Thursday, September 07, 2017

Small Changes- Big Differences

The Sawyer with a shorter travel Reba G2 fork
Tuesday I had a gritchy throat which ended up becoming a full blown cold on Wednesday. so, any thoughts of long rides in the country on a chilly early Fall day were thrown out the window. I ended up nursing myself along at home and in the meantime I decided to monkey around with the Sawyer which I posted about yesterday.

Fork exchanges are no big deal, especially when the wheel standards and head set standards remain the same between parts. I just took about ten minutes to swap things around. That was the easy part.

The change to the Rock Shox Reba meant the same offset with a shorter axle to crown since the fork is set at 80mm of travel. That's positively unheard of these days, 80mm of travel, but that is what the Sawyer was developed around. By the way, I still have the original fork, but suspension for off roading sure is nice to have. The thought here was that maybe the fact that I'd been running a fork that was technically "too long" was causing my dislike of the bike's ride to some degree. Millimeters of difference, but sometimes small changes result in very different feelings and sensations while riding.

The game of millimeters and degrees of angle change are sometimes scoffed at by some cyclists. However; I would say that if I lowered your saddle by 5mm, or lengthened your stem by one centimeter, you'd notice a "big" difference. So, small changes really do matter. Even novice cyclists can tell these things. We see this all the time in the bike shop.

Te Reba has plenty of clearance with the 27.5+ tires as they are on Blunt 35 rims.
 Plunking around the neighborhood, (I was too ill to go for a full blown ride), I felt that the bike was "better". It didn't feel so up in the air, and the lowered front end made the top tube a touch more roomy. Definitely a move in the right direction. I'll have to actually get it out on a trail, obviously, but I think the slightly longer fork wasn't doing this bike any favors. Not for me, at any rate.

As a side note I also discovered I still have an 80mm travel Manitou Tower fork that would also work on this bike. It is not 51mm offset, but- and I may be wrong- I believe it is 46mm offset. Manitou liked that 46mm offset for 29"ers back then, as I recall. So, popping that one on the Sawyer would result in a different feel as well. More stability, and maybe not as eager to turn in. I may try it out as well. The axle to crown is similar to the Rock Shox, maybe a tick taller, I didn't take an exact measurement.

That all said, I probably will not be using any of the three forks. The thing I want to do here is get a 3.0" tire on an internal wide rim and forks made the better part of a decade ago did not take such wheels in to account. I'll likely look for a newer, Boost spaced fork I can lower to 80mm of travel and that has through axles. The current, B plus wheels will likely be moved to gravel grinding duty.

The rear of the bike is a quick release, of course, but with aluminum sliding drop outs, well.......maybe I could get something made in through axle. It isn't imperative that I do so, but being that I am moving in to a modern front end at some point, it might prove to be nice to have the rear end match up.

All because the smallest differences seem to make all the difference in how much I like the bike.


james said...


Chris said...

maybe some of these paragon 12x142 sliders will just pop right in there:

Rydn9ers said...

Never owned one or even rode one but always liked the looks of the Sawyer.

Mr. Doom said...

That G2 offset never made sense to me and the Fisher Racing team ran normal offset forks when it was introduced. (My tire kept washing out so I sold my G2 bike and moved on). Too many compromises for just a little more toe clearance. Longer top tubes and shorter stems have seemed to fix that problem and people are going back to 37-44mm offsets on slack bikes. Makes even a bigger difference when you have a 65 degree HT.

Guitar Ted said...

@Mr. Doom- I cannot verify what offset the race team rode in '07-'10 or so, but I can tell you that racers defined the G2 geometry. That was confirmed to me by both Travis Brown and Gary Fisher. So while it may make no sense to you, it did for others.

The big point to keep in mind here is that NOW you have a choice in offset where previous to 2007 that was not at all the case. Just like Gary Fisher told me,"Now we can tune our rides."

Mr. Doom said...

I know I read on empty beer back in the day that at least a few racers had the same issues with G2 that I had so it is not a figment of my imagination. I spent hours trying to figure out physics why you "needed" to quicken the steering and explain that to customers when (to me) just took weight off the front of the bike and messed with my personal mojo. Can't wait to try out a new Transiton with the "speed balanced geometry" Here is an article from two years ago where Chris Porter from Mojo runs a 61-degree head angle and 30mm offset