I took the jump and bought it on 9/7/08, it got to me last Wednesday. Since then I've put about 8 hours and 40 or so miles on it. This is my first 'new' bike, so far I have been really impressed.
Here are the specs:
Frame -- Ally 6061 T6 Oversize Aluminum w/ Double Butted DT
Size -- 18"Fork -- RST M29 Pro
Headset -- Ritchey LB
Crank Set -- Truvativ ISO Flow 3.0 22/32/44
Bottom Bracket -- Truvativ Sealed Cartridge
Derailleur Front -- Shimano Deore
Derailleur Rear -- Shimano Deore
Freewheel -- Shimano HG50 9-Speed 11-32
Chain -- Shimano HG50
Pedals -- Candy SL
Handlebar -- Race Face Next Carbon
Stem -- Pivit Alloy Clamp-On 7 Degree
Grips -- Giant Lock on
Derailleur Shifter -- Shimano Deore
Saddle -- WTB Speed V Sport SE
Seat Post -- Alloy Micro Adjust 30.9
Seat Post Clamp -- Pivit Alloy QR
Hubset -- Pivit Disc Alloy 9 Speed Cassette; 32h QR
Rim -- WTB FX 28
Spokes -- Stainless Steel 14g
Tires -- Hutchinson Python Lightweight
Brakes -- Juicy 3
The one place this bike does not shine is in weight -- somewhere in the neighborhood of 31lb. The very first 'ride' I did involved carrying it 1/4 mile up a hill that was a hard hike up. Let's just say it got heavy fast.
The second ride was 7 mile's of backroads to the trailhead, and 8-9 miles of trail and 2500 ft of elevation gain. Going up wasn't magically any easier than my 26er, you still have to go up. Handling on the switchbacks was barely any worse, the ones I didn't make were ones I didn't make on the 26er. The RST's lockout worked perfectly, easy to do and nice and solid.
The decent was where the bike really shined. There were 3-4 miles of overgrown singletrack with various obstacles that you couldn't see and turns you didn't know were there. This translated into flying off the 'trail' numerous times and into where it was really rough. The 29" wheels performed up to their expectations. No wipeouts due to that.
The handling through rolling singletrack is superb, but I do not have any sort of similar bike to compare it to.
I did have two near wipe outs due to the fork. I forgot (or didn't want to) lock it out right before a tight switchback pointed rather steeply downhill. I experienced a sort of flex in the fork exactly like what I've read about in Reba's. It didn't quite get me but almost. The second time was when crawling down over a very steep rock with the fork not locked out, it went down too far so I went up over the handlebars.
Brakes ... superb(moving from a set of junky v-brakes). I love the feel of hydraulics, they sure give your hands a break (no pun intended) when using them hard for miles. They started to get hot about 3/4 of the way through, and after than I had to use a lot more force to get them to keep working, I imagine if I used the 5's or 7's they might stay easy. Also, when going about 15mph, and then a moderately hard steady pull on the front brakes, it emits a sound close to that of an electrical transformer. I don't have the dreaded Juicy squeaks, yet at least, only this.
Tires ... I don't like the Hutchinson's it came with. On my third ride or so I had a rock come through the tired. I proceeded to patch the tube, and realized how light both the tire and tube were. That's the problem right there. I don't need race tubes for hard regular riding. I'll take the extra g's, thank you. Anybody have some tires they want to trade?
The pictures link to a set on flickr.
Today's ride was short, only about 2 miles round trip. A fire road up, and a decent upon a large rock face. The local trail group recently made a nice trail down it, so I decided to try riding down it versus through the cactus. I had a hard time keeping within the bounds of the trails. My fork had to be locked out most the time to navigate corners, etc.
Here's are a few from today:
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Thread: Ride Report: Haro Ally XC
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