Sunday, November 3, 2013

Trek Factory Demo, Niner and Gryphon, Selling News

Quite a bit of bike action over here in the B&P world this weekend. Friday, Sam and I rode to a playground and made a grocery run to Kroger:

Saturday morning, I hit P1 with my Niner. Considering our torrential storm on Halloween, just two days ago, the trails were in pretty good shape. I, however, wasn't feeling great, and did only one lap. But I did take a few better pics of my SIR9 when I stopped for a breather:

I hadn't ridden my Thudbuster for a while. With that and my sus fork, I had in the back of my mind that this combo could replace my FSR. At first, the Thuddy felt completely strange. In a bad way: I'd feel the rear wheel hit an obstacle, then the seat would kind of sink beneath me. But I think there's a technique, or at least an adaptation, to riding a suspension seatpost, because after a mile or two it felt much more normal. I think the key is to treat it like a regular hardtail, and just enjoy the unexpected comfort.

The thing that really bugged me about this ride was my handlebar. I put on my On One Fleegle bar again, and didn't like it again. Too stiff, weird bend. I keep thinking this bar should work well, being a compromise between a normal three to nine degree bend bar and a big sweep bar (like the On One Mary, 45 degrees), but it never works out that way.

No good shot of the bar on my bike--I took it off as soon as I got home and threw it in my old parts bin. For the last time. In its place, I put on the alarmingly similar Salsa Bend 2 bar. We'll see how that goes.

Sunday was also decent, so I took my be-Maryed Gryphon for a lap of P2. The Gryphon is a smooth rider, but the tires I had on there (Nanoraptor front, Race King rear) were completely wrong for a trail covered in slick leaves. It wasn't a confidence inspiring ride.

At least, with the Marys flipped up, I was able to cruise through a lap with zero complaints from my back.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday... was also the Trek Factory demo at P2:

I snagged a ride on a $3880 Trek Superfly 9.8:

Carbon frame, 21.5" size:

This was only my second ride on a carbon fiber frame. I'm basically a steel bike fan, preferring their toughness, cheapness, and springy feel over carpet fiber frames. A test ride a few years back on an older Gary Fisher Superfly confirmed by biases: it was smooth, and light, but just felt dead to my pedaling efforts. This Trek was different. Not quite as smooth, but more responsive. It felt...good.

I've also kind of blown off 15mm through axle front ends, but this bike was super stable through the rough and down the hills:

More biases tested: I've never liked slack head angle bikes (for example, see my Canfield review), but as I said, the Trek was great downhill and also fine uphills and through the twistys. Just last night, I was looking at the "front-center" of my bikes, thinking my ideal front-center range was 640~660mm (the front-center is how far the front axle is from the bottom bracket. It's based on top tube length, head tube angle, fork length, and fork rake. It's somewhat frame size dependent, but also affects how a bike handles). The Trek clocks in at 717mm, well outside my range. This needs some thought.

I also really liked the XT hydro brakes: strong and silent, with good modulation. The push button fork lockout was slick, though I didn't care for the thin, weight weenie grips:

This was my first experience with a silent clutch derailer. I tried it both on and off, and it did reduce chain slap.

The Bontrager tires were a nice change from my nearly slick tires on my first lap. As much as anything, they were probably responsible for the confidence I felt with the Trek.

Overall, I had a good time on the Trek. It didn't feel super light (even though it's spec'd with a titanium railed saddle!), but it was easily capable of everything I threw at it. I have to admit, though, I was a little shocked at the price: nearly $4000. That's well outside what I would ever spend on a bike, but it was a good chance to try some new stuff and challenge my assumptions.

In my bike fleet news, I sold my Blackbuck to semi-local Garry B. I need to make some kind of frequent buyers reward program, since Garry also earlier bought my GF Rig and my Salsa Spearfish. With some fresh funding in my bike account, I'm thinking about what's next. Well, I'm ALWAYS thinking about what's next, but now it has more impetus. Might sell the Niner. Might sell the Gryphon. Might get some carbon fiber (but not a Superfly 9.8, too rich for my blood)

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