Saturday, December 06, 2008

Super Bike

I rode a super bike today. A 2007 Rocky Mountain Vertex Team. A friend, Barry, a true Rocky Mountain-phile, is upgrading his stable of RMs and making room for the newest generation Vertex which is full carbonfiber , so he put this one for sale. Since I didn't really need (I always want) a new bike, I passed this info to my friend Jack who was in the market for a new Rocky Mountain bike.

The bike is a 2007 prototype, build for the Rocky Mountain race team for evaluation. Only 6 were built. It is a hybrid of technologies; scandium alloy making up the front triangle, and carbonfiber making the rear part of the bike. The resulting combination is incredible!

Here is an evaluation that I wrote up and e-mailed to Barry:

I am kicking myself now for letting Jack have the deal of the century. All I can say about the 2007 Vertex Team is that I am very impressed. I gave it a pretty good test this morning on our limited trails.

Climbing: The first climb was the entry trail. On the Litespeed I usually approach this trial in the small ring and probably the 2nd or 3rd cog down. 30 or 28 (or whatever it is...its a 34-11cogset). I approached on Vertex the granny ring, and biggest cog in back (don't know what Jack has on there). What was most noticeable climbing this steep incline was the bike's balance. It is nearly perfect. I shifted forward on the saddle maybe a cm, but no more. You can see in the pics I am leaning forward a bit but I don't think its terribly exaggerated. The shock was on about a medium setting, no bobbing problems whats so ever. The rear end of that bike is somewhat perplexing. It feels plenty stiff at the BB, no noodley lateral feel at all, but you can feel it flexing somewhat and hooking up. Excellent traction! Smooth! I cleaned the entry trail on my first attempt with ease. I was surprised and very pleased.

The second climb is "La Falla", its a more gradual climb, doable on my single speed with great effort. On the Litespeed I approach this hill in the middle ring and somewhere in the middle of the cogset. My first approach on the Vertex was with the fork fully locked out, middle ring, probably 3 cog down from the top. I climbed it easily. I forgot to give the camera to Jack so we did it again. This time we opened the fork to full-squish mode. I rode up, got hung up the gravel at the bottom and had to turn around and restart. On my second try with the shock full open, I cruise up the hill. You can see the pics of my body position, etc You can see, again I am leaning forward a little but only moved up on the saddle a few millimeters. Minimal shifting of weight.

Descending: I rode down the Fausto Trail which has a technical, cambered/rutted 180 switchback, I ended up kind of dragging my right foot as an outrigger after the switchback mainly because I am not used to the grabby-ness of disc brakes. I was skidding the rear tire more than I would have liked, therefore the rear end was swinging around back and forth. It was not the fault of the bike, more of a pilot error.

After the Fausto, I blasted down The Rails. These are some steep concrete two-track. What can I say, I almost hit a curb at the bottom of the first section because I was going way too fast. The Vertex is extremely stable! Continuing on the second part, it gets even more steep for about 200 meters or so. Super stable...I blasted through some broken concrete, over a "rubble bridge" and to the bottom. I was about half-way down this section when this popped into my head..."Boy howdy...ever cyclist needs to ride a bike as good as this one."

Bikes are fun!

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