Riding 28er off road -1st impressions

I finally took my 28er off road today. Yeeeeeehhhhhaaaawwwww!!!:smiley:

I was stunned how well it did. My ride lasted a little under 40 minutes. I rode on a combination of wide and narrow single track with some attempts at light muni in and around some dirt mounds.

The set up includes
Bicycle Euro 150mm cranks
plastic Odyssey pedals
a 700 x 37mm Continental Top Touring tire at 65 psi
Japanese Miyata seat with 16” innertube airseat
drag brake as well

Pictures of the 28er can be seen at the link below (These are the pix from the Drag Brake 28er thread on 2/13). Cranks, seat and pedals are now different from the pix - as listed above.

http://www.unicyclist.com/gallery/albup13

I usually ride today’s trail on my 24" Muni with 3.0 Gazz and 170mm cranks. The first thing I noticed was how much easier it was to pedal. The trail gradually rises but also goes through some small dips. When I ride this on my MUni, after about 5 minutes on the trail, I am plum tuckered out. However, on the 28er, I found my self less winded and having more sustainable energy and also sweating a lot less. I also could obviously ride a bit faster.

The ability to ride at a faster speed gives you more momentum. I tried twice to ride up a steep hill. I can’t tell you the percent grade, because I left my inclinometer at home by accident. Anyway, I could ride as high or higher before stalling than with my 24" MUni.

As I rode into more technical terrain, I noticed that there is more time to adjust at the stall point. While standing and climbing, I could sit on the pedals longer and pivot the wheel to accommodate the tight bends and lumps on the trail. I could do this as I adjusted my weight forward to get out the next pedal revolution.

I actually amazed myself when I rode a short bending trail that is hard to navigate on my Muni, but I managed to do the same on the 28er, but it was wobblier. The wobble was probably due to just a lack of familiarity with the uni.

I tried riding it over some 1’ to 1.5’ mounds and on the first try launched the uni forward and my butt down to the ground. That wheel is soooo light. I over compensated an pulled up the wheel too far as I came over the top. I had to ride it three times to adjust and compensate.

The drag brake was awesome. I usually use my Magura on my muni for the return trip to the car. It’s a gradual descent on the trail ducking under low branches and navigating many small rocks, drainage ruts, and turns in the trail. The brake really flattens out the trail.

However, in the initial thread about the uni, there was a concern about the brake sticking out. I did catch my 661 leg armor at one point and it pulled me down when I was trying to ride over the mounds. As a modification, I am going to try to place a piece of ½” or ¾” diameter clear plastic tubing (vertically) around where the cable is attached to the brake. The tubing is that flexy clear stuff used in fish tanks, but larger. I will have to cut it out in spots to make it fit over the parts of the brake. I figure the tube will allow for the movement of the brake when activated and also prevent my leg armor from getting caught. I was twisting/wobbling when I went down when I was trying to get over a mound. With skill and practice, I probably could smooth the wobbles out, but I think I still need to create a guard effect around that part of the brake.

At times I stalled when climbing and tried to hop to reset, but the tire would fold over, periodically. That’s more a muni move anyway. That’s not a big deal and I have yet to raise psi to the maximum of 70 psi. I rode at 60 psi figuring that it would allow a bit more bite with the narrow tire. The tread design really worked well and I never slipped out when pedaling even steeper slopes.

As stated before, I was really surprised at the performance. It’s been said that the 28er might be a good candidate for off road races like the 24 hours of Adrenalin. It’s really light and nimble and affords more speed than a 24" muni. I fantasized about riding it in 24 Hours of Adrenalin(emphasize Fantasized). Maybe some day…

I’ve never ridden a 26er, but with a slimmer tire on a 26, that might be away to go as well.

I will have to put on a Nanoraptor or IRC Notos on later to check that out and see if it works form me. The Schwalbe Big Apple might be too smooth for my needs, if I continue to take this puppy off road.

I was going to RR the 150mm cranks with some 140mm Doteks that are now sitting on the workbench, but now, I am not sure. That was in hopes of getting more speed on the flats, but still give a little torque for hills.

Ride On!

Rod,

Sounds like lots of fun. I went on my 6th muni ride today. It really doesn’t sound like much give that I’ve had my muni since the end of January. I’ve been really busy though and the rides are usually about 3-4hrs long. Could you please explain the different between a drag brake and a normal brake? I’ve decided not to add a brake to my muni but I can definately see how it could come in handy. I dont have the money for a Magura set and I think any others would stick out too much for freestyle (when putting feet near where the brake would be).

Have a go in the 24hr! I’m entering my first race on my muni next month (the 24hr) with Samuel and Gabe. They’re coming all the way from another state to join in on the fun. I can’t wait.

Thanks for an interesting report,
Andrew

for racing I reckon short cranks (125mm or shorter) combined with a brake would be the ultimate. The only time you don’t have enough power / control with 125s is on very steep hills. With steep uphills in a race, once you get the sort of uphill you can’t ride on 125s, whatever you’re riding you’d be quicker running / walking it. With a brake you can ride the steep downhills.

You really do want a fat tyre on that you know! It becomes much more muni friendly if you do.

Joe

Andrew,

I really don’t know the answer to your question, exactly, but I will give it a go.

U-turn put the uni together for me based on my requirements. One of which was to add a brake.
In my mind it was to be a standard brake lever attached to an inexpensive sidepull brake. However, when he sent me early pictures, he mentioned the drag brake. It wasn’t what I had in mind, but he has more experience than I, so I trusted his judgment. The result has been one of extreme satisfaction, as it was designed to be ridden, mainly on road, with the occasional off – road sortie. Road hills lend themselves to long direct down hills. As you know, off road can be the exact opposite.

So, here is the answer to your question. The brake lever for the drag brake is actually a shifter. One of those short lever shifters that are used on MTBs. It locks in place when you move it. So, I can adjust the drag on the wheel as needed. The more I move the lever to the right, the more pressure is exerted on the wheel constantly, thus creating the drag. A standard brake lever applied brake for muni is essentially activated “on the fly”. I can’t do that with the drag brake because it won’t release fast enough. The normal brake allows more finesse.

For Friday’s ride, though, it was sufficient. I can ride a short 50% drop on my Muni with brakes on a segment of that trail, but I would never ride it with the drag brake on the 28er.

I hope that helps. I am sure there are other more experienced riders who can explain it better.

Ride on!

Hey that’s a good idea! I guess it means you can ride a long constant downhill with braking action but not have to be squeezing on your brake lever all the way down?

I was also surprised at how well 29’ers ride off road. I think part of it is the lightweight and the greater rolling circumference enabling you to roll over things better. In fact I’m using my 29’er so much that I’ve hardly ridden my KH24 or my 26’Pashley at all since I got it.

You will probably find the IRC Notos or WTB nanoraptors to be a lot more cushy for off-road. You can run them at MTB pressures rather than road-bike pressures. They still have quite low rolling resistance but good traction off road.

Ken

Rod,

Thanks, I thaught it was a really clear explanation. Drag brakes do sound handy for road riding.

Andrew