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February 13, 2024 4 min read

Join me for a look into my dream build enduro/freeride bike. My do-it-all full suspension. Most of my riding consists of climbing steep fire roads, descending singletrack and sessioning jumps. So when it came time to build my dream rig, I knew it needed to be able to climb and pedal efficiently while not sacrificing anything on the downs. After all, the motto is simple: most fun wins!

Working at AVT.bike has its perks, especially when it comes to building a sweet new ride! With access to some of North America's top bicycle brands, I pieced together this beauty. While many components were repurposed from a previous frame that had seen its fair share of adventures, a few new additions were essential – or at least that's what I convinced myself!

Frame: A Chromoly Steel Trail Taming Machine

At the heart of my dream build lies the Ferrum Bikes LVN160 frame. Handbuilt and powder-coated in Tennessee, this chromoly steel beast boasts 160mm of rear travel, although it feels like it has much more. Configured with a mullet setup (29"/27.5"), it offers the perfect blend of tire standover height and maneuverability. And let's talk about that Silver Artery/Teal HD powder coat – it's pure eye candy and easily the fanciest frame in my collection.


Wheels: Where Fresh Parts Meet Polished Perfection

I was particularly thrilled about upgrading the wheels. A new set for this bike would finally allow me to have a spare set of wheels. White Industries XMR+ Boost hubs are my go to. They are stiff, incredibly smooth and downright durable. I have thrashed these hubs for the last few years and they have been nothing but solid.

Venturing into uncharted territory, I decided to test out some carbon rims from We Are One. Despite my initial reservations, their track record with top freeriders and a lifetime warranty won me over. I opted for the Union rim upfront and the beefier Strife in the rear, paired with Terravail Kessel tires for a reliable combo that's seen me through countless trails without fail. I’ve ridden these wheels for a few months now and they have been flawless. I’ll have a long term review on them later this year.

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Components: A Symphony of Quality and Functionality

 

Every build starts with the headset and BB. I was able to use these off the previous frame. The headset just so happened to be the right color. The InSet 7 and ThreadFit 30 had been on the bike for a couple of years already. After a good cleaning, regreasing and some fresh seals, they are smoother than new.

The Paul Components Boxcar stem adds a touch of polished flair, perfectly complementing the steel frame's aesthetics. I went with a 35mm length and a 31.8mm bar as it just looks right on the smaller steel frame tubing. I moved the Title bars off the old build which are a 38mm rise and 800mm width. How many years are handlebars good for anyways?

 

Paul Components Dropper Levers set the standard. This one is a few years old but looks and feels brand new. Having tried many other options throughout the years, nothing compares to Paul’s version.


One of the unexpected highlights of this bike, and easily one of my favorites, is the Paul Components QR Seatpost Collar. It's truly transformed my riding experience. Given my height, I tend to set my seat at a rather comical climbing height! However, when it comes to descending or hitting jumps, I prefer my seat completely out of the way. Unfortunately, the standard 210mm OneUp dropper just doesn't cut it for me. Constantly fumbling for a hex key to adjust the post became a major nuisance, and most other QR style collars lack the clamping power necessary for heavier riders like myself. Thankfully, the Paul Components QR Seatpost Collar has addressed all these issues, making adjustments a breeze and offering the sturdy grip I need for a smooth ride.

I opted for the RockShox Zeb Select 170mm fork because of its 38mm stanchions, ease of maintenance, and straightforward design. Unlike forks with an abundance of levers and settings, which can be perplexing to adjust, this fork's simplicity allowed me to achieve the perfect feel with ease.

For the rear suspension, I opted for the MRP Hazzard shock, renowned for its durability and robust construction. Its 14mm damper shaft stands out as substantial compared to other coil shocks, reflecting its overbuilt design in all the right ways. The inclusion of the Shred Lever provides added stiffness for climbing and tackling big jumps, while fully opening it up smooths out nearly any terrain. Teamed up with a Spridenx adjustable spring, fine-tuning for any riding situation is as simple as turning a dial.


The cranks are an old SRAM GX Eagle set that were showing their age.To match the theme of the build, I stripped the anodizing and gave them a light polishing, which transformed them from tired and scuffed to gleaming with a modest shine. Knowing they'll inevitably acquire new scuffs soon, I exercised restraint in polishing. To bolster durability, I matched them with a 32t steel chainring.


When it comes to gearing, I prefer the simplicity and affordability of 11-speed setups. To save some cash, I opted for budget-friendly Shimano components. Given my track record with derailleurs, I couldn't bear the thought of damaging an expensive one during casual stunts. With the 11-42t cassette providing smooth transitions and a steel granny ring prolonging its lifespan, this setup strikes the perfect balance of functionality and longevity.

Handling braking duties, I've matched Shimano Deore 4 Piston brakes with SRAM HS2 220mm rotors, ensuring ample stopping power both front and rear. Given my stature as a larger rider, I understand the importance of substantial rotors, especially on steep descents. While these entry-level brakes have served me admirably for the past couple of years, I'm open to exploring higher-end options for potentially enhanced performance and refinement in the future.

This dream build represents the culmination of years of riding experience and tinkering with bikes and the evolution of my riding style. As I continue to push its limits, I'm excited to see where this beast takes me next!

If you ever find yourself yearning to chat bikes or swap stories about dirt and descents, don't hesitate to reach out. After all, the cycling community is vast and diverse, united by our love for two-wheeled adventures.



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