Well i just got a new 29er off Spencer (semach.the.monkey) so I thought it would be a good excuse to attempt to write a flowing eloquent ride report and genreal review of it. The spec goes something like this:
Nimbus II 29" frame
UDC CrMo 48h hub with DT spokes and Mavic rim
22.0 steel post
steel 152 cranks
Kenda Klaw Xt
First impressions after assembling it is that it’s incredibly light, despite the steel cranks and post. I think the saddle is completely hosed, it’s one of the earliest KHs, one of the bolts has come loose and I think the stiffener might be broken. Seems either a UDC Gel or a KH fusion will be replacing it shortly.
Ooops, sorry, I had no idea about the seat. I knew it wasn’t one of the latest ones, but I’ve not ridden it at all so didn’t realise it was (or might be) broken. I’ve got a standard UDC seat of similar vintage spare, so if you want me to swap it over, just let me know.
However, I’ve got a couple of unicycles with the UDC Gel saddles, and they are thoroughly recommended. A very worthwhile upgrade!
No problem, to be honest I knew when I bought it that I’d have to change the cover and the handle, and probably the entire seat as the original KHs weren’t great. I’ve got the Gel on my N36, not sure if it will have enough padding for offroad use, I might swap it on and try it out a little.
I decided to take the 29 out on my usual cross-country route, it’s half fields/tow-path and half tarmac. The 24 is a blast going down through the woods, it’s sufficiently technical that I’ve never made it in one go, but on the rest of the ride it’s decidely slow and dull. Unfortunately with the recent heavy rain the path was extremley muddy, and flooded in parts. The initial ascent up a gravel track almost seemed easier on the 29 than the 24, but this quickly turned in to a mud path which was impassable on the 29, and probably would have been on the 24 too. Fotunately this quickly gave way to a relatively smoothe field which went by much quicker than usual. After a short gravel path and pasing through a farm yard i reached The Hill, the capitals being entirely appropriate. Several have tried, but no-one’s ever made it more than 2/3 the way up this hill, it’s always too wet and slippery or too dry and hard to maintain a good rhythm. Today ground conditions looked ideal but on the 29 i didn’t stand a chance, I took a quick jog to the top of the hill, where the path runs in to the woods.
The wooded section is by far the most fun section of the ride, a steep downhill with plenty of roots and drop-offs to entertain, but usually pretty muddy. Today it was horrendous, and i ended up walking half of it as there wasn’t enough grip to keep me upright. As the path flatens out it turns in to a gravelly streambed, with several inches of water in it. Blazing along with the water spraying my legs was quite refreshing, and gave me my first idea of the potential speed of the 29. Finally the path ran over a small bridge crossing the canal, this marks the end of the hills and mud, and hopefully any need to walk sections of the ride.
The canal tow-path is in good condition and the 29 is so muh more fun than the 24, I manage to get some really good speed despite is still being relatively rough. The path crosses two of the three aquaducts in Britain, one of which is atleast 100 yards long and is a pretty bizare riding experience. After the second aquaduct there’s a long staircase down to the road, I’ve never tried it on the 24 and I’m sure not doing it now it must be atleast 50 steps. On the road the 29 again shows its superiority over the 24, usually this section is tortourously slow but it’s wizzing by, and the hills don’t seem any more difficult. A pack of approximately 25 lycra clad cyclists shoot past in tight formation going the other way. The leader shouts “both hands on the bars!” as he goes past, I presume this is a joke based on a group riding rule, he seems friendly and several other guys in the group wave at me. A couple of minutes later another biker overtakes me, shouting “two wheels is easier” as he goes by. He doesn’t seem that friendly and I’m annoyed I don’t have time to get in a suitable rebuttal before he’s gone.
A turn off the road leads in to the final section, a long tarmac driveway then back through the farm yard and over the fields I crossed at the start. I go for max speed down the final gravel path and under such extreme provocation the seat angle adjuster lets go and drops the front of the seat down an inch or two. Thankfully I manage to hold on and get down to a more appropriate speed.
Overall the 29 was very light and great on road hills, and with speeds much closer to a 36 than I’d been expecting. The tyre did limit the amount of mud I could cope with, but when dry the route should be almost entirely rideable, and it was deffinitely a lot more fun than plodding along on the 24.
Actually I was riding with my dad who was jogging, and he shouted nothing at him. Funnily enough it made me consider the exact aims of riding, if he wanted to get from A to B then driving would have been easier, if he wanted exercise then probably an exercise bike would have been less hassle. Unfortunately he was doing atleast 20mph so by the time I’d thought all this through he was long gone.