in my travel. Wish I had gone to a Mattoc years ago.
  • + 2
 @xeren: Yep. I'm sure the modern fox forks have that dialed, but yeah, the Mattoc nails it. Especially with the IRT, you can max out plushness by playing with the balance between air chambers.
  • + 6
 Last time I killed myself on a long climb was because I didn't want to get dropped by the young lady that I was following. She kept looking behind to see if I wa keeping up. She dropped me. Those Squamish gals are fit.....
  • + 8
 Stripping your nipples sounds like something I'd definitely want to avoid!
  • + 3
 Taping your nipples is suprisingly common .....
  • + 1
 @Bailey100: do people actually tape their nipples to avoid nipple rash? I had some last weekend and f*ck, it hurts!
  • + 1
 @mollow: once they're stripped, you never have to do it again. Don't need them anyway, just a pre-sexing relic from the womb. Chop 'em off.
  • + 1
 @mollow: Hahaha, I've never hd to do it but I know lots of people who have. Supposed to work pretty good.
  • + 7
 Hey Waki. Must be tuff being you!! How pompus can you be!
  • + 3
 Another tip for the climb guy since he doesn't dread the short punchy climbs as much:

Do informal high intensity intervals on the little hills that don't scare you.

That is, on shorter rides with punchy climbs, give it *everything* you've got; then pedal suuuper easy when it flattens out, and repeat on the next hill.

That ought to tune your engine and make the rides with longer climbs significantly less awful.
  • + 3
 RC, great advice on your climbing tips - they're pretty much all the ones that people develop naturally over time. If you think you only have one more pedal stroke left you usually have at least a dozen. I went on a trip a long time ago and tackled some hills that were big for me at the time, told myself I wouldn't actually stop predalling until I literally spun out, fell over or looped out. Got surprised by cleaning almost every single one, changed my outlook towards climbs from then on.
  • + 2
 its amazing what we can do when we set our minds to it... after climbing burkes transfer stages at the end of last season i know i can force myself to do things i wouldnt otherwise have thought possible.
  • + 2
 Want to be a better climber - choose better parents. Studies have shown VO2 Max is 85% genetic. You can only improve/train 15%. The cold hard reality is we're not all born equal. I trained religiously with a former Olympic coach. My best VO2 was 49...that's barely above typical sedentary level. All he could say was I knew how to suffer cause I could punch well above that shit score. Sadly, no amount of training, dieting, heart can overcome shit genetics.
  • + 4
 Whilst I have no doubt that genetics do come into it in the upper echelons of the sport, I think what you're saying is an over statement. VO2 Max is only one piece of the jigsaw for climbing, there are plenty of other elements you can train such as leg strength, core as well as weight loss which will improve your climbing. I feel you can only claim to have reached a genetic barrier when you can literally train no more and have no weight to lose.
  • + 2
 Attitude makes a big difference in climbing. Hating every minute plus a few before and a few after is just wasted energy.
If you can find a way to deal with it you'll be better off no matter what bike you're on.

Isn't it odd that in road cycling, all the "great" rides are climbs, big big climbs.
  • + 1
 That's because on a road bike, it's a choice between tedium, pain and fear. Pain seems to be the lesser of the three evils to most.
  • + 2
 Long climbs - I’ve got this saying that’s probably a little annoying to my friends but ‘you can go as slow as your balance will allow.’ On a super long/steep climb, I’ll slow things waaaay down right to be point where I can barely balance. It takes longer but makes things way easier. Plus it helps practice those track stands.
  • + 2
 I think his problem seems to be that he can't gear low enough to go that slow while still maintaining a suitable crank RPM. Ye you can just pedal 'slower' but it gets to a point where the effort basically becomes a slow deadlift type of leg work rather than a cardio 'spin' which is what you use for long climbs. That's how I treat climbs anyway.
  • + 1
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: Yah that’s a good point especially if it’s a really steep climb. I’m on an X01 42t/29er Enduro myself and can relate. But even on that bike and being pretty out of shape I can usually go slow enough to make the worst climbs tolerable.
  • + 1
 About the Fox 34, two other common causes for forks to blow through travel:

1) Maybe you actually do need more air pressure.
2) Consider your compression adjust knob.

If a spring having a linear rate were such a problem, coil forks wouldn't exist. What people hate about air forks is the static friction on seals that makes them hard to activate when running higher air pressure. If the Fox 34 doesn't have a self-balancing negative chamber to offset higher air spring pressure, it's entirely possible in some forks to intentionally trap air either in the negative spring or in the lowers during installation. I've done that on an old Fox 32.

Similarly, if you have your LSC (or just compression if you're running a Motion Control damper, for example) set way too low the fork will bomb through its travel effortlessly. Adding a few clicks tends to add "support", aka more force which acts in the direction opposite to motion.

Anyway there are many possibilities when it comes to fork dive. Decreasing air chamber volume is not the be-all, end-all solution.
  • + 1
 Benwalter22, are you racing or like to to fast? If so, I'm not sure you'd want to drop down to a 28T. While you may not need that 30 in some spots, you don't want to spin out when you need to sprint for speed. Jerome Clementz pushes a 36T, so it's definitely usable if you go fast enough. Since you're running an XD driver with SRAM, you could spend the money on an e13 11 speed TRS Race 9-46 cassette, or [even better] upgrade to the SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain for about the same price (just change chainring on your existing crank). You'll gain that climbing bail-out gear to spin up the long climbs (and recover energy) and can even move up to a 32T for more top-end speed for the downhills. For the steep, long climbs and corresponding downhills at altitude in Colorado, it's a great setup. Cheers.
  • + 2
 For the climber,
I have another possible option for you.
I have the same bike and the same 10-42 gearing. I wanted to switch to Eagle but couldn't justify the high cost so in my case, I was able to switch the freehub body to Shimano. This allowed my to get a Shimano 11-46 cassette. The Sram X01 deraileur works perfectly after adjusting the B-Tension screw and I did buy a new chain. I'm into the upgrade for around $300.00 Canadian. It shifts better than it ever did and I now have a 46 tooth climbing gear.
  • + 1
 @Bailey100: The new GX Eagle is pretty affordable, especially if you don't need new cranks.
  • + 1
 "but DHL screwed up the order".... wow never heard of such a thing happening from a company as proven as DHL! Literally had my order through them screwed up this morning hahaha
  • + 2
 I used to work with a guy who figured DHL must stand for "Deliver Half Later" :-D
  • + 2
 Fox do offer an air side assembly upgrade for the older 34 fork, that will allow the use of volume spacers. It's the same sort of air side that is used in the 36's.
  • + 2
 @AlexS1: yeah thats the one. I have had it fitted to mine.
  • + 1
 @TheElectricGhost: The upgrade worth every cent but was sad to learn that fox stopped producing ctd parts for the damper side.
  • + 1
 I had a broken spoke replaced last month. The cost for the spoke including the bike shop service was $30 CAD tax in. Got my bike back the same day. For comparison, it was 29er alloy rim.
  • + 4
 Benwalter22, the climbs aren't literally killing you, or you'd be dead.
  • + 3
 Well I got something from this: never noticed someone misuse 'literally' before, now all the archer 'figuratively' jokes make sense.
  • + 1
 For climbing try this trick - count 5 strokes on the right leg then 5 strokes on the left and keep alternating. Mentally the leg that is not being counted feels like it is resting. Keeps you going when the going gets tough
  • + 2
 Adding oil to the air chamber worked great on my Fox 36 Talas 5 cartridge. And made it feel more responsive, probably due to the oil/seal staying wet .
  • + 2
 Also, if your spoke is broken and you can't remove it. Make sure you tape the broken spoke to an adjacent spoke - so it doesn't flap about and end up in your brake rotor.
  • + 1
 Or your chain.
  • + 1
 What I charge...

Spoke - $2.99
Labor - $15-$20 depending if I need to take the rotor and cassette off.
Add $10 if its a tubeless wheel and I need to retape.
  • + 2
 "to keep our heart and lungs pumping under 80 to 90-percent while we make out way up the mountain." Big Grin
  • + 1
 I like the Ask Pinkbike segment. Thanks Pinkbike. Good work around ideas on getting the fork to be more progressive.
  • + 2
 for climbing don't buy a bling bike buy a light one
  • + 2
 If you think climbing is hard, pick another sport! Shut the front door!
  • + 1
 $50 to change a spok my LBS would do that for free but I'm a nice guy and get him a 12 pack of his favorite poison.
  • + 0
 How to really make climbing easier: Get in the gym and push some f*ckin' weight
  • + 4
 its not at all about muscle mass its about cardio vascular
  • + 1
 So you can't afford the $50 wheel fix but new wheels were bought? Got it.
  • + 1
 Maybe the new wheel he bought is why he couldn't afford the 50 bucks to fix the old one?
  • + 0
 Since DHL messed up it means the wheel was bought online. Not supporting LBS so why should they help you?
  • + 1
 If this is the mindset of your LBS it'll likely fail. So what if the wheel wasn't bought there, nobody asked them to do the work for free. They should have one price and it should be reasonable and consistent.

If you are from out of town is it the same deal? You pay more..? The internet is here to stay and competition is real and ruthless. Evolve, compete and strive to be excellent or go extinct.
  • + 1
 @oldfartne: In my business (which does well) customer loyalty gets rewards. The same happens for me at my LBS. I have paid more at my out of town non-regular bike store for service than the LBS where the vast majority of my $ are spent. Both bike stores are surviving very well. So I do not agree that the price be consistent and based on the notes above there are many that believe this is reasonable as well. On your last statement without LBS there will be chance to get that spoke fixed if they do not exist. I pay more to go to brick and mortar stores that are local so they will survive so I can actually touch and ride demo bikes/wheels before I but them. Have fun trying that online.
  • + 1
 Mmm... stripped nipples...
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