Crank Bros Joplin

There is a song…

I drop down, then get up again

you’re never going to keep me down

I drop down, then get up again

I’m never gonna clear that jump…

Even with a quick release lifting and dropping your saddle takes too much time and that is why you do not really bother. Some of us ride with the saddle too low and develop the attractive hunchback look for most of the next day and others find ourselves in the dark on tip-toe trying to find a ledge of air as we roll to a stop on top of a wet log.

A seat dropper will not turn you into a guardsman or provide temporary levitation but it gives you more room. You do not need to compromise and that gives you body space on the jumps and forces you to move over the bike before the obstacle, over the obstacle, after the obstacle and it makes it easy to remount when you pick yourself up from the mud.

It does add a little weight so for the roadie bodies you will be compromising the gains of the carbon brake levers but for most of us – well.

The main drawback, apart from the high cost, has been the reliability and this still looms above any potential purchase. But several of us are using different models and complaints of failure are rarer. You may need to clean it a bit and you will need to carry out a bit of maintenance but does it help.

Sure it does, because you no longer fire yourself into the undergrowth when you ‘thump your rump’.

We all make the old mistake of not getting back behind the saddle on the steeper drops, just one little hump and thump. Bent arms, folded over the bars, fight for control and pretend you had plenty in reserve; if you manage to stay upright that is.

So long term use for this Crank Bros-Maverick remake has been trouble free. I have kept it clean and I check the knurled clamp to ensure it does not loosen but it keeps working. Up and down.

I do not have the remote lever on the handlebars which may help a racer or allow a quicker drop in an emergency but the below saddle lever seems an easy reach.

I have used some carbon paste on the seatpost as it helps the fit and reduce the clamp strength and because you move the seatpost less frequently than a standard post.

Is it for everyone? – probably not, but for the less confident it makes jumps and obstacles a little easier and when lifted it helps by about a gear on a hill rather than leaving the seatpost dropped.

So consider investing a little money, (£100 cost for this), and gain a little space on the hard bits as winter has arrived again.

I drop down, then get up again

you’re never going to keep me down

I drop down, then get up again

I’m never gonna thump my rump…

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Candy pedals

Rebuild kits for all Crank Bros pedals are expensive so I bought these instead of re-building some Acids for the same price. They were discounted, surprisingly, as they were in orange… Continue reading

pedals

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When it comes to pedals are you an Old Git? That is an Old Guy in Toe clips

 If you are new to the mountain biking fold, you will find that most entry-level bikes are fitted with flat pedals and only some of the higher end bikes being supplied with clipless models. Although for the older rider flat pedals hark back to the rubber rotating memories of youthful Raleighs modern units can have unforgiving metal edges that punish the common slips and mistakes that everyone makes while trying to convert from tarmac to off road.

Unless the jump scene draws you immediately cross-country trails can include a lot of uphill riding and although the length up may be the same as the length down, the time spent on the ups far exceeds the downs. It is possible to remain with flat pedals however, if you are riding with others who are clipped in it seems that there is an advantage on long or steep hills and, on technical climbs, there is an  always an extra pedal stroke available just when it is most needed.The main difficulty in being clipped in is being clipped in. Even with loose settings and  soft practice ground in the garden there will be episodes where being attached to the bike  will have you grasping at trees, lunging at gates and landing sideways in “frozen panic” mode. The popularity of budget pedals reflects the choice of many to change straight to a budget version of a racers lightweight pedal however this could be a poor choice for many. I found the good design of the budget shimano offering was spoiled by its deserved reputation for a tight fit and an unwillingness to release easily. A one sided pedal, such as the FPD offering, allows starting on a large flat side and then rotating it to the clipped side.  This gives the rider of a choice depending upon the conditions faced, i.e. clipped for a hill and a flat for a technical section. Although it could be a solution in itself it is also a transit stage to a double clipped model after a reasonable level of competence had been achieved. An outer cage can help more in difficult conditions than either flat or mini clipped pedals because the weight penalty is a small price for instant pedalling action. Mud clearance is poor on many pedals and this problem leads to a more expensive solution irrespective of the pedal type. Higher margins for the manufacturers open the door to improved design and rarer materials like stainless steel, carbon fibre and magnesium.  Crank Bros. and others have successfully moved away from the conventional  design to a rotating system that offers great mud clearance in a variety of flat and open options. As others follow suit it is worthwhile to check all the options to find the best solution for yourself.For the cautious the ideal route should allow small changes without jeopardizing hard won gains. If moving from flat to one sided to caged, allow time to make small adjustments. Any one could be the ideal solution for some and unless you are very concerned with weight a larger platform makes life easier especially on the dark or in poor conditions . As for lifetimes pedals need servicing and rebuilt with spares or replacement every year at least but this depends upon usage. Prices range from a few pounds to hundreds for something in gold plate but that comes with the guarantee that on the trail you will be almost unique.