It's not everyday that you get something nice in the mail - usually it's just corporate sponsored recycling materials. But last week the World Cup I ordered from my uncle's shop (not local for me) arrived. A quick setup instantly had me excited. I could tell right away this was going to be a sweet bike.
The setup was simple and straightforward. The only two issues were a bent derailleur hangar and not enough air pressure to get the tires to seat tubeless. With beer in hand, I took it to the LBS I always use (and have bought a bike from before) and they fixed those two things real quick for me. As a note, I put the stock tires on just to try them out - they need very strong pressure to get them to seat, more than I could create with a floor pump or even my car tire pump.
While we're on the topic of the stock tires, they are very fast and provide low rolling resistance. I don't ride on pavement except in the parking lot portions of my rides and they were very quiet. More importantly, they rode the trails fast. The only thing is that I will likely change out the front tire for a racing tire with a little more turning ability. I'm not that great at cornering in the first place, but the front tire does not inspire much confidence. I recovered (didn't crash) from 3 front tire washouts throughout my ~25 miles of riding this weekend.
Stock everything, except for the lack of tubes, plus XT SPD pedals = 23.9 pounds.
Before I get to my riding impressions, I'll let you know what bike I'm coming from and my riding style. I have been on a 2013 Moots 29" YBB for a year with Stan's Arch rims setup as a 1x10 with a 30-tooth up front to get me up the mountain when needed. I ride XC/All-Mountain trails in NE Atlanta and make trips to the mountains throughout GA, AL, TN, SC, and NC. I race Xterra triathlons. Also, I am 6' 0" with 32" leg measurement and weigh 171 pounds.
My first ride was a blast! More of a XC trail since my favorite trails were still closed from rain. The bike is extremely fast and the brain suspension worked excellently (setup using autosag). I got a PR on every single segment using Strava. I even managed to get in the top 10 on a few segments, which I have never managed to do before on a mountain bike. The difference of how much better I felt at the end of the ride was amazing. It is such a difference in fatigue level from not being banged around. I felt good enough to head over to my favorite trails since they opened up during my first ride.
The second ride (XC/AM mix trails) was more of the same: lots of PRs and a couple trophies on Strava. Again, I've never managed to get trophies on the mountain bike before. I remarked to myself on this ride that it feels like there's a motor on the bike. It is extremely efficient and there is minimal pedal bob. I had my rear brain set one click (of 5) from full firm and the front to a few (of 17) from full firm. These things work as advertised. I know the World Cup is supposed to be more of a firm tune for racing, but it felt plenty plush to me. I never missed the 5mm of travel either.
The next day I went out to my favorite trails again and this is where I really put the bike to the test. I have a ~2.3 mile loop that I have hammered on my Moots before. I figured this would be a good testing loop because I know I have my best possible time as I went full effort on it multiple times. My first lap I beat my time then went out for another and beat it again. Both laps included maneuvering around rather large people on the trails and I still dropped my time.
My conclusion from this is that I go 8.5% faster (probably better when the trails are less crowded) purely from the new bike setup, which is quantifiable data from my testing loop. The qualitative impression is that I feel so much better after the ride. I went for a trail run after my two sprint loops and I have never had that strong of a run after being on the bike before. I can't wait for my first Xterra of the year!
A couple negatives though:
- The Maguras HOWL when wet. I'm used to Shimano Ice-Techs that run silent no matter what. I have a spare 180mm Ice-Tech rotor I will probably throw on the front. I've heard this gives some more braking power anyways.
- I don't like how wide the bars are and would prefer a 9° sweep over the 8°
- The shifter triggers are connected to the brake lever (not the bad thing - I prefer it) and they don't rotate up as much as I would like, so I have to move my wrist down a little to shift to a smaller gear.
- Because of the way I have to setup the triggers, when I turn the bars all the way around they hit the top tube. This makes me worried that if I ever have a bad crash that this could trash the frame. This is a huge red flag for me as this happened to someone else at my LBS. I'll have to figure out how to protect the top tube. (any advice????)
Besides these negatives, I love the bike and how fast it can go. The shorter chainstays plus the rest of the geometry makes for a fast, well-controlled bike. The wheels seem great, too. I thought all the stuff people said about stiffer carbon wheels wasn't a big deal, but I could really feel the difference when I was pulling heavy G's. The large size is good for me, even with my long torso. The 1x11 setup is a dream. Having the 32 up front is much preferred and the granny gear is good enough to get up the long, steep hills. Also, the derailleur is amazing! Zero chain slap when properly setup. Even when hammering down technical hills in a small gear.
Why would anyone want a different bike?
Oh yeah, the price tag...
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