“Ask MBA” peeve of the month:
Lock-on grip bolts that rub holes in your
gloves and cause blisters. Position the
bolts of your lock-on grips in the 6 o’clock
position to prevent this. Running the end
caps on your lock-on grips so the logo is
right side up shows that you care about
your bike and pay attention to the details.
LIGHTER THAN AIR
Q: I have a Specialized Demo 8 from
2011 with a Fox 40. My fork is from 2012
or 2013. I am wondering if it is possible to
convert it to an air fork as it has a spring in
it right now? And if so, will it save weight
and be more adjustable than the spring?
—Gavin, who wants more
A: No, you can’t do that. The inside
of the tubes of any coil-sprung fork has
scratches from the coil itself and will not
hold the air seal needed to contain the
pressure. Additionally, most fork manufac-
turers know this and use a different coating
on the inside of their coil forks to save
money. To upgrade to an air spring on your
Fox 40, you would need to not only buy the
air spring assembly, but also an entirely
new stanchion tube that’s designed for an
Q: I bit the bullet and decided to get my
dream custom bike built from Waltworks.
I decided to go this route because I just
wanted something different. But the time
has come to start picking a parts list, and I
figured since it has been a bit since I have
bought a bike, I would ask your opinion
on suspension. The bike is going to be a
140-millimeter aggressive trailbike. What
fork and shock would you recommend for a
guy who is pretty much a set-it-and-forget-it kind of rider?
I appreciate and value your opinion on
this, as this is going to be my dream bike
built the way I want it. But, I still need some
help picking out some of the squishy parts.
—Rich, who wants a forking
A: We’d be hard-pressed to recommend
anything other than Fox or RockShox for
something like this; however, since you
went with a Waltworks, we’re willing to bet
you’d like something that’s a little off the
beaten path when it comes to parts too.
DVO has its new Sapphire fork coming
down the pipe, and X-Fusion’s Slide is
impressive. We would start there. ❑
NICA, NICA, NICA
Q: I have recently started racing for my
high school cross-country team. I have a
Specialized Epic, but I am in the process
of looking for a carbon hardtail in the sub-
$2500 range. I think I have settled on a
Norco Revolver (hardtail, of course). The
only issue is that I live in Northern California
and Norcos are made and mainly sold in
Canada. So, I have a few quick questions.
1) Is a Revolver even a good choice for
a freshman on the MTB team? (This would
be my main XC bike for about two or three
2) Do you have any recommendations
where I could look for one or somehow
3) If a Revolver is out of the range, is
there any other sub-$2500 carbon hardtail
you would recommend?
Thanks for your time.
—Gavin Parnes, who has World Cup
A: You know, Gavin, your question is a
very good one. Everyone wants to have
the “best” bike, especially racers looking
for every possible advantage and split
second on the course to help land them on
the podium; however, we would offer you
this advice: don’t get too caught up with a
specific brand or model. There is no “best”
bike, no matter how hard you look for it.
The Revolver is an awesome bike. We
tested it a couple months ago, and our
resident XC race guy rode many miles on
it. If you find one that suits your style, go
for it. We certainly can’t say it would be
a bad choice. We will offer these few tips
about buying bikes, which we feel are more
important than the logo on the downtube.
Be absolutely sure the bike fits. Every
bike company out there has a different take
on geometry, and not everything works for
everyone. Test as many bikes as you can,
If you’re stuck with a choice between
a couple bikes, think about the life of that
bike. If you’re the type of guy who does his
own maintenance, then the shop you buy
it from is less important. If you’re not com-
fortable doing your own repairs, be honest
with yourself and consider that you might
need shop support to keep the bike running
in tip-top shape.
Buy the bike that you want. Don’t necessarily buy the one that your friends tell you
is best. If you’re interested in trail riding,
buy an XC race bike that will also be good
for shredding trails when you’re not on
the racecourse. At your age, if you put in
the training, you can beat guys on a bike
that’s a 1/2-pound lighter with gumption.
You should have a bike that you truly love
to ride, not the one that’s lightest on the
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