ACTUAL RIDE REPORT - APRIL 19, 2009
I took the Fly Ti out for an actual trail ride on this beautiful Sunday morning while the wife and kids were still asleep. It was a very short ride around Peter's Canyon lake loop that lasted about 20 minutes. I haven't rode an MTB in well over a year so this report is coming from a born-again noob!
This bike handles very well, which is what I expected. I'd expected the bike to be a little twitchy because of it's weight, but I was very pleased with the way rode over ruts and the rough terrain with stability. Coming from an FS, the ride was a bit jarring than what I remembered on the Fuel EX7. However, that is not a fair comparison. Since I never rode any other HT made out of steel, AL, or carbon, I can't say that the Ti made the bike feel any more compliant when riding on rough terrain vs other HT made out of other materials.
It just works. I can tell that shifing is much more crisp than the standard Deore the EX7 had from what I remembered. Even during a kinda steep climb (where you shouldn't be shifting ... shame on me), the shifting was non-tempermental and did not give the overstressed shifting noise and feel during the downshift. I guess that is XTR for you.
For those who been to Peter's Canyon Lake Loop, there are two climbs that are kinda early on (assuming you take the right path going counter clockwise from the parking lot on Canyon View Ave.). One of them continues forth to a little steep climb while the left path goes to the lake. Well, I stayed on the path that leads to the semi steep climb. I was able to climb that thing with ease on the 32/34 combo. HOWEVER, when climbing the really steep one after decending the one I just climbed (aka "Thrash Mountain". Check it out on YouTube at the end of this post), I was only able to climb about 70% of the way on 22/34 (super granny gear) on the Fly Ti whereas I couldn't even climb 50% on the EX7 the last time I tried it before giving up on MTB. It wasn't because I was out of breath or out of strength, but I feared that I won't be able able to pedal fast enough that I would fall out and tumble down the hill. It is noob fear that got me to clip off the bike and I shamefully admit it. This thing is steeper than anything I climbed on a road bike! I bet with practice, I can conquer this evil hill. Overall the Fly Ti does climb better than the EX7 from what I remember.
Okay, here is where I was a total wuss and a noob (aside from climbing Thrash Mountain). The first descend after the first climb was pretty straight forward though I was hitting the rear brakes a little bit more than I should have. The bike didn't feel out of control and it held the line wherever I pointed the bars. The shocks took care of a lot of the bumps as I was descending down and being out and behind the saddle did help tremendously. Than after climbing Thrash Mountain and going into a little twisty and technical descent, my heart was pumping with fear as I tried controlling the bike down this seemingly treacherous path to lower Peter's Canyon. I am happy to say that the disc brakes did a great job preventing me from colliding with hikers going up this thing. Towards the bottom of this path was a short but real steep decline which looked like a path to hell from my eyes. I remember this little screamer and I remembered that a friend of mine mentioned way back when about "letting go of the brakes and letting the bike just lead you down". I took that advice to heart and just let the Fly Ti ... just fly (no pun intended). Well, I made it and the bike kept true to the path I was leading. Of course my heart was racing like crazy, but was very happy that the bike didn't run off without me or flip me over the bars to my death.
Overall, the bike performed admirably and got some compliments by some fellow riders I met on the trail. I headed back to my car (which I parked at the Ralph's strip mall which was about two blocks away). I took some pictures as well as the obligatory "dirty bike pics". Yes, I am a MTB noob again, but with practice, hopefully I can become less of a noob.
From the top of "Thrash Mountain". The hill you see in the distance is the first steep descent I just came from. Don't let this picture or the people walking down the hill fool you. This hill is STEEP and I pointed my iPhone downwards!
Dirty Bike Pics (sorry, no mud)
Check out "Thrash Mountain" from YouTube! It's hilarious!