Wednesday, March 11, 2009

seXC - The Maiden Voyage

After a week long stint in the window at Sweet Pete's (on a red carpet I might add), the new Trek is now in my possession. Thanks to the unseasonable weather we've been having (thank goodness), I was able to ride it home from the shop.

Thanks to Chris and Owen for spending some extra time getting the sizing just right. It sure seems to fit! Small issue is that the components on the Trek are all "newest and greatest" which means that tools to match them were tough to find. I was a little nervous I'd have to leave without the bike when we couldn't find a cut-guide to accommodate the oversized carbon seat post. Once we remedied that, getting the bike into a trainer for fitting was our next challenge: she's a fat-bottomed girl and needs an extra long skewer. With some ad libbing, we were able to jimmi a good fit nonetheless.

It was such a great feeling being back on an XC rig after a winter of spin bikes, trainer and the odd escape on the jumper. I tried to imagine favourite sections of trail as I pedalled Toronto's rutted out city streets (almost as gnarly as any XC race course!) I tried moving my weight around, getting behind the saddle and popping up and down curbs to see how it felt. I did have a little "new bike" anxiety though and so I didn't put it through the paces too much. I was gentle because I didn't want to break it the first time out. Not that that was even remotely possible.

The only time I felt a little wobbly was a tight corner I attempted. This is my first time on a flat bar, so I wanted to see if I could tell a difference ... and I can. It felt like I was falling into hole on the inside of my turn and my stomach flopped for the instant I thought I might be on my way for a digger. Granted, this feeling could be caused by a few different things -- handling not the least of which. I've definitely got some dust to shake off.

I played with the lock out a bit on the handlebar and it was fun. It was a weird feeling when I let it off as the dampening turned really slow for the release but otherwise, the Sid was a fun fork to ride. Very responsive and I've got it set up nice and supple too.
I matched the rear suspension to the front and so it was a very smooth ride. Quiet too, in that special "brand spanking new" kind of way.
After a few laps at the CNE and the scenic route home along King, I ended the ride with a climb up the hill beside my house in the middle ring and felt like the bike had a motor of its own. That's a perk!

Couple cool things about this bike: the EVO Link, ABP, BB90, and Full Floater technology.

The EVO link refers to the rocker that gives the rear suspension it's pivot on the frame. Trek has moved beyond the plate and bolt system -- joining two plates together around the suspension with a bolt -- that was so common and crafted a one piece link. It's stronger because there is no longer a join in the link. It's stiffer because it's one piece of molded magnesium and as an added bonus, the whole thing is lighter too, helping get the bike's overall weight to just 22 pounds.

ABP stands for Active Braking Pivot. This is Trek's answer to interference from brake application while the suspension is engaged. It kind of reminds me of another braking acronym: ABS. Because of ABP, I won't lose control in the rough where the suspension is required, just by scrubbing a little speed.

BB90 means more efficient pedaling! The bottom bracket (where your cranks are mounted) on a mountain bike is usually much wider than on a road bike. That measurement is called the "Q-factor". The narrower the Q-Factor, the more efficient your pedal stroke because it more closely resembles the natural line of our bodies. This bike's Q-factor is only 5mm wider than most road bikes. Since I train on a road bike this is a big help.

Full Floater rear suspension is not connected to the seat post or the down tube, isolating the rear triangle of the bike. As Trek explains, "traditional systems mount one end of the shock to a moving link and the other end to a fixed mount. Full Floater connects the shock to the EVO Link on the top and the extension of the swingarm on the bottom, allowing each attachment point to 'float' as the shock moves through its travel." One of the main drawbacks to a full suspension bicycle is wasted momentum that comes from bobbing. If the design isn't right, when you pedal, you divert energy that should be moving you foward to a dead zone of vertical motion. Full Floater is Trek's answer to that concern -- every stroke will earn you forward momentum.

Can't wait to put it all to the test!

1 comment:

  1. Wow Kris...that is a seXC ride! It's so clean! Very impressive description of all the technogarble. I understood it all! Enjoy the bike and let's hope that the baggage handlers are gentle and that you and your bike arrive at the same destinations simultaneously.