Monday, July 16

Eight Days With Something Strange Between My Legs

My Genius 40 came home to me in a cardboard box on Friday. It has been re-assembled and shown a little love over the weekend.

What do I think of this bike?

The first ride with Chopper was kinda scary. I'm sure sleep deprivation had nothing to do with it. All I did was check the seatpost height and squish the bike up and down to be sure it had functioning suspension. Getting used to full suspension, gears, and riding with an Olympian all at once was intimidating to say the least.

Before the Super Duper D race the next day, I had some time to mess with the suspension settings and cockpit/seat setback. I also swapped stems with Zac (he had a 65-70mm stem on his small) so I could get further back on the bike. 73.5° seat tube angles are a bit on the steep side for me.

photo cred: Ride Sun Valley

Most of the trails in Sun Valley were not overly technical or demanding, but they were loose and exposed with lots of tight turns. Did I ever mention my extreme fear of heights? I spent a lot of the week with the TALAS equipped fork wound down to 120mm, tightening the slack 68.5° head angle up a bit. I still wasn't sure about the rear shock air pressure setting, and I raced most of the course in the 95mm rear travel mode. With my head still not wrapped around the smaller wheels and squish yet, my race time reflected my comfort level.

Throughout the week, I kept messing with things. Tire pressure, shock settings, and the brakes. The XT brakes surprised the shit outta me. Super strong, it took a bit of a different approach using them to scrub speed. No more grabbing gobs of brake. Just a light touch was all it took to reel excess speed in. Too much pull, and the front wheel was washing across the loose terrain. Shimano product manager Matt Robertson broke down the technology that makes all this power possible and showed me how to set the brakes up for better performance. Life got much better.

The best part about the Genius?

I used the Twinloc like a madman. 150mm for full blown downhills, 95mm (rear travel) for general trail riding, and full lock out (front and rear) for extended climbs...

like this one up to Oregon Gulch.

photo cred: Matt Robertson

Climbing with the bike fully locked-out was awesome, coming from a guy who rides rigid 90% of the time.

Another groovy thing about the bike?

The Isolated Axial Pivot (IAP) keeps things tidy enough that you can drop the post as far as you want. Would I ever drop it this far? Hell no, but I'm just proving a point.

By the last day, I had the bike sorted out a little better, thanks to Nate Sibly with Scott Bikes.

photo cred: Zac Overholt

One more lift assisted run down the Super Duper D course and my confidence level went up a bit... just a bit. Yeah, jorts and a t-shirt make you feel like a super hero.

This bike, with all it's 150mm of travel, is really meant for rougher terrain than what I got to send it down. Stuff like Pisgah, Wilson's Creek, something with drops, jumps, roots, rocks... impediments to forward movement. It will be a most excellent toy to play with once I get the "season" a little more behind me. For now, I've got a busy couple of months coming up, so the Genius is gonna be hanging on the hook more than not for a bit.

The rough part about owning this bike is that five days into our trip, we rode with the Scott guys who were all aboard the 2013 Geniuses. Next year there will be no 26" version, just 650B (27.5) and a 29'er. These are both Zac and I's preferred wheel sizes respectively. They're both offered in aluminum and crabon, have adjustable geometry VIA the "shock mount chip", tapered head tube, 142X12 rear axle, re-designed rear end, a water bottle mount...

They have made my new bike obsolete in a matter of five days.

And checking out the nits to pick, I have to admit I might be more into the 650B version (don't tell anybody).

The absolute irony of my new ownership of a 6" travel wündersquish will not be known until yinzers read Dirt Rag 166ed and see just how far I can stick my literary foot into mine own mouth.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to some schralping and shredding of the gnar this fall once I can get all my racer boi business behind me for 2012.

1 comment:

dougyfresh said...

Amazing what Real brakes feel like? Huh?

Shimano did a great job with the 985 XTRs and 785 XTs