Monday, June 14, 2010

XO-2 in the woods


IMG_5254, originally uploaded by rackntroll.

this was an eye opening experience for me for 2 reasons:

A) i have not ridden a 26" wheel off road for a few years. the last 26er i was riding off road was one of my 2 schwinn homegrown frames (fantastic frames built by yeti in the mid 90s)

B) i have not ridden a geared mt bike offroad in over 10 years!!! i have been a devout single speed MTBr for some time now.

having a couple gears in the dirt is kinda nice, EXCEPT for the constant and irritating sound of the chain slapping the stays. a buttery smooth and silent singlespeed drivetrain is a very beautiful thing.
while riding this bike off road, i really only used 3 of the 21 gear combinations. the 40T middle ring paired with the 28, 24, and 21 tooth cogs (the 3 biggest). having the large chainring was a welcome change from spinning my singlespeed 34:19 to the trails.

i dont know if its me, the geometry of the bike, having low end gears, or all of the above, but i was having a hard time keeping the front wheel on the dirt while climbing. this bike really wants to pull a wheely! a couple more rides on it and im sure that wont really be an issue.

i have been riding 29 inch wheels in the dirt for a couple years now, and shortly after entering the trail head with my 26" wheels i remembered what makes the 29 so great- being able to run a low pressure with out bottoming out against the rim, not getting hung up between roots/rocks as frequently, and yes, the larger wheel really does smooth out the trail significantly.

now it may seem like i am bashing 26" wheels, but im not. it was an awesome ride, and this bike handles very well in the dirt, i just need a couple more rides to "dial it in."

5 comments:

alex wetmore said...

Internal gear hubs avoid the chainslap issue (or the chain getting fouled with mud and snow when riding through deep crap) while giving you the gears. I wonder if you could get the range that you desire with the fairly inexpensive SRAM S7? A Rohloff is the best, but expensive.

D n L said...

an internal hub would be nice to have, but not for this bike. it has vertical dropouts and im not really interested in modifying the frame or using a janky chain tensioner.

Freewheel said...

How wide are those tires? I just got an MB-1 and was surprised that the knobbies are 1.5" - seems a bit narrow for trail use. (I also have an XO-2, but it's set up commuting on pavement).

D n L said...

they are 26x2 continental mountain kings. anything wider than that does not fit in the fork.

normally this bike is set up for commuting and i run 26x1.5 with fenders.

D n L said...

oops! they are 26x2 RACE kings, NOT mountain king