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PhotoMost times I get on the DH bike this summer, I'll be posting my experiences right here with parts changes and upgrades noted.

Current Weight
37.79 lbs

Current Parts Spec
Rear Shock: RockShox Vivid Air
2011 RockShox BoXXer World Cup
SRAM X.9 rear derailleur, X.7 shifter, Race Face Respond Cranks, SRAM PG970 12-26, 9 speed cassette
Avid Elixir R, 203mm front, 185mm rear rotors
Easton Havoc DH
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 (front and rear)
Bontrager Big Earl 780mm wide with Bontrager Lock-on grips
Bontrager Race Saddle with Thomson Elite Post
Thomson Elite X4 50mm

Trek Session 8 Photo Gallery

July 6, 2010
Parts Spec:
Swapped out the Bontrager Big Earl Wheels for Easton Havoc DH wheels. Bike weight is now 37.79lbs, down from 38lbs. I had no problems with the Bontrager wheels and definitely had my fair share of "pings and pangs" throughout the season on them. Thumbs up for sure!

I've been pretty content with the setup on the rear shock and fork. I've played with some air pressure adjustments to see what happens, but came back to the original settings mentioned below.

The Ride:
Since the June 14 update, I've probably had 30 or so DH runs at SolVista on the bike with the Vivid Air and BoXXer World Cup and they both feel really good with no issues so far and everything is running as it should. Lifts are open tonight, so we'll see how the Havoc DH's work.
June 14, 2010
PhotoParts Spec:
Changed rear shock to Vivid Air from the DHX 4.0
Changed fork to 2011 Boxxer World Cup from 2010 Boxxer Race
Changed stem from Bontrager to Thomson Elite X4, 50mm (thanks Team SolVista)
Changed seatpost from Bontrager to Thomson Elite (thanks Team SolVista)
Weight now 38lbs, down from 39.5lbs.

I only did 5 runs total this weekend, but am figuring out the suspension setup slowly. There is a LOT of setup opportunity with this fork and shock. Rear shock sag is set 30% (about 175psi) and it felt pretty good with 5 clicks of compression and 2 clicks of rebound on rear. Initially I had compression open and noticed my feet bouncing around a little bit. adding compression helped, but plenty more to play with. "Ending stroke" rebound on the shock is set somewhere in the middle right now. The fork has 1 click of HSC right now and 6 clicks of LSC. I didn't get to play with it too much, but the LSC seemed pretty good so far, hindering diving under braking. Will mess with it more though and probably need to drop the crowns a smidge, too.

The Ride:
2 runs on Silky Johnson, 2 runs on Drifter to Cheez-It and 1 run on Cheez-It. The first run I did was on Cheez-it and there is a flat section of trail with square-edged rocks that love to gobble speed. I noticed immediately that my speed was less-gobbled with this set up. The suspension is definitely more damped than my previous set up, but I have a lot of tweaking left to do. For a handful of runs, with some on the gross rocks of Drifter, I was very stoked with how the bike rode. On Silky Johnson, the bike felt like it was riding higher in the travel and would not dive in the corners as much as with the previous set up. Also with the control over the low-speed rebound on the shock, I felt like I was getting a little less bucky and more controlled over some of the quicker-lipped jumps on the hill. Can't wait to shred more.

June 11, 2010
Some big tweaks to the bike today including 2011 BoXXer World Cup and Vivid Air rear shock. Did 5 runs, 3 on Silky Johnson, 2 on Drifter to Ashy Larry and am pretty pumped, even though there's a lot more set up to do. Will give a more detailed report after I ride the set up more this weekend. Stokage!
June 4, 2010, Silky Johnson to Moga's Mile and Cheez-It to Ashy Larry POV
No nerding out today, just riding. I blow it about 40 times on Cheez-It/Ashy.
Double-click to edit

Double-click to edit

June 2, 2010, SolVista Bike Park Pre-Opening Shredding
Parts Spec:
No Change

Turned compression in fork up to 6 clicks from 4 and turned Pro Pedal on rear shock from 0 to 6 clicks to see a noticeable difference. There were many more clicks left on the Pro Pedal settings, too.

The Ride:
Let me rub it in your face and tell you I got 4 runs on Silky Johnson before the park opened, since I'm "SolVista Bike Park Staff" and had to make sure things were safe for opening weekend. Now that my gloating is over, I did 1 run with the compression and Pro Pedals changes. The fork wasn't too bad, but I moved it back down to 4 clicks of compression. The drastic Pro Pedal change was very noticeable. The rear end was skiddish, my feet were bouncing around on the pedals and Silky Johnson is a relatively smooth trail. I turned the Pro Pedal back off after that first run and will probably leave it that way. I did one run on the natural terrain of Moga's Mile and Loosey and turned the fork compression down to 2 clicks and liked how it performed in the rocky turns of the flatter trail. I liked 4 clicks on the steeper, rocky trails this past weekend, so I'll see where I settle up as SolVista opens tomorrow and many laps are in this Session 8's future. Stokage.

May 29 2010, Triple DHip riding at SolVista
Parts Spec:
Switched to Burgtec Penthouse Flats MKIII pedals
Reduced rear shock rebound to only 2 clicks from 4 and reduced fork rebound from 3 clicks to 1. Left compression the same on fork, went to 150psi for Boost Valve.

HELL YES! SolVista is up and running for the Triple DHip and I got 4 runs on Stranger (US National Champs course w/o the 3 Amigos jumps) and 3 runs on Cheez-It. Both runs have teeth-loosening rocks and bumps that will tax any suspension and both had some early-season mud bogs. Stranger had some sick, wide open grass turns and Cheez-It has some tight, twisty single track sections with some park features (jumps and whoops) at the bottom. FUN FUN FUN!

Rebound adjustments helped a boatload. The bike didn't feel as sacked out and the front wheel felt like it was on the ground better. I think the fork is a little undersprung, but I felt like I was going really well in the bumps and rocks on both Cheez-It and Stranger, plowing more and not caring about what's in the way more than I remember I would do in the past. I don't really want to go up in fork spring weight just yet, so I'll mess with the compression next time to see how that helps. For "low-end" suspension, the bike felt very acceptable in all the conditions and I didn't feel much fatigue at the end of the day which is suprising considering it was my first "real" DH day of the season. I even went for an XC ride later that evening.
   The tires rule. I can't tell if it's 100% placebo effect or what, but I feel confident with the tires and wide bar combo, especially in the open, fast turns, leaning the bike.
   The Burgtecs felt really good, too. I've ridden the Flatboys for a while now and was stoked to try these out. I noticed the bigger platform and never had a problem with my feet moving around or coming unstuck, even with prototype shoes I can't show you yet.

Ridin' Dirty, but she cleaned up just fine
May 20 2010, First Ride on the Trek Session 8
Parts Spec:
Easton Flatboy Pedals added, bike does not come with pedals. Other than that, no change

Put together out of the box, 100% stock, adjusted cockpit. 4 clicks of compression and 3 clicks of rebound on fork. 4 clicks of rebound on rear shock. Pro Pedal off, Boost Valve has 125psi (pressure that came stock).

I forget the location of the trail and nothing will make me remember, I just know it's really fun and has a little of everything!

Only did 4 runs and was dusting off the cobwebs of not DH'ing much over the winter. Still fun. Gonna speed up rebound on the back, felt like it was packing up a bit, may try slightly heavier spring. Wide bars = awesome! Minions = awesome! Brakes were strong, fork worked well-enough, need to play with it a bit since there are like 272 clicks of compression to work with. Good stuff.

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