From the previous post “Ten Things“.
If you are just tuning in and are too lazy to click the link above to find out what I am rattling on about, I had changed 10 things on Kermit from my Durango set up, and challenged you readers to find them. There were a couple of attempts, and some sass, but no one guessed them all. I also I threatened that I would go on and on about these 10 things, and here it is.
At the very least, it gives me something to talk about while the weather totally sucks.
So Thing 1 was the brakes.
I had some Magura Marta SL brakes on there for SSWC09. The Marta is a lightweight and powerful brake. It also has some cool wavey rotors, and they are choc full of German engineering. They use mineral oil, which is non-toxic, and doesn’t ruin paint, clothing or any other surface other than the insides of the brake it might get on. They are also pretty expensive.
For the longest time I was an avid Magura user*. When I raced downhill, I used the HS33 hydraulic rim crushers, then moving on to the Gustav as the frames and forks were invented to put them on. I was there when the first generation Louise was plagued with brake pads that wouldn’t stay put, and I was there when the near perfect Marta came out. Even though the brakes were sometimes finicky, I was always very pleased with the performance and feel at the lever when they were working correctly.
Then, as if by chance,I managed to score a set of the very first Avid Juicys. At the time, I was not “connected” with the cycling industry, so I considered this a huge prize. Little did I know, that a few years later, the Juicy brake, and all of it’s clever technology would make in my life.
What sort of clever technology? The two big ones are the nifty drip free bleeding, and the easy to set up and align conical washer system on the mounting bolts. The Maguras were a little messier to bleed, and they required the use of shims when mounting. To me, shims = hokey, and not becoming of such an expensive brake set.
So I made the switch, and as I opened the shop, acquired new bikes, I spec’d the less expensive and easier to deal with Avid. My job was/is to fix other people’s bikes, and I had no time to fiddle with mine.
A lot of my friends are using the Martas, as they are great brakes. Recently they updated the design, where they used to be the the “old” IS mounts, they are now 74mm post mount. I say “old” because it seems that 74mm is the new Industry Standard. This makes them way easier to deal with, effectively eliminating shimming to get them to line up.
So I decided to give them another chance. I rode them for 2 months as “I trained” for SSWC (who was I kidding?), participated in, and returned from. Again, I was very pleased with the performance, and was very surprised to see that they had indeed worked all of the kinks out of the design. Save for one. Lever reach.
I have somewhat short fingers, and the new design kicked the lever blade a few millimeters too far for my stubby fingers. While the reach is adjustable on these brakes, it isn’t quite adjustable enough for my needs, no matter what I did. So I replaced them with some Avid Elixir Rs I’d been using on various test bikes. The R stands for Reach in this case, and I can get the lever exactly where I want it without changing the feel of the brake. Plus the Elixir has a TON of power, and is now my brake of choice.
The reach issue actually one piece of a puzzle that was bothering me in Durango, a compound set of issues that I wasn’t really expecting, and took a couple of big rides for me to figure out. I’ll expand upon it more as I bore you to death with the next 9 things. That is, of course, if you keep reading past the title…
*Did you see what I did, I was punny!