Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Kevin has been a road biker for most of the time I’ve known him, but recently, things changed. In fact today Kevin white knuckled this step up to the point where it literally blew his shorts off. So to understand how we got to this point, a little explanation is in order. I don’t remember when it was that Kevin started road biking, but he got way into every aspect of it—from training, to racing, to eating donuts. He was a certified roady and went by the moniker Steady Spin. He even had a local race team for a while. But somewhere along the line, Kevin got introduced to mountain biking. Actually it was a little over a year ago that Alexander took Kevin to a downhill park, where to everyone’s surprise, he turned out to be really good at not pedaling. It’s worth noting, that I had predicted this. Like me, Kevin has a history in street BMX, so all those bike control circuits are deeply embedded in his brain. We’ve seen this before. Somewhere along Kevin’s journey into mountain biking, he began posting Youtube videos documenting his progression. But unlike most roadies who take to the dirt, Kevin had all but abandoned his power meter, heart rate monitor, and cadence sensors. His progression has been defined by bigger and bigger jumps, and I’m not sure we’ll ever see roady Kevin again. Yesterday, he wheeled a downhill bike into my garage, that he bought used for $500. $500 seems like a great deal for a working downhill bike, but the more you learn about this bike—the less you think that. Don’t get me wrong none of these parts are bad, they’re just completely random. I don’t think a stock Giant Glory comes with cross country brakes. Or a single speed chain tensioner. Or the large ring of a two by as the front sprocket. According to Kevin these brakes overheat halfway through each run, and shockingly, he’s been having chain retention issues. Whoever sold this bike may have put a bunch of random parts on it to make it whole. But we had a nice little stack of replacement parts to work with, some of which Kevin bought, and some of which I had on hand. Our goal was to use what we had to make this bike just a little safer and a lot more reliable. Priority number one was to swap out this front gear with a proper single speed Chainring. This one was designed to work with a front derailleur, so the chain shifts off with any lateral force. Our replacement chainring has teeth that alternate between narrow and wide, which goes a long way in keeping the chain on. Also for chain retention we installed a downhill chain guide, complete with a bash guard. This one is made to protect up to a 36 tooth chainring, so it looks massive, but the price was right, and its red color against the green accents made this bike look like a watermelon. So, we dubbed it Gallagher. In the absence of a rear mech, we decided to leave the chain tensioner. But I did spend some time adjusting things and getting the chain line as straight as possible. Eventually we’ll need to install a cassette and shifter on this thing, but for now this will need to do. To fix Gallagher’s overheating brakes, we replaced them with a barely used set of Code R’s that Kevin bought off a friend. But unsurprisingly the hoses had been shortened to fit a different bike. I didn’t have a longer hose on hand, and at 10pm we didn’t know anyone who did. So, we experimented for a bit and settled on a shortcut across the top of the linkage. Although these upgrades were far from perfect or permanent, they went a long way in making Gallagher just a little more trailworthy. And so first thing in the morning, we loaded up and headed to Tennessee. Kevin had a score to settle at one of the gnarliest places I know of, Windrock Bike Park. Kevin had raced here earlier in the season and wanted to come back on a downhill bike to tackle this step up. We’d need to do a couple shake down runs to make sure Gallagher was up to the task. After our first few runs, the spring on the chain tensioner gave out and we needed to borrow an old derailleur as a temporary solution. But overall Gallagher was running way better than before. The brakes weren’t overheating and the drivetrain was pretty much doing its job. Kevin had already gotten the suspension sorted when he bought the bike, so that was working fine too. Oh, and the bash guard did its job. Aside from a few little odds and ends, Kevin was making it through each run without any issues to speak of. Aboard Gallagher, you would never guess that only a year ago Kevin was a full on road biker. Just look at how far he’s come in only a year. I’m not trying to make this about road versus dirt, but it’s pretty clear that Kevin was destined for this. By the time we finished giving Gallagher a proper shakedown, Kevin was on fire. So he focused his attention on the Redbull drop and the rather large step up that comes after it. Gallagher’s suspension certainly did its job because Kevin’s first attempt resulted in a massive case. But he rolled away just fine and was ready to commit to a faster approach. Brakes open, white knuckles. It’s hard to overcook a step up, especially one with such a huge landing. But man did we laugh when we saw this footage. Even I must admit that a shorter travel bike might not have treated Kevin so kindly. I mean, he could have had his balls ripped off. And so today, we welcome Gallagher to Kevin’s fleet. Obviously we need to sort a few things out on this bike, but it’s a pretty a worthy steed for the price. If you’re trying to save money, patience and persistence can often get you lot. As for Kevin’s road biking days, I hope we haven’t seen the last of them. But Kevin is following his heart and downhill mountain biking puts a big smile on his face. One could also argue that this is safer. If you want to follow Kevin’s progression and see what he does next with Gallagher, check out his channel in the link below. And if you want to see more from Windrock Bike Park, follow them on instagram. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll see you next time.