On Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 12:31 AM, Spencer
from Spencer Paxson
to Sean Babcock
cc Erik Tonkin
date Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 9:01 PM
subject bike review
Hey Sean -
What ensues is a total nerd sesh about riding the new 120:
Bottom line, the bike is suhWEET. I went on about a three hour ride (a.k.a. Shred Mish) at Tokul, east of Seattle. The rain held off and the trails were in surprisingly good condition, especially the one with bras clipped around every tree trunk...I hope the trail is named actually named 'Boobs'...dude, you are totally destined to ride it! In addition to the brassiere-adorned trees, my overall experience with the bike was positive...schrepic to be exact. I took my time to make the fit adjustments I needed, and was able to test the bike on a medley of terrain (a.k.a. gnar) - fast, flowing singletrack, techy rock gardens, steep climbs, long gravel road climbs, sketchy chunder chutes, tight switchbacks up and down, slippery roots, and some jumps or course. I felt that the bike excelled (a.k.a. schralped!) in all situations, except maybe for uphill switchbacks...but that could have been me sucking or staring at trees with boobs. I had my fork at 85psi and the shock at 140psi (I weight around 160 these days). I'm thinking I could even put it at 150 and it would be better for racing, but after a bit I was having too much fun to pull over and change it.
The 120 is a whole different brew than the King, like an exquisite IPA compared with a hearty Guinness. i.e. it felt much more energetic and swift than the King. The rear end also felt much stiffer and more responsive. Climbing was a breeze with ProPedal turned on, and the travel felt more progressive and supple than the King when I ran the shock soft on descents. In turns, the bike carves through the apex without getting skittish or nose heavy, and the rear end is stiff enough to really lean the bike into a power-slide, then grab like a sharp ski edge as you exit the turn. I was running a 90mm stem and appreciated the agility of the shorter wheelbase on the 18" frame, as well as the lower center of gravity of the frame design. I think one benefit of the longer travel, among other things, is that it gives the bike the "reach" of a bigger bike (i.e. extension when rolling over drops and rough terrain), but in this case, I didn't notice any sacrifice in agility and snappiness....or weight (the setup is at 25.5lbs right now with XTR wheels...it could be 25 with XTR crankset...).
As for the drivetrain, the 27/40 provided noticeable extra clearance, and the gear ratio made a lot of sense. On steep climbs and other sections where leg speeed was important, the 27 offered more reasonable gear options that the traditional 32 I've been running. The 40 is plenty big enough for most conditions. Shifting between the two was crisp. For much of the ride, I found myself riding the bike as a two speed, simply changing from big to little ring in front. I was able to do this while maintaining good chainline, and it was that much less to think about. I figure, for the fast, wide open courses where a 32/44 would be better, we'd be racing our hardtails anyway. After riding today, the 27/40 definitely seems ideal for the duallies.
anyway...those are my thoughts. I'm eager to race on the 120. I'm going to make sure that the fit on my hardtail is as close to my duallie as possible...even though the geometries are different.
Hope you've been well lately. You get in any riding yet this weekend? Catch you later.