Monday, May 11, 2009

Changes to the Tracer VP

I've been on an Intense Tracer VP for several months now and I'm loving it. It's taken me a bit fiddling with set up, but I definitely have it dialed in to my liking now. The Tracer has a flush mount headset and a 140mm Fox RLC in the front. It's stiff enough (with the DT Swiss 9mm Thru Ratchet) for me and suits my ex racer dude riding style well. I played around with 5.5 and 6" in the rear and have decided on the 5.5. Seems to climb a little snappier and doesn't wallow in the travel like it did on 6". In defense of the 6" setting, though, I haven't ridden the bike with a bigger fork, so that could change in the future.

I haven't changed anything since I built the bike, but I've recently started making some rearl changes to the bike. First off, it's got a name now.

Local fast guy and Ergon rep, Jeff Kerkhove, sent me a set of grips to try out. He thought they would work well in this market. I guess that means where we ride all day in steep and technical terrain and like to have a full grip around the bar. The "all mountain" Ergon GA1 seems to be the ticket. It's got a nicely shaped palm area with good grip and a comfy compound.

Today was my first day out on them and so far the report is good. I will keep you posted with long term wear and comfort.

The next thing I did was upgrade the wheels. I've had the same set of DT Swiss 240/Mavic 717 rims for over 8 years. It's surely a testament to a strong wheelset but, by the time I retired them, the rear rim had about 9 spots in which I had to pull dings out with a crescent wrench. Just sayin. I've been recently building a lot of wheels for 29 and 26 inch bikes with Stan's Rims. I've heard great things so far, but I like to personally use things that I sell in the shop so I thought I'd give them a try. I'm not normally a fan of non eyeletted spoke holes, but I built these up with aluminum nipples anyway, just to see how they'll hold up.

With Stan's yellow tape, valves stems, and sealant, I was all good to go. The non tubeless Maxxis 2.35 High Rollers set up with minimal fuss. Today, traction was perfect and air loss was non noticeable. I'll report back on these after a few rides, too.

The final change was a new seatpost. I finally gave in to using a crutch :), especially if it meant adding weight and complexity to my ride. Well, the Gravity Dropper added both, but it also added a great dynamic to the ride.

This one is the standard Gravity Dropper with remote. It's got a 1" drop and a 4" drop. I'm definitely glad to have picked up the multi position post. If found myself using the 1" drop all of the time. It's super easy to use and allows you to get your center of weight down and between the tires easier. Without a doubt, one of the best upgrades I've done in a while.

After all the changes, the bike now is at 28.9 lbs with Shimano M540 pedals. Not too bad for a 5.5" travel ride.

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