Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ventana "El Saltamontes"

It’s all Farqui’s fault! :-) An email pointing out a ‘bargain frame’ on STW Classified got me going on the bike-building trail again.
I had decided that it was time for the FSR to go as it was getting little use so when I saw the Ventana 4” travel frame it looked like a good ‘do it all’ replacement (like I needed one!). The thing that clinched it was that I had won a stack of ‘finishing kit’ that just needed a home.
The frame was a Californian built Ventana El Saltamontes, probably about 4 years old and fitted with a Romic coil shock. It came with the Quad bearing upgrade that is now standard for UK bikes – this means that each pivot point on the rear suspension has 4 sealed roller bearings. It also had and adjustable rocker arm allowing travel to be adjusted from 3” to 5”.
When the frame arrived it was clearly well used and the rear end had limited movement – it turned out that all the bearings had corrosion. I had read that using bike cleaner spray can cause water to enter bearings, it seems that this might have been the cause. Makes you realise that Turner got it right with their bearing design! A lot of GT85 type spray was applied and eventually they all started to turn fully, thankfully there did not seem to be any play. All were greased up and the rear suspension now moved smoothly and freely.
It turned out that the previous owner also had a Fox RP23 shock for this frame; I really like the way this unit works and its lightness, so a deal was done on this too. (Would have been foolish to miss it as the size and bushings are unusual). Funds stretched to a used XT HTII crank set and new front mech, the rest of the parts came from the FSR and Element freebies. Single run cables were fitted from the start.
Built up it weighs around 28.5 lbs at the moment and it is a delight to ride and fits me well, probably not as capable as the 5-Spot on the technical stuff, but it is a very different set-up. I suspect it will see more use than the FSR. Rob always said “4 inches good”; I will never hear the last of this!

Frame: ’04 Ventana El Saltamontes (17.4 “Medium)
Fork: Fox Float 80RL (set to 100mm travel)

Head set: FSA Orbit II
Shock: Fox Float RP23

Cranks; Shimano XT, HT II (external bearings
Rear Mech; Shimano XT

Front Mech: Shimano XT
Shifters: Shimano LX

Wheels: Mavic 519 on XT Hubs

Tyres: Hutchinson Bulldog Airlite

Brakes: Shimano XT 4-pot 160mm discs

Bars: Element Radium F OS Carbon

Stem: Element Neon Q 90mm (A mere 100grms!!)

Seatpost: Element Graph Q Carbon

Saddle: WTB Rocket V

More pictures:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Toons Does It Again

Our northern pal has gone and acquired himself another beauty.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sleepless In The Saddle (SITS) 2008 9/10th August

Yup. Your resident downhill, dangerous nutcase has gone and agreed to take part in SITS 2008.

Some of you maybe aware of a rouge MTB forum, known as "UKMB" or UK Mountainbiking. The site was formed when Future Publishing decided to kill the MBUK forum, and merge into one uber pit of drivel that is www.bikeg* then decide to sack the people who'd been voluntarily running it for years.

Anyway, the forum decided to get a few teams together to enter the enduro races this year, unfortunately one of the team bust his arm a few weeks ago, and I bravely (read stupidly) decided to step in.

So, in preparation for this event (24 hour race, no less)

I have set myself a grueling training regime.

So far I have managed to ride zero times a week and continue eating crap. My hopes are high!

I plan on modding the meta into an uber XC machine as the rear sus should hopefully iron out the bumps and keep me going for longer.

Will post progress as I go :)

Full press release on the event, here