I don't know if this has any relevance to anyone but I just wanted to share my story.
I have a friend who just bought a Monocog full rigid. 29er, rigid and SS are all new to him and he's worried that the rigid part might be too harsh after only ever riding FS.
I haven't ridden a full rigid for 20 years and haven't ridden a hard tail for maybe 10, except on the street, so I thought I would take the rear rack off of my old Cannondale Caad 4 commuter bike and take it to the trails today to give him a report on what to expect, kind of. Minus the big wheels and no gear choice. I have a small 7 speed cogset and a downtube shifter so shifting is limited and the gears are pretty high.
Besides the geometry and lack of rear suspension and only about 2" of front suspension (HeadShok), which locks out completely, there were several other things novel about the ride. The biggest was that it has platform pedals which I haven't ridden since my first Mtb in 1982 and even then I think I put toe clips on after a couple of weeks.
I don't know if you guys have seen them but there have been several heated clips vs flats threads going on recently so I had some desire to try flats for myself since there are quite a few people who prefer them.
Also I have Hookworm tires on the bike and wanted to see how not having knobs worked on the rock and dirt. There was a thread on them a couple of months ago too.
So to me there was old as in rigid and new as in flats and...well there wasn't really any ugly except maybe my form riding a bike that is so different from what I'm used to.
Where I was riding was pretty rocky and rooty and I couldn't take the locked out front end for very long. At least not with the flats which weren't allowing me to float over stuff as easy as with clippless. I felt like if I did if for very long I was going to end up with sore wrists and shoulders so I flipped the lever and road mostly with the big 2 inches of travel. The hardtail wasn't as big of an issue as I thought it might be and I think with 29" tires and a longer travel fork it would be pretty fun for most terrain. So I guess my advice to him would be to ride the rigid fork and see what you think and maybe consider getting a suspension fork later.
The tires worked surprisingly well and although I wasn't pushing as hard as usual I only noticed sliding sideways a few times, but it was a controlled slide. I did have to be pretty diligent on steep loose climbs to keep from spinning out but I think on bigger rocks or hard pack they would have been fine. I bet they would be fun at Moab. They are 2.5" and I had them aired down low at 18psi front and 22 psi rear. I think I'd go up to 24 rear next time even though I didn't pinch flat.
The flats weren't bad either and for really never riding with them and having on cheap skater type shoes I was able to stay on them without much effort despite assuming that I was going to be bouncing off constantly. I think with some newer thinner platforms and some 5 10 shoes and some practice they wouldn't be much of a compromise, except perhaps in really big chunk. The one place I was afraid to go all out was on a few small jumps where I would usually pull up on the pedals to fly farther. I'm not sure how you do that not being attached. I guess it's like lofting the rear, which I can execute in a limited manor, to go up small ledges, except exaggerated. There is also one section on a drop with some big roots across the trail where normally I would launch off the first root and land with my rear tire just hitting the last root. I tried to do this but without enough effort or height and my rear tire bounced across the roots.
So what did I learn?
I don't think I'm going to go rigid but I'm now more inclined to want to build a modern lightweight 29er hardtail. I think I might invest in some new flat pedals and some 5 10 shoes to see how that pans out just for fun and I wouldn't be as hesitant to running some fast rolling tires with low or no center knobs as long as they had good side knobs to help in the corners.
A productive day.
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Thread: The Old The New and the Ugly
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