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@ JBSDesigns: Why do you not believe in 3DF Foam? Is this based on real life experience? If so was it with this specific pad? Or a much lighter version?
I too would like to see scientific testing to compare, but this would have to be done by an independent laboratory.
With the 3DF Hybrid model from Leatt I had zero doubts in the material. I actually felt like it had better protection than my Fox launch knee cup which has a hard plastic shell within. I've crashed on many a knee pad and this one did its job as advertised.
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I rode the fork as provided to me for the test up until the air piston seal failure. When replacing the air piston I did not pull apart the lower leg on the damper side. On the air spring side it appeared to have 10-20cc's of heavy oil that drained out (looked like 90wt or so). Apparently it's the mixture of lubricating oil and grease? Maybe the SR Suntour guys can chime in about this?
When I replaced the air piston I used 20cc of 10wt fork oil in the lower leg as splash lubrication. They recommend 0wt30 or 0wt20 full synthetic motor oil that I did not have at the time. Better performance could be had with the thinner oil bath potentially. I also used roughly 10cc of Fox Float fluid on top of the air piston as they recommended a heavy gear oil similar weight to Fox Float Fluid.
I'm excited about the future improvements (especially to the air spring and damper) as these tweaks could really help the fork perform to its best. I guess we'll have to wait and see...
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That is the biggest bike box I have ever seen! How much does it cost to ship that bad boy?
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The claimed frame weight of the SB66 Comp (full aluminum) and SB75 (full aluminum) are both 7.75lbs.
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World Cup in Russia???
The bottom bracket I used was the Race Face Cinch BSA30 which can be seen here: http://raceface.com/components/bottom-brackets/cinch-bb/cinch-bsa30/
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Pdxmech13 and bikeboardorblade:
To answer your questions about the adjustments here is a more detailed summary of my thoughts...
Rebound: The adjustment range is very effective and broad from super slow settings all the way to springy fast with everything in between over its 12 click range. I was happy with my settings and never found myself to be "in-between clicks". The stock rebound adjustment range is tuned well.
Low-speed compression: The adjustment range is very good from almost zero influence (very active) all the way to firm, but not super firm support at the extreme of its 9 click range. I would like to see an even firmer fully closed setting for more low to mid-speed compression support. This adjuster will most likely work fine for most people, but I feel it could be better with even firmer stock settings especially the transition from low to mid-speed compression.
High-speed compression: The adjusters range is very broad and, but goes from a stiff setting at fully open to an extremely stiff setting at fully closed over its 12-click range. I felt that this adjuster didn't have a very usable range because as soon as you start to get past 2-3 clicks in (from fully open) things start to get harsh over choppy/fast terrain. This is where I felt there could be the most improvement to the fork's performance by re-tuning the high speed circuit to have a more forgiving and usable adjustment range.
Does this answer your questions?
It's awesome that you noticed that as my final settings were 2-3 clicks in on high-speed compression and fully closed on low-speed compression.
It seems like all that really needs to be done to the damper is a re-tune of the compression shimstack setup with potentially a different springrate installed for the high-speed compression adjuster.
With Eric Carter now working with them on product development I'm betting he'll have some good ideas for them to get their base tuning more spot on out of the box. I can't wait to see where he takes them!
I feel like it's the other way around...yes DH at the elite level is serious, it's always been, but it's also a hell of a lot of fun! Enduro has become too serious in my books. Riders showing up weeks in advance to practice, people cutting courses anywhere and everywhere they can, people training like elite XC racers, crazy tactics etc...Not really my cup o' tea like I thought it would be...Long live DH!
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I did not get a chance to try a Medium. I went for the large as it had a similar reach and seat tube dimensions to my current rides.
If you were coming off a medium before and were comfortable on the bike, I'd think you'd enjoy the Bronson in a medium with a 55-60mm stem. The large would be a huge difference compared to your current setup. It's your call. I don't think you could go wrong with either at your height, but from what I'm hearing, I would probably recommend a medium.
Hope this helps!
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I personally really like the Tennis Yellow, but both look good.
I think if you prefer to be stealth then Matte Carbon, if you prefer to be loud then Tennis Yellow. It's up to you.
I'm 100% on clips on the trail bike. Dirt jump on flats and mix it up (both clips and flats) on the downhill bike.
One thing to note (don't quote me on this) is that I recall the Santa Cruz boys saying that the frame is optimized around a 32-34 tooth ring. My guess is that the bike will tractor up climbs with ease spinning seated in a 22-24 tooth granny. It would have slightly more anti-squat (due to the gearing), but shouldn't be so much so that you get awkward pedal feedback.
Again, I'll have to ride it and get back to you about this. Your guess is as good as mine at this point...
That is an excellent question!
They did have Bronson's set up with triple rings however I did not get a chance to ride on one of these. I'll see if I can get some time on one with a granny gear to get you an answer.
My experience on the Yeti SB-66 amounts to one day on the medium alloy bike set up with full XTR, Easton Haven Carbon wheels, and a Fox 36 160 fork.
Build kit aside, I choose the Bronson for aggressive trail riding/enduro racing and here is why...
We spend A LOT of time in the saddle! Although the Yeti pedals very efficiently with great anti-squat characteristics, the slack 71.7 seat angle (with a Fox 34 150) combined with the fairly short 17" chainstays puts me in too rearward of a position for efficient climbing. It made it a bit of a chore keeping the front wheel down and tracking up steep sustained climbs. This feeling was exaggerated further by the higher axle-to-crown measurement of the Fox 36 160 on my test bike.
When the going gets rough, steep, and fast my choice is still the Bronson. The Santa Cruz has very unique braking and suspension characteristics that seems to be more active deep in the stroke compared to the Yeti and most other trail bikes I have ridden. This helps to maintain traction, control, and smoothness of the suspension when things get gnarly.
As for carrying speed...the Bronson takes the cake with its larger wheels and unique suspension action. I was and still am surprised by the way the bike carries speed through bumps big and small.
But don't take my word for it...Get out there and try both bikes! Ultimately it is up to you which bike is better suited for your riding style and personal preferences.
One last thing to note about the two bikes:
Yeti SB-66C frame: $3,200 weight: 6lbs
Santa Cruz Bronson frame: $2,699 weight 5.3lbs (roughly 0.20lb change per size, so 5.5lbs for the size large)
Hope this answers your questions.
Those are great questions!
My Stumpjumper EVO is the 26" version built with Easton Haven Carbon wheels and my dream kit.
Wheel size plays a role in the awesome ride of the Bronson, but I can't say exactly what amount. My best guess would be 25-30%. It is definitely not just the wheels!
It's the combination of everything that makes the Bronson such a great bike (wheel size, geometry, suspension design, shock tuning, suspension travel, materials, weight, stiffness, balance, etc.). You'll have to ride one to see for yourself what I'm talking about.
Will you be at the Otter? If so, we should meet up.
What Veach said...try them both! I did and they are both great bikes. I really enjoy everything about the Bronson. It pedals well, climbs well, corners well, jumps well, etc. etc...It ticks ALL the boxes for me and that is a rarity.
dirty booger - The California Enduro Series will be open to all those that want to race.
With the enduro at Demo Forest it was extremely tough to narrow down 177 entrants to 50 (due to permits). Telling 127 people that they couldn't race wasn't something I wanted to do, but it had to be done.
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The races will be throughout all of California (from North to South) and will be announced in January 2013.