Saturday, 21 October 2006

Well, we got a ride in this afternoon.

Ben and I, that is.

Not far, around a fairly gentle hour's worth on the road (and he had slick tyres too - makes it desperately easy.... with the wind behind you.

Managed to build up the new frame far enough to ride that too, with bits borrowed from the Diamondback. It isn't what I'd expected, and there'll need to be quite a bit of adjustment to make it fit.

The good bit is that when you put effort in it responds well. There's a steep hill in the middle of Steeple Aston, and standing up going upit felt like the bike was almost pushing me forward. This is just what I needed for the winter, when trails get axle-deep in cag. It also corners very well, with an 'on rails' feeling that I've never had before, yet is sensitive to steering input without being twitchy. Ben wasn't going off-road with his tyres, but I did ride down the path beside the road coming out of Steeple Aston (fast and covered in loose gravel) and it felt completely at home, even letting it drift a little on the bend.

The less good - it's a VERY firm ride. The frame is a touch large at 19", and I can't get quite enough seatpost sticking out to absorb shocks. Also despite the 23" top tube, it feels quite short, low and upright: disappointing as I'd wanted to stretch out a bit, but there's adjustment to be made still. The forks currently on there are an old set of Marzocchi Z4s that I replaced the seals and stuff in last weekend. These tend toward 'tough' rather than 'plush' suspension, and respond well to bigger hits, but not to road ripple like my Fox forx.

So overall good, with a definite racey feel. It's come out quite light - I'd guess around 24 to 25lb, and a couple of pounds lighter than Ben's Saracen hardtail. Need to get a replacement front mech (wrong one sent) front disc brake (ditto) handlebar stem and some mudguards for it to be 'finished'.

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