A while back we posted a short guide of sorts for people looking for pieces and parts to build/upgrade their one bike solutions. We’ve updated the list so check it out if you’re in the market for some new parts.
**** NOTE: Photos Not To Scale
Brakes on a Do It All bike don’t need to be as powerful as those on a full downhill bike. Since you might not be riding as steep or as fast, a downhill brake will be might be too powerful and not modulate as well as needed for trail and general park riding. Shimano’s XT and Avid Elixir brakes offer a good balance of power and control with a nice light weight. If you are looking for more power we’d suggest going with Formula’s ONE brake as it is very lightweight and offers more power with nice modulation.
(left to right) Avid Elixir | Shimano XT | Formula ONE
Brake Rotors (size)
For a Do It All bike you may not need as large of rotors as you would for a DH bike but you probably want them larger or equal to a trail bike. If you plan on riding more downhill and park type terrain we’d suggest getting larger rotors like a 8″ front and 7″ rear. They help dissipate heat better, give more control, and more power. If you plan on doing more trail riding a 180mm front with 160mm rear will be fine. Another thing to consider is pad choice. Stock pads often are organic (or similar). Try to find a sintered(metallic) pad for better braking! Additionally, steel backed pads also help dissipate heat well and a lot of brakes come stock with aluminum backed pads.
When it comes to single chainring chainguides you need to decide on what type of protection you’re after. If you want a full bashguard e.thirteen’s SRS+ and SS+ are great choices. They both offer the same Turbocharger bashguard and similar guides and wearplates. The SS+ works really well if you’re on a budget because the stamped backplate is less expensive with not much weight penalty. Another good full bashguard chainguide choice is Straitline’s Silent Guide. It uses an aluminum bashguard and fixed sliders for easy installation. If you’re looking for specific protection from lower impacts MRP has their G2 SL and Mini G2 SL guides that feature a “taco” style bashguard. e.thirteen has the LG1+ and LS1+ as their taco style guides.
If you’re going to run a double chainring setup on your Do It All bike there are several similar options to checkout. All of these feature a full bashring and lower pulley guide. There are some subtle differences though. The Heim2 is the lightest guide of these choices. The DRS offers a backplate design for bikes with E-type front derailleur mounts. The MRP Long Range Patrol is available in an ISCG old mount (the others are only ISCG ’05 or BB mount) and is specifically designed to not allow the chain to fall behind the guide onto the bottom bracket shell. The Blackspire stinger is simple and loved by many. Its worth checking out as well in this setup.
Double chainring guides
MRP Long Range Patrol with Party Crasher
Blackspire stinger with bashguard of your choice
(left to right) e.thirteen DRS | e.thirteen Heim2 | MRP Long Range Patrol with Party Crash bashguard
For a Do It All bike you want a crankset that is designed to be strong yet comes in at a nice light weight. All of these cranksets rank as some of the strongest in the market with some of the lightest weights. They all come in most sizes a rider would need like 68/73mm and 83mm BB’s as well as 165mm – 175mm arm lengths. What sets them apart is their installation, chainring setups, and colors. One factor that will easily determine your options is if you’re running a single chainring or a double setup. The Descendant and e.13’s DH crankset are single chainring only. The Raceface Atlas cranks offer a wide variety of colors which can help you get a different look than black and offer ample stiffness. Check out some of our previous articles on these cranks for a more details.
(left to right) Truvativ Descendant | e.thirteen DH | Shimano Saint
For a Do It All bike you’ll want to think about gearing that will allow you climb effectively while still having some top end. A good selection for a single chainring is something between a 30t and 36t while a good double chainring setup would be 24t/36t. Race Face and e.13 both offer a lot of color options. MRP and e.13 also offers tooth counts in even as well as odd sizes. Shimano has come a ways in their chainrings as well and they’re a good option in our opinion if you need chainrings for a double chainring setup.
Race Face single ring
Stock crankset chainring(s)
(left to right) e.thirteen guidering | Race Face single ring
Cassette choice is similar to chainring choice, as you want to make sure you have a wide range of gears for the multiple types of terrain you’ll encounter. Both SRAM and Shimano offer wide cassette ranges in both 9 and 10-speed clusters.
Shimano XT or SLX 11-34/36
SRAM PG-1070 12-36 or 11-32
Chains are usually a simple choice but Shimano has been putting in some impressive technology into their 10speed chains that is worth considering if you’re running their 10-speed drivetrain. Most chains from Shimano and SRAM work well but with the new 10-speed drivetrains entering the market there have been some new technology developments. Shimano’s new 10-speed chains are designed specifically for better shifting with their 10-speed drivetrain due to task specific link plates. SRAM also has a 10-speed specific chain with lightened chamfered plates for better shifting. KMC’s X9/X10 chain has been a favorite of ours for some time now due to it’s light weight and durability.
For a Do It All bike a single crown fork is usually the best option for front suspension. Technology in these types of forks has really improved over recent years allowing riders to ride more aggressive terrain and pushing these forks much harder. The damping has improved as well as the stiffness while keeping weight from creeping up. Items to consider when choosing a fork is travel, damping features, weight, axle diameter, and coil or air sprung. Another thing to consider is if you are planning on installing a Cane Creek AngleSet, K9, or similar headangle altering setup you will need a 1 1/8 steerer tube. We hear there are a few people working on making this work with a tapered steerer but currently you need a 1 1/8″ steerer tube.
FOX’s 36 is a very popular fork due to it’s solid lineup and complete options. They offer options for air(Float), coil (Vanilla), and travel adjust through their TALAS model. For more aggressive riders the 180mm travel version is very appealing while those that do more trail riding should look at the 160mm travel version or their adjustable travel length TALAS model. For 2011 FOX has added slick Kashima coating to the stanchions of their forks as well as their revised FIT damper. FOX’s axle design is one of the simplest and easy to use.
Rock Shox’s Lyrik turned a lot of heads in 2010 with their new DH damping model. It offered improved suspension performance for those that like to ride their bikes in the park and over rough terrain. The Lyrik is also available in their standard damping which is more suited for trail riding. Air and coil sprung models are available as well as 160mm, 170mm, and adjustable travel options.
Marzocchi’s popularity may have waned a bit over the past few years but they’re still offering some nice single crown forks in their 66 series. The RC3 EVO design for 2011 offers interchangeable compression shims so the rider can tune the fork to their liking if they have the knowledge. Like FOX with their Kashima coating, Marzocchi is offering a Ti model with nickel plated stanchions claiming better performance and wear.
(left to right) FOX 36 180MM Float | Rock Shox Lyrik DH 170mm | Marzocchi 66 RC3 EVO Ti
If you currently own a single crown fork and don’t have the money to upgrade to a new fork there are a few options available to update your fork to some nicer damping. Elka offers a drop in fork cartridge for 160mm FOX forks that offers some really nice features at an attractive price. Check out the full article on this cartridge below. Avalanche also offers a new self installed (or you can send it in) speed sensitive damper that can be put in many single crown forks including the Lyrik 160mm, Totem, Domain, and Marzocchi 66. The Avalanche cartridge is available in 4 different stock tunes depending on your riding style. It has adjustable compression and rebound as well as some other options. Check Avalanche’s website for full details. Push Industries also offers a variety of custom services to help you get the most out of your suspension. Be sure to check out them as well as they do very nice work over there.
Choosing a Do It All bike frame may be the hardest decision of all. Below we’ve selected some of the top contenders that you should take a look at. There are differences between all these frames but there are common features that make them great options for Do It All bikes.
Front derailleur – All of these bikes have the ability to run a front derailleur. For many riders this is the biggest hurdle to get over when finding a bike they can ride trails on one day and a bike park on another.
ISCG tabs – ISCG tabs are important but not necessary. If you want to run SRAM’s HammerSchmidt setup you’ll have to have ISCG tabs. Many chainguides have BB mount backplate options if your bike doesn’t have ISCG tabs but this mounting method isn’t as secure. If you want to run a “taco” style chainguide ISCG tabs are almost a must if you don’t want your guide to rotate on impacts.
Frame material – Only Santa Cruz’s Nomad Carbon and Ibis’ HD are made out of carbon in this list. The rest are made out of aluminum. Carbon is definitely a material that is here to stay. More and more companies are exploring this material and are able to create strong and durable frames. While Carbon does have a bit of a weight advantage over some aluminum frames, what most riders will notice is the on trail feel, as carbon tends to feel a bit smoother. An issue to consider with carbon is that if you choose to sell your frame down the road it may be a bit troublesome due to people’s fears of used carbon.
Travel – For most people a Do It All bike should have 5 inches or more of travel. Several models also offer adjustable travel lengths to allow the bike to adapt to riding conditions.
Headtube – With the advent of the adjustable angle headset bikes with 1.5″ and 44mm headtubes are more desirable due to their adjustability. You can now tweak the headangle of your bike to your liking, making your bike more flexible for how you ride.
Cable routing – Another often overlooked item is cable routing. Many bikes come with standard routing for derailleurs and brakes but with more riders using adjustable seatposts another cable comes into the mix. Some bikes have routing built in and some don’t. It’s an easy feature to over look, but is worth noting if you think you might want to run an adjustable seatpost now or in the future.
Front derailleur choice should be easy. Get the level of derailleur you can afford that matches your drivetrain and move on to tougher choices. Shimano options have always been a favorite front derailleur even with SRAM shifters. SRAM continues to make improvements with their derailleurs and they’re worth checking into as well.
Grips are a personal choice. There are many different designs out there these days. We suggest getting lock-on style grips though. Traditional slip-on’s aren’t as robust.
Lock-on of choice (ODI, Raceface, Ouri, Sunline, Shimano Pro)
(clockwise from top left) ODI Crosstrainer | Sunline Twisted Waffle | Race Face Sniper | ODI Troy Lee Designs
For a Do It All handlebar we suggest getting something a bit wider than XC bars but not as wide as a DH handlebar. Something around 710mm (28″) should be right for most riders offering them better control but not too wide for technical riding. The options below come in a myriad of colors and various rises and heights.
(top to bottom) Easton Haven | Chromag Fubar OS | Chromag Fubar Acute
With all of the different combinations of fork steerer tubes and frame headtube sizes, finding the correct headset can be a bit complicated. Fortunately Cane Creek has went to the time and trouble of creating a easy to use Headset Fit Finder. Simply plug in the info about your fork steerer tube and headtube and they can show you what options are available. Cane Creek sells their headsets in separate bottom and top cups so you can create a custom headset for your needs. They also make the very easy to use adjustable angle headset called the AngleSet which allows for +/- 0.5 to +/- 1.5 degrees of adjustment.
(left to right) Cane Creek 110 | Cane Creek AngleSet
Cable housing is something we haven’t strayed around too much with. We choose to run Shimano’s SIS because it’s lightweight and has always worked well.
Flats or Clips? It’s up to you. We don’t have much of a personal preference, as we can ride both. If you know you’re going to be doing a lot of pedaling a nice set of clips comes in handy and allows you to pick the bike up over obstacles easier. We’d suggest looking at clipless pedals with good body around them if you know you’re going to be riding around rough terrain. It protects the pedal as well as gives your foot more area to ride on for a more stable platform. Time’s ATAC pedals are also a favorite because they do so well in muddy conditions and offer a nice amount of float but don’t discount the new Shimano XTR pedals either as they have a lot to offer as well.
For flat pedals we try to look for designs that are thin and lightweight with good pin design. The Wah Wah and Decoy pedals are relatively inexpensive options that work well. Point One’s Podium wins in our book for lightweight and thin, but it comes at a price. Straitline’s and Prerunners offer more bling options but also have ample traction. The Prerunners don’t have quite as robust of a design in our experience, so if you’re going to be hitting rocks a lot it’s something to consider. If you are going to run flats we suggest getting a set of Five Ten shoes because they make any set of flat pedals perform much much better.
(clockwise from top left) Kona Wah Wah | Deity Decoy | Twenty6 Prerunner | Straitline
XT clips/XTR/ or (ones with plastic surrounds)
(clockwise from the top) Shimano XTR Trail | Shimano M647 | Time ATAC XS
For the rear derailleur we suggest going with the drivetrain system you prefer. Some riders like the feel of a certain brand over the other. One of the highlight factors to pick out if you’re having trouble deciding, is how low profile Shimano’s Shadow derailleurs are. They stick out much less than SRAM derailleurs, keeping them out of harms way a little bit better in our experience. Both companies have come a long way since just one year ago, so if you’re had that “Shimano sucks” or “SRAM sucks” mentality from some old design, you owe it to yourself to try the new stuff before carrying on those thoughts.
(left to right) Shimano XT | SRAM X9
Saddles are another highly personal purchase that only you can determine. The selections below are very popular and seem to work well for many riders. They offer good cushioning support as well as thought out designs for both climbing and pedaling seating positions.
For seatposts if you’re looking for the best the 2 options below are what to go after. Thomson’s seatposts are beautifully made, lightweight, and strong. They are a set and forget design that works flawlessly. If you’re in the market for an adjustable seatpost SRAM’s Reverb is one of the best on the market that we’ve tried thus far. It works well and has great adjustability.
Seat post collars are pretty simple. Most of the choice comes to looks, but some QR’s can be loose. If you want a standard collar Hope’s is one of the lightest and comes in many colors. The rest of the collars are QR which is nice to be able to adjust the height of your seat depending on the trail. The brass fitting Chromag uses on their QR clamps helps make things work smoothly every day.
Hope standard or QR
(clockwise from top left) DKG standard and QR | Chromag QR | Hope QR | Hope standard
As we discussed in the derailleur section, this comes down to personal choice. Shimano’s SLX and XT shifters work well and tuck away nicely. SRAM’s shifters work well also and can be mounted to integrate with their brake levers using their MatchMaker system for a clean cockpit.
(clockwise from top left) Shimano SLX | Shimano XT | SRAM X.9 | SRAM X.7
For shocks we suggest getting a coil shock if you plan on doing mostly gravity oriented riding. Air shocks have came a long way and work great for some riders but we’d suggest going with a coil. Coil shocks have better small bump performance and damping under rough conditions. For those that like to tune their shocks and want the most adjustability a Cane Creek Double Barrel is worth considering. With High/Low speed compression and High/Low speed rebound it can be tuned for just about any bike and terrain but does require some user effort to dial in. FOX’s RC4 has adjustable high and low speed compression with low speed rebound adjust and bottom out control. Rock Shox’s Vivid has adjustable low speed compression, low speed rebound, and high speed rebound. It also has different bottom out bumpers that you can swap to give more control. PUSH industries also offers a variety of tuning options that are worth considering as well. It could be cheaper than buying a new shock, and you get it custom tuned for you and your ride.
FOX RC4 / RP23 (air)
Cane Creek Double Barrel
Rock Shox Vivid / Monarch plus (air)
PUSH your current or old shock.
(left to right) Rock Shox Vivid | Cane Creek Double Barrel | FOX RC4
Stem length is rider dependent but for a Do It All Bike you want to keep the stem on the shorter side. 50mm-70mm is all the length you’d want for the best control. The options below are all skillfully crafted to be strong as well as lightweight.
(clockwise from top left) Thomson X4 | Point One Racing Split Second 70 | Race Face Turbine 70 | Easton Haven 70
For a Do It All Bike you don’t need a heavy duty tube that you would find on a downhill bike. A medium duty tube is all that should be required. Another great option is going tubeless. It’s proven technology that offers light weight and should provide less flats.
Stan’s No Tubes Tubeless
Tires for a Do It All bike should more often than not be around 2.35 width. These widths offer good protection and traction. Dual ply tires aren’t needed 100% of the time, but if you’re riding rough terrain it’s a good idea to avoid flats from rocks and other trail obstacles. Schwalbe’s Fat Albert and Muddy Mary are highly versatile tires that work well in diverse conditions. Schwalbe’s tires tend to run a bit large. Their 2.5 is close to the same size as a Maxxis 2.7. The Gooey Gluey compound works well at offering great traction and decent tread wear but their new VertStar compounds claim to be the best of both worlds. There isn’t much to say about the Maxxis DHF and High Roller that hasn’t been said a million times. They’re legendary tires with great versatile tread designs. They both roll well (Highroller tends to roll faster) and hook up in just about every condition except sloppy mud. We’d suggest their 42a compound for good grip and decent tread life. You could also consider running their 42a compound front and a 60a in the back. Continental tires on this list may seem a bit odd but their Black Chili compound has impressed us. It offers some of the best traction we’ve found with really good life. The 3 Continental models below all make for good all around tires that should work well for many riders.
Schwalbe Fat Albert/Muddy Mary – Gooey Gluey
Maxxis DHF, High Roller – 42a
Continental Mountain King II, Rubber Queen, Baron 2.3
(clockwise from top left) Schwalbe Fat Albert (front and rear version) | Schwalbe Muddy Mary | Maxxis DHF | Continental Rubber Queen, Mountain King II, Baron
For a Do It All bike you want to find a wheelset that best embodies the ideas of lightweight with strength. They also need to have the inner rim width you’re looking for. Inner rim width should be around 19mm-25mm for best tire profile. Thinner you lose girth, wider you add weight and broaden the tire profile. The suggestions below have all been found to offer pretty good strength and not weigh a lot. Over the years we’ve ridden all of these wheels aggressively and found them to be able to handle Do It All type riding terrain very well. If you’re riding more gravity type riding expect to see some dings in your rims from time to from rocks but the wheels should hold up fine. The biggest difference with these wheelsets is the engagement. Industry Nine’s have 120 points of engagement, CrossMax SX 48 points, XT 36 points, and EX1750 18 points (upgraded to 36 with new Star Ratchet). There’s also the option to go custom as well. Hope, Hadley, Mavic, DT Swiss, etc all have enough options for you to have a field day with when specing a custom wheelset.