An exciting new instalment of me and my bike! It’s just over 3 weeks since I took delivery and I’ve managed to amass 370km (that’s 229 miles for you Proud of Yorkshire folk). Some 1 hour rides, some 5 hour rides, and all as off-road as possible. Not bad, thanks lockdown!
I really really like this bike. As I said before it’s not dissimilar to my previous bike in terms of reach and fit so I’ve got accustomed to it fairly quickly.
There are a few changes I’ve made: a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5″ up front. This was transformative – the extra volume and grip into corners made me feel a lot more confident on the bike. That said, while I was waiting for the tyre to arrive I was getting used to the Forekaster but I didn’t want to compromise in this area for the sake of 200 grams.
The lockout twister. Firstly, it isn’t quite a full lockout. It’s pretty close but will take the edge off big bumps if you forget to release it. I just couldn’t get on with the twist action; I was never a fan of GripShift back in the day, and I kept struggling to get my hand into the position to twist it and therefore wasn’t really using it.
I’ve now replaced the twister with a ZTTO button mechanism. It only cost me £6 from Alibaba and it’s made the lockout usable for me to the point that I’m using it to my advantage – smooth sections of trail and roads – I press the release button and the suspension hardens up for the sprint.
It’s quite interesting realising how much of a difference suspension makes on climbs, tracking the ground and offering grip, even though it may be sapping some energy it is more efficient and faster than a hardtail. But I have both options at the flick of a switch.
The switch has also allowed me to run my Ergon grips, widening the bar slightly, and putting me back into a comfortable position.
Manufacturers quoted weights are always a bit of a lottery. My bike with my changes, in XL, weighs in at 13.7kg. I’m quite happy with that (but then I go through phases where I wish I’d got the model up, those XMC1200 are tasty).
Some of the trails round here are rocky and I’ve had 3 occasions where a rock has flown up and 💥 bang! 💥 followed by “there must be a mark on the downtube‽ 🤔” fears. One of those left a bruise on my leg, and there’s one that made quite a mark on the cranks. Luckily there isn’t a mark on the downtube. There’s some protective tape near the bottom bracket. I’ll probably put some more protective tape on when I get round to it, but so far so good.
Once I’d dialled in the suspension (65psi in the fork and no tokens, with 135psi in the back, for my 72kg weight), I’m feeling confident on the downs. It’s definitely not the endless travel feeling of some bikes but you can get away with a lot. Trail bike, remember. I ride trails. I’m a trail rider. Heads or trails?
Climbing – it does that. It does it well. I have a good position on the bike with good reach that lets me move my weight around. At no point have I felt the front end lifting and there’s a good amount of weight over the back to maintain grip.
That’s it. I’m really happy with this bike. I love the low manoeuvrable frame and the geometry is nice. It’s a well thought out all rounder for short fun rides as well as longer XC slogs.