2024 XC Bike & Equipment Thread

extra torque at phases of the pedal stroke through the drive train. Too much and it will exceed available traction.

I feel like I have the exact opposite, on very steep loose over hard I find better traction at higher cadences vs a heavy gear.

Living and riding in CO I used to run an either a 30 or 32T oval on my old bike and am running a 34T standard ring now. I think for altitude and really steep pitches that going back to a 32T would be quite a bit better.

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I guess the aesthetics for me are secondary. It’s more what is faster. Agree, on most XCO courses I leave it unlocked as any pedaly sections are so short it isn’t worth it. Most Xterra courses are what I imagine a lot of marathon courses are like and the conservation of energy is also a similar focus

It’s easier to apply even power throughout a stroke at a slightly lower cadence, and easier to get build inertia. I can see if it was a non technical dry climb a lower cadence would be more efficient (e.g. Leadville etc)

My natural cadence on a road bike is 95-100rpm but XCO doesn’t offer you that freedom!

Anti-squat will change with different chainring size. There are alot of bikes analyzed here https://linkagedesign.blogspot.com/

Yeah I have heard this discussion before some saying you want a ‘harder gear’ for technical climbs that you don’t want to be spinning up them.

I guess my thought is that with rocky/rooty low speed stuff, without using your 10T a 30x12 would still let you do like 34 km/h, which I think would be plenty for the small amounts of open flowy singletrack and allow you to use more of the cassette (maybe the middle) for lower speed technical stuff with closer jumps between cassette cogs, dropping 2 teeth won’t make a big change but just wanted to see what the conversation was around that. I would think the choice to go 34T-36T would be more for west coast, flowy type double and single track riding.
My max speed in my last XCO race was 46.6 km/h on descents but the avg speed was only 10 km/h. The guy who got 2nd in the race (in the next category up from me, Elite) and KOM standings for the race course avg’d 15 km/h with a max speed of 32.9kmh.
So I guess I’m thinking if I had a smaller chain ring I could use more of the cassette for those 10-15 km/h speeds

on the topic of chainrings: I’ve been on oval chain rings for quite some time. I use them on the road and off road. In my mind the voice of Coach Chad keeps ringing “knees like pistons” and that I should aim for a cadence of 85 - 95rpm. That’s good and well but perhaps I have bad form or there is some other issue with me but if I spin 85-95 on bumpy gravel on a high volume gravel or mtb tire I’m always bobbing way too much. Doesn’t happen with lower cadence.

Now, question: is this just bad form on my part or do you think the oval chainring could be part of the problem? What’s your experience?

Traction and gearing - it depends.

Think of a manual transmission car (anyone here still drive stick?) - if you want to do a burnout from a standstill, you do it in first gear, not third. And vice versa, if you want to avoid losing traction in snow or wet conditions, you upshift early and keep your RPM down, or do a second gear start.

But as the speed goes up, that changes. If you stay in first gear at high RPM, there’s no way to break the tires loose because your torque is dropping by that point and you’re spinning out bumping against the rev limiter. So, at higher cadences when you’re already moving, it’s hard to actually put a lot of additional torque to the ground.

I think what it comes down to is for the individual, what allows you to be smoothest with your power delivery. For me on a steeper climb / lower traction area, if I can carry my speed and get up it fast, I prefer a lower cadence and hammer. But, if I have to settle in to a longer climb or one where I can’t hammer the lower cadence, I prefer to spin with a higher cadence and in that case it helps me keep traction and keep moving.


Hi Folks! I recently upgraded my fork damper for the SID Ultimate to the new Race Day 2 damper with three positions: open, pedal and lockout. There is still movement in the lockout position which is consistent with the way the older damper behaved. Does anyone know if this is intended for the Race Day 2 damper as well or might I have a faulty unit installed? Thanks!

I have two of these. One came with a new fork (SID Ultimate), one was an upgrade to as SID SL. Move have minor movement at lockout to both. It’s actually quite small and I think it’s preferrable than if it was really “locked”.

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Another question…this time regarding XC tubeless repair kit: Dynaplug, Stans Dart or the usual bacon strips? What’s the general consensus among those who want to mimimize what they bring on the trail but also minimize probability of the solution not working…


I bring all three, not like it takes up that much space or weight.

I put a Dynaplug in my pocket tape bacon strips to my cables

Mine is a new sid select (not ultimate) with 3 positions and there is very slight movement. Really only noticeable when getting off the bike. Just a slight release when unweighting. Basically, it gives slightly (maybe 2-3mm?) when you weight the bike, but it feels totally locked after getting on the bike and doesn’t give any further. It’s supposed to open if you hit something hard enough, but I have not found that point yet.

Hmm, my lockout is softer than that…
I might reach out to SRAM…

Any chance you aren’t getting a full pull on the lockout cable? I haven’t had any issues with the SID, but my Fox32 and 34sc were super finicky about exact adjustment on the cable. Only other thing I could think is confirming that the remote is set up for proper pulls (I believe it’s 7/7 on that fork).

I’ve tried to use Stan’s darts many times. They have failed every time.


I’m a big fan of the following. It works great and super minimalist.

For MTB, I carry a DART as I’ve found it to work best for me. There seems to be a minimum hole size for it to work, though, whereas that minimum is smaller still for Dynaplug and bacon strips. I’ve had terrible luck with bacon strips so I don’t even try those anymore, plus they seem to go bad quickest. I’ve only recently tested some Dynaplugs and they seem promising to me, so I usually carry a DART and a Dynaplug Racer tool in long road/gravel rides.

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I don’t have cables for the lockout. I just reach over and switch.

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