Just under 1 year ago, I bought my first "real" (non Wal-Mart) mountain bike. I got a full suspension from Performance. It was lots of fun, and it's great to have the road bike and the mountain bike for variety. Here is what I started on .
It was great, but as l rode more, I found myself doing more cross country type riding, and soon wanted something lighter and better at climbing. I decided to get a hardtail, a 29er. After looking and kicking tires, I took the plunge and bought a bike from Bikes Direct.
The only changes I made were to swap out the crank to a XX crank. I wanted to give the full XX group a try. It shifts so SMOOTH. It has 2x10 gearing, the crank is 26-39 and the cassette is 11-36. I was anxious to try it out on some of the tougher climbs.
I headed out to Discovery Lake, a local city park. Leaving Discovery Lake, there is a path up to Double Peak. It is not technical at all, but it is a grueling climb. Here's a shot from the first half, just your normal 12-15% with railroad ties.
Just under half way to the top, there is a section that kicks my but. It gets really steep then turns so you have to negotiate the ties and the corner. On my full suspension, I never made it through this section without walking. My garmin showed 26% on the last part near the end, I don't know if it is that steep, but it is tough. The first shot is the beginning of this section, notice the railing up above. The second shot is from the outside of the corner, showing the fence posts that are vertical.
I hit the lap button shortly after that section, it was 1.2 miles with 565ft of climbing, and that distance includes probably a 1/8-1/4 mile roll from my car through the park to the bottom of the actual hill. At the top, I had covered 2.25 miles, 965ft of climbing. Here's some shots near the top, and from a nice single track path on the hill.
Ride totals were 7.61 miles, 1,454ft of climbing.
So far I'm happy with the bike. It climbs GREAT and flys on the flats. Going over really rough stuff I have to pick my line more carefully, but it seems more stable. I think that is due to my weight being lower than on the full suspension. On the FS I would frequently stop and lower the seat to descend. I haven't felt I needed to on this yet, which is good since it doesn't have a quick clamp.
Here's a token sunset shot over the Pacific Ocean.