Recycledmountainracing.com's Foes Racing Alpine rowdy enduro 29"erPosted on 24 Mar 00:51
Rowdy enduro 29er Foes Racing Alpine build
- noisy and disorderly.
- "it was a rowdy but good-natured crowd"
- a noisy and disorderly person.
If you're reading this you have survived a long, cold, snow filled winter- If your skier or snowboarder in Oregon you probably had a great winter, if you're a mountain biker dreaming of dirt maybe not so much - The other issue is now the mountains have such a deep snow base it will probably be a very late open for bike park season. The upside is it looks like spring has finally started and there are many great spots to start ridding.
We have a new bike build we are stoked to tell you about. We will continue the format of showcasing the purpose of the build, going threw the spec, and commenting on the technology and direction of the mountain bike industry.
There are two trends in the mountain bike world we have definitely noticed. First, If you have been following global enduro mountain bike racing you are probably well aware that enduro racing 29”ers are becoming the norm in bike choice. The Santa Cruz Hightower, Trek Slash 9.9 29, and Yeti SB5.5 are all prime examples of this trend. Secondly, We have seen a large up-tick in 27.5+ and 29+ plus bikes, wheels, and tires. So far these trends haven’t really mixed well. Gravity racers have been reluctant to run “Plus” tires. We think there are a couple reasons for this. We think most riders that have tried it agree “plus” tires for trail riding are a lot of fun, they provide a lot of traction and the wide foot print lends the bike to be leaned into corners pretty far. The two criticisms we have heard about “plus” tires as it pertains to gravity racing are 1) “plus” tires are harder to find the “sweet spot” in terms of tire pressure. Given the much higher volume, if the tire pressure is too low the bike can feel sluggish and if the pressure are two high the tire has no internal rebound damper like a suspension fork to keep it from “pinging” of trail obstacles like small rocks or roots. Secondly, “plus” tires can have some issues in hard downhill corners. Some tires seem to fold at the sidewall during extreme cornering or the large footprint can give a disconnecting “floaty” feeling when riding trails that have corners with small loose pebbles over hard-pack. The true believers of the “plus” movement still swear by this new standard, but the gravity set still remains unimpressed. Our best analytical guess is we may see some convergence of these trends as a new breed of “mid-fat” or “mid-plus” tires come to market. We are seeing Maxxis, WTB, and Schwalbe coming to market with new 2.6” and 2.8” tires. Maxxis has released their 2.8” DHF and DHR2 which are two favorite trend patterns of gravity racers- If the side wall has the right stiffness to weight ratio this could help bring “plus” to the gravity set. We are running a set of Schwalbe Nobby Nic 27.5” x 2.6” on our Banshee Rune and so far we are impressed. The 2.6” on a 35mm external (30mm internal) rim seems to be the winning combo for this setup - the 2.6” is narrow enough to fit in non-boost forks and frames and does seem to give a better footprint without a noticeable heavier feeling tire.
Manufacturers and riders have clearly bought into these trends. We see a lot more companies coming to market with 29”ers that have boost spacing and additional frame or fork clearance to run “plus” size 27.5” wheels - This suggest that riders want or manufacturers see riders having one bike and two wheelsets: a 29”er and 27.5”+. The ridder would pick the wheels based on what the riding condition look like that day or what is optimal for that particular trail. We should also note that 29”+ seems to be picking up some steam with tire and fork makers. We are also seeing tire manufacturers bringing some interesting 29 x 2.6” tires to market.
These trends bring us to to our latest bike build. Recycledmountainracing.com is super stoked to be a new Foes Racing USA mail-order dealer. Foes Racing has been a staple brand of gravity mountain bike racing for over 25 years. We love Foes Racing bicycle frames for three reasons:
1) Low leverage suspension - Larger and aggressive riders take note, the 2.3:1 leverage ratio (most rear suspensions use 3:1 or even 4:1 rates), which magnifies the sensitivity of its compression and rebound damping and boosts the effectiveness of pedaling platforms.
2) Brent Foes’ high quality hand made in the USA monocoque frames are beautiful, muscular, lightweight, and strong - High attention to detail - this is the pinnacle of alloy bicycle frame construction.
Definition: mon·o·coque: an aircraft or vehicle structure in which the chassis is integral with the body.
3) Aluminum is still the best value in high performance durable bicycle construction
Foes Racing has a very interesting enduro racing model called the “Mixer Enduro”. This model puts an interesting spin on the 29er enduro racing bike by giving it a motocross style smaller rear wheel in the 27.5”size. There are many reasons this makes sense but the model that got our interest was the 29/27.5”+ model called the Alpine Plus. We built our Alpine Plus as a enduro racing style or “rowdy” 29”er and we are also excited to do some future write ups on how the bike does with the new breed of 27.5”+ tires. Please check out our bike spec below as we discuss parts choices and we will also provide some links to parts or deals we think should be on your bike part radar.
Bike Build Spec
Frame: 2016 Foes Racing Alpine Plus
If you were a male child of the 80’s growing up in suburban America you probably had or had a friend that had a poster of either the Ducati 916 superbike (the red one with the single sided swingarm) or the poster of Lamborghini Countach supercar or maybe Magnum P.I.’s Ferrari 308 GTSi - These were dream worthy pieces of hardware. We understand these vehicles might look dated today in 2017, but at the time they made high performance beautiful. In the early 90’s I remember having similar feelings about aluminum monocoque mountain frames by Intense, Mountain Cycles, and Foes Racing. These lines represented the pinnacle of mountain bike construction and racing performance and they were beautiful. Mountain Cycles is now defunct after a few ownership changes and brief resurgence in Portland, Oregon the brand is now in limbo (Does anyone know if the IP is for sale?), Intense Cycles became the most financially successful of the three companies and are still considered a trendsetter in the industry. Intense Cycle’s line is now mostly carbon frames sourced from asia. Richard Cunningham recently penned an article on PinkBike.com about Intense no longer building frames in the USA as a “end or a era” piece. Lastly, Foes Racing continues to build alloy monocoque frames in the USA just as it has done for 25 years. We understand many mountain bike racers will be quick to point out that carbon is lighter weight and stronger but we think alloy frames still represent the best value in high performance bicycle construction. Foes Racing MY2017 frames average about $2700 we think this reasonable for what you get but we understand it may be pushing the limit for some budgets. When you get a Foes Racing frame, you get the feeling of owning something that is high performance in a dream-worthy beautiful package.
The Foes Racing model that is most interesting to us right now is the Alpine Plus. Foes Racing does single pivots suspension designs with linkage for lateral stiffness. We know some mountain bikers will find single pivots unexciting but single pivots are still the most durable suspension design and with “pedal platform” suspension and 1x drivetrains we think they have never been more relevant. The icing on cake is Brent Foes’ philosophy of using lower leverage ratios in his suspension designs. We think it is great he has decided to apply this philosophy to non-proprietary shocks. I will give you an example of how this works:
Typically you will see these size shocks for a given amount of travel:
7.5 x 2 = 5” travel frame
8.5 x 2.5 = 6.5” travel enduro frame
9.5 x 3 = 8” travel downhill frame
Foes Racing takes the same model shock but uses a size with more travel and less leverage
8.5 x 2.5” = 5” travel frame
9.5” x 3” = 6.5” travel enduro frame
10.5 x 3.5” = 8” downhill frame
On some sizes and travel settings this gives you as low as a 2:1 leverage ratio - That results in a shock that is relatively more robust and adjustments are more meaningful. We are sold on this thinking and design for heavier riders, or riders who like to ride aggressively, or both.
Geometry is exactly what you would expect of a bike of this type
Head Angle is 68d - We went with a very large front tire and a little more travel so this build is probably slacked out to about 67d - Top tube on the large was 24.6 - these number are very similar to what you might find on something like a Santa Cruz Hightower and that is good thing.
Foes Racing originally listed rear tire clearance as up to 29x 2.3 and 27.5 x 3, but we have a Maxxis DHR2 in 29 x 2.3 and there is ample clearance. We are betting a 29 x 2.5” would probably fit in there just fine
In terms of value we could see customer preparing to spend about $3k on frame wanting to opt for carbon, but for $3K you would get an average carbon frame, for $2600 you would get a premium alloy frame. The Foes Racing frames are stunning. The monocoque frame lends itself well to those dream-bike worthy sculpted curves. This is a frame that you just want to sit and stare at, it is really that beautiful. There are still concerns about the long term durability of carbon. Some riders don’t like how the bottom half of your $3k carbon frame turns to swiss cheese textured surfaces from chips in the plastic. How many racing MX/SX dirt bikes do you see made with carbon fiber frames? zero. We feel strongly aluminum when done right is still a viable high performance material and offers a lot of value. We are very excited to have some 2016 framesets on closeout at $1700-1900. That might make it one of the best times ever to get into a Foes Racing monocoque frame.
Where is the magic in this frame?
1) A beautifully stunning handmade in the USA monocoque frame and
2) Low-leverage super-durable single pivot suspension
3) The Alpine gets long-travel 29” right in geometry
Not sold on 29”ers or 27.5”+plus?
Pinkbike’s poll says most riders want 27.5” - check out the other Foes Racing closeout models
We have new 2017 frames available and have some great deals on 2016 closeout
Rear Shock: Cane Creek Inline with climb switch
We are a big fan of Cane Creek’s Double Barrel line - We feel the twin tube design of the Double Barrel line is more adjustable than single tube designs. On the Foes Alpine we went with a 8.5” x 2.5” Inline with climb switch. Many enduro racers have gone to coil springs for suppleness and durability. Given the frame has a more robust lower leverage ratio we decided to go with a lightweight air shock. We feel Cane Creek’s Inline is still robust enough for enduro racing even though it does not have a piggyback. We are also planning a to upgrade to the new handlebar remote kit
We have heard some criticism of the Inline shock but the Inline models we have have the latest internal with the improved piston head and Cane Creek also offer a factory direct upgrade to the Inline to the new Inline [IL] for about $70
We have some great deal on factory closeout Cane Creek shocks- Check them out here:https://recycledmountainracing.com/collections/cane-creek-rear-shock-closeouts?sort_by=price-ascending
Fork: RockShox Yari RC 150mm Boost 110x15mm
When choosing the fork for this build it was within our budget to go with any off the best forks on the market. We were tempted to pony up for a RockShox Lyrik RCT3, the DVO Diamond Boost, or MRP’s very exciting Ribbon. We decided to go with the less expensive RockShox Yari RC for a few reasons. We wanted to see how good or bad a $600 enduro fork could be - We think it will be good- We have a longer term review planned and if it lives up to expectation we think the Yari might be one of the most underrated products in performance mountain biking. The Yari’s chassis is just as solid as any other of the more expensive forks. That has a few implications - It is very likely 3rd party manufacturers will come to market with internal upgrades for the Yari - We are already planning to try the MRP Ramp Control cartridge in this fork ($130) - This should make it easier to dial in the progression curve. We are aware that east coast tuning favorite Avalanche Racing has a damper kit but it sounds expensive at around ($400) at that price it might make more sense to get one of the more expensive model forks - We would not be surprised if Push Industries or MRP or another 3rd party was working on a affordable damper for the Yari- We don’t think the motion control damper in the Yari is bad but we don’t expect it to perform as well as the well liked Charger damper found in higher end RockShox models. The Yari RC’s negative chamber is suppose to be bigger and improved relative to the Pike RC so that should lend itself to a more supple beginning stoke. The Yari also has stiffer lowers and legs compared to the gold standard Pike RCT3.
The Foes Alpine frame recommend a 140mm fork, we didn’t feel like we were pushing things much by going up to 150mm and are even curious for a 160mm 29”er fork. We are not exactly excited for boost spacing for 27.5” wheels but it is winning us over for 29” and 27.5” plus, not that we have much of choice this standard is here to stay.
We do want to note at this point in time we are very interested in the MRP’s new Ribbon fork. If you have been following our blog posts you already know we are big fans of “twin tube” style suspension. The MRP Ribbon and Ohlins RXF 34 & 36 are the only forks on the market with true twin tube designs - The Ribbon comes in $200 cheaper than the Ohlins. The MRP Ribbon also has independently adjustable positive and negative chambers, the adjustable ramp control, and bleeder ports under the seals. This isn’t meant to be a direct comparison of the these two forks, but the MRP Ribbon certainly has the features people have been asking for in a lightweight and competitively priced package
Check out the RockShox Yari line here:
Check out the Ribbon here:
Brakes: Sram Guide RE w/ BrakeCo 2-piece rotors
SRAM’s Guide RE brake model is marketed and positioned as a brake for performance e-mtb- As far as we can tell the brake is basically a Guide lever mated to Code caliper. We have seen some downhill racers run this guide/code combo setup and we have heard Specialized might have specced this on some of their DH complete bike models. In our minds this is basically a gravity bike brake (electric or not). The Guide lever has been popular and the Code caliper is very robust. These brakes are only $239 a pair - So far we are impressed with the overall feel
Wheels: Spank Oozy Trail 345 & 395 boost 110x15mm & 148x12mm
It is no secret recycledmounatinracing.com is fan of Spank Bike Co’s high value wheelset line. We think that customers were stoked on last year's popular Oozy 295 trail wheelset. The Oozy wheelset line balances a straight pull spoke snappy feeling wheelset with a rim profile designed to “bite” tire sidewalls better for tubeless tire use. Spank does this in alloy wheelsets that comes in about $630
Last year’s Oozy Trail295 has a 29.5mm external rim width and is back this year. Additionally, Spank has added a Trail345 and a Trail395 to their line up - As you may have guessed the 345 is about 35mm external width and the 395 is about 40mm external width. We think 35mm rims are the sweet spot right now for 2.3 - 2.5” tires and this is the size we went with for our Foes Alpine build. For plus sizes like 2.8- 3.0 the 40mm seems pretty good, but some riders of plus size tires may wish to go even wider depending on application - Spank still does a nice job of getting the right spec at a great price. Additionally, compared to some other brands that make Boost spaced wheels in these popular sizes the Spank wheels have good availability.
A bonus this year is the Oozy wheelset came with the tubeless kit installed. It use to be about $50 extra for rim strips and valves - These wheels came in about $30 more so still a win for the customer. You will want to be careful when you install tires and sealant you get the valve extra tight, we used a set of pliers to tighten the washer on the valve and shake the sealant up good once inside the inflated tire.
Check out the Spank Oozy wheels here:
A side note on wheel sets and axle standards.
The big manufactures seemed to sell the consumer that with 29"ers and 27.5"+plus bicycles becoming more rowdy we needed the Boost axle and hub standard. Boost was suppose to be a axle width that allowed for wider flanges to build stronger wheels. We were not excited about having another axle standard, not to mention new fork, frame, and crankset standards, but we bought in. Now many manufactures are going to be releasing wheel sets in 2017 that will be convertible between the old standard and Boost - Example: a rear wheel that can do 142x12 or 148x12 - We have not seen the details yet but we are guessing this will be hubs with taller flanges to maintain strength but an extra set of end caps and maybe a brake rotor adapter to fit Boost - It does raise the question "why didn't we do it this way in the first place?" and "was Boost just another standard we didn't really need released for marketing purposes?"
What do you think?
Tires: Maxxis DHF / DHR2
For this build we went with the gold standard for gravity tires. On the front we went we the Maxxis DHF 29” x 2.5” in 3C TR DH casing - What is maybe noteworthy here is the DH casing version in 29” uses a folding bead- Generally speaking the DH version is usually a wire bead. We are guessing this was done for weight savings on the larger diameter wheel. On the rear we went with a DHR2 3C TR in 29” x 2.3”- Both tires are being run tubeless with WTB white sealant - We would also be interested in trying Maxxis’ new models in 29” x 2.6” but they were not available yet as of this writing. Schwalbe also has some 29” x 2.6” models that look interesting.
Check out Maxxis tires here:
Drivetrain: Sram X01 Eagle
The real story in performance mountain bike parts in 2016 was SRAM’s Eagle group. The Eagle’s impressive 12 speed cassette has about 500% range but what we think really makes it stand out is the ultra crisp shifting. We are sure this due to some precision German engineering. Eagle offers two levels X01 and XX1 - Our understanding is that the X01 is position as the more robust gravity oriented group and XX1 is the premium group for weight savings - We went with the X01 and saving about $200 ($760 vs $960) over the XX1 group was a bonus. After riding it we left with mixed feelings - Eagle is the most crisp mtb drivetrain we have ridden and it has been a strong seller, but if you have a 1x11 drivetrain should you upgrade? We didn’t feel like it was significantly better than the X1 1x11 drivetrain we have setup with a E*13 9-46T cassette on another bike. If you need a new drivetrain and want performance buy Eagle, if you have a good 1x11 setup and just want more range maybe just get something like the E*13 cassette.
We did upgrade the chain from X01 to XX1 for purely cosmetic reasons - The X01 chain is silver, but by going with the XX1 we were able to run a black 12-speed chain making the whole drivetrain black (like our souls \m/ - too much metal in the mp3 playlist)
The other drivetrain trick we pulled was a two for one- We did go for a non-Eagle crankset - We have a closeout on the older 11-speed X01 carbon crank - This saved about $100. When Eagle first came out it said it required a 12 speed front chainring - This implied you needed to buy an eagle crank-set or one of the 12-speed direct mount rings that popped up at SRAM suppliers at the same time as Eagle - We have come to learn the 11-speed front narrow wide rings work just fine with the 12-speed Eagle chains. We don’t recommend this substitution trick for the 12-speed cassette, chain, derailleur, or shifter, but if you have a good 11-speed crank and 1x N/W chainring and you want Eagle you can most likely stick with your old crankset. The other issue that popped up was that the Foes Alpine has a 148x12mm Boost spacing rear axle. This implies you will need a “Boost” specific crankset - SRAM and Shimano are selling Boost specific cranks with specific part numbers. The basic difference is that the chain-wheel is moved 3mm outboard to better line up with the cassette. Instead of buying a new crankset to get a “Boost” version we used an extra bottom bracket spacer on the drive side with a normal GXP crankset- most bottom bracket spacers are 2.5mm so by putting 1 extra spacer on we were able to move the chain-wheel outboard 2.5mm which is very very close to the goal of 3mm. The one downside of this conversion is that it also moved the drive side crank arm out 3mm but we are not picky enough to notice that while ridding, a pro racer might notice that but we did not. These two tricks allowed us to use an older crankset and still run 12-speed Eagle without issue.
Check out Eagle here:
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb 125mm
We went with a standard non-stealth RockShox Reverb dropper post in 125mm size. The reverb is still the gold standard in performance dropper seatposts- We were not in love with this size or version but it is a good component we had leftover from another bike build. The Foes Racing Alpine does have routing for a stealth or internal dropper post, but we already had this post. If we we were going to buy a new dropper today we would probably have specced a Reverb Stealth in the new 170mm size.
If you're trying to save money on the Reverb the non-stealth version of the Reverb is usually about $50 less if you don’t mind an external cable.
The dropper post market is becoming a very crowded and hot market. The new E*13 dropper post is looking very interesting and hits a lower price point. DVO and KS also have some interesting models in the pipe.
If you have read any of our other blog posts about bike builds our control components picks won’t surprise you. For the stem we went with Spank’s Spike stem in matte red because “SuperStar” - Spank re-did the majority of their line in new bead blasted matte finish -this seems to make the colors really stand out- the vivid colors look great, photos do not do justice. In our minds the RaceFace SixC is still the carbon bar to beat. We kept the stem and bar 31.8mm, can’t find a really compelling reason to go to 35mm unless maybe it is on sale. The Saddle is the RaceFace Aeffect in red - This saddle just looks fast standing still and it has an interesting rubber texture that seems to find a good balance between sticky and slidy. There are a couple companies in the bike business that feel you need a handlebar with the ends clipped off sideways to better stop the grips from twisting, we are pretty sold on the basic ODI lock-on grips - The Alpine was built with the Troy Lee pattern.
Here are some cool parts, tools, or components that we are either testing now or planning to review soon:
Sram/Quarq ShockWize suspension tuning device
MRP Ramp Control in the RockShox Yari
Cane Creek inline remote lever
E*13 dropper posts
GET STOKED: Next build; It’s bike park season -Recycledmountainracing.com’s 2017 downhill bike
We think we built a super fun and high value rowdy 29”er enduro bike here.
- Foes Racing’s Alpine is a stunning monocoque frame -hits the mark for the new breed of long-travel rowdy enduro 29”er / 27.5”+plus bikes
- We saved $$$ by going with a closeout frame and budget fork
- Spank Oozy 395 Trail boost wheels are snappy and fast engaging at a great price
- Eagle is the most crisp drivetrain ever
Thanks for checking out our build - Have a question for your bike build? Email us!
For more photos check out our Facebook page:
Need some guidance for your own build? Check out our build guide:
Recycledmountainracing.com is: Upgrades, Suspension, Imports, Closeouts