Project Long Legs: Mid-Term Report: by Grannygear

Enough dirt has passed under the bottom bracket to talk again about the Project Long Legs FSR and how it has been working out. Way back when, as this bike was dreamed up and assembled, I was not so sure how much I would use it, instead holding it out for more aggressive rides in techier terrain. However, I am riding it way more than I thought I would. Here is why.

Fun. It is a really fun bike to ride. And, as we all know, fun is good.


I mounted some new products onto the FSR to press it into test mule duty. That meant I had to ride it in order to give the Prime brakes from Hayes and the Geax Saguaros their due. So, when rides came up, I grabbed the FSR and headed out. The last half dozen rides have been on that bike and I have learned that it is even more versatile than I thought it would be. I had already learned that it was great in the steep or fast and rough trails. Duh. I then got to thinking that it would be a really good choice for epic rides where the epic nature was served up as a not-sure-what-the-day-will-bring, could be techy, could be tricky, could be whatever day. Now, I am thinking that it is awfully close to being my full time ride and weekend play bike and that surprises me.

And that is directly related to a few key things:

– It is not too heavy. Yeah, I know it is not light either at 31.5 lbs (likely 31 pounds or less now with the lighter Prime brakes and Saguaro tires), but that is not over the top if….
– It pedals well. The Mini Brain along with the controls on the Reba RLT 140 fork allow for a controlled and poised place to spin the pedals. It is all day comfy and composed.
– The extra travel, once you get used to it, allows for a pump track experience on every trail. You can preload the suspension, pop it off of lips and rocks, and just charge along on pretty much any line you please on a moderate trail.
– Slacked HT angle. With no pretenses of racing, why not? You need to re-calculate your weight shifts or the front end will push a bit, but when that is done, it will turn just as fast as you need it to and it never feels nervous on any XC level trail. 29ers do not need sharp HT angles to turn well, if you have a….
– Shorter back end. Decent length chainstays keep it playful. It is a dialed bike geometry wise for heavier XC use.

On long climbs, it is really a sit and spin experience. Sure, the Mini Brain keeps it buttoned down, but a 31 pound bike is a 31 pound bike and the higher cockpit set-up of the Answer carbon bars and the taller fork kinda makes out of the saddle efforts a once in a while thing. Still, with the Easton Havens and the fast rolling Geax Saguaros, it moves along as well.


The Prime brakes and Saguaros will get their own updates in time, but so far so good for both. The Havens have been holding up and I have just a tiny but of run out on the rear wheel now. As well, the new, lighter Specialized Blacklite Command Post has been perfect here. Yeah, there are times that I forget I have it, but lately I have been using it a lot more, even when the trail may not warrant it. But I have figured out what the Command Post actually does. Besides getting the saddle out of the way, the obvious attribute, what it really does is it ‘shrinks’ the bike. The FSR is a biggish bike, especially if I just came off of the single speed etc, but when you run the post in the ‘cruiser’ position…I never use the slammed position, not yet anyway…it allows you to lower your entire body down and bring knees and elbows into action to really move around on the FSR. Great stuff. Voila…instant bike size reduction, or so it seems to me. It feels shorter, lower and easier to toss around, corner on, etc.


So, will I use it for all my normal rides now? No, still a bit too heavy and a bit too ‘much’ bike. But, it will see a lot more trail time than I thought it would and that is a good thing for the old fun-o-meter. After all, riding bikes should, at its very core, be fun.

It also has me thinking about the Epic, a bike that I love to ride. If I could toss the two bikes, the FSR and the Epic, into a blender, add in some carbon fiber, and push the go button, I would have a lighter framed, 120mm travel play bike with a slacker HT angle, a Brain tuned a bit softer than the Epic, a weight well under 30 pounds with the right drive train, and manners that would be 90% of what the Epic is and 90% of what the FSR is. I cannot buy that bike right now, but 2012 is just around the corner. Who knows what that will bring.

I bet it will be fun. Here’s hopin’.