Thudbuster Seatpost First/Second Impressions

Thudbuster (Website)

Originally Moe had the Thudbuster LT to test but he is currently in the process of selling his hardtail so I’ve been getting in some seat-time on it, literally. For those of you who are not familiar with the device, the Thudbuster is a suspension seatpost that gives about 3 inches of cushion.

When I first got it from Moe, I spent some time determining which elastomers to use for my weight. Because I was without the manual (RL had it in his garage), it took me a bit of time to figure out that the black/black setup would work best for me. But even without the manual, I was able to replace the elastomers easily because the suspension is pretty straight forward.

I’ve been riding the Thudbuster for a little over a week now and I have to admit that it has been an extremely welcome addition to my 29er hardtail. Here are some of my quick first impressions:

– The extra weight is not noticeable.
– It takes the chatter out of a hardtail ride and allows me to sit during parts of my ride I normally would have to stand.
– It easily adjusts to your weight by using different elastomers.
– It’s also easy to set your preferred seat angle.
– I think it looks cool, not dorky as some purists might think.
– The Lizard Skins cover does a good job of keeping the Thudbuster clean.

Thudbuster Covered
Thudbuster on a ride at El Moro, CA

A more thorough review will be written as I spend more time on the Thudbuster. In the meantime here is some information from the Thudbuster website:

* 3″ of ultra-plush travel
* Only 565-585 grams (610 grams or 4XL)
* 1-year warranty
* Unique US Patented design
* New CNC-machined aluminum alloy linkage
* New 1-piece forged tube and receptor
* New larger-diameter stainless-steel pivot pins
* New Teflon® coated pivot bushings
* New super-strong, twin-bolt, micro-adjust saddle clamp
* Complete 6-piece Double Barrel elastomer kit
* Illustrated installation and tuning guide
* Choice of tubing diameters

Check it out here and keep checking back for the full review.

Review: Fezzari Alta Peak UPDATE

Earlier this week, RL & I spent some time tweaking the Alta Peak to fit my dimensions. We initially tried to install a longer stem, but we were missing a headset spacer, so we scrapped that idea.

We then spent some time tweaking the air pressure in the rear shock to minimize pedal bob & adjust the front fork to better fit my weight. These minor adjustment paid off nicely.

Where once I felt minimal pedal bob I now find virtually no pedal bob. When I climb, no bob. When I hammer, no bob. Pedal bob has disappeared to the point that I didn’t lock out the shock on any of my climbs.

Ario 2.2
This simple fix was completed rather quickly with the use of RL’s shock pump. You just find the cap on the shock, unscrew it, put the pump on and pump or release air until desired air pressure is achieved.

We also spent some time fiddling with the front fork. This change was less dramatic but helpful as well. Because RL previously rode this bike, the fork was a bit soft for my tastes. I noticed this when I was climbing on a previous ride. During the climbs, I had the feeling that the front end wanted to lift up. I originally attributed this phemomenon to bike geometry and the fact that the bike was a little too small for me. But after fiddling with the fork, the front end of the bike felt much more planted, even during my climbs. It might not hae been just a size issue afterall.

I guess the moral of this post is that getting your bike fit to you will help you to maximize the abilities of the bike as well as your comfort on the bike. Not doing so can leave you feeling unsure and uncomfortable.

Evomo DH Descent

I got an Evomo t-shirt today. The DH Descent fits me quite nicely. Some shots for your viewing (I’d add “viewing pleasure” but my mug isn’t a “pleasure” for most people, the t-shirt is though).

Evomo DH Descent on Jeremy

Graphics are understated & nice

DH Descent Graphic

Cool sleeve Action

DH Descent Sleeve

Good quality stuff. Check out more at Evomo.

Review: Fezzari Alta Peak

Alta Peak at Dawn

As a caveat to this review, I’d like to mention that this bike is about a size too small for me. I normally ride a size Large, but this Alta Peak Large is better suited for a rider between 5’6″ – 5’9″ rather than my 6ft height. I would highly recommend giving Fezzari your measurements so that they can fit the bike exactly to your specs (and why wouldn’t you, it’s currently FREE).

The Alta Peak is Fezzari’s top of the line Full Suspension (FS) bike. It is outfitted with a Deore levers, Juicy 3 brakes, Rock Shox Tora 302 fork & Ario 2.2 shock. The cranksets is a Truvativ Blaze while the wheels are Mavic 117 shod with Maxxis Larsen TT 2.0. The front derailleur is a Deore while the rear is spec’d XT.

Deore Front Derailleur

My first thought is “I really like riding full suspension.” As a FS newbie, I have very little experience on the FS so my reference point is a hardtail. That being said, I really enjoyed riding the Alta Peak because it allayed many of the worries I have about FS bikes.

As a hardtail rider, I was most worried about the extra weight of the FS. I believed the extra weight would weigh me down and I would not be able to finish the climbs I normally would. I was so worried about this that I actually packed extra fluids in case I ended up staying on the trail longer than originally anticipated.

Alta Peak Suspension

But I found the extra weight of the Alta Peak although noticeable to be negligible. Yes there is extra weight, but no it was not enough to make me get off and hike-a-bike. In fact I was more than able to clean the climbs albeit at a slower than normal pace. But the downhills more than made up for the longer climbs.

Descents are the Alta Peak’s forte. The suspension gave me boldness I normally did not have while on a hardtail. As I rolled down the hills I began subconsciously choosing more and more difficult lines and looked to take jumps rather than avoid them. The full suspension ate up everything on the trail so that obstacles that would normally jar my rear ended up being almost gentle. As my friend (who swapped rides with me for an uphill climb and downhill descent) put it the Alta Peak makes you feel “very confident on the downhills”.

Jeremy on Alta Peak

Another plus with the Alta Peak is the ability to lockout the fork & shock. With the lockouts off, there was pedal bob (another worry). Don’t get me wrong, but coming from a hardtail there was just enough bob for me to notice.

But with the lockouts on, the pedal bob was non-existent. The bike felt very efficient and I was able to climb and clean what I would normally climb & clean with my hardtail. In my first impressions of the Alta Peak I mentioned that the lockout on the shock, although small, was very easy to find and engage/disengage even when I wasn’t looking. This stayed true the whole ride and I gave that shock a workout, locking it and unlocking it numerous times.

Ario Shock

Some other notable features included the juicy 3 hydraulic brakes. These brakes were not set up for me, but they performed extremely well. I always felt that there was enough power to stop me and at over 200 lbs., that’s saying a lot.

Juicy 3 Levers

Juicy 3 Caliper & Rotor

The XT rear derailleur shifted confidently each time and the Purple Extreme lube, applied by RL, made the bike’s drivetrain feel very smooth and efficient.

XT Rear Derailleur

For my conditions (mostly dry/hardpacked), the Larsen wheels performed very well. There are only a couple of difficult spots on the trail and the tires gripped with confidence. When I rode through a sizable puddle then immediately climbed over a worn wooden beam the wheel did slip. But give the Larsens credit, the rear wheel engaged right away and I didn’t need to put my foot down.

Lastly, the beautiful white paint makes me smile every time I see it. I don’t know why I like white bikes so much, but the Alta Peak is a beauty!

Pros:
Weight (surprisingly not noticeable)
Love the lockout feature
Fork & Shock are confidence inspiring
Juicy 3’s have lots of power
White paint!

Cons:
Pedal bob (minor, but you can tell if you normally ride a hardtail)
Need to go a size up for most people
Larsens not for all conditions

Alta Peak Head Tube

Check out the Alta Peak here.

Update: I’m going to spend some time dialing the Alta Peak to my measurements. Hopefully this will solve some of the pedal bob I was experiencing as well as make me feel more comfortable on the bike. Check back to hear about the changes and the results.

Fezzari Alta Peak: First Impressions

I went on a pre-work ride with RL this morning. I was riding my X-Cal 29er until about halfway through when I got the idea to swap with RL to try out the Fezzari Alta Peak.

Just wanted to jot down few first impressions:
– It’s a much beefier bike than my 29er. Not in a bad way and (surprisingly) not in a heavy way. It’s just thicker. Thicker down tube, seat post, seat tube, top tube, everything is thicker. It’s a good look for the full suspension bike.
– The top tube is shorter which put me in a more upright position that I enjoyed.
– The juicy 3’s stop very well.
– The rear suspension felt nice. I liked the lock out feature on the rear. It was easy to find while riding (I didn’t even have to look) and easy to use, just a quick flick with the gloved fingers and it’s done.
– The white finish is gorgeous.

More thoughts on the Alta Peak to come as I get in a longer ride on it. Sorry no pictures, but check out the beauty here: Fezzari Alta Peak

Don’t know what it is but I love white bikes!

First Impressions: Optic Nerve Savant

Optic Nerve, nerveusa.com, sent us some eyewear. I’m going to be testing out Optic Nerve’s Savant Fade Carbon. You can find it on their website under the “Collection 2007” and then from the menu on the left select “Interchangeable”. Savant is on the first row, middle.

First impression is that they look sweet! Great stiff case, the fade carbon is a very nice color & I can easily determine which lenses are for the right/left, plus they MSRP for just $59.

Here is a picture of the cool case that it comes in.

And what you get when you open the case.

The contents laid bare.

The Savant comes with 4 interchangeable lens: dark smoke, copper, high definition orange and clear. The blue cloth is very soft while the case is stiff on the outside and soft on the inside.

Here’s a picture of me sporting the eyewear.

I’ll have my review of them up in a bit. In the meantime, check out the specs at Optic Nerve or if the links don’t work, www.nerveusa.com.