Fork Progression, Climbing Tips, and Broken Spokes - Pinkbike


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?

A 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.

I 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 out 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. 

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

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 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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