Wednesday, October 25

Conclusions and (mental) Contusions

Before everyone jumps in with their "told you so" and "no shit" comments, grant me some room here.

I think I've spent twelve years trying to work that into a blerhg post.

Things I learned riding plastic bikes at Cyclo Fist:

I thought I'd be more torn on the 29" VS 27.5" wheel size choice.  I am not.   Even tho downhill bikes are getting clown wheels and Enduro™ racers are sometimes opting for bigger hoops at EWS events, I still think the smaller wheels do what I want better.  So fast in the corners, so easy for a man four apples tall to move around in space, just a tad lighter for a man only capable of producing 128 watts, handling switchbacks like they're on rails.  Sure, when the chunk gnar gets slow and techy, I think they will "fall in the holes," but with 150mm of travel, you just need to go faster... mebbe.  I have more "fun" on smaller wheels.  Shoot me.

Oh, travel.  I thought I'd be super stoked on 130mm of travel.  Trbl.  All those bikes I rode with 150mm+ were just as good as I'd ever imagine a bike with less travel when it came to getting up the hill.  One of the last bikes I owned with (almost) that much travel weighed 42lbs.  Thirteen or more years ago.

Yeth, Virginia, there were fenders back in 2003.  They just didn't work.

All the bikes I rode this past weekend were under 30lbs.  And had more efficient suspension designs.  And advanced shock technology.  Please give me all the travel and thank.

When I was out in Steamboat Springs years ago on some kinda press thing I still don't understand why I was invited to, we got a little personal instruction from the bike park guy (Trevyn Newpher).  He taught us something that I still refer to as an "Enduro™ turn."

I brought that knowledge home and tried to break my habit of cornering like I was on a road bike, a bad muscle memory that I've had ever since I started riding mountain bikes. I didn't know any better, so whatever.  The thing is, it's proved to be much more difficult to do on a hard tail, even more so on a fully rigid.  On a smooth corner, it was very buenos, but add some braking bumps, rocks, scree, roots, what have you?


The bike would buck and slide and shudder and the temptation to scrub speed with the rear brake is overwhelming and I know damn well I should have set up for the turn at the speed I planned on taking it so I won't have to touch my brake but then I do and the bike wants to "right" itself (no bueno) and it just feels dumb.

I would find myself doing one awesome Enduro™ turn and then follow it up with two bad ones and then go back to my roadie turn habits.  It's hard to want to lean the bike under your body when it feels like it's gonna squirt out from under you like a watermelon seed.  Meh.

But on a wonderful 2017/18 150mm full suspension w√ľnderbike?  OMG.

I was taking corners at the USNWC that I know all too well from years of riding out there at speeds that I've never even come close to before.  It was easy to tell, because coming down the jump line on the Tower Trail or screwing off on the slalom course, I was able to carry way more speed into the jumps.  Set up for the turn, lean the bike, carve.  Zero loss of traction.  I was laughing and woohooing and smiling from ear to ear.  Insane.

All on 27.5" wheels.

I'm sure that it's obvious that I didn't like my last squishy bike, being that I sold it in 47 days at a decent financial loss (and with a certain amount of shame).

It just wasn't a good fit from day one.  It didn't elicit automatic shits and giggles like I had hoped.  Every bike I rode this past weekend did.

Also, I thought that I'd wanna stick with the 2.6" front tire if I went with 27.5" wheels.  I've gotten used to looking down on a big tire when I'm on my 120mm front travel SS.  I don't feel that way anymore.  The Minion DHF/DHR combo connected to a bike with moving parts never let me down.  It was insane.  It's as if people have been designing tires for full suspension bikes and not rigid single speeds.  Who knew?

So yeah, I am looking very seriously into getting something.   Soon.  Not soon enough, but soon.  Doing something different sounds incredible.  Not making every ride in Pisgah a single speed slog-fest sounds incredible.  Riding down Black Mountain at speeds (and a certain comfort level) that I haven't enjoyed in years sounds refreshing.  I'll still be "racing" and riding next year on my single speed, but it will be nice to enjoy a break when I need it.

The downside of all this is that I feel like I'm gonna need to downsize my bike numbers.  I've got too much redundancy, so I'm gonna have to decide what to do with all the bikes that aren't my Vertigo Meatplow V.7.  Everything else has the potential to be (with some sads) on the auction block.

Which adds to the PITA of getting a new bike, but it will pay off in the end.  That's a lot of money (and space) tied up in aluminum, steel, crabon fibers and titanium.  Three single speeds and a geared bike don't make no sense... even if I might be riding more trail in a month or so.  As much as I love all my children, it's gonna be time to let go of the personal attachments.  It won't be easy tho.  So many memories and races and moments of being an "athlete." 

But those are no reasons to hold onto things.


HandyMan said...

Just want to make sure you're comparing your apples + oranges from the same fruit basket properly.

Santa Cruz 5010 - "130MM bike"
Bronson - 150 Bike

The Bronson in Pisgah = a match made in Heaven.
Put your leg over one for sure, in the habitat.

dicky said...

I'm only considering the Bronson from Santa Cruz. One ride on it and I stopped thinking about the 5010.

good ol juan bree said...

welcome to making the correct bike choice, ca. 2010. bikes are fun. vpp is for rilz. enjoi.

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