I adjusted the sag of my bike as recommended by the instructions of the Fox DVD manual. The instructions are straight forward and easy to understand. It would be easy if you had a laptop beside you for easy access. I was never one to follow formulas when setting the suspension of my previous bikes, usually doing it by feel of the ride. The interesting thing is that the recommended formula turned out just right when I rode my bike.

Being a believer in coil/oil shock units the Fox Float R shock was a pleasant surprise to me as the feel was very smooth. You would only know that you are on an air shock when you are probably on the last third of your bikes travel because it gets a tad firmer as the progressive characteristic of an air shock begins to show, compared to the linear feel of a coil oil shock. But otherwise I’m happy with the Float R. I can imagine the DHX Air, the top air shock of Fox being a superb unit. The pressure for my recommended sag was 138psi, with rebound set at 2 clicks back from the fastest setting.

The Vanilla RLC continuous to be buttery smooth with multitudes of adjustment combinations. I feel it has a tad of front to rear flex. Even at my weight I was able to set the sag using the medium fork spring, part of the package includes a soft and a hard spring. All the other adjustments are centered except for rebound which I also set 2 clicks back from the fastest setting. I was also able to use the lock out during my climbs.

The frame is just great, it is still new so I expect the pivots to get more fluid as it gets broken in. The Propedal does work as bobbing was kept to an acceptable level when riding/ light spinning. Right now it has no flex and as expected it is very active which is characteristic of the four bar design. During my ride, based on the distance the rubber o-ring on the shaft of the shock was pushed, I was able to use the full four inches of travel without the feel or clunk of bottoming it (maybe thats because I pre-jump). The bike isn’t very noisy when pedaling or when running over a rocky portion, even the transmission wasn’t that noisy as the new design of the XT minimizes the rear derailleur from hitting the chainstay. The 2.1 Maxxis Hard Drive has a lot of clearance at the seatstay but seems to be just enough for the chainstays. I think one can use 2.3 tires but the chainstays and lower pivot might get packed up when you ride in muddy conditions as I’m sure the 2.3s will be quite close. I did notice that it had a lot of nooks and crannies that made cleaning her somewhat tedious, I think this is a characteristic of a four bar design and also because of the uneven welds. The Jamis on the downtube seems to be printed a bit below the downtube than on the side, maybe so when it gets photographed from the bottom coming off a jump (the application of the Parker is claimed to be for Dirt Jumping and Skate Park Jumping-thats why its moniker is “Park-er”) you can see that its a Jamis, kinda reminds me of early model GT Team DH and Team DS bikes, they would put GT logos under the down tube. I have always been partial to the single pivot design as I find it simple. My last FS frame was a Santacruz Bullit with a 5th Element shock unit.

What can I say about the new XT transmission? It is a completely revamped XT. The rear derailleur reminds me of the SRAM Xs but further put on a diet. It is now minimalist and not bulbous. The cable does not have to curve back forward anymore as it enters the rear derailleur straight into it just like SRAM. The way it attaches to the dropout is a new design and adds to the minimalist/simple design, this design minimizes the derailleur from hitting the bottom of the chainstay. The trigger shifters also have been put on a diet, gone are the large rubber triggers, they now have slimmer and a bit longer triggers. The top of the shifters are not as bulky as the old ones, in fact the orange bar indicator might be difficult for middle aged eyes to see as they to have been slimmed down also. When I work on my bike I sometimes like to turn it upside down, make it rest on the bar and the saddle, when I would do this, the old XT shifters would get scratched up. Though I haven’t tried doing this with my new XTs. The previous model was doing a great job for me already so you can imagine how these new ones performed, smooth precise shifting. I’m using a Truvativ Stylo and the XTs still shift smoothly. I did notice that the design also has a lot of nook and crannies and cuts and folds that make cleaning it also tedious. Shimano always revamps the top model first in this case the XTR and then the same technology trickles down to the lower model in this case the XT. As the saying goes-“All good things come to those who wait”.

As things are now set up and tuned to my liking I’ll be biking my heart out!