Nikki had encouraged me to get up early on Sunday and head out for a ride on my own before my 9:25AM shuttle, but that flat sealed the deal. Wake up, coffee, BS session with her, Daniel, and Bike Town USA David, shower, shave, shuttle, fly all day, drive home in the still ant infested Honda Fit of Rage, home at 1:30AM, sleep.
What did I think about Steamboat?
Seems like a dumb idea, but it's one of those places where I wonder if they need a bike messenger. There's just something about small towns that you can safely ride from end to end with access to real trails in genuine mountains that has me hankering for a move. Unfortunately, there are no messenger positions open in Steamboat, so I'll just have to settle for an occasional visit. Besides that, I hate snow, and Bike Town USA is also Ski Town USA, so there's that. I'm an all year 'round rider, and I'm NOT going to buy a fat-bike... even if it's local produce from an organic ti farmer.
I'll be back.
What did I think about the MOOTS Rogue 650b YBB?
Any comparison to what I am used to riding will obviously be somewhat pointless. I had twenty gear options available to me with the push of a button, of which there were four but I was told to only push one at a time. I ride single speeds, hate gears, and don't need any more distractions than necessary.
The rear end has the YBB shock unit which provided 1.125" of travel. When added to the 27.5" wheel size, it gives me a figure of 28.625" which is darn near 29" and means absolutely nothing.
The tires were 2.0" Geax XC weenie tires. I know some people can make these tires haul balls. I am not one of "those people." I need bigger meat up front to deliver the mail. Ardent 2.4 or Ikon 2.35, if you please.
The stem was 90mm long, 20mm longer than what I run. I have piss poor handling skills and don't like to be all over the front end of a bike. I've learned my preferences from experience, not from a professional bike fit, so lets leave it at that.
What can I say, based on this totally flawed experiment? Within a few minutes, I was comfortable on the bike. Fortunately, the bike was equipped with XTR stoppers, so braking was not something I had to familiarize myself with (usually my biggest beef with getting used to any "different" bike). As opposed to being annoyed, as I am when I hop on a 26" wheel device, I was perfectly fine with how the bike rode. The rear wheel didn't seem to get hung up, BUT there was that 1.125" of travel that was probably taking the edge off the small hits. It did seem to spin up to speed a little easier... lighter tire/wheel combo? Dunno.
Would I consider 27.5" wheels for my own personal bike? Maybe. It would definitely be an option for a squishy bike, but since I hate those, my point is moot (not MOOTS). I would love to have a longer test with a full rigid application, perhaps somewhere with tons of gnar-gnar... like Pisgah.
So I guess the best thing I can say is that I didn't hate it. As much as I enjoy picking on the not-so-tweener size, mostly because it's getting crammed down the throats of the Enduro™ consumer, it may be a valid option. Apples to apples, there would be over 1/4lb reduction in rotating weight which would be moved closer to the center of the wheel... that's science and shit. Would it still roll over trail junk majestically? Put another check in the "Dunno" box.
I always worry when I get these "opportunities" to travel to exotic locations but have to ride the bike handed to me. It has taken me years to acquire my quiver of bikes that are suited to the way I ride and where I ride them. I do not always make friends with something, not matter how wünderfül it should be (see the failed XX1/full squish 47 day money suck experiment). For me to say that I was comfortable says a lot without saying too much.
Just wish I had more time on the wheels and had a chance to get it out on some more aggressive terrain.
I am packed up and ready for the Southern Single Speed Championships this weekend.
And no, I did not forget about Interbike, but all this Steamboat talk has forced me to take my Enduro™ bashing to Facebook.