Monday, April 20, 2009

Sea Otter '09: carbon speediness

One of the first stops I made after I hit the expo was the Specialized trailer where Nic, uber-marketing guy for the Big S, let me take out a couple of the newest big wheeled bikes.

This was the first one I threw a leg over:

How was it? Well, you know this guy?

The Priceline Negotiator. Remember that commercial where he is goading the poor hotel room shopper to "Go lower", calling him a wimp and a namby pamby? Just in case you missed it:

That is the Carbon S Works Stumpjumper 29er. It whispers in your ear as you are riding, "Go faster. C'mon. Faster. Too much brakes...pedal harder. Is that the best that you can do? Wimp. Namby pamby. I am a guaranteed 4 star ride, mommas' boy!"

20ish pounds, stiff as all get out (harsh riding with the 2.0 Fastraks aired up), and absolutely a racing bike. You know how those guys will get on sites like MTBR and ask if the brand X bike will make a good trail bike, even though it is aimed at the race crowd? This bike is not a trail bike. It is a fast bike and makes you want to rise out of the saddle, hammer every rise in the trail and rail every corner. It was not deadly quick steering, just about right for such a weapon. Wheee! Go faster.

Another thing that Specialized is doing to stiffen up steering response is to increase the contact area between the inner fork leg and the axle (see the bottom hub in the pic). This was very apparent when demonstrated with this set of fork lowers and hubs, all clamped with standard 5mm QRs. The wider contact area was muuuch stiffer. Maybe not 20mm or 15mm, etc, but still very worthwhile. it probably has a nifty marketing name, but I forgot what it was. I was too busy looking at those spiffy shoes worn by Nic in the pic. Snappy dresser, that Nic.

Next, the 29er Epic.

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