Bikelopnik Update UPDATE: I Bought a Thing AND Rode It

I’ll just put the update up top because no one likes scrolling am I right?

Here it is:

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I met up with 3 other friends last night at about 9pm to do a ride up a nearby mountain - it’s not a MTB trail but it rides well. The first part is an old mountain road called “Old Mountain Road” that one could take a proper Jeep up, though it’s pretty rugged. Right now it’s basically like riding up a 10-foot wide washed out sometimes muddy stream bed. The majority of the rest of the trail is technical singletrack with LOTS of rocks, some stream crossings, a fair bit of exposed roots, steep switchbacks, and a nice middle section of high-speed ridgeline.

The bike performed really, really well on the way up. It’s got a nice low gear even though I went from 3x10 to 1x12 - the 1x12 is designed to meet nearly the same gear ratios as the old 3x stuff, which it nearly does. I don’t care about the high gears, I hardly ever use them. And on a technical trail, I don’t use the lowest gear because you gotta keep up a little momentum. But it is SO nice not to have to worry about a front derailleur, ever.

I was surprised a little at the climbing position, mostly that I had to raise the seat up higher than I would have thought, though I think I can move the handlebars down a little to balance the feeling I had that there wasn’t enough weight on the front wheel at times. Some of it is just me adjusting to a new bike, and starting out with one of the most challenging climbs in the area was definitely trial by fire so to speak. I found myself sitting to get up really nasty stuff, rather than having to stand. I don’t know if I would have done better standing, or worse - I just felt like I didn’t need to stand up.

On the way down, I found myself distracted by the dropper post rather than just intuitively using it - I’ve really never used one but once before. I think once I dial that into my brain I’ll really like it. There was nothing steep enough to really warrant a full drop of the seat, so I kinda put it halfway. The upgraded suspension was nice on the bumpy trail on the way down, and I never felt out of place. The bike seems so eager to go up and over things - both on the ground and in the air - that I think I’ll really love it once I get used to it.

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One thing that totally blew me away was the traction going up the streambed at the beginning. I picked very ambitious lines and was able to just pedal right through a steep, wet, muddy streambed. I couldn’t believe some of the things that caused me no trouble and no slippage, in really about the worst possible conditions. I cranked right through some steep, loose switchbacks, too. Amazing. It helps that I aired down the tires to about 20psi, but I think I could go lower because I don’t weigh much, and I used to run my regular old tube 29x2.3 tires at around the same psi. With tubeless and bigger rubber, I should be able to run close to 15 I suspect.

I can’t wait to get back on it.

[old stuff below]

I guess technically I haven’t paid for it yet, nor is it in my possession. Hopefully I can pick it up and ride it tonight - we’re going out for a full moon ride up a local mountain.

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So I rode the same bike a few days ago, but with a different tire size, which started me down a whole rabbit hole of pros and cons. But it came down to two things: one, the 29er is two whole pounds lighter than the equivalent bike with 27.5+ tires. That’s pretty important to me. And the other was that two of the guys in the shop have been back and forth between 27.5+ and 29 and what they’ve landed on is fitting their 29ers with the biggest tires they can fit.

The thing about reading bike reviews on the internet is that none of these people ride on the trails that I ride on. But the local guys most certainly DO, and of course they set up their trail bikes to match the local trails.

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So I’m getting a Santa Cruz Tallboy 29er with 2.5" front and 2.4" rear tires, both Maxxis Minion knobby meats. Like this guy but with bigger tires:

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The only wild card is an upcoming redesign of the Tallboy, due out this fall. But it’s rumored to have more travel and be heavier, neither of which appeals to me. So there you have it. And hey, it’s even a nice color!

The leftover funds from selling my car are now fully depleted. A new cover for the boat took about half, this is the remainder and then some. Plus now I have a full-suspension Trek 29er for sale! Any takers?

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