Tag Archives: Mountain Bike

Microshift Advent X. Is it worth leaving the big brands?

During COVID I have heard a lot of buzz. Buzz about tire shortages. Buzz about complete bike shortages. Buzz about SRAM and Shimano drivetrain part shortages. But through it all, the buzz that perked my ear was the buzz around Microshift’s Advent X. Cheap and quality drivetrain parts that were actually available during the pandemic!

Perfect timing too because my SRAM GX 10 speed stuff had seen better days. The derailleur has met the ground a few too many times (as did my body) over the 2+ years that I had been riding it. The shifter for some reason seemed to lose tension in the clock spring inside making the chain ghost shift on me when in the smallest 2 cogs.

I was interested in the Box 9 Prime group but began hearing the Advent X name comparing the two in YouTube videos.

A wide range (11-48) 10 speed group for ~$170!Shit, even if it doesn’t last, why not!?!? So I took my time ordering each part when it was in stock and a month later I was all set to do the swap!

First thing to note is the minimalist packaging! Simply an unbleached cardboard box! I just wish they didn’t put the parts in a plastic bag! But anyways, hats off to reducing packaging in the bike world Microshift!

In just playing with the parts the first thing to note is the ratcheting clutch. The clutch is nice and firm. I don’t get why the ratchet is necessary but there’s a lot of things in life I just accept and move on. Haha!

The shifter has a great feel to it. Thumb that grippy pad and go up 4 gears in a full stroke! I tend to use that often when on unfamiliar trails. The lever isn’t as long or close to my hand as the old SRAM GX shifter was and I kinda like that. I do have larger hands and like my levers 1.20″ inboard from my grips so if you have smaller hands you probably don’t set your controls up like I do and you’ll be fine.

The 11-48 cassette is pretty rad! 10 speeds are naturally lighter than 12 so there’s some weight savings there and the alloy spider pinned to the 3 largest steel cogs also helps. The price is what blows me away! 65 frikin’ dollars!!!!

Assembly was as expected, blah blah blah… but what got me was that I torqued the cable in the derailleur and after setting the limits it shifted up and down the cassette perfectly. Luck? I think so!

Next day I took it up a longer (by my standards) climb and it needed the slightest tension adjustment which was done while on the bike. That’s it since then. Shifting is firm and positive. You know you shifted based on the firm click in the shift lever.

The range is great! My old GX derailleur was only able to handle a 36t cog according to SRAM but it is regularly used with up to a 42t. I was running the Sunrace 11-40 cassette. Wow, 8 extra teeth are really appreciated!

I haven’t heard the chain slapping the chain stay at all so that ratchet clutch must be doing it’s thing.

So far the group has done about 4500 feet of climbing with ZERO issues! I’ll update this in a few months (Say February 2022-ish?) and we’ll see if I still feel the same. I hope I do because what a great initial impression! I mean, if this budget group lasts as long as the big boys, what a great thing for consumers!

Till then, stay safe, believe in science, love your neighbor, try black coffee if you don’t already do that, hug your friends, donate your old clothes, recycle shit, tell your significant other they’re hot more often, listen to other points of view, eat your veggies, pet your dog, jump on a trampoline, actively try to use less plastic, hold the door and wave at people when you ride by even if they don’t wave back because fuck it! Why not!

Fillet Brazed Hardtail MTB!

Growing up on BMX bikes, I always loved a bike that was responsive, accurate, quick and maybe even a little twitchy. Somehow I went from BMX bikes straight into road bikes, completely skipping mountain bikes, the next logical step. But in the past few years I’d kinda been missing the more “sendy” ride of a BMX bike.

But before this, MTB’s just didn’t seem that interesting to me. I tooled around on a couple at bike shops and demos years ago but they never really sparked my interest. They were heavy and the suspension just seemed to suck the energy out of every move you made.

I had written MTB’s off. Well, fast forward, like forever, I own a fat bike. Not only do I own one but I really like it!

Then my eye catches a few hardtail’s on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook! Myth, Meriweather, Cobra, Cromag, BTR, Orange, Fuck Yeah Hardtail on IG, Hardtail Party on Youtube and others… Simple and nimble looking. The 27.5’ers in particular.

Fast forward to August 2020, I already have the frame planned out, we live back in San Diego and I’m riding beautiful trails on the fat bike. Time to get going on this hardtail!

I began to use a new tube supplier! Bike Fab Supply! Andrew has been so great with communication and quick shipping.

These head tubes have some serious meat to them! Now they’re internally and externally butted but the ID of this one is just straight thru. It took a fair amount more heat than the downtube here.

The easy half!

I had already done a couple things for this build in Minnesota before leaving. That chainring clearance flat plate thing is one of them.

First time using a sliding dropout. These stainless sliders from Paragon are so slick! Seemed funny brazing them with silver but bronze and SS don’t fly.

On to the chainstay/BB joint. Shawn Pedersen brought up a good point. Miter the chainstays to fit near the bottom of the BB shell and you won’t have to remove any (or as much) of the braze on the seat tube/BB joint. In other words, the centerline of the chainstays should be below the center of the BB shell. I will definitely take that advise forward! Thanks Shawn! #spreadsheet

Paul Brodie even says to only run a tinning pass on the back of the BB shell until you get the chainstays cut and ready to avoid having to remove ANY of the existing braze. Noted!

On to seat stays.

This part is usually my least favorite and most time consuming part of the build. I’m usually too cautious with how much I miter from the top. This time I got a bit more aggressive with it and got them both mitered in one evening.

Borrowed a co-workers back wheel to check fitness as I didn’t even have my own tires ready yet. Haha!

I like small diameter seat stay bridges. I also like them to be curved. Especially when there are curved seat stays. Straight bridges are fine for straight stays.

This took embarrassingly long to get it mitred where I wanted it.

Then something happened!

The fat bike I had been riding was no longer. Side note: I sent Framed this pic and they replied with a 20% off coupon code. I would have bugged out making sure the rider was ok but, that’s just me. Tells you what kind of company they are.

Moving along. This Pike outta fill the void quite nicely.

So happy to have finally made or bought what I need to chase, ream and face my frames!

A little chase / face here.

A little ream there.

And it’s ready for the trail! Well… Sorta. I had accidentally ordered the wrong brake side slider from Paragon but I was so excited to ride it I took it out without a rear brake. HIGHLY don’t recommend it but first impressions were VERY promising!

Once the slider insert came it went straight up Denk Mountain! Compared to the fat bike it’s 5-6 lbs lighter and you really feel it when climbing! The 65° head tube angle was a little funny at first but now it feels normal.

First impression: WOAH! SO fun!!! Front end is precise and light. It bunny hops quite willingly!

The short chainstays make this bike a DREAM on the pump track! I wish this place was in my back yard!!!!

I still need to add cable guides but once I get a dropper post I’ll figure out where they all go and get this puppy powder coated. For now I couldn’t be happier with how this bike came out!

Obviously, I’ll post pics when that happens! Till then…. HAVE FUN!


Skatepark tables!