While I wait for my Guerrilla Gravity Smash to arrive I thought I’d post my build spec and some thoughts about why I decided on some of the parts. I started with the GG Race Build for the Smash and then changed items I had strong feelings about. If you buy one of the stock GG kits you’ll get the best price. They do have standard optional items and if you really need something specific they’ll order in pretty much anything you like. Of course you’ll get the best price on commonly sold items.
- Frame: GG Smash – medium size with white powder coat/black graphics
- Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe RCT Coil
- Fork: 150mm MRP Ribbon Coil with 46mm offset and bolt-on axle
- Bar: Race Face Next R – cut down to ~750mm
- Stem: Race Face Affect 50mm
- Grips: ESI Chunky
- Headset: FSA DX Pro
- Cranks: Race Face Next R 175mm
- Bashguard: MRP XCG
- Chainring: 30T
- Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle
- Derailleur & Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle
- Dropper: 9 point 8 Falline 150-170mm with 1″ setback head
- Saddle: WTB Pure
- Wheels: DT Swiss XM 1501 i30
- Tires: Continental Trail King 29 x 2.4″
- Brakes: SRAM Code RSC with 200mm/180mm rotors
I was keen to try a coil shock to see how I liked it and that’s the standard setup the GG crew rides so I assumed it would be good. Of the coil shock options available the RS Super Deluxe seems like a good blend of performance and value. People are raving about the Push 11.6 shock and I am sure it’s rad, but the cost is very high so I didn’t want to spend the $$ until I decide if I love the Smash and also love having a coil shock.
Up front I had initially spec’d a MRP Ribbon air fork, but just changed that to the Ribbon coil. I wanted the air because it was lighter and I am used to air forks so I thought it would be easier to compare with my Pikes. Plus the air spring and Ramp Control cartridge make it a very versatile setup I thought would be fun to play with. So why go coil? The main reason is that as I get older the thing that stops me from riding day after day is joint irritation in my upper body…mostly tendonitis in my elbows. I’ve been thinking about that more and more lately. Finally I decided it would be nice to try a coil fork and see if that helps reduce the pounding my arms see. It didn’t hurt that a lot of the folks at GG and MRP that can ride any version of the Ribbon they want are loving the coil. One nice thing about the Ribbon coil is that it still has a version of the Ramp Control cartridge. So I’ll be able to dial in some ramp up to compensate for the linear spring rate of the coil.
I am getting the 46mm offset version of the Ribbon with a bolt-on axle. The shorter offset results in a shorter bike and faster steering, which should be nice at slow speeds when I am working my way through tech. The trade off is a bit more stability at higher speeds so I’ll have to get a bit more aggressive with my steering inputs. The bolt-on axle is lighter, cleaner and simpler to operate – although it does require a hex key. I don’t remove my front wheel a ton so I don’t need a QR axle.
In general all the current drivetrain options are pretty great so there are no bad choices to be made. I went with SRAM’s GX Eagle because it’s got a wide range, reasonable weight at a decent price. I figure the 50T cog with a 28T or 30T chainring should tame the big 29er wheels on our frequently steep climbs. I never see the other end of the cassette at home and rarely get there when travelling…except for high speed desert trails like The Whole Enchilada. Since I don’t race if I do run out of gears at Warp 11.5 I’m fine to just hang on and enjoy the wild ride.
I’ve liked my two sets of Race Face Next SL cranks and had no issues in over 4yrs of use so I decided to try the Race Face Next R cranks. These are a slightly beefier version of RF’s carbon cranks and GG stocks them.
Until recently I was a Shimano guy and I would have just automatically put XTs on the Smash, but my last set had a failure and I was a bit pissed off when deciding on bike parts so I thought why not try something new? The Codes are getting great reviews and they’ll mate up to the Eagle GX shifter for a clean bar setup. The main downside is I’ll now have to stock two different types of brake pads, brake fluid and bleed kits.
The DT Swiss wheels offer a good price to performance ratio. The engagement and freehub reliability/serviceability seems pretty nice. I’ve been running carbon rims on my bikes the last few years, but I thought it would be good to try some AL rims again and see if I find they transmit less vibration from the ground up to my body. Depending how I like them it’s possible I might build up some bling carbon wheels for the Smash and keep these wheels as spares.
The DT Swiss rims have ~30mm internal width. which is nice with my true width 2.4″ Trail King tires. If you read my blog you know that I love the Trail Kings. Big volume for a “normal” tire and they grip well wet or dry here while rolling fast. Now that Maxxis and Schwalbe are making 2.6″ rubber [which have casings about as big as a 2.4″ TK] I’m getting interested in trying some of their tires out. However, I figured I should run the TKs on the Smash this year since I have a really good handle on how those tires perform.
My 34″ inseam doesn’t like super steep STAs so I need a dropper with a 1″ setback head. Of the quality seatpost offerings out at the moment the only one I am aware of that offers that option is the 9 point 8 Fall Line. It works well, it’s Canadian made and it’s user serviceable so it’s not a bad choice. For inquiring minds a 1″ setback equates to a ~2 deg slacker effective STA at my leg length.
One other benefit of the setback dropper is that it gives me a longer distance between the saddle and bars. I chose to go with the smaller medium frame Smash for our tight trails so making the saddle to bars distance longer will give the bike the seated feel of a large frame.
GG offers the 780mm Race Face Next R bars and 50mm Affect stem as stock items in the Race build kit. I like my bars a bit narrower as I have to ride through tight trees a lot so I’ll cut ~15mm off each end of the bars. Having bars ~740-750mm wide and running a 50mm stem results in a nice steering feel for me so I should be happy.
I mentioned my arms getting beat up a bit from riding as I get older. Using a carbon bar may not be ideal on the other hand with a coil fork, metal rims and soft grips that may be enough to resolve the problem. If not I’ll try some metal bars as well.
I’m running with the stock FSA headset. I’m sure it’ll be a robust unit. I am kind of thinking about trying a -1 deg angle adjust headset to slack the Smash out a bit, but I want to ride it stock first and see how I like it before I make that change.
You don’t buy a bike just for the accessories, but some nice details in this area can really improve your biking experience. For the Smash I’m adding an extra set of water bottle mounts under the downtube. I also plan to ask Scott at Porcelain Rocket for one of his amazing frame bags so it fits under the shock. Between the 2 water bottles and frame bag I should be able to carry what I need for 90%+ of my rides and not need a hydropack or fanny bag. Once I started riding without gear on my body I’ve liked it so much I wouldn’t buy another bike that couldn’t at least fit one water bottle inside the frame. Since the Smash can carry a second bottle [only for dry/hot weather riding] and gear inside a frame bag that makes me very happy.
GG Customer Service
I should note that I changed my mind on going with the MRP Ribbon air and decided on the coil fork late in the game. GG had already ordered me an air fork from MRP and it was about to arrive when I asked for the coil. They sweat it and just changed the order for me. Sure my bike will be a few weeks later as it takes a moment for MRP to build my fork and send it over, but getting that level of customization and support is well worth the extra time. Thanks GG – you rock! 🙂
Complete Bike WTF??
What’s most shocking about the Smash build is not the parts I am putting on it, but the fact that I am buying a complete bike at all. I think the last time I bought a complete bike was 2009. For the most part I never like the stock build kits of complete bikes enough to purchase one and if I am going to immediately strip off a lot of parts and buy new ones then any OEM savings are lost. So typically I have been buying frames and then building with a combination of a visit to my parts bin and online sales from Jenson and such. However, GG offers build kits that are close enough to what I would want to use that I’m way more open to a stock build and since you can replace any specific items that don’t work for you there is no reason to give up the OEM price benefit when buying a GG bike.