Sunday, March 25, 2012

Maybe it is just part of getting older, but the cold, wet, dark days of winter seem to get to me more each year.  So when we get a warm, clear day I just can't contain my joy and have to get out and ride.  Today was no exception which broke clear and was projected to hit 60.  Road bike or mountain bike - hmmm tough choice.

I saw lots of folks out on road bikes everywhere I went today, but I was really itching to ride the new Superfly Elite in some more technical stuff to test it out.  This means heading to RSP and riding the 24 hour course which provides a little bit of everything.

First the course.  The recent rains have left the course in very good condition and even tacky and fast in most sections.   I only saw snow in two areas on the inner loop, neither of which were a big deal.  As far as I am concerned, consider the course open and ready for riding.  Someone even went to the trouble of building little raised paths with rock retaining walls on one side of the holes that always seem to have water - nice touch.

Now the bike - I did not think I would notice the new beefed-up front end because I never considered the old one whippy or wimpy but I do like the new feel.  It just feels like you can stuff it into tough stuff and know exactly where the bike will go - no guessing.   The new frame also feels a little stiffer in the bottom bracket without punishing the rest of your body.

I was pretty happy with the redesigned XT components up to this point, but now I am totally head over heels in love with it.  The shifting and braking are just spot-on.  No hesitation or complaining when downshifting on climbs - it just got the job done.  The brakes saved me a couple of times where early season overconfidence and diminshed skills had me cooking into a few corners a little too hot.  A quick tap on the brakes and I was back on line.

Finally, I like the additional travel in the front end and seemed to use most of it if you look closely at the O-ring in the photo.  The Fox -F32 just keeps everything under control without a lot of fuss.  All this makes for a nice package and a very capable XC bike.  The Bontrager Race Lite wheels are pretty bullet proof, but I think you pay a penalty in terms of weight.  An upgrade to a lighter set of race wheels might be a good investment for serious racers.  Average Joes like me appreciate the dependability of the more industrial stuff.

The Superfly Elite is a very forgiving bike that does not punish too much for mistakes and an absolute screamer in the hands of someone who really knows how to ride.  I am not capable of the latter, but it sure is fun to try.

See you on the trails.

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