|Routes on Sunday's ride|
Blue - Lynskey
Orange - second demo ride with another bike
I did a lot of riding at CT NEMBA's Happening at Huntington this past Sunday and most of it was not on any of my bikes. In fact, I brought two bikes to the Happening because I knew Dr Mike (which recently merged with the Ridgefield Bicycle Company) would be there and I wanted him to look at the X-9 Derailleur that I put on the Dillinger Saturday that looked weird and seemed to be bent. Turns out that is the case so the question is whether I get another one or order a replacement cage.
Whether or not I got the Dillinger working what I really wanted to do was ride some demos because there were two bike shops and two manufacturers, Shimano and Trek, offering Demos this year! What a difference over last year because Cannondale, who was supposed to have a demo truck at the Happening, blew us off. Out of principle I would be more likely to buy a Trek over a Cannondale any day, now. The Trek guys weren't set up yet but the Shimano truck was and they had a varied selection of 29ers including the new Yeti but I am sucker for Ti bikes so I went for the Lynskey rigged with a Shimano 3x10! Thirty gears? Thirty gears! Thirty gears, man! Thirty gears!
Holy crap, this bike was unbelievable. Sub 25 lbs, very nimble and responsive. I stayed out of the Granny and climbed just about everything. At first it was hard getting used to the gears but then I found it more comfortable to stay in just one or two gears depending on the need for speed or no need. The twisted tubing provided the stiffness in all the right places while still feeling as soft as steel.
For once I could really tell the difference a lighter bike make both in handling and climbing. The bike just wanted to climb and being able to drop into lower gearing made it really attainable in the most difficult riding situations. In fact, I climbed some of the carriage road hills in higher gears and just flew up them.
I felt higher in the cockpit and more stretched out, which is one of the reasons I like riding larger bikes. In fact it seems I have a lot more control over the bike this way or I finally gotten better in my riding skills. Still, I could definitely feel the difference in this bike over other bikes that I have ridden over the years. Later in the day I hopped on the diSSent to help with taking down the route markers and I noticed two things right off the bat, the geometry that I get the with FUBars is kind of whack, I am not stretched out as much and therefore I think I need to go back to flat bars, and the 6061 Aluminum tubing is not that bad, really. It felt a lot like the Lynskey - call it poor man's titanium.
Of course the purpose of the demo from Shimano was not the bike, rather the drive train and 30 gears is something to think about. The wide range of gearing gave me options to tackle every obstacle and I felt how the lower gearing makes it much easier to climb in really technical situations. Never been a fan of the 3rd Ring but I did open it up on some of the carriage roads and boy did I get moving.
While I experienced SRAM shifting for the first time later that day, nothing beats the trigger shifting of Shimano. Shifting was smooth but a little noisy, I guess that is the price you pay compared to a single speed.
I could really feel the lateral stiffness provided by the twisted tubing but still enjoyed the softness and lightweight of the frame. Combined with exceptional gearing and brakes - all I needed was one finger on the brakes to stop! I definitely need to go back to hydros on the diSSent and I think I am going to get Shimano.