Tuesday, October 20

Thinking is hard

Second ride on the Shimano XT 1X11.  First ride in the mountains (proper).  Basically, the very reason I bought the dumb things.

We started our ride up Daniel's Ridge, partially because it was logical, but also because that was the climb I did on the borrowed ROS9 this past winter that made me think maybe, jut maybe, I might want a geared bike more often.  I cleaned the climb then.  I did not succeed on Saturday.  More a reflection of my reduced abilities from the previous night of doing bad things than the newly attached bits on the Stickel.

There is one glaring flaw in my current setup.  Probably obvious to most.  The 150mm Pike plows through just about everything in Pisgah.  That would be just great... if it wasn't followed down the hill by a 0mm travel rear end.  When you take the chunk gnar that is Pisgah and bury it under a couple of week's worth of leaves?  Things get exciting.

I heard my new Trail 245 rim bottom out... more times than I can count.  A decent testimonial regarding Industry Nine's statement regarding the increased durability of the new design:

"We have also improved impact resistance with a thicker bead wall and tapered downwall construction that puts more material in the “impact” zone where it's needed most."

I expected to find at least one ding in the rim.  At least.  I couldn't find one.

I have been riding the Stickel with the Pike on it for more than a year now.  You think I'd be used to this issue by now.  Wide open descents with good lines of sight (like out West) aren't so bad, or even when I'm riding trails that I'm familiar with (Cove Creek, Butter, Long Branch), but when things start getting hairy on a trail I ride once or twice a year (Bennett Gap)... I can hear my bike hating me.  I can't get the back wheel out of the way on time, and it feels like wheels are coming off the bus.

So I found myself thinking more and more about the Evil Following.

It's just about everything I would want in a full suspension bike... assuming I actually want a full suspension bike... which I don't know if I do. Such consternation almost ruined my post ride burrito with a jumble of confused feels.  Touching it at The Hub didn't make it any easier.  Shit.

The logical solution would be to take the Pike down to 120mm or so.  The height of the fjork kinda boogers up the climbing abilities of the bike anyways, so the decrease in travel might be an across the board benefit.   I wouldn't be as tempted to go so blindly fast with a steeper head tube angle and 20% less stupidity-enabling monkey motion.   The frame was designed around 100mm and/or a rigid frok after all.

All this thinking has me staring at the rigid Vertigo and thinking that at least with that bike, I go as fast as I can allow, given the limitations, and everything is a challenge. 

But the off-"season" isn't about challenges.  It's about fun, and friends, and slacking, and burritos, and crisp weather, and... as little thinking as possible.

Damn it.

I guess I should mention my ass.  Gears. They're not only a figurative pain in the ass, they're a literal pain in the ass as well.  So much seated climbing, I now understand all those threads on MTBR asking "which saddle would be most comfortable on my 29er/650b?"

I get that I can just stand up and give my ass a break.  I also understand that if I'm driving my car and sweating, I can turn on the AC... but usually I'm not paying attention to it until someone says, "mind if I turn on the AC?  I'm dying over here."

And one more nit to pick.  When I'm climbing up some tech-gnar in my 32X42, there's a chance I might stall.  So in order to get started again, I have to push up to a better spot, back pedal to orientate the pedals where they need to be...

and the chain drops down two cogs in less than one rotation.  Sweet.

So now, get off the bike, lift it up, pedal forward to place the pedals where I need them or click the shifter a couple times to line the derailleur back up with the cassette and start in the 32 tooth cog on a climb that knocked me out with a 42 tooth... or just go back to single speeding because I would never have to think about any of this since I woulda been walking the whole time.

Gonna slide the drop outs back and put on a bigger meat next.

Trying to avoid the whole "baby with the bath water" scenario for now.


Anonymous said...

you don't have those electronic shifters do yah?

those are just stupidity at its best, having taken years of electronics and have worked on many projects with electronics (from weapon systems to covert systems etc...) and seeing the failure rate of electronics... (MTBF etc..) I suspect the solenoid, coils, microelectronics etc... will get the sht beat out of them on a mtb. They won't last long. Plus, then comes the damn battery... more complexity to the equation equals painful headaches.

I wouldn't touch that stuff unless you have money to blow away.
I like my 8 speed cassette. Hard to find now a days, but it works... easy to adjust. Able to get out of painful positions (ie stuck many miles from human existence with tools etc..).

people are stupid switching to "fly by wire" on bikes... costly it will be.
Just saying... been there, done that for over 20 years with a couple of papers in electronics (training)

Anonymous said...

Soooo you can't get a dualie and go full ENDURO after just two rides. That is just not right. I say, lower the travel and when pushing up the hill, get your pedal in position with forward rotation before you stop pushing up the hill (done with your non pushing hand, duh). You can't go from full on luddite to full enduro in such a short amount of time. The Earth would split in half 'er sumpthin'.

You know who.

Anonymous said...

Singlespeed is the only choice for hacks like us. You can try and "Fight the Power", but save yourself some cash and just ride your SS with gears until you are bored, then go back to 100% SS. Remember the Specialized?

Rob said...

Repeating the same mistakes over and over again means quality blog fodder.

Anonymous said...

I think the Evil would be a bad idea, but then is the name of your blog...carry on. I'll take dibs on the drive train when your project inevitably implodes though.

Anonymous said...

Definition of insanity, good job.