So after riding lots of different bikes, I decided that a full suspension bike was not going to be the best fit for what I want to do in the immediate. I also like to stand up when I climb.....whatever.
I will also concede that my sense of vanity and wanting something different drove the decision to go with a Scale. I hold a very unpopular opinion that most hardtails are pretty much the same based off of geometry. Sure Frame materials, quality and weight create categories, but a XTC is to a Stumpjumper HT, what a Scale is to a Trek 9.8. They are for all intents and purposes the same. The marketers will try to tell you otherwise, but the Specs on a bike tell the real story
Race bikes are dangerous things. Many younger riders feel the need to have a race bike, but lack the skills that only experience can bring, to really be able to liberate the potential of a 20 lb hardtail. They are not stable or comfortable. They have one purpose, go fast.
My first Mtb was a 2001 Gary Fisher SuperCaliber, and I can honestly say that it was too much bike for someone with my (lack of) skills at that time. I found it twitchy, TT was too long, and it was not really fun to ride. 4 years on 29er singlespeeds taught me alot about how to appreciate handling and gears. In the equestrian world you don't put little kids on the back of 2 yr old thoroughbred, just as a profession rider will have little interest in riding a a docile petting zoo pony.
My decision to get a geared bike is due to many factors, but was largely a result of my desire to take XC racing a little more serioously.
So here is the build and a little bit about why I spec'ed the Scale as I did:
- Scott Scale 10. Carbon fiber frame with a Ritchey Inset HS. Size Med. I wanted a very light, very stiff setup.
- Fork: Fox F100X. The inertia valve technolgy has been aroud for some time now, and after riding TWhets Epic with the Brain susp. technology I decided that reachiing down to fiddle with lockout was for the birds. I can set the threshhold and reboundvery quickly and easily. It is not plush, but thats the whole point.
- Cranks: FifteenG by The Hive. Be real honest here, I wanted be able to stomp on the pedals and feel the bike leap from underneath me. Stiff cranks facilitate that sensation, coupled with a stiff frame, and you have the potential for a bike that is a extremely input responsive ride. They are pretty light (less than XT), low key, and allow no deflection under load.
- Wheels: Industry Nine Ultralite laced to Stans ZTR Race rims. This is the lightest setup that I9 sells (~1400 grams). I-9 is a local company back in the old country, and I have been wanting a set for a long time.
- Tires: Maxxis Crossmark 2.25 front and 2.1 rear setup tubeless with stans sealant. The extra volume of the 2.25 up front is very nice when you are in the thick of it. I have been exclusively riding Maxxis tires on my MTB since 2007. Its not a sense of brand loyalty, they just meet all of my requirements (ubiquitous, reliable tubeless, relatively affordable, uniform bead size, durable sidewalls, grip, etc). If you own a Ardent, a Ignitor, and a set of Crossmarks there is no course that you are not ready for.
- Brakes: Hayes Stroker Trails. I am in love with the shape of the levers. There is just enough sweep of the lever that I can easily get "the nub" around the lever and not have to resort to double finger rear braking. They have plenty of power. Not real light, but have a very attractive pricepoint (you could spend 4 times as much on other hydro's and not lose 50 grams)
Shifting: SRAM XO gripshift to X9 rear (XTR front) derailleur turning a SRAM 980 11-32 cassette with a SRAM 991 Crosslink chain. Lets face it drive trains are disposeable. I expect to break parts of my drive train before it wears out. This represents a compromise between weight, technology, and price. The price for XT/X9 components essentially doubles going to XTR/XX, but weight reduction is going to be less than 5%. not a viable investment in my mind. A penny saved is a penny spent on race entry.
Contact Points: Ritchey WCS Stem, Bar, and Seatpost. Scale Frames use a 34.9 seat tube, and this is not a size that has a lot of options. WCS fits the bill. light too!
Saddle is a WTB Rocket V SLT. A couch for your grundle.
More thoughts tomorrow.