Category Archives: Bikes

2012 BMC SL01 RoadRacer 54cm

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Even though I don’t really ride my road bike much, I still wanted to keep it around for days I couldn’t do a full MTB ride. I came across a great deal on this new ‘12 BMC RoadRacer with 105 Group on eBay and took a risk in being able to sell my old frame to cover the costs. I swapped over all of my old parts and sold off my old Omega Ti frame and the new 105 set to squeeze out a small profit in the end. I dropped over a pound vs the Omega and got an updated frameset to boot. 15.68lbs without pedals.

2014 Intense Carbine

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This is the new 2014 Intense Carbine! I discovered a molding defect on my Carbine SL when I attempted to install a dropper seatpost. The seattube had some very deep grind marks in the tube:

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It’s my opinion that Intense (or whomever manufactures these for them), preps the tubes a bit and somehow created these marks. Intense says that they don’t use any sort of process as their molding technique does not require it. In any case, I contacted them and they had me send it in for a closer look. A week later, they called me and said they would cover it under the warranty. Since they didn’t have any of the Medium SLs left, they offered a clean swap for their new 2014 Carbine frameset instead. I was happy with this option, as I knew that the Carbine was only about half a pound heavier (due to non-Ti bolts and Alloy upper linkage) than the SL. But the nice thing about the Carbine frame is that it uses their “G1” dropout system, which means you can swap in 27.5/650b compatible dropouts if I want to upgrade to the latest fad wheel size. Another bonus is that the rear shock is configured for 140/152mm (5.5/6.0") travel vs 120/135mm for the SL.

Turns out the frame is only marginally heavier at 5.40lbs for the bare frame, versus 5.04lbs for the SL version.

I swapped over the parts from the SL and left the rear shock at the 140mm setting for now. I also added a Specialized Command Post BlackLite dropper post, after trying out a KS Lev Integra and non-Integra (more in another post about that).

Total build weight came to a nice and light 24.32lbs with pedals!

Sure it’s a somewhat weight-weenie build considering the nature of this trail category bike, but it’s more than tough enough for my riding and trails so I’m pretty happy with it.

Update 01/28/14:

OK, so I’ve had the Carbine for a few months now and have some updates on how it rides. Until last weekend, I had it in the 140mm rear setting. But it never felt right. The rear seemed overly harsh and I felt like I was getting pretty beat up on the trails. It wasn’t a bad ride per se, but not exactly what I was expecting from one of the “best” trail bikes available today. In fact, I would say it wasn’t even as good as my old ‘09 Fuel EX in terms of ride quality and feel, and that bike only had a 120mm rear!

So last weekend I decided to try the 152mm (6") setting in the rear and to my surprise, I had to pump into 140psi to get the rear back up to 30% sag. (previously I was running 120psi at the 140mm setting to achieve 30% sag). Hmm, that’s interesting. Why would changing the shock setting induce so much more sag? I have no idea, but I immediately felt the shock actuate much more freely and actively than before. All of a sudden, it was PLUSH! WTH??!

Anyway, I took in on my usual trails last weekend and wow, what a difference! I only used about 90% of the total travel, but the rear was super plush now and I never felt any of the harshness that I did before. I could feel the bike compressing on the hits and smoothly coming back up ready for the next one. Best of all, my body wasn’t beat up at the end of the ride. I’m going to continue to experiment with the 152mm setting and maybe switch back to compare some more.

Another update I have is that I managed to crush part of the rear rim on once of my last rides. I’m not sure how I did it exactly, but I suspect it was from hitting a rock from the side of the wheel and not from a direct impact from bottoming out on one.

The damage wasn’t too bad. The affected area is about 4-5mm deep:

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I ended up taking the tire off, cleaning and sanding the area a bit and applying some Gorilla epoxy to patch it up a bit. The wheel is still totally true and round and holds tubeless just fine as well. I’ve since ridden it 3 times with no issues, but you never know…

I contacted Calfee about a fix and they said there wasn’t enough material to do it properly. Ricthey has all but sold out of these wheels/rims, plus they’ve been discontinued for a while anyway. They did have a “WCS” version of the carbon rim available (apparently just a different finish than the Superlogic), but at $400, I passed on it. I didn’t want to have a mismatched set either.

So this all got me thinking about upgrading to 27.5 wheels. Unfortunately, I have expensive tastes, but I don’t like to spend a lot of money. A new 27.5 carbon wheelset plus a compatible fork (RS Pike) would probably set me back at least a couple G’s or more. Ouch.

Lo and behold, ebay came to the rescue! A seller in Greece had a pair of new Superlogic rims for sale! I sniped in a bid and got them for just under $400 shipped and they should be here in a few weeks.

Well, now that I’ve sorted my rim issue, I’ve also sort of dedicated my wheel size to 26 for the time being. I’m happy with that. Everything I’ve read about the 26 vs 27.5 size is that there’s not that much of a difference in terms of real world feel. I think if you are buying a new bike, sure 27.5 makes sense. But if you are like me, and have a big investment in 26", it may not make much sense to spend that much money on a 27.5 upgrade when the performance difference may be negligible.

To that end, I’m now in the process of collecting the necessary parts to convert my Carbine rear to 142×12 and changing the axle of the rear Superlogic (a rebadged DT 240s) to 142 as well. That should stiffen things up a bit back there.

2013 Intense Carbine SL – 17.5″

OK, I think I have a sickness. I’m addicted to bikes! The Carbine SL was always at the top of my list, but the price was just outrageous. $2800 for the frame alone. That’s just crazy talk! But when I heard that Intense was closing them out at $1599, well, I had to consider it.

Even though I just bought the Felt Virtue LTD in May, and was relatively happy with, I knew deep down that I had to have this frame. Fast-forward a few weeks later and here it is.

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It’s a pretty sweet frame indeed. The matte carbon finish looks really stealth and the red accents are a nice touch. I added in the bling red Chris King Inset headset to top it off. The cockpit carried over from the Virtue, but along the way I upgraded to these superlight, but supertough Ritchey Superlogic carbon hoops with DT240s hubs. I also managed to find the Dual Position version of the Revelation World Cup fork, in Keronite grey no less. The “2P-Air” allows on-the-fly travel adjustment from 120/150mm; great for dropping the front end on climbs.

The best part? I dropped over a pound vs. the Virtue with the same build. Total build weight is just under 23lbs! With pedals! 22.96 to be exact. Woot!

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This is my first experience riding the VPP suspension design. Honestly, it looks a lot like DW-Link and even Felt’s Equilink to me. But right away I noticed the rear was much more plush, similar to how Trek’s ABP felt to me. With Felt’s Equilink, I left the platform full open all the time and never fiddled with changing it for climbs. With VPP I’m back to flipping the platform to “Trail” or “Climb” settings. Not a huge issue, but I can tell that the design isn’t as well-suited to climbs when compared to Felt’s Equilink.

Overall, though, the plushness makes for a better ride than the Virtue. I feel like the trail seems smoother and quieter. The Carbine seems to just float over the bumps. With the Virtue, the rear was so stiff that it felt like the platform was always set to firm. And by stiff I mean that it didn’t feel very active, especially on the smaller hits.

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Anyway, only 2 rides on this bad boy so far and I’m digging it. But one other bike is also on the radar: The SL’s bigger brother, the Carbine (non-SL).

The standard Carbine has a different rear triangle than the SL, and it features the ability to swap the rear dropouts to accommodate the latest craze: 27.5" wheels!

It also adds about half a pound frame weight, but when the bike is only 23lbs to begin with, what’s half a pound? I must say my eyes are open for one of those to come up at the right price…

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2000 Dekerf Team SL

I had one of these on my eBay watch list for years now and I don’t think I’ve seen more than one come up if that. This one was in my size and the price was right: only $600 for a complete bike.

The bike was very well used indeed and it shows. The frame’s paint is chipped and flaked off in many places. The bike included a nice Chris King classic wheelset (but hurting for a cleaning/rebuild!), a much-too-long 120mm Marzocchi Bomber ETA Pro fork, Chris King headset, and XT/XTR 8spd drivetrain. Do the math and this BuyItNow was a no brainer.

Before:

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Anyway, I sold off the parts I didn’t want or need and actually made a small profit, ending up with the frame and a few other parts for free. Heh. I then swapped parts over from my (now sold) Bonty and here’s what we have now:

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Being a 2000 yr frame, the geometry is capable of taking a 100mm fork. The fork is from the Xizang build and I took the spacer out to bring it back out to 100mm travel. I’m considering sending it back to Dekerf for a repaint and to also have disc tabs/routing added to the frame. The barrier is the cost: with cross-border fees and duties on top of the labor, it may be upwards of $600 or more! Is it worth it? Dekerf’s Team SST frameset goes for $2100, and that’s basically the same frame in every way. So for $600 or so I could have essentially a brand-spankin’ new Dekerf frame with new paint and decals and the modern luxuries of disc brakes.

Hmm, I think I’ve already made my decision… 😉

2012 Felt Virtue LTD

A new bike…

The flavor of the month is this sweet Felt Virtue LTD, Medium 17.5" with full XTR Trail package.

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Currently, I’m trying to downsize my bike collection a bit and having sold off the Trek and the Xizang frame, this popped up and it looked like a good buy. I’d been eyeing these bikes for a few years, ever since they redesigned their frames back in ‘09 I believe.

Anyway, the “LTD” (Limited) is their top offering, with an MSRP of, get this, $9999 (Are you out of your mind??!!). Of course I didn’t pay that much; let’s just say that the sale of the Trek and the Xizang more than covered this one.

The thing that sealed the deal for me was the fact that it was brand new, never ridden, plus it had a full XTR trail spec including wheels. I figured it was worth more in parts alone considering the price I paid.

I took it on its first ride last weekend, after a near 3-month hiatus from riding thanks to devbootcamp and various injuries. That ride was relatively painful and I was only able to hobble along for half the loop. Sucks. But it was still great to get out and I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine again.

The bike performed well. I wish I was in better shape to be able to have a better comparison against the Fuel’s ABP design, but one thing I noticed was that the LTD was much quieter on the rough stuff and the rear felt nearly locked out on the climbs. Felt likes to hype their equilink suspension, but I could care less as long as it works.

It’s Baaaack…’94 GT Xizang in da house!

Update: Sold(!) Again! I am now on a quest to thin the herd and sold the frame and am now parting out the rest of the build…I wanted to sell it as a complete, but got a very persuasive offer at $1200(!), so I couldn’t pass it up. I need to get rid of these parts before…before…something else pops up!

Never say never. After selling my pristine ‘97 Xizang a few months ago, I came across another one on ebay and decided to toss in a winning bid. These frames are always in high demand, so I see it as an investment (my wife would flatly disagree with me of course).

It was a bare frame, and while in good shape, it had lost much of its shine. I read several tips online about polishing it back up, and after a few hours with 2000 grit wet sandpaper, ultra-fine steel wool, numerous metal polishes and finally an orbital polisher, this Xizang got its mojo back.

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Most of the cockpit was swapped from my Bontrager for now. I also swapped out the black lowers of the ‘09 32mm SID Race with a NOS White set. ‘09 lowers with the v-brake bosses are not easy to find these days!

Speaking of v-brakes, one issue I hadn’t anticipated for was the cable routing for the rear brake. Since this is a ‘93 model, it was never designed for v-brakes, and thus does not have the cable stop in the normal v-brake place (the ‘97 model has a stop just before the seat stay tubes vs. in the middle of the triple-triangle of this ‘93 model).

Because of this, I couldn’t get the routing to work very well. Some other owners say to just use full length housing and zip-tie it to the frame, or get a bolt-on cable stop, neither of which I wanted to do.

The solution? Using a normal cable end doesn’t fit into the existing stop, so to get around this, you have to slightly squish the stop (I used a bench vise) to be more ovalized just in the front portion of the cable end, then use a small drill bit to make the now-squished cable hole larger and round again to allow the cable to pass through freely without any binding. This allows the cable housing to seat in the end normally, while the front of the cable end can fit into the frame stop. I should probably take a picture of this to illustrate, huh?…

Now, along with a slightly steeper 110-degree (135?) brake noodle (vs. normal 90-degree one), the routing is perfect and without any friction whatsoever.

Next up, the XTR crankset was set up for 1×9 duty using a Paul Chainkeeper and e13 32t Guide Ring (super nice quality ring!). It looks trick.

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The decals were custom-made…by me. I was never a fan of the elongated “GT” logo, so I decided to try and make my own design in the same spirit of the original Xizang decals. They’re just vinyl decals layered on top of each other to achieve the dual color effect.

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Future planned upgrades include a matching Red Chris King headset, lighter tires, and perhaps a matching WCS White stem.

21.50lbs including pedals.

2008 Specialized Globe Centrum Singlespeed

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I don’t know why, but the first time I saw this bike in Specialized’s catalog, I wanted one. I thought it’s be a cool “city” bike for commuting or whatnot.

I don’t think they sold very many of them, as they killed the design/model after just one year. I think it was Specialized’s reaction to the success of Cannondale’s Bad Boy series of urban bikes.

I got this one off of craigslist a few years ago, and proceeded to swap out the parts as I do with all of my bikes it seems.

Now, the only stock parts left are the headset and brakes! Also, it was originally a 26er…turns out 29″/700c wheels fit just fine with lower-volume tires..

I would say this bike (like the Bad Boy) was actually designed to handle both wheel sizes, as the geometry seems largely unaffected by the increase in wheel size.

  • Chris King 29er ISO disc wheelset, with Stans 355 rims and Specialized 25c Rouxbaix rubber
  • Specialized low-riser bar and seatpost, with Format SL saddle
  • Ritchey WCS stem
  • Truvativ FireX crankset
  • 21.2lbs with pedals

Lastest updates:

  • Shimano hydraulic disc brakeset/levers
  • Swapped in a
  • DiamondBack OEM 29er wheelset (sold the Chris Kings)
  • KS Supernatural Dropper Post with Joplin remote (the 29er wheels make it a bit too tall to put my feet on the ground when stopped; the dropper is a sweet solution!)
  • Kickstand!

Future updates?:

  • I’d like to find an internally geared hub and turn it into a 7 or 8-spd bike. Or maybe find a compatible derailleur hanger, but I don’t think one exists for this frame.

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Latest build 06/17:

The Centrum has become my ‘city’ bike and sits in my office for occasional lunchtime runs, etc. The LEV was pretty unreliable, so I got rid of it and put on a Specialized Command Post instead. I’ve had a couple of those posts and they have never given me any issues.

The bars were swapped out with some FSA Metropolis mustache bars. And for grips I used some old bar tape.

Seems I lost a part of this post with a recent server migration, but I ended up selling the CK wheelset and setting it up with a set of Shimano 650b wheels, which lowers the bike back down a bit.

Update 07/23/2018:

Latest build/changes:

  • new rubber! Panaracer Parimoto 650b x 42c tires w/ Gravel King casing (made in Japan!) – Waay wider and makes it feel more like a cruiser than a hybrid.
  • Origin8 Bat Wing bars
  • Fox Transfer Performance 125mm dropper w/Specialized SRL lever
  • XTR 180/160mm Freeza centerlock rotors
  • Thomson seatpost collar
  • Spurcycle bell
  • Looks Legit!

 

Stumpjumper Expert 29er: Ride #2

I had just come back from a [far] too long trip to Shanghai to visit my wife’s father, so he could also see our latest creation, Keira:

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And after a horrible week of jetlag, I was itching for a ride! I called up my buddy and hit the trails last Sunday, once again determined to push the 29er to the limits.

5 minutes later, I ended up with this:

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I lost control down a very rough section of the trail. The front wheel slipped out from under me, and sent me digging into the ground on my left side. I smashed my shoulder and grinded my helmet.

Once I realized I was still alive, I noticed the pain in my belly. I must have hit a pointy rock, leaving me with a finger-sized puncture full of gravel, twig bits, and dirt.

Strangely, there wasn’t any blood, but a clear, yellowish fluid with an oily consistency oozing out of me in its place. Nasty! Unfortunately my band-aids wouldn’t be of much help, and I decided I should head to the ER to get it checked out.

After some X-Rays and such, the doc determined that nothing was broken and that the puncture hadn’t hit any internal organs. He explained the ooze was the body’s response to trauma and that area of the body has more of that built up that other areas. Perfectly normal stuff!

I’m currently on some heavy Motrin for the pain and Antibiotics to fight off any possible infection. It’s healing up ok, but most of my pain is in my shoulder and surrounding ribs.

This was easily my most serious injury from biking (including a door’ing incident on my road bike a couple years ago).

Anyone interested in a 29er? 😉

Update: I sold the 29er! Scored a nice “profit” in the end: I swapped the CK Wheelset with an OEM Giant Anthem wheelset for $150 off eBay, then sold the complete bike for $150 more than I paid for it. I had also swapped back all of the OEM parts. The CK wheelset now sits on my Globe Centrum singlespeed city bike, which originally came with 26" wheels. That bike will be my next report…

YAB: Yet Another Bike: 2010 Stumpjumper Expert FSR 29er

Picked this one up recently. Having sold my Xizang, I was itching for something new and wanted to try out the 29er thing. Well, this was what I found. I figured that I would get a much better feel/value for a 29er by buying a used bike versus paying the local dealer $100/day for a demo bike. I’m pretty certain I will be able to sell it for what I paid for it should I decide the platform isn’t for me.

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In case you’re wondering, this is a size Large. Normally I’d get a Medium, but this is what craigslist had that day, and since I’m about 5’ 11" (“tweener sized”), I’m borderline Large anyway.

Fit seems mostly unnoticeable to me. The cockpit is nearly identical to my Trek dually. I’ve only taken it on one ride so far and came away mostly underwhelmed. I was expecting night and day differences from what I’ve heard and read about the 29er experience. I had a buddy ride my Trek, so I swapped back and forth throughout the ride, so I could get a good feel of the differences between the two.

My first impression was that the trek seemed sooo much lighter and “flickable”. The Trek is under 25lbs with pedals, and the Stumpy is about 29lbs with pedals. The Trek’s smaller size also seemed to make it feel more maneuverable on the trail.

I nearly wiped out a couple of times on the 29er. Something that never happens on my Trek. I’m sure it will take some more rides to get used to handling the bike, so I’m not really going to base my opinions on one ride so far. Another thing I noticed is that I felt like I bottomed out harshly a coupe times. I also hit my crank arms on some rocks. Both of these things have never happened to me on my trek (That I actually noticed). The Stumpy also seems to make A LOT of noise from the chain rattling around while descending. I’ll have to look into that.

One thing I really liked, though, was the Brain shock. It was sort of like having the ProPedal lever ON automatically when I needed it, and OFF when I didn’t.

This Stumpy Expert was stock except for a nice upgrade to the wheelset: black Chris King ISO hubs laced to Stans 355 29er rims, set up tubeless with S-Works rubber. This is also my first bike with a 15QR fork, so I had to order a Thule 15QR axle adapter for my roof rack. Personally, I found the 15QR system to be a little clumsy as far as getting the wheel on and off and the bike onto my rack. I also can’t tell how much stiffer it makes the front end compared to a regular 9mm QR fork/wheel.

I’ve also never had a bike with SRAM on it. First impression is it feels clunky and overbuilt compared to the XTR stuff I am used to. Shifting was fine, but noisier and with a heavier feel to the triggers. The Avid Elixer brakes worked fine, but also seemed overbuilt compared to the XTR on my Trek.

I had some parts sitting around so I swapped in:

  • XTR m970 crankset
  • Specialized XC White lock on grips
  • Syncros FL saddle
If I start to like the 29er after a few more rides, I may swap over my XTR brakes and drivetrain from the Trek and see if that really makes me a convert.
Stay tuned…

Replacement Rock Shox Judy XC and SL fork decals for sale

New and Improved version! No more cutting of Upper decals! Just peel and stick!

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New! 1996 “script” Judy version now available!

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I sell these on eBay, but I’ll cut them out and sell directly and give you a little discount if you buy from me direct for $11.00 USD (you save $1.00!)

Shipping is FREE in USA (2-3 bus. day delivery). $1.25 Int’l First Class Mail (allow 1-2 week delivery time)

Please specify the version you are ordering:

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Looking for Judy FSX decals? You can get them here!


Description from my eBay auction:

Rock Shox Judy SL and XC fork decals! NEW!
You are looking at a set of incredibly high-quality reproduction decals for your vintage Rock Shox Judy forks!
Like you, I had a vintage bike to restore, and the original decals on my Judy forks were toast! I wasn’t happy. It was the one thing that kept my bike from being “perfect” again.
So I took it upon myself to rebuild, recreate, redesign, the original Rock Shox Judy decals. I’m a professional graphic designer, so I knew I could do it. After many, many hours of carefully measuring the original decals, scanning, fixing and tweaking, here is the final result. It’s perfect. Even more perfect than the original decals ever were. They are the exact size of the originals. The perfect finishing touch.
Bring your tired, beaten forks back to life!
The decals are printed using the highest quality silk-screening techniques. Silkscreen printing is an incredibly high-end method with which to print stickers. As far as sticker printing goes, silkscreen is simply the best the way to produce an extremely high caliber, high quality sticker. Once you begin to understand the silkscreen process and see the results of the printing medium, you will quickly realize that in terms of quality, there is no contest.
Silkscreen printing is essentially a stenciling technique, where a design is imposed on a screen of silk or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable emulsion. Ink is forced through the mesh with a squeegee onto the printing surface, which in our case is an adhesive backed vinyl. The result is an extremely thick, weatherproof, waterproof sticker with an effective outdoor capability that is measured by years. (The outdoor capability of a digitally printed sticker of the same design is measured by weeks.)
These decals are clear, just like the originals.

The highest quality. Period.

  • Thick Ink. At least 2-3 times thicker than other silkscreen printers and 10x-20x thicker than digitally printed stickers.
  • 100% UV Protection… Multiple Passes. Each full-color sticker is silkscreened onto a thick vinyl surface with 4 thick coats of ink, and 3 thick coats of clear gloss with 100% UV protection.
  • Weather proof and waterproof. Effective outdoor capability is 2000-3000% higher than Digital/Flexo materials.
  • Extreme durability. Minimum 3-5 year effective capability against any weather. Actual lifetime should be substantially higher since you aren’t riding everyday! Extremely durable in extreme conditions (like mountain biking!). Silkscreen stickers are the only way to go if you are looking for durability.

Each set includes (enough to restore one (1) fork):

  • Two (2), separate Rock Shox Judy main decals (fork uppers)
  • One pair of your choice: “XC”, “SL”, or “SL with Judy script” lower decals.Please specify the version you want in the Paypal checkout message field.

Note: Lower Decals will arrive as one single decal. Just use an X-acto knife and a ruler to split the decals in half. I will include detailed instructions for trimming the decals and application tips with all shipments. Don’t worry, no one has ever had a problem trimming these decals! It’s easy! If you would like me to trim them for you, just leave me a message during checkout. Before applying decals, be sure the fork leg is absolutely clean of any adhesive or cleaning residues.

Application tips:
  • Completely remove any adhesive residue with WD-40 or similar
  • Use rubbing alcohol or other degreaser to completely remove any WD-40 residue
  • Peel and stick! Use the blunt edge of your fingernail to rub over the full decal to ensure full adhesion
Free Shipping in USA! $1.25 for International shipping by First Class International letter.
Images below are ACTUAL DECALS applied to forks!

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