Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Marin Rock Springs

I'm sure that you'll already have read the run up to this article and now want to find out more about the Marin, Rock Springs.

These, our first full suspension MTB's, were acquired in January 2002 and transformed our enjoyment of riding off road. They gave us the confidence to tackle truely off road trails rather than boring fire roads, family cycle paths or disused railway lines. Why so ? The suspension allowed us to ride for longer, further, faster and over uneven terrain with little extra effort. The kit spec and especially the hydraulic disc brakes made controlling the bike so more easier and more accurate to fire between the trees. Whilst I'll agree that it's possible to ride knarly terrain on a rigid MTB (with no suspension) I imagine that you'd have to be a dedicated, hard core biker to pull it off and to keep grinning.

Over the three years of ownership we've enjoyed many miles riding any terrain infront of us. The TARA system (travel & ride height adjust) means that we can alter the bikes ride by the repositioning the rear shock on the swingarm. This almost gives us 3 bikes in 1 with a choice of 4"s of rising rate rear wheel travel for the smoother trails, 5"s linear travel and 6"s falling rate travel for the steep, knarly downhills. Overall, I'd say that we both rode with the suspension typically set in the mid travel option which seemed to give the best overall balance.

Whilst the basic bike specification remained the same we did change a few things like the saddle as everyones rump is slightly different. We also experimented a little with tyres and found the original WTB Motoraptors were a fair all rounder but that the drier summer months benefited from Panaracer Trailblasters felt lighter, faster and easier to pedal.

My pedals were changed for Time ATAC Aliums, bars for light FSA XC190's with a lovely feel, grips to right grippy ODI Hardcore's, the stem for a lighter On-One Inbred stem, and the WTB headset for a fully sealed Cane Creek S6.

One of the most fundamental changes was to replace the standard layback seatpost with an inline Thomson unit which shifted my weight slightly further forward and eliminated the tendancy for the front wheel to washout / loose grip in corners.

The drivetrains ran faultlessly but the Deore rear shifter did start to loose it's positive click (a sign it's on it's way out) and both shifters were upgraded to Shimano LX - with their lighter action.

The rear bushes that secure the Fox shock in position (a pair of DU08's) were replaced approximately every 18months under regular use but the main pivot bearings never gave any trouble throughout.

The Manitou Black front fork gradually bedded in after a few months and I steadily began to appreciate the TPC damping which I've continued to appreciate on my currently bouncer, a Nixon. The Black also introduced me to a handy climbing aid whereby the fork travel can be reduced by and inch or two which helps prevent the front from rear up on steep climbs, whilst in a low / high torque gear.

These rigs also gave me the confidence to start takling repairs and general maintanence myself and one of the larger tasks was to regularly maintain both the front forks and rear shocks which were regularly cleaned, stripped, checked for wear (none) before regreasing and re-assembly. Ultimately, this tinker heaven spurred me on to build my own new rig from scratch.

Overall, I was mighty impressed and grateful for John Whyte for his design - a former F1 designer for Renault, who then became world champs after which he retired from motorsport and began making bicycles. When she had to leave I was still quite happy as she was passed on to a former work buddy who I hoped would enjoy her as much as I...


Farqui said...


* Frame Size: Medium - Rock Springs
* Frame Year: 2002
* Frame Colour (PC): While
* Shock: Fox Float R
* Fork: Manitou Black Elite LE (coil, 100/120mm travel, TPC damping, QR, black)
* Brakes: Hope C2's (160/160mm)
* Brake Levers: as above (std Hope lines)
* Cranks: Shimano Deore Hollowtech I (175mm)
* Shifters: Shimano LX
* Front Derailleur: Shimano
* Rear Derailleur: Shimano LX
* Chain: SRAM PC-59
* Pedals: Time ATAC Alium
* Stem: On One Inbred (100mm x 5, black)
* Handlebar: FSA XC190 riser (ali, 1" x 26", black)
* Seat post: Thomson Elite (straight 410mm x 27.2mm, black)
* Seat post Collar: Hope QR (blue, 31.8mm)
* Saddle: WTB
* Bottom Bracket: Shimano
* Cassette: Shimano
* Headset: Cane Creek S6
* Grips: Odi Hardcore
* Tyres: Panaracer Trailblasters (1.8, kevlar, blue)
* Tubes: yup
* Hubs/Skewers: Marin disc (black) / Hope QR (blue, steel)
* Rims: Mavic X139 (V brake compat)
*** Build Weight: 30.2lbs

vR_RuDeBoY said...

Hi i have the same bike and forks what size mounting bracket did you use for the front brake caliper?