Saturday is the big day.

It marks the culmination of our “Run What Ya Brung” experiment to see whether or not it is possible for someone to compete at a high level racing bikes while maintaining a budget.  Jason will be taking on the Family Funduro on our 2005 Trek Fuel Ex8 with a couple goals in mind…

  • Finish
  • Have fun

To be frank- It is going to be extremely do-able. Jason is a very talented mountain biker, with years of racing experience behind him. He rode some of the course last weekend and came into the office Monday morning beaming (but that’s maybe because I bought him a kolache…) and proclaiming what a fun time he had. Now that Jason has had a couple weeks on the bike and has ridden the course, he decided there was two more major issues with the bike that could keep him from achieving our two goals.  The first was that the chain kept dropping and the second was that the front wheel kept washing out. With only a few dollars left in the budget to fix these two problems we had to get creative. Here’s what we did:

RaceFace Bash Guard ($35): The chain drop issue posed the biggest problem both financially and in terms of being competitive in the race. Jason got creative by taking off the big and little rings of the bike and using the front derailleur as a chain guide by dropping it close to the bash guard. The FD would now keep the chain straight and the has guard would keep it from falling off.  Jason also took a couple links out of the chain and shortened it to the limit.  This would increase tension in the chain to help even more in keeping the chain on the ring. A cheap but very worthwhile upgrade where only a small bit of mechanical finesse is needed. 

Maxxis Tomahawk front tire ($70): With the last tire, Jason was having traction issues.  He tried lowering the pressure to increase traction, but the old tire kept rolling and burping air from the tubeless setup at the lower pressure.  He picked the Tomahawk because of it's tubeless specific casing and aggressive tread pattern.

ESI Grips ($20): The old grips kept moving on the bar even after we attempted to glue them on. Our friends at ESI came to the party with a pair of their awesome silicone grips.  Although these were donated to us for the project, we assigned a dollar amount to them to replicate the idea of us buying them out of necessity.

ESI Silicone Tape Chain Stay Wrap ($9): The chain stay wrap was nasty from years of abuse, and without a clutch derailleur to keep the chain under control we needed something to protect the frame and tone down the chain slap melody.  Thanks again to ESI for donating some to us, we like the coordination with the grips!

Loam Wolf Fender: A gift from our friends at Loam Wolf. It’s not going to rain, but it looks very “enduro” and we’re all for style points.

So there you have it. A race-ready bike for under $500. Jason will be running the Instagram for the next couple days, so make sure y’all follow along to see how the race is going! We’ll see you next week for the final instalment of RWYB where we’ll detail the cost of the build, Jason’s results, and the lessons we’ve learned!