2014 Intense Carbine (2016 updates)

2016-06-21 19.49.36

Unfortunately, I lost some posts to my blog during a recent server switch. It used to have some ramblings about switching to 27.5/650b wheels, but that update got lost, so I’m posting about it again.

TL;DR, I went 27.5 not long after I cracked my 26″ Ritchey carbon rim in my other Carbine post. I never ended up building the Ritchey rear wheel with the rims I found on eBay. Instead, I bought a Pike 150 and a set of DT Swiss XRC1250 27.5″ carbon wheels and made the jump tp the 27.5″ revolution. As luck would have it however, I left the front wheel at the trailhead after hastily packing up after a ride. Doh! I went back within 30 minutes but it was gone and no amount of trying to find them turned up anything.

So what to do? Well, I ended up buying yet another set, then sold off the extra rear wheel for pennies on the dollar. Pretty costly lesson, in fact I could’ve bought a set of Enve’s at full price for the price I paid in the end(!).

After a few more happy months of riding, I found a deal on the newly announced replacement for the XRC1250’s, the XMC 1200’s. Nearly identical spec, but wider at 24.5mm internally (vs 21.5mm), plus squarely rated for full-on trail/enduro use (which I certainly aspire to be!). And since I can’t say no to a great deal, I picked them up and sold off the XRC’s.

I also recently decided to go 11-speed and upgraded the whole drivetrain and brakeset with the primo XTR stuff (because why not? OK, I admit I skimped on the cassette and chain with XT…). I even used Gore Ride-On cabling for the dropper.

2016-06-21 19.50.45 2016-06-21 19.50.082016-06-21 19.49.55

I also found that my Fox CTD shock lost it’s lockout after a recent rebuild, so I was going to send it in to Fox, but after running the numbers with an upgrade to their EVOL air can, I started looking at other shock options instead.

I finally settled on a new, take-off Cane Creek DB Inline I found locally on craigslist for $200(!). I’ve only had one ride on it so far and it was pretty unremarkable. I noticed I did not get full travel, so there are definitely some settings I need to adjust, which the Inline is well-known for. But I do see what all the fuss is about; you can literally tweak the feel of the shock for the exact terrain and your style of riding. The Fox didn’t let me adjust much of anything, and I guess I never thought about it much. But with all of the adjustability of the Inline, I’ve opened my eyes to what I have been missing and am looking forward to dialing it in…

2016-06-21 19.50.00

…after I heal up from a nasty OTB on the Inline’s maiden ride, when I washed out on a downward curve and the bars stabbed me right in my gut next to my belly button. Ouch, to say the least! Thankfully nothing too serious, just a massive hematoma.

2016-06-10 08.30.54

It’s been exactly 2 weeks since, and it’s cleared up nicely, but the hematoma remains…and rock hard. Hopefully it finds its way back into my body, but for now it’s keeping me off the bike.

I think I’ll be putting tennis balls on the ends of my bars now…


’97 GT Lightning Titanium

Another day, another Titanium GT! I just can’t seem to be able to pass these up when I come across them.

The Lightning was only made for two years in 1997 and 1998. They were built in Asia (Taiwan most likely) of [US] Sandvik ti tubing. The geometry is identical to the US-made Xizang. Apparently it was built to appeal to a more budget-conscious rider who wanted Ti, but couldn’t break the bank for the Xizang.


Turns out, the Lightning is actually harder to find than the Xizang due to only being available for 2 years. The weight is nearly identical to the Xizang as well. This 16" frame weighed in at 3.54lbs (1600g).

I’ve always liked the satin finish of the Lightning, so when i found one perusing the Vintage section on mtbr.com, I said, “what the heck” and contacted the seller and worked out a deal.

You may notice a lot of the same parts being transferred over from previous bikes. This one inherited everything from the Dekerf. I’m just waiting on some NOS GT decals and a 31.8mm Paul ChainKeeper chainguide and it’ll be ready to ride. If I like it, I am planning on swapping the tires and saddle for something in the superlight category, which should bring the final weight down to around 20lbs (it’s ~21.5 w/pedals currently).

If I don’t like it, then I think this is it for me and vintage bikes. I will sell this build along with the Dekerf frame, and find myself a modern superlight 29er hardtail (although the retro in me is really digging the Ritchey P-29er…)


Vintage/Retro/Classic! Specialized RockShox Judy FSX Replacement Fork decals


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!)

Apparently SRAM thinks my decals are TOO GOOD! They had my listings removed on eBay after almost 10yrs(!) of selling these to support the VRC crowd!

2020 Update! Decals are available!

Get them while they last. I won’t be making any more once my current run is finished. When they’re gone, they’re gone!

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

2x Lower Leg decals only ($11). FSX lower leg decals only:


Complete Upper and Lower leg decal set ($18). Includes the Rock Shox logo upper leg decals and FSX leg decals:


Check out my eBay feedback for these decals! (click for larger version)

Description from my [now banned] eBay auction:

Specialized Rock Shox Judy FSX lower leg fork decals only! NEW!
You are looking at a set of incredibly high-quality reproduction decals for your vintage Rock Shox Judy FSX 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 their former glory!

These decals are truly the highest quality reproduction decals you will ever find anywhere. Each detail was painstakingly recreated with laser-sharp perfection. Everything was measured and aligned to be a perfect match with the original.
On top of all this, I went the extra mile (and expense!) and the “FSX” decals are custom “die cut”, which means they are pre-cut and shaped just like the originals. Even better, the corners of my FSX decals are rounded to prevent the peeling that was so common to the original decals.

These decals are clear, just like the originals.

How these decals are printed
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.)
The highest quality. Period.
  • Thick Ink. At least 2-3 times thicker than other silkscreen stickers and 10x-20x thicker than digitally printed stickers.
  • 100% UV Protection with 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.
  • Photo Realistic Printing. No visible “dots” or line screen. Continuous tone, super vibrant colors.
  • 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.
  • Free Shipping in USA! Delivery within 2-3 business days by First Class Mail
  • International shipping: USD $1.25 by First Class International letter. Please allow up to 14 business days, but usually about 7-10 business days.
Check out my recent feedback on these decals!: 





DT Swiss 240s 142x12mm Rear Hub/Axle Conversion

Since I’ve decided to stick with 26er’s for a while, I decided it was worth it to switch the rear hub of my Ritchey Superlogic carbon wheelset from standard 135mm QR to the new 142x12mm thru-axle design by Syntace (aka X-12).

The cool thing about the Superlogic wheelset is that it uses de-badged DT 240s hubs, which can be converted to any axle design in use today. Unfortunately, mine is a 2009 model, so instead of just popping on new end caps, I had to swap out the whole axle in order to fit the 12mm thick thru-axle.

Interestingly, I couldn’t find any information on how to do this online. I had some ideas on how to do it, but I was surprised that there were no videos or other write-ups dealing specifically with the rear axle swap on these hubs.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the wheel, cassette and rotor (if centerlock).
  2. Firmly grasp the freehub body and pull hard. Wiggle it a bit as you pull if it doesn’t come loose. Be careful as you pull it, as there is a spring inside the freehub body that will likely fall out once the freehub body is removed. It may feel like the freehub body isn’t going to come out, but trust me, if you have a DT hub, it WILL come off! The freehub body is kept in place by the end cap which snaps into place, so that is what you are actually trying to break free.
  3. Once the freehub body is off, locate the spring and place somewhere safe. Now, remove the internal ratchet pieces from the hub, the axle spacer next to the hub bearing, and the hub spring. Take note of how these all fit back together. Basically, the smaller ends of the springs point inwards towards each other during reassembly.
  4. Now is a good time to clean off the parts you just pulled out.
  5. To get the axle out, insert a thin wooden dowel through the drive-side axle and use a hammer to tap out the end cap of the non-drive side.
  6. Now, place the wheel onto a padded surface drive-side up (I used my shop floor mat). Insert a stubby screw driver into the axle and use a hammer to tap the axle out. The stubby screwdriver protects the axle as you hit it with the hammer, rather than striking the axle directly. It will take some firm blows to free the bearing, but you will know right away once the bearing is free. Once it is free, lift up the wheel and the axle should come out with a  few more light taps.
  7. With the axle out, remove the bearing and clean as necessary.
  8. Now, slide the bearing onto your new axle and put a little grease onto the sides of the bearing and also the hub to ease in pressing the bearing back into place.
  9. At this point, your axle is loosely inserted into the non-drive side. Re-assemble the freehub side. Use a light-weight oil on the ratchet parts. Chris King Ring lube is recommended, but I don’t have any of that, so I have heard you can use something like Finish Line Cross Country wet lube or even Tri-flow. The viscosity is important; too thick and your ratchet may not engage properly. I used some Tri-flow in mine. FWIW, the lighter the viscosity will also result in your freewheel clicking more loudly. Thicker stuff will muffle the sound a bit.
  10. Once the axle/hub is put back together loosely, assemble the wheel using the dropouts for your 142 setup and insert the thru-axle. Start tightening the axle, and you will see that the non-drive side bearing is being gently pressed into the hub shell. Tighten until you can’t tighten anymore.
  11. Install the dropouts onto your frame and put your cassette/rotor back onto your wheel. Install your wheel and tighten the thru-axle firmly. I had to re-adjust my rear caliper a bit due to some slight rubbing, but after that you are done!

2012 BMC SL01 RoadRacer 54cm




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


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:


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:


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.


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!


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.


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…


How to find out the Best Offer accepted price in an eBay auction

Ever wondered what price a seller accepted a Best Offer at on eBay?

Well, if you use a desktop browser to view past auctions, eBay won’t show it to you. eBay simply lists the original selling price with a slash through it and a message “Best Offer Accepted”.

But I stumbled on a way to see the prices. All you need is your smartphone and the eBay app.

Just do a search for your item in the app, then Refine the search to view Sold Items only, which will then show you the past auctions.

Voila!, the Best Offer prices that were accepted are now shown and you can make or adjust your offer using that information.

Hopefully this doesn’t become common knowledge so eBay can fix this “bug”…so keep it to yourselves!

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.





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:




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.






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.