Friday, November 16, 2007

Riding On Borrowed Time

Cranking out a ride up Prince Creek. Carbondale, CO

I should be skiing by now, but the riding has been great. I have logged more miles in the past few weeks than most of this season. Trying to ride the ‘Greatest Hits’, Fruita, Eagle, Carbondale, TRide and CB. A few weeks back I hit a new trail near TRide, courtesy of one Mr Micheal Guskea. Sweet, tight, wet in the trees riding that I love so much. The trail was still soft from being so new, but was pretty freakin good none the less.

18 road was an adventure, at dusk on my cross bike. I basically descended the trail coming down through the campground by feel, and when I reached the car, I couldn’t see the door handle. Up Prince Creek has been beautiful with the change in season, riding under the canopy of the Scruboaks. That place is going to explode!

One last ride in Eagle this week, I was working over the Bone Yard, when on my second descent, I crossed Charlie Brown’s (Mt Pedaler – the Peanuts) path. I rode back to the top with him, and had a great discussion about 29’s, suspension, and trends in the industry. It should be known, I don’t like 29’ers, and yes I have tried them – but I also don’t care for dualiies either. What stuck with me on this discussion, was how much front suspension. Mike Skellion has been riding a Roark Ti hardtail bike with 120 (Charlie was on his Kona single unit with a Maverick fork on the front – 6inches). Where is the point of diminishing return for a hardtail? How much is too much?

I have ratcheted up my front end in smaller increments, Mag 21 (50mm), Judy (60), White Bros (70), SID (80), FOX (80 & now 90). I truly believe you have to look at a few factors when determining travel on a hardtail. Quality of suspension, style and type of riding, frame type and wheel setup.

This discussion begins and ends with FOX, having ridden most other forks, FOX is where it is at, period. As a racer who likes to descend, I have really grown to like the 90mm, but I am considering going to 100, but maybe to 110… Efficiency, sluggishness, and weight all are things to consider, ultimately, I will go with what IF suggests based on my goals for this bike…stay tuned. The bike will be a 953 hardtail, smooth, compliant, light bike, that is still rigid laterally, and quick. Tires a huge part of suspension choice since one can tune so much in the tires. Being that I run a softer setup (25 – 28psi), I don’t feel the need for more travel. The flip side is with a little more up front, I can have better handling via more grip from the suspension.

There will be some more new products on this bike, and I will be playing around with the single speed as well – can’t wait to crack that badboy open on some Euro’s!

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