Monday, June 7, 2010

The Zeppelin Arrives!

I have been longing and waiting for a month and a half for this... and it finally arrived on Friday!  My brand spanking new Airborne Zeppelin Elite is in the house!

Of course, it's really not in the house, but in the shed.  But it's mine and it's here!  I'm so stoked to have a new bike! Many thanks again go out to Airborne for choosing me as a member of the Flight Crew

The Above Photo
After I arrived home and saw the massive bike box sitting in front of the door,
 I immediately set to work assembling it.  The above photo represents a mostly stock Zeppelin Elite. The only exceptions are my own Titec Hellbent seat and Truvativ seatpost, and a pair of Shimano SPD Pedals. As I mentioned in a previous review, I will be putting on a pair of much larger tires.
One of the tires, currently mounted on a Gary Fisher Tassajara
I decided against switching out the tires immediately, due to the fact that I am still not nearly recovered from my back pain. I'm not going to be riding any singletrack anytime soon.

What I Can Ride
I will definitely be doing some riding though! I have been off of the bike for way too long! Yesterday morning I got out for a short but extremely liberating ride (just on pavement), and today my wife and I cranked out several miles of USFS roads. (Written Sunday)

As I continue to recover from this painful affliction, I'm planning on easing slowly back into mountain biking.  The mileage will slowly climb upwards, and I'll avoid rough singletrack trails for at least another week or two.  That's why I made the call to go with the skinnier stock tires: less rolling resistance on the gravel roads where the traction and cornering power of a bigger tire really isn't needed.

Once I have my beautiful white bike totally tricked out, I will definitely be posting an exhaustive photo essay of my new ride.

The Quirks
There are a few small quirks that already need to be ironed out. I don't know who is at fault: the factory, or Giant Nerd's "pro build." But right out of the box I had a clunk at the point where the rear shock bolts onto the downtube. I checked out the bolt and it seems tight, so I'm wondering if it's just the wrong size bushing. Also, after just two short rides the bike has developed a loud creak in the headset.  It may just not be tightened properly... I'll be looking into it soon.

Finally, the Rock Shox Tora seems pretty pathetic (no offense intended to anybody).  I don't know much about this specific fork, so it may just need a stiffer spring or thicker viscosity oil. I'm used to air sprung forks, so the Tora is very new to me. That, and I'm not much of a grease monkey. I can do some of my own wrenching but if anything serious needs to be operated on, it's going to the bike shop!

The Sweet
Even with the quirks, this bike is riding sweet! It feels so good to have brand new components and a brand new frame ready to get punished! Once my body can dish it out, this bike will get put through its paces!

Your Turn: Any advice on the clunk, squeaking headset, or the Tora? Also, are there any things in specific that you would like to find out about the bike as I ride it in?

Update: I'm not the only one with a brand new bike: Fatty just got a beautiful Gary Fisher frame in the mail.  Check it out!


Todd H. June 7, 2010 at 11:03 AM  

Hey Greg...
Mine should be showing up this week too. From what I've read and heard, the fork will be the first thing to go. I hear it's tremendously undersprung and almost impossible to buy heavier ones. I'm thinking of going with a Recon Air XC instead.
I'll keep everyone posted.

Greg Heil June 7, 2010 at 5:38 PM  

Hey Todd, thanks for the comment on the fork. I have a Fox fork on my old bike, but it needs work. I may look into getting it rebuilt.

Definitely thanks for the insight!

Daniel June 7, 2010 at 10:49 PM  

Major congrats dude!
Looks to be a sweet ride. Heavy duty in all the right places, cant wait to see some more pics. That clunk, Id surely check the bushing itself, something is amiss, that is not a good place to have any kind of knocking noise. The headset Id just take apart and make sure it is all greased and seated back together properly.
I also have a Tora, it came on my K2 and yea, its an ok fork but there isn’t much there. It leaked once and I had it fixed and since then it has worked great, its just not very tough. I since bought a Marzzuchi (sp) Bomber that is just the shit! The Tora is now on my hardtail get-around bike and is still working fine for that lightweight application. Honestly if I were in your shoes Id put a couple bucks into that Fox, let them know what you plan to use it on and maybe they can even dial it in to your new bike, worth a shot.
Sorry your having such back trouble dude, take the time to heal, it takes a lot longer when you get old! Mine is full of nuts & bolts so is my weak link these days, so I feel for ya.
I wanted to share this blog with you, I know a lot of these riders mentioned in here but regardless its some funny stuff, but some also very true observations on the sport and the people involved, check it out if you have time-

Mark June 8, 2010 at 4:19 AM  

As you have been reading on my blog, I have been having headset/headtube problems myself. The other thing to check is whether your cups are seated properly. That might mean popping them out and resetting them. If you don't want to do that if you had a press, you could just make sure they are pressed in nice and tight.

Greg Heil June 8, 2010 at 10:04 AM  

@ Dan, Thanks for the comment, and the info on the fork. I will definitely be looking into my options with the Fox fork. I've got a little bit of time as I'm sticking to the gravel roads for the time being. Back pain really sucks, I feel for you having to deal with it over the long term. I'm just hoping that this is something I'm dealing with now (well, the past 3 months and counting) and that I'll heal and get over it. But there's no way to tell.

And thanks for the blog recommendation, I checked it out and it looks pretty sweet!

@ Mark, Thanks for the headset advice. I don't know if I have adequate tools to do the job (bike workstand, press, etc). I may just go to the shop. We'll see. But thanks for the advice!

Jeremy G.,  June 12, 2010 at 3:58 PM  

+1 on making sure the headset is properly installed. It's pretty easy to make a cheap makeshift headset press tool if you don't have one. A long bolt, some nuts, two big washers, and a wrench is about all it takes. Check out the section on Parktool's website about threadless headset service. You'll see a press in action and it will help you visualize how to make one of your own.

Greg Heil June 12, 2010 at 8:59 PM  

Hey Jeremy,

Thanks for the comment and advice! I'll be sure to keep ya'll updated on how the bike stuff progresses.

Side note:
I'm thinking about running a weekly series for all the Airborne related stuff. Maybe call it "The Friday Flight Crew Update" or something of that nature.

Whatever happens, I'll keep you guys posted!

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