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NeilM

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Reply with quote  #46 
All done bar the shouting.... or riding in this case.

Apologies for the pedals, they are 1997 vintage 'lightweight' atacs. I'll get something a bit newer, lighter and colour coordinated soon.

Total weight at present, inc spare tube (behind the seat post) is 9kg = 19.8lbs in old money.

A quick road whizz around the block tells me it is very stable, corners well and steers more precisely and with more stability at very low speeds than most mtb's, more like a road bike at red traffic lights, if you know what I mean.
DSC_0069 2.JPG  DSC_0072 2.JPG  DSC_0075.JPG

Bob

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Reply with quote  #47 
I want one of those! [cool]
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blackadder

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Reply with quote  #48 
Got to say Neil it does look cool matey.
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NeilM

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Reply with quote  #49 
I'm pretty pleased with it so far. I'll try to get into the woods, either tomorrow or Monday.
blackadder

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Reply with quote  #50 
It'll certainly be interesting to know what your views are of a 29er. Compared to what you ride at the moment it'll make interesting reading.
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NeilM

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Reply with quote  #51 
Well, that was a lot of fun!

I had planned on doing a 50 mile road ride today, up the Cheddar Gorge, across the Mendip Hills, past Chew Valley Lake, past Bristol and up Belmont Hill then down Two Mile Hill to Portishead, along the Coast Road, with it's amazing view across the River Severn to Wales then on to the lovely little Victorian sea front promenade at Clevedon. Finally, off across Kenn Moor and back to Weston. But it's pissing down with rain and windy, so I took the KTM to the woods instead, as if I'm going to get soaking wet, I may just as well have a smile on my face whilst doing it.

So, here we go with a lap of my test track, ala KTM 29'er.

The very fist thing you notice, the second you start to roll is just how easily the bike rolls, much more like a road or cx bike than an mtb.

Even on the hill away from my house, I had enough spread of gear ratios to allow me to pedal, rather than freewheeling until the speed slowed sufficiently for the pedalling effort to be worthwhile.

The road ride to the woods was pretty smooth, mostly due I would have though to the larger volume tyres, complete with lower pressure in them. On tyre pressure, I used a rough starting formula of my body weight in pounds divided by seven. In my case that came to 22. Minus one in the front, plus three in the back and we had a 21psi f, 25psi r starting pressure.

DSCN0662.JPG 

Onto the gravel path and the ride is fast and extremely swoopy. Braking is provided by Mr Shimano and his amazing SLX disc set up and I have to say I LOVE YOU MR SHIMANO. No wonder people rave about these brakes, they make the Magura's on my DeKerf look pretty weak by comparison, but then, these are brand new and the Magura's aren't, so I shouldn't be too harsh.

WHOOPS! Had a bit of a moment on a fast swoopy left hander with a puddle in the middle. I suffered a bit of wash out which two puddle later I concluded was more due to a bit of aquaplaning, rather than Ron and his Rocket's not getting down to business with the relevant conviction. The tyres are big and so there is every chance that they will splash rather than cut through the water, but I had no further issues, and I did ride through a few deep and muddy sections... twice... deliberately. 

The rest of the gravel path was pretty straightforward, including the very sharp climbs. That said I did run out of traction just before the top of the second, but as I have failed all summer to clean this climb, regardless of tyre, bike, condition or gear ratio, either I am either getting old and feeble or the gravel on the path is thinning out and the aggregate underneath just does not have the grip that the previous surface had.

I wobbled a bit on the left hand hairpin and a little less on the right and then up the slight climb, which today didn't feel like a climb at all, and to the bottom of the long rocky climb.

DSCN0665.JPG 

As I may have mentioned earlier, it's a tad on the damp side today. This is after several weeks of hot and dry weather, so the rocks on the long rocky climb, and everywhere else for that matter, felt  very much like the polishing pixies had been out all night with their best cloths and bees wax.

Never the less in my first gear of 36-30 I cruised up the hill, missing my fastest ever time by only a couple of seconds (set in the dry), and apart from having to concentrate on my line, to avoid the worst of the polished rocks, the climb itself was pretty easy.

Onto the gravelly path and we just swoooooooped through all the corners and on to the encampment for an arty farty photo.

DSCN0666.JPG 

The fast rooty rocky climb, was blummin fast, even though it didn't feel like it, then through some puddles, past the water tower, down the slight hill and onto the long bridleway. Turn sharp left up the short sharp rooty rocky brambly climb and ZIP, straight up, without even standing, blimey!

Back into the puddles, round to the right and past the snake tree then along the bridleway end to end, sloshing through some really muddy stuff, niiice.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of times that adult men, in charge of children fail to act on their own instructions "Watch out for cars" called the man to his kids as he walked straight out from behind his car into my path... needless to say, the kids had spotted me and stopped. I swear they both sniggered as their father jumped back out of my way... I know I did.

The road ride to the back of the golf course was ... wet. I was going to miss the rocky section, knowing it would be a bit slippery, but then I thought, yeah but one of the last times you went along the road, you got pushed onto the gravel by a car and ended up with a dislocated collar bone. So, over the stones we went... piece of piss.

DSCN0669.JPG   

So the last leg was around the other side of the golf course, past the old farm then down the badger track which finishes in a river bed type short but taxing climb. We did have a couple of minor slips, but made it no trouble really.

The banzai downhill was a bit lacklustre, but I suspect that was due to the torrent of water running down it that will have slowed us down a bit. Then the climb back into my road, easy.

So, final impressions. 29'ers are fast and easy rolling. This frame is great, very competent and stiff, a perfect match to the forks, but no real personality to speak of, other than just a quiet competence to get the job done.

Will I be getting rid of my 26" retro's.... No, I won't. Will I be riding this bike a lot? Yes, I suspect I probably will.

Next trip I think either to Haldon, Forest of Dean or the Mendip Hills.

EDIT: I am going to have to do something about the sti shifter position, it's a bit of a PIA where it is, but that's a pretty minor gripe, all things considered.

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Reply with quote  #52 
Very very nice. I have been thinking of getting a 29r to build. Well I do have one. It's a well used windsor cliff team. Posted it on Ebay the other day. Trying to raise funds for a new build. Going for a Surly fat tire I am. Good looking KTM Neil [thumb]
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NeilM

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Reply with quote  #53 
Thanks for the kind words.

I'm very pleased with it, although I think I could have possibly got away with a 28 tooth front chain ring; slower on the road, easier on the climbs.

I'll happily live with it for now, as the bigger wheels make pretty light work of climbs.
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Reply with quote  #54 
The climbs  [frown]  The older we get the harder they become.
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NeilM

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Reply with quote  #55 
Ain't that the truth.
blackadder

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Reply with quote  #56 
Looks awesome Neil, and by the sounds of it rides awesome as well. So in your personal opinion do you think a 29er is a huge improvement over what we all ride and love? Or would you say it's a novelty.... Do you think it's without doubt a serious nail in the 26" wheel coffin? Brilliant write up as always I have to say. And some quality picks as well. However just a side note old chap in reference to washers...... He's no longer a member of this forum by his own choice.
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Bob

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Reply with quote  #57 
Excellent work Mr M [cool]

You should build or borrow a 27.5" before answering Adder's question though, it's only fair to include the correct and the future of wheel size for MTB's in the equation [thumb]

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NeilM

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Reply with quote  #58 
Bob, I have access to a 650B, so I'll try to get a ride sometime.

Blackadder; shame about washers, reference removed.

29'er is not a novelty and is without a doubt faster and more free rolling than 26", you feel it more in long gradual climbs, which no longer feel like climbs, but for narrow technical single track, I think 26" still has it and I don't think it would lend itself to DH, of any sort.

For xc and trail riding it is an improvement, but don't forget, my bike is rigid and very light, Jon's even moreso, they are built for a purpose. Add front suspension and you can add another couple of pounds to the bike, rear suspension, more weight, pretty soon you have negated all the advantages of a free rolling chassis.

I shan't be dumping my 26" bikes any time soon, the KTM is something different and enjoyable to ride.
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