June 20, 2012
Race Report - Bike Report
So, the plan had been to finish the race on the Giant Anthem X and then go out on the Giant XTC 0 hardtail 29" and do a lap to see how they differed. Instead I went and sat in my car and almost fell asleep except my legs kept cramping up so I went and spun them out a little. Still, I have probably been on the XTC 0 for about 7 hours total and a few people have asked my opinion on how the bikes differ so I'll do a little review here even though it's not on the course right after the race.
So far, what I have noticed is that no matter what size wheel you are riding, a hardtail feels rougher than a full suspension with no doubt. It is also feels way more agile, nimble, and quick which I really like, but I haven't noticed that is any smoother because of the bigger wheels. Granted, I haven't been able to ride a 26" and then directly onto the 29" but I have ridden 26" hardtails a lot over the years and so far it seems that it feels just as rough as a 2. That said I have also been riding a 26" full suspension and anything is going to feel rough after that so maybe that is going to be too hard to tell. I did park on the back of the course on Sunday I was watching the Sport men ride through and it looked like about 90% of them were on hardtails. None of them were pedaling where I was watching because it was too bumpy and they were all getting tossed around. Everyone of the 10% that came through on the full suspensions were planted on their seats and pedaling - for the most part that tells me more than anything that full suspension might be more important to most people than wheel size when it comes to pedaling on rough terrain. You really have to have tons of technique and power when it comes to riding hardtails on really bumpy ground and what I was seeing wasn't good.
So, I think at this point I'm still planning on doing most of my races on the 26" bike and keeping the 29er for a few select races. I still love the feeling of standing and accelerating on a 20lb hardtail, it feels so fast, but like I said, if you can't sit down and pedal when the course calls for it full suspension is probably more important than wheel size.
at 9:43 AM