Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Bike Project - Monster truck wheels

I ride and race bikes as a hobby, and if you hadn't figured that out, you probably don't know me, haven't been around me as I babble incessantly on about them, and probably haven't read much of this blog.  The blog isn't entirely about bikes, but somehow my hobby has found a way to take up 2/3rds of the posts I have written.  When I come to think of it, I guess I'll take this moment to apologize to my friends that sit listening to my inane stories, and I must say that, at least most of the time, it looks like you are half way interested in whatever cycling related nonsense I am spouting.  If you are, good, I feel better subjecting you to my one sided discussions of bicycle related stuff.  If you aren't, you should seriously take up acting as a career.  You are good...Keanu Reeves ain't got nuthin' on you talent wise...  In fact...I'm pretty sure you are like way better 'cause Keanu couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag and yet he makes A-list money for his movies, and I am somehow compelled to watch them all...Whoah ...

Some fine examples of Keanu's acting.

And here...

Ok, I really didn't mean to get off on how much I love to watch Keanu Reeves movies and still bash on his questionable acting.  I really wanted to talk about bikes! 

Yeah. I you're just dying with excitement...

I, for whatever reason find myself in need of a new bike, and yes, I use the word "need" quite liberally here.  Like I need a new bike like I need to breathe or I need food or something of that ilk.  Ok Ok it's, semantics people!  I WANT a new bike...Happy now?!?  sigh...

Let the butchery of the English language continue.

I decided to try out some huge wheeled mountain bikes before I actually purchased something and burned through the family's savings as a result.  See, how thoughtful of me considering that the family might actually need a place to live and food to eat vs me needing a bike.

Ok, I'm running off topic again.  The point of this was the size of the wheels on this particular bike were going to be significantly larger than my current mountain bike.  This would allow me to take my mediocre downhill and technical abilities to another level without actually getting better.  Big wheels don't get stuck in ruts, roots, and rocks as easily as smaller ones.  Note the fine example of alliteration in that last sentence.  Plus big wheels on bicycles are just like totally waaay cool.  You me...sometimes.

I picked up a demo bike from Cahaba Cycles that would be a good test for 29r wheels.  It's a Niner S.I.R 9.  Now you might think that the cycling industry would have some heavy technical jargon that the S.I.R. stands for, so I asked one of the staff there.  "Steel Is Real" was the answer.  High intelligence and engineering jargon coming from the bike manufacturing industry? -- nope.

I took the bike out for a long 35 mile ride around Oak Mountain, and it felt completely different.  This thing would monster truck over obstacles and rocks that rattled my teeth loose on my current mountain bike.  It was a much smoother ride as well, and that simply came from the size difference of the wheels.

The one big drawback I noted was going uphill.  My current bike definitely climbed better due to the smaller wheels.  There is a trade-off in everything it seems.  The big wheels weigh more and have more mass so making them spin takes much more effort to get going or, in this case, keep going up a hill.  Still it was worth it for the enjoyment of the ride, and fortunately, as I was struggling up steep pitches of fire trail, I could look down at the top tube and read the handy little reminder that Niner Bikes gave me.

Thanks guys.  I nearly forgot. 
I would have had video of the new ridge line trail to post with this high end cycling analysis, but the GoPro rattled loose and it rendered a beautiful bluebird day filled with scenes of the bike bounding over dirt and rocks completely unwatchable.  Looks like you guys, my loyal readers, dodged a bullet on that one.  Count yourselves as lucky.
I'm off to demo a full suspension 29r this weekend which would allow for the rear wheel to absorb some of the shocks as well as the front.  That should be a fun ride, and maybe I'll get the video this time.
Have a great weekend everyone.

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