It was an eclectic combination of riders and bikes. Nevdal was there, looking all steely-faced, on his beautiful 1×9 Ti El Mariachi. (Please recall that Nevdal is the origin of “to Nevdal”, a verb meaning to ride on the gravel shoulder of a paved road, just because you’re hardcore).
(Note to self: if you ever build a hardtail, install a chain keeper).
The Spearfusion came out for its baptism by dirt.
The Fantastic Feller was there sporting an aluminum hardtail.
“Super-Gore Gecik” was rocking the Pivot Mach 429 and Tobie brought out a 20″ Spearfish 2.
Chad Ament, of “Salsa Titanium Seatpost Thigh” fame was there, sporting the Bonkers Bianchers.
Note that he was the only sponsored rider on the trip, having been picked up by Schwalabes, Stan’s No Noobs, and Fizzzzzzzzik. If you’re not familiar with Salsa Titanium Seatpost Thigh, click here.
There were a bunch of other riders as well, most of whom I did not capture pictures of. In keeping with my practices of late, I focused more on riding, and less on picture taking. The group I was with rocked a Full Monty, and is seen here at the end of the Emma, in the parking lot.
Special guest appearance by Tom Boonen:
It may have been slightly hot, I may have been sweating, and my camera lens may have been obscured by moisture. Maybe.
Trail-monster Dang Eiten was on the scene, sporting his hardtail Trek Carbon 29er
He was riding so fast, it was almost like he didn’t even ride with our group.
What can I say about the ride? It was awesome. A pleasant mix between challenging and fun. A little bit of technical, a little bit of hammerfest, a lot of smiling. As Axletree starts getting more active, there will be a lot of areas where we have issues to work on…but the group ethos and culture are not in need of improvement.
And the Spearfusion? Reeeeeeeeeeee-donk-ulous. I’ll do a full writeup on the build spec soon, and a detailed review after I have some more saddle time on it. For now, I’ll throw out a few tidbits:
1) The wheels are amazing. They spin up like road wheels. There is no other word for it–they’re amazing.
2) The rear suspension is perfect for my riding. 80mm of travel takes the hard edge off of bumps, and climbs like the dickens.
3) The 18″ frame is definitely the right size for me…even at a shade over 6′ tall. On the sharp, steep, technical switchbacks, I had no problem maintaining traction and crawling up the hill. I felt like I could throw the bike around at will.
4) Lighter = more betterer. Bike control was improved, speed increased, handling confidence was off the charts.
5) One of my favorite features of my old Rumblefish (the Spearfusion predecessor) was the ABP active brake pivot rear end, which worked to lessen rear wheel lockup and keep rear brake activation from jacking the suspension up. I was a bit worried about the loss of that feature. I should not have worried–the Spearfish simply and flatly works. Equally as nice, if you overcook a corner and come in a little hot, a hard dab of rear brake produces a completely predictable rear wheel slide that helps you pivot through the corner, rather than pivoting through a tree.
Again, I’ll have more details later, but for now, she’s ta-ta-ta-tasty.
Get off the road. Go ride.