Getting technical

Hello! I recently bought a new standard 2006 Stumpjumper Hardtail — (had been looking at purchasing an Orange P7 for its all-round capabilities and dependability but was seduced by the Stumpjumper as it was considerably reduced to £799!)
Most of my riding takes place on the South Downs Way where the Stumpjumper seems at home; however, we do cycle in local woods too — which are a lot more technical and where I think I could do with some sort of adjustment/upgrade?
The bike came with the Fox Float 90mm forks that are obviously good and light for racing but I was wondering if there was any mileage in changing to a longer travel fork for what we do in the woods and I was also thinking of changing from the standard flat bars to low rise ones to suit this riding.
What are your thoughts and can you give me any suggestions and let me know of any compromises I may face in making these changes.
Thank you and keep up the good work,
Kieran Pearce

There are a couple of things you could try to make your bike more ‘woods’ friendly. Swapping the bars for some sort of riser will give you a more heads-up position, reducing the amount of weight on your front wheel. The next step would be a shorter stem, further increasing the effect.
Rather than changing your fork for a new model, it is possible to increase the travel to 100mm. As an OEM fork (original equipment), the travel reduction — to 90mm — can be done in a couple of ways, either with a simple movable spacer or a shaft travel limiter. Give the guys at Mojo a call on 01633 615815 for the details. It may be a simple task that you can do in your shed, or it may need to be sent off, but the most it will cost would be £79.99, which includes a full service. I wouldn’t put anything longer than 100mm on the Stumpy as it will upset the handling too much; slackening the head angle, raising the bottom bracket, shortening the effective top tube when riding out of the saddle and lengthening the wheelbase.

Mounting tension

I have a Gary Fisher Joshua F3 from new (bright orange from about 1998) and use this as a second bike that I would like to do up for winter riding in the mud. I have a set of wheels with disc hubs and the bike has disc mounts, but the mounts are pre ‘international standard’. A number of dealers have said they would take a look and would be able to sort this out. However, as soon as they see the rear mount, which was standard on the bike at the time of purchase, they are at a loss to provide a solution.
Can you please help as I have all the kit now other than a converter for the mounts. The wheels are V-brake or Disc. Disc is my first option though due to the deep mud affecting the rims and thus braking. My first bike is an Ep-x Terra shark 3. I believe Ep-x left the country though. Is that correct?

Your frame has an RR 22mm direct mount. An old standard developed with Hayes as an alternative way of mounting brakes that complemented the radial-mounted Post Mount. Thanks to the placement of the mount, and the room around it, you may be able to take advantage of an adapter from A2Z components. The AD-PMR adapter allows you to fit an IS caliper to your mount. (Unfortunately with the same mount on a hardtail frame there is not the room to fit the adapter and caliper). Contact Greyville enterprises on 01543 251328 for stockists, or get your LBS to call them and order you one for £15.
A neater but much more expensive option is a direct-mount caliper. Hayes offers the HFX 9 caliper in direct mount, but this would mean you had to run Hayes brakes. A pair of brakes and the extra caliper would set you back £260.
As for your number one machine, you’re right. There is no importer at present. The company is still a going concern and can be contacted direct in Oz via the website —

Fuel for thought

I have just recently bought a Trek Fuel 80. I had done quite a bit of reading up on the bike and generally the consensus from reviews and write ups on the internet where that it was a good bike but the forks (Manitou Splice Comp) where a bit weak. When I saw that Pauls Cycles had reduced the bike from £950 to £600 I thought it too good an opportunity to miss.
Having been out for a few decent rides, I can see what the reviewers were on about with regard to the forks, they are rubbish. They are far too soft (bearing in mind that I’m under 13 stone), even with the compression set just above lockout, and also they have a tendency to chatter at the top end when going over to multiple bumps (roots etc). This seems to be due to the fact that there is about 1/2in of free movement of the fork before it properly starts to compress.
My questions are, how can I stop this chattering and also is there an easy and inexpensive way of firming the forks up.
Alternatively, if the forks are a complete waste of time and effort, I would consider replacing them. I’d probably be able to spend between £200-£250 and would ideally like to increase the travel from the current 100mm to 120mm, if this is viable. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.
Many thanks
Jonathan Briggs

Being an entry-level model, there are only a few things to do to your forks to alter their ride. A new Ride Kit would offer a firmer ride and set you back £19.95. Check the Manitou website ( for the correct spring for your weight and then click through to the correct page on (suspension fork spares/ride kits) and it will wing its way to you. The chattering you mention may well be the fork ‘topping out’ as it rebounds too fast. You could swap the oil in the TPC cartridge for 10weight to slow this down, but neither of these will guarantee a fork your happy with. They are reasonably cheap solutions, so may be worth trying before blowing a load of cash on new parts. If they do not solve your dilemmas or you don’t want to waste your tight budget, RockShox and Marzocchi both make forks within your budget. I would steer clear of anything longer than 100mm as this will upset the balance with 80mm of travel out back.

Sand-blasted pads

After years of riding a Rockhopper hardtail, I decided to take the plunge into full-suspension and purchased a new 2007 Stumpjumper FSR comp in August.
Great bike, however I have reservations over the longevity of the disc pads. The bike came with Juicy 5s which I was very pleased with due the excellent reviews they have received. I have covered only 100-150 miles, the vast majority of which has been XC in dry conditions. Last weekend I spent 90 minutes on the North Downs in very wet conditions, lots of grit and sand. The brakes sounded awful and for good reason. Upon inspection, the disc pads were completely worn away.
My LBS has been very helpful and checked the system and replaced the pads free of charge. They are also ordering some sintered pads. Should the standard (organic?) pads wear out this quickly after essentially one wet ride?
Derek Sims

Organic pads need a little preparation before your first ride to get the most out of them. Ten or so ‘stoppies’ (ride along a quiet, safe road or trail and pull the front brake hard). Then again with the rear brake this hardens the surface of the pads, prolonging their life. With the dry riding you’ve done previously this is likely to have taken place on the trail anyway, but it may have affected the lifespan. We have known disc pads wear out in a day in particularly nasty gritty mud, but in their defence at least they still stopped you.
Similar conditions would trash V-brake pads in less than 20 minutes! Avid pads are known for their longevity, and this is probably why you got a warranty replacement. Unfortunately, they will not last forever and you can generally expect to go through up to four sets a year depending on how much riding you do. They are a spare you should carry with you in your trail pack to prevent any scary ends to rides.
You should get a lot more life from your sintered pads, as they are a harder material. They will run hotter than an organic pad, and if you go travelling anywhere with big mountains it may be worth bearing this in mind, as this heat can be transferred to the fluid, reducing performance, especially if you drag your brakes rather than pulling them hard and letting them go. Repeating this pulse braking is much better for pad life than a constant drag — even in this country — so look out for that in your riding too. It all helps.

Slack handling

I currently ride an 18in, 2005 model Orange 5. I bought the frame second-hand and then built the bike myself, fitting it with a set of 2005 Marzocchi All Mountain 3 forks and the stem from my previous bike, which was an Orange P7 (the stem is 120mm long and has 10-degree rise).
The problem is that the steering feels really slack. I rode up in Glentress last weekend and had to try really hard just to stay on the trails. I had a go on my friend’s SantaCruz Blur which has Fox Float RLC forks and a shorter/less rise stem, and the steering felt much more direct (we both run Panaracer Fire XC tyres and they were all set to the same pressures, so I don’t think that was the problem). I was wondering if you could recommend a way to make the steering feel sharper.
Thanks for your help
Graeme Hurst

Firstly, your Orange is every different beast to your mate’s Blur. The Santa Cruz is a much steeper bike. The head angle and seat angle are steeper, and more of the rider’s weight is on the front wheel, even with the short stem he has fitted.
Your problem of the “steering feeling slack” could be one of two things. The slacker head angle itself, or the result of the longer stem. We have an Orange Five in the office, and it has a 70mm stem. Granted, you may not like it that short but reducing your stem length to something like 80-90mm would have a massive effect, reducing the stretch of the bike, and placing less of your body weight over the front axle.
Your long stem will make the front end feel as if it flops from one side to another. You will be doing more manoeuvering with the bars rather than shifting your body weight at the hips, and leaning the bike over as you would with a shorter stem and more rearward weight bias. You should feel as if you are sat ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ the bike. It will probably feel odd at first, but give it some time.
Fundamentally, your bike will never feel the same as your friend’s Blur. You could make it feel steeper by running more air in the rear shock and a little less in the forks to shift the weight bias forward. I’d try the stem length first, then the shock pressure. Possibly even moving your seat forward or back on the rails, to see what effect the weight shift has. Give each a fair try before moving on and only try one thing at a time so you can isolate the benefits or drawbacks.
We love the handling of the Five and, with the right length stem, have faith that you will too. If not then make sure any replacement has a steeper head angle, and check out the geometry of any bike you do like riding. You’ll be amazed how much difference changing a few parts, even by a few millimeters can alter the feel of any bike.