Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lightening my Rampant

When I got my Rampant a while back, i simply swapped all the parts from my Wildcard across, apart from the chain device and chainring

After riding the Rampant on Chicksands' 4X track here in England, I noticed the potential (as did Dirt magazine who had a writer there who tried out my bike) but it felt a little porky still with the Lyric forks, Saints cranks, and big tires

Since demolishing my left arm on my BMX 3 weeks ago, I have not been to ride either my BMX or my MTB properly, hell even dropping off a kerb edge hurts my arm :(

This downtime has been useful as I looked at my Rampant and wondered how I could make it lighter and more nimble; to turn it into a trail bike for climbs, singletrack and woods descents, yet with a change of stem ideal for dirt jumping, downhill blasts and freeriding

I started by adding a full length thomson seatpost for pedalling duties, and switched to a 70mm Thomson X4 stem to get better traction on the climbs and stretch the cockpit a little (I've kept the 50mm X4 for DJ and FR) as I had brushed my knees on the right shifter pod during previous climbs with the 50mm stem - the 70mm stem adds 20mm of reach to the cockpit which is the best part of an inch ( an inch = 25.4mm)

My Rampant on "The Queen's Walk", London Southbank on a cold and wet Sunday morning

A critical part was the fork - the Lyric coil U-turn had to go, and was replaced by a Pike 454 Air U-Turn (110mm-140mm) which came in over 1lb lighter, yet feels stiff and capable, the axle-to-crown height is noticeably lower than the Lyric which means a lower front end on a similar travel setting (110mm on pike vs. 115mm on Lyric), and the Pike seems to suit the style of the Rampant better

Pike Air U-Turn on 110mm (left image) and 140mm (right image)

The Saint HT2 cranks were ditched for the new Shimano SLX crankset with the pedal reinforcement inserts, which shaved a serious lump of weight off the bike, which can actually be felt when spinning the pedals - you are pushing less mass with each rotation

To shed mud during the English winter, as the E13's are notorious for bunging up with the crud, and to shave more weight, I drilled out the E13 bash guard which actually looks pretty trick

Finally a 160mm rotor on the rear brake (replacing the 185mm) and a 2.1" Maxxis High Roller tire on the front and 2.0" Specialized Fast Trak LK 2-bliss tire on the rear, both fitted with Stan's No-Tubes for low weight, super traction and no punctures

With a simple swap back to the 50mm stem and winding the fork down to 110mm, the Rampant would be perfect for Dirt Jumping and 4X and by winding the fork out to 140mm, for freeriding

With the current setup its very nimble, pedals like an XC bike and is a joy to ride about with my busted-up arm, I can't wait to hit some singletrack next week for a ride, if it stops raining here in England!

Its probably the closest I have had to a "mountain bike" for many years, and perhaps not the way Keith would have envisaged the Rampant on his drawing board but I am loving the way it pedals, rides and moves (the VF4B suspension in action), and am stoked on the versatility as I know it can take the abuse when called for

I am going to a friendly local bike shop tomorrow to put it on their digital scales, but am guessing its sub 30lb


Rob C