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."


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