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Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's new, it's big, it's black, it's shiny...

and no, I didn't download it from any questionable website...

The Raleigh XXIX +G has arrived!

I had to throw some personal touches on it right out of the gate, but also wanted to get a feel for what the stock bike has to offer. Hey, it may only be $1200 but inquiring minds may want to know. Out of necessity I immediately swapped to 180mm rotors that I had hanging around. Other swaps from my parts bin included X7 shifters(instead of the SX5), an XT front derailleur (instead of the Deore), and a black S7 rear derailleur (instead of the silver one, just had to keep with the red/black theme). No bling, mostly lateral swaps other than the rotors. The most important part of these swaps/upgrades was to make sure that they cost me nothing out of pocket. Check.

So what do I think of 29ers after a short ride in the park...
1) This thing accelerates about the same as my 6/6 bike with 2.4 tires
2) Once going it holds speed well, better than the 26 wheels for sure.
3) Cable discs are not as great as hydros, but their redemption comes in their ability to be setup drag free with little fussing.
4) Steering is definitely going to take a few rides to get used to, the 29er coupled with the 80mm travel has a lack of response at first and then dives too hard once it gets going. It is an interesting phenomena to say the least
5) Climbing and off camber grip is downright awe inspiring There is something to be said for that larger contact patch of the 29er tire.
6) XC bike geometry is dangerous on the same trails that you ride your 6/6 rig on
7) The flex is there, but the 22" XL size seems to be stiffer than the L frame and honestly I have had worse flex out of more chi-chi frames. Not as bad as I had feared, so that was a relief.
8) Bigger wheels do roll better over obstacles
9) If this is to be the xc rig then some lighter tires will be in order (or on order shortly as the case may be)

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