Ok so I don’t have much experience riding 29rs but I do have a lot of riding experience and this weekend racing my Paradox in what i thought was an AM race only to see my competition in full face helmets, chest and leg armour on bikes such as Trek Sessions and M6’s made me scratch my head a little.
I hadn’t seen the course so me and Ryan took a ride up – ok Ryan pushed his bike while I rode since he was on a full boinger and hadn’t made the mistake of bring a knife to a gun fight.
The Paradox rocks on the tech uphill and the seating position was just as i hoped. Centered in the saddle for all but the steepest quick bursts where you could just nose up a tad but not as much as other bikes I had ridden. The 2.3 WTB stouts felt great and I never felt any loss of traction. The conditions were dry but not dusty and the ground was not loose for the most part but was gravely with some uphill rock gardens that you had to pick your lines. I love the way the Paradox gets over stuff on the uphill when things get chundery. My XC background was mostly riding the North Shore where one of our fun things was to see who could get up the technical stuff. We’d slam it into the lowest gear we had and just giver into what we thought would be the line that would give us the best traction and the greatest chance of throwing ourselves up and over what would be technically a drop if you were going down.
I wish I had the Paradox back then, and I can’t wait to get it back to the Shore to try some of my old lines and see what happens. The 29 front really helps and the momentum that it carries keeps the bike moving into these tech sections. Long story short it was welcomed on the tech uphill sections.
So on the downhill that was another eye opener. I’ve ridden a 26r Scirocco for a long time. I commuted on it for 2 years back and forth everyday from my home to the office and had it in the air; dropping the Aline and GLC at Whistler at its most extreme. There was nothing I wouldn’t hit on that bike that I wouldn’t do on a full suser. So while I think Whistler will be a bit much for this bike i was pleasantly surprised that it did give me the confidence that I used to feel on the Scirocco. The only part that I think I’ll need to get used to is in 2 corners where i nearly blew my line because I wasn’t use to pulling the front wheel over on this size. I was in the first portion of my DH run and the bike was running hot… I suppose the centripetal force was more then i was used to and I didn’t compensate. It took me but fractions of a second to correct but it was something that wouldn’t have happened on the 26 front.
The 120mm fork felt like a 160mm. It really was amazing to get the same feeling from the front end as what i’ve previously experienced running a 6” fork. The back end was super sweet… it tracked precisely, I felt very comfortable leaning it over in the corners, and it felt like a softtail as the backend was much softer then what i’ve experienced riding through the chundery braking bumps on Aline [Whislter] with the Scirocco.
I’m still a little sketched out catching air on this bike. I think i’ll try to keep practicing on it to see if i get used to it but my gut tells me all but the straightest lines jumping will be hard. I don’t think i’d be comfortable hipping or transfering this bike but a straight lined drop and maybe even a small kicker will be pretty sweet. The backend is short enough that when i did a slower speed jump i was able to pull the front end up and not nose in to the landing. Having a bike you can “wheelie” is of benefit especially if you want to hit some small air drops. This truly is an AM style bike if for no other reason that its possible to do this.
I have to say its going to be a fight getting this thing away from me. I thought I was done with hardtails after riding the Legend last year, but just as I found new love for riding with the Scirocco, I am now –even after riding bikes for so long- finding the fun that I had only experienced when i had first started riding. I’m so stoked on this bike and want to visit all my old haunts again to see and compare… hell you may even seem me at Whistler on it!!!!