Sunday, March 3, 2013
Performs as expected, performs as hoped.
30 miles, no back pain. The suspension system on this bike just plain works. The air/air system and "Brain" rear suspension kept bobbing to a minimum while smoothing out the trail into a magic carpet. The 29" wheels roll over things more easily, and handled just fine in tight trails like The Briar Patch. As far as I'm concerned, the old 26" wheel standard is as dead as disco. Unexpectedly but pleasantly, the 29's float over loose sand much more easily than 26's. The 27.8 lbs weight didn't feel noticeably more heavy than its predecessor's 25-ish lbs (-ish = depending on tires). The 2x10 SRAM drivetrain shifted nicely, and the hop between the two rings was usually in the ballpark for a quick uphill/downhill shift. On flat land, set it and forget it on the big ring, then fine-tune with the cogs. Jury's still out on durability.
The world has turned and the mountain bike has changed. Oddly, it's not radically or even much noticeably different than anything available a decade ago. (The preceding decade had much more evident change, though not all of it good.) It's just that it's all integrated and smoothly working together.
Got to change out those stock hardpack tires for something a little more apropos of the sand and mud on the local trails. That's a shame, because those stock S-Works Fast Traks are darned nice tires, and they are pricey. I wish Specialized would just slap some cheap test skins on, and assume that riders will pick the right tire for their conditions. Just like they do with pedals. So now I've got to buy something more like this, and either save those fancy stock tires for some hypothetical future trip out west, or try to unload'em on ebay. Whichever the case, they unexpectedly dumped my ass in a clay mud crossing, and they must go ASAP.
ps- An informative review of both of these tires.
But that's a small, easily fixed quibble. The rest of the day, the rest of the bike performed brilliantly. I'm a happy camper, ready to go do some camping.