44HQ Tactical Field Manual

The Big Six! standard

I’m going to begin a new series of long overdue posts which will contain as historically accurate information about the Upper Perkiomen Valley and the three towns that were the stomping grounds of my youth: East Greenville, Pennsburg, and Red Hill. These will be categorized in a new group of posts called the Upper Perkiomen Valley. Anyone who is interested can click to the right on that category and sort all the articles. I’ll intermingle these with my usual bikes and builds and reviews but there’s so much history that I know and my father relays to me (and his father to him) about my hometown in Pa, I can’t NOT sit on it and not share it with all ...

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In Review: Maxxis 27.5 Rekon and Ikon 2.8 standard

Over the years, I get a recurring question: “Hey Kris, what are your thoughts about XXX tire?” One of those tires that keeps popping up is the Maxxis Ikon. I don’t know why so many keep asking me about this tire, but when it came time to choose tires for a new prototype earlier this spring, I decided to pair a Maxxis Rekon 2.8 up front with a 2.8 Ikon out back. I’d ridden an Ikon in a 29×2.3 paired with an Ardent 2.4 up front a while back but after a summer of riding, I swapped back to my trusted WTB’s. One thing that stood out with that pairing was the sidewall’s abrasion resistance. So with this new bike, ...

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Fruits of Labor standard

This past winter, I decided to build a new Marauder prototype to try out a few new to me concepts. Most important of these concepts was a short stem/long top tube with a slack front end. I was curious about what effect wheelbase played when it came to handling. During that same time span, I also had planned out a 3rd Marauder prototype in Titanium. Not much in terms of change in that bike but more of a refinement in how I was building with Titanium. Both of those frames were finished up early in the spring of 2018. I wound up building the steel Marauder, which had the longer/slacker concept applied to it first and it completely turned everything ...

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25 Years of Going Forward standard

It was 1985 or 1986 and my best bud and I were headed to the Upper Perk Pool to play a little session of Home-Run-Derby followed by a dip in the pool. However, we had to head to Kuhn’s Drug Store before heading to the little league diamond. We needed some big league chew as our stocks were low. Kuhn’s was an old drug store with a set of large glass display windows with a set of steps inside that led you up and into the store. There was an old soda fountain and bar to your left, drug store in the back and magazine rack to the right. Old exposed wooden floors creaked with every step. The bell rung ...

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Ovaltined standard

So here we go! Old technology is new again. Or is it rather Deja Vu all over again? It seems this is a theme when it comes to the world of cycling parts and technology. Every once in a while something comes back. Take flat mount for example or… more apropos, oval chainrings. Biopace anyone? If you’re a product of the 1990’s mountain bike craze like I am, then you know these suckers all too well. My first mountain bike had these things on them. I wore them down to points none the wiser for their apparent knee damage inducing pedal strokes. But today’s oval rings are definitively NOT what Biopace was technologically speaking. They’re quite different. A recent client ...

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Creaks standard

Any cyclist can attest to that nagging noise that develops over the course of a season of hard use. I’m no stranger to this oft times head scratcher. Sometimes the problem is quite clear. Diagnosis is quick. The repair a minor bump in ones time spent. However, there will be the occasional creak, crick or groan that develops over the course of a ride that requires a bit a more judicious approach. These are the kinds of noises that can drive you mad. For me, I’ve had quite a few noises over the course of my riding career. The past 4 rides proved to be one of these cases! It goes back a week or two. A client had picked ...

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It’s Spring and that has me thinking of Track Days standard

Every spring, without fail, that crisp air and clear blue skies and the smell of fresh cut grass instantly transport’s me back in time to afternoons spent on the Upper Perkiomen High School’s track.  For a passing moment, I’m struck by how my senses are alerted and my mind is filled with memories from days past out on that old cinder track.  Back then, this was a time for me to stay fit and gain speed for when Fall arrived and Football season was in full swing.  When I was a young tike, and I was at my grandparents house in Red Hill, PA, there were often tall tales of sports at the dinner table as my Grandfather recalled his ...

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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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