“Ask MBA” peeve of the month:
UPGRADING THE HOOPS
Q: I am in need of a new wheelset for my Fezzari Lone Peak. It’s a few years old, so
it’s the 26-inch model. I’ve been in the process of upgrading it, and I definitely do not
want a new bike. It’s a very fun jumper. Anyway, after looking around at wheelsets, I’m
very confused about hub sizes. Why does it have to be so complicated? I have no idea
what hub will be compatible. My question is, what hub size/axle combination do I need?
Also, what are some wheel suggestions?
—Jack Parker, who likes jumping on 26ers
A: It’s true, there are a ton of axle sizes out there. Your Lone Peak uses a 135-milli-
meter-wide rear axle with a quick-release (non-thru-axle). The front axle is a 100-milli-
meter quick release. Since you mentioned you like jumping, we’re going to recommend a
wheel that’s pretty durable yet light enough for most any kind of trail riding. Take a look
at the Azonic Outlaw wheelset. It is pretty affordable, reasonably light and very durable.
The wheels also come with the hardware to convert to thru-axle wheel systems and are
even convertible to different axle sizes with just a conversion kit. Basically, these wheels
will work on nearly any bike so long as it has 26-inch rims. Start there.
Q: I was wondering if you guys have
ever ridden DuPont State Forest or Pisgah
National Forest in North Carolina? I want
to plan a trip in that area for spring break
this year with a bunch of riding mates. I
was wondering what the riding differences
are between the two parks. Also, I want to
know if you can ride the parks in March,
because I was looking around and a website somewhere said May was the start of
the normal season. Also, what tour groups
do you guys suggest using in those parks?
Or are the parks marked well enough that I
could get maps and find my way around?
—Ryan, who wants to shred NC
A: One of our staffers has ridden
there, but unfortunately, he is terrible with
remembering trail names. Fortunately, he
remembers the shop that gave him the
recommendations. Call Liberty Bikes in
Asheville. It’s a great mountain shop and
will give you the insider info on the best
trails in the area. ❑
1378 Hendersonville Rd.
Asheville, NC 28803
the $1000 price is well within your budget,
even after a dropper post.
The only upgrade we’d caution you on is
the fork. By going to a longer travel fork,
you’ll raise the front end of the bike and
simultaneously rake out the geometry and
raise the bottom bracket. As a result, the
handling will be compromised. Most think
that the “more aggressive” geometry will
be better. In our experience, though, it’s
better to ride any bike with the fork it was
SHOWING THE MBA PRIDE
Q: I’m getting back into riding again
and revamping my 1995 Specialized M- 2
Stump Jumper Team. I need to replace
the stem for peace of mind, but it proudly
displays two Mountain Bike Action stickers
that I would like to replace as well. Is there
any way I can purchase stickers?
—Ken Rota, who’s a very loyal
A: Yes, absolutely. We sell sticker packs
for $4.95. The pack comes with assorted
—Longer, more efficient fork (Pike or
Can you please give a recommendation
on the best upgrade? Any specifics you
can provide on brand and model would be
—Matt Wilson, who’s tricking out
A: We agree with your thinking. The
dropper post is probably the best place to
put money first. If you’ve yet to ride with
one, we can tell you, it really will change
the way you ride. It will add a nominal
amount of weight, but the added confi-
dence on descents will more than make up
for it. We’ve had the best luck with the KS
LEV post and the Thomson Elite Dropper.
Lighter wheels are also a great upgrade;
however, they can be very expensive. Since
your budget is $1500, that pretty much
rules out anything carbon. You could take a
look at something like the Mavic Crossmax
XL wheels. These aluminum hoops are
impressively lightweight and extremely stiff.
They provide an awesome ride quality, and
sizes, so you should be able to find ones
to fit your stem. All you need to do is send
a check or money order made payable to
Plus Products c/o Mountain Bike Action,
P.O. Box 957, Valencia, California, 91380-
Dropping a bottle of expensive chain
lube on the floor of the garage and then
immediately stepping on it. Not only did it
make the garage floor more slippery than
a skating rink, it cost us about 10 bucks
worth of oil.