Luxury Bikes

Shiny and Chome – Leanover’s Bike Check

I’ll update photos once I wash the bike (too eager to ride)

The first frame-up for me that I really enjoyed and couldn’t be happier with. Below are my thoughts on all of this.

I’m a skinny 6’3″; Maaaaybe 150 pounds on a good day. A middle-aged rider who is above average for everyone, but probably (slightly?) below average when you compare him to other people who put as much time, effort and money into cycling as I do. I get a new bike maybe every three to four years, so some of these things are old news to other bikers, but new and exciting to me.

The Madonna frame is just as beautifully crafted and balanced as everyone says. The external routing is well thought out and allows the bike to ride so quietly, but it triggers the OCPD for me as I spent an extra hour or two trying to get to the cable lines Only Right.

First time with a GRIP 2 shock and it’s so smooth. I think Fox gave up on Performance Elite for a while, so I was happy to see it as an option again.

Back to a 31.8mm bore and shortened rods to 770mm, which is a bit narrower than I normally use, but it feels quite natural. I’m 1.80 m tall and don’t know if I would be narrower. Raaw recommends a slightly longer stem than most other bike manufacturers. I currently have a 32mm stem but would like to try the 45mm stem once the correct color comes back in stock. I think slowing down the steering will complement the rest of the bike feel.

Wolftooth’s pipette works great. However, the BikeYoke Revive works more smoothly. I originally chose Wolftooth because I wanted to try a 200mm drop (up from 180mm). At 6 feet tall and with a 32 inch inseam, the 200mm saddle felt borderline excessive and almost didn’t even fit in the frame. I sweated during construction. Bleeding on every cycle is a nice feature and apparently this dropper isn’t affected in cold weather That will be nice (I have a personal death match against SRAM Reverb because it screwed me up while riding up Burro Pass in a snowstorm. )

Second bike with the Öhlins coil. So cozy. Worth every gram.

The XT drivetrain shifts so well. I opted for the en vouge shorter crank arms, which immediately resulted in a noticeably lower number of pedal strokes. Read that a smaller chainring works well with shorter cranks. Not a machismo contest, but typically a 32T chainring is used. When I switched to the wider 55mm chainline I was interested in working more towards the center of the cassette so I went with the 30T and so far everything seems to be working well. I often manage to climb in 3rd or 4th gear. I’m the first to make it without falling over because I’m moving too slowly, but the cadence has to stay high. I’m a little worried about running short at the top end, but we’ll see if the longer, faster routes at higher altitudes open up this summer.

XT brakes work well. I used MTX’s softer resin pads (red), which I liked on my last enduro bike because they were so quiet and smooth. My only dissatisfaction with this design so far has been the XT rotors, which have a sort of polished finish. It took many laps of my house and almost 20 miles of driving before the brakes were finally installed. In a previous conversion for my wife’s bike, I got some Galfer textured brake rotors, which I was very impressed with for a number of reasons. I almost chose these rotors again and I wish I had.

WAO wheels are really beautiful. I didn’t get the convergence because I’m not a big guy who hits berms all the time. I guess I wanted some premium wheels but didn’t feel the need to buy ultra-premium. These rims feel alive but also keep their line.

All in all I was happy as a pig in mud and wanted to write my own little review as information on some of the specific components I chose was hard to find on the internet and I definitely wanted to check out the reviews and pictures from Vital- Bikes to try it out and sort out some of the finer details.

Oh, and I don’t really know how much the bike weighs, but it weighs at least 37 pounds. I pretty much agree: saving a pound or two on an enduro bike is a doomed task, just go with Bulletproof.

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