Posts Tagged ‘DBR Axis TT’

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.

 

Champs and chumps

February 3, 2014

Yesterday’s world-championship duel between Zdenek Stybar and Sven Nys was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Much better than the heavily pimped, darkly comical, one-sided feetsball contest that took place later that day in East Rutherford, Noo Joisey (based on media reports; I didn’t watch the thing).

It’s a shame that Lars van der Haar had such bad luck on the big day. He and Stybar have enlivened the business-as-usual ‘cross circuit this season, and the World Cup champion deserved better than a sixth-place finish at worlds. So it goes.

My ‘cross bikes stayed in the garage yesterday as winter maintains its clutch on Dog Country and I have no excess income to redirect toward emergency rooms and physical therapists. Instead, I broke out the old mountain bike again and spent an enjoyable if difficult hour crunching through old snow.

The north-south creekside bike path is in pretty fair shape. But it must be the only one getting plowed lately, because the eastbound trail from Mark Dabling to Union was a rutted, boot-print-pocked mess. Middle-ring, big-cog, 7-mph stuff, is what. I carved untracked snow wherever I could find it, because riding that is smooth like butta.  But crunching through the used stuff involves something of an ass-kicking, even with a suspension fork and seat post.

No worries. I’m sure that once City for Champions becomes a reality instead of an old white land developer’s wet dream we’ll have gold-plated hybrid snowplows working the trails the way a crack whore does South Nevada Avenue. Until then, I plan to keep a shovel handy. And not just for snow, either.

Fenderhead

January 7, 2014
That old cyclo-crossin' gang of mine, following a 1990s race in Fort Collins.

That old cyclo-crossin’ gang of mine, following a 1990s race in Fort Collins.

A long time ago, in a peloton far, far away, when it got to be too cold or sloppy to train on the road bike one of the Dogs would invariably propose, “How’bout riding mountain bikes on the road?”

It makes sense, if you think about it. Big ol’ tires for traction. Closer to the ground for purposes of falling onto same. Lower average speed and thus less wind chill. Add fenders and you don’t even get the deadly Brown Stripe of Shame.

So that’s what I did today. Dug up a pair of strap-on, zip-tie Planet Bike fenders for the DBR ti’ and went out for my second mountain-bike ride of 2014. That’s about two more than I did in 2013*, and it’s only Jan. 7.

This also means that five — five! — of my bikes now sport fenders. A sixth has a set, but isn’t presently wearing them. And I have an extra pair in case I feel like going for Lucky No. 7. You can’t stop me!

And to think I once lived for cyclo-cross, the entire purpose of which is to get cold, wet and filthy dirty, all at the same time. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!

*Purists will note that I rode a buttload of 29ers during 2013, but that doesn’t count. I’m talking 26-inch hardtail here. Who rides one of those in 2014? Besides me, that is?