Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spot Rocker SS: Initial Review

The last time it will ever be clean

My offroad season is finally underway.  Looking back on Strava data I was consistently on dirt almost a month earlier last year.  Last year global warming was real this year it is a hoax.  We got the team together again at Russell Mill to hand out new kits and meet new racers.  We've got another good group this year, should be a great year.

I was very excited to get my first ride on the Spot and Russell Mill is a great proving ground.  Fast and flowy with some decent tech mixed in here and there.  Good all round spot to get a good mix of terrain.  Long story really short...IM PUMPED.

Biggest difference between this frame and my old Redline is probably the angles on the seat and head.  I forget the exact numbers but this frame is about 1-2 degrees more slack and a bit more compact in design.  I love Redline's geometry but I'm really digging this setup as well.  I would say this frame is definitely more comfortable descending and is super nimble and playful in the tight and twisty stuff.  I'm also really digging the Niner fork.  Steering accuracy is ridiculous, best I've ever experienced.  Solid in the corners, tracks amazingly well.

Most of my time was spent just getting a bit familiar with limitations and behavior as well as getting my trail eyes back on (I was looking at my front wheel for probably the first 5-10mins).  Some of my lines were less than ideal but I'll get those kinks worked out.  This setup and me are going to get along just fine.

The only 'issue' that I might need to address is my super long 180mm SS cranks.  There was plenty of room for them with the geometry on the Redline, not so much with this frame.  Combined with my big boy 2.4 Ardent up front when my foot is at about 45 degrees in the rotation of the crank there is a tiny bit of overlap with the front tire.  I probably only touched a few times in the course of the ride and it doesn't really create issues when it does but its not ideal.  I was also pedal striking a bit more than I would have liked.  I think the BB is a bit lower on this frame and the extra 5mm on the cranks over the more standard 175mm I think might be just enough to cause enough annoyance that I might need to look into stepping back down to 175mm.  I'm gonna wait it out a bit to see if some of the pedal strike was just me being rusty, plus it will only really be an issue in more technical terrain which in the grand scheme I ride a bit less often.

But just in case anybody got 175mm crank arms just sitting around?  Preferably with a 4 bolt 104 BCD?  Truvativ would also be nice so I don't need to get a new BB.  I'm a choosy beggar.

PK was on hand taking some sweet pics.  Maybe I'll even get another cover of SingleTracks.  At the very least we got this sweet 'band pic' of the team.


  1. testing comments....whats the deal here?

  2. I got some old 175's but they look like they went through a wood chipper from beating them to shit in SMBA....if you want'em they're yours though. Your bike sounds super nimble. How's it climb? it a shorter wheel base than the redline? I think the 175 is the way to go. Would you change your gear ratio with different size cranks? Have you experimented with flipping your stem? Might give you even more control.....

  3. Cool thanks. I'm gonna wait it out and ride a bit longer with the 180's until I make the call. Climbs great, very responsive. Wheelbase is probably about the same. I've been on the 180's so long I'm not really sure if I would need to regear. I doubt it.