Thursday, May 29, 2008

Maiden Voyage of the S.S. Leviathan.

Why not, Leviathan has that nautical ring to it, don't ya think?

But first, the build up.

So it began. The Monkey would provide the wheels, h-bars, stem, and pedals.

The carcass of the poor Monkey, soon to return as an SS.

The Lev. The tape is to protect the frame where I filed out the rear brake cable stops for hydro lines to go all the way through.

From here, it was just a matter of adding the parts I chose (more on that here)

Ran into a snag with the crank. I have a couple of sets of 180mm XT Hollowtech cranks I have had on a few bikes and I have used both XT and Truvative chain rings on them, no issues. So, much to my surprise I find the LX middle ring will not sit on the spider due to interference between the little cast in ledge on the cranks and the ends of the 4 tabs under the bolt holes (see arrows in pic). Huh. Shimano conspiracy to make me buy the XT rings? Dunno. 30 minutes of careful grinding with a drill motor, stone, and flat file and it went into place. Sneaky Shimano engineers.

From here, I decided to not run the big ring and see how it works out on the FS. Since I have more high speed potential on the FS, I may change later, but I doubt it. It soon looked like a bike.

The SRAM XO rear der is almost jewelry. Very pretty.

I bought a sweetly priced bash ring off the net. I really don't 'bash' stuff in my neck of the woods, not too many big logs or ledges, but it keeps things tidy without the big ring.

I ran into a real snag with the brakes. I had bought some blowout priced Deore LX brakes from Jenson USA for the Karate Monkey but never used them. I figured they are not fancy-schmancy but would do the job. I had to order regular rotors since they came with 160mm centerlock rotors. Since I was doing that, I asked about a larger rotor for the front. The guy on the phone suggested a 170mm rotor, not much of a change, but OK. The adapter was ordered as well.

Turns out the 170mm Shimano rotor is some special application that does not apply for my fork mount, the Avid adapter they sold me did not fit the shape of the Shimano caliper, and, although I can get a 180mm Shimano rotor, the adapter from the big 'S' is $65.00. Phhhaaa. No way. Send me a 160mm rotor and I will see how it works out.

That stopped work and I went to see a movie with the family, the latest Narnia Chronicles.

A couple of days later I installed and bled the brakes and waited for the new rotor. I threw it up on the trusty bathroom scale and it said 28lbs. Not bad for what $$ I spent. Very acceptable for an XL, XC/Trailbike, 29er FS.

So now, when the new part arrived, I could bolt it on and go. Today, it showed up in the mail, a few turns of a wrench or two, and off I went in a blue blur of Lenz happiness.

So, the first ride impressions? Pretty sweet bike. I think we will be friends. It actually feels spunkier when seated pedaling than the KM did, of course it lacks a bit when standing and pedaling compared to a hardtail, but not much. It seems to be a very stable, light, responsive, and nimble platform to spin through the countryside on. Of course, the first ride is always a bit sidetracked by small cable adjustments, adding air to the fork, taking air out of the fork, etc. After a bit, it will just become riding and I will really get a feel for the bike.

God willing, I have all the time I need to do just that.

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