|Very eager to ride the new whips!|
Among this stable of thoroughbreds, Giant gave us some of their new 27.5 full-suspension bikes, an all-new wheel size set atop Giant's award winning Maestro suspension platform. Heather picked out a couple of LIV-Giant bikes for us girls to demo. The LIV-Giant bike are 100% all-new for 2014, completely re-designed from the ground up, by women and for women. Flashy colors, great fit, and awesome equipment is the best way to sum up this new line.
I got a 27.5 Lust 1, with Sram 2x10 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and SL grade aluminum frame. At just 25.4 lbs with pedals, this bike embodies the phrase "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."
Heather picked an all-trail Intrigue 1, similarly equipped but with longer, all-trail travel, weighing in at 27.6 lbs. The Intrigue has over 5 inches of travel--inspiring loads of confidence on the roughest trails we could throw at it. To say we were eager to get these bikes dirty was an understatement!
Our first stop was Wyandotte County lake, to preride the course for the Wyco's Revenge. The trail network out at Wyco is fantastic; the Trail Masons have done a great job with these sustainably built trails. They are flowy and swoopy, with a few good climbs and descents and some rock gardens. I rode out there just last week so I was eager to compare the handling of the bigger tires back to back with my personal bike (a 26inch fully suspended Dean). Heather's bike is an ultra light XTC carbon hardtail with 26 inch wheels, so riding a plush bike with full suspension would be a pretty new animal to her. We both ride bikes with full XTR drivetrain, so we are used to and expect very high shift quality.
We started out down the gravel road to give a us a few minutes to get the hang of the new rig Sram X0 grip shift shifters. Personally, the first thing I noticed that even under hard pedaling I couldn't feel any pedal bob. My bike normally acts like an inchworm, so to feel that positive and stable response to pedaling was VERY welcome! Once we hit the woods the bike was fun and snappy. Many of the mountain bikes that have been coming out lately tend to feel a little light in the front end (thanks to the trend toward tall headtubes, short toptubes, riser stems and bars), but this seemed pinned to trail--no wandering or washing. So far, the 27.5's were proving to not have the slow-handling characteristics of many of their big-wheeled brothers. Where the Lust really shined was in the rock garden though. The Lust rolled through my arch nemesis obstacle so easily that I almost didn't notice it. I thought surely we had missed it. I cleared things I've never cleared before!!!! I felt confident and stable even on the off-camber rocky crap that always makes me "pucker up."
|Feeling pretty pleased!|
|Heather threading the needle!|
|Relaxed and ready to go!|
After having such a great experience with the Lust for the past week, I decided to race the Lust at the Wyco's Revenge Mountain Bike Race Saturday night. It's always a little nervewracking to ride a bike other than your own in a race. Espescially when the shifters are so different (still getting the hang of gripshift) but the ride on the Lusthad been so solid, familiar, yet improved, that I felt confident. And very excited and appreciative that Heather and Giant were being so generous with their very nice equipment. I signed up for the Sprint course- 8 miles of fun. We had 7 girls in our class so I was really hoping to finish in the top half, but mostly I wanted to ride hard and have fun.
Once I got a couple miles in to the trail, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before. The harder I rode this bike, but the better it rode! As we got further down the trail I was feeling more and more confident in how the bike was handling, and kept picking up the pace bit by bit. Every time we'd hit a climb or technical area the Lust really showed her stuff, and we started passing people. With about three miles to go I passed Paige Crain, who had been setting the pace and holding first place for much of the race. As Heather always says, you can ride a lot harder, and suffer a lot more in first place than you can in second, and she is right! Once I passed Paige I opened up the throttle a tid bit more, let it go in the corners and just really let the bike do its thing. It was a blast!
The Schwalbe Racing Ralphs held great on the corners and held tight to the rocks, even on the off-camber rock garden where I always get nervous. My one quibble with the bike is that I had a hard time down shifting and slamming on the brakes at the same time with the gripshift. I'm sure it can be done... but it seemed like there was a lot going on in my hand to be able to execute dumping 3 gears while panic-braking. Maybe I should try not panic brake, you think?
I've had a great time getting the VIP treatment, but now it's your turn. All of the bikes Heather and I rode this week and then some will be available for the public to ride this weekend at the Ride Life Ride Giant Demo Event. From 10-3 this Saturday, Oct 12 you can try hardtails, cross-country full suspension, plush full suspension, road bikes, and more. We'll have food and drinks, and we'll do a couple of led mountain and road rides too. We have a trail route that will be marked, as well as an 8 mile road route. So come out and get the VIP treatment and ride top-of-the-line bikes for free at Shelter 9 at Wyandotte County Lake. Get more info @ www.thewheelcyclery.com