Saturday, November 7, 2009

First Impression Weekend

I couldn't wait for the end of work to come on Friday. I had a fairly light day planned, which would leave me plenty of time for my maiden ride on my new Singular Swift. After sitting in traffic on 95, and getting in a little face time with customers, I was at the trail head.

Now it's always a good idea to take a bike you're getting used to riding at a place you're not all that familiar with. Added points if hunting may or my not be allowed in the forest, and hunter's trucks are park at the perimeter.

So I found myself at Cockaponset.

I was in that part of the state, and I'm getting a little bored with the same old same old, so here we are. Riding out of the trail head the first thing I noticed about the Swift was the height. The A/C is 20mm higher than any other fork I've ridden plus the head tube is almost an inch longer than that of my Karate Monkey, giving the Swift about an inch and a half more height at the bars. But all my contact points were where they should be, so off we went.
Another thing I noticed pulling out of the lot was a little braking vibration. This concerned me; I don't want the front end shuttering around every time I brake. Fortunately my concerns were unfounded. Not once did I notice any vibration braking out on the trail.

Climbing felt awkward at first. It would take some time to get used to the bars being this high I thought. But on the other hand maybe I should give it a chance before I run out and get a stem with more negative rise because I was climbing everything. Wet, leave covered, rocky climbs that I'd only ridden once or twice were evaporating before me.

The Swift is very balanced feeling. In the singletrack everything is super intuitive. I got to a downhill section of mountain laurel choked switchbacks and thought to myself "No way are you making this" as I came to a particularly tight turn. But being so centered on the Swift, the rear end just followed me around. Conversely on the way back, I though "there's no way your making this climb", yet other than riding off the trail at a turn do to leaf cover, I did.
I was impressed with just how much stuff I was making. I consider myself a decent technical rider, I guess you have to be somewhat adept to ride in New England, but I was surprising myself with some of the stuff I was making. And the fork. It has got to be one of the best rigid forks I have ridden. Those long slender legs do a great job of absorbing chatter, while remaining precise.


Riding on my home turf from home, this would give me a more honest and accurate impression of the Swift. I hate to sound like a suck up, but this frame is really growing on me fast. I'm getting used to the higher front end and I'm starting to think there might be some advantage to it. Climbimg doesn't seem to be hindered, and I think it might be aiding me on the technical stuff. I was making all sorts of "challenge stages" (remember Galaga?), in fact I made some things I haven't made in ages, as well as something I've never made before. I rode up "the shute" of Little Moab along the powerlines (if you know the res.). I found myself hammering down descents that I'd usually be coasting and braking( I'm usually something of a, how can we put this politely, a big pussy, on descents). Again can't say enough about the fork; just spectacular.

More of the same. High front end? What high front end? Although the frame and fork has been confidence inspiring, 72 y/o Charlie Beristain reminded me of just how much of a pussy I am as he blasted past me on a hairy fireroad descent (I was going 30.5 mph!). When we got to a more technical, all be it slower descent I took the lead again. He felt it looked like I was effortlessly carving the downhill. I don't know about effortlessly, but without a lot of thought I'd say.

So to sum thimgs up, Sam must be really good at math and junk, because the frame and fork work exceptionally well for the riding I do.


Rigidnsingle said...

That fork is long. Wonder what would happen to the handling with a WB 465 carbon?

Radovan Stejskal said...

Hi, I wonder on thing, what is the good thing about one speed gear if you can have 27, is it the weight?

CB2 said...

Single just work better for some people. I stand a lot climbing, and have fairly decent upper body strength so singlespeed seems to suit me. I have tried running multi-speed drivetrains but I'm no faster, and it's not as fun. I'm sure other people's results are different. Whatever works and is fun.