Tsali is in epic condition!

Went out this afternoon to see what shape winter had left the trails. A friend and I took the bikes out and did right loop. I can’t believe how good the trails are right now! The entire single track section of right loop is perfect. So buff and so fast. We did stop a bunch of times and remove tree limbs, branches, and toppers that littered the trail. In all, we probably stopped 5 times to remove tree litter. Remember, the derailleur you save may be your own!

There are the normal wet spots along county line road, so just bunny hop them. The downhill at mile 3 is still washed out and rutted, but that will be a chore for the NAS SORBA chapter to attack soon. Look for a work party to get together soon. There are two trees down across the trail, but they are pretty easy to port over, and next time we get out, the chapter will have a few new people chainsaw certified.

So, wherever you are today with all that snow and cold, come to ride Tsali. It’s better than ever.

The beauty of the dropper post

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Ok, admit it. You are a gadget person. Neat stuff, these handlebar remotes. You want to easily change your bike at the press of a button. Kinda like Speed Racer could in the Mach 5.
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But why do you need a dropper post? One word. Control. that’s right, you can control your bike better when you have dropper. Why? Cause it’s easier to pilot your bike if you are on the bike, and without sliding your butt off the back of the seat. So, if you can drop the level of your seat 4 or 5 inches while you are riding, you don’t have to completely change the position of your body. Changing your body geometry causes you to have too much weight behind the bike, not centered over the two wheels. Being centered over the two wheels, over your cranks, is pretty optimal for control.

So, recently I bought a Kindshock Lev post for my bike. I had installed more than a few on bikes in the past, but now I wanted one. What I like about this post is the handlebar remote, the super cool way that you can adjust the collar and where the cable attaches to the post, the fact that it is air controlled, not hydraulic fluid, and the seat mount system. You can turn the post so the cable mounting tab is out of the way. The seat mount adjusts 360 degrees so you can turn the post. Super slick. The remote lever is very easy to operate, and pretty durable looking. The cable is a standard shifter cable, so it is easy to obtain if you have an issue. The package looks and feel good right out of the box. However, the housing that covers the cable is not optimal. I immediately ditched it in favor of regular Jagwire cable housing. More flexible, easier to get the kinks out of the housing.

On downhill runs, just flick the handlebar lever while seated, and the seat drops. And, you don’t have to drop it the entire amount of travel. This puppy will stop wherever you want. I drop mine an inch or two for jumpy, flowy sections. That way, the seat doesn’t hit me in the butt when I pull the bike up for lift off. When going down bigger stuff, like stairs and drops, I depress the lever, and it drops the whole 5 inches and you can lower your center of gravity for nasty sections, like Burnt Mountain at DuPont.

When you get to the bottom, lift out of the seat, hit the lever, and the post extends to max height in a slow and controlled way. Now, you are back at optimal cross country height for pedaling efficiency. So sweet!

Flatlanders might scoff at the idea of a dropper, but I’m telling you, the ability to drop the seat out of the way, even a little bit, helps. On every technical section at Santos, Alafia, or Boyette you are scooting back behind the saddle to lower your body weight. Now you don’t have to compromise your natural balance on the bike to make your bike more maneuverable.

So, you have a cable that controls the drop. Not a hose full of hydraulic fluid. And, the cable doesn’t move. Some droppers have the cable routed to the top of the seatpost, and when you hit the button, the cable and housing move the amount of travel. So, when you drop the seat level, you get this big belly of cable which can get hung up on stuff. And no bleeding the post (like brakes) when it stops working.

The post comes in 3 different amounts of drop, from 4 to 5 to 6 inches. The diameter of the post comes in 3 sizes, from 27.2 to 30.9 to 31.6. There are external cable options, or internal options (the Lev integra) for frames that have internal cable routing.

Check them out, then order one through Bryson City Bicycles. We have some in stock and can get the rest. While not cheap, as always, nothing this cool is ever free. But, it’s still less than some of the competition.

Ride on.

Rumble Strip research project by NC State

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Click on the above flyer to learn more about the project. The Institute of Transportation Research and Education is working to understand the effect of variations of gaps in rumble strips on roads. Road cyclists of all levels are being asked for a 4 hour period to ride downhill (and get a ride back up the hill) and give their feedback on how rumble strips affect riding and braking. You need to be able to ride at speeds of higher than 20mph. The study will be in March. They have various weekday and weekend windows available. Please contact Sarah O’Brien at NCSU. Her contact info is on the flyer.

Full-on Bike Service

It’s that time of the year. You want to ride, but the elements just won’t cooperate. Maybe you ride anyway, and you find that all your components are now muddy and sluggish.

Never fear, Spokey Joe is here. Just back from his SRAM certification classes on mountain bike service, that guy can freshen up your ride for spring.

Check out this link to see what we can do to make your bike awesome again!

Service with a smile

It’s that time of the year. You want to ride, but the elements just won’t cooperate. Maybe you ride anyway, and you find that all your components are now muddy and sluggish.

Never fear, Spokey Joe is here. Just back from his SRAM certification classes on mountain bike service, that guy can freshen up your ride for spring.

Here are some of the system overhauls we suggest to make your bike better than ever–

Suspension service- Have more than 50 hours of riding on your bike since your last suspension overhaul? Haven’t had it done since you bought the bike? Well, having the lowers removed, the seals and wipers and oil replaced will make that bike ride like new again! The biggest thing I hear after we do this service is “Wow, it didn’t feel bad, but it’s AMAZING how good it feels now!” Get it done! $50 plus parts. Full rebuilds or custom tuning available as well. From replacing springs to changing cartridges, all this can be done.

Drivetrain service- Spent a season shifting and riding? Chains wear out by stretching. Rings and cassettes wear the ramps and pins and tooth profiles with torque and abuse. Now is the perfect time to place the chain, chainrings, bottom bracket, and cassette. WHY, you might ask? All these parts work as a system, and they wear at the same rate. Replace them all at the same time, and it shifts better. I can’t tell you how many times folks have replaced just the chain and brought it back because it still doesn’t shift like it should. Replace everything and it shifts like butter. We only use Jagwire cables and housing with L3 slick coating. We never suggest or use galvanized cables as they become sticky and slow in no time due to water causing them to oxidize. Reuse the housing? Not on our watch, as the housing catches the dirt and it binds to the walls of the housing. This is the time to replace cables and housing, and maybe upgrade the shifters and derailleurs, maybe to 9, 10 or 11 speed components. Prices depend on system type.

Brake service- SRAM suggest that you replace the pads, rotors, and bleed the brakes once per year. Replace the brake pads and rotors together. Whenever you change pads, replacing the rotors at the same time will ensure that your braking system continues to work. Rotors take all the heat and abuse and never get any thanks. They weaken over time, and they begin to howl in pain and frustration from lack of service. Different pad compounds wear rotors in different ways, and the brake pad residue reacts in different ways to different pad compounds. These things can reduce brake stopping power, create noise, or worse. While we’re at it, we can bleed the brakes. Those 6 mls of fluid take a ton of abuse from heat and dirt as well, so replacing that fluid will keep the brakes from feeling spongy.

Full tear down- The big daddy of service. All that water, dirt and grime lives in the nooks and crannies. We’ll take the frame down to just the metal, replacing everything that is worn or damaged. The bottom bracket is notorious for holding mud and water, and causing all kinds of creaks. The headset can be a source of frustration, where mud and water collect and never feels bad until a bearing completely fails. Retighten and align the derailleur hanger to make shifting smooth and quick. Check pivots, bearings, and bushing in the suspension to make it flex the way it should. True the wheels, bleed the brakes. $200 plus parts.

Bryson City Bicycles has a full supply of brake parts, drivetrain parts, and wipers and seals for Fox and Rockshox forks and shocks. Call to schedule an appointment now for spring cleaning!