Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Riding Experimental 650B Truth

The Truth experiment using a 650B front wheel (that's a 27.5-inch tire) is revealing much better results than I ever expected...actually I was not sure how it would ride or handle even though I spent an abundant amount of time designing this thing (I knew a total flop was possible and just part of the risk that goes with bike experimentation).

I put a lot of miles on the Truth as a 26"-wheeled only bike so I already had a feel for it's handling and biases in different situations. Since putting the 650B wheel up front I have put a the bike through a few "gentle" thrash tests...the ride results thus far are truly amazing in comparison the the 26" only wheels. Just to be sure I was not on some euphoric new-bike high I swapped the front wheel back to the 26" a few times and found that the 650B wheel up front was the only way to go in everything I rode through.

My test have mostly been at Hells Gate State Park - a place I am beyond familiar with that has a huge variety of trail conditions and geograghy...i.e. twisty-fast single-track, an uphill with some obstacle laden switchbacks, a steep downhill that is always full of rocks and sometimes slick muddy patches, short-fast rollers (some with 90-degree corners and off-camber turns), big-ass endo rocks, ruts galore, deep sand patches, billions of horse-hoof divets, small (but deadly) rock gardens, weeds, and sometimes snow. So far the 650B front wheel has me smiling big on everything...

Soaking up trail-noise: The 650B-wheel really made a difference in soaking up the smaller trail noise similar to what I have found riding 29ers. Trail noise in this riding area are horse-hoof divits, which have a tendency to rattle your teeth a bit even with the finest forks. But the larger front wheel really shined in this stuff. I rear suspension of the Truth works so well that I never really notice the bumps transmitting from the rear wheel...hmmm once again dare I say it works as Ellsworth advertises.

Endo testing: The 650B-wheel also proved to be much more endo proof - I actually tried to endo in my favorite deep V-shaped rut and couldn't make the bike do it with the 650B-wheel, but with the 26" wheel on front it wanted to endo every time.

Cornering - WOW is all I can say...I was appoaching these well-known-to-me turns just as I have thousands of times before (i.e. brake just before the apex then let up and rail though), but I started noticing I could take the corners faster and faster until I was not braking at all - a scary-thrill to say the least. Again, just to be sure I was not on some sort of super-human high I rode the Truth with 26" wheels and one of my 29ers through the same stuff and could not come anywhere near to speed in the same corners, then I did it again on the 650B Truth and was again railing through at unchecked high speeds. A large part of this ability I would say comes from the tires - the Pacenti Neo-Moto grips remarkably well, yet it is a nice large volume, fast rolling tire...a rare combination.

Rocks, ruts, and sand: The 650B rolls over the worst of it with ease...let's just say that there is a huge difference between the 26" only Truth and the 650B Truth and say enuf said.

I even took it out at night and rode the entire place (including the Devil's Slide) after it snowed - again I must say that the Pacenti Neo-Moto 650B tire is beyond impressive for traction...I did not slide out or ever loose control on the worst of it, I popped in/out of ruts with ease, and basically rode to the limits of my lights (which was stooopidly fast since I was doing this alone). The only problem I encountered was a face-to-face near death collision with a set of terrified running antlers attached to a wild-eyed deer (I'll bet I was a little wild-eyed at about the same time plus I was screaming as I was braking hard).

I'm still planning more "tests" (rides in disguise)...


TheSeanman said...

You're fricking nuts, dude!

ERic said...

Nuts??? For what? We should do more night rides at Hellsgate (including the Devil's slide)...I do them quite often and it was so much fun in the snow - I like more adventurous night rides...almost biting some deer horns at high speed on the bottom of the Devils Slide will be a smiling memory for some time.

monk3y mike wellborn said...

Nice. I'm going to have to spread the gospel on 650b full-sus love!