First Ride On The 29er

Back in January I bought a 2005 Gary Fisher X-Caliber sans wheels.

I bought some Bontrager Rhythm Comp TLR Disc wheels from Racer not long after but upon building them up with rotors, tires and a new cassette I discovered that the rear tire hit the front derailer. Huh?

I called Racer and he told me the older style Shimano front derailer that was stock on the bike was more compact and, obviously, didn't hit the tire. So somewhere along the life of this bike the derailer was changed and it was made into a commuter running smaller slick tires that didn't hit the newer, bulkier derailer. Instead of trying to find the older style derailer, I bought a new top mount Shimano derailer. It arrived two weeks ago and I installed it last Saturday. There's less than 1/2" clearance, but it does clear the tire so it works.

Today at lunch I took it for a spin on the Corner Canyon trails.

I've been on a full suspension bike for more than 5 years and I was expecting this hard tail to ride really rough. It didn't. The larger wheels and big tires did OK in the rear. Of course the Corner Canyon trails are pretty smooth so that helps. It was fun to ride a new bike and to feel the hard tail ride again.

I had a fun ride, even though my fitness is lacking. I rode up the Lower Corner Canyon trail. The dirt road section is much better than last week when it was a muddy mess in places. I took the left (east) fork and hauled the bike over the dug up berm along the side of the road and hit the trail that crosses the stream over a bridge.

I rode up to the North Ghost Falls trail until the snow patches got too frequent then turned around. At the switchback around the granite boulder I had to take this photo, inspired by Alex:

How sweet it is to see dry dirt this time of year. The newly built Draper Temple is in the background left.

They're building some concrete water diverter or somesuch down in the east fork. The trails are blocked off so don't go the way I did, go BST north then take the Gasline trail over to get to the North Ghost Falls trail.

I finished the ride by taking the BST north to the Draper dirt road, then reverse course and back down Corner Canyon to my car at the equestrian center.

The Lower Corner Canyon trail is still a bit rough and I did notice the jarring from the hard tail, but it wasn't bad. It would get old on a long, rough trail, but for everything else the hard tail ride is OK.

The 29er wheels rolled nicely. They rolled over the few rocks OK. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do on more technical terrain.

I think I'm going to like this bike.


Anonymous said...

that trail is pretty smooth and buff. i rode it rigid last week and was fine. even comfy.

glad to hear you like the bigger hoops

Watcher said...

Ooo- that's some sweet-looking moss. See all the sporophytes on that big patch?

Hey, so here's the 29er feedback I'd be interested in as the season progresses: tight switchbacks. Really tight. I want to know if your ability to clean them- up or down- is at all compromised by the big wheels... this is my one worry as I consider a 29er for my next bike. Thx.

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Sweet bike! Glad to see it come together.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

"It would get old on a long, rough trail"

Like white rim? I think you'll find that losing power to your full suspension will get old and all you'll want to ride is the hardtail. At least that was my experience.

KanyonKris said...

Watcher - I'll be sure to note my experience with tight turns / switchbacks. So far the front wheel feels a bit "floppy" because it's bigger. I made it around the granite boulder switchback about the same as on my 26" bike (Canondale Prophet). But this is very preliminary. I'll let you know the verdict when I'm more used to the bike and have hit a good number of switchbacks.

SBJ - Some studies conclude that FS uses less energy over rough terrain. But White Rim is pretty smooth and the "direct drive" of a hard tail has it's advantages. I'm looking forward to discovering things like this as I ride this bike.

Steveo said...

Like you, I was on a FS for years. I put together a Niner EMD last winter and never looked back. I thought I would lose ground with bigger wheels and the same gear ratios. But the climbs got even easier. I ride the Orem Ireland trail and Franks in reverse, i.e. I go up them from the water tank road. I can clean them on the 29er a little easier than on my FS. I was surprised to experience that.
Everything is a trade off, but I think I use less energy even over rough terrain.

Steveo said...

Tuesday was a great day for riding. I'm glad to hear the trails are getting rideable. That same morning I rode my road bike from Orem to Downtown SLC via Traverse Ridge and Wasatch Blvd. I wondered how long until I could take Hog Hollow and BST to City creek and downtown. Have you ever done that? I figure it would be good prep for RAWROD, and based on your report, the trails could be almost ready for such an assault. Given that we get a week or so of warm weather.

KanyonKris said...

Steveo - Thanks for the comments. Your positive experience switching to a 29er hardtail are encouraging. Do you work at Omniture and your brother is Chris? (I work with Chris.)

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