29 November 2007 - 2:03Long Time Coming – The Slingshot Farmboy Review
In mid summer, Slingshot saw fit to send me a frame to test. I am always grateful for the opportunity to try something new, but my dance card was pretty full this summer, so I asked them to send a medium frame size that I could get under more people.
People who may not get the opportunity to test many bikes.
People who haven’t necessarily ridden everything under the sun.
Ordinary folks who just like to ride bikes.
Folks that pointed to it wondering “what the heck is that?” that got a chance to ride it, and still came away smiling.
Folks that knew what it was and came away smiling after a ride.
Here is an unedited first ride report from my friend Scott. For those of you who don’t know him, he is an engineer for a prestigious “active sports” company, has won several industiral design awards, has a dog that eats the inside of cars, a man who loves Iron Maiden, beer and riding bikes.
He is also a pretty good bike rider, and has crashed enough to know what he is talking about.
***When I woke up Sunday morning, I was fighting a good-sized hangover from two straight nights of partying like I was still in college. At the ripe old age of 34, it takes me a bit more time to recover than it used to. So after I called George to confirm that our prearranged afternoon ride was still on, it was with a sense of mild apprehension and slight nausea that I headed out the door to meet up. As I drove bleary-eyed to the shop, little did I know I’d be adding to the fun by popping my 29er cherry too, by demoing the Slingshot Farmboy at George’s suggestion.
As we rode from the parking lot to the trailhead, I noticed two things. First, that my cold-weather riding gear is woefully inadequate. And second, that the front derailleur was adjusted a little off, so I couldn’t get down into the small chainring. Unfamiliar equipment, cold limbs, no small chainring, and oh yeah, that hangover – things were adding up to make it a less-than-pleasurable ride. However, I’m here to tell you that the Slingshot put those worries to rest.
Like I said, this was my first ride on a 29er. I’ve been listening to George sing their praises for years now, and I have to say, after just one ride, I might finally be a convert. So I’m not exactly sure how much the following impressions were due to the Slingshot itself, and how much they’re due to the big wheels under it.
Anyway, here goes. It was a really fun ride. It climbed easily, even without access to the small chainring, and that’s saying something for me, because I hate climbing. Granted, the trails we were on don’t feature any of the extended brutal climbs that I’ve come to know and despise here in VT, but still, I had no problem getting up even the trickiest sections this ride had to offer. It felt solid when getting up out of the saddle, and was light enough to really make use of the big tires’ ability to roll over roots and rocks. In other words, it seemed to roll over stuff really easily. Not a huge difference from my normal ride (a 26”-wheeled Heckler), but enough to notice. It handled surprisingly nimbly. It adjusted course without any backtalk or fuss, and held onto a line nicely when I was on-track.
The bike really came into its own when descending through a series of slightly bermed switchbacks. It was then that the Slingshot really felt like… well, like a slingshot. The bike really felt like it was loading up into the turns and getting shot out of them. Good fun. Really the only issue I had on the ride was a couple of instances when riding over obstacles on flat terrain where it felt like I was about to go over the handlebars when I wouldn’t normally expect to. I felt like I could have used another inch or so of wheelbase towards the front of the bike. However, as mentioned before, this was a demo bike, so it certainly wasn’t set up optimally for my body geometry. A different stem or fork might have gone a long way to eliminate that issue.
Overall, it was really fun, and I have to say I enjoyed the ride a lot, even if there were a few moments where I thought I might have to hurl up all of the previous night’s vodka and wedding cake all over the trail. For a first time, the Slingshot sure was gentle on me.***
I value an unbiased opinion more than anything else. and the feedback I got from this frame was very interesting. It certainly is an odd duck, but that doesnt make it bad. In fact, the Farmboy could be the exact thing you are looking for.