Sunday, August 14, 2011

Test Flight

Since I had to go up to the condo to set up for some guests, I took the opportunity to swap out bikes. My Jamis 29er hardtail was performing well everywhere except when things became steep. On technical downhills I just didn't feel comfortable. I didn't know if it was just my rusty skills or whether another bike would be better suited to the Tahoe terrain. I took the On-One Inbred 456 thinking the long-travel fork would be perfect for the type of riding I wanted to do.

I only had time for a quick ride, so I did the Highway 431-Diamond Peak Flume-Tunnel Creek loop. It was a good ride to judge the bike.

On the climb up the bike was a little sluggish. The 26-inch wheels tend to be a little slower anyway, and the bike has big tires, wide bars and an upright riding position—all things that inhibit climbing. However, when I hit the flume trail, everything changed.

Once things flattened out, the bike came alive. My speed was greater than on the 29er, and I was riding with my old aggressive style again.

I mentioned in a previous post that long-fingered gloves were a necessity. The manzanita will let you know who's boss.

There is a narrow plank crossing a creek that I have walked over a number of times with the 29er, but with the Inbred I rode right over it. Same thing on a very steep downhill with stairstep dropoffs. On the 29er I chickened out halfway down, but on the 26-inch bike I rode it out without much effort.

I like these little areas near creek crossings where the ferns have enough moisture to grow.

After the flume trail I bombed down Tunnel Creek at speeds that were probably a bit reckless considering the number of trail users, but I wanted to push the bike a bit. Still, I kept it under control and slowed to a crawl as I encountered people. As fun as it is to fly, you can't be a complete idiot.

I rolled back to the condo after a nice 16-mile ride. The bike performed well in most situations. Every bike seems to have a weakness, so you have to decide what you can live with. I guess losing a little climbing ability is better than losing some teeth.

With a few adjustments, I think I can alleviate some of the climbing deficiency. A seatpost with some setback would definitely help with the climbing position. A drop in fork travel would help, too, but it's just so fun to have big travel when the trail tips down . . .

That's it for now. Later.

No comments:

Post a Comment