Thursday, March 29, 2007

Professional Setup

After making my decision to ride the Drunken Monkey all year, I knew I needed some upgrades. My Hayes brakes were getting old and I was losing my ability to one finger brake on the steep and deep. This was causing hand cramps to ensue dangerously fast.

I called up my main man in Columbia at Harrells Bicycle World and asked his professional opinion on what brakes I should look into. Without hesitation, he told me to ditch the Hayes and go for Shimano. I told him to give me some time. I did some research on the Shimano Brakes and they seemed to have pretty good reviews so I called Paul back up and told him to order them.

I ordered the XTR calipers and the XT levers. I also ordered a 7” rotor for the front. I dropped my bike off on Thursday evening. Saturday morning I went over to the shop before they were open and voila my new brakes were all setup.

I had a problem when I installed my Hayes on the Drunken Monkey. I could never get the front caliper aligned just right. Come to find out that my Walt Works fork’s disc mount holes were not bored to the same depth. He bored the hole out for me so the caliper would sit straight.

The brakes are setup perfectly for my riding style. They are nice and tight so I can one finger the steep technical descents and still have four fingers for holding onto the bouncing madness. They are also mounted perfectly for quick rear wheel removal as there is no need to loosen bolts. This is very handy and why I love the horizontal drops with a quick release.

They also use mineral oil instead of DOT brake fluid, so if I do happen to have catastrophic failure again, I won’t have to worry about the harm I have done to mother nature. Hippie brakes, fantastic! Supposedly there will be very little maintenance required with these brakes. They should run a long time without having to bleed them.

I am using the semi-metallic pads as of right now. I will have to wait until I get a good rainy ride in to know whether they will hold up. These pads and brakes are quiet, super quiet. I could goose the road runner with my handlebars at this point. I have a set of full metallic pads to try as well.

I have also been looking into some other ways to relieve my hands of any numbness that might come from sitting on the bike for hours on end. Paul gave me some bar ends to play with. I have never ridden with bar ends before and I must say that for cross country they stink. I hate them with a passion. Luckily I learned quickly that when your hands are on the bar ends, there is no way to brake.

See I am a wide gripper. I usually ride with my hands way out on the ends of the bar. This way I can “feel” how wide the bars are for weaving and bobbing through the trees Muhammad Ali style. The bull horns prevent this.

I did see a great advantage to having them for extended climbs though. They give you a great amount of leverage for out of the saddle efforts. I foresee the ends being a big help on my long mountain days. It is also very nice to have some different hand positions. I will most likely run them on some of my longer rides and races but for short rides I will not have them on. I am still learning their nuances though so who knows.

Last night we had Dave, Dave, MtnGoatEpics, D-Kuntz and Broussard in for a ride.

It was an awesome night to be in the woods. I could say a lot about this ride but I will let the pictures say it for me.

The players:

Did you know that D-Kuntz and I are brothers?

Dave showing us what he’s got after the steep climb:

The Goat himself: Peace


Spankye said...

I had problems with hand pain until i tried Ergon grips. You can even get'em with bar ends.

Team LandRover said...

Its just a guess, but a suspension fork does wonders for the hands, not to mention wrists elbows and shoulders. Rumor is you are "closet training." Training in a closet won't help with the SM100. Holla at me about doing some riding next week, its spring break. stick

Palmetto Solo said...

Give the On One Mary Bars a chance. Good for out of the saddle rampages & easy on the hands. Many reviews on MTBR. Don't fret the Stick is jealous you aren't writing about a road bike.

ExtrmTao said...


Paul is getting some ergons in stock now. I might give them a try. I know some folks will have them this weekend so hopefully they will let me grab their grips.

Stick, Suspension Schmuspension. Be a man, go rigid you do it on your road bike right?

PS, I have seen the mary bars. I will be trying many setups this year. Hopefully, W/o buying all of them 8-)