The 29er Experiment Continues

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I got a chance to ride Walter's Cannondale F29er this weekend, so I took it to Round Valley on Saturday morning. I would love to be able to say that I wanted to test it out under in one of the most vertical parks in the state. But the reality is that it was the only park close which was not wet. Plus, you really get to test the edges of everything there.

So with any reasonable experiment let me start with the knowns. I had been sick all week. My daughter was also sick all week which meant I got no more than 7 hours of sleep any night, some nights as little as 5. Thus, I was really tired Saturday morning. I didn't set the bike up to my saddle height, etc. I just got on and rode it. I have Shimano shifters, so the SRAM shifters caused me to mistakenly shift at least 15 times. This bike is a harttail, my normal ride is a FS, 26" bike. I started in the Cushetunk lot.

Objective observations:

* The rock garden in Cushetunk tossed me OTB 5 minutes and 30 seconds into the ride
* There are (were) 4 climbs in Round Valley proper (ie, not the Cushetunk monster hill) that I had never cleaned. On Saturday I cleaned 3 of these for the first time ever. All of these were from the trail closed sign back to the park entrance (the rock bridge going up, the long steep climb shirtly after that, and the back side of Puke Hill).
* I cleaned Puke Hill on the way back. I have cleaned it once before on the FS bike, which was right after race season. The last time I was on that hill with the FS I had to unclip 3 times. Saturday I cleaned it further into the ride than ever.
* Overall average speed on the day was no better than with the FS bike, but I also had no "easy" miles like I normally would if I parked outside the park.

Subjective observations:

* The bike seems more stable on the climbs. When I really start to drop in speed, the bike seemed easier to handle. The 26" FS bike seems much more twitchy and a lot more energy goes into keeping it upright. This bike seemed to not have that problem.
* Going down the steep hill back into Cushetunk was more stable than the FS bike, by far.
* Going down Puke Hill was harsh, as the fork packed up and I'm just not used to the HT yet.
* The phenomenon of the bike just rolling over anything didn't seem to be there at 5:30 into the ride, but I was going slow and the bike is still very new to me from a handling perspective.
* This ride seemed much less "jarring" than 2 weeks ago when I rode my 26" HT at Lewis Morris.
* I like low-pressure UST tires. This bike does not have UST tires.

Overall, nothing Saturday leads me to believe that the 29er isn't going to be better. To my surprise, it climbs better. Of course this could be the 6 pound lighter bike. Or it may be me being in better shape. But I felt much more stable on the bike. I hope to bring it to Lewis Morris this weekend to ride the race loop and see just how well it compares there.

To be continued, I'm sure.
 

Shaggz

A strong 7
are your climbing comparisons/observations at the park based on rides before or after you realized you had shock & form tuning "issues"?
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
After I tuned the rear shock. That plus being in race shape was the last time I cleaned "puke hill".
 

Glancing Aft

Active Member
Thanks for posting Norm, I'll be continuing to read what you have to say, for much of it and what others have posted, will help me determine if I'm upgrading my 26er FS or trying to get the money for a 29er HT this upcoming race season.
 

jbogner

NYCMTB: President
JORBA.ORG
You race in my class, Norm, so it's my duty to encourage you to stick with FS 26. 29 will only be a detriment to you... ;)
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
Although I am a 29er guy (i do not own any 26" bikes as of now) I will say that the New bike High might have helped on the climbs.

After seeing your position on the road bike I am certain that you are one of those guys that can ride anything and be pretty happy.

You and Walt are shaped pretty differently so I doubt his bike fit you very well.

It was very nice of Walt to let you borrow his bike.

Note that even with tubes you can run a lower tire PSI with 29 vs 26.

J_
 

walter

Fourth Party
You and Walt are shaped pretty differently so I doubt his bike fit you very well.

It was very nice of Walt to let you borrow his bike.



J_

Yes, I explained to Norm that you said I was weird. I only let Norm borrow my bike because he said if I did he wouldn't take my milk money any more.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Although I am a 29er guy (i do not own any 26" bikes as of now) I will say that the New bike High might have helped on the climbs.

After seeing your position on the road bike I am certain that you are one of those guys that can ride anything and be pretty happy.

You and Walt are shaped pretty differently so I doubt his bike fit you very well.

It was very nice of Walt to let you borrow his bike.

Note that even with tubes you can run a lower tire PSI with 29 vs 26.

J_

I thought about the "bike high" thing. And I think I'm being honest in saying I don't think that was the case. I had sent Walter a PM before I left saying I had no desire to leave the house that morning. I got on the bike and was indifferent about the ride. Just no juice at all.

I'm happy, but I want to be happy and fast. Why? Great question. Society has trained me to be that way.

The bike did not feel good to sit on that morning so I have to agree about Walter and I being very different. Even though he's taller he keeps his saddle lower. The bike didn't feel right but I don't want to screw with his setup. Bill's bike felt really comfortable 2 weeks ago at Allaire.

Duly noted on PSI. I'm going to hopefully ride the care loop at LM this weekend and I'll drop the PSI to 30.
 

walter

Fourth Party
Norm, the seatpost has numbers on it, if you want to adjust it just write down where I have it.
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
norm, all i can say to you is this: ride as many bikes as you can, explore every option. reba, fox, you probably won't go wrong with either, especially for a race bike. the wheels are a no brainer, you buy the best you possibly can. same with components (unless you want to disect the differences and merits btwn shimano and sram...). your biggest decision is going to be deciding on a frame, which, unless you bump up to a superfly, will clearly be your most difficult task. well, other than deciding what color tassles you want to run off of your handle bars but...

anyway, while the decisions are many, and in the end you'll likely question them but you'll come out of it just fine. if nothing else, it's better than having to decide between paper and plastic, or sponge and iud.
 

Maurice

New Member
Great report. It's surprising that the bike would seem to climb better, at Round Valley of all places. What rock garden are you talking about? The trail that crosses private property (lower singletrack) is now closed because, well, it crosses private property. The high trail does not have any rock garden that I recall.

How did the bike handle in the switchbacks? Going up them? Down?
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Walter - will do! Also probably mess with the saddle's fore/aft position.

Jake - riding them all is tough. How do you ride a Niner build before you build it? What about a custom Seven? On the Superfly, I'm a 185 pound guy riding a 2.6 pound frame as hard as I can. I'll get all the trail time I need on Walter's bike to really get a good feel for if I can handle no rear suspension. And I can probably coerce Brett to let me try his platform mobile. Who has a Fox fork I can try?
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Great report. It's surprising that the bike would seem to climb better, at Round Valley of all places. What rock garden are you talking about? The trail that crosses private property (lower singletrack) is now closed because, well, it crosses private property. The high trail does not have any rock garden that I recall.

How did the bike handle in the switchbacks? Going up them? Down?

Yes, very surprising that it climbed better. I attribute it to being able to go really slow and keep its line better. On the steep climb after the rock bridge, I was really trudging up at 2.3 mph (according to the GPS which is notoriously inaccurate on the fly) and the bike never felt like it was trying to twitch at all. It may be foreign to you, but for those of us who end up going really slowly uphill, when you hit some little rocks with the front wheel it's often enough to totally screw your momentum and force you to unclip. I didn't get that Saturday.

The rock garden was the newly closed trail in Cushetunk. Yes, I rode it. :) I'm bad. A rock that was embedded in the trail with maybe 2 inches showing caught the tire. It was my first technical bit on the 29er and I felt awkward at first. I assume the person who owns that house and '72 Dodge is finally moving back in?

Up switchbacks was fine. Down was also fine, but I didn't feel like the bike handled as well as some other 29ers I've ridden before. I felt it was slightly better going down than my 26er, but not much. That may also have been the bike setup, tires, or my own confidence in the bike.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I meant to write "race loop" not "care loop".

I assume you mean 25 front, 30 rear.
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
on tubes? 25 psi?? dude, i'm 15lbs (at most) more than norm and i won't drop below 37 psi on the tubes. i've tried it, at LM, and pinch flatted the front both times. granted, i'm heavier and yes, i'm running lower PSI than my 26" fuel but by five psi, not 15.
 

The Kalmyk

Well-Known Member
on tubes? 25 psi?? dude, i'm 15lbs (at most) more than norm and i won't drop below 37 psi on the tubes. i've tried it, at LM, and pinch flatted the front both times. granted, i'm heavier and yes, i'm running lower PSI than my 26" fuel but by five psi, not 15.

My rear is at 25 every ride with tubes....Im a lot more than 15 lbs than Norm shame to say.....37psi is jacked up for sure....Havent had a problem at 25psi....
 
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