Posts Tagged ‘DBR Axis TT’

Forked again

November 18, 2021

I didn’t eat it with my new fork.

In the Year of Our Lord 2021, when one blows up a Hippie-Tech rebuild of a Rock Shox Judy SL cartridge fork there will be no miraculous resurrection.

First, because there is no more Hippie-Tech to rebuild the rebuild. Second, because there are no kits for the rebuilding. The rest of the world has moved on from the simplicity of yesteryear to today’s fancy-schmancy, carbon-fiber, disc-brake, boingy-boingies, with their dropper posts, their 110mm of travel, and their ultra-plush five-figure price tags.

But not here. No, sir. We believe in keeping the old bits operating, especially ours.

Thus, the 1995 DBR Axis TT, like its owner-operator, has gone rigid. Soma Fabrications supplied the Tange Infinity fork, Zach at Two Wheel Drive performed the install, and I handled the test drive with my usual style, élan, and grace, which is to say I managed to not fall off.

Rio Cielo

February 3, 2021

There’s a little blue sky island up there to the NNW of Trail 365A.

It’s been warm enough the past couple of days that I haven’t felt compelled to crank up the thermostat the instant I ooze out of bed.

Yesterday I could’ve ridden in knickers and arm warmers. I didn’t, of course, because nobody needs to see my pallid calves on a lovely February morning, not even me. I wore tights and long-sleeves like a white man. A very white man.

The Tramway Time Trial record was never in jeopardy, probably due to the extra weight I was carrying, kit-wise. I took just under a half hour to climb from I-25 to County Line Barbecue. And mind you, I had a tailwind.

Looking back the way I came.

In my defense I’ll note that I was riding 30 pounds of bike (a Soma Saga). But then, I’m pretty much always riding a 30-pound bike, so those hairy, Day-Glo items I call “legs” should not have been surprised.

The previous day I had been aboard a 24.5-pound bike, my old DBR Axis TT mountain bike. Yet somehow I remained unimpressive on the foothills trails. I’d blame the boingy fork and seatpost, or perhaps the 26-inch wheels, but I’m actually starting to regain an appreciation for those bits in my dotage. So it’s operator error once again.

Maybe I can learn some mad skillz from Beta, the new mountain-bike mag’ from Pocket Outdoor Media, the same outfit that owns Bicycle Retailer and a metric shit-ton of other sweat-stained publications.

Then again, “beta” means “a stage of development in which a product is nearly complete but not yet ready for release.” So, maybe not. Still, I wish Nicole Formosa and her crew the best of luck in their new endeavor.

Speaking of mad skillz, we decided to go low-tech on coffee machinery. This morning it was a Thermos pour-over that will require an adjustment to the coffee-water ratio. And with one bloodshot eye aimed erratically toward the future I’ve ordered up a six-cup Chemex and an Aeropress.

Happy St. Whatsisface Day

March 17, 2020

Boggy O’Trotter, fresh from an epic 8-mile ride.
The flowers were in case I croaked en route.

Herself and I kitted up (in green, natch) and rode our mountain bikes over to Herself the Elder’s assisted-living home this afternoon.

It was a resupply op (HtE was out of wine) and the choppers were all grounded, so whaddaya gonna do?

I chose the old DBR Axis TT because it has 26-inch wheels (easy to throw a leg over); fat tires (squish squish squish); and boingy bits (boy-boy-yoinnnnng), all of which help minimize the impact to the bum ankle, which is wearing one of these doodads. Swapped the Time ATACs for flat pedals too.

No land-speed records were set. But it was nice to be riding a bicycle that was actually going somewhere.

After you, Alphonse. …

September 11, 2019

The old DBR Axis TT still rolls a lot better than I do.

For a change it was the other fella on a cyclocross bike and Your Humble Narrator on a mountain bike.

I was descending a narrow bit of singletrack that he was climbing, so I found a small patch of shoulder and yielded trail.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“Great, thanks,” he replied with a grin.

Your cyclocrosser is nothing if not a perfect gent at all times. The rest of you lot could learn something from us.

Though now that I think about it, I suppose he could’ve been a gravel rider. I don’t know a thing about those tossers. A special bike for gravel, is it? D’ye also have ones for road and trail and track so? A cyclocrosser rides his machine where he will and devil take the hindmost.

Now you mention it, his tires did look a little plump for ’cross. Not honest 33mms like the ones on my Steelman.

The cheek of the fuckin’ bastards. Trying to pass themselves off as cyclocrossers on the singletrack. First they take our drop bars, then our knobbies, and before you can say Danny De Bie they’ll be making eyes at our daughters.

Thank God I was on a mountain bike. Now he doesn’t know that I know.

Bus stop

April 9, 2019

Time machine.

When my DBR Axis TT was new there was a Clinton in the White House.

If there were another in there today, I feel certain we’d be well along in the impeachment process. Instead, we’re treated to an endless conga line of Bozos shoving their way into and out of the national bus while the Congress rubs one out in the back seat and the electorate focuses on the final season of “Game of Thrones,” which appears to be “The West Wing” of our time.

The real West Wing has more White Walkers, of course.

“Now, please, everyone, lock your wigs, let the air out of your shoes, and prepare yourself for a period of simulated exhilaration.”

I enjoyed a period of simulated exhilaration yesterday, bouncing off rocks on my 24-year-old titanium hardtail, the only bike in the bunch with 26-inch wheels (2.1-inch Hutchinson Pythons) and a boingy fork (a Rock Shox Judy SL rebuilt by Hippie Tech).

The few mad skillz I’ve developed over the past quarter-century do not translate well to small wheels and a squishy fork. When the front end wasn’t dancing the hula it was stopped dead in its tracks, stonewalled like a House Democrat grilling a smirking executive-branch stooge.

And the elderly XT V-brakes felt grabbier than Uncle Joe Biden, which can be unnerving when you’re tiptoeing downhill through some spiky rock garden wearing nothing but old Lycra and a plastic beanie.

Still, it beats watching the clown show. I think they’re all Beelzebozos on that bus.

Remember those fabulous Nineties?

April 8, 2019

They ain’t makin’ ’em like this anymore,
mostly because nobody’s buyin’ ’em.

The Ride Your Own Damn Bike Festival® continues.

Yesterday the DBR Prevail TT got its couple of hours in the sun, and today its dirty cousin the Axis TT shall do likewise.

If memory serves this is an 18-inch model, from 1995, with a top tube longer than a Russian novel. A hardtail. With rim brakes and 26-inch wheels. If that ain’t a dinosaur Jesus never rode one.

After this there will be only one functional machine left unridden in the festival, the Soma Saga (cantilever edition). And I should really be aboard that one today, because it’s perfect road-riding weather.

But I’m tired of the road and want to goof on the trails for a bit, see if I can remember how to propel myself around and about with a squishy fork and these itty-bitty wheels.

Trail mix

September 1, 2018

Is it a patio or a pool? This morning it’s a little bit of both.

Drop bars stayed off the menu this week.

After savoring a Jones SWB on the rocks both Tuesday and Wednesday, I broke out my own Jones on Thursday for purposes of comparison.

The SWB is a 27.5+ bike, with a 1×10 Deore/Zoom drivetrain and 3-inch Maxxis Chronicle rubber, while mine is a 29er that rolls with 10-speed, triple-ring XT and 2.4-inch Maxxis Ardents.

The Jones SWB and Your Humble Narrator enjoy a rare shady section of Trail 365.

I’d be happy with either of ’em given our trail conditions. The SWB serves up a bit more flotation in deep sand and over rough stuff with its 50mm rims and 3-inch squishies, but my 29er sort of expands my practice of riding rigid steel cyclocross bikes everywhere. On the Jones I can just gorilla my way over obstacles I have to finesse on a Steelman.

The triple drivetrain gives me a lower low end for the steep bits, too.

Yesterday, just ’cause I could, I pulled down the 1995 DBR Axis TT hardtail and took that out for a spin. This shout out to days gone by rolls on 26×2.0 Hutchinson Pythons, sports an 8-speed, triple-ring, twist-shifter XT/Sachs/GripShift drivetrain, and is the only rim-brake bike of the three (XT linear pulls).

The lads at Sandia Cycles resolved some irksome headset and braking issues for me a while back and the old beast proved surprisingly fun to ride. After a while I remembered that I had a suspension fork and quit trying to tiptoe around things, but the rear wheel wanted to hold onto rocks after the rest of the bike was done with them.

Today is looking like a day for running, or even staying indoors. The skies erupted sometime around stupid-thirty this morning — the full rooster, with thunder, lightning and rain — and at the moment they’re still blacker than six yards up Satan’s colon.

Old dog, no tricks

December 18, 2017

Forward, into the past: Riding 26-inch wheels with a suspension fork.

Yesterday I had occasion to remind myself what an utterly incompetent mountain biker I am.

A neighbor mentioned that he’d been riding his mountain bike during the recent cool spell and asked if I’d be interested in joining him, so out of an abundance of caution I lubed up the 1995 DBR Axis TT and took it out for a short trial spin on the singletrack around the Embudo dam.

Hitting the trails on a Sunday afternoon is almost always a bad idea, but my neighbor wanted to ride today, and I hadn’t experienced the old dust-buster with its 26-inch wheels, eight-speed XT/Sachs/SRAM drivetrain, and RockShox Judy SL fork in quite a spell.

After a few klicks I was reminded of why. The wheels are too small, the top tube is too long, and I find suspension confusing, like Australopithecus confronting an ATM.

In short, I was blundering along like a Republican under an FBI grilling, and it didn’t help that the trails were filled to overflowing with hikers, bikers, dog-walkers and dog-runners on bikes. I want to be funny for reasons of my own choosing, especially if there is an audience.

So if the neighbor and I make it out today I’ll probably ride my Voodoo Nakisi MonsterCrosser®, which shares a comforting rigidity with its owner-operator.

Speaking of me, I ain’t going anywhere. It seems a few of you took yesterday’s post to mean I was surrendering the blog. Nope. It was the “Mad Dog Unleashed” column in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News that got put down, not this old hound, which remains very much at large. Thus you may expect me to continue barking to no particular purpose in this space for the foreseeable future.

Old, not dead

March 21, 2016
My 1995 DBR Axis TT still sports a little bit of Bibleburg here and there.

My 1995 DBR Axis TT still sports a little bit of Bibleburg here and there.

Daylight-saving time is still messing with my mojo.

I’m not a morning person by nature, but I do like getting my daily exercise in early-ish. But since the early-ish temps have been a little brisk lately, I’ve been waiting until afternoon to crack a sweat — my least favorite time for that sort of thing.

Still, there’s no denying that it’s warmer at 3 p.m. than it is at 10 a.m. And apparently I’m not the only person who likes it that way, because by the time I hit the trail on the old DBR mountain bike yesterday everybody and his grandma was out there, too.

The only decal on the Axis TT.

The only decal on the Axis TT.

I hadn’t ridden this bike in, like, forever — it still sports some reddish mud that may come from the Monument Valley Park trail back in Bibleburg — and it took some getting used to. If you consume a steady diet of rigid, drop-bar, disc-brake 29ers, well, a front-suspension, flat-bar, V-brake 26er is gonna feel a little weird.

And I was never much of a mountain biker anyway. Ask anyone who ever saw me ride one.

So, anyway, after dodging a metric shit-ton of oblivious pedestrians, off-the-leash dogs and other mobile speed bumps, and nearly stuffing it in a tight, downhill, left-hand corner, I said to hell with it and headed for home.

Rolling toward Piedra Lisa I pulled to the side of the trail to accommodate yet another parade of folks, this time a string of mountain bikers, and one said, “Hey, nice Diamondback!”

Dude either knows his vintage machinery or has the telescopic vision of a young Superman, because the only identifying decal on my 1995 DBR Axis TT is at the base of the seat tube, and its only remaining stock bits are the AC crankset and XT derailleurs.

Speaking of bike bits, Nick Legan, the tech editor for Adventure Cyclist, has a new blog going when he has a moment to catch his breath. You should check it out.

 

O, wholly night

December 26, 2015
My rigid Jones 29er plays a lovely moonlight sonata.

My rigid Jones 29er plays a lovely moonlight sonata.

A neighbor couple had invited us to join them for a full-moon Christmas ride on the Sandia foothills trails (.pdf), and while the field was halved by start time last night — his wife was recovering from a cold, and mine thought her headlight gravely underpowered — Phil and I soldiered on.

Alas, the moon likewise declined to participate, and my lighting system also proved less than illuminating (an elderly, AAA-powered trinity of Cateye Opticube HL-EL450, Princeton Tec EOS, and Princeton Tec Remix). Happily, Phil was content to lead the way with his new Cygolite, so we got around and about without issue.

My "lighting system." Not pictured: The Princeton Tec Remix I wore as a headlamp.

My “lighting system.” Not pictured: The Princeton Tec Remix I wore as a headlamp.

I was reminded how much fun it is to do something different, and how good this can be for the bike industry, because you discover how woefully clapped out your equipment is.

There was the lighting issue, for starters. Also, my old Pearl Izumi winter gloves seem to have gone walkabout in the move, I have no clear lenses for my prescription Rudy Project Rb-3 cycling glasses, and my decrepit Kucharik toe covers no longer cover all 10 toes.

And which bike to ride? I ride these trails on a cyclo-cross bike in the daylight, but that seemed unwise in the dark, with old snow and ice likely to be lurking in any north-facing bits. The old DBR Axis TT mountain bike seemed an ideal choice, until I found a big hop in the rear tire that no amount of inflation, deflation, removal, replacement, and yanking this way and that could resolve.

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff? That would have been fun, but I didn’t fancy fixing a rear-wheel flat in the freezing dark (the Rohloff hub and Gates belt drive complicate that chore a bit, and I was out of practice).

Thus, the Jones. It’s the perfect bike for this sort of outing. Big-ass Maxxis Ardent 29×2.4 tires, a Shimano XT drivetrain with a low end of 19.3 gear inches for creeping through icy rockpiles in the inky blackness, and Avid BB7 discs with 200/180mm rotors for knocking down the MPH as necessary. Plus you could hang 12 headlights on that H-bar, if you had ’em, which I did not.

Speaking of which, I’m taking recommendations for a reasonably priced headlight. Sound off in comments if you feel so inclined. And a happy Boxing Day to one and all.