Thursday, March 15, 2012

Introductions to the Crew and First Quarter Thoughts...

Now that the first quarter of 2012 is almost wrapping up, I thought I'd share a pseudo-recap of the few months past so far.
First off I would like to thanks again to two very special ) and Airborne Bikes.  These great companies have been instrumental in making the Bike2Death 2012 year AMAZING.  Without the help of their outstanding products and service, we never would have grown as fast as we did and for that they are owed HUGE props!  Thank you again!
Next I'd like to intruduce you to the B2D crew of miscriants I call brothers!

Jordan "Doc" Oldham (me)
Age: 29
Hometown: Reading, PA
Arsenal: Airborne Marauder AM (Hayes respec)
              Airborne Wingman DJ (also respecced)
              Rocky Mountain Flatline 3 DH
Co-Founder of B2D with the "Original 4", Jordan is also an engineer and commercial painter, working for the Wyndham Westward Look Resort in Tucson.  Jordan started riding and racing XC at the age of thirteen and continued up until he joined the Navy.  After his tour of service he moved from the eastcoast to Tucson to be with the love of his life.  Because of the drastic terrain changes from the loamy east coast trails.  He was compelled to up his game to more aggressive gravity/downhill riding and has never turned back since.  Jordan is creator and administrator of this blog and his favorite things are: new bike tech, haulin the mail, mexican food, classic hardcore punk rock and single malt scotch.  He is currently sponsored by Hayes Bicycle Group.

Martin "Martron" Attebury
Age: 27
Hometown: Safford, AZ
Arsenal: Dawes Roundhouse with Hayes upgrade pkge
Another of the "Original 4", Martin is our trail finding guru.  Feel like getting away from it all? He has the knack to find fun trails and great freeride locations.  He's also a blackbelt in iPhone photo capture.  More often than not, our best shots from a shoot come randomly from his iPhone.  Don't ask me how, they're just amazing.  Relatively new to mountain biking Martin started in extreme outdoor sports with freestyle rollerblading.  Once he took his first trail ride, the seed was planted and his MTB obsession grew, and grew, and GREW.  Now less than a year later, he's already at expert level trail and intermediate gravity skill level, and is only getting better and more comfortable...not bad for a blader!  He's also the best of us at guitar and the funniest...maybe. 

Richard "BJ" Knotts
Age: 25
Hometown: Tucson, AZ
Arsenal: Gravity FS frame, Manitou/Answer respec
Don't have too much to say about our resident crash test dummy.  The 3rd of the "Original 4" BJ always has a balls to the wall mentality.  BJ is a key motivator in challenging my skills levels in riding because he's always willing to push it further and harder.  Just when I think I've done all I can, BJ is right there challenging the sesh and ultimately makes us grow better as riders.  Also new to MTB, BJ also comes from freestyle rollerblading roots which explains his constant need for adrenaline and to push the limits of every ride.  He too is addicted to the MTB crack that we all have been hooked on.  BJ is also currently transport captain for all of our trips and sesh locations.

Levi "The Dirty" Sanchez
Age: 28
Hometown: Safford, AZ
Arsenal:  Kona Stinky FR
                GT Avalanche 3.0
Literally the craziest, yet most generously friendly persons I ever met, Levi is the heartbeat that makes Bike2Death what it is.  The 4th of the "Original 4", Levi has the same passionate obsession that the whole crew has, but more over the top.  Think it's crazy to haul the mail on a gnarly DH run riding a $400 hardtail? Nonsense! Levi would have you chasing after him after you realize he left you in the dust down the hill.  Suicide by mtn bike? Maybe. Crazy MoFo? Probably.  Necessary? Absolutely!
Levi is currently on hiatus to spend the winter in Chicago.  We anxiously await his return in the coming month to shred with the crew again.

Christine "Kitty" Oldham
Age: 36
Hometown: Newport News, VA
Arsenal:  camera, photo editors, hot looks and pink hair
The "fifth man" on the team and my personal heart and soul, Kitty is my wife and soulmate.  An aspiring alt-model, Kitty also helps with the photo editing and online promotion of Bike2Death.  In the next coming weeks we'll be taking her in the field to get some live action experience with her photography on the trails.  She's also the keystone of the family and the house, making sure I'm good to ride and the rest of the Bike2Death fam is ready to rock!  She's also the best mom our little ripper, Ian could ask for!  We share this journey together and I can't wait for more.

In conclusion to this hodgepodge of random introduction and thought,  I'd just like to say that so far this year has been fantastic!  With brand new rigs to my arsenal and the B2D crew to back eachother up, the year could only get MORE epic!  As we grow as riders, it's only natural that the group and it's idealogy will grow too.  With my B2D brothers backing me up, the 2012 Bike2Death season will get bigger, faster, gnarlier, and generally better!  Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Ride Fast, Ride Hard, Bike2Death!

Take a minute to check out the pics of the crew below!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Airborne Marauder: Flight of the Phoenix Edition part 2: The Phoenix Rises

The last time we left you we were at tear down and prep of the Marauder frame and most of the Hayes parts were still in the box, but in this entry I'm gonna Tarantino the story and explain the logic of my revamped design.  Since I owned a Marauder before for an entire year and a half prior to its theft, I had a good long while to get used to the jet blue beast stock.  In that time I paid attention, I mentally documented every inch that bike travelled.  I decided to redesign my new Marauder from my first Marauder design that went heavier on the components.  On the first build I had beefed it up a bit with the mentality of weight not a factor. I upgraded to a Marzocchi 55 R Coil fork, and a not-so-light Truvativ downhill cockpit and heavy pedals  as well. My naivete at that time thought that since it's taking a beating on the trails the heavier weight of the part correlated to it's durability. I found out through my experiences since the first Marauder build, that wasn't necessarily true.  After many rides, conversations, and research during the era of the first Marauder, I started plans to re-revamp her, so to speak.  Of course in September of last year, the first generation Marauder was stolen, but that didn't stop my plan to build the ultimate All-Mountain/EnduroDH Airborne that I loved so much to ride.  A somewhat blessing in disguise, the fact that I had to start from scratch because of the theft inspired the "Phoenix" concept and put my complete focus on perfecting the design, both mechanically but also asthetically as well.
As forementioned in the previous post, the aesthetic inspiration came from the the Navy F18 fighter jet, but my ultimate aim was make it burly but light, and especially, FAST!  My goal was to make a performance perfected AllMountain machine but also a head turner as well.  With the blessing of my recent sponsporship with Hayes Components, making the Marauder of my dreams just a little bit easier then originally thought.

I started with the supension options first, wieghing in weight over durability, air vs. spring, and adding or staying with current travel (I'd never go below what was original anyway).  After several weeks of back and forth in my brain, I finally decided on the Manitou Swinger Expert rear air shock and the Marzocchi 55 CR AER.  The Manitou Swinger shock is a heavy duty air system complete with air preload, rebound and high and low speed compression damping.  Unfortunately my sponsor Hayes doesn't currently make a 160-180mm single crown travel fork which unfortunately doesn't meet my travel geometry requirements for this build.  Because of that, I opted for the Marzocchi 55 CR which is a 170mm freeride air fork. 
After suspension decision was completed, everything else was simple and fell into place.  Because of my sponsor, I naturally gave it a full Hayes Stoker Ace brakeset front and rear, with full Answer Products respec of the cockpit and pedals.  On the cockpit I went with the Answer Protaper 720 AM carbon bars, Fall Line DH grips, 60mm Rove AM stem, and Rove FR pedals all in gold accent.  I upgraded the drivetrain to a 9spd system with an suped up bottom bracket and crank.  One of the only flaws that my original Marauder had was that because of how the chain foats in the rear triangle, added with the length of the rear derailleur cage, the bike was occasionally suseptable to the chain jumping from one sproket to the other on heavy travel hits.  To eliminate this issue, I purchased a slightly longer bottom bracket, the Truvativ Howitzer team with the Hussefelt 2.2 crankset, which allowed me the room to add a Blackspire Dewlie chainguide to add tension to the chain.  Combine that with a complete SRAM X9 drivetrain, and you got gearing that purrs.  For the wheels, I went with the best, SunRinglé Charger Expert tubeless.  I was once skeptical on tubeless because I ride some heavy, jagged gnar on the trails in Tucson, but after I converted and saw how much lighter and more durable my wheels were, I was sold.  The Charger wheels are incredibly easy to convert to tubeless and super strong.  After several gnarly test rides I had only one punture which immediately sealed itself in a matter of minutes...amazing!  My tire choice, WTB Prowler 2.3 in the front and WTB Dissent 2.3 in the rear, for no other reason other than their my favorite treads.  The final cherry-on-top bling is the XFusion Shox HiLo remote adjustable seatpost cause I figure if you're gonna respec a bike completely, might as well add the bling while you can, and it was a great decision as well. 
After a lot of waiting, reading, planning, more waiting, flipflopping, and being an undecisive basketcase, my vision for the ultimate Marauder was real.  Granted I always expected it to turn out cool, I never expected it to perform and be as awesome as it actually essence it surpassed my expectation by miles. 
Don't misread or misunderstand me, the Airborne Marauder stock is a high performance, gnar crushing beast.  For the original price, it can't be beat in the bang for your buck department.  If you like what I write and are thinking of getting a heavy duty All Mountain trail slayer, the Marauder is the only choice to consider below $1000, at $700 with shipping, you even get to keep $300 of your 1k budget! No brainer? I think so. So don't take this chronicle of my upgrading as improvement but just as a tinkerer having fun.  So if you're considering a new bike purchase, the Marauder is a great find.  All the plushness of an expensive AM rig at a fraction of the competitors price. And if you're a tinkerer or tech junky like me that likes to upgrade, the Airborne Marauder is the PERFECT base kit for you to start your dream build trail killer! 

Keep reading and keep riding! Cheers from Bike2Death, until next time...

Below are a couple of pics of the build process on the crank and a few after/action shots, enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Airborne Marauder: Phoenix edition update!

Special report update, the parts from my sponsor Hayes Components came in today.  This dream build couldn't be possible without them and of course the amazing Airborne Bicycles!

Airborne Marauder: Birth of the Phoenix Edition pt 1

As I mentioned before, I had been riding and killing it on the Airborne Marauder since 2010 and in September of 2011 my fave ride was stolen.  After a long month of searching in angry despair, I decided to let it go and focus my attention on getting a new Marauder and remodifying better than I had before.  So I got to work, researching sizes, specifications and resonable price to find the perfect setup...a setup to put all of my other builds to shame, one that symbolizes rebirth and strength.  Finally on the 1st of February, with the help of my sponsors cutting some cost, I had the means to order a new Marauder, order the spec parts, get to work on a project I dubbed the "Flight of the Phoenix" edition.  The name obviously is reminiscent of my stolen Marauder rising from the ashes, and being reborn stronger, faster, and lighter than ever.  My design idea inspiration comes from the Jet Blast blue paint that comes on the Marauder frame. That color always reminded me of the haze blue color that a few of the Navy's F4 Phantom fighter jets were painted on base that I've seen while I was in the Navy. Immediately the idea rolled in, make it lighter with the accents of black and gold like the Phantom fighters I remember.  This Airborne Marauder will be a lean, mean, trail crushing' machine...the Phoenix edition will rise very soon.  Below are pics of where we are so far: tear down and prep.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcoming the New Additions

Since September of last year, I had been in withdrawls. Withdrawls from riding my favorite rig in my arsenal, my Airborne Marauder.  "Why were you in withdrawls?", you ask.  I simply answer, "stolen", which usually sparks the same sympathetic reaction spawned from familiar experience.  It's an awful feeling having something that's a major part of your life being needlessly stripped away, we all can relate somehow. 
After about 2 months of searching, posting, calling, and searching some more, I decided to focus my energies on the new horizon, instead of mourning what likely will never be again.  So I started planning and saving, to bring back a new Maruader, better than before.  2012 symbolizes a new horizen in my life.  With two new sponsors this year (Hayes Components, ONiell\Azonic\Leatt) it's only proper that my flagship ride be the bike that has been with me on some of the best rides of my life! 
So with much planning and waiting (and some IRS blessings) I'm pleased to announce that my new Airborne Bikes Marauder has arrived and is as badass as it's ever been!  I also threw in a cherry new Airborne Wingman dirt jumper in as well, (Review for Wingman coming very soon).
So my house is complete again, balanced has returned to my chi, and I'm finally back in the saddle of my favorite steed.  Now, after some heavy test rides on her stock, my newest flagship ride can be modified for this years sponsored season...this Marauder will rise from the ashes, like a Phoenix reborn.  Stay tuned and check back in for full coverage of her metamorphosis!
The Airborne Marauder: Flight of the Phoenix edition will fly very soon!

Here are some pics from delivery day and some shots from the Marauder and Wingman's first rides

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I highly suggest you read this. Cooperation between the feds and mtn bikers should happen much more often. It's a beautiful thing.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Don't you wanna go here? (via PinkBike)

An epic shot to start Monday morning off. iXS Sports Division's Richie Schley riding some sweet, high-altitude singletrack in Ilirska Bistrica, Slovenia for the lens of Mattias Fredriksson.
(via Hotlines)