Yesterday I took my Niner out to Granite Bay to try out the new wheel and tire combination on the trails. The frame is an older Niner EMD, which sat around unbuilt for years. I bought it to be my race bike, but I never got around to doing any racing. I finally built it up a couple months ago using a Salsa Firestarter steel fork and many of the parts from the Salsa Fargo I sold. Until yesterday it had only been used for mixed-terrain rides around my house.
I have always preferred the way a bike handles with a rigid fork. For most of the riding I do, suspension just isn't necessary. I also like climbing out of the saddle, and the bobbing of a suspension fork drives me nuts. And to be honest, riding without suspension (and going as fast as others) has always made me feel tough. Until yesterday.
After only 30 miles of riding, my back and hands were toast. In my defense, the trails are pretty beat up right now. What used to be an easy loop where you could take beginners is now quite technical in places. I think as suspension travel increases, speed also increases, and speed tears up trails.
I don't know if it's age catching up with me, or simply the combination of an aluminum frame and rigid fork, but I am very sore today. My back is usually pretty solid, so I am a little surprised.
As far as the tires go, I have never had better traction. The wider rims really change the profile of the tire, increase the volume, and allow you to run lower pressures. The sand over hardpack is usually quite slippery at times. On this ride I usually have a couple close calls with the front tire washing out, but I didn't break traction even once. I am sold on wide rims.
The only pictures I took were of the "lake." The drought continues, and I can't believe how low the water is. The shoreline should be up near the trees on the left:
The dam isn't doing much work these days:
This morning, as I flexed my sore fingers, I eyed the Rockshox Reba sitting in the corner of the garage and accepted the fact that it needs to go on my bike. I ain't so tough anymore.