Above Les Roches in Plagne.
Above Les Roches in Plagne.

First 160km On My Stooge MK5

Cycling hasn’t been the same for me for the last three years. From 2016 through 2018, I used to ride over 8’000 kilometers. When we moved in 2019, my mileage dropped considerably before, during, and after the move. In 2020, and 2021, my riding dropped even further. Not because of the pandemic, but because one of our kitties was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Her sister’s kidneys were in slightly better shape. This dramatically changed our lives. From then on, at least one of us had to be home. Taking care of our cats to provide them with the best possible quality of life became a 24/7 job. My wife usually worked the late-night shift, and we would switch around 3-4 AM. Our palliative care included feeding both kitties every two hours or more frequently if they didn’t eat well enough. Cats with chronic kidney disease lose appetite. The sicker of the two, Chic Chic, was also given sub-Qs by us once a week. Besides both of us working full-time jobs, such care-taking left both of us often exhausted. I tried to maintain a regular riding schedule but rode locally and much shorter. In 2020, I managed to ride over 5’200, mostly road kilometers. In 2021, that dropped to 4’200 km. Our Chic Chic was a brave cookie. She got weaker, but she was happy that we were taking care of her. She far outlived our vet’s prognosis but sadly had to be euthanized in the afternoon of Friday, March 11th. She had been with us for 17 years. Palliative care now continues for her smaller sister, Chou Chou. She is still stronger than her sister was, but she may not be the fighter that her sister was.

On March 5th, I began riding my new Stooge MK5 on weekends. The trailhead is just two minutes from home. I’ve been heading westwards from Grenchen because time is still limited, and the trails out west are the ones I know. At first, steering was a little awkward with the MK5. The super-wide Ritchey Comp Kyote handlebar, and the lively nature of the MK5, made keeping a straight line in a steep uphill quite challenging. But this may have also had a lot to do with the fact that I haven’t been on a mountain bike in a while. With every additional ride under the belt, the bike has started to feel more familiar. The struggle to keep a straight line also has vanished. It’s starting to feel like a really great bike. On the flats, down hills, on technical or flowy trails, the MK5 is a really fun bike. I also love having more rubber. While I have spent the majority of my mountain biking career, if one can call it that, on 1.95-2.4” tires, I prefer more rubber these days. A 3.0” tire isn’t quite a fat-bike tire. It doesn’t come with the humongous air volume and is, therefore, a bit harsher, but it has a similar grip in dry conditions. Overall, it’s a really fun bike to ride.

I nailed the setup, too. There’s nothing that needs changing. My BB3106 setscrew bottom bracket is silent. I was worried about that because setscrew EBBs can be troublesome. There’s one thing creaking, and that’s the seat post. I used Motorex friction grease on it, and it only managed to silence the post for a few hours of riding. Next, I applied the oil that protects the inside of the steel tubes from rusting. This killed the creaking but made the seat post slip. I’m going to test grease, and if slippage still occurs, I’m going to test regular carbon friction paste. I may at some point in the future purchase a wireless Reverb AXS dropper post. For super technical trails, a dropper can be the difference between walking or riding the trail.