Archive for July, 2008

More Bonita Goodness

July 31st, 2008 by MTBBill

While Wednesdays are my normal weekday MTB day, I could not make it, but guess what?   The Bonita Bikers also have Tuesday and Thursday afternoon rides so I decided to head over there.   Know on Sunday they guys showed me about 20 miles of coolness.   Today we rode a long 15 miles or so and only overlapped about a mile from the weekend.  This place is freaking amazing.   I was cameraless on this day so no pictures, but if you like the looks of the stuff from Sunday that I posted, you can get idea of the trail goodness I had today.   In addition to see a good chunk of the Sunday crew, I meet a few knew folks as well as some folks I had not ridden with in quite sometime.  The old pal in question was Don with whom I had last ridden with in Palm Canyon about a year and a half ago.   I knew I knew him from somewhere until the conversation jogged my memory.  You see Don, had gotten a new bike since then.  I know I’m not the only one who does this but, helmet, bike, face and voice are my primary memory recall mechanisms for remembering my riders from the trail.    Swap out one of those and I have a tough time putting the pieces together.  Lame I know.   Anyway great freaking time once again out on the South Bay trails and I am told there is still much to see.

I have been emailed by at least half a dozen folks on trail directions…. I’m not BSing when I say I could not tell you it is a big maze.  I follow, I grind and I grin.    Stay behind Hoserr when hook up with this group.  That all you need to know.

Bonita “Locals” Tour

July 27th, 2008 by MTBBill

Today I had the pleasure of riding with the Sunday regulars down in Bonita in the south bay area of San Diego.   Boy what a great time I had.   I would be hard pressed to try and describe any kind of route.  It was one of those just follow along and enjoy yourself kind of day.   The trail network is pretty extensive with stuff everywhere.    I could easily take a aerial shot of the area, hang it on a wall and then throw a saucy plate of spagetti  on it and be pretty close to the actual trail layout.  

There were some pretty interesting descents here and there over the course of the day

bowl

We got in a little bowl action as well.  I was told the record is seven bikers in the bowl at once.  This is pretty tricky when you are zipping around and another rider gets into the bowl.  It is even more fun when one person goes opposite direction!    I have to get back here with the video camera. 

Bridge Action

A little bridge action.   I forget how many of these things we crossed.

Bushy

There were some bushy spots on most of the trails.  The branches are a lot stronger than they look.   I tried to moose my way through one of them and it stopped me dead in my tracks and pushed me backwards.  (I could hear it laughing at me)

Into the G

There were a few G-Outs to contend with.   This was the most interesting one.

Gout

This was not an uncommon exit of the G-Out (Myself included)

Smiles

Nobody got hurt and snickers and laughs all-around was the result of any G-Out flubs.

2nd time

Of course second time around was usually the charm.

Karen

There was some double teeter-tooter action to be had as well.   The guys sure seemed eager to help when Karen wanted a spotter. :)

single teeter

Pete on Single teeter

There was some single teeter action as well. 

Diving Board

Even got to play around on a diving board (some creative trail-building material)

Da Group

This was a hell of a fun group of folks to ride.  I guess we did around 20 miles or so, but it sure feels like more.    There is some nice as well as challenging trails in the area.  I stopped counting my dabs early on and I even managed to take a soil sample or two to add to my collection.   It had been at least a couple of years since I last caught the 8AM Sunday morning group ride out of the Bonita Performance Bike parking lot.  I don’t think I will be waiting that long again. 

Here are the rest of the pictures from the day.

Bill and Will Roadtrip Day 3 – Mount Pinos

July 18th, 2008 by MTBBill

Man, the things we do for our kids.   I got up at around 7AM and loaded up all my gear in the truck while Will was still sound asleep in the tent.   All of Will’s biking gear had been staged in the tent last night.    I drove down to the bottom of the mountain at 6,400 feet and started a 6.5 mile pavement climb back up to the campsite at 8,200 feet.  Will certainly has it in him to do this climb as he had tackled Palomar Mountain earlier in the year which encompassed 4,700-foot climb over 11.1 miles.  I wanted this ride to be more about fun than fitness today so I cut out most of the climbing for him.  The climb back to camp was not a steep one and I found it pretty easy to keep a pretty descent pace even with 2.6 Stick-E rubber tires.   I thought about taking the McGill trail up but I wanted both Will and I to experience a “new” trail together.  When I got back to camp, Will was already up and making himself some breakfast.

Views in the morning

I had left a few things back at camp so I would not have to climb with them, mainly my camera.  While I was getting that stuff in my camelbak, Will (who had already gotten geared up) commenced to start talking a little smack about Dad being a fiddle-fart.  So, I set him up.  I snippedly told him to “Go on ahead, you know I’m just going to catch you, even though I already climbed over six miles this morning”.   Well that was all it took, Will took the bait.  He casually said, “See you up the road” and pedaled off at a normal pace.  I yelled at him as he rode off, “Don’t start off too fast or you’ll be sorry!”  The hook was set.  Just when he thought he was out of view (but not quite), I saw him drop the hammer.   Nothing left to do now but reel him in a few minutes after the pace, grade and the thin air above 8,200 feet get done with him.

I finished up what I was doing and got rolling.   After a couple of turns in the road and Will still being out of site, I was impressed.   One turn later and I saw him, hunched over his handlebars on the side of the road.   The voice of Phil Lidgett came through my head, “Oh my, the young rider has cracked! There will be no hopes for a mountain top win for him today.”    Will got to rolling when I neared, but his pace was mighty slow and he complained of not feeling good.   We took an extended break for him to recover and I could not help but get a devilish grin on my face, when I told him to come on and stop fiddle-farting.  I wish I had my camera out to catch the look on his face when it dawned on him that he had fallen for a parental version of a Jedi Mindtrick.

View from Pinos

After he recovered, we soon left the pavement to continue climbing on a fireroad up to the Mt Pinos summit at 8,830 feet.   It was a fairly mellow climb and the views were pretty nice even with a bit of lingering haze from the NorCal wildfires.

Bill and Will

From here it was a mostly downhill affair back to the top of the pavement where we hooked up with some pretty nice and mostly buff singletracks that included the Harvest and Southridge trails.  These bits of goodness took us back by our camp and down to the McGill campground.

Harvest Trail

From the McGill campgroud, we picked up the amply named McGill trail which was an absolute heavenly bit of singletrack that worked its way down the mountain.  The grade was never steep and it was virtually buff the entire distance.   I rolled through hundreds of Kodiak moments and only captured a few.

Will in the trees

This picture provides very little justice to the view.

Killer View

Will had one of those moments of inattention that caused him to take a soil sample on a switchback.   After the initial uggh following the thump, he chuckled and dusted himself.   He then went back up the trail and nailed it the second time around.

Dusting Off

The blissful descent was over far too quickly and we were soon back up at camp and packing up.   Will has not learned much about repairing flats and other mechanicals yet so a solo descent down the McGill trail was not on the table.  I did let him ride the road down.  He thoroughly enjoyed the speed-fest coming down the mountain on the pavement.  We spent the rest of the day getting home and chatting about what a cool week we just had.   Once home it took all of about 15 minutes before Will was out the door to skate and hang with his friends and basically get back into his busy routine.   I’m sure as the teenage years roll in and along the competition for his time will get tougher so I am really thankful to have the time with him now.  ¦lt;/p>

Bill and Will Roadtrip Day 2 – The Central Coast

July 17th, 2008 by MTBBill

We woke up fairly early this morning to some nice sunshine over the Laguna Seca Recreation/Raceway Area.   Will reluctantly said his legs were sore and he did not think he would be up for riding today.  I’m glad he told me as I would not have wanted to push him into riding and then not enjoying himself.  We were orginally thinking of going to Montana Del Oro State Park and get in some riding.  

Laguna Seca

The nice thing about working off of an idea vice a schedule is that you can change things pretty darn easily.  After a bit of breakfast, we broke camp and hit the road.   It was just earlier in the week that the Pacific Coast Highway was reopened after being shutdown for nearly a week due to wildfires burning in the Big Sur and other areas of the Los Padres National Forest.   It has been quite a few years since I had been on this highway and I had forgotten just how pretty this drive can be.

PCH

 We stopped at many places along the way early on to take in the sights.  This was a good thing as before long the coast became completely socked in with thick fog and we could not see much at all until we were near San Simeon about 90 miles south of Monterey.

PCH

One of the really cool stops we did was at vista lookout about five miles north of Hearst Castle right off of the Pacific Coast Highway.  Here you can check out a large colony of Elephant Seals.  These are some big critters and the males make some mighty deep and throaty noises when other males get around their babes.

Elephant Sea

This fellow reminded me of a disgruntled Walmart customer say a earlier in the week.

Elephant Seal

We continued down the coast until we neared San Luis Obispo.  Instead of going to Montana Del Oro State Park we turned inland and made our way to Mt Pinos near the town of Labec.    We ended up at the Mt Pinos campground that sits at 8,200 feet and we had the pick of the place as we were the only ones there.  Later that evening two more groups would come in, but for the most part we had the great views virtually all to ourselves.

Camp sweet camp

We had several hours of daylight left after we got everything setup and the next thing you know Will was bucking to get on the bike and mess around near camp.   I joined in on the action and played around on a log.

Log Ride

The South Ridge trail starts right from the campground and goes down to the McGill Campground a couple of miles down the mountain.   I had to see the camp host down there so when I drove down, Will took the trail.   He was pretty darn excited when he came off the trail and proclaimed it was the coolest singletrack EVER!   The trail is setup as a cross-country ski trail and has plenty of small rounded jumps that are just the perfect size to catch some XC sized air.  Will really dug those and I was stoked to see him stoked.

Will Air

Back at camp, we enjoyed the last night of being able to have a campfire as a ban on them would start the following morning, due to the dry conditions.   We climbed into the tent an hour or so after sunset.  When we are back at home, Will is always trying to fight off going to bed.  It is like the world is moving too fast and he is going to miss out on something if he is sleeping.  It was nice to have him so easily climb into his sleeping bag.  I was reading a book and I had barely turned one page when I looked up to see him already down for the count.    Tomorrow we would get in a good chunk of riding in.

Camp fire

Bill and Will Roadtrip Day 1 – Santa Cruz

July 16th, 2008 by MTBBill

Will and I spent the earlier part of this week in San Jose where Will’s hockey team was competing in the National Roller Hockey Championships (NARCH) in the San Jose. While the teams bid for the championship ended earlier than planned we had other things ready to go. We would take the slow route home to San Diego and get in some camping and riding. We did not have a set schedule just some general ideas.

Our first day was a ride in Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz. I have ridden here several time before and I knew Will could handle the place. We started off near the park headquarters off of Pacific Coast Highway and started working our way up to the top of the park using the Engelman Oak and Long Meadows trails (fireroads). Will has not been biking much lately so that and the recent hockey made for a good bit of effort on his part.

The Climb

Once we got up to the top of the park we ventured over into the UC Santa Cruz area. Since this included some gravity-assisted riding, Will was having a heck of great time.

UCSC Cruising

After the UCSC fun, we popped back into Wilder Ranch and worked our way over to the Old Cabin trail which is one of my favorites out here. I was pretty stoked to see that Will cleaned everything on this trail. While he might be getting pretty descent on a bike, he is a pretty horrible “model” in front of the camera. If given a chance he will make a silly face everytime. I pretty much have to sneak attack pictures of him.

Goofball

While Will was starting to feel a little tired, after describing the Enchanted Loop to him, he was game. Once again the boy surprised me with how easily he picks up new skills. On a tricky switchback into a rooty ledge he got up one of the smaller ledges without even blinking. We then sessoned it for a bit and he cleaned one of the bigger ledges after a couple of tries.

Ledge Up

After this we took the Baldwin Loop down to the ocean. Will complained that the trail was really bumpy and that is when I realized that Will had spent the entire ride with the rear shock locked out. This was his first real ride on a full-suspension rig and he did not realize it was locked out. Will is really tall for his age and has been growing like a weed lately. Having already gotten taller than his Mom, he can now fit on my medium Spider by swapping out the seatpost and stem.

Down to Ocean

Down along the ocean we followed the bluff trails back to the park headquarters. Will was getting pretty darn pooped by now so the breaks came a little more often.
Break time

I did manage to get in a “sneak attack” picture during the break
sneak picture

We finished off the rest of Ocean Bluff trails at a reasonable pace due to a strong tailwind which made it pretty darn easy to tick over a big gear. When we finished up we had logged in just over 20 miles and the boy was pooped. On our way through town we hit up a little hole-in-the-wall Falafel shop that I love and introduced Will to some new cuisine.

Will at beach

It was getting pretty late in the day and we knew we would not get too far down the coast this evening. I had a “Camping California” guidebook with me and while I drove south, Will would read out the description of spots down the road from us. The Laguna Seca Recreation Area ended up sounding pretty good so we swung by there and grabbed a spot. The Red Bull Moto Grand Prix was starting to ramp up for the weekend, but there were plenty of spots still open. I packed my smaller camping gear so that that it would not take long to setup and break camp each day so we had camp setup in no time flat. After some chillaxing, hot chocolate and a few snacks we hopped in the tent and were soon crashed out.

Camp at Laguna Seca

Finishing up hockey in San Jose

July 15th, 2008 by MTBBill

What a fun time we had in San Jose.    The team played really well, but had one game were some team-wide hiccups cost them the game which ultimately ended their bid for the championship a little early.   The good news is they beat all the Canadian teams they faced :-)    

Other really cool things happening were that both Will and his fellow teammate Dillon did exceptionally well in the “Sniper” skills competition against 44 of the top shooters in their age bracket.   Will made it into the final seven and Dillon went on to win the competition by throwing down some sick moves and making six goals in seven shots against some of the best goalies in his division.

Now that we had some extra time in our schedule we took advantage of it and headed down to Santa Cruz for some fun on the boardwalk.  

barfotron
This ride, which we now refer to as the Barf-O-Matic 5000, was a heck of a lot of fun for the boys.

zach
After the ride, things were not so much fun for Drew(left) and Will(right).  Zach (middle) did what any kid who did not get sick would do, laugh like hell at the others.   It was great!

We ended up making a long evening out of the boardwalk and did not get back to the hotel room until late.   The orginal plan was to get up early tomorrow and head back to Santa Cruz to do some riding.   We were both pooped so we decided to make a later start in the morning.

Hockey in San Jose

July 13th, 2008 by MTBBill

Okay here is a little non-MTB content for the blog.  My oldest son  (Will) and I are spending the better part of this week up in San Jose while Will’s hockey team, The San Diego Fear, compete in the North American Roller Hockey  Championships (NARCH).  The facility at the Silver Creek Sports complex is pretty impressive and is well suited to host the championships that includes over 400 teams in numerous age brackets from all over the Canada,  the US and Central America.  Will’s team is playing in the 12 and under Gold bracket against 22 other teams who made the cut through the regional qualifiers.

NARCH facility

The boys played their first game today and won against the Golden Ridge team from British Columbia so they are off to a good start.  

Game Play

After the game we did some tourist stuff and went down to Monterey for some sightseeing that included the Monterey Aquarium.

Fish Kisser

There is a bit of the MTB tie-in here.  Our plan is to take a couple – three days to get back home when we are all done with some camping and biking along the coast.  We have not decided yet, but Santa Cruz, Montana Del Oro and Mt Pinos are high on our list of camp/mtb stops.

Poison Spider – Portal Video Online

July 11th, 2008 by MTBBill

Portal 

Last night I finished up and published the Poison Spider Mesa – Portal Video.  I ended up including some walking footage in the video.  Considering how dangerous some of those exposed sections are I felt the walking bits needed to be represented along with the riding bits.  Every veteran of the Portal trail with whom I have talked has all mentioned walking the exposed parts and how frightening that trail can be.   The riding only version of the video just seemed to be missing something and the walking bits was it.   

 So anywho, right click here to download the 9 minute and 35 second video that will set your hard drive back 130MB.

My Medium or Large Story

July 7th, 2008 by MTBBill

Okay I am the classic in-between sizes guy as I can fit on a medium or a large on most bikes. I spent a great deal of time this year figuring out wither a medium or a large Intense 6.6 was going to be the bike for me. The following rambling of words is most of the thought process I went through on figuring out which size frame to go with. I have been riding a medium Intense Spider since 2003 as my cross country bike. I have been riding a large 2005 Specialized Enduro Pro for a few years as my all-mountain rig as my main point of comparison. I would have to describe the riding I do with this bike as all-mountain stuff that has to deal with chunk, ledges and some occasional airtime in the 3 to 4 foot range. My bikes see very little shuttle action so they have to be climbable. First off let’s look at the geometry.

 

Aspect

Intense 6.6 Med

Intense 6.6 Large

05 Spec Enduro Pro

Top Tube

22.8”

23.8”

24.5”

Seat Tube

19”

21”

19” (Effective)

Stand Over

29”

29”

30.3”

Wheel Base

43.3”

44.3”

45.5”

Head Angle

68.5 deg

68.5 deg

68.5/69.5 deg

Seat Angle

73 deg

73 deg

68.5/69.5 deg

Chain Stay

17”

17”

16.7”

Bottom Bracket

13.75”

13.75”

13.7/14.2”

Okay lets get some of my geometry out of the way. I’m 5’11.5” with a 32.5” inseam and I weigh between 195 and 205 pounds on any given month depending on my riding and drinking regime. The burrito and pizza intake seems to most consistent part of nutrition plan.

The Previous All-Mountain Rig

I liked the 2005 Enduro Pro, it is a capable all-mountain bike with six inches of travel. The rear shock is a Progressive 5th Element and the front shock is a Fox 36 TALAS RC2. The bike comes with two rear shock mount carriages which allow you to vary the geometry of the bike slightly. One carriage provides a higher bottom braket and slightly steeper head angle than the other. I kept my Enduro setup with the higher bracket (14.2”) and steeper head angle (69.5 degrees). The main reason for this setup was that when I first got this bike I had a hell of a time trying to steer the bike with the low bottom bracket and 68.5 degree head angle carriage installed. I was coming from a zippy race/cross country oriented Intense Spider and had not developed the skills of handling a long slack bike. The steeper head angle carriage helped with that transition and I never bothered to try the bike with the other carriage installed after learning how to steer a long, slack bike.

I enjoyed the long wheel-base of the Enduro as it was quite stable at speed. At 45.5” it did make take some effort to navigate tight switchbacks and body English was required on the twisty stuff. The bike is not a light one as it was somewhere around mid-to-high 30s according the wheelset and tires I was using. It was a climbable bike but it was not a bike you could hammer up the hill, it was more that you would come to an agreement with the bike and it would beat you down over the course of a long day of riding. Additionally, the split seat tube design also limited how much you could adjust the saddle height. For me I had to compromise on the seatpost length to allow me to get the seatpost low enough for technical riding while extended enough for climbing. The end result was that the saddle when fully extended was about half and inch lower than what I would have like for optimal climbing. When lowered all the way I was forced to have just under two inches of post still sticking out.

The Medium 6.6
The Medium 6.6 that I first rode was built up extremely lightweight. XTR drivetrain (triple chainring) and brakes with Easton carbon bars and seat post. The wheels were Mavic Crossmax XLs with a set of Intense 2.25 System 4 cross country tires. The fork was a Manitou Nixon. The total weight on this setup was around 28-29 pounds. Needless to say this rig climbed extremely well. The term very “Spider-Like” came into my head on the first climb I hit with this bike. It was a bike you could hammer up the hill with. Once the bike turned downhill there was one thing perfectly clear, this was one extremely plush rig. However, the Nixon fork had only 145mm of travel which is a bit short as 160mm should be what you should be aiming for. The bike I had was one of the 6.6 prototype rigs that at the time of its buildup, the 160mm forks were not available. While the Nixon was super plush, between it and the wheelset, the frontend was quite a noodle when you get into the chunk. It was bad enough to cause a dip in my confidence in the chunk. I was spoiled with the Fox 36 TALAS RC2 that was on the Enduro. Compared to my Enduro Pro the cockpit of the Medium 6.6 felt cramped with the front wheel feeling a little too much underneath me. I felt more on top of the bike instead of down in the bike.

Okay so now it was time to change some things around. I virtually moved my entire component build off my Enduro an put them on the medium 6.6. The burly medium 6.6 now included XTR derailleurs, XT crankset with 2 rings and a bash guard. XT brakes, aluminum handlebars, 90mm 10 degree rise stem, Fox 36 TALAS RC2 fork, Spinergy Xyclone Enduro Wheelset with Kenda Kinetics 2.6 tires. I also used a laid back Thompson seatpost.

Boy what a difference this setup made.  With a longer and burlier fork combined with a stiffer wheelset and more purpose suited tires, this bike really came alive in the downhill chunk.   This build added some weight to the rig, but it was still lighter than my Enduro.   The laidback seatpost opened up the cockpit a bit but it still felt initially just slightly cramped. I quickly adapted to the feel.  The need for a laidback/angled post did however limit how far I could lower the saddle, being forced to leave about four inches of post sticking out of the seat tube.  For this medium this created what I call a minimum seat height (seat tube + exposed post) of 23 inches.   This was only minor concern as my Enduro used a split seat tube which also limited how far I could lower the saddle which created of a minimum seat height 22 inches.  

med shot

The shorter wheelbase (by 2.2 inches) of the Medium 6.6 was quite noticeable.  The 6.6 was quite spry on switchbacks and tight twisty singletrack considering the slacker geometry and travel.  There was little in the way of competition with the Enduro at this point.  The 6.6 thoroughly trounced the Enduro in this area. I did not expect this as my Enduro was setup with a one degree steeper head angle than the 6.6.  My thinking is the major difference was wheelbase.  The performance of the two bikes in the higher speed downhill stuff was different.  I have found that the longer travel bikes have a “wake-up” speed.  This is generally when the bike becomes lively and in its element.  The 6.6 was lively pretty much when you started turning the pedals.  The Enduro needed a bit more speed to become lively.  On the other end of the speed spectrum there is the stability aspect.  You can scream downhill on both of these bikes, but the Enduro felt just a touch more stable than the medium 6.6 when you approach “ludicris” speed.  I attribute this to the much longer wheelbase of the Enduro.

Decisions Decisions

At this point I had not decided wither I would get a medium or a large frame. The biggest difference between the medium and the large was the top tube and seat tube length.  That additional inch in the top tube would open up the cockpit area enough so that I would not have to use a laidback seatpost.  Eliminating the need for a laidback post would allow for the post to be lowered all the way down into the seat tube.  I had read quite a few posts where riders were concerned about the two inch longer seat tube of the large.  The concern being with ability to get behind and down on the bike when you get into the steep stuff and drops.  For me this ended up not being a concern.  The large frame and a straight post would allow for an effective minimum seat height of 21 inches.  This was over two inches lower than the medium 6.6 and an inch lower than the Enduro.  Another minor item dealing with the seatpost was that if I wanted to use a Gravity Dropper style seatpost at some point, it would have to deal with a cramped cockpit on a medium.   I was not interested in using a longer stem as that would move my weight too much forward on the bike.

 

There is a lot to be said to the adage of use the smallest size frame that you can fit on.   For me the high speed stability of the longer wheelbase and the ability to get the seat all the way down by using a straight post with the large frame won out over the medium frame.

 The New Rig  wider shot of bike 

So last week I got the new rig all build up and I am pretty stoked.   Here are the specs.

Large 6.6 in Red Works Finish

Fox RP23 rear shock

Fox 36 TALAS RC2

XT Crankset with Raceface bashguard

XT derailuers, cassette

XTR Brakeset

Thompson Elite Seatpost

 Titec Hellbent  Handlebar

 90mm Stem

 Cane Creek Double XC Flush Headset

 Intense Saddle

 Spinergy Xyclone Enduro Wheelset  (Normal wheelset)

 Spinergy Falline Wheelset (Downhilling wheelset)

 Kenda Kinetics Stick-E 2.6 tires

 

The rig comes in at 31.7 pounds.  

Another Closeup

 

I got in two rides over the weekend with the bike.  On Saturday I went out to a local trail that has some flowing yet tight singletracks as well as a couple of small stunts.  The bike handled really well and when I drop the TALAS fork down to the 130 travel, the bike became extremely snappy in whipping through the tight tree covered singletrack.   The term “Spider-Like” came back into my head again as this setting dropped the handlebars enough that my posture was very much like how I set on my XC rig.  I also used the 100 setting of the fork during some moderately steep and tight switch-backing climbs and this setup worked really well.   For the pressures on the shock and fork, I’m sure I don’t have them quite dialed in just yet, both being a little on the high side. It is generally thought that you need several rides to break in the shocks and forks so I was not concerned with the small bump compliance not being optimized yet.   I hit one of the features out there and caught about as much air as I would ever want to and I did not bottom the fork and just did on the RP23 shock.

 

 

Why the RP23 shock when you see so many with a DHX Air?   The medium 6.6 I rode had a DHX Air and while I got it dialed, it seemed like a lot of shock for the performance you get.  I had talked with some folks who prefer the RP23 (usually Pushed) over the DHX-Air so I thought I would give it a try.   If I can get the small bump compliance I want as well being able to handle 3-4 foot drops with my weight, then I will be happy.  Otherwise I may drop the coin for either a DHX-Coil (pushed) or a Cane Creek Double Barrel.  

 

 Closeup of bike

Needless to say the first outing with bike was a success.    The following day ended up being a 28 mile ride up in the San Bernardino Mountains which included some rocky and steep terrain along with some sections that allowed for the bike to let loose.  Boy did the bike shine here and there were plenty of occasions where the saddle was dumped all the way.  Since someone left their memory back at home, I have not pictures.  I had no problems with getting behind the bike as it at least once, I grinded my butt on the rear wheel.    The bike also felt really stable at ripping speed and was every bit as stable (if not more) as my stretched out Enduro.    Once again I was glad I went with the large frame with the longer wheelbase.   At the end of the day I was feeling tired from the 28 miles, some rough terrain, and a sizable amount of climbing but was not feeling beat up.   The 6.6 proved to be a great all-day rig.  I would be extremely hard pressed to take the Enduro on this ride as I would have been creamed from the weight and overall sluggishness it has on the climbs over the cross of the day.

 

 

So what it the point of all this rambling about medium versus large?  Well I figure there are other folks like me that are classic in-between sizes guys who have tossed around the pros and cons of each.  When the rubber hits the trail, it comes down to small preferences and trade-offs.   One thing is for certain the 6.6 is one kick ass all-mountain all-day bike and I am stoked to have one the stables.      

 

 

First Ride with the new bike

July 5th, 2008 by MTBBill

I got my first ride in today on the new 6.6 rig and while I’m still working a extensive review, the bike really felt great.

Here are a few shots from the day on a trail system attached to Los Penasquitos Canyon.

This is a big as air as I ever expect to get and the shock and fork were pretty close to dialed for it.

Greg
Greg getting a little air in the trees.


Brian in the air.

Stay tuned for a full review.�