In fact, I shake my head at the guys on group rides with 6" travel 26ers. Typically I am next to them on my SS 29er...or in front of them..or running away from them. We just do not have the trails that require that kind of machine as a rule. SO you end up hauling it around 100% of the time for the 5% of the time you really may need the extra squish.
But, lately I have figured something out and it happened in Colorado at Keystone when I was coming down the mountain on the 2011 Speshy FSR 29er, a 130mm F/R 29er FS bike. A word popped into my mind: "Playful". That was the word. Not fast, although it is that. Add a few extra inches of stroke to a 29er and you can go fast enough to make your eyeballs bleed. Yes, I found myself riding maybe juuust a bit faster than I was on a 100mm travel Epic, but what I was doing was riding differently. I was pre-loading the suspension and lifting off of jumps in the trail. I was zooming around berms and launching off of roots into rocky sections that would give me pause on the other bikes of the day.
I was playing more. I was smiling a bit more too. How 'bout that? Is that why those guys ride those 6" bikes when they don't need them? Have I been the 'less is more' Grinch? Am I missing something?
So I came to a conclusion. I do not really NEED a bigger travel 29er even though it is a good quiver bike. The guys that ride those AM 26ers on our 2 hour XC loops don't need them either. But it may be possible that they are grinning more than I am when riding. Can't have that.
|The man, on a happy day. He must ride a Brooks saddle.|
So, to see if I am missing out here, an FSR 29er frameset is headed my way, and parts are being assembled and acquired. I will likely take it on a road trip if winter permits to get it into its element on a bigger trail, but this hardened old XC guy is going to ride the local stuff too, perhaps grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I figure that if I am in the lead, no one will know. You know that Clint smiled when his back was turned....after he gunned 'em down, of course.