44HQ Tactical Field Manual

Prototype Season 2018 standard

It’s that time of year again when I take all of last seasons observations and time out on the trail and funnel those experience into the next round of prototypes. I have one steel build planned as well as 2-3 Titanium mountain bike prototypes planned. Why so many? Well, I’d like to try a few subtle changes out mostly fiddling with some drivetrain and dropout spacing but also fiddle with wheelbase a bit. I feel as though I’ve pushed the geometry to a point where I know the working range of what performs in different terrains pretty well but now I’d like to make subtle adjustments to other details to see how those affect the geometry decisions if they are ...

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In Review: Thomson Elite External Dropper standard

So I’ve spent enough time with my Thomson Elite Dropper to give everyone that is reading this a solid opinion. In one word, reliable comes to mind. It just plain works every single time I’m out on a ride. There’s no play in the head. It doesn’t click or creak. Action is smooth and responsive. It goes all the way down. It goes all the way up with a nice audible “snap”. And it goes anywhere in between. Let me expand a bit more below. When droppers first hit the scene, none of my bikes were A. capable of running a dropper cable routing wise and B. no one built a 27.2mm version. Fast forward to about 2015 or 2016 ...

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Freshly Minted Marauder standard

Just finished up a build yesterday for a client across the pond. This one’s coated in Prismatic’s “China Mint” powder coat. Parts spec includes Sram Eagle XX1, Shimano XT M8000 Brakes, Thomson bars, stem and dropper, WTB Saddle, Maxxis tires (Rekon front / Ikon Rear / 2.8’s), White Industries cranks, bottom bracket and headset, Fox 34 Float, and wheels laced by Southern Wheelworks with Nox Kitsuma’s and I9 Torch Classics. Speaking of White Industries, these M30 cranks are something else! This is the second set I’ve had a chance to work with and they’re growing on me. Very similar in design to Race Face’s Cinch system. The pre-load mechanism is all alloy which is a nice touch (RF’s used to ...

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Mountain Bikes of 2017 standard

So 2017 has come and gone.  Typically I get a lot of requests for Huntsman’s.  I heart is really in mountain biking and whenever a mountain bike comes into the list next…  I can’t say that I do not get a bit more excited.  Seems word got out in 2017 and I actually made 3 times more mountain bikes than I did road bikes!  That’s pretty exciting I have to say.  I love every bike I build but like I said above, I can’t help but get just a bit more excited when those wheels will be touching single track.  Let’s take a closer look at some of these trail beasts! First up is this frame set which is ironically ...

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Dropper Tech: Internal vs External standard

Here’s a question I’ve been getting a lot recently as more and more clients spec droppers with their mountain bike builds: Why no internal routing? Some builds will have internal routing while others will have external routing. No one ever asks me about this though: So how tough was it to set up that internally routed dropper? But when it comes to that cable running up the back of the post? Man, I get a lot of questions why. The reasons are actually pretty simple and logically straight forward. So let’s take some time to talk about it. Let’s first start with internally routed dropper posts. I’ll use Thomson’s Covert dropper as an example as that is the dropper (no ...

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SUPERBOOST standard

Earlier in the year I put together a post just after completing the next iteration of the Marauder in a titanium prototype. You can read that post here. What is special about this bike is I used the pre-existing 157mm TA standard paired with an 83mm shell width. This is technically an existing DH standard which Pivot tweaked by adjusting the flange spacing of the non-drive side to move it outboard a bit more to stiffen up the rear wheel build and subsequently re-marketing it as “Superboost”. Which I think took some by surprise as a “new” standard. It’s quite the contrary. And when paired with that 83mm shell width (another existing standard) you get perfect chain line and a ...

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Tubeless Repair standard

Every once in a while, I’ve err’d in my line choice resulting in a good hard rock strike. And every once in a while, POW… I’ve punctured one of my tubeless tires. Some will seal right up by rotating the tire to the lowest point and allowing the remaining tubeless sealant to work it’s magic. But every now and again, the hole is just too big for the sealant to work. If it’s early in the ride I’ll unseat one side of the tire, install a tube, inflate (and many times I can’t get the tire to reseat which is fine) and get back home so I don’t do any damage to the rim so I can patch the tire ...

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How NOT to Cook a Corner standard

When I first started mountain biking in 1989, I was continually scouring for information on “how-to’s”. How could I climb better? How could I corner better? How could I tackle tech better? Magazines were THE source for all that intel since it wasn’t like East Greenville, PA was the mountain bike mecca of the world and there were experienced riders I could rub elbows with for beginner riding techniques. So I’d read up on the latest article I scored and then head to the trail to practice sections on my ride. One of those things I learned early on and honed was how to corner. It seems easy enough. But layer in some tech and there’s some points you really ...

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Number 88 standard

Each year I do a bit of volunteer work locally to give back in some way to the cycling community. I’ve been helping out with simple stuff with the Hampshire 100 / H100 (Registration & Sweeping courses) as well as helping with the Rose Mountain Rumble / RM,R which is a fundraiser for local conservation efforts through cycling. With the switch of race direction to Crotched Mountain for the former H100, I was able to offer up more help so they put me in charge of organizing all the sweeps this year for the Crotched Mountain Hundred / CM100 and putting together a plan to solve issues that have popped up in the past for the H100. Mostly that sweeps ...

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Lyme Literate standard

Somewhere in 2012, I contracted two lyme co-infections. However, I did not get any of the known initial tell tale symptoms: Bullseye rash or high fever to name two. If I was bitten by a tick, I did not catch it in my usual tick-check post ride. I pull so many ticks off myself throughout the summer season and happen to live in one of the most heavily infect states let along counties (Hillsborough county show up as something like 80% of ticks tested being carriers of one or all of the tick-born illnesses). The routine is part of my regiment: Check legs post ride. Strip down buck naked and do another check. Hop in the shower and hose down. ...

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