Well, maybe not that exactly, but it was not that long ago that I opined that "I had no use for a geared hardtail." Yep, I said it. I figured that if I was going to run lots of shifty stuff, I might as well have a rear shock and some pivoting parts too. It is a tiny weight penalty in the grand scheme of things and the SS is my hardtail.
But something odd happened recently, and I am not sure exactly why. Hanging in the rack in the garage is a 2010 Giant XTC-1 29er hardtail. It looks like new and is still dead stock. Every so often I would ride it around or my son would ride it, but that was about it, in fact it had become my bike path bike more than anything. I have done 30 mile road rides on it, knobbies and all. Even coffee shop runs...hey, it comes with a cup holder, ya know.
But after the SJ Enduro I had a thought about slimming down and stepping up the game for rides like that...lots of climbing and little tech. So, partly from personal frustration, partly for curiosity, I rode the XTC-1 the next ride after the enduro. Ya know what? It felt pretty fast.
The next weekend I rode it on a 7.5 hour ride and it felt pretty good there too. SO now I have a plan. There are some things on the XTC-1 that need changing...the bars, saddle and maybe seatpost (if it keeps slipping), and mostly the wheels as they are a bit heavy and will not go tubeless with grace. Tubeless is a must for me.
I still think it is the best handling singletrack 29er I have ever ridden and it is a pretty compliant frame for aluminum. Another thing is the geometry gives you a 72.5* seat tube angle, and with the set back seatpost, puts me a inch behind the BB compared to the more upright Epic. Interesting. I am wondering if that is working well for my longer legs? I am, at heart, a diesel, not a squirrel, and I am not a natural spinner. That is why 180mm cranks have worked so well for me for some time, although lately that has not been the case....too many bikes that have 175s only these days.
So I have some shiny new wheels in a box at home right now and they may just find their way onto the little hardtail. It would be very cool to try the newer 10 speed Shimano stuff on it...lighten things up a bit too over the mix of Deore and XT.
So, I swapped the too-straight bars for some wide, flat bars with more sweep. I replaced the saddle with a Bonty for now, but that will be temp as I just cannot get used to the lack of a groove in the thing. Too bad, cuz it is a really nice saddle otherwise.
There is another long ride coming up with miles of climbing and very little tech to it. It looks like the Giant is on tap for that too. Hopefully I can get it set up by next season's longer events and who knows...maybe crow is not so bad after all.