Chain Issues?

So I recently acquired a new On-One Ringmaster 30t to install onto the Titus Rockstar 29er Alloy.  But when I installed it with my existing drive train (chain and cassette), I started experiencing some chain-skippage and as you know, this type of skippage kinda does suck. With that newfound info, I decided to text a photo of what was happening to El Guapo of Planet X (distributor of On-One and Titus).

On-One Ringmaster 30

photo 2(6)  Notice how the chain was binding? El Guapo said that I need a new chain. So I took his word for it and ordered one the same day. I went with a decent budget chain, a KMC X10.93 10Speed. I picked it up for about $20. Once I got it, I installed it. Below is a photo of the new chain right before my ride.

kmc chain 10 speedI’m happy to say that El Guapo was absolutely correct! New chain totally fixed the skippage. But now I noticed that my cassette needs to be replaced. Looks like I’ll be doing that before this weekend. Anyhow, I want to give a big thanks to El Guapo from Planet X for his Suprese (pronounced-Soo-Preh-seh) knowledge!

Let’s give it up to Planet X/Titus for excellent customer service!!!

A while back Lady P and I were riding Rockit in Aliso Woods. This is a fun rock garden that we’ve ridden before. As we entered the trail, I see a little lip off to the side and I decided to take it. Boom I launch of it, land the rear tire first and then the front. I keep rolling but eventually I come to a stop to make sure Lady P was ok. Yep, I do that. I will stop at mid descent just to make sure my main squeeze is ok. Anyhow, as I’m waiting I hear a hissing sound. I’m thinking, “Oh great…flat!” But upon closer inspection I didn’t have a flat, but I had a blown rear shock!

Can you see what’s wrong with this photo?
Titus Rockstar, blown rear shock

To borrow a line from Bill Murray in Stripes, “BLOWN UP SIR!”
titus rockstar

Immediately I contact El Guapo over at Planet X/Titus. Mind you this was on a Saturday morning. He was actually at Sea Otter working as an exhibitor. I didn’t think he’d respond until Monday, but within a few minutes, he asked what happened and began the warranty claim for the rear shock. Come the following week, I was sent a #RMA and a shipping label so the shock could be sent back to Rockshox.
Blown out o-ring.

Not quite sure how my shock blew up like that. But it took about 2 weeks for Rockshox to send me a replacement. Yes I said a replacement. Oh by the way, El Guapo actually offered to send me a “loaner” shock until I got mine back from warranty. But I declined his generous offer since I had other bikes I could ride.

So this is my NEW shock. It’s similar to the oem shock, but the newer year model.
rockshox
Rockshox Monarch RT3
So there you have it…a story about great customer service by El Guapo. It’s not like the Titus Rockstar failed, but he was on it when it came to getting an RMA from Rockshox. The whole process was painless, yes it was inconvenient to have the shock blow out. But I’m glad I had El Guapo on my side facilitating the warranty claim.

A built with love

Not sure what I did on the title…It was supposed to read “A Bike Built with LOVE.” Eh anyway, let’s continue with our regularly scheduled program…As you may have previously read. I bought a Titus Rockstar Carbon 29er for LadyP as her Un-Valentines present. Much like any other person who would like to buy a Titus Rockstar, I went to the Planet X website to order one. I picked the size she needed (small) and hit Add to Cart and bought it. But before I checked out of their shopping cart, I had left a memo to have “El Guapo” draw me a unicorn…

I get the frame a few days later and here’s what I got.


More on the other side.
rockstar titus
This was inside the box.
titus carbon rockstar

Ok so after some time waiting for parts to arrive and issues with having to bleed brakes, I finally finished it! Check it out kids!
carbon titus rockstar

I love how it came out. The color scheme worked out great. Black and white is so classy.
carbon titus

custom carbon rockstar build

Here’s LadyP with her new bike on it’s maiden voyage.
Ladyp mtnbikeriders.com titus rockstar carbon

So if you’re wondering what’s so special about this build. Well, let me get started! For about a year LadyP rode the Airborne Hobgoblin 29er. Great bike but one of her complaints about it was the 2×10 drive train. She just couldn’t get used to the gearing on it. About later on in the year she spoke to a friend of ours who bought a carbon Rocky Mountain. He could talk for hours on the benefits of carbon and by that time she had drank enough Kool Aid to be convinced that she NEEDED one.

That spawned a hunt for a great deal for a new frame. I figured we’d harvest the parts from the Airborne Hobgoblin that we bought a year ago to build up a new bike. After some time window shopping, I finally had the funds to decide on the Titus Rockstar Carbon. I spoke to El Guapo at Planet X and he gave me industry pricing and in about 3 days, the frame arrived at the World HQ of MtnBikeRiders.com.

Right away I started building the frame up. One thing with the Rockstar is that it has internally routed cables. That meant that the hydraulic hose for the rear brake had to be cut and reinstalled. It should have been an easy process, but somehow I botched that job and Adam Spik helped me fix it.

Rather than going back to a 2×10, I sourced some used but in great condition parts. I went with a SRAM 3×10 drive train.I figured LadyP would love the fact she has a granny gear now. For the most part, the groupo from the Hobgoblin was transferable with the exception of few small parts like the bottom bracket, seat post and front derailleur. For those parts, I ended up buying them new. The total build took me about a few weeks to complete, simply because I was waiting for parts to arrive.

At the end of the build, the bike weighed in at 27lbs. Not bad considering it’s a FS 29er. But I’m sure weight weenies would balk at the idea of a 27lbs carbon bike. For that reason, I have considered upgrading parts as they break or depending on how much of a good deal I can get. But I told LadyP that breaking parts intentionally won’t count…

Here’s a photo from our most recent ride, Titus Twins!
aluminum and carbon titus rockstars

Why Super D Racing might be better than Downhill

This past weekend I participated in my very first Super D race at Southridge at the KMC Chains Winter Series. I’ve been racing bikes on and off for a few years now, some XC and mostly downhill. When I did race downhill, I found that I really enjoyed it.

But after this weekend, I think I’m going to focus more on Super D racing instead. I thought about this during my drive home after the race. There were a few things that clicked in my head that made sense to me on why and how Super D is better than downhill racing. I’ve got some bullet points for you, ready?

  • No need to buy a downhill specific bike
  • Race the bike you ride with during the week
  • No need for full face helmet and body armor
  • Bike is way lighter
  • Pedal up the instead of pushing your bike up
  • Super D Races are typically twice as long as downhill races at Southridge.
  • Practice and Race on the same day

So those are my bullet points on why I think Super D is better than racing downhill. But I probably should note that I’m speaking in terms of it being held at Fontana, Ca. If you’re a SoCal regular or you’ve raced in Southridge, then you know that the venue really doesn’t compare to any world cup destinations, but it’s still downhill. In fact you’ll often find super big name pros racing at Southridge like Arron Gwin, Gee Atherton, Kyle Strait and many more. Basically Southridge DH is good enough for pros, so it’s definitely challenging enough for guys like me.

But I digress to my bullet points. Here’s the thing, if you want to race downhill, try giving Super D a chance first. You can use the same bike you normally ride because it doesn’t really require a bike that has more than 6″  of travel. The bike I used was the Titus Rockstar with 5″ in the front and 4″ in the back. While the other guys on our race team rode 5-6″ trail bikes. Actually Art Aguilar raced with his carbon fiber XC bike. That was enough bike to handle the course.

 

Super D might be better than DH

Another point that I wanted to make about Super D is that you can use your current gear. Most DH racers will ride with a full face helmet as well as some sort of body armor. There were a few Super D racers that used a full face and armor during the race. But I find that a full face can be very constricting when you’ve got a long pedal section.

One last thing that makes Super D great is that when you do race, you’re riding a bike that you’re familiar with. Often times in DH you’re riding a completely different bike. That means you spend less time on it, not as familiar with all the handling quirks.

In conclusion, racing Super D opened my eyes to a whole new opportunity to enjoy my bike and racing

 

More testing with Bon Jovi

Over the Thanksgiving weekend Art and I decided to do some riding and testing and kicking assing. Yes…assing. So Art got some sweet photos of me pretending to be hardcore. Well, I actually don’t have to pretend because I’m already all hardcore and stuff. In fact it was quite the opposite, I had to turn down my hardcoreness and keep it at a minimum. So the photos below shows how fun it is to ride the Titus Rockstar and I’m trying to demonstrate how nimble it is.

But first, I have to pee!
watering the grass

Ok let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I’ve built up Bon Jovi to ride more like a train/enduro bike, thus the super wide bars. As they say…Elbows Out…side to side…lean like a cholo. In this case, I’m dressed like one too!
IMG_9964

I like this action shot of my fantastically firm calves. Oh yeah, the bike looks great too!
titus rockstar

For some reason, when I am doing anything aggressive on the bike I make a duck face…
1titus rockstar duck face

The wider bars allow me to have more leverage and better control of the bike. You really should try getting wider bars and a shorter stem. This is especially helpful when you have short arms like I do.
titus rockstar

So far I’m really loving Bon Jovi. This bike is wicked fun and I’ve been itching to take him through some downhill courses at Fontana just to see how well he’d do.

Me and Bon Jovi on the trail for the first time

On Saturday morning The Moe and I headed out for an early ride. This was going to be my opportunity to see how well Bon Jovi (Titus Rockstar 29er Version2) handles the trail.

Before we get to the dirty talk, let’s see how much he weighed without pedals. Considering that this build pretty much turned Bon Jovi into 5.5″ travel (front) bike, I’d say it’s a decent weight. If you can’t really see what the scale shows, that’s about 28.5bls.
titus Rockstar

Nice eh? He’s looking super handsome. He really is a nice little ride. The 1×10 set up is something I need to get used to. I do ride a bit slower since my chain ring is only a 32. But because of it, I didn’t have to walk any of the hills on our ride.
photo

Speaking of 1×10, here’s the Wolf Tooth Components chain ring. Go ahead, ask me if the chain ever dropped during my ride? Go on..ask! “RL, did the Wolf Tooth Components Chain Ring drop during your ride?” HELLS NO! That thing stayed on there as if it was Velcro’d on! Keep in mind, I’ve had my share of experiences in trying to do 1x set ups. From 1×3,1×8,1×9 and even 1×1 single speed. I’ve dropped chains like crazy before on 1x systems. But something about this chain ring that keeps the chain from dropping. I heard that each tooth is magentized, so it helps to keep the chain on there tight…I’m just kidding, I made that last part up. I’m sure it has something to do with way they engineered it, which happens to be out of my comprehension. But I do know this, it works!
Wolf tooth components

I call this Bon Jovi’s “sexy time” photo. The Titus Rockstar, which I’ll often refer to Bon Jovi at times because that’s his formal name, is a great ride. Super plush, handles really well, climbs with ease and it’s really fun on the downhills.
Titus rockstar

Sea Otter 2010: Titus Rockstar


Titus Rockstar on the XC loop

On Saturday afternoon Tim & I took out a couple of Titus’s on the XC loop (about 18 miles and almost 3k feet of climbing). I grabbed a Titus Rockstar. The Rockstar is Titus’s full suspension 29er with 100mm of travel. It comes equipped with all the new stuff including the tapered headtube, hydroformed front triangle along with a beefy carbon rear.


Aluminum front triangle with a nice low standover height and nice graphics/color

Our short ride netted me just a few thoughts on the bike: the suspension is very active. On climbs and on downhill sections the horst link was active even when locked out. I really enjoyed the plush sensation on the downhills and although plush, the carbon rear end still felt stiff and strong. The carbon rear is really quite thick which I am sure increases stiffness.


Carbon rear triangle was nice and stiff

The Rockstar climbed very well with the caveat that the suspension was moving even with propedal engaged. This could also be a matter of set up as the rider before me was “about” my weight so I didn’t touch the shock. The XC trail loop at Sea Otter does not have any particularly technical climbs but it did have some nice singletrack climbing which the Rockstar did great on. There was a little front lift on the climbs but not enough that better pedaling form couldn’t fix.


Nicely executed Horst link suspension and the white is HOT

And if you’re a fan of the old Racer-X geometry, the Rockstar can be setup to handle that way. For the Rockstar Titus slackened out the head angle for a more stable ride, but this Rockstar used a low handlebar setup which lent a “Racer-X”-ish feel. I had no quibbles with this either way as I enjoyed the snappy handling.

About the only negative with the bike is the choice of tires which did not work well for the trails around Sea Otter. The Mountain Kings hampered my confidence to rail the bike on turns and through the singletrack.

For more info on the Titus 2010 Rockstar, click here.