2 old dudes, hard breathing and some heavy petting

Based on that title alone, you know you’re already jealous. Well let me start of with a bit of a story on how this all went down. You see it all started with a text message that I sent out to The Moe. I said something like this…

photo We ALWAYS abide by the Facebook Rule of “If it’s not on FB, then it never happened.” Thus the selfie. So one little tid bit about this ride is that we both are riding 26er bikes. 26 IS NOT DEAD in our book. Just about a week ago I thought about buying a new mountain bike. The Giant Trance 2 to be exact. I had made a profit on a motorcycle that I recently flipped so I debated about getting a new bike or invest into another motorcycle project to flip. Well the motorcycle won and I bought another project motorbike only because I valued The Moe’s opinion.

RL and The Moe of MtnBikeRiders.com

You see, what had happened was, I posted a status update talking about how I was going to get a new mountain bike to help me get motivated to ride more. Then The Moe asked a compelling question, “What’s wrong with the other 3 mountain bikes you have?” Duh…he got me thinking and he ended up saving me a butt load of cash by not buying the new mountain bike. With that being said, I dusted off my trusty KHS XCT 556, a 26er AM Bike and headed out for this ride that I’m writing about.

Oh ya, I mentioned something about heavy breathing in the title. Well that all happened due to the fact that I am WAY out of shape. In fact the shape that I’m in is called ROUND. I was telling The Moe that I felt totally FAT earlier that day and really needed to ride to feel better about myself. He concurred with the same feeling as I was experiencing, but for himself. Oh I didn’t even mention my arthritic knees…man. I don’t know what it is, but the last two days have been killer. So before the ride, I drugged myself up with Naproxen and a can of Redbull. Pain Relief and Energy at the same time, makes me feel like I can do just about anything, even mountain biking!

As we’re riding along, we passed by the Sunny Hills HS Farm where they had some sheep and goats. I stopped and started to pet a sheep then two goats billied him…get it…bully-billy as in billy goat…anyhow. So I was doing some heaving goat-petting, well more like scratching and I must say, they enjoyed every minute of it!

mtnbikeriders.com petting goats

So we get to an area of our ride where I wanted to test out a device that I’m reviewing. What you see are some still images taken from a video that we took of us messing around. The Moe’s new-to-him bike was working like a well oiled machine!

slayer moe

I decided to try my hand in doing a little jump, but my skill set is so rusty that I just couldn’t close the deal, but I sure made it look good while trying.

RL of mtnbikeriders.com jumping a khs xct 556

So there you have it. 2 old dudes did some hard breathing and some heavy petting. Geez, get your mind out of the gutter! I’m not exactly sure what you were expecting other than exactly what it sounded like.

 

Granny gears, snow and something that rhymes with Fart.

This past weekend I attended a church retreat to learn a butt load of stuff about the gospel. During our break, my buddy Officer Ben and I decided to hit the local trail. We ended up riding part of the Santa Ana River Trail (SART).
SART

We had some great views and once we got into the thick of the forest, we were riding under a canopy.
SART

Kinda neat how there was some mini waterfalls along the route.
SART

There were patches of snow through out the trail.
snow on sart

When Ofc Ben and I started, it was all downhill. So we easily cruised miles and miles without knowing how far we actually went. Eventually we decided to turn around to head back to our retreat. This is where the granny gears came in. The climbing back up through SART was pretty brutal and I stayed on my granny gear all the way up. I think we were climbing for at least 45 minutes and the thinner air at the high elevation made it more difficult.

All in all, any day that I could go riding, whether XC or DH, I’m still happy…yes even climbing. When you have a bike, the KHS XCT 556 that can pretty much do everything, then heck, it’s even more fun!
KHS XCT 556

KHS XCT 556 Review

When I first took delivery of the KHS XCT 556 a few months ago, I was pretty excited about trying its 30 speed drive train. The bike was redesigned for 2011 with swooping, hydroformed tubes and a bold color scheme. It’s spec’d nicely with name brand/model parts such as Rock Shox, Mavic, SRAM, Shimano, WTB and many more. The KHS XCT 556 was a direct replacement of its predecessor, the XCT 555, which we awarded the Editor’s Choice Award in 2010 for “Best Do it All Mountain Bike.”

KHS XCT 556

Who should buy this bike?

-The KHS XCT 556 is perfect for the guy or gal that wants a bike that can do pretty much any thing he/she would want when riding. It can be ridden on an all day XC epic or for the weekend warrior who likes to race Super D. Downhill? Sure, places like Fontana’s Southridge and Telonics can easily be handled by the 556.

Rider shown-Team Racer: Corey Pond
KHS XCT 556

Weight
-The test bike we have weighed in at 29lb (medium frame with pedals)
KHS XCT 556-R

Price
-KHS’s MSRP is $2799.

What makes this bike stand out?

-The XCT556 is equipped with the Rockshox Revelation RL. This fork is pretty plush and was super easy to tune to the rider’s weight thanks to its air pressure chart that is located right on the lowers. It also has the ability to lock out. This option made climbing on the bike easier.

The fork was matched with a Rockshox Monarch RT3. I’ve been a long fan of the Monarch line because of its no non-sense usability. All I would have to do is air it up and set my sag at 25%, adjust the rebound to my liking and I was off riding!

The pièce de résistance with this bike was its 30 speed drive train. Truth be told when I first got on this bike, I thought that a 30 speed drive train was interesting. Then I saw its 36t cassette and thought that it was a bit of an over-kill. But during one of my test rides through a trail called Cholla, I quickly learned the benefits of the 36t cassette and all of a sudden I was able to clear some of the most technical portions of the trail. I couldn’t believe how well the XCT’s drive train worked.

However, there was a kink in the 30 speed armor. For some odd reason, when I would shift between the big ring (44t) down to the middle ring (33t) I would occasionally experience chain suck. This would also happen when I’d shift from the granny gear to the middle ring. I found this to be unusual because the bike is brand new.
KHS XCT 556 R

Favorite part of the bike
-Other than the 36t cassette, my favorite was the Avid Elixir 5 brake system because it provides great braking power, and adjustable reach. Front rotor is 7″ and rear is 6″. No brake fading experienced. It comes down to this, when I pulled the levers, it wasn’t just on, but I could gradually feel the brakes engaging depending on how much I pull the lever.

How does it climb?
-Like a slow goat. The 36t cassette will help you get to the top, but at a slower pace.

How does it descend?

-Like a Boss. Plush fork, squishy rear shock that is complimented with its highly acclaimed Horst Link rear triangle. The XCT 556 soaks up small to large bumps, drops and jumps with ease.

Love/Hate
-Ok, hate is such a strong word. But I’ve got a dilemma here. I love the WTB Wolverine 2.2 tires, I think they are awesome! These tires are fast, and offer great grip…as a rear tire. For a front tire, I would have preferred something more aggressive like a WTB Prowler or even a Kenda Nevegal, then again that’s more of a personal opinion than anything.

KHS XCT 556 R

The KHS XCT 556 may not be someone’s dream XC race bike due to its weight, but don’t be shy to race with it. Priscilla used it during the Knobby Time Series Race #2. She did well enough to podium
IMG_0810

In conclusion
-The KHS XCT 556 is a versatile machine. It performs well as an XC rig and if you’ve got the balls to do so, it can handle Super D courses as well as the occasional dirt jumps. During the extended testing period we had with the bike, nothing failed on us. No signs of fatigue or wear. The only issue we had was the intermittent chain suck in which we’re not sure what caused it. Perhaps I was simply cross chaining it. Other than that, its a superb bike.

Our review disclaimer

We so excited…

Yes its FRIDAY, but that’s not the reason why we so excited.

Cousin Joe did a make-over on his Airborne Taka. Check it out mang:
208814_1889324320424_1460961794_2071028_3754212_n
So that means tomorrow we get to spend some time on our super secret test location just so we can get his bike dialed in.

Another bit of exciting news…as you know I’ve been testing the 2011 KHS xct556. One of the key features of this bike is its 10speed drive train with the 36t rear cog. I am now in love with how well the drive train works. So much so that I wanted to replicate the effects of the 36t without spending a ton of money swapping out my whole drive train.

So here’s what I did. I went over to Jenson USA and found this 9speed 12-36t cassette. By the way, Jenson USA will price match. I found this part on another site for $10 less, I contacted Jenson and showed them the lower price, and sure enough, they matched it. I went ahead and ordered it and I received it in 2 days! Anyhow, back to my story, I want to place this 36t cassette on my current bike to see if it will work. The only issue I may have could be the chain length. So for now “we so excited” about this upcoming project. I’ll make sure to come back here with some results.
IMG_9428

36t, do we really need it?

I’ve been testing the KHS XCT 556 and so far everything is working well. One of the things I was excited about this bike was its 3×10 drive train. For the longest time people kept talking about the 10 speed nuances and how its going to change mountain biking and yada yada yada.
KHS XCT 556
But I’m left wondering, do we really need a 36t? Wasn’t the 34t enough? Heck some bikes still have a 32t and somehow they manage just fine. Don’t get me wrong, the drive train on the XCT 556 is pretty smooth, but so was the drive train on the XCT 555 (9sp).

So for you guys to are smarter than me and are possibly engineers or just like working with gear ratios and etc, please explain to me why it would benefit the average mountain biker to get on the 10 speed wagon? Cuz’ so far, I’m not that convinced.

KHS XCT 556-Preview

I had made my way down to the KHS Bicycles US HQ in Rancho Dominguez just a few days ago to pick up the 2011 KHS XCT 556.

KHS XCT 556

Not only is it a pretty bike, but what caught my attention and more so what I’m looking forward to test is the 3×10 drive train. Here’s the spec sheet:

KHS XCT 556

The medium with pedals weighed in at 29lbs.
KHS XCT 556

I’ve been out on one ride so far and I gotta tell you, the KHS XCT 556 is a smooth riding bike. The drive train is uber quite and down right beautiful to work with. I’ll be testing this bike in the next few weeks, so make sure you check back in.