5 May 2009 - 0:01Swan Song – Ridiculite’s First Ride – Last Ride
Yeah, that’s right. I have made no moves to hide my fickleness. I FINALLY got the damn brakes set up, so I could actually ride this beast I started oh so long ago. The pads and rotors are not yet broken in.
I will say that this bike has been somewhat of an emotional burden to me. How light can light be?
Too light, and that is my final answer.
I spent hours and hours and hours this winter geeking out, trying to find the lightest stuff I can get away with riding. The result was a bike weighing a scant 17.76 lbs (without pedals mind you – whatever). I practically had to tie the thing down so it wouldn’t float away…
I posted this magical beast on MTBR, and got the expected reactions of “why would you put this or that on there”
…armchair bike mechanics calling me out on my component choices. Right down to the friggin’ chainring bolts! I mean really? Yeah, they are alloy. So are the ones on your XT or XTR cranks. Trust me folks, I do this for a living, and I’ve seen more bike stuff break in my lifetime than anyone one person should. Chainring bolts, well, that’s a new one to me…
Anyhoo, I finally got a ride in on the bike while scouting the Gravel Grinder bonus loop. It was nice having a bike that snaps to when asked, but I almost felt like I should have geared up beyond the 32-19 combo I spec’d out. I used to run a 34-19, which just about ruined my knees a few years ago, but with this kind of lightness, I think it could be done.
Then I decided I hated the feel of the Formula brakes. The lever pull was wrong for me. I gained some weight when I switched back to the tried and true Avid Juicy Ultimates, then also decided that metal cranks were better than carbon, and put my XTRs on. Then I felt that the steering wheel was a bit too flexy with the EA90 road stem, and replaced it with a Thomson. All of a sudden I was gaining weight like I switched to an all Ben & Jerry’s diet.
And as it all plays out, the first actual real ride I take this bike on is it’s last. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bike. I imagined it, and had thought/obsessed about every part I hung on it. This is my first comprehensive look at Niner’s new geometry, and it is good. Feels just like the old one, only the front end is a tad lower. Many “industry experts” have said that 29er geometry is too slow, or that the front end is too high to be a good trail machine. Set up has everything to do with this BTW. In short, new Niner geometry is good, works good. What more do you want?
I took Seamus-the-Ding-Dong out on the stock run, not at a furious pace or anything, just going at a low RPM 32-19. Dogbert, today just learned that drinking from the water bottle instead of slurping surface water from scummy ponded mud puddles is a much better way to stay hydrated. There was a lot of stopping today. Because he is still a puppy, and we don’t want to break him, easy paced rides with frequent stops are the norm.
Imagine my surprise when I got back to the car in 35 minutes. What????
Town Loops in 35 minutes? With tons of stopping? 35? That is 10 minutes faster than I normally ride it! Damn. Ridiculite is ridicu-fast too. I felt it though. scandium does not ride like steel, and there is probably a reason why Kermit remains a constant in my life.
I ruminated on this as I drove to work, and then some. Right up until my first phone call of the day, “Do you want to get rid of your One 9?”
Actually yes… Yes I do.
And just like that, the Ridiculite project takes an unexpected tangent. The One 9 is gone, to be replaced, most likely with the relatively unknown, but highly notorious Optimus Ti. Well, that’s just how I roll…
I did manage to learn a few things along the way though. Light isn’t always right, and a rigid fork doesn’t really work that well for my riding style. My Ridiculite wheels are BOMBER though! I think I will be offering them as a clyde friendly AYKM wheel option in the not too distant future. Kermit has been enduring a serious thrashing this season, and I was without pity today on Ridiculite’s hoops, but that will be a different post.