On Friday I took my LOOK to the Peloton Cycles bike spa for an end of the season visit. The short story is that Stewart Pomeroy found several issues that required more TLC, so I left it at Peloton for all necessary repairs and adjustments.
As luck would have it, the Specialized demo truck was in town for some test-ride opportunities. Lucky me, because Steve Marshall (Peloton manager) coordinated a deal with Scott (last name?), the demo truck driver, that allowed me to take the Specialized 2011 Epic Carbon 29er (aluminum rear triangle) for a couple of rides.
I’ve wanted to try a 29er for awhile now and this was a great opportunity. Here are the things I noticed:
What I liked
- One of the best advertised features of a 29er is the ability to roll over rocky, technical sections with greater ease – when compared to a 26-inch wheel. Without a doubt, it delivered in this category.
- With the longer wheel base, bigger tires and longer cranks (compared to the LOOK), I felt I had more time to view a section of the trail before picking a line. (Yeah, I know some people will say “just tank over everything with those big wheels,” but I prefer to be more selective)
- With those longer cranks, wheel base and bigger tires I was able to power my way (standing and seated) over obstacles. The LOOK would have shown me more action and in some cases popped me off.
- It was easier to balance and I felt stable. Not once did I feel I would pitch over the handlebars.
- I did ride some rocky sections I haven’t been over on the LOOK.
- Sometimes the LOOK is a little twitchy. There is no twitchy in a 9er.
What surprised me
- I didn’t think I’d have enough low-end gears with the 2 x 10; but for as much as I rode (on the bike some 6 hours in two days) I was fine.
- I’ve been told 29ers were hard to handle tight corners; but I didn’t find it any more difficult than on my LOOK. In fact, there is one tight right corner that I’m 50-50 on the LOOK. I made it on the 29er.
- The rear tire had very low profile tread. For the trails near my house, I thought I’d be spinning out a lot with this tire selection. I didn’t. Some small adjustments in body weighting on the bike and I was able to ride the sections I normally ride. Perhaps with a more aggressive rear tire, I could ride sections that I haven’t rode on the LOOK?
- The last time I rode a bike with “the brain” technology, I didn’t like it. I could feel it switching on and off and there were times I thought it switched one way or the other and I didn’t like the switch. Specialized has improved this technology in the past few years.
What I wasn’t crazy about
- With longer cranks, it seems like I was pedal striking a lot. I think this could be worked out over time and just learning a new riding style. (It also requires a new level of trust in the equipment. I wasn’t sure I could ride the 29er through some sections. With hindsight, I think learning the bike’s capabilities would allow me to ride more sections.)
- At 2.84 pounds heavier than my LOOK, at 27.92 pounds, on the longer climbs I felt the extra weight. (I know, I know, just lose 3 pounds of a$$-fat and it is a break-even deal.)
- There were some parts of the trail that the bike didn’t feel responsive and light. I’m accustomed to a light and responsive feel to the ride.
It was a great couple of days on the trails and fun to try a new bike. There were lots of people were out today. We started with eight of us (see more photos below) at the Coyote Ridge trailhead and we met another five people we knew out riding.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend ~
Below, Steve and Paul Douglas.
Left to right: Eric Houck, Todd Singiser, Ryan Lewandowski, Bill Danielson
Above, Eric going up, below...coming back down.