Top three all time upgrades - flexstem to short stem?

xtaffa

Dirt Disciple
As title, what are the three things that money could/can buy that have most increased your enjoyment of rides over the years?

My top three are all very recent, with kit changes to my restomod ride (last 2 years really):

1) By some distance - a day's skills session with Tony 'Jedi' Doyle a couple of years back: Reversed 30 years of poor technique, trashed a lot of common misconceptions/conventions/online (including 'professional') wisdom - and the effect on enjoying rides, confidence/knowing exactly when something was on or not was instant; still no Hans Rey, but could hop, corner and pump properly for the first time in my life - and know why/when I'm cocking it up when I do. He gave a lot of insight into the fundamentals, and shared some cracking stories and wisdom from a lifetime in cycling - good coffee too. Recommended unreservedly.,

2) Dropper post: And not for Max Rad Gnar downhilling either; I don't even do downhill/trail centres, well not more than once every couple of years anyway, in truth I'm way too feeble to really enjoy fast downhill. I rag my rigid '96 Stumpjumper on 1-2 hr sprinty blasts through Hampshire's rooty, tight and twisty woods and peaky up-down South Downs routes. Dropper means I can go like a train but instantly drop the perch out the way to do as the bike's name suggests for pretty much any random stump, fallen log or clump of roots, get really low and side-to side through the trees, pump like a beam engine and really get the bike over on scatty flat/off-camber turns. Only downsides are; it's black not silver like the rest of the hardware, and I'm sad the Stumpy no longer feels like a helium balloon to lift when I hoik it through the house (600g - bike's carrying a third tyre around!).

3) Dropping stem length from 130mm to 60mm: Suspected for a long time that, despite my love of it's looks, the tiller was contributing to crap weight distribution for my, admittedly specific and limited purposes - including 2-3 front wheel flop/snatch based offs each year. Tried different lengths all the way down to 40mm; 60mm was sweet spot and genuinely transformed the handling for my OversizeBMX-cum-lungshangingout-XC riding; thing is turns out sizing is still great for me (17"/M 1996 Stumpy M2 & I'm 5'7'' with stumpy (ho ho) legs/long torso) - just not stretched out, bum high style. It's still on the 560mm original Spesh bars a) because that's what I know and love, b) because wider would've nullified the weight/position change, c) Trees!, and d) there's a lot of crap talked about steering and handling re. stems/bars, and the advantages of ever wider bars.

Ta.
 
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troje

Senior Retro Guru
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I never really understood how much difference a dropper could make until I mounted one myself on a modern hardtail. It instantly converts my mountainbike into BMX :)
 

brocklanders023

Retrobike Rider
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Off the top of my head I'd go for:

1- Dropper posts. As above, you don't realise how useful they are until you get one.

2- Decent tyres. Never realised how rubbish tyres were until I got Schwalbe MM + HD. Now when riding older stuff (not retro, just not older or cheaper) I regularly get caught out as they just don't work as well.

3- Modern top end suspension. Again, not comparing to retro but thinking back to the forks I had 2005-2014 my current Fox 36 are superb and everything I wanted the older stuff to be.
 

jimo746

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MacRetro Rider
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This is all sounding a bit modern for Retro MTB chat! Dropper posts??!! Shorter stems???!! 😲 *shakes fist in air*....

1. Anodised alloy water bottle cage bolts.

2. Lightweight stem top cap.

3. Aftermarket brake pads.

And I've never been happier 😆
 

xtaffa

Dirt Disciple
This is all sounding a bit modern for Retro MTB chat! Dropper posts??!! Shorter stems???!! 😲 *shakes fist in air*....

1. Anodised alloy water bottle cage bolts.

2. Lightweight stem top cap.

3. Aftermarket brake pads.

And I've never been happier 😆
Ha! Restomod/heresy central by here!
stumpy_woods_small.jpg
 
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