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