Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So long DiSSent

Well, it was a short romance, this grand adventure called a DiSSent. I plan on moving the frame onto another owner as soon as one pops up. So what happened? Did it suck?

Not at all. In fact, it is an excellent product, especially for the money, but it is not for me. Remember that this was a bit of an experiment to try some things I had wondered about for a while. To follow the whole thread, just clicky on the tag DiSSent, left column of the blog page. I was very interested to see how the aluminum thing was going to treat me, how the longer TT length would feel, and if there was to be a compromise in ride quality over pedaling perfomance, would it be worth it?

This is what I found:

  • Oversize aluminum is what it is. There is little magic going on to make it supernaturally behave other than its nature suggests. The Dissent is a mixed bag of emotions when you point it into the bumpies. The back end is surprisingly smooth, in fact I would not be surprised if it is smoother than the KM is or at least pretty darn close. The front end of the bike is very stout and therin lies the rub...I have not figured out how to ride only on the back wheel for every bump. Until I do, the DiSSent shows its oversize, gusseted nature quite plainly here. It may not be 'harsh', but it is certainly 'abrupt'.
  • It is a fine handling bike. Not only does it crush the KM in overall handling prowess (except in one area), it is a better handling bike than my Lenz FS. Here I am sure the resolute frame is working for me. It turns, holds the line, and just is unfazed by whatever I can hang on through.
  • The longer TT length is a mixed bag. I went from a 24.25" TT on the Karate Monkey to a 25.25" TT on the DiSSent, pulled back the cockpit 1/2" with a shorter stem, leaving me one half inch more to stretch out into. It feels great when I stand to pedal, really great. But I needed to move the saddle forward a bit, maybe another 1/2" to get the feel right when seated, so what was the point? To run a shorter stem? That is about all I really changed, that and having a longer wheelbase. What I did lose was a bit of playfulness. The 19" DiSSent I rode was not this way, so I feel that, at least for this bike and set up, the extra length needs to come from something other than frame length. However, it still turns like a guided missle, despite the size of it and I bet for a slightly taller person than I it would be killer.
  • Pedaling perfomance Vs. Ride quality. So, I had a theory: Does the high demand for pedaling performance on an SS, and by that I mean the ability of a frame to take the high pedaling loads and transfer that into forward motion, does that allow for compromise on ride quality, what we call 'suppleness' or smoothness' or what have you? At this price level, steel is often less than fabulous in that if it rides very smoothly, it will likely be flexy at the BB. If it is stiffer, like the KM, it likely will not be all that nice of a ride. And, cheap steel is heavy. Result? I think the DiSSent is absolutely worth the tradeoff with one proviso...can you take the beating that will result? The DiSSent is simply fabulous when it comes to surging forward under hard pedaling, steep climbs, fast charges, etc. It rocks. But, it 'rocks' me in other ways that, at my age and level of frailty, is just too much to enjoy over a long trail day. But, if you are not too concerned with that and are more bulletproof than I (not too hard), then the DiSSent, for the money, is 'Da Bomb. It would be a fabulous race bike for XC duty.
That begs the question, "What is next?". Not sure. But whatever it is it will be living in the shadow of the DiSSent, a flat black shadow of a mean and fast bike that does what it does very well indeed.


Captain Bob said...

Sorry it didn't work out so well. I think you need a 71 degree head angled frame. Raleigh or Vassago come to mind right at first but I am sure there are others.

Can't wait to see what you get.

Enel said...

Sounds very similar to how my Ventana Comandante treated me. Surged great under power, handled great, not playful at all, beat me to death.

Get a steel frame with short stays, or a smaller Al frame with a suspension fork. May I suggest a cheapo Rig.