Saturday, July 02, 2016

Stonemason

This morning I swapped out the flat pedals for clipless, taped up the chainstay and installed the GPS mount in preparation for a ride. I have never used a stem as short as 60mm, so the GPS had to go on the bar. It looks weird after always seeing it centered on the stem for so long.


I went out to do a loop in Granite Bay, which is my typical testing ground for new bikes. I parked in El Dorado Hills and rode the Brown's Ravine trail as a connector.

The terrain is mostly rolling with a handful of steep climbs. Soil conditions are sand and silt over hardpack for the most part.

My expectations for this bike were somewhat low considering my experience with the Krampus, a 29 plus bike that is a pondering beast. I figured the Mason would be a blast on downhills and below average everywhere else. Still, I bought it hoping for more.

Goofing around the driveway last night with flat pedals, I thought maybe my assumptions were wrong. It sure felt quicker and more agile than the Krampus, even with the seemingly ridiculous head tube angle.

This morning, once my familiar Time pedals were installed and the seat height dialed in, I immediately felt comfortable. Again, after looking at the geometry chart and seeing the straight post and short stem, I assumed a cramped, upright position. Nope. I was quite comfortable in a familiar seated position. Weird.

On the trail it felt like a bike. I say this as a compliment. Once I hit the dirt I really forgot I was on a brand new bike. There was no learning curve or adjustment period. Hills came and I climbed them. Turns came and I carved them. Descents came and I bombed them. After about 30 minutes, I thought to myself, This is what we should have been riding years ago.


As the ride progressed, and I pushed the bike harder in the turns, I noticed quite a bit of tire squirm. The rims are only 30mm wide, and I really think 40mm should be the bare minimum for a plus sized tire. At the pressure I was running, which provided incredible traction and flotation, the sidewalls were not getting enough support in turns. This would really be my only major complaint with the component choices. In my own experiments with rim and tire width, you simply must use a wide rim to get them most performance out of wide tires.


Everything else worked OK considering the price point. Shifting was perfect. The brakes leave a little to be desired, but hopefully they will improve after more break-in time. The fork is adequate.

It's only been one ride, and I just wanted to get some quick thoughts down, but so far so good. I like it.

Later.

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