Friday, June 20, 2008

changes in the midst

Times are changing and life has to follow.

• I'm married now
• I'm 30 (as of Wed)
• I'm seriously considering purchasing a home
• Having thoughts of expanding/starting a family
• Helping my wife build her business and travel the country
• A new bike is on the horizon as well so the full suspension that I've only been riding a couple times a month is being sold off. I am planning a full custom Ti hardtail and am excited about the prospects of a bike fit just for me and experiencing the feel of Ti.

I thought I'd try a new cockpit setup on my Soma SS to fine tune my wants when I order the new hardtail. I've been enjoying the Mary bar for a couple years now but wanted to give bar ends a try. I moved the riser bar over from my pieced-out Ventana and put on some stubby bar ends that a NMB member graciously donated. The setup looked good, I had high hopes.

I took the bike out to Hammy for a test ride. I immediately noticed my bars were higher with this setup and I should of checked that and tried to mimic the height of my Mary setup first. Oh well, I was late to the ride and just hit the trail anyways. I liked the setup a lot of first and was railing through the trail. After a few miles I tired out the bar ends during a few short climbs and definitely noticed the leverage I could achieve. Unfortunately Hammy is very technical and there aren't any long climbs and what climbs there are are filled with rocks and other obstacles. I did not like the feeling of not being in control or having access to my brakes while using the bar ends. I tried ignoring the feeling and floating through a rock garden which ended with me clipping a tree and going off course. By the second half of the loop I was done with this setup and was just wanting to get back to the car. I didn't like the feeling of my hands squished next to the bar ends when riding on the flat section of the bar, and I hated not having access to my brakes while using the bar ends. I could see the benefit of leverage during climbs, but our local trails don't have climbs long enough or non-techy enough for me to want to move my hands away from their optimal handling and braking location. The Mary bar is perfect for this, giving you a middle ground when it comes to leverage and always having the brake levers near your hands.

I was also finally able to test ride a 29er on a trail and get some good ride time on one. Scarf was gracious to let me ride his Redline Monocog Flite 29er for a lap at Hammy. I am trying to get some time on a few 29ers to decide what wheel size I want to go with on my new custom frame. After being frustrated with my rise bar/bar end setup on the Soma, I switched to the Redline and went back out for a second lap at Hammy. The Redline was setup with a rigid steel for which was something I had to get used to but the bike immediately felt comfortable. I didn't have the feeling of towering over the ground on a huge bike like I get on many of the 29ers I've thrown a leg over. This one had a compact fit but felt good riding through the singletrack and through the rocks and roots of Hammy.

I admit I have been trying not to like or want a 29er but I tried my best to have an open mind during this ride. I have to say I really enjoyed this bike. The bike fit me well and tracked great. I loved the traction I felt and I even liked the rigid fork. I don't think I'm ready for full time rigid riding but I didn't get the beat down I was expecting from it.

The Redline had a Salsa Pro Moto 17 degree sweep flat bar cut down to 670mm. This bar was awesome! I may of found something equal and/or better than my Mary setup. Having this big sweep bar also helped me feel more comfortable on this bike than I feel most other people's bikes.

Decisions, decisions....26, 29 or 650b??


meanjoe said...

Go ahead Greg....drink the 29er kool-aid....lap it up. LOL. I'm glad you like the big wheels but i understand your apprehension to commit to spending large cabbage on something you've had little time on. Good luck.


cornfed said...

big wheels schmig wheels. Who wants extra free speed and rollover capacity...


Go ahead and swallow boy, I know you're diggin' the punch.

freshie (and zero) said...

Whoops - typo.

I love how you started to write about your major life changes but the biggest one that got all of the attention is .... your bike.

love you long time!

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