A Short Ride In Between Showers

I haven’t done that much trail riding this year and I partly blame the crappy weather we have had this summer for that. June was very cold and after that I just didn’t fel any real enthusiasm to go biking. In a last attempt to change that I have bought some upgrades to my bike.

Updated! New wheels, new fork, shorter stem and converted to 1×9.

I have a Giant Trance X3 from 2009 and I use this bike for trail riding. The landscape here in Stockholm is not so dramatic, few long climbs and few long (or steep) descents. Just fun flowy trails where a burly bike often is not really needed.

I wanted to make the bike a little lighter (not to be faster but to have a more responsive bike) and since my riding isn’t that tough on the material I bought a pair of lighter wheels from Merlin Cycles in the UK. I went for ZTR Crest rims (for the weight and to test tubeless next year) and Hope Pro 2 Evo hubs (which looks easy to service and can be converted for different wheel axles). The build looks great and I think the price is very competitive. I went for white rims even if the coating adds about 40 g per wheel (the wheel set is still 435 g lighter than the WTB Laserdisc Trails originally mounted on the bike).

And even though I didn’t feel a need for more travel in the front (the bike had a 120 mm fork to match the 127 mm rear travel) I also bough a RockShox Revelation RLT fork to get slightly slacker angles and less nervous steering. When I received the RS Revelation it had 150 mm of travel, but I used one of the supplied spacers to reduce it to 140 mm right away (some higher end models of Trance X have been delivered with 140 mm forks from the factory). Reducing the travel is quite easy if you are familiar with servicing RockShox forks and given the small amount of oil in the lowers and frequent service intervals I think you need to be if you want to use this fork. Just follow the Technical Manual (I used the one from 2011) found on the RockShox web page.

I cut the steerer to the same length as my previous fork, which is pretty long considering the massive head tube on the Trance X in size large. The RockShox Revelation in 140 mm setup has about 3 cm longer axle to crown measurement than the Fox 32 F120RL I had mounted before, but I think it felt ok during the first test ride. I’m thinking about removing the conical spacer and run the stem directly (or with a much smaller spacer) on the headset to get the handlebar closer to the height it had with the 120 mm fork, but I will test it like this for a while first. I’m also running a much shorter stem (40 mm) which I had laying around after switching to a direct mount stem on my freeride bike. It’s a big difference compared to the 100 mm stem originally mounted, but I was in between frame sizes to begin with so I think the short cockpit suits me better. The main problem will be to keep the front wheel on the ground during steep climbs, for cornering and general handling I don’t really notice the increased handle bar height (in any negative way).

I have run this bike in a 2×9 setup the last couple of years and since I rarely use the granny ring I decided to remove the front derailleur and shifter all together. I’m going to use the XCX chain guide from e*thirteen, I’m just waiting for short chainring bolts before I can remove the bashguard and mount it. During the ride today I dropped the chain twice so it looks like I’m going to need a chain guide. I will use the middle ring from the SLX crankset for a while to see if 32T feels good or if I can go for 34T on a single specific chainring (what gear ratio I need for climbing will be the deciding factor).

For the ride today me and Ellen went to Järvafältet northwest of Stockholm. It’s an area with lots of gravel roads and easy trails, perfect for me today since I haven’t biked since over a month ago. Even though it has rained a lot the last couple of days (or weeks) the trails were quite ok; not very muddy, but a bit slippery on roots and rocks.

Nice and flowy trails. Photo taken with the Pansonic GF3 and 14 f/2.5. This setup is so compact I can keep it in the pocket on the hipbelt of my Osprey Talon backpack.

Now I just hope that I can keep this up and get out a couple of times a week before the snow arrives. I plan to have season premiere for the bike lights some time next week 🙂

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