Saturday, October 19, 2013

Time for a Change - Exploring Flexibilty: Road Configuration

The road configuration on the Moots CX has proven to be a lot of fun and very versatile to boot.  I have about 275 miles on the bike and love it more with each mile.  Of those miles, 30 have been off road and allowed me to get to know the bike on a whole different level.

The normally chubby looking 25C road tire is lost in the cavernous clearance of the Moots CX
Last week I found myself with a day off on what turned-out to be a beautiful day - a ride was definitely in order.  I headed toward town and Hatch Road with no real route or plan in mind.  As I approached Hatch Road I was faced with the choice of turning left and riding Hwy 195 or turning right and climbing the long hill with no shoulder - neither sounded appealing that day.

The other thing that came to mind was that those were my choices when riding a road-only bike - not a CX bike. Just before reaching Hatch Road there is a dirt trail that leads to the right and into some wooded single track that winds up about 2/3 of the way up the hill.  Off I went with 25C road tires on the dirt and pine needle covered trails.  The bike handled climbs, descents, turns and bunny-hops in a nimble yet comfortable manner.  Soon I was back on the pavement and up on 57th Ave.

I ran into some good friends who were out on a road ride so I hung with them and chatted all the way to 29th Ave,. where we parted ways.  So far I had ridden 8 miles of road and 1 mile of trails without any issues on the same bike.  I wasn't quite ready to head back south for home so I rode to 14th Ave., where I could hop on the High Drive Bluff Trails for some single track.  I was concerned about some of the steep rocky climbs and loose off-camber dirt on road tires but threw caution to the wind.

My concerns were misplaced as the bike handled everything I threw at it.  I did get bounced some on the rocky climbs since I had about 85 psi in the tires to avoid pinch flats.  The ride was a little stiff with those tire pressures but fun regardless.  I also did not feel as comfortable in the high speed berms which had as much to do with poor positioning on the bike as it did the slick tires. I have not quite figured-out where my weight distribution should be for different conditions and find myself just riding it like a road bike. I also found that it was almost impossible to stand while climbing since the back tire wanted to spin.  As a result, the 11x28 cassette felt a little tall on a couple of the steeper climbs.

I finished the HD trails by climbing back up to 57th followed by a high-speed descent down Hatch and a leisurely spin out  Hangman Valley Road.  So far the Moots is living-up to the goal of a do-it-all with no compromises bike.  Road riding, gravel grinding and single-track on the same frame, wheels, tires and components is turning-out to be a very fun and flexible bike.  The freedom of taking-off and making choices on the fly as they are presented is becoming a lot of fun and removes the temptation to do the same thing every day.

The next big decision is when and what should the next tires be -  higher volume road/touring tires or full-on tubeless cx tires with a low profile?

See you on the road/gravel/trail

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