Get Stoked Again!: Downhill season 2016 is here!! Here is rcycld.com’s Nukeproof Pulse (27.5” wheel conversion) downhill bike!Posted on 22 Mar 20:15
Upgrades, Suspension, Imports, Closeouts!
Check out our latest downhill bike build. Listed below is the bike’s component specification list, some notes on our thought processes for the build, and photos of the build. We have also included a handful of links to products we feel are great deals right now. This downhill bike was built for a few purposes. First and foremost this bike was built for fun. The rider feels he is getting a little old for racing seriously or sending it huge, but he does plan to spend numerous days in the Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Hood bike parks. Style wise we liked the looks of the KTM RedBull MotoGP bikes with their black and white graphics. We wanted to extend that style to a downhill bike and add our own touch of red, YES! We are artists here! Here at recycledmountainracing.com we get a lot of questions about keeping your 26” bike alive when the industry is moving on to 27.5” and 29” wheels. A big part of these questions have to do with 26” to 27.5” conversions and 26” to 27.5” front/ 26” rear conversions. We wanted to share our take on a 27.5” conversion and show you some things to consider if you're thinking about making some type of wheel conversion to your 26” frame. We also consider our focus to be upgrades, suspension, imports, and closeouts so we wanted to show how some well chosen parts could build a high value bike that shreds!
Sell the “big bike”?
We have heard some talk lately about “should you sell the big bike”. The argument is pretty straight forward. The downhill specific bike is limited to chairlift or shuttle runs only, while the enduro or all-mountain trail bike has become a very capable descender. We think there is truth in this argument. If you are a gravity athlete and can afford just one bik, the case for the enduro bike is strong. We see a lot of guys racing local downhill events on enduro bikes and the enduro style bike can still ride your regular trails pretty well. As good as this argument goes, here at recycledmountainracing.com we will probably never sell our downhill bikes. For us downhill is still the “Formula 1” of not just mountain biking but cycling in general. When the course gets steep, rough, and fast the downhill bike still brings “next level” confidence to those situations. We think the answer might be if you only make it to the chairlift bike park a few times a year maybe a downhill bike rental ends up being the best value. We are sticking with our downhill bikes.
If you missed it, check out some of our previous bike builds:
Mountain Cycle Shockwave 9.5 build:
Motoped side project (BRAAPPP!):
2015 Turner DHR bike (look familiar?)
Q: The MY2016 Nukeproof bikes are looking so good, why go with a MY2015 Pulse 26” frame and do a conversion, when you could get the new MY2016 that is fully redesigned, already has 26” wheels, and is lighter?
A: If you in the market for a complete downhill bike we think it would be hard to find a better deal than the MY2016 Nukeproof Pulse. A big part of what recycledmountainracing.com does is upgrades, parts, and aftermarket suspension. We also have a lot of customers that are keeping their 26” rigs going strong and are asking themselves if 27.5” conversions make sense. This build was to showcases upgrades and answer some conversion questions. If you are interested in the MY2016 that are fully redesigned you can check them out here:
2016 Nukeproof Pulse Comp:
27.5” conversions & 27.5”/26” conversions
So the big question is “why do a 27.5” wheel conversion?” with follow up questions such as “Are 26” wheels bad now?” and “doesn’t a conversion like this throw off your bike’s geometry?” We think the average mountain biker might be suffering a little bit of “bike industry burn-out” What we mean by that is that we think the industry has pushed out too many changes to quickly and most consumers are starting to push back. Change isn’t necessarily bad, we were blown away when Hayes released it’s mass produced hydraulic disc brakes. Some industry talking heads are proclaiming a resurgence in 29” wheels, but we think that the “resurgence” is just some markets initial “buy-in” of the 29er pitch. We are expecting a another “resurgence” in 27.5” wheels as more mountain bikers “buy-in” to the 27.5” pitch. Ideally we think all three major wheel standards should stick around as it always nice to have wheels that are proportionate to riders. Do you need to immediately sell your you 26” downhill or all-mountain bike for a bike with 29” or 27.5” wheels? No, but there are some benefits to consider with the larger wheels you should be aware of and we think some frames and bikes are strong candidates for a conversion. We think the 26” Nukeproof Pulse is one of those bikes. We will explain why, make some other suggestions on how to do a successful conversion, and what issues to consider when thinking about your conversion.
Why 27.5”? We buy into the argument that 27.5” wheels find a better balance for most gravity athletes between the playful and nimbleness of 26” wheels that most of us have all grown up on and the speed and momentum holding effects of a larger wheel.
The first issue to consider in a wheel conversion is that your warranty will probably be voided. At the same time you should be thinking “is the frame strong enough to handle the higher loads of increased speed and stress?”
Convert at your own risk!
When a lot of new aluminum 27.5” frames first came on the market many of them were as much as a full pound heavier than than the 26” version of the same frame. Why were they so heavier? The engineers that we designing them with risk and liability management in mind knew the larger wheels simply imply higher speeds and stresses, the extra metal was to handle the loads and add a margin or error to a new product. If your frame was the lightest 26” in its class, that might imply it is a poor candidate for conversion. If you hesitate at the thought of losing your warranty, conversion may not be right for you. The 26” Nukeproof Pulse is a very stout frame and was intended for the roughest world cup downhill courses this gave us confidence that it was a good candidate for conversion.
Does your frame or fork have clearance for 27.5” wheels and room for debris and mud? We think when considering a conversion it important to have not just tire clearance where the 27.5” wheel barely fits into the frame or fork, but to have ample clearance. You may need to have extra clearance for mud or debris, as well as tire deflection and wheel flex. If you're 27.5” x 2.1” tire just squeezes into the frame it is probably a poor candidate for conversion. A Lot of 26” downhill, freeride, and enduro frames had either adjustable dropouts, interchangeable dropouts, or chips to change axle position or shock positions. This type of bike is ideal in getting the 27.5” wheel in the frame and having ample tire and mud clearance. The 26” Nukeproof Pulse in our build has a chip system that allowed for 2 axle positions. This was originally designed for wheelbase adjustments for different race courses, but in our conversion the “long” setting gave ample clearance for our 27.5” x 2.5” Maxxis DHR2 tire on a 32mm rim and additional room for mud or deflection. If your bike has removable dropouts the manufacturer may offer a 27.5” conversion kit.
What if the frame and fork do not have ample clearance? If you love your 26” frame but the 27.5” wheels don’t fit you may still have some options. We think one of the more interesting conversions is to just upgrade the fork and front wheel to 27.5” and run a 27.5” front and 26” rear. There are some benefits to this motocross style setup and a handful of pro gravity athletes run this by choice. The 26” rear keeps the center of gravity a little lower and makes it a little easier to manual the bike. The 26” wheel is also a little lighter all things being equal. The lighter weight means it is easier to spin up and slow down the wheel as well as lowering unsprung weight. The front wheel leans further in a turn than the rear wheel so it makes sense to have the larger front with the larger footprint and higher roll clearance to get a lot of the benefits of a 27.5” setup.
There are some extra issues to be concerned about when doing a 27.5”/26” setup. The front axle is now about 19mm higher off the ground and if you upgrade the fork to a 27.5” model the fork is also about 19mm taller making the headtube about 40mm higher off the ground. This slacks your bike’s geometry by about 1 to 1.5 degrees. This can be desireable sometimes because slackness implies better handling at relatively higher speeds. If you head angle is already slack enough you will want to look at shortening the fork relatively. There is a few ways to make the fork shorter: 1) just run a little more sag, this is the easiest fix. If you have an air fork this usually means just run slightly lower pressure 2) run slightly less travel - You could switch from that 160mm fork to a 150mm travel fork, some forks have internal or external travel adjustment. 3) Find a fork with a shorter axle to crown measurement - all forks are not equal- example; if your going form a 160mm 26” fork you may be able to find a 160mm 27.5” fork with the same overall length- this is due to differences in the crown and dropout height. The last issue to consider in this conversion is that if you don’t adjust for fork and wheel height change 40mm taller front end will raise your bottom bracket slightly.
If you convert both front and rear wheels from 26” to 27.5” you will need to consider a couple geometry issues. The bike will now ride about 19mm higher off the ground ((27.5-26)/2)= ¾”= about 19mm) - In our mind this raises two issues 1) the bottom bracket is higher. In general this is undesirable because it raises the center of gravity and it goes against the current trend in DH bikes of moving towards long, low, and slack. This can be adjusted for by running a little more rear sag but then you're giving up a little travel. For us this was a minor issue as we already strike our pedals a little too often on the DH bike and we are already running 165mm crank arms. 2) the head angle is not changed when you convert both wheels and stick with a 26” fork but the larger wheels does imply high speeds so a slacker head angle might be more appropriate. In our Pulse conversion this was a non-issue because the stock head angle was already 63 degrees which is fairly slack. We also upgraded to a 27.5” DVO emerald fork. We didn’t try to measure it but we are guessing it is a little taller to give the larger wheel clearance. If you need to adjust your head angle you might be able to do this by running the fork legs lower or higher in the crowns or a better adjustment would be to use a “angle adjust” headset. Many downhill bikes have 1.5” headtubes so a 1.5” to 1-⅛” adjustable angle headset can give up to an extra degree or so of adjustment without changing the fork length.
Part spec, selection notes, and hot deals!
MY2015 Nukeproof Pulse DH 26” - We think the MY2016 frame and bike are going to be fantastic, but as of this writing it is not available yet. This build was also done to demonstrate a successful 27.5” wheel conversion. We think the 26” Pulse was a great frame and at closeout pricing it offers a lot of value. We have some Pulse frames with the RockShox Vivid R2C on sale - see them here:
The excitement is definitely building around the new Pulse
For the MY2016 Pulse see it here (taking pre-order now!)
We switched the stock RockShox Vivid R2C to a Marzocchi Roco World Cup Air. We are not unhappy with the performance of the Vivid but made the switch for two reasons 1) we wanted to get some first hand experience with a DH air shock (expect a longer term review later in the season) and 2) We think the quality and feel of the Roco WC air is great and we were able to obtain a great closeout deal on the shock. See it here:
The fork in this build is a debadged DVO Emerald 27.5” Limited Edition brown. This fork is the component we are most excited about on this bike. We have heard some talk about DVO being over hyped and marketed suspension. We think DVO is the real deal and would really like to see the company succeed. We are guessing it’s not easy competing with the Fox/Shimano/RaceFace/Easton and RockShox/Sram duopoly that seems to be developing in the industry. We think DVO’s products merit further attention. We haven’t had a lot of time on the Emerald yet but first impressions are impressive. The fork has nice metal adjuster knobs. The part and finish quality is high. We are excited to try the OTT feature (off the top). The OTT should allow some tuning of the negative spring to dial in the fork suppleness. We love the design of a inverted fork with the benefits of low unsprung weight combined with the arched carbon fork guards to add some stiffness- lack of stiffness is usually the key criticism of inverted forks in the mountain bike application. Also there are some great deal on the 26” Emerald if you're keeping your two-six alive:
26” IS NOT DEAD!
In our 2015 downhill bike build we went with red 26” Spank Spoon32 wheels and were pretty stoked on them. We decided to see if the 27.5” version would keep our stoke going. We have found the anodizing on Spank products to be top notch. The Spoon DH wheelset has 32mm external width rims which we think is perfect for most 2.5” DH tires. At $399 we find it hard to find hubs, spokes, and rims that are a better value. You get the complete wheelset.
Check them out here:
Looking for Spank rims for your 26” ride? We have some closeouts:
Highly popular Spank Bars and Stems:
We ran the SRAM Guide RSC brakes in this build but we have a set of Hope Tech Tech 3 V4 on the way. The SRAM Guides are excellent for the money at under $300 they deliver a great 4 piston brake. They have a newer version out called the Guide Ultimate. The Ultimate is for the most part the same brakes in a lighter weight package. The Hope Tech 3 V4s come stock with braided stainless steel Goodridge hoses. We think they Hope V4s with the steel hoses is the best DH brake on the market but they are significantly more expensive. The Hope V4s also have a vented rotor option. The vented rotors are like two thin rotors stuck to together to allow cooling air to flow between the two plates.
Check out the SRAM Guides here:
See the Hope Tech V4s here:
The drivetrain on this build is a mix of SRAM X01DH, RaceFace, KMC, and Shimano. We pieced together this drive train mostly of parts we had in the shop. We think SRAM carbon cranks are a good deal as they are made in large numbers and can often be found on closeout or sale. The X01DH rear derailleur is impressive. This has the most solid feeling shifts of any derailleur we have tried. This made us feel like we should upgrade to the 7-speed X01DH kit. The chain is a 10 Speed KMC because “I got a gold chain”. We grabbed a mid level shimano cassette because it is not highly machined out like higher end cassettes. This offers some stiffness and durability for DH a lower price points.
On the front tire we skipped our usual Maxxis Minion DHF to give the Schwalbe Magic Mary 27.5” x 2.5” a try. This tire comes highly recommended and you can see many top DH pros running this tire front and rear. We are impressed with the tire’s profile and hope to have more to write about once we have spent some time on it.
The rear tire we went with our tried and true Maxxis Minion DHR 27.5” x 2.4” in the Super Tacky compound. Maxxis is by far our best selling tire line. We love Maxxis because of the variety of sizes, sidewalls, and compounds as well as the great trend profiles
Handlebar, stem, and grips
We used the same bar on our DH bike that we ran on our Motoped build. The love the Spank Vibrocore in a 800mm uncut length and 50mm rise. If you missed the previous build notes this is a alloy bar filled with vibration damping foam. The weight added by the foam is minimal and we noticed less hand and finger soreness after a long day of chair lift runs. At $99 the price is reasonable also finding a nice middle ground between regular alloy bars and more expensive carbon DH bars. Check them out here:
For the stem we went with a matching Spank Director in 25/30mm length in red. We ran the length in the 30mm position. The slightly shorter 30/25 stem works better with 27.5” wheels compared to the 50mm stems usually run on 26” bikes. The anodized colors look great and we liked the extra set of riser spacer included which we also ran in our build.
Seatpost and saddle
The seatpost is a regular Thomson Elite in 30.9 black. We did cut it down for the lower saddle profile needed for downhill riding. The saddle is a SDG model in their “Razzle Dazzle” pattern. This wild looking pattern was originally painted on WW2 navy ships. The pattern was not meant to be camouflage so much as the purpose of the hard lines are suppose to mess with your eyes reading shadows making it hard to judge the distance and direction of the naval ship. We liked it because it reminded us of the wild patterns of 80’s skateboards and fashion like the Vision Skateboards Gator model.
Check out the Thomson stem, bar, and post line here:
We are pretty stoked on the new Nukeproof Sam Hill signature Horizon Pro. Sam Hill is known for making flat pedals a viable option in World Cup downhill racing. Nukeproof has a strong pedal line up for MY2016. The Signature model has a great shape, really clean look with the extra machining, and is a good value at under $100. If $100 still sounds like a lot for a set of flats there are many good models in the $44-$60 price range in a large selection of colors. The higher end models have alloy bodies and the mid-level are nylon, all have sealed cartridge bearings.
See the MY2016 line and closeout deals here:
Downhill mountain biking is a “extreme” or risky sport. We are a big believer in using the right protective gear. Check out some of our favorites:
We think we built a super fun downhill bike here.
- We saved $$$ by going with a combination of used, closeout, and high value parts!
- 27.5” wheels are worth a look and a conversion might keep your 26” bike alive
- The DVO fork looks highly promising -stay tuned!
Thanks for checking out our build - Have a question for your bike build? Email us!
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Thanks for checking out our build! Happy Shreddin’!