Mid (twenties) life crisis. Kona Kilauea and Giant Boulder

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  • I bought this Giant a few months ago for £70 on Facebook to commute on, and to have a bit more fun with. I liked the name Boulder, and imagine it pronounced 'boldoor', like I am in an American movie. I moved to Bristol last year and there’s a big grav/off road scene here that I wanted to get in on, so this seemed like a good starting point!

    The bike was in amazing condition when I gave it a better look at home. Everything ran smooth and was clean, the brake pads and tracks looked like they’d barely seen action, definitely got this for a bargain. After a couple of weeks of commuting I wasn’t really clear on what I wanted to do with the bike, other than going 1x something. I changed the tyres to something more city friendly (although I really miss the grey of those Kendas (maybe get some booze lights in the future), added a basket and found a rear wheel with a 9 speed free hub on eBay for £15 including postage. No prizes for guessing the state of the bearings!

    A few weeks later and I’ve managed to source some more reliable parts, and the bike is running really nicely! Basket has gone, stem is back to original and I’m enjoying the more simple bar set up (one less shifter, a bell and some second hand Burgtec grips). There’s not a lot I need to change right now, and not too many funds to do so anyway, but it’s definitely still a work in progress. I’d like to get:

    -More suitable MTB cranks as the 5 bolt looks a bit off here
    -Maybe some nicer pedals
    -Some less flappy guards with more coverage
    -The brakes need fine tuning, better pads
    -Ano something? Didn’t think I’d ever say that. Definitely not needed but finding it hard to resist
    -Slimmer, light coloured saddle with matching grips. Inspired by @ectoplasmosis stumpjumper
    -Is it wrong to want a front disc? Just for fun

    Here it is currently:

    I’ve taken it around some local trails and most recently on Bristol’s Routingforya weekly mixed terrain group ride. It’s hard to imagine taking my road bike out on such a chilled social ride, so I’m really happy to have a bike that allows me to slow down and have fun. The Giant is definitely fun to ride. It’s good to be able to hop curbs, and descend without too much caution for potholes. Even though 1.9 isn’t massive wide, it’s so much more forgiving than what I’m used to!

    Hope you like it, stay tuned.

  • I also picked up these bullmoose bars from the monthly Mud Dock jumble for a tenner. Not absolutely certain if they'll be a good match for the bike/my position but I'd love to give them a go. The only problem is, on fitting I noticed they're slightly bent. I've tried all I can at home to bend them back but to no avail. The one bike shop I've tried won't bend them back for safety concerns, which is fair enough. Any recommendations?

    These arrived yesterday too, thanks @dangeek !

  • A few changes in the last couple of weeks, a couple of things to tick off the upgrade list:

    -Some less flappy guards with more coverage

    I got a set of SKS Bluemels from Wiggle, with a fiver off thanks to a Honey code. Fairly easy to set up in principle but I easily over complicated things trying to get the fitment just right. A lot of measuring, and an education in dremelling later (I got it for my birthday in August and am looking for any excuse to get it out), and they fit ok. Definitely better to do this just by eye, it will save time and sanity. The guards are probably a little too close fitting but they look pretty sleek. Maybe verging on too sensible and not quite 'Insta bling' enough. (Respray with matte finish?).

    -The brakes need fine tuning, better pads

    I picked up some Kool Stop Eagle 2s at the Bristol bike jumble at the weekend. People talk a lot about Kool Stop as a must do upgrade, but I found it hard to imagine a pad making a whole lot of difference to 30 year old canti performance. BOY was I wrong. I spend a little time balancing out the spring tension on the arms, and giving the rims a proper iso clean, then chucked on the pads. Took it for a test down the back alley and was skidding left right and centre, I even got my girlfriend to do her first skid. I've only been cleaning my rims with iso for the last few months and it's made a big difference on both bikes, but this is a new level of stoppage. It also removes something else from my list...

    -Is it wrong to want a front disc? Just for fun

    Yes that's right. I'm happy enough with this braking that my disc-curious rumblings have been reduced to a murmur. Let's see how long that lasts. I give it a few wet rides.

    Why don't more brands go for this look on their packaging? Looking for a way to get this eagle on the bike somehow. Cardboard has been cut out and kept safe.

  • I managed to fix the bent bullmoose situation by getting them bent a little bit more in different places by a nice man at Bristol Bike Project. Now if I squint and don't pay too much attention while I'm riding along I can barely tell that they're not straight. I think the bar set up looks a lot cleaner now, but still not 100% on how shiny this bike is getting. For now that also takes this off the list:

    -Ano something? Didn’t think I’d ever say that. Definitely not needed but finding it hard to resist

    Shine reduction tips welcome.

    I've also stuck on a ZTTO cassette to fix a skipping 6th cog I've been suffering from since going 9 speed on the cheap. I've been using ZTTO SLR cassettes on my road bike for a while now and been really impressed, this one is no different so far. £17 for an 11-36 with 10 days delivery is great, and shifting is super hot.

    Here's an updated to-do list from the first post:

    -Still want some more suitable MTB cranks as the 5 bolt looks a bit off here
    -Maybe some nicer pedals
    -Make it less blingy, while making it more practical. But looking less stealable. While making it nicer.

    I've been making most of these changes on the shared patio out the back of my flat. It's definitely feeling like autumn here and I've had my coat on with a cup of tea. I love this time of the year, feels fucking ace.

    I'll get a good pic of the whole bike as it stands tomorrow for your viewing pleasure.

  • Many of the "ancient" members of the retro MTB community told me they either used Kool-Stop, Swissstop or Scott brake pads for racing. Kool-Stop was probably the most common one -for a reason, it's truly amazing how much of a difference can it make.
    Your bike looks awesome!

  • I was put off by the higher price of them initially. Spending half as much as the cost of the bike on a set of pads didn't compute. But these were £10 for the set from the jumble, well well worth it!

  • Here's some glamour shots from this sunny morning in Bristol:

  • Convince me this is a bad idea

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  • Your existing cranks look good and with a polish they will be really smart. Can you not get a purple Stridsland chainring on those?

  • Agreed, 5 bolt looks awesome. Stridsland is 94BCD, these cranks look like 110 but I might be wrong. 110 has more (albeit not as cool) options for cheaper.

  • Thanks! As @vpCogworks says, stridsland are 94bcd. There’s a real shortage of 110bcd chainrings in a 34t. Black is the only option until you go up to bigger sizes!

    I’ll clean up the 5 bolts next week and see if I’m still tempted to add some purp to the bike.

  • This isn’t fair and I’m going to try and pretend I didn’t see it (starts sweating).

  • Yes that's right. I'm happy enough with this braking that my disc-curious rumblings have been reduced to a murmur. Let's see how long that lasts. I give it a few wet rides.

    Hmmm. Just got back from York after visiting my grandparents, and grandad has donated me his surplus stick welder. I’ve spent the last couple of days watching welding videos and looking at disc tabs again.

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  • Currently have Conti Double fighter 1.9s on this bike, but read about slimmer 26s and their effect on wheel diameter/rolling speed. After mainly doing short commutes and a little bit of mixed terrain in the last few months I’ve found the Contis capable, but lacking any personality. They’re just a bit boring and sensible (and also according to a google search - pretty heavy for non-knobbly 1.9s).

    I’m getting more excited about chunkier tyres around the 2.3 mark. More comfy and cruisy, more fun, a little more versatile, maybe faster(?) and at the same weight or less. Before I make an offer on some Rocket Rons on eBay, I’d like to hear any thoughts, concerns, criticisms or general heckles you’ve got.

    Will this make my bike more like the bikes on the Stridsland Instagram? If not, the Renthal bars I picked up on Facebook last night might do.

  • I have Maxxis Ikon on of mine 26er, they are great for the price. Fast & grippy for gravel & singletracks but still manage to keep speed & buzz on tarmac. I think they make it in 2.2 & 2.35 and weigh around 600 grams.

  • What about Kenda small block 8s or Maxxis Larsen if you want a good road/offroad tyre. Kenda Krad or DMR moto or moto diggers also a good option.

  • Some great suggestions, thanks both! I’ve always like the names of the Schwalbe range, and by trying to avoid being an owner of another 26er with Billy Bonkers, the Ron’s took my fancy. I’m trying to keep costs down so it might take some time until I find the right set

  • Just thought as well. My mate has tan wall tabletops on his DJ bike. They are nice and would be good on and off road.

  • Lots of changes to this bike in the last few weeks, and I hope to get some nicer photos soon but in the meantime... I'm having some shifting issues that I've narrowed down to being the result of the pictured routing. Is my derailleur made for top routed cabling? I've really struggled to make this curve as fluid as possible but I've had no luck. Even turned in the B screw to reduce entry angle.

    Do I need a new RD? If so, should I just suck it up and go 10/11 speed?

  • You tried a bit of oil down the outers and a quick rub over the inner. I hate split cables as they fill with water and rubbish so fast with regular use. The curve is quite tight but it doesn't look crazy. Are you missing the adjuster that threads into the mech? I can see the plastic cover but not the natal inner.
    If you take the tension off and feel resistance on the cables when you change gears with you just pulling the inner I think that will be it. I would go full outer if you are using regularly in bad weather.

  • Thanks Tom, I actually put new cables in to see whether that was the issue but to no avail. New cables, same shifting. There is resistance in that curve even though I agree it doesn't look so severe.

    Looks like I'll be needing a new RD.

  • Did you have a look at that adjuster I mentioned as well? Is it just recessed into the plastic barrel and you can't see it in the pic? You could always play aroudn with the cable length a bit by adding or removing to adjust tension. I like that cheap Alivio stuff, just a shame they didn't do a clutch version.

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Mid (twenties) life crisis. Kona Kilauea and Giant Boulder

Posted by Avatar for Arnomatic @Arnomatic