Monday, June 27, 2011


It looked like rain, but it never did. I rode up the Munger Trail, then into Jay Cooke Park via the multi-use trails, which were still soft from all the rain, so I didn't spend too much time in the woods. Didn't encounter any other cyclists, but met several equestrians enjoying a ride.  I got back to the pavement just in time to hear crows raising a ruckus about an eagle sitting in a tree overlooking the Thompson Reservoir. I'm not sure why crow dislike eagle, but they do.

So far, the new 29er is working perfectly. Not a missed shift, the brakes are fantastic, and it rides both on and off road way better than expected. I pounded out a couple of hour of tempo on the pavement with the fork locked out and it has the feel more of a road bike. I wasn't so sure about the need for 29 inch wheels on an MTB, but now I'm sold. What about my road bike? I still feel a bit heavy for it, though I'm probably not. Another ten pounds off, and I'll be back on it. Plus, the roads and trails seem to be in the worst shape in years, so the fatter tires on the 29er are just the ticket.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nice Monday Ride

Got up early, coffee with Linda while reading the paper and news, out to my folks for some chain saw work to clean up wind fall around their house, lunch, the finally, out for a ride. And what a nice ride it was.

                                               Taking a rest on West Skyline Parkway
I took my 29er for a cruise on the Munger Trail and West Skyline Parkway, along with some side excursions on some single track. Not a lot though, as the trails are rather muddy and I didn't want to tear them up. The WTB Nano 2.1 tires don't leave much of a track anyway, seem to float over things more that dig in, but still grip very well. And roll very nicely on pavement.
I got this bike for the main purpose of riding gravel and two track, but the way it rides and handle single track was amazing. I cleaned some areas that I had to hike a bike before, climbed out of saddle up some steep grades without loosing traction, and made some drops with ease. Speaking of climbing, the close ratios of the 10x30 drive train make it almost impossible to be in the wrong gear. The quick, positive shifting, along with the lock-out fork really helped my confidence in getting up the tougher grades. Love this bike!
                                                   Morgan Park from West Skyline
I never got to the small ring, even though I almost did on some steeper pitches. I just stood up and dropped a gear and powered up. I was amazed that I could shift under power without that sickening grind you get with some other systems. I guess there is something to this new Dyna-Sys chain and cassette design Shimano has come up with. I think it would be the perfect system on a loaded touring bike, being very close ratio and super quiet.

Earlier in the day, we spotted two pheasants along the side of the road. I pays to carry a camera just for occasions like this. They sure are pretty birds. Plenty of deer with fawns around, too, so be careful on the roads and trails. Heading out back to grill pork chops for dinner. What a way to end a great day!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Put together my new Motobecane Fantom Elite. At last, a do-all bike that I've wanted for a long time. I sold my Rockhopper and a frankenbike to fund this project, and I'm more than pleased. The new 30 speed Shimano Dyna-Syst system shifts like a dream right out of the box. The Avid Elixir brakes were easy to set up, stop well, and are pretty quiet, though I haven't gotten them mucked up yet. The stock stem was a big, heavy clunk, but I had a nice FSA mtb stem in my stocks, so that went on instead. The seat post is also a stone, so I'll swap that out next.

The 29er wheels really do roll as well as I'd heard, ride very nice in comparison to my old 26 inch wheels. I rode down our crater strewn street and I could tell the difference immediately. With the fork locked, it still rolled through the rough crap nicely. climbing was much better due to the close ratio gear set. Shifting is light and positive, almost better than my Ultegra 6700 road bike. Very Impressive. The XT rear derailleur is a thing of beauty, too. I almost hate to get it dirty! Upfront is the SLX shifting up and down an FSA crank set. I'll hit some trails after work tomorrow to see how it handle the rough stuff. Probably better than me.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Bike On The Way

After careful deliberation, I've finally decided on a new ride. Already having a good road bike and not really able to afford more variety  of bikes in the stable at this time, I picked a 29er as the most versatile option. The larger, easier rolling wheel size makes for lots of options. A spare wheel set with a tire like the Kenda Karma or Small Block 8, makes for a great gravel rig, an aggressive tread,  like the Schwalbe Rocket Ron turns it into a great trail bike, while the Ritchie Speedmax would work for 'cross riding. A set of studded winter tires would add even more versatility. I can wait to Tuesday when it gets here on the UPS truck.

What I'm really fired-up about is the spec: Shimano's new 30 speed Dyna-Sys group. Mine will have the XT rear derailleur, SLX front and shifters. From all the reviews, this is a great set up. The fork is a Rock Shok w/ a remote lock out, Avid Elixir brakes, WTB wheels and tires (Nano 2.1), all on a very light aluminum frame. I comes with a WTB Rocket V saddle, which I've never ridden on. If it doesn't work for me, I will go with a Fizik Gobi. Fizik saddles seem to fit me right.

Like I said, I can't wait for Tuesday!