Some of you might know, I have been looking for a new bike. This has involved many, many hours on the internet researching. Many long conversations with mates about wheel sizes, shock designs, maintenance, travel and more.
So where have we got to. The thinking is it has to be 650b or 29 er wheels (or clown-lite and clown wheels as they will be know). 26 seems dead to me. I know not everyone agrees but then beer was once always served warm and we all know how nice a cold pint of Jarl is, dont we. So this weekend i managed to get 2 bikes to test: Both 29ers, but very different:
- A Specialized Camber with 110mm of travel and relatively steep angles – this is a good xc bike
- An Orange 5 29 with 140mm with slacker angles – a great all mountain bike
The test venue was the Innerleithan xc loop with some “choice” extras thrown in to make things more interesting.
So what were my thoughts? Well it was all a bit of a surprise really. Both bikes are great. I had been warned the Camber was twitch with a steep head angle but it was more fun than i thought. It was let down by its tyres which just didnt inspire confidence. The shocks were a bit hard for my liking as well which made it hard to manual the bike.
The big surprise was the 5. There is no disguising the fact it is a big bike, but it was fast on the climbs. Probably faster than the Camber. This is most likely due to the position you end up in on both bikes. On the Camber you feel “in” the bike which seems to make it hard to move around and shift your weight. The 5 is the opposite, it is easy to shift around and consequently it feels fast everywhere.
I suppose it could have been the wheels and tyres that made the 5 seem fast. It was tubeless with quite grippy rubber. But i was genuinely shocked that a slack 140mm rig could out climb/sprint a steep angled 110mm xc rig. The job of deciding which bike to get has just got harder, or possibly much, much easier.