Over the last few years, I have been moving further & further away from the mainstream riding that the mountainbike magazines here in the UK, tell us we should aspire to.
In the past, a lot of my cycling purchases have been driven by the image, rather than practical decisions. As a result, I have often found disappointment in a lot of the bikes I have owned, because they were simply the wrong tool for the area that I live in. I don't live in Whistler, so why did I buy a 6" FR bike for example?
The decision to buy a fatbike was driven by the realisation that I no longer had the absolute luxury of time to drive around the country in search of cycling nirvana, due to the commitment I had to make to our baby daughter.
Cycling for the time being, would start & finish at the back door. Living in a coastal area, the fat bike has been a revelation on the sandy trails, but once I started heading inland I soon discovered that my other bikes were pretty poor in comparison. Too much travel, too heavy, geometry was wrong & compared to the fatty, the 26" wheels just didn't roll very well, sometime it was harder work on the regular HT, than the fatty on the same trails.
I began the process of selling off my other bikes to fund a second fatbike. The theory was, the 9:zero:7 would become my trail bike & I would be a proud owner of a Surly moonlander for beachriding. Everything was going well until 2 things happened.
Firstly, I began using the 9:zero:7 for more & more trail riding in the hills. I knew the extra weight of the fatty would be noticeable on the ups, but I'm a slow rider anyway, so I just considered this an extra workout. The thing I did not consider was the lack of suspension on the rocky Speyside hills. Coming down was a nightmare! The lack of suspension & rocky descents did not make for an enjoyable experience. The realisation dawned that maybe a fatty might not fit the role of trail bike after all. Hmmm
Secondly, I began reading some comments about the Moonlander online regarding reliability & component suitability for beachriding. I soon realised to get the bike to my spec for beachriding I would have to replace the hubs, cassette, rings, seat, grips, bars...the list goes on & on....
Time for a dad chat with myself
I made the decision that my current fatty is more that suitable for 99% of the coastal riding I do. Sure, A moonlander would be awesome for beach riding, but whatever way you look at it, £1800 is a whole load of cash, for a bike too similar to what I have already.
So...with a fist full of cash & an empty bike shed, it was time to find a new fleet to reflect the riding I am doing today & likely to pursue in the future. One thing that became apparent, was big wheels are my mountain bike future. I tend to do long rides, so a machine that is comfortable, rolled really well & a great all rounder, with an emphasis on XC was paramount.
After the usual days of research on the internet, I finally bought on of these as my trail bike....
Nice isn't it? I managed to find a really good deal on the 2011 X9 model online. First impressions are really good, but so far I haven't been too far on it, as I am recovering from man flu...
This bike just feels right as soon as you get on it. Nice roomy fit & feels a lot like the fatty in the comfort stakes. As soon as I get some trail miles on the bike, I will post a proper review
So that's trail riding & beach riding covered, what about the road? Cue build No.2........
Not quite your usual touring spec bike, but built just the way I like it! This thing is like a tank, but man, it feels so solid when out on the road & the weight is not an issue at all. It is running a 48/36/26 crank & 11-34 cassette, so it can tackle any hill in it's path. I built it slightly "meaty" so that it can cope with light offroad too, XT mechs, flat pedals , flat bars & 38c Scwalbe Marathon Plus tyres giving a bit more cushioning than the regular road rubber.
Only been on a test run so far, but again, I will post up once the bike has done some real distance, but I can say this bike feels really good to ride & I am really looking forward to heading out on some spring all day trips with this bike.
Finally, the last of our American all star line up...
Old fateful will be staying as No.1 fatty. Yes, I lust a Moonlander, but after playing around with tyre pressures, I think I can cope with the "narrow" tyre footprint in the above photo. Well, most of the time ;o)
I think I am done with bikes for the moment, I have all my riding styles covered now
Coastal riding = 9:zero7
trail riding = Salsa El Mariachi
Road & touring = Surly Long Hault Trucker
I forgot...I Just need to build a cargo bike for the kids, but that is a story for another day!