Setting up a P.3

Lee, I am picking up a 2007 Specialized P.3 for dirt jumping, pump tracks, and park riding. I would like to get the bike as light as possible without jeopardizing the strength of the bike. As I look for a light weight fork which is still strong, I am considering: Fox Talas RLC, Rock Shox Pike (not sure which model would be best), Rockshox Argyle 409, or the Marzocchi DJ. Which would you advise if weight is one of my considerations? Also, do you have the build specs on your P.3?

The more you click, the more I can post. Lee Likes Groceries dot com!

Hey brother,

I run my F100 very stiff. This lets me load the front end with good control.


– The P.frame is made for a 100mm fork. With that much travel you get about a 69-degree head angle, which I think is perfect for this sort of riding.

– You have no need for adjustable travel, so don’t mess with a TALAS or Pike. You’ll never use the long-travel settings.

– From what I’ve seen and heard, the DJ is durable but a so-so performer; they come stock on P.bikes. The guys at PUSH Industries love the Argyle 409; that is very high praise.

– If you ride very hard, especially on pump tracks, you’ll notice the flex of a QR fork. I do. If you consider yourself a tough guy, consider a through-axle fork like the DJ, Argyle or 36 TALAS. Marzocchi has a new Lopes race fork with a 20mm axle. Worth a look.

– Many racers run 100mm QR forks. They’re lightest, and they’re plenty strong. I rock a FOX F100 RLC. So does some fast guy named Graves.

– If you want lightness, and you’re not a total tough guy, I vote for a 100mm QR fork like the F100.

Ejecting from one of Weir’s big, bad, beautiful berms.

My P.3

This bike is pretty light, very stiff and extremely versatile. I ride it almost every day for commuting, DJ, pump, urban, trail and clinics.

Frame size: Short. They don’t make that size anymore because of foot/tire clearance issues for bar turning. Not an issue for me. I keep my front tire pointing where I’m going.

Fork: FOX F100 RLC. I wring the heck out of this fork. It has flex, but I only notice it after spending a lot of time on my 36 or 40. Once I get used to it, the flex becomes an invisible part of the bike’s handling.

But! When I ride a good pump track very hard, I cannot keep my front QR in place. No matter how tight I make the Shimano XT skewer, the axle shifts in the dropout. This was a real problem at Mark Weir’s pump track. We’re talking 3G turns. So I look forward to a more secure solution.

Wheels: Cane Creek Duros. These wheels are light, very stiff and darn durable. After a full season of DJ, pump, urban and trail, they’re still perfect.

Crankset: Shimano Saint. These are way overkill, but I bought them on crazy-low closeout. I’d be fine with XTs, but I’m cheap.

Gears: 32t ring with 12-25 cassette. The 12 and 25 are blocked out. Climbing the 2.4-mile hill to my house … always a pleasure.

I usually race the SX, but it pooped out at the Yeti Spring Series. The trusty P.3 gets it done. I qualified 14th in pro/semi — stoked!

Shifting: SRAM X.9 shifter and rear derailleur. X.0 works way better, but X.9’s fun-to-dollar ratio is awesome. Kind of like Shimano XT vs XTR. Volkswagen Passat vs. Audi A4.

Chain guide: Gamut P20. It’s light and simple, and it keeps my chain on. Done.

Brakes: Hayes Nines. My bike stops when I want it to. I never worry about my brakes. Done.

Controls: Thomson 50mm stem, oversized. 28″ Easton DH bars, uncut. ODI Ruffian lock-on grips, always.

Tires: Specialized Fast Trak 2.2s. Fast-rolling, powerful cornering and lasting a full season (the front looks great, but the rear is almost dead). Previous: WTB Mutano Raptor 2.4s. Another great all-around tire; better in loose stuff than the Fast Trak. On loose DS courses I rock 2.2 Specialized Chunders.

Seatpost: Super-long no name cheapo. The best $30 I ever spent. I get full XC height for commuting and down-to-the-rails lowness for braaaping.

Yeah, I like this bike.

7 replies
  1. zach says:

    First off if you are truly wanting to get into dirt jumping don’t buy into the hype of a super light bike being the best way to go. Sure being light is great but don’t do it from the fork and rims. I ride a DJ1 and trust me it is not light by any means but it seems to be pretty dependable and the last thing you want to do is get a fork that you are having to replace 6 months down the road. Here is what I suggest although small seems to make a difference in weight. Cut the seat post as short as possible, Trim any extra fat off the bars, Take the front brake off, Ditch the chain guide and get a lighter one, Pull a few links from the chain and change the cog on the rear to a road bikes, Change the tires and represent. Good luck and enjoy the air.

  2. Mauricus says:


    Thank you for all the info. This is why your site is the best informational site out there.


  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Zach makes a great point about weight. Durability — and confidence — are more important than lightness.

  4. LeeP says:

    I don’t get why everybody wants to run road cassettes. The large range of a Mtn cassette makes the bike so much more versitile. On my Giant STP I have a 36t front with an E13 SRS Chainguide and an 11-34 XT cassete in the rear. Shifting is done with an older XTR short cage. I prefer a SRAM drivetrain but this was all spare stuff I already had. I run 2.3 Kenda K-rad’s on the street, switch the front tire out for a Mutano raptor 2.4 on the dirt. The K-rad’s are super fast, I am able to spin the 36-11 often when riding on the street. I ride in the middle of the cassette on the bmx track and I can always use the easy gears for trials type stuff and climbing when riding up fireroads to access singletrack downhill runs. Out front I have a Reba air u-turn with 85-115mm of travel. Changing the travel really affects the handling of the bike. Put it in short travel on the street and bmx track so it handles quick, dial it up to 115mm for any downhill runs. There are some fun Motorcycle trails with lots of woops and berms where I ride. I agree with Lee that a super long cheapo seatpost is a great investment. Strong wheels are a must, I laced up some Sun Singletracks to XT disc hubs. 3x, 14g, 32 hole. Cheap, Strong and not too heavy. I built the frame up with versatility in mind, I’ve even raced and Alley Cat on it.

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    I here ya on the road cassettes. 11-34s are way more versatile — but if I had a 34 for the climb to my house, I’d use it! I’m better off with the 23 …

  6. zach says:

    the reason I bring up the road cassette is he didn’t mention wanting to ride this thing on trails or fire roads. A road cassette will give you good gearing for the dirt jumps, the park, the track and the pump so this way he drops the weight and he can run a lighter front sprocket set up as well.

  7. Walt says:

    I guess if your just jumping weight is less of a factor. But my bike: Azonic steehead with a DJ fork is a 35 pound pig for anything else like bunny hoppy or basic trials stuff. It slows you down too on the pump track. Go light and strong is the best.

Comments are closed.