Modern bikes being what they are, it’s not uncommon these days to be faced with many different ways of skinning a cat. Not only in terms of the sheer number of bikes you can use to get the same job done in wildly differing ways (such as my riding an Orange Prestige back to back with an Intense 6.6 over the same Holmbury Hill route recently), but also in the myriad adjustments available to the serial fiddler who wants to tweak his particular bike just so.
Take my Orange Five for example. It’s a sweet bike, something I really am proud to own. It comes with SRAM X-0 trigger shifters with adjustable levers, a Fox RP23 shock and a Rock Shox Pike 454 fork with compression, rebound and threshold knobs to play with. That’s without playing around with different stem lengths, handlebars, grips, saddles, tyres and tyre pressures thrown into the melting pot.
As it happens, my Orange seems to be set just fine. So fine in fact that until recently I’ve had little cause to veer too far from the basic settings I dialled in just over 900 miles ago. A while back though, ‘just riding along’ I noticed Dave’s coil sprung Pike was moving quite dramatically as he pedalled where mine was pretty much static over the same ground. Now I’ve never thought of my fork as anything other than nice and plush but seeing Dave’s fork got me thinking.
So having got back to the bat cave (and with Colin’s useful write up about fork set up in mind) I decided to tentatively fettle my fork. All I did was turn the Motion Control threshold down about two thirds of a turn, then I stepped away from the bike. What a revelation! Now my fork is far more active (I maintain that big hit performance aside what you really want in a fork is plushness over the small trail lumpiness you encounter for 90% of your ride) and the Five feels even more satisfying to ride. To be honest I’m loving this bike even more as the miles roll by.
I’m also looking forward to some more extreme tweaking over the summer. My Panaracer Fire XC UST tyres have been great for year round predictability, far more so than I anticipated when I started out on them. But what self respecting MTB’er sticks to one set of tyres throughout the year. I’m looking for something, not exactly semi slick, but definitely lower profile for the summer months. It needs to be fast but grippy in the dusty clay of the North Downs and the loamy goodness of Leith, Pitch and Holmbury Hills and of course it needs to be tubeless.
If anyone has any suggestions I’d be happy to hear.