Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bike Selection

For this race, I started from scratch with my planning which meant my current mountain bike.

Is it the right bike?  I currently have a 2009 Redline D660.  Yes the Redline from the days of my youth that was a BMX bike.  Not many people choose Redlines on the Mountain but they make a great ride.  Most of the bike is componentry anyway, the brand is pretty much just the frame.

26 or 29er?  This is the size of the wheels.  In the last few years 29ers (29 inch wheels) have gained popularity as they roll over big obstacles better but are suspect in the handling department.  My current rig is a 29er. (and I love it and have been known to say I will never go back to a 26 inch set up)

Hardtail or Full Suspension?  I used to ride full suspension but feel more comfortable on a hardtail.  I think they are better for climbing but can chatter your teeth on the downhills sometimes.  Overall, the hardtail is my mountain bike of choice.  However, not ever have ridden the leadville terrain I wanted to make sure this was the correct choice.

Gearing?  The main problem with my Redline for Leadville is gearing.  Is has a 1X9 setup.  Meaning one chainring in the front and 9 in the back.  Hence only 9 gears, not nearly enough for going up the side of a mountain.

So, as I have done over the last 18 years or so, I called Steve Wilson (my semi-pro riding, mountain biker, bike shop owner, leadville 100 finisher, friend).  Steve and I worked together in Calvert City Kentucky at BFGoodrich.  This was my first job out of college and we logged some major time on the mountain bike trail.  One major note, this was also when I did my first big race which was the 24 Hours of Canaan (Canaan, WV, we had a blast).
Steve asked, do you like your current bike?  I said, I love it but its not the right one for this race, is it?  And to summarize our hour long conversation, he said....wheels, wheels, wheels!  For a race like this or any mountain bike race, as long as you are on a decent rig, wheels are what make the difference in Steve's opinion.  And as luck would have it, he had a set in the shop he could give me a good deal on!  He aslo recommended changing the gearing on my ride to accommodate some more climbing potential.

So, Steve's overall recommendation's were:
1.  New wheels, Bontrager Race X Lite, Retail $XXX we'll see.
2.  New Crankset, Shimano SLX, $180
3.  New Front Derailer (cause I do not have gearing in the front currently I will have to add this), $40
4.  New Front Shifter $40
Therefore, other than the new wheels which can be added later, the changes are not insurmountable cost wise.

Now for the personal touches.  I have never liked the Green Lettering on my bike, I am a you can have any color as long as its black guy.  So, yes, you guessed it, while I have to take off my cranks to install new, what better time to strip my bike down and paint it!  And because its a Redline, I can get some cool vintage stickers from the 80's to deck it out.

Here is the first pic of the new paint job.  I know it looks black like I like but in the sun it is actually dark blue.  The powdercoat guy talked me into blue pearl and I'm not sure I can live with it.  So it might get repainted black!

 Vintage Redline Stickers from mid 1980's
 More Vinatge Stickers, these flames will go on the top tube and down tube!  It will be awesome!

This bike should be back together about the second week of January.  In the meantime, I will be riding my road bike on the trainer in the basement.

Go Big or Stay Home


  1. I didn't see it listed, but are you adding sissy bars to your custom ride? The sissy bars may help keep you in the saddle on the steep climbs. And what about a bell and a basket? They may come in handy on a 100 mile ride.

    But in all seriousness, You always go big or stay home. Good luck on your journey. Hope I can be a contributing part of your preparation.bp

  2. I don't think I would want to do 100 miles on a hard tail, but I'm not sure I could lug my RIP9 that many miles either. Maybe something in between...