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 is...in 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!