29 June 2012 - 9:40Results Are In
Some may remember that my WFO experiment began way back in October of last year. The experiment began as Weapon X, with the goal to create a baddass trail bike that could take on our tight and twisty New England trails. It was born from my experiences with my previous WFO which was aptly named Honey Badger, due to its cantankerous nature. It just didn’t give a shit.
As I’ve spent most of my time this year on Weapon X, I found that my experiment was excelling at some things, and falling short elsewhere. This is all part of the game, and improvements and refinements were made along the way. Without my incessant tinkering I would not have made all the changes to this bike that have drastically improved the way it performs.
First and foremost, I found that the stock Rock Shox Monarch rear shock, while a very capable unit, was not living up to my expectations. It is quite tuneable, but the spring rate is linear, meaning it feels pretty much the same throughout it’s range of motion. I’ve been riding full suspension bikes since ’96, and I’ve always used the rear shock to do a lot of the work for me (it’s why its there). My riding style is biased towards the rear of the bike, and I expect the rear shock to load up and provide some pop when coming out of a bump or exiting a turn. The Monarch was just not getting it done. I ‘d have to run so much air pressure that the bike would ride too harshly over rough terrain.
Enter the DHX air, which has a nice bottom out resistance setting. That’s the little extra dodad that sticks out of the shock like Quato. I can now run the shock soft enough where it literally flutters over the bumps without worrying about blowing through all the travel. In other words, it ramps up quite nicely, and it delivers the sort of performance I expect out of a bike like this.
Also new, are the new 4 piston Avid XO Trail brakes. I only have a couple of rides in on them, so they haven’t developed full power yet, but I can say that lever feel is consistent with other Avid brakes I own, and hauling my ass to a stop on anything is a mere 1 finger effort, even when the old XO brakes might take 2. Looking forward to full power.
Plus I got to build up a new set of wheels for the bike that are more along the lines of my style. The old wheels are already on their way to their new home. While cleaning them up, I checked them over to make sure they were still good etc… Still round and straight after a few seasons of abuse, just in case you were wondering why I use the I9 wheels….
Stan’s had just released their Flow EX rim, which has a 3mm wider inner width than the standard Flow. What does this mean?
I measured the Hans Dampf as a legit 2.3 on the old Flow (measured at the casing).
I like big tires. I picked up 40g per wheel on this upgrade, which isn’t enough to get me in a fuss, considering I had spent a few weeks on 1100g tires.
The bike has been evolving from experiment to result, and it has taken on a whole new personality. I sort of felt like it might be time to give the bike a real name, as it has certainly earned it’s worth, and a permanent spot in my stable. Much in the same way Logan started as an experimental Weapon X, he became known as the Wolverine, I’ve given my Weapon X a new handle.
This, is Black Sunshine.