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UPDATED 5/2010
This is not a blog! Do not email your spew over dated journal entries, unless you have a valid comment to assists our clients. Because we guide and because we offer custom bicycles designed and built in Moab for clients we want to see again, our safety standards are continuously higher than recreationalists, greedy local bike shops with teenage mechanics, or magazines compromised by advertising money. Use this info for what it is worth. Times are changing and if you ride a bike for fun on the weekends and holidays, there are quite a few 9ers out there suitable to the task. 98% of them are made in China. There are even 650c wheeled mountain bikes available (for example, the Ventana El Bastardo--made in America!) for those who have discovered that 29ers are just too big for someone under 5'7". And for the heavy guys, we now have a 9er wheel solution for those who ride moderate terrain. Cautions listed below do not fade away as you, the guinea pig for big companies, break bones to prove the unreliability of poorly designed headtubes, wheelsets and forks. Thesecompanies respond out of court, so we never hear of the real carnage out there due to non-disclosure clauses in settlements, but we have heard of many problems with many frames and parts for 9ers. But, there is good news. More good stuff is on the way or now available at gouging prices. Remain smart and patient. You can find parts to build a strong 29er at the present time. But big boys (really BIG boys) still need to be cautious with those long spokes.

What became of the White Rim 29er?

White Rim 69er We have put our eggs in the Serotta and Moots baskets. We can have Serotta custom a White Rim to exactly to our specs, or we can get very close with a custom Moots. We have dropped all connection (and desire for a connection) with the Chinese fabricator of the original WR frames. Outsourcing is a VERY bad thing when it is done out of the country. The price for a WR has gone up, but it is available as a 29er or 69er, fully rigid or with front suspension, if you have enough desire, and the result is much better due to the state-of-the-art titanium fab at Moots and Serotta. Moots has the classic 9er, 69er and full suspension court covered with the Mooto-X, Mooto-Xz, and the Gristle models. Moots even allows us to configure the Gristle hardtail and YBB models as a convertible, which is what the White Rim was designed to be--a rigid 700c bike that can convert to a front suspended 69er.

29er Moab Guide Bike and Testing Platform

A Dreamride MOOTS MOOTO-XZ set up custom for Moab is currently in the guide bike quiver and available as a demo. It is used for guiding when people with similar rigs show up for a ride series, or the ride series leaves from town on the bike. I was blessed to TEST THE PROTOTYPE and had a tad of input into the production frame. When I finally received our first Mooto-Xz production frame I knew it well enough to outfit it with components that suit its unique geometry, compliance and strength to weight ratio. Testing over the past few years has finally yielded strong wheelsets, raising weight limits and tire widths. Fox released an over-priced, but very, very good high-end 9er fork at just a bit over 3.5 pounds. Moots has built the perfect full suspension 29er frame for most people, and Ventana's 9er models take over as rider weight goes up. We are at last in a good place with 29 inch wheels.

The Mooto-Xz is the ride-from-town rig in my personal quiver, there to "handle" rough trails around Moab I can get to under my own power. This includes Porupine Rim, Slickrock, and Amassa Back, new singletracks to the north and south, and Flat Pass, 4WD tracks in Arches National Park. All of these are rough and tumble rides. I ask this bike to go fast enough on roads of all sorts and offer a level of comfort and efficiency that saves energy when the going gets rough. It gets more capable of the various deeds depending on the tires I put on it. The Mooto-Xz is fast going downhill over jagged babyhead rubble and anchored boulder when it is set up with fat tires. Those huge tires and big wheels just roll over stuff that I had to deal with before on a 26er, but I suffer on those short burst uphills after a sharp turn that scrubs off momentum. The DREAMRIDE FULLY 69er is much more capable in that line of work (accurate handling and acceleration over rough stuff).

There are very good reasons for choosing a Mooto-Xz or a VENTANA EL REY as the platform for a 9er. These bikes' suspension members comes apart! I thought this through as I considered S&S couplings for a rigid or YBB version. Couplings would have cost far more than full suspension. Couplings compromise strength and weight, pick up debris and place it INSIDE your frame, and don't help the bike perform one bit. Due to the construction of the rear ends of Moots and Ventana bikes, we offer a special suspension 9er sale as part of our HAWAII COUPLES TRIP on the Big Island.

26 to 29 Conversion Kits

On a recent trip to San Francisco I took my 29ER CONVERSION to ride the city streets and trails. After this experience I can say that the conversion might be the best thing you can do with an old hardtail, and might end up as the best all around bike for folks in most locations on the coasts, namely places where the trails are easy to moderate and the streets are safe for commuting via bicycle. My 1992 Fat Chance Titanium frame fitted with 700c wheels and mustache bars was the perfect machine for the surfaces and challenges in and around the family hometown of San Francisco. It ate up steep pavement, smooth and rooted singletracks and manicured bike paths. It worked in the ruts, loose conditions and other assorted mild to moderate challenges provided by trails in city parks, back alleys, short cuts and moderate sand of Lands End. It climbed city streets like a rocket and was extremely comfortable everywhere I took it. It even made stairs easier to descend. Meanwhile, it was interesting to discover the new fad in the city--fixed gear bikes with no freewheel and no rear brake. There were folks practicing fixed gear techniques in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park on the most minimal of machines. Everywhere you looked geek-bikes prevailed. I found it refreshing that fadmongers have reverted to the roots of cycling---WAY back to fixed gears. Any form of suspension was hard to spot in town. Road bikes have always been popular in SF, but the introduction of the 29 inch wheeled mountain bike has caused some rethinking. Simpler IS better when it comes to life in the city. Less is more--more challenging to ride in a less challenging environment, but also cheaper and easier to maintain. I have never enjoyed riding in San Francisco as much as with the 9er conversion. My wife took hers along, too, a 1992 Specialized S-Works frame with a conversion kit with flat bars and bar ends. She couldn't stop raving over how safe the bike felt even on the short but steep rooted decents in Golden Gate Park. We were also shocked at how the mountain bike phenom has all but disappeared from the local scene--a positive thing as far as access goes. We were able to ride just about every trail we used to ride in the late 70's, with only the occassional warning printed on the sidewalk, "No bikes or skateboards." One more note on the conversion: I don't use a car in Moab anymore. I would much rather ride my Fat Chance conversion than deal with cars, motorcycles, and idiots who drive their cars to the toilet while on their cell phones. The only negative with using the 9er conversion is performance in soft sand and really rough trail. The conversion will not allow for fatter tires necessary to fly over the soft or rough stuff.

Rigid bike head angle testing results

The formula: 68 or 69 degree head angle + minimal fork offset + 29 inch front wheel + 19 inch chainstays = enough suspension for moderate bumps! 29 inch front wheel + 26 inch rear wheel = enough lateral rigidity for railing turns!

Yes, fully rigid mountain bikes are back thanks to 29 inch wheels! If only we had figured this out in 1980. Now, if we can get the marketing hacks out of our faces, we can proceed to enjoy the challenge and efficiency of an unsuspended mountain bike again. Suspension is still wonderful, by the way. Can't gripe about it other than maintenance and expense, unless the design sucks.

Caution: Wheel Build Testing:

During the winter of 2006 I worked an all day session, experimenting with 9er rims and 32 and 36 hole hole combos. I used King disc hubs, DT double butted spokes and brass nipples, looking for the strongest, lightest version of a disc wheel for 29ers, thinking of just how I was going to be able to stand behind a full suspension 9er at this point in history (limited component choices).

I chanced to build up a particularly light and wide 29er rim built by Salsa, the Delgado, that recommended I "smile" while riding. When I picked it up, I did smile. It was very light, very wide and quite good looking. I began building the wheels as always, slowly, carefully lacing for disc brake torque, counting turns, massaging spoke heads into holes and around turns, making every angle defined and clean with no air between the hub and spoke. I began to tighten slowly. When the spokes were evenly tensioned enough to produce a tone, I put the wheel on my lap and pressed down with VERY modest force on the rim. The wheel snapped out of true as if the rim was made of jello. I loosened and re-tightened spokes to get the wheel back to even tension, then trued to a higher pitch to make the wheel more rigid and strong. I put the wheel into my lap again and pressed down on the rim with what I consider modest force. Out of true again, but this time even more deformed (due to the exra tension necessary for a stiff wheel). I have built hundreds and hundreds of wheels for mountain and road bikes alike and never experienced such noodly whimpiness in a wheelset. The road bike wheels (29 inch rims are 700c rims, just with a marketing slant) almost always have Mavic rims on them. This speaks volumes about Mavic's rims, quality control, alloys and product testing. I continued to repeat the process of tuning the Salsa rimmed wheels up, carefully truing the wheel again and again at several tensions to see if I could find a spot at which I would trust the wheel on a bike. Each time, at various levels of tension up to tight enough to almost bust a nipple, I could push the wheel out of true in my lap with relatively little force. Just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating, I picked up a 26 inch wheel I had just finished building, put it on a rubber mat on the floor leaned it against a stool, stood beside it and pushed on the hub axle to sideload it with my foot. It did not complain, and remained true. I kicked it. Same results--rock solid. I took the 9er wheel off my personal White Rim 29er (32 hole Mavic A317 rims, alloy nipples and King disc hubs). I tested the tension and strength of this wheel the same way as before. No problem. I tested a Mavic A719 rim brake wheelset I had just built with a little more intent and a bit more abuse than necessary and it was rock solid laterally. Something is BAD wrong with Salsa rims!

The motto of this little story is: Be damn careful getting a pre-built 29er, and be especially careful of wheel components--and rims in particular. The rims of a 29er are THE component (aside from a frame that is built too light) that can kill you. Ralph Nader is not there to help you with the Corvairs of mountain biking with legislation or media coverage.

Wheel and frame resolutions!

Before the spring of 2008 when I finally found a decent rim, I did not recommend a full suspension 29er, aside from the Moots Mooto-X YBB. I heard about breakages of full suspension 9ers left and right. One thing is for certain: No 36 hole rims on 29ers no matter who makes them. And, no aggressive big boys on 29 inch wheels until the industry builds a good wide rim with double eyelets. The side loads are just too great to tune-in any "give" through the use of 36 or 40 spokes per wheel. And, Mavic rims ONLY, even if we have to stick with narrow tires (as of 2010, DT has a very good rim, as well).

I build for purists like myself, people who trust me to build a safe, reliable, efficient bike that fits them. We only use the very best frames and components, so our safety issues are fewer than folks who must buy Chinese stuff out of the box and out of necessity. For our Dreamride clients and those looking for to pay less, I hope the following rant will remove any illusion of clothes the 29er emperor might be wearing in the magazines right now. Though I have resolved many issues with 9ers recently, I have to let you know that if you follow the dotted lines in the magazines and ride aggressively, you will end up with a poorly manufactured, well-marketed turd with limp wheels and wrong geometry. Be careful with your choices, if you are trying to save money! It is better to have a rigid bike that is reliable and without a maintenance schedule that requires hundreds of dollars every year or two to deal with shocks and forks, than to even think about cheap suspension rigs. Spend your money on the wheels! Get good hubs with high flanges and get Mavic rims with double eyelets or rims with a deep V aero profile, such as the narrow Bontrager units (not good with fat tires).

Psycho Babble and the Fully 69er

Miki, co-owner of Dreamride, says, "The 29er 'revolution' is like the war in Iraq. Americans never think things through. A 'good' lie is always better than the 'bad' truth. To Americans, something new and unproven is always better than old, proven and reliable. Give them Vegas, babes and lies, or give them death."

My understanding is that Americans (and other humans) subconciously want what they fear. Read Freud. I don't have the time to offer a review of the research that backs up this concept, but I can tell you that those who write on our tour company questionnaire that they are afraid of heights are first ones to walk up to a cliff and go all wobbly. "Every fear hides a wish." If you have a death wish, a cheap 29 inch wheelset will get you closer.

Here at Dreamride, we just work to get bikes right. We sacrifice for this goal, but our rewards are great bikes, lower liability risk and personal happiness on the trail. Our Dreamride Fully was developed over twelve years. It remains ahead of its time, a thoroughly proven product. The basics--the geometry and rear suspension members have remained unchanged for a few years with the only changes there to deal with fork height and cable routing. The Fully 69 is end gain. It combines the best of both wheel sizes. The front wheel rolls over trail mess and the rear wheel scoots forward with a thought.

Here is a bit of undercover info everyone who wants a full suspension 9er should understand: Get the fork with a 15mm solid bolt on axle, or sand the paint on fork dropouts off and be vigilant checking your skewers after every really serious impact or long rough and bumpy section of trail. Testing has demonstrated that skewers loosen during a break-in period on a 9er, and must be monitored on the trail. Never start a ride without checking the skewers!

Don't go too far from rigid, if you are looking for a lifetime friend.

If you are looking for ONE bike to be your friend and companion EVERYWHERE, a 29er can do the trick in a heartbeat. But drop the hype, the glitz, and go for simplicity. Mountain bike components make the idea friendly, but never forget those road bike influences and that the tall wheels put a lot of leverage on rims and spokes. logoClick here for the Dreamride blog to read the rest of the rant and to add your updated spew.

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Because we ride for a living, better equipment is a necessity. We invest in product testing as others invest in advertising and produce two state-of-the-art full suspension bikes. The Fully is for XC/All Mountain Use. The best version or those over 5'7" is the F-69. Our guides and guests in Moab say it is the ultimate mountain bike. That is not hype. That is their opinion after comparing, or watching the guide on the 69er (who is almost that old) leave them behind. The Fully models are fabricated to our specs by Ventana, built up with Moab-tested components.
Custom Mountain Bikes Dreamride Fully
If you are looking for the best, we have what you are looking for. A Dreamride Fully is the ultimate trail bike. Custom sized for each client from the ground up by a master at fit, form and function, it doesn't get any better, and maybe never will again.

     "The bike is quick, incredibly balanced and drop dead gorgeous. I have been a titanium junky (Lightspeed) for years but I ain’t ever goin’ back. The Fully is sweet, tight and Oh so forgiving without being mushy or inaccurate; you point it and it goes where you want it to; you CAN thread the obstacles but if you want to go over them; go and it laughs out loud! (Or maybe that was me that was laughing). The weight was what I was the most worried about prior to my first ride but it is clear now that movement forward is impeded by vertical movement and the Fully so effectively mitigates the vertical that the small weight penalty is more than offset. This bike feels friggin’ light." ~ Mike Simmons, Taos, New Mexico
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Dreamride Fully Mutant HD
The Fully Mutant HD is our Fully on steroids. It blends our experience in downhill racing, slickrock freeride stunts, and years of hardcore guiding in Moab. The Fully Mutant HD is a 26 inch wheeled bike designed to pedal efficiently at speed over rough stuff and in fast turns, a state-of-the-art machine for technical trails like Porcupine Rim. The Mutant is available direct-only from Dreamride. This is NOT a mass produced frame or bike! Each is built custom for one person at a time.
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If something breaks, we toss it. No fads or hype we cannot back up with real performance. We run away from any product that is not tops in quality. Our brands are consistantly tops in customer service. We work to improve performance and cosmetics, and lessen warranty issues through careful parts combination and product testing. In the Dreamride paint box are frames from Moots, Lynskey, Pegoretti, Merckx and Dreamride, matched with Chris King, Marzocchi, Fox, Campy, Pace, Magura, Thomson, Moots, SRAM, Shimano, Answer, Easton, and FSA parts. We are licensed dealers and/or distributors for all products we carry.
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