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New winter project: Lipstick on a Pig

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by Sandwich, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    Recently I've found that I don't get out pure downhilling as much as I used to. I still love it, but between a long drive, gas prices, and a kid possibly coming soon, the concept of owning a full-on, modern DH bike has become less important to me than having money in the bank (or a hooked up trail bike). As a result, I made the decision to sell my last bike...but like any good bikewhore, I can't leave well enough alone.

    I think it's pretty easy to spend a lot of money and get a really good bike...but just how little can you spend and still manage to have something rideable? Or even competitive? I present to you my winter project: Lipstick on a pig.





    It's an ADR Kaos, and I picked it up for $300. There's nearly no information out there on the frame, but while it looks really similar to an Azonic copy, it's actually got a lot of features that set it apart. First is the 1.5in headtube, and second is a floating brake linkage. It's got a butt-terrble 100mm bottom bracket, and weighs the better part of a house, but it's solid, has ISCG tabs, and a relatively common shock size, so I should be OK. I figure I can plunk around the woods on it just the way it is...

    OR, I can mod the heck out of it and see if I can turn it into something better.

    First things first, which I'm currently on the hunt for, is the fork. Check out the upper right stanchion. Boo.



    I'm working on a cure that will keep the monster going. It's much heavier than any of the big 3 on the market, but it doesn't feel as heavy as some other forks I've owned, and while the damping isn't modern or highly adjustable, it's damned robust, which is exactly what you want from a $300 bike. I'd also like to get a flat crown, so I can slam the bars as low as possible.

    Aside from some simple housekeeping, the next step is to hopefully work on slacking it out. The geometry isn't terrible, but it's not good either. I measure 16.7in chainstays, a 14.5" BB height, and a 68.5* HA. I'm hoping that HA is wrong as I never bothered to measure my Sunday, but I've got a long ways to go if I'm going to get to a target of 64 (or so). I'm thinking of short shocking it, adding an angled reducer, and possibly a longer travel fork to get the head angle more respectable, and the bottom bracket right around 14" or less. I'd love to go lower, but I spent $300 on this.

    My goals for the project are to modernize as much as possible (weight, angles, suspension), and keep as tight a budget as possible, allowing for minimal spending outside of selling off old items. Hopefully I can raid parts bins and trade old parts out to keep it cheap.
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  2. OBB Member

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    Yeah, excited to follow this. Cool project.
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  3. 4130biker Active Member

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    I can dig it. Its great to have more fun than you "should" be having on something that most people wouldn't give a second glance.
    Hopefully the TT is long enough to short shock? Every bike I've done it to winds up feeling a bit cramped.
    Definitely interested to see what you come up with!
    Ps are the monsters the HSSV damper?
    I remember the hissing noise those made on my super t made me feel all fast :D
    #3
  4. 92SE-R Member

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    short shock, offset bushings, angleset.
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  5. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    The TT is probably going to be an issue. I'm hoping that adding very wide bars (800mm) and perhaps a 60mm stem will make it suck less. It feels a little cramped now, but it's also running a 6" higher cockpit height than I was on the Sunday and a couple higher than the Zumbi after that.

    The Monsters are indeed the hscv or whatever damper, I believe. I don't know the date, but the black crowns and lowers put them post 2000 and the lack of a bleed screw makes them pre-02, which I think makes them the best year (damper wise). It has that classic marzocchi "sex' noise as you squidge up and down on it.
    #5
  6. Jim Mac Active Member

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    Not a bad project for 300 bones! I have some spare parts here & there if you want them - 50 mm truvativ stem, diablus bars, most of an E-13 chain guide (missing roller).
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  7. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    is the stem 31.8? That's what I need. I figure the current setup can go towards building a jumper bike, or towards somebody else's $200 project. What's the guide? I'll do an update sometime this weekend showing what I've already done, but I'm not opposed to ditching the box guide entirely in favor of something that works.
    #7
  8. Jim Mac Active Member

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    Lemme check this weekend as well...may have moved barz/stem onto wife's klunker/Cranx park bike.
    #8
  9. CBJ Well-Known Member

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    I can see its a fun project but still with the money used and regular maintenance items maybe renting would still be better depending on how much you ride. My experience with old bikes is they are like old cars or houses. There is always something breaking down you have to fix and they will never works as well as something new.
    #9
  10. demonprec Member

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    i loved my Monster T back in the day hell i,d ride one today if i found a good one that wasn,t all beat to crap
    #10
  11. jackalope Mental acuity - 1%

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    Love it! Definitely concur with 92SE-R about the offset bushings, as they're cheap and easy to install. Since it has a 1.5 HT, and angleset also makes sense, but I don't know if there are any relatively inexpensive ones out there. If you're looking to replace the fork (and save a lot of weight if nothing else), maybe try a 32 mm Boxxer (especially if you can find one with an aftermarket cart in it - I have one with a PUSH cart, and it goes up and down quite nicely) or a 2010 888 EVO. The 2010 888s shouldn't be too pricey, and they work great assuming you get the spring weight sorted out. I also wonder if you swap out the coil shock for a RP3 or DHX air? If it's not too progressive at the end of the stoke, it should work OK.

    Maybe some lighter pedals too. And if all else fails, go with the tried and true Speed Holez
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
    #11
  12. bizutch Delicate CUSTOM flower

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    I see 24" Gazaloddi's in this bikes future. Be sure to further anchor to ground with Azonic steel cranks, 2002 Magura Gustav's with floating rotors, front THE thru crown fender, GoreTex cables, Azonic Love Seat, Kore seatpost, anodized Kooka 40 tooth chainring and DaBomb handlebars.
    #12
  13. Nick My name is Nick

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    I'll bet you can face the BB shell down to 73mm so you can use current cranks.
    There HAS to be a stanchion for your Monster floating around out there, or repair with clear epoxy and wet sand it to be round again. Angleset and offset shock reducers can help dial the HA and BB height. How much travel does the frame/shock give you in stock form?
    #13
  14. SkullCrack Member

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    I've got one brand new in the box I'm selling for $80. I'd drop that price a bit since I think this is a cool project.
    #14
  15. dump Active Member

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    Fwiw, Works Components makes an excellent set and forget angle headset. I have two of them ... great stuff.
    #15
  16. xy9ine Active Member

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    cool project! i love ghetto builds; more interesting than most paint by numbers no budget builds, imo. requires cunning & ingenuity! any room to move the rear shock mount further back on the link (ie, drill & through-bolt)?
    #16
  17. Huck Banzai Active Member

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    Well cared for and maintaned things can be used forever; fooey on the disposable nonsense.

    No reason it wont perform reliably, especially given who's building it. Geometry shmeometry! :P
    #17
  18. tartosuc Member

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    Before going with a shorter shock, try the angleset and offset shock bushings.

    68.5 deg. - 2 with a works component angle set -1 deg with ofset bushings bring you to 65.5 wich not bad at all for someone that ride less dh than before..all that for les than 150$

    Also those links looks a lot like the old azonic links that had multiple mounting holes...you could get the link to a machinist and have him drill new mounting holes to help you get another degree or two.(would lower bb and change travel at the same time)
    #18
  19. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    That's one way to look at it, but another is that MTB is a hobby for me, and it'll give me something to look forward to over the winter. @ $300, I'd have to rent 3 times in order to get my money back, and while sometimes you get a dialed rental, other times they're dreadful.

    Where can you get cheap offset bushings? I have a plan for the angleset which I'll post soon. I don't think I'd have considered it if it weren't for the big head toob.

    I have my eye out for cheap forks. The problem is that they tend to bottom out at more than the value of my entire bike. Finding an older boxxer for less than $200 is impossible. Even finding a 888 from 2004 for less than $250 isn't easy. I have found several 888 CRs brand new for like $500, which makes a $350 fork from 2008 seem stupid.

    I thought briefly about facing the BB down to 83mm, but #1 is getting the bike to work right, before I consider upgrading. I have my eye out for old monster parts. I don't care if it's scratched up and ugly, as long as it doesn't wheeze out oil over every bump.

    I believe the frame has 9" of travel. It has a 8.75inx2.75in shock. My intention is to get a 8.5x2.5 shock to lower travel to 8.2 and drop the rear wheel 3/4in. I have toyed with the idea of going even lower, but I'm not sure that's realistic.
    #19
  20. mtg Member

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    Search "Proshox" on eBay.
    #20
  21. tartosuc Member

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  22. samnation New Member

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    Better than most hardware that comes on bikes. Stainless steel. Handled a whole season in whistler in the same DU bushings. Going in the next shock too.
    #22
  23. Cant Climb Active Member

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    You can sell that Monster T on ebay.
    Older Marzocchi stuff still fetches decent money.....
    #23
  24. Steve M Active Member

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    If you wanted to get those bars lower for super cheap (ie $0), you could run the stem under the top crown... pretty sure Patineto did that aaaaaaaaaaages ago on one of his wonderful contraptions! Looks whack as hell but there's no actual mechanical reason not to do it.
    #24
  25. marshalolson Active Member

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    be super careful with those el camino brakes...
    #25
  26. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    I've thought about that. If I can get at least $100 for that and $100 for the 888 that the kid gave me as well, I'd be inclined to pony up the extra $300 for a CR.

    I've thought about that, and would consider doing it if I find a low stack height stem. The atomic is 26.8 or whatever, so I need to get a different one to fit wider bars. The drop crown will probably work, but it depends a lot on those effin' cracks in the stanchion, as my current repair literally covers all the exposed space.

    Can I ask why? They feel like shirt but I haven't really done anything besides pedal it around the lot.
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  27. marshalolson Active Member

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    they are super un-reliable brakes... constantly fade, bleed kit and parts are difficult to source, specific pads that are also difficult to source, they do not hold a bleed, etc.

    do you still have those MAG HDs? much better bet.
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  28. norbar Active Member

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    Darek is a great guy and his bushings are quality. Recomend that one.

    btw. If we are thinking of going oldschool is there a chance of a drill mod ala Old DHR or Old Norco?
    #28
  29. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    No, the mags went with my last bike, but I would probably have rather kept them.

    Sure. From memory, the link looks like it's just two plates of aluminum. Drilling a lower or higher hole is an option. So is flipping it, getting new ones, or doing other crazy stuff. I don't want to turn it into swiss cheese, but if anybody wants to help decide where to drill and tap new holes, I'll do it.
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  30. marshalolson Active Member

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    gotcha.

    while the MAG's were likely worth playing with, i would strongly suggest against spending any money outside tossing a bleed on the el caminos and seeing if they will work better.
    #30
  31. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    Sounds fair. I'll explore my options if need be. With SLX @ $90 a side, and BB7s @ $130 a set, I think I'll have a solution if they don't work out. I can always throw the caminos on my jumper, or sell them off for a trail biker. I appreciate the heads up.
    #31
  32. -BB- I broke all the rules, but somehow still became mo

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    I'm confused... Won't adding a flat crown bring the stantions UP (and bars lower) and do the opposite of what you stated lower about getting a longer travel fork to rake out the HT?

    Seems like you have to choose one or the other. Either bring the bars (well HT more precisely) up to slacken it, or keep the bars lower and deal with the HT angle (aside from what the angleset will do).
    #32
  33. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    Well, the priority is to get the bars lower, because riding with 2" riser bars and 2" of spacers is like riding a clown bike. Getting a flat crown will allow me to maintain appropriate distance between the clamps and get rid of any spacers below the crown, getting my bars to a normal height. The stanchions don't have to move. In fact, I have no room to move them up or down right now. The fork sits at about 170mm of exposed stanchion, and there's an upper limit line where the diameter of the stanchions changes. That won't move no matter what. A flat crown will only bring the top crown down, as I can eliminate a spacer beneath the crown and above the headset.

    Adding an inch of travel in the front will, from that point, raise the front end by about an inch, which will slacken it a bit, but it'll also raise my handlebar height, yeah. The trick is that the ideal is getting a compact cockpit, and not getting the lowest cockpit possible. If you look at that photo, I have about 4 extra inches of height over where the bar should be with a flat crowned boxxer or something similar.
    #33
  34. Udi Active Member

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    Are the stanchions tapered or only able to be clamped at certain points? I'd be inspecting the stanchion (comparing ID/OD at designated clamping vs. other areas if need be) to see if you can clamp it further up. It'd be nice if you could drop it in the crowns to slacken it out, assuming you can get the BB where you want it in other ways.

    I think some 800s would be a good bet, but decide on how you are going to get the other numbers right first (HA and BB) - some combination of extended/taller fork, angled cups, shorter shock, offset bushings - that way you can get an appropriate bar rise to raise or lower your hands if needed.
    #34
  35. kidwoo Celebrating No-Pants Day

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    You should be able to at least get 2 degrees out of an offset headset (probably more since I got that much out of a 44mm headtube on my trail bike).

    And yeah, short shock that beyotch. A low 7x7 beats a tall 8x8 any day of the week.

    That's the same catalog frame that KHS used to sell BTW. Flexy, heavy, kinda ****ty but they go downhill. You could certainly do worse.
    #35
  36. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    For $300, that's what I'm banking on!
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  37. Polandspring88 Superman

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    Oh how I loved my old Monster T. If you can snag the upper crown from an 03+ you can go with a direct mount stem if that is preferred. And don't worry too much about the scratch resulting in oozing oil, they have like a gallon inside :D
    #37
  38. demonprec Member

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    i,d be interested in the Monster
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  39. htrdoug New Member

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    Don't spend money on a shock,first I'd just back off preload another 1/4",that would be the same as a 1/4" shorter shock,wouldn't it?
    Can't imagine it would negatively affect quality of ride on anything but jumps,and I wouldn't be doing any big jumps on that old a bike anyway...if necessary tear down shock and add 1/4" internal spacer.
    As far as where to redrill the link i'd remove the rear shock spring and bottom out the shock and see how much clearance you have between the back tire and any point of contact. Then remove the lower shock bolt and see just how much you can go before the tire hits,don't forget to compensate for the bottoming bumper but you should see where to drill to get the maximum drop out of the redrill,allow for flex as everything gives just a bit when you bottom out.I might go for a inch of clearance without compressing the bottom out bumper(difficult to squish it with the lower bolt out,measure how much wheel travel it gives before you pull the lower bolt out)

    Cool project,I live too far from lifts and have too many other hobbies to drop even 2k on a bike to use 4-5 times a year,and all-mountain bikes just don't really get it for playing occasional downhill,I'd consider 1k to be OK sometime in the near future but would really like a 600bucker if I decide I need to return to downhill riding(zero jumping,54 years old and beat body!) Had a couple of Stinky's years ago and really liked them,wouldn't mind another but don't want something a 14 year old kid has hammered.
    #39
  40. Sandwich just shake your rump

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    um, well preload is already pretty close to zero, as I don't like running any more preload than enough to keep the spring spinning, if possible...and if you backed it off a quarter inch, yes you'd have a shorter shock, but you'd also have a loose spring, top out issues, and, well, it's just a terrible idea. For geometry uses, yeah, I can do that to test it out, and maybe ride around the yard, but I wouldn't ever want to ride with a loose spring.
    #40