Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebuild)

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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby Phil_RC_1 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:22 pm

One disadvantage to riding trails after dark,,, Skunks!! and other nocturnal wild life, but mostly Skunks! I've ran across a couple recently when riding around dusk. Luckily I didn't get sprayed.

Just keep an eye (nose?) out for them (LOL)
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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby Tomcat65 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:32 pm

Hey Phil!
Around here, animal control has really stepped up their game and the dogs and cats I used to see commonly are Gone...
Replaced by foxes, rabbits, skunks, opossums, moles and my new nemesis the lowly coyote. A coyote came across my property a few months ago, dug holes all over my yard, tried to chew the inner fenderwell out of my car, left the wheelwell trim dangling, and ruined the plastic front bumper :P
About a month passed and I was riding at the battlefield when I thought I could hear a cat in dire straits, I rode half of a mile out of my normal course to find a coyote pup, standing in a small clearing in the corner of a fence row. That pup was screaming like a cat, I didn't go any closer, I just left, I knew it's momma was probably closer than I wanted her to be, and I was closer to her pup than she wanted me to be.
Since then, I hear them often and I just stay away. Now, they've taken a neighbors dog, 2 other dogs from surrounding farms, one was on a chain outside, and there was a calf killed near here in the early spring, no proof it was coyotes, but the farmers around here are on alert. I'd say powder and lead will find them dead soon enough.

That being said, I have loved seeing the deer, and the foxes are cool too.. But standing water is another story at night. It's just black, no way to know how deep or what's underneath.. I've turned around several times and come back out, the same way I went in...

OMG... How "Off Topic" was that? lol
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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby Phil_RC_1 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:44 pm

Yeah, I read your thread (LOL). You've got me looking at tapered heatset spacers now. I also really wish I had gone to a through axle setup when I upgraded my forks. Oh well, maybe on the next bike.

Proof Skunks run on my trails! (LOL)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU4Uh_8k--Y
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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby Tomcat65 » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:43 pm

So, it's been a while again, changes up for the Schwinn..

Going 2x9 (32, 22t chainrings) next weekend. The new SLX 661 2 ring derailleur should be here by Thursday. Going to use the stock Revo-Twist friction grip shifter for a while. 1x9 was cool, but rear cassettes topping out at 36t, leaves me pumping really hard on the long ascents. A long ride in the last weekend of September left my legs and lower back in 2 weeks of recovery

Also, the stack cassettes have a bad reputation for chewing up lightweight alloy hub bodies, so.. I'd like to go with a higher quality cassette with as many cogs on a solid spider as possible. The solid spider takes the cutting, individual, pressures of the cogs away from the splined surface of the hub body. Yes, I overthink everything. I'm looking at the Shimano XT CS-M770 11-34 cassette. I see them at bargain prices once in a while.

The new wheelset; WTB Frequency I23 rims, I wanted the I25 rims, but the difference in rim width gets really heavy - Shimano XT hubs w/regular ball bearings. The sealed bearing hubs were appealing, until I read the awful reviews.. Short of going with Hope or Saint hubs, which I'd rather not spend that kind of $$. I am quite confident that I am able to service the ball bearing hubs, and in the long run, will be far cheaper and less down time.

A new Origin8 handlebar will be here soon. 760mm All Mountain Pro Rise. I've been running an Origin8 Protorq at 660mm with 10mm end plugs spaced out about 2mm from the bar end and the ODI lock rings out against them. That makes it actually measure and feel like a 690mm bar, it's ok, but the end plugs and the ODI rings are starting to make my hands constantly sore where I'm reaching out for the most possible leverage.

The ODI Rogues are excellent with or without gloves. They offer more cushion than you think they would. They have the flanges like BMX grips and have been very awesome when the going gets really rough and my hands get rattled. I also have a pair of ODI Ruffian MX with the 1/2 waffle pattern, no flange. They're grippy with gloves, but that's about it.

I've been to a couple of bike shops and the Hydraulic brakes are starting to win me over. The 2 sets I've seen and messed with, were a SRAM Avid Elixir X.0 set, (one shop owner advised against SRAM/Avid) and the Shimano XT. The XT chrome doesn't really appeal to me, so I'm leaning toward the SLX. The only thing it lacks, other than the XT chrome finish, is a contact adjustment. But most people say it's unnecessary and kinda gimmicky lol.. All I really want/need, is reach adjustment. I really like my brake levers close and the SLX set has reach adjustment. Not sure when that'll happen, but I Like'm.

The T-Mars dropper post; the verdict is still out. It works, but it's not a precision piece. It's plain contrary sometimes - And perfect other times. It seems heavy, but the weight compares pretty well to the other droppers.. I use it on the fly, and it's functional, eventually... It weighs more than double the straight aluminum XLC 350mm seatpost. So, if weight becomes an issue, I'll move it to my son's bike.

I have a full year on my RST First 120mm air suspension fork. No real complaints, except for the squeak. The rebound adjustment is tricky, but I think I have it worked out now. It makes a huge difference at full high and one click down, and at full low, and one click in.. but all in between feels the same lol..

Like the title says, I just won't shut up :P The Ascension has been a great bike so far, but I have been round and round with it and spent more than I should have. It's become kind of an illustration of a post I made a while back (rant), as I change everything about this bike, eventually, I'm sure I'll submit, and go for a new frame, even then, I might go Chinese carbon fiber. It's not that I have anything against the LBS, this is just my adventure, and mine to build.
Last edited by Tomcat65 on Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby wa_desert_rat » Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:33 am

This has been an awesome thread and I'm glad you didn't shut up about it. :P
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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby Tomcat65 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 4:07 pm

Just a couple of before pics from the farm. I ran my 22t chainring without a derailleur for a while today. It's going to make life a tiny bit better to go back to 2x9.
The layout of my bars, you can see the 10mm end plugs I use to extend my bars. The handlebar is an Origin8 ProTorq 660mm, ODI Rogue grips with flanges. From left to right, the RST First lockout remote switch, the Avid FR-5 mechanical front brake levers, the T-Mars dropper post release. Continuing on the right, The Avid FR-5 rear brake lever, the Shimano Deore 9 speed shifter. I love the Deore shifter because it works thumb/thumb. You can also see the 40mm carbon fiber tapered spacer and the XLC 70mm x 35 degree stem. It brought the bars up and back just enough, but I don't really want it to come back any further. I might change my mind when the 760mm bar comes in.
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Cockpit Schwinn Ascension
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Still on the Schwinn wheelset and the Shimano Megarange TZ31 freewheel. The FSA Comet MegaExo crankset with bashguard and 32, 22t chainrings. 203mm brake discs work pretty good with mechanical brakes. And OMG the CST Rock Hawks won't let go until it just goes mushy soup or the loose tree limbs roll out from under them. Loose rocks allow them to slip a little but they find bottom really quick and you're gone on to the next mess. But they pick up leaves and jam them against the fork and at the chainstay/bottom bracket joint.. gets noisy lol.. but they're heavy.. The wire bead, heavy carcass, and tubes are great for peace of mind, no worrying about pinch flats or impact blow outs from the bead coming unseated. The RST First 120mm fork has been great. Never bottomed out today, but in the rough, it does find bottom on the hard landings.
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120mm 29'er Schwinn Ascension Nov 1 2015 a
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In this last one, you can see the chain on the 22t chainring. It made the last climb up to the barn a bit easier, but no faster. The loop around the pond and back along the hillside and levee in the small chainring left me with no pedal on the steeper downhill, but higher gear changes made it virtually unnoticeable on the flats and in the rolling hill sections. I love the way that fork looks, and the frame has a lean and simple style.
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120mm 29'er Schwinn Ascension Nov 1 2015 barn
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Target, $299.00.. And then, To $$infinity and beyond! lol
Last edited by Tomcat65 on Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby Tomcat65 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 4:28 pm

A couple more pics from the farm. I used to hike out here a lot, but the bike is a LOT more fun. Deer season, Archery, or I'd be in the woods out back, on the more difficult ATV trails.
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Schwinn Ascension Nov 1 2015 hillside
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I love this lil pond with a fly rod and a few poppers or honey bee flies.. or an old Zebco 33 with Mepp's inline spinners in silver/white or gold/brown squirrel tails
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Schwinn Ascension Nov 1 2015 at the pond
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Start and stop, because I'm too lazy to open the gate lol.. All uphill from here. That alone makes it a good place to finish. This side of the gate is easy to cross on the bike, but can be impossible in any vehicle when it's wet.
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Schwinn Ascension Nov 1 2015 loaded up
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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby Tomcat65 » Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:49 pm

Parts came in this week, the 2x9 conversion is complete. I still dislike adjusting front derailleurs.. but I got it. I am using the cheapy, Shimano Revotwist "friction" grip shifter. I actually like it, but it's not a true friction shifter, it has a clicky detent feel to it, so it's 3 or 4 clicks to shift, but then as wide as the 9 speed rear is, it has to be trimmed a clicky as you move from highs to lows and back.. The (actually) 10 speed derailleur has a very narrow gap.. The whole thing only added a little over 200 grams. the Revotwist looks like it's all lightweight plastic.. The Shimano SLX 661 10 speed 2 ring derailleur works great, and is more compact than the old 3 ring SLX 661 9 speed derailleur, and it looks much better with the 32t bashguard. When I finally got it to stop dragging on the tire, it adjusted out quickly and fine tuning was simple.

My Origin8 All Mountain Pro-Rise handlebar came in and I got it installed. I got on the bike and was setting my controls to the angles I like, relocating the fork lockout, etc... And it hit me like a ton of bricks, my handlebar was just too high. I'm a broad shouldered guy for my size, and the more narrow bar, had me wanting up and away from it. This wider bar just draws me in, and now I'm anxious to get it out on the trails and see what it feels like in the tight and rough. The old bar being 660mm and the new bar at 760mm makes about a 4" difference that I had thought would make me want to raise the bar to compensate for the spread. Not the case. I'm down by 20mm already. Both handlebars have the exact same 30mm rise. I dunno, but I like it! The only thing I can figure, is that the narrow bar had my shoulders kind of rolled down together and my body was resisting this.. making me want to raise the bar. Anyway, I guess I'll be experimenting with shorter spacers soon. As a side note, the new wider bar made with 2014 aluminum weighs 276g, the old, more narrow bars, made with 6016 aluminum weighs 316g.. AL2014 for the win!

So, all together, with a shorter ODI Rogue "shorty" for the grip shift on the left side, the inner chain guide swapped for the 22t chainring, adding a front derailleur, the Revotwist friction shifter, the wider bar (feels like 790mm/31" with my end plugs), and rearranging headset spacers... I only gained about 200g.. lol


Worth it!

Taking it out this weekend, will post pics
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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby Falkon45 » Fri Nov 06, 2015 5:22 pm

Dude! The engineering you're putting into this makes me second guess every decision I've ever made when putting the stat together. Lol. I'd love to be able to put our bikes side by side, and swap rides to compare.
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Re: Tomcat65 won't shut up about his Schwinn Ascension (rebu

Postby Tomcat65 » Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:46 pm

So... I didn't get any pictures of the bike last weekend, I didn't realize the muzzle loaders were in until Saturday morning. No riding for me. The last thing I want is to be shot off of my bike by a black powder propelled, helluva hot slug of lead.
But I ordered something else for the bike, it's a FSA "the Pig" headset. It came in today, and I installed it this evening.
The stock headset had gotten a bit sticky, and on the stand, would kind of index itself like it had lock stops lol.. I thought I'd just clean it up and see if it made things better, but then over my long weekend, I looked at a few new models and the FSA Orbit kind of grabbed my eye, then the FSA Hammer, then FSA "the Pig", The Pig DH Pro... A lot of different ones grabbed my attention, but "the Pig" started looking really good when I saw the Bikewagon price of $17.99.... Sold!

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The lowdown:
1. It's heavy. But if you're such a weenie that you're worried about the weight of your headset, you'd be better off getting yourself a set of Titanium nipples. but it did add 93g.
2. Ball bearings in cages. This could go either way. But I like the idea of easy service and no down time, compared to ordering a sealed cartridge bearing
3. And for those who preach the "no more than 20mm additional travel on a fork" rule of thumb.. You won't like the 9mm of stack height over a standard headset. yep, it raised the bike 6mm at the crown, and it's 3mm taller at the top of the headtube. The cups and bearings are just plain Bigger.
4. Previously, the stock headset left me with 45mm of steerer tube to raise or lower the handlebar stem. Tonight, I'm down to 35mm of steerer tube. So, if you don't have 10mm of steerer tube spacers to spare, this headset might not work for you.
5. The worst I saw on line was a 50/50 reputation of failure from lack of seals or (most likely) lack of service and maintenance. Seems a lot of folks had really good luck with it though, if they planned to service it at least once a year...

The awesome:
1. The lower cup is oversized to accommodate 15, 1/4" ball bearings.
2. The top cup holds 22, 5/32 ball bearings.
3. I really questioned the sensibility of only having 15 load points in the bottom cup, but soon realized, this headset comes with oversized, CNC machined, chromoly steel, crown race and cups. Just a simple assumption on my part, but I believe the chromoly steel will probably hold up.
4. The crown race is impressive compared to stock, much larger with a polished finish.
5. That big lower cup almost gives the impression of a tapered steerer. It measures a solid 2" across compared to the stock 1 3/4"... Doesn't sound like much, but it's very noticeable.
6. The tube inserts are way longer than stock. FSA says it reduces the risk of headtube distortion and loosening of the cups

I got mine in a polished silver finish. If I don't like it in the daylight, I'll spray it with a transparent red and then clear coat it so that it looks red anodized. But it looks pretty good with the other polished bits and pieces on the bike. It feels really smooth and makes more of a difference than I ever dreamed it would. Probably designed with BMX, Trials, Downhill, and Slopestyle bikes in mind, it might not be for everybody, but I doubt I'll ever need to replace this headset.
Last edited by Tomcat65 on Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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